Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas in Pictures!!



Boys playing in the snow Christmas night!! The girls were absent because big girl is a Southern belle and has no appreciation for snow or cold weather and little girl was sick!
Snow and ice!
Christmas lights and snow...the perfect combination!
Christmas lights on Christmas night!
Frozen bird bath!
What we woke up to the day after!
Side yard covered in snow! So pretty!!
My favourite...bird on top of the bird feeder!
Peach tree covered in snow!
Sled with snow...just the way it should be!
Breakfast!
Mama getting some breakfast!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!


Merry Christmas with lots of love from the Cash family!!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Traditions


a: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom) b: a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
3: cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
4: characteristic manner, method, or style


My husband was asked an interesting question this week and it has been on my heart. The question was this
..."Does God love tradition?"

Makes you think, doesn't it? No other time of the year is as rich with traditions as this one. Christmas trees, nativities, carolling, hot chocolate, family gatherings, stockings filled with goodies, cookies made from recipes generations old and Charlie Brown with his unimpressive Christmas tree. What's not to love, right?

Okay, I realize we are pondering God's love/hate relationship with tradition, but in coming to any semblance of a conclusion we must consider this...Whatever God thinks about tradition, I am confident of this one thing ~ God loves
us and we love tradition!

Now I realize some traditions truly can steal God's glory and His Word says He will share His glory with no one, Santa Claus included! We have to be careful that in celebrating our traditions we are not inhibiting the ability of those around us to embrace what it's really all about! But I don't think traditions are inherently bad.

I hope that traditions will remind my kids when they are older that they came from something special. As they decorate their own Christmas trees with ornaments from long ago, I hope they'll share the stories of their origin with their own little ones. When they bake the pumpkin bread and snowball cookies that we've mixed side-by-side each December, I hope they will be comforted by the familiar smells. As they giggle and laugh their way through
Elf and Christmas Vacation, I hope they'll remember all those nights snuggled by the fire with pillows, blankets and Daddy's popcorn. I hope mornings filled with lighted candles and shimmering Christmas trees will remind them how Mama used to get up early so those were what they were greeted with as they awoke.

For you see, traditions are the stuff that we are made of. Those bowed heads around the table speak to that! The reading of the Christmas story and the birthday cake for Jesus...the basket of Christmas books and the home-made snowflakes hanging from the ceiling fan over the kitchen table...Santa Mouse and Angel Trees...shoeboxes sent to those without and plates of goodies shared with neighbor friends. Are they rituals mindlessly performed or the result of hearts filled with giddy expectation?

Don't you see it? Traditions can be the very things that prompt our thoughts to focus heavenward for
He created families and our traditions are the threads that bind us all together! Our familial fingerprints, if you will, that makes us distinguishable from all the others.

Now some may ponder this question and arrive at a very different conclusion, but as for me and my house...
we're going to embrace our family traditions!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Little Child!

It's such a joy as parents to watch our children grow and learn new things, to see them attempt things on their own, and to hear the questions they ask in order to piece things together in their own little minds. "Come unto me as a little child," is what Jesus said and as I watch the simplicity with which they live their lives, I come to understand that verse more and more. They don't care where we live, what we drive, or what kind of clothes they wear - they just want to spend time with us.

As we reflect over this last year and look forward to the one to come, we need to ask ourselves this question, "How can I spend more time with my Father?" We can't impress Him with our "things" because they are His anyways. We can't impress Him with our thoughts because He knows them even before we do. We can't impress Him with our knowledge because He knows everything. All we can give Him, that He may not already have, is our time.

As I close, I'm going to leave you with a poem. In thinking about Mary one night, I realized that on that wonderful night when she gave birth to Jesus, she embarked on an awesome but painful journey. As a mother I can imagine the pain she must have felt, but how thankful I am that she just trusted her Father and did not try to stop it.

I stared at you the other night
As so peacefully you slept,
With thoughts of another mommy
And the tears she must have wept.

Her newborn babe she held so close
As she whispered in His ear,
"You are this promised Jesus,"
And she wiped away a tear.

She watched Him grow in wisdom,
Found Him teaching those that taught,
She heard He fed five thousand,
As He healed all those that sought.

And all the while she waited,
For she sensed with a mother's heart
That sooner than she'd ever want
He must fulfill His part.

So it came to pass that final day
That she watched, as pain engulfed her,
For there He hung, her little boy,
Who had now become her Saviour.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa in the Manger

We got a card the other day

A Christmas one, in fact,

But it really was the strangest thing

And showed such little tact.


For laying in the manger

Was Santa, big as life,

Surrounded by some little elves

And Rudolph and his wife.


There was so much excitement

That the shepherd’s saw the glow

Of Rudolph’s bright and shining nose

Reflected on the snow.


So in they rushed to see him

Followed by the wise men three,

Who came not bearing any gifts ~

Just some stockings and a tree.


They gathered round about him

To sing praises to his name;

A song about Saint Nicholas

And how he came to fame.


Then they handed him the lists they’d made

Of, oh, so many toys

That they were sure they would receive

For being such good boys.


And sure enough he chuckled,

While reaching in his bag,

And placed in all their outstretched hands

A gift that bore a tag.


And on that tag was printed

A simple verse that read,

“Even though it’s Jesus’ birthday,

Please take this gift instead.”


Then I realized they really did

Know Who this day was for

Though by every indication

They had just chosen to ignore.


And Jesus looked upon this scene,

His eyes so filled with pain ~

They said this year’d be different

But they’d forgotten Him again.


Barb Cash


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gifts!


You know it’s funny how much our thoughts turn to gifts at this time of year, isn’t it? What are you giving? What are you hoping to get? Where can you get it for the best deal? Gifts! Gifts! Gifts! It can make a person lose the joy that this time of year should elicit!


I was just reading in Luke 7 starting in verse 37 about the woman that came to Jesus at the home of Simon the Pharisee. She came bearing a very extravagant gift ~ the gift of herself! Yes, she had a vial of perfume she used to cleanse His feet, but it was really the gift of herself that she offered without reserve. Noah Webster describes “extravagant” as “wandering beyond the limits; excessive; unreasonable; exceeding necessity or propriety”. Sounds to me like that describes this woman’s act perfectly!


Have you ever given an extravagant gift? Have you ever received one? If you have received the gift of God’s salvation you have received the most extravagant gift there is! He wrapped His gift in a robe of flesh and sent Him to earth that we might experience the greatest gift known to man ~ Jesus!!! Don’t let another Christmas pass you by without allowing yourself to receive this precious, incomparable gift! Don’t let another Christmas pass you by without giving yourself back to Him with a passion and extravagance that only He deserves! All other gifts pale in comparison!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Confession...

James 5:16 (The Message)

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.

Hannah and Jesse had an issue with each other today. I would like to say it was an unusual phenomenon, but it is rather common. They love each other dearly and won't ever let anyone outside the family mess with each other, but they sure can get under each other's skin themselves.

Hannah and I were talking a little while ago and I was explaining to her that her attitude was sin. I explained again what sin was and that it was an offense against the Lord. I told her she needed to pray and confess to the Lord what she had done wrong and ask Him to forgive her and then she needed to go to Jesse and ask him to forgive her, too.

She was good with the confessing her sins to Jesus, but when I got to her need to confess to Jesse she said, "Oh no! That is the worst part!"

I had the hardest time not giggling when she said it because I thought how common that is for all of us. How much easier does it seem to confess to the Lord and ask for forgiveness than to have to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so that we may be whole and healed? It's one thing for the Lord to know we screwed up and need to be forgiven, but how much we hate to let anyone else know we were wrong!

I pray that I would take seriously the need to confess my sins to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness and then that I would be willing to confess my sins to the human being I have offended and ask them for forgiveness, too!

It took Hannah a while, but I did hear her apologize to Jesse while I was typing and ask him to forgive her! How thankful I am to know that their relationship has been restored and healed and how thankful I am that they can learn this principle early in life!! \O/




Thursday, December 9, 2010

Domestic Duty!


I think I may as well go ahead and admit that my least favourite domestic duty is, by far...IRONING! I don't dislike it just a little...I despise it!

Fortunately for me, Tim has spent the last 21 years in sports ministry and so ironing has never been a big issue during our married life. P.E. shorts and t-shirts rarely need pressing and that is pretty much what he has lived in over the years.

Now that he is pastoring a church, I had the sudden revelation that his job change included a very unpleasant turn of events for me! IRONING!!! Perish the thought!

I have a friend named Kendall who loves to iron! I have never understood this phenomenon she claims as her own, but I have taken her at her word that she does, in fact, find ironing exhilarating or relaxing or whatever she actually finds it does to her. To each her own!!

As I gazed at the line of shirts this morning that seemed to mock me from the closet rack, I realized that no amount of creative drying techniques had erased their urgent need to be ironed. I found myself fantasizing about how wonderful it would be if Kendall (who loves to iron) and I (who love to cook) could actually trade out chores and both end up with a win! Kendall does not enjoy cooking at all and it just seemed that it would be a beautiful compromise for us both.

Alas, although Kendall does make Atlanta her home, the distance between Gwinnett County and Cobb County coupled with the propensity for traffic to clog the roadways between here and there made me realize that our dream union was fizzling fast in my mind's eye. I was forced to face the cold hard facts that if those shirts were going ever going to look like Tim had not slept in them for a week when he put them on, then it was going to require I actually pull out the iron and the ironing board.

I was faced with a choice! Would I set aside my disdain for ironing and see this chore as a ministry to my husband (and all those who have to look at him on Sunday morning) or would I grumble in my heart about the injustice of my nice little iron-less world being disrupted! I am pleased to say that I do, in fact, think I passed my first test as a preacher's wife with flying colours!

Tim now has a row of freshly ironed shirts that were joyfully ironed by moi...and all before 8am!!

Colossians 3:23-25

Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Baby Changes Everything!

This is one of my favourite Christmas songs!!! So powerful...

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Anniversary Trip That Barely Was!


On December 1st my beloved and I celebrated 20 years of marriage! To say that I feel blessed is an understatement and I thank Papa so much for allowing me to marry such an amazing man. Anyway, enough mushy stuff...

We have planned, for quite a while, to get away for 5 days to the mountains of TN and NC to a cabin and a really swanky resort. A trip like this takes a lot of creativity, planning, maneuvering, bribery and other forms of coerciveness with 2 certain wonderful sets of grandparents! ;O) We had it worked out that Tim's parents would come and stay with the kids and my parents would help run shuttle service as the needs arose. All was planned, the bags were in the process of being packed and the fun began.

Rachel had been sick over Thanksgiving, but she seemed to be feeling better or at least well enough in her mind to go to the Falcons game! (The wisdom in this is still being debated! ;O) ) The day before we left Chubby started feeling badly and by that night he was crying and begging us not to go. Nothing makes a mama feel more like "Mother-of-the-Year" material as planning to leave a child with a high fever who is begging you to stay. Fortunately, his fever was down and his tears had dried by morning and we determined it just might be safe to leave.

In hindsight, it might have been God's way of giving us a window of opportunity to slip away. He may or may not want to take credit for our getaway, though, since I had vivid flashbacks to the AirTran commercial (I think that was it) that featured the parents handing the screaming twins to the grandparents at the door and making a mad dash to a waiting cab. We did merely take a leisurely walk to Tim's truck, but the effects were similar.

I am not sure we had gotten on the interstate very well when we got a call that Caleb was feeling ill. We got quite a few calls that day in fact and, to my mother-in-law's credit, most of them happened when her back was turned. There is something to be said for the days of no cell phones because it made it much easier to flee the scene, but alas it is nice to know you're loved and needed.

I'll spare you all the gory details, but suffice to say the next 3 days included 4 sick children, one well child who felt left out that she was the only one NOT sick, high fevers, bad coughs, flat tires on a child's car, one house belonging to the in-laws with a break-in attempt while they were at our house, storms and HIGH winds on a mountaintop in TN, fog that prevented a trip home on Tuesday, countless phone calls and us finally returning to 5 very relieved children and 2 even more relieved sets of parents!

4 children tested positive for flu and have various other complications and I am back on a heavy duty antibiotic to try and kick this bronchitis that is lingering. The good news is that it is a medicine for anthrax victims so if any of you have any suspicious white stuff show up in your mailbox then give me a call cause I'm your girl!

When we called to tell the children we were coming home early they tried to act at least mildly upset that we were to miss our grand anniversary finale at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville, NC. After expressing his condolences on the death of our dream of a romantic dinner for 2 and breakfast in bed the next day, Chubby attempted to make us feel better by saying,

"Well at least you'll get to spend your anniversary with the 5 people who love you most in the world!"

Ding, ding, ding, ding...Score "1" for the home team!!

Dinner that innaugural night of our 21st year was chicken noodle soup that I threw together when I got home before I flew out the door to take the kids to the doctor. The kids did splurge and put candles on the table for us and they covered clean up. It will definitely be an anniversary that will forever live on in the Cash chronicles as one of the most memorable and, for any one who may like to see...

We almost got to stay here!!

http://www.bohemianhotelasheville.com/photo_gallery/photo_gallery.asp

Through it all, the gentle sound track the Lord allowed to keep playing in my mind was Trace Adkin's, "You're Gonna Miss This". Since we really will miss these days once they're gone, it seems rather fitting to close with it...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

T-Minus 3 Days and Counting!


T-minus 3 days and counting until Tim assumes his new role as lead pastor at The Oasis Church! I am excited and nervous all at the same time. I think I have been in denial until now because it is such a huge change, but I am facing the facts and getting a little bit more pumped.

It is a huge transition as he has been with UPI for 21 years. Change is not always my favourite thing, but I am embracing this as Papa's next leg of our journey as a family and am excited to see what he is going to do in and through us!

All prayers are gratefully accepted as we walk it all out...and if you are in the area please come join us!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Whew!

I love changing out my blog background to reflect the seasons! It's so much pressure, though! *Crooked smile*

I just spent over an hour searching for a background I could live with for the next month and finally found what I was looking for. I had found one I really liked that had stockings at the top, but it only had 3 stockings and I wondered which 2 children were unintentionally being left out. This one I found is the colours and mood I wanted to reflect and I can now enjoy the Christmas season in peace knowing my blog looks as I'd like it to look!

Now, may the Christmas festivities begin!!

P.S. And I even figured out how to change the font so now I am a really happy girl! It's the simple things in life!! ;O)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Praise!

Ashley had her surgery yesterday and it went so very well. The doctors were able to remove the AVM, the blood clot and the aneurism! Such a praise! If all continues to go well, she may be home before the holiday weekend is over!!!

Thank you to all of you who prayed for our sweet friend! We are exceedingly grateful!!

Psalm 107:17 The Message ~ So thank God for his marvelous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves; Offer thanksgiving sacrifices, tell the world what he's done—sing it out!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful!!

As we begin this "Thankful Week" I find my heart overflowing with things I am thankful for, yet burdened at the same time! Our sweet friend, Ashley, faces a tough couple of days and I wish we were closer so we could be with them. She must have a test done today and then she faces brain surgery tomorrow. She is understandably scared and I am sure her Mama and Daddy find their hearts constricted at the thought of all their baby must endure! I am asking Papa to minister to this family as only He can and to encourage their hearts in such a way that they will know they have had an encounter with Him!!!


I am, at the same time, most thankful for so many things...

* For the opportunity in a few days to celebrate 20 years of marriage with an amazing man who has exceeded all my expectations
* For 5 awesome kids who bring me more joy than I could have ever imagined
* For an extended family who loves us and supports us
* For a Bible study group who has become like family over the years! Their love and encouragement and the way they have sharpened and challenged us is a beautiful thing to behold!
* For the ministry of UPI, which we have poured our hearts and souls into for 20+ years
* For a new church family who has welcomed us with open arms and hearts! The possibilities that lay before us there excite us!
* For friends who support us and hold up our arms when we become weary
* For provision, shelter, food and added comforts that exceed what we could have imagined
* For the opportunity to homeschool for the past 16 years
* For the way Papa has prepared my heart for the writing and speaking opportunities He has brought my way
* For a garden I can tend to
* For a great camera that allows me to express my creative side
* For all these things and too many more to list...

*But most of all for JESUS...the One who completes me, challenges me, cleanses me and quiets me...I would be nothing without YOU!



Sunday, November 14, 2010

Good Medicine...

Proverbs 17:22 ~ "A joyful heart is good medicine..."

We went on a couples' retreat with our new church this weekend. We had to miss the first night because of a prior commitment, but we were able to join them for the last 24 hours. There was some great time of meeting and sharing together, but the highlight for me was the time we spent laughing!

Laughter is an instant vacation. ~ Milton Berle

Saturday night we played 2 rounds of The Newlywed Game and what a hoot it was. Our MC had some priceless lines and the couple interaction was hysterical. We laughed so much and so loudly that we actually had to move to another room because it was late and we were running the risk of disturbing some guests who had come in for the night.

It's been a long time since I was with a group that has made me laugh quite as much and quite as long as we did Saturday night. While we had not even met many of the couples in attendance, it was amazing how laughter broke down any barriers of reserve that may have been in place and allowed us to bond quickly. Makes me realize Victor Borge was onto something when he said...

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

I am thankful for the opportunity we had to go on this retreat and get to know our staff members at a deeper level and get to know some other couples in the church. The transition we are experiencing can be a little overwhelming at times, but moments like we had this weekend give me a glimpse into the amazing opportunities to connect at a heart level with those we are being called to minister to in the years to come. I am not naive enough to think that it will be without its struggles because that is the nature of human relationships. I am thankful, though, for the reminder that laughter really is a powerful tie that can cut through relational distance and help create a bridge for deeper communication!



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Amazed!


I don't know why I am always so amazed when Papa speaks directly to my heart in a way that is obvious He knows exactly what I am going through! It is trippy sometimes, though!

Yesterday I had a very bad day. I was struggling through some issues and spent much of the day in tears. By last night I was worn out and looked like something the cat had dragged in! LOL! Everyone else went to church leaving me in a gloriously quiet house ~ just what my worn out soul needed. I piddled around doing some tidying up and sewing and then I put on some praise music and sat down to do my Bible study. I decided to read Streams in the Desert for November 3rd first and this is a portion of what I read...

Wrung from the troubled spirit, in hard hours
Of weakness, solitude, and times of pain,
Truth springs like harvest from the well-plowed field,
And our soul feels it has not wept in vain!

I just cannot tell you how that stopped me in my tracks and made me realize He knew exactly what I needed...yet again. Truth had sprung up yesterday afternoon and there was healing that took place in a relationship. I did feel that my tears had not be wept in vain, especially the ones cleansing tears that took place after peace had been restored!

I am so thankful that I have a Daddy Who is so intimately involved in every detail of my life that He knows just what I need and when I need it! The timing of that verse of poetry was much more poignant late in the day after the healing had taken place than it would have been had I read it earlier in the day. He cleared out the house, allowed me to sit in silence and then He leaned in and gently whispered that my tears had not been in vain for He had counted each one!!

Psalm 56:8 (The Message)
8 You've kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book.


Monday, November 1, 2010

In Light of His New Occupation...

In light of Tim's new occupation, this is a classic! My friend sent it to me and I thought it was hilarious and the timing for a good laugh was perfect!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Official!!

Well, after MUCH prayer and soul-searching it's official...I am a pastor's wife! Tim is the new lead pastor at The Oasis Church in Loganville, GA! We are so sad to be leaving our UPI family who we love SO MUCH, but we are excited about the opportunity to serve alongside our new OC church family! Their website can be found here ~ http://www.theoasischurch.org/.

It has been a whirl-wind weekend with dear friends in town and then the church announcement this morning. I'll write more in the next couple of days after I have had time to recover!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall!!!


I went to the Country Living Fair yesterday at Stone Mountain. While it was fun and I did find some cute things, my favourite part of the day was walking around later taking fall pictures! The trees were pretty (well, as pretty as they get down here ;O) ) and the weather was perfect! Here is a little of what I saw...