Sunday, December 17, 2006

Proud Mama

Simeon at his first music recital


Okay so I realize that as most of you are reading this you are picking yourself off of the ground because yes, I am finally writing something after over a month's time. I really do have many valid excuses! Last night was the first time in over 3 weeks that we have not had something scheduled. Plus, I have finally gotten a two week break from my classes - which I have been taking since the end of June! So, I decided it was time to update everyone.

I just have to share how very proud this mama is of her boy! Friday night he had his very first music recital. He has only been taking piano for a year now and he did marvelous! He played Deck the Halls, and even though he was nervous he did a great job.


He also debuted with his saxophone, which he has only been playing for three months, and performed just as well as I knew he would!



All I can say is that I am one proud mama! All that practice really did pay off! I can't wait to see how well he will do by next year. If you missed it you can watch it all right here

I promise there will be more fun and exciting blogs in the upcoming days. This is Christmas and there is so much to share about the blessings that God has given us!



Monday, November 13, 2006

Be Encouraged

Webster defines encourage as a verb which means to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope. One who is encouraged is reinforced or strengthened. We learn from David that as a great leader we must encourage ourselves in the Lord. In I Samuel 30:6 he encouraged himself instead of falling prey to the enemy of his soul and the enemies surrounding him. Fighting the battles we face are often done so with great victory when we encourage ourselves in the Lord.

My best friend and biggest supporter wrote an article about being Dis-encouraged. I know dis-encouraged is not a word - but it is the thought of being the opposite of encouraged. When you look up the prefix dis in Webster you will find it means to do the opposite of something. Many times instead of being encouraged about the goodness of God and all His blessings we become dis-encouraged. Life's circumstances and our surroundings seem bigger when we are dis-encouraged. We must use David as an example and remember to encourage ourselves in the Lord. Because with Him we can do ALL things! So, read this article and be encouraged!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Reasons to Smile.....

These two special little people are so much fun!



One is always posing.....





And the other is always clowning around...



and, with them life is never dull!
















Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reflections from the Past




They say in life that you either remember the past better than it was or worse that it was. I am quite certain though that this trip down memory lane is not colored by my desires of perfection. So, I decided to indulge myself while reflecting on this piece of my past because these memories are too fond to be forgotten.

See, yesterday I learned that my Aunt Ophelia McVay has terminal brain cancer. I knew that she had throat cancer and had been going through radiation, but apparently the radiation wasn't effective enough and the cancer has now spread to her brain. When I first learned about the severity of her condition all I could do was reflect upon the past. I remembered the summers I spent with her and my Uncle, twenty years ago, and how important they were to me. I couldn't wait to get to her "perfect" white house on the hill. I would be greeted with kindness by my soft spoken, gentle, southern belle of an aunt. Then we would plan our weeks with great excitement.

We spent our days going to all the local dollar stores because, in Wiggins, there were no malls. If you went shopping for clothes you went to Bill's Dollar Store or Fred's. This is where she usually bought me a couple of new outfits for church, our next destination. She and my Uncle pastored the local church and I remember thinking how busy she was all the time. (Now, I know why)!

Of all of the memories I have during my times spent with my Uncle Lacy and Aunt Ophelia probably those most fond to me would have to be our prayer time. At night before we went to bed, we would all gather in the living room and prepare for prayer. My Uncle would go around the room asking if anyone had any special requests and then we would share what was on our hearts. After all the requests had been shared we would kneel down and begin to pray. Those times in prayer will not be easily forgotten. They taught me the great principle of family prayer. Their faithfulness to prayer together was a model that I have used for my family.

I can imagine even now, that as she lies in unbearable pain, that Uncle Lacy still prays each night with Aunt Ophelia. Even though she can't speak, I am sure her prayers are carried up to Heaven each night with his.

But, now along with their prayers, I have lifted mine up with my family for her health and his strength. I pray that God will carry them during this trying time and that He will bless them for the many lives they have touched along the way. I also thank Him for allowing me to recall the invaluable characterisitics these two precious saints of God planted in me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Life Is All In How You Look At It!


" It just wouldn't be a picnic without the ants." ~Author Unknown

It's funny how when life throws us little curves we want to complain. But, then sometimes we never stop and look at the reason why we are at that particular bend in the road. Usually it is to get us a little closer to the end of our journey.

There are times I find myself complaining about the little things in life and then I am reminded of all of God's blessings. Very few of us who complain have reason to do so. We must all realize that life really is all in how you look at it! Problems are often just a test of our faith. When I face the tests in life I want to choose the right answer and pass the test with an "A".

Remember, the ants might invade your picnic but don't forget that you are having a picnic!

If life doesn't seem fair right now, give the problem to God and be thankful that He has given you life!

Every day ends in darkness but the dawn always breaks through!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Time.....

Need I say more..... Time is one of those scarce resources that I am constantly trying to get more of! I have been accused of really leaving a legacy (see my last blog) by never blogging again. One friend even commented that obviously I am busy because it has been almost three weeks since I have written anything. Busy is truly an understatement! The last three weeks have been a blurrrrrrrr. Hopefully, I am on the uphill and will start being a little more in control of my time. Yea, right!

Don't get me wrong, I have taken time management classes. I know how to use a Daytimer and a Franklin. I am not making excuses! I know what it means to simplify and organize to the point that life falls into a system of perfect management. However, I also know what it means to flow with the punches and keep your head above water! Which is what I have been doing lately! It seems like the older I get the less time I have.

As a child, time would seem to drag by from one birthday to the next. I remember longing to be 13, then 16, then 18. Those long awaited occasions took too long! I also recall how long nine months seemed when I was awaiting the birth of my children. Time's value is most definitely in the hand of the beholder. Now, I look back and wonder how a decade has gone by since the birth of my first child! Now birthdays come too quickly!

Time has a way of slipping away from us when we seem to need it most. How many times have I wished that I could turn back those hands and add just a few more hours to the day? Countless! So, now I am taking time to do something I enjoy! I am taking time to realign my priorities, both spiritual and physical, and making sure that I don't forget that time waits for no one!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Want to Leave a Legacy


When I interviewed for the assistant principal position at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, in Dallas, I was asked what kind of legacy I wanted to leave behind. That is not your typical interview question but it really got me to thinking. How do I want others to remember me? What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind for my family members? Do I want them to remember how intelligent or how organized I am? Or, do I want them instead to remember that I loved them more than words can say? Do I want people around me to remember that I was too busy to listen? Or, do I want them to say, she always listened when I needed her to?

The legacy I want to leave is one of love and compassion. I want others to remember me for showing mercy and grace. I want my life to have been a servant's life - a servant to the King of Kings and to His people. My intelligence, my accomplishments, and my material possessions don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. I want my love for God and my family to be what they remember about me. I want to leave that kind of legacy!

Nicole Nordeman's song Legacy says it best:

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy



Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When I count my blessings.......




He is on the top of my list. My words will probably do a poor job of expressing just how blessed I am to have been given such an amazing husband. I am frozen with an overwhelming sense of gratitude that God allowed us to meet and share our lives together. If I had my life to do over, marrying Kevin Shindoll is one decision I would make over and over again. Today, on our anniversary, I am reminded of fourteen reasons why I love him more each day.
  1. He is my best friend.
  2. He is an awesome daddy to my kiddos!
  3. He has the anointing of God on his life.
  4. He loves God and seeks His will.
  5. He allows me to be both independent and dependent when I want to be.
  6. He NEVER forgets a birthday, anniversary, or special occasion!
  7. He believes in me.
  8. He supports my dreams and helps me reach them.
  9. He has taught me what unconditional love is.
  10. He forgives easily!
  11. He brings me coffee! (Actually that should be higher on the list)
  12. He is teaching my son how to be a good husband.
  13. He doesn't mind helping me around the house when I am tired!
  14. He tells me everyday that he loves me.
I look fondly back at the fourteen years we have shared, and I look forward to what lies ahead. I am Truly Living!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Don't Let Others Define You


While browsing through the clearance section at the Pentecostal Publishing House booth, last month, I came across an excellent self-help book. It is called Simple Suggestions for a Sensational Life by Paula White. I opened the book just to see what it was like and the first page I turned to had the subtitle, "Don't let others define you." Obviously this caught my attention because being the "people pleaser" that I am I tend to do just that - let others define me. Paula went on to say that when we let others define us, they'll limit us and define us in a way that is less than what God has for us. She says they'll define us as less intelligent, less effective, and less spiritual than what God wants. This is so true. Psychology has even proven that "labeling" can be detrimental to a healthy development of the mind. Paula was right on with her thoughts about how important it is that we not let others define who we are. We have all been around those who feel it is their God-given duty to define us. They cannot see what God has in store for us or how we fit into His plan. God sees us for what we can be for Him. He looks past our every little mistake and sees the potential that may be hidden from others.

So, when you rub shoulders with those who try to make you feel unintelligent or unsuccessful just remember that God has greater plans than they can see. Most of the time those who try to define you aren't happy with who they are. The only way they can gain satisfaction is through pointing out your flaws. Remember, we were all wonderfully and fearfully made. Know that God is in control and He has great plans for you! Let God define you!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Special Lady


Charlotte Ann Hollman Owen, my mother, was only here on earth for a brief time. The time I was given with her was too precious too explain. God gave me fourteen short years to spend with her and during that time I am convinced that she was most influential in making me who I am today.

She was born September 2, 1950 and was received into Heaven on February 24, 1988. My mother left quite a legacy for which she will always be remembered. She had God given talents and always used them for His glory. She loved to play the piano and sing. She started piano lessons at the age of 6 and at age 8 told her parents she didn't need them anymore. She proved so by teaching herself to play by ear. By age 12, she was playing during church services. She went on to earn her degree in music from PBI and was used by God in music ministry. She had many piano students and choir members who loved her dearly.

Her personality was infectious and she brightened a room when she entered with her laughter. She rarely met a stranger and had the ability to make you feel like you had known her all your life. She loved to shop for bargains - maybe that's where I get it from! She loved shoes and purses. Recently, I met up with one of her friends from college and she told of how she thought, "only princesses had as many shoes as Charlotte." My mother taught me how to be a lady and how beautiful ladies should carry themselves. She would tell me not to be ashamed of how tall I was and to hold my head high no matter how much money I did or didn't have.

Sadly, at the age of 30 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She maintained good spirits the entire time and continued singing and playing for God. Even when the chemotherapy took a toll on her body, she continued praising God and being a vessel of honor. The news got out about how she faithfully served God during those times. So, she was asked to be the guest of honor on our local radio station where she testified about God's goodness and sang and played for the public. Then after eight years of fighting two different types of cancer God chose to take her from this life. I know the angels in Heaven welcomed her as she no doubt began singing the moment she entered those gates.

I can't say that I don't miss her terribly, because I do. The trial of her sickness and losing her is what drew me close to God. I know I was blessed to have her and I know I will see her again. On that glorious day I will see what God has done for her. I will see that He has restored her body, and given her back what she once lost!

Remember, life is short. Make sure you say I love you often and never take loved ones for granted!

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Saving Grace

It is a great honor and privilege of mine to be hosting a blog tour for Saving Grace written by Staci Wilder. Staci is a fantastic Christian authoress and a great inspiration to me. She has been a special prayer partner of mine for quite a while. She is also an amazing friend who never fails to encourage me when I need it the most! I am sure you will enjoy her writing and be swept away by the beauty of Saving Grace!

In the next few paragraphs Staci shares with us the story behind the novel. If you are interested in learning more about Staci and her books you may visit Staci's website. You will also be blessed by visiting her blog Glimpses.

SAVING GRACE: The Story Behind the Novel

The Idea:

On the first Monday morning of January 2003, I sat down with a blank page in Word opened before me on my computer screen. Previous projects were complete and it seemed very apropos that I would be beginning a brand new story in a brand new year.

It would be Grace's story, and I'd known that much for some time. While I didn't have the roadmap yet of how Grace and I would navigate through her story, I did know the story would be one about grief, forgiveness, and the road to grace.

Over the next seven months I wrote a story that I believe will always hold a special place in my heart. It was during this book that God took me to the next level of my discovery of grace. Often I would wake up, my stomach tense and nervous, because I literally had no idea what would or should happen next in the story and no clue on how to get there.

Not knowing what else to do, I'd go to my knees seeking - no, make that begging - guidance and direction just to get through the next chapter. It was during those weeks and months that I learned to bleed onto the pages of my story. I'd go from the computer to my knees, and back again. Over and over and over...

As I worked through Grace's story, God began to open the eyes of my heart to truths I'd never seen before. I wrote this story with blind faith, and no one could be as surprised at the ending as I was! Let's just say that, when it was all said and done, I'd learned yet another lesson on grace.

One afternoon I had been working on a particularly difficult chapter about midway through the book. It was a pivotal place in the story and I knew it was essential that I get it right. But it was tough going. The subject matter was heavy, the emotion was high, and I felt very inept to convey the message I knew needed to shine through.

Somewhere along the way I moved from my desk. I sat in my office chair, with the laptop propped on my knees and my feet propped on my bed. I don't remember when or how or even why. In my mind I was at The Winds in Ocean Isle with Grace. She sat across a picnic table from Kyle, trying to summon the courage to tell him the one thing she'd tried her best to keep from him, and from their marriage. It could very well be the end of her life as she knew it. Everything depended on his reaction to it.

As I prayed my way through each and every painful sentence of this scene, God took Kyle (yes, I know he's merely a character, but God really did use him!) and showed me the next level of grace.

You see, Kyle had an established relationship with God. He'd tried Him countless times before and had found Him to be true. Through his own painful loss, he'd come to know God in deep and profound ways. Kyle had experienced the same thing I did years ago. He'd had his own personal Bethel.

But Grace had not. Though she'd begun her faith walk a few years back, the baggage, hurt, and betrayal from her past were stumbling blocks in the road to forgiveness and healing where she needed to be. She loved God. She served Him. She just had no way of getting to that place of restoration under her own power.

Kyle, in spite of his own shock and pain at her words, allowed God to use him as a bridge. He stood in the gap, one hand holding tightly to Grace, the other holding even tighter to the Almighty. Grace couldn't get there on her own, but she could cling to someone who was already there and they could become her lifeline.

This is true grace.

The Writer:

I emerged from the scene above in tears and, again, changed. It may sound silly because it's just a story and, maybe, that's how God can best teach me right now. I'm not sure. What I do know is that another set of blinders were removed from my spiritual eyes that afternoon.

I was made aware of the rows and rows of folks that line our church pews. Holy, righteous people who've overcome pasts filled with unspeakable hurts and wrongs. Yes, they live for God now and, yes, there is healing in God. But sometimes it takes years to reach a place of true restoration. True grace.

And that's when we can be a bridge. We can stand in the gap, holding tightly to our fellow brother or sister with one hand, and holding even more tightly to Jesus with our other.

Of course, there is more to my life than just fiction. I’m also a wife, mom, and student, and am passionate about each of these roles. I write about these different facets of my life in Glimpses, my blog. Please join me there. I’d love to meet you!


What’s Next From Staci:

Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Saving Grace. It is called Finding Faith, and is the second in the Sycamore Manor Series.

Here is a brief blurb:

She awakens to face one of the greatest fears known to woman. He has waited a lifetime for love, guarding close a secret he intends to share with no one, except the woman he intends to marry. Frightened and alone, she turns to him for answers and, while he wants to protect her, he is helpless to do so. Can she find strength in his care? Can he find the care he craves in her frailty?

While showering one morning, thirty-two year old Faith Chandler discovers a lump in her left breast. Immediately, her mind and emotions begin a tug-of-war, one invoking rationalization, the other—sheer panic. An enthusiastic junior high school English teacher, Faith’s future—the one she thought she had forever to think about—seems suddenly overcast.

Thirty-six year old Marshall Morgan finds fulfillment in his work. The CEO and director of the teen pregnancy home founded by his late grandmother, he takes pride in what he’s come to view as a ministry of sorts. Still, there’s a vacancy in his heart, a place for a special woman that the Lord has yet to reveal to him. And then…there is his secret, the one he intends to share with no one, except the woman who will become his wife. When petite, dark-haired Faith Chandler walks through his door, he wonders if—at last—he is meeting the woman who will make his life complete.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Heaven

Though this life I live is blessed, I often long for the day I will be in Heaven. I have had this song on my mind for a few days and finally found the lyrics. I apologize in advance for the length of the lyrics but I just had to share all of them. If you ever get the chance to listen to a clip of the song - you will get the full effect. I want to see Heaven!

Heaven

by Bob Carlisle

There are moments in this life
When its hard to carry on
When I think about my father
and all the loved ones that are gone
Friends and close relation
Somewhere on the other side
They've passed into forever
But the Love has never died

Sometimes this tired old world
Starts bringing my heart down
But I've got to bear the cross
If I want to wear the crown
I often get impatient
As the time keeps dragging on
I've waded through the darkness
Now I am ready for the dawn

I want to see Heaven
Where the faithful carry on
I want to see Heaven, oh Lord
I want to see Heaven
Where the pain of sin is gone
I want to see Heaven, oh Lord
I want to see Heaven

So I'm living every moment
As if this day were my last
I'll put my treasure where my heart is
And forget about the past
And If Jesus comes tomorrow
I'll be ready to depart
As He leads me to my mansion
I'll be following my heart
Following my heart

I try to go the distance
But its more than I can bear
They say there's no more crying
And no dying over there
I've held on to the promise
Whosoever will believe
Would have life that's never ending
Well, I believe, I believe

I want to see Heaven
Where the faithful carry on
I want to see Heaven, oh Lord
I want to see Heaven
Where the pain of sin is gone
I want to see Heaven, oh Lord
I want to see Heaven.





Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lessons from Leaders




In our lives we all have people who have taught us great lessons which shape our character. Lately, I have been thinking about some of those lessons and how they apply to my life. I have tried to follow these tidbits of wisdom as closely as possible. But, there is always room for improvement!

Thanks to great men like my husband, Pastor D.G. Hargrove, Stephen M. Drury, my Daddy, Pastor Ken Hankins, Grady L. Hollman (my grandfather), Rev. Johnny James, and many, many others I can draw from the stores of my memory and continually glean from their wisdom.

So, I'll just share a few of the lessons I have learned from these great leaders!

  1. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things shall be added unto you.
  2. Pretty is as pretty does.
  3. You can be bitter or better over your circumstances.
  4. Every story has two sides.
  5. True love is unconditional.
  6. Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. If doing the right thing gets you into trouble it will always get you out of trouble.
  7. Be careful what you do - your children will imitate you.
  8. We all make mistakes - give others a break.
  9. Support your leaders because you may be one some day.
  10. You will never be ready to lead unless you are ready to serve first.
  11. Get over it!
  12. Never give up!
  13. If you see something that needs to be done - do it. Don't wait for someone to ask.
  14. Be flexible - expect the unexpected!
  15. Almost right is ALWAYS wrong.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Anna's First Day




Today was Anna's first day of Kindergarten. She was so proud of her uniform and getting to go "upstairs" to school. She was even happy to wake up and get dressed. Being as though she is not a morning person, that was quite an accomplishment.

It looked like a celebrity was starting school with all of the cameras and people following her inside. Nana and Papa were there with their cameras and Daddy was carrying his. She was so cute smiling sweetly and patiently for all of the pictures.

She was nervous but quickly started making friends and setting her desk up the way she wanted it. When we picked her up she told us all about her exciting day. When we asked her what her favorite part of her day was she said it was doing her chart - her behavior chart. She also liked having her height measured. All in all everything went well. Sadly, she is on her way to a journey that will end with great independence. Knowing Anna and her amazing personality, this journey will be quite the adventure!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Perfect 10


It seems like it was only yesterday when I waited, impatiently, I might add to hold my first child. The night my water broke I had just worked 14 hours raising money for Tupelo Children's Mansion. I had gone to the doctor earlier in the week and he told me he was going on vacation and that I had at least another 2 weeks. Well, obviously Simeon had other plans, he was ready to enter the world and brighten our lives forever! We rushed to the hospital at 4:00 a.m. on August 16th thinking we had better hurry because we wouldn't have much time. Well, we could have stayed home and slept for another 12 hours because it took a total of 19 1/2 hours for him to actually arrive! He was so sweet and tiny, and he made his daddy cry when he held him for the first time.

Now, 10 years later I can't believe that the baby I once held is almost as tall as me!

A few things about Simeon:

  • He has a very sensitive nature, and doesn't like anyone to be left out
  • He thinks sleep is a waste of time!
  • He appears shy at first, but when he warms up he can TALK!
  • He is starting fifth grade in four days
  • He loves sports- especially golf and basketball
  • He thinks sleep is a waste of time!
  • He would rather try spinach than Jello????
  • He ate Vienna sausages every day for lunch in first grade
  • Did I mention he thinks sleep is a waste of time???
  • He is extremely persistent
Each day he becomes more independent and I know very shortly another 10 years will pass. I will be looking back and remembering when.....

I pray blessings of peace, joy, and anointing upon his life almost daily. I know he is mine to hold for just a short while and I am so thankful that God chose to give him to me! Happy Birthday Simeon!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

North American Ladies Conference




The past three days flew by so quickly! I had the awesome privilege of going to the North American Ladies Conference. The services were all life changing and it almost felt like God orchestrated each one of them for me! I know that there were other ladies who felt the same way because there were so many touched and changed by the power of God. We learned not to believe a lie, to get over our hurts, and that we have great power!

In addition to the spiritual renewal, I was able to spend time with great friends. They reminded me of some very important truths that I had forgotten! Laughter doeth good like a medicine! They put up with my addictions (Diet Coke and Starbucks), and the fact that I can sometimes be a little slow (expecting the parking attendant to give me money). I was able to be there for Staci's first view of her new book Saving Grace. That was pretty moving in itself! I wanted to stand on a table and announce that she was my friend! I gained a new friend (Rochelle) in the process, and learned that I am not the only one who can talk all night long! I even got some special attention from one of my Moms (Nancy).

Lastly, I learned that even my crazy driving at almost 2:00 a.m. in the morning can't scare Lynette! She even learned to put with my indecisive nature at times (at least I hope she did).

I pray that God takes every aspect of this great conference and implants it deep in my heart. I know that each lesson I learned, spiritual or emotional, will help me to be the servant He has called me to be!


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Calling that Cannot be Denied


I still remember the place I was sitting when I felt the call of God on my life. There are days it seems just like it was yesterday and then other times it seems like a lifetime ago.

Sitting at the altar at Mississippi campgrounds, praying with the children scattered everywhere, I heard God calling my name. It was no audible voice but instead it was a gentle urging to do a work for Him. It was at that time that I threw all plans of my own to the wind. I knew the only place I would ever find true satisfaction was in serving Him and ministering to His people. There are times my vision is shaded and I can't see why He has me working in a particular area, but then all at once He opens my eyes again and lets me see.

When God calls us we must place our lives, our hopes, our dreams, and our confidence in His hands. When the prophet Samuel heard God calling him, he did not run but yet listened to God's call. We must be like Samuel, and be ready to follow His call. It is not a calling that can be denied. Serving God is an absolute calling of faith and trust, knowing that He who has called us will qualify us.

Remembering that calling always changes my focus. When God has a work to be done, I want to be right in the middle of it denying my flesh and my desires but never denying my calling!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Friendships that Last

Every now and then we are blessed with special friendships that endure through the toughest times. These are the friends who see the person you really are and yet they still love you. These are the friends who are not bound by time and distance. These friends can point out your mistakes and still leave you feeling better about yourself. Even though they are careful to make you aware of your mistakes they don't sit around waiting for you to make them. These friends encourage you to reach for the stars and still help you stay grounded. These friends see the good in you when you can't see it yourself. These are not surface relationships, but these are relationships that go to the very core of your heart.

Along the path of life God has blessed me with some friends like these. They are not many in number but they have left lasting impressions on my heart. Those who are the closest to me know I don't form friendships like these easily. I tend to be on the cautious side about everything, especially realtionships. So, to those of you who have broken through the barriers, I say thank you. To those of you who are new friends, thank you for taking me in. To all of my friends, be patient with me, I am still a work in progress!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Doing What You Do Best


"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do." Helen Keller

There are times I wish there were more than one of me. Sometimes I feel the need to be in 10 places at once, and then I realize that there is only one of me and I can only do what is most pressing at the time. My goal is to make sure that I am diversified enough to fit into every area that I should. Setting priorities and being disciplined are absolute necessities to achieve this goal. However, when I am so caught up in being diversified it becomes very easy to forget that making a difference in life is what really matters.

We all have different gifts from God. Each of us has the opportunity to make a difference in someone else's life. God equipped us with the ability to find out what we do best. Maybe your gift is encouraging others. Maybe your gift is being a peacemaker. We should share our gifts with others and make this world a better place. Everyone has the ability to leave others feeling refreshed if we choose to. So, though you may be only one, and though you may not be able to do everything, you can do something. You can do what you do best!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Feeling like an Etch a Sketch


In July of 1960, the first Etch a Sketch was marketed. Arthur Granjean had created a toy where children could draw on a gray "magic" screen with a bright red frame. The toy had white knobs on each side to draw with. I remember many of my friends had one somewhere in the bottom of their toy boxes. Being the creative and aritistic individual that I am, I loved "drawing" little houses everywhere and connecting them. My houses would be slanted, uneven, and unsightly to say the least. But, my goal was to fill the Etch a Sketch screen as full as possible with my creation. Then, when my screen was too full or if I messed things up all I had to do was give the Etch a Sketch a good shake and I could start all over on a clean slate. That was the beauty of the toy.

There are times I wish my mind was like the Etch a Sketch! It seems like there are days when the screen gets so full of things I need to do or that I should do and it all starts running together. The drawing doesn't really turn out that great and you can 't really make sense of it. It would be nice just to have God give it a good shake and let the "drawing" start all over again. There are days we feel overwhelmed with all the tasks ahead, all the lives in need of love, all the ideas in need of production. Those are the times when we have to realize that we need to let go of the knobs and let Him create the picture.

I know I benefit when I give my heart and mind to Him first thing every day. Instead of being like a child who doesn't want to share her toy, I will learn that the drawing turns out better when He controls the knobs.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Redundant


"Mommy you are so redundant." Anna, my five year old, proceeded to tell me this several times this weekend. Then she would ask, "Mommy, what is redundant?" At first I kind of chuckled, because I knew she had no idea what she was saying. I must admit that she did use it in the right context, as I almost always have to repeat myself to her! I have to wonder if she wasn't applying the rest of the definition to me which means "using more words than necessary." After all a five year old really doesn't need all that lecturing, or does she?


Right now I get excited just listening to her. In Developmental Psychology, I have been studying children her age and their increase in vocabulary from 500 words at age 2 to more than 10,000 by age 6. About 80% of the vocabulary expansion for children in the play years comes from their immediate family. So I know that every word she hears is being filed away for use at a later time. This gives me a great incentive to watch my words. Because, who knows, maybe one day they will be used on me!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Servant's Heart


I have to admit the reason I haven't blogged in a while is that I have so many thoughts racing through my mind right now. It is hard to choose what I want to write about. But, this one thought keeps popping up more than the others.

It seems like in today's world we honor those with the greatest position, charm, money, or other such qualities. Jesus taught us by His very example that those qualities are not what He desires most in His children. He taught us to be workers, to be caring, to love, and most importantly to be a servant. Too many people are reaching for positions that make them look good. Instead what they don't realize is that how He sees us is what really matters. Does He see us as servants?

We just had a large celebration for the Fourth of July at our church. There were two people who stood out to me as having a "servant's heart." Ron and Traci Kidwell were visiting for the festivities. They were members here at the church a few years ago. Instead of coming in and watching everyone work they jumped in and did more than their share! Deeds such as these DO NOT go unnoticed by me. Their willingness to pitch in and get the job done was a great example. Too often we think someone else will do the work. We say, "I did it last time," or "It isn't my place." I was taught that if you see something that needs to be done, just do it. Don't wait for someone to ask. Too many times we wait for someone to ask for our help instead of just getting the job done. Having a servant's heart means not having to be asked, not feeling above the work at hand, not watching someone else do it. No job in the kingdom is too demeaning for those who have a servant's heart. Thank you Ron and Traci for having a servant's heart.

A great man I know always said that we should be here to serve others not to be served. Oh, that we would all cultivate a servant's heart!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What Makes You Smile

Almost every night I lie down with my daughter until she is almost asleep. Some nights I rush through our ritual and other nights I savor the time. Tonight was one of those nights where I savored every moment. As I listened to her even breathing I thought of how she makes me smile. Her soft, sweet skin, the smell of her hair, her "determined" personality, her outlandish imagination, all of those things made me smile. Not a fake smile, but the smile that comes from deep within. Then I started thinking of all the things we take for granted that truly make us smile. A good book and hot coffee on a cold evening, smile. Listening to the waves and the music of the ocean, smile. A child's first step, smile. Knowing God answered a prayer you've been praying, smile.

When we find beauty in each moment and appreciate God's blessings in life we can smile. We don't have to look for them, because most of the time He just drops those things that make us smile right in our laps. It is the little things that cause us the greatest amount of happiness. If we will all stop looking for those earth shattering events to bring us joy, we will find that it is right before our very eyes.

So, I ask you what makes you smile?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Demolition Derby vs. White Linen




Well, the big Father's Day weekend has passed. I tried to come up with something appropriate for Father's Day and still tie in my weekend of excitement. So, I'll give it a shot!

As a pastor's wife, I get the privilege of attending many, many different kinds of functions. These functions require a wide range of personality and etiquette. My most recent function was a demolition derby. Ryan, a member of our church, is a participant in these derbies every year. He is a one of a kind guy to say the least. He invited us to watch as he smashed his car into other cars on a mud track. As he was driving to the track we could see he had spray painted our name on his car right below the three crosses. I have to admit, I have never had my name spray painted on anything, especially a car which is about to see its demise! As the first "heat" came through and the loud smashing began, I sat in awe. It was really exciting! Then, by the time Ryan and Ronnie, another member of our church, drove through we were all pumped! My children were thrilled and I had a GREAT time!

To tie this into Father' Day...... My daddy taught me when I was growing up to be able to dine with Kings and Queens and still be the best friend to anyone that I come in contact with. He drilled in me the importance of never thinking myself better than someone else. In I Corinthians 9:22 Paul stated that, "I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some." That was another scripture my daddy used to quote. Those lessons I was taught as a child have been some of the greatest assets to me in the ministry. His gift to me of having a love for "all" people was enacted on this Father's Day weekend. Thanks Daddy, you helped this pastor's wife learn that everybody is important.

Yes, every so often I get to attend a white linen affair, with more cutlery than I care to count. The proper etiquette during these events is essential. However, the making of a well rounded individual can't be based solely on those types of social occasions. Every once in a while I need a demolition derby to remind me that life is more than white linen table cloths!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Future Tiger???




Simeon just finished his week in the Junior Golf program at Highland Lake. He really had a blast learning some of the ins and outs of golf. Every morning he was up and standing over me ready to go, even if lessons didn't start until 8:30 a.m. Then, to add to his new love - he and his daddy went to the driving range together on Wednesday. He was floating on cloud 9. Even as I sit typing this, he is in the yard practicing his strokes.

I admit I am truly sports illiterate. I try to catch on, but to no avail. I even listen sometimes when sports radio is playing but, it just doesn't make sense to me. But, Simeon has got it all down. He knows the greatest players and has a love for sports.

We always tell him he can do anything he sets his mind to. He could one day be as great a player as Tiger Woods. Who knows?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Butterfly Princess




Birthdays are special in our family and I like to make them as memorable as possible for my children.

For Anna's fifth birthday party, she wanted everything decorated with butterflies. Thankfully she switched to something other than Ninja Turtles, which was her previous choice. She and I searched diligently until we found the "perfect" decorations for her party.

We planned to have her party at the park with all of her friends. Then Saturday morning finally arrived and it was pouring down rain. I knew that plans would have to be changed. For Anna the rain was not upsetting, she didn't care where we were having her party as long as we had it. Luckily, we were able to set everything up at the church gym. Anna was "butterfly princess" for the day and had a great time.

She was beautiful and animated as usual. I told her that every year I knew that Jesus had to be making her more beautiful than the year before. Just like a butterfly she is perfectly and delicately made. It seems like yesterday that I was anticipating her arrival. Time is short so for now I want to enjoy every moment I have been given with her. Because I know one day, she will fly away and make birthday memories with her family.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Humility

"The virtue of humility may be defined as: A quality by which a person considering his own defects has a lowly opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and others for God's sake."

Could it be that I needed to learn humility? I never considered myself to be "proud." But then, what God sees is something totally different. Maybe He felt I needed to be brought down a notch or two.

Coming to Indiana was a major change in more than one way. Getting used to the climate was a small part. I have grown to love the climate, especially during the spring and summer! But, my spiritual climate is what I feel God wanted me to change the most. In Garland, I had many jobs and wore many hats. I was available in any area God wanted to use me. The areas of ministry that I worked in were not easy and required much prayer and determination. But, those areas received many accolades from man and maybe, just maybe, my flesh enjoyed being praised. I never thought for a moment that I could have become proud during my time there. But, now that I look at where I am, my eyes have been opened. I no longer have a specific area that I serve in, instead I just kind of fill in the gaps as needed. Here, I am trying to prove that I am capable of leading and yet have not completely succeeded. There, everyone saw that I was capable. I have missed the accolades, I was becoming proud.

My opinion of myself then and my opinion of myself now are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum. Did I think too highly of myself or my abilities? Did I need a lesson or two in humility? We often say we want to be humble servants but do we really mean it? I thought I did. And, yet here I am and I have yet to find my "place." But, in this search for a "place" I am looking for the lesson to be learned. I have considered my defects, as in the quote above, and I am continually reminded of them.

It is the last part of the quote, "and willingly submits himself to God and others for God's sake," that is my test. By my admission of defects, and knowing that my opinion is not that high and lofty one anymore, I must willingly submit to His service for His people. God brought me here to be a servant and a servant is not high and lofty. A servant thinks not highly of himself, but is willing to serve others at all costs. We must be careful that in serving Him, we don't rely too heavily on accolades from man. Those accolades come and go and when they go we must be ready for the test. Though this lesson in humility may be hard, I am willing to submit to it just to be in His will serving His children!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Life is Precious...



About six months ago Sis. Wanda was diagnosed with cancer. She underwent surgery and has since gone through several chemotherapy treatments. The amazing thing about Sis. Wanda is that she has kept such a positive attitude the entire time. In the hospital right before her surgery she smiled saying, "I know God will take care of me, because I need to take care of Larry." Amazing!

Again she amazed me when she first started losing her hair. I saw in her Wal-mart buying a hat so she could come to church. At Wal-mart she greeted me with a smile and was proudly showing off her hat. The conviction I felt was enormous knowing that any problem I had at the time was so small compared to the trial she was beginning to endure.

Both Sis. Wanda and her precious husband Larry have so much life! He is 79 and is going through this sickness with his wife but you wouldn't know it. He often runs the isles in church and loves to joke around with everyone.

These two awesome saints of God have taught me to smile through adversity, and to trust completely in the Creator. But most importantly because He has chosen to place them in my life He has used them to remind me that Life is Precious when we live it to the fullest!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Our Friend Terry


In the many directions that God has taken us we have been privileged to cross paths with several enlightening people. Our friend Terry is proving to be one who is very enlightening. Terry has a way of lighteing the mood no matter where you are. Most of the time everyone is smiling after spending any length of time with him. Now I wouldn't have you believe that Terry is a comedian, because he also has a serious side. But, it is his vocabulary that is most thought provoking. We have learned so many new terms that can be applied to everyday life situations. We call these special terms "Terryisms."

For instance, if you don't completely understand something, then you don't get the "jiff," or if you are wanting to totally act like you don't hear someone you should "anore" them. I think one of my all time favorites is the "Pinacolata" - that is what you have at children's birthday parties that are full of candy.

I could spend quite a bit of time sharing what we have learned from Terry, but then I would need to start all over again because he is daily adding to our vocabulary. How refreshing it is to be with people who can add so much in such a simple way!