Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Douglas Truth Harbor

These guys were hamming it up!! Here are a few shots from last nights "post" service!

This Day: Finally under control!

This Day: Finally under control!

Be sure to check out the new stuff Shain and I have going at the link above!

We have several Senior sessions lined up.

Plus! We are gearing up to start family sessions!!!

I am so blessed to have Shain! He is such an incredible young man. I spent many years praying for the mates the Lord was preparing for my children.

Shain has such a love for the Lord and the work of God. I have watched he and Denise grow in the Lord in the time they have known each other.

And he is talented beyond reason!! I'm serious! I can't wait to be able to showcase some of his work as we build up our portfolio! He is a genius!!

My prayer is that we will get busy enough so that he will be able to support himself on this while he is finishing school. He is definitely not afraid to work, so PUT US TO WORK for you!!!


Monday, April 28, 2008

My Dog Has Fleas

I stumbled out of bed Saturday morning and blearily headed for the bathroom. Ethan and I went to a Youth Rally in Lake Park where Brother Nathan Cox from Abbeville, LA was the featured preacher. He did an awesome job. Needless to say, we got in rather late.

I had left the bathroom door cracked since I was the only one home. My dogs love to come in and greet me in the mornings. They are the only ones in this part of the country that don't seem to notice that I am not my best in the morning.

Sandy, my little red daschund came dashing in, wagging from head to toe, and placed her little furry paws on my knee. She then starting smiling at me as if to say, "Hey, hey, it's morning!! Hurry up and get me some good food!"

As usual I picked her up to cuddle her for a minute. What I saw when I started to scratch her pink little tummy was totally shocking!


My cute little fuzzy wuzzy dogie was COVERED IN FLEAS!!!

How could this have happened???

I mean, I know that fleas happen, but this was like a mother load of fleas!

I put Sandy back on the floor and grabbed up Pearl, my little black and tan daschund.


I freaked!

I know they had no idea what was going on. I locked us all in the bathroom just to make sure no one escaped what was to happen next.

For the next hour and a half I scrubbed, and picked and combed and fretted and sprayed.

They were shell shocked for the rest of the afternoon.

I spent so much time trying to figure out what went wrong, how could this have happened? It had never been this bad before.

Then I remembered.....THE KITTEN RESCUE!!

Our next door neighbor called a few weeks back asking us if we would take an abandoned kitten. It was so cute and tiny, much too small to be away from its Mama. So we took it.

After about a day we made a horrific discovery.

That teeny tiny kitten that barely covered the palm of my hand had at least One Million Fleas!!!

We washed it, and scrubbed it and picked at the infestation. Unfortunately, because of the age of the kitten we could not use any flea spray or flea shampoo.

We finally passed the kitten on. But I guess the kitten left its mark in more ways than one.

How was I to know that such a sweet, cute little ball of fur could have such a disastrous effect on my sweet little doggies? Weeks later, the true results of allowing the kitten into our home came to light.

Now, I may have to bomb the entire house!!! All because I felt sorry for that kitten and allowed it into our lives.

I remember another time that I allowed something into our lives that left a mark. My daughter had a friend that she felt sorry for. I felt like the girl was trouble, and I warned her of such, but she wore down my defenses until I allowed her to let this girl into her life against my better judgement.

The next thing I knew this girl had introduced my daughter to music and ideas that were against everything that I had upheld for our family. By the time I stepped in and said "No Way are you getting her" to the devil, it was too late. My sweet precious baby girl had been infested with lyrics that could never be erased from her mind, except by the grace of God.

And although she now looks back and says "what was I thinking??" it is I who feels the pain.

Just like I did with a cute little kitten, I let the world move in. And you can never have contact with the things of the world without them leaving their mark (good and bad).

So, I've got my doggies under surveillance looking for further invasions. And I've got the devil under surveillance too. I'm not letting my guard down again!!

I'm serving notice on the other flea infested orphans of the neighborhood, you're going to have to find somewhere else to stay. I don't care how cute and fuzzy you are. I'll just have to close my eyes when someone brings you around, and recommend the nearest shelter.

Lord, help me......sigh.....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Drinking From The Well Of Sorrow

We had a wonderful service in Douglas Tuesday night. Brother Wood brought us a powerful message titled "How The Caged Bird Can Sing."

Brother Weeks sang a song before service titled "Paint My Mind (In The Blood Of Calvary)."

He joked with me after service because I kind of drug my feet going to the keyboard hoping he would play again, which he did. I confessed what I had done and he got a "stern" look on his face and said, "I kind of thought that's what you were up to. I looked over at you and you were looking SO spiritual."

Several months ago I bought myself a small Bible with a snap closure that I could carry in my purse. My study Bible is large and heavy and I wanted something I could have with me at all times to read whenever I had the opportunity.

My study Bible has been my friend for many years and has notes and highlights and such all the way through it. But this little Bible shows very little signs yet of my presence in the Word.

Brother Wood used Psalm 84 as part of his scripture reference Tuesday, and when I turned there I was struck by the pink verse that jumped out at me, wondering when and why I had highlighted that particular verse.

Over the past couple of days, it has been on my mind. I knew there had to be a reason, because it really didn't make a lot of sense.

Psalm 84:6 Who passing through the valley of Ba'ca make it a well, the rain also filleth the pools.

There are other verses in that chapter that in glancing seemed more deserving of my attention.

84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

84:12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

And those are just a FEW from that chapter that had I highlighted, I would have read over them and praised Him in my heart for His continued faithfulness.

But, I had not marked any other verse.

Something pricked my memory about Ba'ca. So, I searched for the reason for it's reference.

One of the meanings of Ba'ca is weeping.


I cannot begin to tell about the sorrow that I have been walking in.

This valley seems long and dry and lonely for me. And I think the lonely part has been the hardest to deal with.

Sometimes, in a valley, it takes all of the strength you have to put one foot in front of the other. And you long for the support of those that you love the most to, well, love you back.

But when it is you walking in that dry place, it may seem impossible for someone who is not walking there beside you to understand the path your steps fall in. Perhaps they would have chosen another route than the one you have, not truly knowing the obstacles you had to make it through that may have prevented you from traveling any other way.

It is during these times, when the refreshment of my loved ones may not be available that I find myself with my shovel in my hand.

I find myself digging a well in my weeping, storing up that refreshment of His love and strength to draw on. I sink to my knees in my very own valley of weeping and allow Him to quench me, allow Him to remind me of other times I have wept, and bring me back to a place of praise where He strengthens me once again.

I am wandering, of late, from well to well, from strength to strength.

And when I step away I KNOW, without a doubt, whatever I go through, He goes through it with me.

I KNOW why I can say "A day in THY courts is better than a thousand."

"O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee."

Thank You. God I thank You. I cannot fathom how I could survive without You. You prove to me over and over why I call You my Friend. The song of my heart today is of You. "Let me walk with You Jesus. Don't ever leave me alone. For without You I could never, No NEVER make Heaven my home." You will come again, and when You do, You will find me dipping in the wells of my praise for You. For though I have been filling the wells with tears of sorrow, I will drink from them of the depths of my praise.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Music To Dance To

I heard a story long ago about an incident that happened during the Holocaust. It seems a group of Jewish men had been marched out into the snowy night, naked, and stood in front of their armed German captives.

One of the Germans tauntingly said to a Jewish man while holding him at gunpoint, "Let's see you dance before your God now!"

And so that man began to dance, slowly at first, since the bottoms of his feet had frozen into the snowy ground.

With each time he would lift his feet, his skin would stay behind, leaving bloody footprints in the snow.

Yet he danced harder and harder to that precious music only heard in his heart, giving his praise to Jehovah.

Before long others joined in and then more and more, until the snow was literally covered with blood.

Sometimes in my own walk I tend to let the music of my heart die out to be replaced by the drone of situations and obstacles.

More than ever, it is during the hard times in my life that I need to heed to the beat of His Glory, and dance with everything I have.

It is times like these that I face now, that I should be dancing. It is easy to dance when everything is moving to an easy rhythm.

But He is worthy even when the music seems to stop, and I only have a memory of the melody. He is worthy even when I am bleeding, even when the steps cause me pain. For He IS the music of my life. He is my reason for singing, and the steps of my dance. He deserves my best, even when giving my best seems impossible, I know that with each step I am closer to Him. And that's just where I want to be.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Learning Curve

When I started college some years ago, I had to take the College Placement Exam (CPE). I have to confess, when I got to the math portion I was stupefied. I had never even seen algebra, let alone tried to work a problem. So I ended up going down the list and randomly coloring in little circles.

Needless to say, I ended up in a remedial math course.

After a few weeks the teacher asked me one day if I could stay after class so he could talk to me. He said he had one question he wanted to ask me.

"How could someone who scored a 36 on the CPE in math have an A in this class?"

"No one had ever taught me how to do algebra before," I simply replied.

I knew that I was going to be facing something difficult. And with all that has gone on lately, with each situation, I would think, "this is IT."

But I had that nagging feeling that I hadn't quite reached whatever "IT" was yet (which was frightening enough considering some of my challenges of late).

Yesterday I discovered "IT."

And "IT" came from something totally unexpected. And sent me reeling.

I don't believe I have seen a remedial course on caring for your parents when they are ill. Just like those algebra problems, sometimes I can make no sense out of what is going on, or how I should solve the problem.

But I have tried.

The past couple of years have brought many changes to my life. And before I go any further, I want it to be totally understood I am not asking for sympathy or an "Ataboy" or anything like that. The only satisfaction I have sought to gain is being able to lay my head down at night and know I have done my best to provide for my parents needs while still balancing my own family life.

I am quite sure I solved some problems wrong, but there are several things I thought I had done right.

I have tried very hard to balance between being available anytime my parents need me with allowing them to maintain their independence. As a nurse, you are trained to foster independence and enable those in your care to function in the highest level of it they are able to. After all , most who lose their independence also lose their reason to keep going.

I have sheltered my parents from some of the obstacles I have faced in being able to be there for them. I never wanted them to ever feel like they were placing undo stress on me or that they were "burdening" me. So, I kept some things from them, and others as well, feeling this was the right thing to do.

For instance, basically when I left one of my jobs it was because it was STRONGLY implied I needed to do so because my family was interferring with my ability to do my job, according to my supervisor. God opened a door and made a way of escape for me before I had a stain on my employment history.

That door led to me being totally exhausted. But I still managed to get my parents where they needed to be, and my family picked up more of the slack for me during that time. This is one area we have worked very well together in. My husband is always willing to do whatever is needed, and my children have missed school, work, and social functions without batting an eye, to make sure Papa and Granny were OK.

Now He has graciously placed me in a wonderful position, better than I deserve. The only draw back was that I was off training for over a month.

But He kept His hand on me, on my family, and on my parents. Now I am pretty much here, and during this recent challenge they have been so understanding. I am so very blessed.

I have known moments of heartache and frustration. I have been brought to my knees over and over again. As Abraham Lincoln said, I have no where else to go.

And in between each challenge I have tried to cram as much living in as I can. I have tried to balance everything. I haven't always done a good job of it. I am sure of it.

I would that there were a curve built in for situations like this, so that when others look over the situation, they would be able to say "this has happened, but this was going on too, so we'll have to look at the whole thing differently."

Dad has been so confused, and I have stood with his head on my shoulder as he cried thinking, "Lord, I don't know if I can bear this."

Yesterday Shain sat with my Dad while I had stepped out for a moment. Shain said my Dad looked at him and said, "You know, they tell me I don't see Sheri anymore." And then he began to weep.

Oh my God, I need your help. I don't know what else to do. But I will do whatever it takes. You said you would never give me more than I could bear. I need You to shoulder this pain I feel. I need Your presence, I need Your Spirit to rain down on me and wash this away from me. Help me to always do the best I can and let me be sensitive to the needs of those around me. Give me the ability to see every aspect of whatever is happening around me. You are the place I run to in times of troubles, You are the mender of my heart. It is in Your presence I find answers I need, and comfort I long for. You are my shelter, my hiding place, my refuge, and my strong tower. You are my God, and You alone are worthy of my praise. Oh, how I love You.

Monday, April 7, 2008

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's....My DAD!!

I left my father a little while ago lying in the hospital. He was groggy from pain medicine, but his spirits were seemingly good considering.

There are tenuous days ahead for my family. I would really love to enter into full ostrich mode at this time and carefully peek my head out when everything is past. But this is not to happen, I am sure.

I have experienced much life. I have learned many things. I have treasures in memories stored in every crevice of my heart. I have had the distinct blessing of being my father's child for over 41 years now. Every year, through every new trial, I know the blessings increase.

I am overwhelmed.

To know that who I am, who I have become, the shape of my character, my strength, came from that precious man I left tonight resting, unsure of tomorrow, is a gift.

I hear of people that have suffered many difficulties, and I think, "WOW, how do they do it?"

And then I think of my Dad, of his life, of his triumphs and failings, and I just know.

My Dad has faced life, had made decisions, both good and bad. And, you know what, just like those speeding bullets that plagued that fictional super hero, life has just kept coming for Dad.

He is facing a new enemy, this one more threatening than we could have imagined. This enemy just crept in and abruptly took over, leaving us stunned and feeling powerless.

I looked at him tonight, this giant man from my little girl-hood, and I see the weariness from the constant battles of late, and I pray he has the strength to fight on, I pray that this won't be his Kryptonite.

I'm not ready to say goodbye to my very own super hero. But I know that if I have to, my Father in Heaven will see me through. And I know, someday, goodbye will come, always. (Our Appointment with the King)

Sweet Lord, take care of my Daddy tonight. Give him comfort and peace. Work in his body to bring healing, work in his heart to draw him close to You. Be with us now, and continue to prepare us. Thank You for fighting my battles, and healing my wounds. I need You more than yesterday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Right Wrongs No Man

This is a crazy ole' world we live in. And I could pose as a psychic by saying "It will only get crazier!"

I am amazed and astonished by parents today.

And before you become offended, let me be the first to declare I am not the poster child for parenthood, so to speak. I have made more mistakes than I can count. I freely admit that to the world at large, and, more importantly, to my offspring.

If you have hung around me any, you know that I am totally in love with my family. I have GREAT kids! I am so, so blessed. I mean that.

Notice, I said I have great kids, I did not say I have perfect kids. They take after their mother--imperfect to the bone.

I know I have been spared many calamity that I have watched some of my peers suffer through, up to this point in my life.

I am, what the modern society we live in would call a throw back from another time. I should get a grip, right? I should let go, let loose, and let my children "sew some wild oats." Let them be kids, let them get out there, get their feet wet and make their own mistakes.


My children have guidelines, they have boundaries, they have RULES *shudder* that they live by.

I know parents who do not monitor their children, allow them to come and go as they please, with whomever they please, dressed however they please.

Then when something bad happens they come crying *I don't know what went wrong!*

And, truly, neither do I.

When did our society decide that you were a bad parent because you behaved like a parent?

I want my children to feel like they can come to me, but I am their mother, not their friend. And I offer an ear, and advise, as their mother. Sometimes I tell them things they don't want to hear, but they keep coming back, so I guess it didn't hurt our relationship that I acted *like a mother.*

I have tried to give my children a love for all things of God, a respect for the Word and for the man that God has placed over us. I have taught them about the natural order that the Bible sets forth for us, about holiness, and about separation from worldliness. I want them to know without a doubt, that living for God is the very best of life, because I know it truly is.

Oh, problems still come. Bad decisions are made, and situations develop.

What I want them to understand through the passage of time is that there is nothing wrong with living right.

Someday when they are old, when their lives are full of memories of the time that has passed them by, if I can somehow help them to be able to look back on this time of their lives without regret, without pain, then that is all I can ask.

I see their potential in the work of the Lord, and I fight on for them. I hear others telling me to back off, but that is not an option. I refuse to just turn my children over to the world. They have been entrusted to me for a time, and I will not bow.

Rules are hard, guidelines can be trying, but if it prevents disaster, if it stops wounds, if it prevents scars, it is worth every thing.

You can never go wrong by doing what is right. Life's are not usually ruined by having morals, by upholding a standard, by walking the straight and narrow.

And to be totally honest, it would be so much easier to just say *whatever* and turn my back to what is happening in their lives. It would be so much easier to be that hip, cool mom. But, no matter how much easier it would seem, the cost is too great. I could cost them their very souls.

I need Your wisdom, Lord. I need it more now than ever as I face the opposition of the world, as I uphold what I know is right, even when it is not popular. You know I'm not looking for popularity anyway. The longing of my heart is to see my children grown, living for you, to see them leave on their wedding days, innocent of the filth of the world, and nervously excited about what lies ahead. I want them to have lasting love without a past to haunt them. I want to see them raise their families to love You and to reverence the things of God.

And someday, that great and beautiful day, I want to hear You say "Well done, thou good and faithful mother." More than anything, I want my legacy to be my love and faith in You.