Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve Morning

Merry Christmas Eve Morning. :)

We are enjoying a lazy morning together. Chloe is playing Wii and Chad and Emma are playing with Paddington. I'm working on a cup of coffee and cleaning out e-mails from the last few days.

I'm looking forward to being with family later in the weekend and then the arrival of more family next week.

It's going to be a busy week! Chad's shoulder surgery is Tuesday and out of town family arrives Wednesday. I won't lie I'm a little nervous about so much activity in this house with this particular patient, but we'll make it. After yesterday, I'm just thankful we have family that can come visit.

Some friends in Chattanooga can't say that this morning and my heart hurts for them. Death is hard anytime, but at Christmas time it just seems to sting a little more.

I woke up extra early this morning and stared at the ceiling. Thinking of our friends and praying that God, who IS peace would comfort them in huge ways today. As I was praying, I couldn't help but think about several other families we know who are experiencing their first Christmas without a loved one. In particular, the family up the street. The girls and I got to know this couple and their children and grandchildren at the pool this summer.

The sweet wife was fighting cancer but she was LIVING every single minute. She put on her beautiful sun hat and jumped in the pool with her grandchildren. Her family constantly watching her, asking her if she was tired, did she need to go in...but she would smile and say I'm okay.

As we drove in the neighborhood a few nights ago, I saw this husband, standing in his window looking at his beautiful Christmas tree. Alone. My heart ached.

We are so blessed. Yes, we are still in a tight season financially, but God has been faithful and good. He is still in control and I believe with all my heart that I can trust Him.

It makes me so sad that so many Christians measure the "greatness" of their Christmas holiday by the number of gifts under the tree OR the amount of money spent. (Spent personally, or spent ON them.)

This year, we are having a blessed or GREAT Christmas because each person that lives in this house knows Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. What else can a parent ask for?

We are blessed this year to see each and every member of our extended family during Christmas/New Years Week. (Granted, Chad won't remember next week, but I'll take plenty of pictures!)

We are blessed to have TODAY. Today, Christmas Eve 2009 will be spent together. We will worship this afternoon with our church family and then come home to read the Christmas story, eat a non-traditional Christmas eve meal and then....

If I can talk the man into it we will take a drive to see Christmas lights. My ALL TIME FAVORITE THING TO DO ON CHRISTMAS EVE!

I pray today that you my sweet blogging friends are experiencing the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, the Everlasting Father like never before. He is good and you can trust Him, I promise.

Merry Christmas,

Monday, December 21, 2009

Siesta Memory Challenge #24

Is it really the last verse of the year?? I should have posted this on the 15th, but life has been B.U.S.Y. I love the Christmas season, but I hate how commercial it is.

This year we have fought hard to keep things simple. We are making every effort to keep our hearts focused on the ultimate Gift Giver: Jesus Christ. His gift was His life. His life for my sin. I will never get over what He did for me.

Okay, Verse Number 24...that is what this post is about!

It's Proverbs 14:26 and it says:

"In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge." (ESV)

For a girl who fights fear and a total lack of confidence this verse is powerful. This is the way I have been meditating on it:

In the fear of the Lord, Stephanie has strong confidence and Chloe and Emma will have a refuge.

Without Him I have nothing. I am weak and scared and lack the ability to look you in the eye. With Him, I am strong, and can hold my head up. THAT is ALL Jesus my friend. And the sweetest thing about this verse is the last part. My children will have a refuge.

Oh the refuge theme continues.

I love it when God does that. :)

Okay my sweet friends, I'm not sure if I'll post again before Christmas....SOOO


Blessings and love

Monday, December 14, 2009


Tonight, we had to make a Target run for a few things. The girls have been working hard lately and have made the effort to "do everything without grumbling or complaining". As a little reward, Chad asked if they would like a hot chocolate from Starbucks. They are my children so they said, "oh yes please!"

Do you remember when I posted here about my Target coffee experience? You know, the one that was so much more than a good cup of coffee?

When we got to the counter tonight I recognized that pretty face. She was the same barrista that waited on me back in September. (I remember faces, conversations, outfits....I'm weird like that! Chad says I should work for the FBI or the CIA. I remember what some of you were wearing the first time we met in San Antonio,a year and half ago!)


She had a totally different countenance tonight. God brings her to my mind often, usually when I'm standing in the Starbucks line waiting on a peppermint mocha. (or raspberry mocha or white chocolate mocha) Tonight, I saw her name tag...and now I have a name to go with the face.

Ann. (my middle name)

I was able to call her by name. She smiled and this time, looked me in the eye with a smile.

There's something about being called by your name isn't there? I couldn't help but think of this verse...

Revelation 2:17 NIV
I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

So, God knows the name on that stone and then the receiver will know. Two people. That's what I love about our God. He is personal. He is all about knowing each and every cell of our beings.

I have been absorbed in Psalm 139 lately I encourage you to go read it slowly and realize just how precious you are to God. Here are verses 15-18 from this incredible Psalm.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

I hope that you know just how precious you are to God. He loves you so much. He sees exactly what life is throwing your way today and He cares. Verses 1-3 remind us that YES, He does see.

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.


Monday, December 7, 2009

A Little Serious and a Little Silly

So I'm doing the new Kelly Minter study on Ruth right now. I'm in week 2 and already I have been VERY challenged. Today, she talked about sowing and reaping.

It was the 4th time in 24 hours that concept was placed in front of me. I'm serious.

Obviously, I've spent some time thinking about where I'm sowing. In some places, I am seeing the first signs of harvest. In others, not so much. One particular area I have been sowing often in tears. For almost 13 years. I won't lie, lately I've had to confess my being "over" it to the Lord. Just plain over throwing out the seed with no sign of a harvest. I know that's wrong, just telling you where I've been.

A couple of weeks ago when I was talking to God about this situation, this verse kept coming back to me.

Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Kelly wrapped up today's homework with that verse. Thank you God.

Oh, and then I had a devotional e-mail that I have no idea how I get, but anyway...

Guess what the verse was for the day. Yep. Galatians 6:9. Hello God.

The devotion went on to say this:

"For years William Wilberforce pushed Parliament to abolish slavery. Discouraged, he was about to give up when his elderly friend John Wesley heard of it, and from his deathbed called for a pen and paper. With trembling hand Wesley wrote: “Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and of devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them stronger than God? O be not weary in well doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, till even American slavery shall vanish away before it.” Wesley died six days later. Wilberforce fought for forty-five more years. Three days before his death, slavery was abolished in Britain. Eventually, it was abolished in America too. Hang in there—what God has in store for you is worth any price you have to pay."

Over forty-five years. That is a long season of sowing isn't it?

I've come to accept that in that one area, I may not see the harvest for a while. But I know it's where God has called me to sow so I can't stop. So I keep doing what God says to do. Because I know He keeps His word, I can read Psalm 126:5-6 and
have a little pre-harvest celebration. :)

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

I don't know about you, but I sure needed that reminder that my time table and God's time table are not the same. :) He's moving and working and when it's harvest time, boy oh boy what a party we'll have.

On a very silly note, every time I see the word "sheaves" I think about a "Little House on the Prairie" episode where the town people are singing that old hymn in church! Makes me laugh because they look so bored.

I tried my best to find that clip, but I didn't. However I DID find this one and I'm sorry if my silliness offends you..but this just reminded me of my grandparents and their record player (that looks more like a buffet than a record player). I think this record is in there. I'll look the next time I'm there. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Siesta Memory Verse #23 (Finish what you started in me God)

23 verses so far! I can't believe it. What a difference scripture memory makes.

I haven't been very good about posting my verses here on the blog. Mainly because I've been pouting that I'm not going to be in Houston in January for the celebration. I'm still very disappointed about that, but moving on...

I had decided to memorize Psalm 138:7-8 this time around from NIV. But when Beth posted those verses from the message on Tuesday, I fell in love w/ the way it read so I'm memorizing them from the Message. Here you go:

When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, with your other hand save me. Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal - don't quit on me now.

Finish what you started in me, God. Don't quit on me now.

My favorite parts.

God is faithful to finish what He starts. (Phil. 1:6...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.)

And He never quits, never stops, never sleeps. Never lets go. That makes me think of this song..

He is so good. Happy Thursday!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I lost 4 pounds over Thanksgiving....

Don't hate me. It wasn't fun.

Chad and I had a few days alone the first part of last week since the girls went "home" with my parents to help get ready for Thanksgiving.

I had all sorts of plans and good intentions for my two and half days alone. Nothing and I mean NOTHING on my "list" was checked off when we left on Wednesday.

Monday I had planned to do all my Christmas shopping, wrap gifts and make a December meal plan. Instead, I went to the minute clinic for a sinus infection, came home and slept.

Tuesday, I ventured out to LifeWay to pick up the Bible study I started today. ("Ruth" ) I happened to drop the "Jesus Saves"DVD and Cd in my basket along with another book I've been wanting to read. By the time I left LifeWay (yes, I sniffed a few Bibles on my way to check out)I was exhausted.

I came home to watch the DVD and start reading. I may or may not have taken a two hour nap. All I know is I woke up to Angela Cruz singing "Mercy Seat" and for a split second, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

I spent Tuesday evening packing and getting ready for our car ride on Wednesday afternoon.

When we left Wednesday afternoon, Chad asked me which way I wanted to go, I felt adventurous and said the "back" way. (This was a new back way that we have never gone before and we will NEVER go that way again!)

Yes, I know that I suffer from motion sickness. I get car sick sitting in the movies for goodness sake. Why oh why did I say "back way".

What should have taken 2 and half hours, took right at 7 hours. S.E.V.E.N. hours people. We could have been at the beach.

The first 2 hours weren't too bad. We needed the alone time to talk and had we gone the regular old interstate way, we wouldn't have had the conversation we okay. BUT.

The last 5 hours were pitiful. Let's just say there were several times we had to stop and poor Chad had to hold my hair back while I...well...I just got sick a LOT.

I remember looking over at Chad and saying "About an hour?". He just looked at the GPS and shook his head. "No's looking more like 3." NOT a good time.

We FINALLY get about 40 miles from my parent's house and the road is closed due to a rock slide. NOT the rock slide up on I-40 mind you, another rock slide. What is it with the rock slides? Good grief. That little detour was over 60 miles. I was in tears by this point.

I have never been more glad to see my parent's home. Specifically, their guest bedroom shower.

I say all of that to say:

Since I was too sick to do a "thankful" post on Thanksgiving week..I would love to tell you today that I am thankful for:


My man, who still holds my hair when I'm sick. (I'm thinking I just may get a pixie haircut after all of this!)

My girls.

My parent's. (in-laws too)

My siblings, sister-in-laws and nieces and nephew. I was so glad to see them all for Thanksgiving. What a treat to have everyone together.

But this year I'm most thankful for the fact that even when everything seems to be in chaos around me, Jesus is constant. He is safe and He is good.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


So for the last several months, verses about shelters have kept popping up.
Specifically, Psalm 55:8 which says,

"I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm."

This whole concept of running to a shelter, crying out to God and then being STILL, has been repeated over and over again. So much that I felt like God was birthing a new song. I had one line. Well, let's not go that far, I had one phrase.

Tuesday evening while my people were at Karate, I asked God to finish the phrase and He did.

So here it is the very new, and very rough lyrics. (It's kind of like having a new baby so be gentle.)


I would hurry to my shelter. Far from the raging storm.
There I’ll find Him, in my shelter,
Where He waits with open arms.

I would hurry to my shelter, where my Savior speaks to me.
That still strong voice, I hear Him say,
"Child come and let me speak. Be still and wait with me.”

I would hurry, to be still.
In my shelter, I will be still.
I hear Jesus sweetly call me
To my shelter, child be still.
I would hurry, to be still.

He redeems my soul in safety,
From the battle that I wage.
He will listen, My God will save me.
In my shelter, I will wait.
Oh in my shelter, I will wait.

I would hurry, to be still.
In my shelter, I will be still.
I hear Jesus sweetly call me
To my shelter, child be still.
I would hurry, to be still.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do It Lord

Our church is praying and preparing for what we are calling a "Day of Hope". (December 13) Each Connection class(Sunday School), the sermons, and even our daily devotional guide is geared to preparing our hearts and minds for this day. We are focusing in on developing relationships with un-churched people in our lives.

With that little bit of history behind us, I'm going to tell you what hit me between the eyes today.

Today was Day Four in our Devotional Guide - The Process of Changing Your Community. While the devotion was good, what totally rocked my world today was the prayer. (Side note-it blows my mind to think of the number of people praying the SAME PRAYER. Oh.My.Goodness.)

Here is the line that made my stomach flip and brought tears to my eyes.

"Please do something we are not used to. Thank you for whatever it is you have in store for us."

Go on read and it again, I'll wait for you.

Something we are not used to.

Yes. I'll have that please.

What in the world would happen if we got serious about praying that? Not just for our community but for our family, for OURSELF!

Last weekend He did something I was not USED to and I saw His glory. I wouldn't trade that for anything! Was it a little strange? Yes. Was I scared? You better believe it. Was it worth it? Oh yes.

I believe that when He calls us to something He will equip us to do it and when we are properly positioned, "I" will not have a clue how it happens.

Oh friends, I can't help but think of part of the passage our Connection Group has been in.

Col. 3:1-3(ESV)

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."

And Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV)

"Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known."

And then this verse that I can not find the passage for and that is driving me nuts. So I will just summarize.

You will look to the right and the left and hear a voice that says this is the way walk in it.

Oh goodness. I was so challenged by that simple prayer today to turn ALL my attention to God and anticipate what HE has planned for this community and in my personal life over the next few weeks. I don't want it be anything we have ever experienced before! Why? Because I want to see His Glory like I have never seen it before.

Please God, do something we are not used to.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sweet, Sweet Weekend

Last weekend I spent some sweet time with an incredible speaker and a group of ladies in Harrison, TN. It was such a blessing to work with Rashelle again and pray that God gives us many more opportunities to serve Him together.

J. did an excellent job of coordinating and you would have never known it was their very first women's event! They were AWESOME!!!!

It was an extra special treat because my friend K. was there and hosted our table. It has been a long time since we had some visiting time and it was a treasure to sit at her table and visit! (It's one of those friendships you just feel relaxed and comfortable regardless of time/distance... thank you Lord for that!)

I was thrilled to have my mom there with me, she doesn't get to come with me very often so it was so special to have her there. I sure hope I didn't scare you, mom. :)

I have to tell you how God works, because this time last week, I was STILL putting the worship time together. Very unlike me to NOT have Plan A, B, C and D worked out a month ahead of time. But, God gave me the plan and I was at total peace with what was written on my agenda.

Then Friday morning came. I woke up with very little voice and sounded like a very sick old man all morning. I dropped the girls off at school and hit the road. I popped in my CD's, but just listened NO talking or singing for me. Just prayed that God would give me strength.

As I made my way up I-75 I had this gut feeling that God was going to re-arrange the time of worship. Can't really describe it, other than just a VERY strong feeling that it may not look like the original plan. Oh.Boy. However,

My voice? Was coming back and getting stronger. I still sounded a little frog like. :) But it was improving. God was answering that prayer.

Once we got to the church and the worship time started things did change a little. What I thought would happen did not.

BUT hang on, because:

I'm not sure I have ever been in a place where I felt Him settle in around me like that. His presence was so strong. I don't know if anyone else felt it the same way, and I don't have to know. Maybe it was just His way of reminding me that when we follow His lead, He shows us a little more of Himself. If that was what that entire trip was about then thank you Father.

Rashelle so beautifully shared the Word and part of her testimony. She was encouraging, challenging and most important, she radiates Jesus. I'm so thankful God allowed us to work together again. If you are ever in need of a speaker for your church women's events, I highly recommend her. :)

Okay...I do have some pictures, BUT. They are on my mom's camera and she's not real sure how to upload and e-mail them so I'll add them later. :) I want you to see these beautiful women!

I'm so thankful for sweet weekends like this and thankful for my husband and children who support me and encourage me to GO when God presents these opportunities.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Have you seen these?

Last weekend when my parents were here, mom and I made our usual trip around the corner to a little coffee/gift shop. They were having quite the sale.

They had all these scriptures on their mantels and I fell in love with the way it looked. So I picked one up. Here is what ours says.

It wasn't THAT hard to apply it, and if I ever did it again, I think I learned a few tricks. I messed up the "u" in the word but, but I'm adopting what the Nester always says. "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." So I left it. I kind of like the imperfection of it.

However, something has been bugging me ALL WEEK LONG. The reference. You can sort of see it above. What it says is John 3:18.

Something about it just didn't seem right. Thursday the girls and I decided to look it up. When we did we laughed out loud.

The verse on the mantel is not John 3:18.

It's I John 3:18.

So here is my dilema. Do I leave it alone and see how many people "catch" it. OR, do I just take a sharpie and put a I in front of it?

What do you think?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Boundary Stones

Our pastor has been preaching through the ten commandments. He has made them come alive to me. I will never look at Exodus 20 the same way. Sunday, I was reminded just how important these commandments, or boundary stones are. God didn't place them there to be a kill joy. He placed them there to protect us.

To guard FOR us.

Boundary Stones. They seem to be a running theme in my life right now.

Last week, the girls and I were reading our daily Proverb. We were in chapter 22 and doing our usual read a couple of verses and discuss when we came to vs. 28.

"Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers."

That sparked an entire discussion on boundaries. It was interesting to hear my girl's comments. Both of them had pretty typical "church" answers until we were a little deeper into the conversation.

We started talking about consequences. That's when Chloe explained to us that "When you start stepping over the boundaries God places in your life, you're going to trip yourself ALL UP OVER THE PLACE." Said with three snaps and a whole lot of sass.

How many times I have stepped over the boundary stones God placed in my life? TOO many times I tell you. Thank you Lord for being faithful to forgive and restore the damage my bad choices made.

Sin is sin. There is no degree of it. My sin is filthy and vile and disgusting and I'm ashamed of it. BUT, God has flung it far into the crystal sea and I have been forgiven. Because I tend to be weak and vulnerable in a certain areas, I do not EVER forget that those boundary stones are vital to me.

I know what my boundaries HAVE TO BE and I keep them FAR from the edge. I know that if I am not in the Word, talking and LISTENING to God that I'm easily distracted and I will trip over those boundary stones on my way to the edge of the cliff. The cliff they are there to protect me from. Make sense? I pray it does.

Boundary stones. I pray that my girls learn that they are there to guard FOR them, and I pray they get it at an early age! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm Giddy

Just plain ole' giddy.

It looks like my parents are coming in tonight!!! We saw them in August, but they have not been down for a visit since MARCH!!!!

I'm really giddy because my girls don't think they are coming. (A health concern w/ one of my grandparents looked like it would keep them from coming.) Chloe and Emma will be ecstatic about this. I told them this morning we would take a drive up into the mountains to see fall colors and get pumpkins this weekend, but they told me we could do that WITH the grandparents and it would be SO much more fun. Well, okay then.

SO, this weekend will be full of coffee, Wii tournaments, popcorn, and movies in your pj's.

And maybe a football game or two, or three

And of course, a trip to the Starbucks because I just learned from Boomama that Starbucks has a Raspberry Mocha. DID YOU KNOW THIS? I did not. I have a feeling this little drink is going to rock my world.

I hope whatever your weekend plans are that you are able to enjoy your family, your home and the beautiful fall colors! (and as long as your team isn't playing my team, I hope your team wins!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Anybody Want to Join Me?

This Sunday night (Oct. 25)

First Baptist Woodstock here in the ATL

Chynna and Vaughan will be in concert.

I'm going and would love to meet you there. If you're interested leave me a comment and/or e-mail me. I would love to see you there!!!! (OH's a free concert!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thoughts on Memphis LPL

Can I just say it was so good to see some of you! To squeal at the first glimpse of you across the street, to hug your neck again. (Or for the first time!) I'm not sure I'll ever get over what God has done in the land of blog. Amazing.

It was probably one of the most intense weekends of my life. Not only, Living Proof Live, but things going on in our home church. What a weekend it was.

I'm a little disappointed to say that I did not take the first picture. Not a single one. I KNOW. Go on and say it...slacker. :)

Beth totally brought a message that was timely and challenging. AND it just flat made me want to see Jesus even more than I did when I walked into the FedEx Forum Friday night.

So many things to share but I'm limiting myself here to the big one. Well, the big one for me that is.

One of her points was that God guards His love. When we we think of guard, our first impression is of protection, keeping something safe. I naturally think guarding against some sort of offense. BUT, she pointed out that God guards FOR us as well.

I have jotted out to the side of my notes: What do I do to actively maintain my dearest relationships? Am I guarding FOR them.

Honestly, I'm still processing my notes and everything that went on. I'm not quite sure just how to describe what happened other than...

It was just Jesus. He promises that if we seek Him we will find Him and sweet one, He was there. We came expecting Him to do something and He did.

I'm so glad I got to share it with a few of you. What a time we had. :)

Maybe I'll share more later, but for me..

Last weekend was intensely personal and I'm not quite sure I'm ready to share it ALL yet. Over time that will probably change, but for now I just want to treasure it for a little longer.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

All is Well

I have so avoided posting this week because, well....

Life has been a little "strange" this week and quite frankly...I haven't had the energy to recount all the crazy stuff! By crazy I mean crazy. Wacked Out. Strange stuff.

Plus, I'm getting ready to head to Memphis for Living Proof Live. ;) We are thrilled that we have some family here to visit with Chad and the girls for the weekend. I know he's glad for the company.

I have to say. With all the out of control wild stuff going on around here, God has been faithful. He has had me in 2 Kings 4 all week. In my ESV translation around verse 23 the Shummanite woman makes a comment that "all is well".

She was living a parent's worst nightmare and she had enough faith to say all is well.

Let me tell you.

What we have been living this week is nothing in comparison. NOTHING. And yet, I have been on the verge of pouting and sulking and feeling sorry for myself.


All is well.

My children are healthy. There is food in our pantry. We have clothes, shoes and a warm home.

I have a husband that loves me and works hard so that I can be at home with these children God has given us.

All is well.

I'm a daughter of the King of Kings and Lords of Lords and He. HE is my everything.

All is well.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


So excited to tell you that

Amanda at The Stokes Family

Angela at Refresh My Soul




Heather C.

Have all won a copy of "One Reason"!! I'm thrilled for you.

E-mail me your address and I will send it on to the powers that be and you should have your CD soon!

Thanks for entering!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Fall Book Winner and "ONE REASON" Give Away

I'm thrilled that today I get to give "You Were Born For This" away today!!

Celia - comment number 7 you are the winner!!! E-mail me your address and I'll get it to you this week. :) (If I haven't heard from you by Wed. I will draw for another winner!)

Okay friends. "You Were Born For This" is all about experiencing miracles. It's about becoming a delivery person for God and participating in everyday miracles. Hmmmm...that makes me think of a song...


There is a great song on "One Reason" that is entitled "Everyday Miracles". Isn't it just God to send a song that just goes along with what He is showing me in "You Were Born For This"? So cool...

Anyway. I received my copy of "One Reason" on Wednesday. When I took it out of the mailbox, the package was absolutely destroyed. The envelope was ripped and honestly, I have no idea how the postal service knew it was to come to my home. I could not decipher the address label it was so battered.

I cut through all the tape and pulled out a cracked CD case. Thankful that the CD was in perfect condition, we immediately popped that CD in. Can I just tell you that the girls and I listened to the entire thing while we cleaned house and finished up our schoolwork. AND we have listened to it everyday since. (At my girl's request!)

Kind of like life isn't it? Sometimes we feel like we have just been beat up to the point of not being recognized. BUT, nothing and no one can take away what is on the inside. I think this week, Chynna was a beautiful example of this as she proclaimed Jesus Christ in places where it would have been really easy to use "acceptable terms" such as "faith" or "higher power". Once again, it excites me to see people be obedient to confess Jesus Christ. But really after what He did for us, how can we not?

I have been given the okay to give away FIVE CDs. FIVE PEOPLE!!! That is so cool. Here is how it works...

1. Leave a comment.

2. Send your friends this way.

3. Wait expectantly until Thursday, Oct. 1 when I will announce the FIVE winners!!!!

Come here real close so no one else hears....I sure hope you win! You will love it!

Praying you have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Don't Forget

Today is the last day to enter the Happy Fall Book Giveaway!!!

Scroll down to that post and leave me a comment. I'll announce the winner Sunday afternoon!

Have a wonderful Saturday


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Going to the Mountain

This morning Emma and I were working on state studies. The subject of coal came up as we talked about different industries in this particular state. That opened the door to talk about how coal is used and how it is mined.

In the discussion of how dangerous coal mining is and just how hard it is...somewhere it hit me how those men and women dig into the mountain to get to the coal. They go deep in those mines to bring out the coal that will provide for their families. Their entire lives revolve around getting into that mountain and bringing out coal, often times it's at the expense of their health and life.

Immediately God began to weave our school lesson into the lesson He has been pressing into me this week about getting to the mountain.

Maybe because our Pastor is preaching a series on the Ten Commandments right now and I'm thinking about Moses being on that mountain w/ God, or because I have been reading about Jesus getting away and often times to the mountain to pray...but MOUNTAIN has been everywhere.

For so long, I have thought of the mountain as the place where you celebrate what God has done. It's the end of the time in the valley. The place where we ALL want to be and stay! However...

God's been talking to me about changing how I view the mountain. Maybe, just maybe the mountain is the place we should be going to everyday. Even those days when it feels like we're at the lowest point in the valley.

In Matthew 14 around verses 13-25, Jesus has just fed 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Seriously, that would be a mountaintop experience to see Him multiply and serve that. Can you imagine?

But what gets me, is that after this HUGE demonstration of God's power verse 23 says this:

"After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by himself to pray."

He went to the mountain ALONE to pray. He went to spend time with His Father.

He had just poured out so much of Himself to those people, and now I wonder if He went so the Father could pour back into His son.

This is what I felt God impress on me. Just like those coal miners go into those mountains each day and mine out that substance that will provide for their family, God wants me to come to the mountain DAILY. Even when I'm in a valley.

He wants me to come back so He can pour into me the very thing I need to live! HIMSELF.

Why do we wait until we become desperate? Why do we wait until there is turmoil and crisis? Why do wait until......

We have the ability, and dare I say the choice, each and every day to go to the mountain for a mountaintop experience with God Almighty. We don't have to wait for a conference, or Sunday's Sermon, or your favorite blog to be updated. No.

God wants to meet with us and speak with us TODAY. God wants to meet with me, with you. He has something specific to say.

Just as those coal miners go in empty handed and come out with something that will meet their needs, we can go to the mountain poured out and completely empty. But our God, He will pour into us and restore what has been emptied. We can come down filled to overflowing. Even when life has us in a valley.

Look around you and find a mountain...go there and see what happens.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rainy Day Treat

Today is an extra special day for two ladies....


You can purchase their first album in stores TODAY!!!! Or if like me you are severely limited at the places you can actually get to because of the water, you can go here to purchase it online. Deep breath...


Get yourself on down to the next post and entry for the Fall book giveaway.


HOLD ON FOR ONE MORE DAY..well...not really one, more like 4 or 5. This Sunday after I announce the winner of "You Were Born For This" I will be opening another giveaway.

Can you guess what for?

Not one but FIVE...yes FIVE of Chynna and Vaughan's Debut Album One Reason!!!!!!!!

In case you were wondering who or what their One Reason is, the following is from their blog.

"We want to share our hope with you. We have someone who is there for us and someone who is always with us. We want you to know about our Savior so you can have a chance to know his love and his mercy and his grace like we have.

Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your mind and with all of your soul, and love your neighbor as you would love yourself (Deuteronomy 6:5). This is the way we want to live our lives."

These girls love Jesus. (And they have a pretty cool sound too.)

OH...just so you know....Chynna and Vaughan will be very close to where I live in October. I would love for a group of us to go see them together. If you are interested or would like more info, let me know. :)


Sunday, September 20, 2009


Since the first of this year I have been waiting on something. I have been EAGER to get my hands on a book and even MORE eager to give it away.

Last March I shared with you an incredible experience I had. God did a mighty work in my life and He used Bruce Wilkinson to deliver a message to me. That message changed the way I look at life. You can read about it here.

Bruce's new book "You Were Born For This" is OUT!!! I'm thrilled to be able to give away a copy! I'm already praying for the person that is going to receive it,AND praying that each one of you will have the opportunity to read this book ASAP! I feel very strongly about this can you tell?!!?!

You probably recognize this author's name from "The Prayer of Jabez" or "Secrets of the Vine", or maybe "The Dream Giver". Chad and I however had our first encounter with Bruce Wilkinson in our young married Sunday School Class at Silverdale Baptist in Chatt. We did the Bible study "The Three Chairs". It was a pivotal time in our marriage and God used that study to challenge and grow us up. It was time to quit riding the spiritual wave of others and have a serious daily walk with God for ourselves.

Let me give you one quote from the end of part 1 of "You Were Born For This"

"God did not place you this earth to notice Him at work only once or twice in your whole life" Okay...maybe just one more.

"When a whole generation settles for less, the character and motives of God get called into question. His shining presence seems to fade in the world."

Enough Enough. Okay...I'm just beginning part 2 of the book, but can NOT wait any longer to share it with one of you!

To enter, first leave me a comment.

Then, go back to your blog/facebook/twitter and any other means of TELLING SOMEONE and send them here! (If they mention you in their comment I'll add your name as another if you send 3 people you'll be entered 4 times.)

I'll keep the comments open until Saturday, Sept. 26 and will announce the winner on Sunday the 27th.

Have a great week!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Check this out!

Go check out this site and see what made me SMILE today.

Happy Weekend!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Have a Little Faith"

"Will you do my eulogy?"

"Will you save me, Jesus?"

Two questions. One by an aging Rabbi the other by a young African-American man.

Mitch Albom, author of the highly successful "Tuesdays with Morrie" has done it again. He has written a book that not only tugs on the heartstrings, but makes you contemplate exactly what it is you believe.

Albom beautifully weaves the stories of his Rabbi Albert Lewis and an African-American pastor Henry Covington. Over 8 years he spends time with each man listening, asking questions and observing these men of God.

Albom sees that these men who have devoted their entire life to serving God, really do have a "life"away from the people they serve. However, their hearts are NEVER away from those in their congregations. Both men love the people that look to them for direction, advice and hope.

As Albom walks you through this journey of faith, I can't help but think about Hebrews 11. What we Christians call the "Hall of Faith". Verse 1 says

"What is faith: It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see." (New Living Translation)

Both of the men Albom had the honor to spend time with hoped in things they could not see. I sat in tears as I read Covington's testimony. You will too. God was and is so faithful.

This afternoon I read the rest of Hebrews 11. I read about Noah, Sarah and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Esau. I read about Joseph, Moses' parents, Moses,and the people of Israel. In this chapter it says "By faith" before their name and then lists a portion of their life story. I had this overwhelming urge to write:

"By faith Stephanie......" in the margin of my Bible. What would someone write after my name?

What will my eulogy sound like? Will it shine light to my faith? Will my brief time on this planet bring glory to God Almighty? Will I walk by faith each and every day? Will I remember the things my parents taught me as a child? Will I do my very best to teach those things to my children?

Who would have thought that 250 pages would have sparked so many questions.

Hebrews 11 is an incredible passage, go read it later if you get a chance...however, I want to share what chapter 12 verses 1-2 says (New Living Translation)

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven."

I have to say, God used this book in my life. He used it to ask me questions. Some were easy to answer, others were not so easy.

The reason for my faith you ask? That my friend is easy and I would love to tell you. It's Jesus Christ. He says in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

I would love for you to get this book when it becomes available on September 29 and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Linger a little more.

Linger. It was on my heart WAY back in February. Apparently, it's something God is still trying to teach me.

When I sat down to post today, I had intended to go one direction BUT God said go another and I wound up reading this past post. I feel like He wants me to re-post it today. So that's what I'm doing.

This word has popped up in several different places and conversations over the last week. It's one of those words that, in my mind, sounds old. I like old things, so I have taken the notion to use this word as often as possible this week.

As I prepared for Bible study last week, and then again this week, this 6 letter word brought a dose of conviction. In the rush of getting everything together, I was not lingering with the Father very much, and I found that I missed Him.

Yesterday I was alone for a little while and found myself wondering why it's so hard for us to linger in the presence of God. Why is it easier to keep that t.v. on or the computer in your lap? Why why why do we waste so much stinkin' time doing things, watching things that turn the stomach of God and then question why we don't see the hand of God moving in our life? (And I'll just go ahead and confess that I am the biggest offender in this area.)

Here's what I felt the Lord impress on my heart yesterday, and I'm going to just type what I heard. "YOU DO NOT LINGER IN MY PRESENCE."

I'm ashamed to say that I rush OUT of the presence of the ONE who can change my day, my circumstance. And then I wonder why I don't hear Him speak! How dare I.

The Word tells us Jeremiah 29:13 that if we seek the Lord with our whole heart that we will find Him. He also tells us in James 4:8 that when we draw near to God HE draws near to us. If you're like me I crave the word, I crave time in in-depth Bible study that is not an issue for me..(it wasn't always like that so please don't think I'm trying to puff myself up) for me the issue is shutting up so I can hear God speak. Anybody with me?

Psalm 37:7 tells us to "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 62:5 says "My soul waits in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him."

Lingering is hard in the fast food world we live in isn't it?

Lingering may mean you don't watch tonight's American Idol, or NCIS, or the Bachelor, or heaven don't play Pathwords on Facebook!

Lingering may just mean sacrifice. It's a choice. And as one who has both lingered and allowed Him to speak and one who has not, I can tell you with my whole heart:

Anything you think you are sacrificing or giving up to linger in the presence of God will seem silly when you experience that sweet fellowship with your God.

This is long enough...but I want to leave you with a quote from the study we are doing on Tuesday nights.

"In essence, there is only one thing God asks of us - that we be men and women of prayer, people who live close to God, people for whom God is everything and for whom God is enough."

For God to be our everything, don't you think we have to spend time with Him? Maybe linger in His presence a little longer? What do you think?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Eyes that Really See

Thursday morning I walked into my kitchen to find what Emma affectionately referred to as an "OIL SPILL" all over my kitchen counter. It appeared that my coffee pot had sprung a leak. Not a great way to start my Thursday. I cleaned up the mess, made another smaller pot (W/ NO LEAKS) and went about my day.

Friday morning the exact same thing happened again..this time I was mad. I NEED COFFEE in the morning. I may have told Chad all about it when he called between meetings on Friday morning, and it MAY have been in a very urgent tone. Save the Library stuff could wait... his woman had not had her coffee and it was getting to be close to 11:00 Friday morning.

Can I just tell you that I love that coffee maker. Chad bought it for me the day we moved into this house. It's one of the last appliances that I haven't blown up.

So this morning, after last night's wild and crazy 50th surprise party for our good friend Ron G., I NEEDED coffee. But of pot is cracked. No coffee for me.

We had some errands to run and I figured that I could talk him into swinging into the gas station (since Starbucks was not on our way.) but no. We headed straight for the Home Depot and then the "new" Target.

He was looking at one thing and I headed to check out the coffee makers. I knew that the chances of finding one I REALLY liked and more importantly was in the budget right now, would be slim to none. BUT a girl can dream right?

I'm standing on the aisle looking at this adorable coffee maker with a splash of red on it and thinking THAT would look great in my kitchen when Chad walks up and says. "Look at this one?" It was the one I really liked. What he noticed that I did not, was that it was on sale. Thank you Lord.

As we were checking out, the man of my dreams hands me "coffee money" and says "How about a Starbucks?". Do I really needed to tell you that I nearly skipped over to the Starbucks counter? I didn't think so.

Here is where God tugged on my heart today.

The sweet young lady behind the counter was working alone. There was one family ahead of me with several drink orders. She took my order and told me it would be just a minute. I paid and noticed she seemed on the verge of tears.

I waited a LONG time for that coffee but that was God letting me see her. She was working hard and fast and could not get ahead. She apologized again as she wrote my name on the cup that would hold a Venti White Chocolate Mocha.

As the family in front of me moved on, she had a few more customers waiting in line. Her stress level was through the roof and those eyes were looking like they were about to spill some tears.

When she handed me my coffee I looked her in the eye and said "Thank you. You are doing a great job." As I walked away, my heart sank. I wonder what is going on in her life. Is it just a bad morning at work, or is it more? Did she break up with her boyfriend last night? Is life just hard right now?

I went into Target this morning to look at a coffee maker. God gave me one, AND a cup of my favorite brew BUT....

He also gave me a lesson in the importance of seeing past ME to the person standing right in front of me. Eyes that really SEE...that's what I'm asking Him for.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Final Thoughts from OnGoing Call (#3)

It's been a week since I posted #2! I needed some serious time to process this last thing. God had to give me some practical application before I could really understand how serious He was about this.

Transformation by the Word of God was the theme of the previous post and goodness,who doesn't need a transformation!

Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the heart is deceitful above all things. Proverbs 27:19 says that "As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man". I want so desperately to reflect my Jesus and only my Jesus. To do that, my deceitful heart NEEDS the transformation only the Word of God can bring.

Over the last little while, God has reminded me through several avenues to ask Him to break my heart with what breaks His. He's been doing some serious heart surgery on me. Showing me what has to go so that He can be seen.

Several weeks ago, God impressed upon my heart that there was something in our home that needed to change, or better said...something needed to go. This particular thing (9 times out of 10) does not line up with Philippians 4:8. Very little of what it puts out is pure, lovely, true, or ANY of the attributes that passage describes.

I did my best to ignore it for several days. Then, the impression began to grow and I felt like if I didn't tell Chad I was going to choke. So I casually brought it up one night. I just let it hang out there. You see, the removal of this particular thing is going to HAVE to come from him. He is the head of this house and I feel very strongly that if this is to be removed the ultimate decision has to come from him.

A couple of days later he commented he had been thinking about what I said and asked if I was still feeling led to do this. Dadgum it. I knew this was God confirming it. I think in the back of my mind I was secretly hoping that Chad would totally disagree. (That way if we kept "it", God could take it out on him not me! Real spiritual isn't it...) Anyway..we agreed to pray and talk again after I returned from Winnsboro.

In my mind I had made a mental pro's and con's list. With the con's side significantly longer than the pro's. The more I thought on the list the more disgusted I became. Yes, God I see. For right now, it has to go.

During the Saturday sessions as Jill was continuing on with the transformation theme, she quoted a book. "5 Laws of the Dying Seed" by Fuschia Pickett.

This quote. Oh my goodness. It totally made me realize WHY God had placed this radical thing on my heart.

Do you want to know what the quote says? I thought so. Get ready....

"When we embrace the mind of Christ, HE pierces the carnality of our mind."

God immediately spoke to my heart. I have been asking Him to break my heart with what breaks His heart. THAT is what was happening. He was answering my prayer. I saw things a different way. He showed me just how carnal (worldly, sinful, everything opposite of holy) that "thing" is. AND, it disgusts me.

He transformed my thinking. He pierced my unholy mind and let me see just how broken His heart is when I entertain that "thing".

He challenged me to not just quote Romans 12:1-3, but to LIVE IT OUT. To no longer conform to the world but be transformed by the renewing of my mind. He didn't just pierce my mind to hurt me. He pierced my mind to show me how much it needed to be renewed! Verse 1 of Romans 12 tells us to present our bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God. Girls, your mind is part of your body.

As you can see, I'm not broadcasting what this thing is that will be leaving our home this week. That is between us and God. He told us to do this, not you. It may be for a season, it may be for the rest of our life I don't know. However, I do know that Romans 14:12 says that each of us will give an account of himself to God. We are responsible for what God tells us to do, as you are responsible for what God tells you to do.

As Jill read that quote and I heard the word pierce, my mind thought of how Jesus was pierced for my sin. After what He did for me, how can I not obey?

So..there it is. Has God pierced the carnality of your mind? Is there something that you feel like He's calling you to put aside for awhile?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thoughts from "Ongoing Call" Weekend (#2)

Isn't this tree stunning??? It was in the front yard of the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at last weekend. It has nothing to do with this post, I just wanted to share it with you. :)

The second concept that challenged me last weekend was this.

We need: TRANSFORMATION by the Word, NOT simply information from the Word.

9 years ago I could not have sat under the session this was taught in. That one statement would have sent me running. (Although I would have sat in my seat, my mind would have been somewhere else!)

You see, like so many Christians I had been sitting in church and doing all the things on the “Good Christian Woman’s Checklist”. However, I was ignoring the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life. I refused to shut up long enough to listen because what He had to say I did not want to hear.

Then it happened. I was challenged in an in-depth Bible study to ask God for a heart that loved Him more. I started doing that and before long I could not get enough.

His Word was always alive and active (Heb. 4:12) but to me, it had been years since I had felt it like this. Every passage was new. I was realizing that this was not just a “good book” to live by. It was the very food I needed, and the water I craved. His Word became LIFE to me.

He transformed my thinking. I heard someone once say that “God changed my stinkin’ thinkin’!” THAT my friend is what transformation by the Word of God is all about.

Romans 12 tells us that we should not be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind. (That is only done by being in the Word) Then we will be able to discern what God’s will is. You can’t know what God thinks if you aren’t in God’s word.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 says “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (ESV)

From one degree of glory to another. Transformation. It’s part of the process of a growing Christian. God is constantly removing the things that are not beneficial and replacing them with things that can only come from Him.

James 1:21 is precious to me. It says to put off all the junk, filthiness, wickedness….and here’s what excites me: RECEIVE the implanted word. Receive the alive and active word of God and allowing it to change us, from the inside out.

Transformation, not simply information. That’s what I pray you have experienced in your walk with the Father.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thoughts from "OnGoing Call" Weekend ( #1)

It’s Sunday evening and I have just crashed. My body has just stopped, but if I don’t get some of my thoughts down RIGHT NOW I’m going to explode.

The retreat was incredible. Sweet, beautiful and most importantly EAGER ladies joined us in worship and Bible study. It was very clear that the majority of those ladies came expecting to meet with God. THAT is huge.

Jill brought such a powerful message to us Friday and Saturday. There was SO much that hit me between the eyes. Rather than just list those statements or concepts, I’m going to share my top two or three with you over the next week or so.

The concept at the top of my list is nothing new. In fact, if you did the study “Me, Myself and Lies” this summer you will identify with this too. That’s why it’s coming first…I’ve been working on this for two months!!!

This was some of what I wrote down during session 4:

What do I believe about myself?

I will act based on what I believe about myself.

Do I believe what God says about me? Press in to Him and ask Him to reveal what HE believes and says about me.

Hard to chew on isn’t it.

Several years ago I was very hurt by a person. She is several years older than me but her actions were very ummmmmm..... let's just say middle school. She is paranoid about everything. If someone looks at her wrong then she thinks they are out to get her. It's really very sad. I have attempted multiple times over the years to encourage her but she really isn't interested in a healthy relationship with me. For this people pleaser who wants everyone to get along, it has been a very difficult thing.

It hit me this weekend that at some point in her life she has been deeply hurt. She is hurting. She has never dealt with the hurt and has become bitter. The kind of things she says in these verbal assaults make it very clear what she believes about herself.

Unlovable. Worthless. Failure. The enemy is playing with her mind and he is playing hard.

Her actions and words are shocking. The longer I know her, the more bitter and hard she becomes. Here is the sad part.

She is a Christian.

She is an older Christian woman who has been in the church a VERY long time, and yet makes the choice every morning to continue to live in this bondage.

She has chosen to believe the enemy over the One who died to save her. What He believes about her is totally different than what she believes about herself.

She believes she is unlovable. God says she is deeply loved and treasured. He is quite taken with her.

She believes she is worthless. God says He has plans for her beyond her wildest dreams. Plans He thought out for her before He created the Earth! She is worth A LOT!!!

She believes she is a failure. God can take what we feel are failures and restore us and USE US to accomplish the good works He created us to do. Doing what God tells you to do is success!!

I know that for this precious person to live without being paranoid and miserable, she is going to have spend some serious time with Him. There are lots of layers to her heartache, but at the root of it all is this:

She does not believe what God says about her.

To sum up all of this…..

One of the ways to walk in freedom is to know what God says about you.

You can’t know what He says if you aren’t in His love letter to you every day.

You know, we all have issues we need to deal with. We are all in process and until we see Jesus face to face we will be working on something! Why do we make it harder than it has to be!

This summer has been quite a journey. There have been lots of things I have had to lay down. I have worked through quite a bit of junk and still have a pile to go through! BUT, God has taught me that making the choice to believe HIM and what He says about me versus what others say, is the single most freeing thing I can do. As hard as it is to face some of the hurt it is SO worth it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Getting Ready to Hit the Road!!

Freedom's Call will be in Winnsboro, SC this weekend to worship and hear from the Lord with a pretty special group of women. I can. not. wait. It really is my heart's desire to see women engage in worship and then hear God speak to them during Bible study. It is a high like I can't describe and the deepest desire of my heart. I am so honored to serve Him in this way.

Psalm 66:16..."Come, listen and let me tell you what the Lord has done for me!" stood out to be today. It seems that lately God has been showing me that EVERYTHING in my life has been allowed so that I can use it as an avenue to showcase Him.

Job loss, insecurity, financial issues, miscarriage, family issues, even arguments with the man. :) Yep, we had a little disagreement earlier in this week. (To quote Fran, Stupid Devil. Not Chad, the real one. Not that Chad is a pretend one....I'll stop now.)


It ALL has a purpose. ALL of it.

Here is where it got me. While it's never "easy" to stand on a platform, or lead a breakout session where I'm asked to share part of my story...I find it easier to do away from home and people that really KNOW me. Make sense? I guess I feel like I'm going to leave in a few hours and may never see them again. :)

What God is impressing on me is that there are times He asks me to do that at home. In my church, at the pool, in the grocery store check out line, and the kicker: with my family. Conviction came big time because more often than I'm proud to say, I try to "get out of it". Anybody else?

Heavy stuff to be dealing with right as I prepare to leave. I know from past experience that BLESSINGS FOLLOW OBEDIENCE. So why in the world do I fight Him on this?

I'm asking Him today to give me the same passion for my hometown people as I have for the women he allows us to serve on the weekend.

This probably makes NO sense to you and I will probably come home Saturday and ask myself "WHAT?" but right now, I just needed to talk it out. :)

Thanks for listening...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Last week I re-arranged our living room furniture. Not really a new thing for me, but this time I didn't plan the re-arrange. It was brought on by a freak accident.

Last Tuesday, Chloe moved our coffee table out of the center of the room so she could practice karate. When she was putting the table back the leg got caught on our area rug and the silver tray on the table went sliding off. The over sized glass jar that was holding some shells and a small bird nest, along with a special tea pot that I was given at a women's retreat several years ago, flew off the tray and shattered into thousands of little glass pieces.

My initial reaction was to make sure Chloe hadn't been cut. She was physically okay, but she was very upset with herself for doing this. She ran upstairs in tears.
Emma and I were right behind her to offer a little love and assure her it was okay!

I let the girls pick out a movie to watch in the loft while I headed back downstairs to clean up the mess.

I started with the big pieces...they were easy to see and get to. Then I started on the smaller pieces. They blended in with the carpet and were harder to see not to mention pick up.

After working for about an hour I wound up moving the area run to make sure I had picked up all the little pieces around the edges. That prompted me to move the entire area rug so I could vacuum under it...then I got the bright idea that I wanted to move the rug to the dining room and totally redo the living room.

The girls got in on the fun and we pushed, pulled tugged and towed the furniture around until we found a "new" look. The hard work was worth it and I'm very happy with the new look in our living room.

God reminded me later in the week that sometimes a life-shattering event can bring about much needed change. Sometimes He uses what we view as a catastrophe to remove the old stuff we've become accustomed to. You know, the junk we hang on to because at one point we thought we couldn't live without it!

The process may be intense and at times hurt, but. The long term benefits are far more valuable than the things we think we've lost. When God takes away that old junk, He replaces it with things like love, joy, peace, patience kindness...self-control.

I'm thankful Chloe broke that glass jar. I'm thankful it forced me to focus on the living room for a LONG TIME last Tuesday afternoon.

God used it to remind me that the glass shattering thing going on in my life right now can be used for His glory. It may be a little while before we get done, but the clean out is going to be a good thing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's Official I am Old

Last Sunday my oldest baby turned 11. Since she was born on a Sunday all day long she talked about what was happening "at that exact time on the day I was born". Even with her friend here, she was watching the clock waiting for 5:28 pm when she would be exactly 11 years old. Goodness I have no idea where she gets this from. :) (Do you see the big ole' finger pointing at her mommy?)

Because of all the stuff going on in our life right now, Chloe thought it would be neat to have a combined family party with her sweet cousins M & M who were 3 the first of August. I'm so glad we decided to do that. With my mamaw's fall and surgery there was no way our family could have come all the way to the ATL this year. This is proof that God cared enough about Chloe to have us plan this ahead of time BEFORE all the stuff with my grandparents came up. He is in the details my friend.

Those three girls had a luau complete with a surfboard birthday cake. We had so much fun visiting with family. I'm hoping that my little brother will e-mail some pictures. (We left for Chattanooga so fast that week my camera was the last thing on my mind and I have NO pictures!)

We spent last week preparing for Chloe's b'day weekend. Chad's dad and stepmother came in late Friday night for a visit. Chloe was thrilled to have them here. Zuzu had been here last month when all our cousins were here, but Granddaddy wasn't able to come. It had been too long since our last visit.

We had a very lazy weekend. Saturday we had a special pre-b'day dinner at Medieval Times. Here we are before the girls scooted Chad around so they could sit with their grandparents.

We were blessed to have front row seats so we could talk to our Knight. He even gave Chloe flowers and Emma the ribbon sash thingy.. Sorry, I don't remember the official name!

Saturday night we had cake, ice cream and gifts.

We made the decision a couple of weeks ago to disconnect our home telephone. The only calls we received on that line were for Chloe! After a few days of my cell phone receiving LOTS of Chloe calls, we decided to surprise her with her own cell phone. She has VERY strict rules and will be sitting with down with Chad and I to sign a contract agreeing to the rules. Here she is shortly after she opened her eyes to see what Dad had placed in her hands. I love that you can see Granddaddy in the background calling her. :)

We have started a new tradition of working a puzzle a week so we spent the majority of the weekend trying to finish that blasted puzzle that I will never work again. :) THAT one was too much for me. We finished about 11:00 Saturday night. (Well, the adults finished. The girls gave up and went to bed!)

On her actual day, she invited her best girlfriend over. G.L. and Chloe spent the afternoon swimming, giggling, singing and just being girls. We talked about "middle school" and how nervous they both were. It was a sweet day. A simple b'day but sweet and one that holds extra special memories for Chloe.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Pick Me Up Winner

Happy Monday!!! I'm so excited to give away this CD! Our Winner is:

Tiffany! My old elementary carpool buddy. :)

Okay Tiffany, e-mail your address and I'll get your CD out to you this week!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Need an End of Summer Pick Me Up? Me too...How About a New CD?

Boy I sure did need a pick me up!! We took off for Chattanooga on Tuesday morning. And by took off I mean...we packed fast and I forgot my favorite pair of flip flops and the pants to my second favorite pair of pj's. (After San Antonio last year, I have this thing about sleeping in the same pj's two nights in a row thank you very much Jenny Hope!)

I'm thrilled to tell you that after a very touch and go day, my 92 year old grandmother surprised everyone and did great in her surgery last Tuesday. God was gracious and He anointed that surgeon. (Who by the way, is precious man of God. If you are in Chattanooga and need a good orthopedic Doc. e-mail me! This is one Doctor you WANT.)

Mamaw is now in a nursing home working on getting back on her feet. We are praying that she will participate in her therapy, work hard and be well enough to move to an assisted living facility. Lots of decisions for my parents who are both only children. It's in times like this, I wish I was closer.

So about that pick me up....

The week before I left, I had an e-mail from a sweet intern with Provident Label group asking if I would be interested in listening to a new sister duo. Of course I said yes and I was introduced to Tal and Acacia. They have a Nora Jones or Six Pence None the Richer sound and I LOVE them.

Of course the CD package arrived while I was helping my parents last week. Chad brought it to me last weekend when he joined us in Chattanooga. Sweet Rachel put not one, but 2 preview CD's in there!!!

Chloe and I listened to it on our drive back to the ATL on Sunday. She loved this sister duo as much as I did and maybe a little more. While I like each song on the album, "Yahweh" is ministering to me right now. I LOVE THE LYRICS TO THIS SONG!!!!

Quirky is one adjective their site uses to describe them. I say, FUN, refreshing and the perfect end of summer pick me up! SOOOOOOOOO.

FIRST: Go HERE and listen to the three songs on the playlist.

SECOND: Come back here and tell me which one speaks to you right now.

THIRD: Tell your Internet friends.(Or imaginary friends as my daughters call you)AND COME BACK NEXT WEEK! I'll be giving away one of the preview copies on Monday August 10!!!

I'm going to try and type my LPM verse from memory here. It is the verse that has kept me going over the last few weeks.

He who dwells in the shelter of the MOST HIGH will rest in the shadow of the ALMIGHTY!!! Psalm 91:1

Monday, July 27, 2009

High Heels, Chocolate and Fear

Three things I have in common with my 92 year old Mamaw.

High Heels, Chocolate and Fear.

One of my oldest memories of this particular grandparent is her love, and somewhat obsessive desire for shoes. Particularly high heels.

Understand, she was a housewife. Mamaw only wore those beloved high heels on Sunday to church. and the funeral home. Those shoes were her prized possessions and she paid a pretty penny for each and every pair. At one point I remember counting 50 shoe boxes in her closet. Who knows how many she had under her bed and in my grandfather's closet. If we asked my grandfather I'm sure he would tell us there were well over 100 boxes scattered in closets throughout their home.

I speak about her having them in past tense because after a broken right hip almost two years ago, her days in the heels were over. She still has a love for them and if truth be told, I bet she has a few pairs stashed in her closet.

She also LOVES chocolate. This woman can put away a Whitman's Sampler box faster than anyone I know, myself included. She doesn't share her chocolate so don't ask. :) Oh I kid...she'll give you one maybe two pieces if you're lucky. I'll share my chocolate with you, just don't ask me for more than a few of these..

I share more than a love for high heels and chocolate with my Mamaw. We both fight fear.

While she has never come out and said "I live in fear", her life screams it.

The dark, the unknown, being sick, being alone and yes, even God. It's as if she has lived in the state of "What If's" in the country of FEAR her entire life. Apparently, the governing authority in this country does not like for you to travel. He is sly and evil and will do whatever it takes to keep you under his authority.

Even after accepting Jesus as her Lord and Savior AT 90, she still allows the enemy to keep her bound by fear.

She has never allowed Jesus to cover her in peace.

She has never experienced the freedom that comes from REALLY living.

Each time I see her, I see fear on her a little more and it makes me uncomfortable.

More than uncomfortable it grieves my heart. The Holy Spirit lives in her she does not have to live this way.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Power. My God gives me power. I love this verse:

Deut.33:29 Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph! Your enemies shall come fawning to you, and you shall tread upon their backs."

If I was personalizing it for my Mamaw it would go like this: Happy you can be Hazel. You have been saved by the Lord! He is the shield of your help and the sword of your triumph! Your enemy, the one who has fought hard to keep you in this state of fear and what if's, is going to fall at your feet and you are going to walk all over his nasty back.

And I would read this over her and pray that the words would sink into her heart:

Psalm 3:1-6a.
"O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid"

Tonight as I type this I'm praying for my high heel, chocolate loving Mamaw a little more than normal. She fell and broke her left hip and will have surgery early in the morning.

The next few days are going to be hard. She will once again fight fear. I'm praying that this time, her heart will be soft to her Prince of Peace, her Deliverer, her Shield and the Lifter of her head.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Psalm 131 a Repost

This is a post from February...but it just fits right now..hope it encourages you too.

Psalm 131

1 "O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.

2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore."

A lady I deeply admire and respect shared this Psalm last weekend. I have read it everyday since then. Three very short verses that pack quite a punch.

That first line in verse two is the kicker for me. For whatever reason this week I have found it hard to calm and quiet my soul. My mind seems to be running on high this week. So many thoughts, lists, understand don't you?

God woke me up EARLY this morning to force me to quiet my soul for a little while. It was sweet. Normally, if I'm up early Chloe joins me. (regardless of the time) Not today. God let her sleep until a little before seven. I sort of feel like I've been to the woodshed. (You know, had a little bit of a talking to.) BUT...

I have calmed and quieted my soul and I can do this thing called life today knowing, believing that He will give me what I need for today.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"I have resolved that my mouth will not sin." Psalm 17:3b NIV

This is my verse for the next two weeks. I have been praying for two weeks, asking God to set a guard over my mouth...or better said asking God to keep His holy hand over my mouth to keep me from spewing.

God taught me several years ago that when He says "speak this" I need to speak it. BUT just as important when He says "DO NOT SPEAK" and I's a sin and does not bring good to a situation.

Lately, I have felt like God has lifted the "DO NOT SPEAK" order on a particular situation in my life. Wouldn't you know that the heat has been turned up and the situation has become almost out of control...I do not want to speak because I'm so emotional about the thing! I'm afraid that I will speak out of my hurt, and that the hurt will keep me from speaking in love. Does that makes sense at all? This is all so frustrating and I'm sure makes no sense at all. (Not to mention I'm a walking zombie this morning...AFTER 3 cups of coffee.)

Thus the verse for the next two weeks. I need God to consume my thoughts and words and show me when to speak so that it is HIS plan and not my own.

Okay...enough rambling we are off to the pool for a little while. These kiddos need to burn off some energy!!! (Aunt Steffie needs a nap this afternoon!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Cousin Fun

I'm so proud of my girls and my nieces and nephew. They are all working hard to get along and help each other. Don't get me wrong, we've had a few moments and at one point I was ready to have the three oldest start copying Romans 12! BUT, we are all loving this time together.

After lunch today, ZuZu left to go back home to Granddaddy. The kids were NOT happy about that. They have missed her terribly this afternoon and tonight P. (4 years) asked me if Zuzu could just come back and tuck her in.

She (P.) is having a bit of a hard time settling down tonight. It's the first time she has asked me to hold her and sing. I asked her what she wanted to sing and she said "move the mountain", I asked her if it was "Mighty to Save" and she said, "Yes, but not the long one please." We sang the chorus. Then she wanted "Seek Ye First" and then the tomato song she made up and sang to me while we swept the kitchen after lunch this afternoon.

B.(4)told me during bathtime that he "LOVES CHRIS TOMLIN CAUSE HE SINGS GOD OF THIS CITY AND I LOVE THAT SONG SO MUCH AND MY BELLY TINGLES WHEN I SING IT." This child has kept me in stitches. As Emma says, that boy is a living exclamation point!

The four oldest girls, Zuzu and I sat around the kitchen table yesterday had Smores and talked for almost 3 hours. The girls were talking about what they wanted to be, where they wanted to attend college...just life in general. We laughed until our sides hurt. What a sweet time we had.

I'm once again uploading photos for sis and brother in law. I know they miss their babies.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cousin Fun

A couple of weeks ago my sister in law called and said that they needed some help. She and her husband were scheduled to leave for Turkey on a mission trip and they needed childcare...for about 12 days.

We are tickled pink to have our 3 nieces and 1 nephew here for the next few days.
They live in Virginia and we haven't seen them in over a year. My oldest nieces (12) are now as tall as I am and can no longer wear my shoes. The youngest set of twins are 4 and are just in love with life. Surprisingly, NO ONE has been homesick for mommy or daddy...yet. I'm sure it will hit at some point, but for now we are doing just great!!

They arrived late Friday afternoon, followed soon by ZuZu. This weekend we have just been settling into a routine and playing in the pool. This morning we opted to have a lazy morning and spend some time at a local park. I'm posting a few of my favorite pictures in hopes that my sister and brother in law can see them.

Emma, P. and B. playing "Spy Kids".

B. has loved watching the Tour de France with Uncle Chad and is wearing one of his cycling shirts as his costume.

Celebrating Uncle Chad's Birthday....

B. and Zuzu walking at the park...

My favorite group shot so far.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Just really trying to figure out....

How in the world to post. So much has gone on in the last week and I have been in awe of what God has done. How He went before me to prepare my heart and my mind for the week He knew would exhaust me. I wasn't surprised just totally amazed at the way scripture, sermons, Bible study and music all came together to prepare me for the battle that we would be in.

I have repeatedly had the words Be Still put in front of me. Because I talk with my hands as much as my mouth, be still also means be quiet. :)So this week when my human gut reaction was to speak, my heart felt the Spirit tug and say be still and quiet. THAT my friend was and is hard.

Very hard.

I will defend my family and friends with everything in me and when one of them is hurt,I become a 5'1" pit bull.

God taught me several years ago that He doesn't always need me to vocally defend my loved ones to another person...He wants me to fight that battle on my knees. I can already see God's hand and even though there are still unresolved issues, Light has been brought to a dark corner.

If I have learned anything in my life, it's that when you start shining Light in the dark corners, you see all the filth you have worked so hard to hide. Some of that dirt and grime can be old and it may be hard work to get a deep clean. That process can't be accomplished on your own. It takes getting real honest with God and allowing Him to show you all the cobwebs, the dirt, all that junk that is keeping you stuck in that dark corner. For me, it meant I had to own up and admit that my choices had affected others. That my friend can be the hardest thing, however...

Submitting to that process and allowing God to clean out my dark corners was the most freeing experience.

Not easy to talk about, not easy to walk through but worth every tear. We are letting God clean out another corner in our life right now and it hurts. It is hard, BUT.....

There is freedom when you live in the Light. We know this and are already thanking God for the process. Only He can clean out this corner. So we are being still (and quiet in my case!) and looking forward to the day when this dark corner is clean and we can say look at what happened when we added Light in this corner.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oh My Blog, I Haven't Forgot You

The past two weeks I have said "That would make a great post" about 20 times...and then we go back to the pool.

I love summer, but find that is absolutely throws my blogging time for a loop. Part of me loves that and the other part is twitching big time. :)

I'm thrilled to be doing "Me, Myself, and Lies" with so many of you! This first week has been a little tough for me.

Part of that is coming off of the Freedom's Call Conference from last weekend. My friend Debbie F. blogged about it here. Go check out what she says and then hear me say "ditto".

So I walk away from last weekend beating myself up left and right over what I should have said, could have said, missed notes, forgotten you get the picture?

And then we start "Me, Myself and Lies".

Timely huh? Just like God isn't it. Check out this statement from week one that has sunk deep into my heart:

"When we meditate on God's wonders and word, we have little room in our thought closet for anything else!" Jennifer Rothschild

So friends...what did you hang in your thought closet this week?

Boy oh boy, I am doing a little spring cleaning in mine and there is a lot of junk in there. I can tell this purging of my closet is going to be hard.

His Word says He gives beauty for ashes, and honestly...some of the things I've been hanging in there are nothing but nasty ashes. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and toss out the ashes and watch God hang some beautiful new garments. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend Ponderings

What a weekend we had. It was incredible, exhausting, powerful, reflective...the list could go on and on.

I was once again reminded just how much I take for granted. At one point on Saturday I sat on the floor and watched some of the ladies taking notes. Most were soaking up everything Jill was teaching. Others, were just there because it counted as a meeting. That is okay, the Word of God never returns void and believe you me they heard the Word over and over.

I'll be honest, Friday night I had this wave of inadequacy fall on me about the time we broke out into small groups. The majority of the ladies in my group didn't really want to talk, they wanted to know all about me. (Did I have children, how I met Chad, if my children had the same father, were my parents still married, what kind of face cream I use...yes that was a question.) It hit me later that before they were going to open up, they needed to know me. We laughed a little and somehow, God showed me how to relate all that question/answer time back to the breakout guideline. Only God could do that. And let me tell you, I am taken with this ladies. They have my heart. (And they thought Chad was pretty cute too.)

Jill was anointed and as usual taught her heart out. She shared some very personal parts of her testimony that I had not heard before. It was beautiful to see how God provided and was so faithful to her and her children during very hard times. He was and is her everything. She reminded us all that we are in a process. Until we see Jesus, He has some work to do in us!

I wanted to share just a few pictures with you.

Jill praying with a sweet lady..

This beautiful lady was like this each time we worshipped. She was on her feet and tears on her face. So thankful for what GOD has done in her life.

The next two are my favorite. They are soaking up the Word as Jill is teaching. I love that they wanted to SEE what she was reading. May we all have that passion for the Word of God.

Oh boy. This one makes me cry. Jill is big on visuals so we had given them small items to place on their dressers to remind them who they are in Christ. At the end of the day Saturday they traded the chains we gave them on Friday night, for a wedding band and a veil. We clipped those veils on those precious heads and told them what a beautiful bride their Jesus had and this lady just broke down. (These were happy tears) Debbie and I were honored to serve her.

I have to say thanks to Jill's daughter in love Laura. She grabbed my camera, her camera and documented the entire weekend for us.

I also have to say a special thank you to Chad. He was the ONLY man in that room of 125 women. I know we scared him part of the time, but he hung in there and as usual did an awesome job taking care of all our tech stuff.

Thanks to so many of you who were praying for us over this weekend. Believe me, we felt it. I can't tell you how many times God brought you to my mind and reminded me that people were praying. THANK you for taking us to the Father.