Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sailing Through, It's What To Do

I have such a heavy heart these days.  So many people needing prayer and all of them our family members.  Including myself.

Besides our own family battling illnesses like pneumonia, bronchitis, severe colds, and ear infections, there's little Abraham.  Bruce's cousin's baby.  He got an infection in his eye, which turned to cellulitis and swelled up something terrible.  He's been in the hospital, has had surgery to have it drained, and will most likely be in the hospital for ten to fourteen more days.  He really needs to be lifted in prayer.  His parents and sisters also.  He's such a sweet little thing.  He's been in my constant thoughts and prayers since he went in the hospital a few days ago.

My mother in law, Marie, went in to see the orthopedic surgeon about having her knees replaced.  While she was there he found a heart murmur and sent her to a heart specialist.  The heart specialist said she needed a valve replacement.  While running tests to get ready for that surgery, they found a mass on her kidney and sent her to an oncologist.  The oncologist, thankfully, told us it was not cancer and we could proceed with the heart surgery.  Which was good news, but scary too.  Everything was scheduled and she had her surgery last Wednesday.  Some unexpected things happened during surgery that we were not aware of until last night.  She was in ICU longer than anticipated, but eventually moved to a regular room.  However, her heart has been out of rhythm ever since so they're going to do surgery some time tomorrow and give her a pacemaker.  I'm sad I can't be there for her.  But I know the Lord is taking care of her.

On top of everything, Bruce is on mandatory over time all week.  This has been difficult for him.  He doesn't have any more time to take off here at the end of the year.  But he's making it through long work days and getting up there to Charlotte to see his mom at night. 

As we were talking about how frustrated we feel, him having to work and me being sick, and not being able to really be there, he asked me how we were going to get through this with his mom?  My reply was, "We sail through it. That's what we do." 

Sometimes the seas of life get rough.  You can't control the waves or the storm that directs them.  You just have to hold on and sail through it. When your ship is Jesus Christ, who also happens to be the One who directs the storms and waves, there is no safer or surer place to be.  Sometimes God has to slow us down and say, "Hey, I'm in charge here.  I don't need your help today."  He'll send the waves during the storm that holds us back from staying on course.  We are tossed side to side, to and fro, until we aren't really sure which direction we were going to begin with.  But when we just sail through it, trusting He has us in His hands, eventually the storm ceases, the waves become still, and we find ourselves suddenly back on course, heading in the direction God had planned for us all along.  And more often than not, we find ourselves closer to him too.  We suddenly look up and realize the storm is over, the seas are calm, and we're sailing peacefully into the SONset.

We can worry about what people think, we can worry about our circumstances, we can worry about our health, our finances, our jobs, etc...  but in the end, it doesn't really matter.  All that matters is that God knows everything about it and He has it all under control.  So when the storms come and the waves begin to toss, just hang on, take one day at a time, and sail through because every storm ends.


Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things."


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

School, Jobs, Doctor Visits, and Thanksgiving

This has been a whirlwind of a couple of months.  Since vacation we've started school and things are going good.  We're moving right along and Harrison will be able to take December off.  Something we've done every year since we started homeschooling, providing their work was at a certain point to finish up on time by the end of the year.  His math teacher is great.  We've been doing Math You See and so far he is really doing great with it. 

Hannah is working steady at her job and is now a teacher in her class.  She loves it.  She's been being creative doing bulletin boards and decorating the outside of her class.  Her hours are more steady and she is full steam ahead with her own school work. 

Justin resigned his job a couple weeks ago and will be starting his new job where his dad works.  This is a big deal and we're very happy for him.  He is excited about starting Thursday. 

Bruce has been going back and forth from first to second shift.  I prefer him working first.  I miss him in the evenings when he's not here. 

Bruce's mom went in to have her knees looked at.  We knew she needed her knees replaced, but when the doctor listened to her heart he didn't like what he heard.  He sent her to a specialist who said she had a faulty valve and that needed surgery before her knees.  We really weren't surprised.  For the last couple of years she tires so easily, breaks into cold sweats, and a lot of times feels like she'll pass out.  She thought maybe it was her sugar, but it was her heart.  Because of her age and the fact that she isn't very stable now, they didn't want to do open heart surgery.  So they scheduled a test to see if they could go through a main artery.  The test showed that they could, but it also showed a mass on her kidney.  She was sent to an oncologist this week.  It was very upsetting for her, as you can imagine.  But thankfully the oncologist had pretty good news for her and said that he really felt the mass was not cancer.  He believes it is either a cyst or a benign tumor.  He ran other tests and we'll see him again next Monday.  If she needs surgery for this they'll have to do it before the heart surgery because after the heart surgery she'll be on blood thinners and that won't be good for other surgical procedures.  So this is a pretty delicate situation for her right now and we're just praying the right decisions are made and the doctors all together on everything.  They've all been so great.  I'm thankful for each of them.  So if you wouldn't mind helping us pray I know she would appreciate that.

We're working on a parade of tables at church.  Hannah and I took a table with two new ladies in our church.  Our tables are decorated around a theme verse.  I've chosen Isaiah 1:18 for our verse, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."  We'll be decorating Wednesday night after church.  I've seen some of the tables that are already decorated and I have to say it's a little intimidating.  But it's going to be fun and I can't wait to see everyone's tables. 

Thanksgiving is coming up!  I'll be cooking this year.  EEEeeek!  That makes me nervous, but we're going completely traditional so it's all good, right?  I just get nervous when I'm cooking for more than a few people.  This year my mom and my brother and his family will be here.  Maybe one of Bruce's brothers will be here too.  This is Justin and Brittany's first Thanksgiving together so I'm not sure what their plans are yet.  We'll see.  I just want them to have a good one because they have a lot to be thankful for.  EACH OTHER!! And I'm thankful for that too!  :D

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Birthdays, Vacation, and Other Thoughts

Bruce and I were talking one day in the car about one of his old boss ladies he had at PPG more than ten years ago.  He thought the world of her.  Anyone we have ever met that worked for her at PPG has nothing but good things to say about her.  That same day, not long after he had mentioned her and told a funny story about her, we walked into Sweet Frog of Shelby and guess who was there.  That's right, Fanny and her daughter Chamile and Fanny's 92 year old mother.  They were celebrating her mother's upcoming 93rd birthday with some frozen yogurt.  Fanny mentioned they were going to have a birthday party for her with six generations of the family there to celebrate her life.  They were looking for someone to take pictures.  Can you imagine my excitement when she said that?  Of course I volunteered and told her I would be very happy to take those pictures and she graciously allowed me to do that. 

Blogger wants you to use Google Chrome to upload pictures and I don't like Google Chrome, so I uploaded one to Flikr.  You can click here to see a picture of the Birthday Queen and nine of her children.  The tenth child is her great grandson standing in place for his grandfather.  What a wonderful blessing it was to share in this celebration and with this family!  Bruce and I left in tears and after getting to know this beautiful, elderly lady, we realized why Fanny and the entire family of about 200 that showed up were so wonderful to be with.  She is certainly the heart of her family and they love her a whole lot.

The day after the party our family loaded up the rental car and headed to the beach for vacation.  What a great time we had!  And it was a relaxing time too.  We always love to go the week following school being back in session.  Everything is quiet and calm and we pretty much have the place to ourselves.  The Jacuzzi was the BEST!!  I asked my chiropractor if it would be ok to sit in one while we were away and he said absolutely as long as it wasn't longer than 15 or 20 minutes.  So I did every night.  We'd go to the indoor Jacuzzi, where I'm POSITIVE no one else in the hotel knew about, and while the kids played in the indoor pool Bruce and I sat in the Jacuzzi and just relaxed.  That was the last thing we did every night and let me tell ya, I slept like a rock.  Now if I could just talk Bruce into putting one in here at home I'd be set! 

Things seem to be progressing with my treatments.  They've started a new therapy on my neck which is very uncomfortable and causes a lot of pain right after both in the neck and my head.  Icing and drinking water seems to help.  But they strap my head and chin into this contraption that's really nothing but a metal bar that my neck "rests" on and I pump up the bar three or four times, hold it for a few seconds, then release it.  This goes on for about five or ten minutes.  Then at home I have a triangular shaped pillow I have to do an exercise on each night that is basically working toward the same goal as the contraption they use at the office.  The pillow sounds comfy, I know, but trust me, it's not really that kind of pillow.  But it only takes 15 minutes of my evening and it's working to help relieve some stress in my neck.  So...  there ya have it. I'll admit that I am tired of going back and forth to the office.  I'd like things to be back to normal.  Right now I have about eight more weeks ahead of me.  So we'll see how things go after that.

And Lord willing, by this weekend or some time next week, I will have the check for my totaled vehicle in hand and I'll be able to pursue a new car.  Driving the truck is ok, but I'd prefer to be back in a car. 

I haven't talked to Justin today but he was very sick last night.  Poor guy has the stomach virus, along with his girlfriend and several of their friends from her church.  Last night he was lookin' pretty rough.  I sent him home with some Sprite, a small container of homemade chicken pot pie (just in case he got hungry) and a container of Apple Cider Vinegar.  Maybe the ACV helped.  I don't know.  Usually you need to take it right when you start feeling sick or have been around anyone that is sick.  It may have been too late for him.  Praying they're all better soon.

It's almost 1:30 and Harrison just finished his school work.  We've had a great first week of school so far even though our days are beginning a little later than they should due to doctor's appointments.  But it's all good.  We're on our way to buy a new tie for church, drop off the picture CD for Fanny, and then get ready for church.  Looking forward to services tonight and Lord willing, going to the Cleveland County Baptist Camp Meeting the rest of this week. 

God has been good and He has been faithful.  I am blessed with His goodness and so very undeserving. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Welcome Back to School

Today was our official first day back to school.  We have started our eighteenth year of homeschooling.  Praise the Lord! 

Two students graduated and one beginning high school this year.  This is the first of the last four years.  I admit I have my failures.  One is math.  Oh dear.  I have always despised Math and thank the Lord for my brother, John, a Math WHIZ, who has always been there to help us when we needed it.  John's symptoms of MS increases daily and I hate to bother him.  So this year we decided to use a Math on DVD with an actual Math teacher.  Harrison is happy about it and to be quite honest, so am I!  We had to begin our day without that Math, though, because the company I ordered from got my order mixed up with another lady's order.  I was bummed when I opened the box and saw it was not my order.  But they assured me they would have my order here soon.  So Lord willing we shouldn't be too far behind.

SIGMA and Patch started at church for the school year.  So Harrison is in fifth gear, full speed ahead, to be number one in points.  He is bound and determined to take it this year.  We'll see. 

Hannah is still working at the day care.  She is now one of the teachers in the two year old class.  She's also still taking classes at the college.  She's a busy girl these days.  Barely see her anymore, but she's really happy where she is right now.

Justin is still working in Gaffney.  We're having a house warming party for him...FINALLY...this month.  He has everything he needs for his home, but he has some maintenance to do on the house so he's asking for Lowe's Home Improvement gift cards.  He is also seeing a beautiful, Christian young lady named Brittany.  They are planning their future together and we are very happy for them.  Their picture has been added to my sidebar.  We are very excited to see what the Lord has in store for them and are so blessed God sent her to our son and to our family.  We love her a whole lot! 

Bruce and I are still SIGMA sponsors, but we are on a "break" this year while another couple who hasn't had a team in a few years steps up and sponsors a team.  We're so happy they've been added back this year.  And we're also thrilled that Justin's buddy (my other son) Jeremy and his wife, Ashley, are sponsoring a team this year too!  They are a young couple with a strong desire to serve the Lord and be used and I know the Lord will use them with the teens this year.  It's going to be an exciting year for our youth group having new sponsors and Brother Johnathan and Mrs. Jennifer as official youth pastors.  Still cheering on that decision! 

We have many blessings before us.  But we also have burdens.  Please be in prayer for a little boy named Asher.  He was diagnosed last week with leukemia.  His treatments have started so he's going to need a LOT of prayer as he goes through those.  Also, the Justice family are in GREAT need of prayer.  A piece of furniture landed on their two year old, causing bleeding on the brain.  When testing for brain activity this morning they did not find any.  They removed her off life support shortly after.  I'm so broken hearted for these families and what they are facing with their children.  God, in all His wisdom, knows what is best for our lives.  Praying as these parents go through these fiery trials.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Red Light, Green Light

So, I was in an accident last Friday.  I was coming home from the grocery store, buckled up and waiting for my light to turn green.  It did.  I started to go and turn left onto the highway when someone sped through a red light and hit me on my side of the car.  He shoved me into a large delivery type truck and let me tell ya, that was a scary ordeal.  Oh, and air bags hurt.  They also release a nasty smoke and it stinks. 

I can't talk about what is going on with all of this right now, but I will say we need a lot of prayer and some needs met.  LIKE A CAR!  Pray we're able to get one soon and make a good decision on purchasing a new one.  We have a good friend who is a dealer and is keeping an eye out for us.  Thankful for someone we both trust and has a good reputation with his vehicles.

I'm seeing a chiropractor for the first time in my life.  Talk about conquering your fears!  I do not like being touched, much less pulled, twisted, and stretched.  But you do what you feel you need to do, right?  It's definitely been a different experience for me.

That's the bad news.  The good news is, for the first time in fourteen years, I am finally under the weight I was when I had my first OB appointment with Harrison.  Gives me a positive boost in the arm to keep trying and set a NEW GOAL!  I know with the help of the Lord I can do this.  If I left it up to just me, I'd be in the closet downing twinkies.  Just sayin'.

Looking forward to beginning a new SIGMA year with our youth.  We're praising the Lord for answered prayer in our youth department.  We officially have a youth pastor!!!  Brother Johnathan and Mrs. Jennifer have been working tirelessly with the youth group the last couple of years and God opened the door for our church to take them on full time.  We could not be more pleased.  The youth love them both and I'm sure it will be a great year.

And that is all for tonight. I've iced my shoulders and now it's time for medication and bed!  Early appointment in the morning.

Hope y'all have a great night!!  :)

Genesis 22:14 "Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sleepless In Carolina

So here it is 1:16am and I'm up, can't sleep.  What do you do when that happens?  You blog.  After all, it's been nearly two months since I blogged anything. 

Here lately it seems the sleepless nights happen more frequently.  Along with hot flashes, mood swings, and other weird symptoms of becoming an older woman.

I really haven't had any "burdens" on my mind, but it just seems that as soon as I lay down to sleep, no matter how tired I feel, I just can't seem to go to sleep.  My mind begins processing things and thinking about things and I find myself carrying on hypothetical conversations with people.  Something my dad used to do all the time.  Usually while he was shaving in the mornings.  Very interesting conversations, that man had.

Tonight I went to bed and just laid there, tossing and turning. So I figured if I was going to be this awake, why not be productive.  Folding laundry and washing and drying more laundry seemed like a good idea.  Cleaning counters and appliances was a good idea too.  But here it is in the wee hours of the morning and I really, REALLY need the rest. 

See, our youth group's summer camp was sadly cancelled.  To make up for that, our church is giving them a mini camp for the next few days.  They spent the night at the church tonight and I'll meet some other ladies in about five and a half hours to cook breakfast for them.  They'll have a fun day of devotions with Brother Johnathan, volleyball, water games, and other sports, followed by lunch, some quiet time, getting showered and dressed for supper and then a chapel service led by one of our mission men, called to preach.  It's going to be a really good day and I'm looking forward to it.  Then early Friday morning they'll load the vans or bus and head out to Paramount Carowinds, an amusement park here in NC.  I know they'll have a really good time. 

I wish I could go.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE riding rides.  But my ankle would not make an entire day walking/running back and forth to different rides in the park.  I was told about ten years ago I needed an ankle replacement.  I've been putting it off and putting it off and it just seems like here lately it's getting worse and worse.  I'm just about ready to make that first appointment and get the ball rolling on this.  Really the only thing holding me back is the 20 week recovery.  That's right.  TWENTY weeks.  Twelve weeks of NON-WEIGHT bearing recovery, followed by eight weeks of slow to intense therapy.  In case you haven't done the math, that's five months.  FIVE months.  So just pray I'll make the right decisions about all of this and do it in God's perfect timing.

Over the last several months I've needed to scoot up a little closer to the Lord. I've been hurt by people close to me and my children have been hurt by others as well.  At first I was just mad all the time.  The flesh was very unruly.  I had to earnestly pray and try desperately to ignore certain behavior.  But one thing I learned through it all is that God is still good and God is still on the throne.  What I THOUGHT I wanted Him to bless us with, He took away.  But I didn't see that He took it away right off.  All I saw as we were going through some things was a wall being built by human hands.  It wasn't until later that I saw it was actually a hedge of protection God was building to protect my children and my family.  It was THEN that God was able to move in MY heart and show me that MY wants are not always HIS wants.  And that if I truly wanted HIS will for my life and the lives of my children, then I have to trust Him.  So I purposed in my heart that's exactly what I'm going to do.  Simply trust Him. 

Since then, God has opened so many doors for my children in their lives.  I've just sat back and watched the blessings pour out over them.  It's been great just resting in the Lord and knowing He has everything in their lives...and mine...under His control.

I am so excited to see how God is orchestrating some things in our home right now.  But again, I'm praying and trusting that His will be done and that whatever He chooses will be what I choose, because I want what HE wants. 

It's never an easy thing to put our full trust in the Lord.  But once it's there, man it's good.  It's like it all just falls into place and usually like you never imagined...but BETTER!

Proverbs 3:5&6 comes to mind, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Love Beyond Measure

Crossroads Rescue Mission had their annual jubilee a couple weeks ago.  During one of the meetings my Pastor's wife approached me to say a church in Polkville asked if I would speak at their ladies meeting.  I told her yes and then kind of panicked.  I had a busy week with jubilee every night, photo shoots during the days, and lots of editing!  My study time was limited, with only a week from that Saturday.  So I cancelled photo shoots and went off facebook the next week while I studied my lesson. 
Monday was great and then Tuesday showed up.  It was one thing after another.  It started off with a phone call that morning, followed by news from my son that sent my blood pressure through the roof, followed by my husband doing something really crazy that did not help the situation, followed by my youngest son doing something crazy too.  I felt like my head would explode.  It suddenly occurred to me that it was the devil working against me over this meeting.  So I went to my room, sat on the bed and took a deep breath.  I prayed, Lord, I really need something from you right now.  And He told me exactly what to do.  By this time, Bruce was sitting quietly in the living room.  After all, he knew I was upset.  Pretty sure the slamming of kitchen cabinets, mumbling and throwing dish towels gave my bad attitude away.  Anyway, I walked up to him and said, "I'm gettin' outta here.  You wanna go?"  He said, "YES!"  So he put his shoes on and met me in the car.  We drove quietly, him never asking me where we were going.  He was just along for the ride.  No doubt, in hopes, to make me happy.  I pulled into Ruby Tuesday and he said, "We already had supper.  Are you still hungry?"  "Nope," I replied, "God said eat cheesecake."  So we did!  And it was wonderful.  We sat across from each other laughing and talking and enjoying the best cheesecake I've ever had.  It seemed like all the worries and anger just melted away.  I suppose the moral of the story is, when you're having a really bad day and you know the devil is attacking you, God will help you through it and help you to see what's going on and He will tell you what to do.  And if you're as fortunate as me, He'll tell you to go eat cheesecake.  :)

As I was studying for the ladies meeting I tried to focus on the theme of "Love Beyond Measure."  When I think of love beyond measure, I only think of God.  As humans, our love is very much measureable.  God's love, however, is eternal.  Non-ending.  It can not be measured!  I John 4:8 tells us, "...for God is love."  God IS love.  He loves us when we're obedient.  He loves us when we're living right and doing right.  But when else does He loves us?  Is this the only time He loves us?  When else does God love us?  I ran across a quote online and I couldn't get away from it so I drew my outline from it. 

God's Love Beyond Measure:
  1. God loves the Flawed.  Romans 5:8 says, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  That word "commendeth" means to entrust with care of preservation.  At the time of Christ's death, I had not committed one, single sin.  I wasn't born yet!  But He looked ahead in time and saw me in my sinful state and He preserved that love for me by shedding his blood for me anyway.  That's love.  Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it's not about our works.  Are you kidding me?  We are flawed to the very core of this flesh.  Of COURSE it's not about our works!  It's about HIM and what HE has done because of His love for us!  And He still loves us today, just as much as He did yesterday and the days before that, and the day He gave His very life for us.
  2. God loves the Rejected.  Romans 8:35 says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"  Jump down to verses 38 & 39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  You may feel that God cannot or will not forgive you of something.  You may feel rejected because of past sins in your life.  But these verses tell me there is nothing, not one thing, that can separate us from the love of Christ!  There is no sin so great, the grace of God cannot cover.  He will take us just like we are and loves us too much to leave us as we were.  He can and will make something great out of us, if we let Him.  The world may reject us and throw us to the side, but GOD will never do that.  You may even be rejected for what you stand for. Luke 6:22 says, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake."  Hey, when we are rejected for His name's sake, we are BLESSED!  Because He is on OUR side!  Romans 8:31 says, "...If God be for us, who can be against us?"  Being rejected isn't so bad, really, because we KNOW we're on the winning side!  And He NEVER rejects His children!
  3. God loves the Awkward.  You may feel awkward because you can't speak your thought clearly to others.  Or maybe you have a disability that holds you back from serving in a capacity that others without your disability have no problem.  You know Moses had a speech impediment.  Most scholars believe he stuttered.  But God used him as the most influential person to go up against Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel through the desert to their promised land.  One of the greatest men of God I know stutters.  But yet he is doing a work for the Lord that amazes me on a weekly basis.  Don't allow your awkwardness or fear of what people think of you keep you from serving the Lord.  Psalm 118:6 says, "The Lord is on my side, I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"  The Lord loves you and wants you to tell others about His love.  You may seem awkward to others, maybe even to yourself.  But God loves you just the way you are and He wants you to share His love with others.
  4. God loves the Sorrowful.  Sorrow is a more intense feeling than sadness.  We can feel sad over many things, but sorrow is felt down deep in our soul.  It is said that sorrow lies somewhere between sadness of accepting a circumstance and distress of not accepting that circumstance.  Maybe you are sorrowing over something or someone in your life.  A death of a spouse or a parent.  Maybe you are sorrowing over a wayward child or friend.  The Bible says in II Corinthians 1:3-5 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."  We sorrow, but GOD can and will bring our comfort and then we can turn around and help those who are going through their own sorrow, because of what Christ did in us through our own sorrow.
  5. God loves the Broken.  One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 147:3, "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."  I have felt broken and in pieces and like I would never overcome the hurt caused by friends who said they loved me and would always be there for me.  I have been broken over having to cut people out of my life who had turned their backs on God or were going in the opposite direction of where I was going toward God.  And sometimes that happens.  Sometimes you'll have that.  I have been broken over circumstances beyond my control that may have caused hurt and pain to someone else besides myself.  But by leaning on Christ and His love, I have experienced His healing power and experienced Him taking those broken pieces of my heart and mending them back together.  It was not an overnight experience.  It took a lot of time.  A lot of prayer.  And a lot of hiding myself in God's Word.  You might feel broken and lost and like you'll never be the same, but God will heal your broken heart and He will bind up your wounds, the way only He can. 
"Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely.  Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly.  Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely...He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Lord is My Portion

Often, when Bruce is going through a difficult time with something, he will say, "The Lord is my portion."  I have thought a lot about this verse for several days and have prayed this to be real for a very dear friend.

She and her family are going through a very difficult time in their life.  A year ago, they never saw that today they would be broken hearted and grieving inside.  But God did.  And He prepared for them for this day and for the days to follow until He is able to mend the pieces of their hearts back together.

As I thought about this verse, "The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him," I kept thinking of that word  portion

Portion has a few different meanings, along the same line.  But the one that spoke to me most, was "...A part that is allotted to a person or group." 

My friend's family is a group, but each of them have been touched by this storm and each of them are hurting in their own ways.  The LORD is their portion as a family, a group.  But the LORD is their portion individually also.  He will give them exactly what each of them need to heal and as they each begin to heal, the family will heal together.  The LORD is their portion. 

When the storms of life hit out of no where and even when we see or suspect a storm is coming, we must remember that God saw it coming long before we did.  And He has had a plan all along for what we are going to go through.  He has prepared the LORD to be our portion. 

On those nights when it seems the darkest, when it seems our pillow holds most of our tears, when we feel we are further from God's presence than we have ever been....  HE is our portion.

We will have days where we don't want to get up out of bed, days where we feel we may never be the same.  We will have days that seem they will never end, but...  HE is our portion.

Our Associate Pastor preached a wonderful message tonight and said something I will never forget.  We need to praise our way to prayer.  When we are feeling our very lowest and prayer is the only thing we know to do, the only thing we CAN do, begin it with PRAISE.  Find the praise in the storm and praise GOD to your prayer and to your petitions. 

The LORD is my portion.  And He will ALWAYS be enough.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Empty Worship Equals Empty Power

Last night the Holy Spirit of God was moving freely in the service.  It was so good to see the alters filled and hear testimony after testimony, along with anointed singing.  We rejoiced in the birth of one of our young couple's little girl, and also in the birth of a new child of GOD.  Yes, it was a very good day.

There is a young man in the mission and his entire church from Tennessee loaded a bus and drove down to be with him in the service last night.  They came and got right in on the service as if they'd been members of our church all along.  It was a blessing! 

Their music director testified and something he said kind of popped out at me and I haven't been able to get it off my mind.  He said the church he and his family had left were moving in the contemporary direction.  That they left a lot of times feeling hungry for something more powerful.

When he said that, the first thing that crossed my mind is when I'm hungry but in a hurry or don't want to take the time to prepare something good for myself, I grab the first thing I see.  A handful of chips, a little Debbie cake, a candy bar.

These things won't fill us up.  They give us a temporary satisfaction, along with empty calories.  We need good calories throughout the day to give us energy and keep us going.  So why not just take the time and eat the right foods when our body is telling us we need to eat?  Chips and a Debbie cake or a candy bar are ok from time to time.  But when our body needs nourishment, we need to feed it the right foods. 

Just like our physical body needs the right foods, our spiritual body does too. 

Jesus said in John 6:35, "...I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."

In order to feed our spiritual body, we need to eat from the Bread of Life.  There are many things we can nit-pick over in churches.  Your church may do things differently from my church.  And that's fine.  That's why you go to your church and I go to mine.  :)  But I do believe that the modern church has slipped away from true worship and are making a quick fix to feeding the spiritual, leading to empty power in the Saints of God.

Most modern churches want to spend forty-five minutes in a praise and worship singing where they sing the same words over and over and over and over.  Then spend five minutes reading a passage from the Bible.  There's no real meat in the message or songs.  Something about loving your neighbor and being kind to one another.  Then it's over.  Everyone goes home to do their own thing and they leave with a temporary satisfaction that will only carry them through part of the day.  Then they starve the rest of the week.

I realize that's a very run-down description, but I think you know what I'm referring to.  Like I said, not every church is like mine.  Not every church is like yours.  It's not about my church or your church.  It's about being in a church where people are fed empty power.

John 4:24 says, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."  There must be a balance in the service.  You can be in a service where there is a lot of spirit, but little or no truth.  And you can be in a service where there is a lot of truth, but little or no spirit.  I've been in both.  And let me tell ya, it leaves you hungering and thirsting for the Power of God.  

It's no secret I love my church.  I'm thankful for a man of God that allows the Holy Spirit to direct the service.  We have an unspoken order of service.  A way things are kind of laid out.  But there is no official order of service, written in a bulletin and handed out.  If we did that, it would be a waste of paper, because most of the time, our services NEVER go the way our Pastor or the congregation thinks it will.  We don't have a calendar saying who is singing each service through the month.  Our choir director doesn't make a list of songs the choir will sing over the next several weeks.  And that's because the Holy Spirit is allowed to be the director and orchestrator of the service.  It's good to go and be fed in spirit and in truth.  It leaves you feeling Spiritually fit, spiritually strong, spiritually encouraged, and spiritually powerful. 

The more we get of empty calories, the less we get of the nourishment we truly need.  We begin to lean toward the convenience and instant gratification of meeting a need that will never be met until we give our body the right stuff!  

We need the meat of the WORD and the BREAD OF LIFE to fill us UP with HOLY GHOST POWER!  

Are you hungry? 

The Master says, "...Come and dine..." 

Monday, March 24, 2014

In It, To Win It!

This past weekend, the ladies of our church loaded up the bus and headed to the Women of Honor Ladies Conference.  And WOW, did we have a great time! 

As soon as we walked into the Cabarrus Arena, the atmosphere, alone, let you know you were with God's people.  Just as I was realizing that feeling, I could hear others saying what I was thinking.  They were feeling it too. 

The theme this year was In It, To Win It.  There were vendors with all kinds of wonderful things to sell from Christian literature to baby bows.  There was tremendous singing from the Simpson family and other groups from their churches. And there was a line up of godly women there that the Lord used to help us grow closer to Him and to stand up on our battle field and fight to win because we are in it to win it!

It was a blessing to be there this weekend and I gleaned so much that my heart and mind are still sorting it all out.

But this morning, as I was pondering on the theme, I couldn't help but think of our children.  Mrs. Ava had posted something on our church's facebook wall that just really aligned up with what my heart is feeling. 

Listen, the devil wants nothing more than to snatch our children away from God.  He will do whatever he can to steal them away.  We are in a race to keep them away from him.  He's been the devil a whole lot longer than we've been parents.  And he's the best player on his team.  So never underestimate him.  If we are going to WIN our children to the Lord, we better listen to our Coach!

The first thing we need to do is PRAY.  John Wesley once said, "God does nothing on earth save in answer to believing prayer."  We have got to get on our knees for our children and pray the devil off of them.  Pray that hedge around their minds and their hearts and their lives, that the devil can not get in and destroy them.  The Bible says in II Timothy 2:22, " Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."  One good way to help our children FLEE from their youthful lusts, is to set the example of following righteousness, faith, charity, and peace with a pure heart...and PRAY for them to know the difference.  The devil is very cunning and a great imitator of the things of God.  Pray, pray, pray for our young people to see the true things of God in their lives and not fall for Satan's deception. 

The second things we need to do is PERSEVERE.  Don't be so na├»ve to think your child is perfect.  Trust me, they're not.  There will come obstacles and trials in your children's lives that may leave you wondering where God is or if He even knows what you're facing with your child.  He knows.  And He has a plan.  But He wants us to persevere.  Don't throw your hands up in the air and walk away from your child.  The Bible says in Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  You will become weary at some point or another in your parenting.  But don't give up!  Persevere!  The time will come when you will reap from your perseverance and prayers.  Just hold on and continue fighting to win that child for Christ. 

When I was thinking of another "P" word, I had to use the Thesaurus.  I'll admit that I have never seen or heard this word before.  But I liked it as soon as I saw it.  Plus it's just fun to say.  We must have PUGNACITY!  In other words, we must have a STRONG desire to fight and be combative.  As I thought about it, I pictured us as parents in the boxing ring with the devil.  We have to be pugnacious in our fight.  A right hook, left hook, to the stomach, the head...anywhere and everywhere, even below the belt.  When it comes to fighting Satan, there are no rules to hold us back.  JUST FIGHT!  The lives of our children are at stake here!  We are the vessel God is using to bring our children to Him.  Fight for them to go to Heaven.  Fight for them to live godly lives, according to the Word of God.  To set all other things below Him.  To focus on the Spiritual goal ahead of them.  FIGHT to keep the devil away from them as they run the race, because he is doing everything in his power to trip them.  Pugnacity.  FIGHT to WIN because you can't win if you give up.

If we are faithful in prayer, continue to persevere, and are pugnacious in our fight...we can PREVAIL.  There is no promise from God that the lives of our children will become what we desire.  But there are promises to us that the seeds we plant in the heart of our children will take root and they will always remember their upbringing. 

Mamas, "...be strong and of good courage..."  "Fight the good fight of faith..." and keep on, keepin' on!  Because we are IN IT TO WIN IT! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Life's Too Short

The other day on Facebook, someone posted, "Life's too short to worry about that." 

No kidding!  I've had that attitude, going on three months now.  I can't worry about things I have no control over.  I need to  focus on the main things.  You may ask, What are the main things?  I'll tell ya!

Jesus Christ and His second coming.  Those are the main things.

1. Do you know Jesus Christ?  A better question would be, does He know YOU?  I've thought about that scenario many times in the past.  There are so many people that say they know Christ.  Or they know of Christ.  Some will even say they do things in the name of Christ.  But the Bible says, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."  Matthew 7:22&23
So the first main thing is, not so much that you know Christ or know of Christ.  But that He knows you. In order for Him to know you, you must accept Him.  Jesus said, "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.  No man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  There is no other way to reach Heaven or to get to God, except through His Son, Jesus Christ, who shed his blood on Calvary, for the sins of the world.  That includes me.  That includes you!  Does He know you?  Have you accepted Him as your Savior?  A Savior saves us from something and this Savior saves us from an eternal Hell. 

2. When we keep that first one the main thing, the second one of Christ's coming, just falls right into line.  Jesus said, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."  Those that remain and are caught up, are those He knows and have accepted Him as Lord. 

As I watched the news this morning I felt an overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit.  I get goose bumps when that happens.  I call them Holy Ghost goose bumps!  :)  Russia plays a HUGE part in that.  Kind of long to explain, but if you'll read in Scripture about Gog, the land of Magog, which is what we know of, now, as Russia, we can see that things in that area of the world are lining up according to Scripture and God is preparing for Christ's return.  WHOOT!

Are you ready?  Do you know Him as your Savior?  Does He know you as His child? If you haven't made that decision today, I hope you will soon.  Because right now, life here on earth is too short to be worrying about that.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Touch Me Not

When Bruce was a little boy, his Grandmother had some Touch me Not flowers that grew along her house.  He remembered the pods full of seeds that would explode if you touched them in just the right place. 

Often he will jest and call me a touch me not.  I've never really been a "hands on" person.  I mean, yeah, I hug people.  But a quick hug is about all ya get.  lol  Of course I loved on my babies.  But even my kids thought something was up when I drew them in for a warm, long hug the other night.  They asked, "Are you going to tell us to do something?"  I replied, "No, why?"  One of them answered, "Because you never love on us like this."  It struck me funny at first, but then it made me sad.  I need not be a touch me not when it comes to my family and I intend to work on that.  Just to make something clear, I may not be a "hands on" mommy, but my kids certainly know how much I love them.  Each of them are "my Precious."  haha 

I'm also the person that will open up and tell you pretty much all of my life without a blink of an eye, and I really don't mind you telling me about yours.  Unless you repeat the same story more than three times.  Repeating it more than twice really rocks the boat, if I'm totally honest about it.  After hearing it more than twice, I usually stop listening and can not hear you over the repetitive banging I do in my brain.  I still love you.  Just try to think of something else to talk about.  I'm sure something wonderful...or sad...has happened in your life since the last time we talked.  You know?  I say this, but my best friends are probably reading this thinking, "Can't WAIT 'til our next girl's night to remind her of THIS!"  *sheepish grin*

I do seem to draw people in, of all ages.  Total strangers will open up to me and tell me things they SAY they've never told anyone.  Maybe I should have been a news reporter.  Maybe I could have given Barbara Walters a run for her money.  Truth is, people just genuinely feel comfortable around me.  I guess that's a good thing?  I prefer to tell my life in a blog.  Not actually to your face.  But ok...  if that makes you feel good, I'm all ears. 

Sometimes I am left speechless, however, at what people tell me, if I don't know them. Usually I try to use it as an opportunity for the Lord.  It's difficult to do that sometimes because if you open the door too wide, you may, eventually, have a nut case on your hands.  And trust me, that has happened to me before.  I mean to the point to where I just had to put up a wall and watch them ram into it repeatedly until they finally understood where the boundary was.  I still don't think they really know where the boundary is.  But I'm pretty sure they're aware of the wall.  LOL  If you leave the door too closed, you may be shutting the door on someone that really does need a touch from the Lord.

I'm being totally honest with you here.  I know you probably are not like this.  My husband is the total opposite.  He has a filter when it comes to people.  LOL  I can not tell you how many times I have befriended someone right away and he just says, "They're a flash in the pan."  Sure enough...  FLASH. 

I guess I'm saying all this to say just this:
I like being me.  I like that people feel I am approachable.  I may not hold their hand, and I may not always hear them the first time, but I do try to listen.  And I do try to be friendly.  I've always taught my children that there is a difference in being friendly to someone and being a friend with someone.  Friends are people you do things with.  People, in which, you invest your time.  People that you trust to tell those things you wouldn't even blog about.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:24, "A man that hath friends, must shew himself friendly:"  It's easy for me to open up to you.  It's difficult for me to open up FULLY sometimes.  But I do with those I trust.  I may be a touch me not, but I do try to be friendly.

How do you relate to people?  Your friends vs strangers or even your family?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Do You Have The Valentine?

This is probably one of the most recognized verses in Scripture:  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

Today, February 14, 2014, we celebrate another Valentine's Day.  A day to express love to our spouses, our children, our parents, our friends, significant others, etc.  It is "the day of love." 

While we share Valentine cards and candy, flowers, along with kisses and hugs, it is humbling to know that there was no greater love shown to us than when Christ willingly lay down His life for ours? 

As I was thinking how wonderful it was and is to know that I've spent twenty-five years celebrating this holiday with the love of my life, I was reminded that life, itself, is not promised another day. 

Brother Troy Tucker, one of the preachers in our church, announced on facebook that his dear mother went home to be with the Lord this morning.

I mourned for that family as soon as I heard.  But then realizing she went HOME, today, of all days, struck a calmness within me. 

Today is a day we celebrate love.  And Mrs. Diane is with the One who loved her the very most.  So much so that He gave His life for her.  Raised up from the dead for her.  And called her UP to be with Him.

It is sad for those left behind, yes.  I've been to the grave of my parent and I know the pain that presses on the heart and mind.  And I do pray for peace and comfort for this family.

I also feel it is a joyous time.  Another reason to celebrate.  For without the greatest love of all, we would have no hope of Heaven.  No hope of eternal life.  It is a choice given to all who will accept and believe through faith.

I am so glad to have known Mrs. Diane and that she is in Heaven with the most precious Valentine of all, Jesus Christ. 

May God bring peace and comfort to His children during this time.  And may His undying love that He showed through His death, shine forth to those who have not accepted Him.  This is our prayer.
I have the greatest Valentine of all.  Do you?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Missing the Key Ingredient For Sweetness

Living here in the Piedmont of the Carolinas we get very little snow.  So when it happens there is a lot of excitement.

When we were told we were going to get three to six inches...which I'm pretty sure we only got one and a half...I had Harrison place a pot in the yard to collect snow for snow cream. 

By the time it had stopped snowing, Harrison ended up having to carefully collect clean snow himself. 

He brings in the pot and I start making the snow cream.  I added milk and a box of vanilla pudding because someone suggested using that instead of vanilla flavoring.  I could taste it, but it still didn't taste as vanilla as I liked.  So I added vanilla flavoring too.  It basically tasted like snow with vanilla flavoring.  Still needed something.  I decided to add a little sweetened condensed milk, hoping it would sweeten up.  It didn't.  So more flavoring I added.  It was ok, but not like mom used to make. 

As we were sitting there "enjoying" our snow cream, Hannah asked, "Did you add sugar?"

We all heard crickets for a second as I realized that, no, I did not add sugar.  What was I thinking?  That's like the first ingredient you should add to snow cream.  I was missing the key ingredient to sweetness. 

Of course we laughed about it and I remedied the situation by adding sugar.  It was so much better that time.  And we all truly enjoyed our treat.

As I thought about this little kerfuffle, I compared it to life with Christ.  He is a key ingredient.... no wait.... He is THE key ingredient to life. 

Without Him added to our lives, each and every day, life can become bitter and blah.  The Bible says in Psalm 34:8 "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."

I hope you're not missing THE key ingredient to a sweet life.  If you are, there's a remedy for that.  Romans 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that GOD hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

"O taste and see that the LORD is good:"  What a sweetness He adds to our days! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

He's Still Working On Me

So far this year the Lord has continued to show me things about myself and is changing my heart daily.

The first of January was a very difficult day for me.  As the days progressed they became even more difficult.  But the Lord kept showing me things about my personal situation I've been dealing with and things about myself that needed to change.

Here we are into the month of February and I'm feeling as though the Lord is STILL working on me.  It seems that every quote I read, every verse I read, every sermon I hear is all for me.  I'm glad of that.  I pray that the Lord will continue to show me these things because I feel like things are getting better.  Not just for me.  But for all of us involved.

I'm feeling more secure in Christ.  More secure in my relationship with my husband.  More secure in my place as a wife and mother.  For the most part I have always felt secure in those areas, but last year I felt disconnected from all of it, having being separated from my family most of the year.

2013 was a difficult year.  All the way around.  And 2014 has been difficult, too, but in a different way.  No one likes for the Lord to show them things about themselves that needs changing.  But sometimes it's necessary and there's a healing that happens when we obey.  2014 may be difficult, but it's also been calming and a happier way of living than last year. 

I fought the Lord on a lot of things last year.  It just seemed like God was closing the doors, left and right, on things that seemed to matter to me.  It wasn't until the first of this year that He has showed me just how right He was and the lessons He wanted me to learn by them. 

I am determined to live life according to God's will.  According to His plan.  According to His design.  I am determined to love those who do not love me back.  I am determined to talk less of those that I disagree with and just love them for who they are.  And I am still determined not to allow others to run me over.  I can set boundaries and love people at the same time.  And by doing that, my circumstances will not interfere with my home and what I know God expects of me here and in my Biblical role. 

It's been a lot to absorb and a lot to work on.  Pray for me.  Because it's difficult!  It's not my nature.  But by God's grace, it is HIS nature.  And by God's grace, I can achieve His nature through prayer and staying in His Word. 

I know the devil will fight me on that.  He has already.  But I'm going to continue being what I know the Lord would have me to be.  Pray for those my nature would naturally turn against.  And just "..love God and ever-body" as Pastor Goodman says.   

I Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Be Careful What You Fall For

"Be bold in what you stand for.  Be careful in what you fall for."

The above quote is from a book I have been reading that belonged to my dad.  And ain't that the TRUTH?! 

It is easy to be bold in things we believe in and stand for.  How often does someone get our back up about a subject because we have different opinions?  I know mine can get up pretty quick, especially when I know my stand is with the Bible and their stand is with the world.

But what about things we fall for?  How do we be careful about that?


The Bible tells us the things we should fall for.  Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

As I examined that verse, I realized that it pretty much sums up everything from inanimate objects, the church we choose, the relationships we share, jobs we accept, even how we do things in the heart of our home.  You name it, it can be compared to this verse and help you not to fall for something that Christ wants to shield you from.

One good way to test the waters of anything is to go through this verse and compare it with these things mentioned.  The truth and honesty are hard to see at first.  But if you can find the just, if you can find the pure and the lovely, if you can find the good report...if there is virtue in it, praise in it...you can know it is true and honest. 

Be careful what you fall for because the devil doesn't use safety nets.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Time Out

The other day my friend put on her facebook status something her little girl said.  She said, "Mama, aren't you proud of me for being so good in time out?"

I've laughed about that every time I've thought about it. 

But something struck me, too.  Many times in life God has to put His children in "time out."  We are often made to wait as we contemplate the consequences of our actions. 

As a child, I remember doing something wrong and my mom or dad would tell me to go wait in my room.  Now, anyone who has EVER been a child (lol) knows what THAT means!  It means they are about to bring down the hammer of punishment.  While I would sit quietly in my room waiting to hear what my punishment would be, I would think about what I did and I was sorry for it.  For one thing, it hurt my parents.  For another thing, I lost a sweet fellowship with them.

The same is when we do things we know are unpleasing to our Heavenly Father.  We lose sweet fellowship with Him. 

But how do we restore that fellowship?  The same way we did with our parents.  We accept our punishment without bitterness, repent of what we did, tell them we're sorry, and begin to build back their trust.

God wants us to have a repentant heart.  Being sorry for something is not the same as being repentant.  There are many things we take to the alter and are sorry for.  But a lot of times we get up from telling God we're sorry and go right back to doing what it is we told Him we were sorry for. 

Being repentant is being determined not to let it happen again.  We have to determine that we are NOT going to go backwards in our walk with Christ.  If we say we're sorry and continue to go back, we are never moving forward and we never truly regain that sweet fellowship with the Lord. 

My Pastor said something one time that I have written in my Bible.  He said, "People who don't live right, don't live right because they can't.  They don't live right because they won't." 

What greater way to show our love for Him, than by giving our lives completely to Him and live the way He desires for us to live as His children?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thank You, Hannah

With all that's gone on over the last eight months since mom's fall, I feel I have neglected to say a public thank you to my daughter, Hannah.

About the time of mom's fall, Hannah was graduating high school and got her first job at Chick-fil-A.  As she was beginning her new job, she was also running back and forth by herself getting things ready to start her classes at the college. I was proud of her for doing that by herself but felt bad because her dad and I couldn't be there to help her.

When school started things really got heavy for her.  Most days she was going to school, then work.  On the other days she was going to work, then school.  When she would get home from work or school, she would start hitting the books for homework, while doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen or bathroom, dusting, etc.  The household chores.  She took on cooking and preparing meals for her daddy and Justin as often as she could.  Most nights she was getting in bed between midnight and two in the morning.  Beginning her new day again at 7:00.  Sometimes earlier if it was grocery day or a day to pay her bills and run her own errands.

Never once did she complain.  Never once did she have an attitude of not going to do those things.  If she did, she never showed it to me or her dad. 

When I finally came home for good, I saw how worn out she was.  Going to school, working, and being the little lady of the home was a bit much to ask a girl of eighteen. 

Most people don't realize or understand the pressures she was under while I was away.  But I do.  And I appreciate her and thank her for her willingness and her sacrifices. 

We are so blessed to have her a part of our family and I thank God for her. 

She is a loving and giving person with her priorities in place and, although times get tough for her, and although she may get a little disgruntled at times, she does keep a pretty good attitude about things.

I'm proud of her and I love her very much.

So thank you, Hannah.  In my opinion, you are the best daughter God has ever given anyone.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Placed!

Hannah and I attended the reception at the Southern Arts Society this evening.  They announced the winners of the MLK Photography Contest.  There was a third place tie between three entries.  Starr, Ellen, and Mrs. Birdie took those.  My sweet, missionary friend in New Zealand, Kim Howell, won second place for her entry, "A Father's Love."  I was so happy when they called her name I squealed.  Then they announced the first place winner as "Forever Yours."  I was still excited about Mrs. Kim winning and it wasn't until Hannah said, "I told you, mama" that I realized my photograph took first place.  I was really shocked and excited.  I am thankful to the Lord for the opportunity to participate.  God is good!

It's 1:30am and I can't seem to sleep.  I have a few things on my mind.  It's all good.  I just can't sleep.  Maybe the excitement from tonight isn't helping either. ha

Hannah has been really sick since she started her new job as a teacher at the daycare.  She had to go to the doctor because of an ear infection that developed.  They told her she would probably be sick a few weeks after starting work there.  Boy, were they right!  She seems to be on the mend right now.  She sure does love that job and working with those little ones.  She starts back with her classes here soon.  So her life is about to get very busy!

Justin is working hard at his job and working a lot of overtime.  He actually has a couple of days off and is totally enjoying them right now.  I don't blame him. 

Harrison is plugging away in school.  He has two subjects left.  Math and English.  We did something a little different this year with scheduling our subjects.  I think we like it.  The verdict is still out on that.  But so far it seems to be going good.  If we stay on track, we should finish these last two subjects, by about, the middle or end of May. 

Bruce is working a lot of overtime also.  I miss him when he doesn't walk through the door at 2:45.  He usually makes it home just as I'm getting supper finished.  So at least we still get to have our meals together.  I'm thankful he has a good job and that things seem to be going well where he is.

I feel like I'm getting sleepy now.  So I guess I'm ready to turn in for the night.  Praying you all have a good week. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

MLK Photography Contest

I recently entered the MLK Photo Contest in our small town.  They're having a reception at the Arts Society tonight and I plan on being there.  I doubt I'll place, but it was a fun experience to enter.

The theme of the contest is "Love."  When I first heard about it, I had a few ideas, but only one really stuck and it was of a little girl in our church. 

Last January, this little girl and her sister were adopted by a family and had just received their new birth certificates in the mail the day their adoptive mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Just a few months later that sweet mother and my friend went home to Jesus.

The lives of these little girls took different paths and God opened a door for new homes for them.  T's little sister went to another family in the church who was related to their adoptive mother.  This particular family also had previously adopted the girl's little brother.  T's new family, who is also in our church and some of our dearest friends, just signed her adoption papers last week, just a couple of hours before this picture was taken.  She was so excited that night.  And I was excited for her! 

In just a few short weeks she will officially belong to this new family who can not imagine their lives without her.  The way the Lord orchestrated the events of these little girls is just amazing. 

I know that the Lord does all things well and He does all things in His time.  Pray for these families as they raise these wonderful little children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

The link below is a link to the photo I entered of T.  I titled it "Forever Yours."

MLK Photo Contest.

Monday, January 13, 2014

What's Your Num....

I think I've told you before that Bruce and I don't carry a cell phone.  There were several different reasons for that.  Besides the fact we don't really care to talk on the phone, we don't really want people being able to track us down every where we go.  If we go to a restaurant, we want to eat in peace.  If we're at a party or a fellowship of some sort, we want to have a good time without being called, text, etc.  They're handy.  But are they really worth it?  People use the excuse of having one in case of an emergency.  I can understand that.  But really...  how often do emergencies happen where we need a cell phone where a house phone or a business phone can't be used? 

All this to say, I have a cell phone now. 

Yep.  You heard right. My kids bought me one for Christmas.  When you haven't messed with one in twelve years, it can be quite funny trying to figure it out.  Someone asked me if I had a smart phone.  I have no idea.  But I do know it's smarter than me. 

They bought me one because I felt that with my mother and mother in law in the health conditions they are in, it would be best to have one.  For that emergency I mentioned earlier.  :)

I was going to let my kids help me figure it out, but knew it would be best if I just sat down and played with it myself.  So, after about three days I found my phone number.  Another couple of days after that, and after going through every folder, clicking on every tool, and every app, I finally figured out how to change the keyboard.  Just flip the phone on its side. 

It also took me two days to fill in all my contacts.  After I put each one in manually, I saw where I could have used facebook and other social medias to sync about three-fourths of them. Nice, right?

So I guess I have it figured out.  I don't know.  Three months from now I could be using it and discover something totally cool I've been missing all that time.  Whatever.  For now, I can text or make and receive calls.  Get online. Post things to my facebook page. 

But right now I have a problem with that last part.  When I go to post something on facebook I usually can't get what I'm trying to say on there because my fingers will accidentally hit the OK button before I finish my sentence.  It. drives. me. crazy. when I do that! 

So I'm learning this thing.  It's an experience.

Friday, January 10, 2014

No Literal Hell? The FABLE of Adam and Eve?

Before you read this, let me just say that after reading this you will be one of three things:
1. Upset with me because you think I hate Catholics.  This is not true.  I know several Catholics personally and I love them.  I want them to see and know the TRUTH of Scripture.  I do, however, despise the religion of Catholicism.  I believe that it has taken many good people and deceived them into thinking anything other than the truth of God's Word.
2. You'll be upset with me because you're a Christian who thinks that I am "one of those" Christians that just can't get along with everybody.  You're right.  We're not suppose to get along with everybody.  We're suppose to take a stand against the evils of darkness and the Catholic church is an evil force that Satan, himself, has used for centuries to destroy countless souls.
3. You're like me because you believe the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  That the Holy Bible is God's Word, perfect from beginning to end, with nothing left out that needed to be retained in "other books" the Catholic church just happen to possess.

Now that I have that out of the way, here are my thoughts....

"Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God.”

This is a quote from the new Pope Francis.

I've noticed several Brothers and Sisters leaning toward the wonderful world of Catholicism.  Here are the lies coming out of the "great church" of Rome these days.  As if their lies weren't bad enough, now we're being told that Adam and Eve is a fable and that Hell is not a literal place where people suffer.  If you fall into those lies, you might as well take your Bible and chunk it out the window because it's not going to do you any good if you're listening to this mumbo jumbo.

OK, if you're not a Christian, and you don't believe in these things, that's between you and The Almighty God or between you and nothing.  But if you ARE a Christian, and you've read the Bible and KNOW these things to be true, then where are your voices?  These are lies straight out of Hell, being told by a molester of souls. 

Christians who get all caught up in the beautiful and mystical, idolatry, and so-called worship of Catholicism are only headed in a downward spiral.

A fable, by definition, is A falsehood; a lie.  One thing the Catholic church has tried to do for CENTURIES is make the Bible out to be a lie.  People were murdered because they were learning to read the Scripture and realizing the Catholic church was leading them in the wrong direction.  Still today, the entire world is being told by this great religious leader that the story of Adam and Eve is a falsehood.  A LIE.

Another lie the "great church" is promoting is that there is no literal Hell where people suffer.  Not so, Pope.  There IS a literal Hell, according to Luke 13:28, "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out."  That sounds like suffering to me.  Also in Revelation 21:8 "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and IDOLATERS, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."  Second death, meaning after you die here, your SOUL will die for eternity in the lake of fire.  That's not suffering?? 

But the BIGGEST lie of all in his statement is that God is not a judge, but a friend and lover of humanity.

Oh dear Heavens.  God is a friend to those who are a friend to Him.  To those who choose not to be His friend, HE WILL JUDGE. 

Hebrews 9:27 says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die [the physical death], but after this the judgment:"  There will be a judgment.  So who does the dear Pope Francis think is going to be sitting as the Judge?  Himself?  I don't think so.  As a matter of fact, Pope Francis will be standing in judgment just like everyone else. 

"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." — REVELATION 20:11-15

Oh, He is a JUDGE, my friend.  A Mighty Judge.  I can't make anyone believe what I believe.  I know that.  But I can speak up for what I believe.  If the Pope can stand up and say that what I believe is a fable and a lie, I won't sit back and not defend the TRUTH. I believe that the Catholic church led by their Pope Francis is all a lie, leading many people away from the TRUTH of God's Word. 

As Christians, we MUST be careful who and what we promote.  It could be a life changing experience for those who actually listen to us. 

As for those of you who aren't sure what to believe, then I challenge you to do what II Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 



There are no books that go along with it.  Just study THE WORD. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

And We're Off!

We've had a great start to the new year already. 

Brother Cody Zorn is with us in revival at Faith and he is just wonderful.  I have thoroughly enjoyed his preaching today and look forward to the rest of the week that he is with us.

Last year I had to put a lot of things on hold as far as serving in my church and I missed it so much.  It was good that I was able to help my mom.  I just sure did miss helping in my church and the fellowship that comes with that.

As we turned the corner into 2014, I was handed my nursery list as January's Nursery Mother.  I was never so happy to get that list in my life!  I even missed THAT!  It's an honor to help serve in the nursery.  Those little babies are precious.  Every single one of them.  And the nursery is a ministry which helps mommies and daddies enjoy the service so they can energize for the next week ahead of them. 

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1

Nursery work is reasonable service. 

We also entered into revival.  Which means we have a man of God and his family on the property, staying in our Prophet's Quarters.  Brother and Sister Zorn have several children.  I was asked to help cook a meal for them for tomorrow night.  So today when I came home from morning service, I cooked a big pot of green beans, made a dessert, and pulled some rolls from the freezer.  The kids put them in the fridge at church and they'll be good with their pot of chicken and dumplings Mrs. Ava is bringing for them.  I was so happy to be doing something so simple.  It truly made my day!

I'm sure we'll be hearing the plans for our Valentine's Banquet before too much longer.  I'm looking forward to helping with that too.  I just can't wait to "get back into the groove" of things. 

I have always enjoyed being busy.  So yeah, if the first week of January 2014 is any indication of what I can expect the rest of the year, I am thrilled!! 

Let's GO!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.  We sure did.

We had our Anniversary on the 22nd of December, celebrating twenty-three years.  God is good!!  So thankful for my sweet husband and the leader he is in our home.  I sure have been blessed!
We had our church play on the 23rd.  I am humbled to be able to direct and often write our Christmas plays.  2013 was a difficult and busy year so I wasn't able to write a play.  But Mrs. Carolyn Parker came up with an idea and it was SUCH a blessing.  And special thanks to Mrs. Amanda for helping direct this year!! Love my friends and their willingness to help whenever needed.  The play was "Let's Talk About Jesus."  The story was about a church that was having their last night of a Bible study on the life of Christ.  Questions were asked to the man leading the Bible study, who was played by Brother Troy Tucker.  I gave the list of questions to Brother Troy and told him I wanted to speak from his heart and from Scripture about the answers he would give.  It was AWESOME!!  The gospel was clearly given and near the end he really preached the Word.  I was in tears at how wonderful it was.  Our Christmas plays rarely are about Christmas.  It usually is around Christmas.  But we focus more on the WHY of Christ's coming than the actual coming itself.  We try to present the gospel each year.  This year was just wonderful.
Beautiful songs were sung.

The youth choir did a great job on everything.  I was so proud of them.

Brother Troy did an excellent job on presenting the gospel.

Anna Grace played a little girl that got saved and was lead to the Lord by Mrs. Tammy Carter.

Then she got up and sang, "I Love You, Lord."  It was so sweet.  She has a voice like a little angel.
On Christmas Eve we changed things up a little bit.  Usually we spend Christmas Eve at mama's and Christmas Day at Bruce's mama's.  But this year we did both on Christmas Eve.  We had a terrific time at my mother in love's home, having brunch and opening gifts and just enjoying our family time.  It was so nice. 
Bruce and his mama.
Bruce's brother, Barry and his two sons, Zack and Elijah.

My niece Brandy and her family, Zack and Conleigh.

My niece Jessica and her daughters, Elanna and Ashley.

Bruce's oldest brother, Bryan and his wife, Cindy.

My niece Brittney and her family, Jordan and Leyton.

And Bruce's baby brother, Mitch with his family, Angie, Johnathan, and Jackson.
When we left there, we went to mom's house for the rest of the evening.  We played games like "Chubby Bunny" and a wrapping game where we had two teams wrap a player on their team in 45 seconds. 
Justin was the winner of the Chubby Bunny game.  The object of the game is to stuff a marshmallow in your mouth and say, "Chubby Bunny."  Then keep repeating that until you can't say it anymore.  Justin was able to stuff the most marshmallows in his mouth.  However, by the end of that game he was ready to up-chuck and had to run out to the porch.  LOL

Harrison and my niece, Jessica, were the team players that had to be wrapped.  My brother, John's, team won.  They had Jessica wrapped nicely in 45 seconds.  They did a pretty good job.  :)
My great nephew, Chance, loved the little box of monster cars we got him.
I was glad my niece, Jessica, was able to join us.  She worked at the jail house all day and was ready for some good times and good food.  Love that niece!
My sister in law, Jenny...

and my brother, John, were both very sick.  But they didn't let that stop them from having a good time.  They were pretty good sports all night.

Mom seemed to like the Origami Owl necklace we bought her.  I started her with two charms.  A teacup because she collects teacups and teapots.  And a police shield, in memory of daddy.  She teared up a little bit.  We all missed him being there.  He loved Christmas so much and any excuse, really, to have a fun party and a good time with his family.
Christmas Day was great, in my opinion.  We did NOTHING all day.  We got up and opened gifts and then after that, Hannah and I worked on getting lunch ready.  We ate, napped, watched movies, napped, checked out our new stuff, napped.  Did I mention we napped? 
The kids always have a sibling day together after Christmas.  But since Justin and Hannah had to return to work the next day, they decided to go out Christmas night.  They had a good time together.  I'm so glad they have that little tradition.  There may come a day when they can't do that, but they'll have good memories.  And that's what it's all about.
New Year's Eve we had our moms over for pick up party foods and games.  We played Uno and Spoons and had a great time.  If you've never played spoons, it can become a very vicious game.  Hannah will tear your hands to bits with her long finger nails.  But we had a great time and everyone survived.  haha  The moms retreated to their homes early.  Hannah and I cleaned up the mess in the kitchen and then continued playing games with Bruce and Harrison.  Justin had a bonfire party at Jeremy and Ashley's house.  After games, we watched a movie.  Stopped at 12:00 to wish each other a happy New Year, and resumed our movie.  Then the next day we slept in entirely too late. 
That pretty much sums up the last few days of December for us. 
I look back on 2013 and see all the things God has brought us through.  Wow!  What a year!!  The last couple of months has been a very stressful time for me.  I've been dealing with something and determined that in 2014, things were going to be different.  I decided I was going to let Bruce handle certain situations and I was going to separate myself from things that were causing my stress.  I was carrying around a stiff neck and stress knots in my shoulders.  I had pulled my back the day before New Year's Eve and knew it had to do with stress.  On New Year's Day, my husband handled a situation that was causing more pain to be manifested in my back and shoulders and neck.  As he handled the situation I was feeling kind of bad about him doing it.  But almost IMMEDIATELY, I was able to move my neck.  The knots in my shoulders were gone.  And my back was fine.  It was a New Year's miracle, for real. I decided right then and there that I could not allow myself to be stressed out like that any longer.  I was just about to the point that I was ready to see a chiropractor.  I told Bruce he was way cheaper than therapy.  LOL  So 2014 I am determined not to allow stress to invade my body.  I know the Lord will send things my way that will bring stress.  But I hope I can handle it better than I have been. 
I hope all of you are trusting the Lord as you begin a new year. I anticipate the workings of the Lord this year, but know that we know not what is ahead of us.  I do, however, know that He is truly good in all things.