Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Friday, March 30, 2012

I ain't no judge.

It occurred to me as I was listening to people gripe about other people and drama swirl all around me, how removed I make myself from that now.

I used to be a "Jump right into the fray with both feet" kinda girl when it came to drama.  Chaos followed the way I lived, and I could be in a drama filled verbal fest in a matter of seconds.  When it stopped, it was weird to not be bored.

Drama was all I knew for about 7 years of my life.  Drama, judgement and chaos.  All the sudden, with the advent of my life change, chaos slowed and stopped.  I wasn't sure what to do.  I suddenly had peace...and..quiet.  My kids didn't know how to react... It was ..... well, .... weird.

And wonderful.

Now drama is like a landmine.. You least expect it, but when it happens, it can blow your peace right out of the water.  I can still.... very quickly....fall back into drama.  It's as easy as breathing for me.  BUT I DON'T WANT IT.

Someone was talking about gay people the other day.  And I told them, I believe that being gay is a sin.  (NOW HANG ON, DON"T GET MAD), it clearly states it in the bible.  But it also states that lying is a sin and lusting is a sin and saying FOR THE LOVE twenty times a day is probably a sin.... BUT I do all those things.  (except being gay, because I like guys, even though they don't like me, but that's a whole nother blog),'s the most wonderful thing in the world, and another FREEING THOUGHT.....

It's not up to me to judge.   Anyone.   Anything.     Anytime.    And you know what?  With that freedom, it gives me time to do what God wants me to do.

And that's just love everyone as myself.

It's doesn't matter what they do to you.  You are supposed to love them.

It doesn't matter what they do to themselves.  You are supposed to love them.

It doesn't matter what they do to others.  You are supposed to love them.

Now it doesn't mean you let them walk all over you.  Make healthy boundaries and stick with them, but you can love someone and not LIKE the act.

But don't judge.  As a yelling preacher from my youth once said,  "It AIN'T MY bidness (business, said in loud preacher language), It AIN't Your Bidness (yes, he used "ain't" in church.)  IT'S  GOOOOODDDD's (long drawn out GOOOODDDDD)'s  Bidness.  

And it's true.  You just go through the day the best you can, keeping your nose in your own "Bidness" and "Loving your neighbor as yourself", and all the sudden your life will be infinitely more peaceful.

And that's the truth.   Now don't test me and try to draw me into drama, because I am SPECTACULAR at it, but It's like being the best at a spitting're great, but who wants that title???  Best Spitter in Cleveland County.


I want to be the "Girl you can tell anything to and she doesn't even Blink".  I want to be that girl.  God's Girl.  Think if we all were...... Now that's something to be proud of.

Eat more fruit.....the fruits of the spirit that is....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dog People

I live with two chickens.

Nope, I'm not talking about Gram and Hal, I am talking about my two dogs, Arlie and Scooter.  People will find out I have dogs and always say to me, "You don't seem like a dog person."   What does that even mean?

When I hear "Dog Person" I immediately see this.

Or this.  

Just because I have to hang a sign in my house reminding me to hug my human children three times a day.... why would anyone think I wouldn't be a GREAT DOG person?

Well, because I'm not. 

I have two dogs.  Both by total accident.  Beyond my control.  Because I'm a sap.  

I acquired Arlie about 7 years or so ago.  I was working at the cemetery and this black odd looking dog wandered up, clearly had just had puppies, as her milk sacks were sagging to the ground, and she took up residency under our porch at the office.  I couldn't get her story, as she couldn't talk to me, but I watched her gather up little stuffed animals around the cemetery and gather them under the porch to "nuss" them, my heart broke.  Our cemetery grounds manager took a huge liking to her, and made her the "cemetery dog".  We all worked and worked on her name and bequeathed her with the name "Arlington Memory Gardens".. Arlie for short. We were a highly creative bunch.  She knows she's toast at home if I whip out her full name "ARLINGTON MEMORY".   She is DEATHLY terrified of loud noises and thunder and she lived at the cemetery about 4 months, until the weekend of Memorial Day, she had rode in the golf cart with  me, most of the weekend,  until we fired off the 21 gun salute, and she was PEACE OUT.  Couldn't find her at all.  Little did we know she had made friends in the cemetery.  We had a lot of people come out daily to visit their loved ones and Arlie found it her job to go and visit them every day.  So she was missed immediately, by a lady I'll just call her "Crazy Dog Lady"(CDL)..  She was dismayed we had lost our friend, and ran ads, and took to driving the streets trying to find our Arlie.  Imagine to our surprise and delight, when a nice young couple came driving up with our big ole chicken smiling in the backseat, telling us they had seen the CDL's signs and was returning Arlie.  Well, CDL, decided that Arlie needed a better environment than loping aimlessly through acres of peace and quiet having many people love on her daily, and found her a home....except for they were on vacation and couldn't take her until the following weekend.  Well, giving Arlie's penchant for opting out at any loud noise, I hesitantly offered to throw her in my backyard for the weekend.  She rode home with me with her head in my lap and those brown eyes looking into mine......and I had hoped to just sneak her out there without the children seeing her, but no luck.  5 year old Hallie and 15 year old Kip met her, and ...the rest...they history.   She never left.  CDL had to find another rescue for her adoptive family and Arlie became a necessary staple in our home.  She was human.  You could talk to her and she would know exactly what you were saying.  She would walk with me (back when I walked every evening) without a leash and obey me with voice commands.  She would howl hysterically at you when asked, "Where's Kip?"  it was, and still is, a fun monotony breaker at parties.  "Where's Kip, Arlie"   Ohhhwwwwooohhhwwwww...she'll howl.  It's classic.   She would also, when being tossed a tennis ball in the backyard, lose control of her senses and run like a wild banshee in a circle 8 around you, kicking up grass and dust she'd go so fast.  I'm sitting here just smiling typing it, because she was such a knucklehead. I say was, because, as I have, she has aged too.  She still runs, but it's a slow lope around the yard, and only one lap, then she has to go straight to the back and pee. Sounds vaguely familiar.   She has a very small head on a Lab body, and the weirdest janky ears on a dog.  She also smiles.  She loves Kip, and tolerates Hallie.  Now that Kip is not here to show her love, Grammie has taken to coming over and spoiling them daily with dog treats in the afternoon.  "They need snacks".    Lacey declares that Arlie is the only dog she will ever like, (which is no stretch cause lacey is NOT an animal person), and will deign to throw her germaphobedness to the wind for about 4 1/2 minutes when she comes to see us, because Arlie just has "Those eyes".  You know what I'm talking about.  She is deathly afraid of storms, thunder and noise of any kind.  I don't let her in unless it's bad, because the crazy thing will either a) chew her leg off in nervousness, or b) dig a hole the size of a small vehicle at the back fence trying to tunnel out (to go WHERE? I don't know), so she is content to ride out the storm in the closet in my bedroom.  (usually with grammie when the weather gets that bad..."Move over Arlie, Grammie's coming in).  I'm living the dream, people.

Dog's eyes are creepy when you attempt to take pics.

I acquired Scooter when my precious uncle Leon died last March.  He stayed with mom for about a month, but she is the Queen of Clean, and having a dog just didn't ring with her household style, so Scooter came over to live with us and it's been an adventure.  Scooter had an auspicious beginning with my uncle.  Uncle Leon found him in a barditch, and given our penchant for choosing swell names for our dogs, he named the poor thing "barditch".  Thankfully, mom intervened, and scooter was born (given the fact that he will army crawl on his side just about everywhere at any given moment...scoot..get it).   He is a little Jack Russell mix, yellow and a friendly little chicken.  I could search the world OVER and not find two more chicken, submissive dogs.  The first week they were together, everytime one of them would walk by each other, they'd fall over on their sides in submission.  It was an embarrassing time for a dog owner.  Then Scooter decided to assert his manhood by humping everything in site, including the Godzilla size female in the yard  (Yes, he's been neutered, what was his problem?), and Arlie would yawn and look around as if to say, "What the crap?" and he could be found even going to town on Brad's hunting boots.  He was ridiculous.  At one point, my nephew Sam declared to me,  "Aunt Laura I think Scooter wants puppies".   Oh.  
Guarding the house.

Hal took this picture of Scooter, doing what he does best.  Chillaxing.

So, Yeah, I'm a dog person.  They're ok.  If they could only go to the toilet and flush their own poop, I'd be way more enthusiastic about the whole pet ownership thing.  It's like having elephants in the back yard.  Makes for a poop-licious yard.   

I like to think that someday I will own a cool dog.  Then I realize, just like everything else, I already do.  Two very cool dogs.  
It could happen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

People you should Know .... Haley Anderson Bordeaux

The first time I laid eyes on this beauty, she was about one click past a toddler.  In my world, that means, graduated from high school.  She worked at the cemetery with me in Shawnee, and from the minute she walked in that office, she breathed new life and fun into the walls of that place.  I appreciate a good fast wit, and a wicked sense of sarcastic humor and Haley Anderson Bordeaux has all of that in abundance, and the fact that she is eye candy is just an added bonus.

We worked together for a couple of years, and then she went on to bigger and better things, and I didn't see her for many years, until I had the wonderful joy of running into her again, just days after Laynie had been born.  I was an obnoxious grandma, carrying books of baby pictures and telling Laynie's story to everyone that would sit still 3 1/2 minutes to listen.  Haley intensely listened to me and didn't offer much comment.  She was uncommonly quiet, and little did I know what was going on in the beautiful head of hers.

The point of this blog is you NEVER know how you can impact someone.  NEVER EVER.

Weeks later, Haley emailed me.  She told me that she had read all of Laynie's blogs I had written (and I was writing like a crazy woman during that time.  and that my words, and Laynie's life had changed the course of her life.  She continued to tell me that she had been so MAD at God.  She had been unsuccessfully  trying to get pregnant for something like 72 months.  And she was BLAMING God.  "I'm so mad at God", she told me... "And after I've been reading about Laynie, my whole perspective has changed.  Everything is different.  I've changed my attitude, and Laura, I'm pregnant!!!!"   Well, even re-living this and typing it almost 3 years after the fact, I still get choked up.   God's timing is Perfect, and it is so evident in Haley's case.  She gave birth to the sweetest little gumdrop on the planet,

Lawson Crue

and I have thrilled at every single picture of him she shares on facebook, (and the occasional video she messages me).   He is just the yummiest baby ever.  I adore her husband too, he is the real deal.  Together they make a pretty delicious looking family....

As Elvis and Priscilla at Halloween!  

But it gets better, if you can even believe that.  They were having the wordly pressures of life (as life will) bear down on them, and Haley found herself in church with Lawson at the urging of her good friend.  In her own words "I haven't missed a Sunday or Wednesday since".  It's amazing to see God work His will in this wonderful family.

I love seeing LC's daily pics hit on Facebook.  Makes my day.

Haley is one of the biggest Laynie fans out there.  She loves for me to share stories and especially the one of Laynie's passing with her.  She says it's one of her biggest "Ah-Ha" moments.   How we were listening to worship music and praising God as Laynie recieved her wings.  How God carried us through that time, and how God has stayed so present and real two years later.   She took up running a few months back, and this is what she texted me last night as she was running (preparing for Laynie's run on March 31 in El Reno)

"Just had a holy ghost filled run on the treadmill.  Wow.  All over a baby that lived 29 months and one that lived 40 seconds.  I never met either.  But they changed my life forever.  John 12:24  "Very truly I tell you, unless a kernal of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, It produces MANY seeds."  I don't' know if this is sweat I'm covered in or tears.  I just ran 3 miles and I'm drenched.  And can't be hot because of the cold chills.  A little light went on and I had a mental slideshow of Lacey praising Jesus while holding her lifeless baby...And of my pastors wife doing the same....And I'm like... "HOLY CRAP... I'm a SEED!  How can you have the words in RED preached to you by a 29 month old and NOT run like the wind?"

Well, I'm a mess just typing that.  It's coming on 2 years that Laynie got her wings, and she still is present in so many people.  I gaze at her sweet visage in pictures  every morning from my desk and thank the Lord that he sent us such a precious gift.    Because SEEDS are planted when you least expect it.

That's what Faith Can Do.....

God is good, all the time. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Are you looking for popcorn?


I always have to blog every Sunday.  The words start ringing in my ears during the sermon and it's just the fastest ride down Sooner Road that I can take (without speeding in that trap land) to get to the computer.

Steven Furtick finished up his Found Favor series today.  And I can't help but parallel his words with my life.

I walked outside the will of God for a long time.  There were no blessings, and definitely no favor.  The sad part was, I was a Christ follower.  I just thought that I KNEW what was best for me.  That I WAS in control.  Then Lacey invited me to Lifechurch, and my life started drastically changing.

Today, Steven Furtick said that sometimes God's favor doesn't always look like what you expect it to.  The video he used to help us understand what he meant.....  A lady in her car, praying for a good parking spot.  You know that prayer.  "Dear God, just a decent parking spot today...that's all I ask" (as I wheel around East Norman Walmart,, and as you drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, (15 minutes later), you are going, "REALLY, God?  No favor in that."...when you finally pull into the very back of the 1 acre parking lot, and start to make your mile trek to the door, a ball goes sailing by you and a toddler runs by...right into a path of a backing-up car.....   You drop your purse, and you run to that child's aid... and save his life.   You may not have found FAVOR in your parking space, but that child's mother, found FAVOR in your being in the right place at the right time.   That was very powerful for me.

When we found out about Laynie, it would have been very very easy to say, "GOD, WHERE"S THE FAVOR IN THIS?"  but, as a baby CHristian (my girls more christian giants than their mom at this time), we chose to look on God and trust HIS will for our lives.

Steven also said that God will give you the FAVOR you need for the SEASON in your life.  You can need something now that you didn't need 5 years ago.  And the interesting thing about favor....when you slow down and look back at all the times of your can see FAVOR written in most of it.

As Lacey got to share Laynie's story with a staff person at Lifechurch (Yes, there are still a few out there that don't know her story!  Newbies...) we were overwhelmed with seeing "Favor" written all over her life.   You just have to learn how to RECOGNIZE it for what it is.  Open  your eyes to the opportunity of favor, and realize that GREATNESS is right in front of you everyday.

Steven shared that he scored free tickets to a Charlotte Bobcats bball game (They ain't the Thunder, that's for sure), but as he was walking in with his young sons, they spotted the owner of the team walking nearby!  Steven bent down and looked his son in the face and said "Son, right there is the most incredible athlete of his time, and I'm so overwhelmed that you are able to see him for yourself" (talking about Michael Jordan)...and his son looks innocently at him, with extra enthusiasm says, "Ok, can we get some popcorn now?"

Please don't miss the favor being granted to you DAILY, by looking all around looking for your popcorn.  "Oh, that's neat, but I wanted to do that...."

If you would have told me that I was going to be 50 years old, working in a non-profit job, single as can be,  and happy as I've ever been, I would have told you that you were smoking some funny stuff.  THIS wasn't what I had planned for my life.   THIS wasn't what I THOUGHT God wants for me....yet here I am....content and fulfilled as I have ever been in my life.

And that my friends, is FAVOR.  I will receive it, and welcome it....ANY way it comes at me.

Because God is GOOD, all the time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lovely Things about the Foster Family

Kip had several very close friends in high school.  One of her favorite (and mine too) was Miss Kelli Hoskins.

Kelli was a softball playing crazy woman.  Went to college on a scholarship, she was so good.  

Then she met Zach, and you might just say, the rest is history.  :)

Boy meets girl.  Falls in love with girl.  Marries Girl.  

And together they made the sweetest, most precious little perfect gem of a human being in the world. 


Kannon was diagnosed with  Tetrasomy i(5p) Mosaicism.  In fact, Kannonball is #4.  Only 3 other diagnosed cases of this rare genetic disorder.  

Kannon is a fighter, and a precious gift.  He has continued to teach me, where our Laynie left off, that life is a treasured gift, and that every day is a full out miracle.  He is such an angel on earth and this Wednesday he is going to be having some surgery performed to help him with his spinal cord....and you know what I want all of us to do.  

Pray without ceasing for Kannon.

I have grown to love Kelli and Zach like my own kids, and I cannot even begin to brag on them enough. They are both Kip's age (which makes them just a bit older than a puppy), and they have handled this gift with the most incredible amount of willingness, and acceptance, and's just amazing.  And the most wonderful thing about them??  They are totally oblivious to how amazing and wonderful they are.  I've always said God knows EXACTLY what he's doing, when he places special angels with their families...and He absolutely knew what He was doing...picking Kelli and Zach.   They are two very special young people.

Like I said..... the Fosters need your prayers this week, more than ever.  Prayers for the surgeons skill and ease of surgery....prayers for Kannon to tolerate the procedure with as little problems as possible, and prayers for mommy and daddy for their peace through this time.  

God hears every prayer.  Let's ring the heavens.....

There is something extra special lovely about the Fosters........

May God's peace and love and blessings flow all around them.  

Kelli's blog can be found listed on the right side of my page on my favorite blog section.....

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I'm a "Favor"-ite

Steven Furtick preached today.  That made me all kinds of happy in ways I can't explain.  When he was at Lifechurch last time, he preached his "Sun Stand Still" message, and it rocked me.

Today was absolutely the same thing.  

He said that Lifechurch people are blessed beyond measure.  We have Craig Groeschel leading us, Amy Groeschel praying for him (how can we fail with that?) and all the workings to make us blessed.  Instead of being Hittites, or Jesuites or all the different "ite people in the bible, we are "Favor"-ites.   

I liked it.  

When people talk to me and tell me I am different, I never know how to respond.  I always say "Laynie changed me.  I am blessed beyond measure."

My friend at work told me on Friday that I was one of the most "Go with the flow" people she had ever met.  Nothing much rocks me, and I just don't judge anything.  

Boy, have I changed.  I smiled inside because that was so not who I used to be.  Uptight, worried, frantic, controlling, (still battle with that), nervous, ridiculous mess.  

Then I learned through a tiny baby, that life is not a guarantee.  That things can change in a blink of an eye.  That everything we hold in VALUE, is NOTHING.  

We think if we are blessed, we have a nice house.  We drive a nice car.  We have money in the bank.  We have healthy children.  We have a great job.  We are blessed.  And that is true.  

But Favor is so much more.  

Favor brings you peace that money and shoes and men and addictions just can't buy.  My friend will say, "I'm just empty inside.  I can't be happy.  I'm just not sure of what I'm supposed to do.  I'm just so ....empty."  
I know that feeling.  I was that feeling for YEARS.  And then I realized the only way to find peace, ever, was through seeking Him.  And following Him.  And understanding that there ARE NO set in stone answers, just complete acceptance of what is. And FAITH, and HOPE.  And in just being, and giving myself FULLY and COMPLETELY over to God, and saying "I am YOURS, fill me".... he did just that.  I am in His favor. .  and it is a peaceful, content-filled life that I cannot even begin to hope you can understand.   Unless you are walking in it too.  

The Favor of God is the guarantee of HIS presence and provision of HIS power to ACCOMPLISH HIS purpose in MY life.  That's a lot of "His" in one "My".   As long as He is ALL I need, I am in Favor.  

If you're happy and you know it, tell your face.   Show your joy, share your joy, give it back, so you can have it all.  

God is Good, all the time.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I want energy and spirit like Mandisa

Lacey saw Mandisa at Woman of Faith this year.  I was off doing something and didn't get to go, so I was a tiny bit bummed I missed one of my favorite American Idol contestants.  When we heard that she was going to be coming to the Bethany Church of the Nazarene, and bringing Laura Story with her...we were totally in!  Two of Lacey's lifegroup girls (Jessica & Kellie) joined our reindeer games, and we had a solid four going for our "Girls Night Out".

I really don't know why my nose is red all the time.  It's quite sexy.
It was fabulous.

That's really not even a big enough word.

It was supercalifragilisticexpealidocious.  Yes.  It was.

Laura Story's story (that sounds funny) reminds me of my family.  Experiencing loss, depending on God to carry you through.  Using humor to defuse the seriousness of reality.   They had been married 2 years or so when her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  They were pups.  Thrown into the worldly fire and tested to the max.  And as she related to us... "God never left us.  He was our strength, our hope, our everything." 

Wow. She questioned God.  WHY?  You can FIX this.  You have the ability to right this wrong.  But even now, eight years later, as they are still learning to live with their new "normal" (he has no short term memory, which I completely relate to) she said God is ever faithful.  Even though they walked through the fire, they came out changed and refined, just like fire will do to you.

Even though we lost our precious angel, I like to think, we came out better people.  More in love with God than ever.  More committed to helping others.   He doesn't give you trials to make you suffer, he brings you through trials to make you depend more fully on Him, to make you want to be better people.  Just stay in the boat, and let Him lead you through it.  

So, I LOVED me some folksy Laura Story.  Her pony tail.  Her cute little pregnant belly,  (see how God sends blessings?), her thermal undershirt under her tshirt,  and her brand new Grammy for best Christian song.   She looked like someone that could be sitting beside me in the audience, and I just loved her for it.  

Now, Mandisa.  That girl could stop traffic.  She had the hair.  She had the glittery top.  She had us UP ON OUR feet, dancing in the aisles, literally.   Talk about a woman in love with, and on fire for, God.  

I've used her videos on my blogs before.  Her soulful voice, her use of imagery in the words of her songs...just powerful stuff.  Plus she is straight up FUN, now.  She has lost...wait for it.....over 100 pounds.  And she will tell you it has NOT been easy and she still has moments, but she LOVES herself...she LOVES her God, and together...they can do it.  She said she just knows her man is out there somewhere, he is LOST and too proud to ask for Directions.   Cracked me up.  I love small venues like churches because you can get right up on them and see them, and watch them sweat.  Shoot, I even sweated some too, and cried, cause that girl has got some talent.  Mercy.

I'm going to share the video of "Not Guilty", because it touches every chord in me.  I have screwed up SO many times, it makes me wonder how he can still love me and want me.   

But he does.  His blood paid the price for me, and in this season of Easter.... embrace the cross, friends.  God is there and loves you and wants you to love Him back.   There is no greater joy than to walk in His light.....

Laura Story was fabulous, Mandisa was fabulous, the company was fabulous....what a great evening.

The girls are showing me their "Stronger" looks.   I like hanging out with them, they are weird like me. 

Mandisa.....Laura them on your music'll be glad you did.