Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dangling off the Mountain

Hey, y'all! Hope that you all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas! Our family surely did! I could bore you with the 200 plus pictures that we took last week, but I will spare you all because you are my friends! We are still enjoying our Christmas decorations--the lights are twinkling away on our tree as I type! I hate to take down the decorations...I simply want to continue to enjoy them! One year, I decided to leave up the nativity scene--the really nice one that I previously mentioned--all year long! We also put our house on the market that year. Needless to say, the real estate agent highly suggested that I pack it away while we showed the house! Anyhoo...I will put everything back in the attic before New Year's Day.

My last post mentioned some of our Christmas traditions. One that we do each year AFTER Christmas is a family hike. Some years, we have almost frozen to death while munching on PBJ sandwiches! This year, the weather was just a perfect gift from God! Beautiful, sunny, and warm--temps in the 60's...couldn't ask for better! We did a hike that I haven't done in almost 20 years! Boy, does time fly! We are very fortunate in living in the upstate of SC. Gorgeous mountains are within an hour's drive. So, after packing PBJ's, crackers, granola bars, water, cheap Wal-Mart cookies, etc., we headed up the road! This is where we hiked today.

This is Table Rock, SC. It is a strenuous hike and took us several hours to complete. We went all the way up to the top. But, it is so worth it! God had a ball while creating this place!

So, do I look like Vanna?? Just kidding! I am sweaty, smelly, kinky haired, and loving every minute of it with my boys!
"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom...They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works." Psalm 145:3,5 That, my sweet little bloggy friends, is what played in my head and my heart today while hiking.
Can you tell that there are some"steep" places around here? And, I am one Mama who is scared of heights! I was a little nervous with the boys bouncing around on those boulders and drop offs!!! Yikes! I felt like they were dangling off the mountain at times! The pictures do not do this place justice! So, all of you are cordially invited to join my family for our next hike, and we can all visit! Bring your families, too! I have plenty of cheap Wal-mart cookies to go around!
I would love to hear...in your spare time-hee hee...what you and your families enjoy doing together. Or, what you enjoyed doing with your family as a child. We also have family game night at our house! We got a really fun game for Christmas this year! It's called Last Word! It's for older kids, but it is fun and pretty fast! Just an FYI!!!
I will be back posting next week. I hope and pray that each of you will be blessed this coming year by our awesome God.

Sweet blessings,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Have Yourself a Mary Little Christmas

I just LOVED the comments that you all left on my last post...which was eons ago! I had to smile when I read Sharon's comment---she mentioned a book, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World", which is one of my favorites! I'm actually planning on leading a Bible study using it!

I think that part of my struggle the other week of feeling just overwhelmed was that fact that hubby was out of town, so I was being a single mom on top of all that was going on! For those of you who are single moms, bless your precious hearts! You girls are my heroes! I don't know how you do it and stay sane!

I mentioned that I would share some of our Christmas traditions with you all. Several of you said that your children receive only 3 gifts. We do that at our house as well. It is wonderful! One present for each of the gifts that the Magi offered to Jesus. Another tradition is setting up the nativity scene. We have two sets--the really "nice" one that sits in the entrance of our home. Then....we have the one that Mama found for 50% off at Garden Ridge years ago! It's a wonder that it's still in one piece!! The boys played with it when they were little--maneuvering the wise men, camels, shepherds and lambs all over the den! We placed Baby Jesus behind the stable until Christmas morning when we would celebrate His birth! Then, one of the boys would bring Him out and place Him in the manger near Mary and Joseph. They loved it then, and we still do it now! It's a great tradition.

Another tradition that I married into is the drink of choice we celebrate with at Christmas! No...not alcohol! Not even eggnog! Hubby's mom, my precious MIL, is an awesome cook! She prepares homemade custard that is to die for! Now, when I was growing up, we poured the custard into a bowl and ate it with a spoon---like pudding. It is simply yummy! The first year that we were married, I was inducted into a strange way of enjoying my custard! These darling family members poured it into a punch bowl cup--the tiny ones that are cut glass--and DRINK it! Y'all I had never seen anything like this before!! Maybe you all have your custard this way, but after 18 years of marriage, I still think it is very weird! Delicious, but weird!!

Lastly, some of my running friends and I get together and celebrate each year. We all live fairly close to each other except for Tracey, who lives 5 hours away in Roanoke! Well, bless her heart! She makes the trip each year with her three children to spend a little time with us! This year, she was in a time crunch. She left at 10 am on Monday and had to leave less than 24 hours later! That is a true friend! We had dinner at my house and enjoyed sharing little presents (like girlfriend jewelry) and pictures--from past races and road trips! Four of us had been together last month in Texas. We also share the love of good food and laughter! Debbie brought her 3 year old granddaughter with her--who was a doll! With my boys, hubby, and the girls, we had 9 lively people in the house. And...only one glass of milk was spilled!! (The 3 year old didn't do it!!)


I hope that your days begin to slow as we grow closer to the birthday of our Savior. I pray that you will soak in the beauty, the sounds, and the true meaning of the holiday. I plan on spending some quality time in the WORD (I'm getting a new Bible for Christmas!!! It's the chronological study Bible!! I got it on sale on Black Friday, and it's hidden in the back of hubby's closet!!Woohoo!). Wendy Pope is going to be leading a group of people through the Bible in a year starting in January! I've never done that, and I plan on giving it a try!

I won't post again until after Christmas, but I'll be visiting your wonderful blogs and will try to leave a comment! My Christmas cards are still in the box, but I'll get around to them! No stressing...I'm going to be sitting at the foot of Jesus listening like Mary did so long ago. Many Christmas blessings, my bloggy friends!!

Hugs!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mary or Martha--Your Choice!

It has been several days since I posted! I could give you a list of reasons as to why the blog has been silent...but you already know them! It's that wonderful time of the year when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior! It's also that time of the year when we frantically run all over town trying to get everything ready for the season! I feel like Martha instead of Mary! Y'all!!! That is NOT the way it's supposed to be.

When I think of all that is coming up--all of it good stuff--I am just silently shaking my head wondering how it will all get done! I am not at my older son's church basketball game tonight because I just spent the past 2 hours--seemed liked 20!--trying to upload, select quantity and size, and order prints from Shutterfly(which I love!) These are gifts for the senior members in my family who have all that they need and simply want pictures of my family from the previous year! Sounds simple--but it's time consuming! Anybody know where I'm coming from?

Tonight, if I can get to bed by 10 instead of the 11:00 hour like last night, I want to spend time in the Word (without falling asleep while reading!) I especially need to really ponder and pray about the story of Mary and Martha. I want to be more like Mary, but until that last present is purchased or crafted, I am running around the house like Martha! I want His Holy Spirit to settle my heart so I can truly focus on this beautiful holiday season.

See if you can choose the correct answer!

1) Martha would scrub the toilets, sweep away the dust bunnies, and mop the kitchen floor while Mary would:


A) Fold five loads of laundry while talking on the phone to plan the Sunday School Christmas party.
B) See how many stores she can zoom to on Woodruff Road (the busiest road in our town) before it's time for middle school carpool and high school carpool.
C) Get up before Martha and Lazarus and spend time in solitude--praying and reading God's Holy Word.
D) Simply stop in the middle of her day to pray and reflect on the precious meaning of Christmas.

So, which one(s) did you choose? Who will you be this holiday season? I know who I want to be like...but am I willing to truly do it and let some things slide? Who's going to know if the decorations are new or are the same old ones from last year(besides me!) Who's going to remember if I bake a delicious dessert using a new recipe or if I simply run by the deli and pick up cheese and crackers? I want to truly celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, and for me to do so, I am going to have to slow things down a bit at our home and change my mindset. I know that I can't do it alone, but I have a wonderful Savior who can help me if I will only ask! And...so do you!

How do you focus on keeping Christ in Christmas at your house? I will share some of the ways our family does this and some of our traditions in later posts--whether I get all of my shopping done or not!!! I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Many Blessings,
Martha--uh, Susan!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A "Gala" Event It Was!

Do you think the church sexton was pleased as punch today when he had to clean up the mess from those boas? Hope not...because we had such a blast at the Gala yesterday! Y'all....thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the prayers and good thoughts that you blessed us with!! God is soooo good! This event was truly covered in prayer. You** Know** Who tried to throw some wrenches into our plans, but God didn't allow it! I was not even nervous when I began to speak! I wasn't even shaking! Woohoo!

The girls above are part of our Leadership Team. They are just awesome! One even shared her testimony when we were introducing ourselves and telling about the various ministries that our church would be providing. It was totally unexpected except God had deemed it in His perfect timing. She is new to our church and is just darling. Up until a few months ago, her husband was not a believer. She had prayed and prayed that he would accept Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Still....nothing. Then, she attended a retreat with our church in Atlanta (a Beth Moore event!!). She and another girl on our team roomed together and were talking about the situation. The other gal shared with her and asked her some specific questions about her prayers. Long story short, the prayers were changed to allow God to work on her husband's heart in His way and His timing. This scripture from Isaiah 55 :8-9 popped into my head as she was sharing yesterday. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." How many times do we want to do it our way and in our timing? I do...almost all the time! I have so much growing to do in that area of my life. By the way, her husband DID become a Christian! There was not a dry eye in that sanctuary when she finished talking!

Again, thank you for covering this event in your prayers. I knew that y'all were praying and that gave me His perfect peace.

Many Blessings,

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Growing in Grace Women's Ministry

Y'all....it's a coming!! Yes, Christmas is too, and I can't wait! I'll be posting Christmas thoughts and stories next week. No, I am referring to our Women's Ministry at our church!! Our big Gala to kick off the ministry is on Sunday afternoon! We've given each lady in the church handmade invitations--darling hot pink bookmarks with lime green fru-fru ribbon--that they can keep in their Bibles for ever and ever!

We are thinking outside the box on this one! The day that we handed out the bookmarks, our girls had the ministry moment during church. We all dressed in black with black sunglasses and lovely pink boas around our necks ( Hobby Lobby)! The sound guy played the theme from "Mission Impossible" as we carefully dragged a secret black box down the aisle! We looked over our shoulders--secret agent style--as we carried it to the front. I was in my element! When we got to the front of the church, we pulled items out of the box to see what our mission was. Each item represented a ministry--most of them new--that our church would offer to the women of our church and those in our community. Y'all, we pulled out overnight make-up bags (retreats), Karen Kingsbury books (book club), microphone (guest speakers), scrapbooks (scrapbooking), Bible (of course!Bible Studies). The last items that we took from the box were 2 Barbie's! Can you guess what that was??? Mentoring!! Pretty cool, huh? We are going to have a mentoring Bible Study in the fall! So many of our younger moms and wives are needing this!

Ok, maybe "Mission Impossible" was going a little over, but...it got their attention! Our leadership team is working profusely via email--no time for meetings last week with it being Thanksgiving!--to get our ducks in a row! And God is GOOD...all the time! Things are falling into place, and I am having an absolute ball! He is in control, and we are praying that we will have a hedge of protection around us on Sunday from you**know**who! I ask you to please cover us in prayer the rest of the week, you darling sistas! God has orchestrated this entire ministry from step one! He placed it in my heart this summer during She Speaks. We are doing nothing unless it is from HIM. And, I can't wait to see the fruits of His labor of love. Thanks in advance for your prayers! I'll post about it and include pictures!

Many Blessings,
Susan

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Running Blindly

Yes, I actually prepared, cooked, served, ate, and survived my turkey! So did the rest of my family! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and I hope that y'all did, too! I absolutely loved the comments from my previous post on the ways you celebrated the day and the Bible verse that you were most thankful for. Thanks for sharing.
We began Thanksgiving Day with....a run!! Are you surprised? Hubby and I had already been up an hour or so with that silly turkey! An early morning run with a dozen other runners out in the country got the juices going! The sunrise was lovely. The conversation was fun. And the little boy who got separated from his mom was precious. When you start in the dark, and you're running in a new place--not me, the little boy!--it's easy to get caught up with the runners in front of you. You simply follow their lead. We all started together, and those running 5 mile loop turned down a road to get back to the YMCA. The rest of us kept on running the longer loop. This child was running a fast pace with some of the runners doing the longer route. On a long stretch toward the end of the run, Robin and I caught up with him--now walking. He had a side stitch--gotta hate those!-- and had slowed down. We told him that he was doing a great job for such a long distance--8 miles. Well, at that, he jerked up his little head, and his eyes filled with tears. His mouth quivered as he spoke. He said that he was only doing 5 miles, and his mom was right behind him. Robin and I looked at each other and realized that his mom had turned off with the others, and he was so far ahead that she thought he would be waiting for her in the parking lot. Not!
Y'all, our Mama hearts just broke with him. Bless his heart! He was running blindly--just trying to keep up with the runners in front of him. How many times in our daily routine do we"run blindly?" We're just trying to keep up with all of the things on our to-do list. We're trying to keep up with the latest and greatest stuff. We're trying to do things that the world deems important. We crowd out time with God to get the other important stuff done. In Titus 2:12, we see that we are taught "not to live against God nor to do the evil things the world wants to do. Instead, that grace teaches us to live in the present age in a wise and right way and in a way that shows we serve God." (New Century Version). Are we serving Him the way He desires--with our whole hearts? Is spending time with Him at the top of our to-do list?
Long story short, Robin and I ran with the little fellow to the next road where a "mama mini van" was headed toward us. A woman driver was waving, and the little boy said, "That's my mom!" She pulled over and lavished him with hugs and kisses. A simple mistake, but one that neither of them will forget. A nine year old needs to run with an adult on a course like the one we did. If the mom had asked who was running which distance and had paired him up with someone who ran his pace, things would have been fine. In the end, the mom and the son were simply giving thanks that they had found each other. How fitting a way to start their Thanksgiving holiday.

Many Blessings,

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving Survey


So, how do y'all celebrate Thanksgiving? I was just glancing through a magazine, and that's the question which was posed. In our family, we take turns hosting the big event. This year, it's at my house, and my side of the family will come. We will celebrate with hubby's side of the family next year.
There will be place settings for 10 at our house! I purchased my turkey the other day, and he is happily defrosting in my refrigerator. Y'all, I have NEVER baked a turkey before in my life--only a turkey breast in the crock pot! I usually go to Honey Baked Hams for the most delicious turkey ever. No fuss, no problems. This year, however, we are on a budget, and I am pretending to be Paula Deen! Thankfully, my mother-in-love is a great cook, and she is only a phone call away in Tenn.!! Along with the turkey and cornbread dressing, we'll have ham, sweet potato pie, rice and gravy, green beans, squash casserole, bread and desserts. Hopefully, it will all be edible, and no one will leave with food poisoning!! Kidding....I really can cook; I would rather be doing other things instead!

Second part of my "Thanksgiving Survey"--what Bible verse are you most thankful for? I know that's a very hard one, but ponder and pray and share your favorite one--maybe it's just the one for today! It may be different tomorrow. Today, I was blessed by reading Psalm 37:4. It says, " Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires." That promise just fills me with the love that He has for me!
Looking forward to the results from this survey! Short school week--woohoo!!!
Many Blessings,
Susan

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home Sweet Home

There really is "no place like home!" Did any of y'all catch the rerun of "The Wizard of Oz" on Sunday night? That is one of my all time favorite movies--and yes, I can quote it quite well!! The flying monkeys never did scare me!!!

We arrived back in SC yesterday afternoon without any major issues! Yay--a praise! God was so good to bless the four of us and all of our families while we were away. We had the most wonderful time in San Antonio! The people were gracious and so friendly! The hotel where we stayed went over and beyond! Go Hampton Inn!!! Woohoo! Those precious employees had breakfast ready on Marathon day at 3:30 AM for the runners who hopped on shuttles to the start line first--no, not us! We were there at 5ish! When we returned, they had opened the pool for us to put our achy legs in--an ice bath--wonderful for contracting the overused muscles! How about that? Pretty cool!

Tracey, Debby, Phebe, and me with our temporary tattoos of Phil. 4:13
Prior to the race, we shopped (of course!) and ate and laughed and shared! I've known these gals for years, and we love to run races together. We did go to the Alamo after the marathon--it was only 4 blocks from our hotel. Amazing. That was the only sightseeing that we did--other than the views from the course.


There were so many God moments that I would love to share with y'all, but....I would be writing a chapter for a book!! So...I will condense! I'm sure that some will be mentioned in future posts! We generally write our names on the backs of our leg and a scripture on the other leg. Great conversation starters when you're counting down the miles! Mine was Phil. 4:13--"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." He did give me strength, and a lot of it! I ran a strong race for the first 10 miles, but I knew that I needed to slow down just a tad for the last 16 in order to finish at a decent time! He had me to slow down for several reasons. I wouldn't have met lots of folks out there had I been running a different pace! His timing...not mine! I struggled with some foot cramping around mile 19 and IT band issues as well. Not pleasant, but I continued....Phil. 4:13. I took my last GU (energy gel which is pretty yucky but replaces potassium, sodium, and other things your body needs). Then, I noticed a man ahead of me who was not running or even walking/limping in a straight line. He was doing some major wobbling! I was concerned and caught up to him and asked how he was doing. Instead of "fine," it was "I need some salt tablets." I had just taken that last GU! I had nothing to offer except encouragement. I found out that his name was Mark, and this was his first marathon. He apologized for slowing me down! I told him that I wasn't in a hurry, and this pace--barely walking-- was fine. He severely cramped again, and I stood with him. I told him that I was going to get him some help, so I ran ahead to the next aid station to notify them that a runner was coming who needed a little medical attention. I continued to run and to pray for him. By mile 25, he caught back up to me and was doing a little better. He had to stop again be fore the finish line, but he did finish his first marathon! I was so proud of him!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord...it is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Col. 3:23-24) Having opportunities to serve Him while racing make the months of training, the hours of running and biking, and the cost of traveling all worthwhile. Those precious God moments show me how great His love is for us. Your prayers and wonderful comments were so appreciated! Y'all were so sweet!

Many Blessings,
Susan

PS--While on our extensive layover in Houston, I was really tempted to call Beth Moore and see if she wanted to come out to the airport for awhile to visit and shop! I even contemplated looking up her phone number, but I changed my mind!!! Y'all, wouldn't it have been cool if she HAD been walking through the terminal!! Oh, well! Phebe and I did entertain ourselves by playing the "Good Morning Game!" You sit in these lovely rocking chairs down a long hallway place. Then you look people--who are obviously running late to board their plane-- in the eye and say "Good Morning" in your perkiest voice. Out of the 20 plus people we spoke to, only one person didn't respond with a friendly "good morning" back at us! It was fun to make people smile and get out of "serious" mode so early in the morning! We had hours of time to entertain ourselves!!! Can ya tell??

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

San Antonio...Or Bust!

Well, it's finally here! Taper week before my marathon. When we planned this adventure back in March, November seemed eons away. We are going there to celebrate my friend's 50th birthday with a race--it was her idea! Now, it's here! I have cut down tremendously on my running--which is called tapering. I'm only running little itty bitty distances in preparation for Sunday's race. This is the part that always makes me second guess. Did I train hard enough? Did I do enough long runs? Did I cross-train the way that I should have? Am I carbo-loading the way I need to? Did I really need that entire box of cookies?(22 grams of carbohydrates per 6 cookies, but that's a lot of cookies!!!) I'll find out for sure on Sunday!!

As a Christian, I can ask my self the same things. Did I run the race that God placed before me? Did I take the opportunity to share with those who really needed to hear His Word? Did I truly ask Christ into my heart? Have I repented of my sins? Did His love shine through my words and my actions? I hope so! I don't want to have to be wondering about all of that the week, day, or minute before I meet my Creator!! I need to know for sure that I belong to Him, that I am a child of God, and that my name is in The Book of Life. I really want to run down those streets of gold one day!!! How cool will that be??

We take time to prioritize our lives--down here we say, "Getting our ducks in a row". Are we taking that time to prioritize our spiritual lives? I surely hope and pray so.

I would so appreciate your prayers as we travel this Friday. And run on Sunday. And fly home on Monday!!! I am not shy about asking for prayer--can you tell? I will post pictures and stories next week when I return. I won't post again this week. I am really trying to get MY ducks in a row with packing!! I do not like to pack! I really dislike unpacking!! So, as I deal with some packing pet peeves tomorrow and Thursday, I will try to stop by and read some of your blogs--which so encourage me! I may not leave a comment, but I will read them!!

Just pray that I remembered everything that I needed today at Wal-Mart....'cause I really don't want to have to go back there this week!! Thanks again for your prayers and love!!

Many Blessings,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What a Day!

Me, Kimberly, and Lauren on this gorgeous fall day!

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seemed to go right??? Betcha thought I was going to say wrong! Well, today was one of those! I love and NEED days like this one...it's not over yet! Child # 1 STILL has church basketball practice from 9-10pm tonight!!! I am so ready to wash my face, slap on my Mary Kay moisturizer, and put on my jammies! I really don't think my son would appreciate my going to the church gym looking that way! He would totally disown me! So, I'll stay perky a little while longer and share my day with you!

First, let me go ahead and tell you that I have NOT finished studying about Mr. M from my previous post! By the time I've gotten to my Hebrews Bible study after 10ish each night, my eyes are starting to roll! I can't even read through a sentence without forgetting what I just read. So...I will get to it when I get to it. Just let me say that I do know Mr. M was both a prophet and a king and that in some ways prefigured Jesus. I really can't wait to dig into this!
Many of y'all are regulars at Kimberly's blog, A Planting of the Lord. Well, Kimberly and I don't live far from each other. We met today at an undisclosed chicken restaurant--in case Lysa T. is reading this, we don't want her to be mad 'cause there was NO Chick-fil-a in the vicinity. Another friend of mine, Teresa, went with me to do some antiquing as well. We just planned a BIG day! Gas prices were even down---woohoo! Kimberly gave me a coupon for a free meal---double woohoo!!! And one of the biggest woohoo's was that God joined us on this gorgeous fall day. He seasoned our conversation with grace, laughter, and hope. He encouraged us through His wonders and His Word. What I felt was His love and peace.
In Chapter 8 of Lisa Whittle's Book, Behind Those Eyes, she says that God 's love is without pretense, without conditions, and without limits. He loves us with complete abandon! We are a part of His family. He knows us so intimately that it is mind boggling. Sitting there having lunch today reminded me of the love that He has for us. We were able to fellowship with each other, pray with each other, and talk and laugh with each other. I see that as a part of Heaven! Only in Heaven, we won't have to hurry and eat to go get in carpool line! The more I learn about my Heavenly Father, the more amazed I am that He claims me as His own daughter. Wow! Isn't that awesome?

I loved the part in Lisa's book where she talks about God's acceptance of us being so different from the way that the world accepts/rejects us. We sometimes feel judged by those around us. We simply can't compare the world's standards to His. God already knows that He accepts us just as we are...with all of our failures and faults and insecurities, but He wants us to know that--to REALLY know that.

Today, while Teresa and I were driving, she shared with me some things about her childhood and teenage years. Things that she didn't like but things that eventually drove her to see that she needed Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. Bless her heart, she kept saying that she was going to scare me away as her friend by what she shared. She didn't! She is a darling girlfriend!! We've all been judged in some way or the other by the standards of the world, but what matters is if God loves and accepts us--yucky stuff and all--we should do the same for our fellow man---or woman in this case!

The Lord you God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you , he will quiet you with his love. (Zeph. 3:17) I love that He takes "great delight" in each of us! I took delight in being with my precious friends today. I also took delight in His joining us and blessing our time together. He took delight in the fact that we are each different and accept each other just for who we are...children of God. Our hearts are bound together in a shared love and awe of our Abba.

Many Blessings,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who On Earth Is That?

While preparing for our High School Girl's Bible study tonight, I ran across a scripture that I had never noticed before. Check out Hebrews 6:18-20. ..."The order of Melchizedek" was a new one on me! I can barely pronounce this name let alone figure out what it is talking about! So, I pondered it a few minutes, put away the Bible, and waited for my class to come back from music (I subbed today and took my break to prep for tonight! Nothing like waiting until the last minute!).

When I got home, I had a package in the mail!! I love getting packages!! It was a book that I had ordered by Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All. I flipped through it while grabbing a snack to share with my youngest. The pages landed on the table of contents. The name Melchizedek popped up at me! Oh, my word...this book is a study of Hebrews! I quickly flipped to the chapter on this! Coincidence...no way! I prayed to see God today, and He showed up at my house after school!! Love it!!

Melchizedek is mentioned just three times in the Bible---in Genesis, the Psalms, and Hebrews. If you have time, and you want to do a little research along with me:), see what you can find out--the significance of Melchizedek with Christ. I had just a couple of minutes to read, and I am LOVING what I am learning! It is awesome!

I HAVE to run out the door right this very second to get to Bible Study, or I'll be late--and the girls will have eaten all the food for supper! They have wonderful appetites! So, see what you can find out and post it below. I will not read your comments until I have had a chance to study it myself. I'm looking forward to seeing what y'all find out! And, for those of you shaking your head and blessing my heart because I have never heard of this man...it's OK!! I am fine with being a person of my age and still learning oodles about the Bible--it's a great adventure!

Many Blessings,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

MMTR Revisited--Friday, Saturday Updates

Jackie, Cheri, Me, Tracey, and Robin--November 2007

Some of you are aware of my running "passion!" I've been an avid runner for 11 years. I began running the day after I stopped teaching school full-time. I was inspired by the daughter of another kindergarten teacher. I thought, if a 10 year old can run 3 miles, I should be able to as well! Thus, the journey began!!

Fast forward to last February. Two friends of mine and I decided to tackle the Black Mt. Marathon in NC. We trained diligently and were prepared. We arrived at Black Mt. which is a darling little town nestled right beyond Asheville. All of the businesses had signs welcoming the runners--which was really a ploy to entice you to shop in their stores!! We took the bait! The strange thing that the shop owners continued to ask was, "Are you running the short race or the long race?" Well, y'all, I've always considered 26.2 miles "a fer piece!" In addition to the marathon, the Mt. Mitchell Challenge 40 miler was also offered. We had already deemed those people "looney" for attempting anything further than a marathon. Who would do such a thing? But the comments of the short race sorta got under our skin. We ran the marathon, didn't see any bears, and no one fell off the side of the mountain. We had a ball!!

Soon after, something started bouncing around in our heads. Could we possibly attempt and complete something like a "long race?" Hmmm....it even says in Matt. 19:26 that "with God all things are possible." We prayed about it, tossed it around some more, and offered it very tentatively to some other running buddies. We decided to give it a shot...what did we have to lose?

Last July, we began a strict regiment of training...hill work and long runs in the mountains on trails, speedwork on the tracks and regular road runs. We threw in a little bit of biking...not much. There were five of us who decided to give it a go. Three of us lived a few minutes apart, and our other precious friend lived in Roanoke, Va.--5 hours away. The ultra trail run was to take place near Lynchburg, Va. The race director, David Horton, is a Christian, a professor at Liberty University, and an accomplished trail runner himself. He is known throughout the ultra community as a little extreme. He "guesstimates" some of his distances. The race that we were training for, Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50 Miler--MMTR for short--was actually 54 miles. These Horton miles are famous in the Lynchburg area!

Y'all, even with all of the training, we had no idea what to really expect. We were all novices. This can be a little unnerving! We packed up our families and drove to Lynchburg to give it a go! All I can say is that having family support if the only way to try something of this magnitude. I learned many valuable lessons during this time! Another post for those!

We began the race in the dark wearing headlights to see our footfalls...we did start on pavement before we hit the trails. The sun had come up by then. Y'all, the scenery was magnificent, the volunteers just awesome, and the weather nearly perfect. God was simply all over the place! I could tell though that my breathing wasn't quite right...I assumed it had to do with the altitude as we climbed the mountains. The other four girls were doing fine, so I didn't complain. Miles down the trail, I was still struggling with the breathing. Another gal was experiencing stomach difficulties--that's all I'll say! Use your imaginations!! The other three were hanging in there. We continued to be blessed with encouragement throughout the day by seeing our families, our kids, and families of new friends--runners we met along the trail. You can share so much with strangers about your life and your faith while running for hours without interruptions! The majority of trail runners are out there on the trails for the beauty. No car fumes, no crazy drivers, no competitive runners vying for a prize...just the magnificence of the mountains that our Lord spoke into place. If I only ran trails for the rest of my life, I'd be thrilled. The difference is amazing.

Tomorrow, my precious friend (with the stomach issues from last year) is going back to revisit MMTR. She has prepared differently and is so strong! She is awesome. We are all so proud of her! I would just like to encourage you to keep her in your prayers on Saturday--from sunup to sundown. I know that she will finish strong this year. There are many things that she has to drive her. The biggest is a 12 hour cutoff. She will be pulled from the race if she doesn't meet certain timed cutoffs at the aid stations. That happened to three of us last year. By the time they pulled me, I was quite fine with being asked to stop the race! I was worn slap out! The next day, my breathing issues had turned into one of the worst sinus infections ever! But...God is GOOD! He allowed me to run the race..to run with perseverance. I'll be forever grateful to my Holy Father for that!

I found this quote that I shared with Robin--who is running Saturday. I'd like to share it with you. Some of you may have seen it before, but it's SOO good, I want you to see it again!

"You are most fully alive when you are on an adventure with God." Erwin McManus

We can be on an adventure with God everyday, every minute, if we want to. I do!!! How about you?

Thanks so much for lifting up my precious friend in prayer. Her husband, Scott, and our other friend, Jackie, will be with her. They all would appreciate your prayers.
Scott and Robin

Many Blessings,
Friday Afternoon Update! I just spoke with Robin, and she says to please keep the prayers coming! God has already shown up in NC! An hour and a half outside of Lynchburg, they stopped at a rest stop and heard a noise from the car. They are now the proud owners of a new water pump to the tune of $500.00!!!! As Robin said, it could have happened tomorrow in the mountains while Scott was driving from aid station to aid station. Better now than then with no auto parts store for 50 miles. Oh, the rest stop was down the road from a Chevrolet dealership--God's timing and placement are perfect! :)
Saturday Night Update! I just hung up the phone with Robin....she made it!!! Woohoo! My sweet little friend completed all 54 miles of MMTR. Her final time was 11:25.08! She made the twelve hour cutoff. She is thrilled and tired at the same time--imagine!! Thanks to you sweet friends in bloggy land for lifting her up with your prayers! I really do appreciate it, and so does she! I'll try to post a picture next week.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Concealer--Beige #2

Join us at Lelia's blog for this great study!!

After reading these chapters (6 and 7) in Lisa Whittle's book, Behind Those Eyes, I knew that there was much to be said about these topics! Yes, I do wear concealer! It hides the dark circles under my eyes. When asked if you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could take only 2 items with you, what would they be?? Mine would be chapstick and concealer! I know that it SHOULD be water and food, but....a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!!

What things do I conceal? And why? Most of us --if we're honest with ourselves--do have something deeply rooted that we try to conceal. Be it jealousy, insecurity, loneliness or fear...God can see through our facade. He sees into the very depths of our hearts and minds. We can't hide these things from Him. So, why do we try to hide them from others? Lisa had so many great points about this.

I had to smile when I read her section on fear. Her fear is flying in airplanes. It is a control factor. I, too, have a fear of traveling....but it is in cars on BUSY interstates! It stems from a series of accidents that my husband and I were in almost 19 years ago. We were traveling to Tenn. for a wedding. It was in December. Well, Tenn. in December in the Smokey Mountains is lovely...as long as you're not driving!! We were almost to Johnson City. Snow had been falling; it was gorgeous! Then something else began to hit the windshield--ice! Y'all, Southerners have a reputation anyway for not being able to drive in the snow--much less the ice!! We don't own snow chains! We don't have snow plows--just big 'ol trucks that put salt and dirt on our bridges. I can count on one hand how many times we see snow each year! And I don't need four of those fingers!

As hubby and I were on the exit ramp into the town, we realized that our Honda was not exactly hugging the side of the road. We were sorta sliding off the ramp into the grassy (now icy) embankment towards the next 4 lane road. We just kept sliding and sliding! Praise the Lord that no 18 wheelers were coming our way! He regained control of the car...but this was the first of a series of accidents that occurred throughout the weekend. I was never so glad to get back home! Neither of us had control...it was all in Gods' hands. I tried to use that imaginary break that I wish existed on the passenger side of the front seat! I really need it now since our 15 year old is working on his driving skills!

I truly struggle with this fear of lack of control. Even though this incident happened so long ago, it still play fresh in my mind! It hinders my plans to go places with others. If I am driving, I do much better! I'm back in control. There are way too many stories from the last 19 years about this. Satan is having a field day with this bondage of mine! He jumps up and down in glee when I pass up an opportunity because it involves traveling in heavy traffic.

The scriptures that were in these chapters were great! From Psalm 90:14, we hear"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." And from 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." Y'all the only thing that I/you need to fear (respect) is God...and God alone. Lisa has yet another powerful scripture from Revelation 15:4, "Righteous your ways and true, King of the nations! Who can fail to fear you, God,give glory to your Name? Because you and you only are holy,all nations will come and worship you,because they see your judgments are right." (Message)

Lisa states that "our wonderful Savior seeks to comfort us through Scripture when it comes to our fears. He acknowledges that as finite humans, we fear things that we shouldn't. But He has compassion on us because He knows that we do anyway." If we can remember this and hold it close to our hearts, God can and will do a mighty big act on us...we just have to lay that burden at His throne...maybe many times over!

Many Blessings,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trunk or Treat!!

What a beautiful fall day the Lord blessed us with today! And it couldn't have come at a better time! Our church had its first "Trunk or Treat" Fall Festival. For those of you who don't know, car and truck trunks are decorated, and Sunday School classes or groups gave out candy from the trunk to little ones who are dressed up. This was a great church wide activity as well as an outreach to the community.

Each trunk had a theme for its decor! One was a fall scene--complete with a fireplace grill and wooden logs and a fall wreath over it. Another represented an African village--we have some missionaries that will be traveling to Tanzania this summer. One Sunday school class used a football theme--yes, this is college football country! They set up the trunk in tailgating mode! They had coolers of candy to share.
Our Sunday School class chose the theme of "The Wizard of Oz"--basically because we had or knew folks that owned costumes that the characters would wear! (We are working with a budget!!) Anyway, here's Glenda the Good Witch--don't you remember her wearing those sunglasses in the movie???, Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, Tinman, the Wicked Witch of the West and the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East--her sister! This witch happens to be the local PTA president for our middle school!! She is a hoot! I promise that she did NOT lay under the truck but a minute--just to have a photo op!!

What Fall Festival would be complete without food? Ours boasted hot dogs and chili (yummy!!), chips, homemade cookies, and Coke (we call ALL soft drinks COKE down here in SC!) for the low, low price of $3.00. This happened to be where I worked today! All of the money collected will go to missions, and the price of admission into the carnival was a packed shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Y'all it was a great success...God called, and we answered.

(I'm the tallest--my partner in "crime"... be it shopping, decorating, solving the world's problems, prayer warrior, etc. is sporting the pink poodle skirt and pink hair ribbon!)

I hope that your weekend was filled with love from the Lord!

Many Blessings,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trusting in the Lord

Yesterday, we received some news from a friend. For several months, there had been talks of cutbacks in his company. Thousands of jobs across the board--all over the US--would be eliminated. His job was a possibility of those being terminated. I know that many of y'all are seeing the same thing with your family and friends.

We've known him and his family for years. Our families go on vacations together, play sports together, and worship together. God has blessed our friendship. We love them dearly.

This week, God has continuously placed this scripture in my path. It's Jeremiah 17:7-8. "But blessed is the man who trust in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. I read it in several devotionals, heard it in my Bible Study yesterday, and just read in a blog a few minutes ago. I've heard it said that if God gives you the same scripture twice, He's trying to get your attention! I've seen it almost half a dozen times THIS week--and it's only Thursday! God has my attention! I have been trying to discern why this particular scripture at this time. Now, I know. It's actually for my friends! I'll see his wife at a luncheon in just a few hours. Along with hugs, I can give her something more substantial...a Word from God. Isn't that what we all need? To hear from Him? We have to keep the communication lines open all of the time...not just in a crisis. He longs for us to spend time with Him each day. It may not be the same time each day or the same place. He simply desires us...He created us for fellowship with Him. We gladly fellowship with family and friends, but do we always give Him that precious commodity...time?

Our friend texted my husband yesterday at lunch that his job was being terminated...or he could be relocated with the company 1000's of miles away. With their family being here and down in Alabama, they are choosing to stay here. I talked with him last night. He is at peace about it, but he knows that he needs to start searching to see where God can best use him.

Where can God best use us? We don't have to lose a job in order to follow His will for our lives. We simply have to say "yes" to our Redeemer and Creator. He will show us where He wants us...right beside Him.

Many Blessings,

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Challenge To Conquer Cancer (P3C3)

Today, teams of cyclists left Greenville, SC. en route to Texas on a week long journey. Their goal is to raise awareness and funds towards cancer research. There are 30 cyclists creating 5 teams that will ride 24/7. They will cover 1500 miles to Austin, TX.

There are 3 folks on the team--a cyclist, an EMT, and a survivor-- that are close friends of mine. What I would LOVE for ya'll to do for me is to lift the entire team up in prayer throughout the week. I KNOW how much they would appreciate it.

Rob is one of the cyclists on the team. He and his family live down the road from us. Please read his blog to find out all of the details of this event and read about his journey to health. Up until a couple of years ago, Rob was extremely overweight. He began his "journey to health" by going to the YMCA and following a fitness plan and changing his eating style--note....not a diet! Rob went from barely being able to keep up with his children to running marathons! We have watched him get faster and faster with his running and biking. He is amazing! God has truly blessed him and now, Rob is giving back to the community.

Reuben is the EMT on board. He will cover any medical emergencies that the team might have. He is also an accomplished rider and runner. He can take over and ride if a cyclist needs any assistance. Reuben has a heart of gold! Last year, while I was training for an ultra marathon, he called me out of the blue. This was a week before the race. He simply asked if I thought the race director could use his assistance. I told him sure, just to give the race director a call. Well, the day before the race, Reuben called me and said that he was leaving Greenville and headed toward Lynchburg, VA. Y'all, that's a pretty long drive! It's not a hop, skip, and a jump! The next morning on the trail, I heard a familiar voice at one of the aid stations (where volunteers hand out drinks, food, bandages, advil, etc.!) It was Reuben! I was thrilled to see a familiar face out in the middle of a strange mountain trail hundreds of miles from home! Reuben blessed me that day--he was at other aid stations as well! He will allow God to use him this week to bless others.

Jeni is a precious sister in Christ! She is one of my running buddies, biking buddies, and "help me out in emergency" buddies! She is also a cancer survivor. Jeni will be flying to Texas on Thursday to be there to greet the riders and participate in other areas of raising cancer research awareness. Jeni has skin cancer. She's had all three kinds: basal, squamous, and melanoma. She discovered the first one and had surgery to remove it when she was 15.

Jeni's been around water all of her life. She is an accomplished swimmer. As a matter of fact, my sweet little friend was on the Olympic Exhibition Water Polo team in 1992. Jeni is now 38 years old and has had over 87 surgeries. Y'all, that's way too many! God is using her in so many ways. Jeni has such a servant's heart. She's a wife and a mom to twin girls. She works full time at our local YMCA. She is trying to appreciate the body that God gave her as His temple. Jeni feels very blessed. Her goal for P3C3 is to raise awareness for skin cancer through philanthrophy through the Greenville Hospital System. One of her favorite scriptures is Phil. 4:13. "For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." She totally claims this verse; she lives it daily.

(This is NOT my kitchen!!! This is a condo rental at Kiawah Island! Over forty of us had just finished a huge pasta meal before races the next morning. These are some of my darling friends! Jeni is the one on the far right on the second row-next to me.)

I just encourage and thank you for your prayers this week! I went to Rob's blog a while ago, and he has already posted about part of the ride today! Enjoy this gorgeous Sunday that God has given us.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Can't Buy Happiness

I just returned from running errands. Let me tell you about my purchases.

1) I found a pair of darling "reading" glasses for a dollar at Target--for those of you over 40, you know where I'm coming from! They really do make me happy because, not only are they cute, I can see the small print as I type on this computer!! I enjoy, like, and need to see!

2) I used my 30% coupon at New York and Co. to purchase a great little fall outfit. (It looks like a fall ensemble because of the colors, but I can still wear it comfortably when the temps are in the 80's--like TODAY!) I was happy to have the coupon, but the clothes are just clothes. I have way too many in my closet now.

3)I bought some cool gel pens to write my notes for my Bible study. They are fun, but they don't make me happy.

4)I bought an I -Tunes Gift card as a thank you for a stranger who found my youngest son's cell phone. Child#2 dropped it in a huge field on Saturday at a Cross Country meet at a nearby college. This stranger chose to take the time to call the emergency number--my husband--and to locate him in a sea of thousands of people. That brought me joy...his honesty and integrity...what a lesson for my children.

5) I bought an icy cold Coca-Cola--temporary happiness!

6)I witnessed a precious sight while leaving the mall. I feel like it was a little gift from God. It brought me pure joy. I am trying not to cry as I write about it. As I exited the mall into the parking garage, an elderly man was getting out of his car. He looked to be in his eighties. He was parked as close to the entrance as possible. It was in the handicapped section. I smiled and walked onto my car thinking he looks about the same age as my Daddy. (I'll post about him next week!). I saw his bride in the front of the car. Her hair was lovely and white as snow. He was opening the trunk when I walked by. I kept walking to my mama mini van--a woman on a mission before school let out! As I pulled out of my parking space and drove by the couple, I was so blessed! Y'all, he hadn't pulled out a package out of the trunk to return in a store as I thought he might. He had pulled out his bride's wheelchair from the trunk of the car. He was wheeling his lovely bride--with her pocketbook in tow!!--up to the doors for an afternoon of shopping. It so reminded me of my Daddy and Mama.

Mama suffered from a stroke 9 years ago. Daddy went through the wheelchairs and shopping and hair day and going out to eat as part of her therapy. It was time of stress and not being sure about things in our family. It was not a happy time at all; it was a scary time. But, God is SO good. Mama recovered almost 100%. It was and still is such a blessing from Him. Seeing this gentleman and his bride brought me that same joy that it brought watching how tenderly and lovingly Daddy was (and still is) with Mama. Joy...pure joy that ONLY can come from our Heavenly Father.

Please join me at Lelia's blog for the continued discussion of a chapter called "Ms. Happiness." In her book, Behind Those Eyes, author Lisa Whittle talks about how you cannot tell if a person is happy or not by the smile that they wear. Sometimes smiles are masks hiding the truth that is underneath. True joy comes from within when we are operating in our life in the way that pleases God. That's what I want! Joy...pure joy from the Holy Spirit. Happiness is but for a short time, but joy is forever. It doesn't change even though our circumstances might. Call on Him. He will fill you with joy.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. (1 Peter 1:8)

Many Blessings,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Great Charade--Ms.Confidence

I am extremely late in posting my response to Tuesday's Bible study! Sorry! We are discussing Behind Those Eyes by Lisa Whittle through Lelia's blog. I hurriedly read through the first few pages of this chapter. (I've been in a hurry all week it seems!) Then I read this poem that really hit home. It's by an unknown author and is just wonderful!

"A Strong Woman vs. a Woman of Strength"
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape...
But a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape.
A strong woman isn't afraid of anything...
But a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear.
A strong woman won't let anyone get the best of her...
But a woman of strength gives the best of her to everyone.
A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future...
But a woman of strength realizes life's mistakes can also be God's blessings and capitalizes on them.
A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face...
But a woman of strength wears grace.
A strong woman walks sure-footedly...
But a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.
A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey...
But a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.
Y'all, I believe the author wrote that just for me! I want that strength that makes me confident in Christ all of the time. The scripture reference that Lisa used of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 drove the message home.
6If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I'd still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I'll spare you. I don't want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you'd encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.
7-10Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Yesterday, my son ran in a cross country race. He just started running a few months ago, and he has improved his time in the 5K race (3.1 miles) quite a bit. It's really fun to watch him and his teammates. He has confidence in himself and his running abilities. We remind him that these abilities are gifts from God. God needs to get the glory for his achievements. Well, sometimes he remembers, sometimes he doesn't! Sharing this with close family and friends is fine, but we've also told him that if he is going to boast, it should be in the Lord.
While he was running yesterday, the message behind this scripture came into play. He was running a strong race at mile two when we spotted him. He was positioned right behind the runner on his team who is just a little faster. Everything looked good for a strong finish. I was confident that he would do well!
Fast forward to the last tenth of mile...the fastest runner from our team crossed the finish line. My son should have been next. But..another runner on his team finished, then another, and another! I was eagerly looking for my child to come over the last hill...not stressing, but I was wondering what was going on. Then, as he crested the hill, I saw his hand pressing into his side. He was struggling with a side stitch . We encouraged him to finished strong as he ran past my husband and me. After he exited the finish line shoot, we went over to see what happened. He said that his side started hurting, and he struggled with breathing and nausea (the joys of running fast!) His time was off just by a minute or so, and he still ran a great race on a very tough and hilly course. There were no excuses, he simply had a bad race. You can have all of the confidence in the world, but there are "thorns in the flesh" we have to deal with daily. If we put our hope and our strength in God, He will walk us through these obstacles day by day. In our weakness, we will become stronger and more confident in Him--not ourselves. I believe that this lesson came alive for my family yesterday.
Many Blessings,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Blogging Time

I have come to realize that I spend quite a bit of time on the computer--a tool that usually aggravates me because it doesn't do what I want it to do ( sorta like my kids!). My children and hubby have made comments about my time on it and blogging. I have also noticed that some of you in bloggy land are experiencing the same issues. I really do need to be cleaning bathrooms and dusting now, but I have been a sponge for the past hour reading some wonderful blogs!

The blogs that attract me are those that are related to our walk with the Lord, sports--particularly running, and cute home decorating ideas. The first one that I mentioned are the ones that tend to grab my attention first.

Sunday school is only an hour. At our church, preaching is only for an hour. Bible studies are the same--one hour! Y'all, I crave more! I want more of Jesus! I want to see, hear and experience Him not only during those times and my quiet time, but also through your writing! I glean so much from your blogs! Some are deep; others are lighter. I need both! I want to comment on each one that I read, but I don't always have the time. But, I do want you to know, that I am learning from your writing...and to me, that's another way to spend precious time with Him.

So, I want to thank those of you whose blogs I read that fill me with thoughts of Him to ponder and pray about during my day. We're all on this journey of life together, and God allows us to learn from each other. Y'all are just precious!

Blessings,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Adventure With God

Hey, everybody!

It's been a busy week!! Only one post, and that was done late at night with my eyes starting to cross! But God is good, a new day has come!

For those of you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I have listened to God's promptings--after many times of ignoring Him. He laid upon my heart to pray about a women's ministry at our church. After MUCH MUCH prayer--thank you!!!--and planning, our FIRST leadership team meeting took place this afternoon. Now, no church meeting in the South would be done properly without food! I only asked these sweet little things to bring their favorite dessert! Yummy!!! I tasted several goodies and I have to say, these girlfriends can cook! We prayed, discussed, laughed, ate, and came up with several things that I think the Lord is pleased with. He is just so good! Although we would simply love to jump in head first and start doing things OUR way, we know that we must "Apply your (our) heart to instruction and your (our) ears to words of knowledge." Proverbs 23:12 We have to wait for Him and His perfect timing--not ours. For women, in particular, this is NOT easy! So, our joy is to stay in His Word and pray and seek His truth for this, His ministry at our church. I'll let y'all know what happens next!! We're working on the logo now...I am so loving this!!

We came up with a name for this ministry as well. It's"Growing In Grace" based on John 15:5. It fits perfectly. We are like the branches attached to the deeply rooted vine. We are reaching out into our church family--to new members as well as visitors searching for Him or for a new church home. Those branches are also stretching further out into our community. I am so excited about God's plan! I found this quote that I want to share with you. "You are most fully alive when you are on an adventure with God."---Erwin McManus. Don't you just love this?

Bloggy friends, please keep this baby ministry in prayer as it matures and grows according to God's perfect will. Thank you!!!

Blessings,

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ms. Perfection...Not!

Hey, y'all! I'm posting tonight--and I am NOT a night person--about Ms. Perfection! She is the perfect woman who lives in most of us. She's the one that we want our family and friends to see each day--happy, under control, organized, etc. The Martha Syndrome has hit many of us squarely in the face and head! But what about our hearts? Deep down, we know our failures, our disappointments, our disillusionments ( I know, big word for a Kindergarten teacher!)

I'm studying Lisa Whittle's book, Behind Those Eyes, through Lelia's blog. Please feel free to get a copy of the book and join us through the next chapters--they're great!

I was trying to just pinpoint one example of my lack of perfection....there are way too many to blog about! Last week, I began a new Bible study at a nearby church. I was very excited about attending and learning more about God's Word. Y'all, the ladies were sweet and so helpful. I received my packet of materials--extremely thick-think 20,000 or so pages--just kidding! No, there were several hundred. I was seated in front row where there was no table--I did get there early enough to sit behind a table, but I was busy visiting with some girls I hadn't seen in years, and the good seats got taken quickly!! Can you relate? Anyway, I sat down with the stack of materials balanced precariously on my legs. I had my Bible on top of that. My pocketbook--huge and silver--was squished up beside me in the chair. My bookbag was on the floor--it contained the usual--reading glasses for TINY print (can I get an AMEN from those of you following me here?), gum, pens, pencils, highlighters, mints, kleenex, water bottle and chapstick. You know, the normal bookbag stuff!

We began the class with prayer and introduced ourselves. Then we got down to business--the lesson! The teacher asked us to get out our materials and turn to page whatever. So, the process of perfectly getting my things organized began. Then...the unthinkable happened. Yep...it was moi! Those 20.000 sheets of paper tilted when I leaned over to get something from my bookbag. They hit the floor...sorta in a fan shape. Can you see this with me? At another time in my life, I would have been mortified! Just DIED of embarrassment right there in front of thirty women that I had just met! They could see through my pretense...they saw the real me! Clumsy and unorganized!

But you know what? I simply said " Well, we knew that someone was going to do this! It might as well have been me!" I laughed and began to pick up my mess --then I had to rearrange the papers in numerical order--still some perfectionism going on!!! One lady slipped out of the class and returned oh so quietly with an empty binder in her hands! She placed it on my pile and gently smiled at me! Oh, how precious was that grace that she just poured over me!

After class, the darling senior citizen lady beside me ( who was dressed in her best Sunday outfit along with heels and jewelry --precious!!) introduced herself to me. She said, "Your honesty is just simply refreshing!"

Hmmm.....refreshing....honesty....that's what God is trying to get us to see within ourselves. No, we're not perfect. It has taken me years to be able to laugh at myself---sometimes I still cry! But my Heavenly Father loves me just as I am...flaws and all. And that's how I love my family and friends....flaws and all.

Good night, y'all!

Many Blessings,

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Race For the Cure 5K

Hey, y'all! Today was the Race for the Cure in Greenville, SC. Approximately 6,000 folks participated in the run or walk. Years ago, when it first began, there might have been 500. I was just amazed at the number of people there this morning--and the amount of the traffic trying to park!!

It was extremely humid this morning--at 95% humidity! Once my hair got wet from the sweat, it never did dry out! Gotta love this weather!

I ran with part of our Team Dirty Feet. We did NOT have dirty feet today since we didn't run this on trails--only roads.




That's me, Scott, and Robin. And, no, Robin and I did not call each other last night to coordinate the matching running ensembles! Today is also Scott and Robin's 5th wedding anniversary! Happy anniversary you two!!

As the 3.1 mile race began, I realized how long it had been since I had done a race of this distance. The further along I got into the race, the more it reminded me that I truly do not like this short distance! It is a sprint....that's all! How hard can you run for 3 miles? Yuck! There is no beautiful scenery to take in, no mountains to climb, no snakes to look out far. Oh, we did have hills--mile 2 was nothing but an uphill! So, while I was having a pity party about how much I disliked this and that, I glanced over to the other side of the median (we were running in an enclosed business park loop)where I saw the noncompetitive runners and walkers. They were smiling, laughing, encouraging each other, and having fun--the way I usually do on a trail. I saw a precious friend of mine, Laurie, who is a cancer survivor walking with a group of friends that I had not seen in ages. We exchanged "hello's!" and "love you's" from a short distance. (Here we are! She looks great!)

Then, I saw another runner, a young girl with a prosthetic leg. She was smiling and running with her friends as well. What an inspiration. I realized that I knew who she was and remembered her story. She and some friends had been at the lake a couple of years ago swimming when she somehow got her leg caught in the motor of the boat. Her friend's dad saved her life, but her high school running days were over. Today, I watched her run with an awkward gait but with a huge smile on her face!

I then thought to myself .... I had no right to have a "pity party" with all of the beautiful moments going on around me. This race was not about me. It was about the wonderful moms, daughters, aunts, friends and grandma's who had struggled with this monster called cancer. Some had beaten it; others had not. I ran with two pieces of pink paper on my back. One listed girlfriends that I ran in honor of, and the other, ones I ran in memory of. That was what this celebration was all about.

Romans 12:12 says for us to "be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." God tells us that there will be pain in this broken world. We know the story of Adam and Eve, and the choices that were made in the garden of Eden. But, we are encouraged to be patient in that affliction. Those who endured chemo and radiation learned quickly what patience is all about. Sitting in a carpool line--or even the long unending line for parking this morning--is nothing compared to what they had to go through. Patience...patience...patience.

I'm sure that these survivors and their families prayed fervently along with prayer chains from churches all over. We should be faithful with our prayers in the good times as well...not just the emergencies. We must keep an open communication with our Lord. If we read His Word daily and pray throughout the day, we are being faithful in prayer.

Finally, the joy on the faces of the women and their families was contagious. A family from our church was there to run in honor of wife, mom, and grandmom, Linda, who had beaten the disease. It was so good to see her family and fellowship with them.

These realizations changed my attitude from " I am not having fun... I am so ready to be done... I hate to sprint up a hill." to "Thank you , Lord, for these precious women and their loved ones." and "Father, please comfort those whose loved ones are now with You."

I'll leave you with this thought today...How has your attitude been lately?

Enjoy this wonderful weekend! I need to take a shower!!!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lessons Learned at Wal-Mart--#1

Yep....I had to go there this morning. One of my least favorite places to shop. There was no way getting around it. Duty--and a budget--calls! The dreaded weekly trip to Wal-Mart. And, I will apologize now to any of you sweet things out there who work at WM because I know you are not at the one where I shop! You are not the ones who grunt at you in line rather than ask" How are you today?" You are not the ones who totally ignore you while you carefully arrange over a hundred and fifty dollars worth of food, dog food, cleaning products, paper products, etc. on the conveyor belt while praying that your eggs don't get broken or your bananas squished as they are tossed into those thin plastic bags. You are not the ones who stand around talking in a circle while I am searching desperately for a checkout line that accepts over 20 items--I have over 120 items. I am NOT the person you want to be behind in line. You will stand there forever waiting on me and my 120 items. There are so many empty registers and so many workers...hmm...just pondering the reasoning behind that.

OK, enough said. Many of us have suffered through that before. I experience it weekly. So, I have asked God to help me with a project. I guess I can call it "Project Wally-World". As I drive into a parking space, I turn off the car and pray. I ask Him to give me patience and a chance to see Him in the store. Who better to take shopping with you than God??

I made it in and out of the store in under an hour today--new record! I still had not seen His presence. As I pulled carefully out of the parking spot--making sure not to run over any sparrows hopping around eating crumbs--I noticed a darling little girl and her daddy. She must have been around 3. They were exiting the store, and she had her little WM bag clutched tightly in her hand. Being that those are THIN bags, I recognized a coloring book in her one little bag. She was holding her daddy's hand and swinging the bag with the other. Y'all, her daddy was a very tall man. Her little legs couldn't keep up with his, but she was trying. A car was coming towards them--looking for that perfect place to park! As hard as she could, those legs just weren't getting her across the pedestrian crossing fast enough. Lovingly, her daddy scooped her up in his arms and carried her the rest of the way.

Do we let our Heavenly Daddy scoop us up when we simply can't keep up with life? Or do we try to do it all by ourselves? I encourage you, sweet friends, to give it to Him and go along for a ride on his Heavenly shoulders. What a view you will have!!!
"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." Psalm 62:1 NIV

Many Blessings,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just Curious...

Believe it or not, this is going to be a short post by me in order to give you the floor to share! I emailed this question to one of my bloggy friends, and I thought that I would just post it and see what y'all have to say about this.

As I grow closer to God, I want to spend more time in His Word and in prayer. Sometimes, His precious Words go right over my little 'ol head. I do have access to concordances and commentaries--so that does help. What I want to know is how do you describe your quiet time? How do you discern His Word? How long have you been faithfully studying--not just in a Bible study-like Beth Moore, etc.--but truly reading and learning on your own about His wonders, His precepts, and His love for us? Just curious!

Many blessings,

Friday, September 19, 2008

"I Wear My Sunglasses at Night..."

Did you know that the moon casts shadows? I realized that quite early this morning as I went out for my run. I opened the front door to be greeted by a brilliant light! The moon was just gorgeous and shone brightly on the road. I felt confident in my footfalls on the pavement--I could actually see any potholes! Then, of course, songs started going through my head! "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night," and "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" just sorta stayed with me until I finished my run.

Do you ever get something just stuck in your head--a song, an old conversation that should have gone a different way, a situation that has not even occurred yet? Sometimes, while I'm running, this happens (especially when my ipod is NOT working!!). It can be quite aggravating unless it is something positive. It does help to pass the time while I'm chalking up miles.

What I have come to realize is that the best thoughts to put in your head are from Jesus :). If I can focus on having a conversation with Him, I feel like my time has been well spent. You see, I'm getting into high mileage now in preparation for an upcoming marathon. In order to run and finish strong, I have to train diligently---or else I'll bonk! I have bonked too many other times, and it is not fun! (Running out of energy due to lack of hydration, calories, or not enough practice is considered bonking.) So, I am in "guilty" mode at the moment. I really needed to finish cleaning my house and pack--we're going to visit my parents this weekend after another cross country meet. I didn't accomplish those chores yet. I DID get my long run in for the week--which I know is important. Chores were neglected, but I did spend some quality time talking to God!

Have you had some quality time with Him this week? This day? What did you talk about? And even more importantly, what did He say? Carve time from your busy day to spend with Him! It thrills Him when we do! "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

Many blessings,