Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Can't believe I'm about to say this but......


May God continue to pour blessings on you and yours in the coming year!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

When Love Came Down at Christmastime!

Just a quick shout out to say "Merry Christmas" to all of you!! Christmas is about the ONLY time you'll find my kids like this.......

tee hee... aren't they sweet?

May the Lord bless you and yours this Holiday season!! Merry Christmas from the Elswick Crew!!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

His name is Jesus.......

Well the weekend was a whirlwind but it was GREAT! We had our program at church "Savior Christ the King" and it went well. A few bobbles here and there but I'm sure no one really noticed. All in all, the name of Jesus was lifted high and souls were saved.....mission accomplished!!
It was funny because during the program our baby "Jesus" - which was a live baby, not a doll - had a little problem. The bright lights and the heat was a little much for the baby - I think. Anyway, all I could do was pray for the Mom and Dad because I can only imagine how they felt hearing the little one wailing and not being able to do a thing about it. (Both were involved in the program as well) But the crying really had a profound impact on me. After all, Jesus was as much a man (baby) as He is Deity so I'm sure He did cry. I'm sure as He made His arrival on the planet He was overcome with emotion as He learned to deal with His new found limitations in this tiny body. In fact, the Bible confirms my theory as just before His death He prayed for the cup to be removed. He did, however, surrender to the Father's plan and follow thru. So the crying baby in our performances brought tears to my eyes and not just because I felt bad for him and the parents, but because I thought of what Jesus gave up....for me....for you.
As you're celebrating this season I pray that you'll find something new and fresh in the story of our Saviour's birth. I pray the Father will speak anew to you as He did me. I pray that you'll stop to praise the name.......Jesus!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Have you ever had someone tell you something would happen and then it does? Like, one time I had a dream about a co-workers Father being trapped inside a burning house (awful I know) and he died a week later. (I didn't share the dream with her by the way!) Also, 3 days before my brother-in-law died I was riding in the car with Jimmy and said "I don't know what it is babe, but I just feel like there's something BIG around the corner for us?" There's been other things that have happened. Some good, some bad. Has that ever happened to you? If so, tell me about them....I love that kinda stuff.
I don't believe in psychics. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe that the Lord gives us those dreams or those feelings to prepare us for something. Not sure how theologically correct it is, I just know it's happened to me A LOT!!!!!
The Bible is FULL of predictions. FULL I tell ya. There's one that I came across this season that is familiar to us all, but for some reason just really got my attention.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isa 9:6
One thing that hits me. Isaiah says "a child IS born" and hello.....this was written YEARS before Jesus was born. Don't ya love that? Isaiah was already anticipating it as if it had happened. LOVE it!
I know that in the day and time we live Jesus is not called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace". In fact, a lot of people throw His Precious Name around as a word to use in frustration or excitement. But know this, there's another prediction that gives me great joy in this season and in this time we live...."Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him" Rev 1:7a (emp mine) Even so, come Lord Jesus!!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh my WORD, people PRAY!!!

Well we're getting ready for our children's Christmas program tomorrow night at church and I've been over there every day since Wed. UGH. 2 of our cast members have come down with colds, 1 hurt her knee, and so many other things have gone on/gone wrong so the Lord must have something HUGE He's wanting to do in this program so please pray that He'll show up and SHOW OFF thru these kids!!!! (Especially my oldest Chase. This is his last Christmas performance as he'll move to MS next year and he has one of the lead roles.) I'll be sure to post pics when I can. For now......PRAY!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.....

Well I certainly hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. Mine was GREAT!

I'm slammed the next two weeks with our children's Christmas program this weekend - which I'm the "stage manager" and my oldest has the lead and my other 2 babies are in so it's a busy week getting ready for that! THEN next week is the adult program on Sat and Sun so it's pure-T madness in the Elswick plantation. PLUS Chase has a trip to DC coming up in Feb and they've picked THIS weekend to have a big fundraiser for the event. Now, y'all know we are po - can't even afford the or - so we're trying to participate in that as well. WHEW!

Anyway, not much blogging this week but did wanna share this........

Yes that's my baby girl getting baptized and my Josh waiting his turn! God is good!!!!

Pray for my sanity this week and for my kids to stay well! Thanks.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thankful week comes to an end.....

Well as you can see I didn't get to make a list each day so I'll wind up this Thanksgiving week with a few more things I'm thankful for.

1. A God who gives second, third and 347,000th chances!!!

2. A Love that would send His Son to a cross.

3. A Plan to get my sorry self to heaven!

4. An opportunity to tell anyone who will listen about how good God REALLY is.

5. Laughter. I think it IS the BEST medicine!!!

6. Safe travels on snowy, wet roads! Thank you Jesus!

7. New opportunities in a hectic schedule. Show Yourself STRONG Jesus!

8. People willing to help others that they don't know.

9. Socks. Yes, I'm thankful for socks.

10. My family. Even the ones who got on my nerves this week - and you know who you are! hahahaha

Hope you had a great week being thankful!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Today's list.....

Today I'm thankful for....
1. My man who doesn't mind runnin' the sweeper and cleanin' up the kitchen for his wife. Acts of service baby - speak away!!! ;-)

2. A car that runs! Thank you Jesus for providing for us so we could get it fixed.

3. Turkeys. Oh yeah. They taste SOOOOO yummy!

4. Pigs. They are equally as yummy! (Sorry to any vegans out there who just gagged!)

5. My mom's freezer box pies. OH LAND SAKES!

6. Naps. Especially the post-turkey ones!

7. Gameboy. 3 kids + 5 hours in the car - you get the picture.

8. Earphones. To go with #7.

9. Long talks in the car. On a rare occasion it happens.

10. The ability to embarrass my kids. Did it this morning when I went to school dressed as the guy in "Oh the Places You'll Go"! Oh yeah! Mission accomplished as a mom!!!

Y'all have a good one and sorry my list isn't very spiritual today, but it is truth! teehee

Monday, November 24, 2008

Week of Thankfulness

I'm going to be traveling this week, but I'd like to challenge anyone reading this to come up with a list of 10 things they are thankful for every day this week. Your 10 things can't be repeated either. Here's mine.....

Today I'm thankful for......
1. My man. We had a rough weekend with my van breaking down, but he took care of things, like he always does. He's the BEST thing on this earth to happen to me. I love you Jimmy!

2. My kids. They make me laugh, make me cry, they challenge me in SOOO many ways. They are the biggest blessing in my life.

3. My church. So many people sit back and find everything wrong they can find with their church - and believe me there's things I'd like to see change - but I'm so thankful to be a member of the Grove and love the family I've made there.

4. My Sunday school class. Oh y'all. Yesterday was just an amazing day. The girls are really opening up and bearing their hearts to us. It's an awesome responsibility and I'm so thankful the Lord has entrusted me with it!

5. My health. Y'all. My body HURTS this time of year - especially when it's really cold, but I'm so thankful that the Lord protects me and strengthens me. He is my Jehovah-Rapha.

6. My friends. I started to name the names of those I'm thankful for but the list just kept growing and growing because the Lord has TRULY blessed me with amazing women (and their hubbies too!) who challenge me, love on me, help me and just listen. I love you guys!

7. My sisters. Today, I have to say that I just can't hardly wait to get to WV and get my arms around their necks! They are truly my best friends! I love them both so much and miss them like CRAZY!! We're gonna have SO MUCH FUN this week! I love you T and Moe!

8. My brother. Guess I better be thankful for him too, huh? haha JK!! I love you Jeff and I want to thank you for steppin up and filling in for Daddy! He would be so proud of you!! I am too!

9. Derrick and Amy. Thanks you guys for letting us rent your home! We are so grateful to you both and love living here.

10. My salvation. I can't imagine my life without it. Jesus, thank you for forgiving me of my sins and for making me Yours!

So, there's a start of the things I'm thankful for. I'm gonna try to get on each day til Thursday and share more that I'm thankful for. Even if you can't blog about it, make a list and tell the ones you love that you're thankful for them! Y'all have a good week!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend Worship

LOVE this song! Sing along!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Need your help again.....

Hey everyone. I've got a rather sensitive topic that I need some help with in teaching my 9th grade girls. I'd really rather not discuss it on the blog so if you're willing to give me some input please leave a comment and if I don't already have your email address (or if I haven't emailed you directly) then I'll let you know what I'm looking for and we'll communicate via email. Thanks for your help!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My how the time flies......

The baby girl is growing WAYYYY too fast! We've had some loose teeth but she's been too scared to pull them out until.......

she finally let Daddy slide them out last night! She lost 2 at the same time. Her new teeth have already broken thru and you can kinda see them. Anyway, I just can't believe how my baby is growing up! Makes me sad!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Still praisin........

I just wanted to pop on today to give a big ole' shout out to Jesus!! I'm still floating since my babies asked Him in their hearts and I tell you, it's been DIFFERENT in my house this week. Don't get me wrong, their still 11, 9 and 6 but the battles are shorter and not nearly as vicious. There were times before where I could just see pure-T evil on their faces during a fight and now, I don't know, it's changed! THANK YOU JESUS! Amazing!

I also wanted to ask you to be in prayer for my family and I. There are some big things that my even BIGGER God is doing in us, things that are gonna shove me right out of my comfort zone, and I know the enemy is already sniffin' around to see how he can mess things up so just pray that we'll remain faithful and stay the course! Thanks!!! Y'all have a fantabulous weekend! I'm going to!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today is Veteran's day and I just wanted to pop on quickly to say that I'm so grateful to all those who have and who are serving our country!! It has always blown me away to think that men (some still boys) would put their lives on the line for MY sake. Growing up in church and hearing about how Jesus gave up His life for me has always been such a difficult thing to wrap my mind around but almost as equally has been the fact that men and women are willing to put themselves in harms way for strangers...for me...for you. So, this day I say THANK YOU! As though that were enough, but for now, it's the best I can do besides praying for your continued safety!

I also want to personally thank God for my PawPaw Woody who served on the USS Ommaney Bay in WWII which sunk after taking on enemy fire and my Grandfather floated in the Pacific for 3 days before being rescued. AMAZING! Thank you Father for protecting him so that I could know and love him!! Here's a pic of my PawPaw on my wedding day! Ain't he so cute?! teeheeI also want to thank my brother Jeff for his service during Desert Storm. My uncle Bob for the many years he dedicated to the Air Force and then worked as a civilian with the armed forces after retiring. My uncle Paul for serving in the Army during the Vietnam war. My nephew Derrick for serving in the Marine Corp and for doing a tour in Afghanistan. Father God, thank you for a family who is proud of this country and willing to put themselves in the way of harm for the sake of others. Thank you for protecting these amazing men in my life and I pray that you will bless them this day!! I love them all and thank you for putting me in their family!!


Monday, November 10, 2008

B I G N E W S!!!!!!!!!!

Ok wow, I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude right now I can hardly speak! (or type - haha) This weekend was very busy and isn't over just yet. Friday and Saturday we had the National Apologetics Conf. at our church and my man had to play (and I had to be the groupie! haha). We were blessed to get to hear men like Chuck Colson, Josh McDowell, Lee Stroebel and James Dobson - to name a few. Then last night and again this morning Josh McDowell did his "Face to Face" and "True Love Waits" seminar for our church - GOOD stuff! Wow - does anyone have a chastity belt? Surely we can get them online? teeheee

So, like I said, busy. Then in a few hours my man and I are getting on a church bus - yes I said bus - and going to Greensboro to sing/play at the NC Southern Baptist Conv. this evening. UGH. Actually, I'm looking forward to it - not the ride - but the singing part. So, are you wondering what this has to do with BIG NEWS? Well, I'm getting to that.

Josh McDowell did his "Face to Face" message at our church last night (I have to tell you that I every time I type church it turns out chruch and I have to keep going back and fixing it - LOL) and since it's not a message appropriate for kids they had a little "children's church" down in the gym. Now to hear it told, it was GREAT fun. Music, dancing, ventriloquist/magician, FUN! Well, the ventriloquist ends up presenting the gospel and over 30 - yes I said 30 - kids prayed to receive Christ last night. These were 1st - 5th graders!!! YAY!!!! Big news, right? Well, it gets even better!! 2 of those kids were MINE!!!!!!!!!! YAY GOD!!!!! Josh and Kayley both accepted Christ!!! They both have been right on the border - especially Josh - asking all the right questions, etc but last night was their night! The cool thing for me was that they weren't together either so it's not like she was just following big brother!! YAY!!! Be still my Momma heart!!!
So, I gotta run, but just wanted to give a big ole' shout out to my Jesus for whispering to my babies and calling them home!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!! Y'all have a good one. Gotta go get ready for the bus! hahaha Love to ya!

PS Had to pop on and tell you my spellchecker is lit up like a Christmas tree with all these YAY's!!!! LOL!!! Made me laugh!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekend Worship

I've missed posting some awesome praise music over the last few months so here ya go.....LOVE this song!! Hope you enjoy it and can realize anew how the Lord loves you and be AMAZED......

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God is.......

Funny that I had several titles initially. God is still on the Throne. God is still in control. But each time I kept coming back to "God is' and it's enough! He is enough! My hope is not in ANY candidate. My hope is in God ALONE! He is....

I'm dreading turning on the TV this morning. In fact, I've only had it on long enough to get the temperature and back off it went. I think it'll stay off today and I'll just have some praise music on.

I got a phone call from my man asking me to pray for him today because he's got some VERY strong personalities at his new job who are quite vocal about their stance during this election and this morning it was at a fever pitch. Almost becoming aggressive. One guy even said something about Christians being nothing more than stupid people who are brainwashed by our parents. Funny thing is, Jimmy doesn't share his parent's beliefs so this guy couldn't be more wrong! Anyway, THIS is what makes me dread the news. No matter who would've won, THIS is the position we are in as a country. We're really not all that free. If Jimmy takes a stand and speaks his mind in his workplace he will not only be verbally (maybe even physically) abused by co-workers, but his employer has come into the room during such conversations and told them to drop it - thus silencing our right to free speech. OK, I really need to just stop it! I'm just prayin' for my man to make it thru THIS day, then I'll pray for tomorrow and the days to follow. (all this happened before 7:30 people!)

So then I come home, open my "God Calling" and immediately called Jimmy back. I had told him when we were talking earlier that this may be the PERFECT opportunity for him to really be a witness to this guy who obviously has had some serious problems with someone claiming to be a Christian in his life. Jimmy knew this, but then God sent a "follow-up" confirmation. Listen to this...."If each lived for Me, by Me, in Me, allowing Me to live in him, to use him to express the Divine through him, as I expressed it when on earth, then long ago the world would have been drawn to Me, and I should have come to claim My own. So seek, My children, to live, knowing no other desire but to express Me, and to show My Love to your world." WOW! This is my prayer, not just for Jimmy and for myself, but for each of us as the coming days are going to be filled with potential moments to shine for Jesus!!!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Big Day....

Jennifer got me thinking today so I thought I'd post some encouragement from the Word for today as well!

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield it's harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him."
Ps 67

Monday, November 3, 2008

Just when you think they're not listening.....

Have you ever had one of those moments when you're just certain that your kids are not paying one TINY bit of attention to ANYTHING that's happening at church? I mean, their actions are a bit more like a pack of wild dogs than humans, much less church-goin' humans! I mean, for real!
Well, I was having one of those days last week. My kids were being - well, we'll just say a challenge - and I, in frustration, said "God, I know they are in the same church as me, hearing what I'm hearing but I guess they have you TOTALLY tuned out". And in His loving-kindness He gave me a little hug of reassurance at dinner. We sat down to eat and I was so frustrated I lifted my fork for the first bite without a blessing being said. My 6 yr old goes "Uh, excuse me mom" (little side note here, that was not said in a sweet mannerly voice, but a tad with the teenage attitudy one) "You're getting ready to eat before the blessing". I go, "Fine, you say it". So she bows her head, lifts a sweet little prayer of thanksgiving for her family and friends, her home, her dog, and finally her food and then closes the prayer with "And church if you agree with this prayer say Amen"!!!!!!!! I about fell off my chair!!!!! In fact, I'm crackin up again just tellin' you! Doesn't God just make you smile?! LOVE it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pray and vote and pray some more!!

5 days people. I tell ya, I just can't wait for it to be over. Not because I'm looking forward to a new administration, but because I'm so tired of all the ads and all the banners by the roadside and the media. UGH. The media. Fair, hardly! (that's for another post though) The biggest thing I'm anxious for is that it will be over by Thanksgiving. You see, I'll be with me entire family for Thanksgiving and my brother - who is the only male among 3 girls, and knows everything there is to know about any subject on the planet (in his own mind, that is) - will be there as well. It gets very tense when we talk about politics in my family. Living in WV there were alot of unions. One of my grandfathers was a carpenter - part of a union - the other a coal miner - MAJOR union member!! My dad was a self-employed painter/paper hanger - again, part of a union. Now, I don't have anything against unions, but that just gives you an idea of how I was raised. Since leaving home and since deepening my relationship with God I have become quite convicted about voting from my wallet, thus changing my political stand. THIS makes no sense to my brother making for sometimes quite heated discussions on politics. Unfortunately my brother doesn't have a day to day relationship with Jesus (pray for him by the way) so of course the big topics for him are mostly economic.

All of that to say, it's that time! Election day is right around the corner. Here's the amazing thing to me. At our sleepover last week with my high school girls, this election was one of things they listed as their 'fears'. 9th grade girls stressed over this election. WOW. I don't even know who was President when I was in 9th grade because I was too busy being a majorette and dance team member to worry about something so silly as politics. HAHAHA!! Here's a little peek......

I know, isn't that hilarious?!!! Sorry for the crack in the glass. OLD picture! haha

So anyway, at the sleepover after my 3 hours of sleep, I woke up and hit the Word asking God for SOMETHING to give these girls regarding the election. He was always. Rom 13:1(b) "for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Could there be anything more perfect? This election WILL NOT take God by surprise. In fact, He's sitting on the other side of it waiting for us to catch up. So, here's what I told the girls "Don't be afraid of this election. Pray about it. Encourage your parents to go vote and pray about it more." That's my advice to anyone who is 'stressin' about it. Pray, vote and keep on praying!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Good for the soul!!!

Oh y'all. I had the most amazing day! My man came home from work Friday and said "Babe, let's get outta here!" So, we pack up and head to the mountains! Y'all, my man doesn't do that....ever! Especially with all the financial stuff we've battled lately, but sometimes you just gotta suck it up and breathe some fresh air and that's just what we did. It's late and I'm gettin ready to prepare for worship tomorrow, but I'll just share this sweet little image with ya......

I KNOW! Are they the cutest or what? We had such a great day and details will follow, but for now, good night!!

Thank you Jesus for such an amazing weekend! Thank you for the beauty of your creation! Thank you for your protection over our travels! Thank you for my man!! Thank you Jesus for it all!!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Broken bones, broken hearts....

Well it's been a LONG couple of days. I haven't gotten much sleep because the princess has had a rough couple of nights. Bless the baby girl's heart! She has, for the most part, been an amazingly strong little girl, but the pain creeps up on her and bam! there's my 6 year old again!

I have to share a bit about our ER experience. Several staff members at the ER didn't believe her arm was broken because Kayley had been so strong and brave. In fact, the x-ray tech was even a bit rough with her. (have I mentioned I wanted to hit her with my flip-flop? haha) But on our way back to the room, after she had shown me the fracture, we passed the ER doc and the tech told him yes there was one. Well once we got settled back in the room the nurses came in and began splinting the 'fracture' and the Dr came and told me about the 'fracture'. It really never dawned on me to stop and make sure that Kayley understood what was happening, but because they were all calling it a fracture I didn't even think to make sure she knew what that meant. Anyway, after we were alone and waiting for our discharge orders I looked down at my baby girl and said "I'm so sorry your arm is broken and I would take it away right now if I could." To which I see shock and horror cross the baby's face. "WHAT? My arm is broken?!" She didn't get it. She began to cry and so did I. I apologized and made sure she understood at that point, but the hurt was done.

That night it really hit me how the Lord grieves over our pain. How often we fall down and get hurt, things get broken - relationships, marriages, kids, jobs - and we don't understand it. We get confused and disoriented in our pain. We get lost in all the 'busyness' going on around us and no one can explain what's happening. Then our Abba Father, in His infinite love and compassion for us, stops, cradles us in His arms of Love and whispers "It's okay, my princess. I understand. I took your pain already. Let me have it so I can make it all better." Don't you just love that about Him? He's willing to heal our boo-boo's, even when it's on the inside!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My weekend saga.....

Well the sleep-over was a blast! We laughed, we cried (because we were laughing so hard), we ate, we watched movies, played games, ate, laughed and just had fun getting to know each other. The Lord has blessed me with an amazing group of girls who really are doing their best to live for Jesus - to be a light in this dark world. They told us about their concern for lost friends, about being a witness 24/7, about other Christian friends walking away from Christ, it was amazing. Believe me that we did our best to make them comfortable enough to not give the "Sunday school" answers and I think it worked because these girls blew my mind. I was nowhere near their spiritual maturity level at their age. AMAZING. Thanks for your prayers.

I spent most of my day recuperating from Friday night (was up from 6am Fri to 4am Sat - UGH!) and then had to run a few errands Sat afternoon. I was in the car with my choir Christmas CD blaring and didn't hear my 4 calls from Jimmy or my text msg saying "911 - CALL ME!!!" So as I pull in the driveway my man comes running out asking where I've been and why my phone was off - OOPS! I walk in to find my baby girl hysterically crying on the couch and one trip to ER later we have this.......

Yes friends, 11 years with 2 boys and not a single broken bone and who ends up being the first? My baby girl!! Fell off the swing at my neighbors. Her shoe came off while she was swinging and she was afraid that if she got off the swing someone would take it so she bent over to try to get the shoe and BAM! down she went. She was so brave at the ER that the x-ray tech gave her that colorful monkey in her hand. The tech didn't think it was broken because Kay was being so strong! I love that about her!! Anyway, be in prayer for her. She's an angel!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Well I'm officially plunging head first into the world of high school girls! AGAIN! haha Tomorrow night we're having our first class sleepover and I'm SO anxious for it! I guess a better word would be excited!! We're checking cell phones at the door, but I'm praying that the Lord will move in such a way that they won't WANT to do anything other than what we have planned for them.

If you think of us, pray for Lisa and I as we try to make an impact on these girls for the Kingdom of God! We want them to fall so in love with Jesus that they'll be blinded by His light and beauty to the junk this world is hurling on them! Thanks for praying and I'll keep ya posted on how things go.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How do you see your self?

That's a loaded question isn't it? I wonder how many - if we were COMPLETELY honest - would answer that question with something positive? I know I sure wouldn't. I wouldn't call myself 'Beloved' or 'Chosen' or 'Precious Gift'. It would go something like fat, ugly, selfish. What about you? Why is it we go mostly to the physical when we're asked that question? UGH. Let's see what Brennan Manning says about this topic.

In "Abba's Child" he writes "One of the most shocking contradictions in the American church is the intense dislike many disciples of Jesus have for themselves. They are more displeased with their own short-comings than they would ever dream of being with someone else's. They are sick of their own mediocrity and disgusted by their own inconsistency." Wow. Can anyone relate? He goes further to quote David Seamands with "Many Christians...find themselves defeated by the most psychological weapon that Satan uses against them. This weapon has the effectiveness of a deadly missile. It's name? Low self-esteem." Can I get a witness? OUCH! "This feeling shackles many Christians, in spite of wonderful spiritual experiences and knowledge of God's Word. Although they understand their position as sons and daughters of God, they are tied up in knots, bound by a terrible feeling of inferiority, and chained to a deep sense of worthlessness." Well that pretty much sums up a LOT of my life!

Like Manning - who then tells the story of his traumatic childhood and how he detached his heart from his head in order to 'perform' in the ministry - I have spent a lot of my life beating myself up. Sure, I knew I had done some pretty good things in my life, I knew that I was a child of God, I knew that I had a home in heaven, but I truly believed it was gonna be a little shack in the woods not a mansion on streets of gold. Worthlessness was my middle name. I couldn't let go of my past and accept that God truly had cast my sins as far as the east from the west. I just knew He was just waiting for the perfect time to bring them up again. Little did I know I had those roles reversed. It was Satan who was waiting for the perfect time to remind me. The Father had no idea what sins I was talking about because they had been covered by the blood of Jesus and He couldn't see them.

Also like Manning I finally had a breakdown. I was able to accept Jesus' love and forgiveness COMPLETELY. I knew that I had, like he talks about, projected onto God my feelings about myself. I only felt safe with Him when I had performed perfectly, when I had been noble or generous or loving, not scared, tired, angry or scarred up. Finally though, not too long ago I was able to come out of hiding. I was able to see myself the way God sees me. Like the prodigal, I too limped home, battered and bruised and found the Father running to meet me with open arms. Please don't think that means my life has been a bed of roses since, oh no, quite the contrary. Since then, the enemy has found an even more clever disguise to attack me with. But I'll tell you this as I read this book - and am still reading it - I found myself in the pages.

As Manning writes his story - though it's different in that I've never been a pastor - it was my story. I think it's a lot of our stories. Different circumstances yes, but still the same theme. This is one of my favorite lines in the book. Manning is quoting one of the "most sought-after spiritual guides of our time" Thomas Merton in beating our self-esteem issues "Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ." Liberty will follow. It's yours/mine for the taking. Grab that mirror and take a good long look. You'll see it too!!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More of the book....

I hope y'all don't get tired of me sharing this amazing book. I certainly hope even more that you'll go and get your own copy. I'm telling you that it's truly transforming me. The Lord is using it to speak to me with almost every line. It's almost like I feel Him reading it to me, speaking my name. I don't usually gush over books like this - well y'all know I'm a bit on the dramatic side, but still - but this really is an incredible book. Go get you one!

So today we're talking more about our self-hatred and how it affects God.
"The sorrow of God lies in our fear of Him, our fear of life, and our fear of ourselves. He anguishes over our self-absorption and self-sufficiency." OUCH!! Do you get that? I mean Elohim, Jehovah, the El Elyon - in anguish over ME? Wow. "He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He mourns that we do not draw near to him. He grieves that we have forgotten him. He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence." Does that sound like someone who can't accept you as you are? Like someone who couldn't possibly love you/me because..........(fill in whatever you like there)? Like someone who wouldn't do ANYTHING in your best interest? Like someone who doesn't understand you? I think not!

Manning quotes Thomas Merton here with, "Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon." Manning adds, "God calls us to stop hiding and come openly to Him. God is the father who ran to His prodigal son when he came limping home. (But) God loves who we really are - whether we like it or not. God calls us, as He did Adam, to come out of hiding. No amount of spiritual makeup can render us more presentable to Him." LAND SAKES! Someone wants to say "There is no God like Jehovah!"

Y'all I certainly hope that you read these words and realize that God loves you/me with an everlasting, unconditional, all sufficient love. He longs to show it. He longs to give it. He aches when we see ourselves as unworthy when He allowed His Son to die to make us worthy of it. Stay strong! You're worth it!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Abba's Child"

It's my new addiction, this book! The Lord has been using it to speak VOLUMES to me y'all. I mean VOLUMES! I'm only on the 3rd chapter because I keep going back and rereading things over and over and over. Plus, trying to decide what I wanna share with y'all too. Some of it's not too pretty, so no sharing. (though I've surely shared enough of my ugliness haven't I? UGH)

So here's a few lines from Chpt 2 that I thought I'd pass along. Smacked me right upside my head when I read these. The book begins with a reference to Flannery O'Connor's short story "The Turkey" and the principal character named Ruller. Ruller is an unusual boy who likes to kinda be alone, he spots a wounded turkey, kills it and takes it home for his family to eat. He's strutting thru town showing it off to everyone and as he spots some people who are a bit worse off than he and his family he starts to feel bad for them. However, instead of giving them the turkey he gives them a dime. He then runs into some older, bigger boys and they steal his turkey. Ruller, frozen in fear, finally turns and runs for home. Manning then says, "In Ruller many of us Christians stand revealed, naked, exposed. Our God, it seems, is One who benevolently gives turkeys and capriciously takes them away. When He gives them, it signals His interest in and pleasure with us. We feel close to God and are spurred to generosity. When He takes them away, it signals His displeasure and rejection. We feel cast off by God." He goes on to say "So we unwittingly project onto God our own attitudes and feelings toward ourselves. If we feel hateful toward ourselves, we assume that God feels hateful toward us. But we cannot assume that He feels about us the way we feel about ourselves - unless we love ourselves compassionately, intensely and freely. In human form Jesus revealed to us what God is like. It takes a profound conversion to accept that God is relentlessly tender and compassionate toward us just as we are - not in spite of our sins and faults (that would not be total acceptance), but with them. Though God does not condone or sanction evil, He does not withhold His love because there is evil in us." Whew.

So, how this all spoke to me was that for years I sat just waiting for the day God was going to zap me with a lightning bolt for the times I've blown it. I truly had a "Chicken Little" attitude with God. The sky was falling on me little by little every day. Then praise His precious name I had my "profound conversion"! I finally realized that God is relentlessly trying to love me, trying to show me compassion, trying to heal my wounds, but I was so busy waiting for His Hand of Justice to fall that I wouldn't allow Him to be my Abba Daddy. But like I said, He was relentless...praise His name! I don't know where you are in your walk or in your life, but I will tell you this. The Father is waiting to love you. He's waiting to free you. He's waiting to accept you are...scars and all...wounds and all. He wants to heal them. He can't allow you to continue in sin, but after He heals your heart, trust me sisters, you won't WANT to continue in them.

See why I'm lovin' this book?! I'll be sharing more of it as we go along. Hope you liked it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

15 years ago today......

I did something that I believed I wasn't going to ever do......married the man of my dreams!!! That's right, we've defied the odds and have stayed together longer than anyone gave us credit for. Jimmy and I have always loved being underdogs. Of course, what "they" never knew was that something bigger than Jimmy, myself or anything/anyone else was at work!! God the Father had plans.....plans to prosper us, plans to give us hope and a future! That's exactly what He's done and I thank Him for it EVERY day!!!

Jimmy, I love you more today than I ever thought possible. You are my heartbeat, my soul mate, my lover, my BFF and so much more!! You never cease to amaze me, to make me laugh, to challenge me and to lead me! I love you for that! You are still my hot drummer boy and always will be!!! Keep on rockin' for Jesus babe!!! Happy Anniversary!! I love you so very much!!
Forever Yours -

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lovin' my new book....

Oh my word. Got a new book and wanted to tell y'all about it. If you've read it, PLEASE leave me a comment to tell me what you thought of it.

It's called "Abba's Child" by Brennan Manning. Land sakes! I knew it was gonna be awesome when I spent over 2 hours re-reading the preface alone! It's about our identity in Christ. The subtitle says "The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging" LOVE that.

This blessing was in the preface written by a spiritual advisor for the author and it's become the prayer I'm praying for the ones I love. "May all your expectations be frustrated, may all your plans be thwarted, may all your desires be withered into nothingness, that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God who is Father, Son and Spirit. Today on planet earth, may you experience the wonder and beauty of yourself as Abba's Child and temple of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Lord." AMAZING!

Let me know if you've read this and I'm sure I'll be blogging LOTS as I read this awesome book!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Don't make me bow up! haha

**edited** I don't wanna take back this post, but I do hope that the attitude you might hear from me in this post is purely in jest. I'm serious about the content, but joking in my attitude. I reread this post and realized for those people who don't know me personally it may sound like I'm being ugly, but hopefully as you read some of my other posts you'll realize I love to horse around! Just wanted to clarify that. Thanks...

Feeling a bit random today. I had a busy weekend but it was fun. Church yesterday was simply amazing! God was moving. People were coming forward to receive Christ like crazy! We even ran out of decision counselors at one of our services and a vocal team member had to leave the platform to go counsel someone who had come up!! THAT is AMAZING! God is so faithful to our church. Ya know sometimes people say things about your church that are hurtful. For instance, a couple of ladies came to my door last week to invite me to a Bible study being held at their church. Now, I'm not going to get into a debate here, I'm just tellin' ya what happened so don't anyone get their feelings hurt. Okay? Okay.

They told me they were not Mormon's or Jehovah Witnesses but that they were having a study from the Holy Bible - the Word of God - the "true Word, the King James Version" (their words not mine). That sent a BIG red flag up for me. (not gonna go there in this post, but just tellin' ya how I feel) So they went on and on about when the study was happening and where but I could feel the Lord whispering to me "hold on girl". Then one of the ladies asked if I went to church and I told her yes and where - she didn't know of my church and y'all I'm not bragging here, but if you drive down one of the biggest 'connector' roads in Charlotte and miss my church, well you better get your eyes checked. It's a big physical place.

She started telling me that she had grown up Southern Baptist but had finally learned the 'truth' once she started going to her church. My husband was raised in the denomination which she attends so I told her that and she gets this sympathetic look on her face and says "Oh, did he fall away?" To which I reply "Uh, no, he's faithfully serving at church with me and walking stronger with the Lord than ever before in his life" (I didn't want to offend her but don't be talkin' about my man! haha) I told her that, in fact, he was serving today by playing for a Billy Graham special. Using a talent given to him by the Lord to serve Him. She goes "Is Billy Graham still alive? I thought he died already" I nearly passed out!

So then she starts telling me how we Southern Baptists have it all wrong. We're wrong by not having communion every Sunday - didn't we know that's what the KJV says? (I didn't bother asking her where 'cause I sure don't remember that one) We're wrong by paying our pastor. Didn't we know that the KJV says that Jesus never got paid for preaching so why should anyone else and what about caring for the sick and shut in's? (Again, not sure where that verse in the KJV is either) I could feel myself getting defensive so I began praying that the Lord would give me the words to say, but after getting beat on I opened up and told her that's one thing I like about my church. My pastor preaches and that's it. Sure he'll do an occasional wedding or funeral and visit someone sick he knows personally, but his MAIN job is to preach the Word of God. We have other pastors on staff who care for the sick and the shut in's and the children of our church and the seniors and so on. I told her my church is a big church so we're able to do that. She goes "Well let me ask you this. Have you ever had your pastor over for dinner? Has he ever invited you to his house?" Ok, she wanted a fight. haha I said that I had not, but she had to understand that our church has 14,000 members and 2 campuses so even if our pastor had someone over every night for a year I still would only get an invite about every 3 years or so. haha

So anyway, I thanked her for the invitation to the study and told her that I was actively involved in a few studies at my church but again thanked her for her time. She walked away a bit red in the face, but I stayed calm and tried to just show her as much love as I could. I was going to invite them in and really talk, but once she started dissin' my church - well I knew myself well enough not to go there. There's a few things I'll let you diss in my presence but my Jesus, my man, my kids and my church AIN'T one of 'em! haha

So that was my excitement last week - part of it anyway. Have you ever had a situation like that? It's hard to know the right way to handle that kind of thing. It's best to slow down and ask the Holy Spirit to intervene and then don't get in His way. But it's hard to fight your emotions when someone starts 'attacking' the things you love. I don't believe for a second that Jesus expects us sit and take it, but I do believe that no matter how mean or ugly they get He expects us to show HIM to them. Hard to do when you feel backed into a corner but if we get it right I believe God does a little jig in heaven just for us! Yes, God does the jig!! haha

Anyway, with that thought in mind, I'm going to head out to hunt for some gas. Hope I can show Jesus as I'm sitting in line!!! teehee

Friday, September 26, 2008

Weekend Worship

LOVE this song! Enjoy and have some quiet time with Jesus this weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

God is so COOL!!!

Remember the name Melinda Doolittle? American Idol contestant who got robbed?! Well, this week my man was over at the Belk Theater playin drums in a video shoot for a Billy Graham special and guess who was one of the guest artists? Oh yeah! Melinda. Micheal W. Smith was there too - not that I'm not a fan of his (his music not his voice - sorry) - also Jason Crabb from the Crabb family. He also sang "I'm Amazed" with the Brooklyn Tab singers. (Yeah he's the "Hallelujah" guy at the end of the song! haha)

So anyway, Melinda was there and she is standing near my man and they have a break between takes so she asks if she could please sit on his drum stool. Her feet were killing her! IS THAT COOL OR WHAT?! So he gives her his seat and tells her what a big fan I am of hers and how I voted like crazy for her so she gives him this.....

Yes, she spelled my name right!!! teehee And how about that verse by her name. Eph 3:20 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" Do you love that?! She signed my man's music for "His Eye is on the Sparrow" which is what she's singing on the special. LOVE IT!! Anyway, just thought I'd share with the 2 of you who are reading this blog! hahaha
WOOOHOOOOO! Don't you love the way God can bring his children together? I mean, I never dreamed I'd see her in person, much less get her autograph. Although I didn't see her, my man did and he gave her his seat. THAT ROCKS!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Well my schedule is whacked out lately so I just wanted to pop on and share a God stop with you. If you've never heard of God stop you need to do a Beth Moore study! hahaha Anyway, it's a moment in time when you realize God is specifically speaking to you, He's answering a specific prayer or just sending you a hug.

So, for the next few weeks I'm gonna make it a point to give God some glory with this blog and share some of my God stops with you! For instance, I sent the call out for you to email me some changes and you were faithful! Thanks so much for the great responses. I have to tell you that I read that at different times during the week as I was preparing my lesson but it wasn't until Saturday that the Lord spoke right to me thru your responses. He completely changed the direction I was heading with the lesson and He showed me how He wanted me to use your testimonies. I had 4 points to get across (like a good little Southern Baptist - haha) and don't you know that every one of the testimonies I received fit EXACTLY with the points! I mean, I know it was God's Hand because they were PERFECT! Like if you were reading a novel and they went right with the plot! Isn't that just like God?! Using our lives to tell His-tory!! LOVE IT!! That was one of my God stops from the past week.

What about you? Any you'd like to share? Let me know. He's speaking. Are you watching and waiting?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ch, Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes....

Well. Change. There it is. The word we all love to hate. haha Mark Twain once said something like the only ones who like change are wet babies. I believe it's the truth. I know it can be scary, stressful, annoying and so many other adjectives, but one thing is for WILL come.

I know that each of us could write a novel about the changes we've been thru so I need your help. I'm teaching this Sunday and the lesson is on change. We're studying some of the changes Joseph faced in Gen 39-41. LOTS of changes for the brother. Whew. So, tell me how some of the changes in your life have increased your faith. You don't have to be specific, unless you feel led to, but just explain how circumstances in your life changed -whether at your hand or not - and how you dealt with those changes and how - looking back now - you can see the Lord worked them for your good. (Rom 8:28)

So, get your thinking caps on and leave me some good stuff! Thanks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What a difference....

What a difference a day makes.
What a difference an hour makes.
What a difference one phone call makes.
What a difference.

Yesterday as I'm leaving the platform after leading praise and worship I pick up my stuff to go and immediately feel my purse vibrating. Knowing that means my phone is ringing I start to dig for it. When someone is calling me during church time I just knew something wasn't right. Sure enough, it was my sister Regina calling to tell me that her mother-in-law had just passed away. Dewayne's mom went to be with Jesus sometime in the early morning hours Sunday morning and this just 2 years after him losing his 37 year old sister to a heart attack. So I'm in WV right now (long story but I had to bring his other sister up from Charlotte) and arrangements are being made.

There is good news in all this. The good news is the REAL difference. The difference in Dewayne.
What a difference the LORD makes!!!
Since Dewayne accepted Christ, he is facing death completely differently. That's the difference the Lord makes. He gives us hope. Hope in knowing that we will be reunited with the ones who serve Him. Hope in knowing that they may be gone from us, but are present with the Lord. Hope that because we are His we CAN go on. HOPE. It's all the difference!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Melissa got me thinking with her post so I thought I'd share some of our conversations too.

Jimmy, the kids and I are coming home from church the other night. The music is on (as usual) so Jimmy and I start having a discussion that should've waited til we were home. Not an argument, just a disagreement. I don't really even remember what it was about - probably if we left the porch light on or not - haha - but Jimmy says something.
I respond.
He responds.
Then in true Valarie fashion I get the last word.
Silence then follows and Josh goes "Dramatic pause"!
Much laughter then ensues!!
Yes those were the words spoken by my 9 year old! Don't ya just love kids!! TOOOOO funny!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

What are we all so angry about?

I've been a tad under the weather which has allowed for WAY too much time in front of the TV today. UGH. I just have a question. What are we all so angry about? I don't watch too much junk, but between a couple of talk shows, a few news channels and even the weather channel for goodness sake, people are angry.

They're angry about politics. They're angry about politicians. They're angry about the English language and how it's used. They're angry about religion. They're angry about the stinkin' weather. Whew. I've been there, ya know. I am there at times. I know that when you get your 15 seconds on TV you're gonna tend to be the most passionate during that time, and I like to think that when they get home and see the tape they're going "Man, I really should've stayed calm" - at least that's what I'm telling myself. teehee It really has bothered me today though.

I've been praying for peace. I don't mean that to sound like a beauty pageant contestant (no offense if you've ever been one), but I mean praying for peace not just in our country, or our world, but in the hearts of individuals. The kind of peace that only comes from a one on one relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. You can't get it from a church. You can't get it from a preacher. You can't even get it from your spouse or kids or family. It only comes thru the one who gave His life that You may face the troubles in this world with peace and assurance and hope and a future.

This is a kinda random post - likely an affect of all the channel-flipping I've been doing - but I just wanted to put my thoughts out there to you 5 people reading - (there I go with the numbers again - haha) and see what you think. Tell me what you think about why people are driven to shouting at people they've only met 5 seconds prior to going on air - or have never met at all. Why do you think we get so passionate about a person running for public office yet sit in church and won't even lift our hands in praise to God? OUCH. Just wanna get you thinking today. I know I have been. I've turned off the tv, turned on some praise music and I'm gonna spend some more time with my Abba Daddy before my kids get home. I SURE don't want to face them after my morning! haha

Thursday, September 11, 2008

God is Speaking!

Well, Jimmy still doesn't have a job, but let me just tell you that God is clearly speaking to my family! Things are going ok and we have all we need! Isn't that just like Him?!

We're busy with school and my work and God has slid some things in our path to see if He will find us faithful, I believe, so we're just gonna do our best to consider it all joy and hang on!! Y'all please continue to pray. I can't wait to jump and tell all 5 of you reading this how faithful God has been in answering your prayers!!! teehee (that was just a joke - I'm not at all about numbers!)

Anyway, I'll keep on praisin' Him for the work He's doing in us. Refining us. Proving us. Molding us. LOVE it! Thanks for your continued love and support!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Shakin' things up....

My oh my. My heart is in a whirlwind today. Such an awesome day at church yesterday. The Word of God was opened and spoken and did not return void. At least not in my heart (and obviously in others too as they came forward). I had done the work to be prepared and God was faithful in doing His Work in me! LOVE IT!!!

Anyway, as I taught my little group of girls yesterday I must say that in the middle of my lesson I glanced around the room and every single girl had her eyes on me. They were listening y'all. They were engaged. It nearly took my breath away. In fact, a huge lump formed in my throat and I had to stop and get a drink to keep from crying right there. We so often think of teens as this lost, attitude carryin', smelly (well they are that) group of misfits who are just trying to think up ways to make our lives miserable. Well, I have to tell you that my attitude, my heart has been changed! In 3 short weeks the Lord has shown me pain that I don't think I could've withstood at their age, courage to go against the grain, excitement over the "little" things and joy that makes my cup run over! These girls got it goin' on. They're bright, they're beautiful, they're funny, they're truly amazing. I'm gonna talk to them about sharing some of their testimonies with some of you - of course COMPLETELY respecting their privacy and changing their names - but just telling you some of the stuff they're dealing with. AMAZING! I didn't really think that I would be able to teach them a thing - and really I don't have anything but Jesus to offer them - but last night on my way to the car one of my girls shouted across the parking lot - LIFE ISN'T FAIR SOMETIMES MS. VAL! (that was our topic) Can you imagine? I mean, here we were nearly 8 hours past our lesson and she still remembered!! PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!

So last night, Dr. Rummage issued another challenge. Oh boy, y'all better get ready. It was PAINFUL! More to come this week.....

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Every single Christian should watch this video.......

This video blew me away! I found myself watching it over and over. This was the 2nd time this week I've heard a clear warning to be careful that when you think you're standing, you may just be sinking.

Father, forgive me for ever trying to stand in my own power. Empower me with Your Right Hand and keep the words of my mouth, the sounds in my ears, the path of my feet solely focused on You Alone. To You alone be all glory, and honor and wisdom and power!! Thank you Lord!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Words we never wanna hear....

Before I start let me just say thanks to everyone for your encouraging words with my SS class. I sat down to really dig into Joseph last night and the Lord was giving me things over and over. I can't wait! He's so good!

So, things we don't want to hear. I'm angry at you. I'm disappointed in you. You hurt me. I can't. I won't. I don't. Not fun things. Sunday night at church Dr. Rummage was continuing in the saga of David. We're in 2 Sam 11 - not one of David's shining moments. You know, the whole Bathsheba/Uriah incident. Ugh. I have to admit that I get such encouragement from David. I mean, here's a guy who started with nothing - a little guy with some pretty strapping, studly big brothers who is stuck tending to sheep. His storyline moves and changes pretty dramatically and by the time we get to 2 Sam 11 he's a king for cryin' out loud.

I know that you're all familiar with the story but Sunday night something hit me HARD. It's 2 Sam 11:27b "But the thing David had done displeased the Lord." In fact, it says "the LORD" meaning Yahweh was displeased. Ouch. I kinda zoned out after Dr. Rummage read that verse because I just started thinking about all the times that verse has said "But the thing Valarie had done displeased Yahweh". I began asking the Lord to reveal things that I hadn't repented of or things in me that were displeasing to Him and He was faithful to oblige. We did some work sittin' right there in the pew. God is so good y'all. I mean, really good.

So often I lose my focus. I allow my stuff to distract me from His plans for me. I get in His way SOOOO many times. I have displeased Him on more than one occasion, I'm sure. But God is so loving, so kind and so gentle to just say "Hey girl, I really want to help you or work with you on this thing, but there's some cleanin' we need to do first. I can't work with what you're giving me." So then we start again. He's new every morning or in my case, hour by hour.

Lord, thank you for cleanin' my clock again and again. I want my life to honor and glorify You alone. I want to be your servant Lord. Thank you for making a way for me. Thank you for using me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tough Crowd

Yesterday was an AWESOME day of worship! Land sakes. I was filling in on vocal team and yes that can be stressful at times, and amazing at others but it really wasn't the best part of my day yesterday. It was my 2nd Sunday teaching - actually assisting - and it has surpassed any of my expectations so far. These girls BLOW my mind, y'all. I don't really know what I expected but I thought they would just sit there with their typical teenage facial expression of "these are just about the stupidest people I have ever seen" but it wasn't that way at all. Ok, well maybe a little at times - haha - but it has been incredible.

I'm telling you that these kids are hungry. Starving actually. For love and affection, for attention and I don't mean just to be noticed, but to be heard. They're so smart and for the most part have it much more together than I did at their age. Or at least that's the way it seems. Anyway, next week is my turn to teach - UGH. Scary. It's gonna be fine because I can do ALL things thru Christ. Even make 12 9th grade girls learn something about God! Not in my own power but thru the power of Christ!! I CAN!!!

We've got a busy day planned today so I gotta get with it, but just wanted to ask you to pray for me as I prepare this week. Pray the Lord will give me something totally fresh for these girls. Also, continue to pray for Jimmy as he's still on the hunt for a job. God is faithful. That's all I can say about that! Thanks for praying.

Friday, August 29, 2008



After I got home this morning, turns out we were able to get up and running again!!!!! God is good y'all!!! I'm kinda slammed right now, but I'll catch up with everyone over the weekend!!!

YEAH GOD!!!!!!!!!!

In the Waiting

Hey. We're still in the waiting. Waiting for a job for Jimmy. Waiting to see the Lord move. Waiting..... God is faithful!

Just a quick update to let you know that if you've tried to email me it will likely bounce back. Had to choose between paying the bill and buying groceries and food always wins, so in the meantime, no Internet. IT STINKS!!! I feel disconnected from everything but more connected to the Lord than ever. Amazing how that works. I'm at a friends blogging right now and not sure when I'll be able to again as I'm limiting my trips around town due to gas prices as well. TOUGH times for all, I know. Your prayers are being heard. Thanks for lifting us up. Pray for my family and the Lord to continue to meet our needs.

Love to all and I sure do miss you guys!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Y'all think I mean school don't ya?! Well, there is that, but honestly I'm talking about one week til I take possibly the biggest, scariest leap of faith I've ever taken in my life. I'm going to start teaching 9th grade girls Sunday school next Sunday!!! YIKES!!! It was kinda funny yesterday as I visited the "basement" because everyone kept sayin' "You don't have a child down here yet, do you?" and of course I don't, but I will sooner than I care to think about. I've tried several times to teach the same age as my kids and I find myself kicking into "mom" gear and that's NOT what I want to do when I teach so that's why I'm going where the Lord has called me.

When my brother-in-law died a few years ago and I got to spend so much time with my niece (who was in 9th grade at the time) and her friends I was OVERWHELMED at what these girls have to face each day. I mean, I know that every generation of women have said that about the one that's coming up - but come on, let's be honest - did YOU ever have to worry about being hit on in the girls bathroom, and I don't mean hit with a fist, but asked on a date? LAND SAKES! I mean, I remember the girls bathroom being the place at school to hide from the boys and their hormones NOT the place where I'd walk in and see two girls makin' out! UGH! Sorry for the graphic content there, but it's reality y'all!!! I think it's time my generation got our heads out of the sand - or the clouds - and realized we've got to do something for these kids.

Stepping off my soapbox now - sorry about that!!! Anyway, it was actually kinda neat because several of the kids down there remembered me from their days in Elementary music - which I've been doing FARRRR too long - so at least it wasn't complete unknown territory! I'm still scared half to death. The enemy is still consistently, persistently and doggedly reminding me of what a failure I'm gonna be but I have some news for him ---- I can do all things - do you hear that ALL things - I mean to tell you ALL THINGS, yes even teach 9th grade girls - thru Christ who give me strength!!! Look at somebody and say ALL THINGS!!!!!! hahaha Had a little Beth Moore moment there - sorry!

So, I have a JAM PACKED week of praying, getting my babies ready for school - thank you Lord for your provision once again! - working, praying, studying, praying and then praying just a bit more!! To say I'm nervous would be an understatement, but God.......really, need I say more?! Y'all have a great week!

Oh yeah, quick update. Jimmy's gone to an interview right now and has 2 other VERY promising prospects this week so keep on prayin'! We're resting in the promises y'all!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Catch of the day......

Oh yeah! My baby caught his first large mouth today! Makes a momma proud!!!! 2lbs 15"!!

Ok y'all........

THIS IS WEIRD. I popped on here this morning to add some things back to my sidebar and the "Amazing" post below has been moved. Not by me. This post was originally done after I came back from WV and now it's here. At least for now it is. WEIRD.....

Anyway, maybe it's the Lord reminding me to pray for Pat again, so I'm gonna do just that. Will you do the same? Thanks. Have a great weekend.

Oh yeah, finished "No Other Gods" this week and let me just say OH MY WORD!!!! If you didn't get to do the study over the summer, please take some time to do it. I guarantee that even if you think you don't have any 'gods' in your life - ESPECIALLY if you think that - the Father will show you a thing or two. The first week in my journal I wrote - "Thank you Lord for reminding me that I DO NOT have this thing figured out!" Love it!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008


Ok. I know that Faith posted this song too, but if you didn't see it, please watch! I have an amazing story to tell about this song.
When we were in WV we sat around with my in-laws having some praise and worship time. My nephew Cody is the worship leader at his church so he gets out the guitar and starts to sing. He LOVES Hillsong and goes "Val, you gotta hear this one" and sings "Healer".
Well, Jimmy's cousin Pat has been dealing with some health problems and the Dr's really have no answers so when he played this song, I felt the Lord's tug to pray - as a family not only by human blood but family by Christ's blood - for Pat. My man and I, my brother-in-law and Pat's wife Peg all gathered around him and prayed!! I mean PRAYED!!! It was just such an amazing time that I will not soon forget - and neither will the rest of the family. It was the first time I had ever done anything like that around them but I really didn't much care at that time.
Please pray for Pat.
Jehovah-Rapha, You are the Healer. I believe!! Thank you for your love for us, that you long to heal all our diseases and that we have ULTIMATE healing in You!! I love you Lord!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Fun

I don't know about you but I LOVE the Olympics. ESPECIALLY the Summer games. Don't know why. I'm not exceptionally athletic - kinda more of an artsy type - though I can play a mean game of volleyball and can DESTROY badminton! hahaha Just a joke. You really have to ask my man about my throwing skills however...SCARY. Every time I throw a ball to my boys he just shakes his head, laughs and goes "Babe, you throw like a girl." To which I reply "Thank you very much!" See when you grow up being a head taller than most of the girls around you and "develop" sooner than any kid in class anything that makes you feel like a girl is a good thing!!! ;-)

Anyway, this week has been busy with work and mountains of laundry that seem to crawl from the woodwork. Seriously, where does it all come from? Then to top it all off I've gotten a little shoulder injury I'm dealing with. It's an old volleyball injury. I think watching all these athletes made my body remember because I don't recall doing anything to it recently. Can you have pain by association? I mean, I know we hurt when our kids hurt, but for real, can I be having sympathy pain for all the losers. hahaha That sounds really bad and I'm sitting here laughing at how silly that sounds myself!

The Lord has been so faithful y'all. I mean, 1/4 tank of gas has lasted us all week - though I've gone out a few times. Our food has lasted all week. Our sanity has lasted all week. God is good!!! For REAL!! I'm living the fishes and loaves because our baskets just don't seem to be getting empty! I know it's in part due to those of you praying. God is hearing and answering. He's molding, He's refining, He's providing. I can't thank you all enough, but I can't have to give God all the glory y'all! He is more real to me right now than I think He ever has been in my life. I can feel His breath on my face. I can feel His arms around me when I think I can't take it anymore. I can feel His hands moving as I have such a peace about what He's doing. I'd be dishonest if I said I've licked the worry thing, but each time the thought creeps in I think to look up for a bird and then give it back to Him!!

We've got some good prospects for Jimmy coming up next week and I'm praying - EXPECTING God to answer so I'll be sure to let y'all know what happens!

Friday, August 8, 2008

My oh my....

It's been a bit of a crazy week around here. Not in the sense that there's a lot physically going on, but there's been an emotional hurricane just blowin' like crazy. First, last Friday, without any warning or really any reasons the company that hired my man called him in and decided it wasn't "working". So, he's unemployed...again. Just pray. Enough said.

I just had to get on here and tell you about how funny God is. Ok, I think I've mentioned before that God and I have this thing with birds. It started with ducks - really - but since then has moved into all winged creatures alike. Often times I've had encounters - DEEP spiritual encounters with the Lord - where birds have been involved. He's spoken to me OFTEN thru things I've seen birds do - too numerous to tell all at once really. Maybe I should do a series on my bird stories.

So, anyway, back to this week. Wednesday night I met with my little singing "group" to rehearse for Sunday's offertory. We're doing something we've done before because our schedules have been so crazy, but it's been a couple of years since we done it in church - we sang it during a Christmas concert but not IN church. After we finished practicing, I started. I mean, I hadn't been around anyone other than my man and my kids all week and they were the first (victims) friends to catch it. I started about how upset with Jimmy I was, how worried I was for our family when it didn't appear to me that he was as worried as I was (as if there's a prize for who worries most). Just basically unloading on them. Being the sweet, loving, gracious friends they are, they just sat and listened, offered no judgement, offered no advice, they just stopped and prayed right then and there.

So, as we're walking out of the church I began to feel the Holy Spirit saying to me "Was all that really necessary? I mean, don't you think they have enough of their own stuff? After all, shouldn't I be the one dealing with that?" So I began to justify "Well I'm only human, ya know. I'm doing my best to get thru this. I'm trying my best to support my man." And right in the midst of all the justification for my sin the Lord sent me a message LOUD AND CLEAR. One of those precious little birds that He so often has used to speak to my heart flew over my head and UNLOADED ON ME!!!!! Oh yes! The Lord clearly said "This is what I think of your justification young lady!!" Never in my life have I had a bird poo right on top of my head, but you better believe it happened after I had unloaded. Go ahead and laugh, I'll wait........

Ok, ya done? So needless to say, I had some repenting to do first to my Father, then to my man, then to my friends. UGH!! Will I ever learn?!! So, in the midst of my little tantrum the Lord used my own mouth to reveal the core of the issue. I'm not believing God. I'm not believing that He will provide. I'm worried about what we'll eat. I'm worried about clothes for school and supplies for school. I'm worried about Jimmy finding a job. All in COMPLETE disobedience to the Word. You might be saying "Well that's normal, girl, go easy on yourself" but you better make sure there's no birds over your head when you say that because that's not what the Lord says. In fact, He clearly says "Be anxious for NOTHING." NOTHING. PERIOD. Not, well it's ok to be anxious for that, after all who wouldn't. But He's asking me, asking all of us really, "Are you gonna trust me with _______" fill in the blank.

So here I am. Trusting. Believing. Hoping. Waiting. Watching for birds too!! hahaha

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Look!!

Ok so the MOST techno-challenged girl in the world found a new look and I think I love it. Still have to tweek my sidebar a bit but it's taken me forever just to get this (I know it's not very custom, but still LOVE that tree) and I gotta get busy so I'll have to finish it later!

Enjoy and hope you have a great day!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sweet Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday to my sweet little man, Josh!! This is the 1st chance I've had all day to sit and post anything, but wanted to share a pic with you of my big 9 year old!! He's gettin' ready for bed and shot me a big cheese for the night! Such a sweet guy, I mean, he is a boy so he has his moments, but all in all an amazingly caring, loving child.

It's funny how God works, wouldn't you agree? Josh was not a "planned" pregnancy (is there EVER really such a thing). His brother Chase had just celebrated his 1st birthday when I found out I was pregnant - AGAIN. I'd had some trouble with the pill I had been on after re-starting it so we had changed about 4 months earlier and didn't work. :-) Anyway, I remember kinda freakin' out about being pregnant again and having 2 little ones so close in age. Then my mom says to me "You never know what God has in store for this baby, Val. Just trust Him." So I did. I let go of the anxiety - well, most of it (haha) - and have had an absolute blast with Josh ever since.
Chase is my class clown. He's the oldest and his personality is a lot like mine. We're both goofy and we'll do just about anything for a laugh. Josh, however, is more reserved, a little shy even but when he cuts loose - he cuts it ALL loose!! We'll be riding in the car, or sitting together reading, or snuggling to watch some TV (yes, he's a cuddlebug and would DIE if he knew I was telling that - sorry Josh) and he'll come up with one liners that just blow me away!

So, today I thank God for my precious Josh. I thank God for the kind, caring, sensitive young man he's turning into. I pray that the Lord will protect, guide and use him in a MIGHTY way for His Kingdom. Joshua, I love you with all my heart. I'm so proud of you and I just can't wait to see how the Lord uses you as you grow. I'm so thankful that of all the Mommy's in the world He chose me to be YOURS!! I love you. Happy Birthday!!!!

(Just a little side note here. The small pillow in the corner behind Josh used to be a shirt that belonged to my dad. Josh picked out that shirt because he remembered my dad wearing it when they were outside working in the yard together! Don't you love that?! Just thought I'd share that with ya!)

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Ok, so Faith posted the video I was trying to download from Youtube on her site, so you'll just have to pop over there and watch it. However, I have a story to share about this song.

One of my FAVORITE parts of our family reunion is Sat. evening after the "festivities" are over and all the little ones sack out at my brother-in-law's house. It's his family, our family and Jimmy's 2 cousins and their kids all in this tiny little 3 bedroom house. (Thank goodness there's a full finished basement!) Usually there's 14 or 15 of us crammed in.

Anyway, my nephew Cody breaks out his guitar and we have some praise & worship time. He's the Worship Leader at his church and SOLD OUT to Jesus at 18!! LOVE THAT! Anyway, he LOVES Hillsong and tells me he's learned a new song he wants to share with me. It's "Healer". I hadn't heard it before that night and as he sat there singin' his heart out to the Lord the shekhinah glory of God filled that room! I mean it! Jimmy's cousin Pat has been having some health problems and the Dr's can't seem to find out what's going on. It's been difficult for him and for his family. He sometimes has to leave work just to go home and take a nap. (God has blessed him with a Christian boss who allows this) Anyway, they've been struggling.

So here we were listening to Cody sing and the Lord goes, "Pray for Pat. Right here, right now, in the middle of this song. Pray." So, I go to my man and tell him "We gotta pray for Pat....NOW". So right there in the middle of the den, with Cody singin' away, me, Jimmy, Greg (my brother-in-law) and Peggy (Pat's wife) pray. Now, this may not seem like any big deal, but you have to understand that Jimmy's family is a mixture of Catholic, Church of Christ and others and I have (in the past) been very quiet about my faith. I told you in a previous post how some of them were kinda rough on me - remember? But the Lord said "Go" so I went. Let me just tell you that it was one of the most precious experiences ever! To pray not just as blood relatives, but as relatives in the blood of Christ!!! AMAZING. In fact, the next day in church Cody stood before his congregation and shared how honored he felt to be a part of a family that was willing to love each other that way - unashamed!!!

God is good y'all. Please pray for Pat.

Jehovah-Rapha, I believe that You are my Healer. You are Pat's Healer. I pray that you'll strengthen him. Blow the Dr's away with his total healing. Restore him! You are His Portion - My Portion. You are More than Enough!! Nothing is impossible for you!! I believe.....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Land sakes. I'm finally home. Aaaaaahhh. Sigh of relief/exhaustion. Feels so good to be home, but my word I haven't hardly stopped. We didn't get in til late Sunday evening and by the time we got all unpacked and ate some pizza for dinner it was straight to bed for me. It's gonna be a crazy week as I had to work yesterday, getting ready to leave here shortly, have my Bible study tomorrow and work again, Thurs - I'M OFF thank you Jesus and then work again Friday. WHEW! Made me tired just typing it all. So, there may not be much bloggin' this week, but I'll do my best. Thanks for all your prayers for our family. God is good!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Here's a glimpse.....

At one of the most precious days I've had in a while.

(In case you're wondering - my sister is VERY country in her decorating so that is NOT a Christmas tree in the corner - the garland really makes it look that way but it's some kinda country thing! Not my style AT ALL but still cute! hahaha) This picture was the only one I got with my camera of Regina and Dewayne in their wedding clothes but here's the 3 of us.
The ceremony was right there in front of the fireplace. Yes, we were ALL barefoot and in jeans and shorts. Regina was barefoot too! Hey, it's WV what do you expect?! haha

Here's the new blended family......
(Front row) My BEAUTIFUL niece Rachel - (I mean really y'all isn't she the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?! I just love her!), Regina, Ally (Dewayne's grand-daughter), Jessie (Dewayne's daughter and my new niece!)
(Back row) My sweetest nephew in the WORLD - J.R., Dewayne, and Becca (Dewayne's oldest girl and my other new niece!)

So there's a couple of the pics from the BIG DAY! It truly was a beautiful time and knowing all they have been thru to see how faithful the Lord was in bringing them to this place was just about more than my heart could take!

Of course, the day wouldn't be complete without a pic of my sweet-ums! Can you stand how cute they are? Kayley was strikin' a pose and if you look over Josh's head you can see Chase's fingers givin' him bunny ears! Brothers! What can you do? ;-) Ally and Kayley are inseparable when we come to WV so Kay INSISTED that she get in the picture too. I mean, wouldn't even let me take it til Ally came in!! They LOVE each other and it's just the sweetest thing.

Y'all have a great weekend! My man just called and he's on his way!!! WOOOOHOOOOO!! Jesus, keep him safe!! Love y'all!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Almost heaven....WV

Well, not quite. I mean, I know those words are true for some and don't get me wrong it is just beautiful here but almost heaven......I don't think so! If so, we're in a lot of trouble friends!! hahaha Just kiddin'! It's a great place to visit but I wouldn't wanna.......well, I'd better not finish that sentence.

I love coming here and hangin' out with my family and visiting old friends, but I must admit that I'M 'BOUT DONE!!!! I'm ready to get home. I miss my family there. I miss my friends. I miss my church. Isn't it crazy that I've only missed one week and it feels like I haven't been there in MONTHS?!! That's how home is, I guess.

It really has been a good visit and we've got a BIG weekend coming - my in-law's family reunion - and that is usually a GREAT time. I must admit that my intro into my in-law's family wasn't really a good one. The first time I met MOST of them was at my (what would be future) Father-in-law's funeral. Jimmy's dad passed away about 2 months after we met. We had just started to get serious about one another when it happened and a lot of his family hadn't even heard about me so they were kinda like "Who's that?" (where they didn't think I could hear them) and some even were quite vocal in their opinions at how inappropriate it was for me to be there. Yeah. Special. Rocky start, don't ya think?

However, God being the Restorer that He is, healed hearts (especially mine), mended fences and taught me to love my "enemies" (that was exactly what they felt like to me). So this weekend truly is a celebration!! Not just of family coming from all over - making it a point to carve out a weekend together once a year - but of the Father bringing family together to show His love, to show His heart! I really am VERY excited about it. While the enemy does his best to distract me with his usual attacks on my insecurities this weekend, I know the Father will be faithful to remind me who I am, what He's done, and what He's gonna do thru our time together. So, with that in mind, I anticipate a blessing!!! I look forward to watching Him work!!! I can't wait to tell you guys what He did!!! Just you wait and see......

OH YEAH - My man is coming tonight too!!!!!!!!! WOOOOHOOOOOOO! I miss him SOOO much!!!! I love you, Baby!!!!!