January 23, 2014

No Master's...How about a Butter Braid Pastry instead?

What's with all the frozen storage inquiry? Why did I go to Iowa in the middle of winter?

The last four months have been somewhat cryptic if you are a friend of mine on Facebook. But, as of today I am the proud mama to a new company called RED BIRD FUNDRAISING.

I am an exclusive dealer for this part of Texas for Butter Braid Pastry. My territory has just over 500,000 people in it. So Abilene is my hub but I will travel a couple of hours in each direction to reach it's borders. What is a Butter Braid Pastry? You can click over here to see some up close and personal pictures...www.butterbraid.com

And can I say I am excited? Because I am,...really excited.

My weeks will be filled with baking Butter Braid Pastries and delivering these yummy braided and filled loaves to schools, non-profits, day cares,...you name it, if they do fundraisers they are going to get a free Butter Braid Pastry from me, and then helping the organization with their fundraisers. This is a full-time business that is perfect for me. I will be my own boss with lots of oversight from the makers of Butter Braid Pastry. I will have a job that will help people, help themselves. I get to visit with new people every day. It really is a dream come true for me. I have for years been keeping my open for a niche market that was needed in Abilene and thanks be to God I have found it.

How did I find this company? Out of desperation. Our fundraising options in Abilene are somewhat limited. I am not going to belittle the options at all, there is a place for all types. However, as a parent I was frustrated that my boys were unable to sell 1 item this year and it was not for lack of trying. It had to do with timing, and an item that once you have 1 you don't need any more. If you aren't the first school to get this item then your quite out of luck. I was feeling frustrated because I had two chorus trips to pay for fully. We had all tried our best with the fundraiser because it was going to make a difference of how much cold hard cash I had to cough up 2 weeks before Christmas time. No deal.

That same day my sister-in-law who lives in Arizona posted that my niece's dance company was doing a fundraiser and the amazing Butter Braid Pastries were back. Within a half an hour her feed blew up with all sorts of orders, and raves. "We have been waiting for this." Well I don't know about you but there are a couple of fundraisers that go on that I anticipate, but generally they have the words, "thin mint" in them. I was intrigued. I kept on checking back and the orders grew, and the excitement over the Butter Braid Pastry grew. So I decided then and there...I am getting this information and passing it on to my kids school.

 But, there wasn't a dealer for this area.


I couldn't get the whole Butter Braid Dealer thing out of my head. It was with me when I went to sleep at night, and with me in the morning when I woke up.
I sent an inquiry about the dealership. They emailed me back. I sent another email. They emailed me back.

About 3 weeks into this 4 month process of acquiring a dealership I had some serious decisions to make. I had already applied for my Master's program at ACU in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program. I had been envisioning myself a therapist for 3 straight years. However, along with those thoughts there was always a back door. I always knew I was committed to get a Masters if it would be the right thing for not only myself but my family. I would take a fresh look at everyone's schedules and what their needs were this year and then pray A LOT and seek God's guidance on it. There was never peace. This program is particularly time consuming. No peace. To top that all off in our Bible Class at church two men were facilitating an Andy Stanley 6 week series on margins - margins in time, margins in money, margins in emotional life, margins in work, margins in relationships. One of the facilitators was a therapist and he spoke openly about how difficult it was for him to have margins in his life as far as time and work. When you are a therapist - people need you. Rob and I were in marriage therapy a couple of years ago and our therapist needed to skip a week because of a court case he was testifying in and I was panicked. How could he take a week off? I quickly envisioned me wanting to take a 2 week vacation with my husband and thought about all the people who would be let down because of it. Then I thought about my friend who recently became a grandma and was spending two weeks with her daughter and son in law to help as they were adjusting to new sleep schedules. I will be the first to tell you that God has got it all figured out and He does not need me to think the world weighs on my shoulders, but I also know myself well enough that it would be difficult for me to not be at my clients beck and call. Being a therapist all of a sudden began to feel very heavy. I do love to encourage people, I love to help people see and seek God in their walk, I love to see people with expectation, knowing that they are valued and loved. I wanted joy and I didn't want to have to climb out from a day of really difficult listening to find that each night. I wanted to come home and tell my husband about my day and all that happened, I couldn't do that.

I wanted something different. So God gave my lots of clarity. He has opened every door with this business. He has made it clear in every way that this has His blessing. I flew to Iowa last week for my final interview to be a Butter Braid Pastry dealer. In May I will finish school for good and walk across that stage as one happy camper. I will have accomplished just what I set out to. I learned more about myself and determination and worthiness than I ever dreamed I would. School was a true gift to me, not a minute wasted. And as of the end of February, Lord willing and if all goes as expected my pallet of Butter Braid Pastries will be in 5 chest freezers and I will be working full-time as a dealer for Butter Braid Pastry and be my boss in my Red Bird Fundraising company. I had worked out my schedule for school to be doable to also work full time.

So...that's my story and I am sticking with it. If you are someone who runs a fundraiser, has a kid who is going on a mission trip and needs to raise funds, knows of someone who might need a fundraiser. I am your gal!! Thanks to you all for your amazing support!

Did I mention they serve 11, (For my family about 6 or 7, we always have some left over), they come frozen, when you are ready to make one you set them out to rise at night and in the morning you put a sweet yeast pastry in your oven that makes your whole house smell divine, you frost it with the frosting that comes with...and serve. I will have 5 flavors. The price point is $14 each and if you are doing the fundraising you earn $6 per pastry...that's amazing!!

October 17, 2013

Jesus is more than enough.

I have been waiting for words to come that need to be written down; written down so I can think through what God is doing in my heart and others. Phrases have been swirling in my head since last night.

God's word and love and truth is breath to me. I know what it means in my heart to believe. In the words of Peter to Jesus in the Gospel of John when Jesus asks Peter if he and the other disciples are going to leave along with the others because his teaching is hard, Peter responds to Jesus...we have no where else to go. That is how I feel about Christ and the Father. I know what I believe, I know what I feel, I know what it is to be lost and then to be found. I know how dark darkness is, to be separated from God. There is no where else for me now than to be with God.

But sometimes when I am using inadequate words to share Jesus and His immeasurable love and gifts to those who believe I feel like I don't know if I am even worthy to share the weight of His message. I know that God just calls me to show up and be willing, "be it to me as You will," "your servant is listening," and He does the rest. But, this inadequate vessel has been shocked into tears a couple of times lately by God's power and I just want to fall on the floor with my face to the ground, really it is all I can do, that can be my only response.

Recently, I was in a class where the peace of Christ was discussed. In this class their was someone, who in the world's eyes might have no peace due to her situation, but with Christ, she has peace. As I was posing the question, "do you think you can find peace through Jesus?" The weight of those words fell on me like bricks. The questions railed over me as I was waiting for her to think through her answer,..."is Jesus enough? are these words I am saying real? This road is so difficult for her, do I really believe that Jesus can bring peace?" The answers are yes, but sometimes I feel like I can just be non-challant when sharing Jesus, but when speaking to someone who so desperately needs Him and knows it, it seemed as though we were transported to holy ground. Will this young woman and so many like her, including myself, be changed and have hope and peace that passes all understanding? Her answer was yes, she did believe that Jesus was enough.

Jesus is more than enough. {face down on the ground}.

June 06, 2013

The Summer of Preparations

Last summer was the summer of love at our house http://tammymarcelain.blogspot.com/2012/05/2012-summer-of-love.html. Loving God, others and ourselves through purposefully spending time with God and serving through volunteer work. When my kids were little it was easier to have a routine. Now that they are all teenagers with different schedules, flexibility is the key to a happy routine and mama.

Here we are at the beginning of summer and I am thinking about balancing television, reading, video games, and how to bring some productivity and intentional quiet time with God into my teenagers days.

This summer is the "summer of preparation to be an adult." My "plan" is to teach my teenagers how to take care of a home from top to bottom. I have printed out some housekeeping lists and plan to work with them on taking care of a home in a more full way than just vacuuming or emptying the dishwasher. Then a fun addition is how to make some staple meals. I am going to let each of them pick two meals that are budget friendly and have them make them for us a couple of times through the summer so they will have 2 meals they can make easily.

Some of my resources on cleaning come from a site that uses flylady. I love flylady cleaning methods so am excited to integrate her into our routine.

And not only learning to take care of their home and meals, but their hearts through quiet time, study and prayer with God.

Preparations for when they spread their wings and fly the nest...in just a couple of years.

May 27, 2013

Robert Alton Gililland, Sr. Love, Love and Love.

Those beautiful poetic words that my Grandfather would speak, his beautiful thoughts, his gratefulness, his love are no longer in living and breathing form, but in their place stand memories; memories that do not do my Gran's presence justice, however, they simply must do.

My Gran passed on at 12:45am on Tuesday, May 21st. Our last memory of him communicating to us would be Sunday morning when my sister, Becky and I had gone over to see him. My sister and her family had arrived in Abilene at about 4am that Sunday. We headed over at around 8:30am to check on him. He was SO glad to see her, and was so glad that they had made it in safely. Becky and I each took one of his hands and he would kiss our hands repeatedly and then ask Becky questions about her and her family.

We left briefly to go home and gather our families and then we headed back to have worship with Gran at about 1pm. He wasn't interacting much, but his breathing still seemed normal at that time. My cousin's family, aunt and uncle, my family and Becky's family stood and sat around my Grandfather's bed and worshiped with him. Several of the great-grandchildren stood by his bedside reading scriptures they chose, speaking loudly so he could hear. We sang his favorite song twice, "How Great Thou Art." It was just this last Christmas when our large family group was together that my grandfather requested that we all sing this song. This Sunday during the song he lifted his arms and moved them as though he was directing us. Then came time to take communion and I asked him if he would like to take the bread and he nodded, I put a piece of cracker in his mouth and he chewed it up. Then I asked him if he wanted the grape juice and he nodded so I put a straw into the grape juice for him to drink, it took him about 5 tries but he was able to get a good sip. Shortly after that we gathered around his bed and laid our hands on him and prayed over him. When we left late that afternoon he was sleeping and we assumed that when we came back in the morning he would be ready for conversation again.

I got an anxious feeling Monday morning when I woke up. I headed right over there and he was unresponsive (or sleeping) as the late afternoon before, but he hadn't been dosed any pain medication in over 12 hours. His breathing was more labored. My sister, aunt, uncle and I got busy texting and calling family to let them know what was happening. His Hospice aide was there when I arrived and she had given Gran a good bath. She told us to be sure to dose Gran his pain meds on a regular basis as he would not be able to tell us he was in pain. I knew when I saw Gran that morning that I wouldn't leave his side again. We all just camped out there with him holding his hands, kissing his hands, singing, playing his hymn cd's. My brother Rob caught a flight out of Phoenix and made it in at about 11pm. My sister, Tiffany, hopped in her car to make the 12 hour drive.

All that were there took turns sitting by his side and holding his hand. We would wet his lips and mouth with the mouth sponges that Hospice brought. We kept his hair combed and looking his dapper self. My brother, Rob, made it in to see my Grandfather. My husband, Rob, had picked him up at the airport. Before hubby Rob went on back home my cousin's David and Michael and my siblings, Rob, Becky and I gathered around his bed and prayed over my Gran again. Within about a half an hour of that prayer my Gran's breathing was beginning to slow down and before we knew it there were no more breaths. My cousins went to the other side of the house to get their mom and dad who had retired a couple of hours before to get some rest before my uncle's 7am dialysis appointment. Phil and Sue said their goodbyes and my Gran went on to Glory.

It was quite surreal.

The man who to all of us was larger than life, he really was our true north on earth, our earthly guiding presence was gone. He shone Jesus so bright in his life, it will be difficult to go on without him here with us. The grand patriarch has met up with our grand matriarch in heaven.

My Gran was a wonderful example of love to us. He loved fully. In my cousin, David's words at the memorial service, my Gran's love was "Fun, Pure and Holy."

I am remembering the mornings I would go over and give him his morning medicine and I would have his pills in my hand and he would take my hand and hold it. He would tell me that my hands were beautiful, soft and gentle, and how much he loved my hands that helped him. The last two months were a sacred gift to me. I think I saw my Gran every day but one in the last two months of his life. Most days I saw him more than once. I knew that his time was coming to an end, but had hoped selfishly that I had lots more mornings of his smile as I walked in the door. I wish I would have taken a picture of that first morning smile. Although selflessly I am so glad that He saw Jesus face to face, he is in no more pain, and is with my Nana again. He sought the Lord every day on this earth, now there is no more seeking, his journey is complete.

Thanks be to God.

May 09, 2013

Poetry of Life. My Grandfather.

In about 3 hours I will have finished my last final for the semester. Glad to have summer ahead. Lots has been poured into our family's life over the last 6 weeks or so. Each day is a reminder that all is gift. I have found myself in a place of using the margins of my life, and thanks to the flexibility of my family, lots of the daily space to tend to my Grandfather who was released on Hospice after being in the hospital for a couple of weeks.

Each day God reminds me that life is sacred and that no second to be taken for granted. My Gran has lived a lovely life of almost 93 years, and lots of his body is still strong, so he is by no means about to die today or tomorrow, but his journey has become one of needing other's help to make it through the day.

My days have as of late been spent either up in the hospital with him, and in the last couple of weeks learning what his needs are through the day now that he is at home. I would say that it is in these moments of grace that I feel like God is so very present. He is in the struggles of figuring out how all of my Gran's needs will be met, He is in the bright morning sunlight when I say my first good morning to my sweet Grandfather. He is in the voice of my Grandfather who is so grateful and thankful for his life that he has no cross word or complaint to utter even in this time of transition and sometimes confusion. His countenance reminds me of the saying, "It is not until the sponge is squeezed that one see's what is really on the inside." Watching my Gran's generosity and thankfulness during this time has been humbling. He misses that strong body of his, but he is thankful that he has been blessed with what he has at this moment.

He uses such words that we don't hear much any more, many that sound like they are from days long ago. His words and adjectives are lovely, it is as though poetry has taken root in him.

His words will sign off this post today,
"I have no words to explain the amount of love that I have inside of me. It is though I am so full of love there are no words great enough to express how I feel."  my Gran (Bob G.)

For his words and love I am ever so grateful. May not one moment be overlooked.
Here is an old pic of my Gran in the center. 

March 26, 2013

Marriage on Lent - Finishing Up

Lent is not over, but our series is complete. 

Wow! Is all I can say. Thanks be to God for these days of enrichment for marriage. I am also most grateful for the men and women who stepped out of their comfort zones to share from their hearts throughout the series.

I felt clearly when I "lost" all of my preparations for this series that God was at work in that. I clearly felt God's call for me to look around and gather as many people as I possibly could to share their hearts and thoughts on marriage. From students to professors, from those that work in the home to those that run corporations, from those that had never written publicly to those who write for a living, every person's thoughts and prayers were a blessing.

I just want to thank each one of you that have participated in any way through this season of Lent, whether you said one prayer for a marriage or a hundred, whether you wrote, or read, or maybe you did both. I praise God for you. We truly are in our journey together. We might live such hurried lives that we feel as though we are alone, but that is not truth. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. If one falls, then another helps them up.

My prayer for each of us as we continue these last couple of days of Lent is to simply continue in prayer.

Ask God if He wants you to send a note to those you have been praying for. 

This could be of great encouragement to some. One of the places that Satan likes to convince us of is that we are alone. If we know others love us, and we have others praying for us, it is much more difficult to fall into a pit and stay there. However, we all fall into pits now and then but there are lots of people willing to make a chain and grab hold of those that have fallen in the pit, but we do need to speak out to let them know.

One of the reasons that I felt called to begin this series was because Rob and I found our marriage in a pit last year. We talked to some people we could trust and they made a chain and they wouldn't let go of us. After a year because we were determined to not let go of God and His work in us we experienced complete healing and restoration in our marriage. The statistics are clear, there is lot's of divorce. There are lots of people who have quit praying for marriages because they have given up hope - they are hopeless. The secular world would like to convince us that divorce is normal, it's fine, it's the easy way out...from talking to friends it might seem the easiest way out in the moment but they have said in the long run there are lots of repercussions. So if a marriage can be saved, it is worth the effort. There is a great line in Harry Potter...Dumbledore says to Harry, "One day Harry you will have to choose between what is easy and what is right." Those words found a home in me when I heard them. I pray they find their home in you.

When you feel hopeless in your marriage, or want to give up praying for another's marriage, just think about Rob and I, God will still do miracles if we will only humble ourselves and let Him do His supernatural work in us.

All praise to God.