Friday, February 26, 2010


I've been to many funerals. It seems as I get older the more frequent they become. People I knew growing up, friends, folks we went to church with, and my dear family members.
This week I attended the funeral of Ruby Halliburton. She was 88. I knew her as a piano teacher, and met her several times when we attended the same church. Lately I found out she was related to my neighbors across the street. Cousins. Their grandmothers were sisters.
So, my neighbor and I went to the funeral home together. Miss Ruby looked so peaceful laying there in her cream and pink casket. She had been in pain her last few months as she had hip surgery and that was when they discovered colon cancer. I had been given updates on her condition through the mutual friends we had at church. She was said to be in good spirits and still singing praises.
I hadn't seen her since late summer of last year. She loved people, her family, and the outdoors. Her love for Jesus was made known to anyone that she made contact with. That is one thing I will remember about Miss Ruby was her smile. She was always smiling. Laughing. She was one happy lady.
We met all sorts of people there, some folks I hadn't seen in years. They wanted to know how Sweetie was doing and "my how big the boys are". I was reminded many times that I need to enjoy my youth as time flies by so quickly.
As I mentioned before, Miss Ruby was a piano teacher. Her prized pupil, Dillon played a few songs at her funeral. Pastor Laida said a few words and Pastor Pat sang a song. Then it was over. It was a very short funeral.
On the way out, as I was retrieving my coat from its hanger in the closet there, I felt a tap on my shoulder. A dear 82 year old friend of mine was standing there looking at me. "Well, well young lady..I thought that might be you." Exchanging hugs, I realized I had come face to face with my second grade teacher.
"All that grammar I pounded into you was worth it, wasn't it?"
I smiled and nodded in the affirmative. She went on to tell me how proud she was of my writing in Clarksville Family and that she saw the boys on the front cover and was reminded of how fast time is going. She asked about church and had the boys accepted Christ. I told her a brief history and she teared up. Standing there looking at each other, student and teacher both appreciated each other just a little bit more.
Noticing the time, I gave her my thanks and started looking around for my neighbor who, I could see was already making her way to the car. As I excused myself I told her how nice it was to see her again, and as she gave me another hug goodbye she whispered in my ear that she too would see me in heaven one day. Eyes moist, I told her I looked forward to it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

18 House guests!

Well, the weekend is now behind us. Our sleep banks are in desperate need of some serious rest time deposits.
Details: Friday evening with some help we transported 6-8th grade middle school boys to our home. 4 sixth graders, one 8th grader and 11 seventh graders. We also had staying with us one highschool senior and one college sophmore. That would be 18.
What's fun about that is we have a 1900 square foot home, and they all fit!
There was no sleep for the majority Friday night. Saturday morning came early with ham and cheese omlets to fix and ready to be served by 730 am. Done. Clean up, devotion time, then play time.
We had beautiful weather this weekend. 60ish degree days with sunshine! The group decided to get out in it and play some football! Before long it was time for a trip back to church for group time and lunch. Then back to the house to finish the game and then off to the roller skating rink for 2 1/2 hours. The rink was so overwhelmed with kids, (it wasn't just our group) that they ran out of skates! So we cut that time short and came back for more football/basketball. More devotions, (they were studying Galations)and then dinner. For dinner Chad and I prepared 96 soft and hard shell tacos and sides for these kids. There weren't many left!
We had to take the kids to a church downtown for evening preaching by 7 so we had to hurry! (8 churches participated in this)We left there around 930ish and headed back to the house. By this time the kids were zapped. The busy day, lots of activity, and lack of sleep was beginning to take its toll. By the end of devotion, there were not many that were ready for showers so they could be fresh for church in the morning. A reluctant few took the challenge anyway.
By 1am our house was so blissfully quiet! Ahh! We got almost 5 hours of sleep! Whoo hoo! By 630 they were eating pancakes and the rest were getting their showers taken care of. At 745 we were packing the cars so we could be at church for the 8:30 service. Most of the boys stayed awake in church and then begged their parents to take them home to sleep! So much stimulation in such a short time made for some super sleepy kids, leaders, and host homes!
Sunday afternoon was just warm enough to have the windows open for a few hours before the rain came in. I scrubbed and vacuumed, and mopped. Several hours later, we had a fresh home again.
Good thing, we had small group to go meet with by 5pm!

Now to the fun part! These kids were awesome! They managed to read through the entire book of Galations! They played well with each other, and we had some awesome talks!
Over the weekend, I jotted down some of the things I heard them saying, or talking about.

Dude! I'm like a sixth grader!

Check out my grill!

I just wanna have fun..

When are we gonna play manhunt?

Today we are going to talk about circumcision? What?

Ohh! Let's move on!

Thanks for listening.

I'm gonna be a preacher.

Me? A judge. So I can put bad people away and give them a Bible to read in jail.

Can we eat?


I'm thirsty!

I don't go to Rossview or Richview..

Jews and Gentiles huh? That's like Rossview and Richview..God loves us the same, but we are clearly the chosen ones.

You are such a..I'll let ya know when I think of it!

I'm thirsty

When can we eat the cake?

Avatar is my favorite movie

I want to be an orthodontist when I grow up

You guys can just start calling me Your Majesty

Shut up!

Ummm you can't say that..we are in a church home!

Michael didn't say we could do that!

Halo rocks!

I'm awesome.. God made me that way. Sorry you can't handle it.

When do we eat?

Dude, its 11:26pm..then can I have a snack?

I'm in a band.

Respect the seniority. What? I'm older. So? I'm younger new ideas ever heard of em?

Hey, can we use the tire iron on your car too? (seriously, one of the guys used his tire iron to bang out his right rear corner panel so it wouldnt rub on his tire)

Looking forward to next year! But I will need some time to prepare! LOL!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Middle School Guys

Last year in March, Sweetie and I hosted middle school guys for a whole weekend of fun and Bible study. Last year we had about 10. This year we are looking at 16 and two highschool leaders..18 kids. It is funny to watch the reaction of our friends and neighbors when we let them in on what's happening at our home. Some are in utter shock, others volunteer to pray for us!
Why do we do it? Because we love our middleschoolers, all of 'em. And because we happen to have a guy middleschooler of our own. These guys are so awesome. They are so respectful and very helpful. (Moms be proud!) They are eager to get into the Bible and learn, they have prayer time, and yes, we party up until way past my bedtime.
To be able to be a part of these kids lives, and to be able to catch up to them and see what has been going on since last year, will be just priceless. Middle school is a really tough time in a kids life. You remember, right?
They are trying to establish an identity. Being awkward is a big part of it. They are big kids now, but they still like to be at home too. God blessed me with good Christian friends when I was in middle school, that I still communicate with today. If I can help nurture these friendships, I will take every opportunity. My friendships made in middleschool helped shape me and keep me in line sometimes!
Yes, our home will be full. I can't wait. Now I may not be saying that at 2ish in the morning when the guys are still up! But I will still mean it deep down!
Last year my biggest blessing was when they all got around the piano and just praised our Lord with their voices and their musical talents. Our neighbors could hear the music and the praises being lifted up. How awesome is that! This year I was blessed by several of them requesting they be put back in our home!
As we make preparations this week we are prayerful for their growth and development, and ours!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

FUN at Church..Yes, it can happen and does at Grace Community Church in Clarksville TN!

Today was one of those days that just made me thankful for our church home.
We have been a part of Grace Community Church in Clarksville for four years now. What an exciting time. We have grown from small beginnings up to three services now.
Our ministry is expanding through community groups and projects in our communities and our world. God is blessing.

This morning one of our co-pastors shared about Worship. What worship is and what it means. We shared communion and prayed together. The music was moving, especially the saxaphone solo. Wow. I feel I was truly worshipping at God's feet this morning!

I remember being dragged to church as a young person. All I ever heard were scarey stories about hell and how we were all going there if we didn't act right. There were so many more "thou shalt not's" than "thou shalts". Goodness, we couldn't even move in our seats, much less swing our legs. Yes, it was a temptation as sometimes my legs would tingle as they fell asleep. It was a long time before my feet touched the floor. There was no laughter unless we were at some potluck dinner. (even then it was reserved, because this is church)

Today we attend a contemporary service. We laugh, we sing songs with a beat. We have sung some beach boys songs, and bounced a beachball in the crowd while we worshipped.
I had only experienced fun in church on a mission trip. I thought that was the only place it could be done. Because when we got home, it was back to the monotonous songs, and the fill in the blank sermon notes.

Please don't get me wrong. I do love a traditional service. But I do have to say that I have done so much growing in my spiritual walk with Christ since we have become a part of Grace. I used to have a hard time to come up with what we talked about in church on Sundays as I would spend time doodling in my bulletin or reading in my Bible or some other book I had on me. Now, I can tell ya what we talked about.
It makes a difference to our family to have the sermons put in here and now. Yes, we still use the Bible. We bring it every Sunday. But instead of being tied into tradions we have made it fun.

One Sunday we went back to one of my childhood churches. When our youngest came out of his Sunday School class, his teacher told us that he was restless and asked if we have a party at our church on Sundays. My answer to her was, "well yes we do!" The kids have group time where they clap and sing and dance. She was shocked. Fun in church? YES! We have FUN in church!

These kids know the songs! I tell ya, your heart hasn't been blessed until you see the preschoolers in Grace Acres singing their little hearts out to Jesus! They dance and know the words! Many parents have been brought back to church by their preschooler. The kids get handouts for Bible verse work during the week. They love learning the Bible.

There is a lot to be said for the traditional question and answer time in going over the lesson, or in service for that matter. But there is more to be said when children and adults can truly remember and share with others how much fun they had in church today.
Picture the fun kids have in Vacation Bible school week every Sunday!

My reason for this post is just that if you aren't going to church anywhere, please consider going. Church has changed a lot in the last few years. And if you do want it in a traditional style there are lots of those too! There are churches with mixtures of both. We have done it and try to take some from both forms so that everyone will be wittnessed to.

There are many forms of worship, and while one does need to take time to hear God by being still, there is also many, many references in the Bible about song and dance worship also. No, nothing freaky..stuff like "Oh! Let my people go, and This little light of mine!" When we sing acoustically, oh the tears that flow down many cheeks, the repentance of hearts! Each one of us has a different way of worshipping God, we can do it at church, in our homes, in our cars.

That's all. I just wanted to get this out there. Have a great week everybody!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Who are You?

Do you ever wonder who you are? The person, the real person, the one looking back at you in the mirror. No. Not the one with all the labels. Labels meaning a certain job, where you went to school, the amount in your bank account, vehicle you drive, neighborhood you live in, or title like mother, father, brother, sister, uncle aunt, friend, coworker, volunteer. The core of you. What makes you, you?
We are shaped by our parents and caregivers attitudes, ideals, religion ect. while we are growing up. The situations we find ourselves in that are beyond our control as a child have a profound effect on us when we move into the adult world. Our parents, their friends, their lifestyle or lack of teaches us something.
Based on these experiences we may withdraw or miss an opportunity, or worse can't recognize one, before we try something on our own. I can't help but wonder what type of person can move beyond that?
I mean, we see some really awesome life stories that are turned into books and movies where the person has risen above their circumstances and made a success out of their lives.
Taking a swing in the opposite direction are those that spend their lives blaming others for their life situation. They are the ones that talk shows love, and folks eagerly listen to, wishing-hoping that maybe they can see somthing worse than what is going on in their own lives.Folks are eagerly tuning into these reality shows seaching..getting lost in the drama.
Why are we so afraid of what's in the mirror? Commercials are geared toward making us look better if we use this diet plan, drive this car, live in this neighborhood, wear this name brand of clothing. Our society is buying into it. Because, bottom line is: when we look in the mirror we are unsatisfied.

Let's clean out our emotional closets people. We are not all model thin, have the best hair, or work the highest paying job. Wipe away the tears, put down the medication. Get up, dust yourself off, and praise God for giving you value when no one else can. You are worth something, for one, the life of Jesus Christ! He died on the cross for you, YOU. For all the ugly that you have done, or experienced, and will go through.

Jeremiah 1:5 "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations."

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Luke 12:28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that who so ever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

Happy early Valentines Day!

Valentines Day. Those two words bring various thoughts to mind and a smile to my face.

First thought: Sweetie. Yep! We have been a part of each others lives for almost 19 years now, married for almost 16 of that. We have grown up together. We are both so different from the two of us that started dating in 1991. We were such good friends that I never thought we would be married. I even left town to go to school, I figured that would be that. But it wasn't! He came down to school on some of the weekends and for any occasion where I would need a date! One night in 1992, on the campus of Union University he told me that I would marry him in two years. I laughed out loud at him when he said that. ( for those of you who know Sweetie, know that he is/was always such a jokester, that in my defense it took me awhile to take him seriously)
My Valentine at the time was working with the State Forestry. One weekend when I came home he asked me to climb up in one of the observation towers. I did, he got down on one knee and asked me to be a part of his life forever! I said yes, but I had to wait until I got to the bottom again before he gave me the ring. He was so afraid it would be lost forever if it was dropped.
So two years to the day, plus a couple of months(due to planning issues) we were married on April 30, 1994. This year will mark our 16th wedding anniversary! WOW!
He still makes me laugh, is still my best friend, and I have no regrets. We have been through a lot together, both good and bad, and are stronger because of it. God has blessed us with two wonderful boys, that both challenge us and bless us daily!
So, on this Valentines day, I dedicate this to the love of my life! Happy Valentines Day Sweetie. I love you so much! Thanks for investing in me with your friendship and love, for being the leader in our home, and for living such a great example of a Christian husband and father to our boys. You are my rock, and I am forever thankful to God for bringing us together!

Monday, February 8, 2010

SuperBowl 2010

The winning team has won, the confetti fell, the snack food was devoured, the commercials played, the hype is over.
Yesterday afternoon and evening, like millions of people worldwide our family and friends watched the biggest football game of the year. The Colts vs the Saints. Most of our party patrons were for the Colts. Only three of us, me included were for the Saints.
Why? Well, honestly I didn't have a passion either way. Payton Manning is a former UT man, so I do care how he does. But see he has been to the superbowl before, and won! So, I cheered for the team that had never experienced a Super Bowl to win. The underdog. I could roll through various stats, but that isn't important. Yesterday was fun.
I think this year tops other years in that we had the biggest group yet, and we hung out together most of the day. We all went to church in the morning, then we met at 1pm at a mexican restaurant down the road, and then we gathered at the house. We had three and a half hours before the game started.
Unless you are good friends with someone, that can be an awkward time. What do you do to fill the time? We talked and shared life stuff with each other, and updated one another on prayer requests, talked about, and made plans for the future. We played games, made memories, and grew some friendships. We talked and watched as the children played.
Our boys got the pleasure of a superbowl party with little girls. One was 4 the other 3. Those little girls kept our boys so busy. They wanted to play outside, then inside, then outside again. They wanted to watch a movie, they wanted to play a game. It was non stop! The squeals reached decibles that I haven't heard in a long time. Even Sasha made some sounds I hadn't heard before.
Sasha, our rat terrier is very attached to our family. She is usually put up over small group time, but since we were going to have 8-12 people in our home at any one time, and that time was from 2-930p.m. she needed to learn to deal. To put it mildly, she got to hang out awhile, then one of the little girls would make a squeal or try to touch her and GAME OVER back upstairs to a quiet room she went. However, little girl squeals launch her into a howl/bark. High pitched sounds came out of her that we hadn't ever heard before. So as not to stress out our little puppy she only got to be part of the activity in spurts.
As far as adults, there is only one so far that she will allow to ever so briefly touch her (out of the group). He did suprise her this week and kind of swooped her up as she jetted by him. I did laugh out loud as a sincere look of suprise came over her little face! She handled it well though and let him hold her for a short time. When the evening was over, the boys & girls were down for the count, the adults were full, everyone headed home, Sasha was thankful to have her quiet home back, and once the mess was cleaned up..we all just melted into bed.
A day spent investing in others ended up making us rich beyond measure in the relationships that are growing out of it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Thankful Moments

On January 29th we got some snow! Our rain gauge and a ruler in a flat, non-drift area shows we got 7 inches! YAY!
It has been awhile since we had some good "go play in it" snow. Early January we got an inch. We made the best of it, but that is rather hard when you can still see grass sticking out of it. Now can't see the grass except where we have pulled the snow off of it! The roof tops are covered, and the roads that yesterday were coated in ice, today are just slush.
The kids were able to get out of school and we have taken advantage of it! Sledding, snow ball fights and today, we were able to make a couple of snow people!
I still get excited when the kids get a snow day as I remember how happy that made me!
As the boys sip their 3rd cup of hot cocoa, and me with my hot tea, I am so thankful for these days. I'm trying to burn these images into my mind, as I know the days are not so far away when they will not be so quick to invite me to come along!
So, as I type this there are wet gloves and soggy jeans, chunks of melting snow all over the carpet and well, two very tired boys, and one thankful MOM!