Thursday, February 28, 2008

Happy anniversary G & Z

Before you watch this, YES we know how southern we sound.

It takes skill to blow kisses on beat. In fact, in some parts of the south that would be found worthy enough to be included in the talent portion of the local beauty pageant!!

Granddaddy & Zuzu,

Happy 10th anniversary. Hope you eat someplace fabulous tonight! Have a big old piece of cake for us!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Well Work

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

In October of 1997 when God woke me up (spiritually and physically!!) I began to crave His word like never before. I could not get enough of it. Those quick little non-convicting, sugar coated devotionals just weren't enough. Oddly enough, as I took those steps to go a little deeper, I found that I was VERY uncomfortable when I spent time in the Word and I was even more uncomfortable when I heard the Christians around me talk about their walk and journey with the Lord. I didn't tell anyone what I was feeling, I was afraid they would think less of me, judge me. After all, I was a pastor's daughter, I knew ALL the right answers. Right??? My head knew all the right answers and yes, my heart knew the right answers.

I picture my spiritual heart like a well in the core of my being. During that two year time, I depleted that well. For 22 years, my well had been filled on a regular basis, but for two years, I just used what I had in reserve. I was filling it up all right, but it wasn't replenished with the Living water, the Word ~ Jesus. It was filled with all sorts of hurt, bitterness, anger, get the idea. A whole lot of unholy junk. I woke up in the middle of a Water crisis! A drought, better yet, the desert!

God placed us in a church where carnal Christianity wasn't tolerated. No sugar coating here. Do you know how uncomfortable I was? Some Sundays I felt like I needed to go home and shine my shoes because that Pastor had just stepped all over my toes. At first, I had these thoughts during his sermons, "What about the love, or the Bible says not to judge....." Boy, was I wrong. He was saying exactly what God told Him to say, I just didn't want to hear it.

One Sunday He was quite frank about the big "S" word. S.I.N. and our need for daily confession of sin. I sat up a little straighter as God began to peel layer after layer off of my heart to show me why I was so uncomfortable. I was under conviction. Plain and simple, I was running from in depth Bible Study, small group fellowship, and prayer because I was under conviction.

My well was full of unconfessed sin. Somewhere I knew that I had to empty it out and ask God to fill and consume every crevice of my well. I did what my mentor told me to do. I waited until Chad went out of town again, then I grabbed a legal pad, a pen and my Bible. I read Psalm 139, several passages out of Proverbs and then I prayed. "God I want to feel forgiven. I want to be clean before you. Show me what I need to confess." Honestly, I thought I might have one or two things three at the most. Ha! Ha! Ha!

A couple of pages later literally, the thoughts stopped. I sat there for a few minutes overwhelmed. Then I heard Him say, "I want you to speak it". I was to go down that list and say OUT LOUD "Please forgive me for......." Hellooooooo!! It felt a little awkward at first and then I got it. As I spoke these things out loud, the power they had over my life seemed to fade. It was as if I could feel the Lord pumping that junk out of my well.

It was one of the most intimate and sacred times of my life. Our God is so powerful. After that my prayer life became more like a conversation with God, not just me asking for the things I wanted. It's amazing what listening will do for a relationship. He still had a LOT of heart work to do, and until I get to glory, He'll be working on me. I am completely okay with that. His work, His ways, His plan is so much better than the carnal activity I had filled my well with.

(And by the was roughly 2 weeks after this point in my life that I found out I was pregnant.....this time though, God gave us Chloe....)

Whether you intend to or not, you ARE filling your spiritual well, even now. The question is what are you filling it with. Can I encourage you to ask God to show you if there unconfessed sin in your life? I promise, the freedom that comes after confession is so much better than the "freedom" you think you have right now.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Girls are Home

It's Sunday morning. I have little voice and a fever so Emma is home taking care of me. :) Chad and Chloe have gone to church for worship. I hate to be sick and I HATE to miss Sunday morning worship. There is such an anointing on our pastor and worship service that I don't want to miss it. But, here I sit. The Lord and I had a sweet time together earlier this morning and I just have to wonder if He allowed this sickness just for that reason. So I'm thankful. Thankful for the time that He spoke to my heart and showed me some cool things about Himself.

We (Chad, our toy poodle Paddington and I) are so glad to have Chloe and Emma home. Don't get me wrong, we really enjoyed our week of rest and quiet, but this mommy is glad to have everyone back in their own bed!

My parents stayed a couple of nights and at dad's request, we shopped. My dad loves to shop. Car shop, fabric shop, the man likes to see what's out there! So, Friday we hit the mall to check out all things Spring.

Mom and I had one request. Williams~Sonoma. It really didn't take much to convince the girls. They love this store more than we do, and Emma had decided she needed purple sprinkles from there. NOT the regular grocery store because "they aren't a very good quality". Where she gets this stuff I do not know. She paid $4 for purple sprinkles, oh excuse me, they are officially called lavender sanding sugar. I stand corrected, by a six, almost seven year old.

As we left the mall, in the rain praise the Lord, my dad ran ahead to unlock the car. I saw him stop a few steps before the car and slowly turn around to look at us. Someone had hit his car. The damage wasn't too bad, and probably won't cost a terrible amount to fix, but it was still frustrating. I figured that this would put a damper on the whole visit, but it didn't. Dad was aggravated, but his calm demeanor was such a picture of Christ. He didn't get huffy, or yell, or slam doors. He just said, we'll deal with it. Proof that when you spend time with the Lord, His character rubs off on you. He changes your actions AND your reactions.

I think that is part of the reason I do not like to miss weekly fellowship and worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. God gives us the command to gather for a reason! There was a season in our life where Chad and I were not actively involved in one church. For about 2 years, I seemed to be the "fill in" girl around Chattanooga. I served for various reasons like maternity leave, surgery, just plain old burn out.. you name it. I loved doing that, but it became very easy on the weeks when I wasn't playing to just sleep in and enjoy a lazy morning. We were saved and nothing could change that, but we were not living a fruitful Christian life. We were simply hanging on to what God had done in the past. Riding the wave of the past.

During this two year time period Chad and I suffered serious health crisis. He was very sick. There were several nights that I questioned God's hand in this, but two nights I vividly remember staying awake to watch him breath. I honestly thought this man that I loved more than anything (yes, at that time more than God and GOD quickly showed me that I had made Chad an idol) wasn't going to make it through the night.

We also went through the pain of losing babies to miscarriage. That was a hard pill to swallow. It seemed everyone around me was pregnant, and here I was. I couldn't stay pregnant if my life depended on it.

This went on for two years. For two years, I simply read a quick little devotion in the morning before I left for work. Nothing too challenging I was trying to avoid feeling convicted. For two years, I prayed quickly for my family, for Chad's health, for whatever "crisis" was in our life at the time. You see I was doing going through the motions, but nothing else. And then it happened.

I woke up one morning and realized I had not heard God speak to me in a long time. There was something missing. I was miserable and that morning, God showed me why.
There was no growth. I knew nothing more about God that morning than I had known two years ago. I couldn't tell you what God was teaching me because I had turned my head and not looked at Him for two years. It was October of 1997.

I remember that Chad was out of town and I was alone and it was early. I had about two hours before I needed to leave for work. I showered, dressed and grabbed my Bible, just like every other morning. BUT this morning, this morning would be different. I sat with my Dr. Pepper in an over sized chair and prayed. I confessed that I had been wrong, that I had allowed other things to capture my affection and that I needed to turn around and just start over. I was tired of riding the wave of the past and wanted a fresh start.

I opened the Word and this is what I read. "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it". (I kind of smiled, kind of said so, am I old??? At this point I was about 23) Here's what God said to me.

My parents trained us to first be actively in love with the Lord. A relationship with God is more than a trip down the aisle and a quick prayer asking Him to forgive and save you. It's an on-going relationship just like a marriage. You just don't quit because it's uncomfortable at times. Second, they taught us that when you are in love with the Lord, you can't help but do the things He tells you to do. One of those things is to grow!! He didn't save you for you to stay in the same place spiritually!!! There is so much more!

That morning, I KNEW that the conviction I was feeling, was from the Holy Spirit. It was my precious Savior wooing me back to Him. I left for work a new woman with a load lifted. It was awesome.

God also gave me this verse during this time as a promise that He did have good plans for me. Hosea 2:14-15 " Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt."

In other words. God told me that after a time of correction and growth, He would restore me to a fruitful Christian. He would take that time of rebellion, hurt, and confusion and allow me to look back on it and see that there was HOPE in the midst of it. And then that last part....He told me that one day, He would allow me to sing/play again, but this time, I would do it appreciating and realizing just what it took to make me free.

Are you free? Do you still hang on to your parents Christianity? Can you sing that song "I love you more today than yesterday" and think of God? Oh sweet friend, I wish I could cup your face in my hands and look you eyeball to eyeball and say, don't settle for casual, second hand religion anymore! Your Savior has so much better for you!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

thanks Kelli!!!!

Kelli at Ponderings of a Pastor's Wife has passed this on to me. Thank you Kelli, it means so much to me. Having grown up in the glass house of a pastor's family, I so appreciate your authenticity and your passion for our Savior. It's not always easy to make the choice to be "real" but you do, and we are blessed by your obedience.

My purpose for blogging is simple. It's for my daughters, my nieces, my nephews, my grandchildren...I want them to be able to go through my "journals" and see what our life was like. To see that this thing called life is filled with ups and downs, twists and turns quite frankly, it's a wild ride. I want them to be able to look at our life and see obedience.

Plain and simple, we want them to look at our life and see the effect of allowing God to drive.

Chad and I never want our children or grandchildren to have some far fetched idea that we will always have an answer for them. OR, that we had life figured out early and that we never made mistakes. That would be a lie and not do them a bit of good!!!

As I think about who to pass this on to I immediately think Darla, and BethAnne. Girls, I am so encouraged by you and your friendship. Your love of our God excites me and I'm a better person for taking this journey with you.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Going Home

Today, there seems to be a theme going on in this house. I woke up with this thought, "The girls come home tonight!" While, we've really enjoyed our week without the little ones, this mommy is very ready to have everyone sleeping in their own beds and under one roof! I'm a little homesick to see them. I knew that I needed to keep myself busy this morning, or I was going to go crazy!!! So I cleaned. Trying to distract myself.

While I was dusting, I heard the introduction to a song. Within the first two measures, I was immediately transported back to junior high. I could see myself in front of my mirror, hairbrush in hand, (because I no longer had my Donny and Marie microphone. Mom had tossed that thing out years before) singing my heart out to Amy Grant's "In a Little While". Do you remember it? I would rewind that cassette tape over and over to sing that song. (After two or three times, I would switch out to my “Glory of Love” cassette single. This was usually after my check a box boyfriend and I had decided to go our separate ways. Good times I tell you. Good times.)

Today I sang along, but those words meant more. While I laughed out loud at the thought of my middle school sing-a-long, I got a little emotional thinking about what it will be like when we see Jesus. Not three songs later, was Chris Daughtry's "Home". I can't remember the exact title, but you know the one. I just LOVE that song. So cool that God continued the theme.

While I was waiting for the floors to dry, I sat down to read a few blogs. I clicked over to Angela . She has my all time favorite C.S. Lewis quote on her post today. Click on her name to see it. I LOVE this quote because it reminds me that while this life may be good, we will not really LIVE until we are with Jesus. We were made for another world.

Let me say this. The Word tells us that Jesus came so we could have an abundant life here and now. (There’s another song title, and that is one I’ve played at one too many weddings… sweet mercy I’m old!) Life with Him is a wild ride! I can't imagine it without Him. He makes life worth living, worth working for doesn't He?! And HE IS FUN!!!! BUT, as a believer, I find that I am longing and looking forward to the day that I look into His face. I guess it's kind of like being homesick...

There is a burning in the deepest part of my being that just will not be satisfied until I am with Him. I wonder if HE feels that way about you and me? I wonder if He looks over at God and says, “Dad, can I go pick them up yet?” I’m thinking yes! I’m thinking that He is ready for us to be with Him more than we can imagine.

Today, I made the girls favorite snacks and dessert to share tonight. I’m headed upstairs now to straighten their rooms and leave a little surprise on their pillows to welcome them home. I’ve done everything within my power to make their homecoming special. While I know they LOVED their time with Grams and Daddy Mack, I know that they are ready to be home. (And Grams and Daddy Mack are probably ready to bring them home!)

Jesus is already “Home”, working hard to get everything ready for your homecoming. Maybe He’s painting your room, or having heavenly chefs whip up your favorite dessert. You know what else, He knows just how you take your coffee or your tea. He does! That is how much He cares about you. He’s eagerly anticipating YOUR arrival.

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14: 2-3

He really is coming, and I can not wait to see Him…..

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My One Thing

It's early here. Around 6:15 a.m. Yes you read that correctly. I woke up super early (4:00 to be exact) and I could tell there was no going back to sleep. God does this from time to time. I've learned that whatever it is He has planned, is much better than sleep.

This morning struck me as odd. The girls are on winter break at Gram's and Daddy Mack's house, so it's Chad, me and Paddington. Very quiet during the day, so why in the world does He have me up so early? I made my way into the family room, turned on a lamp and found myself in the kitchen making a pot of coffee for me and getting Chad's morning tea ready. (He’s in meetings downtown all week, so he’s leaving extra early and needs his tea!)

I grabbed my Bible study and curled up on the couch, spent some time praying and then proceeded to listen. After a time, I started my study. I asked God this morning if I was to share my "one thing" from last weekend, and He confirmed that yes I was to share that this morning.

I told you that Jill asked us to ask the Lord what one thing is God asking for, from us right now. My one thing was simply to seek only His approval. Holy Approval.

Seems that lately, I've been in several situations where I've had to make a quick decision as to whether I will be a pleaser of man, or a pleaser of God. In theory, it's easy to say that I'm going to be a pleaser of God. In real life though, it can be hard. Especially when you are seeking to please Him and others just don't get it.

With every fiber of my being, I want to please God. I want Him to smile when He thinks of me. I want to walk in obedience, even when it isn't popular. There is no question who my First Love is. He is it for me; I can honestly say that I don't want to take a breath without Him.

But like you, I'm human. I need to hear "good job"! It makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing! What God is showing me right now is that what He asks of me isn't going to always get a human "good job". Because not every human will understand. And you sweet blogging siesta's get this because you know that when we take a stand and write/speak truth, there is always someone who just doesn't understand. For me, there have been times when I've allowed the one person who doesn't understand or disagrees, with something I've written to consume my thoughts.

Anytime I write here, I pray before I start, I pray during and I pray before I hit publish. There have been SEVERAL times that God has changed, deleted, or postponed a post. He's my chief editor, and a blast to write for! His approval is all the approval I need. He's driving that point into my heart right now in every area of my life.

One thing He has impressed on me this week in relation is this: "I simply want you to obey. I'm big enough to handle the consequences of your obedience."

Monday, February 18, 2008

What a Weekend

Where do I start? My time away last weekend was so powerful. From the moment we hit the interstate, God was moving. He used every conversation, every giggle, and every tear to knit our hearts together. Once we arrived at our destination and the 5th member joined us, sweet mercy, God sat down and we were like sponges soaking up the living water. It was 18 hours of intense Bible study, prayer and fellowship. I’m still processing everything.

I was with the other members of “Freedom’s Call” and we were studying and planning for one of the conferences. We discussed everything from music, to drama to breakout sessions. Can I just tell you that these women are the real deal! We all have the same burning desire for women to walk in freedom, daily freedom. It’s amazing to me that 5 women, in 5 different stages of life, can come together in such unity. It is nothing but a testimony to what God can do when we get out of the way and allow Him to pull all those loose pieces together.

Over the last couple of weeks, our Bible teacher and ministry director asked us to ask the Lord one question. She didn’t want us to just throw out a quick answer, she wanted us to really seek the Lord in this and then bring the answer to the question with us.

The question was “What one thing is God asking for, from you right now.” As I began to pray and meditate on this one, I kept hearing the same thing. Every devotion I read referenced this concept. Every time I turned on the radio or listened to a Christian speaker, you guessed it ----same concept. Since I know that God speaks in themes to me, I had my answer, and He gave it to me with enough time to let it really sink in. I wrote down my “one thing” added a few thoughts on it and continued to be amazed at how God was using so many different avenues to speak to me on this issue. Some were Christian avenues, some were not.

Saturday morning our teacher asked us to share our “one thing” and it was so incredible. Each one of us shared and honestly, our jaws hit the floor. While all of our “one things” were worded differently, they were the same concept. I am not kidding. We just looked at one another and shook our heads. It was so like God to do this.

I just love these ladies so much. As one of them said to me Sunday evening, it’s so nice to know that I have four women who are really lifting me up and not just giving lip service to the word prayer! And I feel the same way. I know without a shadow of doubt that these girls have got my back.

I sure wish I had remembered to take my camera out of my luggage!!! Honestly, we were so focused on the I AM, that we just didn’t really think about anything else, and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. To quote Beth Moore “There ain’t no high like the Most High!” Thanks be to God for an incredible weekend.

Here is a photo we had done back in October.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Off to the hills.....

I'm headed out of town. I'll be joining 4 other very special ladies and we will be "unplugging" for 24 hours. In that time, we will be seeking the Lord in some very specific areas. Please pray that nothing will keep us from hearing and obeying what He tells us to do. I'm looking forward to the day when I can share more with you.

I sure hope you've checked out the Compassion bloggers.(see sidebar) My heart has been so touched by their stories, and I look forward to the day our family sponsors a sweet little one.

I hope you have a great weekend!

does anyone know why blogger's spell check isn't working?!?!?!?! it's driving me nuts....

Thursday, February 14, 2008

For Chloe and Emma

****UPDATE****** The mister in this story has decided to leave his take on our first date in the comment section. DISCLAIMER: THE PARAGRAPH ABOUT THE BUTTER DID NOT HAPPEN. I REPEAT, THAT DID NOT HAPPEN. Carry on....

Dear Chloe and Emma,

Today is Valentine ’s Day 2008. While our family has never gone overboard on this day with gifts, it holds a very special meaning to daddy and I, it is the anniversary of our first date.

I was a junior in high school and daddy was away at college. The December before this special day, the very “serious” relationship I was in ended. Well, as serious as you can be as a junior in high school! But this guy was a “trust fund baby” and he was totally content to sit and watch me practice piano. What else could a girl need? Had he not broke my heart, I would be living on Lookout Mountain giving the housekeepers directions. I’m halfway kidding here. He was not who God had for me and I’m glad things worked out the way they did.

Anyway…he and daddy were friends. They were both crazy, adventurous and always right on the verge of getting into some major trouble. They were pranksters that pulled some pretty funny stunts. One day when you are much much older, we’ll share some of them with you. (In fact, my small group leader used to tell the two of them they could date anyone in our youth group, but they needed to leave me alone. She loved me. That was one wise woman.) Daddy knew the breakup was coming long before I did, and since he was away at school he started a little letter writing campaign. (I LOVE handwritten notes, so he captured my attention quickly)

All through January we exchanged letters and phone calls. I appreciated his “concern” and a friendship began to develop. So naturally, when I began to be “asked out” by my best friend’s brother I asked him his opinion.

I asked daddy if I should I go to dinner with this other guy, or say no because I didn’t want to complicate things with my best girlfriend if it went bad. THAT was one quiet conversation…. Ya’ll I was born blond in all aspects of the word. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t realize that daddy was trying to court me. I had no idea. This was 2 weekends before Valentines.

Like I said, daddy was quiet for a few minutes and then asked what I wanted to do. I told him I thought this guy was nice, but he had really bad teeth and I just couldn’t stand to look at him when he spoke.( I know, I know, man looks on the outer appearance, and God looks on the heart., but DANG that boy had some bad teeth. Anytime I was with him I just wanted to give him the name of my orthodontist.) I’m surprised that didn’t scare daddy off, but he laughed out loud, that made me mad. Here I was, being SOOOO transparent, and he laughed out loud. It ticked me off. And then I got tickled at him laughing at me and I was over it. Plus, he is so darn cute, I can’t stay mad at him for long.

So I agreed to go out with this other boy the weekend before Valentine’s. There was NO way I was going to go out with this guy on the “Day of LOVE”. I didn’t tell daddy, after all, he was 3 hours away at Carson – Newman and we were friends and nothing more.

Let me tell you what that little stinker did. He drove home unannounced and called me Friday night and said. “Hey, I just happen to be home, do you want to go out for dinner Saturday night?”

Great. Just great… I stalled and said, “Let me switch phones, the battery on this one is dying.”

I ran into the kitchen to find my mom. My mom who KNEW that the closer it got to the big date with ole’snaggle tooth, the more I wanted to back out. Seriously, it still makes me shudder to think about it….

Our conversation was like this.
Me: Mom, Chad’s on the phone, he came home and wants to take me out.

Mom: You can’t go out tonight.

Me: I know, he wants to go out tomorrow night. (I’m smiling real big and tilting my head to the left trying to look so adorable.)

Mom: (trying not to burst out laughing which for my mom is hard work) Well, you already have a date for Saturday night don’t you.

Me: I know but, I’m beginning to think the age difference is just too much. (He was fixing to turn 20. I was 17, a young 17)

Mom: No. You’ve accepted this young man’s invitation to dinner and a movie, you will go. How do you think he would feel if you cancelled to go out with Chad?

Me: UGH!!!!! Do you know what he wants to go see? BEAUTY AND THE BEAST! Do you know that the BEAST has better teeth than this guy!!!! This is just more than I can emotionally take right now.

Mom: You can go out with Chad the next time he comes in.

(Stomping back to the phone whose battery was more than charged.)

I explained to daddy that I already had plans for Saturday night, but maybe we could go out the next time he came home. He said, “Well, I’ll be home next Friday afternoon for a Dr.’s appointment how about Pizza and a movie next Friday night.” I said I would love to.

I went back into the kitchen to face the music with my mom, who was laughing about the whole situation. Surprisingly, I wasn’t grounded or in trouble for my smart mouth. I would later learn that she figured the date with ole’ snaggle tooth would be enough punishment. And it was……but that is a story for another day. I gingerly broke the news that Chad would be home the next weekend and he asked me to go to dinner and a movie.(not Beauty and the Beast.)

She said, “Well, isn’t that sweet. You’ve got a date for Valentine’s!”

That was the LONGEST week ever. Friday finally came and we had a very …interesting first date.

We went to the movies. I will not say the name because my parents would ground me if they knew. Needless to say, we weren’t expecting it to be so, ummmm how should I say “romantic” in a not so pure kind of way. We were both VERY uncomfortable, and it didn’t help that one of our church deacons and his wife were sitting right behind us! We were all very embarrassed.

So after the movie we went for pizza. We talked each other’s ears off, finishing the others sentence and laughing … a lot. The pizza joint we ate at was a family owned place, really cozy and a great place to sit and talk. The owner’s daughter was home from med school and she was studying in the booth next to us. Right before we left, she got up to ring up an order. When she left her table, she failed to close her text book. Remember I said she was in med school? Let’s just say, there’s a reason I refused the mirror during childbirth…..

Daddy drove me home where Gram’s had a dessert buffet set up for us and Aunt Val’s and Uncle Matt’s friends. Everyone always wound up at our house. Daddy stayed until, well….I think he finally left a little after midnight.

From that point on, we spent almost every weekend together. Daddy started coming home from school more often. It wasn’t long until we both “knew” that we had found the person God intended for us to spend the rest of our life with.

There you go, you’ve asked for years about our first date. Now the trick is, to get daddy to tell us what he remembers from that time……

Happy Valentine ’s Day sweet girls. I love you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Time in the Closet

Last night, I told you I was headed to spend some time with Jesus. That's what I did. I spent some quiet time in the closet and this is what came of it.

When I made the choice to start this blog almost one year ago, I decided it would be a place to journal my thoughts, our family activities for the grandparents and aunts and uncles who live out of town, and to document for my daughters what God is doing in our lives.

It is intended to be an "Ebenezer" for them. A place of remembrance. I want them to be 20 years old, come back to this and say, "Hey! I remember when God taught us........."

Part of doing that means that sometimes, I document hard stuff. We all know that no family is perfect and ours sure isn't, I'm sure you can say the same! I do not want my girls growing up thinking that Chad and I believe we do no wrong, that we don't make bad decisions, or that we don't sin. We do. We are human. There have been and will be times when we as parents have to ask our girls for forgiveness, just like there have been and will be times they ask us for forgiveness.

What we do want our daughters to see is that we are crazy about our Jesus. We want them to experience Him in every day life. I was so blessed to have parents that taught by example that a true relationship with God takes work. Much like real life relationships, it takes communication (speaking and listening) honesty, and the willingness to admit when we mess up. The cool thing is, as many times as Jesus has heard me say, "I'm sorry, please forgive me." I've heard "You're forgiven and let's try again." He has never turned His holy back and said enough. Even in the times I've had to experience consequences for my actions (you know, spanked!) I've never felt unloved. That is the love of our Savior. That is the way I want to love.

Chad and I know first hand that our God is in the restoration business. Because HE restored us, as individuals and as a couple. We never pretend to have it all together because we don't. (People that do scare me!)

We've experienced healing. Physical healing and emotional healing. Chad had an incredible encounter with the Lord at John Eldridge's "boot camp" a couple of years ago. He came home a different man. A man on the road to being healed. A man who had encountered his Abba Daddy and been loved on like never before. It was incredible. (Send your man to boot camp if you ever get the chance... There is nothing se*ier to a wife than a man who is crazy about the Lord. Just speaking the truth.... ) And I've shared with you before the extreme measures God took to finally get my attention so He could do a work in my heart.

I say all this to say....when I journal here I completely understand and "get" that others read this. That is part of this community. It's for the most part, Christian sisters encouraging each other in our walk. BUT, I also understand that there may be times when my honesty about our journey may bother others. Some just don't understand being so honest, or out there with life and that is okay.

Honest is the only way I know to be. I wasn't raised to hold things in until the hurt becomes so dull you just assume it's part of everyday life. That my friend is pit dwelling and that is NOT what God intended. Soooo,

If you have ever been offended or hurt by something I've written and feel like you can't pick up the phone or e-mail to say just that, I'm sorry because that means that in some way, I have hurt you. I would not hurt a fly intentionally. If anything my flaw is that I want to see God restore the years that the enemy has stolen. He (God) can’t do that when we are content to tiptoe around the pit in the dark. That's what the enemy wants. That's what the enemy is counting on! He wants to keep things just the way they've always been. Believing that things can't change is believing the father of lies. Been there, done that and refuse to go there again.

So there, I've shared what I feel led to share from my time in the closet. If you get it, then it was for you. If you are scratching your head saying what in the world, then thanks for reading this far. I count you as a friend. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

ME? You've Got To Be Kidding..

Thank you Carol and Darla for this! It comes at a time when I feel about as useful as a slug! Ever had those days? Today was one of them for me.

I've beat myself up over a missed rhythm last night. (I filled in at the piano last night. I felt like I was in a fight to focus the entire time. I found myself just thinking "Jesus" the whole time.) Today was a long day. While the girls were great and worked extra hard in school, I once again could not focus. My quiet time was interrupted several times and I never got that concentrated prayer time this morning. My day has suffered because of that. Chad and I don't totally agree on a particular thing, and while I've submitted to his authority, I'm really fighting the flesh to try and change his mind. All of this comes at a time when I along with 5 other really special ladies are seeking the Lord's plan for us in a specific thing, a new thing...

Needless to say, I don't feel very worthy of this award right now! Carol and Darla, you have encouraged me so much and I count it an honor that you thought of me. Thank you...

I pass this along to...Kara at Mommy Dot Com. This girl loves Jesus and is just on fire for our Savior. Kara I hope you know how your servant heart inspires me! I love to hear what God is doing in the hearts of those precious ladies you serve each week. It is just powerful!

I don't know about anyone else, but I just need some alone time with my Jesus! That is where I'm headed right now.

See you Tuesday.....

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Friday Night Fun

Last night was our Family Fun Night. We are blessed to have a brand new bowling/arcade/laser tag sort of place in our little town and last night, we enjoyed three hours of bowling, pizza, and each other.

Can I just tell you that I can't bowl. No, really. I can't bowl. Here's proof.

This was our score after one of the games. Yes, my ankle biters beat me.......

And just check out her technique. Maybe I should switch to her "style"....

And this one, she follows through. I can't say anything, she broke 100, I didn't...

Wait for it......Wait for it........I wish you could have seen her tapping her foot.
That ball FINALLY made it down there and knocked down 6 pins. It was worth the wait.

Emma took this one. A pretty good photographer!

Notice I left out the backside shots of Chad and I. The girls REALLY got into taking those of us....

We had a lesson in walking what you talk too. We did the "boutique" bowling which was a blast. (Couches, nice lighting, lots of t.v.'s and on the opposite side of the alley) We were the first family to use that side last night and wound up having to switch lanes. ( I crashed their computer system with my incredible ability.) Anyway.... well into our second game, another family was assigned the lane right next to us. A very large group of people. There were about 8 of them. The way this area is set up, our "areas" are almost joined. They had a couch and table and we had a couch and table.

The Matriarch, I mean Grandmother, of the bunch immediately asked the server to make us move, that we were in their section. The server a young teenager handled her with grace and went on to explain that we were in the area assigned to our lane. The grandmother went on to ask her to move us out of their way so they could spread out. The server then explained to her that because of the computer issue, they could not assign us, or them for that matter, another lane. It was lovely.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart....." We just smiled and tried to be polite. The attitude didn't get any better from old grandma. We just scooted over and let them take over our couch and enjoyed the end of our second game. They thought we would be done, and we still had 45 minutes left, so they were stuck with us while we bowled a third. Oh...that was priceless.

That's when it happened. It became very clear to us by their t-shirts and conversation, they go to our church...

Lesson learned: Remember that you represent Jesus with every step you take. At home, the grocery store, school, the mall and the bowling alley. Don't let people be shocked when they find out you belong to Jesus.

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all for the glory of God.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Word Stuff

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that I love words. I posted a while back about words and the power they have. In fact, the verse "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing and acceptable to you oh God", has become a daily, and sometimes minute by minute prayer.

In fact, Sunday morning Carol (Sheep to the Right) walks into Sunday school with this cardboard tube. She hands it to me and says this is for you. It was a print of this verse. I had to laugh out loud. She didn't know that over the past few weeks, this is one verse I've been saying A LOT!!!!

Yesterday, Chloe and I had an incredible time watching Beth Moore teach on the Power of Words. (Emma was organizing her dresser drawers and wanted to be left alone!) We both got a lot out of this study and plan to dig in a little deeper on the topic.

Today, specifically this morning, we got a "hands" on lesson on the power of words, and the lack of words. We (the four of us in this household) have been dealing with an extended family relationship that do I say this...not healthy. The girls have been deeply hurt several times over the past few months, and this morning it all came to a boiling point. We spent quite a bit of time hugging, crying, and talking it out. At one point, I had both girls in my lap; they were quietly crying, heads on my shoulders and holding each others hands. It broke my heart.

In my mind, I could hear the words that Chloe and I listened to yesterday. 1 Peter 3:9 "Do not repay evil with evil, or insult with insult, but with BLESSING."

We prayed, "God, bless those that hurt us. Open up heaven and pour out blessing on them this weekend. Make them so aware of YOU that they can't stand it! Bless them Lord Jesus." I have to admit, it was hard to say to start with. BUT.....

It has become easier. Each time my anger, hurt, aggravation with this situation comes up, and I say "Lord, bless those that hurt me." You know what is happening? Well, you probably do and I'm just a slow learner! My heart is changing, I REALLY want God to bless them. I want Him to knock their socks off! And to top that off, I believe HE will!!

I'm praying Psalm 141:3 right now big time.

Lord please set a guard over my mouth. Keep a close watch on what I say. Help me to speak what you would have me to speak and no more. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing and acceptable to you my God and my redeemer, my restorer!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New Best Friends

Here are some quotes on "friends" that I found and love.

"A blessed thing it is for any man (or woman!) to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us and who loves us in spite of all our faults." Charles Kingsley

"Friends believe in your dreams as much as you do."

"Share each other's troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord's command." Galations 6:2

Last Saturday evening we enjoyed dinner at our friends Ron and Pam's home. We had the added pleasure of seeing some really dear friends who were down from Chattanooga for a visit. (The cute little 2 year old in these pictures, is their little girl.)

The above quotes fit our friendships perfectly.

Thanks Ron and Pam for a wonderful evening and more importantly, your friendship. We love you!!!

The Three little Siesta's

Guess Who's in Charge....


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Answers to your questions

This has been a fun post. I’ve enjoyed answering these questions. Thanks for playing along! So here we go…

Fran asked "What is your greatest struggle right now living out your faith in daily living with friends, family, your girls friends, parents, church, etc??"

The biggest struggle for me right now is just what my Pastor preached on Sunday morning, and that is extending grace. I’m a very passionate person and when people I love have been hurt, or a friend is mistreated, or I see fellow believers being “clicky” it makes me furious. God has taught me over the years that it isn’t always best to open my mouth and say something. I’ve learned the hard way that words can be a dangerous weapon. Right now, I’m dealing with a few situations that are really testing me in this area. While I want to make things right, or maybe better said, give them a piece of my mind…..God has not given me the “okay” to speak to these circumstances. So my greatest struggle is keeping my big mouth shut.

Mommy dot com wants to know “How often do you write new music?”

This one is hard to answer because I feel like I’m constantly writing. I’m always looking, listening, jotting down ideas and playing around with different melodies. BUT, I can’t just sit down and say “Now I will write a song.” It usually hits hard and fast and before I know it, God’s given me a new song. The last thing I wrote was in December. I’ve got something brewing, but so far it just hasn’t come together. I’m learning not to push it when I feel like this. If it is what God wants, then He’ll give it to me when He’s good and ready.

BethAnn asked “If you could be any Bible character besides Jesus or Mary, who would you be and why?

I think I would love to be John. I love that passage where He is resting against Jesus. And he was given that sneak peek into Heaven! Then there is that widow in 2 Kings 4. Remember she only had a little bit of oil, her dead husband’s debt and a creditor on his way to take her sons! She begged Elisha for help and he told her to gather as many pots as she could and start filling them up. You know what happened, she filled every pot and then some more! They were able to sell that oil and pay the debt. I would love to be able to step back in time and fill some pots!!!

Carol (my real life friend who will be in the May issue of P31 with her award winning “Jesus at McDonalds” devotion) wants to know what my perfect day would be like, from start to finish.

Well, I would wake up at the beach, walk to the Starbucks and grab a Grande White Chocolate Mocha with whip and a muffin. I would enjoy those goodies on the beach while I spent some uninterrupted time with the Lord. Then, my family and I would spend some serious time in the ocean. Of course, there would be a trusted babysitter to keep the girls while Chad and I enjoy dinner alone. I think it would end making smores around a fire pit. Give me chocolate and the beach and I’m set for eternity……

Leah asked and I quote this one word for word because it just blessed my heart.
“I’m going to ask the question that only another woman may ask…..How old are you? You look about 16 but I feel sure that you are at least 21. Lucky you!!!”

Well Leah, sweetheart when you see me in person you’ll take those words back!!! I am 33.

My sweet Darla wants to know how the hubs and I get time alone, and do we have a date night.

Right now we get very little time alone. The last “date” we had was over Christmas when we were in Chattanooga. My parents pretty much told us to leave the girls and go out. We went to see National Treasure and then I was treated to a Peppermint Mocha. We will get some alone time in the next week or so when the girls go to Gram’s and Daddy Mack’s house for a few days.

Thanks girls for playing along with this! It was a lot of fun.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A little of this and a little of that

I just re-read my post about my 90 year old grandmother and realized I never finished telling you about my Dad!

Like I said, Dad is teaching his church how to share their faith because they (church members) feel they have no idea how to talk about Jesus with anyone. Dad had tried and tried to explain to them just how exciting and powerful it was when you started seeing people come to the Lord, but unless you experience that you just can't "get" it. That was just a couple of Sunday's before his Mother decided she needed to know Jesus.

God has always known that on January 31, 2008 Hazel Katherine M. would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and HE knew that the church across the street from her home would need to see it to remember just how powerful He is. God placed this burden on my Dad's heart and then God gave him the perfect illustration! Isn't that cool! I think so...

On another note, I have a pretty cool thing brewing in my life right now. You have no idea how bad I want to share it with you, but at this time I can't. Can I ask you to pray that God would give wisdom and discernment to me? Its exciting stuff, but I don't want to take a step without Him. Been there and done that!

And last but not least....

I've seen a couple of Siesta's do this and I think it looks like fun, so I'm going to play the "ASK ME ANYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW" game. Leave your questions in the comment section and I'll do my best to answer them.

I pray you have an awesome Monday!