Mom’s Night Out – movie review

Last night I was invited to a movie screening of the May 9th release of Mom’s Night Out.

Who turns down a chance to see a free movie?  Not me!  I twitted that I was going and met up with some friends also going and had my own shorten version of “mom’s night out”.mno_fbcover1The movie stars some big name celebrities:  Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) (she and her husband David Hunt, are the producers of the movie), Sarah Drew (Gray’s Anatomy), Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings), and, my favorite, Trace Adkins (country music star!).

The story line is basically about a mom that just needs a night out with some girlfriends and things don’t go as planned.  The fathers “babysit” and from there….there’s a trip to the hospital, a tattoo parlor, and the police station.  The girls end up in a taxi after their van is stolen and let’s not forget the motorcycles!

People were laughing all over the theater.  There are so many moments that are so true in a mom’s life and too many mothers feel that they are not doing a good job based on the pressures this world puts on them to be the best.  I think this movie will speak to those moms.

It is a good, family oriented movie that would be perfect for husband/wife date night or a girls night out.  The families are church goers and a pastor’s wife, however the movie isn’t overly spiritual.  I think it does a great job of showing how we might perceive the ladies of the church, especially the pastor’s wife, and what their lives might be truly like.  They aren’t perfect and they probably don’t have it all together.   I think the most spiritual conversation comes between an harden motorcycle, tattoo guy and a worn out mom.

I recommend you getting a few of your girl friends together for a Friday night “mom’s night out” on May 9th, dress up, go out to dinner, and head to the movie.  You won’t be disappointed.

There is also a book that is a novelization of the movie and a devotional that you should be able to find at your local bookstore now.  You’ll want to check them out too.

               9781433684821_cvr_web                                         9781433684845_cvr_web

Rejoice – Don’t Worry – How?

Searching for a particular verse this morning, I stumbled upon Philippians 4..or God pushed me over there.  Chapters 3 & 4 really, but I started at a very familiar verse and underlined the entire section (new Bible so it had not been underlined before).

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let graciousness be known to everyone.  The Lord is near.  Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:4-7 HCSB)

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  P 4:11

I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. P 4:13

These verses have always brought me great comfort during different times of my life.  The “don’t worry about anything” however is always the hardest to do.

The last few nights I’ve had some bad, confusing dreams.  That always happens when I go to bed worrying about something.  I don’t get that peaceful sleep mentioned in Psalm 4:8.  So this morning, reading these verses, I started thinking about why  I worry and how not to worry.  Backing up and reading chapter 3 really helped put things in focus for me because I think, sometimes, people go through life never worrying about anything and use these verses to explain away their blasé attitude.  Even adding Romans 8:28 - that all things work together – to prove their point.

Those are all good verse to drop on someone that is going through a tough time.  Encouraging them that it will get better, that God has a plan.

And I’m sorry, but that’s when I want to smack them.

Because there is a young woman who just buried her high school aged son yesterday and she’s looking at fresh dirt and these verses probably aren’t helping her.

There are families moving out of homes that the bank has foreclosed on and they don’t know how to be thankful in that situation.

There are people getting calls that the tests results from last week aren’t good…and they aren’t rejoicing.

They are all worrying.

The thing about going back and reading chapter 3 of Philippians is that Paul talks about the fact that life had been good for him.  Before knowing who Jesus was and accepting it, he had it good.  The best schools, the best job, the best position in society.  His main worry was that there was a false teacher in the area.

After believing that He was not a false teacher and putting his faith in Jesus, Paul’s life changed.  He lost position, he lost respectability among his previous peers, he lost comfort, he lost a way to make money.  He was imprisoned, he was shipwrecked, he was snake bitten, he was stoned, he was beaten…..and he was content.  He had money and he had no money….and he learned to be content either way.  Learned….it wasn’t a natural ability for him to just accept whatever life threw at him.  He had to struggle through life’s lessons, failing sometimes and succeeding sometimes.

Chapter 3:10 sums up how Paul was able to live like this…..

My goal is to know Him…

That was it.  Paul strived daily just to know Jesus.  And not just “know” about Him, but to know Him intimately and then to adjust his life so that it lined up with how Jesus guided him.  Since Paul knew that he was in God’s will, he understood that whatever happened did come through God for a purpose and a plan, and he trusted God enough to go on that journey with Him…whatever it was.

So why do I worry?  Because I don’t always follow God’s plan for my life.  I make choices that are not what God wanted me to choose and now I suffer the consciences of those choices and decisions.  I should be worrying and I should be afraid because I’m out of God’s will.

Paul found out the secret, the mystery, of being content (P 4:12) and that was God working through him in all situations.  Not the other way around, not God coming on board with our plans but us being on board with His plans.

I’ll never forgot Mom telling me (after her cancer diagnose) that she had prayed first for God to reveal any sin that might have brought her to this place of pain and none was revealed, so she had to rest in the knowledge that God was going to use her issue for His glory.  She had found the way to be content in her circumstances.  She trusted God’s will for her life, not fully understanding it and not happy about it, but content.

Self examination, confession (if needed), and then submission to God’s will = peace & contentment

We worry because we might be out of God’s will.  We worry because we don’t trust Him…at all or enough.  We worry because we do not submit to God’s will, we do not seek Him.

The key to being able to live out verses 4-7 (for the one standing next to the grave, or on the sidewalk looking at a closed house, or the one in the doctor’s office) is to first live like Paul did, having only the goal in life to know Jesus, to stand firm in the Lord, not in circumstances.

People will come and go, circumstances will change but God will never leave us or forsake us and sometimes that is all you can hold on to. (Hebrews 13:5)

Who is this Guy, Jesus, Anyway?

I have tattoos…yes plural.  I recently got a new one and some of my high school friends, who have recently reconnected with me through Facebook, were shocked.

“Never thought of you with tattoos,” was one comment.  I was in a meeting with some older ladies that I had just met and they asked me what I did to celebrate my 50th birthday, if I had “painted the town red”.  I said no, just got another tattoo.  You should have seen their faces!  I don’t really look the part of being someone that would be “inked”.  Especially since I didn’t start until I was in my late 40′s.  My husband still shakes his head at me, not fully understanding why I’ve gone this route and not fully approving of it.

Do you have family or friends that you know in certain circumstances and then suddenly you see them do something out of character, or at least out of the character that you know about them?  It’s hard to wrap your mind around this new person you see and you aren’t quiet sure you are ready or willing to see them any way other than the way you have always seen them, even if that wasn’t an accurate view, or maybe it would be better to say…it wasn’t a complete view.

What do you do with this new information?  Do you allow your perception of your family or friend to change or do you force them to remain the person you’ve always known them to be?

Sometimes we do that with Jesus, seeing Him only a certain way, only as the Sunday School pastel drawing or the stained glass version floating somewhere above us.  It’s time to let Jesus out of the box that we’ve put Him into….or if you are a Dr. Who fan….it’s time to realize that the box is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside and there are a whole lot of places inside that box that we’ve never even thought about discovering.

One With the Father - Mike Hammer

My former pastor’s son, Mike Hammer, did this drawing of Jesus, One with the Father.  I love the look on Jesus’ face, He is literally enjoying life.  Most pictures portray Him as somber and during moments of distress, which are accurate portrayals, they just aren’t the only ones.

Using the book by John Eldredge, Beautiful Outlaw, I’m been leading my adults Sunday School ladies class to look differently at the Jesus we think we know.

Over the past few weeks, we have looked at the following personality traits of Jesus:

  • Playful – Matthew 17:24-17, John 21:1-12
  • Fierce Intention – John 2:12-17
  • Human – John 1:14, Hebrews 2:14, Philippians 2:7-8, John 12:27
  • Extravagantly Generous – John 2:1-4
  • Disruptive Honesty – Luke 11:37, Mark 7:1-13
  • Scandalous Freedom – Matthew 8:1-3

My class asked me to do some handouts with the study since not everyone has a book and while there is actually a DVD study to go along with the book with a listening guide, our class is not using that and I do have a tendency to use the book more of a guide through this study.  Below is the handout I’ll be using today.

Today, we’ll look at the freedom of Jesus, the freedom He had and the freedom He has given us.

List some things that you can’t do, now that you are a follower of Christ:


List some things that you should be doing, now that you are a follower of Christ:


Based on Matthew 8:1-3, what was Jesus willing to do? ___________________________________________________

Based on what we know of Jesus, what was He willing to do for everyone? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What if we had to go around, shouting our sin for everyone to hear and see (based on Leviticus 13:45)? What are some sins that you would have to shout to the world if it were not for Jesus touching you?


Who are some people in the world, that you may or may not see on a daily basis, that need a human touch?  How can you “touch” them?


Jesus was willing to follow the spirit of the law but not always the letter of the law.  From Matthew 12:1-8, what was Jesus doing instead of what the law of Exodus 35:2 commanded He should be doing?________________________________________________

Jesus came so that we might have:

  • Abundant life – John 10:10
  • Be set free – John 8:32
  • Carry a light burden – Matthew 11:30

What personality trait, so far, has been the hardest to accept about Jesus?_______________________________________

What personality trait that we have studied has been the most eye-opening for you? _________________________________

For me, seeing Jesus as completely human has been the most eye-opening for me and it caused the most shock in our class.  Sometimes we just aren’t ready to see Jesus just like us in every way.  But He was, the only difference being He chose not to sin, He couldn’t sin.  He became human to show us how we are suppose to be like Him, not for Him to become like us.  He is the perfect example of what a being human is suppose to be and by becoming human He showed that we can become like Him and do great things just like He did.

I haven’t walked on water…yet…but that may be simply because I don’t have enough faith and I’m not keeping my eyes on Him.  However, I have made supper when everyone else said there was “nothing” in the house to eat.  I call that a miracle.

The Smell of Blood

I met a man today who had faced death, looked it in the eye, saw the peace that stepping into Heaven would mean, received the assurance that his family would be taken care of by The One that loved them more than he did…and he waited.

That was on a Friday.

Then Sunday came and when he opened his eyes he saw the ceiling of a room and the worried face of his wife.

He felt disappointment.

He thought he would be in Heaven, but he was in the hospital room at Vanderbilt.

His wife had started his story after I had mentioned that I worked for a publishing company.  She said that her husband had recorded his story, but she thought he should write it for a book.  She had written what he had said into the recorder down on a piece of paper, but she knew that was not how books were published.  My husband asked her if she would mind sharing the story.

While swatting at those crazy winter-time lady bugs congregating around the window, she started telling the story.

“It was the smell of blood that did it, we were killing hogs.”

In the midst of her telling, he came in, the one that had lived through that horrific experience.

Andy, a simple man, living in a plain world, carried a box of cheese, dipped his head to us while his wife told his story and he put the cheese in the refrigerator in the corner.  We were standing in the middle of their little store in a community not far from where my father was born in an old potato shed across the river some 75 years ago.

The walls were full of solid colored fabrics in hues of blues, browns, purples, and greens (nothing bold, like red).  There was an isle of every kind of vitamin or herbal supplement imaginable.  Along with tins of loose buttons, there were cords for treadle sewing machines, simple lined notebooks, baby spoons, and suspenders of every length.

Outside, along with a few cars, there was a horse and buggy hitched to a rail.  Later, mother of either the man or the woman, rode up on her tri-bike with a basket on the back.  She was bringing lunch, wrapped up in towels to keep, what seemed to be soup, warm.  We were invited to join them for their meal, but we went on our way.

But his story stayed on our minds as we found our own meal.

It is a story that needs to be told.  He should have died, and did at least 3 times.  He said he wished his children would tell their part of the story, but they still, after 5 years, couldn’t even mention it.  He, like most people who live through something amazing, enjoyed the telling of the story.

He was headed home with one of his tamest horses.  That horse didn’t care about any noises from passing trucks or barking dogs.  She pulled her buggy without ever faltering or giving into panic…until that Friday.  Andy’s daughter was with him on the buggy and his brother was working in the field not far away.  His wife was at home, in pain, due to the need of double knee replacement surgery.

The smell of the freshly killed hogs was still in the air and as the horse stepped onto a rail-less bridge, she began to prance uneasily.  Fear made a once docile animal, nervous and uncooperative.  Andy pulled hard on the reins, trying to control her, but nothing would help.  She stepped closer to the edge of the bridge, one foot away from falling.  Andy pulled back on the reins as hard as he could, his daughter jumped off the wagon, intending to run to the head of the horse and calm her down.  She barely landed on the wooden bridge when the horse fell off the bridge, pulling the wagon and Andy with her.

Andy’s brother said that he saw him fly through the air and land, face first, in waist deep river water.  The horse did a somersault off the bridge and lay motionless in the water, the buggy twisted behind her.

When you hear someone tell a story like this, you know that there are moments that words can’t explain in their telling.  Like the sound of a screaming horse, the crash of a 1000 pounds of flesh hitting the water.  The cracking and twisting of metal and wood as the buggy hits rock and water.  Then there’s the screaming of the people, of Andy as he flew through the air, of his brother running through the field, of his daughter, standing on the bridge looking down at all the carnage.

No wonder she won’t talk about it.

His daughter rushed down to Andy, sliding down the river bank, wadding into the waters, the weight of her wet skirts pulling at her.

It was January…you know how cold those waters were.

She was too weak to pull her father out of the water, too weak to even raise his face so that he could take a breath.

Andy didn’t tell much after that, how they got him out of the water or how they got help since cell phones aren’t something these plain folks carry with them.  But help came, an ambulance was called and then life-flight.  His wife was brought to his side.  She was told not to see him like that, to expect him to die, but she went to his side, touching his face as only a woman can when it’s the man she loves laying on the ground.

His face had hit rock under the water.  There was a gash above his eyebrows so large you could put four fingers into it.  Both eyes were nearly out of their sockets, his noise was busted, 8 teeth were knocked out, his jaw was broken in a couple of places.  Check bones were crushed.  Both wrists were broken and his neck.

His face had started to swell, big and round.  And Andy was conscious through it all.  He began gagging on his own blood and they had to do an emergency tracheostomy there in the field.

He said he realized that he was fixing to die, that there was a choose to make, Heaven or Hell.  His assurance of “being right with God long ago” set his choice.  Heaven.  He said that he saw his life, simple as it was, as a farmer, husband, and father and he worried about those he would leave behind and God assured Andy that He could take care of his family.  Heaven was waiting.

I asked Andy if he saw Heaven.  He said no, he just felt the peaceful transition of preparing for Heaven, of accepting that destination.  He was at peace while the world was falling apart around him.  He has no memories of those two days.  Just that peaceful bliss and then waking up on Sunday.

Of course now, he smiles and point his wrists with a total of 16 screws holding them in place, the eye socket that was rebuilt and the new teeth.  His nose looks a little flatten and there’s a scar across his eyebrows.

And he has the most beautiful smile.

I think it is a story that needs to be told, more than this blog can do.  A story of living a very simple life, barely acknowledging the advancements of technology.  A story of family and friends supporting each other, agreeing to be a tourist attraction to the rest of the world.  And for that moment, having to step out of their comfort zone to save their father, their brother.  How strange that must have been for them.  I think hearing the family’s stories would be heartbreaking and encouraging.  It would be a story of faith and strength.

Andy was sent home with a feeding tube in his chest and still worked the fields that April.

The horse delivered a colt that April too.

You just never know what story someone has behind their smile.  It was worth the asking.

Hambruger Soup – Yeah, I Made Soup

I’m not a fan of soup unless I’m sick and it’s Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup (no knock-offs, please).  But my husband wanted some soup on these cold days, so I pulled out my recipe book and made some soup.  Why do I never have everything a recipe calls for?  Why do they call for such strange things?  Finally The Pioneer Woman helped me out with just a basic recipe (and yet I still didn’t have everything, so I improvised.

Click on the picture for the full recipe from Mrs. Ree, however these are her basic ingredients.  3 of these things did not make it into my soup (the carrots & tomatoes because I forgot them, and the celery because I hate it).

Hamburger Soup | The Pioneer Woman


Something I always liked about the way Grannie Carathers made soup was how she added noodles.  So in went the noodles.  Since I forgot to get the canned tomatoes, I added a can of Rotel tomatoes and it really spiced it up!  All and all….I didn’t do too bad a job and I made my husband happy!  Success!


Charting the Moments

The last couple of weekends I’ve spent cleaning, clearing out space for things I wanted to keep and getting rid of stuff I was ready to let go of.  I thought I would share pictures of the house from last weekend with the sun shining through the windows (I haven’t really seen a lot of that lately) and the sunset from tonight.  I love the saddle with the quilts, pretty much sums up how we live around here.



I needed some extra space on a shelf, so I pulled out calendars that I’ve kept over the years, deciding to summarize the years’ events in a journal and toss the actual calendar.  The ones I pulled out happened to cover the past three years.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAI really didn’t need to be reminded what this month is, what took place 3 years ago this coming week.  It’s a constant memory.  I opened the captured moments and relived 2010-2013.

They’ve been hard years, years with loss, struggle, celebration, joy, fun, tears.  Some things I wanted to forget, wanted to just toss it all away, not remembering what happened.  But the memory is still there even if the reminder is not.  So I kept them, those moments.

What I discovered was a journey and I could actually see the progression through the pages.  Some forward motion, some backwards, some standing still.  I could see healing and growth.  Many times the pages were blank and yet I knew that things happened that I couldn’t even write about.  Moments where God stepped in and did something awesome to me and through me.

There were Bible verses that I had written or taped into the calendars, words of encouragement, inspiration and meaningful thoughts.  Pictures of those that I love.  Other people’s words capturing my moments perfectly.

“Life isn’t a matter of milestones but of moments.” -Rose Kennedy

“You can step outside God’s will, but never His love.” -Max Lucado

“You don’t get over it (death) but one day you wake up and don’t mind walking around with it.”  – from an episode of Castle

This coming week marks 3 years since I said goodbye to my mother and I’ve come to the place where I don’t mind walking around with that as much as I used to.

“Here’s what I know, no one knows what life may hold, but beyond whatever it is…there is amazing.”  -Kelly Hampton

This coming week I turn 50 years old and I believe that whatever is beyond right now, is going to be amazing.



When Social Networking Keeps You Off Course

I started venturing into the blogging world in 2006 as a way to keep up with my friends after I moved from Alabama to Tennessee.  At the time, it was just family updates between friends.  Then I started reading other people’s blogs, complete strangers.  I was suddenly a stalker in some form, given permission by the openness of the internet to see into their lives.

Daily, I read anywhere from 10 to 20 blogs, I felt connected, knew what was going on, inspired and motivated in my own small world.  Then, because blogs became so popular, blog readers would pull all my favorite blogs together and I could read them in one sitting, without “visiting” the actual blog.

I stopped commenting.

I stopped seeing all the pretty little things added to the blogs, links to click on, adventures to take, more blogs to follows.  And those strangers, who sometimes turned into friends, didn’t know I was there, lurking in my blog reader, and couldn’t find me to “follow” me back.

Then I stopped using my blog reader and went to connecting on FaceBook or Twitter and reading snippets of posts and over time, even those I just scrolled through.  What started as a way to stay connected, separates us even more.


I keep up with what my family and neighbors are doing by their status updates.  I’ve stopped reading their accounts of moments that inspired them to write, I’ve stopped actually visiting them face-to-face.  Even when I do go on-line to connect with them, I’m distracted by a video of a dancing bear.

What’s the answer?  Disconnect completely?  Disconnect partially?

I don’t have the answer but I believe that it is worth considering.  Because there are some great writers in the blog world and there are great people living next door to me.  The internet is supposed to help us, not drag us off course.

Don’t let something that was built as a resource to help you along your journey become something that becomes a stumbling block or a detour completely!

How do you keep from letting social networking drag you off course?