Fancy seeing you here

Well, well, well. Look who’s breezing back into the blogiverse after a whole year! What can I say? I was uninspired about the internet. It’s possible I still am. But the time is coming when I will start getting emails about renewing my website and so I’m trying to decide. I mean, I technically don’t need a website for any particular reason at this point but I always think “what if I do someday?” The thing is, this one is already built so I don’t have to remember how to do that. And also, I have the 4th most common name in the United States and England and so should I give up a domain name that has my real name in it? I mean, I might never be able to get that again. (That thing about my name is not an actual statistic that I know to be a fact but it seems close.)

This family is about to cross a big bridge called “the kids are both in school now.” This is great in so many ways but also there is this little terrible butthead troll living in the back of my brain that keeps saying “it’s the end of an era!” And I don’t like when things end. But I do like when things start. So I’d say I’m about 50/50 on the excited/horrified ratio which also makes me 100% on the crazy scale.

I’ve been saying for this whole entire stay-at-home mom career of seven years that I’ll do this or that “when the kids are in school.” So now it kind of feels like all my procrastination chickens are coming home to roost and like, I really should try to do some stuff. But also, I have been working on the required classes to become a property appraiser! So, before we know it I will be a trainee and I have absolutely no clue what my schedule will be like for that. I should probably find out soon. So, I’m thinking maybe I will need this website for that purpose? Like I can have a page where people can contact me for appraisals? Or maybe I should just get into blogging, ya know, SINCE THE KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL AND ALL.

All your opinions and advice are welcome on this one. Weigh in. Oh, I just had a thought- maybe I will become so rich from appraising that I can just pay someone else to run a website for me? Probs not but I mean, who knows what could happen here, guys?!

The best and easiest key lime pie ever

Okay, that may be a stretch. I haven't actually tasted every single key lime pie in the universe. But, it ain't over til the fat lady sings! 

I really can't imagine there are any easier to make, though. But also this is my first time to have made one so... 

We were in Florida last month (by the by, would you care for a post on all my Destin-area tips?) and we passed tons of signs exclaiming about the bestness of the key lime pie different places served. Spencer kept commenting that he was gonna get him some of that but he never did so I decided to be a nice wife since he took us on this fancy trip and all and make him some key lime pie. Well, if I had known how easy it was I would've been making him one a week all this time! (And I would also weigh 500 pounds from eating half of every pie.)

I did not invent this recipe but I did memorize it so I'm just telling you how to do it and hoping that's not plagiarism because like I can remember where I found, without further ado, I present to you the best and easiest key lime pie in all the universe. Enjoy! 

(Also I don't know how to make this printable but I feel sure you can manage with a screenshot or your memory.)

3/4 cup lime juice- Yes, you can buy and squeeze 20ish key limes. OR you can buy a bottle of lime juice. You decide.  

1/2 cup sour cream

2 cans sweetened condensed milk

Mix all that together and put it in a graham cracker crust that you bought or made and cook it for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Let it cool on the stove some then stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill. This is where you would add whipped cream or some cutesy lime garnish if you were so inclined.

And there ya have it. See? Easy.


All the "Other" Podcasts


I have been working on a post for my friend, Heather Brown (yes, we have the same name) at My Life Well Loved about podcasts for Christian mamas. It is a spectacular resource if I do say so myself. However, as I was writing that post, I kept wanting to throw in my other favorite shows that don't exactly fit into the Christian mom help category. 

So, that's what I'm doing here today. If you know me at all or are my friend on social media (if you aren't, let's please fix that!), you probably already know my love of podcasts. In a time when I felt uninspired and under-stimulated, I found podcasts to be just the enrichment I needed. They really make all the mundane tasks (like stuffing Easter eggs) more interesting! (In the post on MLWL, I explain when and how to listen to podcasts.)

So, if you are looking for a show, here are a few random ones for you to try out! 

Favorite Pop Culture Show- The Popcast

I am not a big pop culture buff. However, hosts Knox and Jamie keep me updated and help me feel in-the-loop enough to get by. They post weekly episodes and are committed to producing a consistent and high-quality show.

Favorite Enneagram Shows

Okay, so what had happened was, I became obsessed with learning about the Enneagram and found The Road Back to You which was a show by authors Suzanne Stabile and Ian Crohn who had written a book by the same name. Apparently (and I'm not trying to start any rumors), they decided to part ways because TRBTY ended and each of them now has their own show. So, Ian's show is Typology and Suzanne's is The Enneagram Journey. I will not lie, sometimes both of these people fall a little on the touchy-feely ooey-gooey emotional side for me but there is no denying they KNOW THEIR STUFF on the Enneagram. 

Now, because I know I am going to get questions- yes, I will do an Enneagram post soon to explain what in the world it is. 

Favorite New Show- The Bible Binge

This show is such a great idea! Hosts of the Popcast, Knox and Jamie, decided to produce another show where they discuss stories of the Bible in a conversational and informative way, like they do all kinds of other stories on the Popcast. This show is good for Christians but also for people who like good stories or who want to understand the perspective of the Bible in a non-pushy format. They get a little crazy with their talks but then they let an actual Bible scholar point out the errors at the end of the show so no one gets lost. 

Favorite Show About Nothing- The Big Boo Cast

This is the kind of show I have been dying to make but I can't seem to get anyone on board with doing a show about nothing. Seinfeld did it and was wildly successful but what do I know?! Anyway, this show is two southern authors and moms of teenagers who just like to chat about whatever and then let us listen to it. They are really into college football so I like that part in the fall and I like hearing about the new products they've been trying. Plus, they are just funny. I like hearing a show where the hosts are relaxed, don't have an agenda and are just enjoying a conversation with a friend. 

Favorite Cliche Show- This American Life

I know, I know. This post was meant to introduce you to different shows, but they really do have fascinating topics on TAL. I have never been a fan of the sound of NPR shows, necessarily, but I know that is a thing people tend to love or hate. Anyway, this is always the show I turn to when I just want to hear something different. 

Favorite Sermons

I am actually looking for new shows in this category so please let me know what you have! Stillwater Bible Church is my church so while I do love the verse-by-verse, literal, grammatical, and historical teaching, I already hear those sermons in person. (By the way, if you aren't in my local area, there are tons of resources on my church's website to help you learn more about the Bible.) I always love Francis Chan's messages but sometimes his delivery is not the best for my ears. I also have gotten a lot of value from Matt Chandler's sermons. It is important for me to say that I do not always agree with everything a different church or pastor teaches but that doesn't mean they aren't right about a lot of things. Same goes for my post of Christian mom podcasts. What's the saying? "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all else, charity." Or something like that. 

Moving On

Does anyone remember when I did a podcast? That only lasted about twelve weeks but I still believe my guests had a lot of wisdom to share!

I have gone through tons of podcasts that I no longer listen to as my interests have darted all over the place. A few that I liked about online business were Online Marketing Made Easy, Build Your Tribe and Social Media Examiner if you're into that kind of thing. 

Do you have a favorite show that I need to know about? Please share in the comments so we can check it out!

As always, I love you, my friends!

Hosting with Airbnb FAQ's

So, here is part two of the Airbnb hosting info sesh where I address the common questions I hear. Thanks for reading!

1) Is it weird for random people to stay in your house?

This is by far the most common thing for people to ask first. I feel like the answer should be yes. I mean, it seems that if this is the common question then it seems weird to people. Maybe I am just weird so weird seems normal but it doesn't bother me at all. I mean, we all know I am an open book so if you are a very private person then yes, it might feel uncomfortable for strangers to be in your space. 

Now, I personally don't expect that anyone is going to have the urge to look at my underwear drawer. But, I mean if they do, I don't really care. Ya know? It's like, have at it, freak. But, there are certain things you might want to hide or deny access to. For instance, we always remove firearms when we have someone staying. Maybe you have files or a computer you don't want anyone to bother. In that case, I would suggest making one room off limits and locking things in there. A simple thing you can do if you have a garage is to put all your secret things in there and then turn the doorknob around. That way you can only unlock it from the inside of the garage rather than the house and you are the only one with the garage door opener. 

2. Do you have to clean/organize all your drawers and closets?

It's up to you! I expect people to open closet doors to take a peek so I would straighten them up and make sure there's no sippy cup full of week-old milk in the closet floor but other than that, I don't worry about it. Now, drawers that the guests may need to use such as the bathroom drawer with the hand towels or the kitchen silverware drawer should be clean. But I really doubt anyone staying cares about your cabinet organizing skills. 

3. Do you meet them and let them in or do they use a key or what?

Again, this is up to you. You can leave them a key, a garage door opener or use a lockbox. You can meet them when they arrive and/or when they leave or never see them face-to-face. 

4. What if they mess something up?

First of all, two small tornados live in this house so I probably wouldn't notice. However, if you are very fancy and have lots of valuables to worry about, Airbnb does have a host guarantee that covers permanent damages and theft. You can also charge a security deposit (which seems totally unnecessary to me because of the host guarantee but I guess it makes people feel more in control). You can also charge a cleaning fee if you choose. Many hosts do; I don't because I think it makes our place more attractive to guests to not have that added expense. We have never had anyone leave a mess before. 

5. So, they just sleep on your sheets and everything?

Yep. There are some places that do not provide towels and bedding and such but that is not somewhere I would want to stay as a guest. We want people to feel at home! I just put clean sheets on the beds and change them when we get home. 

6. Do you have to provide anything else for them?

Nope. I like to leave snacks and packaged breakfast items, make sure there is coffee, and put some drinks in the fridge. But that's because I want people to like me. I also make instructions on how to work the TV, etc. but that's about it. 

7. What if you or the guest needs to cancel?

There are provisions for that! You can cancel, however, it will be reflected on your profile if you choose to do that. If it is something out of your control, you can file an appeal with Airbnb. We had no problem being excused when we had the water pipe burst. If a guest cancels on you, you do not get paid. 

8. How do you get paid and how long does it take?

There are several different options for how you receive your payout, including direct deposit, PayPal or a mailed check. The time it takes to receive it depends on the payout option you choose and can take anywhere from 1-7 days. Airbnb collects and disburses the money so that is not done between you and the guests. Your payout is released about 24 hours after your check-in time. 

9. How is the price determined?

You choose. You can charge whatever you want. Airbnb will also suggest prices based on what other places in your area get so you can set it to accept their suggestions. I like to choose my own price. 

9. What is the worst thing about hosting with Airbnb?

Trying to clean while we are living here and get everything done and get out on time. You know how it is when you have people coming over. It's like this video. So, yes, it can be a pain if you are living in the place but to me it is totally worth it to do it a few times per month! 

10. Is it legal? What about taxes, etc?

Well, this depends on where you are. Airbnb does report earnings to the IRS so you will pay taxes if you make over a certain amount. You are able to charge your guests for taxes if you want to do it that way. Some places make it illegal because they consider it to be a business so if the house is in a residential rather than commercial zone, blah, blah, blah...That stuff is up to you, my friend. I do not expect the FBI to show up and arrest me but I've been wrong before! 

Want to try it out? Check your local community calendar and see if there is a big event coming up in your area! We can make our monthly mortgage payment in one weekend when there is a ball game or other university event happening! It's a great gig for poor people! Use my link to sign up and start hosting today (it's seriously so easy)!


ALL your Air BnB questions answered perfectly

JK on that title, guys. I don't do anything perfectly, pretty sure we all know that. Anyway, I AM going to tell y'all about our experience in renting our place out on Air BnB and try to address some common things people ask. I'll break it into two parts so my story-telling doesn't overload you. Here's the first part, explaining how we got into this deal to begin with...

So, we moved back to Stillwater (a college town) last summer and bought this little fixer-upper. We plan to move out at some point but thought we might keep this place for a rental. And we had the idea that maybe Air BnB would be something to try versus long-term renting. However, we did not plan to rent out our home while we were living in it. That happened only by an unforeseen emergency.

See, Spencer's dad hurt his knee to the point that he had to have immediate surgery and then was placed in a nursing home where we were told he would stay for 2-3 months while he recovered. We figured we would test out our Air BnB idea on his apartment while it sat empty during football season. We cleaned it all up and de-bachelorized it, trying to make a comfy place for visitors to stay. I scoured thrift stores for all the necessities. As soon as we listed it on Air BnB, it filled up. Every weekend that there was a home game got booked as did some when the game was away. 

So, the first Friday when we would have guests staying arrived. Spencer went to hide the key in the designated spot and found a flood when he arrived. The upstairs apartment had a hot water tank burst and water was pouring into the place. We also got a call that day that my father-in-law was being sent out of the nursing home on Sunday. He was there for 2-3 weeks rather than the 2-3 months we were told. I immediately canceled all our bookings and told people what had happened. Most were very kind and understanding though disappointed. Spencer worked on finding a new place for his dad to live while I worked on cleaning our house like a madwoman. Though I had canceled all future guests, I couldn't stand the thought of leaving our Friday and Saturday night guests high and dry with no time to find anything else. 

While I messaged everyone else to say that there was nothing I could do for them, I told that weekend's guests that I could offer them our home. Both groups accepted the offer even though it was further from campus. Thank goodness Spencer's mom let us stay at her house at the last minute! (But we did have to move a bed from the apartment to her house. Just one more job for the day of doom!) 

I got it cleaned to the best of my abilities, fixed a bowl of snack foods and dashed to the store for toilet paper with only moments to spare. We realized one of the back rooms we use as an office and dressing room had no hope of getting cleaned and neither did the toy room so Spencer just screwed those doors shut! It was crazy, obviously. 

But Friday night our guests checked in and had a great time. When I came to meet them as they were leaving, I found them changing sheets and washing towels! They were helping me! Saturday's guests arrived and I never heard a peep from them. They left the house just as they had found it. We had an exhausting weekend moving Spencer's dad from one apartment to another and emotionally I was really down about having to cancel on our other guests. Not to mention all the work we had put into sprucing up the old apartment! But, all that being said, we had made our mortgage payment for the month in two nights. Hmmmmmm...

After that, I knew my brother's wedding was coming up on OSU's homecoming weekend. So, we booked an Air BnB closer to the wedding and rented our house out for 3x the price of the one we stayed at. So, really we have only done it twice but both times I can whole-heartedly say IT WAS WORTH IT! 

Now we have parked a camper out at a local lake and we can go stay there whenever we want so I've listed our house for rent for every weekend. I'm interested to see what the demand is when it's not football season. I can tell you, though, that May's mortgage payment will be made graduation weekend! 

Now that I've explained our story, I'll talk about some of the common questions and concerns of friends who may want to try making some money this way. 

Stay tuned for Part Two coming tomorrow! 

Jumbo Gumbo

So, we stayed out at the camper all weekend and I ate my weight in s'mores.

But I also made a yummy crockpot meal. For once. Usually I hate crockpot food because I don't like the texture it gives meat. But, I still try.

Anyway, I had some leftover rotisserie chicken and some leftover fried chicken I wanted to use. So, I cleaned the chicken off the bones and threw it in a crockpot bag. Then, I put in a bag of cooked frozen shrimp and a bag of frozen okra. I sliced up some smoked sausage and threw it in. I added some bay leaves, Cajun seasoning and Italian seasoning. I also had a half a bell pepper so I put that in as well as two chopped up sticks of celery. I packed that bag in the cooler and brought a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. So, since the meat was already cooked, it really just needed to heat up. I put it in the crockpot and let it heat and simmer for a few hours and it was so delicious on a chilly day! It was also nice to have a real meal but not have to carry tons of separate ingredients. 

My husband loved it and it made enough for a bunch of people so I will definitely fix it again. We ate it over rice out of styrofoam cups with plastic forks. It was a very old-school moment for me. I know styrofoam is bad. So sorry. But here's a recipe!

  • 1 package of smoked sausage
  • 1 bag of frozen shrimp
  • However much chicken you want        (can do cooked or raw) 
  • 1 bag of frozen sliced okra
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I think I           actually used generic rotel) 
  • 1/2ish can of tomato sauce
  • Add chicken broth if you want it       more like a stew
  • 1 tbs plus 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • A few bay leaves
  • Dried Italian herbs (oregano,   parsley, etc) 
  • 2 sliced celery sticks
  • Diced bell pepper and/or onion

As you can see, it's super customizable and you can add or omit things all over the place. I was thinking some corn and potatoes would be good in it, too. Obviously at some point we lose the right to call it gumbo but I'm from Oklahoma so I have no idea where that point is. You could also cook it on the stove rather than the good old slow cooker. Especially if you now hate your slow cooker because of This is Us. 

Speaking of which, I had to fix my crockpot cord with electrical tape on Saturday and one handle has been gone for probably a year. Plus it was like 13 years old. (I know, I know, I don't look old enough to have a teenaged crockpot. But it's true.) So I threw it away. Now, should I get a new one or go for the Instant Pot (Instapot?)? Does the Instantpot replace the Crockpot? Help me. 

Look for more posts about camping as the weather warms up! And I know some of y'all are curious about Air BnB so I plan to make a few posts about that as well to talk about both the experience of staying as a guest and making money by renting our    hme to strangers for the weekend. I'm hoping to do more of the latter since we have the camper to stay in now! 

Love ya, friends! 😙



So, what had happened was...


My website disappeared. The whole thing. Years of documentation and reflection simply gone. But, but, but... No. GONE. 

The best I can tell is that there was some issue with my payment for my hosting service. I don't actually know what happened, precisely, but I imagine it was something like insufficient funds or an expired card or an outdated address. And somehow I missed the email. For 23 days. The grace period was 21 days. 21 days before they DELETE ALL YOUR FILES. Honestly, that seems a little unreasonable and perhaps even harsh if you ask me but they did not. 

You can tell by this point that I didn't have things backed up anywhere else. Not at all. 

That's okay because by some clicking miracle of the internet, I was able to access spam comments on my Wordpress Reader which linked to my words. So, I copied and pasted the very most important ones- the ones about my boys' births, my spiritual breakthroughs and other such momentous moments- and saved those. 

I plan to re-post them here, on the new site, little by little. I have this picture in my mind of my great-granddaughter one day wanting to know about her family history and so scrolling through the things we left online. Maybe that's not realistic but you know, just in case. 

So. Here we are, you and I, at the new site. I hope you like it and I hope that explains why my blog posts are apparently years apart. 

Have a happy day, friend. 

Mama in a pre-k panic

Today is the last day of our lives as we know them. Tomorrow, when my first-born starts pre-k, everything about our routine will change. As in, we will now have a routine. I have stayed home with Jack since he was born five years ago. Jack has been with Case every day since Case was born three years ago. This is every day, all-day pre-kindergarten. Which is not what I would choose if someone had asked “Heather, how would you like Jack’s pre-k schedule to be configured?” But no one did.

My husband just realized what a big change is coming but he is not having all these feelings like I am. He looks at me with a mixture of sympathy and amusement these days. Which, now that I think about it, is exactly how I would like everyone to look at me all the time. Just kidding. Back to the lamenting.

He is five now and he needs somewhere to  go and something to do. He is to the age of getting bored easily. Both my kids love to go places and ask me where we are going every single day. So, this will be good in a way. But, there’s a part of me that thinks back to when I was a kid and there was not only no pre-k but a lot of kindergartens were only half a day. And when my parents were kids, there was no kindergarten. So, since I like everything old better than everything new (except air conditioning- I would never rewind to before AC), I am just wondering why the rush.

And I have not even mentioned the whole part about being tied to a regimented schedule now. I realize this is very spoiled of me but this is my reality, people. Gone will be the days of going to see the grandparents on a Tuesday or going to spend a couple of weeknights at my mom’s while Spencer is gone for work. No more snuggling on the couch watching cartoons until everyone is ready to get moving every morning. And is Case going to need me to play with him every second of every day? And don’t even ask how much time I shall now be spending driving to school and back (they put us in the prek across town) and waiting in the drop off/pick up line (because I don’t know)! And pick up time is at Case’s nap time. It is all just a tad overwhelming. I am a fragile millennial snowflake. I can’t help it. I am a product of my time and place.

I was informed at enrollment that pre-k is not required in Oklahoma and I could actually just keep him home another year until kindergarten. That is the information that is keeping me upright at the moment. If this is all just not right for him, I could simply yank his butt back home. Of course, I could do that anyway if I wanted to homeschool but NO I DO NOT. I have not gone that far off the sappy end.

But I have gone pretty far off it. I’ve felt like I’ve had PMS for two weeks. You know, how you feel like if you see a kitten or someone holds the door for you or if the sunrise is especially nice how you might just start sobbing and never stop? Yes, that has been me. Just right on the edge of a sentimental break down. The other day at the store a nice lady talked to me in the line at Wal-Mart and she was so warm and funny as she commented on all the lunchbox stuff in my cart and my voice caught when I told her we had just moved to town and that this was my first year doing all this. I almost hugged her when I left but I thought that might be over her personal boundary line. I hope I run into her again and she invites me to lunch. Maybe I need something to really set me off today so I can get it all out before tomorrow.

I realize a lot of mamas have a hard time when they send their babies off to school for the first time. I feel like these are normal things to wonder: I feed him like 27 times a day- will he be hungry? Will they let him run around enough? Will he be thirsty? Will he be too nervous to go to the bathroom? Will he feel worried and miss me too much? Will he learn all kinds of terrible things from any of the kids? Will he feel like livestock being herded from one pen to the next? Okay, maybe that one isn’t so normal. And, because I really love and trust y’all, I’m going to confess this one, too. I would actually like to have a camera and an audio feed connected to his classroom so I can check in there. I mean, I am sure the teacher is a nice lady (how can you voluntarily spend your days with 25 4-5 year olds who you aren’t related to and not be a nice person) but I don’t even know her! Yes, I admit, I am a control freak about who I put in charge of my kids. I really think I should’ve been allowed to interview teachers and administer at least three personality tests as well as speak to their former teachers.

And since we are being honest here, I am also sad that the Brown brothers won’t be together 24/7 anymore. I like them being obsessed with each other. Am I fostering co-dependence? Maybe, but I don’t even want to hear about it right now.

I’m a little worried also about how I am going to be at being a school mom. I already tried to take Jack to meet the teacher night on Thursday only to discover meet the teacher night was actually on Tuesday. HOT MESS EXPRESS HERE, PEOPLE.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning. I experienced severe fatigue yesterday. I know I exaggerate a lot, but this is true. I kept falling asleep all morning until about noon. Jack had to get them both lunchables for lunch. Case spilled milk all over the side of the bed I was laying on and I didn’t even know it. I am hoping I had some sickness and that wasn’t some anxiety/depression coming out…

The other day my friend posted this blog and it has the best affirmation at the bottom. I want to read it and have my boys repeat after me each morning before school. I mean, I probably won’t because I’ll be screaming at everyone to just get in the freakin’ car before we are late again, but maybe sometimes.

It’s not all gloom and doom. I am excited, in a way, because I think Jack will like school and I know he will like making lots of new friends. And Case is going to be in Mother’s Day Out so I am going to have some time to try to find some things to work on. Plus, I do find that I’m more productive and efficient when I have a known schedule and routine in place. So, there are reasons to celebrate this new season of life for sure. But I’m going to do that on Monday, I think, after I grieve the loss of the old season first.

Love y’all, mean it. I’ll keep you posted. If you don’t hear from me, check the mental facility.


A post about how God talked to me

Yesterday I posted a video on Facebook to tell all my FB friends about an experience I had a couple of days ago with God. After I posted it, I was made aware that some couldn’t get the video via Facebook and I have a hearing-impaired friend who wanted to know what it was about. So, here’s a written version.

I was mopping my floor the other day during nap time and listening to my podcasts like I do. Cleaning and listening, every day. Mostly. The particular thing I listened to was the most recent episode of Mom Struggling Well with Jordan Watts as the guest du jour. At the end of each episode, the host, Emily Thomas, gives related advice and encouragement. She was talking about connecting with God and said something along the lines of “If you feel like you don’t hear from God or He doesn’t respond to you or you think you maybe just don’t know what He sounds like or how He speaks to you, just ask him to tell you something. He knows how to communicate with you so just tell Him you don’t know if you can hear Him and ask Him to tell you something.”

*Let me make a note here that this is not about asking God to change a circumstance, even though you can do that, this is just about asking Him to talk to you in a way you can perceive. Assure you of His presence.*

So, I was just feeling this way. Even though I have experienced God so many times and He has been so good to show me miracles and answers to prayer, about five minutes later, I forget and feel like I don’t connect with God and He doesn’t talk to me.

Sometimes when I think I’ve heard from God, I start talking myself out of it. Like, that was probably just my own thought and then I built it up in my imagination and how would I know if it was Him or me?

I thought I should pray this. Just ask God to tell me something so I can know I heard from Him. But, I wrestled with it for a minute because then I thought “what if I don’t hear anything?” That can only mean one of two things: 1) He doesn’t want to talk to me and I just couldn’t stand the thought of that rejection or 2) He isn’t really there. But, I prayed it anyway and I told God about my fears and reasons for not wanting to pray it.

So, I got done mopping and it was time to fold laundry. Normally when I fold laundry I like to turn on Netflix while I do it. But, I thought since I had just asked God to speak to me, I better be quiet and listen. So, I kept it quiet and all through the folding, I’m just going “Come on, God. Please. I’m all ears here. Ready and waiting. Whenever you’re ready.” But nothing yet.

Well, earlier that day, right before I started mopping and listening to that podcast, I had received a package from UPS. Straight to my door and everything. I had not opened it so when I got done with the laundry and the kids were still asleep, I decided to check it out. It was two sets of three different devotional/Bible study books. I had made a deal a few weeks ago with a literary agent to read and review one of the books and give a set of three away. Well, out of the three, I chose the one called “Praying with Power.” I sat down on my bed and opened the book and there was my response from God.

Of all the books I could’ve opened right then, and all the things that could’ve been printed in it and of all the whole entire Scripture that could’ve been there, here is what I read. Right in the intro, before I even get to lesson one, the author (Patsy Clairmont), says “God listens to you. He will answer you.” So, that brought a little grin, right? I’m thinking that’s cool. I turn the page and the first thing at the top is Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Then, I knew that this is how God was speaking to me. The whole rest of the chapter was filled with verses that confirm we should pray and God hears and He responds. I was so touched that God would answer little ole me in such a sweet way for nothing more than to reassure me in my neediness. I also realized that God had orchestrated all this before I prayed the prayer. He had that certain book delivered to me right when I was going to need it.

I know in my mind that God is there. I remind myself of it frequently. But my wandering heart sometimes forgets. Sometimes I think, “But what if it’s not even real? What if He’s really not there?” So I made the video for me and for my friends as a simple reminder that He is there and He loves us. This situation is not unusual, really. I could start reminding myself right now of all the times He has shown Himself to me and come up with a list. But, it’s easy to forget. So, I made this Ebenezer.

Here are the other Scriptures found in the lesson I read in case you want to read them too. Obviously, I was captivated from the start.

Psalm 50:15, Exodus 23:13, Psalm 5:2, Psalm 116:10, Psalm 17:6, Psalm 42:8, Psalm 116:2, Psalm 65:2, Psalm 86:7, Psalm 91:15, Psalm 143:1, Colossians 1:11

Go. Ask. Seek. Knock.

Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! -Psalm 66:16-20

I'm from...

I’m from jelly jar drinking glasses and  taxidermied deer, bass and pheasants on the wall.

From Chevy pickups with no air conditioning and water beds with mirrored headboards. I am from muddy ponds and mostly dry creeks.

I’m from the single-wide trailer house with brown carpet and wall-papered kitchen  that sat across a cattle guard down a long, gravel road.

Sweet tea, freckled noses, Dwight Yoakum and Clint Black Killin’ Time.

I’m from the place where the tall prairie grass grows between the stands of black jack oaks. Pipe and barbed-wire fence that needed fixed every so often.

I’m from dominoes and story telling and ever-resourceful jacks of all trades.

From grandmas and grandpas and mom and dad and sister and brother and uncles and aunts and cousins.

I’m from hunting and farming and back-slapping and loud laughing.

I’m from “We don’t waste food” and “Quit crying before I give you something to cry about” and What a Friend we Have in Jesus.

I’m from porch sitting, guitar picking, stick whittling and snuff dipping. Oklahoma and America.

I’m from homegrown squash, potatoes and okra, fried. And deer meat, also fried.

From divorces and remarriages and all the spectacle that comes with splitting homes, money, kids and lives, except it mostly wasn’t a spectacle, just a time to get through.

I’m from practicality and getting work done.

Quilts and crocheted names, photos of successful hunts, horseback rides, livestock shows, sister’s races, brother’s concerts and graduations on the wall or high up in the closet.

I’m from hard, hard workers. No harder workers ever existed. Tough like the land and the weather and the rattlesnakes and mosquitos. Not scared of nothing except laziness and the devil.

Having fun and running wild with one or two of a whole childhood’s worth of doggy friends

I’m from the sounds of football and Nascar races (God bless #3) on Sunday afternoons and from Mash and Baywatch and Johnny Carson with my dad.

Dang, y’all. I never knew -or at least I had forgotten- how country I am until I wrote this. Not a city memory in me! Never forget where you come from, my friends. If you want to try your hand at this writing practice, you can check out the place I found it, Wendy’s blog (Wendy, by the way, is a precious lady), and find the link to the worksheet at the bottom of her post. If you do, please share a link in the comments here or email me if you don’t want to publish it to the World Wide Web, as they call it. I’d love to read what you write about where (and who and what) you’re from.