Sunday, December 30, 2007

For your viewing pleasure..

Thank you so much for your sweet words about my girls. They are pretty inside and out. Thank you Jesus for "nice" girls!

There is one phrase that my Mother said often to my sister and I that I am now saying to my girls. It is: Pretty is as pretty does. Most of our Christmas pictures reflect sweet little ladies gracefully opening their gifts, making sure to thank the giver with a verbal thanks and a hug.

And then there are these two pictures.

Oh my. It's okay to laugh out loud. We have...everytime we've looked at it. Her body lanugage is saying, "Oh YES he did!" These are the slippers I mentioned in my previous post.

I'm sure Morgan is thinking, "Why Uncle Chad? I ask you why did you put me into this giant gift bag and then take my picture? Why?" When she grows up to have a fear of giant gift bags, we'll know to blame it on Uncle Chad.

I have no other words.......

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A week in pictures

We are home and settled again! I feel like I've burn up the interstate between Atlanta and Chattanooga the last two weeks. That's okay, it's worth it to see our family. We had a wonderful time. I'm posting a few pictures for those who couldn't be there this week.

Christmas morning was spent here at home. We decided a long time ago that Santa would always come to our home. And He did. Chloe said, "Santa rocked out this year."

This picture is of Chad's gift to us. Each of "the girls" received 6 small packages. Inside were picture frames with a certificate describing a "date" with him during this new year. We each received three individual and 3 family dates. (He had us make a list of ten places we wanted to visit or things we would like to do in 2008 back in September, he took those ideas and created these dates.) Once the certificate is used, a photo of the "date" will go into the frame. Pretty cool idea I thought. He's going to be broke!

Emma and Chloe holding their gifts from Granddaddy and Zuzu on Christmas morning. Hopefully they'll be in for a visit soon.

Opening gifts at Nana's. Emma is checking out her new Hannah Montana purse and Chloe has sported her "Hannah" sunglasses ever since. (Rain or shine)

Santa left these robes at Gram's and Daddy Mack's house. He also left matching slippers. Chloe and Emma have been looking at and dreaming about owning these robes from Strassburg for over a year. When they realized that Santa left them at Gram's, they almost had tears of joy. They LOVE these robes. (Secretly, I may go get one for me! I think the largest girls size would fit okay!)

On Thursday, we kept the twins. Since we had Uncle Chad and Daddy Mack, we decided to get out and go to the TN Aquarium. It was a blast. Here's the grandparents with 4 of their 5 grandchildren. The only one missing is Colin. I wonder if I could cut and paste a picture of him into this? Hmmmmm, maybe a project for later.

Here are the girl cousins in the butterfly exhibit. There were butterflies all in this tree. All four of them could have spent the rest of the day in this exhibit. They loved it. I got a taste of what it must be like for my sister in law Lindsay. (twinsx2) People often ask us if Chloe and Emma are twins, but with Mia and Morgan with us, we got quite a few double takes. One lady said as we passed, "What did they do to deserve that! I think I would have stopped after the first set." What a goober....:) I just kept saying, "Here girls, let Aunt Steffie help you...." As much as I love them, I was ready to have my two potty trained girls to myself Thursday night!!!

Chloe and Emma with a little buddy. Too cute. Daddy would have stayed here and watched the penguins all day. He said the penguin exhibit in Sydney was better, but that these little guys were just as entertaining.

We took 90 pictures on this trip. Well, Chad took 89 pictures. As you can see, he did an excellent job of staying behind the camera. This is the ONLY shot of him I got. (I'll get my mom's camera and see what she has. She always catches him when he least expects it!) I think he was checking out the shark with Chloe and Mia.

I still have a few things from the Brickman concert I want to share, but right now my mind is on overload. I'm hoping to sit down and collect my thoughts this week.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you! I am so thankful that God saw fit to bring you into my life and heart. As I thank Him for the many blessings in my life, I can't help but think of each one of you. I'm just tickled pink that we get to spend eternity together. :)

Since we are visiting with family over the next few days, the posting will be scarce. I may post a picture or two, but unless God tells me otherwise, I'll be posting this weekend.

I'll leave you with this thought. Jack Hayford says "You don't need candlelight and fireside glow to make Christmas happen. It's Him. It's priceless to discover the pleasure of His company."

Have a very Merry Christmas!


One more thing, I have to write this down before I forget. This week Emma, my artist, announced to my Mother and I that she wanted to visit the "Leaning Tower of Visa", we looked at each other and said where? She said it again a little slower and a little louder, the "Leaning Tower of Visa". I guess Visa really is everywhere you want to be!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A little heart work

It's good to be home for a few days. I really enjoyed my time with my nieces this week and it was so good to see my Grandmother leave the hospital and come home. She's doing great and we thank God for a successful surgery and so far, an uneventful recovery. Just don't mention the replacement aorta, she's having a hard time accepting that it used to belong to someone else. ;)

That old aorta was worn out. Her skilled surgeon took her to the point of death to take out the old, and then he replaced it with a new one. One that he examined, and deemed acceptable. Then, he began the process of waking her up. A long process, one that took several hours. She is still gaining strength, a little more everyday.

I can't help but make the spiritual connection here. Our God, His name Jehovah Rapha (the God who heals) is the best name to use here, takes out the exhausted, diseased, disfunctioning heart, you know the one. The one that holds past hurts, years of anger and unforgiveness. The one that you've decided to just keep because it's what you know, it's the only one you've had so why change. But our God is a healer. It's part of who He is and He isn't going to let you keep that old thing! One way or another, He will let you know that He's ready and willing to do some work within you. He tells us in John that He came to give us an abundant life. We can't fully enjoy that life when our heart isn't functioning properly can we! Jer. 33:6 says that HE will bring health and healing, He will heal His people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.

I did a search for the word "heal" in my Bible Study tools and 44 references came up.
This one struck me. It's Isaiah 57:18 "I have seen his ways, but I will heal him and restore comfort to him." In spite of the choices I've made, the words I've spoken that I can't take back, the times I've completely turned my back on the One who loved me enough to die for me, He still heals. God still heals and restores comfort to me.

This was a week, where I needed God almighty to do a healing work quickly. I didn't want to let the frustration, hurt and anger to take root. I know myself well enough to know that if I didn't take the hurt immediately to the Father, it would quickly take root. This year has been hard enough and there is no way, the enemy is stealing the joy of Christmas from us! You see, I want to celebrate Jesus. His miracle birth, His sinless life, and most importantly I want to celebrate His resurrection.

I want to reminisce how every time we had a need this year, He supplied it. How HE provided a buyer for Chad's truck just when we needed to sell it. How He bought us groceries, in the lean times. How HE took Chad from a job he liked, to a job that he LOVES. How HE orchestrated my joining Freedom's Call....the list goes on and on.

These are the things I want to celebrate. But if I allow the hurt to fester in my heart, there isn't room for the joy. I can't have it both ways. Oswald Chambers asked yesterday "Is any experience dearer to you than your Lord?" I know that there have been times in my life where I've allowed the hurt to become more dear to me than God. AND there have been times where I celebrated the good times more than the giver of those good times.

So, God and I have talked this out. I will not mention this hurt again and will rejoice that once again He says "I AM the God that healeth thee" because He has healed us. I'm praying that whatever your hurt is, that you receive complete healing that only comes from our Jesus. I pray that HE is the dearest thing to you.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

God says forgive.....again.......

The following was part of an e-mail devotion I received on the 18th.

TGIF Today God Is First, by Os Hillman

If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend. - Psalm 55:12-13

"You will always be attacked in the place of your inheritance," said the man sitting across the breakfast table. "God has called you to bring people together and to impact other people's lives as a result of this anointing in your life. You must make sure that you seek to maintain righteousness in all of your relationships." Those words came from someone who had the wisdom and authority to speak them to me.

I have had a number of close relationships that ended in betrayal. I am very loyal to my friends and those with whom I have covenant relationships. Yet there are times that no matter how righteous you are, when someone means to betray you, he will do it. Loving those who betray you is "graduate-level Christianity." The religious community and one of His closest friends betrayed Jesus. Those who were closest to David betrayed him. Joseph's own family betrayed him. Loving our enemies cannot be accomplished by mustering it up. It can only happen when we have come to a death in ourselves so that Christ can love through us. It is truly one of those acts of identifying with the cross.

As I read this on the morning of the 18th, somewhere deep inside I heard God say, "save this one". So I did. Wasn't sure who it would be for, but just knew that I was to keep this one for a little while.

Tonight I discovered that this simple devotion would be for my family. I opened an e-mail only to discover that Chad and I had been lied to by someone we care deeply for. It hurts, and to be honest, I'm furious.

The flesh wants to pick up my cell phone, make a call and handle this. 10 years ago that's what I would have immediately done, but it would have only caused more drama. Tonight I sit in my parent's guest room in shock, hurt and a little angry. Chad is in Atlanta and has no idea what has happened. It's late and I want to pick up the phone, but I know that he is already in bed asleep. There's no need to tell him tonight. For him, this betrayal isn't new, it's been going on for years. Now there are grandchildren involved, my children and my feathers have been rustled. I don't want them to find out, I don't want them to know what choice was made. I can only imagine the hurt that they will feel.

So tonight, I find myself flat. I have cried until there are no more tears and there are no words left. The impression on my heart is forgive. Just go ahead and forgive. Let it go. If Jesus can forgive me, and I've done some hideous stuff, then how in the world can I not forgive them.

This doesn't mean we have to allow ourselves to continue to be hurt, but we can forgive and with God's help we will move on. Not exactly what the world says, or even what my gut reaction is. BUT, my gut is sinful and I don't want to follow it's lead that only leads to more trouble. With all my heart, I want to be found faithful in this situation. I want our family to learn that even when the people closest to us disappoint, God will never disappoint. He just can't. He is a faithful Father, and not just a faithful Father, but OUR faithful Father.

It's kind of ironic, today I kept my 16 month old nieces. At one point, I had Chloe, Emma and the two little ones all around the piano. (I wish I had a picture of them all sprawled out underneath the baby grand. It was precious.) We were playing and singing Christmas carols. We sang an old carol that said, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." I had a quick thought of how cool it would be if this was the year of peace within our extended family. My heart aches for this. Coincidence? Nope, not with my God. I think I'm going to go grab that book and read those lyrics again.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A few Pictures from this busy week!

Me and the girls on my birthday.

I don't think I need to say anything here.....

Our church choir and orchestra tonight at our Christmas Concert.

Chloe on the big screen tonight. She's in the blue jacket above the word "called".

My girls.

Chad is hiding from the camera, but I WILL have at least one photo of him during this holiday season. :)


Thanks for all the birthday wishes! I am so thankful that God has brought you into my life! When I go to moderate your comment, I pray for you. I've said this so many times, but I'm so overwhelmed at the sisterhood and friendship that God has orchestrated through the land of blog.

Yesterday, Freedom's Call sang at one of Atlanta's housing developments. They were having a Birthday Party for Jesus. There were several hundred children plus a couple hundred adults there to party with us. We sang and the Karate demonstration team from our church presented an incredible display of bodily strength, but more importantly, the plan of salvation. I'm still in awe that God allowed us to be involved. The faces of those children are forever engraved on my heart.

After we sang, we made our way back to the back of the gym to watch the Karate team. I stood next to a very young girl holding her new little baby boy. He was beautiful. That caramel skin and his hair, oh that silky, dark curly hair this little boy was precious. I would say that he was less than a month old. His mommy looked tired, more than the new mommy tired. She was exhausted. Life appeared to be very hard. I can't get their faces out of my mind.

Friday, as I read my daily Proverb, God placed two verses on my heart.

Prov. 14:20 "The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends."

Prov. 14:31 "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."

I journaled and asked God to help me to honor Him. While I was never afraid to go into this area, I was so nervous about saying the wrong thing. It's one thing to minister to a group of Bible carrying, sweet smelling, Jesus loving women sitting in a clean comfortable facility. It's another to stand before people who probably don't own a Bible, physically don't smell that great and the part that grieves me most, some of those precious people don't believe Jesus really loves them. It was hard, until....

We started singing and the sweetest group of ladies in the audience started singing with us. And I mean, SINGING. (I think someone told me these ladies are praying for a generation of change, they are the core group of Bible study and they want to see Jesus move in that development.) They engaged in worship, their whole body engaged in worship and it so ministered to me. Thank you Jesus for letting me see that. Oh, and the children! They swayed to the music, sang along when they knew the words and smiled at us. I kept looking into that sea of big brown eyes, thinking of what God could do if just 10 of them were sold out to Him. Saturday morning He gave me Galatians 2:6 "God does not judge by external appearance." I asked Him to help me see these children with His eyes, and He did. When we were singing "Who Could Imagine a King?" I felt Him tugging on my heart "that one, she's going to lead Bible study. and that one, he's going to be a teacher..that one will preach, that one will succeed in business..." It was overwhelming. I walked out of there so thankful that God trusted us enough to send us there.

By the time I got home, I was mentally exhausted. (it doesn't take much!) But God had so orchestrated Saturday December 15, 2007 for me. Chad had given me tickets (have I mentioned they were on the 3rd row?) to see my all time favorite artist: Jim Brickman.

We drove, in the rain praise the Lord, to the new Cobb Energy Center, checked our coats and made our way to our seats. (ON THE 3RD ROW! Oh, sorry I already said that.)
To be honest as we sat in this beautiful new hall, in our "dress up" clothes I teared up. I had seen extreme poverty just a few miles from where I was sitting just 8 hours earlier. Here I sat warm, dry, fed and ready to enjoy a couple of hours of quality time with my husband. That's when it happened. The lights went down, Jim took the bench and played "Joy to the World". The very song we started our concert with earlier that morning. God spoke to my heart, "Let me fill you back up. I've got great plans for tonight."

He used each musician at different points to speak things to me. Once again, I left ready to pull an all nighter and write away. It was incredible. I want to share some of the cool things that were said, but I'm still processing them!

I will tell you that, our seats (on the 3rd row) were close enough to see Jim's socks. Oh yes they were. AND I could see Ann's great shoes. They were stunning. BUT the coolest was being close enough to make eye contact and see the passion each one holds for music.

Chad, thank you for suffering through this once again.:)

All week, in my prayer time, God kept bringing back lyrics to a song I wrote a couple of years ago called "What Will You Give". I'm going to post them here. I hope they encourage you to ask God what you can do for someone in need.


An aspirin for a headache, or a band aid for a knee.
Little things we take for granted can be the biggest need.
How can we be so blessed and keep it to ourselves,
When Jesus told us go, go tell.

Till the last person’s told,
We have to go, go and tell them who Jesus is.
Will your heart be generous, with what He’s blessed you with.
A dying soul is waiting to hear.
What will you give.

It’s just a cup of water, or a piece of bread,
But given in Jesus’ name brings life instead of death.
Its shoes for an orphan or a coat for the cold.
God will take the gift and heal the wounded soul.

Till the last person’s told,
We have to go, go and tell them who Jesus is.
Will your heart be generous, with what He’s blessed you with.
A dying soul is waiting to hear.
What will you give.

It’s not about your money, it's all His anyway.
It’s all about your heart child, are you willing to obey?
Just lay your yes down the altar and watch God make a way.
Eternity is waiting to begin, what will you give?

Till the last person’s told,
We have to go, go and tell them who Jesus is.
Will your heart be generous, with what He’s blessed you with.
A dying soul is waiting to hear.
What will you give.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Birthday surprises

I've noticed this week that before our read aloud time, the girls would disappear into the loft and quietly work on something. When I would come upstairs to read with them, the desk would be clean and they would be snuggling in on the couch to listen to "Little Women". Honestly, I didn't think much about it until yesterday.

I heard them giggling and then Emma said, "There might be something for you in the kitchen." Well, I headed in there to refill my coffee cup and this was sitting on my counter:

It's a one day early birthday card from "the who". She is in first grade, so pardon the spelling. but it says. "Hapee Brthday Mommy" I love my mommy." So precious, and the fact that she placed it right in front of my coffee maker is priceless. That girl knows where I spend my time!!!

About that same time, our doorbell rang. I needed to sign for a delivery. It was a very generous gift card to one of my all time favorite places. Compliments of my in-laws-A. It didn't take long for me to find several articles of clothing, place them in my virtual shopping cart and check out. And GUESS WHAT!!! I received confirmation that they were shipped YESTERDAY!!!! So maybe, just maybe they'll be here in time for our concert on Saturday! (if you think about it say a prayer for Freedom's Call on Saturday around noon, we're singing in what can be a dangerous part of Atlanta. Thanks) Can you tell I'm excited?

I had most precious alarm EARLY this morning. It was the sweetest little face standing over me saying Happy Birthday Mommy. Chloe has always been an early riser, and today was no different. She crawled in bed with us for a few minutes, and we put together a Birthday Puzzle she had made for me. It was pretty cool. This is the card Chloe made for me.

And this is the card Emma had waiting for me when I got up.

(Yes I know it's upside down. I've deleted and uploaded it twice and it continues to do this, I'm giving up!)

This is the first year they have done this completely on their own. Daddy did not have to prompt them, which tells me they are growing up! I'm so thankful they have such generous hearts.

My girlfriends in Freedom's Call gave me the most beautiful necklace. I LOVE it!
I'm trying to build an outfit around it to wear on Saturday when we sing again. :)

Last week when we were singing at Celebrate the Savior, my husband was very busy. I came home to find my dining room walls had been transformed into the beautiful Italian Olive that I so dearly love. Thanks Chad! I LOVE it. :)

He is also taking me to see Jim Brickman on Saturday evening. I can hardly contain my excitement. While I would never EVER take a picture during the concert, you better believe I'll have some of us before hand. I'll share those this weekend. One day, I'll have a picture with the Brickman, but until then, I'll just take a picture with the program...... honestly, if I were to have the opportunity to meet him, I would have no earthly idea what to say. I would probably humiliate myself, my husband, my parents and my piano teachers, plus scare the poor guy to death. :)

So on to the neatest thing about my birthday. A couple of months ago I posted about God using a Blog Siesta to help shove me to Siesta Fiesta (Living Proof in San Antonio) next August. For those who don't remember, (as if you hang on to my every word and remember every detail of my life!) this precious siesta could not attend and GAVE ME HER TICKET!!! Chad and I agreed that it was confirmation that YES, I was to go. Well......look what came in the mail TODAY.

Yes it did!! So I feel like I'm celebrating with Beth and Travis too!!

God is good. Shortly after I opened this my Dad calls to tell me how his biopsy went. He doesn't have one spot, he has three. BUT, they are so small right now they will not do a biopsy. (Gracious, I just re-read that last sentence and I originally typed autopsy. Glad I caught that one!) The decision was made to wait three months and then take another look. I've been praying that God would take the spot away, and I will continue to pray this way. I believe that those places may have gotten smaller over the last 2 weeks, maybe they'll be completely gone on that next visit.

THEN, my mom calls. Grandmother is moving to a private room as I type this. Praise the Lord. She wound up having her aorta replaced, and surgery was a little more intense than originally thought. She's doing well, but we want her to stay as long as possible!

I don't think this day could get any better. Thank you Lord, for giving me a day like today. You've shown yourself to me every time I've turned around. Thank you for health, friends, and family. But most of all thank your for your presence. It's more precious to me than anything.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Emma's New Belt

Last Saturday Emma tested for her Orange belt in Karate. She did great and walked away with a medal for doing so well. She was the youngest and the only "little" girl testing on Saturday. She was trying her best to have the highest test score so she could bring home that trophy like Big Sister did. The only person Emma was testing against was a Brown Belt and he was going for his Red belt. Needless to say, if Emma had beaten him, his instructors would have been a little upset! She came close, VERY close and so she was rewarded with a medal. Oh the joy. We are so proud of her. These pictures are from last night's belt ceremony.

Taking off the old and pushing it away. A physical act stating that you will not return to the rank. You are a new rank, there's no going back!

One of Emma's favorite instructors, Caleb. He's looking her in the eye as he puts on the new belt and challenging her to keep working hard.

Way to go Emma! We are so proud of you sweet "who". You did a great job.

And yes, my girls may do karate, but by golly they are going to have girly hair bows that match their belts!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Thank you so much to those of you who have been praying for my Grandmother this morning. She is finally out of surgery and in SICU. They expect her to stay there 48 hours. Apparently, this surgery was a little more involved than they thought it would be. Leave it to my Grandmother to give them a surprise! When she wakes up, she'll tell them she wanted to get her money's worth!

I love this community of bloggers and I'm thanking God for each one of you. Can you just imagine what Heaven is going to be like?

Okay, I'm off to get my clothes ready for our singing gig tonight. Then I've got to get the camera ready....Emma gets her orange belt tonight!!! AND I have a pile of little girl clothes that I need to photograph before I put them on e-Bay. The list goes on and on.......I know you understand that!

Below is a picture of my Grandmother and her longtime friend George. She's holding the twins (obviously this picture is almost a year old) and the little boy off to the side is my nephew Colin. I always like to see the face of the person I'm praying for!

Monday, December 10, 2007

I posted last week that my Grandmother's surgery was today. Her Dr. called Friday afternoon and they have moved it to tomorrow morning at 8:00. So if God brings it to mind, please pray for her! Thanks.

I got up this morning and looked out our family room window and saw that there was a little bit of fog. It wasn't very dense, just enough to make everything look gray. Health issues seem to have settled like a fog over our family this holiday season. We praise the Lord for my other Grandmother's good report last week and are believing God for miracles in each of the other situations. Even knowing that God is in control, I feel "gray" or "foggy". Maybe it's the unknown, maybe it's because my heart is torn between Chattanooga and Maryland. (I want to physically be there for my family and I can't.) Whatever is causing this feeling, God reminded me this morning that He is there. I watched the sun burn off the fog and it's a glorious sunny day.

Even though I am not able to be physically be with my family right now, I can pray. Prayer is such a powerful thing. It's talking to the Almighty God, Creator of this universe, our Savior, and it's all I can do right now. Last week I felt so guilty that I couldn't be there. I felt like I was useless to my parents, letting them down at a time when they need the help. Then God reminded me that my attitude of "just" praying was wrong.

You see, I was taking this attitude of "well, I can't do anything else so I'll just pray." What I should have been saying was, "I'm praying and if God wants me to do anything else, He'll tell me."

If we truly grasped how powerful it is, I don't think we would take prayer so lightly. My girls and I pray off and on throughout the day. Sometimes, it is quick sentence prayers, other times, it's longer more intense prayers. (Like Emma praying for that boy she's going to marry!) Whatever the situation, I never want my children to feel as if they are "just" praying. I want them to respect the act and realize that it is conversation with God.

So this week, I count it an honor and priviledge to pray for each one of these circumstances. I don't know why God has trusted us to walk through this, but I do know that we want to use every day to point those around us to Him. Whatever happens, He gets all the glory.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Random Stuff

If you read Travis Cottrell's blog, then you know that he posted this week and shared some random things with us. I have a couple of things like that to share, hence this post! Let me just go ahead and tell you that unlike Travis, I didn't stand in the Hobby Lobby line next to Carrie Underwood.

Christmas on the Corner was awesome. Cold, but awesome. I sure hope this turns into a tradition. My family and our good friends from Conyers (Ron and Pam) came last night. When Chloe and Emma stepped off the shuttle at the entrance with me, their little eyes were HUGE. Emma said, "Oh Mommy, this is better than Disney World!" Emma compares everything to Disney World, so that says a lot.

I went to sign in and then we headed up the hill to my first stop. We talked about all of the neat things they could do and see, the excitement was growing. Once Chad met up with us, Chloe began to explain the map and tell him what the plan would be. I cracked up when she, as serious as a heart attack looked at Chad and said "Dad, there are once in a lifetime experiences here, and we NEED to experience them."

They seemed to enjoy themselves, every time I saw them they were smiling and pointing out something new. Poor Ron and Pam, I guess they can count this as grandparent training. (They are having a granddaughter in April!!!)

The caroling group sang to all of the parents/grandparents who were waiting in line with their little ones to ride the train. The train was THE thing for the five and under crowd. :) As one little girl walked by with her mother, she said "Mommy, let's get in line!!!" The mom said, "This line's to long, we'll ride the one at the mall." It was pretty funny. BUT, I later saw that mom and little one in line. (I guess she gave in. At least this train ride was free!)

Chad and I divided the girls up for the ride home and Emma wanted to ride with me.
As we pulled out of the church parking lot this was our conversation:

Emma - "Mommy, what man am I going to marry?"

Me - "I don't know Emma, but God knows and He'll let you know when you meet Him. When you're much older."

Emma - "I think we need to pray for Him right now."

Me - " Okay, do you want to go first, or should I?"

Emma - "I will. 'Dear God, thank you for my mommy. Thank you for the boy that will marry me. Please help him to be smart and listen to his teachers. Make him be nice and kind. And make sure he has a good Christmas. In Jesus name.' Okay mommy you pray a good word over him."

(I prayed and then our conversation continued.)

Emma - "Hey Mom - When I have my own little children, will I do everything just like you do it?"

Me - "Well, Emma, you might do somethings the way I do them, but I'm sure you'll find your own special way to do things too."

Emma - "Well, I want to cook like you cause it's real good. AND I want to make the bed like you do because I love the way you fold down the big comfortable to make it pretty. Like the ones at the Southern Bell dream house in Dalton."

Me - "Thank you Emma, that makes me feel so special."

Emma - "Hey Mom - Chloe and I are praying that you will have another baby."

Me - "Well Emma, God would have to work a miracle for that to happen."

Emma - "I'm going to have 18 children"

Me - "Wow Emma, you're going to busy."

Emma - "Yes and my husband will buy 2 RV's for us to drive around in. That way the big kids can walk around and help the little ones. RV's have fridges for juice cups and bottles. AND cabinets for snacks. You need A LOT of snacks when you have 18 kids."

Me - "I bet you do."

I love this kid. She never ceases to crack me up. She's a lot like my sister was when we were growing up. Valerie was one of the few people who could make me laugh so hard that my sides would hurt and the tears roll. She did a great "mad preacher". It was so funny.

Anyway ---I hope your weekend is filled with fun, family and great memories!


Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday Thoughts

For so long, Chad and I did double and triple duty on the holidays. We would wake early prepare whatever it was we were supposed to bring, get everything together and begin a long day of visiting family. Most of the time, we enjoyed ourselves once we got there, but the stress of getting there was overwhelming. Especially since this was during the time when Chad was the sickest. We would come home exhausted and by the end of the day, ready to be done with the Christmas season.

Once Chloe came along, we tried to scale back a little on the traveling, but were often made to feel guilty if we didn't get everyone in. We kept up the double and triple duty until Emma came along. We knew that there was no way we could keep up the hectic schedule, it wasn't fair to the children. We knew we had to form some new traditions. For some, they completely understood and supported us and even figured out a better time to get together. For others, tradition of the "day" is worshipped and they could not understand.

The longer I'm "grown up", the more I appreciate my family and the environment my parents and grandparents created for us as children. ALL of our holidays were spent with both sets of grandparents at my parents home. No one bickered, there was no competition. Everyone was comfortable. Things weren't always perfect, but everyone felt safe and loved for who they were and what they brought to our family. I believe it was like that because we spent time together all through the year, not just holidays.

I know first hand that not all families have this type of relationship. That makes me so sad. It's as if the holidays roll around and everyone feels sentimental. We feel guilty for that lack of relationship during the year and try to cram a years worth of visits and bonding into the few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. I don't get it. We spend excessive amounts of money trying to "connect" with the family we haven't taken the time to invest in all year. All this creates is an environment of stress.

I've listened to so many people tell me how much they stress during the holidays and 90% of the time, it goes back to family dynamics. Our family included. Isn't that sad. But you know what, we treat Jesus the same way.

We bless Him with our presence on Sunday and maybe Wednesday if we can work Him into our schedules. Occasionally we talk to Him (call) during the week, just checking in seeing how things are going, but mostly we just make small talk. In those quick conversations we really don't listen to Him. We're too consumed and focused on all the stuff in our life to really care about what He has to say. As much as He wants us to, we don't include Him.

Then a crisis (holidays) rolls around. We need Him in a big way. We start praying(calling) more and more. We tell Him what our plans are and expect Him to go along with them. We do a whole lot of talking, but still don't listen. We then have the audacity to question where He's been, or why He allowed something to happen.

We didn't take the time to invest in our relationship before the crisis (during the year), so we really don't know much about Him. We don't understand His ways. We aren't comfortable because we know that we are guilty of neglecting this relationship.

Once the crisis (holiday) passes, we get back to our "normal" life. Throw ourselves into work or friendships, all the places where we are comfortable . We fall back into the routine of occasional visits and brief conversations. Until next year....

Potentially, this is a never ending cycle, passed down from generation to generation. Just like some of you we have family issues that continue to raise their ugly head during the holidays. We are praying for change. This year, only through God's stops.

Colossians 3:12-17
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Thank you soooooo much for your prayers and encouraging words! They mean so much to me. My 90 year old grandmother had all of her tests today and was given an excellent report. Praise the Lord. :) So, one down and 2 to go!

I can honestly say that I'm starting to relax about all of these situations. God is in control regardless of what happens. He already knows the outcome, I trust Him.

Let me give you an awesome praise report. Tuesday night at Celebrate the Savior, there were 3 ladies who prayed to receive Jesus as their personal Savior! Isn't that awesome! I'm so honored that God allowed us to be part of that event. Oh what a night!

Christmas on the Corner had a great turnout last night. It was so cool to stand up on the hill and look out at all those people watching the live nativity. I have to admit I got a little teary eyed when the shepherds came and bowed before that little baby. Then when the toddler age Jesus was "working" with Joseph and those Wise Men came to present their gifts, that just did me in. :) It was so powerful. The animals add so much. I did keep my distance from the camel. (For some reason camels freak me out.)

The caroling was fun, I was really surprised that people would gather around us and sing along. Granted, it was cold, very cold but so worth it. I'm looking forward to tonight.

If you live on the east side of Atlanta area you need to bring your family to this! It's free!! (There is Chik-Fil-A, pizza and Beaners coffee for sale) If you come, bring your camera as there are lots of spots for family photos. (And PLEASE find me in the Caroling group and say hi!)

You can e-mail me for further info. (My address is on my profile page)

I'm trying to sweet talk Chad into taking some photos on Friday night so I'll have some to post and share with you!

Love you blog siesta's!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Prayer Request

..."Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." - Romans 4:3

You can be a believer yet act as though there is no God. Whenever you fret over life circumstances, you immediately demonstrate unbelief. Whenever you move out of fear or anxiety, you believe a lie about God's nature.

This is a quote from an e-mail devotion I receive each morning. It spoke volumes to me this morning. God has blessed Freedom's Call with a very busy two weeks. Last night we sang at our home church's women's Christmas event. (say that 3 times real fast!) It was an incredible night. Micca Campbell from Proverbs 31 ministries spoke and WOW she was awesome. God moved and it was an awesome encounter with God. As awe struck and excited as I am about all of the opportunities God has given us, I have this underlying sense of dread for the next 2 weeks. It has nothing to do with ministry commitments, it has to do with things going on in our family.

I feel as my faith is being stretched a little, well okay a LOT!! Here's what's going on the next few days in my life. Before I start let me tell you two things. First, both of my parents are only children and second, my mom keeps my brother's twin daughters 3 days a week.

Thursday, December 6 : My Dad's Mom who is 90 years old will have a colonoscopy.

Monday, December 10: My Mom's Mom will have triple by-pass and while they are there, they will correct her enlarged aorta. We have been told she will be in the hospital at least a week. Once home, she will need my mother there to help her as she recovers and gets back to normal. Dr.'s orders. That means my brother and sister-in-law are trying to find back-up childcare for the twins. This is really where I feel guilty that I can't be there next week.

Thursday, December 13: My Dad has a biopsy on a place they found on his thyroid.
I'm asking God to show off here in a mighty way. I'm asking Him to remove the growth, and blow Dad's doctor out of the water. He isn't a Christian and I believe that God has placed my Dad under his care so Dad can be witness. Whatever God decides to do I'm at peace with and so are my parents, but I'm asking God to take the growth away.

Let me say, I know that I know that I know God has all of this under control. He knew before the beginning of time that all of this would be happening. Remember a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that our pastor said "If you can trust God with your eternity, you can trust Him with your everyday stuff."? God spoke to me during that time telling me whatever happened, He had it. I thought about that last night as I was trying to fall asleep.

Psalm 139 tells me that I can never escape His presence. Right before those verses it says that my God hems me in. In other words, He's got my back and my front. Praise His name I'm covered! There is such sweet comfort in that.

I'm asking you prayer warriors to ask the Lord to remind me of this when I'm wavering. I DO NOT want to fall into the pit of fear again. It was a hard crawl out of there and I have NO desire to go back! I'm clinging to Prov. 3 25 -26

You need not be afraid of disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the Lord is your security. HE will keep your foot from being caught in the trap.

Just like Abraham believed and trusted God, I want to do the same. I'm asking God to provide holy courage and strength to our family over the next few days. Please pray that my actions and my words will honor and point to God during this time.

Thanks for letting me "vent", and thank you even more for your prayers!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Special Effects

Forgive my lack of posts lately. Our children's choir Christmas musical was last night and we've been busy!! The kids were incredible as usual. I was very proud of all my fourth graders. They were leaders in every sense of the word.

Today is my Father-in-Law's birthday. I wish we lived close enough to celebrate with them, but Florida is just a little far to hop down for dinner! Hopefully, we'll see them soon and will celebrate then.

I wanted to share something I read this morning that was very calming to my spirit. I jumped around in Proverbs and I kept being brought to passages that deal with the effect of keeping God's word, His commands. Here are just a few that jumped off the page.

Prov. 3:2 says that "they (God's commands) will prolong your life many years and bring prosperity." Then down in verse 13-14 it says, "Blessed is the man(or woman) who finds wisdom, the man (woman) who gains understanding. For she (wisdom/understanding) is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold."

I've said for several years that blessings follow obedience. Often, people who hear that automatically think of material blessings. (money, gifts, new house, better car...) That isn't exactly what I mean. Obviously, if God chooses to bless our obedience with a tangible "thing" He can. I've been on the receiving end of that and it's awesome. BUT, more awesome is when He blesses in other ways. I call them "special effects".

Things I would list as special effects would be:

peace, patience, love, quiet confidence..... you get the idea.

There are few hints in Proverbs 3 about the "special effects" of walking and living in God's Words and commands.

Remember verse 13 tells us that blessed is the man who finds wisdom and gains understanding? Go on down to verse 16 and God starts giving the "effects".

Verse 16 says that long life is in the right hand and riches and honor in the left.
Then in verse 17 He tells us that the way of wisdom and understanding is a pleasant way and has paths of peace.

A pleasant path of peace. That is one effect I want to experience and I long for my girls to experience. Doesn't say an easy path, God never promised easy, but He did promise to be with us. This is what I feel God is saying to me here. As long as I am seeking Him and His ways, He will cover me with peace and make the path pleasant. Even when the scenery all around me doesn't seem that pleasant. It's part of the "special effect". It's choosing to look at each and every situation with holy eyes. It's asking, "God, help me to see this situation like you do, show me what to do and which way to go." Once we do that, God makes all the Hollywood special effects artists look wimpy.

I sure hope this is making sense. I'm typing faster than my brain is working. :)

The last thing that I'll share with you comes from verses 21-24. God says to "preserve sound judgement and discernment, do NOT let them out of your sight!" He then goes on to give us some "effects" of keeping this command. Get ready, they made my stomach flutter!

First verse 22 says they are life for us! Second, as if anything could top that, they will be an ornament to grace your neck. (The finest of all jewelry!) Then on down in verse 23 God says that we will go in safety and our feet will not stumble. I believe this an effect of being on God's pleasant path. Psalms tells us He is our front and rear guard. I think it's safe to say that no matter what is thrown onto our path, when we are on God's path we're protected. May not be easy, but we're safe.

Finally, and this is HUGE to me, verse 24 says: "when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. vs.25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, vs.26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared."

In other words: when I am seeking my God, when I'm earnestly asking Him for wisdom, understanding and discernment He will give it. Along with those things, He gives more! Today, the most precious to me is in verses 23 and 24. Sweet sleep and No fear. Those are some special effects that can only come from God.

This week is extremly busy. Freedom's Call is leading worship at our women's event Tuesday night, and then I'll be singing with a group of people Wed., Thurs. and Frid. night at Christmas on the Corner. I may be out of the loop this week, but will be reading and commenting as I have time. This is why I said "sweet sleep and no fear" were the most precious effects to me! I can't take a step without Him, much less do the things He's asked me to do this week!

Have a wonderful week!