Monday, November 07, 2011

Desserts....

The Woman's Club is helping to supply desserts to the Veteran's Day Luncheon Celebration this coming Friday. I decided that I wanted to try and come up with something that I haven't made before... something southern.... something fruity.... something yummy. So, I have been hunting for a lemon bar recipe and I found one. I am going to try to make it tonight and let my family test it out. I am not even sure that they like lemon bars since I have never made them. If they look pretty... I'll post a few pictures later on!

Of course, sometimes I have to wonder if I decide to *try* new things.... in order to have a legitimate excuse to not write a paper or read some of the endless reading for school.
.......

Later on.... Actually the next morning. I cut the squares and plated them up. Now, the first one sort of ripped to pieces but after demolishing it, the others happily came out of the pan.



And, now a closeup of the little delights!


And, of course here's Toby... waiting patiently. He's thinking that momma will give him a lemon square!


Oh, I want to give credit for this recipe. I found it at a fun blog called Less Cake More Frosting.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Shower cake....




I had never worked with fondant and thought that I would give it a try. Here's my first fondant cake. This is for a friend at church's baby shower.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guilt

I, as a mom, battle with guilt. Every time my children mess up, I assume that I could have somehow stopped it, that I should have seen it, and that I must be a horrible mom. I have felt this way too many times. When the kids were little, I could take away privileges, put them to bed early, or ground them. These punishments usually caused a change of behavior which seemed heartfelt. However, these tactics do not work with my older teens or young adult children.

So, here is my problem. If my children confess something to me or do something that goes against our family’s standards, I am sickened and begin to doubt my calling as a mother. And, then I doubt my ability to help teach other moms because obviously I am either blind or deceived. How can God possibly use me in any area of minister when I missed something with my beloved children?

Really?

So, I get down on my knees and I cry out to God. To the God that blessed me with my children and family. I ask Him to help my children. I ask Him to guide me in how to effectively deal with the issue at hand. I pray and pour over the scripture.

Really?

Why I do go to a God whose own children mess up and sin? Why should I seek His advice and wisdom? Wasn’t Adam His son? Wasn’t Eve His daughter? Didn’t He spend quality time with them walking with them in the cool of the garden? Didn’t He provide for all of their needs and desires? How did He miss their infatuation with the world and with sin?

Yet, I find myself running to my Father. I find myself not doubting His ability to help me – to help my child. I find myself still trusting Him.

Why?

I trust God and His wisdom because I know that He loves me. I know that He wants the very best for me. And, I know that He understands the sorrow that comes with parenting.

Maybe, my sorrows and my perceived failures help me to mentor and love other moms with great humility and compassion.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Anchor Deep, Sail Strong: My Frequent Enemy: The Liar

Anchor Deep, Sail Strong: My Frequent Enemy: The Liar:  The lie: He whispers in my ear that there is not enough. That I am not enough to comfort or help my children. That I can't reach the goal. ...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Time with God.


"He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day." E.M. Bounds

This morning I spent much time in prayer and then in the Word. Of course, I thought that I was sacrificing my morning to the chores, and school work that I needed to get done. But, I recognized that I needed God’s abiding presence in my life. So, I prayed. So, I read the scriptures. And, then I just sat quietly and listened.

I made myself a list to goals for the day after spending time with my Father. I thought that I would not get them accomplished. But, they have all been accomplished plus some other things which I didn’t even include. I honestly believe that if I hadn’t spent that extra time with God this morning, I would not have able to physically do the list because this Sjogren’s disease has been attacking me more lately.

But, as I worked, as I did school, as I went about my day I felt His Presence. I felt His Strength. I felt His Peace. I didn’t feel rushed. I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I didn’t feel empty and lonely.

God has been first in my heart the entire day. Amazing that God can be first when mopping floors, or cleaning toilets, baking sugar cookies, or writing theological papers. This led me to realize that it’s not the job or the chore, or the physical thing that I am doing that brings honor to Christ. He has been with me all day – because my spirit communed with His Spirit this morning.



Here is a poem that I learned as a child. Be Blessed!

I met God in the morning
When my day was at its best,
And His Presence came like sunrise
Like a glory in my breast.

All day long the Presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O'er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I, too, had loosed the moorings
With the Presence left behind.

So I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way;
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day.

Ralph Cushman

Monday, September 19, 2011

Anchor Deep: The miraculous out of the mundane...

This is a beautiful blog post of a dear friend. What a wonderful and godly witness.

Anchor Deep: The miraculous out of the mundane...: All my life, when my life got tough, my 101st paratrooper Dad would sincerely say, " That's good training. "  He wasn't angry or sarcastic a...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Small town life......

First, I live in a small town and chances are great that I will run into someone that I know every time I venture out into the community. That’s the way it is in rural America. This can be comforting but Monday running into a familiar face was not something that I intended or planned.

I had to go into my doctor’s office for some tests. I was having a pulmonary study and a heart echo done. That was well and good. These tests are not painful and I wasn't worried about getting them done. Also, I stupidly assumed that my doctor’s office would make sure that my heart echo was scheduled to be done by a woman and NOT a man. But, I was very wrong. However, I now know to request that all tests which require disrobing to be done by a female staff member.

A man came out front and told me to follow him which I did. He led me to a section of the office to which I had never been and took me into a small room. Then, he handed me a gown and began giving me disrobing instructions and said that he would be back. At this point I stopped dead in my tracks and said, “Wait!! You know that I know you? You are my son’s friend’s dad! I know you!” I wasn't using the man's name because that made it too real that I knew him.

He sort of nodded his head and said that I was correct. Of course, I was correct, he was Paul’s scoutmaster. He was at Paul’s Eagle ceremony. His picture is on my BLOG! I knew him. So I continued, “You cannot do this test on me. I KNOW you. I know your name.”

He was sort of stammering around and said that the girls who do these tests had left for the day! Good grief! It was three o’clock. I would have come earlier to get the tests run. I thought about taking "my girls" and leaving.

“But, didn’t you tell me to take my bra off? You need my bra off to do this test? I mean when you said disrobe from the waist up, were you including me taking my bra off? Do I have to remove my bra?”

Yes, I think that I said BRA like four or five times. Because taking off my bra meant only one thing – my boobs would be exposed to Paul’s friend’s dad.

I guess he said yes and then told me that he would try and not give me poison ivy which he had on his hands and arms. That was comforting - not! He added that he would try and keep me draped with the towel while doing the test.

I looked over at the towel. It was tiny - minuscule. For the first time in my life, I was wishing that I was a double A. I wanted to tell him that the said “towel” was not in my size but decided to refrain.

Now, I have been told that medical folks don’t care or think anything about your body parts. That’s great and fine and dandy. But honestly, I do care. I wanted to die.

I got my top off and put the paper thin gown on and got on the stupid table with a towel lying on my chest. He came back into the room and asked, “Are you cold? Do you want a sheet?”

I responded, “Yes, I want a sheet. Just put it over my face.”

I lived through the test but I have decided that I need to move to a big city where no one knows your name, your face, or your son.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

It's not about the program....

This is a sobering reality that many churches are currently facing. They have invested in the popular programs of the day – they offer Awana, they do a bang-up job with VBS, and sing and dance with their praise and worship – but they aren’t growing. What’s the problem? We are following the program. We are here ready to minister to the folks but where are they?

Ha! Scripture says that the fields are white for the harvest. So, we should assume when talking about the church that this means there are people who are ready… the ground was tilled, the seeds were planted, fertilizer was applied, the rains fell, and even some weeding was done. The fields are ready to be harvested! Cool, we are ready too. We have the programs.

But, where is the harvest? First, let me say that I am not a farmer. But, I have picked crops before. I have picked green beans, corn, purple hull peas, strawberries, and various other fruits and vegetables. However, none of those crops ever just jumped into my waiting basket. That would have been lovely and so much easier! Let me tell you picking strawberries in the hot Florida heat is not something that I enjoyed! It was hot work. Picking blackberries left me with scratches and thorns in my hands. And, the time that I picked okra, I broke out in a rash all over my hands, legs, and arms. Fun it wasn’t! But, if I wanted to get on with my program of freezing the strawberries, making blackberry preserves, and cooking up that okra, I had to go and pick the crops.

We seem to be able to line up folks (often with some arm twisting) to help with the programs but we just can’t seem to find workers for the fields. Why is that?

Let me tell you want happens with the tomatoes in my yard that get ripe but I don’t go pick them. They shrivel up, fall off the vine, and rot on the ground. Does the Lord have a harvest for us ready but we aren’t picking it? That’s food for thought.

So, how do we get our church members, who already have too much on their plates to go out into the fields and pick the ripe fruit? I’ll tell you what we don’t need – another program. What we need to be doing is training our folks to recognize the ripe fruit that they pass daily in their lives. We need to teach them to be brave.

Engage people in conversation. Don’t just stick a flyer in their hand but engage them! Look for opportunities to do small acts of kindness for a neighbor, a co-worker, your brother, sister, or a stranger. The field is the marketplace of your life. Do you put gas in your car? Talk to the person who is pumping next to you. Do you buy groceries? Talk to the person in line with you. Talk to the check-out clerk. Do you work in a factory or office? Well, talk to those folks. See if you can’t find out their needs or hurts and then try to meet them in some way.

Be Jesus’ ambassador. I love the story of the woman at the well. Jesus went to the well because he needed a drink but He stopped and spoke to this woman. And, guess what happened? She found God and immediately went and got her community and brought them out to Jesus and they found God. Jesus didn’t wait for the woman to come and hear Him preach. He found her at a well. He looked into her eyes and saw her need and then He engaged her in a conversation. Amazing! He didn’t even have a program. Yet that day, God’s kingdom grew.

"Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (John 4:35, NASB).

Open your eyes, church. Christ has told us that the field is ready to be harvested!

Go get your basket and get out into the fields.

Be Blessed!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Toes that can't hold spoons ( by: Glenn Gray, guest blogger)

This a very good blog by a young man who is attending McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta. He is pursuing his M.Div. I hope you all enjoy the read!! Click the link.

Be blessed!
Debbie

Silliness in the eyes of an anal God: Toes that can't hold spoons: 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that eac...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thoughts on what constitutes gossip…

The Oxford American Dictionary defines gossip as “casual talk, especially about other people’s affairs.” I think it’s interesting a secular dictionary would use the phrase “casual talk” to define a term that usually has hurtful and negative consequences. Casual suggests the gossip is done without forethought and that it is not a harmful activity in which to be engaged. However, when I checked the synonym suggestions on my computer for gossip one of the words listed was blather. Since I was unfamiliar with the term blather, I looked it up, too. It was defined as, “foolish talk.”

Gossip is usually thought out and done with intent to harm or to prove one’s beliefs about another person. Typically, gossip involves hearsay and goes through many people’s mouths and the person that is the subject of the gossip is ordinarily not given opportunity to confront his accusers. Often we justify this type of behavior because of our experiences with the person who is the subject of the gossip. We are on a mission to find the truth.

As I think about this act, I have to wonder if the scribes and the Pharisees felt justified in locating witnesses against Christ? They certainly did not like Jesus. He was an inconvenience and was interrupting their plans. So, they engaged in casual talk to build a case against him. Finally, when the evidence was presented to Jesus, He didn’t even bother to defend himself because he knew that these folks had already determined what they believed as the truth.

We quickly dismiss putting our actions and words into the same category as the scribes and Pharisees because Jesus was innocent. The person that we are engaged in tearing apart is horrible. We justify our actions because there is a greater good. We are on a mission to show this person’s true character. But, we never give the victim of the gossip opportunity to defend himself until we have already judged and tried him by rounding up our fellow gossips to substantiate the facts as we know them.

Gossip is dangerous. James 3:5 -6 says , "Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."

In Romans 1:29, Paul includes gossips with other evil works and in verse 32 he says that those who practice such acts deserve death.

All of us have probably engaged in gossip from time to time. That does not make the activity godly and we should never justify it. In fact, we should run from it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of Class....

Seminary is back in session. Going back to school for my graduate degree is both delightful and aggravating. I guess it’s delightfully aggravating. I am blessed because I unconditionally adore Biblical studies. I haven’t discovered any class or discipline in theological studies which I haven’t enjoyed. That is not to say that I would have preferred a different professor or grader for some of my classes but the subject matter has both inspired and enlightened me. This evangelism class which I began today is probably going to take me out of my comfort zone. Therefore, I am reminding myself that as Christians we need to be challenged. I need to be challenged.

My method of personal evangelism is to develop relationships with people. This can takes weeks, months or years. After mutual respect and trust is developed, I gradually discuss the subject of Christ. Of course, I am also comfortable speaking in front of large or small groups and sharing the wonder and power of Jesus in my life and His invitation to each of them. I usually do not approach the check-out girl or the waitress about their spiritual walk and go into a witnessing chat. That has always seemed like a run-and-gun method and I have worried that I would come across as insincere.

Yet, it seems that this class is expecting me to do that very thing. After reading several books, it appears that this type of witnessing can be done with care and success. So, I am praying that God opens my eyes to opportunities to be His ambassador to the stranger who desperately needs Christ as his Savior.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Things that I have learned ....

Things I’ve learned from conflicts in marriage!

1. Handle issues when they are small so that you don’t build an impermeable wall.

The ancient Israelites would fortify their cities by building unique walls. They would create a rock wall of about a foot wide and build another one about 6 or 7 feet away from it. Into that gap, they would throw rocks, garbage, and dirt to create a 9 foot wide wall. They used their garbage to construct large thick walls that their enemies would have a hard time breaking through.

Sometimes, we do this in our marriages. We are at an impasse so each of us builds a small wall. At this point we need to break through that wall; however, we often start throwing our garbage into the mix and soon we have a royal mess and cannot see anyway to tear the wall down.

Moral of this illustration: Handle the issues as they arise and do not allow them to fester and grow.

2. Be quick to apologize even when you *know* that you are right and he is wrong. A gentle response will help to defuse a volatile situation.

Have you ever had this conversation with a child who is fighting with a friend or sibling?

Parent, “Apologize.”
Kid, “But, I am not sorry. I am right! He is not being fair. He hurt me. He is wrong…”

Just like our children need to apologize, we need to practice the same instruction in our marriage. A simple, “Honey, I’m sorry,” can create an atmosphere where conversation can begin. Having a good relationship is more important than proving that I am right and he is wrong.

3. Listen with respect.

This is important because if you do not listen to and respect your spouse, he or she will find someone else who will.

4. Trust each other.

This one seems pretty reasonable yet often trust is lost in a relationship. I am not talking about infidelity but in other areas. All of us can make decisions that end up being horrible mistakes. When (not if) your spouse makes a bad choice, let it go. Don’t assume that he or she can no longer be trusted in that area.

5. Finally, remember that you love this person!

Musings....

Time for another rambling Blog about Nothing in particular…

Working on my book has created a major problem. I have been redoing my previous writing and I have discovered that I do not LIKE several of my chapters. Hahaha! How sad is that? The author doesn’t like her writing? So, now the process has slowed down because I am just not editing but I am rewriting some of my chapters.

I told Mark my dilemma and the man sort of chuckled at me. My first inclination was to reach out and smack the man. But, I didn’t because I am a really sweet person. However, I thought about kicking him in his sleep.

My theology classes start back next week and I have not done as much on my book this summer as I had planned. I am not sure how this happened. Oh, yes… I remember! Life happened and sort of dragged me off my schedule.

I hope all of the other writers out in the blogging world are staying on target.
Be blessed and be a blessing!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Trying for a lighter note

A blog I visit asked us to write something about here we lived. Here's what I wrote:


I am from Vidalia, GA. We have amazing weather here – hot or hotter, lovely huge hills of fire ants, sweet onions and sweet tea. We think that all y’all talk really funny and can’t give directions. Here’s an example of driving directions that you could expect to get from any local southern person....

Foreigner (otherwise known as Yankee), “Can you tell me how to get to the post office?”

Local (known as Aunt to everyone regardless of a blood relation), “Sure, sugar. You go to where the IGA used to be...”

At this point the Yankee will interrupt and say, “Sorry, I am new to the area. Is the IGA sign still there? What’s an IGA?”

[Side note: We don’t need to be told you’re not from here because we know it. You don’t talk right.]

Aunt, “Honey, the IGA sign is long gone. It’s hasn’t been around for a good 15 years. Mr. Mack’s hardware store is located there now. Don’t y’all have IGA where you come from?”

Yankee, “So, I am to look for a hardware store called Mr. Mack?”

Aunt, “Why would you do that? That’s not the store’s name.”

Yankee (getting a bit frustrated), “Can you tell me the street’s name?”

Aunt, “I don’t rightly know the name of the street but you go up this road a piece. Look for the big ole white house with a large magnolia in the yard located on the corner. It’s a right pretty Bed and Breakfast. The fire chief and his wife run the place.”

Yankee, “Turn there?”

Aunt, “No… pass it. Turn two roads up - next to where IGA used to be….”

BTW, that's a true story. And, here's another true story....

My dad loved the Sunday drive when we were growing up. One time, he started driving and driving.... We got severely lost. He finally saw this little old man sitting in a rocking chair on his porch and chewing tobacco. Dad stopped the car and asked,

"Can you tell me how to get to Franklin?"

The old man, "You talkin' Franklin, TN or Franklin, KY?"

Dad, "Franklin, TN."

Old Man, after thinking a while followed by spitting out a wad of tobacco , "That's a far piece from here."

Those were the instructions. Not another word. LOL

Dad finally said, "Well, can you point me in the direction that I should be driving?"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

No Tears to Cry

If I could produce tears….
I would have filled a pond with them today.
Instead, I think that I have filled a swamp with my mucus tears….
And, my eyes are paying the price.

I am trying to find a way to praise God today….
And, to mean it.
I don’t want my words to be empty….
To be shallow without truth.

….But....

Sometimes, praise is hard…
Especially when life is difficult.

Today I have meditated on my sorrow….
On life’s disappointments and lost dreams.
I have piled them altogether….
And, have created an impressive heap of grief.

I have parked myself in the garage of despair….
And considered losing my keys.
Because maneuvering through this place....
Overwhelms me.

I need to seek God and find His goodness….
Instead of languishing in my swamp of mucus tears.
However, the muck and mire of life….
Is at times overpowering.

It begins to function as quicksand dragging me under….
To where the Light can scarcely penetrate.
I try to find a pocket of air in this wretched place….
To breathe something fresh into my lungs.

....But....

I cannot succeed….
Because I have fallen too deep – too far.

Where is the One who can rescue me….
And breathe sweetness into my lungs?
I need Him to find my lost soul….
And restore my joy and trust.

....Because….

I have no strength left in me....
And Darkness is beginning to consume this place.


August 11, 2011

Christi turns 31 today. While we know that she's alive, we have had no contact with her. This pain permeates me like a recklessly growing and deadly mold which has attacked not only the outside fa├žade of my life but has spread its ugliness to the innermost parts of my being. I thought, prayed, and hoped that by now our children would have desired contact with us. But instead, all we get is silence.

Unfortunately, this silence isn’t mute since it is filled with so much agony and struggle of the heart. This silence is my constant companion always sitting next to me taunting my cherished hope of reconciliation. I try to occupy my days with reading, studying, family, friends, and activity. However, eventually sleep must come and I have no control over my dreams. In those dreams, I often see my children and I will try to get to them. Yet, there is always an obstacle that prevents me from holding them or speaking to them. This obstacle used to be my father or mother but not with normal features. Instead, their faces often were so twisted that they appeared demonic in nature. The dreams have modified over the years. The obstacle usually doesn’t portray itself as a person but simply as evil incarnate. Perhaps, God is now controlling my dreams and reminding me of a truth found in Ephesians 6.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

Stand Firm.

Today I will pray for God to protect the hearts and minds of my children from the spiritual forces of wickedness that would seek to destroy them. I pray that He will reveal the truth of Himself to them and that they will stand firm in Christ.

I will continue to pray that my father will seek Christ and find hope and forgiveness in Him. I pray that whatever demonic powers have invaded his heart will be eradicated by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I will also pray for me. I pray that God grants me peace and joy in a world that is not my home and continually reminds me of His great love and sovereignty in all things – both in the things that my physical eyes see and that my spiritual eyes hope to see. I will pray that I can Stand Firm.

My longing today is that my daughter will realize that she has a momma and daddy who dearly love her. I hope that God reveals His salvation to her and restores her to a family which has never ceased in praying for her and Bobby.

Christi, my darling girl, I wish you a happy birthday.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Marketing yourself as a Christian speaker....

Ugh. Worded that way it sounds so worldly; however, it seems that you have to be willing to do the marketing so folks know that you are out there and serious.

I love it when I get calls to come and speak but this forward marketing doesn't seem very spiritual!

But, I digress.

I have been researching how you begin getting your name out there as a Christian speaker. A couple of the things suggested are creating a webpage with professional photos, video clips of sections during your talks, and other data. The key word seems to be NETWORK. Since, Mark and I have been writing this book - having these things in place could possibly encourage a future publisher to take a chance with our book.

I hate having my photo made - especially since being on those HIGH doses of predisone last year and the beginning of this year. But, I am biting the proverbial bullet and scheduling a photo session. I contacted a friend who has a studio and told her that I was trying to get some "good"... well, perhaps.... "decent".... photos of me for a webpage and email attachments and flyers. She quoted me an amazing price and I am scheduling that for next week.

I scheduled an appointment with my hair stylist before the photo shoot. Unfortunately, I know that will not make a huge difference because what I need is a face-lift and liposuction!

Yep.... wanting face-lifts and liposuction, hair dying, highlighting and waxing additional hair off my face, wondering which of my clothes make me look less fat.... these are the thoughts invading my mind. haha!

We are called to be in the world but not of the world.... sometimes that line is rather obscure.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Health news on the Homefront....

Let's see... where do I begin?

June 29 began as a normal day. Mark had gone with Paul up to his college for some placement tests. I was at home putting up vegetables. I had blanched and frozen summer squash and was in the process of canning Italian tomatoes when the boys got home. Mark asked if I needed my jars from upstairs. He proceeded to go get a couple of boxes and my large water bathe canner.

Unfortunately, he missed the bottom two steps and landed on his left upper leg and knee. Upon hearing the crash and my husband screaming in pain, I ran into the living room to find Mark lying on the floor in piles of broken glass with his leg left in a rather awkward position. We ended up called the EMT's and spent several hours at the emergency room. The next day, Mark went to see Dr. Scott where he was examined, x-rayed, and given an MRI. Surgery was scheduled for the following morning - July 1.

While Mark had landed on a wood floor our home is built on a concrete slab and so his fall did some major damage. Dr. Scott told me after the surgery that Mark's leg looked as if a bomb had exploded in it - totally shredding his quads and ripping it away from the kneecap. He had to reconstruct Mark's quads and then drill three holes in her kneecap to reattach the quad. Unfortunately, Mark is in for a long recovery. He will be in a brace for four months and unable to drive during this time. Mark begins his physical therapy in 2 weeks which is six weeks after the surgery.

Please keep Mark in your prayers since he begins his marching band camp this coming Monday, August 1.

Now, I will write encouraging news about my health. When I talk to most people who have Sjogren's and get on the support sites, I realize that God has truly blessed me. First, I do not have the other diseases that many people seem to get along with the Sjogren's. Since getting my immune system stabilized my issues are really just my tear ducts and salvia glands. I have been able to keep my eyes healthy with the special eye drops and supplements.

Okay, I will admit that I can get winded and my joints can hurt but honestly, I believe that is more due to my weight than Sjogren's. So today I am joining a gym in order to do water exercises. When I was first diagnosed with Sjogren's my knees were in great pain and now I can sit Indian style, again!!! I hadn't been able to sit with my legs bent like that in years! Basically, I feel like God has been blessing me - greatly!

I believe that God has been teaching me to slow down and to stop saying yes to everything and to do the things for which He has called me to do. Sjogren's made me really learn to set priorities and NOT feel guilty about saying, "No," when asked to do something.

Also, I think that God wants me to take time to do good stuff for me. I think, as wives and moms, we tend to put our needs on the back burner. We will kill ourselves for our children and spouse but put our needs on hold. I have come to realize that when we do not take care of ourselves then in reality we are hurting our families who need strong, vibrate, healthy, and happy moms and wives.

I took pictures of Mark’s leg after the surgery; however, after thinking about it I have decided to spare y’all the photos. They aren’t exactly pretty.

Here’s what I think God is teaching Mark and me through our circumstances – we can slow down and the world and live will still continue! Michael has picked up and started doing all the physical things that Mark used to do around the house. Things are still getting done just not exactly like Mark did them. Amazing! Mark is also going to have to let his students act like responsible High School students and allow them to handle things. If they mess up, they will have to suffer the results because Mr. Baskin will not be able to run around like a chicken-with-his-head-cut-off and get all the stuff they leave behind.

I also have discovered that I would have made a HORRIBLE nurse. I had gotten accepted into nursing school when Michael was diagnosed with dyslexia in 1991. While I never have regretted homeschooling him, I was disappointed that I couldn’t attend nursing school. I accepted the challenge of schooling Michael and moved forward in life. God showed me, in a huge way, that I would have HATED nursing. Mark fell on Wednesday and by that Friday I was praising God for changing my life back in 1991. Believe me, I am a much better teacher than I would have been a nurse.

So, this is my update on our health. I will post our book writing update tomorrow!

Blessings to all.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trying again!!!

Several weeks ago I tried to upload several pics into my blog and after waiting for hours.... they never went through. Ugh! But, it's time that I give a little update on our lives.

Since I last blogged....

Michael did his senior project defense presentation, graduated from Brewton Parker College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis on Film and Script writing, and celebrated with a cook-out here at the house. Paul graduated from high school and had his Eagle ceremony. We are extremely proud of both of our sons!

We were blessed to be able to share all of these events with dear friends.... some traveled up from Florida or down from north Georgia. Linda O. flew up and helped keep me on track with Paul's Eagle ceremony. I do not think that I could have managed without her help. Debi and David M. drove up from Arcadia, FL and helped with the final touches of the decorations and David was in charge of the official ceremony. Linda had spent hours for the past several months sending out letters for me, creating the program and basically being my brain for the event! God has blessed me with dear friends. Several dear ladies baked wonderful cakes for the dinner and Rebecca A. and Kathy R. (along with Linda) came out to the church on Friday and helped me cook nearly all day long. Linda O. had the U.S. flag flown over the capital in Washington, D.C. and Lynda T. had the Georgia state flag flown over the capital in Atlanta, GA and both presented these gifts to Paul during the ceremony.



Paul getting his Eagle Charge.


Jessie N. presenting Paul with his Eagle badge.


Mom getting a hug from her Eagle Scout.


Paul pinning his Dad.



Eagle Scouts will usually present mentor pins to those who encouraged them on their road to becoming an Eagle. Paul decided that two men were influential in his journey. David began with Paul as a Cub Scout in Arcadia, Fl. Jessie was Paul's Scout Master here in Vidalia.

Paul presenting a mentor pin to David M.


Paul presenting Jessie N. with a mentor pin.


However, Paul insisted that two other people influenced his life not specifically in becoming an Eagle but in becoming the young man he is today. He wanted to honor these individuals at his Eagle and High school graduation ceremony.

Paul presenting Michael K. with a pin.


Paul giving his second mom, Lauri G., a pin.


Two very special ladies giving Paul special gifts!

Linda O. giving Paul the U.S. flag she had flown for him.


Lynda T. and Paul.


Lynda Talmadge giving Paul the Georgia flag.


Mom & Dad presenting Paul with his High School diploma.


At the reception!

Three Eagle Moms - Me, Linda O. and Debi M.


Michael's cook-out also became a group endeavor with Jimmy and Patricia D. helping us by providing a tent canopy and many other items. Lauri's sons, Glenn and Taylor both came down and helped with the set up, too and attended graduation. Mandi K. attended graduation and helped with the set-up. Danna D. and Daniel her son, drove over from the Macon area and celebrated with us, too. We hadn't seen Daniel for several years and it was wonderful to see him. Michael was blessed by all of the folks who came to rejoice with him.

Michael at his Senior Defense presentation.


Michael and Professor Jones.


Michael and Dr. Brucie.


Graduation DAY!!!

Sitting and waiting during the graduation ceremonies....


Our college graduate, Michael!


Time to celebrate with a few friends!

Mandi & Tayor


Glenn


Michael & Daniel


Three Friends - Patricia D., me, and Danna D.


Jimmy D., Patricia's other half!


Lynda T. - one extremely special lady!


Mark, one proud Dad!


After two extremely tiring but happy weeks - Michael's graduation and cook-out followed the next week-end by Paul's Eagle ceremony and dinner - Linda O. and I managed a short get-away to Savannah before she had to fly back to Florida. We had a lovely but too short a trip. We went on a historic tour, caught a musical, dined out, and soaked in the hot tub!

Arriving to dinner in style in a limo!


Friends! Posing for a photo in the limo.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

A blog about nothing....

I have nothing important to say but I still needed to write - something besides research papers. Something that doesn't require perfect grammar and spelling or a thesaurus!

I am almost done with this class - 8 more DVD lectures, about 20 hours of reading and the final and by next Friday I'll be done. Then, I have a break for 10 days before my next one starts.

I have been reducing my prednisone, so I hope that means I'll start losing some weight. I can't believe that I look like this when I have to be up in front of people. It is sort of depressing. Oh, well... I went and bought some fat clothes today. I just tried to not look at the sizes!

Here's my amazing discovery when buying larger clothes. I could either buy hideous large BRIGHT prints... or ..... black/gray. So, you guessed it, I only bought gray and black stuff. I did get a couple of solid pink tanks to wear under the black and gray stuff.

I have Paul's Eagle invites made! I just have to type up the mailing labels. That makes me happy. I don't think that Michael has ordered his graduation announcements.

My eyes are doing so much better - most of the time. That's a blessing,

Michael is home this week on spring break. I hope to go to the movies with him later on in the week. His birthday is next Saturday.

Well.... that's about all the boring stuff that I can think of to write.

Be Blessed!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The power of prayer

Today, a Nigerian gentleman from my Sunday school class prayed for me after church. Mark, Emmanuel, and I met in Mark's office. As he prayed, the Holy Spirit filled that small office. What transpired in that room cannot be explained by my finite words. However, I know that prayer was heard in the very throne room of heaven. And, I believe with full faith that God graciously answered, "Yes."

So, now I await the physical manifestation of what has already transpired in the spiritual realm.

To God be the Glory,
Amen

Friday, February 11, 2011

Something to ponder ...

Since having to take all of these nasty medications, my once thick hair has thinned a bit. Even with reducing the drugs my hair follicles are extremely loose and my hair simply falls out throughout the day. I find that I am slowly growing accustomed to the shedding dog look but seriously doubt I’ll ever get used to eating my hair which enjoys falling out in my food. Even though I know it’s my hair and it’s clean, I am grossed out when I find it tangled in my food which is now in my mouth. My normal habit is to walk over to the trash can and spit the food out. If I realize that my lost hair has taken up residence on my plate, I will make myself a new plate of food.

Yet, this morning the verse “All things work together for the good...” took on a new and revised meaning for me. I have been praying, “God, please help me get this weight off. God, please let my prednisone moon-shaped face find cheekbones in the land of the living. God, please take away my desire to eat.” After my prayer sheepishly offered over a bowl of oatmeal and raisins, a light bulb moment flared in my brain.

Unfortunately, sometimes God has to use a flash of lightning to obtain my unfocused attention. I have been praying, “Lord, make me thin,” all the while finding comfort in food. I have been praying, “Lord, tighten up the old hair follicles.” Perchance, God is using these two requests to prompt me. Could God be giving me a signal to stop eating when I find hair in my mouth? Eureka, a new revelation of God’s intimate leading in my life.

So, that’s my deep probing thought and interpretation of scripture for the day. Some may determine that my theological prowess is lacking in substance. Nonetheless, I find this new insight intriguing and deserving of honor. So, positioned under “the point is” magnet on my refrigerator is my new mantra, “Stop eating when your hair falls into your food.”


Be blessed,
Debbie

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Musings about the book ....

During our interview with Holly Bounds last week, we told her that we were outlining a book which we hope to write this summer. Preliminary plans are to share our experience about the kidnapping with transparency. Luckily, I kept journals off and on during those first years. When I peruse some of those writings, I am astounded that we continued to function, raise a son, and adopt another one. We were fortunate in that our faith in Christ remained constant.

While we experienced periods of discouragement, ultimately His sustaining sovereignty provided us with strength and joy compelling us to move forward in our lives and family. In our present condition, God’s faithfulness and love for us is measureable by finite human standards; however, during the early years of sorrow, my faith faltered similar to a baby’s first steps. Now, I realize that like a caring parent encouraging his child to learn to walk, all the while standing closely by his side, God was training me how to walk in a new direction. His design for me was to walk in a way which would magnify the glory of His holiness.

Of course, there are times when we fall and bruise our knees but our loving Father bandages our wounds. He has patiently cradled me during my times of forsakenness, sorrow, pain and tantrums as a parent holds his inconsolable child. These are the moments that I want to share with other aching Christians. All will experience tragedy, sorrow, or illness in our lives. None are immune from the influences of this fallen world. But, each of us can stand with security and hope if we continue to stay the course the Father has set before us. We plan to share God’s embracing arms and His healing salve that enable His children to find joy and peace during times of unfathomable sorrow.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Here are some photos of Christi and Bobby....

Photos from the past of children who are now adults. They bring me both joy and sorrow. Still trusting the God of Psalm 126:5, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." Believing that someday we'll sit with our children and share blessed memories from their childhood.

Birthday Time... Christi, Momma, and Mandy Lee


Ashley and Bobby


Christi, Ashley, and Michael


Christi with puppy


Daddy, Bobby, and puppy


Christi, Momma and Bobby


Bobby, Michael and Christi




Easter Baskets! Christi, Michael and Bobby



Cousins... Bobby, baby Jonathan, Mandy Lee, Christi, baby Michael

Thursday, February 03, 2011

This is the 2 year anniversary of Christi and Bobby being found.

This is what my children looked like when they were stolen.


Faith - the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not see....

There are days when the sorrow over Christi and Bobby not contacting us is nearly unbearable. I thought by now they would have wanted to see us. Yet, they remain silent and my hearts continues to break. I try not to dwell on the sorrow and focus instead on the blessings in my life. When I allow the pain to surface even breathing hurts.


My handsome son, Bobby.


My beautiful, Christi.


I have prayed this scripture for 22 years...
Isaiah 49:22b "And they will bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders."

Oh, we did an interview last week which aired February 3. Here's the link to it: Interview with Holly Bounds @ WSAV TV

Friday, January 28, 2011

Finally, some pictures from the Christmas season!

These are from Advent. We couldn't make our schedules work to light one every Sunday for four weeks, so we lit them all on Christmas Eve.

Michael listening....

Paul lighting the first candle....


Mark lighting the third candle....


Our Advent Wreath....


White Christmas Tree on the porch....


Green tree in the living room....


The guys opening presents on Christmas morning...

Mark...


Paul and his hair...


Michael....


Sweet Toby!