Power of a Wise Choice; 3 Case Studies

 

cancer surgery    Friends 2    Friends 3

 

Some of the most important friends in my world have had a bad week.  They may not know it but I have learned from them.

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tongue cancerFriend #1 – Chesi has tongue cancer, that’s right on her dad-gum tongue! Who has ever heard of that?!?  She had part of her tongue removed during surgery last week.  She’s young, has two young boys at home and she’s active in her community.  She could have easily let a cancer diagnosis cripple her.  But you know what?  She hasn’t. She’s fighting.  She’s a tough little booger!

Where’s Chesi’s choice?  Her reality is cancer.  There’s no choice there.  It’s what life has dealt her.  Her choice is her mindset.  I watched her be rolled back into surgery with tears in her eyes but a smile on her face as she waved to us.  This woman is making a choice to live, to stay positive and deal with her rotten reality named cancer.

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marriageFriends whose marriage is in trouble – It’s an awful situation. They both feel trapped.  They have resolved to live in a toxic life of misery.  They have options. But neither wants to see them because making any choices may be too painful.  Staying in the marriage may be a lifelong toxic choice at this point and getting out of the marriage may have it’s own lifelong toxic consequences.

Sometimes, there are no good options.  Sometimes choices suck.  But they are still there, however painful they may be.  Not making a choice can be just as painful as making one.

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My frobbery.pngriend, Emma, could be really bitter about the thief that stole over $1000 worth of fireworks from her business and then tried to run over her in the parking lot.

But when the news showed up and the cameras were in her face, Emma gave thanks and encouraging words of appreciation to the neighbors and bystanders that offered their help when she could have easily spewed hatred and anger towards the thief.
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Chesi, you are teaching me to keep a positive mindset and not let the realities of life get me down.  You are an inspiration.

My couple friends – you have taught me that I always have a choice. Even if the options suck, I am never trapped because there are always options. But not making a choice can be worse than making a terrible one.

Emma, you have taught me that I can choose my focus.  I can choose to be thankful and encouraging, even in a bad situation.  Thank you for that reminder.

3 lessons:
I can choose my mindset.  I can choose my focus.  There are always choices…  

 

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Tammy Lanham uses her passions for writing, speaking and photography to entertain and encourage moms, marriages, and entrepreneurs.  She homeschools.  She volunteers.  She’s an entrepreneur.  She sleeps – sometimes.  Oh, and she eats chocolate.

Tammy is married to Tommy Lanham – a coach, leadership training expert, instructor, motivator, and a believer in Jesus. He is an experienced, trusted and highly enthusiastic speaker who communicates life changing truths in an entertaining way.

Visit Tammy’s website:  www.TammyLanham.com 
Visit Tommy’s website:     www.TommyLanham.com  

 

 

The Day God Showed up at the Junk Store

Yesterday, my family and I went to several yard sales.  While at one in a nearby town, a lady there heard me asking if they hadclosed sign any cast iron pieces.  I recently cleaned up and restored a family heirloom piece to near mint condition and I was so proud of myself!  I wanted to see if I could restore some rusty, gunky pieces.

She told me of a junk store just a few blocks from where we were.  I was so excited!  We got in the minivan and drove to this little store.  They had stuff piled up everywhere outside and I was tickled to “hunt.”  I made it around to the door to see a sign that said “Closed.”

I was almost in tears.  I know – it’s a sickness when cast iron can bring you to tears!

Anyway, I turned around to leave when a regular customer / good friend of the owner appeared behind me.  I have no idea what his name is so we’ll call him “Bob.”  He reminded me of Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty.

So “Bob” said “The owner was going out of town for the morning but said he’d be back later today.  I have his number if you want to see if he’ll be here soon.”  So I called Tim (the owner).  Tim very bluntly said “I won’t be there for a few hours.  Sorry.”  Okay – so I tried…. time to go home.  😦

About that time, this lady appeared inside the front door of the store.  About scared me to death!  “Bob” told her we were from out of town and really wanted to look at the cast iron pieces.  Penny so graciously let us in.  There’s no way to explain how excited I was to be going inside this little treasure box!!  Giddy could not begin to explain it.  I walked into a little room that was completely dedicated to cast iron!  Oh my goodness!  I got dizzy!

There were lots of mostly clean pieces that were hanging on walls and sitting on shelves but what got me even more excited was the grocery cart sitting in the middle of the room full of rusty, gunked up pots and pans.  Did I mention the word giddy earlier?  Go one step farther and you can imagine my world!

TJJ excitedSo I spent the next 45 minutes digging every single piece out of that grocery cart hunting for the nastiest, grossest pieces to practice cleaning on.  I seriously broke a sweat during this hunt, people.  I excitedly took the 3 skillets and one little bean pot to the counter to get prices and make my final selections.  Penny noticed these items weren’t priced and said she needed to call the owner to get the prices.  She tried to use her cell phone and it wouldn’t work.  “Bob” offered his but was out of minutes and he suggested she use my phone I had called the owner on earlier.  She called Tim and asked about the skillets.  I don’t know exactly what was said but I heard that man screaming at this girl like a dog.  She very quietly kept saying “I didn’t know.  I didn’t have much of a choice.”  He told her he couldn’t price anything over the phone and yelled at her for borrowing a customer’s phone to make a call.  I don’t know which broke my heart more – the fact that I couldn’t take home my treasures or that Penny looked like she could burst into tears when she told me.   I literally walked to the minivan in tears.

 

She called Tim and asked about the skillets.  I don’t know exactly what was said but I heard that man screaming at this girl like a dog.  She very quietly kept saying “I didn’t know.  I didn’t have much of a choice.”  He told her he couldn’t price anything over the phone and yelled at her for borrowing a customer’s phone to make a call.  I don’t know which broke my heart more – the fact that I couldn’t take home my treasures or that Penny looked like she could burst into tears when she told me.   I literally walked to the minivan in tears.

So that’s it, right – live through disappointment and go home.  Quit thinking about it.  Just go on with regular life.  Except I couldn’t.  The lump in my throat and the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away.  Go to sleep – close your eyes, breathe in, breathe out…. eyes fly open – I can’t get that woman’s face out of my mind.  Why, Lord?  Why is she on my heart?

go back

 

 

 

What?

Go back.

What do you mean “Go back.”  Why, Lord?  Why in the world would I go back??

Go back.

What in the world would I say?

Go back.

Geesh – really?

Go back.

But I don’t want to.

Go back.

So I got up this morning with my stomach tied up in knots and these people on my mind.  Why would I drive 45 minutes to a town completely out of my way and what the heck would I say to these complete strangers when I got there??  Would I talk to the owner, Tim?  Would I give Penny a hug?  What?  Why in the world??  It’s none of my business!!

Go back.

But what if they tell me it’s none of my business?  Because… it’s not, really.  Right?  What if he throws me off his property?

Go back.

But….

Go back.

I begrudgingly got dressed and got in the car.  Again, I tried to reason with God.  Ever tried to do that?  Never works out in the end but I still tried.

Lord, it’s Saturday.  My husband’s home today.  I have guests coming for lunch tomorrow, I need to be home today.  With my family.

Go back.

But what will I say?  I have nothing to say, Lord!

Go back.

pouting

Okay – FINE!  I’ll drive there!!  But this is going to turn out badly.  What could I possibly say to accomplish anything positive????  Tomorrows newspapers will read “That Preacher’s Wife has Head Ripped Off by Junk Store Owner” That’ll be just great, won’t it Lord?  Is that what you really want?  For me to make a fool of myself?  To get yelled at?  Why in the world would you want me to do something like this???

 

 

I thought about calling my friends to make sure they had bail money ready – what if he threw me off his property or had me arrested for harassment??

Go back.

All the way there, I argued, fussed and imagined every single worst possible scenario.  When I got there, the parking lot was completely full.  I rolling vandrove past the place three times and finally reasoned “It’s full – I can’t even pull into the parking lot.”  You know, my silly van turned into the parking lot anyway.  Stupid van.  Never listens to me.  I had to park on the edge of a hill.  Great.  The van will go rolling down the hill and when I get thrown off the property, I’ll have to hitch hike home.  Perfect.

I get out of the van and walk towards the door where there are 7-8 large, burly, bearded men laughing loudly.  I tried to quietly walk past.  Lord, I’m not talking to any of them.  They could eat me for dinner.  About that time, one of the men looked at me and said, “Sorry, we’re closed until Tuesday.”  Shew.  Off the hook!  I can go home now!  Felt like I was skipping through a field of daisies!

I turn to walk away.  Something literally hit me in the gut.  You know that feeling when you go over the top of a hill when you’re on a roller coaster.  Or riding in the back of a vehicle when a maniac is driving way too fast over a hill?  Yeah – that feeling.  Hit me right in the gut.

I honestly didn’t even have time to think about what I was going to say.  I turned around so fast and the words “Is Tim here?” ran out of my mouth so fast, I couldn’t catch them.  The biggest, burliest dude looked at me and said, “I’m Tim.”  Gulp.

Legs – listen up…. run.  Turn right now and run.  Stupid legs didn’t listen either.  There I stood with all these men looking at me.  I quietly asked if I could speak to him privately for a moment.  He stepped away from the group.  Lord, what the heck have you gotten me into????  What do I do now?

“I was here yesterday.”  Wringing my hands, nervous.  Really wanting to puke.  Seriously.  That knot that’s been in my stomach for the past 24 hours is trying to make its way up my esophagus.  All over the big burly dude.  That wouldn’t be good.

“This is not something I would normally do.  In fact, I hate confrontation.  It really bothered me the way you spoke to Penny yesterday on the phone.”

“What are you talking about??”

That sounded defensive.  Lord, don’t let him punch me.  Please?  Wonder if the van has rolled away yet…. come on legs, pleeeeease??

“I was standing five feet away and I could hear you yelling at her.  It has really bothered me and had to come back to say something about it today.  It’s probably none of my business but you didn’t need to talk to her the way you did.”

scary faceLord – why is he staring at me like I’ve lost my mind?  Why did you put me in this very awkward position?  Why won’t he say anything?  What do I do, Lord?  Please keep me from puking on him.

“Wow.  I was trying to tell her I couldn’t price anything over the phone.  I’ve been ripped off before doing something like that.”

Our conversation turned to his past experiences of people stealing from him, taking advantage of him, etc.  I told him that’s not what I came for – I came to challenge him on the way he spoke to Penny.  He then told me Penny was his fiance.  The knot in my stomach got worse.  Poor Penny.

He then asked me which cast iron pieces I was looking at.  “I honestly don’t want to purchase anything from you.  I just wanted to tell you that you can’t speak to people the way you spoke to her yesterday.  It’s not right.”  He then asked me to please come in the store and show him what I had been looking at.

Why does he want me inside?  I’m not going in there with him…. um….. where did all the guys who were here go?  Hello?  The parking lot is completely empty except for my van perched on the edge of the hill.  He’s going to take me somewhere inside, chop me up into little pieces and fry me in one of those beautiful cast iron pans, isn’t he??  Gulp.

Go back.

stranger danger 1 stranger danger 3

stranger danger 2

Are you kidding me, Lord?  Stranger danger!  Going in a closed store with a man I just confronted for yelling at his fiance?  No.  No way.  I won’t go.  Nope.  Not. Going.

Go back.

I couldn’t stop my feet.  They were following Tim inside the store.  Stupid feet.  What – is NOTHING listening to me today???

Inside, to my relief, I saw “Bob” and Penny, both.  Penny said I looked familiar and Tim said “Yeah, she just jumped all over my a** for yelling at you yesterday.”  The look on Penny’s face was absolutely priceless.  He told her what I had said.  I told her she was worth more than gold to God.  There were tears.  We walked back to the cast iron room and I showed him the pieces I had found yesterday.  He gave me pricing on them but I told him I wasn’t here to buy.  I ended up buying anyway but made sure he knew that’s not why I came back.

At the checkout, Tim continued to tell me everything going on in his world – busted water pipes has destroyed his home, a mini stroke in January, uncontrollable high blood pressure, he passed out at work a couple weeks ago…..  Honestly, I was thinking “Time to go!  I did what you wanted, God.  Now let me go home!”  I had my  hand on the door and the door pulled open a couple of feet.

Go back.door

Something grabbed that door, pulled it shut and these words came flying out  “I’m not very comfortable doing this but is it okay if I could pray with you?”  What??  Lord, come on!  I was almost out the door!

I prayed for Tim’s health issues, his business, his home, Penny and their relationship with one another and even prayed for silly old “Bob” sitting in the corner.  When I got done, “Bob” shouted “Amen!”  Tim smiled and said “Penny needs all the prayers she can get.  I’m an a** to love.”  Penny very quietly said “The Lord sent you here today.  Thank you.”  Just for a brief moment, time  stood still.

You know, there have been times in my life that I felt like I should’ve done something.  It was on my heart and I didn’t do it.  But this time, I had no control.

I COULD NOT walk away from this.  The Lord wasn’t going to let me leave until I did what He wanted.  No matter how incredibly awkward and uncomfortable.

How many times have I turned away from that “I need to do something” feeling?  I’m in a hurry, I’m running late, I need to go do this, that and the other.  How many times have I refused to listen to God’s leading only to deny someone a blessing He was trying to give them.  I’m so stinking stubborn.  stubborn

Tammy LanhamTammy Lanham is the wife to Tommy Lanham and Momma to  Appolonya and Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  She travels and speaks to women, entertaining and encouraging them in their Christian walk.In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind….

Thanks for reading!

 
 

 

I Need an Attitude Adjustment

We have been hit by one thing after another over the past few months and it’s been physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally exhausting.  I mean it folks, I’m pooped.  Since we moved, we had one week of calm before the storm of Appolonya’s skin condition started and have since seen 7 doctors, we had to go gluten free for about 10 days, then the muffler fell out from under our car, we thought the transmission went out in our 267,000 mile van, Appolonya and I got a nasty virus (I’m talking gross-nasty…), my husband hurts his knee in a Wiffle Ball tournament (yep, you read that right, a Wiffle Ball Tournament) – but his team won! – and has to be on crutches and in a knee brace for a couple of weeks (he says it’s worth it since they won), all while still trying to settle in from a big move and adjust to a new homeschool co-op group, and Tommy tries to keep up with his graduate studies while starting a new ministry.

Drained.

But you know what, I’ve been focusing so much on all the little “fires” I’ve been putting out, I’ve forgotten to see the positive.  I saw War Room last week.  Twice.  I realized that I seem to have forgotten who was in charge…..  So, last week I started googling positive motivational sayings and Bible verses and printed a bunch of them out.  I looked specifically for quotes (and photos) from movies and individuals that our children are familiar with.  I took them to Office Depot and got them laminated and wah-lah!  This is what I got!

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Now, I am aiming at putting these reminders all over our home as reminders.  I’ll take some photos after I’ve gotten them hung.

In the meantime, I’m looking at the positives:
1.  Appolonya is doing better – she doesn’t have any serious or life threatening illness

2.  Tommy is off crutches – no serious damage to his knee and no surgery required

3.  The van ended up only needing a $17 part that a family member put on for us

4.  The car was fixed by a friend at church for $30

5.  I have a ton of new gluten-free recipes that I love

6.  We love our new homeschool group

7.  My amazingly smart husband has got a 4.0 in grad school

See?  Lots and lots of positives!  And #8.  Our house is finally settled in and put together (but don’t ask about the garages…. they are currently in “enter at your own risk” condition…..)

It’s all coming together.  I just needed an attitude adjustment and a reminder that God is in control.

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Dear Christians: Just shut up about Dylann Roof

I sit here with a broken heart.  A deeply troubled young man has taken the lives of so many precious people.  My heart aches.

I am on Facebook (which is sometimes good, sometimes bad).  Today, it’s bad.  I’m reading of great leaders of our churches calling Dylann a “racist little punk,” “evil-hearted monster” and saying he should be hung or lined up in front of a firing squad.  A friend of mine I went to Bible college with posted:  “I hope he doesn’t get off on an insanity plea, what he did was just plain evil and he deserves the chair.”  His own uncle stated “He’ll get no sympathy from us” and ““He’s going to pay for what he’s done, I’d pull the switch myself, if they’d let me.”

If these statements reflect what you are feeling, stop reading now because I’m only going to tick you off.  Seriously – so stop.

 

DylannRoof_

First, I cannot hate this young man.  “Whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.”  (1 Jn. 2:11)  If I hate him, how am I any better than he is?  Don’t stop reading just because there’s Bible verses thrown in there.  Hear me out (but there will be more verses).

Not only am I not able to hate him, I must love him.  “The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God because God is love – so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”  (1 Jn. 4:8)  I don’t get to choose who I hate and who I love.  I’m commanded to love.  Period.

“Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”  Eph. 4:32  Who the heck do I think I am to not offer forgiveness and love to others?  Can I disagree with Dylann’s actions?  Absolutely!

Satan used this young man to bring so much misery to so many people.  Did you get that?  SATAN used this man.  This man was originally created for a charlestonGodly purpose.  God has his eyes on him and lovingly created him for a reason.  Somewhere along the way, satan got his hands on Dylann.  What difference could someone loving him had made?  I read somewhere online “He almost changed his mind because they were so nice.”

What if he heard reports of his uncle saying “We love you” rather than “Ride the lightening”?  I hope he is hearing the message of the victims’ families saying:

‘You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. But God forgives you. I forgive you.’

Gary and Aurelia Washington, center left and right, the son and granddaughter of Ethel Lance who died in Wednesday's shooting, leave a sidewalk memorial in front of Emanuel AME Church comforted by fellow family members Thursday, June 18, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was arrested Thursday in the slayings of several people, including the pastor at a prayer meeting inside the historic black church. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
(AP Photo/David Goldman)

No, they were not my family members he murdered.  How can I talk about love and forgiveness when I’m not the one affected?  But you know what, the victims families ARE talking about forgiveness.  According to news.Yahoo.com – “Relatives of the Charleston church shooting victims gave emotional statements during Dylann Roof’s initial court appearance Friday, some of them breaking into sobs as one after another they told the man suspected of killing their loved ones that they forgive him.”

Now, whether you believe in God or not, THIS ought to make you think.  Dylann didn’t show any signs of remorse.  He didn’t ask forgiveness from anyone.  Yet they have offered forgiveness to him anyway.  Through their pain, maybe even hatred towards Dylann, they are forgiving him.  Why?  Because they follow this crazy man named Jesus, you know, the one who sat with drunks, had patience with jerks, hung out with sluts and had dinners with thieves.  The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is modeling what it means to truly follow this Jesus character.  Not just going to church Sunday mornings when it’s convenient,  not just when it’s easy but when it’s really, really hard.  They are showing Jesus to the world right now.

So now for my special note to Christians specifically.  The world is watching.  They’re watching what the victims’ families are saying.  They’re watching how the church responds, they are watching how YOU respond.  When you say things like you hope he fries, you look exactly like the rest of the world.  There is no light in that.  Jesus calls us to be the light of the world, set apart and showing love.  Pray for these families who have lost loved ones.  Pray for Dylann.  These families know where their loved ones are.  They are sad but they know.  Dylann’s soul is lost and needing saved right now.  Pray for these families but also pray for Dylann.  My Mama always told me if I didn’t have anything nice to say, to not say anything at all.  So, I’ll put it to you this way:  Church, if you cannot reflect the heart of Jesus, just shut up about Dylann Roof.  You’re only feeding what the world thinks about “those Christians” if you only spew more hate.

God Will Not Send Anyone To Hell / Spiritual Rape

Now I’m getting on shaky ground, right?  I mean, to read my posts about healthy cooking, how to use cast iron, funny things my husband has done….. that’s good stuff right there.  But now I bring up God.  And Hell.   Careful Preacher’s Wife, this could get uncomfortable!

heaven-and-hellFirst, let’s discuss that guy (or girl) in high school.  You know, the one who never looked you square in the eyes, followed you around (at a distance of course) and showed up everywhere you were?  Let’s name him/her Creeper.  You knew Creeper had a crush on you.  Creeper would stare at you from across the room.  Creeper would eventually get up the nerve to talk to you or even ask you out.  You weren’t interested so you said “No.”  Then Creeper would call you.  Or these days, text you.  Creeper might even write you notes.  The words “I’m not interested”  really meant nothing.  Creeper stalked you on social media.  You wanted Creeper to leave you alone.  You finally say “Get away from me!” slightly worried you’ll hurt Creepers feelings but enough is enough, right?  Geesh!  Leave me alone!

Now let’s shift gears here.  Let’s shift to thinking about God.  Keep reading – it all comes together in just a minute.  From the beginning, God has been pursuing you.  God has a desire for you to turn to Him – when things are good and when the road is rocky….  Heck, when the road turns into a cliff and you’re barely hanging on!  He desires you.  Matthew 11:28 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  He wants to hear from you – even though he’s omniscient (all knowing, having complete understanding).  If you have kids, think about it this way.  Don’t you know when your child is hurting?  Don’t you know when they are upset about something or someone?  I don’t know about you, but I love it when my child comes to me and confides in me.  Whether she asks for advice or not, I love it when she opens up to me and shares with me even though I already know what is bothering her.  I love putting my arms around her and comforting her.  God is the same way – He loves it when we come to Him.  His greatest desire is for us to want to be with Him.  He wants to give us rest.

Free choiceAlright, now let’s combine our two areas of discussion here.  Creepers and God.  And no, I’m not suggesting that God is a Creeper for goodness sakes!  Stick with me here folks!  God desires us.  He wants us.  But if you spend your whole life treating him like a Creeper telling Him “I’m not interested” then guess what?  He respects your free will.  He won’t force anything on you.  Even Heaven.  If you spend your life avoiding God, why in the world would He force you to go to Heaven where you will spend eternity with Him?  He will brokenheartedly allow you to choose to spend eternity away from Him in Hell.  He doesn’t send you there.  He wants you to choose Him.  But if He forces Himself on you, it’s no longer free will.  It’s spiritual rape.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  He’s with you.  So no matter how far you’ve run from Him or how much you’ve done to push him away, He’s there.  Quietly waiting for you to turn to Him.  Doesn’t matter who you’ve slept with, how much you had to drink last night, how high you may be right now reading this.  He loves you.  Doesn’t matter if you go to church every Sunday, serve in soup kitchens or give loads of money to charity.  He loves you.  You can’t get away from His love.  But He will not force it on you.  You have to choose it.

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Tammy Lanham Tammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  She is also the owner of Tammy Lanham Images.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Why That Preacher’s Wife is Wearing Jeans to Church on Easter

 

 

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One of the most common responses I hear from people as an excuse to miss church is that they don’t have any nice clothes.  Several years ago, I wrote an article for The Christian Standard entitled “A Challenge to Church Clothes.”   My main point is that we don’t have to dress up to please God.  He doesn’t care one single bit how I am dressed to go to church.  I do believe modesty is desired but beyond that…. what does it matter if I wear jeans, a frilly, flowery dress or sweats?  The response to that article was strong.  I got letters telling me I didn’t deserve to worship if I couldn’t dress up and give my best to God each Sunday.  Not.  the.  point.  Anyway, without exploring the depths of this subject, I am making a statement.  Here it comes… are you ready?

I, the preacher’s wife, am wearing jeans to church on Easter Sunday.

I don’t think the world will collapse.  Easter celebrations will go on as planned.  Delicious lunches will be consumed.  Jesus will be worshiped.  No matter what I wear.

Tomorrow is Easter.  I will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection (even in my jeans).  Very important day in my Christian faith.  It’s not a fable.  It’s not some fairy tale.  It’s not a myth or tall tale.  It really happened.  Isn’t that almost impossible to believe?  I mean, come on!  If you  go to church tomorrow somebody is going to get in front of you and tell you that a guy came back from the dead.  In our worlds, our finite minds, with our life experiences, this sounds absurd.  And it is.  Really.

But Jesus isn’t limited by our world, our finite minds or our life experiences.    And thank goodness for that!  But I know of a lot of people who won’t go to church tomorrow.  Not because they are bad people.  Not because they don’t believe.  In fact, most believe in God but they have a variety of reasons to stay home.  They get to sleep late.  They get to stay in their sweats all day.  They get to spend the day with family.  They get to rest.   But the one excuse I don’t want to hear is “I don’t have nice enough clothes.”  So I’m wearing jeans.  If the preacher’s wife wears jeans, you can surely wear jeans without any judgment, right?

My challenge is this:  try a church you feel comfortable in.  Just try.  Tomorrow.  If you hear something that challenges you, makes you a better person, makes you feel something you thought you had lost touch with, wouldn’t it be worth it?  You can still sleep late – most services don’t start until after 10 a.m.  Wear anything you want.  At our church (as with a lot of churches) you CAN stay in sweats all day.  AND you can bring your family.  And best of all, you’ll rest like you haven’t rested in years.  There will be peace.  Beyond understanding.  Even if you wear jeans.  With holes in them…  it’s okay.  We won’t judge.

Tammy Lanham
 
 
Tammy Lanham’s husband, Tommy, ministers at New Castle Christian Church in New Castle, Kentucky.
 
http://www.NewCastleChristianChurch.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

One Beautiful Twenty Dollar Bill

Bet you can’t read THIS to the end…….. you won’t believe it….

             We started out trying to get out of town for the day to take care of some business.  Tommy’s car needed 2 tires put on (it’s been sitting for 4 weeks) so we were going to drop by the tire shop on the way out of town.  BUT because it has been sitting so long, the tires needed air and one of them was completely flat.  So that delayed our start.  We have a little plug in compressor and managed to get the rims off the ground.  Then we found some fix-a-flat in the house and blew up the flat one.

             We drove 5 miles to the closest town and stopped at a gas station to fill up the tires.  Air pump doesn’t work.  Drove down the road to a second gas station – air pump doesn’t work.  Third and last gas station in town – air pump doesn’t work.  So we tried filling the tires up with that little plug in compressor (plugged into the van) only to blow fuse after fuse in the van.  So we gave up and decided to drive the 13 miles to Shelbyville on half inflated tires.

     Cash only        We made it to the shop and dropped off the car.  The mechanic said they could have it done in 30 minutes.  We stopped by Goodwill and leisurely shopped for 30 minutes.  We got back to the shop to find the car jacked up but no new tires.  Apparently my husband’s tires have a lock on them???  He had to give them a special key (I didn’t even know such a thing existed) to unlock the wheels so they could change the tires.  THEN we had to wait another 30 minutes.  Might as well grab some lunch at Taco Bell.  We got back to pick up the car and for the very first time, pull straight into the parking lot (we had parked on the side earlier) only to find a HUGE sign out front “CASH only – NO EXCEPTIONS.”  Okay – no biggie, right?  We’ll just run over to the ATM and get the cash.

             Ummmmm….. I haven’t used an actual ATM for over a decade and I have no idea what my pin is.  So we drove to the other side of Shelbyville to my Fifth Third branch.  I walked in, fill out the withdrawal slip, walk up to the counter only to be told I couldn’t get any money.  What???  The computers were down.  They couldn’t take deposits, make any withdrawals… nothing.  Seriously?  So I asked if I could wait a few minutes (and pray fervently that God would somehow restore the magical powers of the computers so I could get some money and get our car!!!) and they said it had been down for hours.  Hmmmmmmm…….  When I asked if I could cash a check, she said (now listen carefully to see if THIS makes sense to YOU) – I could take the check to another bank and they could cash it for me but that Fifth Third couldn’t cash a check since I had an account there with them.  WahhhHuh?  Feeling completely dumbfounded and frustrated, I asked her to repeat herself 2 more times – I thought I was losing my mind – seriously?  Can’t cash a check at my own bank???  She told me to go to the bank in Wal-Mart.  (Remember, by this time, we were supposed to be heading out of town 3 hours earlier.)

             I got out to the van where my husband and children were patiently waiting.  I told my husband the computers were down and we couldn’t get any money.  He looked at me like I had lost my mind.  I was beginning to feel like I had.  We went through the kids’ savings envelopes I keep in my wallet, dug through our wallets, change bins, looked between seats… and found a whopping fifty two dollars!  But the bill was sixty dollars.  I needed a measly eight bucks.

             I drove to Wal-Mart and walked into the Citizens National Bank.  They were incredibly nice and told me they couldn’t cash a check unless I had an account there or the check was drawn on an account there.  Sure.  Sounds about right at this point.  What now?

      mop       Just an observation:  when you raise your voice and yell “I need to get some money!” in front of a bank teller’s window, people tend to take notice.  As I saw security guards, a loss prevention specialist and a big guy yielding a large mop handle head my way, I quickly lowered my voice and told them our situation and asked if they had any other ideas.  The amazingly sweet girl behind the counter smiled and calmed my would-be attackers.  Then she told me I could get $20 cash back when I make a purchase at Wal-Mart.

            chocolateOkay – so I go buy chocolate.  That’s EXACTLY what I need right now.  Chocolate.  Lots of it.  Then I tried to use my debit card.  I always use it as a credit so I don’t know the debit pin (SHUT UP – I KNOW I should probably know my passwords but I don’t – OKAY???  That’s not the point of this story…….)  So the cashier asked me if I had any actual checks on me.  Well, yes… yes, I did.  She said if I made a minimum purchase, she could use the check for my transaction and I could get $20 back.  I started throwing chocolate on the counter – Reese’s, Reese’s Big Cup, Reese’s White Eggs, 3 Musketeers, oh… and a game of Uno…..  I told her to tell me when I reached my minimum purchase.  She stopped me somewhere before I got to the lighter that looks like a gun, this week’s issue of TV Guide and the doggie finger nail polish….

             She wished me luck and handed me back a receipt, a bag full of chocolate and a beautiful (and I do mean stunningly beautiful), green, crisp, clean, (seriously, it almost glowed) $20 bill.  I wanted to sing the “Hallelujah!” chorus but if you’ve ever heard me sing – you’ll know why I chose not to – I’d hate to scare their customers away.

             I walked out of the line towards the bank up to the front clutching my beautiful $20 bill for dear life.  I see the bank teller who had recommended this solution standing, clapping and cheering for my sweet victory!  “Go get your car girl!”  she shouts to me!$20 bill

             I march, rather proud and determined out of that store, opened the van door and slung the bag of chocolate towards my husband.  He didn’t know if it was a “Duck!  She’s mad, she’s got chocolate, and she may hurt someone!” kind of throw or a “Yeah, baby!  I have money AND I scored some chocolate!” kind of throw.  Either way, the flying 5 pound bag of various chocolates and the game of Uno missed his head by only centimeters.  He may have nightmares.

             So, nearly five hours after we began our trip out of town today, we returned to the shop.  We handed the mechanic $60 cash– consisting of a bunch of folded, crumpled one dollar bills and ONE beautiful $20.  We got in our separate vehicles, and DROVE HOME!   Out of town business will have to wait until another day!

             By the way, the place in Shelbyville is WONDERFUL – just remember, they require CASH only.  Anybody got $52 – I gotta pay back my kids!

Makes me want to puke…

I look at myself in the mirror squeezing into very uncomfortable clothes again.  Makes me want to puke…

I pull out the 1 pair of size 20 capri’s that I kept to show where I started my weight loss journey from.  Only to pull them on and struggle to button them.  Makes me want to puke….

I sit down in front of the television at night with a bowl of ice cream.  Just because I “need” to treat myself.  Makes me want to puke…. but I still eat it.

I hate the numbers I see on the scale.  I hate telling YOU how I’ve gained it all back.  Makes me wanna….. well,

PUKE

Break the stupid mirror

Pull my hair out

SCREAM

Hide in humiliation

How did I get back here?  I sit here with tears streaming down my face as I cry out to God, “Lord, why??  Why did you let me get back in this shape again?”  Only to hear Him whispering “Why did you choose this path, Tammy?”  I was there, so close to my goal.  I blogged all about it and you all listened.  You all offered your encouragement (which I treasure to this day).  But why weren’t you there to rip that midnight snack out of my hands??  Because I locked you out.  I stopped talking about it, I stopped blogging, I stopped doing anything about it.  It was easier to be quiet about it as the pounds piled back on in humiliation.  I stopped hearing “Wow!  You look great!  How much weight have you lost?” and started imagining your thought “Wow, she’s put all that weight back on.”

So here I am again.  At another starting line.  At another crossroads.  I walked in a Diabetes challenge here in our county yesterday and it felt good.  I walked for an hour.  I sweated.  I got uncomfortable.  It felt amazing!  I had energy all day yesterday and it’s addicting.  I need to take steps, drastic ones, to get off my rear end and start truly taking care of this glorious body God gave me.  I’m not talking about “stupid-drastic.”  I’m not crash dieting, bingeing or going on a “tongue patch” diet or a “freeze your fat” diet – (those seriously exist)…  I’m talking about eating right and exercising.

So I’m signing up for a 5K.  I don’t know where but I know it needs to be soon.  I’m using the Diabetes walk yesterday as my first day of training.  Pray for me.  Pray for my family.  I plan to blog each week – it makes me accountable.  Don’t let me go silent again.  My commitment to you is that by next Sunday (hope to make that my regular blogging day) I will have narrowed down some 5K’s and be ready to sign up for one.  I also plan to walk every day so if any of you are in New Castle and want to join me, let me know!  Can’t walk with me but you want to share in this journey?  Subscribe to this blog.  I hope it helps encourage somebody, somewhere along the way.  The Lord is walking me through this journey for a reason.

Ready….

Set…..

Go!

Sometimes I Cry – Journey Through Gaining Weight Back

I keep a journal of prayers / thoughts / rants / scriptures.  I reluctantly share an entry from today’s journal:

“Lord, I’m miserable!  I’ve gained back 1/2 of the 50 pounds I have lost.  I am miserable – my back hurts AGAIN, my knees hurt AGAIN, I am not sleeping well AGAIN – I hate this!  I am so ashamed that I don’t want my husband to touch me.  I am ashamed that I cannot wear any of my clothes. I’m ashamed that I don’t even know what size I am because I can’t bring myself to put on anything without an elastic waist.  I can’t even walk one lap at the stupid walking trail without tremendous effort and frustration.  This sucks!  I’ve been traking my food again very faithfully for the last month and working out more regularly and I’m constantly gaining – gained 4 stupid, stinking pounds in the past week.  And don’t even try to tell me muscle weighs more than fat – I’m taking measurements, nothing is shrinking, anywhere.  Crap – this is frustrating.  I feel the grip of this addiction around my throat crushing me – crushing my self-esteem – crushing my will.  I feel defeated.  God, I cry out to you for help.”

After writing this in my journal, I opened my Bible and devotion book to read God’s answer to my silly ranting:

“Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” – Psalm 27:14

“God uses the discipline of waiting to teach us lessons we cannot learn any other way.  Waiting can be especially difficult when it seems as if everything in our lives is stuck at a red light, but He may be preparing a person or a situation so that when we proceed again He can work even more powerfully.  To us, waiting seems like a waste – or worse, it feels like things will never be right again.  When we have to wait, we shouldn’t just sit and fritter away the time.  We should pursue God with all our hearts, try to determine the reason God wants us to wait, and trust His goodness and timing because He is, after all, God.”                           -Excerpts from The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Rieghard

So, I wait.  I work out, I eat right and I wait……… and sometimes I cry.

202 Sticks of Butter!

Most of you know I started this weight loss journey back on January 18, 2011 when trying on clothes in a Lane Bryant dressing room, my daughter very innocently says to me “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  That was my point – the point you’ve heard me talk about.  That point when I was miserable, I dreaded trying to lose weight A-GAIN and was at my rope’s end.

I came home that day and cried, felt like hitting a brick wall with my fist and wanted to collapse in the floor with a big box of chocolates.  That would’ve really helped the situation, right?  I decided to make some changes, a little at a time.  In the past, I thought I just didn’t have enough will power.  I had tried all the diets, all the trendy tricks.  But this time, something made me look at my eating habits as an addiction (for me, it was), a disease I needed to fight.  I studied the Alcoholics Anonymous model and put some of the practices to work in my situation.  I immediately contacted a life coach to meet with on a weekly basis to set small, attainable goals and to hold me accountable.  I also found a sponsor – a woman who had gone through the struggles I was about to go through and came out on the other side.  I literally called her in the middle of Kroger one day because a recipe I was making called for 2 boxes of Ho-Ho’s and I knew there would be leftovers.  I wasn’t sure I could handle that.  In fact, I was trembling.  God bless Terri – she kicked my butt and helped me decide to not even make that recipe.  “Walk away from the Ho-Ho’s!”  🙂  It’s been amazing what a difference of having partners through this has made.  I know that if I screw up, my coach and my sponsor will come after me and make me explain my actions.

You have no idea what an accomplishment for me this is – to have lost 50 pounds!  The most I’ve ever lost my adult life is 7 pounds and that was before my wedding.  If you’re sitting at your computer thinking “I’m so proud of her but I couldn’t do that…” then you won’t be able to do it.  “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re usually right.”  -Zig Ziglar.  I’ve had to change my thinking before anything else started to change.  I’ve had to rely on God for a lot of strength.  On weeks I don’t do my devotions as regularly or stay focused on my time with Him, I don’t do well on the scale.  I know it sounds crazy.  I don’t care what you think.  I know my strength comes from the Lord almighty and I give him all the glory for this weight loss.  Cheesy as it may sound…

So, I stand before you today having made some lifestyle changes, a little at a time over the last 10 months.  It hasn’t been easy, I’ve worked for every ounce lost.  I haven’t taken any diet pills, I’ve not had surgery, I’ve not joined a gym, I’ve not joined Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.  I’ve made small changes to become more active and I’ve educated myself on what I eat.  Did you know that one, ONE whole wheat Pillsbury Grand’s biscuit is equal to 14 slices of whole wheat toast WITH JELLY?  Just learning stuff like this helps me make better choices.

I weighed in this morning at 153.8 pounds.  I began 10 months ago at 204.4 wearing size 20/22.  I’ve lost 50.6 pounds, the equivalent of 202 sticks of butter.  I’ve still got some sticks I’d like to lose but all in all, I’m ecstatic with this loss.  Just think where I would be if I were still at miserable and at my rope’s end.  I’m so glad God gave me the strength to make the changes and take the steps to get here.  It was a journey well worth it.  I look forward to continuing this journey.  Follow along by clicking “Yep, I’m in!  Sign me up!” if you want to get email alerts when a new blog post goes up (usually about once per week or less).  I’d love to get your feedback and hear your stories.