Monday, December 31, 2007

I Know...It's About Time!

I was really lazy at Disney when we went last month. SO....I left the task of capturing most of the moments to Shain. He gets the credit for the cool shots! These are just a few from that wonderful time. Can't wait for the next big trip!!














Thursday, December 27, 2007

There Is No Telling

I want to say today as this year is drawing to a close and another looms on the horizon how thankful I am to serve God.

I am thankful that He called me out of darkness and into His wonderful light. I am thankful for the revelation of His truth. I am thankful today that I can feel Him, that I have a relationship with Him that goes beyond a "tingle," I am thankful for the Holy Ghost. He promised in His Word that He would send the Comforter. He said "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." I am thankful He is the God of fulfilled promises.

I am thankful for Holiness and for the understanding of what it means and how truly beautiful it is. I am thankful for the love I have in my heart for the way that I am. I am thankful that it is in my heart. I am thankful for being called out from among the world to live a life of separateness. The Word of God says Light and darkness have no fellowship. I am thankful I know that.

I am thankful I know who He is. And I am thankful that I know that belief alone will not get you into Heaven. If that were so then Heaven would be full of devils for the Word says in James 2:9 Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. I am thankful that I know that I need to repent daily, because without repentance I know I would be lost.

I am thankful I haven't been sucked into this "easy believism" that has entrapped much of the "Christian" world today. I am thankful that I know that it doesn't matter if I *accept* Him, but if He accepts me. I am thankful that I know that the Word of God is without compromise and that it is not on the *cafeteria plan* where I can pick and choose what I want and pass the rest by. I am thankful that my Pastor teaches the whole Word of God and that he is not intimidated by the world. I am thankful that he lives the Word.

I am thankful that I can get on my face and cry out to Him. I am thankful that I can weep before Him and travail until I have touched the hem of His garment. I am thankful that I believe in healing, and deliverance, and spiritual warfare. I am thankful that I believe that because of my obedience to His Word I have power "because of the angels" and I am ever so thankful that I know what that means and have seen that power working in my life and the lives of my family.

I am thankful that my experience with Jesus is not some watered down social club, but that it is real and tangible and consuming. I am thankful that I never "joined" the church but I was born into it by the Baptism in Jesus' Name and the infilling of the Holy Ghost WITH the evidence of speaking in other tongues just like the first church had in the Book of Acts.

And I am thankful that I have seen in action and been a partaker of the "signs that follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:17-18) I am thankful that I understand what that means and have not corrupted what Jesus was saying.

Most of all I am thankful for my Jesus, my God, my Savior, my best friend, my Comforter, my Provider, my Strong Tower, my Strength and my Song. The One true God, the One that was and is and is yet to come. He is the love of my life. And because of the measure of faith He has given to me, I know there is NO TELLING what God will do.

I thankfully wait in anticipation, looking up, for my redemption draweth nigh.

Monday, December 24, 2007

And To All A Good Night

What a beautiful morning I stumbled across while leaving work a few minutes ago. The air was crisp, the sky a beautiful midnight blue, the moon was large and wreathed in a frosty glow. I longed for someone to share it with.

So I thought of you.

As this Christmas Eve morning was dawning today, you were in my thoughts.

And if I could give you one gift today, it would be the gift of a moment.

I would give you a moment when your heart catches in your chest, when you feel your eyes mist with tears, when the perfection of that instant overwhelms you, erasing all of your cares and worries.

I would give you the joy of the discovery, as your mouth forms a slack "Oh" and you are suspended long enough to etch that feeling into the very fiber of your soul.

And I would give you the ability to *see* that moment in the smallest of things, allowing you to grasp it instead of letting it slip away unnoticed.

And I pray that when it comes for you, you will see His hand, feel His love, as I did today.

For He does love me. He was waiting to show me how much as I hurried to my truck to get out of the cold air.

He was waiting with a message just for me.

So today, my message for you is a message of love, of my love for you, and the hope that you will see Him more than ever.

And as I end my day and you will soon begin yours, I'm wishing you a Christmas filled with love, filled with *moments,* filled with Christ.

Merry Christmas to all....and to all....a good night.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tick Tock Tick Tock

I am 41.

I went to bed Monday night and I woke up Tuesday morning another year older.

Hard to believe, huh? I know! I mean, just yesterday, it seems, I was skipping school, and, um, er, well, maayybbeee not skipping. Let's just say I was leaving without permission. (I was only brave enough to do it twice, so don't be too impressed by my badness)

My Grandmother is in the hospital. It seems like she has aged 10 years in the last year. I was standing beside her bed last night watching her sleep and it occurred to me that she was only 2 years older than me when I was born, and I was her 3rd grandchild (counting my OLDER brother and sister).

WOW....I can't even imagine.

I am not afraid of the years ahead. I relish the thought of what is to come.

If I could reverse time, I would. I would rewind to the point in my development when I obviously had the choice between gracefulness and klutziness, because, the klutzy thing ain't working. I can qualify that statement by the pain in my already broke toe where I ran over it with a wheelchair loaded with a patient last night.

I learned to walk before I learned to crawl. And, really, missing that part of my development didn't help.

But, I suppose I was ear-marked for wobbliness at a very young and tender age. And that *ability* has grown and intensified to mammoth proportions.

So, I'm about to drag my stumbly self to bed for some much coveted snooze time. When I awake I will be a heartbeat closer to 42!

I'm just going to lay that clock face down and not worry about it.

Thanks for all the love and support of my family and friends. My life is sweeter because of each of you, and each year gets better and better!

Monday, December 17, 2007

When It's Right to Suffer Wrong

My Pastor preached a wonderful message from Psalm 69 titled "The Zeal of Thine House" from verse 9.

It spoke right to me, as usual.

I am afraid I have been *accused* of being over-zealous in my relationship with God.

So, just to set the record straight...

I am.

Let me explain something to the world at large: You don't know what my praise is worth.

Maybe you question how and why I live like I do, how and why I can love Him like I do.

And maybe it seems like I've gone overboard, off the deep end.

Guilty.

And I fear it will only get worse.

My whole life was changed. Every aspect of my life, my desires, my dreams, my plans, changed forever by a single act of unbridled love for me.

My life was changed at Calvary when that crimson stream of blood flowed over my sin-filled heart and washed me clean.

That is why I talk of Him, that is why I think on Him, that is why I serve Him.

This zeal inside of me is consuming. And when I break the box of my praise and spill it on His feet in worship to the One who gave His all for me, you have no idea just how much it is worth to me. You have no idea where He brought me from, how far He had to reach to find me.

It amazes me the way the world works. If I were a Georgia Bulldog fan (which I'm not--I'm an LSU Tiger fan!) and I had stickers all over my car, and dressed in Georgia Bulldog fan wear everyday, and went to every game and screamed from the stands, well, that would be normal. No one would think a thing in the world about it or me for doing it.

But because I have built a relationship with God, I'm odd, maybe even crazy. Imagine that.

It is hard for anyone to understand my heart, unless they have a like heart. And if, to the world at large, I am a freak, someone to point their fingers at and stare, that's OK. I'll endure the wrong to live right.

Because while others are saying "How strange she is to live as she does," I am saying "How sad they live as they do, so empty when my life is so full."

My Jesus, I am burdened today. I have read Your Word time and again, and I know this is the way You said it would be. And yet it makes me pause to think that this joyous life I have can cause someone else to question. Still I press on. Toward that mark. I am consumed by the "zeal" of Your house, and I am not ashamed.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cha Ching$$$$

I understand the concept of Caller-ID. Really.

So yesterday when the phone rang and it showed up as my place of employment, I cannot imagine what unseen force had me press my finger to the talk button and place the receiver to my head.

But I did.

And when I heard my bosses voice I knew I was doomed.

Kinda like a mouse caught on one of those sticky traps, only my legs/arms are a little *thick* for me to be chewing through.

The thought had crossed my mind earlier during the day that my *hubby wubby* and I should do a little shopping since we are running out of time, so I used that in my defense.

"Um, I don't know...We REALLY need to do some shopping. I'll have to check with him."

I placed a harried phone call to his voice mail.

*Look, the jig is up. You gotta cover for me. We have to go shopping TONIGHT!*

Only he didn't call me right back, but the phone rang out another death toll.

"Please, we're desperate."

So I fastened the ball and chain around my ankle and headed in to carry out my sentence.

One night of craziness minus sleep.

Thank God someone slammed a door early this morning since I was sitting straight up, charting, and dreaming about buying horses to plow my fields.

One of the things I have found is that money isn't everything. There was a time in my life when I would have jumped at the chance to earn a little extra *dough.*

But, yea, not so important anymore.

As I saw my supervisor this morning she said *I'm gonna make sure you get a $75 bonus for last night!*

And all I could think of was I had missed an opportunity to be with my family. $75 can't buy that back.

I read an article about a couple that made only a little more than we do, and they had a $3500 a month house note and an $800 a month vehicle note, not counting the other little bills. All I could think was *How Dumb IS That??*

I am content with my little house, my HOT wheels (vvrroommm). I have learned something that it seems most other people lack the understanding of. All those material things, all that money, it doesn't last.

AAAHHH, but love, there is a treasure worth seeking. Self respect cannot be purchased, and memories are worth more than gold.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Prince or A Pauper

The sleep that my body desperately craves beckons to me. And I know I need it. But my heart is heavy stealing away the peace I need to rest.

Today I sat in the funeral of a good man.

And for some reason my mind kept drifting back 7 years to another funeral of another good man.

Only the contrasts were so vibrant my heart felt bound in my chest.

You see, 7 years ago I sat next to my husband in a room in the funeral home where his father was. The family sat in the front row in mismatched vinyl chairs. A man that never really even knew him was appointed to speak on his behalf. There were no hymns, no favorite Bible verses, no expounding testimony.

Until today I never realized how bleak it truly was.

I sat today in a beautiful sanctuary. I listened with another son that had lost his father, and I held my husband's hand once again.

I heard minister after minister exalt this man's life. I heard songs like "There'll Be No More Goodbyes," and "I Can Only Imagine."

But the hardest part of all was hearing this man himself, speaking in song to his family. "Don't weep for me," he said. "Daddy's made it home."

I held my husband's hand and could feel the depth of his sadness as he wept.

I knew he wept for another man, for another time. For a man that lived for the moment, with seemingly no thought to eternity.

I knew he wept for the peace this family must feel, even in their sorrow.

And I thought, "I have got to make it."

I have a choice. When that great day comes my choice will be ever apparent.

Will I have chosen to be His, or will I have chosen the world as my god. Because when the time is here, no earthly riches will matter. If I don't have him, I don't have anything.

Will I die as an heir to the King of Kings, or will I forfeit my rights to my inheritance?

For me the choice is simple. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21)

Lord, please, let me reach someone else.

When It's My Time

I have been listening to a message by Brother Ballestero when he was here this past weekend. He titled it "The Best of Times and The Worst of Times."

One of our dear friends lost his father this past weekend. He had health problems for some time, but all of the sudden, it seemed, he took a turn for the worst and then he was just gone.

Growing older is a funny thing. In one sense, these seem like the best years yet for me. I have a confidence I have never had before, I am more comfortable with who I am than I can ever remember being in all my previous years.

I am looking forward to the future for my little family, looking forward to sharing their grown up years.

But then again...

I see the years each time I look into the mirror, each time I look into my family's faces. I have reached the age where my friends stop losing grandparents and begin to lose parents, spouses and even their children.

So many of the people I look up to have passed away. And I know from reading the Bible myself, it is just like Brother Ballestero said, the end is coming. Oh, it may not be here in the next week or the next year, but it's coming.

And although I long for the day He comes, I often think about everything that we may go through to reach that point. I know it will get worse, but everything is already so bad, just the thought makes my stomach turn.

I also know someday it will be my turn. I look forward to it, but also feel a measure of sadness. Leaving this world behind is nothing to me, leaving my family behind is another story.

I thought of my friend's father, they held back telling him he was dying.

And I thought, oh how I would want to know so that I could say all those things that I, otherwise, might not say.

So, to my family..

When it's my time to go, I know you will grieve. I know there will be sorrow. But I pray there will also be gladness.

Play no sad songs for me. Laugh and tell stories about how silly I could be.

When it's my time to go, if I can't tell you myself, I want you to know that I loved you all so very, very much. I am so blessed that God gave me you.

I am still in love with my husband. I still love to see him after a long day, or night. I still love to have him hold my hand, stroke my face, tell me how much he loves me.

I know I have not always been the best wife I could be, but my love has been true.

And if for some reason I am not there to see my children raise there own children, tell them I loved them even before they were born. Tell them I dreamed about them, about loving them and spoiling them.

And I want my own babies to know there has never been a mother alive who loved her children as much as I love mine. Oh, how I love you both.

I want my brother and sister to know that miles have never separated my heart from them. Years and memories have only made me love them more and more.

I would want my parents to know that I am so proud to be their daughter. I know that among other daughters in the world I am most blessed.

I would tell my Pastor and his wife how much closer I feel to my Lord since I have been under there ministry. And I would want my last Pastor to know that he and his wife gave me the strength that I have now.

These are the best of times and the worst of times. Time that tomorrow is unfolding and time that forever looms before me. Time for holding on and time for letting go. Time to love and time to say goodbye.

Lord, I want to always have my heart ready at all times. I don't know when my appointed hour will be, but I want to keep my garment white, my lamp filled with oil. You have blessed me so very much. May I live each day with thankfulness in my heart. I love you.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Where Am I?

It's always about the same.

Someone paces anxiously. Wondering and hopeful, they wait for the moment they can see recognition dawning.

Then, always, the same question when eyes once again focus, "Where am I?"

The answers usually vary.

Trapped in a cave after the avalanche.

Recovering from the mauling you received from the Siberian Tiger you were trying to capture.

In a hospital in Topeka where they brought you after you rescued a family of 12 from a burning inferno and then collapsed on the ash strewn lawn.

Have you ever woken up and asked that question?

Where am I?

I have. Yesterday, pulling out from my house, heading to work, that very question resonated in my mind.

Where am I??

And it was You I thought of. Where am I in my walk with You? Where do I need to be? Am I everything I can be?

I know the answer to that one. NO.

Sometimes in life as we rush around trying to save the world, or just trying to live, we wake up and realize we may have lost our way, made a wrong turn, or made a u-turn.

Sometimes we realize we have been traveling well below the speed limit, or we are in desperate need of slowing down.

Where am I today, right now? Examine me, Lord. I don't want to wake up and realize I have no idea who I am or who You are anymore. I need that intimate relationship with You, because You are the very air I breathe. I don't want to come to the awareness I have had a collision with the world that has left me forever changed, unconscious of my need for you, I want to only get closer to You, more aware of You and Your purpose for me. Speak to me, let me hear Your voice, remind me all over again where I am, and that I am Yours.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

As David Did

There he stood, no longer a small boy, not quite a man.

There he stood, astonished, unable to comprehend exactly what was taking place.

This young man stood, watching warriors cower and tremble.

This young man, dressed as a shepherd, stood boldly.

Warriors dressed for battle hid.

They hid, hoping for someone to come in to save the day, praying that a warrior above all warriors would come dashing up and defend them from this giant that they faced.

They had the armour they needed. They had swords and weapons, and the training to use them.

Yet they hid, waiting for someone else to come along and fight the battle they had been trained to fight themselves.

"I'll fight this giant," said the young man.

And forsaking the armour of the king, he stood boldly with just a sling and 5 stones, announcing his intention to this champion of the Philistines, and without hesitation, he fought.

And he defeated.

In the aftermath of this great victory, he turned again to these warriors dressed for battle.

And I have to wonder, as they saw how easily he defeated this man that had tormented them, if they thought "he wasn't so tough after all."

Or maybe they thought "If only I would have had the courage to stand up to him."

If only...

I know there are young men and women in our church that are "David's".

If only they would have the courage to stand up. I know it can be intimidating when you see all the seasoned warriors who have years of serving the Lord under their belts and know that are cowering behind a proverbial rock, waiting for someone to come along and take down whatever it is that is standing in the way of revival.

Maybe our young people are afraid to be the "one" that steps out, feeling they are not prepared. But sometimes you have to step out to get prepared.

Those that are Baptized in His Name, filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost are just as prepared as any seasoned saint.

That is enough to take down the toughest giant.

Who is it among you that will be the *one*?

Friday, November 30, 2007

My Beloved

I am in love with Him, my Beloved.

I long to be with Him, feel His presence. I listen always for His voice.

I remember that day when He came and rescued me, I replay it, amazed still that He found me and He wanted me.

Even though He is the King of Kings, He loved me. Even though I didn't deserve it, He took me in His arms and He will never let me go, although I am free to walk away.

He listens to my cries and He fights for me. He rejoices when I rejoice, He comforts me when I am broken and downhearted.

He never forsakes me, never leaves me on my own.

And there is nothing, not one single thing that I would trade for the opportunity to see His face.

This world has dissappointed me, I have been let down, but not by Him, never by Him.

He is the sweetness that sustains me, the courage that infuses me, the love that lifts me.

He is my truest friend.

I want to live my life in such a way that You will be honored by the love I have for you. I don't want to leave room for questions or for doubts about my closeness to You. I know that having a relationship with You is the most important thing in my life. You are my Love, my Life, my All.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Enemy

I have an enemy. I have an enemy that hates me, that wants to see me suffer and wants to see me fail. I have an enemy that rises up against me, seeking ways to devour my faith, my family, my strength.

This enemy struts around, puffed up, roaring at me about my secret fears, stalking me in my weaknesses, wanting me to tremble, wanting me to falter in my walk so *he* can move in for the killing of my faith.

But, I also know my enemy. I know his voice, the measure of his steps.

And I also know he is truly a coward. He is a coward in the way he attacks. He moves in darkness, trying to slink in through cracks in my armour, hoping to catch me unaware and wanting to get a hold on all I hold dear before I even know what has happened.

Egar Watson Howe said, "If you knew how cowardly your enemy is, you would slap him."

Does anybody understand that?

I can't cower down in the face of the adversary. I must face him like the bully he is. I must not be afraid to strike.

But I'm not facing him toe to toe, because that is not where I am my strongest, my balance may get shaky and I may stumble or fall.

I am facing him on my knees. It is there he will hear my battle cry as I lift my voice unto the hills from wince my help comes. I am not waiting for him to make the first move. I am initiating this battle. And I am not afraid.

I want the light within me to shine so brightly that it will expose all his devices. I want that coward to know *I* am not afraid.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

To My Children....With Love

Dear Babies,

Oh, I know you are no longer babies. The years that have passed confirm that. But, to me, you'll always be my babies. I just can't help it.

I am so in awe of you both. I mean that. You are so amazing and incredible. And I think of how I was when I was your ages and I cannot imagine how you both came to be my children. How could I have a part in the making of who you are? It is a mystery.

I think of your tiny bodies with the huge spirits, it seems so long ago. But sometimes when I sleep, God brings you back to me. And I once again see your shining faces, hear your sweet laughter.

The years pass too quickly. Life happens too fast.

I don't know if I'll ever be ready to let you go from me, let you make your own lives. But I know I must.

I would give my life for you both. In a second, without a second thought.

I would take on anything that is brave enough to come up against you, because I know no fear when you are at stake.

I want to shield you from every hurt, protect you from every pain, keep you from every dissappointment.

I want to...

My sweet wonderful children. I hope you know my love will always be yours. My strength is yours, my prayers are yours....my heart is yours....

Forever, and ever, and ever.

And beyond.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How Ironic

Each minute there are 245 births and 110 deaths.

"Death comes when memories become more powerful to us than dreams."

I don't know who said that. I agree.

I want you to probe the depths of your heart right now. Delve deep into the center of what makes you who you are. Think of your life 2 years from now and where it is you will be.

I bet you have some dreams wrapped up in there, some plans, some hopes. Even if it's having a garden or paying off a bill, you have something that you would like to see happen.

"I've had visions,
I've had dreams,
I've even held them in my hands,
But I never knew,
They would slip right through,
Like they were only grains of sand...."

Years ago I was having a conversation with a girl I worked with. I was telling her some of the things I wanted to happen in my life. She was a negative, sour person anyway, so I shouldn't have been surprised when she bitterly replied, "You want too much!"

I was shocked! I had always been taught by my Dad and Mom I could have anything I set my mind to. I remember telling her "What would life be if you didn't have dreams?"

And I have been blessed to see so many of the things I had hoped for come to pass. They weren't elaborate dreams, I dreamt of an education, of a home of our own, of having some money in the bank. But I guess to her, these things were out of reach. How sad.

They sailed. They sailed. Then spoke the mate:
"This mad sea shows its' teeth tonight
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave admiral, say but one good word.
What shall we do when hope is gone?"
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
"Sail on! sail on! and on!"

My parents have come to a realization that it may be time to let go. I cannot imagine how it must feel for these two people who taught me how to dream to know that their own dreams may die. I cannot imagine what they feel knowing the irony of it all, with all the time they now have to fulfill their dreams they now find themselves virtually trapped in their home, prisoners of circumstances.

But in the midst of the death of their dream of travel comes the birth of new dreams: a new kidney for Dad, the possibility of spending time closer to my brother and sister, the thought of new babies to hold and love somewhere down the road.

"The most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."

I think Hellen Keller must have been the expert on feeling with her heart. She didn't have the ability we do to see or hear, she could only feel. And today as a dream breathes it's last breath for my parents, in their heart, new dreams are born, new possibilities, new hopes.

I believe the Bible calls this "FAITH."

"NOW FAITH is the substance of the things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

I like how the commentary in my Bible describes this chapter. (Hebrews chapter 11) "demonstrates the nature of the only kind of faith that is acceptable before God and that will triumph in the worst of situations. It is a faith that believes in spiritual realities, leads to righteousness, seeks God, believes in His goodness, has confidence in His Word, obeys His commands, regulates life on the promises of God, rejects the spirits of this present evil age, seeks a heavenly home, perseveres in testing, blesses the next generation, refuses the pleasures of sin, endures persecution, performs mighty acts of righteousness, suffers for God, and does not return to 'that country from whence they cam out' i.e. the world."

Isn't it ironic how things turn out sometimes? But if we hold on, God has a purpose and a plan. I see His plan unfolding even now.

Death comes, swiftly and slowly, but it still comes. But if the numbers are correct, it seems for every death there are 2 births. Just this fact should give birth to hope within us.

I read an article about a nurse who has lived her life doing missionary work. She was there after the tsunami devastation and listened as one man spoke of having to make the choice of whether to keep holding on to his wife, or whether to hold on to their 3 year old child. He wept bitterly as he spoke of letting go of his wife's hand.

There are times when we have to let go of something we love in order to preserve something else. I am thankful I have never had to make the decision that this man had to make, but I can see his reasoning as painful as the decision was and even though it must still haunt him, it preserved the life of the child, the culmination of the dreams of he and his wife.

But letting go always hurts. Always. It is the possibilities of tomorrow that keep us going.

I am so grateful for the many dreams You have allowed me to see come true, and for the many dreams that are on the way. I am thankful for all my tomorrows and blessed by all my yesterdays. I am glad I know that sometimes things have to die in my life in order for me to give birth to something better, even if it is a dream that dies. I am living each day, dreaming of that day when I see Your face. I love You so, so much!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Do You Believe In Magic?

For those of you who think I may have fallen off the face of the earth and into an alternate universe since I have been strangely silent, well, I guess I have. We are about to enjoy our last day at Disney.

It has been so wonderful. I can't begin to describe. I am sad to see it end. I have been strutting around in full ostrich mode knowing my sister gave up her Thanksgiving break so we could be here.

I was reading a journal entry from Bobby's cousin Barbara whose son Tyler is fighting cancer. She was talking about turning 40. I don't think time prepares you for all life brings your way. Some days I feel so overwhelmed. But each day I just wake up and face it. I don't know how I make it through sometimes. It is surely not by my own strength or will, only by my precious Savior. He is my strength, my shelter, my song.

I don't usually subscribe to magic, but this week has been...magical. The last of my lifetime with my kids at home. I'm looking forward to sharing the *magic* with the next generation. I missed my babies this week!

Thank You for You NEVER put more on me than I can bear. You have blessed my life in so many ways. Thank You for my sweet family, for touching my Daddy, for the love of my brother and sister, for making MY dreams come true.

See you real soon....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Extraordinary or Extra-Ordinary....You Pick

I was walking Lance this morning for Mama. Daddy had to go back to the hospital this morning. He was a little short of breath when I left him last night, but he will sometimes get that. By the time he got to the Emergency Room he felt like he was going to die.

While I was ambling along in the crisp air this morning the word *extraordinary* popped into my head. Why I don't know, but then I am never really certain why things happen the way they do in my head. I just go with it.

So, I was thinking I guess there are people who would love to be described as ***EXTRAORDINARY***

Me, not so much.

I'll settle for being ==EXTRA-ordinary. Yea, that's my goal.

I want to live a plain, dull, boring life with no bells and whistles. I want to glide through life, under the radar of excitement and popularity.

I want to grow old and die in my sleep as my body simply decides "Enough of this monotony-I feel like traveling on."

Any points I have gained over the years toward being labeled as "Extraordinary" are up for grabs. If they were like the old Green Stamps, I probably only have one or two on the first page, but hey if it will put you over the edge so that you can receive the the *Label* of your dreams, they are yours with my blessings.

I'll take an ordinary life, please==As a matter of fact==throw in some extra!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

congaratulations...................you have won 753,437GBP

Well, I opened my email this morning, and to no surprise at all, I once again have won some large sum of money from a foreign country I have never heard of.

IF all these email were legitimate, I would be richer than Bill Gates by now.

*You mean, they're not legitimate?????* Uh, no. And if YOU have responded, you might want to run a credit report.

Email is a crazy thing. Every time I open mine there is something new to immediately delete without opening. How do these people find out about me??

I know that every time you visit a page there is the possibility of trouble. This is why I am so careful about where I go and what I visit. Well, this is one of many reasons that I am.

We are having a special service tomorrow night at the church here in Douglas. My husband and daughter were out Saturday morning sticking up fliers. One of the places they put one was in the door of one of the liquor stores.

Denise said when they got it up she bolted for the car. My husband asked her why she was in such a hurry. She said "I don't want anybody to ride by and see me coming out of a liquor store!"

He said, "Well, you know what you were doing there and God knows what you were doing there so it shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks."

She said, "Daddy, the Word says abstain from the very APPEARANCE of evil!!!" She knows she has to be careful where she goes because people are watching her, just like these crazy computer programs that watch where we go and what we look at.

I don't mind so much deleting the emails from diet sites or home improvement sites and such as that, but, I don't even want to think about some of the junk I could get if I looked at some of the JUNK out there.

It would be so nice in life to really get emails and be able to deposit large sums of money in your accounts even though you have done nothing to earn them. But life doesn't work that way.

And even though my own bank accounts are not fat, I am rich beyond measure. Remember, I am an heir of the King of Kings!!

Psalm 23 is probably the most well know of all of the Psalms. But have you ever REALLY read it?

"The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

So, thanks anyways Sir Charles from the island of Timpokwa, but as you can see I am WELL taken care of.




**As a side note** My Dad is doing very well. He should be home this evening. He had some abnormal brain activity during his surgery yesterday and we spent several hours praying that he would not have the neurological damage the doctor mentioned was possible. He is not happy that he can't drive for 2 weeks, but other than that, he seems fine but sore.

I never run out of reasons to praise Him!!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Hardest Part

I am sitting here this morning.

There is a lot not said in that simple statement. Let me fill in the "unsaids."

My father is in surgery as I write this. He is in Jacksonville. I am here.

I sent out this little email that my sister sent to me that asked for one word that the person responding would use to describe you.

My responses were...

Dedicated

Caregiver

Dedicated daughter *I know this is 2 words*

I think out of all the responses back I got it was only my daughter that said something different than the above. She said *amazing.* Her response was my favorite.

I told her that in a way I was offended by my responses. What about *witty* *fun* *happy* *insightful*? I asked her "Is this all that I am now?"

She, of course, said, "Mom, you're reading WAY too much into this. They meant this as compliments."

I know this.

I sit here this morning, waiting...

Waiting to find out how everything went. Waiting to find out he is fine. Waiting for my world to turn again.

The truth of the matter is, I am a caregiver.

And because of circumstances today I sit here, and he is there, and I feel helpless and out of control. What if they have a question my brother doesn't know the answer to? What if he doesn't understand the lingo when they finally come out to tell him how Dad is? What if there is a problem tonight and he needs me, or something happens on the way home from the hospital?

Though I have not yet had any rest, and I didn't rest yesterday thinking about today, I feel nausea rise up as I contemplate getting ready and making the 3 hour trip just so I can see with my own eyes he is OK.

Crazy, huh?

Yea, I know.

But I will wait here on the Lord, and I am of good courage, knowing He will strengthen my heart.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm In His Hands

I have noticed many things lately. It is almost like I have aquired a heightened sense of the nuances of life. Moments that pass bring about reflection. And tonight as I sit here, reflection comes once again. It has become my friend, allowing something even greater to develop...introspection.

During these moments of introspection I can not only see moments where God had His hand on me, I can also see moments when I was in His hand. My name is written there, so He'll always remember me.

But I also see moments when I took myself out of His hand.

I faced a situation Sunday that I did not know how to face. And as I lay in bed much later and reflected on what could have been a horrible and life changing situation for me, I could see myself there, cradled in His hand.

You see, for almost an hour I thought I was about to lose my precious Daddy. I was at church when the call came frantically from my Mama. I couldn't get there fast enough.

And I was afraid. So very afraid.

But somewhere between where I was and where my Daddy was, it was as if my Father came and scooped me up and held me close.

"You're in My hand."

I'm in His hand because I placed Him in my heart.

Bad stuff has come, and no doubt will return. No doubt the fear of losing my parents will happen one day and that fear will be reality. And the sun will come up again the next morning and shine just as bright, the same way it did when my parents lost their own parents.

But as I reflect tonight, as I delve into introspection, I am comforted once again.

Thank You for Your strength. Let me have You always in my heart because I never ever want to be out of Your hand.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Clean Up...Isle 9

Oh if the whole world were more like me...the epitome of gracefulness.

OK, yea...I'm kidding...

I have spent my life bumping into various things, and falling over various other things. I once asked the doctor why I couldn't walk a straight line. His answer was very doctorly: *You have something wrong with the balance center in your brain.*

Translation...You are a klutz.

Yea, I wasted my money on that one.

There are some days that I go into work knowing I will be performing my very best Jerry Lewis imitation throughout the night. It is my poor unsuspecting patients that get ringside seat to my clumsiness.

My family offers me much support though. But not positive support. They are in support of my remaining a klutz because of the hours of fun they have telling stories about the remember whens...

Added to the fact that I was blond as a child and I have frequent flash backs, I provide endless entertainment.

*Remember the time Mama locked the keys in the trunk of the car and we sat at the gas pump for over an hour before she remembered there was a button in the glove box that opened the trunk?*

*Remember when she asked Dad to take the lamp apart because the knob was on the back side and it was hard for her to turn on and off and Dad just got out of bed, walked around and turned the lamp around?*

*Remember when Dad was interviewing for a job and the man asked Mama what her name was and she said "I don't know."*

It is usually when I am trying my best to appear normal that problems creep up. While in Louisiana for my niece's wedding I was trying to help clean up and flipped up a table to fold the legs. I didn't anticipate the weight of the table or the velocity it would have when I flipped it. I caught it with my foot. How'd that go, you may ask. Not too good. I still can't bend my big toe all the way and now every morning when I get off my foot is swollen.

My brother was kind enough to pray for me right after it happened. He prayed "Lord, bless her in her clumsiness."

So this morning as I was bending down to pick up the box of cremora I spilt on the floor at work and noticed that I had orange all over my white jacket from my snack earlier in the night that I couldn't help but think of some of my other award-winning moments.

I long ago came to the realization that I would never be the poster child for gracefulness. And that's OK. As crazy as it may sound I like myself just the way I am. And I don't mind sharing stories about my *moments* because, well, they make me laugh too.

I have to think God finds pleasure in my klutziness since He formed me and He doesn't make mistakes, right? And so the next time I am walking around the grocery only to realize my buggy has been leaking chicken blood for 4 isles when I finally almost slip down in it, I'm just going to smile.

He knows me, YET He loves me. That's all I need to know!

Monday, November 5, 2007

I am Yours

Let's see...

My Dad has been so sick this past weekend I am afraid to even call to check on him *I'm in ostrich mode*

It's almost two o'clock and I haven't even gotten dressed *not counting the fact that I have been up about an hour after working last night*

My house is...well...if the board of health showed up right now they'd either condemn it or call the police because they'd think they stumbled upon a crack house or something *if only there were about 5 more hours in the day*

I have a serious pain in my neck that I am sure is stress related *or as Chicken Little would like me to believe some kind of huge mass in my head pressing on the nerves*

For the second time in as many days I woke up because of a strange noise and realized it was me wheezing *and I don't have the 8 hours to wait in my doctors' waiting room even if I could get an appointment which, you know, is impossible for a sick person to do*

I got sent home Saturday night because of low census and I don't have any time to spare *which means I'll probably have to work an extra day which I have NO personal time to do*

One of the instructors at the Technical School asked me to apply for a teaching position which is my dream *but I had to say no because of my topsy turvy life*

But all whining aside....

What, don't tell me you never whine...don't tell me you have never sat down and said..OOOOKKKKK!?!?! Can I have a little break here?!?!?!

I know...you are sooo spiritual...walking around with no worries...no cares....your life is just floating from one cloud to the next...sunshine and rainbows...

HUMPH...bah humbug...

So what makes it worth getting up everyday??

It's another day...that's what...

Full of good and bad, because that's life, and I'm living it.

Everyday has the potential to be good or bad...It's what I make of it...

Some days the bad seems like it is overwhelming...oh but the good is sooo good.

When I am weak, that's when He is strong. He comes to me, reminding me again.

He reminds me....

That I have two wonderful parents and because of all they are going through I know without a doubt what each day that I have them means...

I have a job that I love and allows me the flexibility to be sitting here at this time of the day in my gown AND allows me to be off every day to take care of any issues that arise...

My family live in this house and love in this house...this is our HOME...our refuge...the place I long to be when the day is done...

I am in good health, even with my fat rolls and stiff neck...I am blessed

God has blessed us financially, allowing us to pay our bills and still enjoy life and pour back in to His work!

Even though I am still coughing I am sooooo much better than I was, and I know *this too shall pass* because I have visited the Great Physician with my ailment!

And someday when the time is right I'll be able to teach nursing, which is my desire. I'll have the time to finish up my education. But God has me where I can do something I enjoy and take care of my family. Not many people can say that...

AND.....in two weeks I'll be at Disney with my family!!! wooohooo yippeeee!!!!!

You see for each problem, there is a blessing...

Sometimes my vision gets clouded by situations, and then He comes...

"I'll never leave you, nor forsake you"

"I'll shelter you under My wings"

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light"

"I'll restore your soul"

"I am your salvation, whom shall you fear?"

There is a song that I have been listening to over and over lately...the chorus says

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours.....

Oh God, Oh God....I am Yours today...all of me. Who I am that You even know my name, that You would come down to the earth as a man just so I could know You? Me, a whining petulant child, yet You love me.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

You Might Be A Redneck....

So, I have a love for vehicles. I get this from my father. I have been dreaming of the day I can cruise through town in my Lexus, driving in comfort and style...aaahhhh....how nice it will be.

Last weekend my husband came home with a truck he was test driving. And after looking at another place we found the perfect vehicle for us; a huge Dodge truck.

So now I'm sporting around town in a truck 10 times bigger than anything I have ever driven. I have to park way out in the distant corners of the Wally World parking lot to keep from running over unsuspecting villagers. My daughter says I have now become one of those irritating old women driving something entirely too big for her. I told her I'll get used to it.

It has everything your modern redneck needs from the low profile tool box to the dual exhaust that rumbles and roars along with the Hemi engine. It was instant love for me.

And I have found something interesting about the whole big truck experience that I never experienced in my little SUV, all these other big truck people now nod their heads with respect when I go bouncing by. I have become accepted by the whole big truck loving society.

I am very thrilled, to say the least. I have only managed to run over a curb so far, so I feel like I will be just fine in my new machine.

But just to be on the safe side, you might want to stay out of my way for a little while longer.

Well, I'm off to bed to dream of my next BIG adventure. I'm ready to go where ever the huge tires will take me once I manage to foist myself in. I just strap on my seat belt and I'm ready for take off.

Do you think they make a big 4 door Lexus truck?? Aww, who needs it anyway.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tea Time

I just finished a nice cup of Earl Grey tea. MMMMMM....

When I was able to have a brief visit at my brother's home the weekend of the wedding they fixed me a cup of some kind of berry blend. They are so cool. They even have this cool electric kettle that sits on the counter. I always warm my water in the microwave. I definitely need to invest in one of those pots.

I have this really great spice cabinet on my counter. It has not really held anything since I got it, never served a real purpose, so I dug out all of my teas and put them in the drawers. Now I have a *tea cabinet.*

Last night at our Fall Festival I won the *Hot Tea Basket* and so I had more to add to my collection. My cabinet runneth over!!!

As I sat here tonight enjoying my tea, letting it relax me and hopefully help with some of this congestion in my chest I was thinking about my old Pastor and his precious wife.

I don't think I ever drink Earl Grey that I don't think about her. I had surgery while they were here and she brought me some Earl Grey along with some butter cookies. Every afternoon while I was recovering I would brew a cup and eat some of the butter cookies, it became a nice routine. I can understand why the British do it! What a great break in the day.

They were such precious people. They were traveling down in this area in their motor home. They had retired and were just enjoying life. Someone told them the church here was vacant. They just stepped up and filled a need. It was just their desire to do something for God. My children and I were not able to go to church at that time for certain reasons and one night I said "that's it, we are going to church." So we loaded up and started the drive to another town to be in church.

We had to pass by the church here on the way. There parked in the front of the church was a U-Haul. We pulled in and it was then we met this beautiful couple.

They had such an impact on my family. Even though my husband did not go to church while they were here, he told them when they were leaving that they had made a difference in him and it was his sincere regret that he had not given them a chance.

They have gone back to Indiana now. I received an email from her just the other day letting me know that he is not doing well. It is feared he has cancer in his colon and will be undergoing surgery this week.

This precious couple needs our prayers now. I could never, ever, express what they meant to my family. I remember how I felt when they told me they were going to leave, I thought my heart would break, but I knew they needed to rest, and I knew he would not have made such a decision without much prayer.

He taught me so many things about God. Aside from my Pastor now, he has had the biggest impact on my walk with God.

And she was the epitome of grace and graciousness. She truly had a servants heart.

It is amazing how God places people in your lives at just the right time, bringing just what you need for that moment and beyond. Like my love for Earl Grey, and the gentle love from a Pastor and his wife that brought me strength and growth to last me a lifetime.

Lord, bless Brother and Sister Synesael today. Touch them Lord, and strengthen them during the days ahead. Lord, You have the final say in any situation, and I know You are in this situation, too. Remember them today. Remember them and bless them as You have me by making them part of my life. I love You, I love You, I love You, You're the Sweet Rose of Sharon to me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Did It My Way

I left my parents home earlier tonight. There is no way to describe how devastating it is to me to see the state of their health. To see them so debilitated is so disheartening to me. It is almost more than I can bear.

Each day of our lives we make choices, and each new day is etched with the consequences of what ever choices we have made in the past. As I look at my parents today I see choices, both good and bad, and the price of those choices.

There is an old secular song from some time ago called "Like a Rock." My husband who listens to secular music stopped on it on the way home tonight from Fall Festival at church. I was already feeling blue from my brief visit earlier with Dad and Mom and I guess this just sent me into a blue funk.

The song is about a man who is reflecting on his youth that is long gone, how strong he was, how his "eyes were clear and bright" and his "walk had purpose," his steps were quick and light. And he wonders where the years have gone, where the youth has gone.

He says that sometimes late at night he sits and remembers...

This just saddened me beyond belief to think of my own sweet Dad sitting in his chair in the den remembering....

Remembering the days when he could take on the world and win, when people stepped out of his way and when his assurance was apparent to anyone who got in his way.

What it must be like to look back.

My Dad lived life without regard to what anyone thought of him. He lived it under his own power, his way.

Now I wonder if he looks back at all he could have done as well as all he has done. Does he regret those youthful days he spent chasing the middle class dream and would he go back and give some of that boundless energy that he used to display to the One who gave him everything?

It is my prayer that he and my mother will soon be well enough to be back in church, hearing the Word, living the life that now seems out of their reach. I pray that they have peace in this time in their lives and that I can be everything for them that they need.

I want to live my life His Way... That is my desire. He is my Rock.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Keeping Your Garments

What an awesome message my Pastor preached last night. It is always wonderful to hear a message about the foundations that we stand on. He did an incredible job, as always, preaching from Revelation 16:13-15.

I would that I could recite each detail for you, but that would spoil it. I will be happy to get a copy for anyone who is interested.

But he did talk on the fact that people are hung up saying that the outward man doesn't matter. And it is so true. You cannot read the Bible without seeing what a contradiction to truth that statement is. Over and over God speaks to our outward man, and usually nakedness is mentioned in context with shame...hhhmmmm.

Does it matter? Should the world at large be able to pick us out of a crowd and know what we stand for? He used the example of fruit. When you go to the store to buy and orange, you know what an orange looks like, you don't take a bite and then say, "oops that's a banana!"

I have actually had people tell me, "you know Sheri, you would look sooo much better if you would put on a little makeup (cut your hair, etc)." I am not supposed to be offended by this comment. But heaven forbid I should ever say "if you would tone that makeup down some, you would be so pretty."

I am not a barn that needs to be painted. And I cannot understand why more women are not offended by the concept. It is as if men are saying "we are OK, but you need some help." And since it was men that started the makeup industry, well, that speaks volumes to me.

I happen to think I am beautiful the way that I am, because it means something to me. My hair means something to me, my face devoid of makeup, means something to me. This is who I am. I am devoted to God, on the outside and inside.

To some this may be offensive. If so, I make no apologies. I live this in your faces every day without apology. It would be so much easier to live as the world. But I have to keep my garments.

This is my protection from worldliness. This has served as a hedge about my children. This separation from worldliness has protected them from any manner of problems. And because of my love for all the things of God, my children have developed a love also.

I am so thankful today to have a Pastor that obeys God. So many today have backed down on this message. I am grateful that God put a man in my life and in the lives of my family who is not afraid to preach with conviction things such as holiness. I love You so much, Lord, and what the world sees as unnecessary, I am so thankful I see how necessary it is, how beautiful it is. I wouldn't take nothing for my journey now!!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Courage to Speak....Courage to Hear

I have this nifty little program on my phone called "Wiseman." Everyday I can look at it and find a different quote waiting to inspire me.

Today I was inspired by Winston Churchill, as I have found myself being inspired in the past.

He said "
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."

When I was a very young girl, up until I was in college, I was painfully shy and terrified of anything that even remotely hinted at being in front of a crowd. I was once given the superlative the quietest girl in my class, and although my speaking voice still remains soft, give me a mic, I'll speak, no matter the size of the crowd.

While in college in desperate need of a job, I found one as a disc jockey. It was during that time I realized that people were listening whether I could see their faces or not, so what did it matter. That *cured* me.

But having the courage to stand in front of a crowd and speak about things I am comfortable with, and having the courage to stand up to someone and speak something to them that I would rather not say are two totally different things. And more times than not I have to totally rely on God to be able to do that. On my own I get either physically ill, or I mess every thing up completely.

Recently I was having a conversation with a member of my family. I was asking about someone that I had met for the first time, to find out more about what the person was like and the response I received was very well stated and very honest. I was told that the person was indeed very wonderful, *but* it didn't take long to realize that while they were talking with you, their mind was moving in a million different directions, never really hearing anything you had said.

So many times in my life I have nodded and answered what I hoped was appropriately, but I never really heard what was being said. On some occasions I have even found myself sitting in the House of God, needing His Word, only to be thinking about something else entirely.

Or I have listened to my Pastor and thought "Boy, I wish *fill in the blank* could hear this, when, if I had been honest, it was I who needed to hear.

Courage....

Courage to stand up and speak, to stand up in the face of adversity, of the adversary, of our peers, of our family, and speak, without compromise, without backing down or giving in.

Courage to listen, even when it means we may have to change, we may be wrong, we may be an obstacle to growth, or a stumbling block for our own growth may need to be removed.

Do you know what courage always brings??

CHANGE

Always.

Winston Churchill also said, "
Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others."

How true, how true.

Lord, I have prayed so many times that You would be my strength. How I still need that. Give me the courage today to admit that I need You in every area of my life. If there is something in me, Lord, help me to listen to You so that I can become fit for Your use. And never let me lack the courage to live my convictions and to stand up to the world around me. You are so precious to me. I love you so, so much.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Rose

I do not have words to describe how it felt to see my beautiful niece become a wife this weekend. She was radiant, and I guess that is an understatement. Her whole countenance shown.

I happen to love the song "When God Unfolds The Rose." There are some things that man cannot do, and one of those things is unfold the petals of a rose. Saturday I watched a rose bloom in the midst of a room filled with love.

And each petal was in place because everything came together in His time.

To my beautiful D'Ann, I am so proud of you, because of who you are, because of what you stand for. I see in you and your sister so many promises yet to be kept and I am so very thankful for you. I love you so very much.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Chicken Little Versus The Ostrich

For those of you who have not lived life in my shoes it would be hard for you to comprehend my thought processes. Perhaps it would be hard for even a renowned team of experts to comprehend my thought processes, but that is neither here nor there.

But for those who are the least bit curious as to what it would be like to float around in my thoughts, (float being an appropriate word here) I'll be ever so happy to share.

Within my being rages an epic battle, the battle of *Something bad is coming, I just know it* and *I'm just going to stick my head in the sand and pretend everything is beautiful.*

It really gets heated when I am able to pretend for a week or so and then get body slammed by the falling sky.

So I have been anticipating with great joy the marriage of my beautiful niece, so much so that I have managed to purposely lodge my head as deep into the dirt as I could possibly get it, only to have my posterior slapped with a hunk of diving atmosphere. Now I'm stuck somewhere between desire and despair wondering what will win out.

I need You so much this morning. You said to come to You, all that were weak and heavy laden and You would give us rest. I need that Lord, real rest in You, not just pretend rest. I need a way where there is seemingly no way today. I'm depending on Your love to see me through.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Our Heritage

"Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statues always, even unto the end." (Psalm 119:111-112)

I'm feeling melancholy today. Another of our little birdies is about to fly out of the nest. It makes me sad for all the years I missed with my nephew and my nieces. It is hard to comprehend how what starts out as one unit can fragment through the passage of time, yet still have one heart. There are so many moments I have missed, but I still feel like they are my babies too.

Looking into all of the faces of the children in our family it is so painfully obvious that time marches on. When I think of Jacob, a big grown man with a wife and a business of his own, and my sweet D'Ann about to embark on her own happily ever after it makes me long to hold on to what time I have left with the rest, especially since all these weddings of late have my own dumplin' and her fellow talking about just how their own *big day* will play out.

You see, almost 48 years ago two people vowed their own lives to each other, for better or worse, through sickness and in health, till death comes to part them. And because of that love three new lives came into existence. Now that number has multiplied it will continue to do so.

And like a grand symphony God has orchestrated each note of our lives, each crescendo and decrescendo, each change in tempo, He has become our conductor.

Someday my own children will be in this place in life, thinking back over the years, the highs and the lows, remembering.

I have heard so many people say things like "My Grandmother loved the Lord" or "My Grandfather knew his Bible." It almost seems like a whole generation was skipped because I don't ever really hear people from my generation speak of their own parents in such manner.

And I read in Psalms 78:5-9 "For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God."

I am so thankful that my parents have both been baptized in the Name of Jesus, that Name above all names, the ONLY Name by which we MUST be saved, but it was their children who led them there.

My prayer is that someday when our children relate about the character of my brother, my sister and myself they will say, "My Daddy loved God with everything he was," " I can't count the times I have heard my Mama cry out in prayer before the Lord," "She had the heart of a servant."

I don't have a heritage of being raised in the church, but I have a heritage of the Word. And that heritage is rich and deep. It flows through my blood, fattens my marrow and strengthens my spirit. Every beat of my heart sounds out a testimony for my God, the One who loved me enough to give His very life for me, a child that was not even in existence yet, but still He knew me.

And someday, somewhere down the line that my husband and I have begun (if the Lord tarries), there will be a child, praying at an altar, my heritage.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Perfection Comes With A Price

I wonder at times what it would be like to be perfect. Oh, I'm not talking only physical perfection, but total perfection. To never lose my temper or have a bad thought, to just walk constantly in *heavenly places* and never worry or lack trust.

There have been times over the last year or so that I have prayed for just one normal week, just one week where there was no crisis or trauma to have to contend with. And to be totally honest I have finally redefined *normal* for our lives.

But still I fail, I fall short. I am not a perfect wife, nor am I a perfect mother. I'm not the perfect child to my parents, or to my King.

And life continues to happen to me. Each day I wake up and life is still there, problems are still there, and I still have to put one foot in front of the other and muddle through.

I think one of the things that makes Paul probably my favored New Testament contributor is that he was real. He had shortcomings and he didn't pretend otherwise.

And over the last year I think I have taken on whining to God. I'm not proud of it, but in some of the situations I have faced I have felt like stomping my feet, and throwing myself on the floor and having a good old fit. I'm sure NO ONE else has EVER had these feelings. I have never asked God "why me" or said it has become more than I could bear, but I have, well, begged for help.

My Pastor's wife went through a very traumatic situation several years ago. Her mother related her side of it one day to us. She said she had become bitter and questioned God as to why this had happen to her daughter in the way it had happened. She said her answer was "why not."

Why should I not have troubles and trials? Why should I be exempt from the problems of life?

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I made strong."

Every trial I have faced, every situation I have struggled through, every time I have been broken and pierced with the thorns of life, through all the times I have thrown myself at His mercy, and wept painful, sometimes bitter tears at His feet, He was working perfection in me.

And just like Paul, I am thankful. I look back over my walk with Him and I see where He has brought me to, and I am in awe of all He has done in my life, in my family.

I won't say I welcome trouble, but I know trouble comes. I know that I can partake of His perfect strength in my times of weakness and trouble. So like Paul I have learned to see the blessing in my own thorns.

Lord, I see the world around me with its shallow view of perfection. Looking only at the outward man they become meaningless, empty shells, with hollow lives. I know I have faced so many things, but I can look at each problem and see Your grace, and it has been more than enough. You have always been my strength. I'm leaning on You.

Monday, October 8, 2007

On Second Thought

While most of you are getting up and getting ready to begin your work week, I am coming home from my 36 hour weekend and getting ready to hit the sack for a few hours. I have SOOO much to do today that my original plan was to stay up and get some of my long *to do* list completed....

But, on second thought, I think I'll nap first.

I really enjoy my job. I have loved being back on the floor, back in my comfort zone. I hate missing church. And the hate seems to outweigh the love for me. I know I have so much I need to accomplish for God and I am having NO second thoughts about my commitment to Him. So I am praying for a way to have my cake and eat it too. I know He will honor my desire to serve Him.

So...I'm off to bed to end one hectic week and prepare for another. I pray that you will remember how faithful He is today and be just as faithful to Him. I have a renewed commitment to fill every inch of my life that I can with Him. I know when I do so He takes care of the details of the rest of life....He's just good that way.

I'll post a few pictures from the wedding today. Give me some feedback. I am praying this is my *door of hope!* I was trying to rush some shots to get out of the way so some were disappointing. It will be so much better when I have the ability to say "Hey, I'm the photographer!"

OK...that's it for me, my eyes are rolling back in my head...well, on second thought...maybe I'll fix me some pancakes...hehe






























Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Simple Question...No Simple Answer

Why?

In my life I have heard the question so many times. "Just because" was usually the answer when I couldn't come up with anything better when my children were small. I know, it wasn't adequate for their young and curious minds, but at times that was the best I could come up with.

Now that they are growing older the question becomes even more complex. "Why is it they are just handed everything? And why don't they appreciate what they have?"

"Just because" definitely doesn't work like it used to.

Did you know that even the Lord asked "Why?"

"And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?" (Judges 2:1-2)

I take the Word of God very seriously. I am pleased that I do not partake in "Cafeteria-Style Christianity." And to the world around me that obviously is hard to understand.

Long ago when my children asked the why's concerning this Apostolic life, I was honest, I gave them scripture, and most of all, I shared my deep love for all that we believe. I showed them the "beauty of holiness" and the blessing of living a life separated from the world around us. And in doing so I have seen my love for all the things of God grow in their lives.

Because of the situation in my home for so many years, there were things that my children were exposed to that I would that I could have shielded them from. But as they matured and the questions continued they were able to make the right choices for themselves based on the biblical answers we found to each situation.

The most important thing I have taught them is that God does not change. He does not change. And it pains me now to see the line of separation blur for so many. And I don't know the answer to the question of why.

I fear the answer to the question of "What next?"

Do not be deceived. This world will not be impressed with the things we "back up" on. With each stand we have taken for all these years we suddenly let go of, do not be fooled into thinking this will affect the world around us. Because, my friends, the world won't be affected if we let go, but we will, we will.

Judges 2:1-3-

1And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

2And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?

3Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.

This world has it's gods; fame, fortune, celebrity, status. You only have to read the headlines to see where these things lead. Those bright lights and the recognition associated with them lie in the shadows of the stage of life like a giant hook, waiting to drag away the *realness* of all we stand for, and before you know it our most precious jewels will be led away captive, dressed up like dancing clowns, entertaining the masses. And all we have held so dear, our separateness, our PROTECTION from worldliness will be all but forgotten.

Oh God, my Jesus, may I never forget *why.* Let me live the *why* in front of the world, without shame. I don't want to end up another face in the crowd, I want to be YOUR face in the crowd, refusing to bow down to the dictates of the world. I want to remember, to know that it is not the world I serve. And I want to always be assured that You would NEVER ask me to compromise myself to win the lost, because in compromising myself, in compromising YOUR will for me, I become lost. I love You desperately. Even so, Come Lord Jesus. Come....

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Door of Hope in the Valley of Trouble

During prayer last night before service I felt God was going to send a word for me. And He did, through Bro. Phillips who was filling in while my Pastor and his wife to a much deserved break.

What a wonderful message sent straight to me in my Valley of Achor.

Hosea 2:14-15 states, "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. and I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt."

It is amazing that even in times of trouble God will come and speak to our hearts, but not only speak to us, He will put us at ease even when He brings us into the wilderness Himself.

I don't know why everything that has happened has happened. But I am assured that He knows. And even in this time of trouble He comes and speaks to my heart, He comforts me.

Not only that, He will sustain me, in times of trouble He will provide the sustenance that my soul needs to keep going. And it does seem that during this time He has fed me from the richness of His Word over and over and over. He has provided me with strength to continue on.

The most amazing part of all of this is that He said that "she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt."

He said he would trade "the Valley of Achor for a door of hope." My trouble for hope, my sorrow for hope, my loneliness for hope, my despair for hope. And He will have me rejoice as I did in that day when He delivered me from my life of sin and heartache. He said I will be singing in my troubles.

He has allowed me to do just that. He has made a way for me when I could see no way and now as I lift my voice to Him my worship is real and heartfelt as it always has been. It is my privilege to give Him my praise. He is my strength and my song.

As I stand and lift my voice to Him it is my heart that sings, it is my trouble that I lay aside to give Him the praise He deserves for who He is in my life.

Troubles come, I can attest to that. But the troubles are not my testimony. My testimony is a door of hope that He gave me in the midst of the valley of my troubles. My testimony is the unchanging hand of God. My testimony is His faithfulness to me.

I'll not sing about my valley today, I'll sing about the hope that is mine. The hope that comes from an ever present Savior. My love song to Him.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Blessing of Being Taken For Granted - Part II

It has been such a benefit for me to be able to sit down and take some time out of my life to transport my feelings into the written word. I know it may sound silly to some people, but I have been able to look back at my musing and smile and even cry. I have found it to be very cathartic for me.

We finally brought Mama home from the hospital Monday. It was a very trying day to say the least. We arrived at around 10am and got home shortly before 5pm. And since I had not had any sleep it was a very long day.

Brother Wood had given me a copy of my *forthcoming* CD and I brought it along for Mama to listen to. Needless to say she cried on the way home. That was the best review I could ever get.

We got home and I stayed with Mama while Dad ran some errands. We rearranged some things so that she could get around in the wheelchair that was on its way. But while we were waiting she decided that she would probably get around better on a *Hover-round* so we called and had my uncle bring my grandmothers that she doesn't use.

Mom was so cute riding around with her boys. She even maneuvered easily around Dad's dialysis equipment. She said "Your Daddy's gonna have to build me a ramp so I can ride around in the yard." This exasperated my Dad who said "Honey, your Mama's never even been in the yard when she could get around!"

When I started to leave late that afternoon I walked over to hug her and I kissed her on the forehead and she squeezed me with the one arm that wasn't holding her boys and said "I thank God for you every day."

My throat choked with tears.

I don't think there has ever been a time in my life where I have felt so overwhelmed by life. I wake up every morning thinking about my parents and they are always what I am thinking about when I finally fall asleep.

I can remember vividly what it felt like to be a little girl looking up at my big strong Daddy. I can still she his youthful face and the strong measure of his step. My Daddy always knew where he was going. He was decisive and opinionated. I can remember times he failed and I was struck with the reality that he was a man and he made mistakes.

And I can still remember snuggling up to my Mama at night. I remember what it was like to lie with my head in her lap so she could *pet* on me. She was always bustling around, keeping everything going. I miss those days of shopping that we used to have, and the way she looked when she was holding my own babies.

It has been harder than I could ever tell to see the toll of life, to look in the faces that were once so youthful and vibrant to see the worry and pain etched into their countenances. They have always taken care of their family, and it worries them to think they may need to be taken care of.

And it worries me to think I may not be able to care for them well enough. My heart feels so heavy with the passing of each day.

I have always taken for granted the fact that my parents would be around for a very long time. Now, I don't know if that is the case. So like a sponge I attempt to suck in everything I can so that on some lonely night in hopefully the far away future I can squeeze out the memories and let them refresh my heart.

Oh, my sweet Mama, it is I who thanks God for you. I thank God for the love of two people that will carry them throughout their lives and will sustain their family long after those lives are no more. Your heart made me who I am today. I love you both with each breath that I breathe. I am so blessed.

Please, Lord, never let me take for granted all that You have given me. Every day it seems You put me back on the Potter's wheel and reshape me. Keep pouring into me. I need You today.