Thursday, November 27, 2008

Am I ready for Thanksgiving? I was asked that question the other day. Let's see; the turkey is in the oven. The jello salad is made (and half eaten ;>) in the refrigerator. The dressing is ready to go in the oven. There are two pies (pumpkin and pecan) sitting on the china cabinet. All that is left to do is make the potatoes and the gravy and set the table. I even have an extra pitcher of sweet tea made up. Mark and Dan and I are safe at home. Dan has the crud, but we have a warm home, lots of liquids and medicine to combat that. Mom and Dad are doing well. John has made some significant improvement this year and it looks like he will make even more next year. Diana is having a better year at school. Liz is almost finished with her master's degree (you rock, Liz!). Mia is safely here and she and Kelly are both healthy. Moses and Makenna are doing well and Doug is, too. Not to mention the fact that he is excelling in seminary (of course!). If you have read this in the past month you know that Jeff and Wyatt are safely home from Iraq and that I am VERY thankful for that. Fred and Nancy are doing well and Fred has just instituted a really neat (and pretty impressive) study at his church before starting a capital improvements project. Laura is happy in Europe. Aunt Janet, Uncle Doug, Uncle Robert and Aunt Emmi are all still with us and doing well. Those who are no longer with our family here on earth are waiting for us in heaven. Well; I could make this a VERY long post today, but the turkey wants to be basted. So to those of you who are not mentioned by name, I'm sorry and I love you very much and I am very thankful for you, too! My college girls, I'm proud of all four of you!
Praise God for the moment and don't waste time fretting over the what-ifs. May each one of you reading today be especially blessed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday afternoon at the Messiah.

The Alabama Civic Chorale presented their 61st annual performance of Handel's Messiah yesterday afternoon. What a blessing! Listening to the music, the orchestra, the organ, the choir, the soloists is a lot to take in musically. I felt a little like I did at the new mega-store the other day when all I could do was stand there and turn around in circles trying to see and hear everything. Handel is a baroque composer and the themes of the music get tossed back and forth between the different instruments and then handed off to the soloist or the chorus. I think I need to spend an hour or two each day between now and Christmas just listening to it over and over to try and take it all in. Every word comes straight from Scripture. He wrote this entire piece in 24 days. There are a total of 52 songs in the entire work and rarely will you hear the entire thing performed at one time. If you do hear the entire version it is approximately 2 1/2 hours long.
These are simple, cold facts. When I hear the Messiah, whether a recording or live, I can not sing the Hallelujah chorus because when I get that teary I lose my voice. This is one of the best demonstrations for me of what the Trinity is. I hear God the Father throughout and of course, God the Son is the central focus of the entire work. But as I listen to the music I hear God the Spirit and I certainly feel the Spirit moving my heart and soul. May you be equally blessed if you have an opportunity to hear this, whether live in-person or on a recording.

Today I am thankful for so much! I'm thankful that I am physically able to spend the day cooking for my boys. I'm thankful for my boys and the rest of my family (especially this year for Jeff, Wyatt, and Miss Mia). I am thankful that I live in a country where I have clean water and plenty of food. I am thankful that I can worship and serve my Jesus freely. I'm thankful for God's grace and my salvation. Have a blessed weekend.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It was a big day for us today. This afternoon Mark and I had the pleasure of meeting Miss Miriam Rebekah McNutt, Mia to family and friends. What a gorgeous young lady! She looks so much like her Mama's baby pictures, and quite a bit like big sister Makenna. However, as her Mama commented, for all that she is very much her own person. Mark and I made the trip to Demopolis late this morning. It is such a pretty drive to Demopolis from Birmingham. Doug was at the hospital when we got there, so we got to see him. Doug is celebrating No Shave November (see and celebrating it quite well. He has an impressive beard at this point and his children are going to have great fun pulling it!
Kelly is an amazing woman (I seem to say that quite a lot, but truth is truth!). For a woman who had been in the hospital for the better part of 10 days trying not to have a baby and then had gotten quite ill just before the baby came, not to mention someone who had just gone through child-birth, she looks terrific. Shoot, Kelly looks terrific for someone who had just come out of a beauty parlor, what am I saying?
Mia. Oh, Mia! She is the tiniest baby I have ever held at a mere 5 pounds and down around 8 or 10 ounces. Kelly indulged me and let me hold her most of the time that I was there. She opened her eyes and looked me over a couple of times. Uncle Mark decided not to hold her this time for fear of breaking her (silly Uncle Mark!). Here are one or two pictures and trust me, there will be more! Isn't she gorgeous?!

Today I am still thankful for Mia and for Jeff being safely home. I am also thankful that when Mark and I decide to go visit family we are able to just hop in the car and go. We can afford gas to get there, we have a reliable car that will get us there, we have the freedom to move about, and my body can handle it. Whew. That's a lot to be thankful for, isn't it?

Friday, November 21, 2008

We finally have a new baby! Miriam Rebekah arrived last evening and while she is tiny at not quite 6 pounds, she is safe and healthy. She and Kelly are both doing well. Moses is enjoying loving the baby and Makenna is apparently quite curious. What a relief to have her here! I am looking forward to meeting her soon and making her acquaintance.

In other news, our nephew Jeff (aka, Captain Mackinnon) is safely home. What a week! As I think about Jeff getting safely back home again and about Miriam's safe arrival into the world, I realize how little other "stuff" matters. We have a lot to rejoice over, it's just a matter of keeping our focus on what is important and not being distracted by unimportant peripheral stuff.

This picture is of Robert and Nancy's den window. One star for Jeff and one for Wyatt. They are both home and the banner comes down today. Praise God!

Today I am thankful for Mia and Jeff, of course!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I have a confession to make. Trust is rather difficult for me. I was thinking about an incident this morning and my thoughts took a different direction from usual and I wanted to share that today.

Suppose Mark and I had a critical decision to make. As a Christian family, Mark is unequivocally the head of our home. I give input and Mark considers it and we make decisions together, but in the end he casts the final vote. This means that I must trust Mark to love me as Christ loves the church. I must trust that he will carefully and prayerfully consider my input into these decisions. I must also trust that the final decision is one he has made in faith believing that this is God's best way for us. What if his final decision flies against my common sense and judgment? What if his decision contradicts sound advice from experts? May I then disagree with him and go my own way and make a decision contrary to his? If it were just a matter of trusting Mark, perhaps I could. But in our marriage, I am also called to trust God to lead Mark and direct him. Let's suppose Mark's decision goes against what I think and believe. We talk about it and I present my case but Mark chooses to do something else because that is what he believes God is asking him to do. If I then rebel against Mark, I am also rebelling against God. This rebellion is not only against God's plan for the situation, but also against God's plan for our family. This is a hot topic these days, partly because the concept of submission is abused by (hopefully) well-meaning Christian men, but also because our culture states that wives have just as much say and spiritual authority as husbands.
Let's go a little further. What if Mark makes a decision, we follow it as a family, and the outcome is bad. Perhaps there is a financial set-back. Perhaps someone is hurt emotionally or physically. Perhaps there is a spiritual wound resulting from the decision. What then? Do I sit him down "in love" and point out to him that if he had done things my way, we would all be better off? Do I instruct him on how to do things better in the future? Do I generously offer to remove this burden of authority from him so that he doesn't have to bear it any more? Do I offer to be a "co-authority" to give him a break? Not if I love him and trust him! (remember that love is not the way we feel about people but the way we treat them). Taking it further, not if I trust God to love me and care for me. Perhaps we needed to be shed of some financial burden. Perhaps the physical or emotional wound is necessary for God to show Himself. Perhaps the spiritual wound is there for God to heal. I am not saying that God desires bad things to happen to His children. However, our definition of "bad" may not be His definition of "bad"! I do know that God's intent is for a christian marriage to reflect Jesus' relationship with the church. Mark is to love me and care for me and do what is necessary for me and our family even when it is painful or difficult. I am to trust and respect him and lovingly follow him. I am to pray for him and encourage him to keep on his knees and keep seeking God's will for the family.

Today I am thankful for godly men who love their wives and work hard to discern God's will for their families!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I am moving oh so slowly this morning and that has got to stop as soon as I finish this post because after all, it is TUESDAY! I like Tuesdays. I have my piano lesson on Tuesdays. I have decided that 40-60 minutes of practice is not going to be enough so I am either going to have to start practicing twice a day or just double my time. I am enjoying this so much, though.
Yesterday I got to talk to my brother John. John is an amazing man. He is a PhD in geology and very, very smart. After he got his PhD he got a letter to his house one day addressed to Dr. John Reed. His oldest daughter had the privilege of collecting the mail that day with one of her friends helping her. The little friend was quite impressed when she saw that Mary Kate's Daddy was a DOCTOR! She commented on that and Mary Kate told her it was OK; he was just a rock doctor, not a people doctor. John will always be the Rock Doc in the family since that incident! John redeems the time better than anyone else I know. It doesn't matter that his body will not let him go to an office or do any kind of work. He lays in bed and writes books and articles about how a Christian should respond to scientific fallacy. He is not only a scientist but an apologist as well. I am not a scientist and not nearly as smart as John, but I can learn from his example that my time should be spent in doing what God has given me to do each day. Sitting and thinking up excuses for why I can not do what God has told me to do (and created me to do!) is a dreadful waste of time. We often hear preachers preaching about tithing income and some of them will even touch on tithing our time. Over the past 9 years, John has preached to me through the example of his life about tithing my energy and using it to bring glory and honor to God.

Today I am thankful for my family and the heritage of faith that I have. I encourage anyone who reads who does not have this kind of heritage to start one! You may not have had a Grandaddy and Granny like mine who prayed over their children and grandchildren and their spouses twice daily. You may not have had a Mama and Daddy like mine who do the same thing. But you can be that kind of Mama or Daddy or Granny or Grandaddy for your children and let that heritage start with you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A new week. Isn't it nice to sit back and wonder what is in store? No matter what is coming, my Heavenly Father is in charge of it all so as I wonder what is coming this week I can be confident that no matter what, it's all OK.

Last night Mark and Dan and I went to my brother's home and got to visit with them and with Doug and Kelly and their two children. Kelly got to leave the hospital Saturday but will have to stay in Birmingham until Friday or until the baby comes, whichever comes first. It was so much fun to get to visit with her and to play with Moses and Makenna. I love listening to Moses laugh! Please continue to pray with us that the baby will come at the right time and that this time would be soon.

Today I am thankful for so many things; for family, for new babies, for my computer and the internet access I have, for my blogging friends. I'm thankful that I am able to get up and clean my home, that Mark and Dan both have jobs, that we have food to eat this list is endless!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Waiting. Isn't it hard to be patient? Not always. Last night we got the call that our dear niece Kelly had gone into labor. Kelly is not due until December 22, so this is a prayerful situation. Today the ultrasound showed that the baby seems to be further along than was thought, and Kelly has been given steroid injections to help the baby's lungs develop, but we are all praying. There is a silver lining to this cloud; Kelly and Doug are here in B'ham so I get to see them! I'll even get to visit my newest baby in the hospital. But we are asking anyone who happens to read this to pray with us for Kelly and the baby, for Doug, for Moses and Makenna who are back home with their grandparents (and for their grandparents!). Please pray that the baby will not get here until the right time. So you see, this time it is a little easier to be patient.

Today I am most thankful for good doctors and nurses taking care of our family, and for the knowledge that God is taking care of this little one and Kelly.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

After a busy few days Thursday and Friday and some running around on Saturday and church on Sunday, I crashed yesterday! I don't think I did much of anything productive all day....except cook supper for Marvelous Mark. It was good to rest and catch my breath; now I can jump back in and get busy.
Today was piano day again, and once again I had a wonderful lesson. I told my teacher before we started that this was the day when she would find out if she had over-estimated my ability. Last week she pointed out that I was playing Bach as if he were a romantic composer rather than baroque and showed me what I needed to do to fix that. It was funny how difficult that turned out to be; however, all is well! Today she was pleased with what I had worked on, so I am VERY happy myself. I'm even happier after she gave me my assignment for the week; TWO Chopin preludes!!
I'm sure my neighbors are equally happy that I will be varying my playing a little.

Tonight Nancy and I are going to a tea seminar at Miss Rosemarie's Tea Room. Tonight's talk is how to have a Christmas tea. Given that my last time Christmas tea was less than spectacular, this should be educational as well as fun.

Today I was thinking about the fact that it's veteran's day and realized that my family has had either a blood relative or someone quite near and dear to us in each major war since WWI. My Grandaddy Reed served in WWI until the flu side-lined him. My uncle Robert and Grandpa Clark served in WWII. Mark's father and our dear Mr. Ralph Jackson served in Korea. Mark's cousin Larry and Curt Wuestenburg served in Vietnam. Larry came home. Our pastor and many other we knew served in the first Iraq conflict, and now we have two nephews serving in Iraq. Welcome Home, Wyatt and Hurry Home, Jeff!! Thank you, Lord, for those who are willing to serve our country in this way!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Today is a big day here in the 'Ham. The Christmas Village is here and Nancy and Melanie and I are all going. This is a BIG arts and crafts fair downtown and a BIG arena. I got to go to the spring fair earlier this year with Nancy and did not dream that I would be here for the Christmas one this month. I like shopping with Nancy and Melanie and I like getting ideas of things I could do. I'll try to remember to take the camera so you can see how huge this thing is.
Mark got home safely last night. YAY!!! It is so nice to have him home again. It's nice to see his handsome face sitting over there on the couch while I am typing this. I did find a wonderful husband.

Today I am thankful for my wonderful husband and son, of course!

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's going to be a busy day today as I get ready for Mark to come home. Yipeeeeee!!! He's been in North Carolina for 2 weeks of training and I sure will be glad to have him back this evening. I've got to get busy finishing up housework and then I can sit around this afternoon and craft. Today I'm going to paint a certain rocking chair for certain extra-special little ones. Then its back to stitching Christmas cards. I did have to make an early morning run to WalMart to get some thread and tape so I could stitch today. The WalMarts here in our part of Alabama (we have two within about 5 miles of us) both have a craft section, something that was eliminated from all the WalMarts in the Augusta, GA area. I rushed out around 6:30 this morning so I could get back in time to fix Dan's breakfast and let him have the car for work.
If you live in the Birmingham area you might want to be sure to pick up a copy of the paper this morning and turn to the sports section to read an interview with Blake Burgess. Blake was asked about how his baby brother's death had affected him. God's grace is reflected quite well in Blake's answer. If you can't get a paper, go to where Blake's Dad has put a copy of it on the website. As the holidays approach, continue to hold up in prayer the Burgess family and others who have lost a loved one this year. You never really "get over" a death but the first year of celebrating holidays are certainly difficult.

Today I am thankful for God's grace to get us through any situation, even the ones that feel like they just can't be gotten through.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I have a question this afternoon. Is it better to be wrong but be blissfully ignorant that you are wrong, or is it better to know you are wrong and have to work your tail off to correct the problem? After spending 40 minutes on the piano bench, my neighbors are probably voting that it is better to be blissfully ignorant...that doesn't sound as bad as going back and re-teaching the fingers to do it right. Sigh! This is what I get for drilling in to Dan that anything worth doing is worth doing well. If Bach seems to be frowning in the picture it definitely at my playing :}
I really like my piano teacher! What a nice lady. I think the two of us are going to communicate quite well together. I just hope she doesn't over-estimate my ability. I'm looking forward to working with her and I'm sure the boys and the neighbors are looking forward to an expanded repertoire.
Yesterday was a busy day. I got my ironing done and even (maybe) finally finished the battle with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. That means (maybe) I can finally get an Alabama driver's license. I have been fighting this battle for several weeks now. It seems that the state of South Carolina suspended my driver's license 5 months after I moved from South Carolina to Georgia and got a Georgia driver's license. The reason? We had to change our car insurance from the South Carolina state-approved policy with the state-approved company to the Georgia state-approved policy with the (more economical) Georgia state-approved company. Then we had the audacity to NOT register our cars in South Carolina anymore! Apparently we were either supposed to get their permission to move, or continue to register our cars in South Carolina and Georgia simultaneously. Go figure! It has been interesting going through this process, because I keep remembering a Bible study lesson that I taught about showing grace to the world around us and using DMV as one of my examples. I remember telling the ladies that when the Apostle Paul wrote these words he did not know about the DMV....but he had met the Roman authorities! I'm pretty sure it was Ephesians 4, although it might have been Titus 3. Wow, I have wished my memory were a little more lacking throughout this process because I have not been a great example of peace and grace through all of this at all times.

Today I am thankful that Dan found a job and is able to go to work!

Ephesians 4:1-3 (NIV)
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Titus 3:1-8 (NIV)
1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

and finally (in conviction)
Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It is finally going to happen. The moment I have been waiting for is almost here. Today I get to go to my piano lesson! I am so excited about this. I'm thankful I have had some exercises to be working on while I wait; that has been fun (for me; I don't know how my neighbors feel about it!). Early this morning I also got to go up to the Rick And Bubba Studio and sit outside the window holding up silly signs. What fun!
Yesterday my blogging friend Ashley was blogging about a new nail polish she had found. I decided that the color she was describing was just what I have been trying to find. You can read about it here:
Here is the story about my trying to get a bottle of the polish.

I went to Target to get some nail polish this evening. Got there and realized I didn't have the nice little piece of paper where I had written the nail color. So I called my sister on my cell and got the name from her. I had several items to get and when I got to the register the young man confided in me that this is his first day solo on the cash register. Unfortunately the cash register did not like my grapes but we finally got through that. Dan (my son) and I made our way to the car and he was unloading everything from the cart for me. We were almost through when he pointed to the seat of the cart and said, "Did you pay for that, Mom?" pointing to the nail polish. We looked at the receipt and OH MY GOODNESS, I'M A THIEF!!!!! So I rushed back inside to find someone to pay while Dan finished loading the rest of the hot that had been paid for. The young girl at the cash register couldn't believe I came back to pay. I couldn't believe that 1. I forgot to take it out of the cart so I could pay for it and 2. The security system at the door didn't catch it. Yikes
So there you have it; confession is good for the soul. Now go vote!

Today's Thankful Thought:
Today I am thankful for the many men and women who are willing to lay down their lives, if necessary, to protect my freedom. May God bless our military and all those who serve us in law enforcement! Be sure to thank each of them you see today.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Yesterday Dan and I went to a new area in our new home-town. I know where we ended, I had directions, so I know how we got there, but I really have no idea where all we went in the process. It was such a pretty trip, though. Unfortunately, we could not stop along the narrow, winding road for me to take pictures, but they would have been gorgeous. This part of Alabama has some of the prettiest places to drive and enjoy fall colors. We ended at the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church. I know it seems an odd place for a couple of conservative Presbyterians to be on November 2 (reformation Sunday), but there was a purpose to the whole trip. Yesterday Saint Nicholas had their annual food festival. They open up the parish hall for a meal for the community and have a little gift shop, a bakery and LOTS of folks from the area who come in to enjoy the fellowship. The bishop was even there in full robes, hat and everything! My purpose was to try and find someone who was familiar with the art of pysanky who might be willing to teach me how to do it. I think I was successful; the lady in the gift shop took my name and number to pass along to the lady who does this, so we'll see what happens. I'm going to buy a map today, so that I can figure out where we were. I love maps and looking at my routes and trips on maps. Somehow the computer is just not quite the same as looking at the trip on paper.
I have decided that today I have got to stop being quite so lazy and get busy with some projects that need to be completed. I tend to get impatient with people (OK, with Dan) when they don't use their time wisely but I realized over the weekend that I am just not being a very good steward of my time and energy myself. Painful realization!
My friend Ashley over at is encouraging folks to take time this month to list what we are thankful for. Today as we head into the election tomorrow I am thankful that my hope is NOT in the political process. Whatever happens tomorrow is important but even more important is the realization that God is in control and my hope is in Him.

Friday, October 31, 2008

(The image is from an 1883 German Bible and posted on the web site belonging to Engines of Ingenuity.)

All Saint's Day

In honor of Martin Luther, I thought you might get a kick today out of the Reformation Polka. This is one of my all-time favorite songs and gives an excellent history lesson in the humor of it.
The Reformation Polka

by Richard Gebel
(sung to the tune of "Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious")

When I was just ein junger Mann I studied canon law;
While Erfurt was a challenge, it was just to please my Pa.
Then came the storm, the lightning struck, I called upon Saint Anne,
I shaved my head, I took my vows, an Augustinian! Oh ...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

When Tetzel came near Wittenberg, St. Peter's profits soared,
I wrote a little notice for the All Saints' Bull'tin board:
"You cannot purchase merits, for we're justified by grace!
Here's 95 more reasons, Broher Tetzel, in your face!" Oh ...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

They loved my tracts, adored my wit, all were exempleror;
The Pope, however, hauled me up before the Emperor.
"Are these your books? Do you recant?" King Charles did demand,
"I will not change me Diet, Sir, God help me here I stand" Oh ...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Duke Frederick took the Wise approach, responding to my words,
By knighting "George" as hostage in the Kingdom of the Birds.
Use Brother Martin's model if the languages you seek,
Stay locked inside a castle with your Hebrew and your Greek! Oh...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Let's raise our steins and Concord Books while gathered in this place,
And spread the word that "catholic" is spelled with lower case;
The Word remains unfettered when the Spirit gets his chance,
So come on, Katy, drop your lute, and join us in our dance! Oh ...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today was quite a busy day. This morning Dan took me to my sister's home so that she could teach me how to make tassels. I'll try to get a picture posted tomorrow of what the one I made looks like; I might even include a picture of the blister I earned from the hot-glue gun. Did you know that they are called that because the glue is hot when it comes out of them?! So do I, now. Some of us are slow learners!
However, I have been telling you that I would finish posting the pictures of our home, so here are the last few. I included one more picture of the view from the balcony because the morning sun light was so pretty the other day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I confess; I am sleeping in this week! We are not having to get up quite so early to get Mark off to work, so I am sleeping until 7:30 or 8 and marveling at the fact that after a month, this is now sleeping-in for me! (of course, being in Central Time Zone from Eastern Time Zone makes it even more of a treat)
Last night Dan and I attended a dinner with my brother Robert and his wife. We had a great time and got to hear from a young man who is getting ready to immigrate to Israel with his wife. They will be starting a center to assist Messianic Jews in Israel with medical needs, legal needs and just general daily needs these fellow believers have. It was interesting to learn about the status of Messianic Jews in Israel. They have such a difficult time and are hated and attacked by both jews and muslims. As you think of it today, pray for these family members.
Yesterday was a little disappointing. I was supposed to start piano lessons yesterday but got a call from the teacher in the morning to cancel as she is ill this week. I can certainly sympathize with that, but I am eagerly waiting for next week to get here so I can start. I'm just glad she gave me some things to work on before we get started so I can at least be getting some kind of practice time in!
Keep Mark in your prayers today; he has a lower respiratory infection and is not feeling well at all.
Here are a few more pictures of the apartment. I'll try to include some of the more interesting ones today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I am behind in posting this but here I am again! It's going to take me a few days to post all the pictures of our little apartment. This is being an interesting adventure for all three of us (five if you include our kitties....who still think there might be monsters upstairs every time our neighbors walk around). When we decided to move to Birmingham we had a very brief time to find a place to live. That is how we spent Labor Day weekend. Did you know that apartment offices are closed on Labor Day? Did you know that a lot of people in Birmingham go out of town over Labor Day? So it was challenging to find houses for rent and be able to locate the owners in that brief time-frame. We had been living in a beautiful large house in Evans, with a wonderful land-lord (think brother-in-law). In so many ways it was my dream home and had so many features I had wished I could have for a long time. But there was one down-side; it took a lot of time and energy to keep clean. Unfortunately, it took more energy than I often had. I also sometimes felt guilty about having so much unused living space there. Mark and I would talk about scaling back in our living style, but in Evans we would not have saved any money by going smaller and we were tired of moving. So when we started thinking about moving to Birmingham, we started talking about scaling back, getting rid of "stuff" and utilizing smaller space. There are moments when I think we are nuts for trying this! There are times when we are walking through the apartment and one person going in one direction has to step into another room to allow another person going the opposite direction to pass, especially since the hall is part hall, part bookshelf (we got rid of some books, but that is one thing I refuse to downsize very much!). On the other hand, I can clean, vacuum, sweep, scrub the entire place in about 2 hours (mopping adds another 20 minutes to that, but that's because I'm a hands-and-knees-mopping kind of girl ;>)
Today's pictures are of our hallway with all the books in it. You are looking from our bedroom and as you look down the hall the kitchen is on the left and Dan's room on the right. At the end of the hall if you hang a right you will be in the living room. Tomorrow I'll show you some more. I love you, Noah!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Being Dead Is No Excuse" At least, that is the title of the book my mother gave me a few years ago. The subtitle is, "The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral". After I recovered from seeing this title when I opened the package, and realized that no, Mom wasn't trying to gently tell me about the outcome of a trip to the doctor, I found that it is a funny book about southern ladies and how we do things, particularly funerals. It understands and explains southern ladies better and more humorously than any other book I've read about us. Today I found the sequel, "Somebody Is Going To Die If Lilly Beth Doesn't Catch That Bouquet: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting The Perfect Wedding". I bought it today while waiting for the girls to arrive for tea at Miss Rosemaries. I was early and they were a little late, which gave me the opportunity to sit outside, read and laugh out loud so hard that the construction guys next door were beginning to get a little concerned! It has short chapters, but you will laugh hard enough (if you are a southern lady) that people around you will begin gathering their things to make a quick retreat.

And if you want to read a blog from a southern lady who is busily trying to raise two boys and one husband while giving affordable beauty tips to other southern ladies, check out this one:

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A day at the zoo with Nancy, Kristi, Kelly, Moses and Makenna. What a fabulous day! Kelly came over Thursday morning with Moses and Makenna and we all had breakfast together. We played with some Thomas the Tank Engine toys from Auntie 'Ginia's Moses and Makenna Box and then it was time to go get Aunt Kristy and head to the zoo. We saw so many things there; it is a very good zoo! I even went so far as to purchase a membership so that any time Kelly comes with the children (or anyone else, hint hint!) we can go enjoy a day at the zoo.
I have had an interesting time trying to get these here; hopefully this time they will come through!

Monday, September 29, 2008

As I would say to my dear friend, Tori, "Oh my stars and whiskers, has it really been that long since I have blogged?!" So much has happened since I last posted it is hard to know where to begin. Hmm. Dan home from school in early May (yipee!!), Vacation Bible School in June, a 21st wedding anniversary in July, and then came August. Let's see if I can map this out for you:

August 22 Mark goes to Birmingham for a job interview.

August 25 Mark gets a call with a job offer.

August 26 Mark turns in notice at Pitney.

August 27-28 We begin getting ready for a yard sale.

August 29 We travel to Birmingham en famille to look for a new home.

August 31 We find an apartment!

September 1 Travel back to Augusta to finish getting ready for a yard sale.

September 3 Dan and I have an unexpected trip to New York City via Amtrak.

September 5 Dan and I leave New York 1 hour before Amtrak closes all further rail service south from NYC due to Hurricane Hanna.

September 6 Dan and I arrive home as the first yard sale buyers arrives in the driveway....6 hours of sleep since the morning of the big deal!

September 7 Last day at Grace.

September 8-9 Packing and Mark's last days at Pitney.

September 10 Leave for Birmingham via the Atlanta Ikea store to buy a bed. First night in our new home.

September 11 Mark leaves for Tres Dias weekend here in the 'Ham, Dan and I hang out.

September 15 Up early and back to Augusta for a marathon packing session.

September 17 Mark arrives with the moving van, the piano movers come to load the piano, the truck gets loaded. And loaded. And loaded. Virginia does as much cleaning as she can at the old home.

September 18 After goodbyes to all the family, off we go to Birmingham with a full truck, a full car, and 2 VERY unhappy kitties. Don't ask about the truck stop and Baby Boo (the cat), just know that we do still have her and despite her best efforts, she was not injured. Arrive in Birmingham minutes before brother Robert shows up with 5 of his crew to help us unload; they are all heroes in my book!

September 19 The truck in almost all unloaded, a space has been cleared out in the living room and the piano man arrives to unload the piano and set it up for us. After he leaves and I look around at the boxes piled high and very little space to move throughout the apartment, I am close to a little melt down. Mark and Dan to the rescue! By bed time significant progress has been made. And we have realized that a lot of "stuff" we thought we needed, we really don't need after all.

September 22 After a weekend of intensive unpacking, Mark starts his new job and comes home happy!

So Mark has had a week and a day of the new job and I have had about 2 weeks of living in the new home. Apartment living is different. The cats are trying to get used to the noise of the upstairs neighbors (who have a yippy little dog). It's not bad at all, but we do hear them walking around sometimes. We never hear voices or television, or anything and in general all our neighbors seem pretty quiet. I'm happy with the set up, the pool is still open and will be as long as it stays this warm (Yay!). We are finding fun places to go and things to do and most importantly, I found the Hoover Library and got (drum-roll please) my very own library card. The essentials are accomplished!
I'll try to get some pictures of the apartment, the area, etc. as soon as I can. Don't tell Nana Liz, but I have BIG plans for Thursday. Does anyone else love the zoo as much as Moses and I do?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

What a blessing K church was today! As I prepared, I realized that I needed to focus on just telling the story. No editorializing, or attempting to manipulate the story to fit any particular agenda (good or bad), just tell the story so that the little ones could learn the story. As I concluded I mentioned how important it is that we tell people about Jesus and help them understand that God loves us. After I told the story, one little girl approached me and reminded me that she is going to Disney World this week. She told me that she is going to tell Goofy that God loves him! She plans on telling other boys and girls who are waiting in line with her that God loves them, too, but her primary focus is on making sure that Goofy knows that God loves him! Knowing this particular young lady, she will NOT be deterred from this task. Someone who lives in the Orland area and works at Disney is being prepared for a Divine appointment later on this week. Pray that ears and hearts will be opened and prepared for a VERY important message!
"I love You Lord, my strength" Psalm 18:1

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Tomorrow is the story of Philip and the Ethiopian. It is so easy for me to get caught up in elements of a story for my little ones and forget the main point! On this occasion, the points being emphasized in the story are: God made me, God loves me, and Jesus wants to be my forever friend. I'll file a report after I recover from the day!

Meantime, I am working on my new project. I got started on Thursday and am still working on the first figure. They are always more complicated than one thinks with Mary Englebreit; she has so many shadings and variations in her figures. But it is worth following the pattern because it tends to look fantastic when you do. This will be a Christmas Card caddy. I'm posting the picture, but it will take two pieces of fabric which will be sewn together. I'm working on the smaller piece of fabric right now, which has more stitching on it (go figure!). The checks on the little snowsuit have made me batty, but using the computer helps. I scan each page into the computer as an image. I save it as a shared file so that I can access it from any of our computers. Then I open it on my laptop and save it as an individual file (that means I still have the clean copy). Then on the individual file, I use the highlighter tool and highlight each stitch (or row of stitches) as I do them. Having these files on the computer also lets me enlarge to image as I am working on it, so that is a lot easier on the eyes. Is this WAAAAAAY more info than you were really interested in?!

Tomorrow is Sunday. Pray that my story will be clear and that God will speak through me to these precious ones. Pray for your pastor, that he will faithfully proclaim the Word of God and speak God's words, not his own. Pray for pastors around the world, for the church that we will be faithful to our call. Pray that we will not loose our saltiness and be worse than worthless. Pray that we will be instruments of common grace to the world around us. Be bold in obeying the mandate, no matter the cost.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Happy Birthday, Queen Vickie!

Vickie is the Queen of the Rick and Bubba Army; the one who keeps us all together AND the one who confers the royal titles. So join me in wishing her a VERY happy birthday.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I have been rather busy the past few weeks, finishing a Christmas gift for two absolutely precious little ones, and reading a fantastic book. What's really amazing about that book is that it is not fiction! I don't usually read serious stuff; I read for fun. But I was asked to read a new book entitled, "Rocks Aren't Clocks". The author, Dr. John Reed, is one of my top five heroes (along with Mark Akin, Dr. Gordon Reed, Robert Reed, and Dan Akin.....NOT in any particular order). This is a book explaining why the current geologic time models are philosophy (flawed, at that) and not science. The amazing thing is that I understand it! I told John that he can now put a blurb on the book that says, "Even my little sister understands it!"

The stitching has been fun and I am so excited that I have finished another project. I'll start the next one the end of the week (I'm going to give my shoulders a break for a few days!), but here are pictures of what I have finished. This will be the seat of a child-sized rocking chair. If I can find a little wooden rocker to paint and stencil, than I will afix this to the seat of that. Otherwise I will make a little seat cushion for my sweet babies to put on their own rocker at Christmas time.
Do I celebrate Christmas all year? No, but I do celebrate Advent. Remember that Advent means, "Coming". I am celebrating the fact that Christmas is coming around again, but even more importantly, Jesus is coming back again. Maranatha. Until He comes.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Ides of March. For a cute look at the definition, check out this link: (Sorry; you'll have to cut and paste; I can't get the hyperlink to work!)

It is also Palm Sunday. Some of you may remember from your childhood the excitement of getting to march into "Big Church" with your Sunday School class singing, "Hosanna, Hosannah, the Little Children Sang". That was always such a big moment for me. Carrying those palm branches and waving them around and knowing that on that Sunday ages ago, the children were an important part of praising Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. I always figured the children remained true to Jesus and it was the grownups who messed up so badly later in the week; nothing like a little childhood arrogance and self-righteousness!

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I THINK I am finally over the crud and the fatigue and pain from traveling. I hope! I keep trying to start another sore throat and cough, but so far, so good. This past weekend was a special one. Mark's birthday was on Sunday and we had a wonderful weekend together. It is a little different being just two of us, rather than all three of us, but we had a good time. Sunday was my day to tell the story for K church; I love getting to do that! The story was Zacchaeus, and I had to keep reminding myself to stick with the essentials. It is so easy for me to diverge into some interesting points on these, but 3, 4, and 5 year olds need the essentials....the depths can be plumbed after they grasp the essentials. The focus was on the fact that Jesus loves us, even when we are naughty (a tax-collector...what better illustration of being naughty!). After church, we went to lunch with some friends who also work in K church. Understand, Sunday was Mark's birthday and he has always been more comfortable with college-aged kids than little bitties. So we are at lunch at Zaxby's and wound up sitting at a table with 5 children aged 1 1/2, almost 3, 5, 7 and 8 and had a blast! That evening we went to Westminster Presbyterian to attend the ordination of Rev. David Sanders. That was a very, very special time! Rhett Sr. and Virginia were there along with daughters Martha and Virginia. Rhett Jr. was there, and did one of the charges and Paul and Suzanne were there with all of their children. I got to put Mary Grace on my lap and ride her around. Mary Grace, who is 6 now, was the first person to ever ride in my lap in my wheelchair and she and I both enjoyed the time to do this. I'm including some pictures below.

Today I am working on my very first pysanky eggs and should have them finished up this afternoon. I'll write more about that and post some pictures of them this evening.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I admit it; I'm sick. Mark is too and, unfortunately, so is Dan. I gave in and am taking an antibiotic (Mark is too), and I'll be thankful when I can sleep through the night without coughing. Dan apparently has the flu. So he'll go to the infirmary for sick call in the morning and hopefully will get something to knock this out. Blah!

We are praying that we all recover quickly and that Dan can move along with his studies and Mark can get to Tres Dias this week. I'm hoping that I can go and spend time with Nancy while Mark and Robert are at the conference.

In the meantime I have been stitching. On Friday I was so miserable that all I did was sit in my chair, play silly computer games, listen to stuff on the 'net and watch TV. But yesterday I got two small figures done and today I got one of the larger ones done, so Moses and Makenna's Christmas is moving right along. I'd love to get this finished up in the next week or so and start another project in March. I think I know what I am going to do next, but I may change my mind (I am a woman, after all!). Below are some pictures of what I have accomplished and I will say that I probably won't do a whole lot more stitching on black fabric. The ladies in my Christmas Cross stitch group shared some great ideas for back-illumination that helps make the holes in the fabric more visible, and stitching on black fabric is rather striking, but it shows every piece of lint and cat hair in the room!

Have a good week and keep the three of us in your prayers.

From Psalm 84:

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Monday, February 18, 2008

When Dan was seven, we moved from Warner Robins, GA to Chattanooga, TN. It was the first time Dan ever moved and it was a difficult transition. One of the hardest things for him was going to a new doctor. Dr. Ves had known and prayed for Dan since before he was born and Dan knew and loved both Dr. Ves and his wife, Mrs. Margaret. After consulting with the doctor I worked for, I chose an older woman who was fairly well-known and very well-loved in the Chattanooga area. The first time we went in to meet her, Dan was introduced to the receptionists, the nurses, he was shown around the office, and we finally met Dr. Susan. Dr. Susan is rather plain-spoken and no-nonsense, but she loves her patients and they know that. She put Dan up on the exam table, came and sat on the table beside him, put her arm around him and explained that there would probably be times when he would have to come in to her office and she would have to do something that would hurt. She promised him that any time that happened, she would sit with him just as she was right then and before anything happened she would whisper in his ear, "This is the time to trust. This is the time to trust." That has stayed with me for many years. Every time something happens that is uncomfortable or unhappy, I remember that lesson from Dr. Susan and I can feel the Spirit putting His arm around me and whispering in my ear, "This is the time to trust. This is the time to trust."
That being said, I'm sick. Blah!! Worse, I won't be able to go see Jennie this week. Triple-Blah!! So pray for me while I am sick, pray for Jennie, and pray that we would be able to get together soon. And thank you, Dr. Susan!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mark and I have often talked about how our society is so prone to wearing masks. We like to pretend that all is well and we have everything together all the time; our life has no problems, our families and our finances and our spiritual life are always in perfect order. I think that this is particularly true here in the south (although I may be mistaken; it may be just as prevalent in other areas of the country). We want everyone to think the best of us, from our families, to our employers or employees, and particularly the people we go to church with. I believe that this is a form of arrogance and self-idolatry. If I am capable of providing such a perfect life for myself and my family, I do not need God to do anything for me except to sit back, watch, and smile over what a good job I am doing. This is a very dangerous trap. Once I step into this vortex, escape is almost impossible. The longer I go pretending that everything is fine and that I have everything together, the worse things get and the more difficult it is to finally admit that I desperately need God to take control. Self-sufficiency has long been one of the most admirable traits in our country. We talk about the pioneer spirit and pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. So we try to hide our inadequacies, first from others, then from God, and finally from ourselves. We live a lie and we live in fear that someone will find out that our life is a lie. Worse, we get to a point where we have ourselves fooled (our Sunday School teacher, Kyle Howell, says that the 11th Commandment is, "Thou shalt not kid thyself"!).

This week I read the novel When Joy Came to Stay by Karen Kingsbury. This is the first of her books that I have read. I find that a lot of Christian fiction is poorly written and boringly predictable. You know the outcome of the story and can even predict much of the dialogue before you finish the first chapter. This book was different and it dealt with the topic of lying about mistakes. In this case, the character who was lying had such overwhelming fall-out from her lies that she wound up in a psychiatric hospital. Mrs. Kingsbury demonstrates through her characters how once we begin listening to the lie that we are "fine", it becomes more and more difficult to listen to the Spirit of God telling us that we need Him. I wish that I could purchase about 1000 copies of this book and start handing them out to everyone I meet. Instead, I will be content to simply recommend that you visit your local library and borrow it for yourself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

(No, I can't claim this picture!)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Did you know that God can answer prayer with a broken tooth?!
Last week I talked to my bff in Chattanooga, Jennie. Jennie and I have not visited in person for over a year and I miss her very much. Mark and I were talking about going to visit her on our way home from Birmingham the end of the month so that Jennie and I could visit. I talked to Jennie last week and her schedule meant that we would have to visit her on the way to B'ham, on Wednesday. We were both very excited about it. When Mark got home, I talked with him about this and it turned out that we could not visit on the way over because he did not have that Wednesday off. I was VERY disappointed. Over the weekend, I found out that my Dad is taking my brother to Nashville next week and I began to wonder if I could maybe hitch a ride with them as far as Chattanooga and visit with Jennie while Dad and John went on to Nashville to see a doctor. Mark and I talked about it and Mark gave his stamp of approval to the idea. Unfortunately, Dad and I kept leaving messages for each other but could not seem to connect.
On Tuesday, Mark and I went to see the dentist (the wonderful Dr. Mike). I was fully expecting everything to be fine and was even rather smug about it. After my teeth were cleaned, Dr. Mike came in for his inspection, started poking around at a tooth that looked a little suspicious to him, and wound up putting the probe right through a back molar. Ouch! I left with an appointment for next Wednesday to have this fixed. On the way home I stopped at Dad's church to see him and talk about going to Nashville. Turns out the trip was scheduled for next Wednesday, the day I'm scheduled to have my tooth fixed. I was in quite a dilemma! I hate to reschedule appointments, because I know how hard that is on the staff at the office. So I started praying and asked the Lord to figure this one out for me. On Wednesday morning, I took a bite of something and the tooth cracked and chipped from top to bottom. Ouch!! I called Dr. Mike's office, and got an appointment scheduled for the next day. So yesterday, I went to Dr. Mike's office, had two shots of novocaine (ouch!!!), and got the tooth fixed without needing a crown. AND, I don't have an appointment next Wednesday and can go see Jennie!!!! Yipee!!!!
So sometimes God answers prayer with a broken tooth.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Here is my quote for the day before I turn in for the night. This is my favorite Narnia quote, from The Horse and His Boy. The scene is where Shasta has just done a very difficult, dangerous task and is utterly spent from the work. Rather than being praised and rewarded with a much needed rest, he is given another more difficult task to do.

Shasta's heart fainted at these words for he felt he had no strength left. And he writhed inside at what seemed the cruelty and unfairness of the demand. He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward is usually to be set to do another and harder and better one.

We are not promised rest and refreshment here on earth. We are to be thankful for those times when they do come (and for most of us there are those restful moments), but we are to labor on, focusing on Jesus and obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit as we do the work God calls us to do, regardless of the cost.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The reindeer is really, truly, completely (except for framing) finished!! I am so happy! I did run into some problems with the rocking chair cushion this week, though. I realized that I had made a significant counting mistake in the first figure (why does it always take so long to figure that out???). Then in the process of correcting it, I realized that the fabric I am using is 21" x 21" instead of 24"x24". Three inches can be quite a problem, unless the designer of the pattern was overly generous in her estimate of how much material is required. Turns out that Mary Englebreit apparently was overly generous (whew!). So now I can correct the problem and move along.
Here is a picture of the pattern I am working on and a final picture of the reindeer.

We are having a regular, nothing special Saturday and that is so nice! I have felt well enough to be able to do a bit of the housework, Mark is home and piddling (one of his favorite past-times), and it is warm enough to have the door open from the bedroom to the porch.
Tomorrow's story in K church is about the feeding of the five thousand, so I'm going to make a mural and put as many people on it as I can. I'm looking forward to my story time. I love my little ones and enjoy Sundays with them so much! We are blessed to have a fantastic K church team at Grace Baptist. Between Sergeant Tracy and Miss Misty, Gabby the Gardener, Texas Tina, Miss Fancy Shoes, Aunt Polki-Dot, Miss Debbi (known to the rest of us as The Boss!), and Miss Pockets, not to mention all the other wonderful folks who regularly give their time and energy to these little ones, we have a great time on Sunday mornings!
Remember to pray for the folks who were injured in the explosion in Savannah, GA this weekend. The burn unit here in Augusta has accepted 20 of these people and most of them are in critical condition with full-thickness burns. Pray for the patients, their families, and the medical workers who are taking care of them. Pray for the churches here in Augusta, that we will take this opportunity to minister to these folks!

Monday, January 28, 2008

First of all, if anyone wants to download the message that Rick Burgess had at his son's memorial, Rick has asked that anyone anywhere feel free to download, copy and distribute as many copies as possible. This is not his message, it is God's message and it is the hope of the Burgess family that as many people as possible hear this and that the Spirit of God would open as many hearts as possible to hear this.

I have finished as much of the reindeer as I can at this time! Yay!! I am waiting for a few more beads and charms to get to me through the mail, hoping that they get here tomorrow and I will put the finishing touches on it. Here are a couple of pictures:

So I have started the next project. This one is for Moses David and Makenna Grace McNutt (they can sort it out when they are grown up and start having children!). Since they are too young to be reading, I can go ahead and post all the info! This is another Mary Englebreit but should be a bit less intense than the reindeer. It will be a cover for the rocking chair that their Mama, our dear Kelly, has had since she was a little girl. It is supposed to be stitched over black 28 count Jobelan linen. I bought the linen and my friend Susan went ahead and serged it for me, and I started stitching yesterday. After about 10 stitches....on black 28 count linen....I had a raging headache. So I have decided to use 14 count Aida and stitch over one instead of two. And my head is much better today! Tomorrow I will post a picture of what the final design should look like and might even have a enough finished to take a picture of the work in progress.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I am trying to make a link to the message Rick Burgess gave on Tuesday, January 22 at the memorial for his son, Bronner. Hopefully this will work!
I would encourage anyone who might read this to go to the website, and listen to the message God gave through Rick at Bronner's memorial service on Tuesday. When we can step aside and let God speak through us, great things can be done.
Please lift up a young man, Joshua, who is dealing with a lot of problems. Joshua is a teenager whose mother is suffering a life-threatening illness. He has two younger siblings and his father has to be on the road most days with work. The family knows the Lord Jesus and trusts in Him to take care of their needs. The mother is at peace with whatever God brings her to. But Josh is having a very hard time right now.
Finally, here are a few pictures of the snow we had last Wednesday. What a surprise! Within 5 minutes of taking these pictures it was completely gone, but it sure was pretty coming down!

Delight yourself in the LORD and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm re-reading Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. This time, I'll read for a while, then watch some of the movie, then read some more. Tolkein is so quotable! This one struck me today. It is where Frodo and Sam are in the valley of Mordor on the last stage of their quest to destroy the ring. Sam is watching while Frodo sleeps, and sees high above them a star.

"The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master's, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo's side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep"
Just a couple of thoughts today as I continue to think about and pray for Rick and Sherri. First, I keep hearing people talk about how strong Rick is, and I fear that some folks may let down their prayer guard on Rick and Sherri (and the rest of the family)'s behalf. When Satan attacks, he tries so hard to open a door of opportunity for future attacks. As Rick and Sherri's spiritual family, we have a responsibility to help slam that door shut on Satan's face through our prayers. I realize that because there are a lot of things I don't do anymore (and I am struggling physically this week as a result of having taken too much upon myself and trying to do some things that I know I am not supposed to do!), I have a lot more time to devote to prayer. But all God's children are called to intercessory prayer! It is one of our most important tasks, and it is a privilege and an honor to take part in God's work in this way.
Secondly, as I am listening to Bubba and Speedy on air this morning, they are talking with James Spann and Scott Dawson. These are mighty men of God who work hard to speak God's Truth at every opportunity. Scott Dawson made the most wonderful statement to a woman who called in to talk about grief and dealing with loss (she had lost a 2 year old nephew). He said that as Christians, we are called to respond to these things not by saying, "What if?", but by saying, "Now then." I love that!
Pray hard. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Monday, January 21, 2008

On Sunday morning, Mark and I received the word of the death of William Bronner Burgess. It was a gut-punch! Mark and I immediately prayed for Rick and Sherri, their children, and the rest of the members of the Rick and Bubba show. We sat in dismay, just trying to absorb the shock. Then we went to church. When we arrived, we received our bulletin and the following was this week's Pastor's letter from Pastor Bill. This was written on Thursday morning but because of Bill's obedience to the Spirit, was a huge help on Sunday morning! I have received his permission to reprint this here and I hope that it will be a help and encouragement and blessing to many others, whether you are mourning Bronner's death, or dealing with some other obstacle in your life.

Dear Grace Family and Friends,
I trust that you "cold weather buffs" enjoyed the snow Wednesday night! I'll confess that it was beautiful even though I'm glad it didn't hang around. When the temperature goes below 40, I just want to hibernate and wait for spring. Doing so, however, steals the potential joy that comes from making each day count for "the cause of Christ". So, like it or not, I bundle up and press on even in the cold. There's a great spiritual lesson to be learned from the weather. Each of us faces similarly unpleasant circumstances at times. It might be related to our family or our finances; it might be the result of our health or our hobbies; it might involve our friends or foes. Most people find "conflict" so entirely distasteful we'll go to any lengths to avoid it. But what about the blessing God intends for us as He shows Himself Mighty in the midst of the struggle. If we truly believe The Scripture, we can't eliminate or overlook Romans 8:28; "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose" We have God's Promise that He is doing something special in our lives, even amid frustrating circumstances. So whether it's an unreasonable boss or an unexpected ice storm; "all things" really means all things! As such, God's Children must learn to face each circumstance in life with an unwavering faith that refuses to be discouraged or defeated. How do we get there from here? By simply doing it! We must determine in advace to see opportunities for God's Glory to be revealed in us rather than obstacles to knock us off track. It's not easy but it's possible by faith in Jesus Christ! The question we answer every single day is whether or not we are willing! Think about that when your storms come. May God Richly Bless You As You Strive To Do His Will! I love you!
Pastor Bill

It is never enough to just "endure"; that is not what God calls us to do. It would usually be easier, but that is not God's desire for His children.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

First, and most importantly, please pray for the Burgess family. Rick and Sherri Burgess are dealing with the death of their youngest, Bronner. Please hold them up in prayer over the next days, weeks, months and years (if you have lost a child or are close to someone who has, you know that no one ever "gets over it"). For the moment, I think that is all I am going to write.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15
For I will turn their mourning into joy And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13
Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones. Psalm 116:15