Monday, December 28, 2009

The White Stuff and A Stocking Surprise

Bing Crosby might have liked it, but a white Christmas is a big pain in the...well's a pain in everything! This morning I woke up and could barely move. I thought to myself, hmm it feels like I have been exercising, of which I really don't do very often. Then it hit me, duh, I shoveled a snow packed driveway! Every muscle in my body hurts and the worst part...I didn't completely finish the job, I was saving that for today! Ugh. I have lived in this house for almost nine years and have NEVER had to shovel my driveway. I have prided myself on my snow shoveling technique....just drive over the snow on the driveway until the snow is flat. And, I have never had any problems. I secretly laughed at those shoveling fools and thought why don't you just do what I right on over it. Even the stuff the road crews pack up to the edge of the driveway - not a problem for me and my car - we just drove right on over. Well not this year! The 2009 Christmas blizzard was quite a sight to see and there would be no driving right on over the piles of snow in my driveway. Plus, the road crews did quite a job piling a hedge of protection from any hope of getting out of the driveway! I got stuck twice in my driveway...or the road....hard to see where one begins and the other ends. I'm not sure I'll be singing the words of that white Christmas song ever again. Sorry, Bing, but I've had my fill! For more on this snowy Christmas story read here.

In addition to the white stuff that fell on Christmas eve, there were a few more surprises. Hannah awoke early on Christmas morning, as most kids do, and being the loving parent I am, I told her to go back to bed until 7:00! I finally relented at 6:30 and we headed down stairs to see what Santa had brought. She was delighted and surprised to find that Santa had brought her something she never thought she would get. It is hard to surprise Hannah. She has this weird talent that she can hold a wrapped present shaped liked all the other presents and tell you exactly what is in the box! It is weird. We have resorted to wrapping her gifts in multiple boxes to throw her off. But Santa gifts come unwrapped and she certainly knew, or at least she thought she knew exactly what Santa was bringing her. But he surprised her with a Wii! Never ever did she think she would get a wii. Hannah has wanted a wii for as long as they have been around, but I just couldn't justify spending the money on it. Until this year!

After she had opened her gifts from me, I went to feed the cat. As I headed back into the living room, she proudly popped up with my stocking. We have two stockings that hang on our fireplace mantle, one for her and one for me. Of course Santa only fills her stocking. But not this year! Hannah almost knocked me over as she handed me my stocking and said "look mom, Santa filled your stocking this year!" "Oh how exciting," I exclaimed as I apprehensively looked inside. I figured she had scoured the house looking for some things to fill my stocking, but no, it was filled with great little gifts, just for me! A new pair of gloves, a warm fuzzy pair of socks, perfume, and more! Wow, I was stunned! I have to admit that I enjoyed reaching my hand down into the stocking with the anticipation of what I would find! Turns out I have the best, most thoughtful sister-in-law in the world! She purchased these thoughtful little surprises and asked Hannah to hide them and then fill my stocking when I wasn't looking. Hannah played it out perfectly.

As I think back over the past few days, I am in awe of my many blessings. I am in awe that the God of the universe, the creator of all things, is mindful of me. I am in awe that He loved me enough to create me, but even more to save me. The greatest Christmas gift of all is God's gift of eternal life through His son Jesus. 2009 has been a Christmas to remember.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Christmas Letter

For those of you not on my Christmas card list, here is a post of this year's Christmas letter!

I was beginning to wonder if this letter was going to get written this year! Life has just been so busy lately. I love this time of year, but it seems even busier than usual. I started out with such high hopes for the Christmas season – our tree was up and the house was decorated before Thanksgiving (thanks to a little, I mean a lot, of help from my mom). But unfortunately that is where the story ends. To Hannah’s dismay, our house sits dark in a neighborhood lighted for the season. I have not had the time to dig out our outside decorations. Yes, we are probably known across the neighborhood as the house without lights! The outside may look gloomy, but inside all the halls are decked with holly…um…well, really with fake greenery from Hobby Lobby, but who can tell the difference!

I can’t believe 2009 is coming to a close. The most notable news of the year is that Hannah is now officially in middle school. We are in the throes of what I affectionately call middle school madness - complete with girl drama, boy craziness and a side of pre-teen attitude. Mix in the hormones of adolescence and all I can say is MERCY! If this is a pre-curser to the teen years I am doomed! I am, however re-learning all my communications skills. Hannah now has her own cell phone and I have discovered a whole new language the young-ins use today: IDK, CUL8R, G2G…any guesses? I think

we may be raising a generation that won’t be able to spell or maybe they’ll rewrite the dictionary and lol will be an actual word! I never thought I would utter these words, but oh my how the world has changed since I was a kid!

I’ve been doing a lot of business travel lately. Most of the travel is north of here, which is great in the summer, but not so great in the winter. I have always feared getting stuck somewhere because of bad weather and last week that fear was realized. A group of co-workers and I found ourselves snowed in…in Des Moines! 15 inches of snow kept us hotel bound for an extra day. I have never seen snow quite like that before. It basically shut down the whole town, even Burger King was closed! Luckily we found a Super Target open so we could get some necessities and food. Believe it or not some of us went to Iowa in December without gloves! I think the 6 of us collectively made Target’s sales goal for the day. While we were there we decided to make the best of the situation and we bought white elephant Christmas presents. I should probably mention that we got our rented minivan stuck in the Target parking lot and nice strangers helped dig us out. That night in the hotel we exchanged our gifts while we dined on Papa John’s pizza – the only place brave enough to deliver! Ah, making memories with my co-workers!

In April I became a published writer! My first published article entitled, The Monster in the Crowd, appeared in a local Christian news magazine. I was so excited to see my name in print! But with the victory came defeat. Riding on the adrenaline of getting published, I sent off another article to one of my favorite Christian Women’s magazines. The thrill of being published came to a screeching halt with the sting of rejection. I’ll try again. I just have to believe that God is going to use the whole single parent to the strong willed child thing to His glory! I’ll keep you posted on the writing front! I’m still writing a blog, although I haven’t had a chance to write in it much lately. I hope to get back to it soon and write more often. Feel free to drop by sometime: (

We are so grateful to God for His many blessings. We look forward to what He has in store for us in the coming year. BFN! (For those of you not fluent in text, let me translate – Bye For Now!)

Merry Christmas

Krista and Hannah Grier

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to

harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Best Laid Plans

A couple of weeks ago my best friend from high school came in town. We had been orchestrating this "girls weekend" for months and I had every minute planned perfectly. The timing for our get-together was centered around a high school reunion on the last night of our weekend. Every "i" had been dotted and every "t" was crossed. This was going to be the best "girls weekend" ever!

My friend was actually staying at my house. Usually when she comes in town she stays with her dad, but this time we were taking advantage of every minute as a girlfriend's retreat. Things started off perfectly. I met her and her dad for breakfast on Thursday, the first day of our 4-day weekend, and then she and I went shopping while my daughter was in school. The day was absolutely beautiful. We couldn't have created better weather. We shopped like only two girls that haven't seen each other for long time can, hitting every store and some stores more than once! We bought outfits, shoes, accessories and even had a wonderful Italian salad while sitting on the patio of a great little cafe style restaurant. Yes, this was a beautiful start to what was sure to be a nothing-less-than-perfect weekend.

Until, that is, the first sign of a mishap. As we finished shopping we were heading back to my house when my daughter called and asked me to pick up some cough drops for a little bit of a sore throat. Hmm. I should have probably thought more of the fact that my 11 year old daughter was asking for medicine, but I didn't. The plan was to take Hannah to her dance class that night and my mom would pick her up. Hannah was going to stay with my parents for the first night as my friend and I enjoyed a night out with some old friends. Not long after we dropped Hannah off at dance, she texted me saying she really wasn't feeling well. Hmm. Again, probably should have taken that a little more seriously. My mom picked her up early and our evening went as planned. We had a great time connecting with our first batch of old friends, but oh how much more we had in store for the days and nights to come.

At 6:30 Friday morning my mom called to tell me Hannah was definitely sick. I rushed to my parent's house and took Hannah to the morning walk-in clinic at her doctor's office. I had a bad feeling about this, and my mother's intuition turned out to be right. She had the flu! The doctor explained that she tested positive for influenza A, but most likely she had the H1N1 strain. They are only testing for H1N1 in the hospital so she could not tell me definitively which strain she had. There has been so much news about this particular strain of flu that even my daughter has heard some of the horrors. As we got on the elevator to leave the doctor's office, Hannah looked up at me and asked me if she was going to die. Wow, my heart ruptured into pieces! I explained that there was no reason to believe she wouldn't recover from this yucky bug, and most likely she would be feeling like her old self in a few days. The doctor was not alarmed and didn't even prescribe anything but fluids and ibuprofen. The flu can certainly be dangerous, but with her strong immune system she would recover just fine.

Plans interrupted in a major way! I had made arrangements for Hannah to stay with different people each night of my girls excursion and now she had the flu, the very contagious kind of flu! I felt so horribly torn. My baby was so sick and yet my friend, who only comes in town every few years, was expecting a weekend filled with friends and fun. After arriving home from the doctor's office, I tucked Hannah into my bed, as my friend was staying in her room, and got her as comfortable as possible. My friend and I talked about what we were going to do. My parent's had already been exposed to Hannah so they would be the obvious choice to care for her if I continued the original game plan with my friend, but they had a reunion of their own to attend. This was the weekend of my mom's 50th high school reunion, in fact I knew several people with high school reunions happening at this same time. Must have been nostalgia in the air or something!

Who do you call to watch a sick pre-teen? It's kind of hard to find a babysitter when you have to start the sentence with "my daughter has the flu but," not too many takers on that one! I tried to find "rent-a-nurse," but no such organization seems to exist for what I was needing. I called a friend who was a nurse and asked her if she knew anyone, who had already received the flu shot that would be interested in making a little extra money. Um, no. Wow, things were looking bleak!

We had a get-together with some high school girlfriends set for late Friday afternoon and then planned to meet up with more friends later in the evening. We canceled the first part as we still didn't have an answer to the babysitter problem. We both had been excited to see these friends as they weren't coming to the reunion on the following night, but oh well, plans had to be altered. Finally my mom came to the rescue. My dad, who could take or leave my mom's 50th high school reunion, would stay back and watch Hannah. This way my mom and I could both enjoy our festivities. THANK YOU DAD!

Although the first part of our Friday night plans had been canceled, the second part went off without a hitch. That is, until we were home and everyone was blissfully enjoying dreamland. At about 3:15 in the morning we were all awakened to the smoke alarm going off! Good grief!! What else could possibly go wrong!! There was no fire, must have been dust or something that triggered it. Can, I just say one more time GOOD GRIEF!! My friend stays with me for a once in a lifetime weekend and I expose her to the flu, disrupt months of planning and startle her from her sleep with an ear-splitting smoke alarm! I'm sure she will never stay with me again!

The final day of our weekend actually went well. Hannah was already starting to feel a little better. We stayed in most of the day doing fun girly things. We cut and colored my hair, tried on clothes and prepared for a fun night of seeing high school classmates. We made a quick trip to the mall to return some shoes and it was there my throat started hurting. Have mercy, I just couldn't be getting sick! After a quick nap, believe it or not, I was raring to sickness here! Thanks to my babysitter hero, my dad, we were off for our last night of fun. We had a great dinner with my friend's dad and then headed to the reunion. The next morning she headed back home and thank God never has gotten the flu! The best laid plans proved to be worthless, but all-in-all it is a weekend neither of us will ever forget! I have the pictures to prove it!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Shaved Legs and Grown Up Stores

The last couple of months have included some major rites of passage for Hannah. And, I'm not all that thrilled with them! Hannah has been bugging me for over a year to start shaving her legs. I have resisted for a couple of reasons. First, she is my little girl! And second, shaving your legs isn't all that fun after the first few times and then you're stuck with shaving for the rest of your life. Unless of course you get some fancy schmancy laser hair removal, but let's not even go there!

So I finally relented. This year is her first year in middle school and let me tell you that middle school is one very big deal! About a week before school started Hannah and I went to the grocery store specifically to get her a razor and shaving cream. She picked out an orange Venus razor and mango shaving cream. Yes, I said mango! She was so excited about this, you would have thought she'd just won the lottery or something. As soon as we were home from the store she was bugging me to show her how to shave. We both sat on the edge of the bathtub and lathered our legs with mango shaving cream. The whole bathroom smelled like mangos! I wasn't sure a razor would actually get through all the cream on her legs, but I was kind of okay with that! I went first, showing her how to hold the razor while explaining how much pressure you should apply. I warned her about the possibility of nicks and cuts, but to my surprise she finished without one single scrape. She was so proud of her newly shaved legs. She must have asked me to feel how soft they were at least 10 times!

Of course no girl should start middle school without some new clothes, so we went shopping. Once at the mall, I headed off in the direction of our favorite girl's store just to discover that she doesn't like shopping at "kids" stores anymore. Nope. She wanted to go to grown up places like Aeropostale, American Eagle and Hollister. As we walked into Hollister, Hannah looked up at me and shouted "IT'S TOO LOUD" in here mom! Oh thank heavens, I wasn't the only one that thought that store was too loud! So, Hollister may still be just a little too grown up for her, but the other places were just right. We found her some cute clothes and even a tote for school, but I have to admit I'm just not ready to move up to the grown up stores. I want to keep my little girl little for as long as possible. Shaved legs and grown up stores...good heavens, I'm the mother of a middle-schooler!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Welcome to my new blog address. I hope you like my new layout! I am changing things up a bit, so check out my new "about me" section and take a look around. If you're wondering about my new title it was coined by my daughter. You can read all about it in this post. I think the term "Sweet Mother Molasses" sums up my single mom life...sometimes sweet and sometimes sticky! My desire is that this blog will be something my daughter will enjoy reading when she is a little older. Right now she is not all that crazy about the fact I blog about her! I also hope it will be an encouragement to others and most of all I hope it will honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cha Cha Cha Changes!

As you can see by my new layout, I am making some changes to my blog! I hope to start posting much more frequently and will soon update my "about me" section to better explain my new name of Sweet Mother Molasses! I will also be changing my url in the next day or so...please take the new url and mark as one of your favs!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's God Speaking

Sometimes you just know it is a God thing! Without a doubt you know God is speaking to you, directing you and orchestrating people, places and events just to talk to you! This happened to me recently, but to be completely honest I wasn’t really all that crazy about what God was saying!

My daughter and I are members of a large Southern Baptist church that is in major growth mode. Both of us have been feeling a little lost in the big sea of people. I have struggled over the years to find a Sunday School class that is a good fit. You would think with over 26 Adult Sunday School offerings at least one class would fit like a glove. But much like in the OJ Simpson trial, the glove just doesn’t seem to fit! I am usually the token single person in a class of couples. Hannah has also felt disconnected. She doesn’t have any good friends at church. I know how important it is for her to have Christian friends, especially during the turbulent teenage years. I even considered that maybe God was leading us to a different church. But I love my pastor and his wife and I don’t believe in church hopping! One Sunday the pastor gave a sermon about finding contentment in being exactly where God has you right now and I thought " well okay God, you must want me to stay." But how can I get connected? How can God use me here?

A few weeks ago, on a Saturday, I had a dentist appointment. I should mention my dentist is also my pastor’s wife. As soon as I sat down in the chair, she announced she had a ministry idea for me. She said she knew the perfect place for me to serve in the church. I was intrigued. “You should be a greeter,” she said. My heart sank a little….I don’t really want to be a greeter. But I politely thanked her for thinking of me and told her I would consider it. She went on about how my personality is perfect for this ministry and helping out behind the welcome desk would be ideal. Hmmm. “I don’t think so,” I thought to myself.

The next day during Sunday School (yes, I am the only single person in the class) we had a guest teacher. His lesson was about the gifts of the Spirit and how each of us is gifted to serve. He finished his lesson with a plug for the ministry area he currently serves in….the greeters ministry! Good grief! I have never heard anything about this ministry until now. I clearly knew it existed but beyond that nothing! Now in the course of two days I was confronted about being a part of it. Again, I don’t really want to be a greeter. I am a WRITER. I have such high hopes for how God can use my writing to both encourage and evangelize. I don’t want to be a greeter! But it did seem God was directing me directly to the welcome desk

After Sunday School I found the pastor’s wife and told her what had been mentioned in class. She nodded with that I-told-you-so look and gave me a smile. I told her I would email the person in charge to find out more about it. Monday came and went. I didn’t really have time to email about it. And then Tuesday came and went. I thought about it and figured I would eventually email about it, but maybe not. I'm not sure I want to be a greeter. And then came Wednesday. Wednesday evening I received a phone call from the person in charge of the greeters ministry. He started the conversation with saying he had heard I was interested in helping out with this ministry. Huh? I hadn’t sent an email yet. I hadn’t called anyone? Well okay God, I guess you want me to be a greeter! I should probably listen and say yes. We all know what happened to Jonah when he said no to God! I am all for avoiding the whole swallowed by a whale thing!

God may still use my writing someday. But today, He needs me behind the welcome desk greeting visitors and others looking for their place at church. Things have gotten better for Hannah as well. She has made a few friends and had a blast at church camp a couple of weeks ago! It is an amazing thing when you KNOW without a doubt, it's God speaking!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Discouraged, Frustrated, and a Little Green in the Eyes

I usually love checking my email. It's kind of like checking the mail box and hoping for a letter from an old friend or getting an unexpected party invitation. But, Sunday night sitting in my inbox was disappointment all bundled up in a nice, neat email!

I had written and submitted an article to one of my favorite Christian magazines. I had high hopes they would love my writing and be eager to publish my stellar piece of work. But no, my article was rejected. Ughh. There is nothing fun about rejection. It stings.

My first reaction to the email was sheer frustration. I really believe God has given me the desire to write and I thought He was leading me in a certain direction. But it seems everywhere I turn doors close rather than open. Double ughh!

After sharing my feelings of frustration with a friend, she pointed out that this seems a lot like what Paul went through in Acts chapter 16. Paul and his companions had gone to Asia to preach the gospel. I am sure they were excited about the potential of adding to God's kingdom in Asia, but God had different plans. They then went to Mysia and tried to enter Bithynia, but God didn't want them there either. I imagine Paul was at least a little frustrated at times, wondering where in the world God was leading him. Especially given that this was long before the airplane or even the automobile was invented. Paul and his group didn't have a friendly flight attendant passing out complimentary chocolate chip cookies or selling headphones to plug into the on-flight movie. They were walking across the continents of Asia and Europe! Finally, through a vision, Paul figured out God wanted them to go to Macedonia and preach.

I'm all for going to Macedonia, just point me in the right direction! My frustration quickly turned to comparison. "I will never be as good of a writer as so-and-so," I thought. "Maybe I am wasting my time writing," my mind continued. I have a long list of Christian writer/speakers I admire and comparing myself to them is a losing battle every time! Before I knew it, frustration and comparison turned to a bit of jealously. I found myself jealous of published writers. "Why do they get picked and I don't," I whined (to myself of course).

While still reeling from the sting of rejection, my daughter, who had just returned from a week long visit with her dad, wanted to show me a picture of her soon-to-be-step-mom's wedding dress. Triple Ughh! Her dad and his girlfriend are planning to get married on the beach in Maui at sunset. MAUI AT SUNSET!!!

When can it be my turn already!! I want to be picked! I want to be loved! I wanted to be used by God! Jealousy and comparison are destroyers of joy. The enemy delights in my insecurities and wants me to give up. Satan would love it if I never wrote another thing!

After a weekend of feeling discouraged, frustrated and a little green in the eyes, I was surprised as I sat down at my desk on Monday. I picked up my daily devotion calendar which sits on my desk at work and read the following entry for July 27th: "Lord, help me to understand the call You have on my life. Take away any discouragement I may feel and replace it with joyful anticipation of what You are going to do through me. Use me as Your instrument to make a positive difference in the lives of those who You put in my path." Hmm. Enough said.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Return of the Happy Camper

"Here come the buses," someone shouted. The crowd of parents and siblings inched toward the parking lot, anxiously awaiting the arrival of their happy camper. I scanned the windows of the three school buses as they pulled in, hoping for a glimpse of Hannah, but to no avail. I would just have to wait until she piled off her bus along with over 100 other kids!

I couldn't wait to see her. She had only been gone for two nights but I missed her terribly. I was shocked by how much I missed her. With regular visitation at her dad's house, she is away from home quite a bit. But when she is at her dad's I at least talk to her on the phone and each night we plan to meet in our dreams. There would be no meeting in our dreams this past weekend. Parents were not supposed to call unless it was an emergency.

My heart was heavy with anticipation. I wasn't sure which Hannah was about to get off the bus. Was I about to encounter MAD Hannah. Mad that I had sent her away to the wilderness much like the Israelites? I remember when she was little and rode her very first roller coaster. She got off the ride MAD as could be and told me that she would never, ever ride another roller coaster again and I couldn't make her! Funny, she loves roller coasters now!

Maybe I would find SAD Hannah. Sad because the homesick bug had bitten, much like when I was a child away at camp. Or sad because she didn't make any friends and had spent the last two days feeling alone. Pre-teen girls are starting to get cliquey at this age and I worried Hannah might feel left out. Oh how I hoped there would be no SAD Hannah.

Maybe she would be TIRED Hannah. Too tired to tell me all of the wonderful things she had done at camp because she was literally exhausted from all the fun. I knew this one was a big possibility.

But maybe I would find HAPPY Hannah; overflowing with excitement of all she'd experienced during her first time at church camp.

It felt like an eternity as I watched kids reuniting with their families. I stood on my tip-toes trying to find Hannah through the sea of kids. Finally, there she was with a huge smile on her face. We hugged and she said "it was great mom!" In the car, she began talking a mile a minute about all her favorites things and all her new friends. Her absolute favorite was quiet time. She was reading the book of Ruth and taking notes in a new journal given to the 6th grade girls. "After Ruth, I am going to read Esther and after Esther, I plan to read the entire book of Genesis," she said.

Thank you Lord for hearing my prayers and giving Hannah a thirst for you!

Ah, HAPPY Hannah is finally back home!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hoping For A Happy Camper

I have a few not-so-totally-happy memories of church camp. I remember being horribly homesick and hot! Even at youth camp, when I was 14, I recall missing my mom and dad like crazy. This seems somewhat comical given that just a few short years later, the time period I like to refer to as the rebel-without-a-cause-years began, and home was the last place I wanted to be. Nonetheless, at 14 I didn't like camp all that much.

Today, with my memories tucked away, I sent Hannah to church camp for the first time. And I find myself flooded with emotion. I am excited and a little scared for her. Last night while we were packing she admitted she was feeling a bit nervous about the whole camp thing. Before I go on too much more, I should probably explain that this camp is for one weekend only. She will be back on Sunday afternoon. Next year she will be able to attend youth camp, so the weekend kid's camp is a good way for her to dip her toe into the sleep-away camp experience.

Last night, Hannah diligently packed her suitcase, making sure she had everything she would need. With the "things to bring to camp" list in one hand, she checked off the items already packed. Bible. Check. Writing pen. Check. Swimsuit. Check. Shorts. Check. Toothpaste. Check. She checked away until every last item was packed, which ended up requiring a bigger suitcase. I smiled as I watched her. It may be just a weekend away, but this camp thing is a big deal!

As we pulled into the church parking lot today, she again told me she was scared. What if there is a spider in my bed or a snake in the pond while we are swimming? What if I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? I think I eased these fears at least a little. I told her I am fairly certain there won't be spiders in the beds and that she won't be swimming in a pond, but rather a typical swimming pool. I explained that the cabins all had restrooms and she would know where to go if her bladder came a calling in the middle of the night. Even still, I could sense her apprehension as we placed her suitcase, sleeping bag and pillow on the church bus. I said goodbye and told her I hoped she has a good time. She said, "me too mom," and then gave me a look of horror as I tried to kiss her on the cheek in front of the other kids! Have mercy, she is a pre-teen!

I know she will have a blast. I pray that God will use this experience to draw her closer to Him and that she will bond with the other girls at camp. Oh how I hope she comes back with a thirst for God and a suitcase filled with irreplaceable memories of her first trip to church camp.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Most of you know my story. It's a story of how infertility led to the miracle of adoption. Our daughter could be no more ours had we actually conceived and birthed her. She is one of us. She is our child. Plain and simple.

And for the most part she loves the fact that she is adopted. She knows it is just another way God creates families. She knows that her birth mother hand-picked us to be her parents. She knows God has a special plan for her life. In our prayers each night she hears me thank God for bringing her into my life and making me her mom.

But adoption does come with some challenges. This past school year she had a project that required her to research her family heritage. The kids at school were sharing all about the interesting places their ancestors had come from, and although Hannah used our lineage--which by the way isn't' all that interesting, she knew that her true genetic heritage was a mystery. Is she Russian? Is there some German inside her blood? Maybe she has relatives living in a small tribe in Ethiopia. Could she be related to royalty? She will probably never know. She has decided that she is in fact Irish. I suppose it is possible she is a bit Irish, but highly unlikely! I don't think I'll start calling her O'Hannah any time soon!

These moments, when adoption is accentuated, break my heart a little. She is MY daughter. But these moments remind me that we have a natural desire to belong. We need to fit somewhere. A few weeks ago Hannah and I went to a local amusement park with my brother and his family. As I was downloading the pictures from that day, there was one of all of us. Hannah took one look at the picture and said she didn't look like she belonged to this family. My heart ached. She said she looked like some random friend we brought with us to the park. Didn't belong? Just some random friend? She is MY daughter. Hannah is bi-racial and compared to the rest of us in the picture she does look different. She has darker skin and darker hair. The rest of us are fair and somewhat freckled.

She may not have my nose or my skin color, or thank God my horrible eye sight, but she does have my heart. She has my love for laughter, the same over-the-top desire to perform for anyone who will watch, my lack of math skills and a little bit of my sloppiness. Yep, she is MY daughter and she does belong!

Father in Heaven,
I pray for this precious child. I pray that she will know how much she is loved and that she does belong. I pray that she will see the beauty in adoption and that she will know Your hand has held her from the moment she was conceived. And that although you knit her together in another womb, You were the one that hand-picked us to be her parents. I thank you for hearing my prayers and for making me not just someone's mother, but Hannah's mother.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

But Nothing

Have you wondered why I haven't posted anything lately? Did you wonder if maybe I'd been sick, out of town, too busy at work or maybe that the bloggy monsters had kidnapped me? Well I have been out of town a time or two and work is certianly busy, but neither of these are the reasons for the lack of published ponderings.

I have wanted to write in my blog. I have yearned to add words to this lonely piece of cyberspace. But to no avail. I've racked my brain trying to come up with an idea to write about. But nothing. Oh, occasionally an idea would come and I would sit down at the computer to write and I would just sit there. But nothing. About two weeks after my last post it became clear I had a strange condition affecting my brain known as writer's block! But nothing.

According to, writer's block is defined as "a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work." Yes, sirree, I've had myself a big ol' case of writer's block! But the good news, according to is that it is temporary!

So to cure my case of the "but nothings" I have decided to write about the nothingness quandary. This feels a little like a Seinfeld episode...a blog post about....well, nothing!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The No "P" Diet

Today I am wearing a skirt. Several people have asked if I have a client meeting today. Nope. No client meeting today. I am wearing a skirt, because I couldn't find any clean pants that fit! Good grief! I was standing in my closet looking around at all the choices and realized I really only have a few pairs of pants that fit. Over the last several years a few pounds have somehow crept their way onto my body. I'm still not totally convinced some closet gremlins didn't alter my pants! But whatever the reason, unlike Cinderella, they just don't FIT!

During my drive into work I was thinking about the extra pounds and the ill-fitted pants as well as lying by the pool this summer. As I took a drink of my pop, a funny thought entered my head. There were a lot of "P's" in that thought. Maybe I should start the no "P" diet. I would just eliminate any food and drink that could be classified to start with the letter "P". That would include pop, pizza, pasta, pretzels, pastries, pistachios, popsicles and much more. Yes, there are some good foods that start with the letter "P" such as pineapple, pears, plums and peaches. But in the name of a fun diet idea, I could get my fruit from other letters of the alphabet such as a-pples, g-rapes, r-aspberries, and b-ananas.

I have a trip to Las Vegas coming up at the beginning of August...plenty of time to lose a little weight and get in better shape. Last year on this annual business trip I vowed to myself that next year I wouldn't be as self-conscious by the pool side. Nothing like being by the pool with a bunch of co-workers! I have tried and failed at just plain old dieting. I get bored and I feel deprived. So, maybe putting a little pizazz into my diet will do the trick. I'm going to try it for a few weeks and see what happens.

Please don't misunderstand. There is no scientific data that shows any significance to eating or eliminating foods that begin with the letter "P". I am a firm believer in a balanced healthy diet combined with exercise and I usually dismiss all the fad diets. But adding a little harmless fun might be helpful. I'll let you know how it goes. I plan to start tomorrow...dinner tonight is pork chops and potatoes!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Growing Up

All the days and nights spent praying and crying out to God for a baby seem so far away, nothing more than a faint memory. But this past Friday at the 5th grade awards ceremony, all those feelings came flooding back. How has the time gone by so quickly? As I watched Hannah receive her awards, her life flashed before my eyes. In an instant I was whisked back to the phone call saying we had been chosen by a birth mother. I saw in my mind's eye that very special fax that came through a few weeks later saying "it's a girl." I remember every detail about the long drive to the hospital and I could actually feel her birth mother place her in my arms. I remember her tiny toes. She was so small, so beautiful and the most perfect baby I had ever seen. Years had been spent wondering if I would ever be someone's mother. And finally God answered yes.

That precious child, God's answer to my prayers, looked so grown up, ready to take on not just middle school, but possibly the world. I am so proud of her and so humbled that God chose me to be her mom.

Congratulations Hannah, I am so proud of you!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Hat Lady

Oh if I only had time to give my all, what a job I would do! I find that I am juggling so many different hats, I'm not sure which one I am wearing!

If I had time, I would be the best nutritionist! I would create meals that were healthy, tasty and even fun! I would have a house stocked with the perfect amount of each food group, for well balance diets. If only I had the time. A couple of weeks ago Hannah had a full day of dance competition. We were up at 5:00 am and she was dressed, and ready to go for her first dance at 7:30. We grabbed a bag of donuts to eat on the way. She packed some snacks for the day and of course, the convention center had a concession-stand stocked with a gaggle of goodies. By late afternoon we were finished and headed back home. I swung through McDonald's since we hadn't really had much of a chance to eat anything substantial. Hannah was still full of energy and said she wasn't hungry. She did however, ask if she could have a chocolate shake. When we got home it dawned on me that so far for the day, which was close to being over, Hannah's diet had included several chocolate donuts, a box of Dots candy, a Sprite and a chocolate shake. Not a fruit, vegetable or ounce of protein anywhere! Have mercy!

With the current economy I have tried to tighten the belt so to speak. I have created extensive spreadsheets to track every penny earned and spent as well as all debt owed. Bottom line, like most households, I need to try to decrease spending and increase income! Oh how my head is filled with ways to create an additional stream of income, that good ole' entrepreneurial spirit is fighting to come out. But my head is also filled with a lot of other things and that spirit gets quickly squashed. If I had the time, I would have a vending machine route, an eBay store, a few items for sale on Craig's list along with my full time job, and I would clip so many coupons that the grocery store would owe me money!

My most important job as Hannah's mom is to teach her about Jesus. I wish I could write about all the wonderful and creative ways I accomplish this job. I wish I could brag about our daily devotions and how I incorporate activities to bring God's Word to life. But I can't. It isn't for a lack of trying! For awhile we were reading one Proverb each morning before Hannah left for school. We read the verse and I would provide a little mom commentary. We prayed and then she left for the day. This was great until that first day we were running late and it fell to the way side. Recently I started reading the New Testament to Hannah each evening before bed. We took one verse (Matthew 5:16) to memorize and my hope is to add another verse monthly. I have printed out our memorization verse and posted it all over the house. And then we had a late night and didn't have our nightly reading. I haven't given up on this one yet, but I need to get back in the habit of reading each night. Recently we purchased a book from our church bookstore - "A Case For Faith for Kids" by Lee Strobel. I hope to start reading this book together as well as finishing the book of Matthew. If only I had the time....oh the things we could do!

I also have the full time job hat, the kid-friendly taxi driver hat, the house cleaner hat...enough hats to fill a closet! Sometimes all these hats give me a headache! And for that I put on my nurse hat...take two aspirin and call it a night!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Celebrating Mom

If you have forgotten that Mother's Day is this weekend, then you have not been listening to Christian talk radio this week! Every time I get in my car I hear another beautiful story of one of the many God fearing mothers of the Bible. Yesterday I heard the heart-wrenching, but yet heart-warming tale of Jochebed, the mother of Moses. I can't imagine what she went through desperately wanting to save her precious baby. I hurt for her as I think of her laying her child in a basket and pushing it off to float down stream. But God in His sovereignty had a plan, not just for Moses, but also for Jochebed. Today I heard an interesting twist on the story of Hannah, which gave a little more attention to her nemesis, Penniah. I love the story of Hannah because I feel such a kinship with her, but I have to admit I haven't ever really given much thought to Penniah. After all, she wasn't very nice to Hannah. Although Penniah had many children, she had a husband that was much more in love with his other wife and that had to be hard for her to bear. Here is yet another example of why two wives is one wife too many!

As I have listened to these stories this week it has made me think about my own mother. The older I get the more I appreciate everything about my mom. I certainly wasn't the easiest kid to raise! But thank God, she hung in there with me and today I am proud to say she is more than my mom, she is truly my best friend. In honor of Mother's Day I thought I would share with the bloggy world a few of my favorite memories of me and my mom.

The DQ Memory. When I was just a toddler we lived next door to a Dairy Queen. You can't get much better than being just a few steps away from the creamy goodness better known as a Dilly Bar and don't even get me started blogging about the deliciousness of the Peanut Buster Parfait! I have some wonderful, although faint, memories of walking next door to DQ hand in hand with my mom. She told me that once I threw a terrible fit because she wouldn't buy Linda an ice cream cone; Linda was my imaginary friend!

The Trip to Phoenix Memory. My cousin was getting married in a small Arizona town about an hour outside of Phoenix. My mom and I decided to make the trip and turn it into a vacation just for girls! We flew into Phoenix, rented a car and drove the hour long trip to Cottonwood. This was long before the handy-dandy directions from mapquest or the GPS lady telling you she needs to recalculate. No, we were on our own. And my mother assured me we would have no trouble finding the church. After all how hard can it be to find the Assemblies of God church in a small town like Cottonwood, Arizona! Um....I have four words, "needle in a haystack!" We drove around Cottonwood for what felt like hours. I really don't know how long it took until we finally stopped and asked for directions. We would have never found it! I do believe I wanted to stop for directions early on, but my mom was sure she could find it. We laughed so hard as we just kept driving and driving and driving! After we finally found our way, our trip was incredible. My favorite part of the trip was the time we spent driving through Sedona, what a beautiful place! This mom and daughter vacation is a memory I will cherish forever!

Becoming a Mom Memory. As I have blogged about many times, my daughter Hannah is adopted. We were able to pick her up from the hospital the day she was born. That was the best day of my life! We woke up a family of two and by night's end we were in a Super 8 Motel, a family of three! Hannah was born in a neighboring state about 5 hours away from our home. The day after Hannah was born, my mom drove down through a snow storm to stay with us for a few days. We were required to stay in the town for the first few days and then we were to remain in the state for one week. Luckily my parents lived in the same state where Hannah was born so we were able to stay with them. When we pulled into my parent's driveway they had a sign declaring "It's a Girl" in their yard and on their door. After all the years of wishing, hoping and praying for a child, my dream had finally come true and seeing those signs meant the world to me. I am so blessed my mom was there to share it with me.

As we celebrate Mother's Day this coming Sunday I am grateful that God gave me such a wonderful mom that not only loved me, but first loved Him!Thanks Mom and Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My First Published Article

As I blogged about a couple of posts ago, I am now officially a published writer. An article written by me is in the April/May issue of a local Christian magazine called Family Journal. Click to download and view a pdf of the magazine (it doesn't save to your computer, downloading just opens the document from my account on KeepAndShare. ). The table of contents, which is my favorite part, is on page 4 and my article is on page 30! Just thought I would share!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Can You See Jesus Through All The Grumpy?

Last Sunday I was in a bit of a grumpy mood. Nothing major had caused my grumpiness, it was just one of those mornings. It wasn't an all out bad mood, just a little bit of annoying grumpy. Hannah was at her dad's and maybe missing her contributed to my mood. My spring allergies are in full bloom so maybe a head full of sinus pressure had something to do with it. But whatever it was, it was a tiny case of grumpy!

As soon as I got to church I discovered there were no aisle seats available in my usual section of seating. GRUMPY! I went around to the other side and found an aisle seat; it was not on the side I wanted, but it would have to do. It is amazing how we are such creatures of habit! As I sat in my seat wondering why I was in such a mood, a man came down and asked if the seats next to me were taken. "No, have a seat," I said. He and his wife sat down in the seats next to me.

No sooner had the man sat down before he declared he needed to get up and go talk to someone. Our pew aisles are fairly narrow, so in order for him to get passed me, I had to completely move my legs around to the side of the chair. I smiled at him, but in my head I was having a conversation about how if he wanted to sit by me, he should sit! As soon as these thoughts swirled in my head, he was back. Once again I had to move my legs to the side to let him in. I smiled, but on the inside I was GRUMPY!

This particular Sunday was the dedication service for our new sanctuary. Several guests were joining us and would be recognized during the service. I was reading through my church bulletin when the man leaned over and said "it's a beautiful sanctuary, don't you think?" Oh, great, I thought, now he's a talker. Now don't get me wrong, I am usually a very friendly person but I was having one of those airplane moments. You know, where you just want to sit and enjoy the ride, but sure enough you get seated next to someone that wants to divulge their life story to a complete stranger.

Please understand I was not unfriendly, I just was a bit grumpy....and the grumpy was only evident on the inside (where of course God can see, but man can not!). I agreed that yes, our new sanctuary is beautiful. A couple of people came by and shook this man's hand and told him how glad they were to see him. I didn't really think much of it. He continued his conversation with me and said he was glad to see the stage had plenty of room for the choir and orchestra. He had seen the stage before the sanctuary was finished and wondered if it would be big enough. He went on to talk about our worship leader and how he needs room to jump around (we have an excited and somewhat charismatic worship leader).

I was starting to wonder about who this man was. Clearly he was familiar with our church, the building and the worship leader. But yet it was becoming clear he was not a regular attender. Aha! I leaned over to the man and said "you must be one of our special guests here for the dedication today." He nodded but let me know that he wouldn't call himself special. Hmm, he's humble. Here I was cranky as could be and he's humble! Nothing like a little humility to expose the ugly in the grumpy! Turns out he is the president of the denomination's missions board for our city. And, a very nice man. We had a wonderful conversation despite my moody state of mind.

As the service began, I sent up some emergency forgiveness prayers! "Forgive me Father for letting my mood interfere with my worship and the fellowship with other believers!" It was bad enough that I had not been at my friendliest while sitting next to one of our special guests, but what if a first time visitor and unbeliever had been seated next to me? This got me to thinking about how careful we always need to be with how we interact with others. We should constantly ask ourselves if people can truly see Jesus in us. Sometimes we will be grumpy, but even in the midst of a bad mood, we need to let the light of Jesus shine through!

I pray today that you will fill me completely with your Spirit. I pray that your love will shine through me and that other's might see your Son in everything I do. Thank you for your forgiveness and for your love.
In the name of your Son,

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Birds, The Bees and The Ark

I love light bulb moments. You know those rare moments where all of sudden you finally get it, whatever it is. Somehow in a blink of an eye, everything aligns perfectly, all the dots connect and aha, the light bulb comes on! My daughter had one of those bright glowing occasions yesterday morning.

Her grandfather had just died. We knew this day was near and we had prepared our hearts through prayer as best as we could. She was talking to me about her feelings and asked why we couldn't live to be 900 like they did in Bible times. I told her that even if we lived to be 900, we would still be sad when a loved one died, even after 900 years.

But she persisted with why. Why don't we live that long anymore? I explained that things changed after the flood. I don't know all the in's and out's of how exactly the earth changed, but I know things did in fact change dramatically after the flood and I believe the length of life changed as a result.

A little background information is needed to help show how the dots were finally connected in Hannah's head, resulting in the flash of light!

Recently Hannah has become fascinated with the solar system. They are studying the planets at school and she has decided she wants to be an astronomer when she grows up. This has prompted many conversations about creation and science. She has done a lot of thinking lately about life on planets and how life is sustained. Also fresh in her mind was all the information she had learned earlier in the week as the fifth grade girls viewed the video "Growing Up: For Girls." I'm sure you can imagine the subject matter of this video! I had asked for the video to be sent home so that Hannah and I could view it together prior to the showing at school. I want to be the one to answer her questions and viewing it together at home allowed me to talk with her about God's view regarding all the subjects discussed in the video.

Now you have all the background necessary, back to the story at hand:

After my flood answer, she thought for a moment and then said "yeah, they probably didn't have any food after the flood because all the cows were killed in the flood." I scratched my head and countered with "no, I'm sure Noah had two cows on board the ark." I saw a quick flicker of light, and then the light bulb was fully illuminated! "Oh, that's why Noah had two animals of every kind, one was a boy and one was a girl!" And so went our morning conversation about the birds, the bees and the ark!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm A Published Writer!

There are few better words than "By Krista Grier." Today was the first time I read an official by-line for myself and it exceeded all expectations. It just totally rocks to see your name followed by the small, but oh so extraordinary preposition "by."

My first ever published article is officially in print! Family Journal is a local Christian magazine and this month they have an article titled "The Monster in the Crowd," by Krista Grier!!! My article is about the loneliness singles deal with and how we can overcome those unexpected and extreme moments of loneliness. I actually think my favorite part is the table of contents....The Monster in the Crowd by Krista Grier page 30!

When you turn to page 30, they have added a picture of a man lurking in an alley which goes along well with the content of my article. This is such a fun day! I am excited to see what God will do next! Book publishers look out. . .here I come!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Little Old Woman

My church just moved into a brand new sanctuary and it has been a huge adjustment. Each Sunday since the new facility opened I have been sitting in a different seat, but always in the same general area. In the old sanctuary, I not only sat in the same area but also the same pew and most of time in the exact same seat! We Baptists are creatures of habit I guess!

One of the first Sunday's in the new building, I found myself distracted. During the sermon I heard the voice of a woman. If the pastor said "By grace we are saved," the woman would say, in a very high-pitched voice, "yes, Lord, grace!" Now, I was raised in a charismatic church so I am used to a few amens and hallelujahs during the service, but this took me by surprise. First of all, she was always the only one talking. It wasn't like the crowd erupted with amens. And second of all, it happened several wasn't just a runaway hallelujah. I found myself looking around for her. Who was this woman with the high-pitched voice? Frankly it was kind of bugging me. It was a distraction, and this is after all, corporate worship time.

The next Sunday, sure enough during the sermon I heard her again. Hmm. I looked around but couldn't find the woman behind the voice! Finally the third Sunday she sat directly in front of me. I noticed her right away as I sat down, but of course didn't realize she was "the woman." She couldn't be taller than 4'11" and she has to be in her 70's if not even older. During the welcome time when we shake hands she shook hands with everyone in my row with a gusto that I had never quite seen before. Her excitement to shake your hand and welcome you was contagious. She said "good morning, good morning, good morning" over and over as she went down the row. Her hair is short and gray, her face filled with time gone by, but her eyes glistened with sheer joy. This little old woman was excited to be in church and she was excited you were there with her! I smiled, still not realizing, she was the "woman behind the voice." I thought to myself, "wow this woman truly knows the joy of the Lord!" And then the sermon started. Aha! I had found THE WOMAN!!

Surprisingly, I wasn't annoyed or even really distracted once I saw her and actually watched as she audibly agreed with the pastor. This woman exudes the love of Christ! It is bubbling out of her! Several weeks have now past and we are both still sitting in the same section of the new church. Each week I find myself smiling as I hear her sweet, aged voice. And I have discovered that sometimes what we think is a distraction or even a bother just might be a blessing...the blessing of the little old woman.

Father God,
I want to be more like this precious servant! Help me to show your love to others. I pray that those around me will see You through me and that your love will shine through everything I do. Help me to see the many blessings you have placed in my path!
In Jesus Name, Amen

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Words of Wisdom

If I only knew then, what I know now! The older I get, the more often these words seem to fill my head. If life gave us "do-overs," most of us would jump at the chance to change a thing or two from our life's journey. For some reason my little brother comes to mind when I think of the phrase "do-over." I'm sure he would disagree as we seem to have very different memories of our childhood, but I have a memory of him yelling "do-over" anytime we played a game!

No "do-overs" are allowed in the game of life. But for every mistake, wrong turn or misstep, wisdom is hopefully being acquired as we move along life's path. In my wise 40 plus years, I have figured out one thing, maybe a few more than one, but one really important thing! Life is all about the relationships we build. King Solomon knew it! Proverbs is filled with advice about relationships with a spouse, parents, children, friends, neighbors and even enemies. As wise as Solomon was, I'm not sure he always followed his own advice. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines, that just doesn't sound too wise! Speaking from experience, one wife and one concubine is one concubine too many!

Oh how easy it is to get caught up in the things of life and soon discover our Christmas card list is filled with people we barely know. This past weekend I spent some time with a few people from my Christmas card list and it dawned on me that this is what life is about. God created us for relationship - first with Him, but then with others. I want to embrace and nurture the bonds with those I love. I want to savor every moment of being mom to my daughter. I want to enjoy time with my family and friends. I want to build friendships with people I don't even know yet. And I don't want to wish for a "do-over" when my life's journey has ended!

Some of the wisest words ever uttered were by Harry. You know, in the movie "When Harry Met Sally." Harry finally figures out at the end of the movie that his relationship with Sally is more important than anything. He says to her, "when you decide you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible!" Harry was a wise man. . .possibly wiser than King Solomon!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Snug As Bug

Last week my daughter Hannah got a new bed. This bed is much better than her old bed. It is bigger, softer and it no longer has the oh-so-cute-must-be-for-a-three-year-old picket fence headboard, which by the way was hand made by her grandpa. Her new bed has helped her entire room make the leap from child to almost teenager. The absolute best part of the new bed is that Hannah is actually sleeping in it. . . at least most of the time!

Hannah has been sleeping with me since she was just shy of 2 years old. It started with my unexpected, totally unplanned divorce. My life had been turned upside down and I needed her with me. Having my baby near me through the night provided a needed comfort that is hard to describe. I can look back on that tumultuous time now and see that had it not been for her I probably would have just let the world crumble in on me. But I had a toddler to take care of and that responsibility got me up in the morning.

Somewhere along the journey of the past nine years, our sleeping arrangements turned from me needing her to her needing me. I can't tell you how many times I have been startled to full alertness in the middle of the night due to an elbow hitting me in the head or a knee lodged perfectly into my side or a flailing hand landing smack in the middle of my face. I have a queen size bed, but somehow the two of us only used half of the half of course.

Oh how I have longed for her new bed. I have dreamed of the day she would sleep in her own room and I could sprawl across the boundary of my half into the unknown territory waiting for me on the other half of the queen-sized bed. I told myself she would eventually get tired of sleeping with old mom and want her own space, but I'm not so sure that would have ever happened.

The time has finally come. She has her new bed and much to my surprise I have found myself struggling a little to let her go. The first two nights I stood outside her door while she was sleeping and just gazed at her sweetness, which is much more evident when she is sleeping! For those first two nights I found that I slept perfectly aligned on my half of the bed, not even daring a toe to cross the imaginary dividing line.

But, now, after a few nights of her sleeping in her own bed, I have started to embrace this new chapter in our lives. After she is tucked into her bed snug as a bug, I crawl into my own bed and pray that God will keep her safe through the night. And then I stretch out across the big bed without a worry of a knee, elbow or runaway hand smacking me in the face. Ah, this must be what heaven will be like!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just Call Me Queen!

I love facebook! Through facebook I have connected with several friends from long ago. I have many different buckets of friends...the church friends bucket, the work friends bucket, the college friends bucket, the high school friends bucket and then the "don't know how to classify it" bucket. That last bucket includes my former husband's ex-girlfriend....yeah, hard to put a label on that bucket!

Anyway, not only are facebook friends connecting, but we are also interacting with each other. Friends are able to send things to one another...such as little gifts for your profile page or a quiz. There is an assortment of quizzes to choose from. After you have finished said quiz you can then compare your results to that of your friends. I took one of these quizzes recently. It was called "Which Mighty Woman of the Bible are you most like?" The quiz asks you a variety of questions and then somehow magically determines which mighty woman of the Bible you are in fact most like. I could certainly guess....the woman at the well comes to mind, always searching for more or maybe Hannah as we both so desired to be a mom, maybe Sarah as I am constantly trying to help God out much like she did with the whole Hagar thing...that didn't work out too well. But all of my guesses were wrong!

My result? Esther. Hmm. Esther was a queen. A great queen.

Here is what the quiz said I am like: Esther: You have a charisma; a way of having favor with people. You are beautiful in spirit, and when you are in dire situations, you tend to seek God to find your courage to overcome them. When the need arises, you will stand firm in your faith. You are true royalty, with your humble & gentle spirit you maintain, in spite of your obvious popularity.

Double hmmm. I've certainly got something, but I'm not sure it could be called charisma. I pray that God will make me beautiful in spirit and I have some beautiful moments...but I also have some not so pretty moments. I have a cousin who is beautiful in spirit. She loves everybody with a genuine love, always so sweet and loving. I do seek God with all my heart when I am in dire situations, but again I'm a little more like Sarah at times, racing ahead of God. Humble and gentle....not two words I would use to describe me. And finally popular. Well, who am I to argue with the results of a facebook quiz! Just call me Queen Krista.

Although obviously inaccurate, I encourage all of you that are facebook users to find this quiz and take it. For those of you not on facebook, think about which mighty woman of the Bible you think you are most like! I would love to hear about all the mighty women out in blog land!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Speaking in Code

When I was a little girl my dad came up with what we affectionately called "Code 2". Code 2 simply said everything that needed to be said at bedtime, or at the end of a phone conversation or as someone was leaving. It stood for goodnight, I love you, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite, goodbye, have a great day, drive careful, etc. I think it may have come into existence after a phone call I had with my dad while he was at work. I ended the call with "I love you dad" and he said "okay, talk to you later". Uh...."I LOVE YOU DAD", and after much berating by me he finally said "I love you too" with a room full of co-workers listening in. I'm not completely sure I have this story right, but I have a memory of something close to this scenario. And so Code 2 was born. Only our family knew the code's true meaning.

Do you ever feel like God is talking to you in code? Do you find yourself desperately looking for signs from God, just needing to hear from Him somehow? I have often wished God would just speak audibly to me. It would be so much easier!

How does God speak to His people?

Sometimes God chooses to speak in an audible voice. God spoke audibly to Samuel, but Samuel didn't realize it was God. It took Samuel several times before he finally figured out that it was in fact God calling his name. As much as I would love for God to speak to me in an audible voice, I am sure I would be like Samuel trying to figure out who was calling my name! Moses experienced God talking to him, but God's voice came through a burning bush. I can't even imagine how Moses must have felt listening to God while watching the fiery bush. Jesus spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus while a bright light from Heaven blinded him. Talk about getting your attention!

Sometimes God chooses to speak through dreams. In Genesis 28 God spoke to Jacob through a dream, showing him a ladder that went from the earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. Speaking through dreams must have been a family thing because God also chose to speak to Jacob's son Joseph in a dream. According to Genesis 37, God spoke to Joseph in a dream telling him that someday his brothers would bow down to him.

Sometimes God chooses to speak through angels. The Bible tells us about many times God spoke through angels. An angel of the Lord spoke to Zechariah (Elizabeth's husband), to Mary, to Joseph (Mary's husband), to the wise men and to many others. In several instances the angel speaking would start with "Do not be afraid"....I can understand why!

Sometimes God chooses to speak through others. Once God chose a donkey to do His speaking! God spoke to David through Nathan the prophet. And Nathan didn't have good news to share. God used prophets throughout the Old Testament to speak to the nation of Israel and beg them to repent of their wicked ways. God certainly spoke to many through the Apostle Paul and his letters to the early churches. In fact God is still speaking through Paul today thanks to the Bible!

Sometimes God chooses to speak through His word. In the book of Acts, we are told of a time when Phillip came upon an Ethiopian Eunuch who was reading God's word and Phillip was able to help him understand. God tells us to hide His word in our hearts so than we might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).

While I am fairly certain I won't be encountering any talking donkeys, or facing a burning a bush, I know God speaks to me today. Much like the Code 2 my family established, only I know how and when God speaks to me. He speaks to me through others. I can't tell you how many times I have had a burden on my heart and then heard a sermon on a radio talk show that was clearly God speaking to me. He speaks to me through His word. Have you ever opened the Bible and God gave you a scripture that spoke to your exact need? I know, I have.

Heavenly Father,
I pray today that you will open my ears that I might hear from you. Give me a desire for more of you. Remove the distractions that take my focus away from you. Help me to be still and listen. Your word has promised that if I seek you with all my heart you will be found. Oh, Father God, how I want to be enveloped by you. Speak to me today. Guide and direct my every thought. And I pray, speak not only to me, but through me.
In Jesus name I pray,

Monday, February 16, 2009

She Said What 2

You just never know what is going to come out of the mouth of a child! They say the funniest and strangest things! Not too long ago I shared with the bloggy world Hannah's favorite new saying, Sweet Mother Molasses. Well she has moved on. It has been awhile since I have heard her sarcastic tone say "Sweet Mother Molasses, mom!" But today I heard a new one.

Hannah and two friends were playing house when I heard it. They were getting ready to go somewhere in their "cars" when I heard Hannah say, "come on Erin you are going too slow, I'm going as fast as a monkey with a shaved butt!" The whole room erupted in laughter and we asked Hannah what in the world does that mean. She doesn't know, but assumes a monkey with a shaved butt would be faster than one with a hairy butt! I can't believe I just typed that!

Of course we had the little talk about how we probably shouldn't be talking about butts...even shaved ones on monkeys. Good grief!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saved At The Hereford House

As a Southern Baptist girl attending a Southern Baptist church I have sat through many public invitations for decisions of the heart. I know all the words to all the verses of "Just As I Am". Of course at my church a public call or invitation is given at the conclusion of every church service and this past Sunday was no exception. Several people walked down the aisle to publicly share decisions they had made. As the associate pastor introduced those making decisions my heart was touched by one of the stories told. Along with a couple acknowledging their desire to join the church, a man was introduced that had accepted Christ as his Savior the previous Wednesday.

This man had visited the church the Sunday prior and had filled out a visitor's card. A member of our Faith Evangelism team got his visitor card and invited him to lunch at a popular steak restaurant called the Hereford House. For a short time I was on the Faith Evangelism team and most of the visits we made were to Christians looking for a church home, but we were always ready to share the Gospel message. This time the man wasn't just looking for a church home, but was searching for something that only Jesus could provide. While sitting in a busy restaurant during the lunch rush hour the Faith team member shared the Good News of Jesus. Right then and there, somewhere between the salads and dessert, this man prayed that Jesus would be the Lord of his life. The senior pastor of the church was coincidentally having lunch that day at the very same restaurant. After this man had prayed, he went and shook the pastor's hand and told him he was now a part of God's family! I think if I had been there I would have been inclined to jump up on one of the tables and say "excuse me, um hum, can I have every one's attention please, today, here at the Hereford House, a sinner has just been saved!" How amazing is God grace!

Salvation is free to anyone who asks and is available anytime and anywhere even at the Hereford House! My heart was challenged with a question upon hearing this story. How many times do I find myself having lunch with an unbeliever? Am I looking for opportunities to share my faith every moment of the day? Are you?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

See You In My Dreams

Work travel can certainly have its perks, but as a single mom, traveling can be difficult to say the least. Hannah hates it when I travel and I don't blame her because it completely disrupts her world. She stays with my parents each time I travel and they are so great to run her back and forth from school, make sure she has her homework completed, take her to dance classes and this week, they need to remember the Valentines she has to share for both school and dance. On top of all that she has to be taken to get her allergy shot. My parents are saints! I know I have said this before, but boy, did God bless me in the parents department! To make this week of travel even worse both Hannah and my mom are feeling a bit under the weather. My mom has a horrible cold and Hannah has a stomach ache.

When Hannah was still little, probably 3 or 4 years old, we started a fun traveling tradition to help ease the sting of separation. Each night when we are apart, whether I am traveling or she has a weekend with her dad, we meet in our dreams. Sometimes she picks where we meet and sometimes I pick where we meet. We have met in some fantastic places. During this past summer we met in China for the opening ceremony of the Olympics. On election night this past November we met in Washington D.C. as we waited for the election results. We've met at the beach, at Disney World, at Sea World, in Paris and several times we've met at the American Girl store. Of course we can't really control what we dream about, but our travelin' tradition gives us something fun to think about as we drift off to sleep. And the next day we always have a blast telling each other what we saw on our trip. Tonight, as I type this blog post, I am sitting in a hotel miles away from Hannah, but in just a short while I'll be readying myself for a good night's sleep with thoughts of Rome in head. Rome was Hannah's pick as she wants to see the "place that is now crumbling down". I assume she means the Colosseum.

We have such little time to shape and mold our children. There's little time to hold and hug them and tell them how much we love them, before all too soon a kiss from mom is, well you know, like, so em-barrassing! I want to savor each precious moment, drink in everything about her childhood as I help guide her on a Godly path. As I sit here in this hotel missing her tonight I take comfort in knowing we always have Rome, or Paris, or wherever our dreams will take us.

Father God,
I pray tonight that you will place a hedge of protection around all of us during my travels. And I pray that you will bring healing to my mom and to Hannah. I praise you for giving me parents who are willing to step in where needed and for making me Hannah's mom. I thank you for each and every precious moment of her childhood and pray that her faith in you will continue to grow; that she will know you more and love you and want to serve you. I pray that she will make good choices that bring honor and glory to you. I praise you for who are, the Almighty God, Creator of all things.
In Jesus Name I Pray,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lessons Learned

We make decisions everyday all day long. Some decisions are good and some decisions are not so good. Making a not so good decision and living with the results can be a hard lesson for a child to learn. As Hannah gets older there is more freedom to make some decisions on her own.

At the beginning of the school year the 5th grade students had the opportunity to join the band or orchestra. She was so excited to start learning an instrument and picked out the flute as her instrument of choice. I was apprehensive. I remember being in the 5th grade and choosing to the play the Clarinet. I didn't make it through the whole year. I didn't like it and I hated practicing. I knew in my heart that Hannah would be the same way. It would be a fight to get her to practice the required 20 minutes a day. Plus she already had made a commitment to multiple dance teams for the year. Yes, in my heart I knew the flute was not going to make it through the year.

Just as I expected, practicing was a chore. I had to badger her into practicing and because of our busy schedules I ended up letting it go more often than not. She did seem to enjoy playing and actually seemed fairly good at it, but she was not determined enough to keep practicing.

As the winter break began, Hannah told me she wanted to quit band. My first reaction was no, but she went on to explain her rationale. Hannah has great skills at manipulation, I mean making her point. She told me that she wanted to quit because she needs to focus more on her raising her math grade. Plus she went on to say that she already has so many dance classes and her school work needs to come first. Well I couldn't argue with that reasoning. She was right. Her math grade is too low, but she hadn't been practicing her flute anyway so I wasn't sure how it would really free up more time for math. But, nonetheless she has too many activities and needs a more balanced plate of things. So I agreed.

I emailed the principal and the band teacher as soon as school resumed. The band teacher was disappointed and had even named Hannah as the January band student of the month. But he understood that her grades need to come first.

Last week Hannah announces that she changed her mind. She wants back in band. The true reason for wanting to quit had finally surfaced. She had misplaced her band music book and was embarrassed to let the teacher know. I had already spoken to the principal about her lost book and was in the midst of getting her a new book when she announced she wanted to quit. But I guess she was afraid the new book might not be right or that she was still too embarrassed over having lost the book in the first place. Anyway, she cleaned her room last weekend and lo and behold she found the lost music book. Now she wants to return to band and wants me to fix it for her. No. Her original rationale was right. Her math grade needs to be addressed. She was just too good at manipulating, I mean making her point. She is now stuck with the results of her decision. She is not happy. Last night, through tears, she told me I should have, as her mom, stepped in and not let her make this big of a decision. She said she was just a kid what did she know!! Again, so good at making her point! I will not relent. No band.

If she is still interested in learning to play the flute or another instrument we will look into lessons over the summer. This situation opened the door for the good choices talk! Even the simplest decisions should only be made after much thought and prayer. Oh how I pray she will make good choices as she continues to grow in both age and wisdom.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Boyfriends Already?

Earlier in the school year, my 10 year old daughter informed me she had a boyfriend. She was "going out" with a little boy named Tyler. When she told me about said boyfriend, I was able to maintain a nice, simple smile, while my mind raced with wild visions of boys, fast cars, skating rinks, and drive-in movies. It's just 5th grade, I told myself. And I repeated to myself one of my dad's famous lines "keep things in proper perspective". I asked Hannah what exactly does "going out" mean? "Mommmm" she said in a very sarcastic tone, "it doesn't mean anything except we like each other." Oh, I see.

And then I did me some major praying...and thinking...and praying some more. I certainly didn't want to over-react so I decided to let it go. I talked with Hannah about how she should keep it in proper perspective as well as a lot of boy-girl do's and dont's! I don't know a lot about Tyler, but he seems to be a nice boy. For their 2-month anniversary, yes I said 2 month anniversary, Tyler gave Hannah a really nice handmade card. He made it himself! Wow! This little 5th grader needs to be talking to some of the 40 somethings I know. He seems to know how to treat a girl! He must have a fantastic mom!

Then came the break-up. I was out of town for work and I called home to check on Hannah. She tells me that another little boy wants to be her boyfriend and she asked me if she should break up with Tyler and "go out" with the other boy. Double wowie, I can't believe I am having this conversation with my 10 year old daughter!! I carefully explained this is just 5th grade and she will most likely have many boys who like her before she finds the special one God has hand-picked for her. But, my advice was not to break up with Tyler if she liked him. Well, apparently Tyler had heard through the recess rumor mill that Hannah was considering a different boyfriend. So he broke up with her. I didn't really blame him. After all he had been a good boyfriend, as far as 5th grade boyfriends go, and she was at least considering dumping him like yesterday's school lunch. Secretly I was relieved. We have enough on our plate than to have to deal with boys....good grief, I thought I at least had until she was in high school!

She was heart broken. To make matters worse Tyler found himself a new girlfriend. Hannah had to watch them talk to each other and sit by each other at lunch (with 4 people in between, you don't actually sit right next to them!). She was sad and had a whole new understanding for mom and dating! I have to admit I was sad for her. I could tell her heart was broken. Last week she announced that she and Tyler are back together. Have mercy!! I hope I make it through her teenage years!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A for Accomplishments

Finally, I'm giving myself an "A" for accomplishing many of the tasks I had carefully placed on my need-to-get-it done list. Every year it seems I waste away my week of vacation between Christmas and New Year's. But not this year! This year I did not just sleep the whole week away, or even just laze away in front of the television (although I did watch a lot of movies). But, before I toot my own horn too loudly I should probably mention that I didn't get everything on my list accomplished, but then that would be perfection and well, we all know I'm far from perfect!

I had hoped to chronicle my accomplishments as they were achieved, but well...again more imperfection! So I'm here now telling all that will hear about the week that got an "A".

Accomplishment #1: Christmas Coming Down
After all the time and energy that is spent turning our home into a Christmas wonderland it always seems somewhat sad to take the decorations down. Around Halloween I start getting visions in my head....not of sugar plums but of a beautifully decorated mantle, a fully trimmed tree, a staircase donned with garland and bows and even special Christmas towels in the bathroom. I love my house decked out in all it's Christmas attire. But sadly the time had come to take the things of Christmas down and pack them away for another year. Accomplished!

Accomplishment #2: Sassy New Look
I am a spur-of-the-moment kind of gal. When I decide I want my hair cut, well, I want my hair cut right then. I don't like to make hair appointments, I just want to show up whenever the mood strikes for a new "do". But that usually doesn't work because apparently hairstylists aren't just waiting for me to show up with my new hair mood! So, this week I actually made an appointment to get a sassy new hair cut and color. Best hair experience of my life! I went to someone new....someone who was referred to me....someone I was a bit apprehensive about...but WOW, what an incredible experience. Let me just say HEAD MASSAGE!! I have never experienced anything quite like this at the beauty salon and you can bet I'll be coming back again!

Accomplishment #3: A Newly Organized Kitchen
What is it about the start to a new year that brings out the need to organize? It can't be just me that feels this overwhelming desire to clean out drawers and cabinets because the stores all have containers big and small as well as organizational stuff out front and center. I completely re-organized my kitchen. It feels like moving into a new home. I even moved our silverware to a new drawer, which is taking some getting used to!!

Accomplishment #4: Fun Stuff
I sprinkled my week of accomplishment with a little fun here and there. I spent some time with friends, saw a movie and watched lots of DVDs. I think I watched 6 or 7 movies! In the theater I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt. Who doesn't love a good Brad Pitt flick! But, it was way too long and at times a bit boring. It was the movie that wouldn't start and the movie that wouldn't end! We were sitting in the theater waiting for the movie to begin, but nothing happened. The time for the movie to start had ticked by and still nothing. Finally some people went inquiring and apparently there were some technical difficulties. It finally started almost 30 minutes late and then it lasted for nearly 3 hours! And then I lost my coat....oh my this is probably a story worthy of its own post so I will leave it at that. I did eventually find my coat!

Now my week that gets an "A" is done and I'm back at work. Life is once again in full motion. The week was indeed a success, now if I can just remember where I put the silverware!