Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ"

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Done decorating the inside of the house

This is my pretend mantle. The little stockings are for the cat and the dog

Peyton and Paige pose by the tree

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A tree that needed serious work

Last year, Brad and I had the bright idea to not take our tree apart and to keep the lights on it. The only trouble was, getting it into the attic last year, and getting it out of the attic this year was a bit hard on the limbs. This is how it ended up after Brad carried it in the other night.

Paige watches at work begins
Papa, Grammy and Peyton begin the light untangling process

The tree is almost done! Thanks to Papa and Grammy for untangling the lights and putting the tree back together

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Any lurkers???

Ok, it is nearly midnight. My children are asleep in my bed. (I am still not entirely sure how that happened, hopefully there will be room for me when I show up). I have been asked about my blog so much lately, that I was suspicious that I might have a few extra visitors. SO, if there are any lurkers out there (that is what we used to call them when I used to be on a message board) please post! I want to hear from you, even if it is just "hi, I was here." If there is anyone that wants to get in touch with me (seriously, now), but doesn't wish to post I will leave my email here (scary thought!)

And on to another subject, just before I take my tired self off to bed. (yes I know that wasn't a complete sentence, but it was about to be a run-on, so I left it) I was reminded, once again, tonight that I have terrific daughters. They are already two of my best friends, at 6 years old! I have had to talk to them about some tough stuff lately. I have tried to be very honest, but not give more information than they needed to hear. Tonight, I had no choice but to give them a bit more information than I was entirely ready to discuss with them. They are so smart, and sensitive. I very much want to talk to them with God's will and what is eternally valuable in mind. I want to be careful not to talk to them out of my own pain and feelings. The trouble is, they are so darn sensitive to when I am hurting! Anyway, I am blessed to have them in my life. Now I need to go and see if I am blessed to have them in my bed....

Papa's helpers!

My dad has been busy restoring the house next door to is for the last few months. This past Saturday, he had plenty of painting help in the bathroom! I caught Paige and Peyton painting in their newest jeans, so we quickly headed back next door for big t-shirts and older pants. He taught them well, and the bathroom is looking good.

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Let God handle unfair circumstances

Ok, so I am burying myself in my Bible study this morning! The next section of Prasso is talking about anger. I read a story about Moses in Numbers 20 about Moses getting water for the people. Moses was angry with the people because of their behavior toward him when they needed water. He spoke to them in anger, and then he struck the rock to get water to come out. Such a small thing, but God rebuked Moses for not demonstrating His holiness. I know that I have often responded wrong and failed to demonstrate God's holiness. Here is another quote from Prasso:
God is not the author of sin. He never condones, causes or excuses sin. However, at times, He does allow His children to experience the consequences of another's sinful actions. Moses took the brunt of the Isrealites' selfish and rebellious actions. The fact that he had experiences harsh treatment...did not excuse his responsibility to trust the sovereignty of God. Although God allows people to act contrary to His will, He promises that nothing will ever happen to you contrary to his will.
"Your greatest difficulty in dealing with anger will be your unwillingness to believe that God's way of handling life's unfair circumstances is the best way."

Obedience and surrender

I was confronted yesterday with my own angry response to circumstances. My anger was my flesh's way of responding, not God's way of responding. I felt like I was in a battle. My motives were correct, and I was trying to be obedient to God and to my authority, but I was still missing something. This morning, I read this quote from my Prasso Bible Study.
Battles are a part of every life.
What we must realize is that the battle itself is not our problem.
Obedience and surrender are our problems.
God does not need me to fight his battle, he just needs me to be obedient. A quote from Oswald Chambers was included in the Prasso lesson, it says that "God does not make us holy in the sense that he makes our character holy. He makes us holy in the sense that He has made us innocent before Him. And then we have to turn that innocence into holy character through the moral choices we make. These choices are continually opposed and hostile to the things of our natural life which have become so deeply entrenched."
My friend Charity is always stressing to me that God wants to make us holy. That He is using our circumstances to accomplish that. When I can rest in that, it is easier to leave the battle to God, and concentrate on obedience and surrender. I recognize that even if I don't see with my eyes and hear with my ears what God is doing, I have to live by faith that God will keep his promises.

The Christmas shopping has begun...

On a lighter note, I actually started to shop for Christmas last night! I went shopping and out to eat with my mother-in-law, Marie. It has been a rough year for her. My father-in-law has been very sick, and her Mother fell and broke her back this past summer. Nevertheless, we had a good time, and we were successful in our shopping. We have had an annual shopping trip since the Christmas of 1990. I can still remember her picking me up from high school and us heading out to shop. I believe the original intent was so that she would be able to buy something for Brad that he would actually wear! It is mostly shopping for all the kids now. There are now six kids in the family to buy for, that is MUCH more fun than buying clothes for a picky teenage boy! Anyway, I am thankful for Marie and the friend and second mother she has been to me since I was a kid.

Blessed to be a Church Girl

Yesterday, I had someone call me a "church girl." It was a meant to be a "slam," but then I can a very kind person tell me that it was really a big complement. He told me how he always wanted his kids and grandkids to be "church kids." He wanted them to love to be at the church and cry when it was time to go home. I grew up going to church, and I continued the habit as I became an adult. However, I am now becoming a "church girl," because I recognize how blessed I am to be part of the church family. I read this Psalm yesterday, and I prayed it to God. Yesterday was a hard day, and it can be easy to take my eyes off God, and focus only on my circumstances. But I have so much more joy, if I can pray a prayer like David's 142'd Psalm, and then leave my "complaints" with Jesus.
Psalm 142
1 I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
2 I pour out my complaint before him;
before him I tell my trouble.
3 When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who know my way.
In the path where I walk
men have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look to my right and see;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.
5 I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, "You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living."
6 Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
7 Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A very scary book!

I told my friend Charity that I was reading "Living Fearlessly" by Sheila Walsh. She said to me, which I take to be a complement, that she didn't think I was a fearful person. I agreed, but I still thought that there were many things I could get out of the book. The only problem is, that as I am reading it, I am finding things that maybe I should be afraid of! I am now into another chapter, and I am ready to give another quote. Sheila is writing about how her son, at 2 1/2 totally trusts her, and even if she put him in a scary situation, he still counted on her to help him. (Like a scary carnival ride). Sheila, who has many hurts from her childhood writes this "Christian (her son) feels no need at this point in his life to protect himself from me. I'm there for him. I'm his mommy...that's how I started off too. So why do we change? Adult choices can decimate children. The tragedies of life can pull the rug right out from under their safe trusting feet. Children don't understand death or divorce or parental absence or neglect. They think they must have contributed in some way to ruin this perfect picture of family. At a gut level, what they experience is that nothing is safe anymore. They can't count on anything being forever or being ultimately for their good."

OK, now I am a bit more afraid! I am not saying that I can't learn from this book, but it scares me to think about adult choices (which I can't always do anything about) decimating my children!

It gets worse, read this quote. "This emotional loss may be even harder than losing a parent to death. You have to live with the awareness that your dad or mom could have been with you and chose not to be. We all carry scars into the courts of heaven, and the yes we want to give to God carries a lot of reservations because of who we are and where we've been and what we believe at the very core of our lives. Can we really trust God's direction day by day when some of the paths we've already walked have been strewn with sorrows?"

Ok, I guess it is good that I am continuing to read, because I am going to assume that she is going to answer yes we can really trust God's direction, and tell me just how to go about doing that! I am trusting God that He is teaching and growing me in Him, and that this will ultimately prepare me for the tough job of parenting my girls through this, if this type of loss becomes long term or permanent. I am confident that God knows, God sees and God cares.

Standing on the edge...

I am reading "Living Fearlessly" by Sheila Walsh. I am only two chapters into the book and I am already wanting to quote passages from the book. This is a paragraph from the book that could have come from my heart. "I would not have chosen this path, but I cannot deny that walking it has changed me profoundly. There is something wonderful here, the edges of which I am still just scarcely scratching. There is a whole way of living that is so freeing, but I am still standing on the edge barely glimpsing it. I think I want to totally abandon myself to God, to take that leap of faith, but I'm still standing. Perhaps you are too." She goes on to list reasons why we might be holding back on saying "YES" to God. I believe that each day that I seek God, I come a little closer to taking that leap. To holding out my hands and letting go of what I am trying desperately to hold onto, and taking God by my now empty hands and following him in to the unknown. In Sunday School this morning, we discussed living by faith and not by sight. As people, we operate based on things that we can see, but God wants us to live in light of eternity, by faith. If I can live my life in light of eternity, then it is easy to give up those things that I hold onto, those things that are slipping out of my grasp anyway, and allow God to do His work in His Time. Ecclesiastes 3: 11 He hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Knowledge, A Hidden Treasure in Christ

Yesterday, I had a discussion with someone who was questioning God's motives for creating people when He knew a large majority of the people would end up in hell. He felt that God wanted to create these little "robots" to do what he wanted. I had been reading in Job about how Job had accused God and been angry with God. Job finally had a man confront him about his attitude toward God. Then God Himself confronted Job. God's attributes and His power are spelled out in Job. Job is asked "can you do any of this?" In other words, "who do you think you are?" That is what I want to ask this person (who I love and sorrow for) "who are you to question God's motives?" When I read Job, and was struck with the reality of who God really is, I was convicted and amazed. At the end, Job was in mourning for his sin, and repentant. God blessed his life richly. My prayer, is that I will daily see God for who he is, no matter what adversity I am living with. And that I will repent when I don't give God his deserved honor and glory and obedience. I am also praying for this other person to come to the end of himself, see God for who He really is, and be repentant and broken before a Holy God.
I was discouraged about how to answer these questions. But God is faithful, and I awoke this morning to be lead to the following verses through my blog's automatic verse. We can only gain understanding of God from God. And we can't let others deceive us with "fine sounding arguments."
Colossians 2:1-7 (New International Version)

1I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.
2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.
5For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,
7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Uncle Brad and his bad knee and foot hold Mia Kate (for the first time) while Daddy Brock
looks on

Amie and Mia

Peyton and Paige with Mia Kate during picture time in their traditional Christmas dresses that Nana gives out at Thanksgiving

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Coming Home

The girls and I had a great trip. Mom and Dad met us at the Kentucky-Tennessee border, and we traveled together to Lexington to stay in a Holiday Inn with an indoor pool.

Mom, Paige, Peyton and Dad just inside Kentucky. The girls literally squealed with delight when they saw them pull up in their truck. Both girls immediately got in with their Papa for the ride to Lexington

Me, Paige (being held by Peyton) and Mom in the pool. My camera battery ran out soon after this picture, so I will have to get more pictures from my parents camera. This was a fun time for all off us. We all attempted to teach Grammy how to swim!

I know I already blogged this picture, but I cleaned it up a bit with my computer program, and it is one of my favorites from the trip

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Psalm 139: 3&5

This is the verse I am claiming for travel today and for always:

Psalm 139:3&5
You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am.
You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Time to head home

Well, the girls and I are heading North in the morning. I am both ready and dreading heading home. My parents are meeting us in Kentucky, and we are going to stay at a hotel with an indoor pool. The girls are very excited. My dad plans to swim with them, I am sure I will get some cute pictures of that!

Charity's church services today were very good. It is a special 15th anniversary weekend for the church, so there was a great deal of singing. The pastor spoke on the wise man building his house on the rock, and the foolish man building his house on the sand. It was earily like a homework assignment from a counseling session I had a few weeks ago. The pastor pointed out similiarities and differences between the two builders. Both builders heard the word and made a choice. Both builders also encountered difficulity or adversity. The differences were the choice of foundations, and how they reacted to when the storm hit. The Point was, Jesus' words must be done. Doing His words is more than listennig, liking or learning the words. If you don't live the Word, you are not obeying, and therefore believing the Word. While Matthew 7:24-27 tells us the parable; John 8:31-32...If you continue in My Word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

The Pastor stated that there are two types of people in the world, those who do the Word, and go the narrow way, and those who don't do the Word, and take the broad way. Am I doing His sayings? We can know if we are doing and not just hearing if the teaching of the Word brings about change, and if times of difficulty strenthens us.

The evening service was full of powerful and uplifting music. I was truly blessed. Toward the end, Peyton and Paige were flanking me with their arms wrapped around me. I felt blessed by that too. To share an uplifting church services with my two girls like that was a powerful encouragement to me. I am more and more determined to raise them the way God wants me to raise them. There are SO many mistakes to be made in parenting, it is scary to think I might not get it right. But I know that I can rest in the fact that God will lead if I stay obedient to Him. The day will come when they must make their own choices, and I want to help prepare them for that day. I am convicted by this verse Matthew 18:4-6 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is te greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Wow, what a warning!

Anyway, I appreciate all who have prayed for me on this trip. I ask again that you will pray for us for the trip home and in the coming days and weeks. Our future is still unclear, but the Bible says "be anxious for nothing" in Phillippians 4:6, and that is what I am striving for.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Jesus prays for us

I have been feeling pretty down today. I have read the word and continued to battle with my own sorrow and my own thoughts. But then I was prompted to read a part of John 17 through my I am posting the entire chapter, because it is the prayer of Jesus. He is praying for us! Jesus is praying for us to be protected from the evil one. Jesus wants us to be in unity so the world will know about Him and He will be glorified. Even when my prayers don't seem to be working, I can read how Jesus Himself prayed for me! This gives me great hope.
John 17
Jesus Prays for Himself
1After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Jesus prays for the disciples
6"I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.
7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.
8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.
9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.
10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.
11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.
12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
17Sanctify[b] them by the truth; your word is truth.
18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.
26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."

For Elijah....

Peyton's Hermit crab JJ
Paige's hermit crab, Princess
together in front of their home

Good morning from South Carolina

(click on pictures to enlarge)
Matt made me special chocolate chip pancakes, I needed the smiling face this morning
Paige and Josiah
Sam loves her for her video games! Sam and Peyton up on Sam's bunk first thing this morning, only acceptable behavior for a few short more years! Look at that hand on his shoulder!

Friday, November 17, 2006

A night out with the girls & thankful for babysitters!

Diane and Charity

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Anne and me at Portafino's
Me and Charity

the kids during a "forced" sit down time (watching a movie)

a beautiful day in Downtown Greenville

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(click pictures to enlarge)
Peyton on a rock by a pretty waterfall

Me and the girls
Paige on the rocks

What is Love?

Today is sunny and cool in South Carolina. I woke up feeling calm and feeling God's grace. The kids are playing, breakfast is over, and we are making plans for our day. Today is Brad's 2nd foot surgery, and I have been in prayer for him. It is difficult not to be with him for his surgery. This is his 4th surgery in the past 14 years and the first time that I am not with him. I rest in the fact that I am exactly where God wants me to be this week. I know that God doesn't need me to help Him take care of or deal with Brad. This is very reassuring. I am continuing to read "The Road to Forgiveness." I was tempted to quote another huge passage from the book, but I guess it is better that I just recommend it to anyone who is struggling with forgiveness, understanding God's forgiveness; and how God can use evil, terrible circumstances that happen in our lives for good.

My Prasso study today is teaching me that GOD IS LOVE. "Believers and non-believers alike have trouble reconciling the love of God with pain and sorrow. Part of the problem lies in a faulty concept of love. Love is an act of the will whereby you commit yourself voluntarily to bring about good where the welfare of another is concerned though they may seek the worst for you." Eph 1:4-5 tells us that God made a conscious choice to love us even before we were born. This cost us nothing, and cost Him everything. Another part of the study that struck me is "..recognizing God's right to control your circumstances...You want Him to make it all go away instead of allowing Him to walk with your through the bitter experience."

God cares about my circumstances. Matthew 10:31 says "Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." God cares about me, He loves me. My prayer today is certainly that God will allow restoration, but more importantly to thank Him for walking with me through my trial, and allowing him to teach me through it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

School work on the road

Paige takes a school work break, Peyton reading her school book to Sam while Josiah looks at his own book. Paige, looking forlorn because she is tired of doing school (click on each pic to enlarge)

what's wrong with knowing good and evil?

I am continuing to read from the book "The Road to Forgiveness." Before I went to sleep last night, I read a chapter written by the father, Bill Griffiths, about his search for why there had to be death. He examined Genesis for what went wrong in the Garden of Eden. He asked "what's wrong with knowing good and evil?" in reference to the fruit from the forbidden tree. He asks "why would God not waht His young creation to know what to do and what not to do?" He then saw the verses referring to "you shall surely die." This was a promise of God, just like the promises in the Bible of blessings. The author feels that the word "know" refers to experience, not just head knowledge. An example would be how you "know grief" when a loved one dies. The tree of knowledge represented God giving man free will to choose. If there had been no tree, then man would have loved God because he had no other choice. Because of man's choice, we know the difference between good and evil in that we experience it. "The fruit Adam and Eve ate was the fruit of selfish ambition, pride, and the determination to be in charge of themselves." But the good part that man would know is the "opportunity to make another choice." "God is love-and te ony way to redeem the sin committed was to redeem it Himself, through the death of His Son on the cross."

Again I have read about the origin of sin, and heard many sermons about it, but I have never thought much about why the choice was necessary. I have given alot of thought to the choice we all have to serve self or to serve God. We are given this choice each day of our lives, and we always have the ability to choose to believe the truth. Joshua 24:15 states "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourself this day whom you will serve..." I know that I have spent many years daily making decisions based on what felt right to me. Just serving myself, having idols in my life, and satisfying my flesh. I now know that God is a jealous God, and He wants first place in my life, regardless of the circumstances of life. I also know that he gives the grace necessary to make the right choice, and he offers forgiveness when I fail. Psalm 32:5 "I said 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD' and you forgave the guilt of my sin."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A good book on a rainy day

Taking a break from my new Bible study, I have begun to read the book, "The Road to Forgiveness." This book is written by a husband and wife whose daughter and the wife's mother were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. The book is full of scripture that this family used during their time of sorrow. A verse that stuck out to me that I wanted to write about is John 16:33. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation (trials and sorrows): but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

A quote from the mother, Cindy Griffith also spoke to me"...set my mind on what is yet to be. I realized that if I spent all my energy looking back at what I could not have, I would be missing out on the present and the future."

more cute kids (especially asleep)

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Peyton talking to Aunt Jame
sleeping as if they were in the womb after a hard day of playing
kids eat free at the Mexican place!
Josiah, Peyton, Paige and Sam having a great time in the yard

pictures from our trip

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Grammy, Paige and Peyton still asleep before we left

Sam and Peyton playing in the yard
Paige and Peyton took over Josiah's bed, while Sam kept his top bunk
Paige, Peyton, Josiah and Sam working on school work

Peyton and Paige in Charity's yard, they had a great time playing with the boys