Thursday, December 03, 2009

Another Reason That Proves God is Not a Woman!

Okay, let me first begin by saying if you get your panties in a wad over religious humor, then don’t read this piece. While the thoughts are funny, they are also accurate. And, all honest women married to a man will understand the truth of the theology behind what I am writing.

I have been having blonde highlights put in my hair for years. Recently, I decided to try and return to the color of my youth which was not blonde but brunette. I was concerned that there would be a problem with gray roots; however, in my naivety, I was not quite prepared for the amount of white hair that was fixing to make its appearance known to me.

Let me begin by saying that I always liked my hair color and swore that I would never go blonde until I started noticing some lighter hairs appearing on my head. That’s when I told my stylist to begin highlighting my hair. I have been highlighting my hair for the past 14 years. I want to make another comment. The truth why most women get and continue highlighting their hair is not because blondes have more fun. Brunettes are quite capable of having more fun than blondes. The simple reality of going blonde is that blonde hair hides white or gray hair much better.

Unfortunately, I was assuming that I would probably only have as much white hair as my husband has gray hair. My sweet man is three years older than me. Sadly, I was extremely mistaken. I colored my hair a light brown and noticed 3 weeks later that I could already see white hair beginning to make its presence known. Great, I thought. But, I assumed that I could still go my normal 6 to 7 weeks between dye jobs. That supposition was dreadfully wrong. In fact, upon further study of my head, I realized that I had much more white hair than Mark had gray.

Obviously, I wasn’t a happy camper and so I complained of my plight to my dear husband. His sweet reply, “Surely not, honey. You have got to be kidding.”

In my horrified state, I decided to prove it to him by parting my hair and showing him the evidence. What possessed me to do this is beyond my understanding. The only reasonable explanation that I have been able to come up with is temporary insanity. I thought that the man would have a sensible response. I was expecting consolation and perhaps even a dinner out. Instead my revolted husband gasped, “Oh, my GOSH, Debbie!”

For a Baptist minister, that statement is the equivalent to taking the Lord’s name in vain. However, I believe God, who is not a woman, agreed with Mark because nothing happened to him. The floor didn’t open up and swallow the man whole. Lightning didn’t strike him from the sky and give him, much needed, electric shock therapy and, most regrettably, he was not made mute.

You got it. He wasn’t done speaking. My dear sweet husband kindly inquired, “Do you need me to go to the drug store for some L’Oreal or do you have an appointment scheduled to get your hair fixed?”

I was dumb-struck and he should have been; however, he could still talk. That’s when he added, “I really am not ready to have a wife with white hair who would look older than me.”

If God was a woman, it would have been at this point that she would have turned all of his hair white and then rendered him bald the very next day.

Of course, I have been taught that God is full of grace, compassion and forgiveness and these characteristics apparently come from women. And, it’s evident that I have these attributes because this man is still living. Well, maybe God does have a feminine side, too.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Praising God through the Tears

Praising God through the Tears
November 12, 2009

Psalm 150:6 "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord."

Anthems of praise are easily sung when blessings abound. Yet, praising God in the midst of sorrow and through tears can be arduous. While the Christian seeks to praise Him, frequently it is done with mournful mouths. Admittedly, underlying our praise is the hope that our weeping will turn to joy.

Whenever praise is difficult for me, I try to envision my Savior and the incalculable sacrifice He made for the church. He willingly submitted His life to God in order to achieve pardon and redemption for you and me. This one act and remembrance should keep my hands raised in praise to Christ. Reluctantly, I must acknowledge that I can fail miserably when my focus is taken off Christ and redirected to my situation.

Lately, my thoughts have been on my first-born son, Bobby. His birthday is Monday. In attempts to take away the sorrow of not seeing him or hearing from him, I have tried to be busy in silly employment such as choosing to remember the past, a time before he was born. I decided to hunt up old photos from High School and reflect on an age when life seemed innocent and there were innumerable possibilities. And while this occupation provided much needed diversion and shared laughter with old friends, today I find that I must look again at life and loss.

I cannot pretend that all of life is blessed and that happiness far outweighs sadness in this world. The truth is that sometimes life simply hurts. But, I have the option of not allowing my mind to dwell on anguish. And, because I know that “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” I can experience true praise in this life.

Today, I choose to praise God because despite my heaviness of heart, He is worthy. My praise comes from a deep knowing that He who comforted his Son will pour out that same comfort and transforming power in my own feeble life. These times of forsakenness are but momentary in the larger picture of eternity. So, today I praise Him though my tears.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My source of strength

Written to someone who said they didn't know about the kidnapping.

In regard to Paul, he told me that he was meant for our family. He is so outgoing and a really kind kid. He loves music and plays the guitar and sings.

Our strength was all borrowed from God. God has never left us and His unchanging character gives me hope. Hope that He has/had a plan for us regardless of what I see. It's all about choice. And, my choice was to believe in eternity and to try and live each day with the knowledge and joy that comes from having a close relationship with Christ. Christ is not untouchable. He is my companion and friend.

The book of Philippians is a constant reminder of seeking joy in this life. The apostle Paul wrote this book in the New Testament and Paul understood disappointment. I can fully agree with this statement in Phil. 1:21 - "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." But, Paul continues to speak of having joy in all circumstances. Paul had reason to be angry. Paul had reason to be bitter. He was a very learned man - a Jew in a position of power but he left it all and became a follower of Christ Jesus. He was in prison standing in about a foot of sewage when he penned these words:

Phl 4:4 - 13
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle {spirit} be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned {before,} but you lacked opportunity.
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

I have chosen to rejoice in my salvation and to rejoice in the people that God has put into my path. I could have chosen to become bitter and angry but that would not have found my children or redeemed my parents. I have had to live in a way that says, "I have forgiven them." Holding on to bitterness only makes the one doing the holding physically ill.

Now, forgiving someone who has done a great wrong in your life doesn't mean that you want to be their best friend or that you would ever trust them. For me, it means that I have faithfully prayed for them. I have prayed God's blessings in their lives. I try to think of good things and not dwell on the sorrow and sadness. Believe me, I can go down that path but it is one that I prefer not to travel.

God has been faithful to me - to us. The fact that my marriage survived is a testament of God's greatness. I have watched friends' marriages end over finances or a cluttered house (not kidding). Yet, because Mark and I have this true, deep and abiding relationship with Christ - we have survived - and found joy in life. Not the kind of joy that is temporary and fleeting - but a joy that invades our dreams, lives, and hopes.

We have been able to stand only because of Christ. And, Christ isn't interested in woe is me and life is crap Christians. He died for me. He died and then rose again, so that I could live in this world and not be made into its image but into His. I really don't think that Christ had fun that horrid day He carried the heavy cross and was crucified. But, he chose to fulfill His purpose - which was to save the lost and dying creation. It was to save me and you.

My only job is to fulfill God's purpose in my life. And, my purpose is to worship Him, to love Him and to forgive those who have injured me and those I love. Christ desires us to have fullness of life. He wants us to know Him intimately.

It's real easy for someone who has never experienced tragedy to say, "I love and trust God." Their faith has never been tested. But, I say to you, "I adore my Lord and Savior and I trust Him and His plan for my life." I say this knowing that life on earth can sometime really suck. I say this knowing betrayal. But, I also say this knowing blessings and goodness, and God's tender mercies. God has been faithful in surrounding me with people who love me and have been faithful in friendship and in their prayers and support.

Now let’s get back to my son, Paul. I had someone ask me once (yes, people are idiots....) what I would choose - never having our precious Christi and Bobby kidnapped or adopting Paul. I could never choose one of them over the other. I can't imagine our family without Paul. He was/is God's gift to us. And, if Christi and Bobby had not been stolen - we wouldn't have left seminary for a season and moved to Rome, GA and Paul would not be our son today. But, see I agree with Paul, "God intended him for our family."

The picture of life, to me, is like a rose. Often, when touching its petals or smelling the scent, you get pricked with a thorn. However, those thorns do not take away the beauty of that flower. And, think about it, there are a lot more thorns than blossoms on a rose bush! But, when most people view the bush - they see the roses.

I view life that way. There have been lots of thorns in my life but my prayer has been that when others see me, they will see the rose and not the thorns.

I should have added that if you see the rose - it is only because of Christ living in me. It is because I am redeemed by my Savior.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Good Intentions

The other day I was inspired to write a piece but I felt like I didn't have the time. So, I made a few notes with the intention of writing it up later in the week.

This morning I have been looking at my abbreviated notes and I get absolutely nothing! I wish I had found the time to write this up the other day. It's like all of the creativity has been sucked out of my brain. I might as well be trying to interpret the Rosetta Stone. Okay, comparing my chicken scratch notes to the Rosetta Stone is approximating a drop of water to the Pacific in the big scheme of life. However, in my fumbling mind this idea was going to be a great devotion that would inspire the masses (insert eye roll) or perhaps just a few weary pilgrims on their journey with Christ.

This situation is quite maddening since I was so excited about my idea. I can’t remember how I was going to thread my thoughts together. That’s the main problem. Somewhere in my overloaded brain the ideas are still there but I can’t seem to access the information in an applicable way.

Now, I am left speculating if there is a way to help me jar my memory. Obviously my notes are of no help. I wrote them in red, put little stars by certain words, and drew an arrow to a section. Despite my fancy comments and doodles, I am still drawing a blank. The excitement has vanished. While I see the potential in the idea, the urgency of it is no longer persuading me to act.

As I write this frivolous piece, another random thought pops into my beleaguered brain. Do we as Christians have amazing ideas for ministry, in reaching the lost, or simply to contact another? However, we put the ideas on hold and then never return to actually do them. Does the Holy Spirit beckon us to act but we make excuses as to our hectic schedules and ignore His urging. How many moments have we missed?

Good intentions without action often get negative results. Some may feel that an unfair statement. Perhaps, a receiver in a football game doesn’t complete the play. In all fairness, he meant to do it. He thought about doing it but he waited and didn’t act. So, the ball gets intercepted and the opposing team scores. This is an extremely simplistic physical illustration of a spiritual truth. When we as Christian don’t act and ignore that “still small voice” the opposing team scores.

We get so caught up in this physical life that we miss opportunities and never realize our potential or the full power of God’s ability and desire to lead us. And, in ignoring God, we allow Satan to score. Of course, we know the final outcome. We know Christ wins the big battle but I am left pondering how many defeats could be avoided if we acted when the Holy Spirit inspires.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Paul is now 17...

Raising Paul has been such an amazing blessing. He has an infectious personality which draws folks to him. I will forever remember the day he came into our home. And, I will forever thank God for Carol, the caseworker, who matched this family with our son. As I think back on those days, it’s amazing to watch how God worked all things together for the good in giving us another son.

Last Tuesday our boy turned seventeen. I imagine that he thinks he’s nearly grown but I watch with anticipation to witness the avenues that God will use to continue to mold this young man into His image and to create in Paul a heart wholly sold out to Christ.

I have seen some amazingly magnificent wonders that the Father has created. I have flown the span of our country and viewed and walked in the Appalachian, Ozark and Rocky Mountains. I have seen the ocean waves of the Atlantic and the Pacific and tasted the salty waters. I have played in the white sands on the gulf coast.

I have also seen, heard and read many wondrous works that God’s children have created. I have driven on the Golden Gate Bridge and was privileged to see the Twin Towers while they stood. I have heard music that has to have caused the angels to weep from the sheer beauty of it.

Yet, as I think on all of these incredible memories, I realize that nothing in my life has given me as much pleasure as being a mother and watching my children grow into the people that they were created to be when first formed in God’s mind. Watching my children take their first steps was far more incredible that standing on the Golden Gate Bridge. Hearing my children speak their first words was finer music than all the orchestras that I have ever heard.

So today, I celebrate my youngest son, Paul. I celebrate his life and the life that God continues to give him. Daily, I thank God for the most perfect gift – the gift of being a mom.

Family portrait: Paul at 5 years old.

Paul at 17.

Paul and Elizabeth on his birthday.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Oppsssss.... I guess I haven't posted in a bit.

Man, I check on blogs that I follow usually at least once a week. I often wonder why certain people haven't updated their blog. And, sort of - kind of want to leave them a message to POST a new blog. Really, how dare they leave me hanging!!

Today, I looked at my date and it's been a while since I posted. However, I don't think that my blog is followed much and it doesn't bother anyone SO that lets me off the proverbial "hook" of not being a diligent blogger.

Let's see.... School for Paul is going pretty good. He's NOT doing his chemistry like he should, so I am considering buying Lifepacks for him instead of the Apologia which I bought and paid for. Grrrr. His Chalkdust math is coming along nicely! Great program which I got used at a great price!!! His favorite subjects would be Psychology and music.

Paul, Mandi (a friend of Paul's) and I went up to Calhoun/Rome, GA near the end of August to see Taylor off before he left for Sweden to attend Bible College for a year. I also got to see another dear friend, Deborah and her new children recently adopted from Ghana!

I had a wonderful visit with Deborah. I forget how much I enjoy her until I get to spend time with her and then find myself missing her terribly. Her children are all growing up into such fine young women. It was been a blessing watching them grow and excel.

I am going to try and post a few photos from that trip.

The Three Beauties - I know everyone is jealous of this LOOK! (Me, Deborah & Lauri)!

Deborah, Marigrace, Whitney Faith, Leah Joy & Hope

Wil, two fast moving youngones, & T.L.

Hope, Jubilee, Jessie, & Marigrace

Lauri's folks: Vern & Joyce; and Taylor, Paul, & Mandi

Celebrating Taylor's 19th Birthday!

The Group: Standing L to R: Paul, Rachel, Lauri, Taylor, me, Mandi, Deborah (Aaron's girlfriend), Front: Glenn with Aaron sitting on him.

Our lovely and smart boys.... a very refreshing view of them.

Taylor, Glenn, & Aaron.... GO!!!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Summer time is quickly coming to an end.

Time moves all too quickly when surrounded by friends and family. This summer has sped by for me. Here are a few photos.

We spent a quiet Father's day. All of us helped prepare Dad a meal of steak, ribs, corn, and other yummy fixings. And, we had Mark's favorite, banana pudding for dessert.

Mark and Michael, Father's Day 2009

Mark and Paul, Father's Day 2009

Paul's youth group had a gathering on the pond over at Steve's house. Here's a shot from that afternoon.

Paul's youth group on the pond. July, 2009

My friend, Linda, flew up from Florida. She spent 10 days visiting. We went to Savannah and Hilton Head for 5 days for her visit.

Linda, July, 2009

The view from our room at Hilton Head.

Mandi and Taylor, July 2009 Mandi stayed with us while her parents were on vacation. Taylor arrived on Saturday night to surprise her.
A rare photo: Mandi and Taylor cleaning the kitchen!

This past Saturday, a dear friend's daughter got married. We have known the Dean's for 17 or 18 years! Wow! Where has the time flown?

Leah and Kenaz, Saturday, August 1, 2009

Me and Danna at Leah's wedding.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Getting Paul's curriculum together.....

I have just about decided on Paul's 11th grade curriculum. Most of it should start arriving next week which should give me plenty of time to study it and make lesson plans for him to follow the first several weeks of school.

I am doing less traditional school this year with Paul. Michael used mainly BJU and LifePacs along with Education Plus when he was in High School - years ago.

After researching and talking to friends, here's what I came up with for Paul.

Algebra 2 - Chalkdust Math. Mark and I were very impressed with the series and the professor that teaches it. We also liked the fact that Paul can call or get help through email. However, I should be able to handle most Algebra 2 questions....

Notgrass American History. That will cover history, Bible and Literature. I love being able to pull together several subjects.

BJU Grammar and Composition and Easy Grammar Plus. (Paul's weakest area, in my opinion, is research and writing.)

He also needs to finish Vocabulary from Classical Roots. He started with a lot of steam on that in January and then slowed down.

Rosetta Stone French.

Since he needs to complete his Physical Fitness badge for Scouts, I'll also have him join a gym.

He wants to take voice lessons at the college. I hope that Mark will find a professor to teach him. ....

So, that's my run down. Please pray that this year goes smoothly and that my son increases in wisdom and knowledge.


P.S. I forgot to mention his Chemistry curriculum!! He will be using Apologia Chemistry. He would probably LOVE not having science but that's not going to happen. LOL

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mark's Mom's 80th Birthday and Sanders' Reunion

I just wanted to post a few photos from this past Saturday. I think that everyone had a great time!

The Birthday Girl!!

Charlotte and her five wonderful Children! Joan, Tim, Mark, Charlotte, Jane and Stan

In-laws and Out-laws... You decide!

The youngest grandchild, Graham, with his daddy, Tim.

Paul and Stan.... with the fly swatter.

Me, Paul and Mark (Michael was still on his Mission Trip.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The final countdown to school being OUT!!!

The last few days of teaching have been fun.... NOT! The 5th grade math teachers have been doing remediation for all of the 65 students (that's like a third of our fifth graders) who failed the CRCT (Georgia State Testing) in math. Of course, most of these students failed the 4th grade CRCTs, so this isn't a surprise. Since Friday, all day long, I have had a class of 20 some students who are very confused about math and several with major behavior problems. It's been a blast. Tomorrow, I will be re-testing this group of students. I do not know most of these kids since the students who failed the test were split into three groups and assigned to one of the teachers. I am so looking forward to tomorrow at 11 AM when I should be DONE with these students.

All of my business supplies have arrived and I begin my training tomorrow late afternoon. I have already had several requests from future clients. After I complete the training, I will purchase my business license and insurance. Hopefully, this will be a nice addition to our income.

The last day of students is FRIDAY!!! And, my last day of school is next Thursday. I am praising God for surviving an impossible position!!! This year has been so very unpleasant. But, God has truly seen me through this school year.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

Mother's Day has been bitter sweet for me for the last 20 years and this year continues except with a greater sense of loss. While Christi and Bobby have been found, they have yet to contact us. Their silence is breaking my heart. I continue to pray that God will reveal the truth to them and hold them both in the palm of His hand.

When we found my father and children in February, I was told that my mother had died. This information shattered my hope for reconciliation and to tell her that I had forgiven her for trying to destroy me and stealing my precious older children. This conversation will never happen in this lifetime.

Despite this sorrow, I will serve Christ and recognize His tremendous blessings in my life. I have two wonderful sons in Michael and Paul. I dearly love them. They have both been great gifts from God. I can't imagine life without either of them. Yet, if Christi and Bobby had not been stolen, we would never have adopted Paul. My life and world would be a very silent and sad place without this young man in my life.

I also have a husband who adores me. He is my best friend. This man knows me - the good, the bad and the ugly - and still loves me. He blesses my life daily. I cherish him.

God has also blessed me with dear friends. Friends who call just to let me know that they realize my heartache this week-end and want me to know they love me and are praying for me. So, while a part of my heart aches beyond words or description, another part is filled with the blessings of God, family, and friends.

Paul told me that one should always look at the positive and dwell on those things in order to keep our minds filled with joy and laughter. Basically, he was saying to look at the glass of life as HALF full instead of half empty.

I have really lamented over the fact that Christi and Bobby haven't returned our phones calls. But, Mark constantly reminds me that now we have a GREAT hope. Hope that someday God will enlighten them to the truth and they will seek us out. This man operates in such amazing faith. I intend to borrow some of his faith as I think about my children.

Blessings and Hugs,

Friday, May 08, 2009

The school year is almost over!

I can't believe that this school year is nearly completed. It's been a difficult position to say the least. My principal gave me several extremely difficult classes. So, the year hasn't been pleasant. I am counting the days until May 22 which is the last day with students. To say that I will be relieved is an understatement.

After praying and researching, Mark and I decided to buy and open a business. I have purchased a teeth whitening business which I'll be operating out of a salon here in town. I pray that this provides needed income. I have student loans to pay off and Michael is still in college.

Also, I believe that running this business will allow me opportunity to write. Another plus will be more time with Paul. Now, I am not sure if Paul thinks this is a plus but I most certainly do!! Since Paul decided that he wanted to finish High School homeschooling, I will be able to spend more time with him his last two years of High School. This really thrills me. I so enjoy my youngest son. He is an amazing kid with such deep thoughts and convictions.

I hope to write more on my Blog this summer!

Blessings to all who try to read this mess! May God grant you wisdom and peace in all you do!

Hugs and Prayers,

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Paul and his mask.....

My sweet son does not want to get my illness. And, I don't blame him. He came into my bedroom last Tuesday to talk to me .... wearing this mask! I made him take a photo! The boy makes me laugh!

Well.... this past week my computer crashed!

The mother board is dead. Mark and I talked about fixing it up and increasing the RAM and getting more HD and then I realized it was easier to buy a new one. So, I bought us a Dell. All I can say...... I am not used to this Vista stuff.

Our other concern is getting all of our documents and photos off of our old computer. sigh. We are hoping to have someone retrieve our information.

I need to make some photos and load them into this computer. I should take some outside ones of Paul's hammock and my azaleas.

The school year is almost over. And, I am thrilled. I am buying a teeth whitening business. I will be working out of a salon. Hopefully, this will free up some of my time for writing and homeschooling Paul.

I am looking forward to having time with my precious family this summer.

Blessings and Hugs,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's new at our house....

Paul told me that I could not post this picture on my Facebook account because he wanted it for his Facebook. So, I refrained even THOUGH the picture was made at my request with my camera.

Paul and Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a very sweet young lady who is a member of his church. Paul has known her since we moved to Vidalia. I have been impressed with the influence she seems to have on him. Since they started dating, he's home more. He is not hanging with the *guys* nearly as much. Anyway, he seems happy!

Michael was commissioned for summer missions two weeks ago. He'll be going to Mississippi this summer for a short term trip. These are a couple of photos from that Saturday.

Dave, Michael, and Me

Mark, Dave: the team leader, and Michael

I will not be teaching next year. Instead, I am probably going to be opening a small cosmetic laser teeth whitening business. I am getting all my ducks in a row right now. I haven't signed anything yet.... but it's close. This business will take me less time which will allow me to spend more time homeschooling Paul and writing. My hope is to get some devotions and Women's lessons published this year - for pay!!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Older Than Dirt

Yep, that’s me. I am older than dirt. Friday my birthday was announced at school. I had several students ask me my age and my normal response was, “Honey, I am older than dirt.” Of course, since they are nosey little fifth graders they continued guessing my age when they went to their next classes.

I have lunch duty at school on Fridays. Joy. Well, not really but sometimes we must pretend. The other fifth grade teacher that has duty on Friday is a friend of mine. She related this conversation, “Mrs. H, we are trying to figure out Mrs. Baskin’s age. I think that maybe she’s 40.” (BTW, I would take 40 gladly!!) Leslie said she just smiled and then another one of my sweet, sweet students said, “Oh, Mrs. Baskin isn’t 40. I think she’s around 30!!”

While I love these students guessing my age a decade or two lower than my age, I do have great apprehension. I teach them math!! And, my students have all met Paul, who is 16 and they have been pictures of Michael, Bobby, and Christi! Respective ages 26, 27, and 28. (Yes, Mark and I were a little busy for several years.)

Unfortunately, I am very concerned how these sweet students will fair on their state tests when we return from spring break. Obviously, their addition skills are lacking but now I am worried about their eyesight, too!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to Pray

There are some situations where I really do not know how to pray. Words fail me and occasionally my thoughts are not what I need to express in prayer. I find at those times, I am at a crossroad. On one hand, I know that the Father already knows all of my conflicting thoughts and emotions. Reason would tell me that I can just let it all out in prayer and that He will understand.

On the other hand, while I believe that to be true I wonder if He is allowing me to travel through a situation to test my character. Possibly, these are times to discover if I will actually recall scripture on how to pray when people disappoint, wound, or slander me.

Here lies the decision that I have to make at this junction. How am I supposed to pray for myself and those that have caused me conflict? In thinking of scripture, I should probably pray, “Father, forgive them,” or “Father, help me in my affliction to be a reflection of you.”

While this is easy advice to give to others, it is often intimidating when I am faced with employing it in my own life. After all, God knows if I have forgiven those for whom I am praying. He knows the condition of my heart. Perhaps, the testing is transpiring in my heart. Will I pray and act in such a way that proves I have faith during these times? Will I pray for God to forgive a person who is acting in an unrighteous manner believing that He will give me a heart of true forgiveness for them, too?

God does not have a problem with forgiving an offense. I am the one that battles in this area. Consequently, I am reminded that I must crucify the flesh in order to be a more pleasing likeness of Christ. I am called “to take up His cross” and not despair over the physical trappings and heartaches of the present age. I am to look with anticipation toward an eternal future. When I do this, the conflicts of this world are put into a proper perspective and I am free to live without condemnation.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Listening to God

I guess because I have had a slow day of just being home and doing various chores, God was able to speak to me. Well, in reality He is always speaking to me but some days I hear Him better.

Today was such a day. I heard from my Father. Joy. I began to truly sense His abiding presence with me today and it has been a blessed gift. While I know that He is always with me, there most assuredly are times when I feel His Being in a more complete way. I am usually doing the mundane or ordinary like washing the dishes, brushing my teeth, or ironing. Often while doing those mindless tasks, my own thoughts take a hike off to “never, never land” and then ever so quietly, God enters the room and I begin to hear from my amazing Father.

God has never spoken to my spirit in a whirlwind or thunder storm. He speaks to me in the stillness. He comforts me with His peace. He carries me in His arms that are tender yet strong. How good He is to his frightened, worried daughter. He knows all my thoughts, all my hopes, all my fears. He knows me and He is able to draw me to Him and guide me through this season of my life

He spoke to my spirit. He began a conversation. And, I was astounded and amazed that He stopped and came to me today. I am about to begin an amazing journey in ministry. Mark’s calling will be made manifest along with mine.

God gave us a heart for a certain area of ministry 16 years ago and I believe that God is getting ready to open some doors and allow that desire to be fulfilled. Mark asked me if God had given me any directions and I told him that I thought that He wanted us to spend some time writing but honestly, I think God told me to stand back and be amazed which is an extremely hard thing for me to do.

I am used to rolling up my sleeves and working. I am not used to watching. But, I believe that God is going to amaze us.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Just because I needed to post something fun.....

I found this photo of Paul and Mandi Kay on her Facebook account. It made me smile. So, I wanted to share it. I haven't been smiling a lot lately but this photo made me laugh. I am so thankful that I have this sweet son in my life. He brings me such joy. Mandi Kay is a good friend of his. Paul stayed with the Kay's when Mark and I were in California hoping to see our Christi and Bobby.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Short Blog....

My braces are off! Now, I will go work on laundry and watch LOST!!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

The fourth and fifth grade teachers have moved.

This has been one exhausting week. Our school is in the midst of a building project. In a couple of years, the elementary school will get the second graders from the primary school. Phase one of the building project has been completed. The new media center, offices, and second grade wing have been completed. So, the fourth and fifth grade teachers had to move into the new building. The new building will not be our permanent home. We will be moving again once the fourth and fifth grade wings are completed. The fourth and fifth grader teachers, who are in the pods, are still in the pods because there were not enough classrooms for them.

Most of the *moving* teachers have worked late packing their rooms, moving their rooms, and setting up their rooms. Luckily, the community came together and lots of help came to move the heavy stuff. I was amazed at how positive everyone has remained during a some what stressful time. The teachers and staff not moving were blessings to many of the moving teachers and staff. They showed up on Saturday, rolled up their sleeves and worked along side their colleagues. The plan for the third grade wing is to gut it and renovate it in the near future after the fourth and fifth grade wings and cafeteria are completed. Then, the third grade teachers get to move into the second grade wing and the rest of us get to move out into our new buildings.

At the present time, we will not have a cafeteria since that building is being knocked down. The children will be eating in the gym. This created more work for the powers that be in having to plan a new schedule since the gym is now on double duty.

This week has been busy for me teaching. I am trying to catch my students up with the other two math teachers. I have some tests to grade and lots of grades to post in my grade book and on the computer. So, I will probably be working late, again, this coming week.

Exciting news, for me, is that my braces are coming off on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I will have to take off Wednesday. I am going to make DETAILED lesson plans for my sub to follow.

We still have not heard from our Christi and Bobby. But, we are still rejoicing in knowing they are alive. I know that God is in control and I am trusting His timing in all things.

Blessings to all of you!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Trying to get back into the normalcy of life...

Surreal seems a good word to describe the events of our lives for the past several days. A two decade old prayer was answered a week ago Monday evening. We were given the news that our precious children, Christi and Bobby, had been found. When Bill Sharp sent us their photographs, I couldn't stop crying. I kept touching their beautiful faces on the computer screen with my hand.

There are no words to describe that moment when I saw their faces. How does one verbalize those kinds of feelings?

Right now, we covet prayers. We are praising God for allowing us to find out that they are alive. We are praising God for allowing us to see photos of them. But, we are heartbroken over not seeing them or talking to them.

Last night, as I tried to go to sleep, I wept for my parents. I wept for all the pain and sorrow they have inflicted on so many people. I wept as I thought of my father behind bars. I wept as I thought of my mother. There is such an array of conflicting emotions concerning them. On one hand, they are my parents and I never stopped loving them. Yet, the people that I should have been able to love and trust tried to destroy our reputations and stole our two oldest children. They did the unspeakable to us and to my children. If not for Jesus Christ carrying me all these years, I would not have survived. But, Christ showed me how to walk in forgiveness and faith.

Christi and Bobby are in the forefront of my thoughts and prayers. I have not ceased praying that God is giving them grace, gentleness, and assurance. I am praying that true memories of their lives with us with begin to surface. When we visited California, I was thankful that they had been raised in a beautiful state. I tried to imagine what their lives had been like. As I looked at the view of the mountains, I wondered how many times they gazed at those mountains?

There is no way we can get back all the years of their precious lives. We have lost that time but our fervent hope and prayer is that we can begin building a future with them.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Our news..........

First, I know that many of y'all know that 2 or 3 weeks ago, Mark did several interviews. This was in regard to a ten year old lead on finding our children. Honestly, I didn't expect anything to turn up. But, as always there is hope - even the smallest glimmer.

Yesterday evening when Mark was at Brewton Parker College playing in one of the groups he is in, he got a call from our police detective Bill Sharp. He told Mark that he felt like they had found my father in CA. He was sending me a poorly scanned photo of him to identify. I immediately knew it was my dad.

Mark came home to be with me and we began calling prayer warriors to cover my parents, my children, the police in CA, the FBI, our detectives, Michael and Paul and Mark and me. In the meantime, there were several phones happening between Mark and Det. Sharp.

(I am trying to give a time frame of events in our home last night. I may be off on some of the times.)

At approximately 12:30 AM this morning, we got a call that he had found photos of my beloved children. He scanned those and sent them to me. The children are beautiful.
Sometime after 12:30 AM, our detective called to say that the San Jose Police had this man, in custody.

This morning, about 30 minutes ago, Det. Sharp called my husband with the following information.

The man admitted to being Marvin Maple (my father).
They believe that my mother is dead.
My father has a stroke a few years ago but has recovered.
My beautiful daughter, Christi, has a nursing degree and works in hospital administration. Christi is still single.
My handsome son, Bobby, is married. I don't have any other information on Bobby at this time.

Det. Sharp and his partner are arriving in CA this evening at 11 PM with the signed paperwork to extradite my father to Tennessee. The FBI is involved, too BUT it was this God-sent man, Bill Sharp and his partner who have done the impossible. I will forever be grateful.

At this point, I have no idea if our children will even want to talk with us. We are praying that their hearts and minds are ready to hear the truth. I cannot stress enough to y'all how grateful that I am to see their faces and to know that my prayers of God granting them a somewhat normal life has, in fact, transpired. God is good.

I have had 1.5 hours sleep. I went to work and my principals sent me home. My co-workers, Joy and Brad, are handling everything for me. I cannot thank God enough for his compassionate care. He is faithful.

I am still ill and have a severe migraine but I am convinced that the one who has carried me this long.... will not forsake me now.

Right now, my urgent prayer request is to put a desire in Christi and Bobby to rejoin our family. I know that they have lives out in CA. But, I am hoping that the years the locusts have eaten will somehow begin to be restored.

To God be the Glory.

Love to each of you who have been faithful all of these years in praying for my broken hurting family,

Friday, January 30, 2009

What have I gone and done?

I had several friends request that I set up a Facebook account. I ignored their requests until the queen, Lynda, asked me to do it. Anyhoo, I have about let it take over my computer time this past week. And, that really must stop. I enjoy my blog! Really I do. And, I enjoy visiting on my board: Christian-Moms.

This week has been a rather LONG week at work. The students were in rare form. Also, we tested all week long and they were sick of it as were their math teachers. I have a fun math project planned for Monday.

I have been trying to get sick all week long. And, I accomplished it. sigh. I called in sick for the first time this morning. Of course, I felt extremely guilty about it all day long. I think that some little gremlins came and rubbed sandpaper inside my throat when I was sleeping. I can't stop coughing even with taking cough meds.

Please read Aaron's blog that I just added to my blog links. This is about the son of a dear, dear friend who is studying in Scotland this semester. I really got tickled reading his account of the travel there and his first days.

So, that's about all that I am going to say tonight. Oh, if you Facebook - add me as a friend.

Blessings and prayers sent to each of you,

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Just saying..........

I have a three day week-end!! Wowhooo! We are off on Monday for MLK holiday. I should be cleaning and ironing this chilly Saturday morning but instead I am checking up on the ladies from my board, reading blogs, and watching television with my sweet husband.

Oh, our news. Mark has accepted a new church position. He will be pastor of a small church in our area. I covet your prayers as we prepare to minister and lead at this church. Please pray that God can use us to His glory.

We are sad to be leaving Twin City Baptist Church since we have served there for two and a half years. However, it became evident that we should make a move at this time. Pray for them, too. I believe that they need many prayers.

I will write more later. Now, I am going to go find Mark and watch the shows we taped last night.

Blessings to each of you,

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Aged Wine

My friend, Marsha, called me today on the phone. I was telling her that I feel the need to expand my area of ministry. I have felt so boxed in the last several months. I miss seeing the power of the Holy Spirit move in the lives of His children. I feel called to get serious about preaching and ministering to women.

After I shared my heart with her, Marsha told me that an evangelist came to her church on New Year’s Eve. One of the statements that he made really impressed her. She felt led to share it with me. I will try to paraphrase his comments.

He compared those of us nearing or past fifty to aged wine. He said that he felt those who have faithfully served the Lord for many years, especially those in the ministry, would be poured out this year on God’s people like perfect aged wine.

I guess that Mark and I both fit into both categories: in the ministry and old. The road has not always been easy. The path has been heartbreaking at times. However, there have also been moments of great joy. We have been honored to witness the lost being saved, the hurting comforted, and the sick healed. The journey has been one of victory and defeat. We have cried tears of sorrow and joy.

Yet, I have never felt complete in my calling or that I was using my gifts to the fullest of the abilities that God has given me. I wonder why I still desire to step out of my comfort zone and be used of God in certain areas. The areas to which I feel God is calling me are not the normal Baptist route. However, the calling or desires are not fading. In fact, they seem to be getting stronger.

This year, I want to see the power of the Holy Spirit made manifest in my life to a great degree. I want to see His face daily and abide strongly in His presence. There are three areas of my life that I am praying about it. I will not share those areas on my blog, today. But, I will write them down. Next year at this time, I hope to be able to report how God made His answers and wisdom known to me and to my beloved husband.

I covet the prayers of fellow believers as this year begins. I will be praying for those of you who read my blog.

May all of us walk this year fully seeing His light and direction in our lives.