August 29, 2007

My Prayer

I've spent the last two days praying over this verse. I can't get it out of my mind!

But the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy & good fruit, impartial & sincere.
--James 3:17

Really packs a punch, doesn't it?


August 27, 2007

Marriage Monday

This week's topic is how we met our spouses, and what drew us to him. I'm going to be lazy, and ask you to read the story of how we met here. You can also read what drew me to him (and keeps me stuck right by his side) here.

Now, visit Christine to read how others met their spouses (they probably won't be as lazy as I am!)

August 26, 2007


What's the harm? I'll be able to put it out, no problem.

The spark from that one little match spread so quickly, it nearly took my breath away. No water around. I remembered my mom throwing baking soda on a kitchen fire. I scooped up some dirt and tossed it on the flames. Again and again. It was no use. The small brush was too easily consumed.

I needed help. I ran and knocked on a neighbor's door.

There's a fire. I was just walking by & noticed it. (Sure...)

We took a couple buckets of water and doused the flames. The fire never reached beyond the small brushy area. No trees were damaged and no one got hurt. I raced home to change out of my wet clothes before my parents found out.

Not one of the most brilliant ideas of my lifetime. Certainly not something I'm proud to admit. It was a moment of adolescent abandon. A time when all rational thought flew out the window.

I had thought it would be thrilling. Even fun. A chance to get away with something just a little dangerous, that would be over as quickly as it started.

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
-- James 3:6

My days of playing with matches are over, but I still play with fire. Like the burning match I flung on the ground, I sling words around and think I'll be able to control the damage.

It's just a idle gossip. No one will really get hurt.
A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends. (Prov. 16:28)

It's just one bad word. It slipped.
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. (James 3:10)

It's just a little white lie. No one will know the difference.
The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. (Prov. 12:22)

It's just one day when I snapped at my family? They know I really love them.
For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matt. 12:34)

Lord Jesus, pour Your Living Water over the fire of my tongue that I may stop burning those around me!


August 22, 2007

Thankful Thursday

This week, I've been particularly thankful for:

~This post by Kim @ Lifesong. My poor toes were black & blue after reading it, but it was a good thing. In fact, it motivated me enough to become a member of the 6:00 a.m. Club. God & I are having a blast.

~A Godly husband who genuinely cares for the women in his life: his wife, his daughter & his mother.

~Watching CJ grow in her faith. Those baby steps are just precious!

~CJ's boldness in asking a family member if she'd ever asked Jesus into her heart. (the answer was "yes", but I'm not sure it's genuine)

~Wednesdays with Beth on "Life Today". If you haven't watched this program any day of the week, you will be blessed by tuning in. I especially love Wednesdays because I get to listen to Beth Moore!

~CJ's been invited to go to the beach this weekend with a friend. She would live at the beach if we'd let her. I'm glad she gets to go and end the summer with a bang.

~The Book of James. I'm taking my time studying it. It's really packing punch! I hope to share this weekend.

You can find out who else is thankful by visiting Iris @ Sting My Heart.


How Nice!

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about blogging.

Why I blog.
Why I read other blogs.
If I'm spending too much time blogging & reading blogs.
How many blogs I can realistically keep in my Bloglines without going crazy.

To be perfectly honest, when I started blogging, I had dreams of having a big following & an even bigger impact for God. (I'm such a Becky Miller!) I started participating in memes, and linking as much as I could. I left comments like crazy in hopes of having people come visit me. It got a little out of hand. I ordered myself to gain some perspective.

Then I quit blogging altogether for a while. I came back to it in the Spring. I feel like I've made new friends. As if I'm finding what God wants from my blog, and that it's becoming a ministry to the people who He directs this way (at least that's my hope). I'm whittling away at my Bloglines. I'm discovering what's important in this season of my life.

I could hardly believe it when I got a comment from Kate a few days ago, letting me know she'd given me a bloggy award!

Although I've known her only a short time, Kate has been an inspiration to me. We've decided that we'd be friends in real life. In fact, I may just hunt her down so I can meet her ;D

I get to pass this award on to some other gals. I'm picking ladies who haven't already received this award. These are ladies who've been nice to me, and whose blogs are nice places to visit. (That should be a category in my Bloglines!) This is the fun part, because (to quote a line from one of my favorite shows), it's nice to be the nice!

~Terri @ In His Hands. Once I asked her about a book she quoted, and she sent it to me! How nice is that! And I've been getting lots of great ideas & inspiration from her. Even nicer!

~Rachel Anne @ Home Sanctuary. (Even though I'm totally jealous that she's BFF's with this lady!) Rachel Anne is such a sweet spirit. I know we'd have fun hanging out! Her blog makes me feel like kicking my heels up & drinking a cup of coffee, or dancing along to the fun music she always has to welcome me.

~Alana @ A Kiss, A Hug & A Squeeze. She's another new friend who feels like an old pal. Her comments and emails are always encouraging, and I look forward to hearing from her. And don't you think her profile picture looks a little like this gal?

Thanks, Kate. What a blessing!

(Updated: I found out another new bloggy friend, Xandra, also bestowed this wonderful award upon me. Words can't express how thankful I am!)


August 21, 2007

Savoring the Weekend

Every day is a journal page
Every man holds a quill and ink
And there's plenty of room for writing in
All we do and believe and think
So will you compose a curse
Or will today bring the blessings
Fill the page with rhyming verse
Or some random sketchings

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
Somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much

-Lyrics by Chris Rice

~Riding this, in the FRONT ROW. IN. THE. DARK. CJ & her friend pronounced, "That ROCKED!" (it did!) Best ride EVER. CJ's friend said, "You're a roller coaster Mama." Yep, I am.

~Sleeping in on Saturday morning. Ahhh...

~A church picnic Saturday evening. The weather, food & company were all wonderful. R, CJ & friends took a canoe ride on the surrounding lake. Later, R & I headed out in the canoe alone. It was tranquil and beautiful. Soothing to the soul.

~Going forward with CJ during alter call Sunday morning. R came down from the choir loft to sit with us, so that we could go forward as a family. We prayed with our pastor and sat down to fill out the Decision Card. I looked over at CJ, and she was crying. Not tears of joy. This girl, who can brave the scariest roller coaster with ease, was petrified at the thought of standing before her church family and having our pastor announce her decision to trust Jesus as her Savior! She doesn't like to be the center of attention and have all eyes on her. (which I'm not sure is a bad thing) Praise God, our pastor was sensitive to her fear and didn't make her stand up. She sings with the children's choir at church and in school and has been in six dance recitals, but the thought of having to look at 250+ people while they were looking at her was too overwhelming. She definitely doesn't get that from her Mama!

~Sunday night dinner around our dining room table. Just the three of us, but dinner together is always a good time!

~Showing CJ my method of Bible study. We gave her this Bible. I showed her how to use the weekly devotions, and what I learned about Bible study & journaling from her.

~Finally, watching this movie. CJ already knew many of the songs, and was up dancing to almost every one. The entertainment in our living room was better than the movie!

What memories did your family make this weekend?


August 19, 2007

Looking Ahead

We hadn't been sitting on the beach very long when I noticed them walk by and sit on the bench behind us. I glanced over, then turned my attention back to the waves. R & I sat there, watching CJ & her friend play, listening to the rhythmic crashing, holding hands & relaxing.

I stole another glimpse, and noticed how close they were sitting. How comfortable they seemed. How right they looked together.

"I want to be them in 40 years." I told R.


Everyone in the cottage was busy. The hammock on the back porch was empty. We snuck out to enjoy some time alone. 30 minutes. We talked a little. We laughed a little. We soaked in the quietness of those few moments when the world wasn't intruding, and we could just be.


We sat on couch, facing each other. My legs casually thrown across his. We talked about someone else's marriage in trouble, and our concern for that family. We discussed what we think went wrong. How we don't want that to happen to us. We read our Sunday School lesson. We examined the Word together. We realized that what has kept us from becoming this other couple is God's grace, and His presence in our lives.

After the eventful past of our marriage, I'm happy for these peaceful times. For this quiet season. I'm thankful for where the Lord has brought us. I don't think much about where He's taking us, but I hope it looks a lot like the present. When I do envision it, I hope it looks like this

Click here to see how other wives see their future.


August 17, 2007

Ministry Notebook

I've shared before that I love encouraging my church family. Although it's something I really enjoy, I confess that there have been times that the notes I've been thinking for people have never made it to paper.

I'm determined to change.

Recently I was browsing the school supply aisle at W*lmart. I just love that aisle, particularly this time of year when it's loaded with crisp new notebooks, pens, highlighters, pencil boxes, etc. It makes me think of bouquets of sharpened pencils ( the movie!), and a sparkling clean slate.

Ahem...back to the point.

So, while I was perusing the notebooks, I found these adorable things:

I was inspired!

So, I snatched one up and decided to make it my "Ministry Notebook". It's got a pocket in the front, and 3 sections.

The first section will be prayer concerns. I keep the notebook in my church bag, so that I can write down prayer concerns in one spot, rather than jotting notes in my Sunday School book or on the bulletin (only to be forgotten later). I'll have a list of people to pray for every week!

The second section is for those I haven't seen in a while. As an adult Sunday School teacher, I need to keep track of the people who haven't been in class lately. I can look at my roll sheet and jot down names, so that I remember to contact them with a call or card.

The last section is for birthdays & anniversaries. When we get our newsletter every month, I'll jot down the birthdays & anniversaries of those in my class so that I can send cards.

I'm setting aside time every Sunday afternoon to write the cards for the week or month ahead. I can put them in the pocket until it's time to mail them. I know this is going to make a big difference in my life & my approach to ministry.

I'm so excited!!! Laura, you're starting to rub off on me!


August 15, 2007


Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. -- Matthew 13: 7, 22

Since temperatures here dipped into the 80s this weekend, I decided to tackle our flower beds. They've been almost completely overrun by weeds and wire grass. I'm not the stereotypical southern gal who likes to garden, and it's been particularly hot & I've just been ignoring the growing situation (pun intended) and hoping it would go away.

But I no longer had an excuse. There was no more putting it off. I headed outside to start pulling the weeds. I can only described it as an intensely laborious job. I dug, pulled, dug some more & pulled some more. It seemed like a losing battle.

Why didn't I do a little at a time? I could've handled 10 minutes in the heat each day, rather than the hour I put into it...and still another couple of hours to go. But I was content to do nothing, or to focus on other things that clamored for my attention. The things that seemed so important at the time. The things I've now forgotten.

If I'd made a small effort each day to address the weed situation, it would've been so much easier.

If I'd spend just a little time each day straightening my house, it wouldn't take the whole weekend to clean.

If I'd take use a few minutes each day to wash, dry & fold clothes, I wouldn't have to climb the Mt. Everest of laundry.

If I'd set aside a smidgen of time each day to deal with the paperwork, I wouldn't have to climb that other Mt. Everest.

If I'd carve out some time each week to menu plan & follow through, my family would reap the benefits of home cooked meals and fewer trips through the drive-thru.

If I'd schedule time each week to send cards to those who need prayer and encouragement, I'd truly minister to those who matter to me.

My home, family & relationships would flourish.

In the same way, If I would be vigilant about spending quality time with God every day, I would blossom. I'd address the weeds of selfishness, laziness, gluttony, and all the other numerous sins that crop up in my life on a daily basis. They could be uprooted before they had a chance to starve my soul.

I can't have beautiful flower beds without a lot of work. I can't have a beautiful relationship with God unless I'm willing to commit to attacking the weeds DAILY. It may not be easy, but I'm counting on some gorgeous results!


Worth 1,000 Words

Many bloggers include photos in their profiles. I have no current (i.e., within the past 15 years) pictures of myself that I would actually post, but I'm tired of having a blank spot. I decided to add a picture of one of my favorite places on earth...

Then I decided on something that speaks more to who I am...or at least who I want to be:

What do you think?


August 14, 2007

Savoring the Weekend

These are days you’ll remember
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it,
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you
Are touched by something
That will grow and bloom in you

(from "These Are the Days" by 10,000 Maniacs)

This weekend was definitely one to remember. It started early, with a trip to the pediatrician. Seems as if CJ has shingles. Yep, you read that right. An 8 1/2 year old with shingles. Praise God, her case is mild & she has no symptoms whatsoever except the blistery rash, and being run down. I think we're in the home stretch and she'll be able to resume her normal summer activities by tomorrow.

Despite CJ's illness, the weekend was stuffed with good things:

~Purchasing a new devotional Bible for CJ, to help in her new walk with the Lord

~Spending an entire afternoon with my girl, running errands & enjoying some quality "girl time"

~Sleeping in on Saturday. Much needed rest, since we were exhausted from VBS

~Restoring order to the house, and finally getting some of the vacation paraphernalia put away

~Listening to CJ pray, as she thanked the Lord for leading her to become a Christian

~Dinner out with three other couples. A wonderful meal and great conversation. And the chocolate cheesecake wasn't bad, either.

~CJ participating in her first communion

~Watching her take sermon notes in her new journal

~A Sunday afternoon nap. (something I'd looked forward to all week!)

~Working in the flower beds. Since we had a respite from 3-digit temperatures and unbearable humidity, all three of us enjoyed being outside for a change

~Family game night

What did your weekend look like?


August 13, 2007

For Better or Worse

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

--William Shakespeare

Sixteen years ago, this was my definition of love. Shakespeare is terribly romantic, is he not? And I was a girl in love with being in love. I had my life all planned out. But my natural inclination toward romance led me down some pretty dark paths.

Praise the Lord, I met R! I shared the story of our courtship & marriage here.

Shakespeare was part of our ceremony, along with this often used passage:

"Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." - Ruth 1:16-18

I wasn't a Christian at the time, but I chose to include this in our vows because I honestly thought R & I would be able to live up to that promise. Obviously, I was more than a little naive.

Less than two years after we were married, the testing of our vows began. For the next 8 years, we walked through the fires of hell. And, by the grace of God, we are still standing.

I can't claim that I've never tried change R when I found something that needed changing, or that we've looked on the storms and never been shaken. I guess by Shakespeare's standards, we fall short.

Still, I can say that, with the Lord's help, we've never turned our backs on each other. We've been able to understand the vow Ruth made to Naomi. R's God did become my God. And He is good.

Visit Christine to find out what others are saying in this week's Marriage Monday topic.


August 9, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I'm on a self-imposed bloggy break until I catch up from vacation. Still I had to share this:

*I'm thankful because CJ asked Jesus to come into her heart this week!

*I'm thankful because I was able to teach our adult VBS class Tuesday night without making a total fool of myself.

*I'm thankful that my dear, sweet man has been patient this week. The suitcases are still in the living room, along with the crates of other beach paraphenilia. And he hasn't complained. Not once.

I'll resume regular blogging mode soon. I've been reading some, but not commenting much. My Bloglines threatens to overflow!

In the meantime, visit Iris for more Thankful Thursday!


August 7, 2007

Checking In

I'm back from vacation (wonderful & relaxing, by the way!), and in the midst of catching up at work! CJ & I are in Vacation Bible School during the evenings while R works 2nd shift.

Maybe when the weekend gets here, I'll be able to crawl out from under the pile of suitcases and beach gear long enough to actually have a complete thought!