Thursday, December 29, 2011


While it is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that we are about to say goodbye to another year, I am convinced that time begins to move at warp speed the older we get. I have always found it an interesting phenomenon that days that sometimes seem to take SO long actually move so fast when you string them all together.

Since the end of a year can cause one to do some introspection about the highlights and lowlights of the year, I have found myself pondering all that transpired the last 363 days of my life. This year was amazing, fun, overwhelming, heart-wrenching and worthy of much thanksgiving all at the same time. No wonder I am tired these days! That's a lot of emotion to experience in such a relatively short span of time.

I am a part of an online community and one thing we do every year is prayerfully consider a word that we hope to help define our coming year. I felt very strongly last December that my word was to be INTENTIONAL. Little did I know how necessary that word would prove to be as the days wore on.

If you know me very well or have ever read my blog, you know that after 21 years in full-time sports ministry Tim took a job as lead pastor for a local church with his first official day being January 1, 2011. The date was really my idea since I do the taxes and a clean end-of-the-year transition was sure to make the paperwork less cumbersome, but I digress!

It is a fairly large church and has a lot of amazing people who make it up. One thing that people who know us well have always commented on was the large number of relationships that we have had to maintain. While that is actually a wonderful problem to have, it can be wearying at times. We had a couple stay with us once who said they were exhausted after just a few days seeing how many people we interact with on a daily basis. Well, add to these numerous relationships about 1,100 new church folk and there were days that I didn't even want to get out of bed. My introverted ways were being wrenched slowly away from me and I was finding it necessary to step tentatively and surely outside of my comfort zone.

In order to merely survive, I had to learn to be intentional. I had to be intentional at home with my family and with my home-schooling and home-keeping duties. I had to learn to be intentional in getting to know the people we were now providing leadership for and simply learning their names and their stories. (I was excited one Wednesday night early in the year when I realized I could actually name a whole row of people!) I had to learn to be intentional when I chose what to be involved in at church and in the community and I even had to learn to be intentional with my free time.

As always, Papa was reminding me that His ability to see ahead to the things I could not see was the reason the word I felt impressed to claim as my own seemed to fit so perfectly. There were days when I felt an exhilaration and excitement about our lives that I have never felt before and then, almost simultaneously, there were days that I would cry for no apparent reason other than the fact that I felt grossly overmatched. That was usually when He gently whispered in my ear and reminded me that without intentionality and a purposeful and willful focus on Him and His Word I would surely not survive the journey.

One thing that I think the Lord has instilled in me thru this choice to live intentionally is the fact that without the relationships we have worked to build the words we speak are merely just that...words. The saying that people don't care how much you know til they know how much you care has been lived out in a very obvious way this year before us. We have been reminded that everyone has a story to tell and it is in the sharing of that story and the way it is tenderly handled by the hearer that relationship and trust is built. It is the difference in being an uninvolved story-teller or a come-alongside story-weaver who helps to tie the threads of experience and divine providence together in the lives of those who have been placed within our care.

While the journey is infant in its progression, there is peace in knowing that the intentional way we have tried to approach it has helped to lay a strong foundation on which to build in the years to come. We are not naive enough to think that the road ahead will be free of bumps and bruises. Some of the deepest heartache comes from wounds inflicted by those in whom we have concentrated our most sincere efforts...yet we continue to invest in an intentional way.

So as I look back on 2011 laid bare for me to see from start to finish, it prompts me to look forward to 2012 and the promise it is wrapped in. I am unsure of my word for 2012, but know there will be a purpose to it beyond what my finite mind can comprehend and that the truth of living intentionally will continue to be woven into the fabric of my life in the days to come.

Thank You, Lord, for the intentional way you deal with me every day and for the way you have shown me the need to be intentional in all I do. I thank You for the amazing journey you have us on and the amazing people You have chosen as our traveling companions. May we, when it is all said and done, be been found faithful with all you have entrusted us!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


When our children are born it seems that life is one milestone after another! First smile, first tooth, first steps, first words...the list goes on. As they get older there are milestones, but they are spaced further apart.

Today is a milestone day for Benji. He is getting a truck! My baby will have his own vehicle and it is blowing my mind!! Not sure why? He is big as a donkey and old enough to drive, but it just doesn't seem like we should be here already! How did he go from a little boy playing in the yard to a young man with his own truck?

We are buying Tim's dad's truck so it will have sentimental value, too, which is cool. It fits Benji and it fits a fishing pole so that makes him very happy. My redneck boy is making it official...he is going to be sporting a truck!

Thank You, Lord, for providing the way You have for Benji! Thank You for giving him the desire of his heart and for reminding him that he is the apple of Your eye! Our hearts are truly full of gratitude!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

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.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let It Go!

I have just recently started the Beth Moore Bible study on James. I am excited to be digging into the Word again and know the Lord has some amazing things to show me! One thing that really stood out to me in the first video session was when Beth said she did not want to be identified solely by what she was delivered from, but moreso by what she was delivered to which is a resurrected life in Christ.

2 Cor. 5:17Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.

I have taught a couple of retreats over the last few months and one of the topics we cover is shame. I am always amazed at what a struggle it is for women especially to overcome the shame of their past. Sometimes the shame is a result of things they have willfully done, but many times these women were innocent victims at the hands of skillful predators.

One thing we do in this session is have everyone write down one or two of their most predominant shame lies they have believed about themselves. While I knew some of these women really struggled, I was truly shocked and deeply saddened by the words many chose to use to describe themselves. Ugly, stupid, unloveable, dumb, unforgivable, unworthy...devastating words like that. All of them based on a faulty belief system that they would never be good enough to overcome these labels because they just didn't think Jesus could really do anything with them.

If God can look at us as a new creation, why can't we? If God can forget our past, why can't we?

I used to struggle with that word...forget. Was God really unable to remember what we had done? Was it really possible for Him to get spiritual amnesia? After deeper study, I came to understand that the word actually means to no longer be influenced or affected by our past. It is actually the ability to remember what happened without getting that pit in your stomach or feeling the need to hang your head in shame.

Each of us have this opportunity open to us. If we have surrendered out hearts to Christ then we are made new. Not because of anything we did or did not do, but because of His wildly extravagant grace that He lavishes on us. It is like a spiritual Cinderella...He removes our old, tattered rags and clothes us each as a beautiful princess!!

During this session I teach, after the lies have been exposed we look at the Truth of God's Word and what HE says about us!! We replace our faulty belief system with scripture that speaks to who we now are in Christ. We allow ourselves to be released from the grip of shame and from being identified by what we were saved from and focus on what and Whom we were saved to!!

Lord, please allow us to set our old way of thinking about ourselves and allow us to see ourselves through Your lens. Allow us to own that the old things have passed away and behold we are new creations in Christ...robed in His righteousness as surely as royal heiresses! We have an inheritance, Lord, and it is eternal life with You. Would You help us live up to our potential as Your girls!!

Friday, December 9, 2011


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 one day 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!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Sunday!!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Today I have a very dear friend who is in surgery. It is not what they consider minor surgery, but extensive, intense surgery. I am finding it hard to think about much else besides my friend and her hubby waiting for news on her condition. Waiting is hard...

Be still and know that I am God.

I am, Lord, but it is hard!

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.


Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

I'll wait, Lord...trusting your sovereignty and your care of my friend!

Thank You, Lord, that You knit my friend together in your mother's womb! Thank You that You are intimately acquainted with every nerve, vessel and fiber of her being! Thank You for the assurance that You love her more than any of us ever could! Thank You for Your presence there in that operating room and for your watch over the surgeons!

May You be glorified in it all!!!

P.S. Just got word that her surgery is done and it went well! So very thankful!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Coffee on the back porch while sounds of life escape thru cracked doors and windows.

A simple reminder that being still and quiet is an attitude of the heart and not a location easily found!

Psalm 46:10 ~ Be still and know that I am God.

Yes, yes you are...and I am waiting...heart and mind at rest...for what You have to say!

Monday, November 14, 2011


We are in the middle of a missions emphasis at church and our friend, JB spoke yesterday. JB has been a friend of ours for almost 16 years and it was amazing to see how he has grown in his ability to communicate in a public forum. Made me get teary-eyed I was just so proud of him.

JB was talking about leading missions trips to Cambodia and Haiti and the extreme poverty of wealth and spirit you can witness there. He also shared about witnessing extreme joy from people who have nothing because they have had a radical encounter with Jesus Who meets all their expectations and needs according to His riches in glory. JB had a lot of great things to share, but one statement he shared really resonated with me. He was talking about the phenomenon of pain and what it drives us to do and he said...

When you hurt, I pray! When I hurt, I doubt!

Wow! What a truthful nugget to chew on!! My first response when I hear of pain and struggle in someone else's life is always to pray. I let them know I am praying, I request others to pray and I talk to the Lord a lot about their pain. When I experience pain, though, I often jump ahead of prayer to questioning why Papa would allow me to hurt so deeply if He loves me as much as He says He does. Why do I assume His grace, mercy and care is sufficient for everyone but me?

It seems as if other's pain allows me to clearly see His care, desire and ability to intervene on their behalf while my own pain causes me to curl up in the fetal position and wonder why He seems so far away! How is that?

Reality is, the same compassion He has for the hurts of my friends and those I hear about is available to me in just as superfluous a capacity as it is for them. I just have to own that Truth. I just have to understand that there is a picture so much bigger than I can adequately comprehend. I must believe deep in my heart that an imperfect world full of imperfect people is going to have imperfect things happen within it that cause me pain, but that is not the end of the story. There is a perfect Saviour Who is more than able to gather me up...hurts and all...and reassemble the pieces of my life the way He sees fit so that my life and my faith end up a work of art created by the One Who can bring beauty from ashes.

Isaiah 61:1-3 ~ 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair

Thank you, Papa, for loving me enough to allow me to experience pain. Pain, while so difficult at the time, is usually the catalyst that stands to drive me straight into Your arms if I choose not to doubt but to trust Your love and care. May I be willing to extend the same measure of grace to myself as I do to others and may I not allow struggle to turn my eyes away from the You and Your ability to meet me in the midst of my struggle!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

She's Back!

Well, this year has been a year of big changes and lots of unexpected blessings. It has been a year of feeling overwhelmed for me, though, too! So many many new many new responsibilities added to all the old ones...served to make me feel like a deer in headlights. On the outside I looked pretty calm, but on in the inside I was scrambling!

Since my kids need to eat every day and if I don't school them they may have to go live somewhere else...and since my house continues to get dirty, the clothes need washing, the relationships need stroking and the church women need overseeing...the only thing I could think that I could let go of was taking care of myself! Of course, in hindsight, I realize this was a foolish conclusion to reach, but it was where I landed, none-the-less!

Sadly, my multiple workouts a week fell to the wayside, my writing dwindled down because I didn't even take the time to ponder much of anything and any type of strategic eating plan was just one more draining thing to have to maintain. So while I tried to look in the mirror and embrace the almost 48 year old face and body that stared back at me, it was becoming increasingly hard and it was my own fault!

About a month ago I decided it was time to take care of me again. I decided it was time to carve out time to remember what I liked, who I was, what I thought and to exercise just for me! I started walking again, I took more pictures of things that made me happy, I resumed a healthier way of eating, I started taking my vitamins and supplements again and I allowed myself just to sit and think. Today I took the next step which might have been the hardest of all...

I invited Jillian back into my life!!!

Ugh! I had forgotten how mixed my emotions were where she was concerned! On the one hand she works my tail and that is a good thing! On the other hand, she works my tail in such a way that it makes me hate her just a teensy little bit. I guess I consider her a necessary evil when you get right down to it.

At the beginning of the year I was doing P90X or 2 levels of Jillian at a time. Today I managed to struggle thru the first level of Jillian and then get on the elliptical for 20 minutes to finish up. This time around I am bringing a very bum knee to the workouts and so I had to modify slightly, but I did it!

Day 1 is in the books!

It's hard when you have put yourself in the position of starting at square 1 again, but...I started! I took the plunge and I am going to continue because, quite frankly, I am worth taking care of! Hopefully a benefit will be clothes fitting better and a weight deficit slowly recorded, but right now I am just happy to be doing something for myself.

Thank You, Lord, for your gentle reminder that I am important, too. Thank You for helping me realize that in taking care of myself I position myself to be better equipped to take care of others. Thanks for motivating me to let Jillian whoop my tail and cause me to push my body to the extremes again! Thank You, most of all for your sweet murmurings that, in spite of it all, You love me just the way I am!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Day in Pictures

If these walls could talk!

Love these birds in the mist!

Plane overhead reflected in the water!

This is one of my favourites I took today!

One of these Canadian Geese is not like the others! Might have been a little hanky-panky that went on with a swan! ;O)

Stopped for coffee in Madison at The Perk and these were my coffee companions. I looked up at one point and giggled and had to snap their picture...discreetly, of course!

Got a giggle at the irony of The Wellness Trail leading to the cemetery!

This is the Nolan Plantation near Bostwick, GA. It was in a few movies, including My Cousin, Vinny!

Loved the fences around the plantation!

All that's left of one of the slave quarters!

Many an exhausted slave has climbed these few steps over the years!


Carts of cotton waiting to be processed at the only working cotton gin for 150 Bostwick, GA!

Field white with cotton! So pretty!

I took many, many more pictures than these, but these are some of the highlights! All in all, a lovely day!! :O)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


We are fast approaching the time of year when women can become so overwhelmed with all that is on their plates that they start to sink faster than the Titanic on that fateful night! I had recently been contemplating Thanksgiving and Christmas and was pleasantly surprised that I did not feel my anxiety levels rise as I observed that my plate was not too loaded down. Yeah me! And then it happened...

We had a women's ministry meeting!

Breathe in! Breathe out! Breathe in! Breathe out!

I had forgotten that this was my first year as a wife at the helm in a church environment where there is no lack of opportunities and needs during the holiday season!! The list was endless and I felt my pulse start to quicken and my eyes glaze over as I processed all that was being shared! The worst part was that it was all good. Not one thing was something I could roll my eyes at and dismiss as unnecessary fluff! What to do? What to do?

First thing to do was to realize that one or two or three people cannot do it all! It takes a whole body of believers working together to make it all happen. Letting the hands be the hands and the feet be the feet and every little part of the body operate in its entirety is essential. We need each other!

A number of years ago I quit sending Christmas cards. It wasn't that I think there is anything wrong with Christmas cards, it was just that particular year I realized I could either send Christmas cards or I could enjoy Christmas...and I chose the latter! Fortunately for me, the advance of technology and the invention of FB has kept me in touch with most of the people who would have gotten my Christmas cards anyway. I still enjoy receiving all the cards each year, but I treasure the feeling of not succumbing to the pressure to meet a deadline in the midst of an already busy time!

Now back to the church....I again had a choice. I could look at all that needed to be done and feel the pressure to cram as much as I could into my days or I could calmly ponder the possibilities and focus in on what I was passionate about! What could I, based on the giftings and passions the Lord has placed within me, contribute to this list? Suddenly I found my eyes begin to refocus and my pulse begin to regain its natural rhythm and it all became very clear to me.

There is a group of widows who live in an apartment complex by the church. Many of them have serious needs, but we don't really even know who they are or how truly extensive their needs might be. How fun would it be to plan a tea and invite them all to come and be spoiled for a morning? Allow them to use fine china and taste sweet desserts fixed lovingly with my own hands. Let them eat off of fancy tablecloths and use cloth napkins to wipe their mouths. I am sure for many, if not all of them, this would be a highly unusual occurrence. How disarming would it be, though, for them to realize someone cared enough to treat them like high society ladies? How credible would it make us to pamper them and then tell them we really do care and want to help? How helpful to build a relationship with them to assess what their true needs are during the holidays and all year long?

How relieved did I feel to see with clarity where my gifts and passions could best be utilized? He has wired me to be hospitable and here was an opportunity for me to exercise my spiritual gift!!

Instead of shutting down, I felt myself coming to life. Before I left the church there were already 5 of us committed to going and loving on these ladies. I found myself mentally planning a menu and decorating the tables as I happily drove out of the parking lot!

Reality is, there are still many areas on the list that was presented that need to be covered and I am asking the Lord to impress upon hearts just where exactly they fit in His plan! If we all begin to step out and operate within our giftedness as He gives us opportunity, we eliminate the need for a few people to bear the burden of carrying out all that needs to be done and becoming overwhelmed.

Are you a hand? A foot? Are you a planner? Hospitable? Do you love all that goes with an administrative position or do you come alive as your creative juices start to flow? You have a were created with a definite purpose! Will you ask the Lord to show you what it is and then jump in knowing that He has prepared you for such a time as this?

Read with me these words from the Casting Crowns song, We Are the Body, and ask yourself just where exactly do you fit! The Body is counting on you!!

It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in
Trying to fade into the faces
The girls' teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way
There is a way

A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat
And quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances tells him that his chances
Are better out on the road

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the Body of Christ

If we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way