Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.

And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

Luke 2:1 – 20

Monday, December 9, 2013

Holding On Loosely

Another year has flown by so quickly.   The two little boys are no longer so little.  They are changing into young men right before my eyes.   The older they get the more I pray for them.   The closer the time comes for them to go out into the world.   That knowledge is why I have not blogged so much this year.   Time with these two sweet young men is so precious.   I am trying to hold on to to every single second while learning to let go.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

68 Kids On A Bus to the Beach

Every fall we take our student choir to the beach for a retreat.   It is a great time of bonding and worshiping in a community church.   One thing which we did differently this year was go on Labor Day.  Whew!  That was a BIG mistake.    As I am sure you can guess, everybody and their brother goes to the beach on Labor Day.    It was crowded which didn't seem to bother the kids, but it did make things a little hectic when we went out to eat.   Restaurants seem to freak out just a little when you show up with 68 people on one of their busiest weekends of the year.    The craziest part was trying to get home.   Leaving early in the morning and not driving into the church parking lot until 10:00 at night... not a fan.

However, these are the things that make memories.   Things that the youth laugh about and talk about for years to come.   That is why we take these trips.    To have a chance to build relationships and show them how much we love them.   

I think we accomplished our goal!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Today I Am...

Outside my window... is my sister's backyard.  She has graciously let Big Guy and I stay here while my house is being repaired and repainted from all of our foundation work.

I am thinking... that I am so ready for Little Guy and Hubs to be home.   They have been in Fort Worth, Texas, this week volunteering at a homeless mission.  

I am thankful for... a husband who works hard to provide for our family.

From the kitchen... not much has been happening in our kitchen this week, but it was fun to buy ingredients and let my nieces make supper for their Mom and Dad.  They thought it was so fun to make supper.

I am wearing... black t-shirt and white jeans, but I am so ready for some comfy pajamas!

I am creating... a list of things that need to be done next in our house before they come to put down the new floors.

I am going... to the coast with my hubs overnight next week for a business meeting.   We just celebrated a 23rd anniversary, but we did not have any money or time to really do anything.   When he found out he was going away for the night for this meeting he asked if I wanted to go.  He did not have to ask me twice!

I am reading... "An Open Heart" by Harry Kraus

I am hoping... that these last two years of Big Guy's high school will go really slow!

I am hearing... the sounds of Jack breathing really hard.  Jack is my sister and brother-in-law's dog.   He is 13 years old and has been so sick.   Everyone in our family loves Jack.   When the day comes that we have to say goodbye is going to be a heart breaker for all of us.

Around the house... everything is covered with a thick coating of sheet rock dust.  It is SO nasty!

One of my favorite things... vanilla caramel coffee made in my Keurig coffee maker.   I never knew how much I would enjoy a Keurig, but my boys gave me one for my birthday.  It has been such a great thing to just grab a quick cup of coffee anytime I want one.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Cleaning the sheet rock dust off every inch of the house.   Emptying the bedrooms so the carpet installers can come.  

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... (My son playing Four Square at "The Feet")

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Who Is This?

Big Guy and I were out getting him some swim trunks for his youth camp next week when his cell phone rang.

"Mom, do you recognize this number?"

"Not really.  Let me look in my phone and see if a name pops up."

After typing it in and realizing nothing was in my phone, Big Guy decides to dial the number.   Here is the conversation I heard.

"Hello?  Who is this?"



"You have the wrong number."


After a second, I asked, "Big Guy, do you realized you just called a phone number and asked the person who they were and then told them they had the wrong number?"  

He grinned and said, "I guess so."

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Listening... to an episode of "Perception" that my husband is watching.  I really don't think he is watching it either since he is scheduling his meetings for the week.  I guess we both need a little background noise while we are getting a little detail work done.   The only other sounds are the clothes tumbling in the dryer and the occasional meow of our cat when we don't pet her as often as she thinks we should.

Loving... that tomorrow morning I do not have to set an alarm.   I plan to get up and drink one two cups of coffee and just read a book in complete silence before the boys get up.  

Thinking... about the girls in my Sunday School class.   I adore them.   I never know what they are going to ask or say on Sunday mornings, but that is part of what I love about them and our class.   They keep me on my toes.   I wish they could see themselves the way I see them.   More than that I wish they could see themselves the way God see them.  

Wanting... to snap my fingers, blink my eyes, twitch my nose or whatever it takes to magically have my house all put back together.   Walls repaired and repainted.   New floors installed.   Doors replaced.    This is like the foundation repair project that will never end.    

Needing... a money tree.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Best. Week. Ever. 2013

WinShape Camps for 2013 is in the books.    It is almost impossible to describe a week of WinShape without experiencing it.   It is an incredible camp hosted by Chick-Fil-A and offers the highest quality of events for kids in grades 1st through 6th.  

Here are some pictures from our week.  The first photo is the amazing WinShape staff: 23 young men and women who gave up their summer to travel to nine different communities to conduct these camps and share God's love with kids!  AWESOME!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Church vs Boy Scouts: A Sad Battle

When I think of the  Boy Scout organization I think of amazing young men like Stephen, Cade and Wil.   All three of these young men grew up in scouting and achieved the highest ranking that the Boy Scouts offers - Eagle Scout.   They each had to earn at least 21 merit badges and stay true to demonstrating what is called the "Scout Spirit" through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership.   The final step to achieving Eagle is planning, organizing, leading, executing and managing an extensive project which benefits the community.  

All of those details have faded in the shadow of the current debate which is now prominent in our news.   The Boy Scouts have made the decision to allow gay members.   The Southern Baptist Convention issued a statement saying that homosexual conduct is contrary to a scout's oath to do his duty to God.   It  approved a non-binding resolution opposing the Boy Scout policy at its annual convention in Houston. The resolution requires no action by member churches but leaves them to decide individually whether to stop sponsoring scout troops.   

Since then I have seen article after article in the news about churches who are not allowing Boy Scouts to meet in their church.   

There is something sadly ironic about this decision to me.   A church is supposed to be a hospital.  A place to find help and healing.   Every Sunday our pews are filled with people who are sinners.   It is no secret that a lot of time people hide their hurting because they feel like they have to be "perfect" to be at church.

Do these decisions by churches to push out the Boy Scouts further reinforce this feeling?  Are we missing a prime opportunity to minister and show God's love?    

When I think about this decision and all it means, my heart thinks about all the young men and women we work with on Tuesday evenings.    Young adults struggling with homosexuality, drug addiction, alcoholism, rejection from their families, anger -- you name it.    So many of them are scared of the church and "Christians" because they have felt judged by them because they did not feel good enough. 

I love Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." 

Our churches need to return to being a place where a weary and burdened world can come and get help.   Not a battle ground that tells them that we have drawn a line in the sand.   

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Demolition Zone

While we were in South Carolina for the wedding, our house was a demolition zone.   If you live in Mississippi you know where I am going with this... foundation work.  It just seems to go with home ownership when you live in this area of Mississippi where the Yazoo clay runs.  Eventually, you are going to have to do some sort of foundation work.    Of course, if you are me then you are going to have to do a LOT of foundation work.   The kind that requires you to pack your entire house and move out.  With one end of our house six inches lower than the other we didn't have any other choice.   We had to rip up all of our floors so they could dig giant holes inside and make it look like this...




I don't mind telling you that when my husband started texting me pictures of my house piled up with dirt, I was really glad that I was a LONG way from home.    Two weeks of them digging 20 feet holes into the ground was a messy and loud project.   Well, I am guessing it was loud since one of our neighbors called the police on our foundation workers complaining about the noise.   Fortunately, the police told them that we had all of our permits and permissions from the city so they were just going to have to deal with the noise since it was being done during work hours.   When this is over I will bake them a cake if I can ever find my kitchen again!!

The "lifting" process brought a lot of unexpected surprises.   Our roof buckled.  Our french doors collapsed.   Our skylight in the bathroom separated so when it rained it flooded the bathroom and it has to be completely repaired.     I am starting to feel like I need to tiptoe or something else is going to fall apart!

I will say that our foundation company did a great job with their clean up as they went.  You could never tell there were four foot piles of dirt in the house.  





These are not even the finished pictures.   I can't find the final pictures, but obviously concrete was poured over the dirt.   Now we wait for a minimum of two months for everything to "settle" before we can put floors back down or start to pain.  

The positive side.... when you have concrete floors and only have your beds set up and a couch in the living room there is very little to clean! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

So Happy Together

My nephew married his dream girl this past weekend.   It was a beautiful wedding although the weather did not exactly match.   If rain can be considered a blessing, then their wedding day was VERY blessed as it rained buckets and buckets the entire day.    J and J planned an outdoor wedding and they had a tent on stand by in case of rain.   We hated they had to use it, but there was no choice.    As you can see from the photos below, they were so happy they did not care about the rain.  They only cared about their special day.

My SIL did an amazing job planning a majority of the decorations.   Everything was so gorgeous!    She is really so gracious and volunteered to help the bride's family do so much.   I hope one day they will truly appreciate all she did to lighten their load.  

The wedding was held at the Bleckley Inn in Anderson, South Carolina.   It is a beautiful venue and the staff there is amazing.  I highly recommend you staying there is you are ever in the area.   The rooms are luxurious and they have thought of everything you could ever want in a guest room.   

Congratulations, J and J!   Your wedding day was beautiful.  We hope you have a wonderful life together.   Hope you are having an amazing honeymoon in Jamaica!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Moments That Mold Us

All it takes is the sound of an ambulance off in the distance and I am thrown back to that morning in November.   I am standing in my room getting ready for school.   I hear the sound of an ambulance and somehow I just know something is really, really wrong.   I remember a cold chill run down my body.   It really scared me.   I didn't say anything to my family.   Finishing getting ready and the bus ride to school is just a haze, but I do remember praying a lot.   

I had barely entered the foyer of our junior high when I caught pieces of whispered conversations that were making their way around the clusters of students.   An accident.... It was bad...  Someone was hurt....    I searched out my friends.   When they turned around I could see tears in their eyes.   

"It is Lisa."
Lisa in her last school
picture 7th grade

Lisa... we had gone to school since kindergarten.  Tiny.  Petite.  Always smiling.  Quiet.  Shy. Soft Spoken.  Kind.  We all knew that her home life was full of struggle and abuse.  We saw it in her eyes, but she rarely talked about it. 

"What happened?"

Stunned I listened as they told me she had been hit by a drunk driver while waiting on the bus.   She was killed instantly.   A few minutes later the bell rang and our principal told us all to go to class.   All of us stared at each other like we weren't sure how to walk.   Of course now I know that we were in shock.   Somehow we made it to our first period class where a brief announcement was made about Lisa's death and then we were expected to go on with our school day as usual.    (Thank goodness schools handle grief in a much better way now.)

While I had been to the funerals of great uncles and distant relatives, going to Lisa's funeral was the first one that truly was so personal.    The sight of her in her beautiful crimson Christmas dress in her casket is forever etched in my mind.  

Fast forward 33 years...

Tuesday evening I receive a message from one of my friends letting me know one of our classmates had died.    The events surrounding his death were quite tragic.   While talking I can tell that he was very bothered.   In the course of our conversation he tells me that he was there the morning Lisa was killed.   He said he was on the school bus when the drunk driver went flying by them.   He said that when they came around the corner the car was on top of her.    Her parents were hysterical.  Her two sisters were standing motionless and in complete shock.    In his words the bus driver jumped up and began simultaneously praying and speaking tongues.     He and another boy (our classmate who had just died) jumped off the bus and tried to pull the car off of Lisa.    The wheels were still spinning.   No matter how hard he tried he couldn't get the car to budget.   What is imbedded in his mind is the site of Lisa's legs sticking out from under the car.   One black buckled shoe on and one off as if a grotesque reenactment from the Wizard of Oz.    He too remembers being ushered back on the bus where he was sent to school, given a pass for being late and then sent on to class and expected to go on with his day as usual.  

We shared a grief over 33 years old as we remembered that day when Lisa was tragically taken by a drunk driver.   We also grieved over the fact that our friend would so ironically choose a path for his life that led his life to be taken by alcohol as well.

Wise King Solomon wrote, “To everything there is a season… A time to weep...a time to mourn” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).   

This week has definitely been full of those times.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Checking In...

Listening:  Right now it is very quiet.   Both boys are having their online time with their friends and my sweet husband is unpacking his suitcase from his most recent business trip.  
Loving: The fact that my husband is home.  We are so blessed that he has this wonderful job, but we definitely miss him when he travels.   This week his flights were really long because of delays and he encountered a lot of turbulence.   He gave new meaning to "fall into bed" last night.  
Thinking:  I am so excited about getting to spend time with my twin nieces.   My sister has to travel for work so I get to keep them some while their Dad is working.  They are 4 and this is such a fun age.  Of course, I think every age is a fun age!
Wanting: To have all the curriculum decisions for next year made.  I know most organized homeschool moms have already planned next year and ordered their curriculum.   I am not that organized.
Needing:  To make the final decisions on paint colors and flooring for our house.   I have decided that these little paint strips are not doing it for me.  I think I need to just narrow it down to my favorite three and go buy sample cans and paint sections of the wall to look at for a while.  
Advice:   I have been teaching my 9th grade Sunday School girls about keeping "God first".   Last night our youth pastor asked our students, "If you get to the end of your life and get everything you are striving for, is that a big enough treasure to satisfy you?"   It reminded me of the Scripture "Where your treasure is there your heart will be also."  Luke 12:34

Friday, March 15, 2013

Aiming for Center

The boys are competing in archery again this year.    They love archery and our local 4H coordinator is an amazing man who is patient, kind and very knowledgeable in instructing our students.

In the past few years the boys have participated in the 22 shooting discipline, but because of the recent hysteria involving gun control the price of ammunition has skyrocketed.   What cost us $10 for a box of shells last year now cost $65 and Hattiesburg is the closest place you can find to purchase them.   Because of this we told the boys that we just couldn't justify this kind of expense for a hobby.    Therefore, they are only participating in the one discipline:  archery.    The boys don't seem too bothered by this.  I know that archery is my favorite discipline.

Here are a few pics from today's practice...