Monday, May 30, 2011

I would have been his stalker...

We have been happily hitched for 13 years today!

But, if he had not asked me to marry him....then yes, I would have been his stalker.

I am seriously crazy about this man.

I can't help but get totally sappy about him. And this is MY blog so if sappy offends you then stop reading now.

Thankfully he met me at the altar 13 years ago and we sealed the deal.

We slipped off yesterday for a night and went to Chattanooga. We took the motorcycle, slept in, saw a movie, ate delicious food, and enjoyed carrying on a conversation without the many many interruptions that our 3 adorable kids often provide.

He still gives me the shivers.

When we were first dating and I knew I was going to go meet him...I would pull up to his drive and my arms would have chill bumps. I would smile like a goofball and butterflies were always floating in my tummy.

Yes, he seriously did that to me.

Thirteen years have changed some things. But not the way I feel about him.

My love and respect for him has only grown and intensified as I have watched him handle and deal with the life God has given us.

I love him immeasurably.
I trust him explicitly.

At his side is my favorite place.

I love that he sings all the time.
I love that he wears overalls to cut our grass.
I love that he is an amazing story-teller.
I love his loyalty to family and friends.
I love that he is a hard worker.
I love that he cries when he talks about Jesus.
I love that my kids light up when they see him.
I love his charm.
I love his wit.
I love his nature.
I love his smell.
I love his voice.

You don't have time for everything else.

Thank you Lord for the man of my dreams. He still is. I ask for Your favor and blessing on this next year of our marriage. We want so desperately to honor You. We want our marriage to please you and encourage others. We want to raise our children as a team and teach them how to love You with all of their hearts. Show us how to do that. Convict us of sin that we aren't award of or ignore. Mature our faith and give us grace and courage to obey You. Thank you for the joy of these past 13 years. Strengthen us and bind us together even more. Amen.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Super Sweet Special Girl

I had to share a few pictures highlighting my oldest kiddo.

It has been a very busy past couple of weeks.

It seems like Easter, Mother's Day and the end of school all combined together.

Caroline has had a tough year but she has emerged like she always does~smiling and ready for the next thing!

Back in October her chair rolled down a few steps and she busted her head, in January she was in the hospital for a week with the flu, and then in March she fell in her chair again and had to have stitches right smack in the center of her forehead.

My big girl takes it all in stride.

She can't say a word but she always speaks volumes with her smile.

She had a wonderful year in school. I cannot brag enough on the sweet therapists, teachers, helpers, and friends who work tirelessly to benefit our girl.

Ms. Tara is her parapro and never leaves her side. She is with her day in and day out. She gives her grace when she needs it but she also pushes her hard because she knows how capable
Caroline really is. We are so blessed with our school!

She participated in Special Olympics and won three medals.
She won an accelerated reader award for reading comprehension. She is sooooo smart!

We are so proud of her!

We have recently been referred to a new specialist for Caroline. It is actually a group that saw her when she was 18 months old. This specialist deals with mitochondrial disorders. No one has diagnosed Caroline with a disorder but they are trying her on some medicine that will add folate to her body. It may help or it may not....time will tell.

Ultimately, we go back to what God has told us about our girl.

Regardless of what any doctor says...God will do as He pleases. We still strongly believe that He is going to heal her any day.

Lots of people disagree with me. That is ok. They haven't lived what I live and they aren't privy to God's direction in our lives. For almost 9 years He has spoken with one clear message over Caroline's life....KEEP BELIEVING ME TO HEAL HER!

I have no other choice.

Does God heal everyone? No
Does God heal some? Yes

I don't know His purposes and I have many questions myself.

For now we live each day and expect great things.

She has taught me to love more, hope more, and believe more.

God my heart is so full and I feel like I have so much to say about my Caroline. But honestly I can't adequately express it all. Every hope, fear, doubt, and concern I have seems huge to me. I know you are in control of this angel's life. You have a mighty plan for her. You are near to her. Help us to parent her as her needs require. Give us wisdom, understanding and insight to know into the heart of a child that cannot speak to us. We celebrate her life and all of the people that she has touched with her sweet hands, warm smiles, and haunting eyes. She is such a gift and I would not love You, seek You, and want You if it were not for her influence in my life. You knew what it would take~thank you! Protect her and bless her Lord. Do what only You can! Amen.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Zeke's PHREE (3)

There he is then...

and here he is now.

This is what handsome looks like at 3 years old.

I am so glad that God blessed our family with this boy 3 years ago.

He has brought a different kind of joy and fun than we experienced with our girls. It isn't better in any way....just different and ALL BOY!

In this hot weather I am loving how his whole head gets sweaty and his checks are flaming red.

He wants anything Ava has and wants to do anything she does. He even calls her "his friend, Ava."

I will ask him a question and he will answer with~"No, I not."

He loves bread. Any kind of bread will do. He doesn't discriminate when it comes to carbs.

He loves cars.

All of the things that little rotten boys are suppose to love.

He adores his daddy. He wants to be with him wherever he goes. It is party-time when dad comes through that door after work.

But nothing quite fixes him like me....and that suits me just fine.

I pray for him to be a man of strong character. I pray he is tender but firm...a quiet strength. I pray for him to have godly friend and a future wife that will love him second to Christ. I pray that he will be a fighter for what is right and give compassion to those who desperately need it. I pray that he will make wise choices and not give in to the whims of everyone around him. God give him Your dreams and help him to follow them. Guide us as we teach, discipline and direct his daily steps. He is truly a blessing and we thank you for every day of these last 3 years. I ask You for favor and blessing on his life. Help him to walk in truth.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My ugly side

This is the exact quote I sent my husband this evening after I left to go to choir practice. ~ "Sorry you had to come home to that crazy woman who looks a lot like me."

This is why I need Jesus in my life.


I have lost my voice again.
I am incredibly tired...probably anemic.
Summer is just days away and I always feel much trepidation about being trapped at home.
Lingering circumstances beyond our control are causing serious stress.
my children were mostly responsible for me about losing my mind today.

Nothing huge happened. Just lots and lots of little annoying things that (coupled with the things mentioned above) just pushed me over the edge.

Again, this is why Jesus must take over my life.

I am a terrible master.

I lose my temper.
I lose my cool.
I yell.
I pitch fits.

Don't worry. Jesus did reign me in BUT not before I had to ask my children to forgive me...TWICE.

Completely humbling.

Explaining your bad behavior to your own children. But it shows them that mommy is NOT perfect and THAT is something they need to learn young.

I came home from choir a new, refreshed, Jesus-filled mommy. Ava and I reviewed the day. We both decided we had things to work on.

I will leave you with something funny she said to me.

"Mommy, I think you need to work on not yelling all the way up to your lungs."

Oh, Lord help me. (Shep laughed out loud)

Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

And again....this is why I need Jesus.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The peacemaker

She is the one in the beach hat! My sweet "middle" child stands with one arm securely placed around her little brother's neck and the other hand holding on to her older sister's chair.

She doesn't know any other way.

She has had to step up and take the role of big sister even though she isn't the oldest.

She takes it on the chin when her little brother gets loads of attention for being the baby of the family.

Yet today she was given one of the coolest awards a mom could watch her child receive.

Her teacher gave her the "peacemaker" award.

I love that she cares deeply about others but I pray against the thought that she will always be able to please everyone. Sometimes we mistake being peaceful people by being pleasing people.

Although I want her to walk in peace, offer peace, and live peaceably with the others....I solely desire for her to live a pleasing life to her Heavenly Father. Only then will others see a girl truly at peace with herself and able to offer it to others.

Thank you Father for my Ava. I am so scared that I will not do the job You have given me to do: raise my children to love and honor You. Her heart is so tender and her faith is so huge. Continue to build her character and make her into the young woman who will love You with all of her heart. I know pain will be involved. There will be petty arguments, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings. Help me be the mother that Ava needs. Give us both grace and patience to deal with each other. I am her biggest fan and I want her to grow up knowing that! Guard her heart, Lord! She is Your child.

James 3:18 "And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness."

Friday, May 13, 2011


God has been arranging some summer plans for me these past couple of weeks and I finally want to share it....mainly to solicit your prayer support.

Our church has been focusing on several mission trips for this year.

One group has gone to the Ukraine.
One group is going to Brazil.
One group is going to St. Vincent.....and I will be part of that group!

Yikes!! Makes me smile and want to puke all at the same time.

I would never call myself "mission-minded". Shame on me. I do like to talk about some Jesus to people but I am just fine for those conversations to stay in my city and county.

This trip really didn't peak my interest at all.

The pastor announced it several times and I just nodded and went on to the next thing. I was obviously thinking to myself that God had all of that handled and I was happy that He didn't need or want my help.

The next trigger for me was that one of my best friends felt strongly led to go on the trip.

Immediately I thought, "Good for her. I can ask her for updates and pray. That will be me playing a part through her~all without having to leave any Georgia soil."

I still didn't feel conviction for not wanting to go or anything like that.

She would share her excitement about going and what she would learn from her training meetings. As she shared the details of her upcoming trip I would think to myself, "Whew~sounds exhausting! I'm tired from listening. Good thing my kids need me at home so I don't have to feel called to go."

The first time conviction starting kicking in was when I asked her if they had enough people to go. She said that in order to really minister to the people effectively that many more were needed.

As I stewed on it for several days I began to tell God that I couldn't go because I didn't have anyone to help with the kids.

I felt Him say to me. "Do you think I could provide someone to help with that?"

The truth was YES. I knew He could but I truthfully didn't want to deal with it. I didn't want to try to arrange it, plan it, worry over it, prepare for it, etc...

Finally I gave in and talked to family and friends. They were overwhelmingly supportive and wanted to step in and help in any way possible.

So.....there it excuse to NOT go was .........gone.

Shep was for it....
My family was for it....
My friends were for it....
The Bible commands it.

I decided. Go.

I had no money set aside and the cost is $1300.00 dollars but I stepped out on faith and felt that if God had provided childcare then money would be provided as well.

All of this happened less than 2 weeks ago and I am happy to report that I have gotten well over half of my money raised and the letters just went out this past Saturday. Praise God!!!!!

I won't lie and tell you that I am overjoyed and thrilled at the idea of being away from my family, on foreign soil, worn out and hot. But God can and will use my obedience in spite of my lack of enthusiasm. I believe that enthusisam will come later when I look into the faces of those people that I get to minister to and tell about Jesus.

I urge you to pray for me. Please pray against fear, doubt, and worry. God holds my life. He will be with me and my family as we are apart. He loves me and them more than I can fathom! I would also ask that you pray for my group and that we might be anointed with supernatural power and energy from the Holy Spirit. God already knows the faces and hearts of those we will meet and I pray even now that they would be open to hear our message of faith in Jesus. Pray against bad weather, sickness, injury, or travel hiccups. We know that our enemy will come against us.....but ONE stronger is with us and for us. We anticipate victory on every front in the mighty name of JESUS!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Mother Load

I am crazy blessed with a mother load of women that God has placed in my life that mother me in some form or fashion. This is just my shout out to each one of them! Happy Mother's Day!

First of all, the buck stops with this one. She is my flesh and blood, my one and only....momma. I know her smell. I can tell almost instantly what her mood is simply by her walk from a distance. Hers is the face I want to see most when I am sick. Her words can encourage and inspire me when most others are like noise to my ears. She knows a trip to the mall (or Goodwill) can almost always cheer me up. We can talk for hours and still not cover everything. She is a God chaser. She cares deeply. She loves strong. She is the tie that binds our family. She is a force to be reckoned with. Her strength of character is striking. Her confidence in Christ is just the coolest thing to watch. She is my most favorite woman on this momma.

This second lady is currently dancing the streets of heaven but I would be so remiss to not mention her. I have thought of her several times today and I can still perfectly picture her wrinkled face. My mawmaw. That is what we southern girls call our grandmothers. Sarah Louise loved to smoke cigarettes. She loved her husband of over 50 years. She loved her small country church and everyone in it....and she loved me. I was her little pet. I came along after a long period of no grandchildren and they were mostly boys. I was spoiled rotten to say the least. My mom and dad would pick me up from her house and I would be dirty from top to bottom but smiling from ear to ear. She would scratch my back, fix my breakfast plate just how I liked it and have a yellow cake with chocolate icing waiting on me to arrive. My mawmaw. She spent many a day mothering me. Teaching me to be creative and imaginative under her big trees in her yard. I can't wait to see her again!

This third lady is mine by default. She didn't choose me, but praise God her son did. Patricia is my awesome mother-in-law. She is such a fine woman and I get to see her strength, grit, and optimism everyday in the man I married. She is the picture of a southern lady. She is proper and refined but truly a humble servant. She doesn't let the fact that she is over 70, suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, endured a kidney transplant, and has several other nagging ailments keep her from weekly volunteering at a local hospital, teaching her Sunday school class or reaching out to shut-ins. Her example wears me out (dang, the bar is set high) and makes me so proud to know her and have her as a mother in my life.

This fourth mother that God has graciously given me is my Linda. God sent Linda to us about 5 years ago and she has become a member of our family. She stepped up to help with Caroline when most others were too scared. She wanted to minister to us by giving us relief in caring for our special needs girl. As we have added to our clan...she has loved all of the others just the same. My kids think she is just part of the family and I wouldn't have it any other way. She is truly the most self-less person I know. She never, ever, ever thinks of herself first. God uses her example to speak to me in so many ways. She mothers me too. She likes to worry over sickness, call with CNN news and weather updates and make sure I know the latest happenings in our church. I tease her constantly but she is such a good sport. She adores my children and I adore her for that!

Lastly, I just want to mention a few friends. That may seem weird to you but I definitely have friends that mother me. Some are older and some are younger. These girls build a wall of grace, faith, and protection around me. I am who I am because of their direct influence on my life. I crave traits that they possess and they make me want to be better followers of Christ.

I am so glad that God gave me women who wouldn't always agree with me but those who love me enough to speak truth, live truth, and encourage always!

Deana, Brandi, Marje, Mandi, Jac, Tess, Liz, Caroline, and Cole.....Happy Mother's Day! Thank you for mothering me at times. You are all so individually awesome people. Your friendship is a portrait of God's goodness in my life. I love you!

Friday, May 6, 2011

National Day of Prayer

I am exhausted. But in a good way.

I mentioned how busy things are as school is wrapping up for my three kiddos.

I sit here now in a pink dress that Ava picked out for me to wear to "A Mother's Day Tea" at her school today. It will be a lot of fun. She is so excited! All I have to do is show up and get loved on....what a treat for me!

Yesterday our city and surrounding county took part in the National Day of Prayer.

There was a rally on the courthouse steps at noon and then an evening service at a local high school.

I was privileged to get to sing at both of these events.

It was busy.
It was hectic.
My kids had to get shuffled around in order to make it work and I really missed seeing them yesterday.

But, the experience was humbling and exhilarating and one I won't soon forget.

It is always so moving to me to worship God. But to get to do it out in the open....on the steps of our the center of a football field....meant so much more to me than being confined to the church building.

Lifting my voice and raising my hands for ALL to see and hear was a bit intimidating. Sometimes I wanted to hold back my praise a little bit so people wouldn't think I was weird or super fanatical.

But honestly I was glad my pride lost that battle.

I wish I could paint the picture of hundreds of citizens crying out to God on behalf of our nation, our city, our state, our well-fare, our sin, our schools, and everything else you can imagine. God's Presence was so heavy that I didn't want to even lift my head at times. I just felt led to bow in awe and reverence.

Oh He is so worthy!!

The Spirit of God is moving.....

These desperate days are driving desperate people back into the arms of a divine and gracious God!

I can just imagine His face intently staring at us last night as our prayers rose to Him as a fragrant offering.

We were broken.
We were crying.
We were begging.
We were interceding.
We were listening.
We were yielding.
We were trusting.
We were repenting.

All of these things tender His heart. Just as a father runs to a crying child. I believe our Father hovered close over His children in Bartow County yesterday.

Send Your Presence Lord and rain down on us. Drench us with compassion, kindness, repentance, integrity, courage, boldness, strength, and perseverance. We need revival. We need to be awakened from our sinful slumber of apathy and selfishness. Fill us so we can be emptied out and fill others. Thank you for a nation that honor's personal freedoms. Thank you for the opportunity to gather with so many other believers and simply agree to thank You for our blessings and to ask You for guidance. Now give us the mind of Christ and the willingness to obey You.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May Daze

How did the month of May arrive before I was aware of it?

My calendar is full of standing appointments, ceremonies, parties, etc....mercy I am tired just thinking of all of it.

But....I am trying ever so hard to be mindful of ALL of the blessings that fill my life on a daily basis.

There are more than I can name or count.

I do want to mention one area where I have been encouraged to tighten up in my spiritual life.

Spiritual warfare.

This is a serious area of weakness for me personally and I am sure that countless other Christians deal with it as well.

I go about most of my days living.....or my days live me.....and I don't walk in the victory that is mine to have. I spend a lot of energy trying to keep my life orderly and manageable. At this very moment I can think of several things going on where God has completely detoured from my chosen path.

This is where being unprepared spiritually can really hurt me.

So~I defer to God's Word and make it personal to me. He tells me there is power in His Word. He tells me to use it and apply it every day. He says it will be food to sustain me, water to nourish me, strength to empower me, and wisdom for whatever I may encounter.

I have tried to wake up each day really prepared. With my battle plan ready and at the front of my mind...I go to Ephesians 6 and do something like this.

Oh God help me to be strong in You and with Your mighty power. Put Your armor on me so that I can take my stand against the enemy and his scheme's that he has planned for me. I know I don't struggle with people but with spiritual beings my eyes cannot see. I want to stand my ground and not give an inch....but really stand strong. Buckle Your truth around my waist and cover me with Your righteousness, fit my feet with Your peace that I may seek peace and be a peace maker for others. Help me to hold tight to my shield of faith so that I can extinguish all the the enemy throws my way. Cover my head with Your helmet of salvation and help me hold high the sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word. Keep me talking to You all day long and help me to pray for others as I ought.