Thursday, July 31, 2008

Here's one more thing I want to remember

Do you ever have those times where God just seems to be speaking in themes all around you? Boy, oh boy, I never get tired of Him doing this! Each time is just as thrilling as the first.

Over the last few weeks I've been pretty honest that I have had a difficult time praising God, I think I even said that I felt like I was making the decision to "praise or pout" every minute of the day!

Throughout this time, I continued to read through the Psalms. Some days I felt really strong, others I didn't...but I kept reading.

During the toughest days of this "funk", I was preparing to lead Bible Study with Freedom's Call, I had to laugh...the week I was assigned to lead was on artists and their emotions, keeping a biblical perspective and keeping our emotions properly positioned. One thing the author says over and over is that artists should read something from the Psalms every day. Hmmmmmmmmm, there He is encouraging me to keep doing what I was doing.

THEN...our Siesta Momma Beth's current series on Life Today is guessed it "What to do when you don't know what to do", and you know what that is? PRAISE! She dove into a passage in 2 Chronicles that has just totally energized and encouraged me. (If you missed this, go to the Life Today website and I believe they have archives of past series you can watch on line.) It was so timely that the first week, I had to pause the teaching to compose myself. I was overwhelmed that God would allow this series to be airing just when I needed it!

This series is so rich in truth, but there was one quote that I can't stop thinking about and it is this:

We are going to most believe what we most rehearse.

So I'll ask you this morning the same thing God asked me.."What are you rehearsing? Is it praise?"

As hard as it is to open your mouth and let praise come sure does make a difference!

Psalm 8:2 says that "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise, because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger."

Making the choice to praise silences my enemy. Praising God causes Him to stand up, and when He stands up...that sly little enemy runs away scared.

Today, let's open our mouths and praise God and just see what happens. :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I just want to remember

I just want to remember what happened in Hobby Lobby today.

I was there alone which gave me the chance to take my time and go up and down each aisle. If I had some serious fun money, I could have redecorated each room in our house. There are some serious markdowns going on right now. Hobby Lobby is ministry to me. :) They have such beautiful things and I never fail to see the Word all over the place.

After drooling over iron crosses and peacock feathers...I made my way to check out. My one purchase was a package of invitations for Chloe's upcoming birthday party. This is where God surprised me.

There was one lady in front of me. She handed the cashier a coupon only to be told she couldn't use it on her purchases because everything she bought was on sale. She turned around and asked me if what I was purchasing was on sale. I told her no and she handed me her coupon. It was for 25% off my item.

I thought that was so cool. It may seem like a little thing, but God knows that I'm doing my best to keep every penny accounted for. Today He gave me a $5 pack of invitations for less than $3. Just one more way He is reminding me that He hears and cares about each part of our life.

One more thing, remember that "thing" that consumed my heart and mind over the last few weeks? Well...God took care of that too. I still don't have the okay to share details, but I can tell you that God came through. BIG TIME.

It's seeing Him in what we view as little things that build and strengthen my faith.

Monday, July 28, 2008


There are several things, people and circumstances in my personal life right now that this song ministers to. I couldn't wait until Saturday to share!

There is nothing too hard for my God. Nothing.

There is no illness He can't heal.

There is no addiction He can't break.

He can restore what is broken. Family, dreams, your heart...He can put the pieces back together.

Go on and let Him have his way with you...He's safe.

He tells us He is our Healer. I believe Him.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday afternoon ramblings.

It's Sunday afternoon and Chad is watching the final part of the Tour de France. There is 1.7 miles to go. (We recorded it while we were at church.) OH MY rider just lost his seat!!! I'm serious, there is a pole with NO SEAT. Oh I hope he realizes and doesn't sit down too fast!! YIKES...

This has been one wonderful weekend. Friday night we had a date night, sort of.
We got together with the other Freedom's Call team members and their husbands up on the lake. We took out one couple's boat and enjoyed a pre-dinner ride around Lake Lanier. Dinner was at Bullfrogs and was wonderful. After dinner, we found a nice little spot and swam, visited, and watched the sunset. Let me tell you...God put on a show for us. It was SO beautiful. As we headed back to the dock, I have to admit I was a little homesick for TN. I REALLY miss being able to sit on my deck or stand in my house and see the water and the mountains.

Saturday was awesome. We had a great sharing time and then took care of some business. I love these girls and can't wait to serve in a retreat setting with them.

Church this morning was incredible. Our music intern from Liberty led worship and it was awesome. I was so proud of him, he was obviously focused on God and if he was nervous it didn't show at all.

As Kelly was leading this morning, I thought of something our former worship pastor always said to me.."You need to be looking ahead, who is going to come behind you and take your spot...find that person and encourage them. Train them and do whatever it takes to equip them." He along with a couple of other music pastors did that with me and I'm so thankful they did. I saw that "live and in person" this morning as Kelly led, an older high school student played keyboards, another high school girl was playing just made my heart full to be led to the throne room by the next generation. And the throne room is where they took us.

My man and I were sitting together this morning (normally I'm in choir but we have July off) and for the first time I felt O.L.D. As Kelly played piano and sang a special during the offering Chad leans over and says..."This takes me back to SonPower, 1989 or 1990 in Orlando, Fl. David Meece was in concert. Kelly sort of sounds like David Meece to me." GOOD GRIEF. Was this kid even born in 1989? Thank you Chad for reminding me that I am not 21 anymore. :)

(SonPower was part of our youth choir mission trip that year. We spent the mornings learning new music with Denny Dawson and in Bible Study with Jay Strak (sp?) and the afternoons our choir was singing in prisons, hospitals and children's homes. In the evenings the SonPower organizers had a few incredible concerts for us...NewSong, David Meece, was a great week. We were in high school, both dating other people and getting on each other's nerves. In fact...this was the trip that Chad and my then boyfriend knocked on our hotel room door not long after we checked in. When I opened the door, their hands were on fire. It was the old spray your hand with hairspray and set it on fire trick...good times I tell you good time. I also came home from this trip and told my girlfriends, and I quote myself "The girl who marries Chad P. is crazy." I eat those words every day.)

Okay...enough of my afternoon ramblings...I'm really exhausted so I'm off to take a short nap.

See you Monday with a "real" post!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Then Sings My Soul

Okay girls..this is an old song, but it has been on my mind all week long. Live in your freedom this week!

I'm off to spend a day in the Word with the Freedom's Call ladies. I can't wait to check in on you later this evening and Sunday afternoon!!

Turn it up and sing along, I know you probably know it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

You Won't Believe This One.

Amy at Signs Miracles and Wonders has passed on this award to me! It originated at Mel's World. Go check Mel out she is pretty awesome!

I want to thank Amy but at the same time say "DO WHAT?!!" Have you got the right blogger? :) Okay, so I'm supposed to pass this one to a few bloggers who I think are just brilliant!

Bethanne at Waiting for the Shout. Her blog name alone is brilliant, but Bethanne always makes me think!

Jackie at All Things Are Possible. This is one young woman who loves her Jesus and is pouring her life into other young ladies.

Fran at Blessed By Him. Fran is one of my roommies for Siesta Fiesta. She is such an encourager, I can't wait to hug her neck!!

JennyHope is another roomie for the Fiesta! This young lady is precious to me! She has the cutest little girl that already has a passion for her BIBLE STUDY!! I love that. :)

Darla at Overcomer. Darla is so precious to me. She is crazy about our Jesus and it shows in every post! Each time I read her blog, I come away thinking about what I've just read, and usually go back a second time to read it again!

Lindsay at TwinsX2. Girls...she has two sets of twins, works full time and finds time to blog. That is brilliant in and of itself. BUT, this girl is seeking to honor God with every step and I know that she could use your bloggity love today...

Also I want to tell you about the newest member of our extended family! I opened up my e-mail this morning to find a birth announcement! Praise the Lord Erin and Jared are holding their precious little boy named Lane this morning!! He was born Thursday evening. We are so thankful for a healthy delivery, baby and mom! (I have not posted a picture because I haven't asked permission to and didn't want to throw a picture up for all the world, well...all 5 of my readers, to see without the OK from Lane's mommy and daddy.)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This is my 300th post!

300 journal entries.

300 times I've shared a piece of my heart. Wow.

I wish I had some extra special thing planned, but honestly I didn't notice that this milestone was coming up!

At 1:15 this morning, I was still wide awake. I was very uncomfortable so I got up, took some Tylenol and snuggled on the couch. It wasn't long until the headache began to go away, but the anxious heart was heavier than ever.

I did the first thing that came to mind and grabbed my journal and Bible. I found myself in several passages all timely and it wasn't long until my anxious heart was beating at a normal healthy rate! Thank you Jesus.

I read a Psalm a day and since it was a new day, I read Psalm 24 and was reminded that my God is is the King of Glory! There is comfort in acknowledging that God is in control. Once again, if I will just keep my hands off I will see Him move in ways I can't imagine. I needed to praise, I needed to change my perspective before that anxious heart took over.

Psalm 30 was the next place I parked. Can I share a few verses that ministered to my heart?

Verses 1-2

"I will exalt you O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depth, and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me."

I see this over and over in my life. Physically and emotionally God has healed me. He has kept His word in this area and as I started to think back on those times, my anxious heavy heart began to take a turn. The struggle to believe He will provide in this one area began to change. I read on to find

Verses 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."

I then went on over to Psalm 91 and that entire Psalm just settled me down.

Verses 1 and 2 say

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust'."

After that the song "Made Me Glad" began to run through my head and heart.

But these next verses are what really allowed me to rest was:

Verses 14-16

"Because he loves me," says the Lord, " I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life, will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

This morning as I share my heart I want you to know that there really is power in praise. Praise changes your attitude, your outlook and the Word says in Ecclesiastes 8:1,that when the Word settles into someone who is angry or sad, it can cause their face to beam! (NASB) It changes our countenance!

Just like yesterday, God knows in detail each part of this area of need. He knows it better than I do!! For today, I resolve that I will not worry, I will not mentally dwell on what if's, but I will praise. I will praise Him for the past, I will praise Him for today.

And one day soon, I will praise Him here for how He moved in this situation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How About An Encouraging Word

I have all my pictures saved onto our computer and they are set to scroll as my screensaver. Today, I was sitting alone in our family room it was a quiet moment and I was just talking to God about this thing going on. It feels like He is absent from this situation..I know that He isn't and that His timing is perfect. BELIEVE YOU ME...He is making it VERY clear through lots of different avenues. He's kind of cool like that.

One of the the things I had been talking to God about was, I'm taking BIG gulp, am I supposed to go to Siesta Fiesta. I was questioning because of a few other things going on, mainly financial things. Chad says YES you are going! My heart says YES! But other things are really making me, well....worry. Let me assure you, up until recently I have not questioned my going at all. I have had peace and God gave the ticket and my airfare so I really do feel like I am to go. But this afternoon, I needed to be sure.

So I'm pouring out my heart and the following picture pops up. It's the commissioning from a Living Proof Live conference sometime last year. One of our Siesta's took it and made is beautiful and when it popped up so did I.

I forgot that it was on my computer and honestly I don't remember saving it..Hmmmmm

I'm going to share it here and if I knew who did this I would give them credit but I have no idea!!! But I sure am thanking God for her talent, it has encouraged me today.

I don't know how He is going to do it, but I do know that He has never dissappointed me. I can't wait to share with you what happens.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Whew..this place was gross!

We don't do housework or laundry over the weekend. The weekend is our time together as a family so the girls and I do our best to have all laundry and "deep cleaning" done before Friday evening arrives. It's great on Saturday and Sunday,

but on Mondays...sweet mercy. This morning I questioned if I dusted AT ALL last week! It was ridiculous the amount of dust that covered our furniture! The sad thing was, I didn't realize how bad it was until I started wiping down my desk. Boy oh boy, it was just gross. We removed lamps, candles, books and coasters to get every last one of those little dust particles.

As I wrapped up in the family room I looked around, smiled and felt good about what we accomplished today. We will go through this same process on Wednesday morning or next Monday I will wonder if I dusted at all this week!

God reminded me this morning that the reason He is so particular about spending time with Him was very similar to my dust problem. When I'm NOT spending time with Him or I rush my time with Him, I'm pretty much allowing little particles of dust to form on my heart and my mind. Eventually, they all stick together and form a cloudy barrier between God and I. I know that He hears and cares, but that layer of dust keeps me from seeing God clearly. It distorts my vision and clouds my judgement!

I don't know about you, but I want more than ever to see Him clearly! I don't want anything to come between us..I need to hear,see and feel Him! So I'm spending the afternoon asking Him to do a deep cleaning. I'm asking Him to show me what needs a good purging and then I'm going to ask Him to give me the desire and strength to do it!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Feel the Need for a Little Explanation

After reading a fairly lengthy comment from a blogger who normally doesn't read my blog, I realized that I may need to clarify something I shared yesterday. Especially for those of you who don't "know" me that well yet. :)

Here is part of what I posted..

Honestly, I've been struggling with a particular area in my life and I have really had a fight the past couple of weeks to put on that garment of praise. Does that make sense?

I see God moving in other areas, prayers being answered and good things happening, but there is still this one area....but I'm going to choose to praise Him

First of all over the last two years God has been stripping me of a lot of stuff. Some tangible, some not. The Lord has taken our family on quite an adventure expanding our faith or maybe better said, stretching us out a little. It has been quite uncomfortable at times but worth every tear! We know more of Him today than yesterday and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Some of the circumstances I have shared here, others I have not. I have not shared the "one thing" that I referred to yesterday because I don't feel like God wants me to get into details. Maybe one day that will change, but for right now, it's a no no to share this situation in detail. I know most of you reading here understand this.

When I referenced that "one area" yesterday, that by no means meant that God has given me everything I've ever asked for or that this is the only thing I'm waiting on. It isn't!! Goodness gracious, wouldn't we all love to be able to go down our prayer list and mark answered by each need!!!

I do want to encourage you by telling you that YES! God has answered some of our prayers this summer! We see Him moving and things happening in several areas! It's exciting to see Him at work! I LOVE it and pray that you experience that same thing!

We've seen Him provide the most expensive of Chad's medicine for the next year...FREE. YES YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY....God gave us a very expensive medication free for the next year.

There are several things that we humans often consider "little" that have happened over the last few months that just remind me that He is watching and taking care to provide for our needs. Praise His Name!

Okay back to this "one area". I have not and will not pretend that it is as traumatic as another person's situation. I just know that in my life, in my heart right's tough. I would never dream of comparing my struggle with your struggle. Your struggle may be different than mine, but I have a feeling we both want God to be glorified in us and if this is what it takes..then let it be!

As my Sunday School teacher encouraged us this morning as we studied praising during hard times, God's perspective is eternal! Our perspective is today. (Oh, and by the way...that entire lesson and the worship music this morning was orchestrated for me...thank you Jesus!)

Please forgive me if my honesty offended you. In my opinion, it's just better to be honest about where you're coming from and this week I hit a wall! I have had to make the choice to choose PRAISE over POUTING every day.

The more I have praised, the more my perspective has changed and as my new blogging friend "Still Learning" said, I'm trying give that enemy a bad day. :) I want to make him sorry he messed with me!

If you have been reading here for any length of time you know that I don't wear a mask. Like my "tag line" reads...this blog is a reflection of what God the ultimate songwriter is composing in me.... right now. "Right Now" isn't always wrapped in a beautiful package and if it was, would we really need Jesus?

Thanks for listening.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Then Sings My Soul

I've so missed this the past two weekends! It is so good to be back. Honestly, I've been struggling with a particular area in my life and I have really had a fight the past couple of weeks to put on that garment of praise. Does that make sense?

I see God moving in other areas, prayers being answered and good things happening, but there is still this one area....but I'm going to choose to praise Him...anyway...

He's reminding me that this life isn't all there is, we as believers have so much to look forward to. I can't wait to see Him and worship, for eternity....

Have a great weekend!

Sharing the Love....

My real life friend Carol has blessed me with this award this morning. Go check out her blog if you haven't, you will be blessed. :) Thanks inspire me to love Jesus a little more.

This is called the Arte y Pico award. You can go here to see where it started.

So I'm going to pass this on to five creative bloggers who inspire me.

1. Kate at Small Scribbles.

2. Jodi at Fruit Inspection.

3. A new blogging friend "still learning" at Relationship With God. She is a fairly new blogger...go give her some love. :)

4. Heather at Life at Sonic Speed.

5. Ashley at Growing with Grabbie! This talented young lady is the one who did my blog makeover earlier this summer.

I would love for you to go and give each of these girls some love today! Each one is so special and unique in their own way. Thanks girls for encouraging and challenging me to walk a little closer to our Savior!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Look What I Just Found in My Breakfast Room

I came around the corner to find this:

This is Georgia and we live in a house, WITH a garage. So why in the world is there a bike in my breakfast room?!!!!

He's installing new the new pedals that his Dad and Stepmom gave him for his b'day, I guess I'll let it slide this time. :)

Boys and their least it isn't a motorcycle.

My Karate Kids

I'm posting some pictures of my man and oldest karate kid. :) Tuesday night they received their green belt.

Thanks to one of our Red Belt buddies R. for grabbing my camera and getting the GREAT shots of Chad and Chloe! (His 18 year old son just became a Master, so he "gets" my need to journal this road through photos!)

Taking off the old

Pushing away what they were...

To put on what they have become.

Way to go Chloe, Chad and all your test buddies. I'm so proud of what you've accomplished! While you tested on Saturday, you were a living example of your school verse.."I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength."

Monday, July 14, 2008

KEEP those hands off of this!!!!

Last week I shared that God was commanding me to take my hands off of a thing going on in our life. As the weekend approached I found that even though I had handed this over to God, I was struggling to NOT take it back. Does that make sense to you?

For several hours Friday morning, I was struggling big time. I felt like I was saying over and over "God I know you can handle this because you've done________ in my past and you can handle this too."

Yesterday in my quiet time I was reading in Matthew 9. Specifically verses 27-34. In verse 28 Jesus asks the two blind men who were seeking healing, if they believed He was able to heal them.

I felt like Jesus was asking me "Stephanie, do you believe that I am able to do this?"

Everything in me says yes, yes, yes!! I really believe that He can handle this, but at the same time I'm scared to death because I can't tell you how He's going to do it. "Take and Keep your hands off" kept running through my mind.

Then it hit me. My control issue is rooted in my unbelief that God can and will handle this situation. That breaks my heart.

So I have spent the better part of the weekend asking forgiveness and working on keeping my hands off of this thing. Here's what I feel like God is having me do.

When the problem/issue pops into my thoughts I do two things.

1. I praise God that He saw fit to allow us to walk through this and ask Him to show me exactly what it is we are to learn. Then I usually sing the chorus to "Praise you in the Storm" or I pop in my cd and listen to "speak to me".

2. This is hard to do but when I'm at home and this happens, I am to go into my bathroom or closet, close the door and become flat before the Lord and just listen. Not pray, not speak just listen.

That is so hard for me, I have 100 different things running through my mind at any given time so to settle my mind and NOT speak is a God thing in and of itself! As hard and strange as it sounds, after a few minutes I feel the anxiety and fear leave. I feel stronger and for lack of a better word...full.

The waves of fear and anxiety seem to be coming less! Thank you Jesus! I'm still struggling with the control thing and maybe I will until glory! Maybe this is my thorn. :) God is using it to keep me in that closet on my face listening for His voice. If that is what it takes then thank you Jesus.

God has showed me another way my lack of belief is affecting my life and potentially my children's life, but I'm going to let that be it's own post later in the week. I'm not sure I'm ready to share that quite yet!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Man in One Word


Yes, that word pretty much sums up Chad. He has overcome so much and looking at his life, sometimes I just shake my head and thank God he turned out the way he did.

Over the last few months I have dreaded July 11. For one reason...I did not know what in the world he would find to do. You see when he turned 30, he used it as a reason to go skydiving. We made my parents and his dad and stepmom go with us. I wanted to be sure that I would have someone to drive me home if the unthinkable happened, I am not kidding. I was sick the entire morning, but it was worth it because he had a blast.

Yesterday he turned 35. I wasn't exactly sure what adventure he would come up with this time! Thanks to last summer's broken shoulder I knew that it would not involve skydiving! Could that have been a blessing in disguise? :)

Chad woke up early and ran 13.1 miles. The distance of a 1/2 marathon. THEN he biked 56 miles. Yes you read that correctly 56 miles. Needless to say he took the LONG way to the office and the EXTRA long way home.

He came home exhausted, but grinning ear to ear. "I completed 1/2 of an iron man today!" he told me. I was so proud of him.

We enjoyed a long dinner and then sat by the pool while the girls swam. Then it was off to bed for everyone. Chad and Chloe needed their rest for their karate test.

This morning they both woke early ate breakfast and then proceeded to stretch and go over a few of the punches, kicks and various other moves I can't begin to describe here. Emma and I grabbed the camera, their mouth pieces and water bottles and out the door we ran.

I asked Chad if he was going to have the physical stamina to complete this test! There are very few down times and let's face it...we aren't as young as we used to be! JUST KIDDING!!!

He assured me his legs were fine and that he really wasn't that sore. So I just prayed..."God, let him make it through the test, help him to do his best."

We arrived at church a few minutes early to sign he and Chloe in, and get settled in the testing room. It was a small test group and I noticed that the adult students were gathering and whispering nervously. Then I realized why. The panel consisted of 2 Masters. VERY high ranking, martial arts experts. NONE of the students testing have been in class with them very much and have NEVER been tested by them.

Emma and I watched Chloe and Chad give 110% for almost 2 straight hours. They did their best. The judging panel left the room to tally the scores and everyone testing finally relaxed a little bit.

A few minutes later they returned to award high test score in the juniors and Chloe once again took it home. This makes the fourth test, fourth high test score, she was just as shocked this time as she was the first time.

Then Master Cann(sp?) said that we had a first at our school. For the first time we had a FATHER and a daughter take home high test scores. It took a minute to realize what they were saying...then it hit us all...CHAD got high test score among the adults.

I was crying and quickly turned on the camera and took a blurry picture! What a birthday he had! 1/2 of an iron man, high test score in karate shared with your oldest daughter! I was a weepy mess....I know those tough karate Masters thought I was nuts.

Chad will tell you that he was really shocked. He took a pretty good fall doing one of the spinning back kicks, BUT he got up and nailed it.

Perseverance...the man has it.

He sparred his buddy Tom and they knocked each other silly. But they kept going...despite their aches and stumbles.


I have never respected him more than I did this afternoon when I saw him push through pain, and fatigue to give his best.

Way to go Chadwick, I'm so proud to call you mine. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Family Stuff

Today is a very special day. Today is my Mom, Chad and one of my ministry partners Jill's birthday.

Happy Birthday to you!!!!

Mom will spend the day packing for Disney World. (they leave on Sunday) Dad has already given her some really cool lounging chairs for their screened in porch. The next time we go to Chattanooga, you can find me on that porch with a book and some sweet tea. I'm sure she could probably talk my Dad into Aubello's Mexican Embassy for dinner. (And yes, we say the entire name each time we mention Aubello's Mexican Embassy, thank you Chloe and Emma for getting us into that habit.)

Happy Birthday Mom/Grams. I hope you know how much we love you and appreciate what you all do for us. We are praying that your day is blessed and relaxing!!!

Chad has some personal goals for his big day. He is running a little over 13 miles. It will be his first 1/2 marathon distance. After work, we have a special dinner planned here at home. He requested spaghetti and sopapilla cheesecake. So that is what he's getting. Tomorrow, the day after his 35th b'day, he and Chloe will test for their green belt. Emma and I will be taking pictures during the test so we'll probably share those Saturday!

We are looking forward to the end of the month when we celebrate Jill's birthday with the other members of Freedom's Call. That will be the first time ALL our spouses will get together with us!! It's going to be a blast. We are really looking forward to spending time together.

Since we are talking about birthday's, I have to share with you what Chloe gave me last night. I asked her earlier in the week to make out her birthday wish list. She gave it to me last night. It reads like this.

1. Anything: Camp Rock, Hannah, Miley, or High School Musical 1, 2, or 3.

Okay that was pretty predictable right?

2. A fun school binder

3. Nintendo D.S.

4. Some fun earrings ( NO Dangling please)

Have I mentioned that my girls do NOT have their ears pierced? Chloe asked daddy about a month ago if she could get her ears pierced for her 10th birthday. We have always told them 13. Daddy didn't say no, but he hasn't said yes yet either.

5. Modern glass cabinet for collectibles.

She was VERY adamant that it NOT be a junky antique but a simple, clean line modern/traditional cabinet. Clearly, we watch too much HGTV. Don't even get us started on Design Star...

6. Talk dad into letting me get my ears pierced. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was the end of the page. It had a note that said, please turn over where the exclamation points when on and on and on. I'm guessing there was something like 75 or so. She was obviously very serious about number 6. I've told her to be glad that we are even allowing her to get them pierced!! My mom took me when I was 18 and that was only after Chad had given me a pair of pearl earrings for my birthday. We told dad after the fact. I think I'm technically still grounded for that little incident.

Emma and I are off to fix breakfast and get a headstart on our chores for the day. We're hoping to spend part of the afternoon in the pool. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Take your hands off it.

Is it me, or does there seem to be an increase in need around us? It feels like everytime I begin my prayer time, I come to a realization of the seriousness of the needs on my list. For every need there are human beings involved.

Those requests just seem to way heavy on my heart all day long. I have reminders and names placed in different places all over the house to remind me to spot pray for particular people during the day and I still feel an urgency in several situations.

Okay, so in a few of those situations urgency isn't the proper word...fear is more like it.

Suffocating, "what in the world are we going to do" type of fear.

God showed me yesterday that in two particular situations I have made the fear bigger than it needed to be.

I try to clean up the fear and worry by saying "God has put this on my heart right now..." when in actuality, I'm not really giving it to God and leaving it with Him. Probably part of my control issue!? :)

Sometimes I think He must be shake His head at me. "Take your hands off of this!"

This all came to a point yesterday afternoon when one particular thing was just consuming my every thought. I spent some time in prayer and reading scripture but, that fear was still trying to push the Truth from my mind.

I continued to hear "take your hands off of it".

I would love to tell you I did, but I can't. I finished up some chores and headed out the door for Bible study and rehearsal with Freedom's Call.

During our study time, D. used the phrase "take your hands off" several times. Can I just tell you how that ministered to me? The topic of study was completely different than what I was personally going through, but the principle of letting go and taking your hands off was the same.

By keeping my hands so tightly clenched around this thing, I'm putting a barrier between me and God. The longer I try to control and hang on to it, the bigger it becomes. The bigger it becomes, the more it consumes and spills over into other areas of my life, keeping me from living in freedom and joy that God intends for me to live in.

This morning as I did my Bible study this question was asked:

"Have you the slightest reliance on anything other than God?"

Ummmm..yes I do, myself. The study went on to challenge me to take my little hands off of it.

Can I tell you how freeing it was to physically open my hands and say "here God.."

I have absolutely no idea how He is going to provide this need and work this out and for the first time, I am completely okay with that.

I've taken my hands off it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday Morning Power

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 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 whisper 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 is willing to fight 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.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Record number of hours spent in the pool

I sure hope your family has had a wonderful holiday weekend. This year, we could not get home so our 4th was very low key.

Friday was spent at the pool. Six hours to be exact. We came in to grill steaks and hotdogs and they were so good. Chad used a secret marinade and it was incredible.

The man of this house decided at the very last minute that we would go to the Mall of GA and see the fireworks. I'm so glad he did. It was a great show and we had a blast. By the time we got home it was almost 11:00 and the girls were exhausted. They slept until 9:00 this morning. (my girls are usually up and going before 7:00)

Chad and a couple of guys in the neighborhood did some of the lawn work around the pool this morning. After they were done, we spent another 5 hours in the water. It was heavenly. It was great to see everyone out and working together to make a difference in our little neighborhood.

We started adding up the time we have spent at the pool since Thursday and it was something like 17 hours. So this evening we are all a little pink, completely worn out but we feel full. We spent some concentrated time working on relationships here and that is a very good thing.

Sunday will truly be a day of worship and then R.E.S.T. NO pool for this family!!! Sunday afternoon naps will be mandatory!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

TN River Gorge Exlporer

Most everyone in the southeast has been to Chattanooga at some point in their life and experienced the TN Aquarium, the IMAX, Rock City and Ruby Falls. All beautiful and unique in their own special way. Last week Gram's along with the kids, and Aunt Valerie were privileged to be on one of the first public tours aboard the brand new Tennessee River Gorge Explorer. Chattanooga's newest attraction. (And if you ask my girls, one of the best things to do in downtown!)

Just a few minutes from downtown Chattanooga is the TN River Gorge. It has been said that the Gorge is one of the richest areas for plants and animals within the world's temperate regions. You would have to go to the tropics to find greater biodiversity! That's just the fancy way of saying...there is a thousand and one different types of plants out there! And believe you me during allergy season all of Chattanooga knows it!

The girls came home talking about the animals they heard about. It would have been great if they had taken a pair of binoculars so they could have had a closer view of the eagles, hawks and osprey. The naturalist on board was eager to answer any questions, but the girls were so taken with the boat that on this trip, they just didn't have many questions!

I thought it was interesting that the Gorge is often called "Tennessee's Grand Canyon". It was considered sacred ground for the Cherokee Nation and became the main water route for their evacuation on the Trail of Tears. All things you can learn on the 90 minute excursion.

My mom had a surprise once they stepped on board. One of her favorite first grade student's father and uncle are "captains" of the Explorer. They have a rich family history as riverboat captains. They love what they do and took the time to visit with my mom and the girls. (They got a sneak peak into the pilothouse to see what it takes to command this vessel.)

Once they got into the Gorge and slowed down a bit, everyone was free to go to the top deck and enjoy the views. Apparently, my little nephew fell asleep in his mommy's lap so she stayed down below, but was still able to enjoy the scenery.

While on the top deck, Chloe got a glimpse of a camera crew. They were from the Fox affiliate in Birmingham. The reporter came over and asked her some questions. He must have thought she was younger than her very mature almost 10 years, because she told me the questions were very easy and she would have loved to talk about more than what he was asking. BUT, Chris Montana is supposed to contact us when the story will air and you better believe I'll be posting the link so you can go watch it on-line. I'm not proud or anything. :)

If you live in the Southeast and are looking for a fairly inexpensive weekend family getaway..go here and check out all the details of the Explorer. It's fun and educational at the same time. BUT, be sure to call and make reservations the boat only holds 70 people.

If you go, let me know! I would love to hear about your trip into the Gorge. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Grams and Daddy Mack Camp 2008

Gram's Camp is over for this year. I know Grams and Daddy Mack are enjoying some much needed peace and quiet after 6 days with 5 grandchildren. :)

We were blessed to have Colin here with us for a couple of days before Camp officially started. You know what we did? We swam out hearts out.

I turned around to find out why it was quiet and this is what I saw. Aren't they cute.

It lasted all of about 5 minutes and he was ready to play "swoosh" again. This is my way of getting him to take off those arm floaties and try to swim. He did great. Another couple of days and he would have been all over that pool on his own.

Uncle Chad making sure we are all buckled in for our trip to Chattanooga.

Sitting in traffic. You should have seen the look I got from the truck driver beside me when I snapped this one.

Colin loves his girls.

FYI - Emma's assignment for the week was to photo journal Gram's camp. The next photos are all Emma's handiwork.

Now, I will say this...I have not photo shopped or enhanced these in any way. (Except for one unknown lady...whose backside was taking up half of a picture...I cropped that photo. I would hate to think that my backside was on a stranger's blog. But those particular pictures will be up Wednesday or Thursday when we share about the TN. River Gorge Explorer.)

Gram's camp through the eyes of Emma P. a 7 year old.

This next one took my breath away. She may need to spend sometime with Diana Simpson. :) She is one incredible photographer in Chattanooga if you live in that area. Plus, she's crazy about Jesus!