Long Time Coming

I got a job!

And it’s been a long time coming. I sold my portion of a business in 2012 so that I could stay at home and enjoy my daughter’s senior year in high school. I always knew I’d go back to work one day – I just didn’t know exactly when or how.

That’s where prayer comes in. Once we moved my daughter to college I started praying for a job. And not just any job – I had very specific qualifications attached to my request. I figured if I’m going to ask for something, I might as well be detailed as to what I need. Go big or go home, as the saying goes.

And not only did Jesus answer my prayer for a job with a yes, but as a friend of mine says, “Jesus knocked my socks off” last week by giving me a wonderful opportunity with every detail from my prayer request granted.

So what have I learned over the last year?

Be patient. Don’t miss the part of this story where I’ve been praying for a year for a job. I didn’t ask for a job on a Tuesday have one by Wednesday. I’ve been seeking an answer for over a year. I have other requests in my journal that I’ve been praying over for a lot longer than a year, and I’m patiently awaiting His answers.

Listen to the Holy Spirit. I had a few other opportunities come my way this past year, but each time a little voice in my head (that would be the Holy Spirit) said, “No, this isn’t it. Keep praying, keep waiting.” If I had ignored that voice and chosen an earlier opportunity I would have missed what God had planned for me.

All prayers are not answered with a yes. Several times over the last year I would ask God if I was supposed to take a job and the answer was no. And I’ll admit it was a little frustrating because I couldn’t see the better plan God had for me. My prayer journal is a conglomeration of prayers that were answered with a yes, prayers that were answered with a no, and many that I’m still praying over. Some of the ones answered with a no make sense to me know and some don’t. It’s not my role to figure out why Jesus says no sometimes – it’s my job to trust that He has His very best for me no matter what the situation.

Be persistent. If you are busy and your child comes up to you with a quiet, “Mom,” you don’t always focus on him at that time. But when he comes running to you screaming over and over, “MOM! MOM! MMMMOOOOMMMM!” you give him your full attention to see what he needs. You don’t have to yell at God, but being persistent demonstrates your commitment to the request and your desire to receive an answer.

Yes, I know people are praying for bigger issues today. Loved ones are sick or dying. Children have left the faith and leading lifestyles that do not glorify Jesus. But no matter what the request is, make them known to Jesus, be persistent, wait on an answer and be patient until your answer comes.  A great example in the Bible of a man who prayed persistently is Elijah when he prayed for rain:

So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea…” Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.”  (1 Kings 18:42-46)

Jesus He is Lord over every prayer request and every answer – every yes, no and wait and see. When Jesus answers your request with a yes, give Him all the praise and honor and glory you can. When He tells you to wait and see, praise Him for having your best interest at heart. And when Jesus answers with a no, do both because those are the days your faith will be strengthened.

prayer-on-my-knees4

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

A Little Less Laundry

My son is playing varsity basketball this year. And for those of you who don’t have a child who plays basketball, let me try to explain how much laundry I do during basketball season.

laundry1

Basketball season is 4 months long and it’s loaded every week with 2 or 3 games and practices in between. So every single night from now through February I’ll have some nasty, sweaty, smelly uniform to wash. Stinky. Wet from sweat. Gross uniforms. But I’m up to the task – this ain’t my first basketball rodeo. I was all prepared with gallons of detergent and enough Downy Unstopables to de-funk the smelliest of uniforms, ready to tackle the nightly routine of washing whatever uniform was worn that day. (What are Downy Unstopables you ask? Go buy a bottle and sprinkle them in your laundry for the longest lasting, best smelling laundry ever. You’re welcome.)

Hold up there a minute, laundry momma.

We have a new coach this year so I decided I would go to the parents’ meeting last night. (I usually leave that to my husband, but since I keep the color coded calendar and we have a new coach I thought I’d go with him this year to make sure I’m in the know.) Coach went over the normal topics – schedule, out of town tournaments, fundraising, etc. And then he said these magical words, words that every basketball momma longs to hear but can’t let herself believe she would actually ever hear them:

“After every game I take home all the uniforms, wash them
and bring them back clean to the boys for the next game.”

Do WHAAAATTT???

The mommas in the room gave him a round of applause. What coach in his right mind does that? Does he know what he’s saying? Is this a prank? Is he being blackmailed by a rogue varsity basketball momma? 

We often don’t realize what the smallest gesture means to someone else. A smile to a woman checking you out at Target could make her day because she is working 2 jobs to make ends meet. Reaching the top shelf in the grocery store and getting a jar of pickles down for an older man could make a difference because maybe he lost his wife of 50 years not too long ago. Texting a Bible verse to your child could brighten their day because today they’ve been picked on at school or maybe they didn’t do well on a test.

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” (Proverbs 15:30)

Sometimes we think we have to do some grand gesture when a cheerful look may be all we need to do to help someone feel better.

But hey, I’m all about our new coach doing some of my laundry for the next 4 months!

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

Move over, Jillian

Every so often I get on a health kick. OK, so maybe it’s really a “healthier than we’re currently eating” kick, not an all-out five alarm low-fat, no-carb, vegetarian, tofu eating health kick.

I usually start it at the beginning of a school year, all bright-eyed and full of high expectations that I will get up early every morning and I will cook my son a nutritious breakfast. For lunch will eat sandwiches on whole grain bread only (no matter it tastes like cardboard) and we’ll have fruit and granola for snacks.

Wanna take a guess how long that lasts? It lasts about as long as a team from the SEC west stays undefeated.

I’ve done a lot better this year, especially in the breakfast category. I knew I had to get a grip on our morning cuisine now that my son is 6’2” and still growing. No more toaster strudels or cinnamon French toast sticks to start the day.

And thanks to my son’s growth and sports activities we’ve been having a lot of discussions in the house about nutrition (or the lack thereof). So today I went to Publix and bought several healthy choices of snacks for all of us.

There’s only one problem.

What do I do with all the snacks I have? I spent good money on all those chips and jars of salsa, Chewy Chips Ahoys, M&M’s and Miss Vickie’s potato chips. I’m thinking I have 2 choices – slowly eat through the mass of unhealthy snacks, thereby not wasting my money while allowing us all to gradually wean off Reese’s peanut butter cups and Rice A Roni, or I can go all Jillian Michaels and grab a large black trash bag and start tossing all the white pasta, white rice, chips, cookies – well, basically all the food that is oh so bad for you but tastes oh so good.

junk food

Throwing out bad food is a painful consequence of the choice I made to buy it in the first place. And sometimes you need to go all Jillian Michaels – in your pantry and in your life.

What is in the pantry of your spirit that needs to go today to make you healthier? Is it jealousy? Pride? Greed? Anger? If Jillian Michaels could toss whatever is making you unhealthy from the pantry of your spirit what would it be?

“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Yeah, I’ve got some cleaning out to do in my pantry. But I’ve also got stuff to clean out of my spirit.

Move over, Jillian. Me and Jesus got some work to do.

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

 

The Kitchen Table

Today was one of those beautiful fall days in Auburn, crisp temperatures and a cobalt blue sky. With one child in college and another one involved in high school sports I often find myself in the house alone in the afternoons. It’s a dramatic change from just a few years ago, when all activities in the afternoons revolved around my kitchen table.

table

As I was walking through the kitchen on my way to do yet another load of laundry, the late afternoon sunlight crept across my table, jolting my memory back to younger momma days when the afternoons were busy and my kitchen table was used for so much more than meals.

I’m guessing a lot of mommas use their kitchen tables as homework desks, school project stations and craft zones. It’s the one place where both my children could sit together, homework or project in front of them so that I could multitask. I was the English teacher, the math tutor, the crafty momma and the dinner cooker all at the same time. The conversations in the afternoon sounded something like:

What’s the capital of Arizona?
Do we have any glitter for my poster?
Do we have poster board for my poster?
I thought I bought garlic powder at the store yesterday.
What happens to the zero when you divide by zero?
Why am I out of milk again?
That project is due tomorrow???

It was a daily free for all around my kitchen table. And to this day I still have some green glitter stuck on my table – I cannot for the life of me remember on which project we used green glitter. There’s a couple of black marks made by a Sharpie on there, too – I’m sure someone was drawing on a poster board and let the Sharpie slide off the edge of the board, not thinking those marks would never come off that table.

For 12 years my daughter did all her homework at that table, from first grade all the way through high school. It was her routine, her comfort zone. All studying and fussing over math problems happened around that table. And my son was there, too. From the time he was a toddler I would give him something to color while I called out spelling words to his sister, until he eventually graduated to doing his homework on his own (thank heavens – at some point you realize your ability to do math has declined in direct proportion to how much your age has increased).

And I miss those days. I miss the days of picking up my children from school, coming into the house to have a snack at the table, then calling out history questions or flipping index cards with multiplication facts on them to my children while I started dinner.

It’s just one of those moments when once again I am alone with my memories, both thankful for that time in my life and a little sad that those days are gone.

We often don’t realize in our day to day routines that we are making memories – memories that will one day flood our minds way down the road. So if you have young children, take comfort knowing the most mundane, routine tasks will one day be some of your favorite memories. And if you are like me with older ones, don’t fight against remembering the past but take a moment to thank Jesus for all the days that you thought were boring but now seem oh, so special.

“What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short.” (1 Corinthians, 7:29) You ain’t kidding, Brother Paul. “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God. My times are in your hands.’” (Psalm 31:14-15)

Enjoy today, no matter how simple, mundane or routine the day may be.

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

So Out of Shape

Yesterday was my 25th wedding anniversary. Now some people might lollygag around in the morning, lay in the bed and drink an extra cup of coffee and watch some meaningless show on HGTV to start that day.

Not me.

Nope, for some unknown reason I decided I would join a few friends at an exercise class that started at 8:30. Actually, I know the reason. I’m out of shape. Seriously out of shape.

Yes, I play tennis. But if you watched me play, you’d know my tennis moves aren’t exactly whipping me into rock solid shape.

So I figured yesterday was as good as any to start. I started tennis at age 40, and so I thought I’d start exercising again on my 25th wedding anniversary.

The start of the class featured a 5 lap run around the parking lot. Did I mention I don’t run – ever – unless, as Rick Burgess says, something is chasing me?

That was followed by a series of leg lifts, bench presses, planks and pushups. Did I mention my nickname given to me by my husband is noodle arms?

Barbell_Group_Fitness_Class

But I survived. And I’ll say Stanley the fitness coach motivates and pushes you in a positive way. One of my favorite quotes from him was, “You can’t outwork a bad diet.”  (Just stab me in the heart, why don’t you.)  And when I left I thought it was tough, but not as bad as I had built it up in my head. In fact, I went so far as to think maybe I’m not in as bad of shape as I thought.  I even texted those exact words to my husband, who comes home from Stanley’s afternoon classes dripping with sweat and took an ice bath after one session.

Yeah I was feeling pretty spry – until lunch.  I was meeting 2 friends to celebrate a birthday and one of the friends had gone through the class with me that morning.  This friend has been attending Stanley’s class for some time, so she knows his routines.  When we started talking about the class she said, “I don’t know what was up with Stanley today. That was the easiest class we’ve ever had.”

Wah, wah, waaaaahhhhhhh…..

Well that was a little disappointing for sure. That’s certainly not the first time I’ve gotten a little puffed up in the head (or the noodle arms) and thought I was a better than I was. Nothing like a eating a big ‘ol piece of humble pie filled with vain calories to bring me back down to where I belong.

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

Oh how true that is, whether it’s in an exercise class, a job or your walk with Jesus.  It’s so easy to think, “Yeah, I’ve got this,”  when in fact we should be saying, “Yeah, I got this, all because of you Jesus.”  I’ll be more careful not to lift myself up to a place I don’t belong, for that’s a place which is all about me and not about Jesus.

And I’m afraid, from what I hear, I won’t be able to lift myself out of the bed after Stanley gets ahold of us on Thursday…

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

Love and a HoneyBaked Ham

In honor of my 25th wedding anniversary today, I’d like to share the very funny, almost unbelievable way I met my husband.

There I was, a sophomore at Auburn University home for Christmas break. My roommate at the time had previously worked at HoneyBaked Ham and was planning on working there again over the break. She talked me into working with her to earn money – you know, the one thing college students never have. It was a no-brainer because all I had to do was hand over hams to hungry people. The ham store closed at 6:00 I think, so it would be an easy job and it wouldn’t interfere with my social life.

One day at work I was at my register, my roommate standing at her register to my left. A tiny, old, sweet grandmother shuffled up to the counter with her cane, looked up at me with the gentlest eyes from behind the largest, thickest glasses and asked with the straightest of faces:

“Do you have a 10 pound butt?”

For one crucial moment I forgot where I was (at work, selling hams), and my attempt to stifle my belly laugh fell way short, especially after my roommate said, “I don’t know – we’ve never weighed hers.”

Gee, thanks.

I’m not sure if it was that day or a maybe the next (memory is the first to go with age, you know) but there I was, again manning my register handing over all sizes of butts to hungry people waiting in line.

And then, just as if I were in a Lifetime movie, I turned around to see the freezer doors open, the wooosh of the frozen condensation spilling out of the freezer. And in that moment, my future husband walked right out of that freezer and into my heart. I couldn’t move. I could only stare at him. He was truly the best looking guy I had ever seen.

When I finally floated back down to earth, I looked at my roommate and said, “I’m going to get a date with that guy.” She snarked back, “Yeah right.”

Turns out my mother-in-law had talked the manager into hiring her two children who were in college to work  there on Christmas break – that’s how Todd ended up walking out of the freezer that day.  You can guess the rest of the story because here we are, 25 years later. Still married, and yep we still like each other – a lot.

My story just goes to show you never know what God has planned for you. I would never have guessed God would use the HoneyBaked Ham freezer to bring love into my life. It’s a real life example of this Scripture: “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,’
declares the Lord.As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9) It also proves Jeremiah 29:11 – “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Everything we do has an opportunity associated with it. That opportunity may not be as big as meeting your future spouse, but if we go through life grumbling and complaining instead of looking for the blessings, we’ll miss the wonderful life God has planned for us.

So here’s to the HoneyBaked Ham located in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, distributor of delicious spiral sliced hams with a yummy glaze on the outside, and a freezer full of love on the inside

honeybaked

Happy Anniversary, Todd. I truly love you more today than I did when I walked down that aisle 25 years ago.

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

A Guru of What?

The other night I was all alone in my house, no dinner to cook, no child to shuttle, just me and my Real Simple magazine. (I know, pitiful. Nothing racy or spicy here, folks – just a publication that fuels my every increasing OCD.)

And I happened to notice an ad for the USPS with all sorts of shipping tips spread across two pages. My first thought was ummm, hey – the USPS is funded by the government, and the government is funded by taxpayers, and I’m a taxpayer, so why the heck is my money paying for a two page spread in the front of Real Simple???

But I digress.

That thought was quickly overrun by the next thought as I looked at the picture of Nicole Gibbons sitting on the floor of her staged apartment, USPS Priority Mail boxes stacked neatly to her left.

Lifestyle Guru

Who, you ask, is Nicole Gibbons?

I had to ask the same thing. I laughed when I saw her title – “Lifestyle Guru.” Good for you, girl. Good for all the 20-somethings that can go out on the internet without a whole lot of life experience and call themselves an “expert,” a “guru,” or heaven forbid a “know-it-all.”

This is not a slap at Nicole. She is a beautiful young lady and I’m sure she knows more about decorating a dining room table for Thanksgiving than I’ll ever know. But being a “Lifestyle Guru” is completely different from being a “Life Guru.”

Has she hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for her family, her parents and her in-laws on a Thursday and buried her uncle on a Friday? I have. We ate on paper plates that year.

Has she gently unfolded the hand of her hysterical three year old son only to find he’d been clutching a wasp in his grasp the whole time? Been there, done that. I’ve played Nurse Momma many times, a role I never thought I could pull off.

Has she looked into the eyes of a coworker as she tells them the sickening news that the company is downsizing and that coworker is being let go? That was me, many years ago. One of the worst things I ever had to do.

Maybe Nicole’s answer to all those scenarios is yes, but she looks a little young to have worked her way through all of those real-life situations.

When I was in my 20’s I knew EVERYTHING – just ask my parents. Now, looking back, I realize I knew very little. I was the guru of the present age, having very little experience to draw from when I really needed it.

So the next time someone older offers you a piece of advice, listen. Or better yet, ask them for their advice. They’ve been there, done that in more ways than you can imagine.

“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.
Ask your father and he will tell you,
your elders, and they will explain to you.” (Deuteronomy 32:7)

I may not be a lifestyle guru, but I’m a 47-year-old life guru.

And I still have so much more to learn.

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!