Monday, February 28, 2011

Piper's Popsicle

Saturday night, a group of good friends of mine gathered together to spend time with an Army wife who was back in the area visiting her Ft. Campbell friends. We brought our kiddos and our husbands. We were just enjoying each other's company when one of the kids (probably my oldest!) complained of being "huuunnngrryyy." (This is not to be confused with hungry. It is much more severe, or so I've been told.)

My good friend and hostess, Kristi, produced Popsicles with the blessing of the rest of the moms and the kids had at them. These weren't just any Popsicles either! They were long, fat, pretty, tri-color Popsicles. It didn't matter that it was the last weekend in February, everybody wanted one, especially my 23 month-old, Piper.

Piper had yet to be properly introduced to the frozen treat. Once her daddy showed her how to hold it, with the wrapper protecting her fingers, it was truly love at first lick. I really wish I had a picture to show you of what happened next. She became totally absorbed with the eating of this Popsicle. She licked it. She sucked on it. She completely enjoyed every last drop of the rapidly melting treat.

When all the damage was done, I took a wet paper towel to her face and hands. Then I sent her back on her way to play with the other children. But I couldn't help but smile the rest of the evening at her face dripping purple, red and orange streams of melting Popsicle.

I love the way preschoolers totally live in the moment that they are in. They aren't worrying about anything that "needs" to be done. They aren't concerned about what "anyone" may think about the way they do what they do. They aren't even thinking abut what they will do next. They just thoroughly enjoy what they are doing at the moment.

I want to be more like that. I want to savor each blessing from God for what it is. I want to soak up the experiences and the relationships He has given me right now. I long to relish Him the way Piper did that Popsicle. I don't want to miss the little things.

There is no way that I can remember my first Popsicle. But it will be a long time before I forget Piper's. The next morning, I was dressing her for church and found two dried "streams" of Popsicle juice that had managed to flow under her clothes and down to her belly the night before. I had to smile.

Thank you God for the blessings of the little things. Thank you for Popsicles.

What about you? Do you have something "little" that you are grateful for?

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I am at the San Diego airport waiting to board my plane to return home after visiting my dad for two weeks. I felt compelled to come see him for several months now…and finally “bit the dollar bullet” and came. Each time I visit here I realize how my life with my husband and children is so very different from the life I had growing up.

My conversations at home with friends and family almost always center around faith and God and walking with Him. I love to spend time in the Word and praying and studying and sharing and encouraging.

These past two weeks it seems as if I have done little of the above. I am dry, parched, thirsty. I went to church (alone) the two Sundays I was here….and loved worshipping with other believers….but no one talked to me. No one asked how they might pray for me….and I did not ask anyone to. I am frustrated with myself for not spending time in the Word….at the feet of Jesus. I did not have a Bible study to lead. No Sunday school class to teach. But I needed to be reading the Word. Fed. Watered. Eaten of the Bread of Life.

Do you ever struggle with not being in the Word? Do you understand my frustration and concern? Why did I not sit at his feet? I had the time. How wrong it is for us to be in the Word because we are teaching or leading. We need to be in the Word to live!

Scripture talks about a time when there was a “famine of the word of the Lord” and I believe I have experienced this famine these past two weeks. Forgive me, sister, for neglecting to be in the Word.

Father, I pray for anyone who has struggled like I have these past two weeks. Thank You for continuing to pursue us. For continuing to love us. For wanting to spend time with us. Forgive me, Lord, for neglecting Your Word. I long to drink deeply. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Unbelieving Family Member

I am in beautiful, southern California visiting my dad. We are doing fun things like riding around in his hot red convertible sports car (the salesman assured him that at 84 it was a great way to pick up chicks!!), cooking together, walking the neighborhood and stores, and going to doctor appointments. I love to come visit him…it is too bad that he lives so far away and that I don't get to come very often. I love him dearly…and we are alike in many ways.

This visit has been interesting as I have listened to him tell stories (never told before) of the war when he was a gunner in a WWII plane. How he and my mom met. There is one story that I long to hear him tell--when he came to know Jesus. However, my dad is very closed to the gospel. He does not know my Jesus. My mom died not knowing my Jesus. It breaks my heart and is a heavy burden to bear.

As I lay awake early this morning praying about what to share with you….this issue of us having parents, children, siblings, etc. who do not know Jesus was heavy on my heart…so…I spent quite a bit of time before getting out of bed this morning praying for you and your lost family members.

It is hard. It is out of our control. Our God is faithful and He is good.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friendship and Chocolate

As you all know I am a huge fan of chocolate. I also find it essential to have a few girlfriends around to make life more interesting. Well girlfriends, I am so excited to announce that the Tennessee Baptist Convention is sponsoring two wonderful retreats this year for ministers wives. Currently, I am serving on both planning teams for these retreats so you know there will be lots of chocolate involved. Oh don't worry. There will be a spiritual aspect as well. Let me share some details with you and tell you how you can register for one of the retreats.

Theme for both retreats: Friendship and Chocolate-The Rich Things in Life

West Tennessee Retreat Date & Location: May 13-14; Natchez Trace State Park, 1-800-250-8616 (Mention TN Baptist Convention for our block of rooms. Block will be released after April 1.) Room cost is $70 + tax (if paying with church check or church credit card is exempt).
You must make your own room reservation by contacting Natchez Trace State Park. You can have a single room or split the cost with a friend.

East Tennessee Retreat Date & Location: September 9-10; Carson Springs Conference Center, 1-877-704-6336 (Mention Ministers Wives Retreat). Room cost is $72 and you have a single room or share the room with a friend. Again, you must contact Carson Springs to reserve your room.

The cost of the retreat is $50. To register for the retreat or find out more information, go to You can also contact Lana Rose at or call 1-800-558-2090, ext. 2008; or Carrie Smith at; 1-800-558-2090, ext. 2025.

At the retreat you will have time to fellowship ministers wives from across the state. Personally, I had a blast last fall at Carson Springs. My fellow staff wives, who are also my girlfriends, did the girl road trip. We had our snacks, sodas, and our giggle boxes. When it was time for bed (yeah right) we talked and laughed until the wee hours. The most heartwarming thing to me was that all the ministers wives attending were just normal ladies. There were no panty hose or pantsuits. However, there was plenty of laughter and stress free time. I loved it!

So girlfriends, I hope you will make a point to mark one (or both) of these dates on your calendar. Arrange for childcare. Yes, fathers can handle the kids for one night. That's what they make McDonald's or pizza delivery for. Call your girlfriends and join the fun. If you are in need of a girlfriend, what better place to make a friend than at a retreat on Friendship and Chocolate.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Face Time

Well girlfriends, I had a totally different idea planned to blog about today but God has another thought. In my experience of "doing things my way" I usually end up wishing I had done things God's way.

As I was putting on my makeup today, the thought of face time popped in my head and I felt God prodding me to think on the idea. Now usually when I am glancing in the mirror I am considering how to cover up the dark circles under my eyes or grimacing over the zit that has appear probably due to an overindulgence of chocolate the day before. However, today other thoughts came to mind.

When I think of face time I think of time with friends. I am not talking about just a few minutes of spare time. I am talking quality time. I love getting together with friends especially girlfriends. I am fortunate that my staff wives are also some of my girlfriends. We tried to get together for face time or what we affectionately call "Lulu Time." With our busy lives we usually have lunch once every four to six weeks. We share our hearts, laugh, enjoy food (chocolate included), and give ourselves just a few minutes to vent and move on. We are nurturing our friendship.

Face time does not mean sending a message via email or Facebook. Oh, those are great ways of communicating but I find them a little impersonal. What I love more is receiving a handwritten note or a card especially selected for me. It just means that person went to a lot of trouble to do something special for me. As I have said before God often pops people's names into my head during the night when I am unable to sleep. It is His way of telling me to have a quality face time with that person through a card or handwritten note.

Did you know God wants us to have face time with Him? He does not push us to spend time with Him. He just simple ask us to join Him. Sometimes my face time with the Lord is rushed because I have so much on my plate. Other times my face time is awesome where God speaks through scripture to my heart. (Hey, the Word is God's love letter to us!) I know in my life right now I need some deep, uninterrupted face time with the Lord concerning a couple of unanswered prayers. I love it when during those time God provides a scripture or an overwhelming sense of peace during my quality face time.

So girlfriends, what is a special face time for you? With friends? With the Lord?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is in the Air

Valentine's Day. For the world's economy it means a billion boxes of chocolates, flowers from florist, romantic restaurants, a treasure chest of jewelry trinkets just to name a few. Valentine's Day came early this weekend for Lee family as my youngest son proposed to his girlfriend. It was such a sweet time to see these two young adults who have been dating for several years take the next step in their relationship. What is more reassuring is that both Bryan and Shannon are children of the King.

As I post this blog Bryan and Shannon are sitting together downstairs on the couch making a wedding website and planning. They have already lined up a photographer. (It helps when our other daugther-in-love is a professional photographer!) They also have a tentative date. Now all the big plans such as place, time, and caterer have to come together. In the meantime I will pray that God will continue to be in the midst of all their planning, He will be the central component to their marriage and that He will open doors for jobs in their career fields soon.

Yes, love is in the air today across the United States. However, I believe Valentine's Day may have begun with Jesus. Just think about it. God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son to save us. Jesus not only came for the sinners of that day over two thousand years ago. He was already thinking about the generations to come. We, dear sisters, were on Jesus' mind.

When some of Jesus' followers took him down from the cross that day, the greatest Valentine was left behind as a symbol of His love for us-the blood stained cross. Yes, love was in the air that day as well.

Happy Valentine's Day, dear sisters!

Would you take a minute and share with me a special Valentine gifts you have received?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Outrageous Love 2

So I am continuing my outrageous love suggestions. This time I am going to share things I have done for my children and for our family in general.

I have three sons which makes Valentine Day a little different. As the boys grew, they thought they were too cool for all that hearts and flowers stuff! It did not deter me in the least.

My sons were included in the breakfast in bed routine as soon as they were old enough. I always included a Bible verse with the word heart in it on their trays. (That was not hard to do as there are over 700 verses with heart in it)

I packed their lunches and put heart shaped sandwiches, fresh strawberries, red juice and of course chocolate hearts. I always put a card in their lunch, usually home-made with some things I was proud of them about in it.

I put cards in each school book for each class.

I put hearts in their gym bag with verse.

When they were driving I surprised them with many different decorations in car through the years.

Dinner time was my favorite. This was the time of day that I could scream "Outrageous Love" to each of my family members. The dining room was always decorated in 'over the top' ways. Different every year, from crepe paper, balloons, hearts, pictures, cards and lots of heart verses. We used crystal, silver and china. Menu: Heart shaped meatloaf (with initial on individual meatloaf in ketsup)or heart shaped chicken breast, etc., pink mash potatoes, strawberry bread, sliced strawberries in shape of hearts, pink milk ( Nestlie Quick), cards, bible verses, fresh flowers, and of course various pink desserts - Ice cream, whipped cream - pink, cherries, heart shaped cookies,etc.

Ok, so now you are thinking I am crazy. Yes, crazy in love with my God and my family. It is my day to say I love you more than you will ever know. Through the years my sons and husband got use to the treatment, but never bored with it. Many times I heard my husband (if it was a Sunday,it became a sermon illustration) or sons sharing my craziness with their friends. Of course, they sounded like they were saying I was crazy, but I heard love and security in their voices.

Our God's love is really unexplainable. The world doesn't understand it or even believe it, but it does not stop Him from giving us flowers, trees, oceans, rivers, blue skies, snow, mountains, animals and Himself! Share that "outrageous love" this Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Outrageous Love

I have heard the term 'outrageous love' used several times lately. When I hear that term I think of something that is 'over the top'! It seems appropriate for this time of year.

Let me share with you what some might call 'over the top' things that I have done for my husband in years past for Valentines Day. (Tomorrow I will share what I did for my children)

For 28 years without fail I served my husband (and children when they came along) breakfast in bed on Valentines Day. I served pink, yes, pink scrambled eggs, cranberry or cherry juice, strawberry muffins, heart shaped sausage, small chocolate heart, card and long stem red rose on tray. The menu varied sometimes but you get the idea. There were times it was difficult, but I just set my alarm early and did it.

I found little red cupids on strings one year and went to the church and taped them all over the ceiling of my husband's car so when he came out his car was full of floating cupids.

I bought the giant card and taped it to his door at his office.

I bought red, white, pink construction paper and cut out hundreds (literally) of all size hearts and taped them all over his office.

I hired a woman in a white tux with red hearts all over it to sing to him during staff meeting.

I surprised him with a Valentine lunch at the office.

I filled his car with red, white, pink ballons - front and back seat to the ceiling.

Well, these are just a few - maybe you will be inspired or maybe you would like to share some your ideas. The point is.....Outrageous Love.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believs in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life."

Now that is Outrageous Love!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love, Love, Love

If you turn on the TV, listen to the radio or walk into any store you are seeing red, pink and lots of hearts. Yes, it is that time of year again, Valentines Day!

Years ago I began collecting hearts for my home to remind my boys the importance of "loving one another." It started with one heart in the dining room to keep our mealtime conversations peaceful. Through the years the hearts began to filter into every room of the house.

As I think about Valentine's Day I have to admit it really is one of my favorite days. It has not always been that way, but my dad explained to me how if anyone should be able to celebrate love, it should be christians! He began to challenge me to turn this day into a day of showing God's love to those around me, especially my family.

Matthew 22:37-38 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."

Our love for those around us is directly related to our love for God. We have to start loving our Father in order to love everyone else. If that is true, then as we prepare for Valentines Day we need to check our heart love for God. Are you spending time with Him everyday? Are you obeying Him? Are you agreeing with Him about sin and repenting? Are you in the "Living Word"?

John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

John 14:23 "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."

Let's start today checking our love for the Father. Is it growing? Are we seeking Him? Do we know Him better today than yesterday?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I read Tara's last post and laughed because I was suppose to write for the blog this week and did not do it yesterday because I did not have time!

I believe all of us have problems getting our time management skills working in ministry. It is so difficult to say "NO" when someone neeeeds me!

I wish I could tell you that I had the solution, but like you, I continue to learn day by day. I do believe the key is finding what God's direction for you includes. Everyone else is more than willing to give you direction, but we have to stop and ask our Creator for His plan.

Let's be honest, we all have the same amount of time. God did not cheat any of us. The challenge is to allow God to determine how to use that time. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a favorite for all of us. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowedge Him, And He shall direct your paths." In order to trust we must be asking and obeying. Obeying sometimes means saying, "NO."

Psalm 31:14-15 says "But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, "You are my God.: My times are in Your Hands."

I guess you (we) could stop when someone is asking and quote the above verse. Then reply, "Let me take some time tonight to ask God what He wants to do with my time." At least, that will give you time to get courage to say "NO" if that is what you need to do.

I am a "fixer" so it goes against everything in me to not take on whatever comes before me, yet I have learned that God has plenty of "fixers" in His Kingdom and doesn't need me for every single job.

Well, that may not help, but at least you know that we are learning this together!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Still Crazy!

Okay Ladies. . . .

How do you do it? How do you say "no"?

My family is always on the go. There is always somewhere to be, something that needs to be done. Honestly, if we have a "free" evening, we will find a way to fill it with something, or else I fall fast asleep on the couch before 9:00!

So when people ask "How are you?," my standard reply is "Crazy!" I feel crazy. I feel like I meet myself coming and going. Honestly, I am thankful for all the snow days my oldest daughter has had from school because we have been forced to stop. It has been nice.

I realize that our crowded calendar is mostly my own doing. I am asked, "Tara, can you . . . ?" or "Tara, will you . . ?" and I say "Sure!" If my calendar was opened, it isn't anymore. Then there are the times that I simply see a need and because I know it needs to be done, I will try to squeeze it in between two other things I am not really sure how I was committed to in the first place.

Here is where I need your help. How do you say "no"? How do you not help? Where is your line and how do you keep from crossing it?

I really do need your help here . . . I need to have a conversation with my daughter's school's PTO president next week and the lady who heads up the girls' ministry in the youth group is waiting to find out if I am able to help drive to the girls' retreat in a couple of weeks.

So, whether you've been reading this blog from the beginning, or just happened across it, post your thoughts. It may be just what I need to hear.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Still Learning!

Okay Gals, I thought my confession time from yesterday's post was over and done with.


I have another confession to make. No, I haven't had another slip of the tongue today, just some additional reflection over last night's events.

You see, I think I have gotten -as my momma used to say, "a little big for my britches." I had read Dana's posts from last week and patted myself on the back, thinking to myself that I am not struggling with those feelings right now. I had received some good reviews on some material I had recently written and my cup was filled to the brim with encouragement from unexpected sources. In short, it had all "gone to my head."

My slip of the tongue revealed a lot more sin in my life than I had allowed myself to realize was there. It is the sin of self-righteousness and it is U-G-L-Y!

I am guilty of playing this game where I judge myself against others who seem to have greater sins than I do. My indiscretion is really not a big deal if I compare myself to "those" people. I just conveniently forget that God sees all sin the same and that there are other people in my life I know to be "better" than me. (Do you ever do this?) Unfortunately, it was really easy to slip into. So easy, in fact, that I hadn't even realized that I had done it!

So tonight, I am eating some humble pie and relishing in our God who loves me enough to show me my weaknesses. I am thankful that God used a little four-letter word to remind me how much I need Him.