Friday, June 30, 2006

Where I live (part 4)

We moved in April 2004. We settled in to our new home, unpacked and began meeting our neighbors. I was amazed at how easy it was to meet people! All you have to do is sit on your front porch! People walk by all day and talk to you! I was quickly invited to a women’s party on our street, as well as became the street “mom” to all the children (I loved sitting outside and giving them unlimited attention and an occasional popsicle. Some of them seemed starving for attention!).

My expectations were squashed! I felt sure that we wouldn’t be welcomed, but found the exact opposite! I had never felt more welcomed so quickly in a neighborhood before! I was ashamed. The things that I thought about these people were so wrong! I thought they were needy people. But, they aren’t any different than any one else! They have been treated as if they are, and at times get offended by that. Funny, but I’ve felt offended at times too (like when a ministry from out of state delivered boxes of food door to door and I tried to refuse one, and they wouldn’t let me – treating me as if it was just my pride, instead of my real reason of wanting it to go to someone more in need. The thing is, I don’t think that any of my neighbors were in “need” of this food. It was just assumed they were!).

And so, we went about building relationships and praying for our neighbors, excited about our new church that was to open in little more than a year now. I prayed daily for God to give me an opportunity to share His Son with someone in my neighborhood. He answered me with the children. There were so many of them. Four siblings from one home were especially dear to me. My Game Master started school that fall and I helped one day each week. I loved being near to him (we’d homeschooled for the two years prior), and I loved being there for all the children. I was involved as much as I could be.

Towards the end of that year, we had a meeting with our pastor and our future pastor (the one who was preparing to start the new church) and were told that they had a change of direction and would not be planting a church in that area after all. We were disappointed, but knew that God wanted us there and that He wanted us to leave that church to be with one that would support our ministry there.

Sorry! I'll return to the story on Monday! I'm going to do the Saturday Photo Hunt tomorrow! Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Where I live (part 3)

I know today is Thursday and traditionally I do "Thursday Thanks Tank". I'm taking a break this week to continue my story... (but I'm still thankful!!)

Our church had talked for a couple of years about feeling led by God to plant a church to inner-city Knoxville. Initially, I felt no desire to go and be apart. I was leading the women’s ministry and we were both so involved in church, I couldn’t imagine leaving! Papa began feeling a pull to help plant the church, but didn’t say anything at first. When I mentioned it, he just smiled.

It was a long process within to get me from “ain’t no way” to “I can’t wait”! God CAN work miracles. All of our church family knew that we felt called to move and live in the inner-city community, building relationships and ministering to our neighbors before the new church was planted. And so, this we did!

We found a house in MUCH need of some work – smack dab in the middle of an inner-city neighborhood. With a lot of help from friends, we cleaned up the house, gutted it, re-modeled it, and moved in. I remember our first night here – boxes EVERYWHERE, only the children’s beds set up (ours a mattress in the floor). Papa went for the last trip with a friend while I got the children in the bed. I hung blinds to cover the windows, feeling like everyone on the street could see me (they could!). It was so loud! I remember the boxes rattling together as cars passed on the street (from the bass booming!). I heard the sirens, as the fire department, police and ambulance responded to a call at a house just across the street!

I remember praying and asking God for His protection over us, fearing the worst, but trusting in the Only One Who Could Be Trusted.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Where I live (part 2)

When we were married, we lived in North Knoxville. Well, really I guess it was NorthWest if you want to be specific. We had a cute little ranch house in a small neighborhood with great neighbors. I had bought this house while single and it was close to my job. Papa gained employment not far from there as well.

Along came Game Master, and it was a perfect size home for our family. After 3 years of marriage, we began attending a Christian church together and had a transformation in our marriage. This church was a pretty new, small fellowship that met in a middle school gym. It was very exciting being apart of the forming stages! We felt led to become more involved in our church by leading small groups. We needed more space to be able to do that (to allow for an extra room for childcare). And so we searched for a larger home closer to our church.

Since our church was located in West Knoxville, it made sense for us to be closer. We found the perfect split-foyer home in a nice subdivision. It was a beautiful wooded lot, very private with few neighbors – very quiet. It was ideal for having the adult small groups upstairs and the children downstairs. We proceeded to have many small groups meet at our home. We had a couples group almost the whole time we lived there – they were our family! Papa led a men’s group. I led two women’s groups. There was a student’s group that used our basement for their meeting location for awhile. Papa and I both discipled many individuals & couples in this home as well. Everyone knew that our home was intended for ministry! During our time there, Candy Man & Pretty Princess joined our family. There were always people at our home! We loved them all!

More next time about our current location…

Monday, June 26, 2006

Where I live (part 1)

This week I am going to explore why I live where I live. This is a question I’ve been asking myself and God for the past two years. Through this, I hope to gain better insight into why I am here.

A little over two years ago, we moved to an inner-city neighborhood in Knoxville, Tennessee. We did this as a result of feeling led by God to be in the neighborhood to help our church start a new church nearby. At least, that is what we thought…

I’ll start with Knoxville, Tennessee. Why do I live here?

My family moved here in 1980 (when I was just 9 years old) from a small town in southern Ohio. It was a transfer with my dad’s job and my parents wanted to raise me & my brother in a city where we’d have plenty of opportunities (they were both raised in small towns). I began the 4th grade with many struggles to catch up! We did have many more opportunities here than we would have in small town, Ohio. I am thankful that my parents made that decision.

I happen to love Knoxville! It is close to the mountains, the lakes, and the country, but still has the benefits of city living. And the people! It takes leaving here and coming back to realize how different the people are! It is a friendly city! You’ll always get a smile and a hello walking down the street or through the mall.

I also love that it is not a ‘flat’ city. It is very hilly. And there are trees and flowers all over! Again, I have to visit other cities to find that this isn’t the case everywhere. It is a colorful city. A growing city. A welcoming place to live.

I did go away for college – a small college town in Kentucky. This is where I met Papa. I didn’t like small town living and was glad to return to Knoxville! Papa and I were married 7 years after meeting in KY and chose to make our home in Knoxville, TN. We’ve been married 10 years now.

Have we considered leaving? Vaguely. There have been job offers for him to move to Florida. We prayed about these offers and both felt strongly that we were to stay here. Occasionally we have considered leaving to get away from “troubles”, but realized we’d only be taking our troubles with us.

And so we’ve stayed. We’ve lived in three different areas of town. North, West, and Central. I’ll talk more about that next time!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Love

This week's theme is LOVE!
There are so many ideas for this theme!
This is what I chose:
Sibling Love.
When a brother sits down
and puts his arm around his sister
without being told to,
that is love!

Another brother's story:

This brother received this shirt (says "will trade sister for video game!") for his birthday. Once he read it, he became very upset about it, saying "I wouldn't trade my sister for anything!" And he gave the shirt back to his grandma!

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Friday, June 23, 2006

Candy Man saying...

Candy Man has come up with one that has me stumped!

Grandma and Grandpa are coming to get the boys today to spend the night! I told Game Master and Candy Man that they had to finish their chores and take their showers before they could go. Candy Man said, “And brush our teeth?” I said, “Yes, of course.” And he said, “And do our lips?”


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thursday Thanks Tank #12 (filling up the tank with thanks)

How are you today!? I've been putting off coming to write this! Each Thursday morning amazes me because I don't naturally have a thankful attitude! I NEVER want to do this post! Then I sit down and make myself do it. By the end, I have a thankful attitude. Let's see if it works this morning...

Let's see...(reflecting over the last week)... I am thankful for:

1. Breakfast with a good friend. Last week, I got to have breakfast and a couple hours with my good friend, Melanie. We don't get to see each other as much as we used to. I love her dearly and cherish each moment with her!

2. An awesome adoption agency. We delivered letters to our agency for them to send to Pretty Princess' birthparents. They are so nice and so supportive! Plus they found us our daughter!

3. A new bathing suit. Am I crazy? I must be! I haven't had a new suit in 3 years and have never really liked the one I had! I found one that I liked, for 50% off! I don't like wearing it, but I do love to swim, so I might as well wear one that I like better!!

4. A girl's scrapbooking night! I went to a "crop" on Friday night. It's always good to get out with other women and work on my scrapbook!!

5. A pool day. I took the kids to my parents for a swim day on Saturday. It was a fun day - swimming, splashing, and eating popsicles.

6. My father. I am thankful for my father. Our relationship hasn't always been the best father/daughter bond, but has improved over the years. For that I am thankful.

7. The father of my children. I am thankful for Papa. He spent several hours of Father's Day in the van with the children while I was in the emergency room with a dislocated/broken toe! Poor Papa!

8. A few days off. Isn't it funny how we always want what we don't have? When I am super busy, I just want a day off with nowhere to go and nothing that has to be done. When there is nothing to do, I 'm bored and want something to do or somewhere to go! Since the Father's Day accident, I've been forced to take it easy for a couple days. I've tried to be content in the circumstances!

9. God's presence. He is showing me that no matter where I am spiritually, He is the same. He is always there. He waits patiently for me.

10. Reminders. I need Thursday Thanks Tank to remind me to be thankful!

Now, what are you thankful for today?

"Devote yourselves to prayer,
being watchful
and thankful."
--Colossians 4:2

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My favorite recipe!

I just have to share this recipe with you! It has to be the easiest thing I've ever made - and one of the yummiest!!

Thelma's Apple Brown Betty
1 can apple pie filling
1 box Jiffy yellow cake mix
3/4 stick butter, melted
In a 9x9 square dish, pour the pie filling & spread evenly. Sprinkle the cake mix on top. Pour the melted butter all over. DO NOT STIR! Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour (or until top is nicely browned).
* You can easily double this recipe into a 9x13 dish.
* I highly recommend serving this with vanilla ice cream!
I have to give the credit to my friend Thelma who brought this dessert over one night to us! I am not a big dessert eater, but this was sooo good! I was shocked when I found out how easy it is!

Monday, June 19, 2006


Ouch! I hurt myself! I'm such a big baby, I know!

I was playing around with my kids yesterday afternoon, chasing Game Master through the house, and I accidentally stepped on the back of his foot. I looked down and saw that my middle toe was WAY dislocated (nasty!!).

So we ended up spending several hours of Father's Day at the hospital emergency room! (Poor Papa!)

Turns out that my poor toe was dislocated and apparantly broken too! The doctor saw a bone chip on the x-ray. So, today, I get to see an orthopedic surgeon.

My foot was put in a "boot" and I was given crutches (all for a little toe!).

Can I just say that for such a small body part - it hurts sooo bad!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunday Scripture

"Honor your father and mother"—
which is the first commandment
with a promise—
that it may go well with you
and that you may enjoy
long life on the earth."
--Ephesians 6:2,3
I thought this was an
appropriate scripture this
Father's Day Sunday!
Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Sports

Join us for the Photo Hunt!

This week's photo theme is sports (in honor of Father's Day).

It just so happens that my boys went to the Charlotte Eagles Soccer Camp this week. The Charlotte Eagles are a pro soccer team. They have a Christian soccer camp every summer!
The older kids are put on 'world' teams to compete, just like the real World Cup!
My oldest son, Game Master, was placed on the "Italy" team. He was thrilled to be on "Coach Josh's" team again this year!

The best news:

Italy won the World Cup!!

(Well, my Italy, anyway!)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday Thanks Tank #11 (filling up the tank with thanks)

I have much to be thankful for! I have seen others around me in pain, ill, depressed, and even hungry. I will chose to be thankful for...

1. A well checkup for Pretty Princess. She is growing well, doing well, right on target. This is a blessing! With our adoption, her birthmother received no prenatal care. We are unsure of any alcohol/drug use during pregnancy. Princess was born 5 weeks premature. We were (and are) willing to deal with anything that comes up, but are blessed with a healthy four year old girl!

2. A night with an 'old' friend! I was honored to have my good friend from Ohio here for her birthday! It was a short visit - just one evening - but a much needed girls night for me. I miss her more than I imagined I would when she moved...

3. A good surgery outcome. My friend "Thelma" had a hysterectomy on Friday and got through surgery just fine. I was able to visit her several times over the course of the weekend (the hospital is close and Papa had a weird schedule) and even make them dinner on Sunday when she came home.

4. A wonderful babysitter. We rarely get a babysitter anymore, but when we do - we are so blessed to have the one we have! She is so good with the kids! We don't have to worry that she will let them get away with anything. She is firm and loving!

5. A date with Papa. Yes, we got the babysitter for the date! You can read about it in yesterday's post!

6. A week with kids' at day camp. I love my kids! I mean I REALLY love them. Occasionally, it is nice for them to have somewhere to go without me though. It is good for them and good for me!

7. An opportunity to serve others. With Thelma's surgery and her living next door, it has given me a chance to love on her a bit. I have enjoyed being able to sit with her, buy her stuff, cook for her (I took her hot banana nut bread yesterday evening!). It feels good to be there for others!

8. Special time with Pretty Princess! Yesterday morning after taking the boys to camp, Princess and I went to the mall (to get Game Master's glasses fixed - again!). We only had a few hours before we had to be back to pick up Candy Man (he gets done earlier than Game Master). So we went window shopping at the mall! I let her pick what we looked at (making it clear that we weren't buying anything). It was really fun! Each time we'd leave a store, she'd say, "Mommy, let's go to another store!"

9. Pretty Princess' birthparents. As we have celebrated her fourth birthday and her "gotcha day" is approaching, they are constantly on my mind and in my prayers. I finished update letters to send to them and got several pictures from the last year ready as well. We will take them to the adoption agency today to be sent to them. God bless them.

10. Jesus, my Lord. In the midst of a busy week, I can neglect Him, but He refuses to neglect me. Thankfully.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
--Colossians 2:6,7

"Thursday Thanks Tank" originates at Just Peachy's blog site. Go check it out!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I went on a date!

Yes, I did! I went on a date with my husband Sunday evening. We actually spent a small fortune on two concert tickets and a babysitter! We had great seats - 5th row, center! The artist even jumped off stage and came out and stood in a seat just in front of us.

Now, I'm not all into music artists or 'stars' or anything like that. I have a friend who is, but not me. (The only concerts I've been to are All 4 One, and Aerosmith. Scary, I know. Enough said.) Still, this was a very fun concert! I enjoyed it thoroughly!

Another thing, the music wasn't exactly the kind I normally listen to, but I do like some of their songs. My boys really love them! (Game Master was mad that he wasn't going.)

Any guesses on who we saw/heard?

Kirk Franklin! (Have you heard of him? He writes Contemporary Gospel Music - at times bordering on rap, R&B, hip-hop, rock, & jazz. Anyway, it's good Christian music. You can hear their music at his website.) We were their last stop on tour (that they started in February). They went on and on. It was really awesome! A nice evening!

It's Wacky Wednesday!!

Today is "Wacky Wednesday" at soccer camp! The boys and I had so much fun making their outfits last night! They were looking forward to playing in their 'shreds' today!!

Yes, they colored their fingernails black with a marker. Papa will be thrilled!!

You will be glad to know that I've come up with an idea to blog about! Keep watch in the next little bit for it!

Monday, June 12, 2006

At a loss! Me?

It is a bit unusual for me to be at a loss for words, but I am! When I started blogging just a short time ago, I thought I'd always have something to say! Now, I can come up with nothing - at least nothing profound!

We had a big weekend with company in on Friday evening. My good friend Bastica and another friend spent the night with me. Bastica was traveling south and stayed over here. It was so good to see her!

My good friend Thelma had surgery on Friday. I made several visits to the hospital this weekend. She came home yesterday afternoon. I'm so glad she's home and doing better... I promised her banana bread - must get on that!

We had a guest pastor at church yesterday. You know how you get comfortable with your pastor and you get kinda "ho-hum" when you get there and find he's not there and some 'stranger' is going to speak instead? Well, I was in for a surprise! He was different, but he was good all the same. He spoke to us about parenting. His message was about being a blessing and not a curse to our children. It was really good!

The boys have soccer camp this week with the Charlotte Eagles. They had a good first day. I felt like a true soccer mom running them around today (camp ends at different times due to age differences!). Four more days to go...

My good friend, Melanie, has completed her 8 rounds of chemotherapy. Now, she'll have several rounds of radiation. Please pray for her. She has advanced stages of breast cancer (at only 33 yrs old). Her faith is strong - I am amazed at her reliance on Him!

Anyway, that is my life update... perhaps something more interesting will come along to talk about soon!!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Community

This week's theme is "community".
Join us in the photo hunt!

I couldn't resist posting this picture of a familiar site in my city - Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1982, this community came together and hosted the World's Fair. I was just 11 years old. (Somewhere there is a favorite picture of me at the fair - in braids!) The Sunsphere from the fair still stands.

Things have changed in the park, and in the city (it's much larger now!), but the monument is a reminder of a fun childhood year for me - when family came from all over to stay with us, the dinner's out at the German pavilion for brats, the first motion ride at the United States pavilion, the Japanese robots that wrote our names!

I'm thankful for the remaining reminder of those fond memories!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thursday Thanks Tank #10 (filling up the tank with thanks)

I am thankful for so many things this week! I'm so glad that I keep doing this. It is good to reflect and be thankful for God's blessings!

1. A great pediatrician. I think I've used this one before, but once again he has taken great care of my child! Game Master had his 9 year old check-up last Thursday and Dr. Greg was sooooo good with him. He was such a good listener. I am thankful for him!

2. Help with "the cake"! AnnieBeth came over on Friday night and helped me put together Pretty Princess' birthday cake. We had fun (and some really yummy salsa during breaks!)!

3. Marital communication! For me, there is nothing better in my marriage than when Papa talks to me about deep personal matters! We had a great talk that 'reunited' us as a team to continue fighting for our marriage (for that is what it is in these times!).

4. A timely word! Our church started a new series on Sunday, just in time! The message was filled with practical godly advice for families.

5. Relaxing front porch moments! Despite getting home late from church and hosting a birthday party a few short hours later, we were so prepared that we got to sit on the front porch and relax for a bit before the party! It was much needed in the hussle-bussle of the day!!

6. Birthday Parties! Okay, really, I'm thankful it is over!! Ha! They are so much work!

7. Haircuts! This might seem silly to some, but I rarely 'treat' myself to a good haircut! I've got a friend who is in training at a really nice salon here and she came to my house and gave me a cut. It feels so good to have a fresh cut, doesn't it!?

8. A good doctor for Papa! As part of the good talk that we had, an appointment was made with a new doctor for Papa. We saw him yesterday. He was extremely thorough and very nice! We were both pleased with him.

9. A good night's sleep! Best of all, Papa had a good night's sleep last night for the first time in years with the help of some Ambien. He has suffered with insomnia for years. I'm so glad he is finally getting help for it!

10. Girl's night out! Thelma and I went out last night to dinner and to the mall. It was so fun! We had a great meal (albeit way too much to eat!). We had fun walking the whole mall and shopping (for nothing in particular - we are both bargain hunters!).

See, this week it was easy to reflect and be thankful! Every week isn't like that for me though. But you know, I think every week is full of blessings, but my attitude is not always one of gratitude!

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,
and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God."
--Colossians 3:16

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pretty Princess turns FOUR!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, Pretty Princess!
Happy Birthday to you!
We love you, sweet girl!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sunday Scripture

"May your father and mother be glad;
may she who gave you birth rejoice!"
--Proverbs 23:25
Today, we will celebrate Pretty Princess' birthday with a party (her actual birthdate isn't until Tuesday). Around the time of her birthday, more than any other time of year, her birthparent's are in my heart and on my mind!
With the boys, I tell them their story of what was happening " __" years ago right now...etc... With Princess, I just don't know. I wasn't there. We didn't know our daughter had been born until she was almost 4 weeks old. That is absolutely okay with me. I do have the "Gotcha Day" memories to tell in another month!
Only her sweet birthmother has the memories of what was happening with Princess 4 years ago right now. I have no doubt that it is on her mind. This must be something special to her! I pray that she is blessed with peace, having faith that her child is loved and well taken care of!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Wanted for Abduction & Endangerment!

Four year old birthday girl
for partial birthday cake theft.
ALIAS: Pretty Princess

ABDUCTED: Part of a birthday cake.

LAST SEEN: Cooling on the kitchen counter.

RESCUED: The cake was saved by TnMama and her friend AnnieBeth (and lots & lots of icing!!).

WARRANT: There is a warrant out for Pretty Princess. She is being charged with abduction and endangerment to a birthday cake. Please contact us at 555-5555 if you witnessed this offense.

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Mirror

I love this picture!
It was taken this past Christmas (2005).
After a couple of years of sharing my
own full length mirror,
we decided it was time for
Pretty Princess to have her own!
Game Master was so excited -
he wanted to be the one to give it to her!
She loved it!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thursday Thanks Tank #9 (filling up the tank with thanks)

It's kinda funny, but now that things have "slowed" down, we are busier - just in a different way! We are having all kinds of fun, leaving less time inside and at the computer!

I am thankful though! Here's what I'm thankful for today:

1. Cooler temperatures! Wow! I know, it's early for that, but it has been in the mid to upper 90's here already for the past week. I'm thankful for an 85 degree day today! At least we can breathe!

2. Kitchen sinks with disposals! Ha! Silly, but something I normally take for granted! My sink was stopped up for several days and Doppler Daddy came over to help get it unstopped. After removing a piece of metal out of the disposal (???), it worked fine.

3. Kitchen sinks with disposals! Yes, again! The day after Doppler Daddy fixed it, I decided to finally clean out the fridge. Thinking all was well, I sent some pasta down the disposal. Not. Good. Then I had not only a stopped up sink, I couldn't wash, nor run the dishwasher (you know the ones I'd just cleaned out of the fridge!). After a few attempts (and about 36 hours), Papa finally got it all cleared out and I think we are good now!

4. Neighbors! I love my neighbors! The kids and I went over for a cookout on Monday. We sat in the backyard and swang all afternoon. It was so good to relax with friends!

5. Military men and women! Past, present and future. I'm thankful for their willingness to fight for our country.

6. Scrapbooking! It is therapy for me! Really! I love being able to complete something. I love leaving the legacy for my children and grandchildren... And I love having friends over to do it with me!

7. Love! I'm thankful that even when it seems like no one loves you or cares about you, God sends someone to reassure you that you are wrong! (I love you too, AnnieBeth!)

8. Summertime Fun! We spent an afternoon at the fountains, a day at the pool, a day in the neighbor's backyard, and a lazy day on the front porch rocking!

9. God's Grace! He is sufficient for me. He is constantly reminding me that He is all I need.

10. Hope! Once again, I am thankful for hope. God knows what I need. He knows how I feel. I have a future in Him.

How are you thankful this day?