Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Peace

Tonight is the big night, the last night of 2011 and the dawn of 2012. Facebook is full of New Year's wishes and promises that the next year will be even better than the last.

No doubt you have given at least a thought or two about the new year, what you want to do differently, what you want to be better about, an old habit that you desire to abandon. Maybe you even have some great God-centered resolutions for the new year, to read your Bible through, to begin a new study, to be more missions minded.

The truth is, we have no control over anything in the new year. We don't know what 2012 holds for us. We can't dictate what will happen and we really can't even predict how we will respond to whatever 2012 holds. We never focus on the negative of what could happen, we just assume it is all good.

Even those things we think we can control- our attitudes and actions, are subject to a power beyond ourselves. John 15:5 is very clear, apart of Christ we can do nothing, no thing, nothing.

Personally, I have great peace that in the new year that God will supply all my needs in His riches through Christ. I have great peace in the truth that He will equip me to do whatever He may ask me to do in 2012. I have great peace that God is God, sovereign in all and over all. I have great peace as I submit my plans to His.

He is already in 2012. He has control over whatever He already knows will happen. He is prepared to help us handle whatever He has ordained for us in 2012.

We can trust our good God. We can face the new year in His perfect peace.

Friday, December 30, 2011

End Of Year Peace

The morning news shows are all wrapping up the week with year-end reviews of trends and news stories that define 2011. People use this time of year to reflect on the happenings and the lessons of the past 12 months. There is more than just a nostalgia about this time of remembering. The introspection can be educational and therapeutic. After all, didn't someone smart and famous say that if we do not learn from the past then we are destined to repeat it?

I have been so busy this fall and into the holiday season I had not had much time for this kind of thinking. Then someone close to me pointed out that my year had been really hard. I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess the puzzled look across my face gave my thoughts away and she began to recount some of the events of the last year.

Even now I could list the trials that God ordained for my life in 2011, but my motivation would not be to lament over the year's difficulties, but rather to praise my Savior for bringing me through each one. I want to look back and see Him glorified, not me as some martyr who survived.

The truth is that I do not have to look far to find someone who has been brought through so much worse. Actually, I am blessed to see many of my trials finished, while there are others still bearing harder, heavier burdens.

My year-end peace is not in the completion of a "hard" year or the resolution to some hard times. My peace is in the One who orchestrated each step of the journey I can label 2011. My peace is in the fact that this year, this life isn't at all about me.

Yes, I will spend some time looking back this weekend, but it won't be about my year -what I did or didn't do. I want to spend the time reflecting about what God has done this year. I want to rest in the peace that He has been intimately involved in my life and the truth that He isn't finished with me yet.

Please feel free to post a reflection on how God has shown Himself to you in 2011.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post Christmas Peace

Oh Wow!

I wish you could see my house right now. Talk about transparency! It is 11:00 at night and we have just returned from our final Christmas celebration with my Ohio family. The carnage is everywhere. There is not a room untouched by the wreckage that was our celebrating, packing and returning.

The living room has piles of clean laundry waiting to be put away. The hall is piled with opened gifts awaiting a new home. There is still a pile of empty action figure wrappings in the den beside an obviously played with dollhouse. The dishes in the dishwasher are clean, but there remains a pile to take their place once the clean ones have vacated the machine.

I checked. I have 48 unread, unanswered emails. There are work issues that wouldn't go away over the holiday. I did buy some things for better organization in the new year, but there is a big difference between having them bought and having put them to use. And I am two days behind in my Bible reading plan.

The girls fell asleep in the car and easily made the transition to pajamas and bed. Wally is resting his weary, interstate blurred eyes. The house is a wreck, but wonderfully quiet. Despite the turmoil and upheaval all around me. There is peace.

This peace is more than my babies sleeping or the lack of noise. It is obviously not from a completed to-do list and an orderly, well-put-together house. Yes, there are all kinds of church political issues and sticky situations, so it isn't about the perfect ministry position. Those things would all be nice, but this peace is not found in any of those wonderful things.

I am at peace with my Creator. The God of the Universe and I are on good terms. His Son has made it so.

The important things are in order. There is peace.

Now, I am going to bed! Night!

Friday, December 23, 2011


What inspires you? Exhilarates you? Motivates you? Invigorates you? A fun shopping spree? Eating yummy food? Hanging out with friends? A long nap? A good book? A funny movie? A good workout?

Who inspires, exhilarates, motivates, invigorates you? A good friend? Your sister? Husband? Children? Famous movie star or celebrity? Godly mentor? Biblical teacher or speaker?

Where do you go to for inspiration?

I am working at Pier 1 Imports and so many people come into the store saying “I am looking for some inspiration” or “I need to be inspired”. I know what they meant…for sure they were not looking for spiritual inspiration….they were looking for ideas for decorating their Christmas tree or setting their tables or their Christmas gift-giving. However, every time I hear a customer say they want “inspiration” I could not help pondering the thought of people everywhere craving inspiration.

What we all need is not just inspiration but Godly inspiration. Unfortunately, I often find that instead of looking to be inspired by God and His Word….I look everywhere else for that inspiration.

AND…..since we are on the topic of inspiring…..Who do you inspire? Who do I inspire? Do we realize and/or remember that there are people all over the place looking and needing to be inspired? Oh, how I want to be one who inspires! One who inspires others for godliness.

Lord, I long to be inspired by You and for You. May Your Word be our inspiration and may we use Your Word to inspire others. You are Emanuel, God with us!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monkey Bread

If you could see me now!! I am propped up in the bed….under covers with pillows behind me. Notebook, pen, recipe cards, books, magazines, coupons and lists all around me. What to make this week? What to eat? Cook? Decisions, decisions!!

There is one decision I for sure do NOT have to make—we are having Monkey Bread (see recipe below) Christmas morning!! It is a tradition! We always have Monkey Bread for Christmas!! Even when we were in a third world country last Christmas we figured out a way to have Monkey Bread even without a normal oven and dishes and ingredients!!

I wonder….if our family had Monkey Bread more often…..say every week or month…..would we love it as much? Would we grow tired of it? Not anticipate it? Not be excited about it? If it became a daily or weekly or monthly fare would we become ho-hum about it?

This got me thinking….thank God that we can eat of the Bread of Life daily, hourly and never grow tired of it! Or do we? We can sit at His banquet table and feast and never grow weary of it. Or can we?

Thank God that His mercies are new every day!! Every day!! We will never get tired of new things about Him!! Or do we? Perhaps that is why the persecuted church is thriving? They would LOVE to be able to “eat” whenever they wanted to….where the American Church takes it for granted?

Let’s take a quick evaluation and see if we are guilty of becoming “used” to the menu, or think we are “full” enough or just tired of it and seek His forgiveness! Then EAT!! Feast on His Word!

Here’s the recipe for Monkey Bread!
4 cans biscuits, quartered—regular kind, not flaky, etc.
2 sticks butter, melted
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cup brown sugar
Mixture of cinnamon and sugar--to taste--maybe a tsp of cinnamon 1 or 1/2 cup sugar

Grease Bundt pan (or spray with Pam). Preheat oven to 325. Cut can of biscuits into quarters. Shake in zip lock bag with cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Continue with other cans of biscuits. Put biscuits into Bundt pan. Mix butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Pour over biscuits. Bake 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes. Turn over on to dish and serve warm! Yummy!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Well, I am still doing some packing in preparation for moving.  Yesterday was just an awful day.  My husband and I decided to walk through each room and make sure we had "depersonalized" it.  Then, we started trying to decide what items we would need to take with us for the next few weeks.  I admit up front I was not a happy person and did a little crying.  Everytime I walked by the kitchen I grabbed a handful of chocolate.  Seriously, this is Christmas and my house should be decorated.  I should be preparing for friends and family.  Instead, I am preparing to move.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I love decorating and choosing gifts for people.  I love the parties and having family and friends into our home.  However, this year our house depersonalized and honestly, a little depressing. 

However, one precious thing happened.  My husband portrayed Joseph last week at our church's Parent Night Out.  I decided to stop "decluttering" and packing and go with him.  Seeing the children laughing and their excitement helped my spirits.  Before we left, the children made a presentation to us-a handcrafted Christmas tree of their handprints on posterboard. 

Girlfriends, this Christmas tree proudly sits in the corner of our house.  It reminds me that Christmas is not about the parties and gifts.  It is about the birth of our Savior and Lord who personally thought of us on that first Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

As I mentioned the other day in my post, God is moving us to a new church back in Arkansas.  We just returned last night from setting up his new office and checking out our temporary housing.  Two things I already know:  my husband has too many books and even though I know the Little Rock area, I will get lost trying to find the house where we will be living for a while.  I think I am just going to check with my doctor to see if they have a chocolate IV available.

Speaking of chocolate . . . I had so much fun last week.  Lana, at the TBC, provided a chocolate brunch for me.  It was so special to see some of you.  As I said I do not like goodbyes but this time allowed me to have some closure to my time in Tennessee.  Girlfriends, you will never know how much you mean to me.

Anyway, I want to keep on the subject of moving.  The packing of material possessions and getting paperwork in order can be so stressful.  Personally, I have so much to do to get ready for our house to be staged and up on the market.  Thankfully, it is just the two of us now, but at one time we also had to deal with our two sons and their emotional needs during a move.

If you do have children, you know that change can be difficult.  You need to keep a schedule of some kind.  You have to prepare their little hearts for the big move.  I am no expert on the subject children or moving but I can share some tips I learned over the years.

*Depending on your children's ages, talk to them.  Let them be part of the discussion and allow them to pray with you about the move. 
*Let them know it is okay to be sad.  My boys saw me cry with each move and sometimes we all cried together.
*Show excitement about the "new" journey ahead.  If possible make a trip ahead of time to just look at new area.  Find things that will be fun to explore like parks, zoos, etc.  For instance, one small town we lived in had a local wildlife zoo, a nature walk, and huge children's playground. 
*If possible when visiting the church, let your children meet kids their age.  When our boys were in second and fifth grades, we were able to go to one weekend to a church we were in the early stage of talking with.  A wonderful man in the church set up a pizza party for my boys and invited boys from the church to come too.  When we were leaving town, my oldest son said, "Even if we do not move here, I have new friends in my life."  (We did move to this church and on the first day, my boys were off running around with their new friends).
*If your children are small, read them Berestein Bears Moving Day
*If you are having to sell a house and live in temporary housing, allow your children to select some of their favorite items to pack in a special box to carry with them.  Even parents may want to do the same.  As I said we will be living in furnished temporary housing and really do not need to take anything with us.  However, I am packing a few of a favorite books, photos, pictures, and blanket because I need those items to help me feel more settled.
*If you are going straight to a new house or parsonage, allow your children to walk through the home and show them where their rooms will be.  Create excitement by allowing your child to suggest where they would like to put their bed and toys.

As I said these suggestion are what worked for us over the years.  My sons are now married adults and function fairly normal (considering who their mom is).  If you have children and have moved from one church to another, maybe you have some suggestions that might help some of our cyber sisters.  Please take time to share them by leaving a comment.

Monday, December 12, 2011

That Four Letter Word

I'm homeless at the moment.  Well, maybe I am not literally homeless.  Okay, I am in transition.  In other words, God has called my husband and I to a new ministry back in Arkansas.  Yep girlfriends, I am experiencing that four letter word that every minister's wife has a love/hate relationship with-MOVE.

When that four letter word was first uttered early in the fall, my first reaction was to tell God and my husband "absolutely not!" We were slowing getting our house refloored, my parents were not well, and I just did not want to move again.  However, over the next few months, God worked on my heart and started revealing that this move was part of His plan for us. 

Girlfriends, moving is a tough experience.  No amount of chocolate in the world can soothe the heartbreak of leaving people who become your "family".  When you see congregations through births, baptisms, a natural disaster, and deaths, you become connected.  However, I do not want to end this post on a down note.  As much as I hate that four letter word, a move can be an exciting time as well.

First, a move is God's way of stretching your faith.  When the pulpit committee makes first contact, you really have to listen to what God is saying.  You have to put aside your own selfishness and seek His desires.  In other words, a move draws you closer to the Father.

Second, a move opens doors to a new part of your ministry.  Think back on some of your own moves.  Can you connect the dots of how a move opened a doorway to a new path that you might have missed if you did not follow God's will?  For example, if I had not moved to Nashville, I would never have met Lana Rose at the state convention office, been able to work on some of the ministry teams through the state convention, or be honored to be a Prime Rib blogger.  I would have never met many of you across the state who are chocoholics like me!  Oh, my life would be so empty if God had not moved us to Tennesee.

Third (and don't laugh), a move allows you to clear out the junk.  It is the one time when we go through closets, drawers, boxes, shelves, the garage and dejunk.  Goodwill, Salvation Army, and the garbage collector become our best friends during the moving process. 

So you see, girlfriends, a move does not always have to be a dreaded four lettered word.  We do not have to like it but we should welcome it.  Besides, Christians never really should say goodbye because this is just our temporary home. 


Friday, December 9, 2011

There's Something About That Name

One of the joys of expecting a newborn baby is the fun we have in choosing just the right name to call our bundle of love. It’s always interesting to see what the “Top Ten” boy and girl names are for any given year. Popular baby names come and go; one year a certain name may be well liked by moms and dads, and the next year it may at the bottom of the list.

I remember when my husband and I were trying to decide on names for our girls. We named our oldest daughter Ashley; I had always loved that name, which incidentally means “meadow”. Our youngest daughter we named Arianna, which means “very holy one”. At that time, I never really researched what their names meant, we just knew what we wanted to call our little princesses.

While it was insignificant to us what our children’s names meant, the many names of Jesus have great significance. During this season of advent, we often reflect on some of the names of our Savior, and what glorious names they are. In Isaiah 7:14, He is referred to as "Immanuel", which means “God is with us”. Wow! God did come to be with us, born as a tiny baby to Mary and Joseph. And God is still with us in the presence of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of our hearts.

I love the roll call of awesome names in Isaiah 9:6. He is a “Wonderful Counselor” who counsels and comforts our souls. He is a “Mighty God” who is pictured as being strong, victorious, and sovereign over all. He is the “Everlasting Father” who is and was and is to come, the eternal One who has no end or beginning. He is the “Prince of Peace” who is the only One who gives us perfect peace when we draw near to Him. It brings me great joy to know that He embodies all these attributes and so many more!

Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote a song a few years ago titled “There’s Something About That Name”; it is a beautiful song expressing the reverence, yet loveliness of the name of Jesus. Ladies, as we think about the birth of Christ during this time of year, take some time to reflect on some of His names in the Scriptures, and just worship Him for all that He is.

YES, . . .There Is Something About That Name!

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Special Night

Have you ever imagined what it must have been like, the night that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ was born? In that small, smelly little stable in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago, the world’s greatest birth took place. The King of all Creation made His entrance into this dark, sin-cursed world, fulfilling the prophecy of Micah who said, “But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)

To a humble clan of shepherds watching over their sheep that night, it may have started out like any ordinary night. Little did they know that they were about to receive some news that would literally change the world. An angel from heaven appeared to them in the still, dark sky and the glory of God surrounded them as the angel proclaimed, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

Yes, on that glorious night we received our precious Savior who had come to save us, to redeem us, to bring us back to God! What a night that must have been, and perhaps before the shepherds could fully process what was being said to them , the angel was joined by a great company of angels who praised and gave glory to the Lord saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14)

There have been many wonderful hymns written about that night, such as “Silent Night”, “O Holy Night”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, and “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”. All of these classic songs pay tribute to a night that was like no other. Have you ever stopped to think about the night that Jesus was born? Have you pondered what it must have been like, and how you would have felt if you were one of the shepherds receiving the glorious news?

During this Christmas season, maybe you might like to read the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke Chapter 2, and then close your eyes and imagine that you were there. As you meditate on this passage, may the Holy Spirit give you a new found joy and appreciation for that most sacred night when God manifested His love to us by sending His only begotten Son.

"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world."
1 John 4:14

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lord, What Am I Suppose To Do?

This is for all you dear precious ladies who are new to the role of minister’s/pastor’s wife.........

I remember those early days fourteen years ago when my husband was first called to be a minister. I remember feeling excited for him; now that I was a minister’s wife I wondered, “Lord, what am I suppose to do?” It was a new world for both of us, but the one thing I did know at that time was that no matter what, I would be a support for my husband as he did the work of the Lord.

As I mentioned in my introductory blog a few weeks ago, before my husband was called to be a senior pastor, he served as a minister in another church for seven years. He had various duties that he performed, and he became a leader in several capacities. I remember assisting with baptisms and helping to prepare for communion, but I had no “formal” duties. Yet during those years I began to spend more time in God’s Word, participating in Bible studies, and striving to grow as a Christian.

When my husband was called to be a senior pastor at a different church, I was excited then too, but still feeling to an even greater degree, “Lord, what am I suppose to do?” Now that I was a pastor’s wife, I wondered if I should get involved in as many church activities as possible and do all I could to be a “good pastor’s wife”. That would have been a formula for becoming burned out very quickly. Thankfully, a seasoned pastor gave me some advice a few months after I began my journey in this role. He told me to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me regarding which ministries to participate in, because no one can do it all. That wise counsel has been a blessing to me ever since. Over these last seven years I have prayed and ask the Lord to lead me where He wants me to serve. It’s amazing to see that as we are lead by Him, He shows us that some things we do for a season, and some things may be life-long commitments.

If you are a student of the Word, you probably already know that the Scriptures are silent when it comes to spelling out the duties of a minister’s/pastor’s wife. So my dear friends who are new to the ministry, allow the Holy Spirit to be your counselor and let him show you where you are to serve Him and His people. In my blog in November titled “Can We Talk About Gifts”, I expounded on spiritual gifts; serve based on how He has gifted you. Then you will not have to wonder. . ."Lord, what am I suppose to do?” The Holy Spirit will show you where to go to work.

“For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pouring Rain

What a week! When it rains it pours……literally!!! Sunday morning I got up to take a shower and there was no hot water and four people in the house had to take showers to go to church. We all took lukewarm showers and survived.

Our church is 32 miles from church so usually on Sundays we stay at church and do not come home. That was the case this Sunday also. Later that night as we were driving home, we were dreading having to deal with no hot water.

We got home and found our bathroom wet. Apparently there was a leak in the roof and water was dripping from the ceiling. I might also mention that a couple of weeks ago, we were having drain problems, so my husband went under the floor to fix it and discovered that our spare bathroom had had a leak and had major problems. To make a long story short, all of the flooring and the sheet rock had to be torn out and everything totally re-done. The spare bathroom is about half-way finished since Roger and our neighbor are working on it at night, after work. That being said, this meant that BOTH bathrooms had issues.

On top of all of that, my husband has a history of kidney stones that usually do not pass on their own without the aide of some type of surgery. His kidney has been hurting since Sunday.

The ceiling probably decided to leak because it is FLOODING in East Tennessee. The rain began Sunday and by Monday, the schools were let out early because the creeks had risen. (Also, let it be noted that once again I took a not-so-fun COLD SHOWER.)

We have Christmas in a few weeks and the wedding a couple of weeks after that and it is CRAZY at the Britton House. All I could do was just sit down and laugh. Welcome to our world! I know that God has a sense of humor and sometimes I think he loves putting us on the end of the yo-yo and watching us go up and down just to see how we handle it all. Smile.

Praise the Lord….my husband called Whirlpool and they were able to talk him through it and I had hot water by the time I got home on Monday. I left Wednesday morning to go to Nashville for a Technology Conference and will return today (Friday) hopefully the spare bathroom will be finished when I return.

Like I said at the beginning of this blog...when it rains, it pours...LITERALLY.

And you thought you had problems!!! Smile. Seriously, all of these things are JUST THAT…THINGS and FIXABLE THINGS at that. We still have so many blessings and praises. It could have been a lot worse. It’s easy to praise God on the Mountain Top….but what we need to strive to do is praise God in the Valley.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I know that last week was Thanksgiving, but like always, I am a day late and a dollar short. Smile. These are some of the things I am thankful for this year…and in no particular order.


Salvation. No one can take that away from me, even though many times I do not deserve it.

2. A husband that loves God, loves me and loves our children. Who cares if he starts MANY projects and finishes few? At least he is doing something. Smile. He is first a Godly man, and he has stood by my side and loved me for 39 years counting the time we dated and my children could not ask for a better dad.
3. Two children that love God. And I thank God every day for them and feel so unworthy of having such smart, good children.
4. Godly mates for my children. I appreciate our son-in-law and also our very soon to be daughter-in-law. God has chosen awesome mates for them.
5. A friendly, loving church to serve. Sometimes it takes listening to other pastors and wives for me to really appreciate what we have. Sure…we are not perfect, but then again, if our church WAS perfect, they would not want us serving there. Smile.
6. A roof over my head and food to eat. Sometimes I take things for granted and am not thankful enough. I may not live in a house that was built this year and I may not eat Prime Rib and Lobster every night…but I am well taken care of.
7. Good Health. This is another thing that we tend to take for granted until it hits home. Everywhere I look, families are being visited by cancer, diseases, etc. Everyday I am more and more thankful for my good health. I had a student last year that is still battling melanoma cancer and we have a 6th grade student this year that has just completed her months of chemo for a rare kidney cancer.
8. Friends and Family. They are the glue that keeps me together. You are the ones that love and accept me regardless of my down-falls.
9. The Tennessee Bi-Vo Ministry. We have made friends that we have grown very close to….and the Conference each year is like the BOOSTER SHOT we need to carry through. We learn so many things, cry together, laugh together and really enjoy our fellowship. And, yes, Lana always makes sure there is CHOCOLATE.
10. All of You Ladies that read this. You keep me motivated. Being a pastor’s wife can be a lonely job and reading your blogs and the comments that other pastor’s wives and ladies write makes me realize that I am not alone….as Sandi Patti said…”We’re In This Thing Together…..just Jesus and Me….and all of my “support ladies”. Thank you very much.

I have so many things to be thankful for and many times I dwell on the little picture and on “stuff” that does not matter and I forget to look at the “big picture” and see what really matters.

Thanks you, God, for all of my blessings!!! May I never get too “busy” to be thankful.

Monday, November 28, 2011


The wedding is 40 days from today. Wow….a lot of things to do between now and then….Christmas with Lots of Family, New Years, and the WEDDING.

I have discovered that being the mother-of-the-groom is different from being the mother-of-the-bride. The wedding is being held at our church so I still feel a wee bit responsible probably more than I should. As mother-of-the-bride, you have a voice, or at least you think you have a voice. As mother-of-the-groom, you know you have no voice. BUT…I will have to confess, the mother-of-the-bride and the bride are including me in many, many things that they are not obligated to do.

My daughter told me that the mother-of-the-bride has no voice either; I just thought they did. I well remember four and a half years ago, making lots of suggestions that were thrown to the that should have been my clue.

The BRIDE is actually the one with all of the VOICE. It is HER DAY. It is just our jobs to see that her wishes are made true.

Four and a half years ago, I watched our daughter preparing for her BIG DAY. Early in the planning I realized that I had had “my day” and this was hers. I was use to the traditional weddings that existed thirty-two years ago. I soon discovered that there is no such thing as “traditional” anymore. Every bride adds her own personality to the planning which makes everything more unique and personal.

It is fun watching our son and daughter-in-law-to-be as they plan for THEIR DAY….and seeing their unique personalities blossom. So much careful planning….and so many details……

I have enjoyed watching our daughter and her husband mature and grow in the Lord. I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store for our son and his new bride.

Isn’t it exciting to be involved in the planning of the wedding and marriage or our children? Just think how disappointed you would be if your children decided to exclude you from their "excitement" and plans.

Can you just imagine how excited God gets when we allow him to be involved in the planning and preparing for our every day activities? Let's not disappoint Him, let’s honor Him by including him in even the smallest details.....because he wants ALL of us and not "part of us".

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday & Advent

Well Ladies, I imagine that many of you are braver than I am. I slept in this morning and I am still sipping some flavored coffee, sitting in p.j.'s as I type. I was not about to venture out this morning into the maze and daze of holiday shopping and bargain hunting. Don't get me wrong, I am for the deal as much as the next gal, but I am a big wimp when it comes to long lines and pushing elbows.

I am sure I could do a little research and discover how this day got tagged "Black Friday." But, honestly, when I think about black Fridays, my mind goes to how the disciples and followers of Christ must have felt on the Friday we all call "Good." That was a dark, black day indeed as our dear Savior, Son of the Living God, died the most brutal of possible deaths. We have the perspective and the luxury of knowing that Sunday was coming. They did not.

It is kinda of fitting that our Advent season begins on the Sunday following Black Friday this year. The first week of Advent begins the day after tomorrow, just as Easter Sunday follows Good Friday.

In our home, we celebrate Advent by having a family devotional around an Advent wreath on the living room table. Our oldest, Riley, dubbed the ten or so minutes spent in a brief study and praise, "Candlelight Christmas." When asked she will say that this time is one of her most favorite parts of the Christmas season.

Wally, my husband, finds a different plan to follow each year. A simple Internet search of  "Advent Devotionals" will yield an over abundance of results. He takes what he likes best from one or two and tailor fits it to our girls' ages and learning styles. This year, his main focus is from The Village Church out of TX. (

I am all about taking the world's views and plans and finding God's purposes in them. Let me challenge you to use this Black Friday as an opportunity to begin to prepare your hearts for the celebration of the coming birth of our Lord.

Does your family do something special or unique to celebrate the Sundays of Advent, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas? We are always looking for new ideas to enrich our "Candlelight Christmas." Please post your Advent traditions. It may just be the missing component to help another family keep their focus on Christ this Christmas.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jesus in Turkey Day

"Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 
Luke 17:17-18

I think it is interesting that no one really sees Thanksgiving as a religious holiday anymore. No matter what faith a person seems to possess, no one seems to have an issue with celebrating the day. (Except maybe the turkeys!) Everyone seems to agree that we should be thankful. The question becomes this: just who is everyone thanking?

Mothers and fathers have their days. Even grandparents have a day. Our culture understands the importance of feeling and showing appreciation. But when non-Christians gather on Thursday and they say, "thanks," what is the point? 

As Christians, like the foreigner leper that was cleansed, we know Whom we are thanking. We know from where our blessings come. We desire to return and praise the One from Whom all blessings flow. 

However, our culture is a lot like the other nine. They ask for blessings, they receive blessings, they never stop to thank God for the blessings. 

You know, we always want to remind our neighbors that Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, but isn't He the reason behind Thanksgiving too? Shouldn't more non-Christians have issue with this holiday as well? 

It may not have a man in a red suit to steal the spotlight, but Thanksgiving is a whole lot more than gathering with loved ones and eating turkey until we all fall asleep watching football. 

What are you doing to keep Christ in Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 21, 2011


I can hardly believe that it is already Thanksgiving! The holidays are officially upon us. Where did the year go?! It seems like I have just gotten used to writing 2011 and now it is time to start writing 2012.

For those of you that are on Facebook, you may have noticed many of your "friends" participating in the an annual practice of posting a different thing that that they are thankful for each day leading up to Thanksgiving. I love the creativity of many of the posts. Some of my Facebook friends have really put some thought into what they are thankful for, while others started strong, but have failed to remember to continue to post as the month has progressed.

If you are like me, you have to-do list far longer than you have the hours and minutes to complete it. I prayed this morning for God to prioritize the things that really needed done and to enable me to let go of the things that don't. I realized that as I sat down to write this, that I have been so wrapped up in my lists, my goals and my plans, that I have failed to make time to reflect and be thankful.

So, first off, I am thankful for a holiday to help me to stop, reflect and truly appreciate all the blessings God has so graciously and richly lavished upon me and mine. I am sobered to think how most of the year I so quickly rush through the days and fail to stop and thank the One who gave me each one of those days. I take them for granted. I take Him for granted.

There is a saying I have seen on Facebook and Pinterest (a cool site that I have wasted more and more time on!) that goes something like this: "What if you only woke up this morning with the things that you thanked God for yesterday?" While there is nothing in the Bible that reads quite like this, it is definitely worth pondering.

So what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? This week? Today?

Feel free to write a prayer of thanksgiving to God in the comments. I think I will start us off.

Friday, November 18, 2011


My dear, close friend just found out that her beautiful, talented, young adult daughter is dead. She was in treatment and close to the end of fighting a very long and difficult battle as a heroin addict. From all indications, she had beaten the disease. She was free. Free, that is, until her roommates found her face down in the bathtub full of water. Was it suicide? Overdose? To her parents and those who loved her….the answer to that question is futile. She is gone.

Her Godly parents are devastated. Grief stricken. Overcome. And, as my friend says, she is “living her worst nightmare”.

We have been friends since before high school. There are seven of us who have been friends since then and we get together at least once a year even though we are miles apart. They are all in Texas and I am in Indiana. My heart grieves and it is almost unbearable for me to be so far away….unable to give her a hug. Cry with her. Clean her bathrooms. You know, do the things we do.

Do you ever feel so inadequate to know what to do? What to say? How to help? After all….of the seven, I am the only pastor’s wife. I should be the “one” to know just what to do and say. Yet, I am speechless and immobile.

Do you ever feel the pressure to know what to do? Have all the answers? Just because you are the minister’s wife? As I have pondered this thought….God reminded me that of course, I don’t have to have all the answers. It is not my job to make everything “OK”. That is His job. BUT, He admonished me to remember what I said in the last post about spending time in the Word. It is important for me, yes!! But….so often when I am sitting at His feet and He is teaching me precious Truths….it is not only for me but He also will give it to me to give to someone else.

How thankful I am for His Word. I shared Psalm 94:17-19 with her this morning and I would encourage you to read it. Are you also dealing with a child who is an addict? A loved one? A friend? You? I am praying for you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I must confess that in the last couple of weeks I have not been in the Word like I need/want to be. I have not been in the Word like God wants/needs me to be. I know it is erroneous. I hate it. I am stuck. I know what to do but I just don't do it. I do everything and anything else that "needs" to be done!

Now, don’t get me wrong…..I am IN the Word!! After all, I teach lots of Godly women each Sunday and most Wednesdays the Word. I have studied and prayed and written and labored and applied. I spoke the Truth at a retreat last weekend which required me to be IN the Word as I prepared and presented the Truth.

Here’s the problem…..I have been in the Word to teach and speak to others… the Word for others but not in the Word because I need to spend time with God and get nourished and fed and encouraged and strengthened and convicted and…..etc. This is a trap that I find myself in way too often….a trap the enemy sets for me like bait and I fall for it every time.

Do you ever struggle with not spending time in the Word? Not just to teach. Not just to prepare. Not to give to anyone else…but to sit at the feet of Jesus and let Him love you. Let’s all stop now and as Nike would say, “Just Do It!”

Right now I am going to go do just that…..I KNOW He has water for me. Bread. Life.

Blessings to you sisters! Eat up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Confess Your Sins To One Another

James 5:16 tells us to “...confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” I am concerned that this command is one of the least well-thought-out ones in scripture….especially for us who are minister’s wives!! Oh, don't get me wrong....not the prayer part--for sure we are good at that!! But what about the "confess" part? How often do we do that?

What? I am to confess MY sins to someone? Who? Why? What will they think?

Why? Because we have been told to do it. God knows we cannot fight many of the battles that stand in our way of Godliness and holiness alone and we are in desperate need of accountability and prayer and support. Because transparency is important to the Body of Christ.

Who? Someone who is Godly. Someone who will pray for you and hold you accountable. Someone who will encourage you as you turn from your sin. Someone who will help “bear your burden”.

There are some obvious cautions, however! Be VERY wise about who you confess your sins to!! You want to be sure it is someone who will not confess YOUR sins to anyone else!! Perhaps our husbands would be a good “one another” to confess to! Hummm….that brings up another interesting point—perhaps our pride is keeping us from confessing???

Note that James does not tell us to confess someone else’s sins to one another!! Sadly, I have been around many minister’s wives who:

A) Don’t confess their sins to anyone
B) Do confess other’s sins to one another

Ladies….I have much to confess, so I need to go and find a "one another!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Don't Forget

I am getting ready to head out the door for Arkansas for the wedding on Friday.  I was in such a hurry last night packing and getting things in the car that this morning I discovered I had forgotten my shoes to go this my outfit for the rehearsal dinner.  Wouldn't I look cute walking around in my black flip flops?  (Probably no one would care because it is Arkansas and this Arkansan is not fond of shoes). No girlfriends, I did not fotget the Peanut M & Ms!

Anyway, I did not want to forget to remind you ladies for come to two special events for ministers wives at the state convention in Hendersonville.

The Good Cup
November 14, 2011
1:00-3:30 (during the pastor's conference)
First Baptist Church, Hendersonville Youth Pit
Special Guest:
     Matt and Darlene Tullos
     Kay DeKalb-Smith
This is a FREE event designed epecially for you.  We promise fellowship, food, and food!

Ministers Wives Luncheon
November 15, 2011
Noon-1:30 p.m.
Long Hollow Baptist Church, 3031 Long Hollow Pike, Hendersonville
Special Guest:
     Shawnah Shingleton
Music by:
     Long Hollow Praise Team
Cost:  $15 (Register online at or if we forget you can register at the Ministers Wives Booth at the convention).
Mission Project:  Bring old eye glasses to send to a foreign country in need.
This event is always fun and the food is fabulous.  Plus, everyone walks away with fun filled goodie bags.  In addition, there will be door prizes given away including a free night at a Bed and Breakfast; free weekend at one of our conference centers; and free registration for Ministers Wives Retreat, 2012!!!

Don't forget to mark your calendars.  I'll see you there!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Life Saver

If you are just logging in to the blog this week, I need to get you up to speed with what is going on in my life.  In four days our youngest son is getting married at Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  Yep, that is THIS Friday.  Yep, I have been planning another along distance wedding rehearsal dinner.  (My first privilege was two and half years ago when our oldest son and his wife held their rehearsal and wedding in St. Francisville, Louisiana). 

All I can say is "Whew!"  I am too tired to scream myself so I am letting my pound bag of M & M's do the yelling for me.  I have spent today doing housework, washing and ironing, packing all the needed supplies for the rehearsal decorations.  When I finish posting I still have to pack my clothes and oversee my very patient husband on how to pack the car so that items do not get crushed. 

Now God has blessed me with the spiritual gift of service.  You tell me what you want me to do and I will do it.  I am not in any form or fashion an organized person.  As a result, planning and making sure all the details are in order for our part of the wedding is just a bit STRESSFUL.  All I can say is I owe the creators of Post-It-Notes a huge hug because they are my life savers.

Speaking of life savers . . .aren't you glad we serve the real Life Saver?  Here I am counting the days until my son's wedding and I find myself suddenly wondering if Jesus might be counting the days until His wedding day.  Honestly, I am ashamed that I did not pause longer today to truly spend time preparing myself for my Savior's big day.

Ladies, even if we are overwhelmed and overworked in our daily task, we still need to stop and cling to our Life Saver.  He is the only one who will see us through the stressful moments (weddings) of life.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Praying through the Bumps in the Road

I am eating lots of chocolate these days for in five shorts days our family dynamic will change once again.  On November 11 our youngest son, Bryan, will marry his high school sweetheart, Shannon.  Everyone knows that with every wedding comes a few bumps in the planning.  For example, our son, Stephen, who is an Air Force Security Force officer, was told he could not attend his brother's wedding so Bryan had to enlist another best man.  My college freshman niece, who was to assist Robyn, our daughter-in-law and a professional photographer, learned that her quarter ends and finals begin so she will not be able to attend.  Then, last Wednesday after wedding programs have been printed, the bride-to-be learned that the soloist would not be able to attend because her employer decided not to let her take time off.  Thankfully, Shannon has another friend who has agreed to step in and learn the song in last than a week.  However, in the midst of these few bumps, my husband and I are two very blessed parents because God has given our sons, Stephen and Bryan, godly young ladies, Robyn and Shannon, to share their lives with.

I share all this with you because I have many friends who are still raising younger children.  I watch them struggle with homework stress, dating issues, peer and social pressure, and much more.  I remember just trying to survive one day at a time with our boys.  Of course, your children, like mine, probably suffer through taunts of being a "minister's kid" or "PK."  When my friends ask for advice in dealing with these issues or on how my husband and I raised our sons, I simply tell them to "pray through the bumps in the road."

From the day we learned we were expecting, my husband and I prayed for our sons.  We prayed for their health, protection, for both to come to salvation in Jesus, and also that God would lead each son to that special girl created epecially for them.  Also, although we did not know the names of those two girls, we prayed the same prayers over them and for their families.  Although we are not perfect parents and have made lots of mistakes, I firmly believe that praying for our children was the right parenting choice.

Over the years we have watched our sons grow into godly young men.  They definately have had their share for personal bumps in the road but God has been good to lead our sons along His chosen path for them.  What is more amazing is that God has lead both of our sons to the two women He designed just for them. 

So girlfriends, pray your children through the present and future bumps in the road and while you are at it, please pray our familiy through this next weeks.  We sure do not need anymore bumps before the wedding.  But just in case, I will have my emergency stash of Peanut M & Ms close by.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Can We Talk About Gifts?

Ladies, do you love getting gifts? There is something special and exciting about receiving a package with your name on it , wrapped so beautifully. The size of the package does not matter, because as we all know, great gifts can come in small packages (a watch , a ring, a bracelet, etc.). Believe it or not, Christmas is just right around the corner, and many of us will get caught up in the gift buying, gift wrapping frenzy that accompanies this festive season of the year.

Material gifts do have their place, and I will be the first to admit that I love buying and receiving them. But do you ever think about spiritual gifts? Those wonderful, priceless abilities that the Lord gives us as His children. As daughters of the King we were given at least one spiritual gift when He adopted us into His family. Just as material gifts are not all the same, God’s gifts come in different varieties. Some of you may be gifted in teaching, some exhorting or encouraging, some serving, some giving, some showing mercy, some in administration, and on and on. Lists of the different gifts are found in God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 12 (the entire chapter deals with gifts), Romans 12: 6-8, and 1 Peter 4: 10-11.

Our Father in His infinite wisdom wanted us to be able to give to others based on how He has gifted us. As ministers’ and pastors’ wives we know we are called to serve in some capacity… comes with the territory. Yet we should do it joyously and graciously. When the apostle Paul talked about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, it is interesting that the Holy Spirit had him follow with the “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13, for if we do not exercise our gifts in a spirit of love we are “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). In other words, we might be doing, doing, doing, but if the motivation is not for the love of God and the love and edification of His people, it is done in vain.

Friends, let us embrace the gifts that the Lord has given us, and as the “gift buying, gift giving” season approaches, remember that Christ , our greatest gift, has come so that we may have new life in Him. Let us serve Him and His people as the body of Christ is built up in love.

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-5 (NIV)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An Answer To Prayer

In my introductory blog I told you that I am a stay-at-home mom. Well, for the past 5 years I have had a job that I am able to perform from home; I am also a part time bookkeeper. Before I left the workplace I was a financial analyst; since then the Lord has not allowed my knowledge in that area to become “rusty”.

Right before our youngest daughter went to kindergarten, I prayed and asked the Lord that, if it was possible, to allow me to have a job that would give me the flexibility to still be at home but also bring in additional income for our family. In my heart I still wanted to be available for my family, so I earnestly wanted to do something I could manage from home. By God's grace I was not lacking the resources to make that desire a reality, after all, I had a computer, and I had not forgotten all of my skills from the workplace. Surely, someone would hire me………….

I remember being very explicit in my request to God, and then waiting expectantly to see how He would answer. About three months after Arianna, our youngest, started school, someone who had recently started a new business was looking for someone to work as an administrative assistant…….guess who got the job! I initially performed various administrative duties, but over time as the company grew, the focus of my duties became primarily bookkeeping and accounting tasks.

WOW! The Lord answered my very specific prayer! I cannot tell you that God has always answered my prayers this quickly. There are some things that I am still petitioning Him about and have not yet received an answer. But I do know this: the Lord is truly attentive to the prayers of His children!

Friends, have you been praying about something, and still have not received an answer from the Lord? Sometimes the answer comes quickly, at other times it may be longer, still other times we are told to wait, and maybe, just maybe the Lord gives us a “No”. However He decides to answer, we must always trust Him and remember He knows what is best, for HE IS GOD!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Keep on praying” (NLT)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pleased To Meet You!

Hello, everyone! My name is Tonya, and I am very pleased to be the new writer for The TN Prime Rib blog. Lana Rose invited me to become a part of the blogging team, and I am very excited about what the Lord will speak through me as I write to each of you. Blogging is new to me, but I feel that this is a calling from the Lord, since I love to write and to encourage others.

Since I am the “new kid on the block”, let me tell you a few things about myself. I live in Chattanooga, TN (born and raised there) with my husband of 18 years, Gerald O’Guinn. We have two daughters, Ashley is 15 and Arianna is 10. Also I have a stepdaughter, Deonna, who is 25 and lives in Flint Michigan, along with our little grandson, Dahnaven, who is 4.

The Lord led me and my husband to bring me out of the workplace in 1998 to be a stay-at-home mom to our daughter Ashley, who was 2 years old at the time. Other than becoming a Christian, and of course marrying my husband, that was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Prior to that I worked for 13 years as a financial analyst for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). I can honestly say that I have never had a moment’s regret about that decision; of course, it has meant some sacrifices, but it’s all been worth it. I cannot put a price on being a worker at home and taking care of the needs of my family.

Also, I have been a pastor’s wife for 7 years. My husband was a minister at a church for 7 years before he was called to our current church as the pastor……so I guess you can say I have been a ministry wife for 14 years. I have learned a lot over these years, and I will be sharing some insights of my journey in future blogs.

I really love the Lord, and I love His Word, so in the weeks and months ahead I will share with you some great verses from the Bible (they all are great!) that have touched my heart and hopefully will be an encouragement to you.

Again, I praise God who gave me this opportunity to write to you……… friends, I am pleased to meet you!

1 Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” (NIV)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lots of Blessings

- Opportunities to minister to others.
- Closer, deeper relationship with my husband.
- More intimate relationship with my friends who've experienced similar loss.
- Increased faith in God's provision and presence in my life.
- More appreciation for the precious gifts of both my healthy daughters.
- New and fresh insights into the truth of God's word.

I could go on and on about the many blessings that God has opened my eyes to through this experience.

Many have said that one day I will know "why". That may or may not be true on either side of heaven. I can say "why not me?" as easy as I can say "why me?".

Regardless, our God is sovereign. He is the giver and taker of life. He has given me Jesus and promised to never leave me or forsake me. That is enough.

If there were no lessons for me to learn, if my faith was already Paul-like in its consistency, if I would never be able to minister to another through this experience - His decision to take this baby was His decision. That is all that it needs to be.

Yet, He does teach me, use me and draw me closer to Himself. There I was in all my self-righteousness and pride, feeling like I had it altogether, like I had Him all figured out. I prayed for His way. I prayed for this child to be His. I prayed that His will be done.

It was. He did. He is. He will.

He heard my prayers. He raised my eyes back to Him to look full in His wonderful face. He gave me perspective as the things of this earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

He is so good. He is so good to me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Unexpected Blessings

I am not sure why, although I could make some pretty good theories, but there are more ladies out there who have struggled through miscarriages in silence than I ever would have imagined.

The nurse practitioner at my doctor's office told me that 30% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. I thought she was lying. That is nearly one third. Sure, a few of my girlfriends had experienced this loss, but 30%!?

As I have tried to be open and transparent about what I am learning/growing in Christ through this, I have had literally countless friends, acquaintances and virtual strangers confide that they too have experienced the pain that comes with miscarriage. The 30% number does not seem so crazy now.

It's these ladies whose words of encouragement have meant so much. They are indeed the ones that know what to and what not to say, when to and when not to say whatever should or should not be said.

An unknown number of our Christian sisters, church members and lost friends and family members have suffered in silence or are even now in pain. My reason for hashing all this out in such a public way is to make my self and my story available for God to use as He sees fit. Wally and I desire "our" story to be used to minister to these that are hurting and for God to be glorified in the process.

We so want others to be able to see that we do really believe all that we have said we believe - that God's promises of His goodness and mercy are just as real in the hard times as they are in the easy ones. So, we are refusing to put on our "church masks" and just "say" the right things, the things that everyone expects us to say. We need to be real, especially now, especially in our loss, in our sadness, in our hurt.

I am now a member of a new sorority, a new sisterhood. Just as I prayed that God would use me in my college sorority chapter, I am praying that God will use me in this one too. I have received many unexpected blessings already in this sisterhood. I am now so much closer to so many ladies- they have been a blessing to me. I pray that God will allow me that same privilege too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Different Blessing

In my mind I have started this blog a thousand times and a thousand different ways.

I was so looking forward to sharing my good news with you this week. I was excited about sharing the blessing that God had given us. By now, you've notice my use of past tense verbs, and are assuming that my news is no longer happy and the blessing is, well, different.

Yesterday I would have been nine weeks pregnant. Wally and I were excited to announce that Vinson Baby #3 was on its way. Then, last Monday began one of the longest weeks of my life. At nearly midnight, the OBGYN on call at Gateway Hospital here in Clarksville confirmed what we had spent the previous 24 hours fearing. The baby was gone.

Friends and family have stepped up and ministered to us. The church and the association, (where Wally works) are still patient and understanding. God has shown me numerous verses and has gently reminded me of His presence reassuring me that He is indeed in control.

Thankfully my body is healing, but my heart is still aching.

I walked through Wal-Mart Saturday afternoon and wondered how many other people were hurting on the inside as I was. I wondered how many others were walking around feeling as badly or even worse than me but were able to hide it even better than I could.

I have hope. I have Christ. I know the truth of God's word that makes my loss bearable. But how many are out there that don't have Him for their hope and don't know the truth of His word?

For awhile, I think I will have more patience with that complete stranger who seems so inconsiderate. Only God knows what is going on in her heart or in his life.

This is just one of the different, unexpected blessings I am experiencing this week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A New Place in Life's Journey

My brother and I are at the age where I will just call us “Tweens.”  No, it is not those couple of years between childhood and teen years, but the years between having families of our own and assisting our aging parents.  Since November of last year our parent’s health has deteriorated and our mom is really struggling.  We are forced to juggle careers, our own family, and meet the needs of our parents.

Some of you may be walking through this time as well or you have already gained your experience.  I can tell you that no one can prepare you for this period in your life.  I struggle daily with being eight hours from my parents.  I wonder if they are eating correctly, hearing the doctor’s correctly, etc.  There are many sleepless nights and even some tears.  I mean, these are the same parents who wiped my snotty nose and made sure I grew into a productive adult who loves Jesus.   Now, my brother and I are the ones making regular trips to our parent’s home and assisting them with simple task like shopping, cooking, cleaning, and caring for themselves.  At this point my parents are refusing to downsize to a smaller place or assisted living.  At least they have agreed to have someone come in once a month to clean.  Honestly, I am just so confused.

However, recently a dear friend who has been like a brother to me since we were three years old shared his heart with me.  He knows I blog for ministers wives and also meet many of you through the various retreats and conferences.  He sent me an email telling me how after much prayer for me in the ministry I have and with the issues with my parents that he feels I have a perfect platform to reach out to others, to share my experience, and to offer hope.  This friend knows what it is like to go through this “tween” stage in life for he lost his only brother, mother, and father just this year.  He and his wife have been giving my brother and me some advice that they learned and it is helping us deal with our particular situation.  What an encouragement my friend has been as my family just begins the next life journey.

And this stage in life is exactly a new journey.  I am learning that God will walk with my family as we handle our parents.  God loves my parents and so do we.  God wants the best for them and so do we.  Girlfriends, I am going to be brutally honest and say that I do not like to see my parents or anyone suffer.  What this journey is teaching me right now is not to take our family (parents) for granted. 

In the meantime, I will continue to make the eight hour drive about once a month to attempt to meet some of their needs.  I will have a supply of Peanut   M & Ms in the car with me.  But more importantly God will be walking with me through this stage of life.  One thing I ask is that you pray for my family through this time, and if you have “been there, done that,” please share encouragement and advice for me and other ministers wives who may be in the middle of this journey.  You never know who you might impact with your comment.

God bless you all,
Vickie Lee

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Duh Moment

"Well duh, Vickie.  Do you think God is trying to tell you something today."  Those were my words as I finished my quiet time today.  I use the Journey guide (Lifeway) and Jesus Calling by Sarah Young as tools for my quiet time. I was surprised how today's passage in both guides was from Luke 12:22-31.  Apparently, God needed to hammer the message in my brain and heart.

I do have a lot on my plate and going on in my life that I am "concerned" about these days.  Here is my list:
-my parent's health and decisions to be made
-upcoming wedding of my youngest son
-a job for my son; praise the Lord, his bride to be landed a good job
-home improvements that need to be done but lacking the funds
-friends who are without jobs
-spiritual revival for our church
-and many other decisions to be made

All of these "concerns" seem to be consuming my mind lately.  Oh yes, I pray about them and will leave them for a bit a God's feet.  However, later Satan slips in the doubt which multiples into worry.  In the end I pick up these concerns again from God and try to handle them myself.  This silly venture only leaves me eating chocolate by the handful, restless, tired, overwhelmed, and stressed.  I am totally useless to anyone and most importantly not trusting God to handle any of them. 

The Father has a plan for all my concerns (or in this case, worries).  He knows my needs and my future.  In the end I just need to rest secure in the fact that God already has everything answered in His will and that He has been working on it since the beginning of time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Having some problems posting. This is a test.

Chocolate Lover

It is funny. I have been one of the writers for this blog for several years and I have discovered one thing. When I meet ladies across the state of Tennessee who read our blog postings, I am known not by Vickie but as the chocolate lover.

I find this rather humorous because there is so much more depth to me. I love to have fun. Laughter makes me a much better minister's wife. As you know, I love spending time with my girlfriends and my family. The beach is where I stand in awe of God and can quietly sit for hours on end just listening to His voice in the roar of the waves. However, chocolate is one of my favorite things created by God.

It was interesting one day several months ago that while I was doodling ideas on the page that a chocolate thought spilled across the page. When I finished, I just laughed and said,"Wow, chocolate can be spiritual."

C-Christ Jesus
H-Holy One
O-of the
L-Living God
A-Almighty King
E-Everlasting Life

I love it when the Father takes something I love (chocolate) and creates a beautiful reminder of His love (Jesus) for us.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fix It

So ladies…admit it. We like to “fix” things. And I don’t mean the kind of fixing that requires tools. I am talking about the kind of fixing that requires manipulation and planning and operating and managing and figuring. You know, when situations and circumstances start to look like they are not going to turn out the way we think they should turn out. We know we can “fix” it!! We are women! “Fixers”!!

Sarai and Abram (later named Abraham and Sarah) went to another country to find food since there was a famine in the land….and Abraham was fearful that the king would want Sarah because she was so beautiful. SO they decided to “fix” it by telling the king that Sarai was Abram’s sister instead of his wife. Now get this—they did this “fixing” two separate times!! Funny how we don’t seem to learn our “fixing” lessons the first time!!

Then….when it looked like God’s promise to Abraham that he would have a son from his own body was not going to happen with Sarah’s body—they decided to “fix” it by giving Hagar to Abraham to produce the son. Now, let me ask you—did that “fix” anything? NO!! It made a HUGE mess that still affects us today. Instead of Sarah and Abraham waiting on God to do what He promised to do His way, they tried to “fix” it.

You and I KNOW that God’s ways are always infinitely better than our ways. We KNOW that His timing is always perfect and we usually get in a rush. We KNOW that He is sovereign and He can be trusted. Why is it then, that what we KNOW to be true—we often do the opposite? Hard question to answer for sure!

Let’s commit to pray for each other—that for today. Or this week. Or this month. Or this year. We will NOT run out of the center of God’s will and try to “fix” things! Stop trying to “fix” things for our church. For our husbands. For our children!! What? Really? We can’t intervene and “fix” everything for our kids???? Seriously?

Remember our God is faithful. His plans will not be thwarted. Let’s step back and watch Him do His thing!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Way of Plenty by Way of Testing

Have you (or you and your husband) ever made a decision to do what you honestly, sincerely, wholeheartedly felt/knew God was calling/asking/commanding you to do….like Abram and Sarai did when God told them to leave their home and families and friends and go to a place He would show them? (Genesis 12)

Have you ever doubted that decision later when things did not seem to be going very well? Nothing was turning out the way you thought they would/should!! Perhaps you encountered opposition, unrest, difficulty, health issues….honestly the list could go on and on. I had totally forgotten that when Abram and Sarai got to their “promised” land things did not work out too well for them either!!

First of all, the land was already occupied!! (Genesis 12:6) I think about pastors/ministers who go to a church where the previous pastor/minister still attends—for sure, that “land” is occupied!! Or maybe they are not still there physically but they for sure are still there in the minds and hearts of the people!! When Abram and Sarai arrived “in the land” there was no fanfare—no pounding. No huge welcome.

Secondly, not long after they got there, there was a “famine in the land”! (Genesis 12:10). What in the world? We take off in obedience and faith and end up in a place that is already occupied and then a famine?? Perhaps your “famine” is a spiritual famine—for you or your church. There is no growth. There is decay and death. Dryness. Church is not growing. You are not growing. People are mean. Famine.

Do we begin to doubt God now? What do we tell ourselves? This place is terrible! Do we question? Did God mess up? Did we hear him correctly? Did we make a wrong turn? If you ever encounter anything like this let me encourage you to not doubt what God originally told you to do. Do not doubt Him or your calling.

Often times the way of plenty is through the way of testing. Think “God thoughts” during the famines of your life!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Utmost for His Highest

I am sure you recognize the title of this blog. Oswald Chambers is without a doubt one of my favorite saints to read. His book is one that I use along side of my Bible daily. He brings understanding to what God is teaching me and gives me no room for excuses.

I guess what I want to leave with each of you is that we MUST give our Utmost for His Highest! It is not a choice. If we are to do eternity work, kingdom work, it is going to take giving my all to Him and allowing our God to do whatever it takes to bring His purpose for each of us to fulfillment.

There are many commands, but Jesus clearly told us the most important. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength. And the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself."

There it is sisters. This journey we are on is not about us. We have been specifically called by our God to fulfill His purposes. That means He will be removing what is not part of that purpose, He will be requiring obedience without questions, He will be asking for our time, our money, our family, our ALL.

Friends, it is worth it and it is difficult! I look forward to meeting each of you in eternity, but let's begin now preparing, sharing, serving with all our hearts, all our minds, all our strength! See you forever!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Think Like God Thinks

As wives of ministers we often feel set apart from those around us. We sometimes feel we have unrealistic expectations put upon us. What other people think about us can cause us great stress, unhappiness or joy.

As Christians, we are taught in scripture how God wants us to think. He gives us very specific instructions for His expectations for our lives. Most of the battles we fight are in our minds, therefore, we must begin to "Think Like God Thinks"

Philippians 4:9 "Finally brethren (or sisters), whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, think on these things."

The things listed in the above passage are the very characteristics of our God. As we come to know Him better, spend more time with Him, listen and obey Him, we begin to think like Him. As we think like our God, what those around us think becomes less important and serving them becomes a joy.

Spend time with Him and listen to His thoughts. Allow His thoughts to become your thoughts and watch Him love those around you through you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time To Move On

Hi Ladies,

This is my last week to blog for you on this Minister's Wife blog. I have prayed about God's will for me and He has been rearranging my schedule. I am so glad He is in charge and not me!

As God changes His call in my life, I am going to miss sharing with each of you, yet eagerly look forward to those He is bringing into my life in new ways.

Let me remind you that God has the perfect plan for you and your family. It is never hidden or just out of reach, it is just a matter of obedience. Being in ministry often causes us to forget the importance of obedience because we are constantly responding to the most urgent, loudest complaint, biggest hurt or newest problem.

I want to encourage you to stop and listen to His call. It will always be perfect, if you will just obey. I know that it is not always easy, but it is definitely always best.

I pray God will give me wisdom to share with you in these last few blogs this week and we will continue to grow in Him together. Everyday, I love Him more, I pray this for you.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pastor's Wife

I just want to be me!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a pastor’s wife, but sometimes, I would just love to slip in and sit on the pew unnoticed. It would be nice to slide in and slide out without being stopped every few feet with questions or suggestions?

I wonder how it would feel to be the last to arrive at church and be the first to leave. What if we only had to come to church services……….no meetings, no counseling, etc.?

What if we could gain weight without anyone noticing? What if we could loose weight without anyone noticing? Or get a new hair style without EVERYONE noticing or even a new outfit? What if we could purchase a car or boat or something else without anyone truly noticing?

Wouldn't it be nice to go to church and sit on the pew without KNOWING so much? I mean, as a pastor's wife… we KNOW if there are any problems in the church and we KNOW the trouble makers. We KNOW the unfaithful people and the people that are not dependable. We KNOW the ones that are having marital problems. We KNOW the ones that are in financial trouble.

Sometimes, I guess, I feel like we truly do live in a fishbowl (just as Tara spoke about a few posts back) and I am overwhelmed. (Even though, like Tara said, we should embrace it and let the world see Christ through us.)

I am humbled to live in my fishbowl for others to it good or bad. When I am truly honest with myself......I would not have it any other way. I would miss it all; the good and the bad.

God called me to be a pastor's wife and I am honored to serve in that capacity.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Exciting Times Are Coming

*****New Years!

FALL – apples, leaves changing, cooler weather, pumpkins, etc.

FOOTBALL – Alabama (Sorry…we are from Alabama), or Tennessee, or Florida
(Sorry…our son-in-law is a Gator fan), etc.

THANKSGIVING – pies, turkey, dressing, giving thanks, family, friends, etc.

CHRISTMAS – Birth of Christ, baking, decorations, presents, cards, lights, trees, family, friends, etc.

NEW YEARSout with the old and in with the new; a time to wipe the slate clean and start over; the ball dropping; a new beginning…

WEDDING Cody and Melanie’s “Big Day”; the beginning of their lives together; the completion of our children – two girls and two boys (not including future grandchildren. ), etc.

All of these are important events and all deserve all of the careful planning, preparing and anticipating AND there is nothing wrong with it………………however, wouldn’t it be even greater if we got as excited for the second coming of our Lord? We say we are excited. We say we are preparing. We say we are anticipating…..but are we? Sometimes our actions prove differently.

Let’s try to make it our goal to get as EXCITED with ANTICIPATION for our ETERNAL FUTURE as we do when we are making plans for our earthly future.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Empty Your Vessel

We hear all the time that we must fill our vessels.

However, you MUST first empty your vessel of all of “yourself”….to make room for God to fill it with him.

Many times we want to pour out part of ourselves and want God to just work around what remains of us. God wants all or none. He does not like lukewarm.

In order for your walk with Christ to be where you should be you must pour ALL of YOURSELF out and turn EVERYTHING over to HIM.

When our children were growing up, we tried to teach them that God wants control of ALL of our lives and not just the “churchie” part. Until we truly turn it all over to God we can not totally be in his will.

It is easy for us to tell non-Christians to come on and get saved that God will help them to turn away from sin….but, as Christians, we many times tend to just HANG-ON to ourselves, thinking that just a wee little bit won’t make that much difference.

As I stated before…God is a jealous God. He wants ALL of us or NONE of us. So, Ladies…let’s empty our vessels of every last drop so that God can take complete control of our lives.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A "Real" Interesting Position

Ladies, you may find this hard to believe. I am sure it is pretty rare and I am definitely asking for your input and prayers.

As of the close of business meeting Wednesday night, I am officially on the Pastor Search Committee for our church.

I know! How crazy for a minister's wife to be on a pastor search committee?! What a unique opportunity this is!

First, I may need to explain my husband's position. He works for our local association of nearly 50 churches and ministries. Together, he and our Associational Missionary minister to unite and help to individually grow these churches. It is a challenging job, and puts my hubby in a different church nearly every Sunday. Yes, sometimes he preaches but most often ministers to ministers. So, while I am a minister's wife, he just is not a minister at the church we are members of.

A deacon and his sweet wife visited my husband and me. They asked if we would consider my service in this capacity and of course, to pray about it. I have been so humbled and overwhelmed. I have never had an opportunity to serve like this, and, honestly, never expected one.

My husband has never served as a pastor, but has served under several. We have met with personnel committees and student ministry committees, but never a pastor search committee. I really have no idea as to what to expect. So, that is why I am asking for your help.

What kind of questions should I ask? When should I speak up in our meetings? What are the kind of things you think the committee ought to focus on? What kind of things do you wish pastor search committees would do? Wouldn't do?

I truly believe that I will be able to bring some interesting insights to this committee because I have the interesting position of being a minister's wife. Please pray for me, this committee and our church.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A "Real" Fishbowl

One of the valuable nuggets of truth that I am taking from the retreat came from God through Shawna Shingleton.

Honestly, I cannot remember her exact session title, but her heart was evident. When she talked about the fishbowl we ministers' families live in, she gave me a whole new perspective. She challenged us to think about it as a positive instead of the negative. She pointed out that the world has plenty of negative fishbowls to watch. Have you watched much "reality" television lately?! We need to rise to the occasion and be the positive, healthy, godly example that our churches and communities need.

As I thought about this truth I realized that instead of resenting my aquarium status, I need to embrace it. After all, we are called to salt and light! Even Jesus spoke of setting the light on a stand to light the whole house. Ladies, we have the answer in Christ to every problem facing every home in America, shouldn't we want to advertise that? Shouldn't we let our home be the positive influence?

So, instead of trying to figure out how to "hide" in our fishbowl, my prayer is that the Vinson Family will be a "Real" fishbowl where the church and the community can see Christ at work in us. It may not always be pretty, but I am praying that it will always be authentic. Whatcha see is whatcha get!

Thanks for sharing your heart Shawna!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A "Real" Blessing

Like Dana, I was honored to be a part of the East Tennessee Ministers' Wives Retreat at Carson's Springs a couple of weekends ago. I enjoyed sitting under her teaching, making new friends and eating LOTS of chocolate. Our fellow blogger, Vickie, was on the planning team for the event and, if you've followed our blog for long, you know her love for all things chocolate. I can't help but wonder if she had some influence over the weekend's chocolate and friendship theme. Hmmmmm.

It had been a long while since I had been with Dana and Vickie in person and it was nice to reconnect face-to-face at least a little. But it was a "real" blessing to get to meet some of our blog readers for "real."

You see, as I have written in this virtual world of blogging, I have not had a single face to have as a mental image of an audience as I have written. I have thought of various ministers' wives who are friends, but I am not sure how many of them actually read our posts.  While some of you respond to our blogs, it is still sometimes hard to picture who our readers "really" are.  Sometimes I feel like I am writing a diary or in a journal, and it is hard to remember that there are "real" women reading my posts.

As some of you approached me saying you've read my posts, my mind swirled trying to remember all the things I had confided to you in my blogs. Then I felt silly thinking how could I "confide" anything in such a public way!

So, who did I learn that our blog readers are? You are "real" women with "real" hearts and very "real" hurts and needs. You are beautiful daughters of our King, sisters in the faith and co-laborers in our Father's vineyards. We come from various sized churches. We are in various life stages. We are united in a unique sorority, being married to ministers.

Thank you Ladies for your warm welcome and encouraging words. Thank you for being exactly the you that God created you to be and for serving Him in the place that He has ordained for you to serve. Thank you for ministering to me.

If you have a second, whether you attended the weekend or not, could you respond to this post? It would be a great encouragement to all of us that write to know you are reading. It doesn't have to be lengthy or say much at all, maybe just your name and where you live . . .  It is just a good reminder to us that "real" ministers' wives who are "real" women, read our little blog.