Saturday, December 27, 2008

More on Christmas

Christmas evokes many memories some joyous while others can make us cry. Yet every year, Christmas comes. We make decisions about how we celebrate and the memories we create. When we lived in Florida there were several Christmases where I felt rather alone and isolated. Luckily, we have dear family friends in Tampa who included us in their family gathering. These are sweet memories.

I always felt very blessed that godly wonderful people filled in the gap for me after my family's attempt to destroy me and my family. God is faithful and He scoops up the brokenhearted and holds them close and then calls His faithful children to love and care for His wounded and weary children.

Over the years, God has placed people in my life that became family. They have become stronger family than blood because God bonded us together with His Spirit. Lauri and her family are some of my wonderful blessings and gifts from God. We usually try to get together over the holidays - because you get together with family during this season.

Lauri and her kids arrived the evening of December 26. Here are a few photos of all of us.

Aaron and Glenn


Taylor, Lauri and Rachel


I realized that I have been making digital videos instead of photos. I'll see about downloading one of them later.

Mark was going shopping for me the day before Christmas when the radiator broke in half in the Mustang. He had to have Paul come pick him up. The car was fixed on Friday morning, so he went and picked me up a few more things. He got me the Anniversary Willow Tree figurine. Here are a couple of photos of me and my best and only husband. We will be celebrating 29 years of marriage on Monday, December 29.

Mark and me.


Mark,me and pink slippers.

Traditions

My friend, Deborah, wrote about family traditions in her blog. This year my thoughts had been very similar in that I didn't think that we had holiday traditions. I had lamented this fact to Mark, who just gave me one of his famous looks that read, "Woman, what are you talking about?"

Deborah asked that we blog about our traditions. I will attempt to tell our singular holiday tradition. We celebrate Advent. We have celebrated Advent since the late 1980's. We had friends in seminary who celebrated Advent and they introduced this wonderful tradition to our family.

One year on Christmas day, our Advent wreath caught fire. Of course, we had company over and there was a bit of a commotion as Mark's tried to blow out the dried Christmas foliage with which I had surrounded our wreath. While we didn't think it humorous at the time, it has become one of those funny stories that our family tells.

This year, a dear friend, Lynda Talmadge, gave our family a beautiful new Advent wreath this year as an early Christmas present.

Our lovely new Advent wreath!


We used to light a candle every evening during supper but as our sons have gotten older and our schedules different, we chose to light our candles the four Sundays before Christmas. Since we all attend different churches, the lighting of our Advent wreath every Sunday brought both of my sons home for Sunday dinner after morning worship. I loved it.

Christmas eve, we pause to once again read and listen to the birth of our Savior and we light the center candle.

Eating supper on Christmas eve, with our large Christ candle gracing our table to remind us of our Lord.


Christmas morning, I change all the weekly candles to white and we burn all the white candles along with the Christ candles for hours. Those little lights remind us of the true reason we celebrate this season.

Another tradition when the children were little was to open two gifts on Christmas eve - their pajamas and their new Christmas ornament. Well, this year, there were no sweet Christmas jammies under the tree. Instead, the boys were allowed to open all of their together gifts that their dad and I had bought them. These included two games, several Wii accessories, and a new Wii game.

Michael, me and Paul






I guess perhaps, I just wrote about two traditions. What can I say, I teach math and can't count. We love the holidays. It's a time for slowing down and spending time with loved ones. It's a time for remembering Christ and His gift to us. So, while our traditions seem few, they are meaningful.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!



As y'all can see, I didn't put up our nine foot tree, I put up a tiny little three foot tree on a table. But, at least it's up and the house looks a little festive.

I have been getting some Christmas goodies done today. I am truly sick of smelling sweets. I have made: peanut butter fudge, peanut butter balls, dipped pretzels, Neiman Marcus $250 cookie recipe, and the cake is cooling for the coconut cake.

Tomorrow, I am making an easy meal of potato cheese soup, rolls (store bought) and ambrosia. I will hopefully get some boiled custard made, too. Mark loves it. It's his mom's recipe.

Christmas day I will make a roast and various other things,

Lauri and her family will arrive the day after Christmas. I can't wait to see them.

Blessings and Merry Christmas!
Debbie

Friday, December 12, 2008

When did it get to be December?

We are nearing the second week of December. I can’t believe how quickly this school year is progressing. I am more relaxed with my abilities and some days, I find myself enjoying this job for a few hours a day. Some of my students are wonderful. They are earnest their desire to learn. Those students help me to remain motivated. Unfortunately, I have other students who do not want to learn.

Part of the problem is the standards that the state of Georgia has decided that fifth grade students need to know. However, the vast majority of the children are simply not ready for these standards. We need to be focusing on arithmetic skills. Instead, we are teaching to the test and hoping that these children will somehow remember enough of the instruction to pass the CRCT. It is obvious that whoever came up with these standards have never been in a classroom. So, we end up with extremely frustrated students who become behavior issues. I am sure that if we actually allowed to teach to their readiness, many of the behavior problems would be solved. Discouraged children cause problems. I wish we could focus on getting their computation skills perfected to understanding not simply memorized.

The sad fact is that the bureaucrats that came up with these standards are probably sincere in their aspiration to improve student’s problem solving skills but instead they are ruining an entire generation’s math knowledge. These students are so confused with math ideas that are above their comprehension skills that they are unable to solve problems. The bureaucrats blame the teachers and the schools instead of looking at the ridiculousness of the standards that they believe are necessary.

Well, enough of my soapbox.

I do have WONDERFUL news! Paul has decided that he wants to complete his high school education at home. I am thrilled. I think that this will be wonderful for him. I have enrolled him in a satellite school called Homelife Academy. He will graduate with a diploma and a portfolio.

Normally, I take months in deciding on curriculum; however, since I am working full-time and this decision was only made this week, I haven’t had the luxury of time. But, God is good. I have wonderful resources in the ladies from my Christian-Moms board! I asked for suggestions on curriculum and my moms responded. In fact, several have offered to give or loan me curriculum to use so that I do not have to buy it. This is such a blessing due to the financial needs we have experienced in recent months.

The first major need was in purchasing the Mustang. While we were blessed with a wonderful price, it drained my savings. Michael’s truck has needed several repairs. Thanksgiving week, Paul wrecked my van! It was an accident. (He hit a pole at Sonics. The pole survived but the front side panel and light on the passengers side didn’t!) Now, I have to pay for body work. Also, my van decided to try and die mechanically. This week, we spent nearly $400.00 on it and were told that we needed to put a rebuilt engine in it by February. I keep telling myself that it’s only money.

I still do not have my tree up. The only Christmas decorations that I have out are my Fontanini Nativity, my Advent wreath, and poinsettias and garland on the stairs. I am not in the mood to decorate. My tree is always up by now. I usually put it up the day after Thanksgiving.

This blog has gone on and on. But, that’s an update on our family.

Blessings,
Debbie

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Season of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a special time of year for Mark and me. We relish memories of past years and look with anticipation toward our future. At this point in my life, I find myself thinking more about my children. My prayers are often focused on them and my deep desires for their futures. I also tend to think about dear friends and their children.

I feel blessed beyond measure not because there are no pitfalls and sorrows in my life but because when I open my mind and heart, I see the evidence of my Father all around me. He surrounds me with His great and tender mercy. He piles laughter into my life. He watches over those that I love. He is trustworthy.

I am thankful. I am thankful for my husband, who is also my friend. I love sitting next to him, holding his hand, or listening to him talk. The sound of his voice can calm my fears. When I close my eyes at night, I always reach over just to touch his arm and I know that I am blessed.

I am thankful for Michael. Michael gave Mark and me a reason to continue after my parents stole Christi and Bobby. He was our gift from God especially during those darkest days. I have loved watching his faith. Michael prays with confidence and hope. He is an over comer.

I am thankful for Paul. The boy gave our family new life. I will never forget the day that I picked him up when he was five weeks old. Paul said it best, “I was born to be your son. God intended me for this family.”

I am thankful for Christi. She was my little angel girl. I have fond loving memories of brushing her hair and playing dolls with her. She had a spirit that was gentle and caring. I am thankful that God allowed her to be with us even if only for a season.

I am thankful for Bobby, our oldest son. He could make me laugh quicker than any of the other children. He never met a stranger. I adored those curls that would bounce as he ran to play or rode his bike. I am thankful for the opportunity that God gave to us to love and raise him for a time.

I am thankful for my parents because they gave me life. Without them, I would not exist and neither would my children. So despite the horrors of what they did to me, I am thankful. Someday, God will explain this mystery to me and allow me to understand why He allowed this to take place in my family. But, today, I will be thankful and trust Him.

I am thankful for my sisters. I am thankful for sweet memories of when we were little and they loved me. I remember Sherry threatening to beat a boy up in first grade because he kissed me on the back of my neck! I remember praying with all of the faith of a five year old and asking God to give me a baby sister. And, He sent me Patti. Sherry and I washed our hands nearly up to our necks so we could hold her when Momma brought her home from the hospital. I am thankful because I believe that God will someday reveal the truth to them and I will have my sisters restored back into my life.

I am thankful for Mark’s family and the steadfastness they have been in our lives. I am thankful for silly stories and nieces and nephews. I am thankful for his brothers and sisters and the memories and sweet times they had as children which Mark recants to us. I am thankful for silly phrases like, "Buy wheat from the farmer's daughter." I am thankful for his parents because they raised a wonderful son whom I adore.

I am thankful for Lauri and her family. If God had allowed me to pick a sister from all the people in this world, I would pick Lauri. I have loved watching her children grow up into such wonderful young adults. We have shared laughter and tears and walked with each other through this journey called life.

There are many others for which I am thankful. Deborah and Travis, Linda, Marsha, Helen and Dub, Jackie and Bob, Lynda, Lis and Roland, ladies on my board (Christian-moms) and the list goes on and on. I cannot list them all. How can I share a life time of memories and goodness that I have received from my friends?

I discovered an amazing truth as I began to list my blessings. Every one of them is a person, a person that God graciously placed in my life. Position, possessions, power and glory aren’t among the most cherished blessings in my life.

I am blessed beyond measure because God gave me a mind with which I can use to His glory. His word instructs me to think on things beautiful and positive. And, while it appears that people have tried to destroy my family, I know that my battle is not with them. I battle things unseen. So, I am thankful that I can pray to Christ through the Holy Spirit and He intercedes for me to the Father. He makes my requests and heart known to the Father. I am thankful that God is trust worthy and someday I will see the ten thousand chariots He positioned around the people that I love.

Thank you, Jesus for the life You have given me. Thank you, Jesus for loving me. Thank you, Jesus.

Amen,
Debbie

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our Trip and more ramblings

Mark and I had a lovely time being together this past week-end in Hilton Head. The weather was nasty and the ocean was gray but we enjoyed our time away from the daily pressures of work and home.

We talked, visited and chilled out with books, walking on the beach, watching tv, eating leisurely meals, and shopping.

We stayed at the Hilton Head Beach and Tennis Resort. Our villa was nice and provided us with a full kitchen, living room, separate bedroom, two bunks, a sleeper sofa, and a view of the ocean. The villa slept 6 which was plenty of room for two people.

Hopefully, this week at school will go by quickly. I can't wait for next week. I will have a week off for Thanksgiving!

Oh, the Mustang is being enjoyed by all! Paul is doing a pretty good job learning to drive it. Please pray for Paul. He seems to be having an asthma flair up. I want him to go see Lee tomorrow but he's freaking out about going to the doctors without his daddy or me. He looks like he is having to work too hard to get any air. This has me concerned greatly. October and November are bad months for Paul.

Michael wrote a script for something at college. It had some pretty funny lines and a good message.

Mark's has a Brewton Parker concert tomorrow night. We also have our bonus rehearsal at church this coming Saturday to help us prepare for the Christmas cantata.

Blessings,
Debbie

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Heading to Hilton Head.......

Best laid plans sometimes aren't the best laid plans. One of the things that I decided to do with my first official pay check this school year was to pay for a trip to Hilton Head for Mark and me as part of his birthday present. I scheduled it for September. Wouldn't you know it that was the week-end that a hurricane was heading to North Carolina? We had to reschedule the trip for this week-end. Yep, we are heading to the beach in November. I actually don't think that we will be sunning or swimming.

And, today I realized that my throat is getting sore. I have had students out with strep which isn't encouraging me. Tonight, I reasoned it was probably best for me to stay home from church and allow my throat to rest. There was no way that I could sing tonight.

I also discovered that when my throat is hurting, I am not a very nice teacher. My last period classes were probably glad to get out of my room today.

Paul is learning to drive the car. He still has problems shifting into first gear and has stalled out on more than one occasion. However, I have let him drive it to school both yesterday and today. I freely admit that I walk into my classroom praying that God protects him as he heads to his school across town. He told me that he now thinks about the route he takes before he drives off. He picks the least traveled and the least busy intersections. I have assured him that he will stop picking his driving routes that way once he gets comfortable with shifting gears.

I put a picture of Paul in the car on my desk computer at work as my screen saver. I can't believe how many fifth graders have noticed that photo! They actually know that it's a Mustang. Honestly, I wouldn't have known or cared that my teacher had a Mustang when I was in the fifth grade. Times have certainly changed! Now, I did know all the latest Barbie dolls when I was in the fifth grade. I got a Stacy Barbie doll for Christmas that year. She had red hair and I thought she was lovely. I have always liked red. hehehe

Well, I am going to try and get some laundry done, so that I will not be rushing like a mad woman tomorrow trying to clean house, pack, and do laundry. Mark and I plan on leaving right after work on Friday. The boys will be staying home. Neither one seemed interested in going to the beach in November. Go figure!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Excitement Rules

Paul has been on the hunt for a car for me to buy. He started his looking three months ago. He would stop by car lots with friends, check out the paper and search the Internet. Finally, he found an ad online that he convinced me to contact. I sent an email to the dealer and received a response. After a couple of emails back and forth, prayers said, and discussions, Mark and I decided to look at the car and take it for a test drive.

I have to say that God certainly walked before us in this transaction. The dealer was selling the car for his father. Both of them are Christians and the car that we went and saw far exceeded everything that I was expecting.

The original plan of the family was to keep this car and give it to a 17 year-old grandson, so the family did some sweet updates to the car like new tires with black wheel covers, a new battery and the brand new beautiful paint job. However, grandson had his heart set on a truck which granddaddy decided to buy instead. This left them with a great 1994 Mustang Convertible that my 16 year-old fell in love with just from seeing the photos. And, he saw before the shiny new paint job photos.

Dave, the dealer, worked out a wonderful price and told me that they were selling us the car for what they had put into it. He told me (before we saw the car) that he thought that we would be pleased with it. Pleased was an understatement. The car's engine and transmission are approximately 2 years old, and with all of the updates the car looks like a classic.

Needless to say, we bought the car. Paul was away on a Youth retreat. He called after we had purchased the car and were driving home. He wanted to know if we had test driven the car and what had happened. I told him that the car looked horrible and that the interior was ruined and that we couldn't justify spending any money on a car in such bad shape. I could hear his disappointment. Yes, I think that I have a mean side in me.

At first, Mark and I were going to make Paul wait until today and then I was to drive up in the Mustang to pick him up from church. But, my soft side got the best of me and I decided to call my son back and tell him that I was joking. I tried several times, and he didn't answer the phone. Finally, several hours later, Paul called Mark and asked what we were doing. Mark told him that we were in the car and added that mom needed to tell him something.

Now, of course, the most appropriate thing to do in a convertible is to drive with the top down while cruising down a state road at about 60 mph in November! Yes, we were cold but simply didn't care. Another thing that we discovered, it's loud with the wind blowing while driving.

Paul could hear the noise and he asked me what was going on. I told him that the roof had come off my car. He asked me to repeat what I had said. I said, "Paul, the top of my car is sort of laying back on the back roof."

The boy started screaming into the phone. "Mom, are you saying that you bought the car? Mom, what are you telling me?" I told him that I had lied to him earlier and the the car was lovely, better than anything we were hoping.

Anyway, that's the saga of the Ford Mustang.

I have to add that if anyone is reading this blog near the Savannah, GA area and you are in the market for a used car, please call Dave Anderson with Alete Auto Group at: (o) 912-964-4293. Dave's ad describes his dealership using the following words:

Accountability
Integrity
Transparency
Excellence,
and, those words are what we experienced with this man and his family.

Here are a few photos of the car and Paul.



Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Thoughts on Election 2008

I am saddened by the election but not surprised in the least. I really felt like there was a good chance for Obama to be elected president when he began his campaign. When he beat Hillary, I told Mark that he would most likely win. I honestly believed that God revealed this to my spirit

During the primaries, one of my friends said to me that she hoped the he would beat Hillary because there was no way he would win. I told her that I disagreed and that if he beat Hillary, he would probably be our next president.

In my humble opinion this man doesn't serve or believe in the same God that I do. My God does not promote hate speech. My God does not want infants killed. My God does not want many of the things that this man appears to support.

That said, my God is bigger the new President-elect. The outcome of this election did not surprise God. In fact, God knew how this election would turn out since the dawn of time.

So, I will sleep, pray, worship and continue on with my life in faith. I have faith that Christ is in control. If God allowed this to take place then I intend to believe that He has a purpose. Do I know His purpose? No way!! But, I can reason a few things by studying the scripture and seeing how God dealt with Israel when she cried for a king.

We live in a time and country where entertainment has surpassed worship. We live in a time when a baby's life has less value than an IPod. We live in a time when many people expect and then get a free ride. We live in a time and country that has lost her first love.

Read Revelation. Read Chronicles. Read Judges. No Christian should be surprised at this election. We should be shamed. We should be on our knees and begging for God to give us wisdom.

I do know there are truths about my Father. He is able to move in places that I cannot go. He sees the past, the present, and the future. If I am wringing my hands and wailing than perhaps I am not praying to and trusting in my God. I have had to believe and trust in His care for my kidnapped children for nearly 20. If I can trust Him with my children being raised by liars and thieves then I fully believe that I can trust Him with my country.

God is in control. God makes kings and God brings kings low.

I also believe that we are called to pray for our president-elect. We should probably be praying for him more than we have ever prayed for any of our presidents in recent years. The Bible tells us to give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. I realize that scripture was referring to taxation but I believe that God expects us to respect those in authority.

Does that mean that we are to agree with earthly authority? No. Respect does not mean to agree with someone. Respect means to have regard, to treat with consideration, and to give honor.

I can respect someone with whom I do not agree. I can pray for him. I can demonstrate a proper attitude. I believe that God is testing my heart and my response to this election. My deep prayer is that I do not disappoint God by my actions, thoughts or words.

Blessings,
Debbie

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Parenting a teen.....

Oh, my! I love being a mom but there are days when I wonder if I have made any correct decision. This past week, I had one of those moments. I found myself at my end which is probably exactly where God placed me. He wanted me to STOP my reasoning and turn to Him.

I finally did so, but not until I had said some things which were not loving and kind. As my injured sixteen-year-old pointed out to me, "You can say you are sorry but your words cannot be taken back. They are forever floating in the universe."

Okay, forget it that his words and actions might have brought me to that point. However, I am the adult and supposedly one that has tried to walk with Christ since she was 14 years old. I was without excuse.

It was at this was the point that I found myself praying and hugging (notice not reading) my Bible. I know so much of this precious book by memory. I know the correct way to act and the correct way to respond even to a teenager that has disappointed me.

Finally, he, his daddy and I came together to discuss the events leading to the break of our communication. This time, we sat down and began with prayer. We talked about a plan of correction and then I read scripture.

My son began to weep. He looked so alone, so fragile. I hesitantly asked him why he was crying. He said, "I am at this place because of my actions." He was no longer shifting the blame to us but he was taking responsibility. I knew that God was in the room. He was forgiving me and He was forgiving Paul.

I am thankful that I serve a great God. I am thankful that my loving Father cares not only for me but for my sons and daughter.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

By His Grace - I stand,
Debbie

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Review of Fireproof

First, I need to say that I wrote an unflattering review of Alex Kendrick’s movie Facing the Giants. Mr. Kendrick was truly shocked at my interpretation of his film and sent me a couple of emails where he explained what he was hoping to demonstrate in that film. I had told him that I would print his email in my blog but by the time we had completed our correspondence, my blog had moved forward. At the end of this review, I will link my review of Facing the Giants along with Mr. Kendrick’s emails to me.

My son, Michael, asked his dad and me to attend Fireproof this afternoon with him. I will freely admit that I was skeptical. I was expecting to leave this movie much like I felt after viewing Facing the Giants. However, I prayed about my attitude and decided to attend.

This movie was the exact opposite of what I was prepared to see. I found myself crying, laughing and crying again as I watched this story unfold. Mr. Kendrick did an amazing job of presenting a true-to-life account on how difficult it is to remain married and faithful especially without a foundation based upon Christ.

I have witnessed marriages where both husband and wife were Christians and yet, they divorced. Today, we are so pulled by the lust of the eyes. Men and women are torn by the world in so many directions. Some of these distractions seem good and without evil intent while others are addictions. I believe that this movie would benefit anyone who is married whether or not they are Christians.

Mr. Kendrick, in an unassuming way, begins to lay out a plan for Caleb (Kirk Cameron) to discover whether or not his marriage can be salvaged. Caleb’s father asks his son to take a love dare and work on his marriage for forty days. Caleb consents to the dare only because he respects his father.

I do not want to go through all of the scenes in the movie about the dares, but let’s just say that until Caleb committed his life to Christ, he could not truly show his wife that he was sincere in his effort. In the meantime, his wife began a flirtatious affair with a married doctor at the hospital where she worked. Caleb was also struggling with an addiction to internet pornography.

One of the things that I appreciated in this film was the fact that Mr. Kendrick did not whitewash this couple’s behaviors or their sins. He showed the reality of the world in which we live today and the struggles that many couples face. He did not show an easy fix but allowed the viewer to realize the seriousness of the problems within this marriage.

In the movie, Kendrick showed this point beautifully, faith without works is dead. Caleb had to be willing to go to God for guidance and he had to work without his wife’s applause. In fact, she continued to move away from his attempts to win her back. After trying to please his wife, she gave him divorce papers. My favorite part of the movie was when it was revealed that Caleb had surrendered his dream of buying a boat even when he thought that his marriage was over.

While this movie had a joyful ending, Kendrick didn’t turn Caleb into some sort of a superman where the entire community kissed his backside. I liked the fact that his crotchety old neighbor still thought him weird when he and his wife drove off to church. I liked the fact that Caleb had to work on his relationship not just with God but with his wife. This movie didn’t portray him as saving all those around him. What we see instead is the possibility of his newly discovered faith as influencing those around him.

Unlike Facing the Giants, Kendrick did not present God as a Santa Claus in Fireproof. Caleb’s mother-in-law never spoke, the married doctor’s marriage wasn’t restored, and the nurses did not see the error of their gossiping ways. Instead, we are left wondering if perhaps this change that has happened in Caleb and his wife’s lives might begin to make an impact on those around them. All the situations were not solved. Kendrick also showed that saving this marriage was not an overnight fix but that it was going to take continued work and sacrifice on both the husband and wife’s parts.

I believe that this movie presented a more realistic view of God and His miraculous ways than Facing the Giants. I highly recommend this movie to both believers and non-believers. It should strengthen the believers’ faith and could influence the non-believer to check out Christ and the work He did on the cross.
My Review of Facing the Giants

Mr. Kendrick's first email to me:

Debbie,
Thank you for emailing me. I wanted to respond to your review of
"Facing the Giants" and share with you my side of this movie. I admit to
you that your review hurt me very much, and I was saddened that your
"take" on the story and its message was so harsh and critical. I have
received many negative reviews from non-believers about the movie and
can certainly accept them, but only a few critical reviews have come
from brothers or sisters in Christ. They are the ones that sting.
I have copied some of your remarks below so as to adequately
respond to them.

You wrote, "It presents a one sided picture of a god who is more
like Santa Claus than the God that I worship. I am disturbed that
churches are using this movie as an evangelical tool."
Debbie, everything you saw in the movie actually happened. The
only reason we did not present this as a true story was that the events
happened over several years to our own family and other members of our
congregation at Sherwood Baptist Church. However, for the sake of
telling a story within a limited amount of time, we re-ordered the
events to happen in one season. But our Christian school really did
break out into a student led revival that consumed the school. An
elderly prayer warrior really visited the school. A coach (and a
missionary) was really given a new vehicle, and three different couples
really had children after being told it was impossible. I also saw a
young player kick a 51 yard field goal to win a game when he had never
kicked that far before. Finally, I spoke with a team that started off
with three loses and ended up winning the state championship after
rededicating their team to the Lord. My brother and I incorporated these
real events into the movie after watching God work in their lives.
I do not believe that God is some genie in a lamp that gives out
wishes to His children. I argued with several people that wanted to make
the ending "happier" that I was not going to add anything to the plot
that I had not seen God do myself. I told them that at the end of the
movie, I wanted the coach and his wife living in the same house and
never establishing that the leaky roof or broken appliances ever got
fixed. I wanted them to STILL be a one vehicle family, and I wanted
their household income to remain at 30K a year (he got a raise but she
left her job at the flower shop to raise the kids). Same house, same
job, same household income, and one vehicle. I also defended that
David's dad remained unhealed of his Multiple Sclerosis since my own
father has had MS for 22 years and still praises God from his
wheelchair. After struggling to stand for his son in the movie, Larry
Childers sits right back down in his wheelchair. I also wanted the ring
leader of the "fathers" that tried to get the coach fired to remain
unredeemed. That really happened, so I didn't alter his outcome.
In other words, I didn't want EVERYTHING to be resolved, but
since I have seen God overwhelm me (and our church) at certain times in
the past, I wanted to include that in the movie. It doesn't mean that
there won't be any more struggles or trials, but that God CAN do the
impossible. Is it not scriptural to believe that? I felt like you
treated the movie like we were presenting a sinful view.
Since the movie was released, we have had over 4,300 churches to
attend the theater or to show it to their congregations. After giving
invitations afterwards, pastors and church leaders have emailed us with
the results. So far, over 2,100 people have made first time professions
of faith in Christ (that we know about), and hundreds of others have
rededicated their life to Him.

You wrote, "We live in a world where people do not understand
the Spirit and they are constantly looking for a sign. If God loves me,
then He should do the following. I should have a car given to me. I
should suddenly become very successful in my job. I should find the dead
mouse in my house. I should get a several thousand dollar raise. I
should get pregnant. And, everyone that I have any contact with should
change because of my influence toward God in their life. All these
things should happen if I stay up all night and read my Bible and pray
and share my faith."
Debbie, we NEVER said these things would happen if you read your
Bible and prayed. In fact, we present numerous times that we should live
our lives to honor the Lord, and to "praise Him when we win, and praise
Him when we lose". Did you not catch that? When Brooke is asked by
Grant, "If the Lord never gives us children, will you still love Him",
we wanted to present to the audience that our deepest desires can never
be the basis on which we choose to love and worship God or not. He is
worthy of our total worship because of who He is, not just what He does.
However, since He CAN still do miracles and perform the impossible, and
since we have seen it ourselves, we included a happy ending to THIS
PARTICULAR story.

You wrote, "Sometimes, the only things that we see God do in
some situations is hold us and give us strength to continue."
That's absolutely true! That's why I included the deathcrawl
scene. Brock was pushed and stretched further than he ever thought he
could go. He was blinded from knowing how far he had been or how much
longer his struggle would last. I believe at some point in our lives, we
will all do our own deathcrawl. For some, like my father, it will last
decades. For others, it may last just a season. That's where the point
comes in to praise Him either way! We may never understand the "why" in
life, but we know the "Who", and that He is trustworthy.

You wrote, "Where was the message of Christ? This movie reminded
me of that popular name and claim it doctrine........the message of this
movie was only good things will happen to you once you make God first in
your life."
In the locker room scene where the coach holds up the ten dollar
bill, he tells that team that pursuing trophies and personal glory
CANNOT be their goal. He reminds them that God's Son died on the cross
for our sins so that we could live for Him. Again a few scenes later, he
witnesses to a player in the stands about Christ. Later, at the revival
scene, that same player accepts Christ as his Lord and Savior. As for
the name it and claim it doctrine, I don't support that view at all. I
do believe God can do the impossible and have watched Him do it many
times, but other prayers I have prayed have gone a different way than I
expected. Gad has said "no" at times and I must praise Him anyway. In
the movie, the coach is given a truck, NOT because he asked for it, but
because father was so moved by how the coach poured into his son. That's
not name it and claim it. That's the body of Christ meeting the needs of
others.

You wrote, "I need to say, to those struggling in their faith,
or those new to the faith, or to those who are thinking about coming to
God, this movie was a farce and not reality. God will change you and
hold you and love you but you probably won't get pregnant or a raise or
an expensive truck given to you. God does bless His people; however,
sometimes that blessings are being able to experience a true and real
joy in life regardless of your life's circumstances, sorrows, and
disappointments."
A farce? Are we in sin for telling this story? Have we disobeyed
or dishonored God? What do I make of the real life events we portrayed?
What do I make of the thousands of decisions for Christ? How do I
interpret the Lord answering hundreds of prayers to get this movie made,
and then to pull off the impossible and have a secular studio distribute
it nationwide and in 56 other countries? I have personally received
almost 6,000 emails from viewers who told me it challenged them to seek
the Lord more, and to love Him whether they win or lose. What do I do
with those?

You wrote, "This movie did not make me feel joyful and happy.
This movie made me think about my life's biggest sorrows and losses and
then wonder why God hasn't stepped in with my miracle."
After reading the attachment you sent, I thought that you may be
in the middle of a long deathcrawl yourself. I have five kids of my own,
and cannot imagine what you have been through. You seem steadfast in
your faith and grateful for the blessings you have as well as the
ministry God has given you. It's obvious that your journey is not over,
and that sorrows and joys lie ahead. But you and I both know that Jesus
is on the throne!

Finally, you wrote, "The truth of life is that we will
experience happiness and sorrow. God makes the rain to fall on all. We
are called to live in faith. Faith that Jesus Christ is doing exactly
what he said He would do."
AMEN! We stand in total agreement here! Sorrows and joys will
come for the believer, and both are seen in the movie, but we chose to
have a happy ending to this ONE story because we saw it happen. We never
say that life is without trials, or that Christians can ask for whatever
they want and get it. That wasn't the point of the story. The point was
that God is able to do the impossible (Matthew 19:26) but that whether
He answers our prayers like we hope for or not, we are to follow,
worship, and praise Him for who He is!

Debbie, please don't shoot at us for things that are scriptural.
I would appeal to you not to make assumptions about what we are trying
to say in the movie. If you feel we are wrong or in sin, please share it
with me. We serve the same Savior, and it is my deepest desire to draw
others to Him. Some may misinterpret the movie because of pain or
frustrations in their own life. Others have seen God's truth jump off
the screen at them and prod them to a deeper level of faith. It's not
about materialism or just winning games. It's about a walk of faith with
a holy God.
We are making more movies that have a variety of plots. Some are
darker and deal with the struggle of trials in life. Others focus on the
joy of having a need met. Not every story will end up the same, but we
can only tell one at a time. It's difficult to present stories that
appeal to everyone. I hope the next one blesses you instead of
frustrating you, but before you review it, please prayerfully consider
whether the Lord is using it for His purposes.
Your email to me about the deathcrawl was quite encouraging.
Thank you for sending it. After reading two of your blogs, I was
impressed with your skill of writing. You do have a gift for painting a
picture. Perhaps there is a script in your future.

God Bless,
Alex Kendrick

My response to him:

Dear Alex,

I am sorry that I have taken a week in getting back to you but I had an
extremely busy week last week and I wanted to prayerfully respond to
your email. I watched your movie a second time and have discussed it
with a few other people in depth because I wanted to make sure that my
reaction was not a knee-jerk one.

First, I want to tell you that I am sorry that my review hurt you. I
really do not think that my Blog has a big following. Probably only a
few ladies from my board (ChristianMoms) ever read it. However, I will
be glad to paste your explanations of my comments over on it. I am
interested in your thoughts on this movie and the message that you were
trying to convey.

I am going to try and respond to some of your concerns.

You wrote, "...everything you saw in the movie actually happened."

I do not doubt for one minute that everything in this movie happened.
But, by your own admission, it happened to several different families.
I fully believe that God is in the miracle making business. I
understand that you had time restrains and so you decided to present all
of these things as happening to one man and his wife. But, this is where
my concern is great. When I recall your movie, I do not remember that
the guy had a leaky roof. I thought the man that was against the coach
was redeemed since he gave the coach a truck - which tells me that
obviously I have your minors characters confused. And, the father in the
wheelchair, never, to the audience's knowledge, prayed for a healing. He
did give his son a talk about continuing to live despite his disability.
This character is not where my concern lies. I am concerned over the
main character's windfall of blessings. That is the over-riding message
of the film. The coach spent a night in prayer and quickly all of his
problems seemed to vanish. The few things you mentioned that weren't
corrected in his life, I never thought about because they were minor.

You wrote: "...we present numerous times that we should live
our lives to honor the Lord, and to "praise Him when we win, and praise
Him when we lose."

I did catch many of those statements in your movie. However, the coach
never had to deal with disappoint long. All of his prayers were quickly
answered. You never presented one of those "big" deals in the coach's
life not getting a miracle answer that blessed him. Once the coach
prayed to God, he seemed suddenly invisible. It was like he had the
"Midas Touch". This concerns me because it didn't show a balance in the
Christian life. Christians have our share of sorrow and disappointments
along with seeing God move in fantastic ways in our lives.

My concern is for the young Christian. The coach did say, "We will
praise Him no matter what." However, all of his "no matter whats"
worked out to his benefit. I am truly concerned that is the
overwhelming message that a new, ungrounded Christian will take from
this movie. If someone is facing a life of challenges, they are seeking
answers and quick fixes. You and I both know that the Christian walk of
faith isn't about quick fixes. We are tested and tried in fire.

You wrote: "Are we in sin for telling this story?"

I believe that the intention and the desire of your heart in presenting
this story was to share the amazing love and power of God. I think that
you wanted to present to the world a picture of God that showed Him to
be concerned about all the areas of our life. As you stated earlier, you
have witnessed those miracles.

Alex, I have witnessed many miracles and some of them similar to the
ones that you mentioned in this movie. But, they were miracles that
happened to either several families or over decades to one family. I can
give you many testimonies of God's awesome power just in the life of our
family. But, we are talking 27 years of marriage.

I do not doubt for one minute that your movie moved many people to make
professions of faith or rededicate their lives to Christ. Your movie
was inspiring but it wasn't balanced. I do not think that the intention
of your heart was to present an unbalanced view of the Christian life.
You brought up several things that you left in the movie that didn't
work out; yet, the things you mentioned are not the things that people
walked away from remembering. Of course, you remember these things
because this was your project and I am sure that you poured many hours
of your life into it. You are intimate with all of the details of this
movie.

I wonder where all these same people will be in their walk, say in 5, 10
or 20 years down the road, if their deepest concerns, sorrows, and
desires do not work out as quickly as the coach's appeared to be solved.
Will they still be faithful? Will they be serving God in a church? (A
side note: I also wish that you had shown at least one time the coach
attending church.)

Again, my main concern is what novices in Christ are taking away from
this movie. If this movie wasn't being used as an evangelical tool,
perhaps, my concerns wouldn't be so great. However, as I read my Bible
and biographies of giants in the faith, I see over and over again where
their lives had tragedy. Yet, they continued with joy in Christ. I
understand and believe that you agree with this statement. You wrote
about your own father's struggle with his illness. Your dad is a major
"character" in your life. So, your perception of this movie is filtered
through the life lessons he taught you. Your dad taught you how to
praise God despite "his thorn in the flesh." However, many people are
watching this movie through different filters and receiving different
messages.

One young man told me that the message of your movie was, "When your
life is falling apart, get right with God, and everything will work
out." He later added, "Eventually."

That shows another problem with how some people are interpreting this
movie. They are assuming if a believer is experiencing problems and
heartache that their walk with Christ is not right. This concerns me,
especially when thinking of my denomination (Southern Baptist). I have
seen this sway to legalism in many of the churches. This young man's
attitude reflected that legalistic attitude. This attitude is hard and
judgmental and is Pharisaical in nature. I am reminded of the scripture
where Christ is asked whose sin, his or his parents, caused his
affliction.

Perhaps, my concerns are all invalid since you have had many people sing
this movie's praise. I am not a great theologian. However, what if my
concerns have some validity?

Alex, sometimes, we lose the big games while serving God with all of our
being. Sometimes, godly people suffer and it's not because their life
wasn't straight with God. It was because God wanted to reveal His glory
to a lost world through their lives.

I wrote you a lot of words, but I do want to make one last statement to
you.

I believe you to be a man who is trying to reach many for Christ. I
believe you are compassionate towards the hurting. I think that your
sincere desire is to try and get the message out about this totally
amazing and magnificent God that we serve. And, irregardless of my
opinion about this movie, God saw and knows the intentions and desires
of your heart.

With blessings,
Debbie Baskin

Mr. Kendrick's final email to me:


Debbie,
Thanks for writing back. I appreciate you pasting my comments on
your site. That's very kind of you.
Although these are very minor issues, I wanted to remind you of
where certain events were in the movie. The "leaky roof" comment was
during the coach's first kitchen scene with his wife at their home.
Also, the father that was the ring leader of the effort to fire the
coach was Alvin Purivs, not Matt Prater's dad. However, as you said,
these are minor issues.
It seems to me that you and I both agree that God can do the
impossible, and that Christians WILL have trials and tribulations in
life. Our disagreement seems to come over how much tribulation and how
many blessings God may allow during seasons of our life. You agreed that
our message of "honoring God with our lives and praising Him no matter
what" was a good message. It seems that your frustration comes when we
show God overwhelming people with answers to their prayers too quickly
(which they had been struggling with for years, I might add).
If you do not think God would ever do that, I can live with
that. However, I have seen Him do it in "seasons" of my life and in the
lives of others. It doesn't mean that every season is like that, nor
does it mean that the amount of blessings will be equal for each
believer. It's just a difference of opinion on how God may work. And we
both base part of that opinion on our own life experiences.
As far as where new believers might be five or ten years down
the road from a decision they made after watching the movie, I have this
thought. Even Judas, who was WITH Jesus during his time on earth turned
away from the Lord. In other words, when people accept Christ as Lord,
it is a growing process that will include joys and pain, and being
blessed and tried by fire. That's true for every Christian! Some made
their initial decision to follow Christ from a church service, a
concert, a testimony, or by reading about the gospel. God may use many
different methods of reaching a lost soul, but if the person accepting
Christ TRULY meant it, then that's where the Holy Spirit begins working
in their life. If someone walks away from the Lord because God didn't
give them enough "benefits or blessings" in life, then their motive was
wrong to begin with. God can bless us tremendously, but that can't be
the reason someone gets saved. It's about Lordship and turning over our
lives to Him. I would still argue that this is the main message of the
movie.
However, I realize that some may have a different slant when
watching Facing the Giants. But SO MANY got what we were trying to say.
We tried to pack in as many points as we could (praise Him no matter
what, we're here to honor God instead of ourselves, don't waste your
influence, don't quit, prepare for rain, God can do the impossible,
etc.) and we are thrilled that it has challenged and encouraged so many.
If some have walked away with a wrong perception, I would beg God to
work in their life and give them discernment. I still ask for it myself.
But in no way do I feel this movie is a farce.
I will respect your opinion from here on. If we disagree, then
may God continue to teach and guide both of us. We are serving the same
Lord.
Thanks for hearing my side, and for reading this. To some
degree, it certainly helps to challenge and sharpen one another. I want
God to us me to draw as many people to Himself as possible, and I don't
doubt for a minute that you want the same.
May God give you and your husband much fruit in your ministry,
and may he ever direct your steps.

Sincerely,
Alex

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Trying to catch up a little.....

I can't believe it's already October! Man, life is moving quickly. I am coming to the end of my first nine weeks of having students. I think that I have managed to get all of the grades transferred from my grade book to the computer. I have also managed to get all of the conduct grades and comments on the computer, too.

Tomorrow is Friday. I live for Fridays.

Oh, last month we had some missionaries from Pioneer Bible Translators stay with us. I met Amy through VegSource around 9 years ago! It was wonderful meeting her and her family in person. One of the great things about the internet and boards are the cool folks that God brings together. Pete and Amy were here trying to raise interest and support of their ministry. They will be serving in Guinea which is a small country in west Africa. This coming year, they will travel to France and learn French. Pete has been working in the home offices in Texas for Pioneer Bible Translators.

I moved my ChristianMoms board to a new site. I am keeping the Excoboard up and running but I now have a site that my Admins and I totally control - the content and the ads! I am still learning my way around the new board. It's a work in progress. Dee and her husband, Matt, installed all of the software and Michael drew our banner. Until we get some new software, you have to use hypertext codes when posting if you want to get fancy. That can get to be a pain. LOL

Here are a few photos of Amy and her family.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

September Photos of Paul

September 8, 2008, my sweet baby boy turned 16 years old.



Saturday, September 20 was a big day in the life of my youngest son. It was the day he took his test and received his driver's license!


This past Thursday was decade day at his school. The Sophomore class was the sixties. Paul and I made this tie-dyed shirt.


Friday was Spirit Day. That's a different shirt. The boy sprayed his black hair red!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Update on Us

Time continues moving forward and there are days that I feel left behind or simply an observer of life and the happenings around me.

Michael preached his first official sermon a couple of weeks ago. He loved it. He seems to have developed a new resolve in his calling. He has been convicted of some changes that he wanted to make in his life, and he seems determined to push forward through those changes. It’s amazing to watch how God works out circumstances to our benefit when we aren’t even aware of His watching. College is back in full swing. Michael was asked to head one of the committees for SGA (Student Government Association). He is one of the Senators for his class.

Paul is sixteen. This week, he got his hair cut short, again. He goes through phases. He had been letting it grow out but decided that he was tired of it. Music and art seem to be his major passions at this point in his life. He was elected as Senior Patrol Leader and is preparing to get his Eagle Project approved. We all (Mark, me, and Paul) hope that he has his project completed by spring – if not sooner.

Mark is exhausted and marching season is just beginning. He is working long hours and the away games and late hours are killing him. He is frustrated because he doesn’t have an adequate place for his band to practice their half-time show. Mark will be guest preaching at a local church on the September 21. He is looking forward to preaching. Mark misses that opportunity to preach that Dr. Perry frequently provided while he was Interim Pastor at the church where Mark serves. Mark is preparing the church choir for their Christmas cantata. I really like the music that he has chosen.

I am surviving teaching. I wish that I could say that I love it and feel totally called to it. I do love some of my students. I work with some great teachers. However, I feel like I am out-of-the-loop. I want to do a good job for my students and for my self-esteem. Most days, I feel like I have run a marathon. Trying to teach some of these students is so difficult. I am still working until 5 PM several days a week. And, this week-end, I will be writing up homework for my Classroom Management class that meets this Monday afternoon and creating worksheets and lesson plans to teach expressions to my students on Monday. Tuesday, I have to go back to school and attend a PTO meeting at 6 PM. And, sometime during the week, I have to attend a conference with an unhappy complaining parent.

I am also TRYING to clean this house, cook and do laundry. We have some missionaries arriving on Sunday afternoon or evening. They will be camping in our yard, but they need to use our bathrooms. I did laundry all evening last night and I have been doing it today, too.

Well, this was an update on my family and a whine from me. If you read this post, bless your hearts. Please pray for us as we seek God’s will and crave for His strength and purpose in our lives.

Blessings, Debbie

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

New kittens.........

Splenda got off of our porch several weeks ago. Yep, she did. So, a little over three weeks ago, she gave us a beautiful litter of four tiny kittens. They are precious but they aren't Ragdolls. They all appear to have long fur like their momma. She is an excellent momma cat.



Sunday, August 24, 2008

Watching Paul Grow....

I know that God ordains that our precious children grow up. His desire is that they become responsible adults who love and serve him. This is my desire for my children, too. However, I find that my heart strings are being tugged and pulled at with much force as I watch my youngest racing toward becoming an adult.

Paul turns 16 on Sept. 8. Where has the time flown? When did he change from a young lad to the emerging young man that I am seeing? In a few short weeks, he will be getting his driver’s license and pulling out of my driveway without his dad, older brother, or me in the car making sure that all is safe and watching and trying to protect his decisions.

He has begun practicing his bass guitar with a new determination. Daily, he leaves our house to go and practice with his friends. He straps that large instrument to his back and picks up his amp and heads out the door. His friends mean the world to him and I am feeling left behind and realizing that all too quickly, he will be leaving and making his way in the world.

The other night when he came home, he walked into our darkened bedroom to tell me he was home. I could see this silhouette of a lanky young man still with his bass on his back. He came over to me and hugged me and told me that he was going to bed. All felt safe. My precious youngest son was home, and now I could go to sleep. Yet, my heart was breaking.

I still remember the laughing little boy who loved his trains. I remember the little boy learning how to ride his bike. I remember this child who adored his mommy and would walk with his small hand in hers.

Now, he walks alone. He no longer needs to hold my hand. He no longer plays with trains.

Thank you, Father.
Thank you for the gift of Paul.
Thank you for the joy his has brought into our lives and this family.
Protect and watch him, always.
Keep his hand in Your hand.
Hold tightly on to him when I am not with him.
Bless his life and keep his path straight.

Amen, through Christ I pray.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Reflections from my First Week of Teaching 5th grade

Well, what can I say? I made it through the first week. When Monday evening closed, I went to bed in tears. I really thought that I had made the most horrible mistake. Our school assigns students to math and language arts by ability grouping. Out of my four classes, I have three lower groups. Some of the behaviors in those classes were horrid. One of the teachers on the hall told me to get tough and gave me some pointers on *encouraging* children to change their behavior. I followed through with her suggests.

On Wednesday, I took away recess for an entire class. Of course, that punished me because I had to stay with them during recess. But, guess what? Thursday and Friday that class was my best behaved classroom! They realized that I meant business and would follow through.

Driving to work on Wednesday morning, I prayed for my students. I prayed that God would show me how to reach them and how to love them. I prayed for my ability and strength. I prayed specifically for a few students. They were the ones who had given me problems. Those were the names that I remembered.

God is gracious. I saw improvement in those students this week. Yet, more importantly, I see where God has put a desire in my heart to love these children. I want them to succeed. I want them to learn to make wise choices. There is so much more to teaching than book knowledge.

My heartbreak of the week has a name. Kennedy. This little girl is precious and has a serious illness. Please visit her web page at:

Kennedy

Thursday, we had a meeting with her mom. I fought to hold back my tears as mom was sharing about her daughter’s daily struggles and this child’s faith. Mom shared a section of a poem her daughter has written. Kennedy said she knew her body was a mess but she was ready to get a new one in heaven. Mom was crying. Please visit her website. If the Lord places this child on your heart, donate to help pay for her much needed surgery.

Unfortunately, I am ill! I have a horrible sore throat, cough, runny nose, and severe headache. I honestly thought that I would not get sick this quickly. Last year, I stayed sick student teaching first graders, but I thought that I would not catch illnesses from fifth graders. Wrong. Mark is determined that I am sick because I have worked 10 to 12 hour days all week. I don’t know how to accomplish all that is required of me in less time. Please pray that I can begin to get breathing room. I have no life other than school. I thought that once I completed my degree that I could enjoy my family, again. Paul is growing up so fast. I do not want to miss it.

That is my week in review. Continue to pray for me and my students. Continue to pray for my family (Mark, Michael and Paul), the ones that I can see and hold and the two (Christi and Bobby) that I cannot.

Blessings,
Debbie

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I survived my first day with students....

I teach four different classes of 5th grade math students. Two of my groups seem to be wonderful and two of them are not.

Monday was a long and tiring day. I can't say that I am looking forward to today.

Please pray that God renews my strength and gives me the grace to deal with some of these children.

Blessings,
Debbie

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A B C D.... 1 2 3 4 5......

Counting down to my first day of being with my students. Wow! I can't believe that August is already here.

Tomorrow, I have several things to accomplish. I have to carry Paul to his school and get his schedule fixed. Then, I am hoping to go out to my school and work on my room a bit. I won't have much time because at 1:00 PM, I have to report to the board for a 3 hour meeting. I am tired of classes and now a meeting. I really need to work on my classroom. After the meeting, I have to rush to the dentist. My appointment is at 4:00 PM. I am just going to have to leave this meeting early in order to make it on time.

Tuesday will officially begin pre-planning. I believe that our open house is this coming Friday.

I plan on posting some photos of my classroom after I get my bulletin boards completed and some things organized.

Blessings,
Debbie

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Seeing God's hand.....

July 24, 2008

Well, I have made it through three days of new hire training. The first two days, the class was on Classroom Management. Besides, those two days, we have to meet one hour a month for the next four months and we have homework to submit. Today and tomorrow’s class is on Vocabulary. Our system has adopted a specific vocabulary program in which all of the teachers receive training and need to follow. Next week, I will attend three days of classes on Teaching Strategies.

I have had the opportunity to meet several of the fifth grade teachers. They all seem extremely nice. I look forward to collaborating with each of them.

The lady that I gave my Language Arts position to is precious. I really like her. This is her first year back in the classroom after eight years of being a stay-at-home mom. Her certification is in High School Language Arts. I believe that God was in this change. It will be much easier for me to teach math than for her to teach it. She has four children ranging in age from two to ten years old. Plus, she has to take several Georgia certification tests. I am fully certified and will not have near as much on me in regard to young children or having to prepare for the GACE test.

I wanted to say that I see where God was involved in this decision. I am glad that I submitted to letting go of the Language Arts. I am still not thrilled about the math but I see God’s purpose and plan.

Mark and I are considering and checking into adoption. We would love to adopt a little girl. Of course, I would take an infant, but we are leaning toward a four or five year-old. Please keep us in prayers as we pray and seek God’s direction in this decision. Since Paul is Asian, we would love to adopt another Asian child; however, this desire in not set in stone. We were simply thinking that two of our children would have that common link which would be nice.

We haven’t discussed this with our sons. If God continues to lead us and opens some financial doors for us, we will talk to them. I know that they would fully support our decision.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A change in my teaching position.....

Ack! I was at the school today putting up fabric on my bulletin board and starting to arrange my room. I went down to the office to ask my Assistant Principal a question. My principal asked me to change to math. She told me that it was my decision but they had just hired a new teacher who was certified in High School Language Arts and she was uncomfortable teaching the math. I had finally started to figure out all of this LA curriculum and standards and had planned my classroom and bought some things at the School Box in Atlanta and now I am teaching math.

I want to be a team player and try to not make waves but I could just cry. The subjects that I would rather teach are in this order:
History
Science
Language Arts
and lastly, Math.

Please be in prayer for me. I have to attend new hire classes for the next seven work days and I will not have time to even begin to figure out this math curriculum. BTW, I never asked my Assistant Principal the question. The teacher desk in my room is tiny and I was going to see if she could get me a larger one.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Watching our children grow......

Something amazing happens as we age. Our children and dear friends' children grow up into wonderful adults and teens. I have linked several blogs of young people that I have been privileged to watch grow up. Both of these families were homeschooled.

I have four of Deborah's daughters' blogs linked: Noel, Marigrace, Hope, and Leah Joy. I met Deborah when she only had Noel and Marigrace. I also have Deborah's blog linked. Deborah has a family of five daughters and two sons. She is currently hoping to adopt two more children from Africa.

Saige and Leah are two wonderful young women that are Danna's daughters. Saige is now married and a mother of two making her mom a grandmom! And, Leah is a teacher living near her folks, which also makes her mom very happy.

Check out these blogs and be encouraged that God honors our prayers, training and faith as we raise our children. God does not expect us to be perfect as mothers. He does expect us to love our children and trust Him as He leads our families. Remember when we have long days that we are not to grow weary in doing good. Do good to your family. Love and honor your husband.

Blessings,
Debbie

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mark and I accomplished one more summer time chore....

We painted and cleaned out the laundry room. Okay, my washer and dryer still do not match. I still have wire shelves and not cabinets over the appliances BUT the laundry room looks so much nicer. Lauri had extra paint and she gave me a gallon when I was up visiting. My sweet husband, who had no desire to paint another room in this house, helped me to empty out and paint this room. I think that the paint color looks good going into my kitchen.

Several ladies on my board,ChristianMoms, wanted to see pictures of my room. So, I am posting some lovely photos (hehehe) of it.

Unmatched dryer and washer. Aren't they lovely? I just haven't been able to spend the money on a matching dryer because that Whirlpool is still working! Call me cheap.


Looking into my kitchen. I think (hope) that the colors work well together.


My new American basket that I picked up at Cracker Barrel. I love it especially since it was on clearance for nearly half price! The other basket holds my aprons.


Even a laundry room needs a little art! My Finding Nemo prints have found a new home. The boys didn't want them in their bathrooms! Go figure!


The old closet that we bought at a seminary yard sale when Mark was a student. These closets were used in the fifties in seminary housing for married students. Since we bought it, it has been painted white, green, fire-engine-red, and now chocolate brown.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer is flying quickly .....

I have been extremely busy this summer and the time for posting and the computer has not been a priority.

Mark and I accomplished a few GOOD things like painting both boys' rooms and their bathrooms and the hallway. We also managed to clean out our garage. That was one hot dirty job! We also both worked a five day VBS at our church and were the special music for the reception honoring our prior pastor.

My friend Linda visited from Florida. Unfortunately, her trip was cut short due to her mother getting very ill. Please pray for Linda and her mom. Her mom was released to a hospice.

My friend, Lauri, and two of her teens came down for a visit for nine days. We managed to get to Tybee Island for a couple of days while they were here. Several of us got burned. Ouch! We had a great 4th of July celebrating with a BBQ and fireworks.

Paul completed summer school where he made excellent grades and then headed to North Carolina to Boy Scout Camp. Paul went to Calhoun traveling with Lauri's son and then I followed traveling with Lauri and her daughter a few days later. While in Calhoun, I managed to get a visit with Deborah and her family and learn the details of their upcoming adoption. Mark met us in Macon today. I phoned a dear friend that I hadn't seen in several years when I saw the Warner Robbins sign and we went by their new house for a visit. It was great seeing Danna and Herb.

Michael has been busy taking college classes all summer and his only break was a trip to Atlanta to Six Flags with a group of friends from his church.

Mark, me and Paul at the Crab Shack.


Me and Linda. The food was GOOD!!


Lauri, Rachel and Taylor in the woods across the street from my house.


Taylor standing on a rotting bridge rail in the woods.


An interesting log. I see a dragon!


Taylor, Rachel and Lauri at Tybee.


A very fat woman standing with my sweet husband. And, what's even more scary... the old gal doesn't have on any make-up!!


Rachel and Paul fixing to go out Ballroom dancing.


Two dapper young men, Levi and Paul, ready to break some sweet girls' hearts.


The entire gang trying to leave but some MOM is insisting on pictures!




Marigrace, Lauri, me and Deborah trying the "put your hands on your hips to look skinny trick" however, I don't think it worked on me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Finding Joy

I decided years ago that I had to choose joy over depression and sadness.

Joy and happiness are not synonyms. The apostle Paul speaks of joy in all circumstances. He is my model. His example is what I turn to during dark days. Happiness is fleeting. People often base it on external temporary pleasures. Joy is abiding. Paul talks about contentment. I had to learn to be content in my relationship with Christ Jesus. I had to learn to accept and expect His abiding presence with me daily in the form of the Holy Spirit.

People disappoint us. They can leave us, abandon us, slander us, and loved ones can die. Material possessions grow old and fade with time. However, these are not the areas in which we can put our faith. Our faith must remain fully grounded in Christ and the work His did in order to redeem us to Himself.

It is impossible for Christ to disappoint us if our hearts one with His. His desire for us is to abide with Him. This abiding will last an eternity in heaven; however, it is here for us now. In order to have joy in this life, my advice is to daily spend time with Christ. Get to know Him – the man and our Lord. Meditate on His Word. Lean not to your own understanding (of life) but in all your ways acknowledge Him.

I had to realize that life can take me by surprise and alarm but God is never surprised. God knew the day that I gave birth to Christi and to Bobby that my parents had formed an evil desire in their hearts to steal our children. This was not something that I could prepare for in advance because I am not God and not omnipotent. I don’t have foreknowledge. But, my Lord and Savior knew that these events would unfold in our lives.

I admit that I questioned God the Father. I could not begin to understand why He allowed this tragedy to take place in my family. I did not understand why I needed to go on living. I did not understand how this rupture of my family could in any way bring honor to the name of Christ. I was lost in my despair and sorrow. During this time I camped out in the Old Testament. I read David’s laments. I read the prophets that foretold of the Israelites’ impending bondage. I read and I wept. The prophet Isaiah began to minister to my soul and broken heart.

I read and reread the accounts of Job and Joseph. I read the story of Hannah. I read the story of Ester. And, my list continued. What I discovered in all of these saints’ lives is that they did not see God’s plan while in the midst of the trials. They forged their way through the darkness of their trials believing that there was more to life than what their physical eyes revealed. I decided to believe what Joseph said to his brothers, “What man intended for evil, God intended for good.”

This short phrase has kept me safe and helped to hold my faith steadfast.
Yet, it was Paul and his words and teachings that helped me to realize that presence of God – today. Paul told me to be content regardless of life’s circumstances. He reminded me that I see through a glass dimly but someday I shall see face-to-face. I know that I am repeating myself but this is where I found my peace. I found peace in coming to this awareness that Christ is always with me. And, that I can trust Him.

Daily I meet Christ. He gathers me up in His arms and draws me to Him each morning. I see His nail scarred hands with my name cut into them. He whispers words of hope and love in my ears. And, I believe Him. I believe that someday the sorrows and disappointments of this life will fade into a distant past.

As I read the accounts of Christ in scripture, I realize that He stopped and enjoyed those around Him. He loved on the children. He shared meals with friends. He went to parties and danced at weddings. However, Christ is God and He is omnipotent. He knew exactly what He was going to have to endure – the sorrow of the cross, the mournful tears of his mother, the abandonment of friends, the rejection. Yet, he went about His life and ministry with a joy that was contagious to the masses.

Who am I to say that I cannot find a true joy in this gift of life that God has given me today? Who am I to deny the beauty in the world around me? Can I ignore a child’s smile or innocent questions? Can I harden my heart to dear friends’ compassion? Can I stomp my feet and scream because my life has had some thorns as well as roses? I know that none of my thorns have been nearly as painful as my Savior’s.

So, I stand with the saints who have lived before me and I make my choice to live with joy because of my eternal reward and the reward that I experience daily with my Lord and Savior.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Paul's Youth Group's Skit to "Everything"

I accidentally turned off the video near the beginning while trying to zoom in on the kids. I quickly started it from this point. Paul is the boy who dances with the girl. I am so glad the Cotillion has found some use in his life. I couldn't figure out how to zoom in a dark theater. Sorry. So, the video is not that great. You can't see the expressions on the faces.