Saturday, January 30, 2010

Frozen Pipes

We were in the middle of the deep freeze that held those of us in the South hostage for what seemed like an eternity. My sister, who lives in the middle of the woods somewhere in East Tennessee, called to tell me that her pipes had frozen. She had no water. That means"facilities". I knew that night why God had given her a man-child. My sister and I have been known to "hold" our need to use a "facility" for HOURS because the one in front of us is unacceptable. You think I'm kidding. Ask my parents how many road trips we would beg to stop, only to get back in the car because the "facility" smelled. (Or as my oldest would say, "had an offensive odor".)

Back to her frozen pipes.

After several days of investigation by herself, her man-friend, the plumber and the water company, they discovered the problem was the water pipe that runs from the edge of her driveway TO her house. NOT, praise you Jesus, the pipes in her home!!

Apparently, the family that lives at the edge of her driveway (her home sits WAY off the road) had done some landscaping last summer. Part of that included uncovering her waterline. When they covered the line back up, they just pushed the gravel back on top. No dirt. Just about 8 inches of gravel. Any dummy can see why those pipes froze, they were not buried deep enough in the ground to sustain the freezing temperatures!

Last night as I was trying to go to sleep, I was thinking about how that is such a picture of our lives. Sometimes we are hit with unexpected deep freeze (crisis, job loss, health issue, relationship turmoil....). The more deeply grounded we are in God's Word will dictate our reaction to the freeze.

For my sister her pipes were frozen for 15 days! 15 days without water in her home. (Thank goodness she was traveling for work a good bit!) It was 15 days before conditions were right to replace the damaged pipes and then bury them DEEP in the ground. There was a process that had to happen before the old pipe was removed and the new pipe installed and buried.

Each "freeze" that comes into our life is an opportunity. An invitation to go a little deeper with the Lord. To become a little more grounded. To have the old, cracked and worn out parts removed and replaced with new, healthy, whole parts. Whole parts that can be used to do the thing God planned for them to do!

Again, it's that process of removing what He can't use and replacing it with what He can.

The last year has had it's share of "freezes", and God has been so tender and faithful during the process. I know that we aren't done and until I see Him face to face, I will still be a work in process.

Philippians 3:20-21

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Blessing of Missing the Siesta Scripture Memory Celebration

Last year when Siesta Momma announced that we were going to celebrate a year of hiding God's word in our hearts, I asked Chad what he thought. He, as usual, said go and enjoy your girlfriends. So I planned. For months I planned on being in Houston Jan. 21-22 for this party that would be like none other. :)

I think it was in late November early December, the women's retreat ministry team that I'm part of (Freedom's Call) started planning our yearly kick off weekend in Charlotte. A weekend that I love. We just spend a weekend praying, talking about what God is doing in our lives and then our leader shares what God has placed on her heart for this ministry He has entrusted to us. The one weekend that worked for the majority of the group was the weekend of our Siesta Scripture Celebration.

I cancelled my plans. It was bittersweet. I would be spending the weekend with my girlfriends and ministry partners, but I would also be missing a very special weekend with my girlfriends. I walked around in a funk for several days and had to KEEP confessing my stinky attitude about it all.

As the New Year began, the plan to go to Charlotte for our meeting was changed. The team would meet here in my home. I was thrilled that my husband offered to take our girls AND our dog child Paddington, to my parent's for the weekend. It all worked out well, since my sister and nephew would also be at my parent's to celebrate our nephew's birthday.

Last week, as so many of you were beginning to post about getting ready for the Houston weekend, I was getting ready to host some sweet sweet friends. I was still longing to be in Houston, but okay with being here. Thursday morning, I took Chloe to her Thursday classes, came home with Emma and we dove into our schoolwork. She was going to help me do the last minute dusting and mopping. (In exchange for a Sonic peach tea!)

I was still making out my to do list and Emma was deep in her math work when I got an e-mail from our leader. She was sick and not sure she was going to be able to come. Long story short....two of us were VERY sick. Our weekend was cancelled early Thursday evening.

For about an hour, I was ready to start shooting e-mails to see if I could still get to Houston. I was pretty sure I could get an airline ticket last minute, but hotel was another story. :) I sure was scheming. Chad's comment to me was, "Well, you can go to Chattanooga now and celebrate Colin's b'day." Guess Houston was out of the question.

Chattanooga was exactly where I was supposed to be last weekend. I had a late night talk with my baby sister. We don't get alone time much so to have those hours together to talk was priceless. THAT was a gift from God. I wouldn't have traded that time for anything.

AND, we celebrated a precious little boy who turned six earlier this month!!!!

I had a life lesson this weekend. This OCD planner learned that:

I can have plan A, B and even C, but sometimes God will make each one of those plans fall apart in order to put me in the place HE wants me to be. Makes me think of this verse..

Proverbs 16:9 "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Well....I Blew It.

I started this post back in November and never finished it...found it in the archives tonight and felt like I needed to finish it now. You'll get to the part where I blew it I promise. :) I just need to work this thing out so here's your warning...this will probably be l.o.n.g.

Yesterday, our church members began a daily devotion as we prepare for December 13. (This is our "Day of Hope") I love that my 6th grader has this same study geared for her age group. We spent yesterday morning comparing the student version to the adult version. It was fun.

Our Day 1 passage was Matthew 9:35-38. On down in the passage it says that Jesus healed

"every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes He was moved with compassion for them because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd. Then he said to His disciples, the harvest truly is plentiful but the laborers are few therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into this harvest."

Every sickness. Every disease. Multitudes. Compassion.

There is that word again. Compassion.

It was a big junk of our Small Group Bible study Sunday morning.

Colossians 3 is where we were parked. Verse 12

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience...."

I've had a big old reminder that in order to be a laborer in this harvest, I need to examine myself and ask God what needs to be taken off so that I can put on things like compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and (big gulp) patience.

So I wrote the above in November. Today as I read that last line I can totally say to myself "Girl you need an extra dose of patience."

Few things light my fire like "un"compassionate Christians. Christians who look forward to pointing out what they view as a fault or a "sin" of another believer and then laugh about doing it.

That was an experience I had recently. I would love to tell you I was meek and kept my mouth shut, but I didn't. I did try and I have the bite marks on the inside of my mouth to prove it.

But I failed.

I did what my husband has reminded me many times NOT to do. He has had to say to me NUMEROUS times over the last 15 years, "Stephanie, do you remember the passage that says don't cast your pearls before swine? People who are that brash aren't going to hear anything you are saying. Don't waste your breath." And in this particular situation..he was right.

Patience..boy I sure wish I had tapped into that instead of lashing right back. Why?

Because I want to be used by Jesus. I want to be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually ready to work in this harvest. Allowing my temper to take over my mouth was NOT holy. Only the Holy Spirit can be the Holy Spirit in that person's life. If they don't listen to Him, they are NOT going to listen to me. The shocked expression on my face would have spoken loud enough.

So I looked up the passage about the swine. :) I couldn't remember where this was and what was surrounding it. Here is what I found in Matthew 7 (first from the NIV)

1."Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
2.For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3.Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
4.How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
5.You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
6.Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces." The Message because just hit me in the stomach.

1."Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults - unless, of course, you want the same treatment.
2.That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.
3.It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own.
4.Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt?
5.It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
6.Don't be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege."

Do you see what the Word did?

I was livid at the "story" I had been told and I reacted. BUT in this particular situation, I was just as guilty as they were of pointing out another's faults. I was saying, "come here and let me smack, uh I mean wash, that smirk off of your face." All the while, I had a nasty one on mine.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever learn this lesson. I want to get it so badly and be able to live a life that Jesus can proudly pour out.

So this evening, I'm grateful that God is faithful to forgive. I'm thankful His Word is alive and active and constantly teaching me something. I'm thankful that His mercy is new EVERY morning and that I was given a do-over. I'm just thankful that He loves me, and praying that He will cut out any part of me that He can not use.

Praying tonight that you know Him and the power of His love and forgiveness. He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

This is So Random It Isn't Even Funny

It's Saturday evening and it has rained most of the day. We have enjoyed a day at home in comfy clothes and a Little House on the Prairie marathon. Sweet times.

My Mom and Dad came down Thursday evening to finish up Chloe and Emma's Christmas gift. They took the girls and I to the America Girl Store and Bistro on Friday.

The girls have been looking forward to this for a LONG time and let me tell did not disappoint!!

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

Molly needed a little hair ministry.

I think I heard her telling Emma she loved having her hair done. :)

They had some serious fun....

The day ended with the girls and their dolls in their new matching pj's snuggling with Grams and Daddy Mack. We watched "Singing in the Rain". (and everyone sang along.)

Now for some links I'm VERY excited about.

My good friend and ministry teammate Debbie M. has posted an incredible post on holiness here. Good stuff.

Chad and I are very excited about a new thing in our life. AdvoCare. (There is a link in my sidebar to our website.) We are very passionate about keeping our family healthy and these products are helping to doing that. I would LOVE it if you would go check it out and if you find something interesting then try it. If not would you pray that God will bless the work of our hands? Thanks! (I'm trying the skincare line right now and will post about my experience on our AdvoCare blog . AND if you go there and now you'll find a giveaway post!!!)

I'm off to tuck in two exhausted little girls and then watch football with my man.

Happy Weekend!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

#500. (Psalm 145)

Read this first. Take your time, I'll wait.

1 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. 2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. 4 One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. 5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. 6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. 7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. 8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 9 The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 10 All you have made will praise you, O Lord; your saints will extol you. 11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, 12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. 14 The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20 The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

I so wanted to have the song Forevermore (Psalm 145) by Travis Cottrell to play here. BUT, I couldn't find it so I posted the whole thing. :)

This my friends is my 500th blog post. 500!!! I can't believe it.

What a journey this has been. I wouldn't change a thing about it.

Yesterday morning, Emma and I read Psalm 145 as we started our school day. I could hear a certain worship leader singing those precious words all day long. Anyway...

I have been praying for quite some time about a huge thing in our lives. There is a need that has to be filled by God alone. Two weeks ago, I just hit a point where I said "God, I know it's you and you alone in this." I also was reminded that sometimes, we have to choose to praise in, what I call the "stinky" times of life. Even in those times God is worthy of all our praise. I believe that is what we call a sacrifice of praise and that kind of praise pleases our God. I know and believe this with all my heart. BUT,

Over the last few weeks, it's been a choice that I haven't made as often as I should have. There are good days, and then there are not so good days. On those not so good days, I have allowed my stinky attitude about the on-going huge thing to take me to a pathetic place. (Think poochy lip disease.)

I wasted a LOT of time thinking about that thing and I let it become an idol. It was consuming my thoughts, my emotion, my time, and even my affection. My stinky attitude was becoming a tacky accessory in my daily wardrobe.

So two weeks ago, God gave me an attitude adjustment. I was reminded that He is very aware of the thing that feels so consuming to me. He showed me, through His word that I needed to keep moving forward. Keep doing what He had called me to do and do it to the best of my ability and to NOT STOP praying about this. (Praying had been replaced by my complaining.)

So I went back to the basics. Study the Word. Pray. Listen. Wait. Wait some more... :)

Yesterday morning when Emma was reading Psalm 145 these verses are the specific words that so ministered to my heart:

The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. 14 The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.


18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20 The LORD watches over all who love him

He watches and sees each and every part of our life. He knows the need before we even realize there is one! He has each and every minute of my life planned and I can trust Him.

Emma and I may have been doing school, but I was thinking about these verses and thanking God for reminding me that He had this thing under control.

The mail ran very late yesterday and we were still finishing up some afternoon reading when it came.

I was unusually alone in our family room while I sorted through the junk, the hospital bills, 5 advertisements for gym memberships and tanning salons, when a large envelope caught my eye.

I didn't recognize the name on the return address and held it thinking "Who is this? A blog reader? Who reads my blog in Boonville, NC? Hmmmmmmm....I don't know..." Finally, I opened the envelope.

Inside was a BEAUTIFUL card with Prov. 3:5-6 on it. Verses that I have been praying over a specific thing Chad and I are doing. (More on that in a later post) I smiled, because it was just timely. (That card in and of itself is a sermon. LOVE it.)

I still didn't recognize the name so I opened the four page handwritten letter and proceeded to read an incredible testimony of God's faithfulness. The entire time, I kept thinking, "I know this story...why do I know this?"

I will not tell you the details, but I will tell you this person and their family has suffered an incredible loss. The kind of loss that tops my "what if..." list when Chad is really sick with a Crohn's attack. The kind of "what if" that can ONLY be followed by "Then God." And boy oh boy, "Then God" has happened for this man and his children.

I wept and kept reading, praying for this family asking God to bless them, to delight them. As this godly man continued to share his story, the puzzle pieces fell together. How he knew of me and my blog all made sense.

God used this young father and his family to encourage my family. Their obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit met a large portion of the "huge" thing I have been praying about for quite some time.

This man is a living testimony of the book "You Were Born For This". He was God's delivery man for a miracle.

I am in awe. Absolutely, in awe of how our God works.

So, I will exalt you my God. I will praise your name forever....

And I will teach my children that God says when you are obedient to Him, He will supply all your needs. Today, I can tell you He is serious about that.

AND sometimes, He does it in the wildest ways!

I hope that you experience the lavish love of our Father today. In fact, I'm asking Him to open His hand and meet that huge need in your life.

Thanks for taking this journey with me and goodness...

if you read all of this post, you are amazing!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Moving Furniture and Waiting on the Snow

Thursday, we spent the day watching the sky and waiting for the snow to arrive. I'm very surprised that Chloe can't tell you the exact minute she saw the first flake. She and Emma sat by the living room window ALL DAY.

Well...most of the day. They played Wii and helped me with a project;)

Since I got called out on the LPM blog for moving my furniture around monthly...I'm going to show you what we did.

You'll see that I didn't do a major change. (I did that in October but had to adjust for the Christmas tree.)

Here is our family room before I started playing.

The mantle. You can go here to read about the scripture.

I have had the same two lamps and picture up there for 3 years. I love having the lamps there, but was "over" how square it looked.

This is in our living room, but in this corner that I am always confused as to what to do with it. I LOVE this chair. One day it will have a post to itself. A LOT of hand sewing went into this chair and it is very special to our family.

I took these pictures from the girl's loft so you can see the little space I have to work with. :) Okay...the sofa has been in just about every spot for a little while. For a long time it sat it right in front of the window. Then I moved it to where the two wing back chairs are and the chairs sat in front of the window...seriously, each piece has been moved no less than 48 times. I am not kidding.

Our Christmas tree sat in front of the big window so the sofa is sitting in it's "Christmas" spot.

Now for the after:

First, I moved the little leather chair and ottoman closer to the fireplace. Then, I moved the sofa on a bit of an angle. This was part of my big change in October. I normally have sofa table behind it, but I moved it into the dining room over Christmas and I love it there. I'll show you in a minute what I did in there.

I also moved our end tables around. THAT made a huge difference.


I swapped the table and chair. Yes, I know that table is too small for that lamp, but it's what I have right now so it will stay. (I'll probably move more tables around today and try something else over there just to see.) I added a silk quilt to the red velvet chair. My grandmother made this quilt for Chad. It's mostly his dad's and some of my grandfather's old ties. The space between the two photos is where our new family photo will go.

The Mantle area:

Excuse my off-centered photo taking ability!

My little leather chair. My favorite spot to read. I had moved both the lamps off of the mantle, but after I decided to leave my chair here, I knew I needed a lamp up there. I shopped the house for something to use as a side table. It couldn't be huge since the door to our bedroom is just behind the fireplace wall. I found this hamper which holds some of the games we play. doubles as a side table and storage.

Remember that sofa table that is no longer behind my sofa? Here it is as a sidetable in my dining room.

I moved it in there at Christmas to hold the tree with some of our special ornaments and LOVED having it in there.

The former mantle lamp is now warming up that corner. But the wall seemed a little empty so I shopped the house again. I had this group of red toile plates in our guest bathroom and decided they needed a new home. (Have I told you how much I love toile? It really is bordering a stronghold.)

These pictures don't do the paint color justice, it is much warmer and softer in person... AND the lamp gives it a whole new look.

Now that I have decided to keep that lamp, I've got to work on the wire. I'll twist tie and hide that baby as soon as this is posted.

That is my mom's wedding china on my table. She divided it in half for my sister and I and gave it to us over Christmas. LOVE it.

Well that's my FREE family room makeover. The only thing I have left to do is purchase window treatments. Seriously, we have been here almost four years and I still haven't done that. Here is what I'm saving my money for.

It's Friday and that means L.A.U.N.D.R.Y. I need to get moving on that before it breeds. I just may throw my footie pj's in the dryer to warm them up! It's so cold! (and I love it!)

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fun Photos

Okay. With all the "serious" stuff going on right now, I needed to post some fun pictures. These are a few of my favorites from Christmas and New Years.

This is a picture Chad took of my mom trying to get a good picture of the 5 grandchildren in their Christmas PJ's. It's very blurry, but that is little nephew's face says it all. I can just hear him saying "CRAZZZZZZY". I love that child. These 5 act more like brother/sisters than cousins. They are pretty crazy about each other and if they had it their way, we would all live at Gram's and Daddy Mack's house.

Christmas Eve before dinner. After dinner the girls put on their pj's and we drove around and looked at lights. Paddington came along too.

This was New Years Day brunch. Proof that I can function on less than 3 hours sleep. Chad was bored so he started taking pictures. This is me and Chad's step-mother in the background.

Chad's dad and brother in law. I said on Facebook they were probably discussing brother in law's twitter comments from the VA Tech/UT game the evening before. With Chad's visit to the ER on New Years Eve, his dad and step mom sent Chad's sister and her husband on and stayed behind to watch the kids. We didn't get home from the hospital until right before kick off. (And that was only because our nurse was also a UT fan and I mentioned that we needed to get home in time for kick off. She completely understood.)

Please excuse the mess that is my desk.... Thank you.

Last but not least. My man.

Do you see what I'm dealing with? :)

He had Chloe change all his Mii settings to "left hand" and has been playing Wii Sports Resort basketball. Truth be told, he's unbeatable. It's sad to hear him say, "I can beat you with one arm in a sling." I am so NOT athletic.

With all the decorations down and put away, I've been cleaning and contemplating moving some furniture around. ESPECIALLY after reading the LPM blog last night. :)

So....who knows, I may post some family room re-do pictures later today.

Happy New Year!!


Friday, January 1, 2010

Passing Out

"I think I'm going to pass out."

Six words that totally changed our New Years Eve.

I've been missing from blog world this week and here is why.

Tuesday, Chad had shoulder surgery. Just a tune-up so to say to the big surgery he had two years ago. Surgery went great, Doctor was pleased and recovery had been uneventful. While he was very uncomfortable, he was doing well. Praise you Jesus.

Since Chad's sister is married to a die hard Virginia Tech Fan and our family is DEVOTED to UT, we had house guests who would be going to the Chik-Fil-A bowl on New Years Eve. They all arrived on Wednesday evening. Chad was tired, but glad to see his sister.

Thursday morning, he got up nice and slow, felt good and was standing next to me in the kitchen asking for something to eat. After a few minutes, he said "I think I need to sit down."

He did and went on to tell us he felt like he was going to pass out. And he did. He had some sort of seizure and like to scared us to death.

After a phone call to his Doctor we headed to the ER, where we stayed until that evening.

At one point I was sitting in the room waiting on Chad to return from a test when fear started to suffocate me. Until then, I had been nervous and concerned but not afraid. All that changed I was overcome with the "what if's". I had texts coming in from some Siesta's and as I was reading their prayers something nudged me to look down into my purse. When I did I saw my Siesta Scripture Memory Index Cards.

Somehow....(well I'm thinking it was God) my cards had been moved from the bottom of my purse to the top. On TOP of Chad's wallet, and all the "stuff" we girls carry in our purses. :) I put down the Blackberry and picked up the cards. They held exactly what I needed. God's word.

So I started with Jan. 1, 2009 and worked my way through the year. When I hit the third verse, Deut 33:12 (my life verse) I felt like God had taken out a big blanket and tucked me in. I was completely at ease. But I kept reading.

Isaiah 59:1 "Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened that it can not save or His ear dull that it cannnot hear."

Jeremiah 32:27 "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of ALL flesh. Is anything too hard for me?"

Psalm 9:10 "Those who know your name put their trusts in you, for you oh Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you."

Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but IN everything by prayer and supplication WITH thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts you."

And one more that I love Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for HE who promised is faithful."

I say OFTEN to my girls that you can't pour out what you haven't poured in. New Years Eve 2009 is proof why that is true. If I had NOT poured God's truth into my soul all year, I would have been a heap of tears when Chad came back in that tiny room! But I wasn't.

I had been covered up and tucked in by the Words of the Most High God. I was safe and secure and as Deut. 33:12 says I was resting secure between the shoulders of my God.

Chad is home and resting. He was thrilled that his Doctor's orders were to "EAT more with your pain meds!". That boy has no problem having an extra snack. :)

I challenge you in 2010 to make the choice to hide God's word in your heart. Pour it in each and every day. It really is alive and active and holds EVERYTHING you need!