The real me…it ain’t always pretty

I have basically used the same photo of myself online for the last 6 years. Why? I don’t know…because I looked better five years ago?

I still had all my hair (surgery two years ago to remove a couple of benign tumors left me with two huge hairless patches of scalp — right in front of my head).

I wasn’t as heavy (too many hours spent doing web design at a desk, snacking and not getting enough exercise has wrecked me).

I was just….cuter.

Now I’m pre-menopausal and half-bald thanks to the dermatologist who shall remain unnamed. But I’m still me. I still have the same warped sense of humor I’ve always had – just with less hair and more flesh. 🙂

So why come clean now? Why not hide behind the facade of my 5-1/2 year old photo? Funny you should ask. I’ll tell you.

I’ve agreed to do an online LIVE seminar (my skin crawls everytime I type the word “live”) on blog and graphic design for my friends Amy Bayliss and Lisa Boyd of DIY Ministry.  I really wasn’t  planning on the LIVE part, but after much consideration, I decided I would. I mean, if I were paying for a seminar, I’d want to see the actual speaker — to connect. Besides, this is who I am now.

And it ain’t always this pretty:

Mercy and the Sunrise

The sun came up as usual this morning.

I find the early morning sunrise to be one of my favorite times of the day. It comes early around these parts in the summer…around 6 a.m. Since I’m usually up preparing my husband’s lunch for work, I often miss the actual breaking of dawn.

But not today.

I felt an unusual urge to get up and read my Bible this morning at a very early hour. It’s unusual because on Fridays, my husband is off work and we typically “sleep in” on Friday mornings since Saturdays tend to be a frenzy of preparation for Sunday’s services at church. But for some reason, I couldn’t sleep and decided to obey the prompting I felt within me.

I turned in my Bible to today’s reading: Psalm 16.

Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

I have no good beyond the Lord. God is my help, my portion, my joy, my all in all. I am more to Him than a drop in the ocean of humanity, I am a result of His individual love and care. Exercising my faith has to be more than a momentary act, it must be a habitual practice of my heart and mind.

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

God is always faithful, even when I am not. He has given me exactly what I’ve wanted and more than I ever deserved, and has not deserted me in my times of frustration. May I remember to rest in God’s hiding place in the heat of burning trials and know that this is not His final plan.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

What a blessing it is to be altogether saved from the power of death and the grave. The paths I travel in this life may be winding and long, and even lead me through the valley of the shadow of death…but He is faithful to carry me through the hard times. I know that the end of the journey will result in beauty that I cannot even begin to imagine.

As I contemplated those verses, the sun began to peek up over the trees and filled the heavens with the most glorious and beautiful colors. The rays streamed through the huge flowering crape myrtle in the front yard, spilled across the deck, and filtered in through the window to touch my feet, and slowly enveloped my entire body. I felt warm and safe and protected, as though His arms were wrapped around me, letting me know I was still His child and nothing would change that.

Yes, the sun came up as usual this morning…but this time, I was awake and looking for it.

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Oh, hello. Were you talking to me?

Well, this is some fine thing I’ve gone and done. I’ve been blogging for almost three years now and I think this past month is the spottiest and worst job I’ve done of updating regularly.

I’m starting to dig my way out from whatever it is that I’ve been under and I’ve so much to share with y’all this week. I just don’t have a lot of time this morning, as I’m running behind on getting homeschool started. (I actually slept in for the first time in a long time)

I want to thank each and every one of you who have left comments and visited in spite of the fact that I’ve been absent and haven’t been returning emails. I absolutely HATE not replying to comments left on my blog, but I seriously needed a break. It means a lot to me that you’ll still read and comment – I’ll be better about replying, because I really do read and enjoy each and every comment…and I don’t want them to stop! 🙂

This past month has been so good for me. If you ever feel overwhelmed, take a step back and look at some things you can streamline. I have posted less this month, put “Behind the Blog” on a hiatus, and resigned as a full time contributor to Blissfully Financial (you’ll still see articles from me – in fact, I think Darla’s posting one today, but I’m not on a schedule any longer). It’s been phenomenally good for me.

God has been so incredibly good to me and has provided me an association with a company that I am so excited about. I am the newest team member and Blogger Design Coordinator for Pulse Point Design, a custom web design company for authors, artists and small businesses. I am thrilled to be part of this team – if you check out some of our clients, you’ll see some very popular and well known Christian authors and you’ll also see some beautiful designs. I will not be designing, but coding for blogger designs such as this one that I recently did and am very proud of. It is the first vertical navigation bar I’ve seen on blogger.

Our family has also made a major change that has so far been good for everyone. We prayerfully made the decision to change churches, which is a blog post in itself. Our children have only known one church all their lives and I was so concerned this would be so upsetting for them, but once again, it just goes to show you – if God’s in something, it’s going to be okay. He’s made the adjustment period virtually painless – our kids LOVE our new church and we are finding more ways to serve and be active, which is a HUGE blessing for us.

So, there you have it. A small recap of sorts. I’ll be posting more regularly than I have been and will fill in all the details as I can. I’ve taken some really great photos that are sitting in my Photoshop folder waiting for touchups, crops, etc. and will be posting a few of those as well.

And as a final tease…for the month of October…I’ll be giving away something that will put every other giveaway I’ve ever done to shame. (Yes, it’s that good) So watch for it (hint: It’s a compound word that has something to do with pictures)- you won’t want to miss it. I promise you!

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Repeat after me: Leaves of three…

After our teepee debacle a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would post some identifying photos “just in case” you find yourself cleaning up in the yard or taking a nature hike…or your kids decide to decorate their teepee with some poison ivy.

This is the front side of the tree, perfectly harmless little suckers (I’m not being vulgar – that’s what they’re called) growing all over the front:

But walk around to the back with me. Yep. Just as I suspected. Poison ivy. Can you see it? If ever in doubt, remember this little poem, “Leaves of three, leave them be.” So simple a toddler can remember it – if you ever teach them, that is.

Let’s take a closer look. Hmm…1…2…3. I’m itching already. How about you?

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