Friday, December 31, 2010

Just a tiny little sore

can wreak havoc on a large space.

This is the case with my right hand at the moment. Actually for the past few days.

The skin around my thumb nail has split and created a tiny open sore.

How is it that this tiny open wound can affect me so much?

I am right handed so everything I touch or do in a typical day brings with it an unsettling pain.

Crazy isn't it?!?

You wouldn't think that such a tiny place could cause currents of sharp pain.

With my hurt thumb I dread the sight of soapy dish water...typing on the keyboard....dressing the kids or myself...preparing around the house.

But life goes on...a little sore can't stop us.

It can hurt us. Yes, that is true.

But life has to be lived. Things have to get done. You suck it up...grit against the pain...and keep going.

Does anyone else see a bigger story here?

This past Christmas was wonderful in many ways. We were surrounded by family and friends. We were in a warm house. We had yummy food to eat. We got to celebrate our Savior's birth. We got to experience the wonder of Christmas through our children's faces. But, just like my tiny little open sore, there was something amiss.

Another year passed by. Another Christmas. Another Thanksgiving. Another set of birthdays. Each day that passed on the calendar in 2010 was another possible day for God to heal my girl.

And He chose not to....

So, although we were so blessed there was also a bit of sadness.

We still believe that He has said He will heal her. But each day that passes....each year that passes....each holiday that passes.....just makes us have to cling tighter and believe stronger because what we want to do is give up.

This tiny sore on my hand pales in comparison to the rest of my body. But it hurts and it can affect my mood and what I choose to do and not do.

Our belief about Caroline is like this tiny open sore.

In the grand scheme of our is a tiny thing.

But it affects us deeply.

It hurts daily.

We have to constantly push past our fears and doubts and keep going. We can't stop because of this little tiny open wound~ we must go on in spite of it.

I look forward to the New Year with new hopes and I will continue to live as if any moment could be "the moment" that God chooses to heal our girl.

I pray it is soon.

For now we live with the pain of the little sore.

This little wound has changed us forever. We think differently. We live differently. We hope differently.

Isaiah 26:3-4

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the rock eternal."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Hits

There were lots of holiday hits this year.

First and foremost....we had SNOW!

Seriously....we had a true white Christmas. It was so neat...almost magical.

These are some quick shots of the kids checking out Santa's gifts.

He was awfully good to my kids this year!

I have also included pictures of their favorite toys.

For Ava and Caroline, it was definitely their American Girl dolls.

For Zeke it was his Buzz Lightyear toy and a stand-up microphone.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why He came....

God has lead me to read and study in the book of Isaiah. I didn't quite get past chapter one before my heart was gripped by the reason He came....

the reason for this season...

Isaiah 1:5-6
"Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.
From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness-
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with oil.


We are His grand prize.

We are His great treasure.

This particular passage is describing the nation of Israel but it might as well be me at some time or another.

Could this passage be describing you in some way? I can certainly relate.

~injured head or mind
~afflicted heart
~no soundness; only unrest
~wounded, beaten, hurt

As I marvel at my Maker and His crazy love for us I can't believe He gave us Christmas. He gave us Himself....he traded glory for death....perfection for gross imperfection....peace for chaos...a throne for the cross.

What a Savior!

Immanuel has come....He wanted to be God with us.

Pretty amazing....

Monday, December 20, 2010

A New Look

My sweet friend Tess came over this morning to visit and exchange Christmas gifts.

She is several years younger than me and our friendship really started around the notion that I would mentor her.

That just makes me laugh now.

I can't tell you how many times that shoe has switched feet.

The fire of God is shut up in that girl's bones and everyone that comes in contact with her knows it.

She pushes me toward Christ. She pushes me to love His Word. She pushes me to memorize scripture. She pushes me through prayer.

Back to this morning....

Being the young and super hip girl she is, she wanted to give my blog a more updated look. She had some great ideas and she really wanted to use a specific photo.

I was on board completely. Especially given the fact that I am scared to mess with computers and she was offering to do it all herself.

4 hours later it was done. It still needs to be tweaked a bit but right now we are just thankful to still have my blog. Everything that could go wrong DID. Pictures wouldn't work. Templates wouldn't work. The site meter wouldn't work. The colors wouldn't work. And just think I am leaving out all of the details entailing our wonderfully behaved children during this small disaster.

I got tickled at Tess during all of this. She was consistent at calling on the name of Jesus amidst her work at the keyboard. With every stroke it seemed something else would unravel and it was then that I was convinced my computer must have been possessed by the devil himself.

Needless to blog and our friendship survived unscathed.

I love her so much.

She is such a champion and warrior for the faith....and her support for me is relentless as well.

Hope you like the new look!

It was a lot of work....

God Bless you T!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Merry Madness

I absolutely love Christmas.

Always have....always will.

My favorite thing to do is sneaking to the tree at night (or really early in the morning) when all is still, dark and quiet. I still feel like I am 6 years old when I stare and enjoy the simple beauty of white twinkling lights.

I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to come to this keyboard and just ramble on and on about my thoughts, events of the day, or just to share the ways God is working in my life.

However, the madness has taken over! I couldn't even check my e-mail much less blog about my day.

Between music rehearsals for me, music rehearsals for the kids, finishing up shopping, wrapping gifts, getting stuff for the kid's school parties, addressing Christmas cards, fitting everything in on the calendar, AND an out-of-the-blue ice storm....I haven't had a moment to breathe.

I am not complaining nor am I whining. This is just life...especially life in December.

Everyone is busy and everyone is still trying to be merry.

Yesterday I felt like the walls were caving in. They weren't really. I just wasn't really ready spiritually for all that the enemy had ready to throw at me.

I didn't do well under his schemes. It was like the perfect storm at my house. Have you ever had one of those days? The kids were screaming. The phone wouldn't stop ringing. There was more to do than you had time to do it. It seemed like everyone needed something from me and I just needed a padded cell....ALL TO MYSELF.

I will confess that this girl did not win "Mother of the Year" based on my performance yesterday...whew...I am glad it is over.

But this morning...God showed me that I had not been spiritually ready to deal with the enemy.

I didn't have my game face on. I had not prayed or been in the Word. I didn't have a chance.

God lead my to Psalm 27.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then will I be confident."

I took the bait from the enemy to give in to all that was going wrong around me. I was so suffocated by my surroundings that I didn't cry to my Savior. I tried to be strong and independent...handle my stuff myself.

All the time my Light, my Salvation, my Stronghold was waiting for me to let Him help.

It felt as if war was breaking out against me and I gave in to fear and lost my confidence.


I kept my mind focused on the One who loves me and died for me.

Today was lighter. Sweeter.

I was merry in the midst of my madness.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Habakkuk who??

Please tell me I get to sound super spiritual since God seriously used the book of Habakkuk to speak some encouragement to me?!?

Yes, the book of Habakkuk is tucked into the old testament (you could easily miss it) between the books of Nahum (easy to miss too) and Zephaniah. I have been using God's Word for most of my life and I still have to check the front table of contents the see where these books are located.

Anyway, the passage was a part of our Bible study this week.

Habakkuk 3:19 says, "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to walk on the mountain heights."

I remembered in my mind seeing goats up on these super steep hills when we went to Israel. I could not believe how these animals ran, played, walked and even rested on these straight up and down mountain sides.

I thought about how terrified I would be if I had to maneuver those angled peaks and try to keep my balance at the same time.

Yet, God's Word tells me that I will have to go to some steep places in my life. Some places where the fall would be certain destruction. Places where each step would require proper placement of my feet.

I don't know about you but lots of days I feel like God has allowed me to be out on a ledge. He allows the edges of my life to be jagged and uncertain. What I want is steady and solid ground. He beckons me to run, walk, play, and even rest on these uneven and steep places. He says He will enable my feet to walk with ease.

So, I hope that speaks to you.

My God can make my paths straight but He can also make sturdy my feet on crooked and steep paths. He is just cool like that.

Now...if I will just trust these God guided feet and lift up my eyes to enjoy the view!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Smiling on this Monday..

My weekend was rushed, hectic, long, exhausting, emotional, and WONDERFUL! (all except for that tiny bit of road rage we received from an angry and unruly Birmingham man:)

An answer to prayer and my question from my last blog entry.

I (along with 14,000 other women) left my family and obligations behind for 2 days and 1 night to travel to Birmingham, Alabama to drink from the HUGE cup of blessing and renewal that God Almighty had prepared for me.

I knew I was ready for this.

I was dried up. Sitting on empty. My tank needed filling in a bad way.

Little did I know that tucked into my trip would be sweet surprises that God held in store. We got to shop a little, eat deliciously bad-for-you food, and we got to sit under the kind of praise and worship that takes you to the very throne room of God.

Then...... there was the teaching. The Word of God was opened and read and it did what it does best.

It spoke to us. It challenged us. It's truth clearly dividing truth from darkness.

3 different women. 3 different topics. 3 specific messages from God to my very aching soul.

I don't have time to write everything down that God said to me. Suffice it to say that hopefully you will see it coming through as I blog. Isn't that what the Word is supposed to do?

Come out of us.

God intended for us to KNOW His Word. He wants it to sustain us just like our next meal. He wants it to come alive in our hearts, mind, and being. So, when life becomes hard or we have an unexpected trial....the Word will already be there. Ready to tackle the doubt, discouragement, fear, anger, anxiety, or resentment that tries to set in and take over.

He hasn't failed us.

His Word is available, active and just waiting to be used and believed!

He answered my last blog question.

How is He sufficient? Why does He give us "just enough" of Himself to get us through?

So our fight will mean more.

We remember what we have to fight through and engage in.

He knows that if He completely paved the way or made it too easy for us...then we would also forget easily.

All in all...I am smiling big and bright on this cold Monday morning. My God had a ready Word waiting on me this morning. It was on my scripture flip card right next to my bathroom sink. As I brushed my teeth, fixed my hair, and made up my face... I also strengthened my resolve. God had given me a very specific verse to reflect on and believe in for something we have going on this week. It was a great way to start the day.

The hard part is actually believing it. Trusting it. Abiding in it.

That is my assignment for the rest of today. BELIEVE! TRUST! ABIDE!

It certainly beats the alternative of living defeated, deflated, and depressed!

Thank you Lord for meeting me this weekend. Thank you for the treasures that I have in this season on my life. Thank you for letting me see and touch someone that You knew would instill fresh hope and faith in me. Thank you for letting me rest on her strong shoulders for a few moments. Thank you for her prayers (many at 2 a.m.) and her unrelenting faith. You know I love surprises and You wanted to give that to me. I am so grateful. Thank you for my amazing friends who surround me with love, support, steadfast hope, and flaming fired-up faith. Thank you for my husband who champions me and loves me like crazy. He is truly a gift.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I absolutely hate that word.

But I find that I perfectly fit that word many days.

What can I say? I am a woman.

I FEEL everything.

I noticed my personal alarms sounding off recently.

I am in a funk.

As Thanksgiving passed and Christmas approaches, I find myself feeling a lot more like Scrooge than the festive girl I want to be. I want to be excited! I want to be expectant! I want to enjoy every moment and savor sweetness of this season.

After is the miraculous season, right?

But I mainly just feel numb.

Anyway, like I said, my alarms were blaring in my head. They were reminding me to get into God's Word. The Holy Spirit was telling me not to be mislead by these deceptive feelings but sometimes I put Him off and just soak in my own sadness.

This is where I have been.

Who am I kidding?

This is where I am.

As I forced myself to get into God's Word I went to a passage that my mom had spoken to encourage me.

It was out of 2 Corinthians. Verses 9-10 say this, "but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Do you know the definition of the word sufficient?

I will go ahead and tell you that it doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

No wonder I feel needy......I am.

The dictionary defines sufficient as " enough to meet a need or purpose; adequate"

I will tell you straight out that I want way more of God's grace than I actually need. I want it dripping off of me. I want it to fill every crevice of my insecure mind. I want it to overflow out of my heart. I want it to chase away every fear, doubt, and discouragement that battles for my time and energy.

God doesn't say that He is going to work that way. He just says it will be adequate.

Why do you suppose that is His way?

I don't know. I certainly don't claim to fathom the ways that God uses to get us closer to Him.

For now I will just trust what He says over my own neediness.

I must learn to be satisfied with what He calls sufficient.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

His, Mine, and Ours

This is a picture of me, Shep and the kids with his mama and daddy. His mother, Patricia (better known as Granny to my kids) grew up in south Georgia so everyone heads south for Thanksgiving.

To answer your question....yes, we cook the food ahead of time and heat it up once we all get is CRAZY!!

This is a picture of me, Shep, and the kids with my parents.

In an effort to accommodate other families traditions, my family waits to celebrate Thanksgiving til Saturday.

So, I love it when my parents come along to be with us on the road.

My mom and dad are a huge help and they provide endless laughs.

This is all of us.

(Well, minus Shep's sister and her family. That would add 8 more to the picture.
This was their year to be at their other grandparent's house.)

I hope you can see the house in the background.

It is an old sharecropper's cabin. It has 2 bedrooms, a tiny kitchen, a living area, and 1 bathroom.

This is the cabin the men go to when they hunt. It is a man's oasis. No phones. No paved roads. No matching furniture. No need to lock doors. Really. They still don't lock the doors.

Anyway, we all pile in at Thanksgiving and return thanks to the One who makes it possible for us to live. We hug necks, marvel at the growing young-uns and see how high we can load our plates. My favorite part of the day is listening for the stories that I know will be told. They are the good ones. Usually about a loved one who is gone on to glory or a family favorite about someone just being who they are. You know your family has those people in them.

That uncle, aunt, cousin, or grandparent who just says or does things you can't fathom.....

Anyway, it was 82 degrees on Thanksgiving day. We swatted flies and rode four-wheelers. We ate our fill and savored time. We caught up on every one's lives and planned ahead.

Now we are back home and already have our Christmas tree up.

It is a wonderful time of year.

It is a time of blessing, waiting, expecting, thanking, watching, giving, sharing, cooking, and loving.

I love it. All of it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Against sensible odds

a small group gathered last Wednesday to pray over some sweet friends.

We went before God and asked Him to do the impossible.

We needed Him to re-start the heart of an 8 week developing baby in it's mother's womb.

We asked in confidence.
We asked believing that He could do it.
We asked and demonstrated our faith.
We asked because He tells us to.
We asked because He creates life.
We asked because we need to see Him show up.

Today we got our answer and it wasn't what we wanted.

I won't lie and act like I am not slightly upset, discouraged, and sad.

The truth is that I wanted this desperately for my friends. But, I needed it for myself. I needed to see it with my own eyes.

As I went before God today and prayed I told Him exactly how I felt about the way things turned out. I found myself becoming cynical, distant, and even mad.

I sit here tonight and I still don't know all the answers.

I can't make sense of His ways and I know that I am not supposed to.

But I need a miracle. I need to know that He still does work miracles!!!

Everything in me wants to quit. I think....

"Why do this?"

"Why get your hopes up repeatedly?"

"Why do you think a miracle will still happen for your daughter?"

As I drove home tonight God met me in my disappointment.

He let me do what I love best. He let me sing out my frustration to him.

It was ugly.

My voice is all but gone. I had the volume up as loud as it would go and if it hadn't been so cold outside my hands (or at least the one not on the wheel) would have been up out of the sun roof and raised toward heaven.

I have written about it before but Martina McBride's song "Anyway" just answers a lot of questions for me....especially the one nagging at me today.

Would I have prayed last Wednesday if I had known this outcome???


Would I have gotten my hopes up last week if I had known that I was going to experience this heartache today??


Will I pray again and believe for God to do the impossible....???



What is the alternative if I don't?

Life without hope.

That.......I won't do!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Choosing Thankfulness

I am sure no one else's life is exactly the way they would want it to be!

We all have our "if only this" or "I would prefer that" that we would like to implement into our lives.

However, the greatest gift we can give ourselves and those around us is to choose thankfulness.

I often hear myself coming before God, my family, and friends with a mouth full of complaints.

Who wants to be around that kind of person??

I certainly don't.

Yet....that is the person I easily choose to be sometimes.

There are many things in my life that I wish were different.
There are things in the lives of those I love that I shed tears over and wish I could change.

But God has also blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. I am fulfilled in Him!

For every tear I have shed....I have laughed a thousand more times.
For every want I every need is cared for and met.
For every question that plagues my mind....I have a thousand promises to cling to in God's Word.
For every doubt that assaults my faith....there is strength and courage waiting for me when I need it.

Choosing thankfulness shows depth of character.

Griping constantly shows discontentment and complete selfishness.

I don't want to be that person....although I fall short constantly.

God help me choose thankfulness.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Strange Sunday

I didn't go to church today.

Zeke was running a fever so Shep and the girls went without us.

It was weird....

This girl has been in church since I was forming inside my mama's womb. Church is like a second home to me. I have always been so blessed to be a part of church families where I knew I was loved, challenged, supported and encouraged.

Zeke was feeling basically OK (with the help of Advil) so I loaded him up and we went to the grocery store.

I had a minimal list of things to get and I thought that I might as well utilize the time and get some things done.

Strange is the only word that describes it...being at the store...running errands...not being in God's house....not offering up my praise and thanksgiving with my church was just strange.

Don't mistake what I am saying.

I actually understand why a lot of people don't go to church. They've been jaded and judged one too many times.

A church is just a building for some people. A building where hypocritical people gather to check off their visit for the week. They go to say that they were there. They leave the same...unchallenged...bored...unmoved...and certainly untouched by the Presence of a Holy and Loving God. Church doesn't mean anything to a lot of people.

But to is so much more.
I can't imagine not wanting to go.

My church is so dear to me. It is the place where God is waiting to reign down upon us. Where He speaks through His Word. Where He challenges how I think, how I act, and convicts me of sin. A place where hugs abound from people who pray for you. An open altar to ask for help, repentance, and intercede for myself and so many others who are hurting. My church is an extension of my family. It is grace-filled and full of people who are at best pathetic without the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.

Yea, today was weird for me.

I missed my church.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Couldn't stop the tears

Sometimes the bad news just piles up.

Sometimes you feel like you have been sucker punched and the wind is sufficiently knocked out of you.

This life offers endless opportunities for joy and pain...sweet moments and suffering.

I have had my fair share of both.
Surely you have too.

Being a believer in Jesus gives us the ultimate Comforter and Friend but still the moments come. He promises in His Word to never leave us, but we are not immune from feeling the fullness of pain.

Right now I am shouldering some pretty intense pain along with others I love and hold dear.

**There is a marriage in my extended family that is all but falling apart. There are children who are hurt and confused...people betrayed and scarred. Lives are forever changed...

**There is a friend who is watching and waiting as her little girl battles through surgical procedures that are life-threatening...

**There is another friend who went in for that ultrasound visit...only to find there was no heartbeat.

Yesterday....the tears just started and I seriously could not stop them. I cried and cried and cried some more.

I am praying, begging, interceding, asking, waiting, expecting, and hoping in my God to do some amazing things in each of these stories.

These are all just lives in process~ lives of people I love~ the outcomes have yet to be written but the time passing now seems to drag for us all.

I am so thankful for the honor to pray for these people. Their burdens somehow offer me a respite from my own....from always thinking about me and my problems.

Maybe that is a glimpse of God's goodness during all of this. To truly bear another's burdens so they don't have to for a while.

Anyway, I am just blogging about this because I needed to. I needed to put some words to all that I am feeling.

The tears were a good thing. I wasn't really expecting to react in that way but I think God knew I needed to release it.
The tears keep us real.
The tears keep us sane.
The tears keep us looking for better days ahead.

Father God...several people I know and love are hurting so bad right now. Many of them wonder where You are during all of this. They (we) are disappointed. Pain is abundant and peace seems distant. God help me carry their burdens to You and trust You to handle the details. I entrust each one of these separate situations into Your all-knowing hands. Speak loudly to their hearts, let them sense You in a real and tangible way. They feel alone, let down, and they are tired of fighting their battles. Give them courage and strength to face whatever comes their way. Keep me praying as I hold to Your promises and wait expectantly for You to come through. I love you Lord.

Continue to strengthen my own faith as it wavers regarding Caroline's healing. I know what You have said and I stand on Your promise. You know it is hard. Thank you for walking each step with me. Amen.

Monday, November 8, 2010


(turn up your volume to share in this moment I had:)

I wish the people in my neighborhood really appreciated how I literally hold myself back from crazy worship when I exercise (uh...walk slowly but with passion) up and down our street.

God gave me the most beautiful day yesterday. After church, eating lunch, getting Zeke down to nap, settling Shep and the girls into a half-dozing/half-watching-tv state I took off for some down time and plugged in my earplugs. I don't get to listen to my i-pod shuffle very often but when I do I remember why I chose the songs that I downloaded.

They move me.
They point me toward my God.
They invite me into praise and thanksgiving.
They push me past my selfishness to focus on the only One who really matters.

I walked and silently sang along with each song. I took in the gorgeous blue sky and filled my lungs with fresh cool air. The moment was awesome!

Everything in my life is not awesome. I have personal struggles and things that plague me just like everyone else but no one can offer God the praise I have to offer...just like I can't offer Him anyone else's praise. I must choose to give Him my own.

I love the phrase, "I will not offer to my God that which cost me nothing."

In the midst of doubts, financial struggle, hardships, questions, and wanderings....I will still choose to praise Him.

As I began the last leg of my walk the perfect song came on to usher in some sweet moments of awe toward the Lord.

Phillips, Craig, and Dean sang these words...

My faithful father, enduring friend, your tender mercies like a river with no end. It overwhelms me, covers my sin. Each time I come into Your Presence I stand in wonder once again.
Your grace still amazes me. Your love is still a mystery. Each day I fall on my knees. Your grace still amazes me.
Oh patient Savior, you make me whole. You are the author and the healer of my soul. What can I give you? Lord, what can I say? I know there's no way to repay you only to offer you my praise.
Your grace still amazes me. Your love is still a mystery. Each day I fall on my knees. Your grace still amazes me.
It's deeper.
It's wider.
It's stronger.
It's higher. Than anything my eyes can see.

I just wanted to hold my hands up to the sky so that God knew how grateful I am for every gift He has bestowed on me. At the same time I wanted to fall face down before Him and show Him that I acknowledge His holiness and trust His omnipotent hand in my life....especially His unseen hand.

Oh, how I love my God!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween~~~~Helton Style

Fun was on the agenda this past Halloween weekend!

We traveled to our yearly destination and enjoyed some fall time cider, candied apples, and apple pies.

Shep loves these particular photos of us eating hot boiled peanuts right out of the brown bag...they were delicious:).

The sunshine and cool air made for a picture perfect fall day.

Caroline's head is finally almost all healed up from her fall.
Now her little brother battles the same fate. Somehow he always has a bump or bruise somewhere on his noggin.

Our little man dressed up as Superman...

Caroline was a little farm girl....

And Ava rounded things off as Minnie Mouse....
We got more than our share of candy and made great memories as a family!
I can't believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner....wasn't it just summertime????

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Making me new

This past Thursday was our last session in the Beth Moore study on Revelation.

It was a wild, confusing, mind-blowing, colorful, awe-inspiring, creative, and scary ride....11 weeks worth!

For anyone to invade the Word of God is hard in and of itself but to try to dig deep into the book of Revelation is almost crazy.

But we did it. And I think the 20 or so of us are better for having done it.

In the last video session she talked about so many things that come to a wonderful summation in this final book of the Bible but the thing that I loved most was the fact that God makes all things new.

He doesn't set out to make new things. He wants to take the old, weak, weary, torn, broken, insecure and useless things and make them into marvelous, new, vibrant, strong, tenacious, beautiful, and useful things.

Has He done this for you?

Well, let me testify.....

I have always struggled with Caroline's disablity. But I struggle even more when she is spot-lighted in some way.

This would usually present itself at church or school functions when she would be on stage with all of the other "normal" kids. Usually it would be an awards type ceremony or with a kid's choir singing.

I would simply break down. I would cry. I would dread it. I would be angry. I would get depressed. I would be jealous of the other parents who didn't even appreciate the fact that their kids could sing or stand there without drool running down their faces or not being able to hold their head up.

Suffice it to say...I was a mess. I simply couldn't handle it.

Well, God had made this girl new.

Last Sunday Caroline joined the other children on stage to sing a song with our adult choir. I knelt beside her through both services and sang along. I watched her try to do the hand motions and had to help her hold her head up and wipe her mouth.

But, glory to God, it didn't bother me at all.

In fact, I loved every moment of it!

She was perfect to me....and instead of wanting to make it all go away...I relished in it. I watched her and took it in.

I didn't realize how new this was for me until later when God literally whispered to me..."Wasn't that fun?"

You was!

I have spent 8 years dealing with my pain over all of this....
8 years of dreading those stage-type moments....
8 years of not wanting to deal with this reality...

and in these 8 years God has made me new.

Glory to Him!!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My silly hissy fit:)

This little guy is totally responsible for my hissy fit. There I was innocently cleaning up the bathroom. I emptied the trash and saw what I thought to be a clump of black hair. Obviously not looking closely enough, I reached down and carelessly grabbed at the black object.

That is when it starting wiggling in my fingers (thank God it didn't sting me). I immediately flung the object out of sight. Then I had the sickening feeling that I may have flung it in my hair.

This is when the hissy fit ensued. I jumped, kicked, screamed and yes, squealed like a little girl.

Then I found the culprit out in the hall. I regained my composure....thanked God again that Shep nor the kids had witnessed by ridiculous little fit, took a picture for good measure and then let the little thing smother to death between mounds of toilet paper.

Because I needed to calm my shaken up nerves, I headed to the kitchen to have not 1 but 2 of my favorite funfetti cupcakes.

It did the trick. The scorpion was soon forgotten as I completely enjoyed the gooey goodness. I made 24 cupcakes and I seriously think I ate 10 of them myself. (not all at one time:)

Embarrassing but true!

Ava wanted to take this picture of me with our pumpkin....she is only 5 but loves taking pictures!

These pictures are from week before last. It was favorite team night at Awanas for church. The kids decked out in their Georgia best and I snapped a few shots of them

My handsome boy!

Shep got out last Saturday morning and helped the kids build a fort.

As you can see, it was a big hit!
They sat in their fort for well over an hour and listened to their daddy do what he does so well------tell stories!
They weren't really happy about me invading their space to take pictures but oh well, being a mom has its privileges.
We get an all-access pass for pictures, right?!?

This is how Caroline's face looked at the beginning of this past week. It is already so much better now.

We're ready for the weekend!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Painful Reminders

This week has been pretty intense at times.

As you saw in my previous post, we had an eventful afternoon on Monday with Caroline's accident.

In addition to dealing with all of that....

My extended family has also had a hard hit this past week. I don't want to disclose all details of the situation but needless to say, it has been heartbreaking. People hurting, lives changed, confused minds and emotions that are raw and consuming at times.

I have pondered the events of the week and talked to my God about all of it.

How I feel...
The what if's...
How to respond...

He gave me an interesting reply.

(The Lord) "I allow pain to bring attention to areas that need exposing. Maybe I allowed Caroline to be mildly injured so that MORE people would be reminded to pray for her. Maybe it takes seeing pain (blood, bruises, and scrapes) to wake people out of their slumber to cry out to Me for help on some one's behalf. "

(Me) "What about this other situation. There is so much damage. There is so much at stake. What if the right choices aren't made? There will be so much hurt and confusion."

(The Lord) " Maybe I am also allowing this other terrible situation to expose truths that no one else will bring to the surface.
Aren't you praying for these specific people harder than you ever have?"

(Me) "Yes"

(The Lord) "Then know that all of this pain can be used for good. All of this heartache can potentially bring joy. All of this hurt and havoc can be restored. Keep praying. Keep pressing. I will use pain to remind others that I want them to ask Me for help."

(ME) I don't like it...any of it. It seems so unnecessary.

(The Lord) Me neither. But I would rather allow pain and hurt for a while to accomplish a better purpose. It is for your good and My Glory.

(Me) I get it. I just still don't like it....but I will praise You in spite of how I feel.

As far as Caroline is concerned, we still believe God is going to heal her. Maybe the enemy wanted Caroline dead and gone (which could have happened if she had rolled all the way down our hill in the front yard) but God stopped it and allowed her to be hurt...only mildly. Maybe He just wanted others to be painfully reminded to keep believing Him for her miraculous healing. And in the process, get some people talking to Him.

Seem a bit extreme?

That is my God. He goes to any extreme to get His kids and those who are without Him to learn of Him and seek Him out. He usually does the unexpected. He likes the element of surprise.

I am glad His ways are not my own. I am glad He knows all things. I am glad He seeks to help us even when we are stubborn and refuse to be helped. He constantly seeks and pursues us. He looks for ways to get us to stop, turn, and look up.

PAIN usually works.

Can I get a witness??

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A major boo-boo

We had BIG plans last night to carve our pumpkin.

Funny how 10 seconds can change your plans. I had rolled Caroline out onto our front porch with Ava and Zeke tagging along. I went back inside to grab our carving tools and heard the front door open and screams coming from outside.

Somehow Caroline's wheelchair was moved and she went down 3 rock steps and landed face down (still strapped in her chair) on the cement walkway.

Let me just stop here to say Praise God she is fine!!! Thank you to all who prayed and asked God for a good report. So many of our friends and family went to their knees on our behalf and prayed that Caroline's head would be okay.

Despite an enormous bump, lots of scrapes and now a black eye...she is doing good.

Our next door neighbor is a pediatrician and she was on the scene within minutes to examine Caroline. She felt like Caroline would be okay but encouraged us to take her to the ER to get checked out.

We waited for a loooooooooooong time but after a CT scan and a couple of x-rays we were released to come home.

She was such a trooper. We thank God Almighty for watching over our girl and placing all the appropriate people around us to help out.

I did want to include this picture of my goofball husband doing his best to make lemonade out of lemons at the hospital.

We were fresh out of smiles until Shep did this little trick for us.

In case you are wondering how this glove got on his head and blown up.

He blew it up with his nose. Yes, you heard me correctly.

His nose.

Oh, the things we will do to see our children smile.

Anyway we are gonna try to carve the pumpkin again tonight.

By the Lord's grace...we won't be making another trip to the hospital.:)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Those That Wait...

on the Lord.....

Will renew their strength....

They will soar on wings like eagles...

They will run and not grow weary...they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

What a wonderful promise from God. Waiting is really hard and God knows it. He knows that we want results and we usually want yesterday.

But He works in our waiting.
He grows us...
He matures us...
He develops perseverance, compassion, endurance, faith, and hope.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Crew

Have you ever seen sweeter faces?
This is my crew!
I get to kiss these cheeks everyday.
I am grateful and blessed to be a wife and mother to this bunch.
We had a fun filled weekend.
There were parties to attend....bouncy houses to jump in....pancakes to make(with chocolate chips)...forts to build...stories to tell....friends to visit....and swings to fly high.
"The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." 2 Chronicles 16:9
Help us to be fully committed to You, Lord! Thank you for the blessings of family and friends!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Ava

My middle girl...
I wanted to devote this entire blog post to the miniature version of myself.
She is tender, smart, spunky, giving, inquisitive, kind, playful, and down right addictive.
She is such a pleaser.
As her mom, I love it. But, I pray against her always feeling like she has to please everyone else. That kind of thinking could turn her into a follower of the latest fad or the wrong kind of people.
Right now, I pray that God takes her little heart and molds it into a young lady who is passionate about Him! I want for her to be an amazing mixture of kindness and strength.
I am so proud of her. She was the first one in her class to be nominated as star student. It was such a BIG DEAL to her. She got to sit on stage at lunch and her daddy showed up with a rose, a balloon and a lollipop for his sweet girl.
She has us a wrapped up. She is younger than Caroline but in so many ways she pulls up the slack for her and almost acts as her big sister. She looks after her, sings to her, plays with her, and prays daily for the day to come when they can play dress up together.
Shep and I stare in wonder at her maturity. She gets things....she is extremely perceptive.
Yesterday was a huge first step at our house because she read us a herself. She needed a little help at first sounding out the words but then she just got it and took off. She was so proud of herself. The look of satisfaction settling in was so cool for me to see.
She had done it. She got to revel in a job well done. She got to appreciate how that feels.
God grant us the wisdom and grace to parent in Your way...not our own. Help us show our children that faith in You is far greater than favor with others. Let them see us resting in Your care and turning to You first for help. Be the center of our lives so that You are the subject of our days and not just reserved for church. Be blessed in our lives that You may receive all glory! Amen!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The last 3 days have been really hard for me...and my poor family.

I have been in a foul mood.

I am sure that the enemy doesn't like it that I am praying more, learning more, yearning to go deeper with God, developing boldness in witnessing BUT.....some things don't fall on his slimy shoulders.

This foulness has been ALL me!

I have been short-tempered, self-focused, lazy, gripey, and just short of mean.
(my kids may have said that I went way past mean :)

Anyway, I haven't wanted to utter a prayer or flip open the Bible since Thursday.

I noticed that I felt down right yucky. I noticed that I was being completely led by my feelings. I was not grounding anything in truth, nor did I want to!!

So Saturday morning God spoke to me through the megaphone of my daily scripture flipper that sits next to my sink.

The verse was 1 Timothy 1:15 "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."

Normally I would read that, ponder it, and move on.

Saturday.....I couldn't move on.

God distinctly (and sweetly) showed me my sinfulness. The past few days have been spent with me exerting little control over my fickle self.

And if left to self...............I will self destruct......sooner or later.

So God let me get good and sick of myself and then showed me who I am on my worst days.

A sinner.......
Chief of sinners.......

God was just calling a spade a spade. That is what He graciously does. He waits on us to repent so we can move on.

I did....and I am.

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

All for 1

I am so sad I don't have a picture to share with you of this great moment but I will try to describe it so that you feel as though you were there.

I had just finished bath and shower time with the kids yesterday evening (Shep was finishing up mowing our dust bowl of a lawn due to no rain). I usually give Caroline a bath and Ava will take on the "mommy" role and help bath Zeke in the shower. They think shower play time is too much fun!

We began our usual time of applying lotion, pj's, and brushing hair. I was singing them a very soulful rendition of "Jesus Loves Me" when Caroline rolls over and props up on her little arms just like in the pictures I showed you blog before last.

I stopped mid-verse and began to praise her for trying so hard and as I clapped she began to get tickled.

The next thing I know Zeke (just 2 years old) plops down beside his "struggling to prop up" sister. He begins to mimic her position....then Ava (5 years old) followed her sweet brother's lead.

They are very accustomed to her disability. They really don't think about or ask about the why's and why not's of her handicap.

However, on this evening they forgot about all they could do and met their big sister down on her level. It was as if they were cheering her on with their posture.

They were laying beside her....propped up on their arms demonstrating with ease the same pose that requires maximum effort for her.

What was even sweeter was that they didn't notice that this was kind of "beneath them." I mean, after all, they can run and play but they just wanted to be with what she could do....and make her laugh like crazy.

As their mama, I soaked all of the sweetness possible out of it. I marveled at their simple kindness.

It was like God spoke to my heart and gripped it tight.

He said, "This is how you are to be, my child. You are to help others even when it feels beneath you. You are to strive to bring smiles to those around you who are struggling so. Don't you see that I do this for You? Even though I am God....I meet you right where you are. I roll around on the floor with you in the midst of your frailties. I encourage you to try hard and I show you examples in my Word of the right way to do things. My way is so simple that even children can lead you."

What a blessing this was for me....I hope for you as well!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saved and Savored

Revelation 5:8 says, "And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."

I have been saying that God is working in my life in the area of prayer. It is usually Him working out the lumps in this stubborn ball of clay that is me.

Along with studying prayer I am going through a Bible study on Revelation (Beth Moore's version). This book of the Bible always scared me growing still scares me a little but it intrigues me more. I have never pretended to have God figured out but He takes the cake on the grand finale of His story for the world. It is beyond mind-blowing!

As prayer was mentioned in the verse above it just sent a cool picture through my mind.

God Almighty who sits on His throne....who reigns over all....who spoke creation into being....who redeemed me.....who still shows me mercy.....


He keeps them in bowls. My (and your) prayers must mean a lot to Him if He keeps them in bowls.

What do you keep?

Unless you are a hoarder, you only keep things that are precious to you. These are things that money can't even buy.

And incense, what do you think of with incense? I think of a pleasant aroma....a sweet fragrance. A gardenia bush in full bloom will cause me to pause just to stoop down and give my nose a treat!

Can you picture this?

God. All-knowing. All-powerful. All-encompassing. The Great I AM.

Waits on you to pray.

Wants you to pray.

Wishes you would pray.

Watches for you to pray.

Woos you to pray......

so He then can save and savor your words to Him!

Amazing! What a savior!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Disabled and Disarming:)

I hope you can see the very subtle differences in these photos. Caroline is working incredibly hard to push herself up. Can you see the effort? Can you sense the victory in her face?

As I watched her roll around and push up I thought I would capture her strenuous exercise through pictures.
This is something a baby begins to do after just a few months of age....push up.
Caroline can do it now for just seconds at a time.
Then she tires out.
But I had to brag on her effort and tenacity.
She is my disabled child. She is disabled in that she cannot do many, eat, hold toys, sit, stand, or walk.
She is also my disarming child. Disarming means winning favor or confidence. She wins the favor of all who meet her. They fall in love with her gentle spirit. Her knowing and deep eyes reel you in and tell you stories that her mouth cannot. So many people have privately disclosed to me of their strange love for her. They don't really know her...yet she has changed them personally.
Isn't that just like God?
He takes something weak, broken, and disabled and uses her to make others whole in personal areas.
Today I just wanted to applaud her! She is my girl. My sweet pea. My little biscuit.
Her laugh takes me places and I am so proud to be her mommy.
1 Corinthians 1:27 "God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Could you not...

Whenever you have something delicious to eat, you want others to try it as well.

When you try a great new restaurant, you strongly encourage others to go enjoy it for themselves.

When you see an amazing movie, you use your own words to spread the great ratings.

I'm there. Although it isn't a delicious food, a new restaurant or a great new movie.
It is old news. It is something we talk about often and do on occasion. It is prayer. God has been urging Shep and I to pray like never before. We don't understand why we are so compelled..we just are. It isn't won't ever be.

I have never been good at prayer. I lose my train of thought. I wonder if I am doing it right. I even drift off to sleep at times.

I believe something bigger is at stake. Maybe it is revival for our town and community. I don't know. Maybe God just wants to see if we will be obedient no matter how much our flesh fights against us.

I just know that I am captivated anew by prayer. Its power. Its authority.

I want undeniable change in my life and in the lives of others....addictions broken, bodies healed, minds cleansed, and families restored.

There is no other way! We want shortcuts. We want the 2 minute versions and expect God do adapt to our meager sacrifice. We want nothing to have to change for us!

In Mark chapter 14 Jesus asked his disciples, "Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

I want others to "catch" this too. I desire for others to actually do what they say they believe. I want others to see for themselves the power and peace that comes from prayer. It satisfies like no food, no entertainment, or any other pleasure or passion we enjoy.

I look around and I see a lot of people saying they want more of God. They get frustrated that they experience no real lasting change. They are unwilling to do what feels unnatural to them. They simply will not sacrifice their time.

God, help us. Help me! I sense an urgency for your people to pray and it seems like they just won't. I struggle terribly in this area. I need encouragement. Help me to know how to pray, what to ask, what to believe, and what to claim for You. I don't want to offer you anything that doesn't cost me something. Please bring revival to our land. So many are hurting and need a Savior. So many are bound in their own prisons of self junk and need to be set free. So many need to see You as the God you really are...not the watered down version we believe because of what our eyes see. Compel us to pray. Give us perseverance. Give us a mind set of humility and grace. Pour out Your Spirit in ways we've never seen. Take our eyes off of ourselves. Forgive us for not being obedient in prayer. Forgive us for not understanding what could be stake. Forgive us Lord!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Whirlwind of a week

I must tell you that these weeks where we begin on a Tuesday and end on a Friday are my favorite.

It seems like just a couple of days ago I was posting about playing at The Pocket and here it is already Friday! Yippee...another couple days with my favorite folks.

This week has been a whirlwind of a week.

Tuesday was Zeke's first official teeth cleaning. I don't normally take my kids to the dentist at 2 years old but he had some staining going on. There was definite screaming and flailing of limbs but he made it through just fine.

Wednesdays are always long days because we end the day at church....the kids have Awana and I have choir and praise team practice. I don't mean that in a pessimistic is just the way it is. Long days are tough on young whiny kids....and it is equally as tough on worn-out mommas and daddies.
This Wednesday was long for another reason. I started working again!

That is NOT to say that being a momma is NOT work because believe me...plenty gets left un-done at my house. But, in an effort to help out our family and Shep's business, I have begun working at his office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

I was a ball of nerves. I haven't been in an administrative work setting since college. But, praise be to God, I wasn't a total wreck. I managed to answer the phones correctly and assist with drafting letters and billing.

Thursday was Bible study day! God showed up and showed off. The video was.....well, there aren't words. WOW! Just really good and super powerful. I am still chewing on all that Beth Moore had to say. However, as I prayed that morning for God to give me words to say to the 20 plus women who would be there, I expected that it would be something encouraging and simple. To my surprise and delight...God had something much stronger in mind. He used my mouth as a megaphone to speak a strong challenging word to the women there and myself. I literally felt the Holy Spirit empowering me as each word came out of my mouth. It was all Him! I had not prepared anything other than pleading before Him in prayer. I love it when He does that!

Today ended the work week for me as I completed my second day at Tilley, Deems, and Helton. I must confess...Shep is a great boss! He is easy on the eyes and I can totally flirt with him and get away with it! There are perks for being married to the boss!!:)

Anyway, I am looking forward to the weekend.

Tonight is Relay for Life at Dellinger Park. I am honored to get to walk for team Chris O'Dell and to get to sing to my God on our praise team at the park. It should be a very moving and rewarding experience. I have lost friends and family to cancer and currently have others I love fighting their fight right now. Their lives and courage bless and encourage me to live my life to the fullest every day. Walking and singing for them will be a privilege.

As for Saturday......GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Playing at "The Pocket"

"The Pocket" is a neat place within an hour of our house that is a kids' playground.
There is a natural spring head that flows out of the ground and seeps out into several little creeks.
These creeks are ankle to knee deep and the kids love it!

We went briefly on Friday evening but the kids had so much fun that we decided to go back on Labor Day.

There were lots of people picnicking and playing in the water.

If we can ever manage to combine water with any outdoor activity then we have hit the jackpot! Our kids are in heaven. The sky was bright blue. The water cold and crystal clear. (There were even some folks nearby who put their watermelon in the water near the spring head to keep it cold....yes, we live in the South:) We had sandwiches, cookies, cokes, and funyons! Yummy!

Just wanted to include some pics of my pretty adorable family. Zeke fell several times and bloodied his chin and his shirt. I am finding that this is typical with my boy.
Ava played and you can see.(Seriously, can you see her hip cocked out??)
Caroline got her feet wet she is walking in the water right near the spring head.

Happy Labor Day!