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.


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.


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:

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.