Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Momma's Rules

Things My Momma taught me....

1. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs is not one of them.

2. Never cancel dinner plans by text message.  (Or any plans.)  Texting is becoming too easy.  TALK to each other.

3. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

4. If a street performer makes you stop walking, you owe him a buck.

5. Always use ‘we’ when referring to your home team or your government.

6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.

7. Don’t underestimate free throws in a game of ‘horse’.  OR....Granny shots.  :)

8. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

9. Don’t dumb it down.

10. You only get one chance to notice a new haircut.

11. If you’re staying more than one night, unpack.

12. Never park in front of a bar.  People aren't coming out as "with it" as they went in.

13. Don't play on people's emotions.  Or use hardships to your advantage.

 14. Keep a picture of your first fish, first car, and first boy/girlfriend.

15. Hold your heroes to a high standard.  If they can't live up....most likely they don't need to be your hero.

16. A suntan is earned, not bought.  I've learned this throughout the years!

17. Never lie to your doctor.

18. All guns are loaded.

19. Don’t mention sunburns. Believe me, they know.

20. The best way to show thanks is to wear it. Even if it’s only once.

21. Take a vacation off your cell phone, internet, and TV once a year.  They are ruining the world.  UNPLUG people! (I do this during Lent.)

22. Don’t fill up on bread, no matter how good.

23. A handshake beats an autograph.

24. Don’t linger in the doorway. In or out.

25.  When folks reach out to ya.  Always soon as possible.  Even if its to say...."I'll holla later!"

26. If you want to know what makes you unique, sit for a caricature.

27. Never get your hair cut the day of a special event.

28. Be mindful of what comes between you and the Earth. Always buy good shoes, tires, and sheets.  :)

29. Never eat lunch at your desk if you can avoid it. (I do this everyday.  And I wish I didn't!)

30. When you’re with new friends, don’t just talk about old friends.

31. Eat lunch with the new kids. BE the "cool table"....

32. When traveling, keep your wits about you.  What happens there....may not always "stay" there.

33. It’s never too late for an apology.  Ever.

34. Don’t pose with booze.  Tacky.

35. If you have the right of way, take it.

36. You don’t get to choose your own nickname.

37. When you marry someone, remember you marry their entire family.

38. Be kind. Even in anger.  Practice kindness.

 39. Under no circumstances should you ask a woman if she’s pregnant.

40. It’s not enough to be proud of your ancestry; live up to it.

41. Don’t make a scene. Ever.

42. When giving a thank you speech, short and sweet is best.

43. Know when to ignore the camera.

44. Never gloat.

45. Invest in good luggage.

46. Make time for your mom on your birthday. It’s her special day, too.

47. When opening presents, no one likes a good guesser.

48. Sympathy is a crutch, never fake a limp.  You are never the "only one" with your "limp."  We all got problems!

49. Give credit. Take blame.

50. Suck it up every now and again.

51. Never be the last one in the pool.

52. Don’t stare.

53. Address everyone that carries a firearm professionally.

54. Stand up to bullies. You’ll only have to do it once.

55. If you’ve made your point, stop talking.

56. Admit it when you’re wrong.

57. If you offer to help don’t quit until the job is done. should always offer help.

58. Look people in the eye when you thank them.

59. Thank the bus driver.

60. Never answer the phone at the dinner table.

61. Forgive yourself for your mistakes.

62. Know at least one good joke.

63. Don’t boo. Even the ref is somebody’s son.  And that ref is human.

64. Know how to cook one good meal.

65. Learn to drive a stick shift.

66. Be cool to younger kids. Reputations are built over a lifetime.

67. It’s okay to go to the movies by yourself.

68. Dance with your mother/father.

69. Don’t lose your cool. Especially at work.

70. Always thank the host.

71. If you don’t understand, ask before it’s too late.

72. Know the size of your boy/girlfriend’s clothes.

73. There is nothing wrong with a plain t-shirt.

74. Be a good listener. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk.

75. Keep your word. Always do what you say.  Always MEAN what you say.

76. In college, always sit in the front. You’ll stand out immediately.

77. Carry your mother’s bags. She carried you for nine months.

78. Be patient with airport security. They’re just doing their jobs.

79. Don’t be the talker in a movie.

80. The opposite sex likes people who shower.

81. You are what you do, not what you say.

82. Learn to change a tire.

83. Be kind. Everyone has a hard fight ahead of them.  Yep, its important enough to list this one twice!

84. An hour with grandparents is time well spent. Ask for advice when you need it.

85. Don’t litter.

86. If you have a sister, get to know her boyfriend. Your opinion is important.

87. You won’t always be the strongest or the fastest. But you can be the toughest.

88. Never call someone before 9am or after 9pm.

89. Buy the orange properties in Monopoly.

90. Make the little things count.

91. Always wear a bra at work.  This one made me chuckle!  :)  I guess there ARE exceptions.  But for the general female population?  Wear a bra.

92. There is a fine line between looking sultry and slutty. Find it.

93. You’re never too old to need your mom.

94. Ladies, if you make the decision to wear heels, commit to keeping them on and keeping your trap shut about how much your feet kill.

95. Know the words to your national anthem.

96. Your dance moves might not be the best, but I promise making a fool of yourself is more fun then sitting on the bench alone.

97. Smile at strangers.

98. Make goals.

99. Being old is not dictated by your bedtime.

100. If you have to fight, punch first and punch hard.

BONUS:  Love the Lord your God.....and your neighbor as yourself!  Love always extends grace.

This was an old post.  Oldie but goodie!  Just had to share again.  <3

In Him,

Monday, September 22, 2014


I met Max Lucado, y'all.  Be very, very jealous. For the purposes of this blog...I'm going to bypass formalities and call him, Max.  I've been in a relationship with Max for years so I feel like he is a "first name basis" kinda friend, anyway.  So, Max it is.  I met Max.

This man has singled-handedly....wait a sec....GOD, through this man.....has changed my life.  His writings have played such a role in my faith journey.  I have quite a library of his books....I follow his blogs and daily devos....and completely stalk his social media. I got to be the crazy stalker fan that I am and meet him.  And take a selfie with him.  And get his autograph on a book....ok, THREE books. And it was cool.  Way cool.

Yesterday, my friends, Kim and Aaron, noticed that he was going to be speaking at a church in Fort Smith...a mere 3 hours from my house.  We hopped in the car for an impromptu road trip!  Let me tell ya....I like my Sunday afternoons at home.  I won't drive that far for much of fact, I really can't think of another person that would make me drop everything and run to meet.  Well, Jen Hatmaker.  Yep...I'd drive that far for her.

Anyway.  Great day.  Great conversation.  Lotsa laughs with those two crazies.  And a big ole heapin' helping of blessings once we reached our destination.  Just let me set the stage....

One of the most oldest, most beautiful churches I'd ever been in.  Reminded me of a couple that I'd been in during my childhood.  On the way there, I'd kind of envisioned a modern, huge church, arena style with seating for thousands, balcony, etc.  We arrived at this quaint beautiful church....the huge bagpipe organ, wooden pews, intricate architecture....and a potty NOWHERE in site.  :)  The church was packed and we found a place to sit as we settled in to listen to MAX LUCADO preach!

I have to admit...I was a bit star-struck.  For you see?  I'd been a collector of his children's books for years.  My first was the book "You are Special"....which is summarized as follows:

Punchinello is a little wooden person called a Wemmick. Wemmicks spend their days giving stickers: golden stars to "good Wemmicks" and dots to "not-so-good Wemmicks."  Punchinello becomes covered in dots because he stumbles and has scratches, he can't jump high or do any tricks.  As he is becoming discouraged though, he meets a Wemmick that has no stars or dots on her, Lucia. She tells him about Eli, the woodcarver, and how Punchinello should visit him.

Eli explains to Punchinello that the stars and dots stick only if you let them. He further explains that it doesn't really matter what other people think, because He, the Maker, thinks Punchinello is special.
He's special because Eli made him. Punchinello begins to believe Eli, and as he does, a dot falls to the ground.  The lesson is this:  We are all different and unique, and yet we are all special because God made each one of us in His image.

Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

My mother purchased that book for me while I was in youth ministry.  Several times, it was my "go to" devotional and always a powerful one.  I've probably purchased no less than 50 copies of this book throughout the years for gifts....because aside from its beauty, its message is timeless.  It is definitely a family favorite.

Of course I didn't arrive at the church tonight, without my book in tow.  AND....I got it autographed!!  :)

His sermon touched me.  I hung on his every word, even jotted a few notes on an offering envelope. We discussed his points on the drive home, and I couldn't wait to get home to my ipad tonight to write.

His latest book....which will be coming out in a couple of weeks....which I purchased, is entitled "Before Amen:  The Power of Simple Prayer."  I'm constantly finding myself saying these words:
"I'll pray for you."
"You're in my prayers."
"All we can do is pray...."

Know this...if I say those words....I am praying.  I have friends and strangers and all kinds of requests and concerns and praises written in my prayer journal.  The last is the one I want to touch on.  All we can do????  All we can do, friends?  Max spoke to me today.  The power of Intercessory Prayer.

Please KNOW...I'm NOT a bible scholar.  I am consistently intimated by those who are.  So please don't debate me.  I'm quite certain I would be proven wrong.  But, in the spirit of THIS blog this arena...I'm jotting my notes from the sermon.  He brought to us scripture from Exodus 32.  Where he pointed out that God DID in fact "change his mind" at the plea of his people.

Exodus 32:9-10:
"(The Lord said), 'I have seen these people and they are a stiff-necked people...leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them.  Then I will make you into a great nation.'  (God makes it very clear that He will - or at least wants to - destroy Israel)

Then come Moses' prayer, Exodus 32:11-14, where he gives three reasons why God should not destroy the people:
1)  "But Moses sought the favor of the Lord, 'O Lord, why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?  

2)  "Why should the Egyptians say, 'It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth'? 

3)  "Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.''  

After which the text says that God relented and put His wrath on hold, Exodus 32:14, "Then the Lord changed His mind and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened."
Allow me to first state my understanding of what happened here.  I think that what occurred is just what was recorded:  God was angry and wanted to cancel the people out.  Moses interceded.  God changed His mind.  That's basically it, in a nutshell.

God's repentance as a result of Moses' prayer reflected His great intimacy with Moses and demonstrates that God values relationships and allows those He loves to influence His actions.  This attribute of God - His "shared" control together with His creatures - far from giving us a 'diminished' divinity, instead enriches it to present us with a true Person of love, of reciprocity, voluntary vulnerability (as only love can be) and an unselfish sovereignty.

We would consider someone seriously pathological who never allows the input of others to affect their decisions - why make an exception with God?  Especially when His Word says, as clear as it can ever say, that God did indeed change His mind about His judgment that time.

I believe that this passage in question shows us just how much God values one who loves Him and sincerely and unselfishly pleads for the welfare of others.  God repented of His decision when Moses prayed earnestly that He do so.

God.  Changed his mind.   Wait, what???  Let that sink in for a moment.

More powerful words...
Jesus NEVER turns away a "sincere Seeker".  If we come to Him.  If we take our desires and our concerns to Him....that, makes us believers.  AND....we are never more like Jesus, than when in prayer for someone else.

God responds.  Always.

We all pray ... some. We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray. But wouldn't we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency? Max reminded me  that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and His child.

A few of us "Football Moms" have begun praying together on Friday mornings.  The couple of times that I've led...I've left feeling so inadequate.  Who am I to LEAD a group of other Christian women in prayer?  Max spoke to me today.... "a heartfelt conversation between God and His Children."  I've held on to the fact until now....that the power of our prayer is not in the words that we speak to Him....but lies in He who hears our prayers.  For again...."Jesus never turns away a sincere seeker."

We humans are prone to failure. We're experts at muddying, mixing, and messing up our lives. Who among us hasn't looked up from the bottom of a pit and realized that we dug it ourselves? Who hasn't fallen so far, messed up so badly that we thought there was no hope? And it's at these low points that we crave reminders that there's hope for the broken.

Healing.  Grace.  It ALL begins with a relationship with our "Maker."  Just like the Wemmicks....we, as a society judge.  We give gold stars....We give dots.  But in the eyes of our "Eli"....our "Maker"....GOD....we are special.  He made us in HIS image.

I remember once as a young teen....I had a part time job at the local McDonald's.  My parents were super strict, and I always had a 10:30 curfew, while my friends all got to stay out at least until midnight.  My mom always said..."Nothin good happens after need to be home."  Of course, she was right.  But of course, I hated it.  On weekends, I oftentimes worked the closing shift and meant that it was well after midnight when I got off work.

I got the bright idea that I would tell my boss that I had to be off by 9 or 10....but tell mom that I was closing.  THEN....I could get to stay out with the rest of my friends....and my parents would be none the wiser, right?  Wrong.  One particular Saturday morning, I came into the kitchen and mom asked me how my work night was the evening before.  I fell right in to my canned speech, about how we had two buses of ball teams right before closing and it took me FOREVER to clean up.  My little white lie was a great story.

She left the room, and came back holding my time cared.  That woman slapped it down on the counter.  Which clearly showed I had clocked out at 9 pm.  Busted.  That woman was the smartest on the planet.

I don't remember my punishment clearly.  But I do remember something she said to me.....
"I was your age once, too...."  What?  YOU?  Were young once?  haha  She was.  And, she REMEMBERED what it was like to be young.  To be me.

God walked the earth as human, too.  God, a human? Stunning truth. But he remembers. “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) There is never a time that he responds to our prayer with this thought: “I just don’t get it.”  He knows how we feel.

And, this is huge, “He knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8)

You don’t have to write your own prescription. God doesn't need our counsel or advice.
 “Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)

People sometimes say, “Be careful what you pray for, God will give it to you.”  Bullcrap. If we don’t need it, He won’t give it. He loves us too much to give us the wrong answer.  He is our Father who says: “I know the thoughts I think towards you…thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope…call upon me and pray to me and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Prayer is only as good as God is. Since he is good, so is prayer. Prayer works because HE does. Prayer changes things because God changes things. Prayer makes a difference because God has determined to make a difference. Prayer matters because WE matter to God.

We are special.  We are HIS.  Let's start talking to Him....

Thank you, Max.
You're the bomb.

In Him,

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Team Terri (Take 3): Cancer is REALLY a Give & Take!

Well, its that time again.

In just 3 short weeks, downtown Little Rock will once again  become a "sea of pink."  Hundreds of THOUSANDS of men and women will walk the Susan G. Komen Race for the it does each October.  A day that is near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons.

Funny how that now I've blogged for a couple of years ....and I've written before about my feelings about the race.  In lieu of sounding like a "broken record"...I'll share a couple of posts that I've poured my heart into previously.  To some this is just a walk.  Just a day.  To some?  October doesn't mean much.

Not to me.  Not to many.

I very seldom go back and read old posts I've written, unless my chemo brain kicks in....(Yes, I still have it...its my story and I'm sticking to it!  haha) Anyway, I rarely go back and read old posts.  In all honesty, sometimes its painful.  I've reached a point in my healing, that I honestly don't think about cancer much anymore.

If someone close to me has a scare, or a God-forbid, a diagnosis.  Or if something triggers me to re-live it, or a doctor appointment.  Anything of that nature...I do worry from time to time.  But honestly, my focus is on LIVING rather than fear of a recurrance.  At least, today.

However, October...and the race....never ceases to bring a lump to my throat.  I still struggle with so many feelings around this time.  So tonight....I dug through some old posts.  I'll list my journey tonight and take you with me....and note my thoughts.  Then.  And now.

I wrote this just days before last year's race.....How "Team Terri" was born...

You see?  Every story has a ribbon.....


On Survivorship....

On Gene testing.  Those close to me know it was years of this coming to fruition.

Results.  FINALLY.

My personal holiday.  April 23, 2014

Because.  My reason to fight.

The main thing Cancer took from me....

Mom and HER fight...

Just a momma...

The Letter D.

As I relived much of my journey through my posts tonight.  One thing is apparent.  I've been touched with absolutely every emotion.  Anger, pain, sadness, joy, relief, happiness, and most of all love.  My story is really a journey of illness restoring my life through grace.  

Life is still hard.  But I've learned to focus less on pettiness and worldly desires and more on those intangible things that just cannot be replaced.  The Lord has blessed me with what I consider to be a "second chance" at life.  I got a many ways.  Cancer has taken SOOOO much from me.  A year of my life.  My womanhood.  My security. And some days....even my joy.  It has taken my mother from us.  Gosh.....thinking of it makes me crazy!  It has affected my child, who lives in a vivid fear of losing her mom.  

BUT....Cancer gave me a realization that life isn't promised to us.  However cliche it sounds....each day truly is a gift.  I used to live in shame of some of the choices I've made and people I've hurt.  Since my illness, I've learned that to accept the grace that is FREELY given to an undeserving me.  My kids and I cherish each day together.  Each and every day.  I am so proud of their decisions to honor God in all that they do.  Their thankful spirit and their trust in HIM make me so very proud.

I watch the world around me sometime.  How people deliberately try to hurt each other with their words and their actions.  How some get so worked up over petty things and trivial matters.  Friends, if I leave this world with one love each other.  Like CHRIST loves us.  Show love.  Live love.  Forgive.  And extend grace.  

I hold my breath as I walk into each oncology checkup.  I still live in 4-month increments.   I am constantly poking around my chest, even with nothing there.....scared to find "something." I look in the mirror....and feel completely ugly.  I know that I will never look and feel like a real woman again.   I live in fear for my children.....for I know I couldn't stand to watch them affected by cancer.  Cancer has changed me.  Us.  All of us....for sure.  It REALLY IS a give and take.  As I've said before....while I don't want to re-live it, I wouldn't change a thing.

God continues to bless us through our healing.  Whatever the outcome of my story....I've developed a relationship with HIM.  And He continues to bless us daily.

With October....comes a whirlwind of emotions for many.  For those wearing Survivor Pink.....PLEASE love them.  Pray for them.  Realize their fight.  Just love them, friends.

I've had several ask me to bring back Team Terri again this year.  So I have.  Please know, this isn't about ME.  This is about a cure.  This is for you to join with us in honoring YOUR hero.  For we all have one.   This picture tells my story.....As I crossed the finish line last year.....I looked to heaven to the reason I was there.

I would love to extend an invitation to anyone who might want to join my team.  October 4, 2014 

Here is the link to my team page.  Walk with us.....You'll leave so blessed.  I'm sure of it.

In Him,

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ordinary Blessings...

I'm an avid Facebooker.  Y'all know this.  I admit that it is as much as part of my day as anything.  I love keeping up with friends, many of whom I'd never see or talk to....watching their kids grow and learn, being "in the know"....because if its on MUST be true, right?  :)  I love seeing pics, and knowing how to pray for others, and even what boutique has a new something I can't afford. I love the uplifting stories and praises that are shared daily.

Of course, the things I love about it are about equal to the things I hate about it.  Y'all know this, too.  The "negative nellies"....those who complain about EVERYTHING, everyday.  The narcissistic ones who shop for compliments, and post the endless stream of selfies.  The ones who use it as a weapon to coward out of confronting someone....they just post a status about it.  Drama, drama, drama...for the world to see.  I just don't get it.  Like anything...there are bad apples.  And like the rest of the world...its like a train wreck, I can't stop looking!  :)

I love sharing my life.  The good, bad and the ugly.  Like some, and unlike others...its an honest place that I TRY to use for its intent.  That said....everyone knows I don't have a perfect life....perfect kids....or perfect anything for that matter.

My class reunion is coming up and it was brought up that a former classmate of mine did not really want to come basically because...she was "fat, divorced, etc. etc.". ( wasn't me, although that pretty much describes me! haha)  In essence, she felt like she couldn't be impressive in any area of her life.  Gosh, we all feel like that!  Most people only put their best foot forward for the world to see.  I try to remember when I'm feeling my own "bad apples"...feeling inferior, or "less than" among those around me...I am most likely not comparing "apples to apples." ( In the words of my high school algebra teacher! :)

Lately, I've been enjoying my "Time hop" app...where it takes you back to any postings, statuses, photos, etc. posted on this day 1 year ago, 2 years ago, 3 years....and so on.  Oddly....for the last 5 status had to do with me counting my blessings.  In fact, two of them were verbatum...."Counting my by one...." 2 years apart.  While I like to think I count my blessings daily -- what is it about today that made me post about them....5 years in a row????

I don't believe in hence....I felt the need to write.

Today my blessings are plenty...

The obvious kids, my home, my jobs, my friends, my family....and my salvation through God.

But, in the spirit of this "blessingversary" blessings are these:

1)  I didn't totally KILL my son when the yard wasn't mowed today when I got home.  I remembered why....Because I made a deal with him on Sunday that he could wait, since his "sweetie" was home from college.  The grass will be there tomorrow.  Memories and time with those important to us are a must!

2)  My 2nd job!  My dear friend has given me opportunity to keep the books, payroll, etc for her gym.  two weeks in and I'm loving it!  Such a blessing to our family!

3)  This blog!  For the longest time, I didn't know if anyone read it.  It began as my journey through cancer.  And its continued through my life as just a mom.  I've pondered changing the name, but its important to realize that cancer changed me as a person, as a mom, as a Christian.  That scar is there to forever remind me.  I write about whatever is on my mind.  Very little filter. I've received sooooo many texts, emails, and comments on how many enjoy it and that is so humbling.  Life is a journey and we are all in this together.  It's important to share our journeys.....the real...and the UGLY.....before others can gain trust and intimacy and an understanding of who you are.

4)  I'm happy that my garage door opened when I pulled into the drive today.  This meant that they didn't shut my power off today, since I forgot to drop off my payment.  Note to self:  Take the darn check tomorrow, Terri.

5)  I'm thankful for the poop on my carpet.  Ok, not really.  But I LOVE my animals.  Try sharing a bed with 2 weenie dogs, a chihuahua, and a growing lab puppy.  I get a smidge of space and blanket.  And love every minute of it.

6)  I'm thankful for my girlfriends.  Each day is filled with silliness and shenanigans of a group text.  At any given moment I can look down and have about 50 unread messages.....ALWAYS worth reading to get caught up.  If I need of ANY kind....A few words and the "send" button, and its there. blessing is also my daily group text.

7)  I'm thankful for "Bachelor in Paradise"....I love trash tv.  It's my thing, let it go.

8)  Tonight, I was blessed for Kim's potato soup and that my son loves fried baloney.  After working a 14 hour day, supper was easy at 9 pm.

9)  Someone cut me off on the highway today...and I didn't cuss.  That's a blessing.

10)  Sydney just kissed me goodnight.  <3

I could go on and on, but its late.  My "top 10" list for the day.   :)  For you see?  Ordinary blessings are sometimes the best ones.  You don't have to compare your life to others to find them.

God works His plan for us, when we don't even know it sometimes.  Its the smallest things that oftentimes turn into the biggest things.  I've learned to trust myself to just take a leap and trust HIM......because that is a blessing that is EXTRAORDINARY.

My cup simply overflows.....Tonight, I'm feeling grateful.

In Him,

Saturday, September 6, 2014

So it's a Tie.

Well, Salt Bowl 2014 is in the books. 

Here are a few FACTS from the night:
7A Bryant vs 6A Benton

24,816 people in attendance. 

14,000 pounds of peanut butter donated to the AR Rice Depot, and due to a match by Skippy, turned into almost 30,000 pounds. (Stop and let that sink in for a moment)

$_________ raised for Saline County Relay for Life.  (Not sure of the total yet....but hey, bless it.)

I think I also heard something about a "Beanie Weenie" contest, also.  Don't know specifics....but I saw the trophy.  Yes, Beanie Weenies.  We are in the heart of the south.

14-14 tie.  No OT.  No Sudden Death. A tie.  The end. 

Here are a few FEELINGS from tonight:
Caviat:  I'm an just a football/dance mom with kids on the field. Not a coach, expert, or historian on the matter. It has been close to a 24 hour day for us as we hit the pillow at 2 am (48 for me since I haven't slept the day before) and quite frankly I am now classifed as "Zombie Mom"...

A tie.  

As I sat in the lobby if IHOP tonight. surrounded by stranger fans, my kiddos and friends, I found myself muttering aloud...."I'm just not sure how to feel."  Sooooo many agreed with me.  That had been the jist of the conversation from the long drive home from War Memorial (long due to all 25,000 people heading BACK to Saline county at the same time).  And continued over our late night meal.  

I have seen so much today.  In my exhaustion, I want to record the events, before they become the least bit blurry.  Maybe by the end of the post, I can figure out how I feel....sigh.  Got Syd up and out the door by 430 am for the Channel 7 Daybreak Pep Rally.  I'll admit as I stood out on the track that early, I was wishing for them to be like Letterman and pretape it at a decent hour so that I could still be cozy in my bed.  But then reality kicked in as I realized I hadn't been to sleep anyway.  I blogged, did laundry, spent about an hour in the bathroom in a bundle of nerves and here we were.  The day was here.

Taping went fine and it was a fun time.  I was able to get some pics of Syd with the "fancy camera" which will be my project tomorrow....editing those.   I only got a couple of shots with my phone. So until then, I'll share:
Syd with Allyson Courtney of KATV Channel 7 Daybreak! :)

We love our Mrs. White! What a blessing to us.  :)

Next, about 10 of us moms entered the locker room for our first Panther Moms Prayer Ministry.  We are planning to meet each game day for a few moments of prayer.  Hands most wonderful moment of the day.  No doubt, as we circled in the center of that room....where our sons would have spent countless days in preparation....where they prepare for each practice and each game.  Asking God to make His presence known.  And He did.  We lifted each player, manager, coach, and trainer by name....Asking God for provision and protection.

I then found my Sam's locker....and knelt in prayer for this child that God has entrusted ME with.  For I know that my responsiblity as a Mother is ultimately to trust His plan for Sam.  Surronded my other moms and friends....who, like me....had the nervous jitters....I found comfort in those moments.  I was able to walk around the room, and touch the helmets and pads of several players -- ask for blessings upon these boys who my son loves as teammates and friends.  As the room emptied, and just a couple of us left....I looked in the eyes of Ang, and for a brief moment, we found a little peace.

No doubt the walls of that very room would see a lot in just a few short hours....but God was there friends.  He was there.  I am so excited and honored to gather with these women as the season moves forward and pray for our boys.  What an honor to be among them.

Our prayer list.  We prayed for each and every one by name.  

The day unfolded with another pep rally at the school for the students.  BHS Pep Rallys are the best.  You can't hear yourself think...and these kids are completely engulfed in school spirit and panther pride.  I am SOOOO thankful for administrators who know the importance of this.  Who "let them be kids" and all the silliness that entails.  Just a lot of fun.  

As my babygirl lined up in her first capacity as a make a victory line in which the Senior players would run through to be recognized, you can imagine my emotion.  I am taking snapshots in my mind of EVERY moment.  We are kicking off a year I'll never forget.

Seniors won the Spirit Stick.  Yay.  Sophomores were a tad confused.  Today they "learned the drill" and no doubt will be ready next time.  

I watched the majority of the whole thing through the lens of my "fancy camera."  With a lens you can literally see nosehairs in centerfield.  Anyway, I scanned the players, taking pics.  I knew right then, they were ready.  As Brandon and Stone and Coach Neathery took the mic.....I knew they were ready.  Not at all in a cocky sort of way....but in a peaceful, PREPARED sort of way.  For this group....there are no heros.  Only a team.  When I say this group is special  KNOW....this group is special.

We then went to throw up a little spirit decor to suprise the kiddos for their lunches.  Every school needs a Karen Hilborn.  She recognizes that these are still kids and still get excited about balloons.  :)  Only took a few minutes to slap a little "panther pride" around the room.  

Ang and I ran a few errands and then I had a couple of hours for a little nap.  Woke to head to the stadium for yet ANOTHER pep rally for the Channel 7 news.  Long exciting day for my Sydney and the Pepsteppers.  Please, everyone....know how HARD that dance, band and cheer work for this event.  Can you imagine football games without them????  This is my first year as a Pepstepper Mom....and my eyes are opened to all the blood, sweat and tears goes into this from these groups also.  Give them some props!  

As we made our way to our seats, and the panthers took the field.  I could literally HEAR my heart beating out of my chest.  As they warmed up, and I was snapping pics....and sweating my hiney off, I was so happy.  My brother and neice, Hannah came to watch the kids.  So enjoyed our visit and meant the world to me that they were there.  

I just love love love my sweet Hannah.

I love that I can sit among those I love....I can be Terri. was growling, crazy, "momma dog," Terri....but I love these people I get to do life with.  They understand the emotion of the night that simply comes from the love of my kids.  The desire for them to do their best.  From potty mouth to prayer....we are family.  

Just a couple of judgement as I was a HOT Mess!

As the Seniors lined up as captains for the night....arm and arm.  We all joined hands and prayed.  That was the first of several times we led prayer as a group this night.  

We played a good first half....and went in to the locker guessed a tie.  I got to watch my babygirl dance.  This dance was extra special for me.  Coach White informed me and Syd at the beginning of the week that it was going to be dedicated to our little family, honoring what all we had been through the last couple of years.  As they took the field and kicked their hearts out....I was incredibly touched.  What a sweet, precious honor and memory that neither of us will ever forget. I am sooooo proud of them.

I'm not proud of the inability to control my emotions when so much is on the line for the children I love most in the world.  I screamed and carried on like a crazy woman.  Quite convinced I was on the verge of a stroke and Nurse Deb and trainer Mike would be carting ME off on a stretcher.  I'm a tad ticked that I didn't control my mouth when 7 undeserved points went on the scoreboard for a call that the taped replay PROVED was wrong.  That I screamed at the top of my lungs...."Catch the Damn Ball, son!" when one slipped past him.  (IN FRONT of my Pastor Brother....and my niece who pointed out that I said an ugly word. haha) 

I did a lot of "sideline coaching" and even MORE "sideline referee'ing" than I'd care to admit.  We were on our feet using rally towels and pom poms as lethal weapons....screaming to the point I have NO voice left.  Every play that went our way was met with high fives, and hugs and even tears.   It hit the clocked ticked down the final moments of the game, that God had answered my every prayer.  I'm learning as I write....that I know exactly how to feel.  

For you see?  I watched two teams play tonight.  One was bigger in size and bigger in numbers.  MUCH bigger.  I know many of them and their families.  They are just like us.  They are good people with great hearts and love for the game and their school.  

The other?  is a team that has been in a program that has been in a rebuilding phase for quite some time.  On paper...there is no one that really picked them to win.  I watched as one was blessed with plenty of "first string type players"  and could rotate them in and out to keep them fresh.  They fought hard.  Played well.  Bryant no doubt has a good team.  They, too are kids.  Kids who are under the OTHER side of the pressure of the "streak."  No one wants to be that team that loses after 8 years of beating their largest rival, which HAPPENS to be the biggest in the state.

The other team...MY team....I watched play hard.  I watched starters play every play of every minute of the whole game.  Sitting so closely, I watched the pain on their faces and the heat was getting to them....and leg cramps were excruitiating.  I watched the managers and trainers worrying and fretting to keep them able to fight.  I watched our newest Senior....and quite frankly, our "Ace" from the game....fight through OBVIOUS pain....and keep on pushing.  I watched our Junior QB give it his BEST when they were completely all over him.  I watched these boys have more passion and heart than I've EVER seen on a football field.  Our Seniors LED...the team AND the fans.  When they needed to hear us?  They let us know.  I couldn't be a prouder mom than I am today.

As they came across the front of the stands to touch our hands....they looked like they had been at war. What a game they played.

A tie.  Initially, it felt like a game that never ended.  Like walking around with your pants unzipped.  Or painting your nails and skipping a couple of fingers. SOOOOO much hype.  Social media blowing up all week....and no ending.  Like waking up during a dream and not knowing how it ended.  Like watching a movie and the power going out in the middle.  Like the last chapter of a book being ripped out.  

Now....God said, "Everyone wins."  The streak ended.  And nobody lost.  Benton was picked to lose by 20ish points or so.  We proved those predictions wrong.  We shut 'em up.  We proved something tonight.   

I do have that part of me that is SOOOOOOO mad about that dang touchdown that really wasn't.  About how once again he calling seemed to be skewed the other way. How that call REALLY was a game changer. And I think about how much a 14-7 ending score would have looked and felt like.  But that's football.  We are at the mercy of ALL of the factors involved.  And so are they.  

God protected a lot of hearts tonight.  That is the peace I'm finding in "the tie."  I really am ok with that.  Benton has a lot to be proud of and I couldn't be MORE excited about this season.

Honestly, I'm glad for some normality again.  And we can all be friends again.  Football Season is here. Salt Bowl is but a memory. And what an incredible memory it was.  Great job, Panthers.

Thank you God, for your provision and your perfect Plan.  

In Him,

Thursday, September 4, 2014

It's Here.

I just crawled into bed on the Eve of the biggest game of the year for my Sam and his teammates. Which also happens to be the season opener for Sam's Senior year.  Seems like just yesterday he was skipping along the sidelines with a Titan jersey on as a Future Panther. is Sydney's first Pepstepper performance.  I think she should still be wearing her Viking cheer uniform, too. I know anyone who reads this thinks I'm a crazy lady STILL writing about a silly football game.  But right Is our world. It's so much more. So many emotions. 

It's only because I am just a mom who is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted from all the preparation, anxiety and excitement that this game brings with it. 

I've just retrieved cell phones and hydrated my kids to the point they won't be able to sleep due to having to potty all night.  They are iced and ibuprofen'd up and ready to go. Tucked into bed and no doubt wondering how tomorrow night will go. 

I've shared feelings of nervousness, fear, worry, laughter, excitement, joy, and even a little disgust at all the things this rivalry has brought with it.  In many ways, this game brings our county together but moreso, it's almost an uncomfortable division.  I'm almost ready for Saturday, when everyone can be friends again. Almost!  :)

I've clung to my fellow panther moms this week as the days unfolded.  We have shared scenarios, what ifs, laughter and tears.  This little game has brought me sisters I've never had. Tomorrow we will enter the locker room, and join hands in prayer for our sons. We will pray for God's provision and protection on each of them. We will call them all by name and lift them up. What a blessing it is to stand with sisters in Christ and pray for our children.  What an incredible blessing. 

Just tonight....I received this message from a friend whose son graduated last year:

"Your boys get on the field for their last salt bowl tomorrow.  Win or lose its still a bittersweet time for a Panther Mom.  My heart goes out to you but pray the sweetness comes from a safe game topped off with a fabulous win!  I won't be at the salt bowl but I will have my arms around you and prayers in my heart.  Love you guys more than you will ever know... God bless you always and I pray senior year is absolutely amazing both on and off the field."

Tell me God doesn't bless football??  That is the good stuff. 

My children....and all the others...have worked for weeks and weeks for this night. It's finally here.  Coaches are asking themselves if they have done enough?  Have they prepared them well?  Have they done all they can?  

As a Parent, I couldn't be prouder to be a Benton Panther.  I know that my Sydney is loved by her coach.  I know that she wants the best for her and the rest of her team.  I know that she worries at night because she loves her team and knows how special they are and what talent they possess. 

I know that Sam's team of coaches has prepared him for whatever happens tomorrow.  They, too, have lost sleep and have fielded countless scenarios in preparation for guiding them. 

I know that God placed my children in THIS village under THIS leadership. And tonight I will pray for their peace of mind as they lay down with all the questions running through their mind. That they be able to KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that they have instilled within these kids the tools they need tomorrow to do their very best.  For that is all that is important. I pray that God bring them rest. So they can reap the benefit of joy in all that tomorrow will bring. 

These are children. Children that have worked harder than anyone can imagine to do well in front of an enormous crowd that few can even fathom. And to them?  Half that crowd wants them to fail. (Not really, but that is how it must feel!). What pressure for a child??  

I pray that God wrap each player, coach, dancer, cheerleader, band member, color guard member, and fan in His loving arms.  That they feel His peace and comfort and glory for giving it their very best. That they can truly focus on the joys and memories of such a grand event. Not everyone gets an opportunity like this. 

To my kiddos...remember Ephesians 6. I posted this a while back, but is a reminder I want in front of them. 

In life, just like in a football game, we have been given pieces of armor/equipment that help to protect us.

Ephesians 6:11-13 "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

Belt of Truth - Eph. 6:14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,"

Just like the football belt holds the pants up and gives security, so does this piece of the armor of God.  Truth will always give you the freedom and security to face anything that comes your way.  The belt goes around the waist, our midsection. It secures the pads around that section. Truth brings assurance into our lives thereby also bringing security into those whom we belong. I also think of it protecting us from always being led by our emotions. How many times do we refer to our midsection when we speak of our emotions - "I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach;" "I had butterflies in my stomach." We can't base decisions on our emotions, they can mislead. We must base them on the Truth of God's Word.

To my children....ALWAYS stand FIRM on God's Word.  Always.

Breastplate of Righteousness - Think of your shoulder pads.  How they protect your chest....wherein lies your heart, son.  Eph. 6:14 "with the breastplate of righteousness in place,"

This piece of God's armor protects our heart. Christ's righteousness, right relationship with God, is credited to us! Because of it our heart is protected from being led astray.  Remember, when we DO take a wrong turn, when we leave our shoulder pads off for a day or 2....we can always put them on again.  That protection is forever there for us.  God promises us that.  Each time you put them on....remember that God is protecting your heart.  He is protecting YOU.

Shoes of Peace -Eph. 6:15 "and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace."
When you look down at your shiny new cleats...remember they mean so much more. Football cleats dig into the ground and give you traction - help you stand in position. The gospel of peace - a peace with God, keeps us grounded. This peace keeps us calm and standing strong when storms come into our life. We are grounded because of the good news that we can have peace with God through Jesus Christ!

Shield of Faith  Eph. 6:16 "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."
This piece of the armor of God goes out before - in front. It is the first point of contact with the opposing force. Faith is the first step in standing strong for God.  Your gloves protect your hands.  Your hands that are needed for every task you are to complete.  They help you to hold on to the ball on the field....and to hold on to what is important in life.  Wear them with pride, son.

Hebrews 11:6 says "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

Trusting God is what moves us forward. Knowing and believing that He is real and active in our lives pushes the opposing team backwards....on AND off of the field!

Helmet of Salvation - Eph. 6:17 "Take the helmet of salvation"

A very important piece of the armor of God, the helmet of salvation protects our mind. It is there that as an act of the will we first choose Jesus. And it is there that we continue to consciously choose Him each and everyday. Our minds are attacked with ideas from the world, ideas that do not draw us closer to God. The helmet helps to guard our minds; it is His saving grace that purifies our thoughts.

Sword of the Spirit - Eph. 6:17 "and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
All other pieces of the armor of God are defensive. The sword of the Spirit or Word of God is offensive. Just like a football playbook, it give us direction. It gives us instruction about how to play this game of life so that we can win!  Always dig deep in the Word.  Follow it.  Believe in it.  Trust it. And most importantly, live it.  The Bible IS your playbook.

Prayer  - Eph. 6:18 "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
Just like the football jersey covers the football pads so that they will function properly, prayer covers all the other armor and brings them together as one unit that functions together.

A football jersey also identifies which team one is playing for. Are you on God's team? Yes!  Remember your salvation, my precious Sam. Always look to God.  Pray. Listen.

Just like a football is to be thrown or carried down the field, so we are to carry the Gospel to share with others!

Sydney're not lost in the shadow of a Senior.  I know how precious this day is to you as well. Know that I will never forget your FIRST Salt Bowl.  I love you with my whole heart and soul. 

I am so proud of every child out there. Maroon and Blue.   And those God chose to lead them. 

In Him,

Salt Bowl Prayer

A Saline County tradition, Lord…
Where each one picks a side…
Will it be Maroon or will it be Blue,
That you will choose with pride?

The players using their talents and gifts….
Each handpicked for them by You.
Protect their bodies AND their hearts, Lord…
As they do what they are taught to do!

The Coaches guiding and molding them
Turning young boys into men…
Teaching them that no matter what the scoreboard shows…
In the end, lies a WIN.

The referees and their whistles….
Hold them tight as they guide a fair game.
Give them honor, wisdom, and pride….
Because within it, really has no fame.

The Band gives us music….
And leads everyone of Your children in spirit.
They, too, showcase Your glorious gifts…
Where would this game be without it??

The Cheerleaders are leading us….
In cheers, chants and smiles!
Each loving their team and school,
Across each and every mile.

Two dance teams will take the halftime show…
Kicking, leaping, and most likely a prance…
For they, TOO, my precious Lord…
Are Praising YOUR name in the Dance.

Moms are praying….Dads are pacing…
And fans are cheering loud.
For no matter what color they are wearing,
NOone is more proud.

Some are there Lord…just for fun…
And haven’t thought of the outcome in sight.
Bless them too Lord, For those, we all know….
Do not have a “dog in the fight.” :)

Some are born with Panther love
While others bleed Hornet blue….
One thing we all have in common, Lord…
Is we all strive to honor YOU.

No matter what the scoreboard shows….
At the end of this Crazy game.
Two Teams…One Dream…
We know within YOU, lies our flame.

-T. Baker

I'm Him,

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Salt Bowl Prayer

Salt Bowl Prayer
A Saline County tradition, Lord…
Where each one picks a side…
Will it be Maroon or will it be Blue,
That you will choose with pride?

The players using their talents and gifts….
Each handpicked for them by You.
Protect their bodies AND their hearts, Lord…
As they do what they are taught to do!

The Coaches guiding and molding them
Turning young boys into men…
Teaching them that no matter what the scoreboard shows…
In the end, lies a WIN.

The referees and their whistles….
Hold them tight as they guide a fair game.
Give them honor, wisdom, and pride….
Because within it, really has no fame.

The Band gives us music….
And leads everyone of Your children in spirit.
They, too, showcase Your glorious gifts…
Where would this game be without it??

The Cheerleaders are leading us….
In cheers, chants and smiles!
Each loving their team and school,
Across each and every mile.

Two dance teams will take the halftime show…
Kicking, leaping, and most likely a prance…
For they, TOO, my precious Lord…
Are Praising YOUR name in the Dance.

Moms are praying….Dads are pacing…
And fans are cheering loud.
For no matter what color they are wearing,
NOone is more proud.

Some are there Lord…just for fun…
And haven’t thought of the outcome in sight.
Bless them too Lord, For those, we all know….
Do not have a “dog in the fight.” :)

Some are born with Panther love
While others bleed Hornet blue….
One thing we all have in common, Lord…
Is we all strive to honor YOU.

No matter what the scoreboard shows….
At the end of this Crazy game.
Two Teams…One Dream…
We know within YOU, lies our flame.

-T. Baker