Monday, September 29, 2008

Guess what I got?

A new letter and photo from Heidi (the little girl we sponsor through Compassion International,) that's what! I get so excited when I see the envelope that I know has a letter from her inside. Here's her new photo:

Look how she's grown in a year!

She has a birthday in October, when she'll turn seven. I love watching her get older. Each drawing gets better and better, and there's even some of her handwriting on this one (she's too little to write us letters by herself!) What a gift for us as her sponsors when we saw her first written words to us:

Can you see it? It's Genesis 1:1, written in her native Spanish: "En el principio creo Dios los cielos y la tierra." In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

How awesome is that?

That's just a tiny snapshot of the joy I get from being a sponsor. It's not about me, but about her, and all those other impoverished children. I may get a smile and a warm fuzzy feeling from her letters and photos, but she's getting warm meals, an education, and an exposure to God's love that she will never forget.

If you'd like to make a difference for a child in need, I wholeheartedly believe in Compassion International. Here's a bit about them, and what they do....

Compassion International ministers to over a million children in 25 of the world's poorest countries through its Child Development Sponsorship Program - what you may know already as simply "child sponsorship." With the support of sponsors, Compassion is reaching through the hands of local churches to release children from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty.

Compassion International invented child sponsorship and it has proven to be a successful child development strategy. This ministry hinges upon the relationship between one sponsor and one child. That relationship goes both ways. Sponsors correspond with their sponsored children and support Compassion's ministry to children for $32 (USD) every month. Sponsors also receive letters from their sponsored children, watching them grow toward physical and spiritual maturity. Sponsorship is a relationship that transforms both sponsors and children.

There is a tremendous need for new sponsors. Compassion International is growing, moving into new countries (children will soon be sponsored in Togo) and expanding the reach of its ministry to children in many others. Every child Compassion ministers to needs a sponsor and at the moment there are thousands who do not have one. Many of these have been waiting for a sponsor for over six months. These children need words of encouragement and Compassion needs the cost of their care sponsored so that the ministry can continue to expand.

I'm asking you, my readers, to begin your own relationship with a child in the developing world by becoming a sponsor for a child who has been waiting more than six months to be sponsored. You can find them here.

For more information about Compassion International's Child Development Sponsorship Program, you can find it here.

If you would like to blog for Compassion like I do, and for banners and widgets, you can check out Compassion Bloggers.

Hop on over and read Compassion's blog for an inside look at the ministry and our people around the world here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Call to Build the House of the Lord

Haggai 1

A Call to Build the House of the LORD

1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest:
2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, 'The time has not yet come for the LORD's house to be built.' "

3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"

5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."

7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD. 9 "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands."

12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD.

13 Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people: "I am with you," declares the LORD. 14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius.

I came across this chapter Saturday, and the chapter heading got my attention. See, we're in the middle of launching a capital campaign called "Destination Pinnacle" at my church. So I was very interested in what Haggai had to say.

All of it spoke to me. God saying it's time for His temple to be rebuilt. A land of people who just don't get it. God telling us how with Him we can have so much more, instead of the drought on the land, man, cattle, our labor that we've settled for. (Sound like our nation, anyone?)

But the best part is where God says, "I am with you."

I know the country is in a financial crisis. I know we can't find any gas. I know times are tough, and it probably doesn't seem like the right time to be building a church.

But in actuality it's the perfect time to build a church. Right now, it will be more evident to everyone just how much this project depends on God, and because of that He will be glorified.

We've already been assured that He's with us, and will help us throughout this process. We just have to have enough faith to believe that God is bigger than the Economy and can pull this off. We have to believe that it's OK for us to dream big (as Pastor Heath says) and give God a chance to show His power by making it come true.

What do you think, guys? Are you in?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Autumn Test

It's official - Fall is Here!!!

Fall is absolutely one of my favorite times of year. Cool days with a flawless blue sky, football, hot cider, the crunch of fallen leaves, the smell of damp leaves, the colors of the leaves (maybe it's not really the season but the leaves that I like!), I love it! So how about you? How do you feel about Autumn?

Your Autumn Test Results

You are a dynamic, vibrant person. You aren't afraid to pursue your passions.

When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

You embrace change. You love change. You see change as a rebirth.

You find solitude to be the most comforting thing in the world. Being alone with your thoughts feels very peaceful.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You are very impatient. You spend more time waiting for something than actually enjoying it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

URGENT Coworker Prayer Request

There once was a little family, with BIG problems. Massive, huge problems.

And boy, could they use your prayers! Would you guys pray for Mama, Daddy, Baby, and Grandma of this little family? Maybe one day I can actually tell you what's going on, but right now just know that it's serious and really needs to be covered.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Awesome Song

I was introduced to this song called "What About Now?" by Daughtry at church Sunday. I thought I'd share. Enjoy!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More Dog Drama

Well, after we lost our little Titus we got some advice from a few folks to "get back on the horse" and get another dog. We already had the food, bed, toys and all, right?

The kids were all for it (short grieving period thankfully), so we agreed to look. It just so happened that a coworker of mine had rescued a dog and was trying to find a home for it. He is a Plott Hound, and his name is Red.

"He's so sweet, a big baby, gentle, blah blah blah," she said. All the things someone trying to unload a dog would say :-) She thought maybe we could take him for the weekend as a "trial period" to see how he'd fit with our family. That sounded like a good idea to me, so I called Jeff and he said OK.

I prayed that if this dog was for us, we'd all fall in love and be in total agreement that he should stay. But if he wasn't, we would all agree on that, too.

So Thursday, we met her to get the dog. I nearly jumped back when I saw him in her truck. She had said that he was big, but that didn't adequately describe him. "Size of a small subdivision" would be more appropriate. He was HUGE!! I should have taken a picture.

So, we took him home, while fighting him out of our laps. (Note: you don't want an 85 pound dog in your lap while driving.) Jeff kept him at home, while I went to pick up the kids.

They were in the driveway when we pulled in, and my kids were instantly terrified on sight. They were freaking out and not even out of the van yet. Not a good sign.

To condense the rest of the night: he took two horse-sized poops on my CARPET (one dripping down the side of MY bed!!!) I had to chase him down the driveway. Jeff had to chase him TWICE, once in the dark. He caught him behind our neighbor's house. Another neighbor saw him and, um, wasn't real thrilled. My mother-in-law went weak in the knees just by looking at him. Seriously.

So basically, everyone was terrified of the dog. We knew before bedtime that he would be going back. The next morning solidified it, when he bit the baby. It left a little mark, but he didn't draw blood. Thank you, Lord! No one else was in the room, so we don't really know what happened, but nibbling on the children is a NO-NO on the new doggie list.

I'd say that God answered that unity prayer pretty clearly. :-)

So he was gone by lunch Friday, much to my relief. Much to the relief of the whole family and neighborhood, actually.

And, we still don't have a dog.

I'm worn out from all the doggie drama.

Maybe we should just get a cat...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Would you maybe, possibly be interested in an update?

So, you know how a few weeks ago I told you here how my life would be changing? I thought some of you who read this blog on a fairly regular basis would like to know how it's going.

I love it.

I am P-O-O-P-E-D. But I love it.

In case you don't know, my mother-in-law living with us and spoiling me rotten by cooking, cleaning, shopping for the last four years kind of stole my household identity. I was home every night, but didn't have much to do and felt a bit lost. That's changed recently (she got a job), and here's how it's going:

I run home from work, often go the grocery store, and pick up the kids. I fix dinner. I clean up after dinner. I do homework with Aaron. All the things that wives and moms wish they had help for, I get to do again. I never thought that would make me happy, but it does. :-) (All I can say, girls, is be careful what you wish for :-))

I think my boys seem a bit better behaved. Well, except for today. But most days, they are better behaved.

I still hate going to the grocery store. But I feel good about preparing a hot meal for my family.

I think I am physically attached to my washer and dryer, because the laundry for three adults and three children is NEVER-ENDING. But that's OK, too. Now I can remember what size underwear everyone has :-)

I'm giving the baths, which breaks my back, but gives me one-on-one time to connect a little more with the littlest boys. And any backache is worth that!

There's always multitudes of little things that have to be done around the house, but now I can honestly say that I do them happily, instead of with dread and whining. I'm starting to get a system worked out, and that has led to a bit more free time, believe it or not. My writing and knitting "want-to" is slowly coming back, and that is a GOOD THING.

I think all this has even made a difference in my marriage. Not that it was bad or anything, but Jeff seems to act more appreciative than before. (Probably because I DO more to be appreciated than before!) We just seem closer. Boy, do I like that!

Of course, give me a few more months of this schedule and I'll probably be begging my mother-in-law to quit work and be here more!

But for now, I'm just enjoying being a wife and mommy again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Toys

Shouldn't every home have their own Roto Rooter Man? :-)

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

See more Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I don't know what got into me, but I decided to submit an entry to Scribbit's Write-Away Contest this month. Check it out below, and then head on over to Scribbit's and check her out, too!


Your time has finally come, and now you stand in heaven, about to be held accountable for the actions in your life. Scenes from your existence flash around a screen before you, slowly settling into place for all to see. You notice that some of those images have vibrant colors, others are simply shades of gray, and more are so dark that you can barely make out the image.

In curiosity you ask God, “Why do they look so different?”

Two images move forward, giving you a closer look. “Look at the one on the left,” God suggests. “Do you remember that day?”

You glance at the photo and grin. You were ten years old, cheeks flushed red with anger. The soft pink ribbons flowed gracefully over your chestnut hair. Blue eyes like your daddy’s shone with intensity, as you were obviously upset with the other child in the picture.

“Yes, I do,” you chuckle. “Annie Wilson called me a nerd. I was so mad at her!”

“But you didn’t stay angry, did you?”

“No, later she told me that she only said that because I made a better grade on a test than she did and she was jealous.”

“So you forgave her?”

“Sure. She said she was sorry!”

“Now look at the one on the right.”

Your smile fades as your eyes come to rest on it. The image is very dark and hard to see, but you can see enough. “That’s the day Susan Carter stole my purse. I still can’t believe she did that. I was her best friend!”

“But didn’t she return it, and also apologize?”

“Yeah. But I was so hurt and mad that it didn’t matter. I never spoke to her again after that.”

“So you never forgave her?”

“No. I guess I didn’t.”

“What you didn’t know was that Susan was being abused by her father. She took your purse because she wanted to run away, and needed money for a bus ticket. She was too scared to follow through with it, and too ashamed to tell you what was going on.”

You listen, though it’s hard. Swallowing past the lump in your throat you ask, “Why are you telling me this now?”

“You wanted to know why the photos look so different. The photo on the left has been colored with Forgiveness. The one on the right has not.”

His All-knowing eyes look deeply into yours, and suddenly you understand.

Your eyes dart back to the images from your life. There’s the day you gave your coat to the homeless lady on the corner, tinted with shades of Compassion and Giving. You see several images reflecting Kindness, Patience, Love – proof of the presence of Christ in your life.

Many images are nearly solid black: times when you were so far removed from God’s will that others couldn’t see Him in you at all.

Most of them, though? They are simply gray. Lukewarm. Mediocre.

When your time has come, and you’re looking back over your life with God, what colors of Christ will you see?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What's Your Excuse?

Way back in January, I started a "Read the Bible in a year" plan. And here it is September and I'm still on track! Woo hoo!

Anyway, I just finished the book of Ezekiel. And it makes me a little ashamed of myself.

This poor man had visions. Prophesies from God that he was commanded by the Most High to share with those he was sent to. And I'm not talking about little things, either. For twenty-two years, this man had visions of death and destruction: valleys filled with blood. Littered with bodies. Skeletons being reformed into living beings. Crazy, weird, scary visions.

He did strange things to get the attention of those he was sent to warn. Eating scrolls. Lying on his side for months while bound in ropes. Shaving his head, measuring his hair, and burning it.

And does the Bible ever say that he pulled the covers over his head and hid from God? No. Did he ever say, "Gee God - you know, I'm not really a horror movie kind of guy. Could you send these visions to someone else please?"

No. He endured these awful visions, over and over. And he went where he was commanded and did what he was told. He was obedient to God and told all those wicked people what he saw. Because God said so.

Has God asked you to do something? Revealed His call for your life? Maybe you did it for a while and got tired. So you quit. Or maybe you never stepped up to the plate at all.

I know I'm guilty. I have half-finished projects tucked into nooks and crannies at my house. I have partially written books and proposals on my hard drive. And after putting my experiences and excuses beside those of Ezekiel, I really have no excuse at all.

What God has asked of me so far hasn't really been that tough. So what's my problem?

What's yours?

Something to think about...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In the Blink of an Eye

I've wandered around the house, picking up chew toys that were being played with only hours ago. As I decide what to put away, and wonder how to comfort my family, a thought occurred to me: that could just as easily have been one of my children.

Instead of washing dog bowls for the last time, I could be planning a funeral for one of my boys. I could be so broken that I couldn't speak, or breathe, or funstion at all.

Things could be so much worse.

But then another thought came to me: when Jesus comes back for His children, it will be just like that. We'll be washing our breakfast dishes one minute, and scouring the area for our loved ones later when they've been called home and some are left behind.

Guys, we don't know when Jesus is coming back. But we know that when he does it will be in the blink of an eye, just like it happened losing Titus. And those still here hours later will be wondering what happens next.

Don't be one of them. Don't waste another minute, because we just don't know how many we have left. If you don't know who Jesus is yet, if you haven't accepted Christ, then do it now. Go here and find out what steps to take. It's the only way to know for sure where you'll be when God blinks...

My heart is broken

Could I please ask for your prayers for my family?

This morning, as we were about to take our two smallest boys for a haircut, our puppy, who had been behind the house, found his way to our driveway out front. We had no idea. He was killed instantly when our van backed over him.

My oldest and youngest boys are sad, but seem to be pretty OK. My six year old animal lover? His sobs are ripping my heart out of my chest. The same little boy who grieved our old dog Sophie for months. The same little boy who grieved just last month for his hamster. And now this. I simply don't know what to say or do that will comfort him at all.

But I think my heart breaks for my husband the most. He, too, is an animal lover, and was already very attached to Titus. To say he is crushed is an understatement.

So will you please pray for my sad little family today? We sure could use it...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blog Makeover: Quest Edition

My blog redesign is done! By a professional! YAY!

George and Ashley Weis at Tekeme Studios came up with this for me, and I love it! Simple, but with some color. Cool. Yeah :-)

I learned through this process that I have varied tastes. I gave them 3 different core ideas to work from, which are totally different. And they actually came up with a look that included them all! That's talent. Oh, and they did it in the midst of having a brand new baby! I think they nailed it.

They are constantly having blog design giveaways and such (I won part of this design!), and even if you don't win, their prices are very reasonable. So head on over to their site by clicking the link in this post or through the button on my right sidebar and Get Your Own Tekeme design!!

Thanks George and Ashley!!

What does your bed say about you?

What Your Bed Says About You

Outward appearances are very important to you. You do your best to look good and have an attractive home.
Um, have you seen my un-Martha-ness?

You are an organized and disciplined person. You do the right thing because you want to, not because people expect you to.
OK, that's true.

You are not very high maintenance in general, but you are high maintenance about a few things.
Who, me?

In relationships, you tend to be quite dominant. You enjoy taking charge.
Not going there.

You tend to be a dreamy, head in the clouds type of person. You think in terms of possibilities.
Did someone say McDreamy?

You are a bit of a homebody, but you can also make yourself at home anywhere.
Homebody, cave dweller: same diference. Right, honey? :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Down with the old man...

....up with the new!

Well, he finally did it. Four years after asking Christ into his heart, my now-teenager got baptized last night! We don't have a church building yet, but we make do. Our hub of activity last night was "The Hub," our coffee shop that doubles as Command Center for our Student Ministry.

So many people had showed up that after only one song, we had to move outdoors to breathe! Luckily, there's an open area with a gazebo right next door, and that's where Pinnacle's version of a baptistry was. My parents were there, Michael's dad and other grandparents were there, and since his cousin Sammy was getting "dunked" too, her dad's family also joined the party.

Our Pastor gave a mini-sermon on baptism, and one more young lady decided to get baptized on the spot - AMEN!

Here's our Pastor Heath in black, and Associate Pastor/Student Pastor "Big O" in red (and the back of my mom's head :-))

Here's our "new man" on his way up :-)

And cousin Sammy on her way up :-)

See the guy in white in both of those previous photos? That's their "Papaw Dan," who got the honors of taking both of those grandkids under. How cool is that?

Finally, here's a group shot of everyone (or almost) who got baptized.

Bear in mind: we just had a churchwide baptism on our church property a few weeks ago and baptized some number in the teens that day. Now we had this many more! I dare say that God is moving among the youth of my church: wouldn't you agree??? :-)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Have tickets. Will travel.

College football.

Home opener.

Season tickets.

Three-time Champions.

Husband's obsession.

Appalachian State Mountaineers.

Gotta go!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Where Should You Sponsor a Child?

As you might remember, my family sponsors a little girl named Heidi in Mexico through Compassion International. Sometimes I think about sponsoring another one, and other times I just think I should do a better job with the one I have.

What about you? Have you thought about sponsoring a child? Have the hurricanes in Haiti and Jamaica made your heart hurt for the devastated families just trying to survive?

Well, this post on the Compassion Blog can help you decide what country might be a good fit for you. It has a link to a test that can point you in the right direction. Are you a Brazil type person, or maybe Uganda? How about somewhere in Asia?

Take the test here and find out!


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