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!

 
 

 

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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.

Click on “Follow This Blog” over to your left to get a notice when the next blog comes out!

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!

 

 

What happened when that preacher’s wife wore jeans to church on Easter?

Yeah, I heard of a few goofy comments about not honoring the Lord on Easter… I told you already what I think about that. See my recent post if you missed it.

I also realized that those Easter jeans of mine were tighter than usual. What I wear to church on Sunday is not at all about honoring my Lord. BUT what I put into this temple that he blessed me with… that’s another story. How I’ve been mistreating my body is getting awful close to dishonoring the Lord. Gulp – that’s uncomfortable, isn’t it?

So I began to immerse myself in education about the body and food. I’ve watched two documentaries now (Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives) and I recommend them both. My 7 and 10 year olds watched Forks Over Knives with me. That night when I tucked them into bed, they both said to me (separately) that they believed we needed to change out diet to include more plant based foods. I began to read The Daniel Plan and have once again begun to log my daily food intake and exercise on http://www.myfitnesspal.com regularly.

I’m discovering some new yummy tricks:

This is spinach salad.  That’s right, I said SALAD!  It’s lots of spinach, a few frozen strawberries, a frozen kiwi, frozen blackberries, 1/2 a frozen peach and apple juice.   The kids ate it like it was sherbert!   I call it “Spinach Salad Ice Cream”  🙂

10319762_10203496910933354_70203196_o

 

 

 

 

 

This is nothing but frozen bananas.  Nothing added – just froze bananas when they were ripe (peeled and cut into 3-4 pieces each).  Put them in the blender as we were getting ready to eat lunch to let them defrost a bit.  When we were done with lunch, I turned on the blender and this is what we got!  Frozen bananas the consistency of soft serve ice cream!

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I have a long way to go.  I weighed in at 207 pounds last Monday.  Yes, you just read that.  I told you my actual weight.  I’m not proud, it makes me sick to share it, actually.  But if I’m open and honest, it helps hold me accountable and maybe will help someone else.  I weighed in today at 202.2.  I’ve lost 4.8 pounds this week.  That’s a start.  My goal weight is 145.  I did it once before.  I got derailed by 6 months and 5 rounds of steroids (that was my initial excuse) and stayed off course for 2 years.  I’m back on the wagon, again.  Here we go!  Prayers appreciated.  Encouragement essential.  Friends needed.

 

By the way…. I’m doing this without surgery, pills, drink mixes, powders, milkshakes, etc.  I’m not bashing anybody who does!  My goal is to show that anyone can do this with the Lord’s help.  You can join myfitnesspal and see what I eat every single day and how much exercise I’m doing.  I’m also doing devotions every morning.  If I can do this, anyone can do this.

 

 

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.

Focus

Focus.  It’s not just a car that Ford makes.  🙂  When you focus on something, it becomes important in your life.  That’s why it is essential to have a goal.  It gives you something to focus on.  I once heard a motivational speaker ask “If you go hunting and you see a field full of deer, do you just randomly shoot hoping to get lucky or do you pick one, focus on it and shoot?”  Any hunter out there will tell you your chances of killing a deer are next to nothing if you try to shoot them all.  You’ve got to have focus.

When I first started this journey on January 18, 2011, I weighed 204.4 pounds and was physically and emotionally miserable.  I chose to focus on my weight and becoming healthy again.  I read books that educated me on nutrition (not silly fad diets), I joined www.myfitnesspal.com and educated myself on calories and exercise.  I began working on setting goals, developing healthy habits and making a plan with my life coach, Brian Osher.  I began to move more and eat wisely.  I weighed in every week and blogged weekly about my experiences as the weight began to come off.  Choosing to focus on my journey was as big a decision as committing to eat healthier and start exercising.

I weighed in this morning at 155.4.  To date, that is a loss of 49.0 pounds.  I have so much more energy, I feel fantastic (most days) and my health issues (especially the digestive issues) have all but disappeared.

I’m going to risk sounding negative here but I want to share something.  When people see me and notice the weight loss, they often ask “How did you do it?  I really need to do something about my weight.”  When I tell them (often to their disappointment) that I am eating healthier and exercising, you can almost see them mentally change the channel.  I get excuse after excuse as to why they can’t change their diet:  “My husband likes fatty foods and I don’t want to cook 2 different meals for us every night.”  “I have a hurt (insert body part) and can’t exercise.”  “I just can’t find the time to exercise.”  You know what?  That only tells me that they don’t really want to do something about their weight.  Zig Ziglar says “If you really wanted to be something different than what you are, you would already be making the changes to become what you want.”  You’ve got to get to “That Point.”  If they’re not to that point, I can see why they tune me out.  So forgive me when I answer the “How did you do it?” questions with a quick but polite answer.  If you really want to know more, ask for more details but I won’t offer them.  I’ve been tuned out too many times.

My weight loss has not been easy – I have often equated it to the disease of alcohol addiction, only my disease is food addiction.  When I stopped making excuses, God blessed my efforts and has been faithful.  I know it sounds absolutely crazy but when I lag behind on my devotions or find myself lacking in my prayer life, my weight tends to go up.  I honestly believe that losing weight is as much a physical endeavor as it is emotional, mental and spiritual.

Do you find yourself offering excuse after excuse?  Don’t wait for New Year’s – start now – start tonight.  “If you’re going to make a real and lasting change, you must make changes immediately and enthusiastically!”  – Tommy Lanham

Make this a focus and do something for yourself, the Lord’s temple, your children’s parent, your parent’s child, your spouse…. stop making excuses.  Click on “Sign me up” at the right hand side of this blog & join me as we go through this journey together.  I need you – I need your support and your success stories and your “I just ate a bag of Ding-Dong’s” stories.   Commitment is a balance between formula and freedom.  Let’s be free together!  Come on, we can do this!