Wednesday, December 30, 2009

God is growing me!

God is growing me in so many ways right now. For starters, I have said for years that I would never get married again and don't want anything to do with men. One year ago, He told me that He may have another plan for me - and for my little ducklings. I was "kicking and screaming" about it then too! But He has changed my attitude about it. AND now, He has sent me an incredibly godly man (we'll call him "Joseph" for now). I am enjoying getting to know him more. It is the sweetest thing to be in a relationship with a man who cares more about pleasing God than anything else.

God is also growing me in my relationship with Him. He has been showing me that I am lacking in my freedom of worship. I have felt this "bondage" before and was set free when I went to a new church and experienced worship at another level. I am seeking after God to show me His will and set me free to worship Him deeper. And yet, as He shows me, I hesitate. It is out of my comfort zone. But isn't that just like God - to stretch us?

Last night "Joseph" came over for dinner and brought a DVD to watch together about this. Afterwards, we had a great discussion about it. When he left, I was able to have a time of prayer, repentance, and seeking after God for truth. As I went to bed, I read a devotion that said this...

"Come on! We have seen that the land is very good. Aren't you going to do something? Don't hesitate to go there and take it over...God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever." --Judges 18:9-10

"Come on!" This command indicates that there is something definite for us to do and that nothing is ours unless we take it.
How much of God's Word have you received and endorsed, and of how much have you been able to say, "This has been done in my life"? By how many of His promises have you signed your name and said, "This has been fulfilled to me"?

It goes on to say...

"Do not miss your inheritance through your own neglect."
I feel like God is reminding me that I need to seek after Him on this and that I could miss something so good - by my own neglect. I don't want that! I don't want to miss a blessing He has for me!
Yes, growing can be painful, but it can be so sweeeeeet too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Traditions

My family has had a tradition that we have celebrated on Christmas every year since I was born. We spent Christmas Eve with my mom's family in KY. We had spaghetti (no, we aren't italian) and salad bar for dinner. Opened presents and enjoyed each other until late into the night.

This year, we have lost 3 family members. The first one was my grandmother, then my uncle (my mom's brother) and then another uncle (my mom's brother-in-law). Sadly, noone is in the Christmas spirit. We are not gathering for our traditional Christmas Eve celebration.

Many people have had a difficult year this year, perhaps financially with the recession (I sure have!). But I encourage you to remember the "reason for the season". We enjoy our traditions and celebrations at Christmas, but remember the very first Christmas. That is what it is all about. We can celebrate Jesus' birthday anywhere. Yes, it will be different. It won't be about presents (who can afford any?). It won't be about food (I can't eat any! lol). It won't be about extended family (they are doing their own thing). But, it's okay. It WILL be about my Savior's Birthday. That is what it is supposed to be about!

Have a Happy Jesus' Birthday!

Monday, August 31, 2009

God chuckled

God has a sense of humor. Last week I wrote a lesson to teach to the ladies in my small group. It was about different ways you can live your life:
* in REACTION to your circumstances and things around you.
* in ROUTINE - the same way you always have.
* a RICH, REWARDING life! God has told us in His Word that He wants us to live an abundant life. What a gift from Him.

Sunday morning I arise to prepare to go to church and teach this lesson. And CandyMan is sick. I could almost hear God chuckling!

How could I teach that lesson if I was living in REACTION (which is actually often my ROUTINE when my kids get sick)?? I can imagine God thinking, "how is she going to handle this one?"

Not only did I need to be at church, I needed to be at my first day of classes on Monday morning (my debut return to college after almost 20 years). If you know me (and if you are reading this, you probably do), then you know that it is a horrible thought to me to have to miss the first day!!

But God had prepared me for this, since I had been studying His Word just that week preparing to teach others. He is good. And He had a plan.

I went to my small group and taught the lesson. I am right now sitting in the library at my college after attending my first class and awaiting the next one. CandyMan went to the doctor this morning and he doesn't have what we feared. (Swine Flu has been confirmed in a couple of children in their school. My duckling does NOT have it. I'm praying they don't get it.)

All is good. He is in control! I am trusting in Him.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm a School Girl!

Can you believe it? I sure can't! I'm a school girl! I'm going back to college!

Classes begin on Monday for me. I'm excited and anxious all at the same time! I'm going full time. And the government is paying for all of it (through grants). It's an offer I can't refuse! I have one year of classes to take before I'll qualify to get into nursing school (that is my plan).

Please be praying for me!! I can't imagine how I will balance it all - full time college, 2 part time jobs, and 3 full time kids!! :) I need peace, financial provision (I still have to pay bills afterall), sweet sleep and an occasional break!! I'm trusting God to take care of it all!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I did it!

I did it! I met my goal! I had so much fun doing it, that I forgot it was my goal until someone reminded me that I'd met it! Ha!
One year ago I set a goal to lose enough weight and get in shape enough to water ski. It was my dream. When I was young I used to slalom all over the lake. At the age of 17, I was in a serious car accident and herniated a disc in my lower back. I was never able to ski much after that. I've missed it - for 20 years!!

I can't even describe how good it felt to do this again - I did it twice in one day! And I can't wait to do it again!

Another first that I did last week:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our church has broken ground!

NorthStar broke ground on our new property a few weeks ago to build our new building. The Sunday afterwards, they had enlarged some photos from the event and put them on the wall in the foyer of our current location. Here is one of the photos:

Here are some shots that I got:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Guitar Hero!

It's my oldest son's birthday today! I have such sweet memories of the last 12 years with him. This is his last year before becoming a teenager!! Look out world!

Pray for him this day! He has 2 finals at school - Math and English. He has the middle school musical this evening (he has a speaking part in it!). I am taking him a "donut cake" to share with his class at lunch and hopefully we'll have time to go out to dinner after school/before the musical. Life is so busy this week, it is hard to really celebrate. I feel sorry for him in that way. When you home school, the birthday child is with you all day and you make it a full day celebration. Today is more like an adult birthday for him. He's not used to it. I'm trying to make him feel as special as possible, under the circumstances!

He has grown up so much in the last few months and is doing much better than he was for the last few years. I'm so happy for him and I'm so proud of him!

Monday, April 27, 2009

I am called to be FREE!

Galatians 5:1 says we are called to be free! That was the theme of this weekend's women's retreat that I attended. It was a beautiful event of worship, teaching and activities! I'm so blessed to have been able to go. It was by Living Vessels Ministries - "The Esther Experience - Called to Be Free".

My children were well taken care of - Missy by a young lady who did all kinds of girly things with her and fed her lots of sugar! Guitar Hero and Candy Man were taken camping by some men in the church and then fishing on Saturday! A "Man's" weekend! So good for them all!

I feel like God is telling me that my season of healing is over. It is time to reach out to others going through what I have been through in the last 3 years. I am ready to be used by Him!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cardboard Testimonies

Candy Man and I were asked to be apart of our church's Easter service. We did something called "Cardboard Testimonies". If you haven't seen this before, you can watch videos on YouTube where other churches have done it. It is extremely powerful!

Basically, it was explained beforehand about how having God in your life can change your life. Then 30 or so of us got up and "told" our changes using cardboard. Candy Man's was one of the most powerful testimonies. It received a lot of attention. I was soooo proud of him. It wasn't easy for him to do this. I have to share it with you:

I had to share my latest change that God has done in my life as well! May He receive all the glory!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Missy loves her family

Of all of my children, Missy Prissy loves her family the most! She knows every one by name (even distant cousins). She notices if any of them get their hair cut (even if she hasn't seen them in months!). She is concerned if she thinks they don't feel good or are upset. She loves them all so much and isn't shy to show them!

I was recently at her school for a Festival of Nations party. On the wall were pictures and sentences that the children had written completing the following: "My favorite place to go is..." There were all kinds of answers like the movies, Disney, the pool - that kind of thing. I couldn't help but chuckle when I read my daughter's:

(It says: "My favorite place to go is to Kentucky. I play with my cousins.")

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It is all roses!

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." --2 Corinthian 12:10

(Taken from 4/8 devotion, "Streams in the Desert")

George Matheson, the well-known blink preacher of Scotland, once said,

"My dear God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses but not once for my thorns. I have always looked forward to the place where I will be rewarded for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross as a present glory itself.

Teach me, O Lord, to glory in my cross. Teach me the value of my thorns. Show me how I have climbed to You through the path of pain. Show me it is through my tears I have seen my rainbows."


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Science Fair, Great Visit with a Friend, and a Funeral

Game Master's Science Fair was last week. He did a great project on how magnets affect electronic memory. His grade was 103! I am proud of him.

The weekend before that, we had a visit from Jennifer and Jason. I miss that girl so much. It was so good to spend an evening together. Wish we didn't live so far apart...

My Grandmommy died on Monday. We went to Kentucky on Wednesday. Ended up staying until Sunday. There were terrible complications with digging the grave and it delayed the graveside service. Gave us more time together as a family though.

I'm still waiting to hear if the kids will be going to First Baptist Academy again next year. It is not clear to me what God's will is in this yet. He knows. That is good enough for me.

I've got much work to catch up on! Busy, busy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

All kinds of updates

There has been so much going on here, I haven't had time to blog. Of course, missing almost 2 months of work and housework has given me plenty to do around here! Not that I shouldn't be doing that now... in fact, let me go change out the laundry...I'll be right back...

Okay. So I haven't recovered from my surgery as fast as I'd hoped. But then I found out that my feeling so weak probably has nothing to do with the surgery! I've been having dizzy spells, feeling like I'm going to pass out every time I turn around or stand up! I just black out! AnnieBeth recommended that I take my blood pressure. (I haven't had to do that in several months, since I quit taking bp medicine and it was fine.) That first time I took it, it was 84/40! Whoa! It hasn't been above 104/72 for the last week. It has been consistently low. I talked to my bariatric doctor's office. They had just drawn a bunch of bloodwork in February. It was all great - no dehydration, blood loss or vitamin deficiencies. They were thrilled with those results, but concerned and stumped by my low blood pressure. They referred me to my PCP.

I saw her yesterday. She just smiled really big and asked if I was still taking thyroid medicine. I said I was - I had been told that my weight loss probably wouldn't affect my need for thyroid medicine. She thinks that it has anyway!! She said I am probably overcorrecting now and won't have to take the med anymore. It is probably what is causing the low blood pressure. I should get those test results back today. I hope that is what it is!! That'd be great!

My Grandmommy's health has been up and down for the past month. But as of this weekend, I heard that she'd improved enough to be eating some solid food again!

My kids are struggling. They are desperately in need of a break! Fortunately, there are just 3 more days of school before Spring Break! No, we aren't going anywhere (I wish we were - the beach sounds so good..). I am hoping for some pretty weather here to go to the park and picnics and bike rides and walks! Some real spring weather would be so great!

I am praying for God's direction for the kid's school next year. I will be applying later today for a scholarship again. If God miraculous provides for next year again, then they will all 3 attend the Christian school again. If not, I'll know it is His will for me to homeschool. I don't see how that would be possible, which is why I think he will provide for the Christian school. We'll see...

My good friend, Kendra, had back surgery last week. I'm covering for her, leading our small group, Daughters of the King (for single women). I love these ladies so much. I'm so glad to be able to do it! I am so burdened by their struggles right now. I feel for each one of them. I think this is good timing. It helps me keep my own "stuff" in perspective!

So, everyone have a great week! Hope you are getting a break soon too! I intend to enjoy it!!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Feeling's a good thing!

God has been working in my heart this week. There are so many ladies around me who are struggling. My heart is broken for them. I want to be there for them and be strong. Their circumstances put mine into great perspective. I needed that.

Just before He made me aware of all of their needs, He showed me my own need to LET GO! I have been holding on too tightly to Game Master. I feel this huge burden to fix him - to help him. God let me know that I am not capable of that. It is not my responsibility to try so obsess about GM and his problems. I want him to be happy. I want him to be happy RIGHT NOW. God has let me know that it isn't going to happen today, it is going to take time - and HIM. I'm stepping in and messing things up. So, I've committed to stepping aside and allowing Him to do it His way (He really does know better than me).

Meanwhile, God has shown me CandyMan's need to be discipled and ministered to. We spent a great time together last night and he is so open to hearing and growing. He felt so much better this morning and even had a quiet time instead of playing during his extra few minutes before leaving for school!

Every day this week a friend (different ones) has called in need of advise or prayer. I think God needed me to let go of Game Master to make room for others who needed me. I'm thankful to be needed. I'm thankful to be used by Him. It is so much more rewarding and fulfilling to be used by God than it is to try to do it all yourself! If He needs me to work in GM's life, then I will!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Tribute To Grandmommy

My sweet Grandmommy is leaving us. She's been an incredible example to all of the women in my family for years. She's taken care of us all - raising five kids and nurturing 12 grandchildren & 11 great-grandchildren (so far). She has always thought of others first.

For the past 5 or so years she has been suffering greatly with Lewy Body Dementia. It has ravaged her muscles and taken over her body. It is a cousin to Parkinson's Disease. It has been so sad to watch her slowly deteriorate. She has survived way longer than anyone expected her to.

The chair-ridden Grandmommy that my children know is not the Grandmommy that I know! My Grandmommy was very active - walking laps at the lake with me, riding her bicycle all over, and cooking huge meals for her large family. I loved sitting on her front porch snapping beans with her. I looked forward to going to church with her and hearing her play the piano! I enjoyed many summer days with her at the lake!

I am sad that she is leaving us, but it seems like she's been gone for so long already. I am glad that she will get a new body soon and feel well! I am glad that she will be with the love of her life - my Granddaddy. I pray for my mom and her family as they deal with this loss. I pray they will make sure that they will be in heaven with Grandmommy when their day comes...

I love you, Grandmommy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I've met my goal - at just six months!

I'm so excited to tell you that I have met my personal weight loss goal - in just 6 months! I went to the doctor today for my 6 month check-up. They are very pleased with me - my BMI is in the healthy range! They are increasing my diet. They don't want me to lose more than 10-20 more pounds! Isn't that amazing!? It has far exceeded my expectations, for sure! The lab tech said that she hasn't heard of anyone meeting their goal at 6 months since she's worked there. It made me feel so good. May God have all the glory!!
Here are a few before pictures next to my 6 month shots:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snow and Surgery

For the first time in CandyMan and Missy Prissy's life, it has snowed in East Tennessee - enough for them to go sledding! I'm so excited for them. Unfortunately, I had to drive on slick roads yesterday to pick them up from school yesterday (for the first time). Thankfully, despite other cars sliding off the road everywhere, we made it home safely. Of course, this was my first day driving the kids (I've been banned from driving for 2 weeks due to surgery). It was a little nerve racking. I am glad they are out of school today - I needed the extra rest!

So, about the surgery...many of you have been asking on Facebook. Sorry that I haven't answered. I just can't sit at the computer for very long yet. I had a hysterectomy with several repairs. It has wiped me out good. Even 2 1/2 weeks later, I'm still in pain and so very tired. Other women warned me that it'd be this way, but you know me - I'm super woman. Wrong! I am fine though. I had to have the surgery not so much because of any "female problems" that I was having, but because everything was falling out. Nothing was in the place it was suppose to be. Maybe it was from birthing 2 big boys and damage caused during their births. Maybe from age (I refuse to say "old" age). Maybe from my weight loss (was that extra fat holding everything up?). Who knows, but it had to be fixed.

Here are a few beautiful pictures taken yesterday in Tennessee!

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 FOCUS

Each year I pray for God to show me a focus for the year - something that I need to learn about, work on, and grow in. A theme, so to speak.

2007 was my first year seperated from my husband of 11 years. That year was full of changes for me and my little ducklings. It was a very difficult year. My yearly focus was "SURVIVE". We did that, even if barely.

In 2008, I knew it was time to move on from just surviving and begin living life again. It seemed life was running me before that and it was time for me to live life with purpose again. My word for the year was "LIVE". It was a good year. God did grow me in this so much and I feel like it was a successful year.

I began praying in December for God to show me my "word" or focus for 2009. One word kept popping into my head and I kept throwing it back. I'm not sure what it is about it that I am rejecting. No, that isn't true - I'm not sure what it is He wants me to do with it! I'm fearful of what He may be preparing me for. The word is "LOVE". I'm hoping to learn about God's Love for me. I want to grow in my love for others. But there is a little part of me that fears that He is preparing me for a significant love in my life - like another husband. I'm afraid of myself. I'm afraid of another relationship. I'm just afraid! My friend Kendra has pointed out to me that I can't underestimate God to provide a great godly man that would be good for me and my children. This is true... I'm just not sure that I want a man in my life.

However, I have been able to see how it may be God's plan for our lives. (I say "our" lives, because I am a package deal now. A husband for me is a daddy for my ducklings. He'd have to be for all of us, not just for me.) And so, I've given it up to God (and keep giving it). I want what He wants. He knows that He has some changing to do in my heart to get me there.


This is my verse for this year: "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." 1John 4:12 It is my desire for others to see God in me - for them to experience His love through me.

When reading this verse and a little past it, God shows me something else to grow in.... 1John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." Well, okay. I guess He does need to work on me in this area...

So, this year is about "LOVE". I don't exactly know what all that looks like yet. But this I will begin with:

So, what is your focus for this year?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Going away...

Yes, I am going away for a few days. I leave today and will be home Friday. It is so strange for me to leave my kiddies. I never leave them! Plus they have school and stuff. It will be okay though. My friend Megan is staying here with them and transporting them, feeding them and loving them while I am gone. I will miss them so much. What am I saying? I miss them already!

I am going to Atlanta for a conference with my job. I'm going with my dad. It will be good to spend some time with him - and to get some training on this new computer program they've just started.

Please pray for my ducklings to be on their best behavior for Miss Megan and for everything to go smoothly here!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Wonderful Couple of Weeks!

We have had an incredibly wonderful Christmas break! We've spent some busy, fun time with family in Kentucky and in Tennessee. We've had an extremely fun and relaxing week at home. We've been healthy the whole time (must be a first!). We've all been easy-going, well rested, well fed, and happy! What more can you ask for!?

Tomorrow, we are back to the real world! Back to the crazy schedule - the 5:30 a.m. mornings (will my body do that after this week!?!?) - the go, go, go, gotta hurry... I've loved spending this time with my children and I truly don't want it to end. I know that it has to. I have worked very little during the past 2 weeks (and that isn't good for paying the bills, you know?). It has been a wonderful vacation though.

How much longer until Spring Break? Or even better, summer break!?