Saturday, February 28, 2009

Planning Ahead

It is a rainy Saturday morning around here. I love mornings like this. For whatever reason mornings like this make me slow down. I just sort of want to curl up with my coffee and my Bible study and NOT do anything else. But I have children, so that doesn't last as long as I would like. :)

This morning, I'm planning my week. All the things I need to do for our day to day commitments are taken care of and right now, I'm thinking about summer. Specifically what I can do now to prepare for summer, and then the fall.

Something I've been thinking quite a bit of lately is planning ahead. This verse has been running in my mind for about a month.

Proverbs 6:6-8 "Go to the ant O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise. Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her bread in the summer and gathers her food in harvest."

And then God throws this one in there.

Proverbs 31:27 (really the whole passage, but particularly verse 27) "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

Did that sting you as bad as it did me?

Oh I could write a book about that verse 27. :) Far too often "idle" could be an adjective to describe me.

Anyway...planning ahead... get ready to laugh out loud.

I think that this year, I'm going to expand our patio garden a little. I about choked yesterday at the store when Chloe told me what our total was BEFORE we left the produce section. It was ridiculous. Fruits and veggies should not cost so much.

I decided at that point that we were going to research and figure out how much we could grow in our tiny backyard. Right now...for sure we will have jalapenos (for Chad and Chloe) tomato's, and all my herbs.

On my maybe list are cucumbers and squash...I've got to research them a bit to see if I have space to grow them. Do you have any suggestions?

If I don't get my garden, or maybe better said...if nothing grows, them I'm going to find a local produce stand. I would much rather pay for homegrown produce!

Now here is my question for you.

What do you do to plan ahead? Do you have a special thing you do to save $$ on your grocery bill?

(And GA girls...I'm looking for a CHEAP table for our can be in rough shape too if you know of anyone wanting to get rid of an old piece of patio furniture let me know!)

My heart is thinking spring/summer and Chad just informed me that we may get snow in the morning. I guess I'm going to through together a pot of soup and send Chad out for a gallon of milk. ;) AND ONE MORE LOAF OF BREAD!!! Wouldn't want to run out if we have a have to love the south.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 27, 2009

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." (ESV)

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, February 25, 2009

Tired Ears

Being with my nieces last week brought back so many memories of my girls at that wonderful age of two. All of the children on this side of the family share one "talent", they start talking early and they never stop. :) Between the four of them, my ears hurt by the time Thursday afternoon rolled around.

At times, it seemed each one needed something totally different from the other. Morgan would need to hear "good job" while Mia wanted someone to hold her. Emma just wanted a little peace and quiet and Chloe, well Chloe just wanted to talk. :) I loved every minute.

This morning I was sitting with God thinking about several specific situations. Some in our family and some not. Can I just be totally honest here?

He absolutely amazes me.

God doesn't slumber or sleep. Unlike me, He is never overwhelmed with all these children demanding His attention. He is adequate to supply each and every need I know off AND the ones I'm not even aware of.

This is the verse He gave me last week in the middle of taking care of all those beautiful girls.

Isaiah 59:1

Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save, or His ear dull that it cannot hear." (ESV)

I pray that today you know, really know that God's arm is long enough to reach you, and that His hearing is as sharp as ever. He hears you sweet friend, slow down and listen for His response.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Real Quick

I can't wait to jump back into blogland this week and catch up with you. :) I have missed you so much, but God has had other plans for me the last week. (And I wouldn't have missed it for the world!)

We got home Friday afternoon and I immediately had to prepare for a weekend planning/retreat time with Freedom's Call. Our speaker is in town and we had a marathon time together that will wrap up at 2:00 today. I could not wait to share this and I wanted to get it down before I got busy and the initial impact of this was over.

Okay. Deep breath...

Our pastor began a new sermon series this morning based on the book "In a Pit with Lion on a Snowy Day" by Mark.....I can't remember his last name but I'll find it.
(The scripture passage is 2 Samuel 23:20-23 if you want to check it out.)

In each and every point of this sermon God spoke something to me personally. The thing that has left me awestruck is that none of what our pastor said this morning, was new material to me. I have been journaling it, hearing it and even talking about some of it this weekend with Freedom's Call.

The point that made me want to get out of my seat and into the floor...right there in the service was point 3. Be assured I did not leave my seat, BUT IN MY MIND I WAS TOTALLY FLAT IN THAT FLOOR! Here it is:

Attempting to do something great and failing is better than doing nothing and succeeding.

Then our pastor said this:

Lion chasers are not stopped by FEAR OF FAILURE.

Ya'll. This is me on so many levels. If you've shared my life through my blog for anytime, you've probably picked up on that a little bit. I try to hide it, and God showed me this morning THAT was a pride issue. He's been beating that into me for quite sometime, but this morning it penetrated that part of my heart that has remained closed to hearing and accepting this.

I'm praising Him for not giving up on this strong willed child. (Yes mom we all heard you just say amen.)

I'm praising Him for impressing this series on my pastor's heart.

I'm praising Him for the timing of it! A couple of you know that this week, I made the decision to do something with my music that has me scared to death. Terrified actually but....

I don't want to be stopped by fear of failure anymore. This girl is going to chase that Lion and take it down.

Okay! I'm off to finish up our planning time and then to worship with our children's choirs.

Talk to you Monday!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So Far So Good

The girls and I are hanging out with my parents this week, helping my mom and taking care of my nieces. We have survived the first two days of my 2 year old nieces. :)

I have forgotten just how active two year olds can be. Today was a no nap day. Needless to say, it's barely 6:00 and we are already in our pj's. I love my nieces to death but I was very glad to see their mommy today!

Yesterday morning Chloe and I went to pick up these precious little things, they got right in the car and began to talk talk talk. I have no idea where they get that from. :) At one point, Morgan said "Aunt Steffie I'm right here, behind you." I said "I see you Morgan and I'm glad you're there." Mia then proceeded to say in a VERY loud voice "I'M RIGHT HERE TOO STEFFIE I'M RIGHT HERE."

It was cute but it reminded me of how I feel sometimes when I'm in a group of people. When I'm not supposed to be in front of people I fight being shy. I always have. There are times when I want to say "I'm right here! I just don't know what to say!" It's something that I struggle with.

It's probably why God has for the last few years has been dealing with me on where I seek approval. Where I seek to find significance and if I'm looking to find it anywhere but Him, He has removed that relationship or position from my life. I would love to say I've learned my lesson but for me, it's an on-going process.

Okay...enough heavy and why I went there I don't know...can you tell I'm tired!!

Tomorrow will be a good day. Mom and the girls and I all have hair appointments and then we will take mom back to the Doctor to hopefully removing some of the "wrapping" on her hand. She's doing great and will feel so much better once this mound of an ace bandage is gone!

If you think about pray for my man. He's home alone and from I understand...he's had frozen pizza two nights in a row. I knew I should have frozen some dinners for him.

Have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Memory Verse Challenge 2009 #4 and an answer to Nancy's question.

It's the 15th and that means it's time for my second verse for this month.

My first verse this month has been a favorite for a long time, but the past two weeks, Deut. 33:12 has been life to me. As I thought about the next verse, I kept thinking about how the Deut. verse had changed my thoughts and my attitude over the last two weeks. God reminded me that His word IS alive and powerful and that when I allow Him to, He uses it to transform my thinking. (Rom. 12)

My next verse is 2 Corinthians 4:16

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."

Nancy in NC asked me what book I started with when I started studying the Bible. So I'm throwing this question out for you all to answer to. Leave her some comment love again and let's give her some ideas of just where to start.

Nancy, for me even in the times when I wasn't what we would describe as "close" to God, I always read a Proverb a day and a Psalm a day. Just one. When I started getting this desire to go deeper with Him, I was doing the Beth Moore study "Jesus the One and Only." I have heard my Dad and other pastors say that a great place to start reading the Bible is the book of John. It may take you a while, but don't rush it. Journal what stands out in your mind and talk to God about it.

Okay friends, think about it and give Nancy some ideas. I can't tell you how much your comments to her meant to ME! It was exciting to see and read your thoughts. Leave her some comment love here and let's encourage her as she goes a little deeper in her love and knowledge of our Jesus.

I'm off to finish laundry, pack our suitcases and then after choir the girls and I are driving to Chattanooga for a few days. We'll be taking care of my mom and my little nieces.

Have a great week!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy "V" Day

FIRST: Thanks for praying for my mom. The surgery went as planned and she is resting at home. She is still recovering from being put to sleep. (Something she didn't think they would do, she's had several hand surgeries and has been awake for each one.) Dad says she is sleeping most of the time, which is what she should be doing! The girls and I will go up Sunday night to make sure she doesn't overdo it this week and to help with my nieces. I can not wait.

Now that I've updated you: HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!

Chad and I were able to enjoy a real date last night. It was much like our first date, except we ate at Olive Garden instead of the mom and pop pizza joint and we saw a movie that I can actually tell my parent's about! (Read this post from last Valentine's Day to understand)

We saw Confessions of a Shopaholic and I LOVED IT!!!! I laughed and yes..I even got teary in a couple of scenes. Please...don't tell me how dumb that is I know I have issues. BUT when Rebecka and her best friend are just broke my heart and then at the end when someone does something AMAZING for the main character. was a picture of redemption and reminded me of Jesus. So there. My mind was just on my Savior. He had just spent the day thrilling me and that miracle we needed...He came through big time and right on time. How I love Him.

This morning all three of my people had their karate test. Everyone passed and yes, Chloe got high test score again. I'm so proud of ALL of them for working so hard. Chad and Chloe are now brown belts and Emma is a green stripe.

After the test we enjoyed dinner leftovers from Olive Garden and then we all took naps. It was heaven. After nap we needed to make a Wal-Mart run and since I still have a Starbuck's gift card, I was getting a cup of coffee.

On the way, Chad pulled into a shopping strip close to the Starbuck's, and I asked him what he was doing. His response was typical Chad.."I'm pulling into this parking space...let's go." We get out and walk into the "phone store".

I have to tell you I got a little tingle in my stomach. My cell phone and I have a love/hate relationship. The phone I dearly loved died right before I went to Texas last August, so we bought a nice phone very cheap on e-bay and I vowed to make it last until my contract was up and I could get a better phone with a little bit of a discount. Well....the time to do that was this week. I know anything about my phone contract so I did not know that. I just knew that my cell phone battery was starting to act STUPID. :)

So dream phone was out of our price range and I decided that I wanted a Blackberry Pearl, yes in pink. :) Well, when Chad told the salesman what I wanted he asked if he could make a suggestion. He and Chad talked shop while the girls and I examined all the phone stuff and before I knew what hit me, I was walking out with my dream phone. A pink Blackberry Curve. Before we got through Wal-Mart I was getting my e-mails. Darlene R. I'll have you know your comment was the first e-mail I received! I moderated your comment from the check out line in the Wal-Mart. It's the little things girls, the little things. :)

We have had a great Valentine's weekend, I hope you have too. I'm more in love with my man today than I was the day we were married and like I told him this morning..I can't believe it has been 17 years since our very first date. Who would have thought!

I'm going to post my 4th verse in the LPM Verse Challenge on Sunday afternoon. I'm also going to have another question from Nancy in NC. :)


Friday, February 13, 2009

Expecting a Miracle

I'm just going to put something out here. Yesterday afternoon I received yet another piece of information that just caused me to shake. Fear, concern, worry all those fun things I have to fight began to come up and consume me. My thoughts were all over the place.

I am always honored to pray for people, it's something I don't take lightly, but yesterday for whatever reason that one thing just about sent me over the edge. I kept asking God why. Why are these people, good people, God loving people going through this?

As Chad and the girls left for Karate I decided that I was going to just sit with the Lord. I poured out my heart and then closed my mouth. It was silent. No t.v., no music, no computer. No thoughts. And I waited.

It wasn't long and I began to remember the lyrics to a song from my childhood. First, it was the tag from the chorus.

"I expect a miracle."

Then another word..I could hear it, but the lyrics weren't coming back in order.


I was taken back to my childhood and remembered playing that record (as in vinyl) in our playroom. We just about wore out that Bill and Gloria Gaither kids collection. :)


I sat trying hard to remember the lyrics that matched the melody I was humming.

"intervention of God"

Yes God that is what we need. What our friends need, what we ALL need.

I felt released to get up and finish dinner preparations. It was still bugging me that I could not match up these words with the melody, but I kept humming the melody and plugging in the words I could remember.

About the time my meatloaf came out of the oven it hit.

I anticipate the inevitable,
supernatural intervention of God.
I expect a miracle.
I expect a miracle.

Today, I am expecting a miracle. I'm already thanking God for it. I just believe that today He is going to show Himself. We've already had a sweet time this morning and I can't wait to spend the rest of the day anticipating His move.

On a different note:

Thanks mom and dad for keeping Christian music in our home growing up. (and for letting us play it loud in the playroom) Who would have thought that MANY years later, the lyrics to a fun dance around the playroom song would become my theme song.

Also...if you think about it..please pray for my mom today. She is having joint replacement in one of her fingers today. Not fun....:) Surgery is at 11:00....thanks!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

So how's your day been?

Good I hope. Let me say that this has been one LONG day. Don't know why...just long. I'm seriously thinking about skipping choir tonight and just staying home, but I know that going will be a great way to end this day.

Don't get me wrong, today has not been bad, just long. School with the girls seemed to take forever, and they were watching that clock like you would not believe. The schools here are out half day today and one of our neighbors is hanging out with us until her mom and dad can get home from work. Right now, they are playing games and finishing up their snack.

Oh The snack. Emma asked me this morning if we could make homemade "pigs in a white blanket". Don't ask me where she got "white" blanket I don't know. So that is what we made for snack today. All homemade. Are you impressed? Well don't be....

It seems that the mother in this house left a knife on the cookie sheet when she placed it in the oven. That knife had a plastic handle. It was 13 minutes before that mother realized something was smelling funny.

Fortunately, it was just smelling and not melting....yet. Stupid knife.

Since Chad rarely reads my blog I'm not too worried about him finding out. And if he does...he'll just shake his head and laugh...this is nothing. Besides, he knows that if he makes fun of my culinary skills too much I'll go back to cooking the way I did when we were first married. Steak Ums and Hamburger Helper. Good times I tell you good times.

I joke about the hamburger helper thing. There is no way my girls are growing up and saying "My mom sure could work a box of dried pasta and a few spices." Now I'm hungry and my room full of little girls have destroyed our "homemade pigs in a white blanket" so I'm off to have an apple or something healthy. Maybe my smelly knife has cooled off enough for me to survey the damage. :)

Do you think the man will notice if I just slide it back into the knife block???

Monday, February 9, 2009

Grandparents, Wii, and a treat from Jesus at Hobby Lobby

I sure hope your weekend was fabulous! We greeted Chad's dad and step-mother around 5:30 on Friday afternoon. They brought along their little 5 month old miniature dachshunds, Reece and Remi. Chloe and Emma were in love, Paddington...not so much. He was unbelievably quiet and just let them take over his toys and his bed.

After dinner we introduced the grandparents to our Wii.

When bowling got old, Granddaddy and Zuzu decided they would have a boxing match. It was rather funny. :)

Saturday we were up early. Chloe was on one of our church's Bible quiz teams. (for Awana's) Saturday was the big day and we enjoyed watching her team tie for first. We suffered through 2 tiebreaker rounds and Chloe's team came in 2nd place in their book. They did GREAT! Our church however, came in first place. We are so proud of our kids. Their hard work payed off but more importantly, they have hidden the Word in their hearts.

Saturday afternoon we divided up. Chad, his dad and the girls came home for an afternoon of playing outside, Wii and naps. (Well...the men took naps.) Chad's stepmother and I did a little shopping.

The VERY generous gift card they had tried to purchase several times on-line as my Christmas gift never arrived and they were never charged for it. SOOOOOO...Susie suggested we just take a little shopping trip while they were here. And we did.

We started at this great little shop around the corner from my house and I found a beautiful picture that sits on an easel behind my couch. It has honeybees on it. I have this new love for honey bees. Anyway...I love it and have an idea to hang it in front of our window.

Next we hit the Starbucks and then it was off to Hobby Lobby. Let me tell you..we hit Hobby Lobby on the right day. I found SO much and all but one piece was 50% off. You would not believe all the stuff I came home with! It was incredible. Susie found some great pieces for her mantle too. It was definetly a good shopping day. :)

We got home and Chad and his dad hung my new hurricane sconces for me. I love them and then I realized....I have NO candles to go in them. Oh well...they still look pretty. I'll grab candles later.

I do have to share this one little thing. Several months ago my mom and I were in Hobby Lobby. We saw this

I fell in love, but with money and business being the way it is right now, I could not and would not ever purchase a "want" item such as this. Saturday when we walked in, the above picture was more than 50% off and I just about died. I can't believe they still had one. Thank you Jesus!!! If that had been the ONLY thing it would have been more than enough, but He just continued to amaze me. He was reminding me in a fun and very unexpected way, that when we position ourselves to hear Him and to see Him....when we are serious when we say show me yourself today God...He will. Sometimes He even chooses to show off for you in Hobby Lobby. It was quite a treat, one that I won't soon forget.

Isn't it just like Jesus to surprise you with something unexpected? I was blown away, but more than anything, I came home eager. Eager for Him to show me something else and eager to love Him more.

Friday, February 6, 2009

For Nancy in NC

Hi Nancy! If I had an e-mail for you I would have sent you a personal e-mail, but you know what? This may be better because I'm going to ask our sweet siesta's to leave you some advice in the comments! This entire post is for you.

Nancy left the following comment on my LINGER post.

"I too need to linger with Jesus alot longer. I am retired (62) and live alone - How do I start "getting into the word" how do I study His word.
Nancy in North Carolina"

First of all the fact that you asked that question. tells me that you want and desire more Jesus in your life! Do you know how excited that makes me!?! I mean the jump up and down kind of excited!

As I thought about this question, I immediately thought "group Bible study". I would suggest to you that if it's possible find a women's Bible study in your church or another church in your area...jump in! BUT....

As I prayed over that...I felt like God wanted me to throw out some other ideas to you as well. The following is what I attempt to do each day ESPECIALLY when I am not doing a group study. I have this nice little list for you thanks to my new friend Rashelle who spoke at the retreat I led worship for back in January. She totally listed off my "plan" and I was cracking up. Here we go....

1. PRAY - ask God to remove any distraction and to teach you. "Teach me" (on a sidenote...the song "speak to me" came out of my Bible study time..I just kept praying speak to me and after a few weeks, this song was born. Proof that God does hear and answer..sometimes it just takes time..)

2. Ask and Expect God to Speak Have a special journal or notepad ready. If you're like me you'll want to find the perfect pen too. :) Start this time ANTICIPATING HIM.

3. Have a Plan
* Read a Proverbs/Psalm a day. Ask God to impress a verse or two on your heart. Write the verse in your journal and then write any thoughts that come to mind. You may find that you wind up journaling your prayers.

* Find online/CD devotions listen to those and then journal what you feel God impressed on your heart.

* One way that I have found to be most powerful in my life is to follow the example of Anne Graham Lotz. She has you break a passage of scripture down three ways.

First you ask "What does it say?" then "What does it mean" and finally "What does it mean to me?"

I have found that this approach keeps me focused and thinking about what the text is saying. I did her study "Visions of His Glory" a study on Revelation several years ago. We broke the book down in this way and it was powerful.

4. Make and Keep your Date This is your time with God. Do your very best to make it happen...BUT life happens. Sometimes you just don't get there even when your heart longs to. Our God doesn't slumber or sleep remember? He will always have time for you, so on those days when everything seems to fall apart around you, ask Him to show you when and where and how. He will. I can testify to that.

8 years ago when I started getting serious about spending time with Him, I asked Him to show me how I was supposed to find time to study His word when I had a 2 year old and was expecting my second child in less than 3 months. I mean seriously! I had so much to do how could I fit it in without getting up at the crack of dawn. (Go ahead and laugh...I laugh at myself.) Here's what He told me....You know that hour of rest time when you fold clothes and watch "The Young and the Restless"...that will be our time. was. For that season, 12:30 - 1:30 became my quiet time. After my second daughter was born it changed a little, but you know what? He was always faithful to show me when and where. (and he totally changed my taste in television too)

I say that to say...when you ask Him to help you desire to spend time with Him He will. Remember he says when we seek him with our whole heart we will find him!

Okay Siesta''s your chance to help a siesta out. Leave some comment love and share with Nancy what works for you!

Nancy can I pray for you? Lord Jesus I thank you for Nancy's eagerness and desire to study your Word more. I'm asking you today to show her how, when and where. Would you place godly women who have a love and passion for your Word in her path today? I ask that you supply each and every need she has in regards to this. If she needs a new Bible..send it to her! If she needs a partner to help get her started...send one her way. Most importantly I pray that you will speak to her. Show her how awesome you are. I thank you for this crazy Internet and how it can bond a group strangers together...In Jesus Name.

Okay Siesta's...leave Nancy some comment love!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


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?