Monday, December 31, 2007

A few pictures in Tennessee at Mark's Mom's.

Grandma and Michael

Mark and his mom

Grandma and Paul

Playing Monopoly

Christmas eve....... hanging stockings......

I left our stockings at home, so Michael hung a doggie stocking and Paul a giant ugly one. Neither my sons or Lauri's kids wanted these photos made. Too bad!

Christmas pictures........

A few Christmas 2007 Photos!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Posting a couple of Christmas pictures for Deborah.

I didn't decorate much this year. But here are a few photos!

My piano Christmas party.........

Here's a group shot of some of my students. They all seemed to have a good time. Once everyone got here, they played their Christmas pieces on the piano. Then, I finished putting out our spread (which I forgot to take pictures of but it was pretty) One of my students prayer over the food and then everyone ate.

Oh, my final menu for the party was:
Sausage Balls
Meatballs in BBQ sauce
Veggie tray with ranch dressing
Chex Mix
Iced sugar cookies
Chocolate chip and nut cookies
Chocolate/peanut butter fudge
Dipped pretzels
A Christmas punch

You could not tell from the weather that it is December. Everyone ate out on the screened in porch. After we ate, we came in and I gave the students their gifts and opened my presents from them.

I am freezing lots of cookies to carry up to Lauri's house. I have all the Christmas baking done that I plan in doing. Well, I may make some Cranberry orange loaves. I found a recipe and now I just need to find it, again. I bought the cranberries to make the bread. LOL

HoHoHo and Merry Christmas to All!!!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Big Band Christmas music playing......

Cookies baking, lights on the tree........

I love this time of year.

I am always amazed at the hope of the season. Even with the deep longing for my children, I have hope because of my Lord. This is the time we celebrate God becoming a man and living among us.

I love the name....... Emmanuel .... God with us.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Assignments are all submitted to WGU!!!!

I finally got my last assignment written up and submitted to my college before I begin Demonstration Teaching in January. I am thrilled to pieces. I can now finish getting ready for the holidays with a little less weight on my shoulders.

This is such a busy time of year without having to worry about school assignments.

I have lots to do but not school. Anyway, sharing my joy!


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hohoho!!! I hope this works.

Copy and paste this link into your address bar and see us become elves!


Friday, November 30, 2007

My thoughts this evening.....

As we were driving home a little while ago, Paul had the group Yellow Card on the stereo. They were singing a song that contained the words, “Do You Remember When?” My mind started reliving all my years with this man that God gave to me as a husband. It went back to all the firsts. I was lost in thought and overwhelmed with my emotions and was saddened about how quickly our life together is flying by. We have had sorrow and heartache more than I ever thought that I would have to endure; yet, by God’s grace, we have endured. We have also experienced great joy and laughter. I remember the day each of our children were born and the day I picked up Paul. What amazing joy!

Tears swelled up in my eyes, as I realized that since we have already been married twenty-eight years, and we may not live to see another twenty-eight. Silently, I thanked God for this man. I adore my husband. He has always been my friend as well as my lover. God has blessed me beyond measure.

Young wives love your husbands and treasure each moment that God gives you with them. Don’t get caught up on the temporal things in this life. Life moves by all too quickly. Take time everyday to build your relationship with your husband. Enjoy each other.


Our Wedding Day, December, 1979

Our Vacation this Summer, June, 2007

My new Christmas quilt and other ramblings.

My friend, Linda, from Florida surprised me by FedExing me a Christmas quilt. I just love it. I thought that I would share a photo of it.

I got my official scores on the GACE exams. That was such a wonderful feeling. I passed my last objective test with WGU for my degree program on Wednesday morning. I have gotten one of my six assignments completed and submitted yesterday. It only took me five hours. LOL

I am hoping to finish another one today. That will leave me with four to get done. My adviser told me not to kill myself trying to finish them all by tomorrow. So, I will work on them over the week-end and the beginning of next week.

Merry Christmas! Tomorrow is December 1. Sunday is the first week of advent. Mark bought a new Christ candle a week ago but I have to go and buy the tapers for the advent wreath. Our tree is up and I am so glad. We have a busy schedule over the next three weeks. I have lots of my Nativities out. I love Christmas. It's my favorite holiday.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I passed my GACE exams!!

I got my unofficial test scores in an email yesterday. That feels like a huge weight lifted off of me.

Tomorrow, I take my last proctored test for this degree. Now, I need to study for it. I also have to complete 6 more assignments by Friday night.

The GACE exams were two sets of the area content for Elementary education.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving..... thanks!

Today was Thanksgiving! It seems like yesterday when we were celebrating the last Thanksgiving. I am so blessed because God is so good to me. Today, has been sweet. The weather has been lovely with the fall colors proclaiming the artistry of God. This first photo is one of Paul earlier today in the backyard.

This photo is of Paul cooking the green beans. He loves fresh stir fried beans. And, he's a pretty good cook.

This photo is of the boys and me. Not the greatest photo, but I thought that I would post it anyway.

I spent all day yesterday cooking our feast. It was just our family this year. Today has been pleasant. I made quiche and grapefruit compote in rosemary syrup last night for our brunch today. After our brunch, Mark and I put the turkey in the roaster and while it was baking, we all played Pictionary. Mark and I beat the boys! The turkey got done quicker than I was expecting, so we all got busy and finished the last minute dinner items (mashed potatoes, gravy, fresh green beans) while the cornbread dressing and sweet potatoes baked in the oven.

Later, Mark and I watched the movie, "Amazing Grace." I highly recommend it.

Today has been a day of gratefulness. I am so thankful.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Today........ has been fun!

I got to meet Miss Jean from my ChristianMoms board. Our families met for lunch.

And, Paul decided to get his hair cut short! I couldn't believe it! Here are some photos from the day!

Me and Miss Jean

Our families.

Paul getting his hair cut.

Paul and Missy after his cut.

After the hair cut, Mark and I went grocery shopping and finished picking up the last things that I needed to make our Thanksgiving dinner.

Then, we came home and this evening watched "Hairspray".


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Tomorrow my oldest son will turn 26 years old. I remember the day that precious child was born. He was a doll. I couldn’t get over all of his dark hair and huge blue eye. I remember crying when they told me he was a boy because my first thought was what would I do if he ever got drafted? ? Just the thought of the possibility of not knowing where he was or if he was safe caused me pain. Yet, I have had to live with unknowing since 1989.

Bobby was always happy. He never met a stranger. He would walk up to people and introduce himself and ask them if they had gone to church that morning!

He was my climber. I remember after the children got their swing set, I ran into the house for a minute to do something in the kitchen. I looked out the kitchen window and Bobby was sitting on top of the swing set. I went running out the back door totally afraid my precious child was going to fall off it.

I never go a day without thinking of my Christi and Bobby. I pray that God grants me my deepest desire, to see my children again in this life and for our family to be whole and reunited.

Tomorrow, I will weep. I will remember and I will pray. I will pray that God has blessed my son with joy and happiness. I pray that Bobby has found a lovely wife and that he has a child that he loves as much as I have always loved him. I pray that his life is filled with joy and that someday, he remembers his mom and dad and our life together before my parents stole him.

Moving Along with school...........

Because I know y'all are dying to know... NOT!! LOL

I know for sure where I will be Demonstration Teaching in January - just not the teacher or grade yet. I requested 3rd grade. We shall see what they give me.

My FBI background clearance finally got completed and I have mailed a copy to my school (along with my NEA membership) and taken a copy to the School Board. I had to join the NEA in order to get their liability coverage.

I am waiting for my last task in Teaching Math and Science to be graded.

I have only completed one task in Teaching Reading and Spelling.

I had a headache yesterday which put me further behind than I intended. For some reason these reading and writing tasks look horrible to me. Now, everyone (my mentor and the other students) says that the Math and Science tasks are the worse.

Well, I kind of liked doing those. LOL And, my grades were all really good on those tasks, too.

I will not find out my Content area GACE exams (state ones) until Nov. 27.

I take my LAST objective test with WGU on Nov. 28. I have taken and passed the pre-assessment with a high score, so I am not as worried about that test as I was.

Today, I have to clean my house and TRY to get serious about these tasks.

Then, I pick up Paul from school and take him to tutoring. Hopefully, Michael will stay at Brewton Parker and drive him home for me because Mark and I have a meeting (at our house) this evening.


Monday, November 12, 2007

This Blog is having some contests!

Go take a look!!!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday, November 3.... update.

Somebody tell me why at probably one of the most stressful and busy times in my life, do I decide to make a Martha Stewart sausage stew recipe that is served in little baked pumpkins? I must be insane. Or, my mind has turned to mush and I no longer possess the ability to think logically.

Anyway, I did do part of this recipe on Thursday. I soaked the beans and cooked them and then put those in the refrigerator. The presentation was lovely. But, the stew was so hot that all three of us were screaming. Anyway, I took pictures to show off my hard work. I hope y'all enjoy the pictures. Michael has been at the college all day. I guess he ate there. He's helping to make a movie.

I have managed to complete 8 papers this week! I have to complete the equivalent of 12 semester hours this month in order to Demonstration Teach in January. The school changed the time requirements on me after accepting me into the January DT cohort. I am treating college like a full-time job with horrible pay.

I hope that everyone else is having a lovely Saturday. I just may call it quits and not do another assignment since it's now 10:00 PM.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

My boys.........

Michael wore this to college today. Paul stayed home from school because the kid is sick but then he went to youth at church tonight dressed as a skateboarder.

Just look at my sons. I am so proud. Not! hehehe I know that it is the dream of every mother to have a pirate and a punker. (snicker)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A photo from Saturday of Paul......

fishing, or... well... sleeping by our pond.

Here is a close up of him. He took this using a tripod and his camera with its timer setting. I thought they were neat. I especially love the one with the view.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A few of Michael's ceramic pieces

This is a photo taken today of Michael at the college.

This is my favorite piece. I wish y'all could see the detail. I told him that I want this piece!

Michael loves his ceramics class at college. He enjoys shaping items with his hands more than using the wheel. LOL

Here are a few pictures of him and some of his pieces that are on display in the college library. My favorite of this group is his African candy dish. After he gets these pieces out from behind glass, I'll get some better pictures. Oh, his Christmas piece is cute, too. The other pieces that he made are a wolf and a squirrel.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It is actually getting closer!

I am talking about Demonstration Teaching and then graduation. It's hard to believe that this goal is nearly accomplished. I am looking into Master degree programs and trying to decide which way I want to go to pursue this next degree. I was seriously thinking about getting a Master in Technology and Education but now I am considering getting one in Curriculum design. That would go along with my creative juices. I so enjoyed creating Units of study when I was homeschooling Michael.

My braces are on my teeth! There will be no photos. They have really given me fits this week. I would have thought that after giving birth that my pain tolerance would have been higher.

Mark is really wanting to get his DMA. If he can't make that happen, he's considering getting his EdS. We shall see how everything comes into play over the next several months. The DMA would open doors for him to teach at a college or seminary level. This was always his goal before the children were kidnapped. Then our lives took on a totally different spin. The EdS would just be a very nice salary increase with the public schools. Ministry is where he feels calls and where his passion lies, though. So, we shall see what doors and windows and opportunities that God provides.

Michael is saving money to buy a car. We are planning on helping him out with some of it. It will be very nice when he has his own wheels. Although, being that Mark's school and Michael's college are across the street from each other, sharing Mark's truck has worked out alright, not perfect but doable.

I saw Paul's band march a complete show this past Friday night. They did a great job. I love that child. I wonder if our children ever really know just how much we adore them? I wonder if when they have children of their own, they finally figure it out?

I have so much to get accomplished in the next month and a half. I have to get a little script together and build the set for the children's Christmas pageant at church. I have two huge classes to finish up and one objective proctored test with my college and I am taking Georgia's Content Area exams on Saturday. It kind of makes my head spin.

I am hoping that this Thanksgiving will be spent right here at home. I really do not want to travel this year.

Well, that's a small update on my life.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A post about battling depression.......

A precious mom from my board ChristianMoms located at Excoboards, posted to me today thanking me for something that I had posted to her several months back. She told me that she had printed it out and saved the words. Today, she read them again. She wanted to thank me for them.

I am posting them here in the hopes that they may help someone else.

I will pray that you begin to experience true joy in your life.

Don't get this confused with the world's definition of joy. Joy is not based on our physical situation, on the people in our lives, on our income, home, number of children, and the list goes on. Joy is based on knowing, understanding and believing who we are in Christ. We are hidden in Him.

In order to be hidden in Christ, we must spend time with Him - daily. You need to pray, meditate on the scriptures (notice that I didn't say - quickly read them but meditate on them), learn to have a thankful spirit, and also we must practice forgiveness. We must forgive ourselves and others.

As we meditate upon the scripture, we must begin to truly follow it and apply it to every situation in our life. The Word of God, at times, cuts to our hearts. It cuts out improper thoughts, actions, and feelings. This process is painful but if we keep on turning to the Word, keeping on praying and praising God, those places that had to be surgically removed from us by the Sword of the Word begin a healing process. God pours His truth and life out in our lives if we simply seek Him.

Seek Him daily and you shall find Him.

Lots of us make the mistake of stopping before the process is completed in areas of our lives. We start with all good intention to be faithful in spending TIME with God but then as the Word begins to speak to us, we can't stand the pain. So, we cover the pain with a facade and decide that we must really be an un-favored step-child of God instead of joint heirs with Jesus. This causes depression and hopeless feelings in our lives.


God has a plan for your life and it is good. He wants you to reach out with the faith of a child and jump into His arms and trust Him. Do you remember when our children are little and right under our feet? I remember trying to make supper with toddlers and babies attached to my legs. They wanted a couple of things. First, they smelled the food and wanted to eat the good things that I was preparing for them. However, they had to WAIT until the food was done cooking. I couldn't feed a child a raw chicken leg. To a toddler, I am sure that waiting time felt forever. Also, they sometimes wanted MY attention. They were tired and just wanted their mommy to STOP whatever chore I was doing and hold them.

I honestly feel that we are to approach the Father like our babies approached us. We need to get under His feet and hold on to His legs and He will give us the good things He is preparing for us and sometimes, He just stops and scoops us up in His arms and holds us a while.

Only God and His Word and then obeying it will take away this depression and allow you to experience life to the full.

I will be praying as you seek God.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I have pondered the question of healing for years. I get bothered by ministries that seem to broadcast that they can heal you and yet, I know that prayers of faith accomplish much.

In recent months, I have had a couple of experiences with praying for church family. One of the choir members told me that her arthritis was really hurting her that evening. She told me this privately. I reached over and touched her and prayed. I asked for God to take the pain away. I felt a compassion for her because I have experienced arthritis and I didn’t want her to hurt. Two weeks later, she came up to me and said, ‘Debbie, I have been meaning to tell you something. Remember when you prayed for me about the arthritis pain? Well, the pain left that night and I have had none since.” I simply smiled and told her that I was happy for her.

Last Wednesday night, our pastor called me aside to tell me that he had been diagnosed with a kidney infection and his back was killing him. He went on the say that he thought he might even have a fever. He wanted me to explain to Mark why he and his wife left before adult choir rehearsal. When he told me that he thought he might have a fever, I reached up and placed my hand on his forehead and check. I told him that I would tell Mark why they left and then I told him that I wanted to pray for him. He seemed rather taken back, I placed my head on his shoulder and prayed that God would take his pain away and allow him to fly like wings of eagles – pain free. Sunday, as Mark and I were leaving the church, the pastor quietly told Mark and me that when I got done praying for him, that the pain had immediately left and had not returned. He just wanted me to know.

I told him that God was good and prayer was powerful.

When Christi was a little girl, I got migraines frequently. She would rub my arm and pray and the headache would go away. She was started doing this for me when she was only 5 years old. I used to tell Mark that her prayers that contained the faith of a child were heard by my God.

Mark and I have prayed for other people and organized prayers for people that were given death sentences and they lived. One time a men was dying of cancer in a church we were serving. The cancer had gone away but had come back worse than the first time. This man and his wife asked for Mark and me to go to dinner with them one evening. They told us that he was dying. They had told the senior pastor and the chairman of the deacons and they had gone over all the legal documents and his wife and kids would be taken care of. I sat at this table and did not know how to respond. His doctor had told him that there was nothing left to be done and to get everything in order. I finally said, “Gary, do you want to die? What do you want from Mark and me?” Why in the world I asked such a heartless question is still beyond me. He replied no that he didn’t want to die but didn’t tell us what he wanted. He just sat there looking so very sad and beaten. Then I asked him if he wanted us to pray for him by arranging a group to meet at his house. He said that yes he wanted prayer. Mark began to organize a large group of people to meet at Gary’s house and to pray for him. Mark contacted pastors from other denominations. He told our pastor and chairman of the deacons about the prayer time and they laughed in his face. Later, we found out from others that our pastor was angry with Mark for arranging the prayer for Gary. He was telling them that the prayer would not work.

That evening a large group of people met at Gary’s house. We circled their house and prayed. As everyone came back into the front yard, Mark said, “This doesn’t feel right.” He instructed everyone to gather round Gary and his family and either touch him or touch someone else who was touching him. The group began to pray. It took the sound of a mighty rushing wind. The sound of the prayers all spoken together was amazing.

On Gary’s next trip to the doctor, the doctor brought up a method of treating other types of cancer. He told Gary that this treatment would probably not work for him but they could try if Gary wanted. Gary decided to fight. After the treatment, Gary went into remission. God had spoken. Instead of burying him, we were able to celebrate with him and his precious family.

Prayers and healing, prayers and faith and faith like a child are vital in our lives. Sometimes, God answers no and that healing doesn’t take place. But, many times, God says, “Yes.” Yes, to healing.

I have several more examples of times that we have prayed for people and they were healed. I used to be surprised but now I kind of expect it.

I have prayed so many times for God to heal my Michael of his dyslexia and yet, Michael is still dyslexic. However, when Michael was 16 months old, a specialist told me that my son had nerve damage and could not hear at all. I went to God in prayer for my son. I didn’t know that I could pray for healing – so I prayed for strength. I gave my baby to Christ and saw myself walk away from my child and leave him at the feet of my Savior. Two months later, Michael was tested again – and his hearing was perfect. Even though I hadn’t specifically prayed for God to heal him with my voice, my spirit begged God and He answered my prayer.

I have been thinking about these prayers and the movement of God since Sunday morning. Yes, God is good.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Going nuts!!

I have been working like a nut cake trying to get tons of assignments done for a college class. I need to complete four more tasks in this class and study for a major exam that I am taking on Wednesday. Sometimes, I wonder about my sanity in trying to complete a year's worth of classes in 3 months time. God has been gracious in allowing me some decent brain activity in writing this stuff up. I have been reading so much that my eyes burn.

I was fixing to start writing a paper this afternoon, when Paul came in and told me that he needed a little help with three projects that he has due in Health and Physical science. That child of mine!! Instead of me writing my papers, I had help Paul find what he needed. He has completed one project and, hopefully, his daddy will help him with the other two tomorrow.

Mark had seven students pass out last night and five ended up in the hospital. He didn't get home until 4:30 AM!! He has been one tired puppy today.

Now... my news........ I am getting my spacers for my braces next Wednesday after my test. And, the following week I get my braces. I am not quite sure how I feel about all this at my age. Oh, well. Lauri's son Aaron doesn't know why I care how I look at my age. Oh, to be 20 again. I told him that it wasn't just to have straight teeth. It was a matter of KEEPING my teeth which are shifting. Anyway, I am praying that God allows me to say that to him in 25 or 30 years. LOL

I need to check on a roast in the oven and work on a paper.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Todays thoughts .....

My determined purpose is to begin to thank God the Father for all unseen circumstances. I thanked Him for healing me. I thanked Him for restoring my family. I thanked Him for provision in all things. After a time of prayer this morning, I felt compelled to read Colossians 2. I have read Colossians many times but in order to be obedient to the prompting of God, I grabbed one of my Bibles and began to read. The verses that struck a deep chord in my mind and heart today read, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”

Complete is a lovely word. The Oxford American Dictionary defines complete as “1. having all its parts, not lacking anything, 2. finished, and 3. thorough in every way.”

The question that came into my mind was, “Debbie, do you believe this? Do you believe my Word?” A sense of new found freedom came over me and my heart rejoiced because I realized that I had been double minded in certain areas of the scripture. While I had believed God for my salvation, I certainly didn’t believe that I was complete. I have felt that my heart and mind were ripped in pieces many years ago leaving me as one of God’s stepchildren who was able to receive some of His blessings but not all of them.

I have believed through circumstances in my life that I was unworthy. When your parents steal two of your children and slander you and your beloved husband, one can begin to doubt that the blessings of God (all of His blessings) pertain to you.

Today felt like a rebirth. I decided to believe that I was complete, finished, and not lacking anything in Christ. Today my faith was renewed.

Thank you, Father, Son, and Spirit.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Well, since I posted the great picture of Paul....

I decided to post a photo of the other men in my life. I made it a few weeks ago.

This one is of Mark and me. We were having family portraits made that day; however, Paul's eye swelled up and looked horrible. He wouldn't let me make a picture of him and needless to say I didn't buy any portaits.

This is the most current portrait that I have of our family. Paul was six and Michael was 15. I think it's time for a new one.

Growing up too fast...

My baby went to a black and white semi-formal affair last night. Now, this doesn't surprise me, it just makes me want to slow down time a bit. He got his learner's permit a week ago, so now he driving everytime he gets into the car. He is loving High School band and literature. When did the little boy disappear?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tybee Island

Mark was off this week, sort of. Let me rephrase that statement. His school was scheduled to have this week off but Mark has had three rehearsals and has a football game tonight. So, while he has had some time off, it certainly hasn't been a week. However, we did get away on Tuesday to Tybee Island. I forgot my camera or I would be posting pictures. Mark and I had a wonderful day. We tried getting into the ocean but we are used to the warmer waters of the gulf after living in Florida for seven years. The ocean was active with lots of current and waves and the breeze on the beach was lovely. The only inconvenience of a nice breeze on the beach is that the sand likes to blow. My hair was filled with sand.

We ate dinner at a fun place called The Crab Shack. It is off of Highway 80 and it is located on a salt marsh. Great atmosphere and even better food!

It was nice spending time alone with my husband. I am so thankful that we have a relationship that doesn't always have to be about the boys, or church, or chores. The day was peaceful. There is something calming about walking on a near empty beach with the love of your life. God’s power of creation is so evident when I see the ocean or travel up into the mountains. I asked Mark on Tuesday if he thought God had fun creating this world.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Be still

I always know when the world is too much with me. I have had to be quiet a lot today. I can’t really say where the day has gone. But, I needed to hear from my Lord. My favorite verse is: “Be still and know that I am God.” I have a hard time being still. I struggle with the desire to want to escape when I am afraid or when I am hurting. Yet, God wants me to wait on Him. He desires to love me no matter what situation that I find myself in and He wants me to seek Him out.

“Be Still” those words echo in my mind and spirit today. “Be Still” and let God cover me with His unending love. “Be Still” and listen to His quiet voice. “Be Still” and trust Him.

I was feeling guilty for not following my plan for this day. But, I needed to get quiet before my God.

The Power of Prayer

Yesterday, I was nearly overcome with sadness and emotion. It was dealing with our case and I needed to talk with someone. Honestly, I didn’t want too. I just wanted to run, or hide, or fall asleep for a very long time. My husband even gave this person my cell number. Then, he called me and told me to be expecting the call. I told him that I had already seen the call (caller id) and that I had chosen to ignore it. My attitude upset my husband but I frankly didn’t have the strength to take the call.

My day had started in an ordinary way. My older son is off doing training with his college. My youngest son ate breakfast. I reviewed some terms with him for a test. Mark tried to read the scripture to us – but wasn’t able to complete the chapter we were on. This was followed by morning prayer. Then, he and Paul left to go to their prospective schools.

I decided to watch Joyce Myers and have a bowl of cereal. Since, I am trying to lose weight, I also exercised. I checked my emails and my ChristianMom board and then decided to finish up my laundry and complete the ironing. I had just been hanging all of the guys’ dress shirts up in the laundry room for most of the summer and only ironing a shirt for them on Sunday mornings. The past few days, I had been trying to work through that pile of shirts and some of my summer slacks.

My plan was to get the ironing done, sweep the kitchen floor, mop it, and start to work on some college assignments. I was interrupted. Mark called me to tell me that I needed to talk to this person. And, I proceeded to lose it.

Frustration with myself overtook me. I know that this person is trying to help but the emotional toll it takes on me is debilitating. I went to my board and simply posted that I needed prayer. I didn’t post a reason but simply something like, “I need prayer right now.”

Within minutes, the sweet ladies on my board began responding and letting me know they were praying. I was no longer alone in my situation because God had provided me with immediate outreach and support through the wonderful technology of the Internet. Knowing that a group of ladies from all over this country were praying for me gave me strength. But, it wasn’t just that head knowledge. I could feel the power of their prayers. I began to gain a sense of protection and peace within my mind. My thoughts began to settle down and God began to speak to my heart.

He reminded me that He is with me and that I can do all things through the authority of Christ. Christ understands my frailty and is fully able to put within me His strength. In those moments of despair and sorrow, that is easy to forget. I wish I could say that all the fear, sadness, and heartbreak were immediately taken away from me; however, that wasn’t the case. Instead, I gained wisdom and courage. I still had to walk through (and continue to walk through) the situation but I didn’t have to do it alone. God is and will continue to walk before me as my shield and He is also my rear guard.

Intercessory prayer is so powerful. Before I sought prayer, I could hardly breathe due to the sorrow. Yet, the prayers of my board ladies gave me reassurance. These prayers were indeed received by the Father and He imparted to me grace to get through the day regardless of the difficulties that I had to endure.

I want to encourage each of you today to stop and pray for someone. Pray for them fully knowing that God hears your prayer and will step into the situation and relationship for which you are praying. I was blessed by prayers yesterday from ladies and I was able to do what I needed to do. Be a prayer warrior for someone today.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Choosing Happiness.....

Do we decide whether or not to be happy? Is that decision within our power? Do we allow circumstances to influence our joy in life?

These questions came to me a little bit ago. I think that some of us allow the world around us to yield too much power in our lives. We get up everyday and do exactly the same thing and then cry that we aren’t happy. Worry over finances, our children, or our spouses robs many Christians of their joy. Yet, the apostle Paul tells us that we should rejoice in all things.

So, how do we put ourselves into a position where joy reigns supreme in our lives? August is a difficult month for me because it’s my daughter’s birthday. I find that even when I control my thoughts during the day that my dreams are invaded by sadness and memories. I have been contemplating what actions that I need to take to avoid the trap of sadness.

First, I have to submit this area of my life to Christ. I have to tell Him, “Lord, this hurts and breaks my heart, please take away this sorrow.” I also have to pray and read the scripture. I need to allow God to wrap me up in the Word.

Next, I have to let go of it. If my mind begins to wander in that area, I stop it. I do something that requires concentration in order to get it accomplished. I cannot just sit idly by and allow my mind to replay past events and memories. This always and only brings me into a lower state of depression and sad.

Finally, I have to make a list of my blessings and then thank God for them. I have to practice gratitude. I get specific. I say things like: Thank you for my husband who is devoted to me. Thank you for protecting Michael and not allowing my parents to kidnap him, too. Thank you for giving us Paul. Thank you for dear friends.

I also think on certain scriptures that comfort me or remind me of God’s promises.

Usually, when I follow these steps, I realize that my happiness (or joy) can be found. Often, it’s my job to dig it up from being buried under piles of self. I have to trust God. When I get rid of the garbage, my life seems brighter and I can see hope and a future.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer Vacation is over......

The dog days of summer are definately here; however, life has moved quickly forward into the school year. Our family is on four different school schedules. ugh! Paul attends High School here in town. Mark works in another county. Michael's college schedule starts later than both and my college semester is different from everyone's. I have noticed that none of our spring breaks seem to coincide this year. That should be real interesting. I do believe that I will be Demonstration Teaching in Mark's system come January, so at least, he and I will have the same schedule.

Paul is getting sick but he told me that school is a must and he can't miss any days or he'll get behind. He is spending hours doing homework each evening and he looks totally exhausted. Last night he told me that he needed to take some breathing treatments. That's a first. Paul will usually fight having to sit and do those so I am concerned about my sweet boy's health.

Michael started his job on campus which is great because he needed an income. He will be working 20 hours a week while in school. That shouldn't interfere with his study time too much.

Mark has been working non-stop trying to get his band ready for the first game. He started with the students nearly two weeks before school officially got underway.

Things at church have been great. We really love our church. I just wish it was closer. I feel like we can't fellowship with our members. That's the difficult thing about serving in a church that is not in the community. Mark has picked out the Christmas cantata. He is planning to begin rehearsals on it by Sept.

Right now with the weather so horrible, I can hardly imagine singing Christmas music. Oh, well.

That's a little update on our lives.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Well.... I guess that I am officially done with.....

homeschooling. After 17 of schooling my sons, I enrolled Paul in Public High School yesterday. He is starting his 9th grade year. Mark and I have prayed much about this decision. Paul has maintained that he wanted to attend High School since the 6th grade. It's rather funny. For me, it feels like something precious is leaving my life but Mark and Paul are both rather excited about the entire process.

I do believe that Paul will have some advantages in the High School. I haven't yet figured out how to do marching band in homeschool. In Florida, Paul was able to do electives through the public school system. That worked out so nicely. However, Georgia does not allow homeschooled students to take any classes. I guess my tax dollars do not count in Georgia.

He is taking a full load of seven periods. I hope that he doesn't feel overwhelmed. But, I am expecting this transition to take some getting used it. The house is going to feel so quiet and lonely during the days with him gone. He has always brought such sunshine into my life. I will miss him.

Paul on the other hand is excited beyond words. He has read all the school rules on clothing and the lists of his needed supplies several times. I am glad that he is excited about this new life experience. He told me last night, that he wasn't going to tell me when he went off to college. He is just not going to come home one day and the next time that I see him, he'll have his degree. I don't even want to think about him going off to college. LOL

Changes and new beginnings are hard on me. I have had too many in my life; however, I know that certain changes are to be expected. I am praying that the Lord grants Paul a successful 9th grade year and that he gives me grace and wisdom and the ability to embrace this change in our family.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer is passing by all too quickly!

I have said this before and I really mean - the world is spinning faster from when I was a child. Remember when you had to wait forever for your birthday or Christmas to arrive? Now, I don't seem to have the time to anticipate events before they are upon me. Mark's band camp starts next week! This is our last week of sleeping in and nice leisurely breakfasts while we watch the ducks on the pond and the hummingbirds at their feeder. I want to cement these days in my mind. I want to remember to enjoy each moment of every day - no matter what I am doing.

We are so blessed. Our sons are wonderful. Our home is secure. Our marriage is strong. Our churches are loving. God has placed friends in our lives that bless us. However,time is moving too fast. I stay so busy that I somedays forget to stop and simply rejoice at all that I see.

We have had a busy summer. We vacationed, had house guests for a week and a half, did some remodeling of the kitchen and guest bathroom. That job was forced on us since our cabinets fell off the wall. Paul has been gone three weeks to camps. Michael has taken it easy. He did list some items on ebay and made a few dollars. I have been frantically trying to finish up my Foundation in Education classes in order to get ready for Demonstration Teaching in January. I am still amazed at how quickly that I have been able to work on this degree. That's a blessing, too.

It's wonderful to see long term goals and dreams begin to come into being. Paul is starting public school this year. He will be a Freshman. Amazing. It seems like yesterday that I was picking up a five week old baby. God is good.

Michael will be a Junior this year after his first semester. He has gotten a job on campus and will also be serving in Student Government. He is also one of the leaders for new student orientation at his campus.

Mark will be preaching on July 29 and August 5 in Dr. Perry's absence. He is finishing up writing his band show - which has to be completed before Monday morning. He is doing a Disney theme show this year. It should be fun for the students.

This will be the first year that I haven't homeschooled at least one of my children since 1980! That's a lot of years homeschooling. I hope Paul likes attending school and that he does great in his classes. That is my sincere prayer for him this year.

Right now, I need to complete a few more assignments so I can begin to study for my Basic Skills exams. These are the first series of exams that I have to take to get my teaching certification from Georgia. I take those on August 4. What fun! I start piano lessons on August 9. It looks like I have picked up two extra students for this year.

I hope that life continues to be sweet and peace reigns in our home. May God's presence light all of our paths and may His grace and love guide our thoughts and words.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Some pictures from our trip to see Mark's family.

We went up to Tennessee this past week for a few days. We got to see all of his brothers and sisters and most of the nieces and nephews. Mark's mom is doing pretty good. She is recovering from a stroke she has last December. She is able to get around with the use of a cane. Her memory is not great.

Photo #1: Mark, Michael, Stan, & Paul

Photo #2: Mark, Michael, Stan (Mark's older brother), Emily (Stan's wife), & Paul

Photo #3: First Cousins: Katie, Baby Graham, Mandy Lee, Aubrey, Peyton, Paul, & Michael

Photo #4: Newest Nephew. Graham and his mom, Kelly. Kelly is married to Mark's youngest brother Tim.

Photo #5: Brothers, Sisters, and their Mom
Jane, Mark, Charlotte, Tim, Joan, & Stan