Jan 30, 2008

God's Sustaining Power: My Story

I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing and who I was with.

It was last August around 10pm. I was sitting with David in our living room and in my Vestal chair, of course, when I began to cry. And I wasn't just crying to David, I was crying out to God, right there in front of David. I know sometimes when our feelings - our desperation - begins to show and we feel the need to get really serious with God, that we can become embarrassed and private, even in front of our spouses. But not this time! David knew my heart, so I felt I could be real in front of him.

So right there, in my Vestal chair, my tears began to fall. One, then two, three, four, and before you knew it tears were rolling down my face and filling up my heart.
"David, I can't do this. I cannot live like this. Not one day. Certainly not for 6 months."
"Yes you can, Melissa. Millions of people have to do this. You can too."
"No I can't David. I am not that strong."
"Melissa, you've beaten a lot worse things than this."
"Which is exactly why I don't want to have to struggle with this. I am tired. And weak."
And then I did the strangest thing. I actually got up out of my Vestal chair and found another place of peace. On my knees. And right there I knelt and told God everything I held inside my heart.

Why? I know I have asked you that a million times before and you have never once answered me I don't think, but this time please consider it. I need guidance here. I need direction and insight. There are things I don't understand.
Why does Jack want to go back to the island?
Why is Kate driving a Volvo?
Who is buried in a predominately African-American neighborhood?
What is going on?
Only you know God. You and J.J. Abrams and he hasn't returned any of my letters or emails. (Except that one from his office that requested I withhold any further contact.) So you are my only hope. I'm counting on you. Can I do that? Because I'll be honest with you. I can't wait 6 months to find out who is left on the island. If Claire got in the helicopter. And if Charlies is really dead. I cannot wait 6 months to find out why Jack wants to go back so badly to the island and who Kate is afraid of. I can't. Not on my own. I need your help.

And you know what? God sustains. He really does. He helped me fill my time with things like Thanksgiving, Christmas, potty-training, and wiping up tee-tee from off of my wood floors when potty-training doesn't work. He gave me friends and new friends. He refreshed my soul with Mexican food and Maggiano's. He allowed me to change my hair color and provided the growth and transformation of Katie Holmes right before my very eyes. He had Hollywood produce things to take my mind off of it, like The Kingdom and 27 Dresses. Certainly Satan tried to thwart His plans, tried to get me off track with things like National Treasure II or no Golden Globes. But I held up! I was strong!

And God sustained.

Now Lost is back. And I once again can truly sing, "I once was Lost but now am found...was blind but now I see" without wanting to rend my garments.

It's back. I can breathe again. Finally. Lost................it's back.

*Disclaimer: For those of you who read today's entry and find it less than amusing for fear of insincerity or sacrilege. Let me assure you, all of the above is true. And I know God. And He always like a good laugh. Always.

Jan 26, 2008

Somethin' Bad's Goin' Down at the Changs.

I will never eat at PF Changs again.
So let it be written.
So let it be done.

Okay, maybe not ever. But at least not for a few months. Unless The Attorney General wants to go there. And if he's buying? Baby, I'm going.

I love PF Changs. I do. I love it as much as the next caucasian who goes in thinking they are trendy, and ethnic. I love their lettuce wraps all filled to the brim. In fact, I never think they bring enough. They over do on the lettuce, under do on the filling. I love their fried rice and kung pao chicken. I love their honey chicken. And I would put my mom up for sale on Craig's List for one piece of The Great Wall of Chocolate.

But on this particular day I went in innocently enough - me and The Attorney General and Remi and mom and dad and Mallory. We weren't looking for any trouble. But dear friends I got up and went to the ladies room around 12:15 and I didn't see the light of day until about 2:30. I kid you not. Mom said she expected me to walk out with a makeover or something since I was in there so long.

So here is what one experiences when they are left to die in stall number 3 at the Cool Spring PF Changs...

I experienced two teenage girls who came in giggling, texted three boys from their school - Chet, Burke and Jay - and made plans later that night to "hook up" with them at the movies. *To the mama's of Chet, Burke and Jay: keep those boys inside tonight. All the while I am trying to give off silent warnings of them to leave. For the Love of God and all that is Holy please leave! They can't hear me over their giggles.

An older lady comes in (I am guessing on the age, I couldn't see her face but could smell her cologne: Chloe) and decides stall 1 and stall 2 are not to her liking and will lean against the wall and wait on stall 3. WHY GOD? WHY? I place my head in my hands and pray for it to all be over. Finally, after me having 3 cold sweats and 1 near fainting spell she relents. Turns on her heels and leaves. Here's my thought...if stall 3 was where she wanted to be then how ungodly must stall 1 and stall 2 have been?

Mallory taps on the door.
"Melissa, are you all right?"
"Go away."
"Mom wanted me to come and ask."
"GO away."
"Mom also wants to know if know where she left her new earrings. She couldn't find them this morning."
"She also said to remind you to go and buy some Big Sexy Hairspray."
"GO AWAY!!!"
"I'm telling mom."

Felicia, the local real estate broker comes in with a BIG call, a BIG call. I know this because she continues to repeat to the other end, "I know, I know I've been waiting for a call like this. This is a big call. I've been waiting all week for a call this big." Felicia then shuts up for one second. Apparently takes a deep breath. And leaves.

I rush out and put cold towels on my face. I hurry back to stall number 3 before old lady comes back in. I take the cold towels with me.

I pray to God to bless my husband with a good woman who is fun (but not that fun), heavy and cheap (Dave Ramsey cheap. Not hooker cheap.) I pray for Remi to grow up and be a godly woman who will inherit the White House. And then I commit my soul to Him and ask Him to please come quickly.

45 minutes later and I am not dead. Barely.

I walk out of the stall to find Felicia still on the phone. Two tweeners sitting slumped over at their parents table while texting underneath the table cloth. And "old woman" passes me to give stall number 3 a shot. She is in there for all of 2 seconds. Apparently stall number 3 was not up to snuff. And no amount of Chloe is gonna solve that problem.

Jan 24, 2008

If It's not one thing, it's your Nonie.

Well, my mom has been in town and in my guest room for eight days, now.
I repeat, my mom has been in the same town and in the same house as me for eight days.
Eight days. Did you all read that? Eight days.
Say the words out loud to yourself...eight days. Very good.
One more time...eight days.

And as much as I pick, and joke (cuz that's what I am: a picker and a joker) and tease and smart-off about my mom. I have been THRILLED to have her. It has been wonderful having her here and she has blessed the socks of off me. Actually, that is literally the truth since she caught up on all my wash so she literally came and took the socks right off my feet. In fact, since she's been here:

My bathroom floors have been scoured.

My husband has had seven hot meals. (Pancho's provided one. What can we say? We're good folks, so we gave her the night off.)

My laundry was actually completely cleaned AND DRIED before it was put away. (As opposed to when I put it away when it's kind of damp, just so I can go on to bed.)

My daughters diaper has been changed several times every day - and not by me!

My car, which I thought was fine, was apparently filthy and cleaned out from stem to stern. (And she was right, man, it was filthy.)

My child has THREE new pairs of shoes. (I however, have none.)

My husband has had more affectionate pats, rubs and kisses followed by things like, "David, you are so wonderful. David, you are so good to her even though she's so mean to you. David you are just precious. David, you are the closest thing we have to Christ walking on this earth." And he LOVES it.

Fresh groceries have been purchased and cooked. And then some more purchased and cooked again. Glorious.

And tomorrow she is making me some of her famous pimento cheese!! Glory adios!

If you think I'm wild about her. Meet Remi. She wakes up screaming for Nonie. And she goes to bed screaming for Nonie. And Nonie loves every stinkin' minute of it. Those two are tight. Thick as thieves, I'd say. We only have a few days left with mom. My dad and sister are coming down to get her this weekend and take her back home. When she leaves on Sunday night it will have been ELEVEN days she came to see me. And that's how many days it will take me to get over her leaving.

Jan 17, 2008


Remi's Gran"Poppie" is coming in to town and he said he would like to have a face to face with one, Tobey Jones.

Jan 15, 2008

No Rulers Needed.

Please, people. Do not get out your rulers for this one. No measuring is needed.
For we are about to engage in some really shallow talk. I mean it - shallow. No depth here. If depth is what you need check out someone else's blog. I mean, I can get deep. And I do get deep. On occasion. But not today. Read on...

Topic #1: Miss America: Reality Check
Laugh if you must - but I think Miss Alaska is kind of cute. Yeah, she's getting on everyone's nerves, but for some strange reason I get her. Sure she talks without thinking, but I get her. Yes, she offends more than she pleases. But again, I get her.
But that Miss Florida?? What can I say about her? Did you see her panic at the thought of jumping in the pool? Don't you know girls like that? I do. Those girls were never my friends growing up. Never. And they still aren't. My girlfriends jump in, cannonball it all the way. Yep, even Hankins.
Miss Utah. We have to talk. A celebrity photographer is taking your picture and you just STAND there? That goes against every thing I believe as a human and as a woman. Have you never heard the phrase, "work it?"
Please keep up with this show. It's well worth it. This weeks makeovers were incredible. And I'm personally inviting you all over to watch the actual pageant at my house. Uh, wait...I got a little carried away there.

Topic #2: My quote of the day is by Dorothy Thompson. She was known as "The First Lady of American Journalism" and was well known for her conservative stance in politics. The quote is just a quote and does not mean I am voting for Hillary Clinton. But thanks KG for emailing me and asking! Laughing.

Topic #3: I am going to get my hair done today. With someone new. Which, as a woman, you know is much like a first date. Only far more important. Pray for me. I wanted my hair to be as dark as that girl on Celebrity Apprentice, but David told me (his exact words) "Babe, didn't we try that once and we decided you looked like you had been raised from the dead?" Whenever he blatantly uses the word we it really means me and I know where he's headed.

Topic #4: April doesn't email me anymore. I know she's busy. But I used to could count on her "Love ya bunches" letters once, twice, sometimes three times a day. But now? Kaput? What happened to us?? Is it because I referenced Kerri in my Miss America blog? Or because I referenced Rhonda (aka Ester)? I'll reference you. I promise. Give me time. If a blog ever comes up where I talk about the NFL or NBA or NHL or ESPN...in other words, if I ever blog about sports read it closely - you'll be in there somewhere. I've never really given a proper shout out to Hankins. But if I ever blog on people who miss church for no good reason at all she should read it closely, she'll be in there. See? Everyone will have their day. I miss you little Willett.

Topic #5: I'm on a strict diet and I'll just be honest with you. I miss chicken.

Topic #6: I think my daughter is in love with Tobey Jones. Should I be worried about this? She sings about him. A lot. I'm not sure if that is a very good family. Granted, PT references them in his message almost on a weekly basis. In fact, if I did a shot every time he referenced them I would be stone cold drunk. But still...good enough for Remi? Not sure.

Topic #7: Thanks for all the emails regarding my last blog. You all have really encouraged me. I mean it! God is soooooo good. I just adore Him. And I can't wait to see what all He has for me this year. So stay tuned. I am even trying to teach Remi to say "God is good." I wonder if Tobey Jones can say that?

Till next time.

Jan 12, 2008

I Got This Crazy Kind of Feeling.

Okay, let me ask you a question.
Let me get personal.
Let's get on the same page for a moment.

As followers of Christ do you ever get the feeling that He is about to ask something of you? I mean, really, really, ask something of you? Something weird. Something wild. Something completely and totally out of your comfort zone.

If you answered yes to that, keep reading.

I'm not talking about how you've never cooked pancakes before and you feel led to start helping out at your church's annual pancake breakfast. I'm talking, you suddenly have a heart for something you've never had a heart for before. And it could take you places you've never been. To do things you've never done. To see things you've never seen. To speak things you've never spoken.

If you answered yes to that, keep reading.

Well, that is what I am feeling. And it has been breweing for a long time now. And suddenly I find myself in a new place and a new phase to say "yes" to it and not hide it away anymore. After all, if you've followed God for any time at all then we can all agree that saying "no" to Him really is not an option. Well, it is, but His work will be accomplished and if you want to play in a really exciting game you won't sit it out. You'll say "yes."

I once heard a pastor say that we should pray that "the Lord who has the nations in His heart, would give us a heart for the nations." I loved the way he said that and I've prayed those exact words for years. Uh, oh. He listens.

I usually don't petition for comments, but I am today. I would like to hear from you if you have ever dealt with this kind of thing before. And as always, if you don't want to leave a message for the world to see then just email me at melradke@charter.net. I'd love to hear from you and how God has pushed the boundaries with you.

And so now I'll be totally honest. Pray for me. If you know me at all, you know that when I'm ready do something - I'm ready to do it. All out. Well, friends, I think I'm ready. I have a heart for something. Something weird. Something wild. And I'm not sitting this one out.

Jan 8, 2008

God Speaking

If you've heard the song "God Speaking" by Mandisa and you like it, then go out TODAY and buy the new album from Ronnie Freeman entitled "God Speaking". Ronnie wrote this great song and his version is incredible! Ronnie's new album comes out today and I cannot say enough about it. It really is one of the best CD's I've heard in Contemporary Christian Music in a while. Head to your local Christian bookstore and grab it, go to iTunes and download it or get it directly from Ronnie's website for only $9.97.

Jan 7, 2008

Dear bloggers. Today my entry is long. Do not feel obligated to read it. It is for someone specific anyway.

Today's entry is dedicated to my very special friend. A brother, really. Who began to skip one year ago today. I love you. I'm proud of you.

Once upon a time, in a land not very far from here a little girl went for a walk. She merrily skipped and she merrily hummed and she merrily skipped some more. She looked at the trees and watched the clouds and wondered if there had ever been a more lovely day. In fact, she asked herself “Freedom, have you ever seen a more lovely day?” And then most assuredly she answered her very own question with a “no, I believe I never have.”

Minutes turned into hours and her lunchtime came and went. Freedom grew hungry and pulled her lunch from its home in a brown paper bag. Looking around for a place to sit Freedom found nothing until her eyes landed on a bed of stone – a foundation, really - only a few short skips away. And so she skipped to her new resting spot. Freedom skipped.

What a wonderful lunch she had; even a simple, plain, brown paper bag couldn't hide its goodness. Everything rich and filling and sweet. But also everything nutritious and delicious, all at once. Whoever had packed Freedom’s bag certainly packed it well. Freedom had everything you could ask for.

“Your lunch looks good” she heard him say, and she must admit her heart skipped a beat. Freedom was surprised to find anyone so young out among these woods.

“Would you like something?” She heard herself ask before she could even reason whether or not that was a wise thing to do.
“Yes” he answered quickly, “but I better not.”
Freedom turned to him and noticed a little boy, not much older than her. His hair was a scruffy brown, mop-topped at best. The lightest of freckles dusted his nose and his lips were plump and pink. His corduroy pants were tattered now but had been brand spankin’ new at one time. His little plaid shirt was dirty and sweaty and yet still tucked neatly into his pants. He had the face of an angel, a dirty, sweaty, ball-playin', misbehaving, mischief makin', misfit, little angel. And Freedom loved him right away. Freedom wanted to grab his hands and turn circles with him and show him all the clouds she had named that day.

“Why should you not take a bite of this apple? Or this brownie or this bread?” Freedom asked inquisitively. She could not imagine saying no to such things. “Do they not look good to you?”
“Oh, no. They look delicious. But I cannot feed myself.”
“Well, that is a problem indeed. Why can you not feed yourself?”

“Do you not see that my hands are forced behind my back? They are locked up.”
“Well, what in the world are they locked up for? Who did this to you? Remove them at once.”
“Don’t you think I would remove them if I could? I want that bread so badly. But my hands won’t move. They’ve been like this for so long that I can’t even remember who did this to me.”
“Well, whoever did this to you – are they still here?” Freedom wanted to know what she was up against out here all alone, except for her new friend.
“No, they left long ago.”
“And they just left you out here. Tied up?”
“Yes. And alone. And scared.” And then the misfit angel told her the story of how on a day like this very one he wandered alone into the woods. He had suddenly become surrounded by the tall trees in the Glen of Guilt, the shadows in the Forest of Fear and had become ensnared by the lies near the brook of Unforgiveness.
To Freedom they sounded like horrible, awful places and she wondered why she hadn’t ran into any of those places. Rather, her walk this day seemed unencumbered, unhindered, and absolutely, well, free.

Then he explained that he had been led to this very stone building where they stood. He told her how his hands had been forcefully tied behind his back and chained to the wall; explaining that they had been that way ever since. This was perplexing to Freedom considering this was no stone building at all for there were no walls to speak of; not on any of the four sides. Only a stone foundation.

“May I ask your name?”
“Yes,” he replied so quietly she could barely hear him, “but I don’t remember what it is. I don’t remember what they used to call me.”
“Who? That who used to call you?”
“The people that loved me, those that played with me, clothed me, fed me. I don’t remember what they called me. I only know the name I was given when I came here. And they called me Captive.”
“Well, Captive. I am Freedom. And though I do not mean to intrude, and cannot make you do anything you don’t want to do, I would like to point out to you that you, sweet Captive, are not bound at all. There are no walls here, Captive. Your hand is tied to only one thing – you.”
“But they told me I was tied to down.”
“They lied.”
“But the pushed me. Hard. They held me down and threatened my life if I moved.”
“Well, they lied.”
“Then they held my hands behind my back so that I was powerless. When I tried to escape they just laughed at me. I tried only a few times but every time I did they won. So I believed them. And here I’ve stood.”
“Captive. They lied.”
“But how can this be?”
“Maybe they never assumed Freedom would come into your life. Move your hands sweet, beautiful, Captive. Move your hands.”

And slowly, like a trembling fawn, Captive arose from his lowly position and for the first time in a long time, moved his hands. From behind him to in front of him. From a cuffed position, to an unchained position. And for the first time, in a long time, Captive moved from where he stood and he walked. And slowly but surely he walked up and looked Freedom in the face.

“Freedom, where did you come from?”
“From just over the hills. Look, over there. Past those two huge clouds. That is where I live. I heard you calling me. And so I came. I came for you Captive. I came to bring you back home.”

“But I’ve been gone so long. Have they forgotten me?”
Freedom couldn’t help but giggle at the thought. “Have they forgotten you? Have your forgotten them? Certainly not. And so they haven’t forgotten you. You were held down, Captive. Held back. You were forced. And shamed. And guilted. And so you stood here, immovable, chained and alone. But you are not dead. They may have stopped you. But they did not kill you. They may have beaten you. But they did not break you. And now I am here. And I am taking you home.”

And with that Freedom grabbed the hand, the unchained, unhindered, hand of the most beautiful, misfit angel she had ever seen. His freckles seemed to shine in the sun as they laughed at the clouds and climbed the tall, tall trees. And hand in hand they ran and skipped and sang, Freedom and this boy who would go by a new name now. And Freedom skipped.

Jan 5, 2008

Turn that Crown Upside Down

Go straight to your TiVo's and set up your season pass, ladies, for...
"Miss America: Reality Check" on TLC.
I am love, love, loving it.
It's our lovely 52 Miss America contestants holed up together in one huge house and put through the grinder.
Make-overs from head to toe, you name it.
The duo from "What Not To Wear" even came in and went through their bags. And let me just say there was some stuff in their that I haven't seen since I went through my friend Kerri's closet when she was out of town.
So get on the ball! All of you! Set your TiVo's to record and let's chat.
Tell me who you like (realllllyyy Miss Vermont???)
who need to "let their hair down" (Miss Idaho? Hello!)
and who needs to shush and quit whining (Miss South Carolina??).
Miss America Live comes on January 26th
and I really feel like it all depends on us, ladies.
This year should also be fun because WE get to vote...
and if you know me at all you know I'm alllllllll about the call-in vote.
So let's get together, size these girls up, rip 'em to pieces and then call in and vote for 'em.
Now that's some good American fun, right there, I don't care who ya are.

Jan 3, 2008

Dippers, Stickers and Pickers

So I took Remi to McDonald's yesterday. I know, I know, a minivan cannot be far behind because this was an outing that I swore I would never do.

I certainly didn't want to go by myself so I called one of "the girls" but she couldn't get away - so I braved it alone. Don't really want to do that again. It felt like high school, as I sat all alone but all the rest of the mothers sat with their friends. Well, there was this one young mother who walked in with her two kids and she sat alone as well, but I didn't speak to her. I started to but I couldn't' think of anything to say. Maybe I should have done some female small talk, "who does your hair" or "where'd you get those shoes" but I don't do small talk and neither her shoes nor her hair needed to be brought up.

Here's a good thing to come out of McDonald's. Remi ate all her food. Why does that always happen? We'll make her the best grilled burger money can buy she won't touch it, I buy her one for 97 cents and she eats like a fiend. I got her apple dippers and she ate almost all of them. I bring the rest home - won't lay a finger on them. What happens on that piece of land that makes children act like that? My reasoning behind everything I cannot explain? "It must be built on a pet cemetery." So that's what I'm going with. The McDonald's in Spring Hill must be built on a pet cemetery. Let's get that rumor started, shall we?

Then there is the .........drum roll, please.........the PLAY AREA. Dear Lord in heaven, what goes on in there? I mean, I plainly saw kids with humongous boogers go into the slide but come out of the slide with perfectly clean noses. I saw one little boy go in to the play area fully dressed and come out without a shirt on. Then I saw one little girl head down the slide with a perfectly clean face and come out the other side with a booger on it (see previous story) and that's when I said, "Alrighty, we're outta here." Of course packing up is not as easy as you'd think. I walked in with one diaper bag and walked out with one diaper bag, 3 sheets of stickers from a little girl named Macy, half a bag of dippers and a straberry shortcake figurine that does something special, I think.

But here's the downside to going to McDonald's with your friends...you don't watch your kids. That was the problem the Remster and I ran into yesterday. So here's a shout out to one lady from the two of us:
Hey Lady,
you who sat with your back turned the whole time and never once looked at the play area. You who came in on your cell phone and didn't notice your boy running 95 miles an hour into several toddlers. You who giggled tirelessly while your little tank ran amok! Well, I just wanted to say...that was my little girl your jughead hit over the head. And that was my little girl who he pushed out of the way to play in the "3 and under" area. That was my little girl who came between him and his friend when they started a wrestling match. Therefore, it was my little girl who picked up one of his tennis shoes and proudly placed it in the underneath carrier of a stroller passing by at just the right moment. That mom and dad never knew they were leaving with your boys shoe and goodness knows you didn't. But I did. And I was one proud momma at that moment. So lady, here's hoping that when you go to Chik-fil-A this weekend, after what I guess will be an fun day of tennis shoe shopping with a nine year old, you watch your little one when he plays with others. And that you pick yourself up a new windsuit. I think I saw a booger on yours.

Jan 1, 2008

Dear 2008,

I just wanted to write and let you know a couple of things before we get started.
I would hate for us to get off on the wrong foot.
But, just to be totally honest, I know how you work. You come in with tons of promise and great expectations. But then, come mid summer when the heat index is up and we are begging for rain you slow down...fooling us into thinking that you just may last forever. But ha! You tricked us again! Because before long fall is here, leaves are turning, wind is blowing and we wish, once more, that you'd last forever - but then you rush out. And you leave as quickly as you came in.
But when you go you often leave us with bruises. Memories that we wish to forget. Mistakes we wish to make up for. Resolutions we never got around to. And now, guilt.
But 2008, I am not going to give you that option. I am going to go ahead and lay out the game plan. So you know that when you leave and your buddy 2009 comes in you can't say I wasn't honest. You won't leave me with bruises. Not this time.

2008, you will be better to me because I will be better to you. Let's not take advantage of each other, whaddayasay? I will remember that you are only here for a moment. You come. You go. It's just a matter of fact. And so I will respect your position. And you respect mine. Some days will be full of promise. I will take advantage of every possible ray of sunshine. I will live each minute of your day, month and year to the fullest. And then there will be days I won't change my clothes, brush my teeth or open my blinds. Leave me be on those days. Okay? They are few and far between, but when they come, let me have them. I am woman. And with that comes some pretty complex issues that we ain't got time to deal with right here.

I will laugh more this year. Which seems pretty impossible since I had a fairly good time with 2007. But still, I will laugh even more, because you don't last long 2008 - and when you leave I want you to go knowing I enjoyed myself.

I will learn the most precious art of all this year, 2008. The art of forgiveness. I know how to do it - I just haven't mastered how to do it quickly. But I will this year. I will learn to do it quickly, and then let it go. Because a lot of the bumps and bruises we often find ourselves with at years end could have been healed had we only known how to forgive. I'm a firm believer in that. I'm a firm believer that granting forgiveness heals us rather quickly.

I will invest more in people this year. I've heard there is no greater job or harder one, than loving another person. Well, let's give it a try! Besides, who's to say I won't go out with you 2008? And, God forbid, just in case I do, well, I'd like to leave knowing that I invested my time, my love, my ear and my heart into someone other than me. I'm not abolishing all selfishness, that won't be accomplished till at least 2018, but I'm starting with you. 2008 seems like a good time to start. Don't you think?

There's another little thing I picked up right at the tail end of 2007, that I'd like to bring back out - if it's alright with you, 2008. I'm going to decide - I will determine - what I waste my energy on. If it is true, if it is noble, if it is righteous or holy or of anything good -then baby, I will think all over it. But if it hurts me, if it scares me, if it makes me paranoid or self-conscious, if it makes me self-destructive, if it makes me self-loathing, if it makes me bitter or angry, rageful or depressed - then I'm droppin' it like it's hot. I am better when I think better. Period.

And hey, while we're at it, let's surround ourselves with people that love us! Want to? Let's surround ourselves with people that like us, that make us laugh, that encourage us. Let's choose to be around those who build us up for no reason at all. Let's spend time with someone because they make us like ourselves better because they see what we can be, as opposed to what we currently are. Let's go to Pancho's and have chips with those who make our spirits soar! With those who talk to us as if every dream we have is possible and just within our reach. Let's leave love notes for friends who make us love God more after we've been with them.

See, 2008, we can do all these things and more. Me and you. This can be our year. I don't know what you hold for me - nor do you. But I know who holds me. And in knowing that I can honestly say...

This year I will laugh often, but love more. I will cry with others and not just for myself. I will make new friends and go deeper with the ones I have now. I will shut-up so that someone else can talk. I will listen, so that someone else can share.
If I burn a bridge I will be fast to repair it.
If I hurt someone I will move quickly to heal it.
I will be a better mother and wife - by being a better daughter.
I will gain the respect of others by always giving honor and respect away.
I will forgive quickly. And I will release bitterness and anger.
I will not be held back by someone else's power.
I will take back what rightfully belongs to me as a child of God.
I will praise more. I will worship more reverently.
I will learn more about the "fear" of God.
I will love Him more. I will love Him better.

Oh, yes, 2008. This is already looking good. For both of us.