Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Almost first post of 2009

It's around 11:00 on New Year's Eve. I've tried all day to write an end of the year post but it just hasn't happened.

The girls are determined to stay awake..right now they are half asleep in the living room floor. They have played the Wii until they can't play anymore. :)
Chad is reading a book he got for Christmas and I'm doing my best not to cough all over this computer! I'm going to have sanitize this thing!

Like most of you, I've committed to memorizing more scripture in this new year. I thought I would share my first few verses tonight.

James 1:19-22

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (ESV)

If you asked me what one thing God taught me in 2008 I would have to say that we worked on motives. What my motives are/were did they line up with His, etc... and also a year of preparation. Looking back I see just how intense some of it was. I have a feeling because of several things going on in my life, that the new year will be putting into action what He has called me to.

He has called us all to something, we are all born to do something very specific for God. I get the very strong impression that while 2008 was a year of "hearing" and preparation, 2009 is going to be a year of "doing" for me. We'll see what He does!

How about you? What is God impressing on your heart for this new year?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Where to begin.

We are so blessed. We had a wonderful Christmas week and were able to see all but two sets of family members. That is huge! The girls have been absolutely wonderful and up to this point, we haven't had the after Christmas melt down. (Does this happen at your house too? I'm curious if it's just us!)

Thursday morning we enjoyed Santa and then headed up to my parents to spend Christmas with my side of the family. It was great to see my sister and nephew along with my brother and sister in law and their daughters. My poor grandparents just sat and watched their 5 great-grandchildren open moon shoes and stilts and baby dolls and Wii games..oh brother you should have heard me trying to explain the Wii to my 91 year old grandmother. She was so confused. Anyway..it was a wonderful day that ended with Chad, my sister and I taking the three oldest to the movies...so my parent's could rest.

For several weeks I've been struggling with some sort of chest cold/cough/fatigue "thing". It wasn't bad enough to go to the doctor I thought, so I've just dealt with it at home. It has gradually become worse and listening to me cough and carry on...Chad and my dad decided I was going to the doctor. So Saturday morning that is where we went.

I've only got bronchitis, but they have fixed me up with some mighty fine drugs and I can already tell a huge difference. I didn't realize how bad I felt until I slept through the night last night. It's amazing what 6 hours of sleep will do for you! I'm still not 100% but we are getting there.

The amazing thing was the pharmacy where we filled my prescriptions gave me all sorts of discounts and coupons and we wounded up getting all my medicine at a much more affordable price. :) Thank you Lord. Just one more way He continues to show me that He is alive and active in my every day life.

We had an incredible church service this morning. Dad brought the Word and I'm telling you the Holy Spirit sat down on that place. One came for salvation, another who has been living away from the Lord came to rededicate his life..the front of the church was full of people on their faces praying. Dad lost his jacket in the middle of the invitation..we thought oh boy...he's going to preach again! Just kidding!

I have to share with you the sweetest picture for me today. When the man came forward to express his desire for salvation, my dad put his hands on his head to pray with him. The young man started out with his hands on my dad's arms...but the longer they stood there, the higher this guys arms went and by the time they were through praying his arms were totally extended in the air. It was the most beautiful thing. Complete surrender.

It was even more special to sit behind some of his friends and family..they were so happy. This family has experienced great loss this year and for one that they care so much about to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ was quite a gift.

As we sat at Aubelo's for lunch, dad told us that next week he would be baptizing FOUR! That little church is growing spiritually, and I really believe God is fixing to do a mighty work in those people.

It was an awesome way to end our weekend.

We are home, unpacked and Chad...is sick. So I get to return the favor and take care of him.

I'm looking forward to catching up on your Christmas story!

Blessings,
steph.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas my bloggy friends!

I sure hope that your Christmas is filled with family, fun and most importantly Jesus.

You are just precious to me and I am so thankful that God has placed you in my life.

We have a packed weekend ahead of us, so I'm going on a little bloggity break. I'll be back on Monday or Tuesday!


Merry Christmas!

Steph.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Just a quick little thing

Hi my internet friends. :)

I sure wish I could tell you that I'm done with my holiday preperations, that my house looks fabulous, my children adorably dressed and getting along...but I can't.

Truth be told...I haven't had a shower yet, my dishwasher is going for the second time today, and I have two more loads of laundry before I can call it quits...

And I'm about to pop! I have to share with you something that totally transformed my thoughts today. It was in my Bible study this morning and when I say it knocked me flat on my face, I'm serious. Are you ready....


Fear cripples Faith, BUT Faith cripples Fear

For someone who suffers to live free of the stronghold of fear..that spoke volumes to me this morning.

We both have lots to do, so let's get off this computer and get back to it okay?

See you later in the week!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's the 8 Things Meme

Prof Baugh tagged me with this meme! Maybe, just maybe I can stump you.

8 TV Shows I Watch:
1) Amazing Race
2) American Idol
3) Survivor
4) Food Network
5) HGTV
6) Jon & Kate plus 8
7) The Dugger's specials on TLC
8) Little House on the Prairie

8 Favorite Restaurants:
1) Asian Fusion
2) Panera Bread
3) Olive Garden in Times Square
4) Ankars Hoagies (mom and pop place in Chatt.)
5) Aubelo's
6) Fernando's
7) The Lady and Sons
8) and last but not least...this seafood place in Hilton Head..the Old Oyster Factory

8 Things that Happened to Me Today:
1) Woke up at 4 and never went back to sleep.
2) Had a LONG shower WITH hot water...no interruptions. Very rare around here.
3) Deep fried mac & cheese wrapped in bacon. YUMMY.
4) Had Christmas with In-laws from TN.
5) Laughed until my sides hurt at Chad's great uncle Wilton. So funny.
6) Amazed that mother-in-law's husband was rendered speechless by Uncle Wilton.
7) Watched my girls squeal when they opened a Wii.
8) Beat my husband in a boxing match. (Don't worry, it was animated.)

8 Things I Look Forward To:1) Seeing what God is going to do next.
2) Christmas with the rest of our family.
3) Leading worship for a women's retreat in January. (first one for this church ever!)
4) Seeing some of my siesta's again.
5) Children's choir starting back up.
6) Getting into the studio with Freedom's Call
7) Writing more
8) The occasional nap.

8 Things I Wish For:
1) that my daughters would have hearts that love the Lord.
2) Good health for our family
3) knowing Christ more intimately
4) that people we love would walk in the freedom that Jesus died to give them.
5) that we would be happy with where God has us.
6) to be confident that God will give me what I need to do what He calls me to.
7) singing/playing with Travis Cottrell (THIS WAS PROF's BUT I'm SO STEALING IT)
8) good hair!

8 People I Tag:
I've seen this all over this week, SO if you haven't played yet...consider yourself tagged.!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sometimes you just need to be reminded...

That God is really there and that He really does hear you. AND CARE.

That is what this week has been for me. A big reminder.

Between all the LifeWay surprises, and the frame that Jennifer sent me...I felt so blessed...like God was saying "I'm still here...I haven't forgotten."

This morning in my Bible study I asked God to unveil my eyes today, I asked Him to show Himself to me. I also have been asking Him to help my unbelief in a very specific area.

I finished up study, grabbed my grocery list and out the door we went. First stop, haircuts for the girls. We walked right in and they took them right back, no wait. Thank you Lord.

Second stop...Kohls. My Freedom's Call girls..um Ladies, gave me some b'day money to spend on myself....so we hit the sales at Kohls. I found a couple of things, got in line and waited. Standing there something told me to check the size on one sweater...it was an XL. I needed a Medium so out of line and back to find that particular rack to make the swap.

I was aggravated at myself for not checking the tag on the garment, and then disappointed that they didn't have the size I needed. Oh well...I just found something else and since it was cheaper, I was able to pick up another top I had my eye on...all is well....we head back to the line.

On our way, a man comes into the area we were in and says, "Excuse me...I just finished my purchase. There is about $18 or so left on this gift card...I'm done and will not be using it. I want to give it to you...why don't you buy something for your girls."

Ummmm...

I looked at the girls and they were silent.

I thanked him said Merry Christmas, God bless.. and turned around to look at the girls.

They were grinning ear to ear and Chloe said..."Looks like God showed up in the Vera Wang section of Kohl's!"

Yes He did.

I want you to know that the first thing I did was remember what I had written in my study this morning..

Did I expect God to show up while I stood in the Vera Wang section? Not exactly, BUT

I asked Him to let me see Him today so honestly, I am not surprised.

The unexpected gift card wasn't about the clothes...it was God telling me..."I've got this little one...I've got it."

Now..I really have no idea how He's going to handle this thing and I don't have to know. But you better believe that I believe Him. He's spent all week long reminding me.

This verse is on the LPM Blog today... I thought it was timely.

"Blessed is she who believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Luke 1:45


I believe God.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

LifeWay....They have so blessed me this week.

If you haven't read this post, then go read it and then come back to this!

The worship team of Freedom's Call has had quite the honor this week. We were given the opportunity to sing at our local LifeWay store three nights. Let me tell you, the manager of this store and his staff have been wonderful.

He opened up the store to a local middle school chorus teacher, who happens to sing with us, and asked her to bring her three chorus groups to serenade his shoppers. Freedom's Call is so honored to sing after such great kids! They have done an excellent job and I think they have got a kick out of seeing their teacher sing!

It's been such a neat thing to watch some of them come into LifeWay, some for the first time and be amazed at the environment. It's a safe place. And Monday night I got a little emotional thinking about how these kids were surrounded by the Word of God. It was in front of them, beside them behind them....God's word does not return void and I believe that the simple act of opening up this store planted many seeds.

You know I've got pictures for you. :)









Remember last week I told you that they had hung a poster in the window? Remember I said I thought it would just be the flyer that they were stuffing in the bags? Ummmmm.....No...here it is




Life size. Two of them. Have mercy.


Thanks Rick and LifeWay at the Mall of Georgia! You have been such a gracious host and have blessed us this week! I believe with all my heart that seeds were planted. Thank you for turning the store into a place of ministry.

Okay....we are there Thursday night. (we've been singing around 7:15 or so) If you are in this area COME SEE US!!! I would love to hug your neck!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Behold! Miracles Still Happen!

As evidenced that these videos have posted!!! Sorry that I had to put this in two separate videos! But we were doing good to get this done today...:) This was taken before my LifeWay Surprise or I would have talked about it here. See the post after this if you don't know what I'm talking about.


video

Part 2 is extra special to me...you'll see why. :)

video

You Will NOT Believe This!

Okay...my life this week has been so blessed this week by the unexpected. The first surprise came yesterday and you will see it in my video...that is still loading.

Today I was completely blown away by the unexpected. Just a few minutes ago, the doorbell rang, Paddington the poodle went nuts and I was handed a box. I quickly scanned it, saw that it was to me from LifeWay. The writing on the side caught my attention and I just cracked up....here's what it said:







I open it up to find a note from the manager of LifeWay's Internet store. Apprently someone tipped him off to my Bible sniffing addiction. He fed my addiction by sending me this.



The note he attached says: "Thanks for thinking of LifeWay when you think of sniffing Bibles!" and my favorite line..."It's sealed for freshness!"

Oh yes it is!



To quote our Mama Siesta..."There's no high like the Most High!"

Ray, thanks so much for blessing me today! It was quite a surprise and I'm so humbled by your generousity. Thank you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

birthday stuff

Thanks for all the b'day wishes! I can't believe the man blogjacked me...I'll let it slide this time. (Especially since he's doing me two huge favors in January..more on that at a later time.)

So...you wanna know what kind of b'day goodies I was blessed with? The girls woke me up singing happy birthday and brought in cards and a gift that I LOVE. They picked out a beautiful necklace that I can hardly wait to wear! Good job girls. (and Daddy Mack & Grams who helped them with it while I tried on clothes. The told me ALL about it and hiding it so I wouldn't find it.)

Chad has been hearing me complain about my study Bible coming apart for about a year now. I love this particular Bible. We've been through a lot of stuff and there are notes all in that thing. BUT, when Genesis and Exodus started coming out in church last Sunday...it was time to get another one!

I've had my eye on the ESV for a little while, but kept putting off buying it. Chad surprised me with a beautiful new ESV study Bible AND the Esther workbook! I can hardly wait.

I'm just curious, oh boy this is going to show you just how weird I am... Does anyone else like to smell a brand new Bible? I tell you the truth, I took it out of the box and the first thing I did was open it and smell it. If I worked in the Lifeway, I would be in so much trouble for Bible sniffing....

My Mom and Dad sent me a great box with a garden ornament AND a really cool oil....container/jar/bottle I'm not sure what to call it! Anyway..it is covered in musical stuff and matches some pieces I already have! I love it. My little sister and nephew found a really cute coffee mug that is pink and green LOVE IT!

My in-laws in Florida sent me a very generous gift-card to a craft store! I went and bought material for some window treatments in the family room. (I'm going to do a "mistreatment" as the Nester calls it!)

My Tenn. in-laws sent me a beautiful earring and necklace set that I love. (Freshwater pearls) They are so simple and pretty. I'm already planning outfits around the jewelry I received.

Last night Chad and the girls took me on a Christmas light drive. It was fun to put the girls in their pj's, make some hot chocolate and spend the evening singing Christmas songs and looking at lights.

Thank YOU to those of you who left me birthday blessings! You are just precious to me. I can hardly wait to see you again! (or for the first time)

I'm off to watch the Survivor Finale and have some hot tea.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Birthday Blogjacking!!!!

To all of you wonderful siestas that I am forever hearing stories about, this is Ocean Mommy Hubby. Thought I would come and share something with you that she probably would not.

You see, today would be Ocean Mommy's birthday - if I told you how old she was, I might not see the light of another sunrise. But it is her birthday nonetheless. I will tell you that this is the 17th birthday that she and I have been together, but of course you know we started dating when she was 4.

So I have blogjacked her stuff here on the interwebs and thought I would come on here, share some love, and make sure she didn't forget to mention her birthday.

So do me a favor - help me wish her a Happy Birthday today. Showin nothin but love... Let's see if we can't get a couple thousand birthday well wishes in her comments. Even if you are one of those voyeurs (is that what she calls you?) who is always here looking and reading but never comments. Leave one today... even if it is anonymous.

Thanks for dealing with a guy here in the girly blog world.

I Love You Steph - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Chloep and Myhoo have now caught me doing this and they are Happy Birthday mommy!!!


Love always,
Ocean Mommy Hubby

Friday, December 12, 2008

Silliness Because I'm Exhausted!

Okay...so after a heavy post yesterday I feel the need for some silliness. Plus the fact that I did not close my eyes until something like 4:45 a.m. (my alarm goes off at 5:00) I really don't have the brain cells to spare this morning!!

I saw this at The Preacher's Wife and have laughed myself into a coughing fit. I had to share...we ALL need to laugh hard sometimes.

Word of advice....DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT DRINK ANYTHING WHILE WATCHING THIS. You risk it coming out of places drinks are not supposed to come out of....the reason I had to change shirts after I watched this.

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My One Thing Almost A Year Later

Last January, Jill (Bible Teacher with Freedom's Call) asked the team to spend time with the Lord and specifically ask for one thing that He wanted us (as individuals) to work on in 2008.

For me, that one thing was holy approval. I wrote about it here. I've spent a good part of this year working this out with God. In each area of my life, He has used the simplest of circumstances to show me just where I seek man's approval over His. Just when I think I'm getting it and doing better....wham it comes up again.

For several years I have had one person continue to pop into my mind. Off and on I will think about her, wonder where she is if she has children, etc. You know, just curious about this old friend that at one time, was a big part of my life.

About a year ago, this curiosity turned into something else. I would be in the middle of life and feel the need to pray for her. So I would. Still having NO contact with her at all...in like....14 years. But God would not let me forget.

About 6 months ago I joined Facebook. I fought is as long as I could and then got sucked into it...it's addictive isn't it! Anyway. I joined because it was just another way to communicate with my Siesta's, I really had no plans to look up old high school friends.

About a month ago, I was on Facebook when this person's face and name popped into my mind. I did a friend search and nothing showed up. NOTHING.

This week, and I honestly can not tell you how, I found an old high school bud that had this person in her friend list. I KNOW! It's crazy....no it was divine because I can't tell you how I stumbled upon these two girls!

But here is the thing. I looked at her little profile picture for 10 minutes. I knew what God wanted me to do but I fought it. The what if's began to swim around in my mind and heart. All those lovely insecurities from high school began to work their way from the deep places of my heart and I heard this..."HOLY APPROVAL".

I sent the message and sat scared to death, BUT. God told me to. I have no idea what He's going to do, but I can tell you...I'm okay with whatever happens. I don't think He orchestrated the timing of all of this for me to NOT learn something.

Honestly, I can't wait to see what He does with this.

It's been almost a year since Jill asked that question. While I feel that I have grown up in this area at the same time, I feel like I have SO much more to learn. I feel like I will always have to keep this in check...it keeps me on my face and at His feet. Which is where I need to be.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

HELP ME!!! Please?

Hey! I'm in the middle of something and I need your help. (For those of you that don't comment, this will be a GREAT chance to leave your first comment! Anonymously!)

Here is question for those of you who know Jesus as your Savior...

What is it that keeps you from going to the next level in your walk? OR Do you feel that you are where you need to be in your walk?

Okay, if you have never entered into a personal relationship with Jesus (I am not talking about attending church I'm talking about knowing Jesus!) what is that keeps you from getting to know Him?



Like I said..feel free to comment anonymously. Maybe in the next week or two I'll have a little something to share with you. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Monday

It's Monday and that means everyone around here is in a lovely mood. I wish you could hear the sarcasm in my voice. This afternoon has been much better but we had to ALL have a little individual prayer time SEVERAL times today. "Please More Spirit" has been theme on SO many levels.

This week is the calm before the storm for me. A good storm but next week is going to be c.r.a.z.y. I won't bore you with all the stuff that next week holds, but I will tell you that for three nights, Freedom's Call will be singing at a certain Christian bookstore that we all love. I'll have some pictures and stories to share I'm sure.. :) One of the ladies I sing with e-mailed us to say that the store had hung a poster in the window over the weekend to promote next week. I figured a flyer, you know something you can tape on the door? um.. no.

Chad took a picture and sent it to my phone today...the caption said "it's big" And it was....like 40x40 I am not kidding. I had the sudden urge to go throw up. No pressure now. I keep asking God what he was thinking...I'm so much more comfortable behind the piano and preferably behind a plant.

I need to get off of this computer and make dinner before rehearsal. At some point this week I have another Name/Attribute of God to share..it was tough for me and I would love to hear your thoughts on it. That will probably post sometime Tuesday or Wednesday. :)

Hugs and Blessings!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Don't you want to trade places with me?

Let me tell you, we are one exciting couple come Friday night. The girls are playing upstairs and I'm in my favorite footie pj's reading blogs and playing on Facebook.





Chad is going through playlists on iTunes creating some new run music...

Here's a sample of what I'm hearing:

"We are the World..." GAG, but I loved it when it was new.

"Hurry boy she's waiting there for you..." can you name that tune?

"Love is a battlefield...."

"Holiday"

Something from the Beastie Boys...

(something something something).."Mr. Roboto..."

"Shout, Shout, Let it All Out"

and one of my favorites..Bruce Hornsby "That's just the way it is..."

But I have to tell you..when "Thriller" came on a minute ago, I spit my drink at him.(mercy "Crazy for you" just played and I'm distracted, and now dadgum it he makes it play "Girls just wanna have fun." I can not concentrate and he just played, are you ready for this? CHER.."IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME"! Somebody make him stop.)

Okay Thriller story.

When my dad was in seminary we lived in Raleigh, NC. At that time G.A.'s (Girls in Actions is a mission organization for elementary age girls) was BIG in Southern Baptist churches.

Our G.A. group had this "cool" college age leader. Bless her heart she tried. Anyway..she took us to McDonald's for ice cream one Saturday afternoon. This was about the time "Thriller" was released. It came on the radio and she turned that radio up ALL THE WAY. Understand...

We were NOT allowed to listen to Michael Jackson at ALL. I knew who he was and I knew I was going to be in trouble if I came home singing "Thriller" so I started praying. In the mind of this 9 year old my sister and I were in some serious spiritual warfare... :) I asked God to deliver us from the influence of the evil one. Yes I did and about that time,

My cool hip G.A. leader drove us into a ditch.

I believed with all my heart that was the Lord's way of delivering us from evil.

Never under estimate the power of a 9 year old's prayers. :)

Chloe just came down and asked us when mom and dad karaoke would be over, apparently we are getting too loud for the young ones.

Oh goodness, Chad is killing me! Right now I'm listening to him sing this line:

"The search is over....you were with me all the while....."

Oh thank goodness some Chicago...."You're the inspiration..."

And the one song I hate to play and have played at one too many weddings..."Just you and I"

Exciting Friday night isn't it......okay...to the sound of George Michael "One More Try"...I'm saying good night...

Happy Weekend!!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hanging On

We had loaded the car, turned off all the lights, set the alarm and were out the door. It was Chad's race weekend and we were so excited to get on the road.

The closer we got to 285 the more we saw the traffic just waiting to exit. We decided to take 85 into town and hit 75 north the "long" way as my girls call it. This was a treat for me. I love the Atlanta skyline, I think it's beautiful. As long as I'm not the one driving that is!!!

Once we got on 75 there was very little traffic. The girls were listening to their MP3 players, singing along to their Christmas music. Chad and I were chatting about the 1/2 marathon he would be running the next day and Paddington was asleep in the floor at Chloe's feet.

I remember thinking how strange the traffic was. There were so few cars around us, and then I saw this thing.

We were coming close to an overpass and I saw this mass on the outside of the chain link fence. I quickly realized that the mass, was a human being.

A lady.

A blond lady in jeans and a flannel shirt. She had crawled over the fence and with her fingers in that chain linked fence, she was barely hanging on.

Chad and I realized it about the same time and he grabbed his phone to call 911. Chad got through to them, hung up the phone and we answered as many questions about it as the girls could throw at us, and then we prayed. We prayed for the lady with the blond hair, we prayed for the police that would be there shortly...and then we said amen.

The image of this woman hanging on that overpass has not left my mind. I've seen her while I pray, when I'm shopping, I've seen her in my church...it seems that everywhere I turn, I see women just hanging on for dear life. God will not let me forget.

We have no idea what happened. I'm not sure I want to know to be quite honest. I just know that my heart has hurt for her everyday since that Friday in early November.

What made her crawl up and over that fence? Was she lonely? Had someone hurt her? Was she trying to get someones attention? Most importantly, did she know Jesus? Most of these questions Chloe and Emma asked in the car as we continued our drive.

I saw another lady this week hanging on for dear life. I don't quite know how to describe the situation other than she was fighting the Holy Spirit. I watched her fidget and squirm, refuse to make eye contact and blame everyone else for her problems. I heard her talk about whomever wasn't standing near her at the time.

My heart hurt for her. She is lonely. I feel bad, but honestly she's done it to herself. She says she knows Jesus as Savior and attends church, but I think she quit being a disciple a long time ago. She knows nothing more of Jesus today than she did a year ago. Oh, don't get me wrong, she can talk the talk but when it comes right down to it....she doesn't care.

I left that place in tears. Doesn't she want to move past whatever it is that is holding her in the funk? Does she want to live the abundant life Jesus died to give her?

I can tell you that as I prayed for her, I kept wondering why. Why does she choose to stay that way. Every time I think of the lady from this week, I see the lady on the bridge.

I was so quick to pray for the lady on the bridge, pray for help to get there asap. It was life or death.

The lady this week, I have prayed for her, but I have not had the same urgency. God forgive me, because I should. It is life or death for her too.

God opened my eyes and my heart. You don't have to be hanging off the side of an overpass to be hanging on for your life.

I'm praying for the day I can say that the lady I know, is living. Living the life Jesus died to give her. Abundant, Happy, and Free.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008



One of my San Antonio Roomies, Darlene, passed this along to me. Thanks Darlene, I love your blog too!

I'm supposed to answer the following questions with one word.(That is a joke! We'll see how I do.)

Here goes,

1. Where is your cell phone? Side table next to me.
2. Where is your significant other? Office
3. Your hair color? Brown.
4. Your mother? Generous. (And Bambi killer since she hit a deer this week!)
5. Your father? Generous
6. Your favorite thing? Bible with my piano a very close second...
7. Your dream last night? Um....don't remember
8. Your dream/goal? To sell a song.
9. The room you’re in? Family room
10. Your hobby? blogging
11. Your fear? that is a little too private to share.
12. Where do you want to be in six years? In Bermuda on vacation
13. Where were you last night? Celebrate the Savior (our women's Christmas event)
14. What you’re not? Outgoing
15. One of your wish list items? Esther DVD's
16. Where you grew up? TN...Good Ole' Rocky Top
17. The last thing you did? Fixed lunch
18. What are you wearing? sweats
19. Your T.V.? annoying
20. Your pet? hogging the heating pad
21. Your computer? probably on too much
22. Your mood? good
23. Missing someone? yes
24. Your car? dirty
25. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
26. Favorite store? Genevieve Bond (in Chattanooga)
27. Your Summer? too fast
28. Love someone? yes
29. Your favorite color? pink and black
30. When is the last time you laughed? Just a minute ago at my dad telling me about my niece Morgan.
31. Last time you cried? Last night watching a woman fight the Holy Spirit moving in her life.

Okay...I'm supposed to pass this on to blogs I love! BUT, this is so hard for me because I love so many. I'm always afraid of leaving somebody out...but...I'm passing this on to....Darla at Overcomer, and Bethanne at Waiting for the Shout. Both of these ladies tell the truth without sugar coating it. I love that about them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hey!

I'm exhausted. Happy, full and exhausted.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We didn't actually have our "feast" until Saturday when my sister and nephew were able to join us. It was great to see them. Colin came in with hugs and kisses for everyone, and then he made the rounds again. It was too cute. My nieces talked my ears off. They say "I do" to anything you ask. They love to laugh and want to do whatever Coco (chloe) and Emmy (emma) do. I was smart this time and kept my shoes in the closest with the door closed. It was such a fight to get my heels away from them last time!


Sisters


Cousin Colin was very glad to see everyone.


All the cousins


Emma had someone looking up to her all week.


She was telling me something.



After lunch with my side of the family, we joined Chad's mother's side for an awesome dinner of pasta, salad and desserts. It was so good to see almost everyone on that side. (Aunt Debbie I need that Greek Spaghetti recipe...my girls are still talking about it!) I thought my camera was in my purse, but apparently little hands took it out to make a video and failed to put it back in.

Sunday morning the girls and I led worship at my parent's church. It was an answer to prayer really. I had fought a cold for several days. (It started the day after I had my flu shot!) Anyway, I wasn't really sure if I was going to be able to sing, but God took care of it and for the hour and half I needed it, my throat felt great. Of course later in the afternoon, this is what dad and I did.




Boy, do those things pull out some strange stuff! I'll allow my dad to keep his dignity and not post the video Chloe took of us doing his ear.

Cowboy Chad and Dragon Colin sharing some jalapeno dip Sunday after church.





As much as we loved being with our family for a few days, it's always good to come home and get back into our routine. Of course, this month routine sort of goes out the window doesn't it?!

Enough rambling for one night, I'm off to warm up and check the weather...I sure hope we have more snow flurries tonight!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!! A Somewhat Random Post

Our day started at 4:30 a.m. Chad was up and ready to run in the Atlanta marathon..He did the 1/2 again and I'm so proud of him...he finished under 2 hours!!!

This is what he looks like before his Crystal Light energy drink...



And this is after a few sips...



Oh I kid...he was just goofing off in his cute little leggings...I didn't post the shot of him clicking his heels...KIDDING...

Can you believe that number???? When we went to pick up his pack, he changed from the full marathon to the 1/2 and that meant a new number. I just can't believe that was the next number. Amazing.

He didn't let that number slow him down..he finished under 2 hours and feels great.

I've spent the morning listening to week 5 of Living Beyond Yourself, packing suitcases and gathering up all the stuff we need to take to TN.

As a family we are so thankful that we are going to have a couple of days to relax and love on our nieces and nephew. It's not often we are ALL together for more than a few hours.

I'm thankful for a date with Chad on Wednesday. Oh it was exciting too..first stop..Doctor's office. Then, we finished up some Christmas stuff and then we saw the new movie "Four Christmases". I have not laughed that hard at a movie in a LONG time. There were a few situations that were...um...crude, but there were some pretty hilarious parts. Change the name of this movie to "Three Christmases" and it's our life. That's all I'm going to say.

I felt bad for Chad...we laughed SO hard and he had just had four shots in his stomach. I knew he was having a hard time getting comfortable. It never failed that just about the time he would settle in the laughing would start....I think he laughed out the soreness!!!

Seriously, we are so blessed. We don't take for granted one second the way God provides for us. Especially right now. He is faithful and we continue to be amazed at the work of His hand.

I'm so thankful for my blogging siesta's. You are just precious to me...each one of you. Thank you for sharing this year with me! I can't wait to see some of you again and maybe meet some of you for the first time SOON!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm Just Thinking....

What an incredible few days our family has had. We have experienced deep loss, and extreme happiness. We've been emotional about not being able to be in one place, and at the same time we are thrilled to have been here. I know this is as clear as mud...

Our children's musical was last Sunday evening. I worked with part of the kids, Chad was working in the media booth, Chloe had a solo and this was Emma's first musical. She worked so hard, listening to my CD daily for 3 months learning her part. We are just so proud of her. Our baby girl singing her heart out for Jesus despite the fact she was terrified.

There is power in prayer, and the Word. I have been reciting "Emma can do ALL THINGS (sing on the stage) because Jesus lives in her and gives her strength." for several weeks. She may not have been so sure of it before, but today she knows that God heard her and answered her prayer to be brave.

As much as we have rejoiced over what God did through our children on Sunday night,(and I mean all 200 of them) we have been just as heavy hearted over the loss of Chad's cousin.

So many emotions. So many passages of the Word have come to my mind. This morning Psalm 30 was my focus. As I personalized this Psalm to our family, I was overcome with this promise, God is not done with us. There is still hope.

It may seem dark right now and there may be lots of tears and unanswered questions...but as verse 8 says "rejoicing comes in the morning". The King James says JOY cometh in the morning.

And then on down in verse 11-12

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever."

How I love Him. How I love that in the times of our deepest hurt and confusion He offers love, joy, and peace. It's something that takes my breath away.


What the enemy has meant for evil, I believe my God is going to use for good. As hard as it is to see right now, God is working. Even in this horrible, tragic time. I want to make the sly one sorry he messed with this family. I'm going to be really bold here and say this knowing that some will not get this and I'll probably get a phone call..that's okay...it's just what is on my heart. Here goes...

Perhaps, God will use this as a time of restoration. I can't help but think of a passage in Hosea 2. I have referenced it before but I believe it is timely.

I'm quoting the NLT verses 14-15

"But I will win her back again. I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the valley of trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from captivity in Egypt."


Being bold again...In my life, there have been times where God has used tragic, extreme circumstances to get my attention. Reminding me that before anything or anyone else, HE is what I need.

Only He can restore what has been destroyed. Only He can break the slave chains that keep me stuck in my personal Egypt.

Only Jesus.

That takes me to Joel 2:12-13

"Even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and he relents from sending calamity."

God doesn't change. God doesn't move or leave...we do. The amazing thing to me is that we are never more than glance away from Him. We just have to turn around to see Him.

This is the verse I am anticipating in this time.

Joel 2:25 "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.."

I can hardly wait for that. The day we see our valley of trouble turn into a flourishing gateway of hope..locusts free. (with plenty of space for some praise dancing!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Old Post, That Just Fits Today

This is a post from earlier this year. Today..I have no words and as I skimmed through old posts looking for something to share..this one, well. This one was written for this time.

Please pray for our extended family as we mourn the loss of a family member. Thanks...


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; John 10:10a

He is at it again. This thief makes me so mad. I was reminded of this verse yesterday. When I went to look it up all I was concentrating on was the first part, the part above.

There is a second part to this verse and this part...is powerful. It gives hope,

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10b

There is something about that second part. Our Jesus doesn't settle for just living, He offers us a full life. Wow. I'm blown away at what He does for me. He takes an interest in our life, the good, the bad and the ugly.

I love that we have a Savior that is interceding on our behalf. CONSTANTLY talking to God for and about us. How I love Him.

Even knowing this and knowing that God desires for us to live an abundant life..there are times we struggle. Times we hurt in deep places we had no idea existed. We feel desperate and hopeless, blinded by an enemy who specializes in a lie. We feel like the next step is just too hard. We've all been there at some point.

But Psalm 3 tells me that even when my enemy surrounds me and whispers those lies in my heart that my God is there. He is a shield around me, and when I cry out to Him He hears AND He answers.

His word says that I can rest because He will sustain and protect me.

But here is my favorite part of Psalm 3. It's found in verse 3 and it says that my God will bestow glory on me and will lift up my head.

I sure could use a little glory bestowed on my head this morning!

Psalm 18:16-19 has me standing up to type this morning as I pray this over my family and friends this morning.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me!Verse 35 says You give me your shield of victory and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.

I rejoice this morning as I read Psalm 23 and think of Beth Moore telling the story of her daughter calling her to share that our God is going to anoint our head with oil and make the enemy watch while He does it! Verse 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Oh friends, no matter how huge this trial seems, you have a warrior Savior who is interceding on your behalf. He has fought for you. It may be a hard and difficult battle but our God wins. He is enough.

Lift up your head this morning and let Him bestow some Glory on you today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Piano Lessons

We have piano lessons on Tuesday afternoons. Today, Chloe went first. She had a good lesson. We kind of hit a wall with some tough stuff but this child will practice until she gets it and come next week, you'll never know she struggled with the concept.

Today was Emma's 4th lesson. She is brand new to this and her enthusiasm is just precious. It melts my heart.

Today at the end of her lesson I was just about in tears, GOOD tears. She had played so well. She far exceeded my expectations and played each piece flawlessly. I'm serious when I say she didn't miss a note.

I held her face in my hands and told her how proud I was of her for working so hard...she started to tear up too. We hugged and then she said this...

"Maybe next week I'll practice."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hang On For Just a Minute Longer

It's starting.

The busy season.

Part of me loves it. The shopping, decorations, the music, the food...I love the busy time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The other part of my loathes this time of year. As much as I LOVE the season, far too often I feel suffocated by all the commitments we try to cram into the last 6 weeks of the year. We become tired, irritable and before we know it the season is over.

Lately, I've been talking to God about how to NOT be overwhelmed, tired and irritable during this season. (I really want to enjoy this season without the drama that comes from exhaustion...do you hear me here!) He's been pretty good about sending me to passages that tell me how to do that.

Here was the first and the most important to me:

Ecclesiastes 8:3 "Do not be in a hurry to leave the King's presence....."

In other words...don't rush Him. Oh boy I'm guilty of this especially during the holidays. I will be sitting reading my Bible and find my mind drifting toward my to do list. All the stuff I need to accomplish. (Does your to do list go on steroids around November 1 too?) The list is not bad, the things ON the list are not bad. BUT when hearing what God Almighty has to say to me takes backseat to "the list", THAT my friend is bad.

One of favorite verses is Psalm 90:14

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."

If I'm going to have a godly attitude and love for those around me, if I want to ooze Jesus while I'm doing life during this very busy time...I have to start my day with Jesus. It just isn't an option.

Being in the Word doesn't mean that every day is going to be picture perfect and look like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Being in the Word doesn't mean that we will skip through this season and into the New Year without drama...um have you met my family??? JUST KIDDING, sort of....

Being in the Word means that God is going to give me what I need for today, for this time. His Word is life. It is our daily energy drink and if there is ever a time when we need an extra dose, it's this time of year!!

Jeremiah 15:16 says

"When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name o Lord God Almighty!"

God help me to hang on just a little longer. To listen a little harder and NOT RUSH my time with you during this season. Help me to savor each minute I have with you. You really are my joy and my heart's delight! It's only you that satisfies me...remind me of that when I become distracted.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I mean this with all due respect...

Lord have mercy. He is blowing my mind right now! This Bible study, in combination with real life...I am telling you. He is so AWESOME! And I mean that literally!!! (we know how I feel about that word!) I'll share more later in the week.

Today I have to share my Emma with you. This child is our...well...she is just funny. For a child that is so shy and struggles with stage fright, she is quite the comedian at home. I am not kidding you. She is the funniest thing. (She reminds me of my younger sister who could make me laugh by just looking at me.)

Emma comes up with stuff that makes me laugh until my sides hurt. From the character she made up named "Aunt Mellie", to making up silly songs. This child will probably wind up on Saturday Night Live.

I say all that before I share the following pictures with you. (And if complete silliness offends you...do not read past this point.)

Each morning I give the girls a 15 minute warning before school starts. In that 15 minutes they are to finish up their morning chores and make sure they have everything they need to start school.

About 10 minutes after I gave "the warning", I hear Chloe saying "mom come here..."

Chloe was standing at the foot of the stairs ready to "announce" her younger sister's descent. This is what I saw as Chloe said...

Introducing........



"Panty Girl"

I'm sorry if this offends you, but I have cracked up at this all day long.

Apparently Tinker Bell sprinkled her with some fairy dust because...she flies too...





Jenny will be so proud....all I can think of is that blasted song from High School Musical...."Soaring, Flying, there's not a star in heaven that we can't reach...if we're flying, we're breaking free....."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Present Control

Here is a short snippet of what God and I are working out right now.

I have been fixated on this thought recently...

If I am in control, then I am not allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me and operate through me.

I know that as a Christian the Holy spirit is alive in me. God sealed him there and there he stays. BUT...something in my "Living Beyond Yourself" study about two weeks ago, just hit me between the eyes.

If you have this study is found on page 38 and this is the quote that knocked be backwards....

" The Holy Spirit is ready and able to to fill the believer, but He will not agree to perform this ministry unless He is in present control of the one He inhabits."

Oh boy did that make me uncomfortable.

"in present control"

My heart's desire is to operate fully filled each minute of the day but obviously, the Holy Spirit is not in present control of me each minute because I TRY TO BE IN CONTROL.

When I loose my temper over something silly, He's not in present control.

When I think of 100 different things to say to that one person that works my one good nerve, He's not in present control.

You get the idea...

Ephesians 5:18 says that we should be "filled with the Spirit".

He seems to be giving me opportunity after opportunity to CHOOSE to allow Him to be in complete control. I would love to tell you that I was passing these tests with flying colors....but I can't.

However..little by little I'm finding that as I surrender to His control in some very specific areas, I'm seeing some MASSIVE changes. I can't help but think.."what would have happened if I had done this years ago?" It's so exciting to see Him at work.


Oh God - be in present control of my being. Each cell, each word and each action I take..I want them all to be a neon arrow pointing straight to you. Fill me up to overflowing with your Holy Spirit.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Battlefield Marathon and 1/2 Marathon Re-cap



What a weekend we have had! I am so proud of Chad.

This race was through the Chickamauga Battlefield in Fort Oglethorpe, GA. (This is right on the Tenn. state line.)

The Battlefield is beautiful anytime of year, but especially in the fall. We drove up Friday afternoon hoping that we could drive the course before Saturday morning. Even in the rain/drizzle and slight fog, the fall colors were so vivid. All of us kept saying "Wow" and "Look over there!"

We came around a corner and saw a group of deer. Once we saw this group, we started looking back into the woods, and we saw so many! They were everywhere.



Part of the course..




After we finished we were able to enjoy a pre-race party at my mom's. Well not JUST a pre-race party, we had dinner with my grandparents and my brother and his sweet wife and girls. It was great to just visit with them.

I wasn't kidding in the post before this when I said we would be getting up at 4:30 Saturday morning. Emma decided to stay with my parents and Paddington on Saturday morning. (She knows a good thing!) This is how we left her:




Yes...that is breakfast in bed (I think this was around 5:30) with a portable DVD player. She and Paddington snuggled in to watch a movie. Chad, Chloe and I headed out the door a little before 6:00, made a Starbucks stop and got set up at the race.

There were around 1300 people running and it was so neat to see them all lined up just waiting for that gun to go off. It went off and we watched each of them run past us, saw them make the first loop and head into the battlefield...and then Chloe and I went to the car to warm up.



Chad's Aunt Debbie and his cousin Emily called about the time we saw him make his first turn..so they were able to jump on the spectator bus and ride it into the course to cheer him on around the halfway point.

While we waited in the car, Chloe and I prayed all the verses we could find on running and endurance over Chad. It was pretty cool. Then she decided to read for her November book report and I did my Bible study. Then we saw them...

The first runners were coming back in. We grabbed the phone and the camera then RAN for the finish line. It was so neat to see them come across that line. They were incredible and did not even look winded! I was exhausted for them. :)





Debbie and Emily joined us at the finish line and we were thinking we had about 10-15more minutes before we would see Chad. We looked up the hill and saw him and then I looked at the time. I was so surprised! He was coming in several minutes earlier than we thought he would... His official time was 2 hours and 41 seconds. (And he looked great!)




Here are some pictures of his cheerleaders.






Thanks Debbie and Emily for getting up so early and making an effort to support Chad in this! I'm not sure you realize how much that meant to him.

After a hot shower and some chill out time, we headed to eat some Mexican food. (Just what a crohn's patient needs to eat after running 13.1 miles!)

I shared in my previous post why I was so emotional about this. I'll have you know, I didn't cry when he crossed the finish line, I cried in the car when he told me this story. I'm paraphrasing the Chadwick so bear with me.

On the Battlefield there is a tower called "Wilder Tower", it was used during the Civil War. It really is a beautiful tower.

Somewhere around the 8-9 mile mark, he started to come up on Wilder Tower. It was a bit foggy and and the sun was just starting to peek through the trees. The closer he got to the tower he noticed there were sun rays were shining through the fog, the trees and on either side of the tower. He said that of the four hours of songs in his "run" program on his MP3 player, "Strong Tower" by Kultless came on. Of all times for that song to play, God arranged it to be played as He ran past that tower. He said it was a great moment as his Father reminded him that he could do it, and that he was not in this alone. It was so neat to hear him tell this in the car just minutes after completing this run.

I'm not for sure, and I won't steal his blog post, but I would venture to say that was what this race was about...God showing him one more time, that regardless of circumstances, our Heavenly Father is there.



Thanks Mom for setting the coffee pot for me Friday night and for handfeeding Paddington Saturday morning while we were gone!

Thanks Dad for getting up to see us off, I know you were tired. Emma is still talking about having you to herself at the park and getting the oil changed.



Thursday, November 6, 2008

God Stop Friday



It's God Stop Friday and I'm jumping in this week. Patty at God is ABLE! (LOVE the new name) is our gracious hostess. Thanks Patty for encouraging us to document what God is doing.

I have a couple of things to share and they may or not come together and that is okay. :)

Last Sunday morning when we left Jacksonville to head home, we drove in a little rain. Once we got out of the city, on that LONG stretch of nothing..the rain stopped and I noticed a rainbow. I grabbed the camera and took a picture. A rainbow never ceases to amaze me, and for me they always come at just the right time. (Thank you Lord for your promises.)

I'm doing the "Living Beyond Yourself" study right now. HELLO what a word. God is already speaking some major things to me. He has used several of you to reinforce some of the scripture and themes that are really standing out to me. THAT is Him speaking to me and it always gives me holy chills. (I can hardly wait to get my hands on Esther! I wish I had put that on my Christmas list!)


Here is my biggie for the week.

You may, or may not, know that my husband has Crohn's disease. (It's a tummy thing.) Chad was diagnosed in January only 8 months after we were married.

In that first 8 months he went from a healthy 155 pounds to about 117 pounds. Yes, you read that last number correctly. He weighed just 7 pounds more than I did. He was very sick during the early years of our marriage and at one point 117 pounds looked heavy...at his sickest he was around 110. Not only was he very thin, he was pale. He was constantly loosing blood. It was not good.

As bad as it was and as sick he looked, I don't remember dwelling on that during that time. God gave us what we needed each day. I can say that with confidence. He was the air we breathed.

I did go through days where I fought fear big time. There are two nights that to this day, stand out in my mind. They are so VIVD. I can give you specific details of our apartment at that time, down to which sheets were on the bed. I'm so weird!

Like I said, I was fighting fear. Chad was very sick and had spent the better part of 3 days in bed. He had had nothing solid to eat in days. I tried Ensure, soup, milkshakes, jello..nothing stayed in. At this point, none of his clothes fit and I was scared. He had been to the doctor, meds had been adjusted and he was to come home and just rest.

We went to bed each of those nights and I read, trying my best to keep everything the same. I did NOT want him to see that I was afraid. I would pray "God please" and then I would just say the name of Jesus over and over. I was exhausted. Chad would sleep and I would force myself to stay awake to watch him breath. I honestly thought that if I went to sleep, I would wake up a widow.

Through several divine, and I mean that literally, divine interventions, Chad's employer changed insurance carriers. NONE of the Doctors he had been seeing were now part of the "the plan". We were a little aggravated, but honestly at that point Chad was 110 pounds and was passing out frequently.

I will never blame his health on the Doctor that diagnosed him, but Chad did not receive the care he should have received during that first year. We were not "old enough to know better" and just took this man's word that he did not need to come in and that calling in another prescription would do the trick. Obviously it didn't and God stepped in. (Probably why Chad tells people that your Doctor works for you. If you are not getting your questions answered or you feel like a number..find a new Doctor.)

Like I said, he had to find ALL new Doctors. God sent him to just the right combo and let me tell you...he went in for a physical and his new family Dr. put him in a wheelchair and had her nurse push him across the street to Erlanger hospital.

I will never forget that phone call. I was in the office when the nurse called to tell me that he was very sick and they were admitting him. I went numb and remember her saying something about staying put until she could call me with a room number.

Here we were. ONE YEAR TO THE DAY from his diagnosis and his first 10 stay in the hospital. The new group of doctors kept him in for another 10 days. (Once again in January.) They ran all the fun scopes, gave him an unbelievable amount of blood pumped him full of fluids and within the first two days, my husband began to get some color back and he actually started to look like Chad.

It was 2 years before he would have the surgery and IV treatment that would be the turning point on his journey with this disease. That came when Chloe was about 5 months old yes, in January. (We start holding our breath after Christmas!!! January has a history with us!)

At times, Chad's Crohn's has felt like a marathon. A marathon that will not end. Today, he is healthy and has spent the last year trying to eat healthier and actually DROP a few pounds! He has been working so hard and this weekend, it's going to pay off.

On Saturday morning, he will run his first 1/2 marathon. 13.1 miles this man will willingly run. (my body hurts just thinking about it)

I have been emotional about it all week. Thinking about how much he has seen and been through in his life. To see him finish this race will be incredible. If you had told me 14 years ago that I would get up at 4:30 in the morning to go and watch Chadwick run....I would not have believed you because honestly, 14 years ago I wasn't sure my husband would still be here.

Today, I'm thankful.

Chad is healthier than he's been his whole life. God continues to give him opportunities to minister to and encourage others going through Crohn's or other tummy problems. Yes he has bad days, but the good days far out number the bad ones.

I'm thankful for the way God has provided a year's worth of medicine. (The most expensive of his meds at that!)

I'm thankful that Chad has the desire to run and more importantly the physical ability to do so.

Chad I am so proud of you. This race is nothing but a picture of God's mercy, His grace His faithfulness and His power to heal. I love you...


That rainbow we saw last week was a visual reminder of the faithfullness of our God...Saturday morning I'll watch another reminder of God's promises as he crosses a finish line. I can hardly wait to share some photos with you.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Some thoughts on Blesses

This is part of my study on the attribute of God: Blesses, for Freedom's Call. Give me your thoughts? I really struggled putting this particular one together! Don't know why, it should have been an easy one!

BLESSES

Key Verse Genesis 32:26
Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak. But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go until you BLESS ME.” (emphasis mine)

“Bless” is a word that is used often. I say “bless your heart” or “what a blessing!” almost daily to someone. It’s a common word in our church or Christian vocabulary. As many verses that include this word, this should be an easy attribute for me to talk about right? Wrong. For me, this has been a hard word to put words to.

Bless (Blessed or Blest, Blessing, Blesses)

• to make holy by religious rite; sanctify
• to make the sign of the cross over so as to sanctify
• to invoke divine favor upon
• to honor as holy; glorify: “Bless the Lord”
• to confer well-being or prosperity on.
• To endow, as with talent

As I look at those definitions, my mind goes in no fewer than 100 directions! I could take anyone of them talk for days! That could part of the reason I struggled!

I found myself drawn to the verse above. I love that Jacob says I will NOT let you go until you bless me! He was desperate for a blessing, but we know that Jacob had once before desperately sought a blessing.

Jacob and his twin brother Esau were born to Isaac and Rebekah. I was reminded that Isaac was the promised blessing to Abraham and Sara. He was a miracle baby!

Isaac and Rebekah also had trouble having a baby and Isaac took that heartfelt request before God. God heard him. I have to wonder if Isaac reminded God of the promise He had made to his father Abraham. Remember?

Genesis 22:15-18 “The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

God heard Isaac and gave him twin boys, Jacob and Esau. Since Esau was older, by mere minutes, he would receive the birthright. We know that Jacob convinced his brother to sell him his birthright. (For a pot of stew!) If that wasn’t enough, Rebekah and Jacob went on to lie, and trick Isaac into speaking the blessing over Jacob!

Jacob got his father’s blessing, but as a result he gained an enemy, his brother. I felt sorry for Esau as he pleaded with Isaac in Gen. 27: 38.

“Do you have only one blessing? Bless me too, my father!”

I have to wonder how Jacob felt about his actions. Sure, he had the birthright, but he had taken the BLESSING too. He had cheated Esau out of the precious words meant only for him. I wonder how that made Jacob feel, knowing that the words Isaac spoke over him were meant for Esau.

When Jacob is left alone and the “man” as Gen. 32:24 calls God, wrestles with him and eventually injures Jacob hip, Jacob was desperate. He refused to let go and fought for his life. He was desperate for a blessing. A blessing MEANT FOR HIM and no one else.

He got it too. God changed his name to Israel. In essence gave him a new identity.

I wonder how often we miss our blessing (read that as the divine favor) God has for us because we are too busy trying to mooch off of other believers? God wants to bless YOU. He has blessings just waiting for YOU. Things you can’t even begin to imagine!

For too long, I was satisfied hearing about other people’s blessings. How God provided a need. How he healed, restored, you name it. YES! It excited me, but 8 years ago it wasn’t enough to hear their stories anymore.

I was sick and tired of feeling left out. I guess you could say that I was kind of like Jacob and I began to have an insatiable desire for His Word to speak blessing over me. Not my parent’s blessing. Not my pastor’s blessing. Not my Bible study teacher’s blessing. My blessing. The desire to hear Him, feel Him, experience Him was almost overwhelming.

I wanted Him to bless me. I mentally wrapped my arms around His waist and refused to let go until He had blessed me. His blessing of joy, peace, contentment, love…those are things that He began to speak over me and I have never been the same. Yes, we have seen tangible blessings from our heavenly Father, but His unseen blessings have been far greater. The times when He speaks are so precious. He not only gives blessings, He IS blessing.

Monday, November 3, 2008

This is Where We Wound Up This Weekend

In Jacksonville to surprise ZuZu for her Birthday!!! (It was Saturday.) Notice the orange vest??? Guess who she loves...




After a great lunch at Jax Seafood Shack, which was incredible, we came home to assemble the rest of the girls costumes. They went as hobos. Personally, I thought they looked more like Huckleberry Finn..but they are hobos.











Like I said, we were there to celebrate Zuzu's day. Guess how we did that? We saw High School Musical 3 and we LOVED IT!!! (I think Granddaddy was tapping his foot at one point.) Anyway...Chloe was next to me and she and I both had tears in our eyes during one particular scene.

The girls spent most of their time at the house going between the pool (a VERY cool 71 degrees) and the "HOT POOL" as Emma calls it. It was much warmer.

We tried to enjoy the TN football game, but there just isn't much to enjoy about TN football this year.

We hit the road early Sunday morning. Our first stop was Dunkin' Donuts. Praise the Lord for Turbo coffee and munchkins. I had to take a picture of our dog Paddington. He is so attached to Chad and whimpers and whines when Chad gets out of the car OR orders something in a drive-thru.

Chad and Chloe had run into pick up our breakfast and this is how Paddington waited.




For 10 minutes this dog waited for Chad to come back out. He "sang" to us the entire time. I tried to video it, but I had too many pictures on my camera.

Oh and Jenny..Chad came out and said.." You know that bon qui qui at King Burger video you made me watch last week? Bon qui qui is alive and working in there!" Apparently her favorite line was "Anything else." Chad would say "Why yes..." this went on for five minutes as she asked this after each item...finally she through up her hand and said..."you're done. $17.22 please."

I was cracking up at him telling me this and then I tasted my turbo coffee...I hated to ask him to do this..but it NEEDED sugar and cream. He was thrilled to go back to ask for cream and sugar. When he walked in Bon qui qui said.."you again. what now."

We laughed at her all the way home.

Okay. So we are home and ready to start school this morning. I'm looking at that laundry pile and feeling a bit overwhelmed so I'm off to conquer that mountain!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hi!

We are alive and well after a very busy weekend.

I've been trying (read fighting) with blogger for about 30 minutes...for some reason posting photos is beyond what it wants to do tonight! (just ask jennyhope!) Anyway....

I'm very distracted and have something a little heavier on my mind..so I'm calling it quits for tonight and I'll try again in the morning....

Oh, and if you want to send up a prayer that I will have an extra dose of wisdom and discernment, I would greatly appreciate it. ;)

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Quick Verse

I have had this particular verse on my mind all week, and in typical God fashion, He had our Mama Siesta mention it at the beginning of my Bible study yesterday. Here it is....

Deut. 30:11

"This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform." (NLT)

Whatever it is that God has called you to...wife, mother, teacher, student, friend, manager...you can do it. He has given you all you need.

We're off for a busy weekend!

See you Sunday evening!

And yes, the timestamp is correct...we are running out the door as I type this!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Is Somewhat Random

Hi. I feel like I've been absent from class for a week!

Things around here are busy and I haven't had as much "free time" (ha, ha, ha) to post OR check on my siestas. I MISS YOU!

There are quite a few things that have happened recently that I want to share, but they deserve a good post, and right now...I'm not sure I can concentrate long enough to do them justice.

The girls and I are working hard to get all our schoolwork done so we can have a "fun" day on Friday. We'll probably do a Fall Party of our own and finish up their costumes. Chloe has decided to go as a "wacky, tacky confused girl", (?) and Emma...Emma wants to be a black cat. Not too hard...I've just got to find her some cat ears. :)


Yesterday in our Latin lesson, we were talking about the difference in visible verbs(run, walk, talk) and invisible verbs. (Like, hope, faith...love.) We had a pretty good discussion about feeling versus seeing, how love could be a visible verb and how important it is to SHOW love to others.

This morning, our family devotion was on: Choosing to show love when you really don't feel like it. (It was very timely as one of us at the table needed to be shown grace AND love this morning after a seriously sassy mouth and attitude. Note to self...don't make breakfast for that daughter..let her do it herself from now on!)
****Edited to add: That particular daughter likes to do it herself! I tried to do something nice and have her oatmeal waiting on her. THAT was NOT what she wanted at all!*****

After I got Chad out the door and the girls upstairs for morning chores before school, I sat down at my desk to check e-mail and just generally check in with the blogworld. When I flipped my calender to today's quote it was this:

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." Helen Keller

I think some of the most beautiful things in the world are: Love, Hope, Grace, Faith, Peace. None of which I see with my eyes, but boy I feel them.

Isn't it beautiful how God weaves things together?

Have a great Wednesday!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Morning 5K at Flowery Branch

We spent a couple of hours outside in the cold this morning watching Chad and Chloe run in the Boo Run 5K up in Flowery Branch.

While this was Chad's second year to run in this race, it was Chloe's first race...EVER.

Here's the man crossing the finish line last year....

From Happy Fall!


Chad told Chloe the goal was to finish.

Chloe told Chad the goal was to beat his time from last year.

She did great and they DID beat his time from last year. (and Chloe finished 3rd in her age group!)

I can't figure out how to add the song I wanted to play with this! I've got to figure that out...anyway...the song is by a group called "This Hope" and the song is "Running the Race"....Chad runs to that song almost everyday...



Emma hasn't felt great today, but she wasn't about to miss her big sister's running debut. I think she was glad to get home, put on her jammies and watch football. I'll enjoy snuggling with her until it's time to make dinner. :)


I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This word was getting on my nerves

Awesome.

Lately, this word has been on my last nerve. I'm sick of hearing it, I'm sick of saying it! Why is this bugging me so much. It didn't help that as part of our names of God study I was assigned to share my thoughts on it for the month of September. Um...needless to say, I struggled.

When I finally sat down to really think about this word, my initial thought was this is a word I use often. It’s a great adjective! It’s used in casual conversation almost daily in this house. This is a word that for the most part, evokes excitement.

Looking at the word awesome in print, I see a smaller word.

Awe.

Awe does not generate the same jump up and down get excited feeling that awesome does. Awe, to me is a quiet word. Awe is a quiet or almost wordless worship. When I stand, sit or kneel in awe of my God, I’m reminded just how incredible He is. It’s in the quiet that I’m most aware of the magnitude or go with me here, “awesomeness” of my God.

The word awesome has been used so much that for me, it has lost its effect on my heart. As a dear sister said at the conference I was at back in May, it’s time to stop flippantly throwing around this word and reclaim it for God Almighty! He IS awesome!

Exodus 15:11 says “Who among the gods is like you O Lord? Who is like you? Majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders!”

His handiwork is awesome.

His love is awesome.

His sacrifice for me was and is awesome.

Psalm 47:2 “How awesome is the Lord Most High!”

Psalm 45:4 “In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds.”

Psalm 65:5 “You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior.”

Over and over again the Psalms declare how awesome the works and deeds of our Savior’s hands are, and boy they are!! BUT…

God IS awesome.

Stand alone awesome.

May we come to a place where we seek His presence more than we seek the awesome work of His hands.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Family Stuff




My girls had their first ever camping experience last weekend. I did not participate because, well...I just don't enjoy sleeping on the ground, in the cold. Chad knows this about me and planned a daddy/daughter weekend. My dad joined them on Saturday for their adventure at Fall Creek Falls.







When I first looked at the photo above, I couldn't help but think of the verse that talks about training a child in the way they should go and the verses about God being our front and rear guards. My dad led the way over the swinging bridge and Chad brought up the rear, the girls were in the middle, protected the entire time. I asked the girls if they were scared. They said no because they just kept following Daddy Mack and they knew that Daddy was behind them and nothing would happen to them. No fear at all.



Snack time









Chad left me with my mom. We accomplished some Christmas shopping while the others were playing in the woods. We also enjoyed lunch at Aubelo's, I do love that place.
After lunch we visited a new to me store called World Market. Um...can I just say that in my mind I spent about $1000 on organizational stuff...jars, canisters, baskets... and then I saw these glasses with bees on them. I just about had a fit. They were so pretty. (It's almost time to replace dishes and glassware around here and I'm in love with these honeybee glasses.)

So after leaving World Market, we headed to a little place I HAVE to go to when we are in town. (If you are from Chattanooga, it's on East Brainerd Road and is called Genevieve Bond.) I could spend some serious money in there. They have everything from kitchen goodies to baby blankets. It is beautiful and a one of a kind place. I FINALLY found a bottle to hold my olive oil(70 percent off!!) and mom bought some really cool measuring spoons. They have started putting out some Christmas items and I will be heading back there in a few weeks to see what they've added. This is one of those stores that NEVER disappoints.

Making smores on the back porch before the campout.



Being silly with the man.


Seriously, thanks to those of you who e-mailed me last week while I was sick. I feel so much better this week and think that whatever I had has FINALLY decided to leave me alone. Your prayers were felt and I'm so thankful for you.

I've missed checking in with your blogs and hope to get back into blogville soon. I did see Fran's video blog and LOVED it! My girls got a glimpse of it and asked if we could do one for my blog. Who knows...we may just attempt one too. :)

Have a wonderful Monday afternoon!!!