Monday, September 29, 2008


I know You gave the world your only son for us
To know Your name and live within the Savior's love
And you took my place
Knowing He'd be crucified
Cause You love, you love
A people undeserving.

-To know Your name, Hillsong United

This is how I feel. Undeserving.
Even though the lyrics above are pretty intense my feelings of gratitude range from pretty severe to pretty shallow. Right now - I am grateful that the most expensive gas station in Atlanta saved a few gallons of gas for me this morning. I happily paid the $4.39 that I usually drive by without looking on the way to the $3.79 a gallon gas station in the next zip code. It makes sense to use a gallon to save a few bucks, right?? No. It doesn't make sense but it surely makes me feel like I beat the system. Not today though. On the way home from the early a.m. workout I pulled right up to that famous Buckhead gas station that usually rapes it's Buckhead Betty's with a smile...over gas I mean. And though Brad and I try not to fill up there when we can avoid it we do walk there daily to get my dose of gatorade or diet sprite marked a good 30% above any grocery store drink. That makes sense too.

I am grateful for the Last Resort Grill in Athens and I feel undeserving to have partaken in such an amazing 3 course dinner on Saturday as my Bulldawgs were being humiliated....all for a whopping 33 dollars. Not only do I feel undeserving, I feel guilty. Brad and I couldn't get 3 beers plus tip in Atlanta for that price. We even took two pieces of Cecilia Villaveces cake home to savor over the weekend. I am gratfeul that the husband didn't get upset that I ate the white fluffy icing off the entire piece of coconut cake that I didn't deserve. Unfortunately, I think he expected it.

I don't deserve to have someone truly accept me just the way I am...with no revisions. He accepts my attempt to control things that I obviously have no business controlling. He listens to every phone call of tears or weariness nearly every single work day. And somehow he never seems to get tired of me calling. He already knows my imperfections but he doesn't hold them against me. I certainly don't deserve this type of grace. This tangible grace that tastes and feels so good. And this is the big one....he listens to every one of my daily ailments and doesn't downplay them. For someone who is rarely sick and never broken a bone or spent a day in a hospital - I have more aches and pains in places I never knew could hurt. Sometimes I'll even let him know about my hangnail that is driving me insane throughout the day as if his listening might just make it a little better. Bottom line Brad is a saint and I don't deserve an ounce of his acceptance but I guess that is the beauty of a "Covenant relationship," much like the relationship we have with a God who is present daily. We live under a covenant of unconditional acceptance despite our selfishness or worse, our self-centerdness. We are in a binding covenant through Christ's death. Yesterday morning we walked into church late during the song above. I am pretty good at feeling undeserving. It is part of my personality or upbringing or some mixed up view of reality....that I have to earn everything. And while I guess this is reality, this isn't how God works. I can't bring anything to the table. I truly have nothing to offer but yet so much to receive and there is truly nothing I can do to earn God's favor. I don't always get that everyday. Or I may get it in the morning when I wake up but by lunch I have to have cleaned the house, or gone out of my way for someone , or made huge progress to feel worthy of even enjoying the afternoon. This certainly isn't a freeing place to be. So, yesterday I just hummed those words all day long. Not only am I undeserving of so much in my life. God loves that I am undeserving and loves to give to those who finally realize they don't deserve an ounce of grace but can have every bit of it.

One thing I do deserve right now is a nap. I was awake all night and up at 5am to do insane things. Why do people excercise in the dark? I am addicted but I just don't understand why. Luckily, I am still semi-unemployed and I will enjoy a nap that I have earned.

Amos liked my lasagna too

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where do you begin....

When everything in your world seemed to change in a week where do you even begin to say where you are? Oh, how I could sit and "talk" to you for days about the change in my heart, the cool fall weather, and the assured presence of not just a God who loves me but a God who is still writing my story....despite my lack of trust at times.
Last week I learned of my friend, Megan's passing as I was on the boat with friends and the stars danced and John Mayer soothed in the background. It was there that God literally reached down and stole my heart and assured me that He had a purpose for me, too. Later that weekend I literally "bumped" into a stranger who may not end up being a part of this story but he was a fresh reminder at the right time that God was before me and believed in my purpose here in this life. How can it be that one minute life is as you know it and literally within an introduction to someone or a reading of a text message or the awareness of sudden life change that things are just like it sounds....forever different? Like if you were drawing the path of events - one minute you are going NorthWest and literally within a flash you are veering due East? Needless to say, I am so grateful that this is how things come about... this is how change comes. Literally, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away and I am so grateful that He does even if we can't even begin to understand it.
So, that is where I am. God has stolen my heart again though no circumstance has changed....yet. God has shown me through a life lost that my life is fragile and that people around me are impacted by me and my attitude despite how isolated I feel. Megan's life was felt by so may but not only in her leaving this world - it was felt before hand in hand written, personalized notes - several that I will never let go of. It was felt through her joy just being the way God made her - creative, genuine, and with a desire to teach others. I know it is easy to look at the death of someone near and vow for as long as you can to live life meaningfully. I have no super human powers that you dont have so I have done the same thing. And I know soon enough the hard knocks of life will try to knock me down a little but I do know one thing - Megan's journey will always be a place I can remember and literally feel God's hand writing a story. More so, I will remember what I prayed under the stars, in the dark, on the water last Saturday when I learned of her news....God dance over her right now and welcome her. I know that you are saying "Well done my good and faithful servant." I can not imagine how those words might really sound but they break me every time I think of them lately. This is where I am a new place.

More so, my precious grandaddy is not doing well. The yucky Alzheimer's disease is literally taking everything away from him. My Nana continues to love on him so beautifully and it is the perfect picture of unconditional love. Part of me wants to apologize for being so sappy on here today but I just know someone needs to hear of both Megan's life and the unconditional love of my Nana. More so, someone needs to read about the hope I have found through a season of a stinky mess in trying to figure out my identity. My true identity - not the one that I have created but the real one, the genuine one, the one that gives me life rather than slowly sucking it out of me. I am fully present now and more able to experience this type of love that Nana is just so good's just her way.

I know this is a big season in our lives.. in mine and Brad's life and in my family's life. Amid the change ahead I have never felt so much quiet joy in my heart. I feel right where I am supposed to be even as I long for things to be different. I am right where I am supposed to be and God is right before me putting people in my way, the fall weather as a reminder of change, and even books in the way to encourage me. I just have to tell you this to - I need you to do something - today. You need to shut down the computer and if you are so lucky to walk to the Borders in the 78 degree weather than do so. But get there and buy this book and read it by the weekend. It's a true story and it has so many fun thoughts about the South so I am sure most of you readers could relate. You won't regret it. Rarely do I tell you you have to do something so do it. It's called Same Kind of Different as Me. No thank you's, please.

Okay, the famous dog is in his new favorite spot on the porch overlooking Peachtree just watching the cars whirl by. He seems to bark at convertibles. I don't get it. Maybe he knows that's where the good times are? He is so happy too that God just reached on down and picked my little heart up and gave it a little kiss and a wink and put it right back where it needed to be...I can tell. He is soo happy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Megan - Victorious!
Posted 1 day ago

Atlanta Journal Constitution – posting Sunday

Many people choose later in their lives to give back, to serve others in some capacity after they have lived their life for themselves. Not Megan Gaddis, whose short, productive life was filled with generosity for others and a joy for living each day with love and laughter.

Megan McQueen Gaddis, 27, went to be with the Lord on Friday, September 12, 2008 at 8:30 p.m. after a long neurological illness. Megan was born in Atlanta on August 10, 1981 where she grew up and graduated from the Westminster Schools. While attending Westminster, she devoted her extra time to service projects at the school and her youth group at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church. During junior high, she would volunteer on Saturdays by riding around in a mission van, handing out food and supplies for Atlanta Children’s Coalition ministry. Dan Hayes, founder of Atlanta Community Ministries, wrote to Megan during her illness, reminding her that she was a founding volunteer for Creative Hearts, an after-school ministry for Hispanic children in the Lindburgh area. She coordinated with friends the gathering of donated Christmas gifts for over 300 children during high school years. At Westminster, she was awarded the Levy Award for Outstanding Service, The Senior Citizenship Award, and was a class officer her senior year.
She went on to graduate from Vanderbilt University where she majored in Child Development and Art History. She was an active member of Reformed University Fellowship and Chi Omega sorority where she devoted her time to raising money for Make a Wish Foundation. The summers during her years at Vanderbilt, she was a counselor at Kanukuk Camps in Branson, Missouri. During her junior year, she was selected to participate in a summer semester at Focus on the Family Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was after this experience she changed her focus to education, and returning to Atlanta, earned her Masters of Education at Georgia State University. She taught for two years at Park Street Elementary School in Marietta where she was awarded Outstanding New Teacher her first year in the classroom. Dr. Devonne Harper, who hired Megan as a teacher said, “From the first day I met her, Megan radiated poise, grace and wisdom... well beyond her young age. She was always sensitive to the needs of her students and she was very conscientious about searching for creative ways to better serve them. I often reminisce about my visits to Megan's classroom. She created a warm, engaging learning environment for her students. I have vivid memories of her singing, dancing, reading, and writing with her children. From time to time I see her former students, now first and second graders, and I know Megan would be so proud of how well they are doing. She gave them such a solid foundation!”
Megan was a member of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church and attended Buckhead Church where she worked with Middle School students. She was a member of the Young Patrons for the Arts at the High Museum and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance.
She is survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Michael O. Gaddis of Atlanta, one brother Michael Owen Gaddis, Jr. and one sister, Kathryn Blair Gaddis, both of Atlanta and her paternal grandmother Mrs. Levettia Hicks of Campbellsville, Kentucky and lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. She will always be remembered as a young woman of many talents and many friends of all ages, but loved most for her joy, her generosity of spirit, and her love of the Lord.

There will be a Memorial Service on Monday, September 15, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. in the sanctuary at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church(, 3180 Peachtree Road in Atlanta with a reception following the service in Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: The CJD Foundation, P.O. Box 5312, Akron, OH 44334 or Hospice Atlanta 1244 Park Vista Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I wish I could replay to you the message that I left on Brad's voicemail on accident on Wednesday. That's all you would need to hear to understand the trouble that mischievous Amos caused. Originally, this post was going to show you Amos pre-$70 at the Groomers and post-$70 at the groomers. Unfortunately, due to the inquisitive nature of my 30 pound friend, his post-picture was a disaster.

Much to Brad not wanting to admit it, Amos is a HIGH MAINTENANCE dog! His ears need cleaned 2 or 3 times a day after they get wet, he only has a liking for organic food full of avocado juice in order to make his coat shiny, his hair cuts cost more than ours combined and he only likes to sleep now atop our too expensive bed comforter. I never saw this happening. On one of our first dates Brad asked me if I would ever dress my dog in clothes. NEVER I replied....eww, gross, never. He said, good, and that that would have been the deal breaker. Ouch. Well, now I wish clothes were all our little ball of fluff required because his pampering is worse. Nonetheless, he is my favorite thing in the world, really. He licks me when I am sweaty (Brad would never do that) and he mopes when I feel like being sad but of course he is so easily pleased and excited. Hence - the mess at the dog park Wednesday. Amos was just jubilant to get out of the house that day and all his fave friends were at the dog park. Roman the white German Shepard, Ellie the new Welsh terrier and rambo the black labradoodle. They were all being kids.....chasing, licking, jumping, running circles....until Dr. Amos decided to lead Niche and Che, two German Shepard's, into the woods for an adventure. I call. Normally he comes. I call. He always comes on second call. He is nowhere. As I walk back to the woods I hear an animal...maybe a dog....splashing in the mud. Literally. Hands flailing, legs flapping....having a big ole party in the mud. He came out with a big black grin and began running like a crazy man in circles. And here is what we got.........(I don't think the pictures even do it half it's justice. Just trust me. Amos was in T R O U B L E. )

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Like Christmas for Amos

Amos the Famous Dog gets to roam free tomorrow and for the next 48 hours. He is chasing his wagging tail in a circle as I type out of anticipation. I have never seen him do this before so I know it is an act of giddyness. My spouse and I are headed south to Sumter County for the weekend to visit with Amos' grand-family. He was so anxious he wouldn't even eat his dinner tonight. I told him he couldn't get up til he finished the way my mama used to do when she served lima beans. I would ask to be excused to the potty after sitting silently for 20 minutes while mom cleaned and the rest of the family watched Step By Step. I would put as many in my mouth as I could as any smart child would do and I would spit them in the toilet and flush. I would smile so big my whole way back to the table until I got back to the table and saw that there were still atleast two more mouthfuls of those gross-textured, chalk flavored ovals of green. Mama surely wouldn't fall for the plea to use the bathroom again and she had already taken my napkin (my final effort) from the table so I was stuck. That mama....... always thinking one step ahead! I don't remember how the story ended but I do remember feeling the worst knot in my stomach the whole night. First, I was starving and so were those kids in Africa and now they were more starving since my beans would go to waste. Second, I had to sit lonely underneath the dim light just staring at those nasty life sucking boogers until my mom forgot I was being punished. To this date I despise.....I loathe, abhor, detest viciously - lima beans. Luckily, our children will never have to suffer through the turmoil of the lima bean because I vow to never ever ever ever serve them. Ever. Poor Brad as he is an LB fan.

Anyway, Amos' dinner sits untouched, his sleepover bag is packed for grandma's house and I am giving him some Benadryl in 20 minutes so he'll sleep through his anticipation. I remember being a young kiddiepoo like Amos and getting all antsy over my trip to Atlanta to stay at Nana's house. Onetime when I stayed at Nana's house and mama and daddy weren't there Nana and my aunts took me to Penney's I think to buy some new white shoes with lace socks and a dress. I think I even bought a matching headband. I loved that sailor blue striped dress and my shoes that allowed me to slide like a real dancer and twirler on the hardwood floors. I wore the outfit to my cousins wedding whom I didn't really know at that age but they will surely never forget me. I literally had my my my my my boogie shoes on and tore up the dance floor. And most Sunday's when I stayed with Nana and grandad (whom she calls "Punky" and I just love it) I would awake to a uniquely prepared pancake breakfast. I could never sleep the night before a trip to Nana's house but it was worth my tired eyes the next day to lie awake and dream of all the fun to be had.

Mr. Brad is even cleaning Dr. Amos' ears right now. Amos doesn't mind it because he knows this activity means he gets to have people who love him rub his head and his ears all weekend. And I don't mind it as long as I don't have to do it! Okay, off to get myself ready for a weekend of sitting on my favorite front porch in America and reading my latest book. Amos can run through the fields and chase squirrels without the threats of Peachtree road all around him. I can read and listen to the quiet while staring at my favorite bush full of exploding pink flowers (maybe while swatting a gnat or three). Brad can enjoy lima beans (his mama likes to cook him his favorites when he is home so now is his chance) and we can all slow down for a weekend and enjoy the blessings of family. South Georgia or bust!

Oh, and, I want to be Sarah Palin when I grow up. Does anyone remember Northern Exposure? I used to love to watch this show with mama. I would love one day for Brad to up and leave this fast paced city life to move me to somewhere intriguing and mysterious like Alaska. I would certainly name my kids after cool trees and cities and favorite sports too if I were to live the exotic life in Alaska. Really.

Oh, and, did you feel the weather tonight before the dinner hour? There was the slightest hint of fall in the air and I wanted to skip all the way around the block. I love the fall. I hate lima beans but love the fall.