Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pour It Out

We had our first leader meeting in our new home this week. As fun and exciting as it is, starting over with a whole new crew can be a little bit tough at times. They are learning us, We are learning them. 

Despite all newness, despite all learning curves, one thing remains. We are all struggling to figure each other out for one purpose. To glorify and lift up the name of Christ. We desire to see students and young adults come to have a relationship with the Jesus who has saved our souls. Our passion is to disciple those who are hungry to know more of Him. 

At the end of our meeting, we asked one of our worship leaders to lead us in a song so we could end our night together in prayer. 

So often times we ask for God to open the heavens and for Him to pour out His love on us. 
We ask Him to swing open the floodgates of Heaven and let His mighty power rush over us. 
And as much as I desire that, and often times ask for it, I had a different view during our short worship time together this week.

As our group of leaders were sitting around our living room, seeking His face, lifting His name. 
I simply saw the roof lifted off of our house, as if God were peaking in on what we were doing.
Like he honed in for a split second on just our home and our small worship time.
A soft spotlight was shining not into our home, but out of our home.  
Because we were sending our love to Him. 
Pouring our love out on Him. 

God was simply watching His children praise Him, thank Him, and worship Him. 
I am thankful for a God who does not demand us to worship Him, but He delights in it. 
And I'm thankful He cares enough to take time to speak to me right where I needed it. 

I am so hopeful for this new journey we are on. 
And I know God is watching us and He is delighting in what is happening! 

Psalm 95:6,7
Come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For HE is our God.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


We now live where the seasons change
a little more than we are used to. 
So today my kids had their first official leaf fight. 
It was bliss watching them laugh 
as they threw things at each other.
Oh, to be a kid again. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our 2011 Life Word

My husband and I normally have a word for the coming year. 
As 2010 was ending and 2011 was beginning my husband was assured that our word for 2011 was #Favor. 

Little did we know what God had in store for us. 

Let me brag a little bit on my God. 
These things may not mean much to you personally, but God knows my heart and meets me right where I am.

We moved into an apartment when we moved to SC. There just wasn't enough time to find a home and close on it before we moved. I was kind of bummed about this. UNTIL my daughter has found friends in the complex and made instant connections. And I mean good friends. Most of them are Hindu. My daughter has invited them all to church with her. On Halloween week, one of her friends were allowed to go to church with her. Since then, this friend said she has been singing a song in her head all the time that she heard during our youth service. This same little girl told Autumn that she can't be a Christian right now (her parents, again, are devout Hindus) but when she is older she wants to be a Christian. WOW AUTUMN! She's fulfilling the great commission! 

The first few weeks we were here, there were times I wanted to grab my children and run back to Panama City. My Easton became a huge deal breaker for me. He has adjusted to the transition of moving very well. But the transition of unfamiliar people is a whole different story. Easton has a speech/learning development delay. Along with that comes some temperament issues, some OCD tendencies we don't always understand, and some irritability. If he doesn't know you, he doesn't not only ignore you, he will declare "NO" loudly while you are trying to talk to him. There are many other things he does that normal 4 years olds don't do. So, I wanted to high tail it back to a place of familiarity where everyone has been with Easton since birth ... They know him, his traits, the way he works, don't get offended, love him regardless, etc. 

Last Tuesday night I began to SPECIFICALLY pray for my boy. Not just "heal him", but specific. My prayer was much more detailed than this, but this was part of it: "God, help my boy to begin to speak with clarity. Help him to respond properly when people speak to him. Help his social skills to begin to develop normally". 

As I sit here through tears, can I tell you that last Wednesday night God came through FAST. As we walked through the youth room doors on his way to class, my son began to go "hey girl" and "hey dude" when he saw people as they were walking by. After church he walked into the youth room and was dancing during worship with the guys. He was running around with them and playing. The only time he started crying was when I made him leave to go home!! Wow. 

I was in awe of how easy my night was. If you have never been a parent to a learning delayed child, you might not know what I'm talking about. And although this "ease" took me by surprise, it wasn't until Thursday that I realized what had happened. I felt God just simply say "I heard you, baby". You see, He is my father and He delights in me! He heard my cries. 

We have been on a home search since June of this year. Long story short, we found a new home for $59,000 less than the amount it cost the builder to build it. Builders do subdivisions in phases here. The house we found was the last one for sale in the 4th phase and they could not move on to the 5th phase until this last house was sold. Coincidence that it went on the market the same week we went with a realtor? Coincidence that there was already a contract on the home and somehow it "didn't work out"! NO!!! We sign and move in to our new home Thanksgiving week. THANK YOU JESUS! 

Along with a new home comes a whole new set of concerns for my kids. Change of schools, moving away from friends. etc. Well, as we were visiting our new home last week, Autumn was sitting in the drive way. Along walks over a girl who looks Autumns age. She introduced herself and just happens to be the same age as Autumn, just happens to go to the school Autumn will be transferring to, and just happens to live directly across the street. Autumn has an instant friend who can't wait for her to move in!

I could go on, and on, and on. 
Seriously. It's all in my journal. 
From small things like finding Eastons favorite shoes clearanced out; to big things like our refrigerator being over half off the day we went to buy it. 

Autumn tells us when we talk about good things in our life "don't brag, Mom!" But I feel in this case, God deserves all the honor. 

Cause I'm here to tell you that it's nothing about Cory and I that is causing all these things to fall into place. It is totally the #Favor of God. 

"For you. Oh Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor you will surround him as a shield" Psalm 5:12

Do you have a "Life Word" that God has put in your spirit recently? 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

At The Zoo

You know the smell. 
It's definitely not funnel cakes and cotton candy. 
It's more like hay and animal waste. 
You guessed it, we spent a day at Riverbanks Zoo
And it was AMAZING. 
(Yes, even despite the smell of poo!) 


Autumn said "Look, I'm planking on the Lion." Oh my :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Give It Regardless

Regardless whether you voted for him or not, 
have honor and call him President Obama. 

Regardless whether your teacher is your favorite, 
have honor and call them Mrs. ____ or Mr._________.

Regardless whether they are younger or older than you, 
have honor and call them Pastor ______. 
(1 Timothy 5:17 Those who deal with affairs of the church are worthy of double honor, especially those who preach and teach.) 

Regardless of your like or dislike of your parents right now, 
have honor and answer with Yes/No Ma'am and Yes/No Sir.
(Ephesians 6:2 Children are to give honor, value and dignity to their parents and God promises to bless you.)

I have a righteous anger that overcomes me when people have a lack of honor for those who have been placed in certain positions. 

Respect is earned, but honor is to be freely given. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bummer Mom Moment

If you know me well, you know that my childrens 
birthdays are exciting to me for more than 
just the fact that they are turning another year older. 

I LOVE their birthday parties. 
It's two of the highlights of my year. 
I start months in advance getting stuff together. 
I buy doodads and stash them for goody bags. 
I google party ideas to go along with the theme. 
It's a fun shin-dig ... if I do say so myself. 

I think I make it such a big deal, 
because throughout the year, 
my kids share Mom and Dad with so many. 
So, when their birthday comes around, 
we make the focus solely on Autumn or Easton
They invite their big brothers & big sisters, 
their grandparents, their friends, aunts & uncles, 
pastoral staff ... You name it, they are there. 
And A & E are the center of attention. 

I knew when we were making the move in ministry this summer, that we would be away from blood family and created family for Eastons birthday this year. 

I knew that we would only be in South Carolina 
for six weeks when Eastons birthday rolled around. And I guess I ignored it all till this week. Six weeks is hardly enough time to learn Eastons teachers names, let alone the kids in his class. 

So, Cory and I decided to invite a few of Eastons buddies that we do know to a local party place. And then have them come swimming. 
Good idea, right? 

Except as I was buying all 6, yes 6, 
of the party favors today I had a small meltdown. 

I'm gonna miss the hype. 
I'm gonna miss the prep.
I'm gonna miss the family. 
I'm gonna miss the hoopla. 
I'm even gonna miss the clean up. 
A messy house is a sign that a good time has been had. 

(Granted, my kids probably don't care about 
their parties near as much as I do.           
It's probably more of a big deal to me than it is to them. 
And I have no doubt that we're gonna have 
a bang up party with our small crew this year. )

But for today, 
I'm having a Bummer Mom Moment

You ever have one of those?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Morning Memories

The start of our daughters 5th grade year 
has stirred up a ton of emotions for me. 

She's double digits now. 
She has only one year of elementary school left.
I'm getting, um, older.

As I was thinking back over my own school years, 
a few things stuck out to me. 

One memory is the drive to school each morning. 

My mom, as far back as I remember, 
did the same thing every day 
on our drive to school. 
Rain or shine. 
Good mood or bad mood. 
Running late or on time. 
Slowly or rushed.

My mom knew the power of her words. 
And she knew the power of The Word. 

Each morning on our drive to school 
my mom spoke this over me.
Sometimes as a prayer. 
Sometimes as a declaration. 
And sometimes as a plea. 

"Lord, give Joy the Helmet of Salvation
Place on her the Breastplate of Righteousness
Wrap her with the Belt of Truth
Shod her with the Sandals of Peace.
Protect her with the Shield of Faith.
Let her boldly carry the Sword of the Spirit."

Some days the in between words changed. 
Some days the prayer was longer. 
Some days shorter. 
But every day I had the Armor of God 
prayed over me. 

I can only attest that part of who I am today 
is because I had a praying mom. 

As Autumn enters into the world of public school, 
I pray she is covered from head to toe. 
From her inmost to her utmost. 

And I pray I will be as determined 
to see my children succeed, 
as my mom was to see me succeed.

To stand, when all else fails, 
and to know they are protected. 
Because they are covered. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On The Sidelines

I'm used to 2 am texts, counseling over relationships, 
accountability for guarding a heart,  input on a questionable clothing,  
tears when someone has slipped, rejoicing when someone triumphed, 
door step coffees, guilted into ultimate frisbee, and so on and so on. 

And right now none of that is happening. 

Although it may seem like a complaint, it's really not. 
It's just a new journey.

Some days it kind of feels like being on the sidelines. 
Not yet playing in the game. 
Like being a new coach who's just been 
brought in from a whole other team. 
And I've got to watch a few game tapes and go to a couple 
big games in order to know the players well. 
In order to know their strengths. To know their weaknesses. 
To watch their wins. To watch their losses. 

This all takes 
And Time.

So as bad as I sometimes want to jump feet first, 
it takes sitting on the sidelines for just a little while. 

As we start this new journey we covet your prayers. 
We want to coach to the best of our ability. 
And we have no doubt we will see this team win! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Absent Much?

End of Homeschool Year.
Celebrating 10th Birthdays.
Student Internship.
Summer Camps.

Oh, yeah.
And packing up our house in Florida.
So we could move to South Carolina.

That's why I've been absent from my blog.

But I'm back.
And I can't wait to take you on our journey with us.
We'll also walk down some Memory Lanes.
It's gonna be fun.
I can almost guarantee it. Almost!

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Top 5 Five - Armed and Dangerous

This past week, I headed to Nashville for a Pastors Wives (PW) retreatLeading and Loving It outdid themselves. 
I wanted to share a few of my favorite moments of the week.

#1 Hugs from Lori. 
Seriously, she's a good hugger. 
And she's an even better friend. 

#2 Small Groups
Lisa Hughes emailed a few weeks ago & asked if I'd lead a small group. I had no idea what that meant when I agreed!  The L&LI team had separated our tables into ministry roles.At the end of each teaching session, I had the privilege to speak life into and provoke conversation with 9 other student/children PW's. Can I tell you that they spoke just as much into me. These ladies love the Lord, their husbands, and their students. 

#3  Mission Impossible.
L&LI  went all "Amazing Race" on us. 
They had the clues, the checkpoints, Top Secret manilla folders. 
We were running around 11 blocks of
downtown Nashville hollering at people on the street to 
help us find Dolly Pardons star .... what's Nashville's 
famous candy (GooGoo's)? where's Riverside Park?
They even had us learning a line dance & 
perform it at the park in order to get our next clue! 
We all had our matching shirts on. 
I swear people thought we were really on Amazing Race. 
They were snapping pics. 
It was hilarious. And exhausting! 

#4 Worship
Brandi Wilson had some of her team come lead us PW's in worship. If you're in ministry, you know you often have one eye open during worship. There's various reasons for this, but nonetheless, it's hard to fully engage. Can I tell you that from the first beat, I was gone. I was lost in worship. I didn't have kids. I didn't have responsibilities. I just had me & my Jesus. Kate Carlson & Trish Davis did a beautiful job of leading us to the throne. I think there was a small angelic chorus in that room - as many times the music would stop and the voices continued to sing. It was like heaven opened up for just a moment. My heart was full. My tears flowed. And my spirit was refreshed. 

#5 Community
I went to this retreat knowing 3 people in real life. 
Lori, Brandi and Steph
But amazingly, that small barrier didn't change a thing. There's a common bond, a tie that binds, an instant connection with PW's. We all are working for the same thing. We all have similar struggles. We all have husbands who have given their life for the call. And, We all know that the great reward is so worth the small sacrifice. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cake Fight

One of my small group girls refers to a 
cat and snake fight as a "Cake Fight". 
Clever, right!? 
When she told the joke, I didn't laugh ... 
Until this weekend!

I had never seen such a thing. 
We were going to walk out the garage 
and noticed a cat on our porch. 
Then we noticed the evil, slithery, 
nasty black thing it was staring down. 

The "Cake Fight" was on.

This cat did not back down 
even with us staring at it and snapping pictures. 
It had it's mind made up. 
And it wasn't leaving until it conquered that snake.

Funny thing is ... we don't have a cat. 
And we don't know whose cat this is. 
But I'm debating putting milk out for it every afternoon. 
My little neighborhood snake wrangler. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

What's New : Easton : April 2011

You are fearless. 
You jump from every and any thing. 
You watch Mario videos on YouTube constantly
You wake up asking for ChickIa pa-pies (ChicFilA french fries)
You are in a three day a week Pre-K class, for your speech
You come home from school and immediately put on pajama pants
You can strip everything off in three seconds flat
You sit on top of my desk and giggle til I come get you off. 
You love school - mainly because there is a slide there
You still play with mommys hair on occasion, normally when you're really tired
You say "I judge you" for I love You, and we are WAY okay with being "judged"
You work my iPhone better than I do
You recently beat your dads high score on his Angry Birds
You "peepeepotty" 90% of the time in the real potty
You demand a "high pive" when you're done going potty
You love chips & salsa - no matter how hot they are
You wrestle with your daddy like a champ
You play so hard in the bath that floor is always soaked when you're done
You only let daddy put your "skibbies" on if he's home
You play hard and do not stop until you crash at the end of the night
You are our miracle boy

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What's New : Autumn : April 2011

You are in love with all things Justin Bieber
You are in the 4th grade
You are homeschooled
You always want a short hair cut, but change your mind when we get there
You refuse to wear a dress to church
You love to sleep on the couch instead of your own bed
You enjoy watching American Idol with your mom
You are an amazing speller
You like your hair down, rarely ever in a ponytail
You question things about the bible & God that I didn't ask til 30
You have a new obsession with rolly pollys you find in our yard
You even name them, made a hotel and a school for them
You recently told us you want to marry a youth pastor
You adore your brother even when he annoys the mess out of you
You like to make a huge pallet in the living room floor for family movie night
You like all the lights in the entire house to be off while the movie is on
You don't like to take pictures until I threaten you
You are the light of our lives

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Don't Stop

I picked our little man up from school today. 
His teacher told me he still isn't speaking in class much. 
They can't get him to open up. 

They pull him out of class two days a week 
so he can have one-on-one therapy. 

The older he gets, and the more he cognitively catches up, the more frustrated he is becoming. He knows what he wants to say and he just doesn't understand why we can't figure it out. He repeats himself over and over. I told Cory that I feel like we're playing Mad Gab sometimes. (I hate that game!)

Last year he was so frustrated, we think he just gave up for a while. 
He shut down and didn't speak much for a long time. 

Thankfully at home he now jibbers and jabbers all the time.  
We are so grateful for the improvement he has made over the past year. 
We can actually carry on a conversation with him. Very limited, but it is improvement! 

As he gets older, as a mom, it saddens my heart.
Especially when we hear other children, much younger, speaking in whole sentences and carrying on semi-adult conversations. 

With that being said, we stand firm in our faith that 
our boy will be completely healed from this. 
He will one day speak with ease. 
He will one day sing silly songs. 
He will one day laugh at a joke he told.
He will one day not remember these days of struggle.
He will be healed and he will be whole. 
Will you continue to join us in prayer for his Apraxia? 

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
 for he who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10:23

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break 11

Despite what my daughter is telling people ...
"I homeschool, so I kind of have Spring Break all year long" ...
Our Spring Break is over.

I kind of made her pay for it and her schooling yesterday was a bit rough.
Ah well. She'll be fine!

Anyway, here's what our Spring Break looked like.

Park With Friends

NighTime Kickball Game With Our Leadership Team
We played kickball, the kids played in the dirt :)

Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

 (The winning team for the tourney)

Played A Lil Scrabble

We practiced our "Bieber Face"
You know, in case we ever see him. Haha. 

Danced In The Yard

Watched A Moon That Looked Smaller Than Normal From Our View :)

And We Rode In The Sunshine A Lot