Monday, August 31, 2009

Saturday's Mission

This past Saturday, our church had a mission project at one of the local trailer parks. We called it the "Save a Lot" ministry, because the trailer park was directly behind the grocery store. We really wanted the people there to know that our church was just a few blocks away and that we cared.

We had activities for the kids, hot dogs, music, the local high school coach gave his testimony and we even had a few door prizes. Although we didn't attract the size crowd we would have liked, the children that did come had a blast. It was so sweet when one little boy said "This is the best day ever!"

On a side note, I am going to end this post with a thought for the day...

"If you let too much room get between you and Christ, you allow yourself room to fall."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

For You...

Read Luke 15. Then remember this:

"If you were the only person on earth, Jesus would still have died on the cross for you. You are that important."

If that doesn't put a little joy in your step this week, nothing will.

Happy Monday everyone!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Dedicate this Song to...

I enjoy blogging. I love the fact that I have made many new friends, as well as being able to connect with old ones. I love seeing what my sister and dad are up to and commenting back and forth with them. I love the funny stories, the inspirational posts that pull at the heartstrings, the pictures and especially all the encouraging comments that brighten my day. However, most of all, I like the fact that I have a connection outside my small group of local friends. I have what I believe is a "bonus" blessing from God, in that I have a bloggy world of friends that are just as encouraging, loving and big time prayer warriors when needed.

Here lately I've been burdened. So many times in day to day life, people will ask for prayer, and sometimes I do what I know many do... I say "I will pray for you." How many requests actually make it past my own lips when I am conversing with my Lord? Some. Unfortunately not as many as should. So, to help me out, I bought a new notebook. It sits with my Bible while I am visiting my friends in Blogland, so that when I say "I will pray," it will be written down and remembered. For I believe heavily in the power of prayer, and I certainly never want to be flippant with it.

That being said, I have read many blogs lately, that have asked for prayer. Whether it is friends dealing with death, illnesses, stress or just raising Godly families, the list never ends. Shoot! I've had to deal with them all in the last few years and still do. That is unfortunately the hard part of life.

I was reading a friend's blog this afternoon. It brought tears to my eyes, for she loves her Heavenly Father, but she loves her earthly daddy a whole bunch too. It is hard not to be angry at the Heavenly Father, the great healer, when earthly daddy is very sick. It is hard not knowing the "plan." It is hard keeping the faith. It is hard to praise the Lord anyhow.

I recently read a blog of a woman who has a very sick child. A woman who just literally has to say her baby is "in God's hands." She is trying to be strong. She is trying to believe. She is trying to hold on to her hope. It can be so very hard sometimes...

I recently have read several blogs of people who have had a death in their family. Death, no matter the individuals age, is never easy. My Nanny two years ago, was ready to see her Savior, yet as she drew her last breath I experienced intense grief. I still want to pick up the phone and call her... saying goodbye is never easy. Asking God "why?" can be all too easy at times.

My favorite CD right now is "Freedom" by Mandisa. It is in my car stereo. It encourages me everyday as I go to work and as I come home. Today, as I was driving around, running my many errands, I was thinking about the whole "prayer request" situation and on popped this song called "Broken Hallelujah." It totally spoke to my heart in that moment.

I don't have all the answers. I can't even begin to tell everyone "I know how you feel," for although I have experienced many painful things in my own life and have asked God plenty of "Whys?" myself, no two people handle situations the same way. What I do know, is that I believe in a loving God, who knows best and has a plan for all things. As hard as it is to praise Him for all things, I am going to try. And if I fall short at times, well, I know He is there to put the pieces back together too.

So, I would like to dedicate the words to this song to my friends that are hurting today. If you don't feel like "praising" today, My God understands... just give Him what you got. Even if it is in pieces.

And I will be praying for you...promise.

Broken Hallelujah by Mandisa
With my love and my sadness
I come before You Lord
My heart’s in a thousand pieces
Maybe even more
Yet I trust in this moment
You’re with me somehow
And You’ve always been faithful
So Lord even now
When all that I can sing
Is a broken hallelujah
When my only offering
Is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration
Will rise up from these ruins
I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise
Is a broken hallelujah
Oh Father, You have given
Much more than I deserve
And I have felt Your hand of blessing
On me at every turn
How could I doubt Your goodness
Your wisdom, Your grace
So Lord hear my heart
In this painful place
I lift my voice
Your Spirit moves
I raise my hands
I reach for You
(Psalm 42:1-5, Acts 16:22-25a) Behind the Song:“Broken Hallelujah” is one of the most moving songs I have ever heard. I believe that there is a presence of the Lord that comes when we as believers offer up a sacrifice of praise and I think that when things are not going the best, when our circumstances could not look worse, I think that when we offer up a Hallelujah to the Lord that that honors him more than any other thing. And so “Broken Hallelujah” is a song that mirrors the power that can happen when we as believers lift up that sacrifice of worship to His name." - Mandisa

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dear Family...

Dear Family,

I know mom has been super busy lately working and blogging and sleeping. In that order. Please be patient with your mom/wife, for I really do mean well. So here is my promise to you... this weekend I hope to tackle a few things that I have neglected this week.


I know that there are mountain climbers lined up in our hallway, for they have mistaken our laundry piles as part of the foothills of the Himalayas.

I know that a new family has moved in our house. They call themselves the Dust Mite Family.

I know that they came by the other day wanting to use our bathroom as the "before" picture for an advertisement for Mr. Clean...or wait was it Lysol? Does it even matter?

I know that Jordan thought he needed to be a poster child for Compassion, because our cabinets were bare. Or were they? Scratch that. We are just out of easy, microwavable, too much sugar, let's just call it what it is "JUNK FOOD." And milk. And bread. And... I guess I will have to go to the store after all.

So, I am writing this to let you know that this mommy is going to try and make it all up to you. I'm going in with a clothespin on my nose, scrub brush in one hand and a mop in the other. I'm going to wash, dry, fold, iron, hang....oh wait a minute, let's not get too carried away. Don't want you guys to feel that mom is sick or something. We will still only iron as needed. Certainly don't want to spoil anyone.

Alrighty then. I have a plan. So I am going to be one cleaning machine this weekend. I will get to my cleaning list right after our Church mission project tomorrow, and then after I pay the bills and then I have to study for Sunday School, make a trip to the grocery store and then I have to...

Good intentions count for something, right?

One tired mom

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Directionally Challenged...


My name is Mich.

And I am directionally challenged.

I am lousy with directions. I am terrible with addresses. I am a "landmark" kind of girl.

I'm the individual who goes in a store in the mall and then 9 times out of 10 comes out of the store and walks past several "familiar" window displays before realizing I'm going back the way I've already been.

I'm the mom whose son at 3 was her own GPS unit.

It is impossible for me to tell you directions on how to get somewhere, unless I've driven it myself more than once. I tend not to pay attention when someone else is driving. (unlike my son)

I don't think I have what my hubby calls his "gut instinct" when it comes to knowing where I'm going or how to get there without directions. In other words, he never seems lost.

I feel "lost" most of the time.


"Can you walk in two directions at one time?"

This was the question my husband asked our youth group Wednesday night. I'm sitting in the back of the room, pen flying across my notebook, only to stop in midair at the sudden question asked. What is he really asking?

That simple question has stayed with me, thoughout today. Puzzled, I've really had to spend some time thinking about it..

After all, I know "where" I'm headed. Yet, I know I'm guilty. I'm a directionally challenged girl.

I'm the one who needs a guide or sometimes a "landmark," like maybe a "cross" to find my way out of a bind.

I'm the sinner who so many times goes back the way she came before realizing I'm headed the wrong direction...again.

I'm the "role model" for my kids, only to be taught a lesson or two by them along the way.

I sometimes have to get my fingers burnt (and sometimes a piece of my heart) more than once before I learn which way to go to get away from the fire.

I tend to travel along, naive of what is around me, until I get blindsided and have a blowout.

I'm a lost soul, saved by grace, thankfully even on the days I don't feel it or more important, deserve it.

"Can you walk in two directions at the same time?

No. There is simply ONLY ONE WAY to go.

Thankfully us "directionally challenged people" have a road map to follow...

and the ultimate "Guide."

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why We Do What We Do...

Ever need a hug? Ever need to know that you are doing something right? Ever need a little encouragement while you work?

My hubby, as many of you know is a student minister.We love young people. We love hanging out with them and sharing Jesus with them. We just enjoy spending time with them.

Yet, as hard as my hubby works at his job. As hard as I work at trying to love on them when I can. Sometimes you just need a little confirmation that you are doing a good job. That you are making a difference.

Tonight, after a low attendance summer, with everyone vacationing, we had the old group back and plenty of new 7Th graders as well. Nothing more beautiful than about 80 kids singing "How Great is Our God" in youth group. It gave me shivers, as I stood in the back of the room listening.

When I got home tonight, I was checking my mail. I went to Facebook, for I was told we had a message on our profile (my hubby and I share). This is what I found...
It was a picture where a young girl in our group had tagged all her friends with the phrases in the different boxes. I was surprised to find us tagged among a group of middle school girls. And then I found "our" phrase. See the dark blue box?
Thanks Lord! We needed that "hug" from you today...

My version of a wordless Wednesday...

I know many around blog land do what they call "wordless Wednesdays." I wasn't trying to participate...I just sort of landed there. I was uploading pictures, from my cell phone last night. Considering I have only taken a couple of pics on the thing, and that is when I first got my phone, imagine my surprise at all the many different views of artistic expression I found on my phone. Kids. Gotta love them...

Oh, I know by now you are probably thinking, "Mich, you have already blown the whole point of the 'wordless' theme with your chattering." Yes, I agree. But when I found this picture...well it left me totally SPEECHLESS. And then I had to smile...

I did say my daughter has a style of her own didn't I?

Happy Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Old Friend

Have you ever had something that meant a lot to you? A treasure of sorts that held precious memories, helped you get through the rough times, something you just couldn't let go of?

I have a long sleeved t-shirt I got my freshman year of college, just about twenty years ago, that I still dig out of the drawer on a day when I just need a little comfort or I'm sick. There are holes all in it, the letters of my alma mater are all faded, yet it is like an old faithful friend. Every time I put it on, it just makes me feel better. Yet, I know the day is coming, real soon, that it will have to be discarded. It's value diminishes with every wash.

The other day, on our way to church, my son looks down and says;

"Mom, it is about time you get a new one."

I look down at the object that has captured his attention... my Bible.

The leather is worn. The binding is barely surviving. The pages no longer shine a brilliant gold.
The Bible was given to me by my parents in 1991. I was in college and had asked for a study bible. Being the note taker that I am, well there are precious reminders, notes to self and stars marking that special verse found.

I love looking through it's pages during a sermon and compare notes of two different points of view over one verse. I love the ease at which I can find favorite scripture. I love to reread the prayers I've written in the margins as reminders of promises I've made to my Lord. I love all the memories this precious book has held for me through the years.

Memories of college life and soul searching. (I rededicated my life to Christ while in college.)

Moments of young married life that were tough. (Like putting my hubby through seminary, while working at a very stressful job.)

Working through the fear of pregnancy and parenthood. (Receiving two precious blessings and the strength to deal with the loss of another.)

Wisdom as a minister's wife. (Knowing how to be "quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." during the extreme joys as well as in the really tough times of ministry life.)

Dealing with the loss of those who are very near and dear to our hearts. (The death of three grandparents within one year can be brutal.)

Dealing with self and my total imperfectness. (If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know I have my days.)

But most of all, growing in my relationship with the Lord. (My Heavenly Father, my faithful friend, my guide, my protector and my salvation.)

I look up at my son and simply say;

"Jordan, I don't want a new one. I think I will keep my old faithful friend, if you don't mind."

I had to explain to him that it is not about needing a new Bible. Shoot! I'm a minister's wife, we have every kind of bible in every size imaginable lining our bookshelf as I type. But rather it is about the precious memories and treasure that THIS bible holds for me.

I might need a new case from time to time. But I can't stand the thought of discarding it. Unlike my shirt, it's value DOESN'T diminish with every use. In fact, it only seems to get more valuable with time.

I think I will keep this Bible for now.

But I was thinking about whether I could make a pillow or something out of my favorite old shirt..."

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

Monday, August 24, 2009

They Made My Mommy Heart Plum Giddy!!!

I am the blessed mom of two children. Kayla will be thirteen in a little over a month and Jordan will be 11 at the end of October. My kids are almost exactly two years apart in age. When they were little they were so close. Jordan thought Kayla hung the moon and Kay thought our little Jorboy was her personal "pet." Did I say pet? I really meant pal, buddy, friend...

Who am I kidding? I really did mean pet, for she trained him constantly to be like her and do what she did. She was the one who taught him how to climb out of his baby bed. She told him it was funny to hide in the clothing racks at stores and NOT answer mommy when I called their names. She told him constantly he had to do what she did. Which as preschoolers it meant they both teamed up against this poor mama and led me on a merry chase. At the time, I probably looked like I constantly wanted to pull my hair out, but as I look back, I end up smiling. They were so close...once upon a time.

They were so cute in the way they hugged on each other. I can still see them laying on top of each other giggling at their favorite cartoon. They looked adorable in their matching Easter and Christmas outfits. And then time became an enemy and they grew... they went their separate ways. Kayla went to older bossy sister city and Jor entered the "girl's are yucky" club and their relationship has all gone downhill since.

Oh, I know they still love each other. They still share some laughs. But I sometimes miss that closeness they had when very small. I pray everyday among the "stupid" name calling and the yelling and the bossiness, that I will catch just a glimpse of the pals of old. I see friends with their older college age kids and how those kids now enjoy hanging out together and can only hope...

And then it happened, a small glimmer of hope. I went to pick up Kayla from her mystery party Sat. night and was talking to her old 5th grade teacher, who just happens to now be one of Jordan's teachers. I was talking about Jordan, when all of a sudden Kayla pops in with "Jordan is really a good kid. You won't have any problems out of him." What? Did I hear right? "Stupid Boy" is no trouble after all?!!! And I have a witness!!!

Oh, it was enough to put a little joy in this mamma's heart after a long week. I was ready to just savor the moment knowing the next time might be when they graduate and leave the house...

But wait! Today, I come in and ask Kay if she would do one of Jordan's chores since he had a lot of homework and she had none. She did it without complaint. (I am beginning to wonder if an alien has invaded her body) HE even said "thanks." What is up with that?!!! Where are the two complaining, whining, insisting "it is not fair!" two kids I love and adore? (Not that I am complaining!!! Just worried they might both be coming down with the flu or something!)

But it gets better... Jordan has a test he has been studying for. He is really worried about it. I told him I would help after I finished what I was doing. When I went to look for him, he was in his sister's room (no yelling going on!) and Kayla was helping him study. I know my face went from pure shock to a cheesy looking smile. I had to hug them. I probably shouldn't have, for the moment ended after that, but I couldn't help myself.

My heart was plum giddy. (Sorry, I'm from the south. We say stuff like that.)

"They love each other! They really do love each other!"

Oops... I hear "noise" from the other room. Sounds like a referee might be needed. Hmmm...well at least we know they are feeling alright!!! :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Phrase to put a smile in your day...

"I'm Forgiven."

I was sitting at church today, listening, taking notes, trying to keep my mind from aimlessly wondering, like it wants to every once in a while. (As a side note, I am a doodle, note taker queen. I have to write down what I'm hearing in order to absorb what I'm learning.) Anyway, all of a sudden a phrase grabbed me...

"When nothing seems right, say to yourself the phrase 'I'm forgiven.' Those two words are life changing."

Wow! My listening ears became alert and my pen started writing double time...I was not going to miss this. The preacher already had my attention and I wanted to hear more.

The message ended up being about Paul. The Sunday School story of how he persecuted followers of Christ, only to be transformed into one of the greatest missionaries, after a meeting one on one with the Lord. Awesome story, but nothing I hadn't heard before. Well, that is until our speaker asked these questions:

"When do you think Paul truly realized his own forgiveness? How did he manage to let go of his past and forgive himself?"

How many times do we bring up past hurts and failures? How many times do we let the past decide our future? How many times do we cry to God "I'm not worthy!"?

Me? Too many times to count. There have been too many times I have laughed at God and said:

"You have got to be kidding me?!!!"

" Do you know who I am?"

"What I have done?"

"You couldn't possibly use me in that situation!"

Yet, if you really take the time to read Paul's story, then you realize what true grace is all about and you come to an understanding that if God can use Paul, He can use you too.

So many times I think we who call ourselves followers of Christ, forget where we came from, taking forgranted what a beautiful gift we have been given. We sometimes need to remember the past so we can understand and be reminded of what true grace is. And then once we realize that gift, let it all go, so we can be an empty vessel to be used for His glory.

I once heard that if you have nothing else to be thankful for, you can always write down "I'm still breathing." I try to keep a "thank you" journal everyday. I have been for years. It is the best way I know to keep afloat during those hard moments. I can't tell you how many times one of my "at least five blessings" has been "I'm breathing." But, I think I have a new phrase. One to lift the lowliest of spirits. It changes one's attitude. It makes me tingle from head to toe. I am going to even share it with you, for it is that special...

"I'm Forgiven."

If you don't smile after saying that, then you and I need to have a talk.

If you have some time today, you might want to read Paul's story in Acts 9. It is jam packed with soul searching drama and total forgiveness...

"But the Lord said to Ananias, 'Go! This man is my chosen instrument...'" Acts 9:15

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tidbits for your viewing pleasure...

I have been rather distracted this week and hadn't taken the time to upload pictures. Hence, the phone call from my sister, who wanted to see what my kids looked like on the first day of school. So, here I am up bright and early on a Saturday morning, taking the time to put a few pictures on for your viewing pleasure...

Here's the thing, my son didn't want his picture taken, acting like going into 5th grade makes him too "old" for all that nonsense. I finally got him outside, only for him to fake "cheese" like crazy. But I love him to pieces anyway. I am just so thankful he had a good three days. The first day, there was normal jitters and frustration. Remember, 5th grade...less fun and games and more "boring" work. But by Friday, he was happy. He thinks his teacher Mr. G is funny. Hopefully the smiles will last the whole year through.

And then there is my daughter who definitely flaunted her own style on the first day of school. Not sure I like it still, but I'm picking my battles here. She asked my opinion and I gave it. I liked all the pieces she was wearing, just not all together. She moved on to dad, who proceeded to tell her about the same. Yet in the end informed us that she "liked it" and that is what really counted. Hey, she was modest and certainly covered up!!! :) Not much we can argue about in that area. However, being the worry wort that I am, I was nervous all day about first day of school first impressions. That afternoon I asked if anyone commented on her outfit (holding my breath) and she informed me that her "bestest" friend loved it and another girl liked her socks. So there you have it...what do moms really know anyway?!!!

The funny thing is, several teased her in a playful way about going "goth" in her style, because of the all black attire. Evidently if you wear black you are making a statement these days. Who knew? Does that mean I have to get rid of all my black, "because black is slimming," clothes? No. I was informed it was just a teenage thing. Whew! That's a relief. As for Kayla, the next day, she wore a magenta Aeropostale t-shirt and green jacket and her paperclip I guess all playful teasing was put to rest.

Last night we went out to eat with my mother and father-in-law. It was a belated celebration meal for my in law's anniversary that they celebrated last week. Can't top eating a good steak and potato in this girl's book. Sorry sis, I didn't take a picture of the food. Jordan had the camera out and after five minutes of flashing he was told, by his dad, to put it up. We ended up with one decent shot...the happy couple.

Well, I didn't send this post out this morning like I planned, so I decided to add a few more pictures tonight.

Kayla had a birthday party to go to tonight. Her friend was hosting a murder mystery night, where they all had to come dressed and in character. Kayla was "Zeta Zarbo" a young wanna be actress of the twenties. Unfortunately, I didn't have time or the funds to find her a real "Flapper" style dress, but found this dress in her closet. I had bought it for her to go to the Christmas dance last year, but it wasn't her favorite and we were able to find something she liked better. It has been hanging there all that time and finally had a place to go. I thought the length and style was close to twenties fashion. Anyway, I thought she looked darling all decked out.

As for what I did while my family was either fishing or solving a murder... I watched The "Hannah Montana" movie. Cute. It was nice having something you could just watch, not flinch when a questionable word was said, have to think real hard to decide "who done it" or sit there and cry. I loved just sitting there in my big comfy chair with a bag of chips, my Sprite and the flicker to myself. However, I think God has a sense of humor after all. I have heard her new song over and over on commercials, as ring tones and even in stores, but I never really listened to the words before. Until today. This life I am living is certainly a "climb" and I'm blessed to be living it. Just because I want to share a little of the love, here are a few of the words so you too can get it in your head and sing it over and over...

I can almost see it

That dream I'm dreaming but

There's a voice inside my head sayin,

You'll never reach it,

Every step I'm taking, Every move I make feels

Lost with no direction

My faith is shaking but I Got to keep trying Got to keep my head held high

There's always going to be another mountain I'm always going to want to make it move

Always going to be an uphill battle, Sometimes I'm gonna to have to lose,

Ain't about how fast I get there, Ain't about what's waiting on the other side

It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing, The chances I'm taking

Sometimes they knock me down but No I'm not breaking

I may not know it But these are the moments that I'm going to remember most

yeah Just got to keep going And I,

I got to be strong

("The Climb" by Hannah Montana)

Is it stuck in your head,yet? Your welcome! :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

God's Bouquet...

This week has been tough for many reasons. Life isn't always easy and it really is that simple. God never said it would be easy. He just promised to be there.

Well, I've certainly learned much. Why is it when we are down, we get our most spiritual? Probably, because we are at the end of our rope and the only joy we can find comes from the Lord. When we feel blue, we tend to take the time to "stop and smell God's roses." But here is the thing, I don't want to pick flowers of blessings only when I'm down and out. I want to have a beautiful bouquet, from the Lord, everyday.

I have been convicted to "MAKE" time to seek out my Heavenly Father more. I can't help but think about how sad I would be if my children never talked to me except when they wanted something or needed my help. I am reminded that my Heavenly Father desires my day to day conversation. He loves me and wants to spend time with me, not just on the rainy days when I don't feel like going outside to play.

Now that I put that all out there, I am tired of the "down in the mouth" attitude. I am still a very blessed lady. Sometimes it takes the hard situations to figure that out. And when I weigh out the issues I've been dealt...well, a lot worse things could have happened. I've got to learn not to let the "little" things build up, and effect my mood. I tend to be a worrywart, sensitive and a self defeating personality sometimes. This is something God is showing me and working on.

What I am about to say, is kind of scary, but I think it needs to be said. It is now Friday and when I look back at my week in review, I see the good, the bad and even the ugly. Yet, I think I'm almost thankful I went through a little fire. For out of it, I can also see the growth. I see the little miracles that happened along the way, too. I can see God's presence at every turn, even in those moments I felt alone. They say hindsight is 20/20, and I believe it to be true. When your are frustrated, hurt, overwhelmed, and feel like God hasn't heard your cries, it is a true test of faith. Yet, as I now look back at my week, I realize at every turn God was there giving me "hugs" in His own time and way. He talked to me through His word, His people and His world. He was constant, even when I put my self made blinders on. He is AWESOME like that.

I know I have been vague about my week. Issues at church, work and my family for now need to remain quiet, but I appreciate you all hanging in there with me. Truth is, I'm smiling today. The peace of the Lord has worked it's magic on me. Some issues are resolved, some aren't, but as I said before, that is just life. The life we lead will never be perfect. It is how we look at the problems and handle them that shows our true character.

As a little word of advice, something I'm still learning to take hold of... When the going gets tough, take the time to smell God's roses. Pick a bouquet of His beautiful blessings. Allow Him to bring a little beauty in your "ugly" moments of life. And if He allows the thorns to prick as you pick, just know it is worth it, to gain the flower.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

His words or my mine???

This has been a busy week for my emotions. I have been on a roller coaster that started with nervousness, climbed slowly towards a little joy, only to barrel down at high speeds into tears, looped into laughter, came to a complete stop from the drama and I was able to stand and walk away. AND IT IS ONLY WEDNESDAY!!! But isn't that how life really is?

Sunday I had the blahs, which the Lord turned into pure sunshine when He gave me a verse. Yes, I totally believe He gave it to me, wrote it for me, decreed I would hear it last Sunday. Why? Because He loves me and knew I would need it. This is MY verse. But hey, I'm willing to share it. I can be nice like that sometimes...

1 Peter 4:8-11 Powerful stuff.

There have been situation after situation, this week alone, where I have been called upon to "love deeply," serve "without grumbling," "show grace," and totally rely on the "the strength God provides."

Yet, the part of this particular scripture that grabs at me, eats at me, gnaws at me, totally leaves me humbled is; "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God."


Is that even possible? Shoot, I might as well give it up and quit now. After the week I'm having there is absolutely NO WAY the words that have escaped my lips have all been God spoken words. My thoughts certainly haven't been all glorious. Yet, there is a urgency for me to try.
There is a desire to want to attempt to have the purest of heart, so that my words could eventually one day have at least a "sounds like" God tone.

I have to go back to verse 8 and realize that the "love that covers a multitude of sins" is not just a reminder of how I should treat and show love to others, but rather a gift given to me by the Heavenly Father. He knows I'll never be perfect. He knows my lack of fluent God thoughts and words. But He has this wonderful gift of love, tied up in grace for me. If that doesn't leave you in total humility and awe, than I don't think anything could.

"If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God."

So He is basically telling me...

When my children disobey...HIS WORDS, not mine.

When on the phone with the AT&T lady and we have a difference of opinion...HIS WORDS, not mine.

When someone at works is allowing gossip to enter the work area...HIS WORDS, not mine.

When you would love to shout to your kids "HATE IT!", but you are trying to pick your battles...HIS WORDS, not mine.

When feelings are hurt...HIS WORDS, not mine.

When you feel angry and snubbed...HIS WORDS, not mine.

When everyone is rushing around with first day of school jitters...HIS WORDS, not mine.

When your baby hurts...HIS WORDS, not mine.

When you just want to be mad...HIS WORDS, not mine.

Oh to be like Jesus... I'm thankful God does see my heart, knows I really am trying, instead of just reading my mind and hearing me speak. He is "grace" ful, like that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

feeling thirteen again...

This past weekend, I think the school nerves caught up with my daughter. She is going into the 7th grade this year and of course it is a whole new world. A world in which she so desperately wants to fit in to. She doesn't necessarily want to be the most popular, for that is too much "pressure," as she puts it. She just simply wants to be liked.

I went through the whole mom talk, AGAIN, about how just because someone doesn't talk to you, it doesn't mean they HATE you. And that girls in 7th grade tend to change who their BEST friend is daily. Nerds in junior high can grow older to be Prom Queen, while popular kids can do something stupid in their lives and be the center of gossip and ridicule, for years after high school. In other words, you just never know... your joy and security has to come from somewhere else in this life, not laid in the hands of snotty nosed teenagers!

As I type this, I'm giving myself this speech. I'm going to go out on a limb and be very honest today. Am I the only one who still feels 13 sometimes? Like I too, just want to fit in somehow. I spend moments wondering sometimes if someone really does like me or not. What about those days the little green monster named Envy wants to come out to play. What about the use of ALWAYS, NEVER, HATE and the pity parties that follow them? What about the days I worry about my looks and the extra pounds I need to shed? The days when I make a mistake and have a hard time letting it go and sometimes even forgiving myself? What about the days I could use a pal, but because we are all so busy, I allow myself to feel lonely. What about the days you get so wrapped in the opinions of others, you simply can't hear God's voice and it scares you? I constantly have to find strength in my relationship with Jesus to realize once again to myself that my "joy" doesn't come from this world, but from a higher power.

The blog world can also be self defeating if one lets it. I try never to get on the computer these days unless I have my pity party under control, because all of a sudden one can feel pressure to be what their not, even in Blogland. Is my blog cute enough? Are they going to think what I wrote was stupid? She has more followers than me. How come they didn't list my blog among their favorites? Why doesn't he comment? The temptation to be someone you really aren't can be strong...

My point with all of this? Simply be yourself. Allow God to shine through the beautiful creation He created called "You." He must have had a purpose in His creative process, because He certainly doesn't make mistakes!!! I think we get caught up in what others think and what they have, instead of remembering what we all need, in order to truly be beautiful...a heart like Jesus.

I came home from work today, feeling a little blue. I felt like I must be the only one feeling this way, until I cried a few tears, asked the Lord for a little joy, gave myself a similar speech to the one I gave my daughter, only age appropriate and then read some incredible posts that cheered me up. Thanks everyone!!!

So, if you are feeling a little thirteenish today, remember you are loved, "zits and all..."

Monday, August 17, 2009

1 Peter 4:8-11...AGAIN!!!

Sunday, when my pastor was reading 1 Peter 4;8-11, it stuck with me. I fell in love with the words and the message behind the words.

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength that God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ."

I decided that this would be a passage I would like to memorize. Memorizing scripture is not my strong suit, although I know it is important, so I have been convicted over my lack of scripture memory. So I decided to write the verses out on an index card and take it to work today.

I had a very hard day. My allergies are acting up again, we were short staffed, it was a very chaotic MONDAY!!! At about 3:00p.m., my director walks in my room to ask me a question. I guess I answered in a rather cranky voice. (I was TIRED!!!) She looked over and saw my index card and proceeded to read it.

"Hmmm... are you putting into practice this verse you have written down?" (she had a teasing sparkle in her eye.)

"Yes." I replied.

"Are you sure about that, Ms Cranky?"

"Yep! I'm sure. I only have one more hour of work. I would have been cranky way before now if I hadn't read my verse over and over all day!!!" She walked away laughing.

The truth is, God knew my heart and He knew I was trying that day. I am totally in love with the verse that states "Love covers a multitude of sins."

Oh, and another lesson learned, make sure when you write out a verse, that it is a good one, for you never know who will stop and read it. (I saw at least three of my co-workers stop to read my verse today. ) You never know when God may touch someone's heart.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday thoughts...

This morning was one of those crazy mornings. I think sometimes the devil knows our weaknesses so we will be all flustered and worn out before we make it through the church doors.

Kevin came home late last night. He had been out of town, learning the ropes of the Upward Bound ministries. Our church is in the process of building a new Family Life Center, with gym space. We are looking towards hosting and being a part of the Upward Bound programs. Anyway, he came hobbling in the house. His gout is acting up again. Ugh! My hubby has a high tolerance of pain, what he still manages to do, while in pain amazes me. So, I said all that to say, it was hard getting him up and around this morning...anyone else would probably have stayed home. Not him. However, he was running a tad late...

Kayla had a friend stay the night. They of course in teeny bop fashion stayed up until 3:00 a.m., or so I'm told. Anyway, we had an extra person to feed and who needed to get ready this morning.

I woke my son up when I woke the girls up. He is usually my "up and ready to go" little man, but not today. I guess spending Friday night with a friend wore him out. I said all of this because as I running to the door, late as a teacher for Sunday School, I find Jordan standing in the hall, in his underwear with bad bead head. He had just got up!!! Thank goodness he was a boy, so he just threw on some clothes, and put his shoes on in the car. Another 10 minutes late...

Did i tell you that I wasn't prepared? Left my book at church, hubby out of town until ten with his church keys...had to "wing it" this morning. Did I tell you that on top of being unorganized I had two extra kids from another class, whose teacher couldn't make it? So, I had four year olds and those going into the first grade. WHAT A COMBINATION THAT WAS!!! Did I tell you...

Actually, my point before I started rambling was simply this: "I wasn't in the mood for "church" this morning. I was tired, flustered, and definitely not prepared for my obligations. Yet, God knew I needed a little encouragement and met me where I was at, with His WORD. Isn't HE awesome like that?!!!

The verse preached on this morning was 1Peter 4:8-10.

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to others, faithfully administrating God's grace in various forms."

Hmmm.... it doesn't get much plainer than that. God, now that you have my attention, I'm listening.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Drama! It comes in all shapes and sizes...

See this guy? Looks all sweet and reflective, right? Notice his eyes. He is actually looking at me, if you look closely you might even catch a glimpse of the mischief that lies there.

My son. The smart, strong, very sensitive, creative, competitive, can't sit still type. He is one of those kids you love to death, because he can give the best hugs, still likes to snuggle and likes to "help." However, unfortunately there is a part of his personality that shows it's ugly head every once in a while and sets this mom off. It is a typical "child" thing. Oh, the DRAMA!!!

Meet mom (me). I'm a people pleasing, quiet peacemaker, who every once in a while has her own "drama" switch that someone flips on. It takes a lot to make me mad and I let most things go and roll with the punches, but then a simple, insignificant thing will happen in my home and it is like someone tipped the boiling pot of emotions I carry and let all the steam out. My boiling point? Drama.

Yesterday, this mom blew a gasket.

I was in a hurry to get back to work, a little stressed, with a headache and my son asks me a "can I?" question. My answer was "No." End of story, right? WRONG!!! First there were the "why nots," then there were some angry words,a little stomping around, a door was slammed and finally there were a few tears.

Now, I know I shouldn't have stomped around and said what I said and the tears were a release when I got back in my car and... I was being a drama queen. But why couldn't he just accept my answer. Why did he have to get all angry and start crying? Why does everything have to be so blown out of proportion??? And I only had three minutes to handle it all?!!!

Upon my return home, we BOTH apologized for our behavior and my son realized that mom "did know best" this time. I again was convicted over my stage performance. Oscar worthy, I'm sure for all the dramatic flair I had put into it.

At the end of the day, things like this, always leave me thinking. How many times have I asked God "why?" over something I thought was a big deal in that moment, but when I look back later I realize He really did know best. How many times have I cried tears of frustration and said angry words because I just didn't understand or didn't like the "just because I said so" answer? How many times has He looked at me with eyes of compassion and said "I love you, my little drama queen?!!!"

Drama may come in all shapes and sizes, but isn't it great that at the end of the day, God loves us all?!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A style of her own...

I think the shoes say it all...

I'm torn between thinking they are really cute or totally quirky...

Truth is on our shopping spree last weekend, I learned quite a bit about my little baby doll.

She is growing up!

And she has a style all of her own!!!

Part tomboy. Part girly girl.

Part bling. Part plaid. All BRIGHT!!!

But you know what?

I realized amidst all her "quirkiness," I really like her a whole lot too!!!

As her mom, of course I love her...

No, I realized I LIKED her.

I like her energy, her random chattering, her smile and her bold style.

There is a part of me that even wishes I could pull off the paperclip shoes...

God, thank you. For I love my baby girl... quirkiness and all!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August 12th...a special day!

As I inch closer and closer to the big 40 (I have another year and a few months!!!), I can't help but wonder where time went. It seems like just the other day I was in grade school, had my first date in high school, met my hubby in college, had my babies, etc..., etc..., etc... Now I'm heading towards the birthday month in my family (my kids and I were all born in October) and the ages of 11, 13 and "39!!!" are killing me. Wow! I guess time really does fly by when you are having fun.
Today is a special day in my family. For two reasons.
Today is my great aunt's birthday. She turns "99" today. Yes, you read it right, 99. Can you imagine the stories she could blog about? How many decades and changes in society she has lived through? Just incredible when you stop and think about it. Although, she was hardly the adventurous type, she still has lived a very full life.
We had a birthday party for her last Sunday, when I was home visiting the family. Except for the fact that she has to be reminded at first of who some of us are (she remembers you after you tell her), she is doing pretty good. She has always been a very humble lady and I think she was overwhelmed that we would even want to celebrate with her. Sometimes she really doesn't realize how much she is loved.
In honor of her and her birthday, I thought I would share five random memories or special things I love or remember about my aunt.

1. She could fry okra and chicken better than anyone I know. I use to love going to eat at her house, sitting out on the back screened in porch. Every time I pass by her old house, I can almost taste the goodness! Yummy!
2. Rose dishes. If you are a member of my family then you already know what I am talking about... I have always loved dishes. When I was a little girl I would always go straight to her china cabinet when I would visit. She had the prettiest pink rose dishes. I thought they were beautiful and told her so every time I visited. When I got married, she had a surprise for me...wrapped in newspaper in a tomato box were those rose dishes. They sit in my china cabinet now and started a collection of "rose" collectibles. I have always been honored she gave them to me. I think she knew I would be the one to appreciate them the most.
3. She was known to always give my cousins, sister and I very "practical" gifts for Christmas. It was always a fun moment to open our presents from Aunt Fay, for there was always a laugh waiting. One year we got a tube of toothpaste each. Another year, my sister and I got toothpick holders...remember we were kids! And then one year, I think she mixed the tubes up and gave my cousin Jim 'Preparation H" by mistake (instead of toothpaste). We have gotten a lot of mileage in laughter on that one!
4. The memories my mom tells...I grew up hearing how my aunt was like her second mom. She lived down in the holler from them (I'm from Arkansas, remember?!) and my mom would always get in trouble because she would rather hang out with Aunt Fay than at home. Just the fact that my mom thought she was one special lady, had me growing up thinking the same.
5. My daughter would always color her a picture when she was little and take it to her when we visited her at the retirement center. Her artwork would always be on display and she would always point it out to Kayla when we visited. Unfortunately now she lives in the nursing home and spends most days sleeping, but at one time she treasured, color pages, etc... that family members gave her.
Those are just a few of my memories. When I hugged her neck the other day, they all came rushing back. Not having a grandparent left, she is the "great" in my family and very loved.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Fay!!!
I love you!

Today happens to also be a special day on my hubby's side of the family too. It is his mom and dad's 49Th wedding anniversary. Again, how must the years roll by...

I first met them when i was nineteen years old. They took me in during my college days, because my family still was on the mission field for a while. I am thankful everyday for my other "mom & dad" who are loving and generous. Most of all I'm thankful that they raised a son who is a wonderful husband, loving father and a servant of the Lord.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad H.!!!

We love you very much!!!

To my Bloggy Buddies...

While gone on my weekend family adventure, I checked my blog only to discover I had been nominated for the neno award, by my good blog buddy, Christy at The Secret Life of An American Wife and Mom. I get excited and I am truly humbled every time someone chooses to pass an award my way. It is affirmation that either my family and our crazy adventures are normal or just plain entertaining. Either way, I'm happy. I started this blog at the request of my sister so that we would have another way to keep in touch. Little did I know that it would be my daily journal of feelings as well as my link to new friendships. I don't know about everyone else but the ability to write things down and getting feelings out in the open is very healing and helps this mom deal with her day to day busy life, no matter what each day holds.

I was told that the neno award is given to those who love blogging, who enjoy making new friendships and who spend their time encouraging others. Thank you.

To pick people to pass this award on to...well it is hard, for there are so many who encourage me everyday with their sweet comments. I am truly thankful for everyone who stops by to laugh as well as cry with me each day. I know that those I have chosen have probably already been given this award by someone else, but I truly just wanted to say thanks for hanging in there through the ups and downs with me. I enjoy each of your blogs for so many different reasons.

Here are a few encouragers who brighten my day every day with sweet words...

Christy - right back at you my friend!!!

Sharon - Joy in the Truth

Hope - My Hope is in the Lord

Elaine - Peace for the Journey

Lauren - Walk by Faith

Michelle - Psalm 104:24

Mimi -He & Me +3

Nan - Mom's the Word

Erica - Scottsville

Kat - Heart2Heart

To others that stop by to encourage and say hello from time to time, "THANKS!!!" This award is for you too. I would also like to say thanks to my sister and my dad, who both have great blogs themselves and who encourage me everyday to write what I know.

I am so thankful for all my bloggy buddies!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Going Home...


Has a nice ring to it doesn't it? If you were to ask me where "home" for me was, I would have several answers. Of course, home is with my hubby and kids, no matter where God leads. However, if you were to ask where the "place I grew up" home was, I would have difficulty answering. I never lived one place in my growing up years for very long. I've lived in several states and countries. But the truth is, there is the town where my parents are from, the place they always called "home," which I somehow adopted as my home too. It was where my grandparents, before they passed away, lived. It is where I have tons of other relatives. It is a town full of precious memories for me. It is a place that always brings a certain peace as I drive into town. It is just Home...

Well, my sister and I went home this past weekend. We loaded up our children in her van and headed to the place that always makes me smile. Now that my parents have retired and have moved back, well it is even better. We spent four nights of good family fun and rest. Something I just need every once in a while.
Don't get me wrong, I love my life. I love my hubby and his family and I'm very blessed right now to be able to live in his "home town" as he serves our Lord. I love what he does for a living and I love my church family. Yet, sometimes I just need a break from the "fishbowl" life. I need the ability to be just me. The escape from day to day responsibilities that come with work, ministry life and school days that are soon approaching. It is wonderful to be able to just go and "hang out" again with my family and share a few laughs, while making a few memories. It provides much needed rest for the the soul...
I am an American Idol fan. One of my favorite American Idols was Chris Daughtry. He had a song a few years ago that talked about "home." This is my favorite line of the song...
"I'm going home to the place where I belong
where your love has always been enough for me..."
Thanks Mom and Dad, for letting me and my kids come and hang out with you for a time. We cherished every moment. Sis, other friends will come and go, but I will always adore you! Thanks for the laughs. Lord, thanks for blessing me with such a fun and loving family and for the much needed rest...

My parents (Aren't they cute?!)

My sister.

Kayla with Aunt Jo.

The boys. (I know you are thinking about our van ride and feeling a little sorry for my sister

and I about now?!!!)

Cousin Richard and Aunt Jo.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hanging out with the family...

Well, as I have already told you, my kids and I are at my parent's house this weekend along with my sister and my nephews. After spending the whole day shopping yesterday, which I plan to eventually blog about when I get my pictures, etc... uploaded, I basically crashed. We hit the ground running and survived the heat and the crowds with most of our sanity in tact. Of course it helped that my parents took all the boys to play mini golf and ride go-carts while my sister and I hit the mall with Kayla. That too is post worthy, which I promise to eventually write about too.

As for has been WONDERFUL! Here are just a few of the highlights...

- We slept late. (Yeah!)

- We had pancakes for breakfast. (YUMMY!)

- We played cards with the boys. (Good quality time. Playing rummy with 4 boys under 10 takes FOREVER!!!)

- Watched an "Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea" marathon with the girls in the family. (Love Anne!!!)

- Played beauty shop. Have I ever told you how much I love for my hair to be played with? My sister knows it too. I found myself sitting on the floor once again in front of my sister while she "fixed" my hair. Of course we were being silly. By the time we were all finished we all looked like we walked off the set of Star Wars or out of a Dr. Seuss book. Can you ever be too old to play beauty shop and share a few laughs? (Too fun!)

- Had my mom's famous mashed taters for dinner. (Simply the best!)

I thank God for simple, lazy days like today. We need them every once in a while. Add the fact that you get to hang out with family and it makes it all the better. I guess I will go for now and see what mischief "Anne" is about to get into... I'm also laughing at the new hairstyle my sister is giving my mom as I type. Fun times!!! :)

Oh, and just so you can have a laugh of your own today...a few pictures for your enjoyment.

Friday, August 7, 2009

She's all grown up...

I forgot to mention, due to the fact that I was getting ready for the big road trip, that my heart is breaking just a little this week. Wednesday, my baby registered for 7Th grade. Ouch! She also officially went on her first youth trip with her dad, as a teenager in his youth group this week too. Never mind that it was to Playtime Pizza, it was still a day trip out of town! My daughter, the TEENAGER?!!! HELP!

So as I'm school shopping for her this weekend, I have a whole new set of worries. How to help her be cute, yet decent. How to be kid approved and dad approved at the same time. How to help her be "cool." I sure wasn't cool in 7Th grade, so what do I know?! "NOTHING!" she says.

I ask, is it even possible to make her happy and me happy at the same time, when it comes to clothes? Maybe I should find a school with uniforms...

Junior High/Middle School is such a crazy age. I'm praying I can just live to tell about it.

So tell me. Where did the time go? I swear, I only closed my eyes for a moment...

I think God created the ages 12-21, to increase a mother's faith and grow her prayer life. Can I get an "AMEN?"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

See this very special gal in the picture with me? She happens to be my little sis. Love her to pieces, even though she is taller than me, skinnier than me and can tan!!! She really is one of my favorite people in the world. I truly love hanging out with her. I'm very thankful, for I have a really close family. I hear all the time of people who say they never talk or see their family and I'm like "WHAT?!!! ARE YOU CRAZY? FAMILY IS ONE OF THE GREATEST BLESSINGS GOD GIVES US! CAN'T IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT THEM!!!"

Anyway, I said all of that to say, that it is a good thing my sister and I love being with each other, because we are getting ready to take another trip. Yes, we just got back from a weeks worth of vacation with the whole family. Yes, we were all cooped up in two vans for hours. Yes, we are sick of gas station bathrooms. Yes. Yes. Yes. However, we love each other so very much, we are willing to go another round!

Actually, we are just going on what we call every summer our "road trip." Which in my family it basically means we are going to see the grandparents. Every summer, since my kids were babies, we would load them up in the car/van, say goodbye to the dads and stop as many times as we want between my house and my parent's house. Sometimes we go and do fun things, like the zoo, theme parks, Chucky Cheese, and sometimes we just "chill" and hang out watching movies. Whatever the agenda, we always have a good time.

This year the plan is "School supplies and clothes." You see, my sister and I live in small towns in south Arkansas that have nothing in the way of shopping. Walmart is it. I am thankful I have a Wally world, but I wish I had a few choices every once in a while too. So, we are heading to Grammy and Poohpa's house, which is about 30-40 minutes from Branson, Missouri. Can we say "OUTLET MALLS?"

I'm excited. I will need prayer, though, for my kids seem to think I'm made of money, which I am definitely NOT. I just pray I can find what we need with out robbing a bank. Can you believe how much everything goes up from year to year? Why do I have to supply Kleenex and Ziploc bags for school anyway? Next thing you know, they will want me to buy toilet paper too. The lists just gets longer every year.

Another reason I'm excited about my visit home is that it is my great aunt's birthday. She will be 99. She is one special lady and loved very much by her family. There will be a family party for her Sunday.

So, after work today, I will be loading my kids into my sister's van and we will head out for another family adventure. Don't worry, pictures will be taken and posts will be written. And prayers will be said. After all, my sister and I are going with these guys...

Too bad the aquarium gift shop didn't have the shark cages for sell. It might have come in handy.

Happy summer! :)

I've been Tagged!!! Gotta Love Summer!

I've been tagged by Hope at "My Hope Is In The Lord," to share five things I love about summer...

I love that I get to go to youth camp with my hubby and umpteen teenagers that we love to pieces. Nothing more beautiful than a youth filled room lifting up the name of Jesus. I love summer church camp!!!

I love family vacations. Days filled with family fun adventures.

I love the smiles on my kids faces when they get to spend the evening at the pool.

I love being able to wear a good pair of flip flops everywhere, because you just can in the summer time. Love Old Navy flip flops!!!

I love the fact that every June I'm reminded of how blessed I am, because God gave me this guy, who loves me.

I could go on, but I think I would rather read what others have to say, so I'm tagging Amber, Sharon, Kat , Mimi, and Michelle.

Happy Summer Everyone!!!