Friday, February 26, 2010

Thinking Back to December, 2003

About this time last year, Chad and I asked the girls a question. We asked them what they thought about changing Christmas a little. Instead of LOTS of gifts, we would take a family vacation shortly after Christmas. All the money we would spend on gifts would go for the vacation. We assured them that if they chose this, Santa would still bring a little something, but he would be helping with our trip too.

They were all about this. We tossed out a couple of ideas, Hilton Head, the mountains, or....DisneyWorld. Can you guess what they said? Yep. Disney.

It has been several years since their first trip. At the time they were 5 and 2. It was December of 2003. We were celebrating Christmas and Emma being potty trained! It was as much a reward for mom and dad as the girls!

We are very close to leaving for this year's trip and I have been reminiscing about their last visit. I found our pictures last night and had to post a few. I can't believe how they have grown!

Look at this little thing with her backpack and change of clothes!

This is "the face" that made grown men get nervous. This is the face that told her Sunday school teacher that she was so very sad because her cat died. We have NEVER had a cat.

Time flies doesn't it?

Monday, February 22, 2010

What a weekend! Chad was so sweet to keep the girls all day Saturday while I had a fun day with several people I love.

My Saturday started early. I was on the road to Chattanooga by 6:30 A.M. I had not even made 20 miles when I received a text from a sweet friend telling me her grand baby is going to be a GIRL! I may or may not have screamed "THANK YOU JESUS!"

I made it to my parent's and we were able to spend a little time together before doing a little work in my grandparent's kitchen. Mom and I left there and headed to LifeWay for a party!

I walked through the doors to see Lisa sitting right up front surrounded by her books! She had several people in line and that is when I saw Nikki Poppins and Fuzzy Top! (don't you love our "code" names?!)

Here she is signing my mom's copies.

We loved that they had Beth's new book right behind her....and yes, one of us got a picture with that book in the middle of us. It just wasn't with my camera.

One of Lisa's sweet friends made this incredible red velvet cake for her! Can you believe she just recently started cake decorating? What a woman!

That little stack of books were the very last few. They sold out WAY before the signing was over. She'll be back March 20 so if you are a minister's wife, OR have friends who are, let me encourage you to go up and meet this sweet lady. You can pick up a book there, or order on-line at Amazon or LifeWay.

After hanging out in LifeWay, Nikki, my mom and I headed to Abuelo's for some Mexican. We met up with Angela (Refresh My Soul) and Kara (mommydotcom). Angela and Kara are Chattanooga girls who I've known for several years. LOVE them. It was a treat to have lunch with these girls! My mom may never be the same! :)

I think we may have traumatized our waiter. NikkiPoppins, was getting ready to show Angela and my mom her Mary Poppins tattoo when he arrived with our water. I asked him if he wanted to see Nikki's tattoo...he about knocked the picture off of the wall next to us. So funny. :)

Is this not the most precious girl ever? I love her. If I could afford a nanny, she would be it.

Spending a good junk of the day with these ladies was such a gift. I'm still struck at how God has woven us together...through the Internet!?!? It's the craziest thing ever.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Unfolding (Psalm 119:130)

Tonight, a group of ladies and I will begin "Ruth- loss, love and legacy". I went through this study on my own and finished in January. It was INCREDIBLE. I'm thrilled to do it again with a group.

This morning as I was having my time with God, I picked up our Connections(read Sunday School) small group study guide. This week we are focusing on meditating on and memorizing scripture. (Here is why I'm so passionate about it.)

Up to today, the daily reading has been in Psalm 119. this particular Psalm big time. Today I read the assigned verses and sat for a little while to let them sink in. After a few minutes I began to flip on into the chapter to find these verses:

Psalm 119:129-132

Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.

The unfolding of your words give light.

I am absolutely taken by that phrase and have been thinking about it most of the morning. God gave me a picture this morning of a beautifully wrapped gift. The box is deep and the wrapping paper appears to be a pearl color. The ribbon and bow are a beautiful black velvet. As I untie the bow and take the lid off, I remove layers of tissue paper to find black velvet fabric surrounding the actual gift. The more I unfold the fabric, the more light I see. When the fabric is completely unfolded I'm looking at an old fashioned silver hand mirror. It is well polished (SHINY) and is stunning against that black velvet.

God's Word is like that box. It is a beautiful indescribable gift. (2 Cor. 9:15) When you begin to open or unfold God's word, you are letting light into your life. Sometimes that light shows you things that need correction. Maybe it reveals something you need to give up. Often, it seems easier to drop that beautiful mirror back into the box and walk away from the one gift that can change your life for the better.


I am finding that the more I unfold that fabric and hold that mirror up to my face, the more I see my need for Jesus. The more I desire or as verse 131 says "pant, longing for your commands". I want as it says down in verse 135, for his face to shine upon me! I want him to teach me his decrees. I want to pray and LIVE Philippians 3:7-8a

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Today, as we prepare to go through Ruth with these ladies my heart is praying in a different way. I'm praying that these next few weeks would be an unfolding of light in each heart. I'm praying and believing that God is preparing to do a mighty work in the hearts of 16 women.

Let the unfolding begin.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow at the Parsonage

God answered our prayers and we have had the most beautiful snow! A little over 5 inches to be exact. It started yesterday afternoon and was still spitting a little when we went to bed. What a treat.

Here is what our backyard looked like right before dark Friday evening.

The smaller evergreens were so covered that they were bending over almost touching the ground. The larger ones were also leaning a bit. What a sight!

This morning, those snow clouds had moved on and we were left with the most incredible blue sky. The girls kept saying how bright it was in the house. We took a few more pictures of the backyard because it was such a contrast to the ones we took last night.

I sat here this morning with a few of my favorite things. A cup of coffee and my Bible and my journal. It isn't hard to make a spiritual application to the snow and I am so thankful that the blood of Jesus washes us whiter than the snow. However, this morning God showed me something different.

Sitting on the couch I was memorized by the trees. The sun came out this morning. It was bright and warm and began to change the posture of these trees.

I had been drawn to one scrawny little pine tree on the hill behind our house. After several of it's limbs had popped back into place, I looked up just in time to see the last of the weight fall off and that little 4 foot tree go from bending over to standing straight and tall again.

Sometimes we feel like life is suffocating us. We feel the weight of worry, or fear, anger, or unforgiveness, or...(fill in the blank). Those things are so heavy, and at times it can feel like that weight is pushing us down. Just like the weight of the snow pushed and forced those branches to bend. But.....

God does the same thing for us. When we open the Word of God and expose our hearts to the one who loved us enough to die for us, He melts away the heaviness. Sometimes it takes a little longer than others but He takes it away. When we allow Him to, He will remove each and every heavy thing that keeps our heads down and heart hurt.

Psalm 3 tells us that He is our glory and the lifter of our heads. I'm curious today. Is there something so heavy on your heart that you feel like you can not even hold your head up and talk about it? Can I just tell you that Jesus loves you so much. He died for you to live in freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Why not spend a little time soaking in the Word of God and let Him melt away some of that heaviness.....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love & War - Finding the Marriage You Dreamed Of

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Chad and I have a very tender spot in our hearts for John and Stasi Eldredge. Both of us have been challenged and encouraged by their ministry. Chad will tell you that John's book Wild at Heart was a turning point in his spiritual walk. For me, Stasi's Captivating study was instrumental in moving past a hurt in my life. As much as we both enjoyed their books and studies on our own, there was no doubt that Love & War would be finding it's way into our home.

I'll be completely honest with you, this book is incredible. Notice I didn't say "sweet", or "easy read". Nope, not this book.

John and Stasi are very open and honest about their personal struggles in marriage and how God taught them to fight for each other, not against each other. You will not find a sweet, Sunday School type lesson on marriage here.

In my opinion, this is the kind of marriage book that we need! We need to hear Christian couples say this is hard! This is the fight of your life and here's why.

Here are a couple of quotes that I have underlined and keep going back to.

I shared this one last week, and I'll share it again because,'s just poweful.

"The human heart has an infinite capacity for happiness and an unending need for love, because it is created for an infinite God who is unending love."

And this one

"The secret of happiness is this: God is the love you are longing for."

A very wise woman once told me that Chad was never going to make me completely happy. She said that he just didn't have the ability or the resource to fill up every empty part of me. I remember thinking how strange she was, until she told me that the secrect to a long and happy Christ centered marriage was to go ahead and let Chad off the hook. John and Stasi reminded me of that.

The last quote I'll share with you is this, "The greatest gift you can give to your marriage is for you to develop a real relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the kindest thing you could ever do for your spouse."

Thank you John and Stasi for sharing your life with us. I believe with all my heart God will use this book to teach His children how to fight for their marriage. I'm so glad you were willing to share your story.

Go here to read more and purchase a copy of Love & War.

Also, John and Stasi will be talking about Love & War on The Fish 104.7 on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7:45 am. If you aren't in the Atlanta area you can go here and click on listen live.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What's Your Week Look Like?

It's a very cold, damp, wintry February evening around here. I love it. I LOVE winter, I just wish we had some of the snow our Virginia family members have right now. I know they are over it all, but I would love to be snowed in with my people. In fact, I've got "supplies" on hand for soup, homemade bread...all sorts of warm food to cook. I've got activities planned and surprises ready...just waiting on that snow.

I spent Friday morning with some special ladies. One in particular is such a Titus woman to me. She is passionate about "home" and has been saving LOTS of money on her grocery bill. She opened her home to a few of us Friday and we enjoyed muffins, fruit and coffee while she let us in on how she's saving so much money! I'm pumped and excited and can hardly wait. But, you know what I love...she started off in Proverbs. LOVE a woman that takes every thing right back to the Word.

We are one week away from Valentine's Day. This week, the girls and I will be working on our valentine cards, and some baking projects in the afternoons. It's a surprisingly quiet week for us. Nothing crazy and I'm really looking forward to that!

I will brag on my man for a minute. Last week he arranged for our sitter to come Friday night so we could go out to celebrate Valentine's AND more importantly, the
18th anniversary of our first date. Thank goodness we are eating a little better than we did that night! (Although that pizza was pretty good.) Not sure what the plan is. He refuses to tell me, so I'm thinking he doesn't know yet. BUT, contrary to what he says, I do love surprises. :)

Yesterday, I cleaned out and straightened up our master bedroom closet. AND I LIVED TO TELL ABOUT IT!!! Monday, I will tackle another one. I'm getting rid of anything I haven't used in 6 months. It's out of here. :) I guess I'm getting a jump start on spring cleaning.

We are looking forward to our favorite TN VOL playing in the Super Bowl!!!! Yes, we are pulling for the Colts. Not sure what we're eating yet....I heard Papa John's was having a good deal, we may do that. I DO know there will be popcorn, because we eat popcorn all the time. :) It's our favorite snack.

You know what? I think I'm still in "list" mode! Goodness...that three hour nap did me in today!

So...I want to know, who's coming to Woodstock in April to hear Beth Moore? I'll be there along with a few of my favorite Siesta's!!! If you're coming, I would love to see you!!!

I've rambled on enough for Saturday evening...time to tuck my girls in and figure out what I'm wearing to church...unless God surprised us and we had 5 inches of the white stuff...don't laugh at me...He can do it if He wants to. :)

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Not Sure Why God Had Me Do This

Before I start two things:

1. This is going to be vague. VERY vague.
2. If you have a question about details, feel free to e-mail me and ask. This isn't something I feel like needs the nitty gritty details. Okay? Thanks.

Last fall God started giving me a nudge that He was going to have me do a particular thing in January. This "thing" comes around each year. For the last several years I haven't felt the nudge to participate, so I simply prayed for the process of the "thing" and those who are going through it. (See, I told you it would be vague!)

So, when I started feeling the nudge, I sort of just dismissed it and to be quite honest I fought it for a couple of months. It wasn't long before I couldn't dismiss or ignore it. I would be in conversation with people and they would bring the "THING" up. I would be having quiet time and find myself with the "thing" on my brain during my listening time. God continued to place it at the front of my mind during the holidays, I could not escape it.

I was fighting saying yes to going through the process of this "thing" for one reason. About a month ago, I came home and told Chad that the "thing" had been announced and I kind of thought God was nudging me to go through this process. He was all for it. Almost TOO encouraging and excited if you ask me. :) I did my normal "Really? You think I should do this? Really?" He gave me the typical, "Did I say that I think you should? Yes, I did. I think you need to do this." Great. Now my spiritual head was telling me to do this, as if God telling me to do this wasn't heavy enough...

I continued to fight doing this and told Chad after I had put my name on the list, "I'm having doubts and not sure." His words to me were "WHY? Give me ONE good reason and I'll support you taking your name off of the list. But it has to be a good reason." I gave him my one good reason. The only one I had. Do you know what that man had the nerve to say to me?

"That is an excuse not a reason. You doing this is not optional."

It was one of the few times in our marriage I have been rendered speechless.

God was calling me to go through the process of this "thing" and I had a choice. I could either obey, submit and walk through the process believing that He had something special in store, or be disobedient and miss whatever it was He was trying to do in me.

So last week I did this "thing". I lived. I did not faint, trip up or down the steps, vomit or pass out. (All are quite possible with me.) It was a sweet, sweet time and that process was part of God's plan for me.

When I started thinking about this post, the results of that "thing" were unknown to me. Before I completed this, the results were made known. God has thrown me into a new area of ministry in 2010 and I'm completely shocked. I'm totally undone and amazed at what He has trusted me with this year. (And can I tell you, I'm just a little giddy too? Because this "thing", while it's going to be hard work, it's also going to be fun!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts

I'm feeling all "listy" today. So here are just a few of the things that have crossed my mind since my feet hit the floor this morning.

1. I'm late! I never heard my 5:00 alarm and woke up a few minutes before 7:00. That is late for me. I've been an hour off all day.

2. Is today the day the Parker boys leave Haiti and join the rest of their family in Houston?'s getting closer by the minute! Pray for the flight situation.

3. "So Long Insecurity, you've been a bad friend to us" IS OUT TODAY!!!! I will be respectfully asking the man for $17.99 to hit the LifeWay tomorrow to pick up a copy!Can NOT wait to hear Beth Moore speak on this in April. I have a feeling it's going to be quite a day.

4. I'm so thankful for the new AdvoCare product I'm taking for my joint issues. (Don't want to use the nasty arthritis word because I hate the way it sounds.) Since I've started using it, I have had very little of the "a" pain. AND can complete my workout without feeling like an 90 year old woman. You can check it out here

5. I was blessed to be given a copy of John and Stasi Eldredge's new book "Love and War". While I'll be posting a review next week, I could NOT wait to share a quote that I read last night. In fact, I woke Chad up and made him listen to it....twice.... you ready?

"The human heart has an infinite capacity for happiness and an unending need for love, because it is created for an infinite God who is unending love."

I think that speaks for itself.

6. I have a heavy heart for one of Chloe's teachers who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She has surgery next Monday. Chloe is praying each day for her healing.

7. Emma absolutely makes me laugh until my sides hurt and I'm so thankful for her. She is just funny and beautiful and I'm taken by her. She is getting ready for Bible quiz this weekend and working so hard. That means mommy is asking lots of questions like...."What does it mean to fall short of the glory of God, and please give a backup verse to go with it."

8. I'm so proud of Chad. God is doing something in him during this recovery time. He has always worked hard. ALWAYS...and I'm thankful that he has taken that work ethic into this rehab time. He knows that it will pay off in the long run. He is WAY more patient than I am.

9. I'm pumped about going through Kelly Minter's "Ruth" study with a small group from our Connections (Sunday School) class. I finished it on my own a couple of weeks ago, but I can't wait to do it with a group and see what God does! Nothing excites me more than ladies Bible study.

10. The roast is smelling good and I'm ready to go pop some homemade garlic cheese biscuits in the oven to go with the rest of dinner.

You think that is random? I just gave you 10, I could have gone on at least 10 more!

I hope your day has been a good one and that you know I'm so thankful you stopped by. You have been prayed for today!