Monday, July 30, 2007


I spent a good bit of time Sunday on the couch. I've been fighting a summer cold for several weeks and yesterday I awoke to a fever, chills and a horrible sore throat. So Emma, who was also running a fever, and I had a lazy morning. We had planned to "watch" our church service on-line so we wouldn't miss anything, (plus I wanted to see what the choir shots look like so I can figure out where to sit so I'm hidden!)but we both fell asleep before it started.

Chad was on the media team yesterday so he and Chloe stayed for both services, by the time they got home, everyone was famished. Does anyone else get the major hungries on Sunday or is it just my family? Maybe I'll start a Sunday Lunch Post on Friday that way I'm forced to think about lunch before the car ride home. :)

After everyone ate mandatory Sunday rest time was enforced. Chad headed to the bed, the girls to their rooms and me, back to the couch. I flipped through some of my notes from a recent Wednesday with Beth on Life Today.

The entire episode was powerful but she said one thing that really summarized something I've been trying to put words to but couldn't. She was teaching from Luke 5:17 -26, the passage where the friends bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus to be healed. When they can't get in, they go to the roof, make an opening and lower their friend to Jesus. (Side note, be a friend who will raise the roof to get my friends and family to Jesus.)

There were two obstacles those friend faced: the crowd and the pharisees. I'm summarizing the point that caused me to stop and rewind. "Some of us don't experience full healing and freedom in Christ because of the pharisees in our life."

Who are you surrounded by? Who do you confide in? Is it a person who totally believes God? Who believes that He can and will move in our lives? Or are you surrounded by skeptics. Maybe a person who is saved and content to go no farther in their walk with God. They believe the Bible, but don't believe God really moves that much anymore. Be very careful. We become what we surround ourselves with.

For quite some time I have struggled with a particular relationship. It's a relationship that after several years of trying to force it to be healthy, God said stop. These people are Christians, but not growing in their walk. Every time we were around them, we left frustrated. It seemed the entire conversation was about how bad their church staff was, how unfair they are treated, or worse, gossip about other people or family members. This relationship was toxic! After much prayer, God showed us that there needed to be some healthy boundaries. It didn't go over well. Now, we're the ones talked about. It hurts. They are pharisees in our life. They don't worship God, they worship tradition. If anything varies from tradition it's wrong, and they don't mind to tell you all about it. They worship their hurts and heartaches, but have never let God totally heal them. I wonder if they think God can't fix it? It's really very sad.

There is so much more to this, more than I have liberty to write about on the Internet. I can tell you that since I committed to pray that they would be aware of God's presence in every day situations, things have gotten a little better. There is still quite a bit of healing that needs to take place and we are still guarded, but I can tell that God is moving.

Now, then I ask this question. Am I a pharisee in the life of someone? Do I believe that God hasn't or won't move in someone else's situation? Do I "down-play" someones testimony of God's grace? Do I think that God can't work miracles in another person like He's done in mine? Shame on me if I ever do. All that does is say that what Jesus did on the cross wasn't enough. For God so loved the world. Not just you, or me or our circle of friends. The World.

I don't want to be a pharisee. I want each person that reads this, each person that I speak with to experience the joy and freedom of simply believing God.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

You've got to enter this one!!

I normally don't get into entering all the contests, but Chad would do a back-flip if I won this one! Well, maybe not a back-flip, but you get the idea!!

Janice and Susan at 5 Minutes for Mom are giving away an Insignia® 37″ Flat-Panel LCD HDTV!!! This is being donated by the good folks at Best Buy.

For all of us who are coffee lovers, check this out.

Folgers Gourmet Selections. Get A Free Sample

So when the weather is changing I'll be sipping mine on the back patio. Fill out their very short questionnaire, and they will send you a free sample of their new specialty coffee. You even get to pick from 3 new flavors! I picked Vanilla Biscotti. So in 4-6 weeks,ping mine on the back patio!

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cleaning Out

The past two days have been spent cleaning out a closet and re-organizing Emma's dresser. We've been here almost a year and I'm still getting things settled. As I cleaned out the closet under the stairs yesterday, I was amazed at the number of photo albums we have. There were 10 full of pictures, 4 empty and a large rubbermaid full of loose pictures waiting to be scrapbooked or placed into albums. Lots of memories, some good some not so good. Some were hilarious and others brought tears.

Today, we set out to clean Emma's dresser. I found crayons in her underwear drawer, a Sonic napkin in her middle drawer and 5 hair bows that have been missing for weeks in her bottom drawer. It was quite an adventure. As we sorted clothes and straightened up her dresser drawers, God reminded me that this is what He longs to do for us.

He wants to takes out the garbage, the things that have no business occupying space in our hearts and lives, and replace it with the things that He has picked out just for us. After all, He knit us together! He knows every little thing about each one of us. And you know what else, He has customized the ultimate designer wardrobe just for you. (For me too!)

He is just waiting to restore the tired, the worn out and the used. We have to be willing to let go of the old stuff, lay it down and put on the new. Sometimes that's easier said than done isn't it. I'm praying that today, I'll choose to walk around in the new designer duds, not the old stuff.

***My friend Kate had a similar thought today. When I read her post I had chills. This shouldn't post until Thursday night, but I thought it was so cool that God gave us similar themes around the same time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What??? You've Never Heard of Jim Brickman!!!!

I would like to introduce you to my all time favorite artist. This girls, is Jim Brickman. (Sorry for the narrow picture, but you know how I am with the techie stuff and I was doing good to copy, save as and insert.)

Anyway......Meg commented in my Monk&Neagle post that she hadn't heard of Jim Brickman. My heart almost stopped. Can this be? I thought that there might others who haven't been captivated by America's Romantic Pianist, so I thought I'd do a little bio on him.

We should start with some really cool career highlights.
2003 Grammy Nomination – Peace,
Best Instrumental
Gold Records:
By Heart
Picture This
Platinum Record:
The Gift
SESAC Songwriter of the Year 1998
SESAC Songwriter of the Year 1999
Dove Award - The Gift (Best Vocal/Instrumental Duet)
Canadian Country Music Award – Your Love

Now, aren't you impressed that I know all of this stuff! You should be even more impressed that I found all that info on his website. (Go HERE and read more!) In other words, the man can flat out write.

He has teamed up with such artists as Martina McBride, Michael W. Smith, Kenny Loggins, Carly Simon, Herb Alpert, Collin Raye, Pam Tillis, Michael Bolton, Donny Osmond and Olivia Newton-John and another one of my favorites Ginny Owens.

The first time I heard his name was from my Mother-In-Love "B". I believe it was one of her assistants, who is related to Jim Brickman, asked if she had heard of him. Susie said no, this assistant said well you will. That Christmas, my husband stuffed my stocking with one of his CD's. I was addicted.

Chad has used concert tickets several times as birthday or valentine gifts. They are always my favorite gift. The first concert we attended was the Holiday tour December of 2000. I was pregnant with Emma and not feeling real great about myself. Our tickets were in the balcony and I was a little disappointed about that until I realized they were FIRST ROW balcony at the Tivoli Theater in Chattanooga. That means you feel like you are on stage. It was awesome. Donnie Osmond, Anne Cochran and Tracy Silverman joined him and put on a fabulous show. (I've probably misspelled last names, if I did sorry!) We, or I walked away inspired, refreshed and ready to sit at my piano.

Here is a "God Moment" that includes Jim. A couple of years ago, when we were still in Chattanooga, we had been to one of his concerts and as usual, I was in awe. The next day was Sunday. Since my part of the worhip ministry was to play piano, I was all inspired and on a high. But I was sick, very sick. Fever, chills, sore throat I felt more like crawling into bed than sitting on the piano bench! I forgot that Sunday evening was communion. I would be playing for 10-15 minutes straight. I found a hymnal before the service and picked out a couple of old hymns that I could play around with during the serving of the elements. I prayed "God help me make this pleasing to your ears and let it minister to the hearts here tonight." I made it through and cannot tell you what I played or how it sounded.

The next day our worship pastor and good friend told me that one of our church members told him that while I was playing she closed her eyes and felt like she was back at the Jim Brickman concert. Talk about a compliment. God answered my prayer and showed off a little for me too!

Jim's music to me is soul stirring. Probably because for so long everything I played was on a keyboard and with a rhythm section (which I LOVE to do) but there is something about sitting down to play solo piano. When I pop in one of his CD's it takes me to that place in my heart where music starts, where a melody is conceived and lyrics are first spoken.

Can you tell I'm a fan? Check out his website and see what I'm talking about. I think you'll like him.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


The Monk&Neagle preview CD entitled "The Twenty-First Time" is here!!!!!! It came yesterday and has been playing ever since. Well not right now as the girls are watching a movie, but once it's over we'll be dancing around to "Into Orbit" again. Man I love that song.

Let me just say, this CD ROCKS. I've danced, I've cried, I've swooned, and I've been to the throne to worship. What else can you ask for. Their music has hit every emotion within me. It makes me want to get to that piano and write something.

Usually the only artist I get this excited about is Jim Brickman, but this duo is quickly climbing my chart of favorites. Now when I get my hands on Mandisa's new CD all of the above is subject to change.

That being said, it will take a lot to knock ol' Jim off my number 1 all time favorite spot. Just can't be done. And yes, my husband knows this about me. He's dealt with this obsession for years. :)

Thanks to Boomama for sweet talking Brian over at Provident Label Group to be so generous with the free CD's. To use my sista's Angela's new word, Boomama is blogtastic!

Chloe's Reflection on Camp

The week Chloe was at camp, I had decided that I would ask her to write a post about her camp experience. I wanted her to document what she learned and experienced that week. Well, she's been home for 2 weeks and that just hasn't happened! We've been very busy. So we decided that I would interview her.

Mom: What was the theme of camp this year?

Chloe: Breaking Free.

Mom: Tell me about your team.

Chloe: The name of my team was Green Captives. We had 8 girls and 5 boys.

Mom: What kind of fun things did you do?

Chloe: We played games like earth ball & tubular chaos, and had a gigantic slip and slide in recreation time. We went to the pool and they had a deep pool with a slide and a diving board. It was fun.

Mom: Was the food good?

Chloe: Oh yea! Way better than last year in TN!!!

Mom: What was your worship time like?

Chloe: Brent Weber was our worship leader. He is so cool and has some fun songs.

Mom: What was your favorite fun song?

Chloe: I have 2. "The Karate Song" and the "Crazy Dance".

Mom: Okay, what was your favorite serious song?

Chloe: "Blessed Be the Name"

Mom: What was your personal Bible study time like?

Chloe: Each day they gave us scripture and questions to help us.

Mom: In the worship time, what kind of things did Mr. Rob talk about?

Chloe: The world's lies. Selfishness. Fear and Worry.

Mom: Which one meant the most to you?

Chloe: Fear and Worry.

Mom: Can you tell me why or what you learned?

Chloe: I don't have to have fear because the Lord doesn't give us a spirit of fear.

Mom: What does God give you in place of fear?

Chloe: He makes me feel safe. Peace.

Mom: Do you think what you learned at camp will stay with you the rest of your life?

Chloe: YES!! You're getting to serious.

Mom: Okay, funny question? Which worship time was the silliest. Tacky night or P.J. Night?

Chloe: Tacky night. The girls were the most tacky!

Mom: Anything else you want to say?

Chloe: No.

Mom: Thanks for doing this with me!

Chloe: Can I go now?

Mom: Yes.

Now that the interview is over, I can tell you that over the past 2 weeks, she has mentioned things she learned at camp several times. She took hold of truth that will stay with her the rest of her life. She was blessed to have wonderful counselors who made an eternal impact on her. God answered my prayer in that area.

I believe that as she continues to grow, she will look back on this particular camp as an Ebenezer moment in her life. A moment of remembrance, a place where God did a mighty work in her heart and life.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Powerful Words

I know that most of you reading this read Beth Moore's blog. (How cool is it that she finds time to post?!!!) So you will recognize this as the DC Commissioning statement.

I have read it several times letting it sink in deeper each time. It seems as though God has pulled several of us together through "blogland". He has knit our hearts together. (No pun intended Meg!) There seems to be a recurring theme of wanting to be and do what God wants for us.

The day this was posted I was wavering. Was what I felt God was calling me to really God, or was I wanting to be used so bad I imagined it. Anybody else been there? God used this and another situation to confirm what He has planned for me, for this time.

I hope you are as encouraged as I was.

My Dear Sister,
The God of Glory
Has called you.
You have a ministry.
In Christ, you are enough for that ministry.
Never forget that showing God off is your ministry.
No matter what,
Keep your heart in your ministry.
Unveil your face
And serve others with authenticity.
Always remember
That the power is in God's Presence.
Let nothing
Come between you
And intimacy with God.
Keep moving forward
From glory to glory.
Let God thin that veil.
Remember, ministry is not about position.
It's about people.
Let name after name
Be written on your heart.
Do not seek great things for yourself,
Seek a great God.
As you leave this place,
Go in a fresh anointing.
He who turns water into wine
Turns wimps into warriors.
You have a ministry.
Go fulfill it.

Sweet sisters, I love you and thank God for your friendship!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Monk & Neagle

A little "Note" about the link on my sidebar. Click on it and go listen to a few of the tunes that are on their new CD due to come out in September. I heard about this group on Boomama's website and have fallen in love with their music. It's fun music that makes me want to dance. (Shhh, please don't tell anyone it would destroy my serious, reserved reputation.)

So far, my favorite song is "The Twenty-First Time". (The lyrics remind me of a song I wrote called "Outside These Walls".) It's my favorite until "Into Orbit" starts. And halfway through "Hallelujah Jesus", I found myself flat before the Lord. It's a great worship tune.

This is a quote from their MySpace site. It just confirmed in words what I felt when I listened to their music.

“From the beginning, we’ve never doubted our calling,” says Neagle. “We’ve been willing to give it up, and at times anybody with common sense would try to move on, but by the grace of God, we persevered, and there’s a reason why….”

“If anything has come out of the last few years,” Monk adds, “the frustration of waiting and writing and trying to stay busy with our music, it’s that we have a better understanding of what really matters. These songs hold so much more meaning, this far in the journey, because we’ve experienced grace in real-life terms.”

Go and check them out you'll love them!!

Pools of Blessing

Last night after choir, I went over to a friends house for coffee and girl talk.
It was just the two of us and it was wonderful. I love to hear other women talk about what God is doing in their life. It inspires me. (Thanks J. for the coffee!)

This particular friend is a God chosen friend. We literally ran into each other almost a year ago. We were both new to this area and new to choir. We walked into our first rehearsal together and have stuck by each other every since. (Leigh B. told me that God had already chosen friends down here, and she was so right. J. is one of them!)

This morning as I had my quiet time, I thought back over our conversation last night. A theme was there and this verse sums it up.

Psalm 84:5-6 (really the whole chapter but especially these two verses)
Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains!"

Did you notice that it says WHEN they walk through the Valley of Weeping, not if? But, that next part is so powerful. God will turn that Valley into a refreshing spring! I just love this. Pools of blessing. I think I could just jump into one of those, how about you?!

It's like so many say, what satan means for evil, God uses for good. Makes me think of the worship chorus. "Blessed Be the Name". The chorus says,"Every blessing you pour out, I turn to praise, when the darkness closes in, still I will say......"

Thank you Jesus for those pools of blessings for refreshing springs in the midst of hard times.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dive In "Pericope"

Today’s word is pericope. (Really yesterday, but I haven't been feeling that great so it's today's too!)

It is a Greek word (pa-RIH-kōp-ee) that means “cutting around." Kathy gives Mark 3:1-6 as an example. There is a definite beginning and a definite completion to that passage. She reminds us to look beyond the chapter, verse divisions of the Bible, to read until there is an obvious completion to that story.

So, here I go looking for a pericope. I found my way into Matthew 12. The pericope I found began in verse 38 "One day some teachers......." There is a subtitle in my Bible at verse 46 that in the past would have been like a stop sign to me. This time I continued to read. Verse 46 begins "As Jesus was speaking to the crowd.......", it didn't say he had left and that this was a new crowd. He said as He was speaking to the crowd. That says to me it's the same bunch of people. There are 49 verses in chapter 12, but this story completes itself in Chapter 13 verse 1 where it says "Later that same day, Jesus left the house and went down to the shore." He left the house ends the pericope. At the shore begins a new lesson.

For years I've heard my Dad and pastors say, read the whole text. If something is really speaking to you, back up and read what's going on before and after. This little Greek word, has given me a new perspective.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


What a weekend we have had. It was much to short, and very emotional! I've got several pictures to share with you.

Our Toy Poodle Paddington having a play date with the full sized Poodle that lives next door to my parents.

Chloe in the Fun Roller. They loved this at Gram's Camp and couldn't wait to show us how to use it.

Emma in the Fun Roller.

Yes, this is me in the Fun Roller. I'll spare you the picture taken 2 seconds after this one. I, ummmm, flipped out. Let's just say it wasn't pretty.

Here are some from church this morning. Chloe read some scripture before I sang. She did a great job. Emma was precious. She said she wasn't nervous at all! Dad baptized 3 this morning! It was a great service.

This one is Chloe reading scripture. Didn't realize how dark it was until I got it loaded. I'll work on that later.

First of all, NO I am NOT the only person eating. My nephew Colin had just handed me his plate when my MOTHER snapped this picture. In this picture we have all my grandparents,Grandmother and her very very good "friend" George and Mamaw and Papaw who are sitting on the couch. Plus my sister, brother and sister-in-law. It's amazing that we are all in town at the same time.

Last, but not least. Old one arm. He just thought I wouldn't post this picture. :)
He didn't do much rolling, but he bounced his way down the hill.

It was such an emotional visit. We rejoiced over Emma's salvation and the baptism of 3 believers this morning. Then later in the day, I felt so sad as we toured my grandparent's new apartment. They are in the process of moving to a retirement center. It's a very good thing for them, they need the help and my parents need the help, but it was so hard for me to see them finally admit that. I did take a really cute picture of them in their new digs, but I just couldn't post it tonight. Maybe later.

Regardless of the emotional highs and lows, God is faithful. He is constant. He doesn't change. He is God, even when it feels like everything around us is changing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lessons from my 6 year old

With Chloe gone this week, Emma and I have had some quality one on one time. Something she has needed for a while. But this week, we've had fun time, art time, swim time, and serious time.

Serious time took place beside the pool this morning. Before I can get to the serious stuff you need to understand some background information. :)

Emma became a Christian last Christmas. She had been telling us for several months that she needed Jesus to live in her heart because she was the only one in our family without Him. I wanted her to understand that she needed Him because she was a sinner, not because she was the only one without Him.

So during the weeks leading up to Christmas we had the "What Does God Want for Christmas" kit. (LifeWay sold it) We read part of the book and opened one "gift" a day for several days. On the last day, the gift we opened was a mirror. When you look in the mirror you see what God wants for Christmas -you!

It was on that last day that she told me she needed Jesus because she did "bad stuff" and needed Jesus to make it right. I knew she got it. We rejoiced, called the grandparents and celebrated.

Then came the issue of Baptism. Emma does NOT like to be center stage in a large group of people. When her children's choir sings, we do not tell her where we are sitting and try not to make eye contact with her if she sees us. She has been known to walk off the stage straight to us. We haven't pushed the issue of baptism because of this. We don't want it to freak her out, much less cause a tidlewave in the precious waters!!

Recently she told us she was ready to do this and felt like she could do it if my Dad would do it at his church. So, this weekend we travel to Chattanooga for my Dad to baptize Emma. It will be so special as he baptized Chloe too.

Okay, with that out of the way...back to the serious time at the pool.

We were talking about what why we are baptized. That it is an act of obedience to be done after you ask Jesus to live in your heart. This is where she proceeded to tell me that Jesus lives in her spiritual heart not her "beeping" heart. She wanted to make sure that I understood that. I told her I did and she said good, she just wanted to make sure. I smiled.

The good stuff happened next when our neighbors L. and her 3 year old daughter T. came to swim with us. Emma says we're going to Chattanooga for me to be baptized this weekend!! L. says really, that's neat. T. says in her curious 3 year old voice why is she going? L. says well, she has a special baptism this weekend. T. says what's that for? Emma says, it's because I have Jesus in my spiritual heart, not my beeping heart. I'm a Christian.

I smiled and didn't really know what to say. This is a fairly new neighbor and I'm unsure of her faith. She didn't say much after that for a little while, but she did move over to sit near us! We love to play with them and I'm praying that this will be the beginning of some spiritual conversation. What does it say about a little child leading them? Sometimes we big people can learn much from the honesty of a little person.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Happy Birthday!!!!

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Today is very special. Two very important people in my life are celebrating their birthday today.

Mom, Happy birthday. I'm sorry that we aren't there today to help you celebrate and I'm really sorry that you're sick. Thank you for being such a godly example for me. This morning, I asked God to give me a verse from my quiet time for you. It's Proverbs 12:4a "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown." You are my daddy's crown. Thank you both for showing Chad and I what a godly marriage looks like. I love you.

Chadwick, Happy birthday. Do you remember the time we realized you and mom shared this day? We hadn't been dating long and you were having dinner at my house with my family. The "when's your birthday" question came up and I honestly thought you were joking. I figured you, ever the prankster, had found out that July 11, was mom's so you were just kidding around, seeing as how I believe anything. (Later, I would check your drivers license to see if you were telling the truth!) I asked God to show me a verse for you today too. It's Proverbs 2:7-8. "He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones." Over and over in your life, I see God's protective shield covering you. Guarding you, preparing you to be the man you are today. From childhood until now you have gone through some tough stuff, but God was faithful. I believe with all my heart that you are doing just what God intended for you to do. I was so proud of the man you were when we were married, but I'm more proud of the man you are today. I love you.

So, on today's list is a little last minute birthday shopping. And then Emma and I will be making Shrimp Lasagna, a salad (with Emma's homegrown maters!) and homemade garlic cheese biscuits for dinner. We'll also make Brownie Tarts for dessert. The only thing is missing is Chloe.

Thanks for indulging me in this birthday post! If you've read all of this, you are a good friend! Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dive In

This morning, we took Chloe, one suitcase, a pillow and a carry-on bag to church. She left for camp. Out of state camp. It's just a little over an hour away, but it's out of state, on a college campus. She's been telling everyone that she's living in a dorm this week. She's a pretty mature young lady, but you would have thought she was entering college the way she's carried on.

We watched as a few vans, a box truck packed with luggage and sound equipment, pulled out of the parking lot followed by 5 buses packed with 2nd-5th graders getting ready to "Break Free". (the theme of camp) Excitement was in the air. We walked back to the car and I cried. All those little hearts are going to learn this week about freedom in Christ. I can't wait to hear what happens! I'm going to ask Chloe to blog about it when she gets home.

Emma and I returned home to have some snuggle time, that lasted all of about 5 minutes. So I turned to blog land for a little while. While visiting I went over to Kathy's at Sunballo. Kathy too is writing about becoming more disciplined about getting up and getting into the word. The "Dive In" photo to the right is an invitation to you to join others as we commit to go a little deeper with the Father.

God seems to be placing this theme on several hearts close to mine this week. My sister-in-law at TwinsX2 is a good example of this. Haley at Mommy's Heart has also posted about making time for Him.

With this theme running through blogland, I have to wonder if God is getting ready to do some powerful things in us and through us. He tells us that He wants to meet with us and speak to us. He has something designed just for you. So, how about you? Will you Dive In and go a little deeper with the Father that loves you so much? I'm praying that you will. Swim over to Kathy's and check it out!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Morning by Morning.......

In a previous post I talked about the instructed tongue, it was inspired by the following verse.

Isaiah 50:4 "The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught."

The second part of this verse gave me the HOW TO I was looking for. How to speak with an instructed tongue. Is it possible? YES!! All things are possible, how? Through HIM (God Almighty) who gives ME strength!! Okay, all that church lingo is great, let's get down to the nitty gritty.

First of all the "He wakens me morning by morning" is a big ole issue for me. For my entire life I've been a night owl. I love to stay up late and read, write lyrics, talk to God. It just seems to be easy for me to stay up late and I've written quite a few songs in the wee hours of the morning.

Over time, I have become more of a morning person. There is just something about being the first one up. I love having the first cup of coffee, reading the Word and talking to the Father, BEFORE I become a short order cook, school teacher and laundry service! :) (That doesn't happen every day, but it's more often than it used to be.)

My sister in law recently wrote about making herself get up early.

She said, "I got up this morning trying to be better about managing my time. I have come to realize that if I can get my lazy butt out of bed before the kids get up, we all have a better day. I wake up and have some down time (ALONE) and I can get every one's day started on the right foot. "

I remember the day God showed me that while 1:00 or 2:00 am was early in the morning,
it wasn't what He had in mind for us. He wanted me to get out of the bed before my family and do what the 2nd part of Isaiah 50:4 says. He wanted my ears to listen as one being taught. He wanted me to read the Bible, pray and the biggest thing of all, LISTEN!

So it began. I have to say that these have been some of the most precious times. We've worked through some tough things early in the morning. I also have to say, that there have been times when I've chosen to hit snooze and sleep an extra hour. Typing that makes my heart sad. Every time I choose to stay in that bed, I miss something God had to show me.

Proverbs 31:15 says. "She gets up while it is still dark..." This has been my biggest motivator. I want my husband and girls to say that I'm the godliest woman they know. At this point in life, I'm not. Praise the Lord, His mercies are new every morning! He is the God of second chances, and even on the days I hit snooze, He says let's try again. It was on a "try again" day that the following lyrics came during my prayer time. God would later use this song at our 2006 Spring Women's event with Lisa Whelchel.

Speak To Me

Speak to me.
Father in this moment speak to me.
You alone hold everything I need.
Speak Father

Speak to me.
Father in this moment I am weak.
But You alone are all the strength I need.
Speak Father, speak to me.

I am waiting, anticipating You.
Take what’s breaking and restore it with Your truth
Speak Father.

Speak to me.
Father in this moment speak to me.
You alone hold everything I need
Speak Father

Speak, Father. Speak Abba Father. Speak to me.


May we have ears ready to listen, and hear, as one who is being taught.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

5 Things I Dig About Jesus

My friend Angela tagged me tonight. The challenge is to list 5 things I dig about Jesus. At first, I was a little overwhelmed because I didn't really know how to start. How do I list just 5!! So, here are a few of the reasons I'm into or "DIG" Jesus.

1. He knew every detail of my life before I was born! That blows my mind. I dig Jesus because He's all knowing.

2. He wooed my heart as a child, and I felt His Holy Spirit speak to my heart as a young child. I dig Jesus because He loves children.

3. He gave me a fresh passion for His Word. Even though I was saved as a young child, I chose to become complacent in my early 20's. I dig Jesus because when I asked Him to forgive me for what I call the "Wasted Years", He did.

4. He cares about women. Over and over in the Bible we see Jesus interacting with women. They were precious to Him, we are precious to Him. I dig Jesus because He digs women!

5. He left Heaven to live on earth. He knows how hard life is. He is a with us God, who understands that living on this fallen planet is tough. Our Jesus came and lived here. He breathed our air, he was hungry and tired. He listened to grumbling.
I dig Jesus because He cares about our daily life and (This could be number 6) He lives to intercede for us!! He takes our prayers to the Father!! How cool is that.

So, there is my list. I may add to or change as time goes by but for right now. Those are my top 5. I tag......Lindsay, and Haley

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Instructed Tongue

I love to talk. Always have. I talk to whomever is listening. My husband, the girls, the dog, the flowers. When there isn't another living thing around yes, I talk to myself. I would love to know just how many words I say during the day. To make it worse, I talk fast. Combine that with my southern accent and you've got quite a show. :)

Unfortunately that combination can be quite deadly. When I'm "on a roll" and the words are flying out of my mouth, I don't always think through what I'm saying. God taught me the hard way several years ago to be more mindful of what I say. There are always consequences to our words.

Yesterday I read Isaiah 50 during my quiet time. Verse 4 became my verse of the day. It says: "The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught."

There were 2 parts to this verse that I feel led to write about, but for today it's the instructed tongue. A tongue that speaks what God would have it to say. That hit me hard. Of all the conversation I have during the day, how much of it is instructed by God? How about my thoughts? Are they instructed by God? They have to be if my tongue is to speak as one that is instructed by God!

We find over and over in the Proverbs verses that relate to the tongue/mouth. Here are just a few.

Prov.4:24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips.

Prov.12:18-19 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

Prov.15:1 & 4 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Prov.16:23-24 A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Prov.20:15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.

Prov.26:20 Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.

I'm guilty of forgetting how powerful my words are. Just as important, the tone of my voice. God showed me that my gift of gab was okay, I just needed to make sure that what I was gabbing about was pleasing to him. To make sure I had a purpose for saying what I was saying. (And that purpose better be related to HIM)

To be honest, I thought, how in the world can I function like this. But, I've started to pray that God would give me an instructed tongue and only allow me to speak what He would have me to. It is changing my conversation with my children, my husband, my friends..everyone. It's making a deliberate, conscience effort to THINK and PRAY before I speak. For some of you this will probably seem a little weird, and for others you probably got this lesson a long time ago! (IF so, please comment on what God showed you, any verses and what you learned during that time.)

Isaiah 55:11 is a well known verse: "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

I don't know about you, but I don't want to use empty purposeless (is that a word?!) words anymore. I want more than ever for the words coming out of my mouth to have godly consequences. I want them to achieve the purpose God sent them for. I want an instructed tongue.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


I was recently given some bad news about a person we care deeply for. It's horrible news. The kind that after I did a little Internet research on, I found myself in tears. I made my way to my closet floor, in prayer for this family.

This news made any hardship in my life seem like nothing. My mind is consumed with concern for this person. Not worry, but concern. I know the eternal destination of this friend. She is my sister in Christ. She is a strong woman. Much stronger than I am. A beautiful, strong woman.

In late January, right after Chad lost his job, we were with her. She shared some very personal things with us. This lady knows what it's like to hit the bottom and look up into the face of Jesus. I rejoice and take comfort in knowing she loves the Lord and depends only on Him.

In this situation that so breaks my heart, there is little earthly hope. There are few words that can speak comfort. There are no fancy self-help guides to enlighten the journey. And the neat thing about this special lady is that she wouldn't turn to those. She knows where her help comes from.

When I look at my girls, I think of her child. What will become of this life if and when she's gone? Will the example and truth our friend has lived, remind her that God is more than enough? Or will she run again? Will this be the one thing that causes her child to look up into the face of Jesus?

How will the example I set and the truth I believe impact my daughters after I'm gone? What will I leave them? What kind of spiritual heritage am I creating for them, for my grandchildren?

What is my legacy?

How precious this moment called life is. It is just a breath in comparison to eternity, but oh what a breath it is.

Thank you Jesus for hope when there seems to be none. Thank you for your Word that is life to our weary bones. As Isaiah says, give us ears that are ready and willing to listen to you, and give each of us an instructed tongue. Help us to always speak the things you would have us to say. In everyday life and in times of crisis. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, July 2, 2007

For Better, For Worse, For Keeps

Today we received the wedding invitation to Chad's cousin E's wedding. Emma will be her flower girl. We couldn't be happier for her and J. They are just the cutest little couple you've ever seen. E. will finish grad. school just 2 days before the wedding, and J. has 1 more year of law school. (I think one year, but I could be wrong.)

E. holds a special place in my heart because she was the first of Chad's many cousins that I had the privilege of meeting. (And she's my favorite! Please don't tell the others!) She was about 10 years old and a bundle of energy. She was the cutest 10 year old I'd ever seen. I could tell she was checking me out, but eventually warmed up to me and talked my ear off. She could out talk me, and girls, that says a lot.

A couple of years later, we asked her to keep the guest book at our wedding. (If I knew how to use our scanner, I would scan the picture of her for you to see.) We've watched her work hard in school, and loved hearing of her success on the volleyball court. She has changed from a cute little 10 year old, into a beautiful young women. If I could think of one word to describe her it would be: Captivating.

It was a holiday dinner at my mother-in-law's house, when up the driveway they came. E. had brought a guy by the name of J. Girls, his momma raised him to be a true southern gentleman. I remember Chad commented that he was a very grounded young man. We were impressed, but E. was in college and we didn't think we would see him again. Little did we realize that we had just met the man God made for our E.

E.I pray that as you enter into this covenant with J. and God, you will continue to grow in your knowledge of our Heavenly Father. He's everything you need. The verse from Ecclesiastes 4:12, would be fitting here:

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

My friend Angela at Refresh My Soul used this verse recently in a post. I just loved her post and encourage you to jump over there and read it. It made me think about Chad and how much he means to me. We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary in May. I guess I feel like we've entered the "teenage" years of our marriage similar to how our marriage started, with a health crisis. At some point, I want to tell that story. But, that is for another day.

The following are the lyrics to a song I wrote for Chad on our 11th anniversary. The song is called "For Keeps". (I won't subject you to a sound clip! And, yes these lyrics are copyrightstephanieparson2005. Thanks, I just have to say that!)


Here we are again, looking back to where we stood not long ago.
Photographs show change, but the love has only grown.
And this I know, the words we spoke so eagerly,
Mean more now than I ever dreamed.

For better, for worse, for keeps.
That’s what we prayed that our life would be.
In the good, the bad, I’m so glad we said.
For better, for worse, for keeps.

In sickness and in health, poverty and wealth,
I wouldn’t change a thing.
The harder the battle, the stronger the bond
God tied between you and me.

For better, for worse, for keeps.
That’s what we prayed that our life would be.
In the good, the bad, I’m so glad we said.
For better, for worse, for keeps.

In the good, the bad, I’m so glad we said,
For better, for worse,
For keeps.