Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Please Pray

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Fumia family who are in the process of adopting Grisha from Ukraine. They are actually in Ukraine now and have recently found out that there is a vote going to take place next Tuesday that could end international adoption from that country. This would mean that they would be asked to leave the country immediately and would have to return home without their son. Please pray that this vote will fail.

Ashley provides much more information on her own blog (Our Adoption Journey) and I encourage you to visit her and read all of the information directly from her.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I want to be a Barnabas

Today's Sunday school lesson was about Barnabas, which means "son of consolation." He was given this name by his fellow disciples. What a testimony. The lesson asked what we thought our friends would nickname us based on the character we exhibit. Ouch. I am not sure I want to think about that.

I doubt that anyone who knows me well would wonder if encouragement is my spiritual gift. This is something that I really struggle with. Usually, when I am in a situation where I feel that encouragement is needed, I don't say anything. There are two reasons for this. Insecurity and fear. I just don't feel like I have anything useful to share and even if I did, I don't want to be rejected, especially by someone that I will have to come in contact with on a regular basis.

I am coming to realize that I have bought the lies sold by satan and, in doing so, I am failing to do what God expects of me. It is much easier to excuse my silence when I tell myself that I have nothing to offer because I have never been through what that person is experiencing. Or because I don't know what words to use to help. Or because they might think I am trying to pry into their personal life. Or .... you get the picture. I can find an endless supply of excuses for NOT being an encourager.

But, is this really what God wants from me. Consider Galatians 6:2: "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." I think that the command is pretty clear here.

God will never be able to use me as an encourager as long as I sit in silence, wrapped up in my own insecurity and fear and refusing to allow the Holy Spirit to work through me. This is not how I want to be known. I don't want those I care about to think that I don't care just because I am afraid. I want to step out on faith and allow God to speak through me and maybe even use me to help someone through a difficult situation.

I want to be a Barnabas.

Friday, May 22, 2009

a few pictures from our vacation

The family

J.W. at the Mayfield Dairy ... really yummy ice cream and a pretty cool tour

The kids sitting on a jersey cow outside of the Mayfield store ... because apparently, jersey cows make the best milk and therefore the best ice cream ...

J.W. and me at Ober Gatlinburg ... the kids loved this place

LB with the city of Gatlinburg behind her

D climbing a fence and scaring his Granny half to death ... she was sure that he would climb over and tumble down the hill ... not that I would have put it past him, but we were keeping a pretty close watch.

A few of my favorite pictures from the Ripley's Aquarium
The mountains living up to their name in Cade's Cove

This is one of my favorites from the entire trip!

And finally, the pictures would not be complete if I didn't include a small tribute to the MANY rest areas we visited along the way. All I can say is that they have been greatly improved since my first road trip as a child. And, I am glad that there are lots of them.

Of course, there are tons more pictures I could show you, but I would hate to put you to sleep. I will be posting a few more trip pictures when I tell you about the kids new favorite thing to do.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

something special

This is a really special time in the life of our church. Right now, for the first time in the nearly 25 year history of the church, we have a mission team gearing up for a week of sharing God's love in Alaska.

Our church has always been mission minded. We have done local missions and we are great at giving money to missions, but we have never sent out a mission team from our church. Up to now, our biggest mission project has been Operation Christmas Child. This is a project that I love and will be blogging a lot about later in the year, but, as wonderful as it is, I don't think it is the same as sending out a mission team. I am so excited for the 4 people who have taken on this challenge to step outside of their comfort zone and do something they have never done before.

We have already seen God's hand in getting them to Alaska in the first place. I have to admit to a bit of skepticism at first. We first met the missionaries that our team will be working with in January ... not even four months ago. When Brad first began talking about going to Alaska for Crab Fest, I assumed that they were talking about Memorial Day 2010. But they felt so strongly that they needed to do this NOW, this year, that they couldn't imagine waiting a full year. So they forged ahead, making plans and trusting God to provide exactly what they needed to make this work.

And, God has provided. As I am typing this, the first two members of the team, Brad and our pastor, Bro. Don, have arrived in Anchorage and will be going on to Kodiak Island today. The other two members of the team should arrive in Anchorage late tonight and will head out to Kodiak tomorrow. I am so thankful for these four people. I believe that God is going to lead our church to a new level of missions because of their willingness to step out on faith and serve Him. I pray that God will show us, as individuals and as a church family, where and how He wants us to continue doing missions. Whether it be in our own backyard or in some remote land, we want to be open to His calling.

Our real life friends, Brad and Amy, have a blog that Brad will be updating from Alaska. I hope that you will visit them and perhaps even offer a few words of encouragement.

And to Bro. Don, Brad, Alicia and Hunter ... we love y'all and will be praying that God will guide every step and every word as you share His love with those you meet this week.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Daybook ~ vacation edition

Outside my window ... beautiful sunshine over the Smoky Mountains. It is cold here this morning. On the deck I see the evidence of a nocturnal visitor to our garbage can.

I am thinking ... that I have mixed feelings about going home.

I am thankful for ... Ronnie having a break from work, and getting to watch my kids thoroughly enjoy a real vacation. This is D's first ever and the first one JW will remember.

I am wearing ... blue jeans and a red t-shirt ... at least I will be once I go get dressed ... right now I still have on my jammies.

I am going ... home, via a 10 hour drive with a husband, mother-in-law and 3 totally wiped out kids ... should be an interesting day.

I am hoping ... for nice weather and that we can actually fit all the luggage back in the van.

I am hearing ... cartoons, and the kids aren't even up yet ... and Ronnie upstairs, finishing his packing.

Around the house ... we have to finish cleaning up before we leave. Shouldn't be too bad once we get all our junk out of here.

One of my favorite things ... returning home to a relatively clean house.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... LB's dance class will have a performance at a local elementary school in the morning ... should be fun to have to be there at 8:00 after getting home very late tonight. I'll spend the rest of the week trying to return to a routine before we start our summer session of school next week.

No picture today ... I didn't want to load my pictures on a borrowed laptop ... I'll add a few pictures of what we've been doing this last week sometime soon.

I hope you'll visit The Simple Woman to join in the daybook fun. You can easily create your own, or just enjoy reading all the other entries.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Outside my window... gray, with more rain coming and grass that really needs to be mowed.
I am thinking... about my to-do list
From the learning rooms... nothing! We are taking a break before we begin our "summer session" in a couple of weeks.
I am thankful for... time with family this weekend. I am thankful that I could spend part of Mother's Day weekend with my Mama and that my kids could enjoy their cousins while the adults visited.
I am praying... for a safe, relaxing vacation.
From the kitchen... clearing out the rest of the left-overs before we go on vacation. I will be baking a batch of chocolate chip cookie bars later as a special request from my mother-in-law.
I am wearing... my jammies.
I am reading... ??? I'm going to the library today and will hopefully find a couple of good, relaxing books for the trip.
I am hoping... for nice weather this week.
I am creating... not much other than working on plans for school.
I am going... to take D for a re-check with the doctor to make sure his wheezing is better and see how long we will need to do breathing treatments.
I am hearing... the washing machine.
Around the house... things are coming together, but still lots to do before we leave.
One of my favorite things... watching my kids and their cousins do the things that my brothers' and I did when we were kids ... especially when they are all together playing in the same places we did.
A few plans for the rest of the week... not many plans for this vacation ... just to go with the flow and be relaxed.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
This picture is a couple of years old, but the kids are playing on the tire swing that has been around since I was a kid. It was out in the woods on our property when I was a kid, but a few years ago my brothers moved it to the back yard so even the littlest kids can enjoy it.

Be sure to visit Peggy for more daybook fun. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Small Town Politics and the Body of Christ

We are in the middle of city elections right now. For us, that means 5 aldermen/women, who all serve at large, and a mayor. In this election both candidates have held the office of mayor. One is the current mayor and the other is one of only 2 former mayors from our small city. They both attend the same church, (I'm not sure if they are both current members, though I know that they have both been members in the past) my home church and where several of my family members and many, many of my friends still attend.

Unfortunately, this political season has gotten ugly ... and personal. Supporters of the two candidates seem determined to duke it out on the political playground, no matter what the cost to the families and careers of those involved. While the candidates themselves seem to be leaving the mudslinging to those campaigning for them, surely they are, at least, aware of what is being done by their supporters. At this point, it is nearly impossible to extricate the truth from political ploys and just plain lies.

Here is the real tragedy in all of this mess ... the majority of the political mudslinging is coming from and aimed at members of a single body of Christ. Accusations of infidelity and slanderous behavior thrown around as if the consequences are no greater than perhaps a little embarrassment.

I just don't understand. Don't we, as Christians, have enough opposition from the world without creating it inside the church? And what kind of witness is being created for this particular church if the members are publicly degrading each other? I am saddened by all of this, but I am also angry. I am angry that claiming Christianity doesn't hold people to a higher standard. I am angry that much of this gossip has been spread under the guise of "prayer requests." I am angry that the integrity of good people is being called into question in order to advance the political ambitions of dishonest people. All for the honor of being mayor of a small city where the biggest decisions involve what foliage to plant each spring. Okay, that last part is not true, but the plants really do seem to be a big part of the whole discussion.

In just under a month, this city will elect a mayor. And then life will return to some semblance of normal. While the decisions this person will make over the next four years will not have much of an impact on the world outside of our small city, the decisions that are being made now may have an eternal impact on the body of Christ in one local church. I just wonder if it is really worth it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

exactly what I wanted to hear ... well almost

I took all three children to the doctor for their annual check-ups this morning. Fortunately, Ronnie agreed to take off and go with me which was nice ... I could focus on answering questions while he focused on keeping the kids out of trouble. Overall, it was a good visit ~ the only discipline problem was D did not want to be weighed/measured and he wouldn't bend over and touch his toes when the doctor asked. It is embarrasing to not be able to control your child in public especially when you don't feel comfortable using the "normal" means of discipline. He did finally cooperate, but not before he gave me a good dose of humility.

I actually enjoy the kids check-ups, although it may be smarter to take them one at a time next year. I love to hear the doctor tell me that the kids are exactly where they are supposed to be. Maybe it is a little silly, but I think I need the validation that I am doing okay as a mother. Of course, I can't exactly take credit for where they fall on the growth chart, but it is still nice to hear. So, I enjoyed today when Dr. V told us that the kids blood work was perfect and that they are developmentally right on track. It was fun.

There is another side to this, though. Each time I take my children for these visits I am reminded exactly how blessed I am to have healthy children, and I don't want to take this for granted even one little bit.

The only real surprise for the visit was when the Dr. told us that D is "wheezing and popping and has all kind of noises going on" in his lungs. Great. So I started breathing treatments with him today. He wasn't too keen on the idea, but I was able to get it done without too much trouble. The beauty of this is that I had no idea that he was still sick (he had croup last week) and if this appointment hadn't been scheduled for today, I wouldn't have known until it had gotten much worse, which, according to the Dr. would have been pnuemonia(sp?). I am so thankful that this appointment was scheduled for today and that we can start treating him before it gets any worse ... isn't God good!

Now, I am off to pick up LB from dance and then back here to get JW ready for his baseball game.

Monday, May 4, 2009

a reluctant daybook

I didn't think I was in the mood to do this today, so I had planned to skip it until I started reading other ladies' daybooks and felt a little more inspired to do my own. I hope you enjoy reading a little bit of my day and that you will visit Peggy at The Simple Woman to read the many other daybooks posted there.

Outside my window ... sunny and warm ... it is looking like a nice day after a very rainy Sunday and a cloudy start to the morning.

I am thinking ... about all that I need to do before we go on vacation.

I am praying for ... the team from our church who will be heading to Alaska this month on a mission trip, my mom who will be getting another round of chemo tomorrow, and a solution for a situation with a friend that I don't know how to handle.

I am thankful for ... sunshine and the fact that my kids seem to be getting over their sinus issues.

From the learning rooms ... nothing at the moment ... we will be doing very little school this week as we are preparing for our first ever summer session of school. I am excited about the new math curriculum we will soon be starting and I am even more excited that the kids are excited about getting started. Wow!!

From the kitchen ... some sort of chicken dish tonight since we will be home. I am not really sure beyond tonight, except that we will be having beans and rice at least once this week!

I am wearing ... gray sweat pants and a red t-shirt ... man, I feel like a slouch, but at least I'm comfortable!

I am reading ... ugh, I'm still trying to finish Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I am really enjoying it, but it is taking forever because I just haven't had the time to sit down and read for more than a few minutes at the time lately.

I am hoping ... that the parking lot sale our church is having to raise money for the Alaskan mission trip goes well.

I am creating ... a plan for a flower bed along our back fence ... it is such a sad looking area and I am hoping to bring some life to it.

I am going ... to stay home today and clean house, unless we decided to visit my parents tonight.

I am hearing ... the song "He Is" by Aaron Jeoffrey ... one of my favorite songs.

Around the house ... just the usual ... I do need to finish going through our stuff to see what else we might be able to donate to the church's sale.

One of my favorite things ... sleepy hugs from my youngest son ... just before he falls asleep or when he is just waking up he holds on to me as if I am the only thing keeping him from falling off of the planet.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... nothing special except my WmU meeting on Thursday night ... I am providing the meal and have to decide what I want to fix for the ladies. Everything else should be business as usual.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you ... the kids first picnic of spring. I'm not too sure why they chose the concrete driveway over the grassy yard, but they were having a blast, so I suppose it didn't matter. I just love the joy they find in the little things of life.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately. Several events this week have thrown me into an extremely contemplative mood which may not be a good thing for someone who is regularly accused of thinking too much. I'll spare you the ALL the details, but I will share a couple of things that seem post worthy.

First, you may have noticed (if this is not your 1st visit to my little blog) that I have added a button on my sidebar. The young boy pictured is Grisha. He lives in an orphanage in the Ukraine, but has adoptive parents here in the States who are scheduled to go and get him this month. They are trusting God to provide the needed funds to get there and bring their son home, but as you can imagine, it is a very expensive journey. I would ask that you lift this family up in prayer as they continue to trust God for their needs. You can visit their blog and get all the details by clicking on Grisha's button.

Second, you may remember that I mentioned a few days ago about working on my devotion for our Wednesday night prayer time. In our church on Wednesday nights, we begin together and then, after singing a few songs and taking prayer requests, the men and women separate. We spend some time in what is supposed to be a short devotion (though it varies greatly depending on which lady is giving the devotion that night) followed by prayer time. Let me just say that I love the way we do Wednesday nights at our church. This is one of my favorite times of the week and one of the times that you really get to know people better ~ you can learn a lot about a person just by hearing them pray. So, please understand that I am saying this in love when I tell you that this week they just didn't get it.

I am not blaming them, as a matter of fact, I feel sure that most of the responsibility rests in my delivery, but I can't help but feel somewhat frustrated. My Bible study was based on Acts 17:6 which talks about the early church and how they "turned the world upside down" as they spread the gospel of Jesus. I talked about how they waited on the Holy Spirit and how they prayed in one accord. We had a discussion of what it means to be "in one accord" and really couldn't come to a consensus. For me, it seems that to be in one accord, everyone would need to have the same focus and that focus has to be fully on God. This was the major point I was trying to make. As a church, I believe that when we are praying individually or collectively that we must be fully focused on God. Somehow, as we talked, the focus shifted from how we can be in one accord, to reassuring me that we already are in one accord. Maybe they are right, but somehow I left the room feeling discouraged.

There is hope though. The final point I made was that when the apostles were preaching, they spoke boldly and left the results to God. After a couple of days trying to figure out how I messed up so badly, God reminded me of this point ... the results don't belong to me, they belong to Him and while I believe that He led me to share the scripture and words He put on my heart, I must leave the results of those words in His very capable hands.