Saturday, December 27, 2008


Christmas flew in and it flew by! Would anyone else agree? I think the anticipation is half of the fun. We had a blessed and sweet Christmas this year. Things were very different for us...not nearly so many gifts were purchased and not one single Christmas card was sent from my family. However, we didn't die and it was still wonderful. Shep and I did something that we had never done before...we opened our gifts to each other at midnight on Christmas Eve. We just spread all the gifts out on the bed and had such fun opening them and enjoying OUR time together without the kiddos. (I will never forget that and I hope it continues to be a tradition)
We were up early and the kids had such fun with their presents. Ava was in did her living room become transformed into a Toys-R-Us??? She kind of didn't know what to do. We captured her expressions as best as we could on camera. It was bittersweet, though. Zeke, of course, is too young to care about Christmas. Caroline, on the other hand, knows what is going on but it is so hard for her to play with anything so her excitement level is hard to determine. We try not to concentrate on that and just pull her in to all that Ava was doing.

Time with our families was great too. My family seemed closer than we have been in a long time. Shep's family was definitely in the Christmas spirit as well. We are so blessed!! We are loved, prayed for, encouraged, and guarded by our amazing families (and amazing friends).
The food...........oh, I don't even have words......
Ham, turkey, dressing, breakfast casserole, fried pies, butter beans, hash-brown casserole, mac-n-cheese casserole, sweet potato casserole, coconut cake, cream cheese/crescent rolls casserole, apple pizza, sausage balls, haystacks, pecans, and chocolate. I am gaining weight just typing the words.

I had several moments to pause and think of my Jesus. He was my best and favorite gift. He loved on me Christmas day just like every other day. He lets me just talk and cry and laugh with Him whenever I want. His Holy Spirit residing in me is His seal and promise....He will never leave nor forsake me.

Now- here I am two days later. Sometimes the after-Christmas blues set in. I feel so silly sometimes in my walk with the Lord. I have said before that the closer I get to Him the more I feel I have to learn...
Today I feel like my 7 month old Zeke. He reminds me about every 4 hours during the day that he needs to be fed. Just like him, I have found myself running to God every few hours (sometimes minutes) needing Him to feed me....

This is how He did------------------------------------------------------------------------

Words from Streams in the Desert
"Never run from suffering, but bear it silently, patiently,and submissively, with the assurance that it is God's way of instilling iron into your spiritual life. The world is looking for iron leaders, iron armies, iron tendons, and muscles of steel. But God is looking for IRON SAINTS, and since there is no way to impart iron into His people's moral nature except by letting them suffer, He allows them to suffer.
Are the best years of your life slipping away while you suffer enforced monotony? (Yes!!) Are you afflicted with opposition, misunderstandings, and the scorn of others? Do your afflictions seem as thick as the undergrowth confronting someone hiking through a jungle? (Uh-yeah!)
Then take heart! Your time is not wasted, for God is simply putting you through His iron regimen. Your iron crown of suffering precedes your golden crown of glory, and iron is entering your soul to make it strong and brave." F.B. Meyer
Psalm 105 was the scripture reference for this devotion. The theme of this psalm is about God's mighty deeds in bringing Israel to the promised land. Remembering his miracles encourages us to keep living close to him.
He knows exactly how to encourage me for He knit me together and knows me better than anyone.
Be still my soul and trust only in Him...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another Word for my Big Girl

Last night we were all crowded around the fireplace. We had eaten dinner and now had moved on to popcorn and chocolate. Polar Express was on the television screen and it felt like you wanted it to feel at Christmas with your family...

Caroline had made it very clear with her body language that she wanted in on some of the popcorn. So, Shep had been giving her pieces of the fluffy white parts. A little while later I moved closer to her just to begin loving on her. Shep had stopped feeding her for a while to watch the movie. I leaned over her and asked her, "Do you want some more popcorn"? What I then heard was....."oppp- corn". I sat there for a second (kind of not really believing it...and thinking to myself..."I must have heard what I wanted to hear") So then I asked her, "Did you just say popcorn"? She smiled so broadly!!!
I asked her to repeat it again for me and she wasn't as great...but still the same word. Then I made Shep get down next to us and she said it again....

It was wonderful....another awesome moment!! Merry Christmas!!

This all comes on the heels of my bad day. For my close friends who know how I deal with things, this isn't a surprise. Christmastime and Caroline's birthday are the two most difficult times of the year with her. For some reason I have always assumed her healing would occur on one of these days. As you hasn't. So each year that passes with no healing tends to bring on the doubts and defeating thoughts. I can start to drown in them and act as if I have no hope. Well, this was very much one of those days...

A little after lunch, I was cleaning my kitchen. This phrase "an alter where you are" kept coming through my mind. I didn't really know what to do with it or what it meant. So I just kind of kept thinking about it. After the kitchen was cleaned I knew I needed to pray and get in the Word. My attitude was stinking up the whole house. I got my Bible and devotion book, then I began to look for paper. I didn't really know what for, except that I felt like I needed it. So, I finally found paper and sat down to study and pray. The next thing I knew...I had written "An altar where you are" at the top of the page...then I just began to write this poem.

An altar is a place of surrender
laying burdens and fears down.
Offering yourself as a vessel
As He pours peace on you like a crown.

The altar doesn't have to be in a church
with cushions, stairs, or rail.
It can take the form of any place
when you need to kneel and wail.

The altar is a meeting place
where hearts are comforted and hurts proclaimed.
Jesus promises to hear and answer
As we draw near and call on His name.

At home in my chair as many doubts invade,
my hopes and His voice seem so far.
I feel His voice call as I battle inside,
"Child, fall on the altar where you are".

Let me just say...I don't normally do this. But it really encouraged me. He did it all and happened to use me in the process.

I praise Him with all that I am!! I am in awe of You, Lord!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Precious in His sight

How sweet is this?? Ava has begun trying to pray "real" prayers. What I mean is...something more than "God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food...". Don't get me wrong, I know that He considers that as prayer too. But, what I mean is she has begun to thank Him and ask Him for things on her own. She loves to thank God for God and Jesus. She also loves to pray for Caroline's she can walk and play with her. She prays for whatever else may come to her mind. Yesterday she heard her little brother cough. She looked at me and said, "momma, I am gonna pray for Zeke to feel better". Well, pray she did! I sat and watched this little 3 year old approach the Almighty with such sweet assurance. It took my breath away. I wanted to pause time and just bask in that precious moment with her.

Oh Father, help me to guide these little ones into a real relationship with you. One that is as natural to them as breathing. I know that they watch me and all that I do and say. I want them to see me talking to you, praising you, asking you for help, and submitting to you all through out my days with them.

Bless my children. Thank you for entrusting them to me for this time.

Girl time

I don't know what I would do without my weekly accountability from the Thursday morning Bible study ladies. They are such a huge blessing to me. We like each other so much that we have been meeting for the last 3 weeks and we have been finished with our study. We just wanted to meet, review, share, and pray. It is a wonderful mixture of women ranging in age from their 60's to their 20's. I always feel better for going. My sisters in there always encourage me or God uses them to speak a strong word to me. Today was no different! Thank you Elizabeth, Deana, and Amy. There were different things that you all said today that I really needed to hear.
What I hope to remember from today's meeting:

True intimacy with Jesus breeds humility

The closer we get to Christ the more His light sheds upon our sins...(not to condemn, but to correct so we can be more like Him)

His glory on our lives can be offensive to others...especially believers who might be convicted.
(this one is hard for me...I don't like it when others aren't pleased with me...I am a pleas er by nature)

Lastly, be thankful! Be a thankful and grateful person. Deana's question, "What if God took away everything that you were not thankful for"? Yikes!!! That is tough...but good to think about!! Oh, how we have mounds and mounds to be thankful for
-friends (to list them all would take days)
-warm house
When we list it out...things suddenly seem a little brighter. My list is much longer, but time or space would not permit all that I have to be thankful.

Anyway, it was so good! It ministered to me and I needed it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Need a little sunshine...

We are in need of rain, and normally I do love the occasional rainy day...but this is killing me. I need a little sunshine. It has been rainy here all week...after a while that tends to take a toll on my attitude. I hate even admitting that about myself. But, it is true.
Alrighty, moving on....
The Lord spoke to me this morning in my devotional about "seeking holiness". I got to thinking about this word. We (I) don't say it very much. I wonder why?? The word "holiness" is kind of a heavy word. It seems to carry this weight of responsibility. I always think of my Lord as holy, but not necessarily myself. Is that because I don't think I act holy? How many times do I have to remind myself that I have been MADE HOLY by Jesus and Him alone. There is nothing I can do to ACT HOLY. It should just be who I am. My desires should be His desires...
I shouldn't want to gossip...
I shouldn't want to stretch that truth...
I shouldn't want to watch that ungodly show on t.v.

So why do I? Because I am at war everyday with a real enemy. An evil one who wants to tell me that I am order that I might just act on that thought.
Oh Father, help me to focus on what you have already done for me...I am declared holy, righteous, unblemished, pure, victorious, and without fault. Just because I might ACT differently does not change what You have declared over me.
Thank you Jesus! Thank you for giving me your holiness. Give me an attitude adjustment. Let my light shine so others might see YOU!!
Give me strength to persevere through these days with Caroline. The healing seems impossible, so distant. However, I know what you have told me. I trust you. I believe you...not how I feel.
I love you. I want more of you...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I should have known...

Yesterday morning Zeke woke me up early with an empty tummy. I fed him and then he wanted to play. I just laid there listening to my 6 month old making sweet sounds and watching him play his favorite game of grabbing his feet. I decided to get up, take my time, get a bath, and spend some time with the Lord before the girls got up. My quiet time was all about "trusting God". The title alone should have told me that I was facing a doozie of a day...but at this point I was still blissfully ignorant of what the day held for me.
Basically, things went wrong in my day. Complications and aggravations were at my every turn. Even at this point..."Trust Him"....
That seems silly. Of course we say we trust Him. But what about on the little things. Lost items, bad attitudes, and inconveniences that He allows. The truth is we don't want to trust Him on these is too easy for us to fret and soak in our own cynicism. I know God is crazy about me and He doesn't want to just be in my 10 minute devotion for the day. He wants to be the center of everything in my day. When He is...I will and can trust Him and talk to Him about rude people, those sun-glasses I lost again, and sitting on hold for many minutes waiting on someone other than an automated voice to help me with cell phone problems.
Anyway, this morning my devotion was about prayer and knowing God's will for your life. I am not good at prayer...I don't know many people who are. It is hard and takes willful effort. So, I have asked the Lord to help me today. I will probably ask Him again in an hour...then again in another hour. I have asked Him to speak to me and help me know when it is Him. I am going to trust that He will do this.
So-I have another day out before me. I want to tackle it head on. I want to do God's will for me today...whatever that is.

"However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him'-but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit" 1 Corin. 2:9-10.

I love the first part of this verse. I want to see what no eye has seen, hear what no ear has heard, and conceive what my mind cannot because I do love Him...and these things are attainable. The second part of that verse says "but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit". His Spirit lives in me and therefore walks with me and talks with me.
God, help me to be still and listen to you and trust you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Momma

My momma is quite a lady. She seeks to please God in all that she does and she lives out her faith for all to see. She is one of my very best friends and strongest cheerleaders. She strives to push herself and others toward a closer relationship with Jesus.

My life growing up with her as my mama was not easy....if she was around then I got away with nothing. She was on me like white on rice. I can say, however, that her constant guard kept me out of a lot of trouble and away from a lot of temptation. I want to be that same annoying kind of parent to my children. I want to know their business...all of it. I don't want to be naive as to what they are dealing with...I want to know the war they are fighting so that I can help them. My mom talked very straight with me. She knew better than to not do it. I appreciate it so much. She influenced the kind of friends I had and the kind of boys I dated...her opinion really mattered to me and it still does.

She is a writer, a teacher, a mentor, a prophet (at times), a challenging truth-teller, a devoted wife, a dependable and loving mama, and an amazing me-mama ( as Ava calls her) to her grand-children. More than all of this, I see her spending her days full of joy, called by obedience, surrendered to His plan, and worshipping at His feet. She is always aware of her inadequacy and His sufficiency...her weakness and His strength....her frailty and His power in her life. I love her and look up to her immensely. She pushes me to be a better daughter, mother, wife, and friend. She sees the progress that Christ is making in my life when all I see are failures...I am so thankful for her in my life.

Happy Birthday momma....I loved your surprise party!!

Busy days...

I don't feel like I have had time to sit down...much less update my blog. However, every day I have had so many thoughts that I wanted and intended to post.
This past weekend was a great time! Shep, myself, and the kiddos went to my hometown in Alabama (no bama jokes required) to attend our family reunion and visit with some other family we haven't seen in some time. The whole trip was outstanding!! I really needed it. I told Shep on the ride over that I kind of felt like my life growing up in Alabama almost feels like it never happened. I think it is because we hardly ever go back and visit. I couldn't wait to just drive past my grandparent's house and visit their grave sites. Doing all of that somehow brings back the reality that my childhood really did happen....many memories of family birthdays, sleep-overs, Easter-egg hunts, and Christmas mornings come flooding back. It is amazing to me that their house used to be like my second home. Now, it is just another place. Anyway, I don't want to focus on the nostalgia of it all because we had an awesome time.

The family reunion was fun. Seeing folks I haven't seen in so long was like medicine to my soul. I am a family girl...and I didn't really realize how much I missed my extended family. Lots of hugging, squeezing, eating, laughing, talking, kissing babies, and catching up on details with was great!

Then we finished off our day by going to my aunt and uncle's to watch the Alabama-Florida game....sorry Bama!! There was more hugging, squeezing, laughing, eating, talking, and playing with the kids. It was a blast!! Sometimes we forget how much FUN just being together can be. Shep and I really didn't want to leave. We both knew how badly we needed that time to just be around people that love you and encourage you. It really just felt great to be "at home". I hope we can do it again soon.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Recent Photos...

These are different pictures from our Thanksgiving trip to Blakely and decorating the Christmas tree...
What can I say?? I am too proud of my family! I think they are wonderful!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving~~

We had a wonderful holiday! So sorry it had to end...this is one of the things that I look forward to in heaven. Our great days will never end!!!! We went to south Ga. with Shep's family. It was a lot of fun. The day was gorgeous and the food scrumptious! It was a whirlwind trip b/c we came home pretty quickly and then did Thanksgiving with my family. There is just something about walking into your momma's house on Thanksgiving and smelling and seeing all the foods that you have during this special time of year...then your mind is flooded with memories. :>)
Our kids behaved remarkably well to have been on the road for hours and sleeping in different beds. I know that I wanted to hug my man and my children a little closer and just be near them. These hard economic times have tremendously impacted my thankfulness for the little things I take for my man and my children.
We also put up our Christmas decorations. That is always so meaningful to me and Shep. It used to just be the two of us. We would be kind of sappy and we are singing carols, changing diapers, hanging ornaments, wiping noses, preparing snacks and sippie cups all in the midst of decorating the house. We wouldn't change a thing we get to see it all through new little eyes.
Anyway, now we are back to a Monday. School and work have intruded on us again and the choice is do we lose that joyfulness and give in to the gloom or be THANKFUL we woke up to another day. I am choosing door # 2 although the battle was on to be a grouch today.

Also, I had one really sweet moment with my Jesus this past weekend. I felt really drawn to get into His word and do a devotion because I had not spent a whole lot of time with Him during the business of our weekend of traveling. I had been battling against hopeless thoughts and feelings. So, I tried to be obedient to the Holy Spirit and see what the Lord had to say to me. I opened my stand-by devotion book "Streams in the Desert". The devotion itself was nothing really special. It was encouraging of course. It talked about the beautiful music in our lives being heard best when we are in the midst of fierce storms...this is how others see Jesus actively working in us...if we let Him. The verse for the devotion was Hebrews 12:11. I felt led to get my Bible and read the scriptures before and after that verse just to get the correct context. Chapter 12 opens up encouraging believers not to lose heart and to endure hardship as discipline. Verse 11 says, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
-Wow! Did that ever speak to me. Yes, this time in my life is painful...financially and looking in the face of my child every day believing something that I don't see. Believing she will walk, talk, eat, run, dance, play, and sing. The part I loved was the second part of the verse...LATER ON...this hardship WILL produce a harvest. Oh Lord, how I pray earnestly to see the harvest and see it soon!! Help me to have a trainable and teachable spirit so that righteousness and peave will reign in my life and in my family.
Now, I really thought that was awesome...until I keep reading. Verses 12 and 13 say this, "Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the LAME MAY NOT BE DISABLED , BUT RATHER HEALED."
I almost came out of the bed. How sweet He is to speak directly to my situation. There He was encouraging me during these hard days and then He added icing to my cake. How cool! I didn't even know that verse was there...much less that it spoke of the lame being healed!

Praise you Lord! I choose to believe that You spoke directly to me...and not to give in to the lie that this was consequential. I believe you wanted to speak hope to my heart. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!