Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ukraine Team Mission Trip


Here it is! The video Tony put together of the trip.

No You Shouldn't Have!


Wow! I found out my precious sister in the Lord, Stephanie, has bestowed upon me an award! She also said if she had a tiera she would give me one. Little does she know I already have one! :) Anyway, she is so very sweet and does deserve this award as well because of her great encouragement to me. I love her blog and her sweet and honest spirit. She is at Notes from the Soul

Here are the rules for this award:
Give to those who have who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. This award is for the best-of-the-best so consider who you pick, carefully. This award should not be given to just anyone. If you’re going to do the award don’t just write a few words and slap it on your Blog. Write real thoughts about these Bloggers and what they’ve meant to you. If the Bloggers you pick have already been given the award, don’t be afraid to give it to them again. They deserve it as many times as it’s given.

So as hard as this is these are the following I chose:
Haley, Mommy's Heart is the first one. She just started out in the blog world. She is a young mom and wife and well, it is my pleasure to know her. Her first post was right down to business and honest and real. She is such a joy and I hope to see her blogging more.

Kathy, who is my sista from the She Speaks conference. She was in my speaker group and a joy to meet. You get to know much about someone going through times like that. I was overjoyed to see she had a blog as well. She has been a true blessing to me and I cannot wait to see what God is going to do with you.

Stephanie, who is an inspiration to me. She is quite a good photographer, wife, and mother. She is my dear brave friend who is battling a fierce illness yet despite it all is so full of joy. I love you girl and admire you. You are in my prayers!

Jodi, though I just found your blog today it has blessed me so. I love the look and you just inspired me today. May God bless you and continue to use you to touch others.

Amy and Kate, you both have to fit in here too-you both inspire me in great ways. I want to be a better mom after I read your posts. You both are great writers and God uses you in huge ways to encourage me. Love you both.

Okay I have gone overboard here but Diana has to be added too. You are my dear sister in the Lord and I love you dearly. You have a great gift of photographer and using photos to make other smile. You inspire me!

So okay now get out there and pass it on! Be blessed!

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Love that Lasts


This is a picture I got from the CWO Blogroll page. I love it because it reminds me of marriage. "A cord of three strands"--Tony, me, and God. Marriage is suppose to be a strong cord. That is what God intended. It is a man leaving his family and joining with his wife to make their own new family. It is two becoming one flesh. It is never to be separated until death. Atleast that is what God intended.

I never knew how much I loved my husband until I had to go several days without communication with him. When Tony was in Ukraine on the mission trip with our college group he was not able to communicate with me at all. All I knew was he was on the other side of the world. I knew he was in God's hands and God is whose he is. I knew I was in God's hands and that I also belonged to God. It amazed me that God would be looking so intently and personally after each one of us on different sides of the world. It gave me an even bigger picture of God.

The incredible thing is about 6 days into his trip I got the deepest ache of my life. It was not a physical pain. Its source was a deep felt emotion that came from the depths of my very being. I felt as if a piece of me had been torn out. I have never experienced a feeling like that before. At that moment I knew my other half was missing and I could do nothing about it. God had to be enough at that time and He was. I realized at that moment just how much I really loved my husband. Don't get me wrong, I love this man with all my being but this was different. This was the forever love. That deep connection love that comes from the pit of your soul. It is what Dee Brestin talks about having with her husband in her book "Falling in Love with Jesus." It is a love I always desired to have but was a love that I could not make happen. It is a love that comes with time. It comes when we become less and God becomes more. It comes when two really do become one. One heart, one love, one life--the way marriage should be. This incredible love is what ties all things together. It is the love I had been praying for in my marriage. It is funny that I would probably not even realized it was there if my man was never gone. Isn't it funny how we take those who are closest to us the most for granted? Let it make us our goal to love well. Love our spouses, love our kids, love our family, love our friends, and love our enemies. Let us be a people who above all else love.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Great Win!


Something happened today! It was a miracle of sorts. Since I had been away this weekend all of our food seemed to disappear. Someone was going to have to go to the grocery. Well that someone was me of course. I have been preparing for this dreaded trip to Walmart for a few days now. Skimping off of what was left in the fridge and creatively using ingredients from the pantry had now become impossible.

After I was woken up today with a 6:15am phone call, I was reminded that I had to be downtown for a praise breakfast at 7am. Seeing how it takes about 30 minutes to get there did not give me much time. I quickly got myself together and left. I wondered to myself it I looked okay because of the rush. The speaker talked about God thinking we are beautiful. In fact He is enthralled by our beauty (Psalm 45).

After it ended, I was to meet my hubbie who had the girls so we could trade cars and he could go off to work. When I saw him, his first comment to me was about how beautiful I looked. It was so sweet. I was seeing a pattern. As girls we too often compare ourselves with one another and often think it would be nice to be someone different. God however, created us to be delighted in by Him. He made us perfect and fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139). I was determined to also express this truth to my girls. It is never too early to learn this. We all seemed to sparkle brighter today because of it. We were the same us but only now we were living the way we were created to live. The way God meant for us to live. You see, when we know we are loved and delighted in there is a certain spring to our step. I do not know if this was the difference or not but when we arrived at Walmart this time it was different. Remember, in most times past these trips turned into miserable excursions. This time however we all enjoyed our time. People around us were smiling at us and encouraged by us. It was the best trip I had ever made.

We decided to make our grocery list into a scavenger hunt. This hunt was not so discrete so people could not help but look at us. We had a good time and enjoyed life--even the mundane things. We made ordinary, extraordinary. It was a day to cherish. Perhaps it was because we all knew who we were and whose we were and that He takes complete delight in us.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ants, Dizziness, and Pride--Oh My!


Little did we know exactly what we were getting into when we left on our adventure. God had so much in store for each of us. I praise God for how personal He really is. God speaks to us exactly at the place we are. He restores, heals, and encourages. I saw Him in so many different ways this weekend and feel so unworthy. He overwhelms me to tears.

On our way up to Charlotte, NC we started our trip with Starbucks. This is my love language (and the ladies I was with) so it was a great start. On the ride up we had great conversation about God and what He was doing in each of our lives and ministries. One topic that came up was pride. Pride is a very tricky thing. It comes in two forms. One is the puffed up--it is all about me and the other is insecurity--it is all about me. Pride is taking your focus off of God--period. It shows up in each of us in different ways but God was preparing us to have humility worked into our very lives this weekend. Our expectations of this conference were conflicted. We knew there were going to be about 400 women at the conference. Most of these women have the call of writing or speaking on their lives. How was this place going to be non-competitive? I was worried but we prayed and asked the Lord to send us to minister to anyone and to serve anyone who came into our paths. You see ministry is about glorifying God and as Jesus example we need to wash others feet and lay our lives down for others. It is about esteeming others above yourself. So when we got there and met those other women I was so impressed. Every woman I came in contact with was a servant. I was so blessed to see so many women on the same path and support each other. We determined that to be like Jesus is to love others to the fullest capacity, putting their interests above your own. It was such a wonderful experience.

The first day on the way up Kara and I were attacked with dizzy spells. Good thing Pat was there to intercede for us! Kara and I were pretty weak together. We had Pat there to balance us. I do think that the enemy did not want us to receive the blessing God had in store for us. Despite that craziness we learned so much to sharpen our gifts. We were able to meet with some publishers and present our material. We were able to network with others in ministry. We were able to encourage others with the call. I have made some lasting friendships who are walking the same path and I cannot wait to see what God does with them all. You can check the conference out at I highly recommend it. God definitely confirmed my calling to the ministry He has given me. You see, I work with college students most of the time and due to my great passion for Jesus some at times take offense to it. It is nothing I mean to do to offend, it is just my zeal and love for the Lord. I have struggled so much about this and have shrunk back some from them because some complaints were made about me and not on one occasion. Not understanding how to respond and handle this (and feeling very beaten up) I just kind of distanced myself some. I was still physically present but held back what the Holy Spirit wanted me to do there because of my fear of what people thought of me. That is sin. That sin has been hindering my ministry. God is so sweet because my speaker evaluator listened to me teach and speak and she told me that the students that I serve are blessed to have me. She told me that I have a great gift. She told me I exude a sweet and gentle spirit. That I shine Jesus so brightly. Those words encouraged me so much. I spoke to others who wanted to use my college material for their ministries. God confirmed my call. At the end of the conference we had to write something down and lay it at the cross. So I wrote down fear. Fear of what man thinks of me. I give this to Jesus. I am writing this out for you so that you can help hold me accountable when I do not show this behavior. I am living for Jesus and Him alone. I will do the things He tells me to do and serve Him completely. True freedom and encouragement.

Ants? I am sure you are wondering. On our drive home, ants, I mean hundreds of ants of all sizes started pouring out into the van. When I noticed them was when they started to crawl up and over my pants. So I had ants in my pants and all around. Apparently they decided to build a nest in our mesh in the doors of our van while in Charlotte. I suppose they wanted a ride to Chatt-town. Maybe they didn't have the fair to pay so they hitched a ride. But I was not happy with them hitching a ride on me. It became personal when they decided to bite me. When I realized I could not get them all out myself and needed reinforcement we got off an exit with a vacuum to try to suck them all up. When we realized that was not enough because there was a HUGE family there (I am talking family reunion) we decided to go into the gas station to see if they had anything for our problem. The only thing I could find was a can of RAID--which is not the best smelling thing for inside a small vehicle but we were desperate so I bought it considering it was Outdoor fresh scent! I sprayed that outdoor fresh scent all around. The aroma was well quite overpowering. So we looked up and across the street was a Starbucks. To our delight we drove over and sprayed up those ants and let the car air out. Ants dropped by the ton out of that door and after I got them all out of my pants I enjoyed a grande cafe mocha with my girls. It was a sweet blessing. I think God knew after all that drama what we would need and He provided in our love language!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Road Trip


Okay again the three of us--Pat, Kara, and myself are off on another road trip with a purpose. I have grown to love these times so very much! They have to be the best traveling companions there are. We are off to a speaker/writer conference and I am so excited about all God has in store. I will share more details when we get back but God is really working some awesome things out!

I will post when we get back. Lift up a prayer for us.

Also, stay posted-I will attepmt to post the video that Tony is creating from his Ukraine trip with the college students. They had a wonderful time there. God gave them great opportunities to grow closer and to share Him with others.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My Ebenezer


I am reading a wonderful book by Henry Blackaby called, "Chosen to be God's Prophet-Lessons from the Life of Samuel." It is such a good book and is speaking directly to me where I am in my walk with the Lord right now.

In 1 Samuel 7:12 it states, "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us." Samuel was setting up a stone as a reminder of what the Lord had done for them. We need those reminders along the way so we do not forget the things the Lord has done in our lives. What reminders are we keeping for ourselves and our children to see?

I wanted to just post a blog as a sort of Ebenezer(which means stone of help) in my life. 2 years ago this month God showed Himself to me as Jehovah Rophe. That is as the God who heals you. I battled a seven year struggle with chronic Lyme disease. As anyone out there who has seen illness knows this can be such a devastating illness. This trial was the hardest trial of my life. I was not able to take care of myself. I was forced to lean to depend on God for everything. All through the battle and the questions God was faithful. I am so full of joy that He touched me in such a personal way to bring complete healing into my life. It was nothing I deserved but He delighted in doing it. May He get all the glory for His wonderful kindness and love. I praise Him!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Big Hair Freak


When I go to get my hair done it takes 3 hours, yes I said 3 hours. It is unreal to me but when I entered the world of highlights that is the amount of time it takes. Now, not that I don't feel like enough of a freak sitting there with those crazy foil papers all over my head for the whole world to see with frizzy hair popping up all around them, but appparently I have the worlds thickest head of hair. Every place I go each hair dresser comments on this. I guess that explains why my hair appoointments last so long!

The last time I was at the salon, I had two people working on my hair at one time. To the public it may seem that I am some VIP. I get the service of two so I must be important. I get all the attention in the salon. Many are told to come by and feel my hair. They are asked, "Seriously, have you ever seen so much hair on one person?" The comments go on and on. I know they mean well but really it makes me feel like a hair freak. I am a person who does not like to draw attention to myself and each visit does the opposite of my desire. I guess atleast it makes for an interesting day in the salon.

When I was younger I had a vain prayer for lots of hair. God really answered that vain prayer. I love it. When I was just a little kid that meant so much to me and He gave me that good gift since "every good and perfect gift comes from above" (James 1:17). Little did I know what it would mean for me today. But I wouldn't change it. "God made me fearfully and wonderfully-I know that full well" (Psalm 139).

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Life as a Twisty Slide


The McDonald's twisty slide is one I know too well. I suppose if we had one at our home the fascination would wear off way too soon. Perhaps that would not be a bad thing. I wonder how much they cost? Okay, back on topic. The slide is a lot like life. There are twists and turns. Sometimes you get stuck. Sometimes someone needs to help you out. Sometimes you get lost. Sometimes you get tired of the ride. With its twists and turns and hard plastic walls it is not too inviting or cozy. Life can be that way too. Jesus never said life would be trouble-free but with Him no matter the twists and turns He is right there with us guiding us and keeping us on course.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Pool Store


I just need to vent a minute. I cannot stand going into a pool store. It does not matter which one, for some reason EVERY one around here is just not good for me. Really I suppose the truth is that it is not about me and the pool store but the kids and the pool store. For a reason unknown to myself the pool store seems to hold something in it that effects them in quite a negative way. Perhaps it is the high concentration of chlorine? I have no idea.
Before we even get into the store battle one occurs.
Me: Hannah please let mama put your shoes on.
Hannah: No
Me: Hannah we have to take this water into the store so you have to put your shoes one.
Hannah: No-I want in the stroller.
Me: Fine but you cannot get out of the stroller. (good idea, less potential for problems with her restricted.)

Battle 2
Kaitlyn: Mama can I push Hannah around the store while you are waiting.
Me: Sure honey just be careful. (The store is just one room and quite small, every move they make I can see).
Me: Kaitlyn honey come back to mommy please. (Mommy is seeing temptation to pull things down in their eyes.)
Kaitlyn: Why?
Me: Because I need you to stand next to mommy now.
Kaitlyn: Okay, can I sit on this stool?
Me: That is fine.
Hannah: (Getting out of stroller) I want to sit on the stool too.
Me: No Hannah, you are not allowed out of the stroller with no shoes.
Hannah: (Whine and crying to express her dissatisfaction. Not pleasant to the ears.)
Kaitlyn: (Gets up and starts running around the store. Running around the store-chlorine must be getting to her.)
Me: Kaitlyn you need to stay on the stool.
Kaitlyn: Why? (In her most beautiful whiny tone that can pierce the eardrum of any ones ears.)
Me: (Trying to listen to the instructions of the person while trying to control the babies in their altered pool store state. Boy am I glad they write those instructions down!)
Kaitlyn: (Starts trying to pop wheelies with the stroller again loud noises.)
Me: Thank you so much for your help. (I pay and quickly try to leave and forget what just happened at least nothing got broken or spilled out. Just a couple of wild children and a cup of humility for me. After we leave and the pool store is long behind the effects start wearing off and I get my children back again.

Note to self: next time just find a friend with a pool who will let us swim often instead of a house with one! Perhaps I can humble myself more often as well so that God doesn't have to use the pool store and my children to continually do it. Not looking forward to our next trip but I see it coming in about another week.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A Big Girl's Slumber Party


I had an exciting weekend. The "big" girls got together and had a slumber party! It was like a family reunion of sorts. It was being reunited with those who have been called away. Three wonderful families have been called away from our church recently. Two of us from Chatt-town got to venture out to the big ATL to visit with them. We had such a great time! I think this weekend would have worn any man out. I remember hearing somewhere that men only have a certain number of words a day. Women however far exceed men in their word limit. This was so true this weekend. Our different personalities and stages of life are all different and unique but the common bond we hold is Christ. That is where true friendship is built.

The weekend started out like this.
1:00pm I pick up Haley for our 2 hour drive which turns into about 3 hours thanks to the infamous ATL traffic. We talk the entire way.
4ish We arrive at Stephanie's home. We continue talking.
7ish Ron and Pam arrive more talking-really the talking never stopped.
8ish Kate arrives with her crew. Talk, talk, talk. Kate's crew leaves. More talking.
2:00am bedtime.
3:00am real bedtime because talking kept going on.
7:00am wake up-still talking.
Get my drift here? All we needed was each other and to visit and share. Really all we did was fellowship and share our lives. That is the best thing to do when sisters get together.
1:30pm plan to leave
2:30pm actual leave time because we were not done talking.
2:30-6:00pm more talking in the car. Drop Haley off.
6:10pm arrive home-more talking with kids and daddy.

It was interesting because sharing our lives with each other through communication is such an important thing for women. We needed this so badly. I wonder if I stored up so many words because I miss that sweet fellowship of hanging with just the girls. Most days my words get stored up while I take care of the children, clean the house, and go about my day to day activity. They don't get an outlet. There are way too many to dump on my dear husband at the end of the day. So they just get stored up. This weekend is what we all needed. I was so blessed by it. The funny thing is when I told Tony about the great time we had he wondered what we did. When I told him we just talked, ate, and most importantly drank coffee. He was puzzled. He said what did you talk about for all that time? And my only answer was, I don't even know. Just life. There is no possible way to explain it. It was refreshing and I came back renewed. That is all that really matters. Thanks Steph for having us and your great hospitality!
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