Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The only sound anywhere in my home (other than this keyboard) is complete quiet.

I must tell you that I welcome it after the day I have had.

Today Shep's dad underwent triple by-pass surgery. This was NOT a scheduled procedure but a necessary one. It has caught everyone off guard. The surgery was scheduled for 9:00 am. Then it got pushed back to noon....then 2:00...and ultimately they started somewhere around 5:00 this afternoon.

Long day.

I also learned some sad news that my uncle passed away today. He had been sick for a while...but still...dead doesn't quite seem right.

This week is packed to the gills with activities, practices, appointments, deadlines, commitments and such. Every single night there is something already planned...who knew we could adjust even more for an impromptu surgery and out-of-state funeral?

I passed by the television tonight and heard a quote that made me shiver in my soul. "People aren't made in the crises of life but they are revealed there."

Ugh. Sigh.

Mirror held up to me.

I am seriously about to lose my mind because I am feeling completely overwhelmed by my circumstances.


Overwhelmed is NOT at all who I am supposed to be in the midst of trouble or hardships.

So why do I revert to that behavior?!?

After the kids went to bed I decided I needed a serious dose of truth poured over my freaking out overwhelmed mind.

2 Peter 1:3 says, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness...".

I either believe that or I don't.

It could not be more simple.

His divine power lives inside of me AND He has given me everything I need for my crazy, busy, overwhelming life.

I stopped short a bit but the verse goes on to say that He has given me everything I need to be godly as well.

I can tell you with every bit of confidence in me that the last thing I feel right now is godly.

This is why His Word must be my life and breath.

My own feelings will constantly cloud my judgement.

I must trust His Word and rely upon it.

Easier said than done....but at least I am taking a step in that direction this evening.

It is way better than how I started off the night.

Progress is something right...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Treasures at Thanksgiving

Sometimes life gives you some awesome opportunities to make lemonade out of a hand full of lemons. This was the case with our Thanksgiving this year on both sides. Shep's dad has been having some heart issues so his extended family wanted to stay close by. My family has been dealing with a wayward loved one and so our plans were a little different as well. But....despite the changes...it was a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Like most other families we had mounds of delicious food. The day itself was clear, sunny and perfect for rolling around in the yard, climbing trees, or napping in a swing.
My kids made some pretty fabulous memories. They were jumping in hay bales before 8:00 a.m. They got to sleep in sleeping bags piled on the floor with their cousins. They nuzzled cows and climbed on tractors. They played Battleship, Monopoly, card games, and dress up. They watched ELF a half dozen times and ate enough sugar to last them until Christmas!
It is funny how the role changes in our lives. It seems like it was no time at all when it was me doing all those crazy things....now I just watch and smile as they do them. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon each and every blessing that we enjoy and then to also return thanks for those blessings. There is a little verse tucked into the book of Luke that gives us insight into the mother of Jesus and I feel like it is appropriate for how I took it all in at Thanksgiving...

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19

I pray that I will continue to treasure these times with those I love and cherish. May the pondering of my heart provoke me to prayer and faith in the One who has given me so much!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

As Morning Dawns..

This morning didn't begin as I would have liked.

Ava is spending a couple of nights with her grandparents and Caroline isn't one bit happy about not having her sister and room-mate around. So~ she decided that she needed to grace my bed at 5:30 this morning. Shep was slipping out early for bible study and heard her rousing so he brought her to me. Needless to say, the next hour was fitful.

Although 5:30 is early, it wouldn't have normally been that bad. But I didn't get to bed until after 12:30 a.m. My three best childhood friends and I went out to dinner and shopping last night. We only see each other 2-3 times a year so we usually squeeze every ounce of time we can get out of one of our meetings.

Last night was nothing new. We hit a delicious restaurant, then visited Belk, the Avenues, Starbucks, and Target. Whew. By 11:00 I was being the party pooper but I did have the farthest to drive home.

Our time was too short but well worth the childcare and effort to be together!! I would do it again in a minute.

But all of that resulted in a short sleep for me.

So after endless kicking and squirming on Caroline's part, I finally got us both up.

I started the bed-making process and doing the morning routine until I felt completely pulled again to the bed to open God's Word.

I don't know what today holds but He does and He knew I needed a minute of refreshing for my weary soul.

I do know that I am planning to go visit my mentor and dear friend who is in the hospital. She is 88 years old and her faith rivals that of any biblical giant. She has spurred me to believe God since the day Caroline was born! She prays like no one I know. My heart is sad and truthfully I don't know quite how to deal with seeing someone who is "larger than life" in my mind look so weak and depleted in reality.

There are other things too. People I know of and see who are walking dangerous paths in their lives. Paths that have long since parted the way of truth, honor, and righteousness. They are suffering and others will as well. All because the path of pleasure is easier than the narrow way that demands sacrifice, self-control and obedience.

Then there are those who I know are leaning on God for provision, miracles, direction, children, and blessing. These folks pour out their lives in pursuit of Him but the answers seem to delay in coming....

Shep and I are among these people. The hope that must be renewed each day is crucial just to make it to the next sunrise.

I don't say that to sound spiritual....I say exactly what it is. Truth.

God's Word grants me the hope I need to make it through this day and every day. Some days I don't make it an hour or two before running back to it or my scripture cards.

It is life and breathe to me.

It sustains me.

It offers again and again what this world tries to steal.....HOPE!!!

I am inspired to praise Him yet again today for His Word and this blessed HOPE that I know only comes from Him!

I will leave you with my last quote from my morning devotion....a breathe of fresh air...

"We have a God who delights in impossibilities and who asks, 'Is anything too hard for me?'"
Andrew Murray taken from "Streams in the Desert"

Friday, November 18, 2011

With Me

I don't know about you but I like being with people I love.

Texting is fine. E-mail is ok. A phone call is nice. A real card or letter is awesome. But enjoying the actual presence of someone I love is very high on my list.

As I muse over some of my favorite people to be around I can't help but laugh because God so made me this way. I want to see the facial expressions behind the voice. I want to smell the cologne of my husband or my daddy. I want to hug my momma's neck or see Deana laugh. I so enjoy watching Tess light up as she talks about her Lord.

These are just a few examples of why I like the WITH part of being around my loved ones.

In our culture we have completely neglected this part of our lives. I am guilty myself.

We keep things simple, brief, and for heaven's sake, practical.

But I would really argue the point that being WITH those we need to be WITH is none of those things.

It is almost never simple or brief or practical.

The best things never are....but they are still the best things.

I think God took this particular topic pretty seriously.

He became GOD WITH US.


It wasn't enough to be on His throne.

He needed closer. He needed to see, taste, feel, touch, hear, and experience all we endure to really be with us.

As the festive time of year rolls around I always get nostalgic. I reminisce of days gone by and people I wish I could spend time WITH right now.

But the truth is I have a whole host of people who have been placed in my life. Some are long standing....some are new....some need my help...others help me.

As believers in Christ we are to do just as He did.

We are to be WITH people.

Believe with them.
Stand with them.
Hope with them.
Walk with them.
Break bread with them.
Open the Word of God with them.

I am filled with thanksgiving over the countless people who have invested time, energy, prayers, and support WITH me.

I want God to constantly remind me of the kind of person I would have been without those folks who were WITH me...I promise you the picture isn't pretty.

Lord more than anything else I want to enjoy Your Presence with me. It is only after I am filled with you that I can pour any goodness into anyone else. Give me time, patience, gentleness and understanding to be WITH people. So many times I am tempted to judge and condemn in my heart. I don't want to be that critical person, but so many times I am. I confess that to you and ask Your forgiveness. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a WITH-US God! Help us follow Your lead...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


There was a dance in town today for all of the special needs students in our local schools...here are a few pictures of the people who hold up my girl on a daily basis....

This first picture shows Caroline resting in the arms of her favorite man...her daddy. They had just finished a slow dance when I snapped this shot.

The other fella pictured in the second shot just happens to be THE BEST substitute teacher around. My girls lights up when she knows she gets "Mr. Papaw Wes" for the day.
Look at the strong arms on Mrs. Barbara. Oh if I could go back and show you pictures of this sweet lady working with my girl when she was just months old. We have had the awesome privilege of having Barbara as Caroline' s therapist her entire life. I think Mrs. Barbara may have been the first person to ever put Caroline in time-out. And, believe me, that was the first of many fights that were won between Caroline and Barbara.

Here is our latest love....Mrs. Deidre. She has come in our lives this year and works with Caroline every day at school. She is basically Caroline's hands and feet. She feeds her, changes her, teaches her, talks to her, pushes her, and for today's purposes.....she danced with her.

After I gave Shep the camera I threw Caroline over my shoulder and we commenced to doing "The Electric Slide." It wasn't pretty but it was fun.
People ask me all the time how I hold Caroline. Well, I don't know. I just hold her. I don't know any other way. I hold her now just as I did when she was a baby....now she is just my bigger, longer, and lankier baby.
How we look to the day when You fulfill Your healing in our girl...but until then Lord...we thank You for strengthening our arms to handle this load. It is heavy but humbling. You have taught us things that we never would have looked twice to learn. I truly understand heartache and hope in breathtaking new ways! You are so good to us Lord and she is such a blessing. We also thank You for the many others who help us HOLD her in their arms. She isn't a bother to them. She is a joy and delight. She teaches others truths that could never be learned in a book. Bless them Father for they are such blessings to us!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Same Song....Second Saturday

I couldn't wait to blog last Saturday. Truth be told~ I was about to burst with joy, thanksgiving, and gladness over the wedding of my friends.

This Saturday was quite different....and only 7 days had passed.

Last Saturday I got to sing for a bride to walk down the aisle and meet her groom.
This Saturday I got to sing for a weeping family saying goodbye to a wife, mother, and grandmother.

The weird part was that it was the exact same song.

I have mentioned before that I sing on our vocal team at church. But, in addition to that, I get to sing with two friends of mine that I met through church. We have kind of formed a little trio.

We have no name...we can't seem to agree on one that we all like. Isn't that just like three women!?!
Our trio gets asked to sing for funerals, weddings, banquets, and civic functions. It is such fun and an honor to think that other folks would even want to listen to us.

On Saturday two -thirds of our trio got to minister to the other.

You see it was our friend's mother-in-law who had passed away. She wanted us to sing the song "Under His Wings". She knew that she would need to sit with her husband and their family during this tender time so another awesome friend and vocalist stepped in to do our friend's part in the song.

It was a bit surreal.

We had just done this song a week before.

Last Saturday we did it with such flair, jubilance, and gusto. The tempo was upbeat and the passion was heard in our voices.

This Saturday was every bit as passionate but the tempo was slowed and the ache was real. Our hearts were hurting for this family but we knew that the words of our song were like balm to the broken places.

God is sovereign....in good and in bad.
God will hold us close in joy and in sorrow.

These back to back Saturdays showed me that. One was a day of rejoicing and the other was a bittersweet farewell. However, both days were seen and very felt by our Father who is ever-present and crazy about us.

I will leave you with the words to this powerful song that both proclaimed the entrance of a bride and the exit of a saint....

Under His wings
I am safely abiding
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild
Still I can trust Him
I know He will keep me
He has redeemed me and I am His child.

Under His wings
Under His wings
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings
O what precious enjoyment.
There I will hide til this life's trials are o'er
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me
Resting in Jesus I'm safe evermore.

Under His wings
Under His wings
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide
Safely abide forever. Amen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Seranaded by songs...

My day was a little bit different for me.

I don't know about you but I like a little diversity sometimes.

The older I get the more I like routine. But occasionally I like the jolt of spontaneity.

After a planned morning of helping some friends prepare their home for three new adopted children, (in addition to their own 3 children) I had some spare time to kill.

What a concept.

Spare time....to do as I please....I didn't want to waste a moment of it.

I headed down to take lunch to my mom and eat with her.

It was a really sweet time. We ate our McDonald's salads, caught up on life, laughed at funny things, and cried a bit over some heartaches hitting our family at this present time.

As I left her company and headed home I decided to listen to some music.

Immediately one of my kid's music cds began to play.


Not today.

I did not have a single child in the car with me so....I hit the cd changer for some grown-up girl time.

The sound of Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood filled my car. Ahhh.......

It was the cd my handsome hubby had made for me.

I listened for most of the ride back to Cartersville.

It was really sweet.

Shep was not with me....but it was like he was.

He had burned this cd especially for me. He had put songs on it that remind him of me....
-When A Man Loves a Woman
-She's Got a Way
-The Way You Look Tonight

You get the picture.

For the majority of my car ride it was like my man was serenading me with songs.

It was immediately comforting to me.

I love music. But when the music has been carefully chosen just for me.....that takes it to a whole new level.

Then God spoke.

I don't know about you but He will speak to me when I least expect it.

He said, "I sing over you too."

I turned off the music and just thought about that for a moment.

How true.

My Lord does sing over me....he sings songs of deliverance, peace, and hope.

Just this week I experienced this. But I don't even think I noticed it at the time...but God is a great reminder.

Earlier in the week I had battled against some real fear and doubt in my life. I petitioned God for help because I felt sapped of strength and I just wanted to quit. I asked God to strengthen me and to give me unbelievable joy because mine was gone.

As I went about my day doing the things I had to do I noticed a subtle change in myself. Nothing had changed about my circumstance. But something on the inside seemed lighter....stronger....even, dare I say, joyful.

That was him.....answering my prayer...singing over me.

Zephaniah 3:17 is one of my favorite verses and it sheds light on this very awesome phenomenon that took place between me and my awesome Lord God...

"The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Profound Moments

I had to get permission to write this blog post because it centers on someone other than me or my family.

It eventually gets around to me because this person's life has affected me.

Her name is Heather O'Dell Jordan. Today it became official. She married the second man of her dreams.

Today was a "full-circle" kind of day.

Don't you love those?

When the wait is finally over and you get to see God work something out to completion.

I am jumping ahead but my heart is so incredibly full and I can hardly stand it.

But I need to back up for you to understand why today was what it was.

I only know Heather and her precious kids through church. I first met her years ago when she had two young boys and was married to Chris. They were a vibrant couple. I would see them in the halls and during the worship service. Before long we learned that Chris had been diagnosed with cancer. He would go on to battle this for a long time.

As this disease ravaged his body, a group of people in our church and in the community began to cry out for healing on his behalf. We would meet daily and pray asking God to heal him. By this time Heather and Chris had added two more children to their family. We couldn't fathom or face the fact that God would potentially take this husband and father to heaven at such a young age.

As anyone reading this blog knows...I am believing God to heal my daughter. So believing God to heal Chris was not a big jump for me. Chris also believed with us. Anytime we would gather to pray over him for healing he would say, "Where is Caroline. Let's pray for her too."

My girl has sat in his lap. She has been in her wheelchair beside him....and in the last days of his life...she was laid next to him on his bed.

It was what he wanted us to do. Pray for his healing and hers too.

It was in this last week of his life that I got the awesome privilege of watching Heather live out her faith and do it well.

Each day she did what she vowed to do on her wedding day....she loved and cherished Chris in "sickness and in health". A friend of mine who is very close to Heather asked me to come and just stay with them during the day. Little did I know this would be his last day.

We spent most of the day sitting on top of the bed that Chris was lying in. Heather would attend his every need. We sang to him. We read the bible to him. We prayed over him every single hour.

I won't go into the final details but I was honored to witness my brother in Christ leave this earth for good. The moments that I remember and the faces that are forever imprinted in my mind are almost too sacred to talk about. The moments were truly sad but precious at the same time.

I will NEVER FORGET what happened next.

Just minutes after losing her husband and best friend, Heather grabs my hands in hers and says, "Don't you stop believing God to heal Caroline. Just because He didn't heal Chris here does not mean that He is not going to heal her."

I almost couldn't breathe.

How could she say these words to me?

How is she not consumed with anger and hurt?

The funeral was like a worship service. It was tender, sweet, and God honoring. During one of the songs Heather even lifted her hands toward heaven in praise to the very God who had not answered her prayer.

Wow. If that isn't a picture of the grace that He gives us when we need it most then I don't know what is...

(Fast forward a few years. Heather and the kids have kept going. They have lived life day after day. I don't want to minimize this time because I am sure there were more nights of tears in her pillow that we can imagine but ..... she has stayed faithful and committed to her God, her family, her friends, and her church.)

Several months ago I was sitting at my computer looking at Facebook. I just happened to see Heather's latest status. It was a picture of her and a handsome fella that I knew had to be something special. Her smile was telling on her. It was as if her whole face was screaming...."I am in love!!!"

Sure enough God had brought Heather another man.

Anyone could look at them and just tell that they were completely over the moon for one another. He proposed; and the date was set.

Saturday, November 5th, 2011.

It was a very intimate wedding. Family and family-like friends were the only ones invited. The only reason I even got to be there was because the trio I sing with was asked to provide a song.

And sing we did.

Somehow our voices got to provide the crescendo to this bride and groom meeting at their altar.

I honestly don't know how we got through it. There was not a dry eye in the room.

We were crying tears of absolute joy and redemption!

God had done what we love to see Him do! Heal...Rebuild....Restore....

I didn't get to stay for the entire reception but I did get to catch their first dance as husband and wife. Andy is over 6'5 and Heather is only about 5'4....so his frame protectively towers over hers. As they danced I could see how firm and steady he was holding her. All Heather had to do was relax in his embrace. He was leading her....holding her....guiding her.... safe in his arms.

Isaiah 61:3

"...and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Oh yes I did!!

Cute as a button....even if she is a Candy Corn Witch..
Can you even believe that I dressed up for Halloween at 34 years old? Such a sad little ensemble...my kids loved it though!
Ava asked to be a witch this year. This was a huge departure from princesses and fairies from past Halloweens.

Caroline was a throw back to peace, love and happiness with her momma...
I don't think this peace sign lasted for much of the night. She was quite a hippie chick!
Check out my strong little Iron Man...
There is that sweet smile behind the mask. The mask didn't last long either....it kept getting in the way of delicious treats going into the mouth!
Hippie girl in the arms of her grand-daddy...one of her favorite places to be!
The whole family cuddled in for a hay ride. It was a happy Halloween!