Monday, December 30, 2013

What Will You Remember?

Well my sisters, we have come to the end of another year. When you look back over the year that was 2013, what will you remember? What stands out to you? What joys bring a smile to your face? What sorrows cause your heart to feel heavy? What circumstances forever changed your life?

This year was a very blessed year. Yet, not every day felt like a blessing. I had many joyful days, and I also had my days when I felt sorrow or experienced heartache over various things going on in my life. But every single day is a gift, a gift from our loving heavenly Father, who loves us beyond what we can ever think or imagine.

Imagine this: In 2013 we had 365 gifts! How? Each day was a gift. Today is Dec 30, and if we make it to see Jan 1, we would have had a mind-blowing 365 gifts given to us to enjoy and to use in order to make a difference in the lives of people God puts in our path.

As ministers’ wives, we can look back and see how God has ministered in our churches: people coming to know the Savior, families uniting with our church body to grow and be ministered to, old and young alike growing in their faith, lives being eternally impacted for the kingdom. Also, and unfortunately, we experience another side of ministry that grieves our souls: individuals and families who leave for various reasons (somehow we usually take it personally), disputes and backbiting among church members, families losing loved ones or going through tough relational issues, gossiping, murmuring, complaining…I could go on. Thankfully, I believe, that the joys of ministry outweigh the sorrows.

I don’t know about you, but as I reflect back on 2013, I hope that my life has had a positive impact on others. In one of the shortest books in the Bible, the apostle Paul makes a statement about his Christian brother and friend Philemon that has always captivated me. He says, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” Philemon 1:7 Wow! What an uplifting thing to say about a fellow brother or sister in Christ. As we all say farewell to this past year, perhaps the Lord has used us to “refresh” the hearts of people in our lives.

Again, as you look back over 2013, what will you remember or HOW will you be remembered?

Friday, December 27, 2013


Oh, what a joyous time of year.....for most people, but many people do not share that joy.  Some families are struggling because of finances or because of broken homes.  And some families are facing serious illnesses and death.

Today, we have a funeral for one of our church members.  He had cancer and is no longer suffering, but he left behind, his mother who will be 99 years old Saturday.  She is heartbroken.  She has now buried her husband, two daughters and a son.  They all died of cancer.  She is doing very well physically considering her age, but she has difficulty hearing. 

 A couple of weeks ago, she asked us to stop by her house after church, before we went to eat, because she wanted to see us before we went to the hospital to see her son.  When we got there, she had gotten up at 7:00 that morning and cooked lunch for her:  pintos, Mexican cornbread, sour kraut, pot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions and a peach cobbler.  IT WAS DELICIOUS!!  Roger commented about how good it was and she told him that it ought to be; she had had 99 years of practice and if it wasn't right now, it never would be. 

Please keep Mrs. Mahalia in your prayers.  She has lived a long life and now I fear she will give up.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Blessing

Merry Christmas to Everyone!!! 
Wow....what a fun-filled year we have had.  The first picture was Cameron last Christmas and the one on the right is him this year.  He has brought so much job into our lives and we look forward  to meeting his sister, Kinley in just a few weeks.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

T'was the Night Before Christmas....

I DID it.  I even amaze myself sometimes.  Smile.  The gifts are wrapped and under the tree.......the house is presentable.......snacks have been cooked.

We will be celebrating Christmas with out kids and grandson Christmas night.  Our son and daughter-in-law has to work Christmas day, so we will get up and go visit with out grandson and see what "Santa" brought him before returning home and getting ready for our Christmas meal. 

I thought I was running late this year, but actually finished earlier than usual.  NOW....time to sit and mediate on the TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.

Sunday night, our church went to the Living Christmas Tree in Knoxville.  WOW...what a production.  It was my first time to go, but I can assure you it will not be the last.  It was just what I needed to get in the true spirit of Christmas.

Traditions, traditions.  Every family should have their set traditions  When our children were younger we had a complete ritual that we did during the holidays.  We had an advent calendar and they got to open a door every day and get the piece of candy and the "decoration for the advent scene."  We did this up until they left home.  When they went away to college, they opened several doors on the weekend. 

When they were very young.....I would wrap 10 little presents for them and each night they got to open one....for the 10 day count-down to Christmas.

We would take one night out of our busy schedule and drive around looking at the Christmas lights.

For the Christmas meal, I use to cook the whole nine yards....turkey, ham, dressing, etc.  The last couple of years, I started a new tradition:  Roger grills nice steaks and we have a baked potato bar and a salad bar.  By Christmas night, everyone is usually ready for something different so it has worked out well and there's not a lot of work on anyone.

NOW...that our children are grown....they are making their own traditions.....and we are making new ones.  What kind of traditions does your family honor?

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Stockings Are Hung.....

Whewwwww.....two days until Christmas.  Or, as my Sunday School children would say....two days until Jesus' Birthday!!!

Ready or is HERE!

This is suppose to be a time of JOY....a time of RELAXING.....and a time of REJOICING............................................................HOWEVER....right at the moment, all I am feeling is STRESS and ANXIETY, trying to rush around and tie up all of the loose ends before THE DAY.

Every year, I promise myself that I will start early and complete Christmas cards before the rush........I sent the LAST card today.  Nothing like waiting until the last second.  (It's too close to call it a minute.) And....I still have the presents to wrap, not to mention the normal laundry, bathrooms to clean, floors to clean, grocery shopping to do, cooking and dishes. prayers are that I will SLOW-DOWN......CHILL-OUT and ENJOY this time.

Ladies, I want you to know that I am praying for each of you.  For some reason we women feel like we have to be super minister wives, supper wives, supper mom and just all around SUPER WOMAN during this time of year.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Don't Forget Christmas!

This time of the year is SO busy, especially for minister's wives!

There is SO much to do for the church and at the church and through the church - all on top of what we want to do for our immediate and extended families.

I don't know about you, but I have a list to keep track of all my lists. And there is nothing more satisfying than to cross off that last item on any list. Honestly, sometimes I write down something that I have already done just to me able to cross it off! Anyone else?

This year, on top of all the Christmas activities, the media is filling the air with all their normal secular spin to this holiday. We are bombarded with all kinds of advertisements too. The news is full of Duck Dynasty stuff, Obamacare, and the Target credit card security breech.

It would be really easy for anyone to slip into Satan's distraction trap this time of year. There is a TON of things out there to steal our attention!

SO, here is my reminder: DON'T FORGET CHRISTMAS!

Let me encourage you to find some way, some time at some point to remember Christmas, to reflect on the significance and refill your spiritual cup. Grab a cup of coffee and a cookie (maybe a piece of chocolate Vickie!)  and sit down to ponder the incredible gift of Christ.

For me, I am taking advantage of the times I am forced to sit down and feed my baby. As I watch her suck on her bottle I am in awe that Jesus once had to be fed too. He had to have his diaper changed and the spit-up wiped from his sweet little chin. Wow! As a result, I find myself praising our amazing God.

What is it you are doing to remember Christmas this year?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Missions

In my devotional time this morning I was struck with a "new-to-me" thought.

Just as Jesus was sent on a mission, so we too are sent and this is Christmas.

In his Advent devotional guide, "Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent," John Piper enouraged he readers to contemplate this verse:

"As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." John 17:18

I have never thought of this verse as a Christmas verse. But it really is. God isn't asking us to do anything He has already done. Just as He sent Jesus, He sends us.

Christmas missions isn't a canned food or a toy drive. It isn't carrolling in nursing homes or ringing a bell standing next to a red bucket. Missions during the Christmas season isn't taking a plate of cookies to the shut-in neighbor or sacrificing a Christmas morning at home to serve the homeless in a soup kitchen.

While all these things can be a part of Christmas missions, it really only truly takes place if we use these opportunities to explain why we have Christmas. As you know, it isn't about family, the good in people or some other warm, fuzzy feeling. Christmas missions only happens if we take every opportunity to share the Gospel.

That is what Christmas is truly about. Jesus being sent into the world. This is what we are called to as well. To go and tell.

So where in the world are you going today?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

I began the chapel time last Tuesday morning the same way I always do with the four year-olds in the church's weekday preschool program. The lesson compared the way my new baby entered the world to the way Mary's baby entered the world. I used my Eliza as a visual aid talking about how Baby Jesus was a real life baby, just like her.

Then I started to point out the differences. I told the children about the short trip to the hospital and all the medical professionals I had to help me. We talked about how Mary and Joseph had made a long journey and that her only help had come from a carpenter who knew nothing about babies. Then I asked if Mary had her baby in a hospital. The children all correctly answered, "no." So I followed up asking where Jesus had been born.

I will never forget Dylan's answer. He may have innocently confused Good Friday's symbol with Christmas's, but his immediate reply of "The Cross," has had a profound effect on me. Dylan won't turn five until mid-March, but his answer would draw the applause of many an experienced theologian.

Jesus may have been born and laid in a manger, but even then, His ultimate destination was the cross.

This Christmas season, God has repeatedly reminded me that Jesus was born for the purpose of dying.

As I hold my tiny baby, I am overwhelmed when I think of how the tiny Baby born to Mary with His tiny hands with little fingers would one day be violently nailed to a crude, rough cross. The small head, He could not yet even hold up, would one day have a crown of thorns thrust upon it. This ultimate picture of newness and innocence and purity and potential would one day become MY unrighteousness, shame and ugliness.

This is why I am celebrating Jesus this Christmas. God used Dylan's answer to draw my worship so much deeper.

Why are you?

What is God pressing on your heart this December?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Life As You Expected?

Has your life turned out like you expected?  Had originally wanted?  Thought?  Mine sure has not!  I thought I was going to marry Alan Walne, have lots of money and never leave Dallas, Texas!!  I never thought I would be married to a pastor.  And then after years of being a stay-at-home mom, and then teaching in colleges in Texas and Tennessee, and having a great tenure providing training and development for businesses and industries, I never thought I would be working at Pier Indianapolis, Indiana!!

What about you?  Has your life turn out like you thought it would?  As I talk to women I discover that most of us are doing things we never expected.  Living places we never dreamed.  Experiencing things we never imagined.  Some hard.  Some great.  Some challenging.  Some disheartening. 

I have been thinking about Mary….you know, the Mary of Christmas!  I am pretty sure her life did not turn out like she expected!!  Pregnant and not married!  No baby showers!  Giving birth in a smelly stable instead of a beautiful birthing room at the local hospital!  On the run with a newborn from King Herod and she didn’t even have a stroller!!  Yep, I am pretty sure her life was not turning out as she expected.

You know, following Jesus is a beautiful, life changing, amazing journey that takes us to places we never would expect.  Intertwines our lives with people we never imagined loving.  Experiencing valleys and mountaintops that bring us to our lowest low and our highest high….all of it hand-in-hand with Jesus.

No, my life has not turned out as I expected….and I am grateful!!  Let’s say as Mary did in Luke 1 (and I paraphrase), “I am the Lord’s servant and I am willing to do whatever He wants!”  Whatever….even if it isn’t what I expect!!  Let's hold on to all things loosely!

Oh, and just a thought….if your life has turned out just as you planned….is it because you have done just that….planned it!!  Controlled it.  Manipulated it?  Like I said, just a thought. J

Friday, December 13, 2013

How In The World?

How in the world does a girl who was born way up north in Beloit, Wisconsin to agnostic/atheistic (is it possible to be both?) parents, and who, as a third grader, moved way down south to Dallas, Texas, and who, for years, thought a Christian was simply just someone who was born in America, end up writing a blog for Tennessee Ministers Wives??  How in the world did that happen?

“Nothing Is Impossible With God!”

How in the world does that same girl endure much abuse as a child, and yet, end up whole and complete and joyful?

“Nothing is Impossible with God!!”

And how in the world does that same girl who was pursued by the God who loves her and created her and died for her walk in sin and selfishness and pride ever be used by Him to bring others to the Truth?

“Nothing is impossible with God!!!"

How in the world does that girl who was not raised in a Christian home and who had no idea how to be a Godly wife or how to raise Godly kids end up being the wife of a pastor?  And the mother of a pastor?  And the mother-in-law of a pastor?

"For nothing is Impossible with God!!!!”

As I sit looking out of the window at the beautiful white snow I continue to be reminded of the powerful truth of Luke 1:37, “For nothing is impossible with God!”

Claim it.  Rest in it.  Do the impossible!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Merry Christmas

As I end this weeks blog post and since it is the last one for 2013, I wanted to take just a moment to wish each of you a Merry Christmas.  The holiday rush and stress is beginning at our home already and I constantly have to remind myself that Jesus is the we have Christmas.

Sisters, here is a little something that God planted in my mind the other day during my quiet time.  I want to share it this you.

Twinkling lights on a trimmed tree;
Carolers singing Christmas melodies.

Moonlight glistening on new fallen snow;
Santa dressed in red from head to toe.

Suddenly memories flood my mind
of the night that brought hope to mankind.

Shepherds stood in awe
at the bright Star they saw.

In the manger, cattle and sheep
sensed what was to come and did not sleep.

A father and mother welcome a babe
Jesus, the world He came to save.

Merry Christmas dear sisters!  Enjoy the fun and laughter.  Make lots of memories.  Eat tons of chocolate (I plan to).  Most of all pause in the rush to remember Jesus and why He came to earth.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013



For those who know me you know that I find great JOY in devouring anything chocolate-M & Ms, Hershey Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, etc.  I cannot begin to imagine NEVER getting to have that delicious fulfillment in my mouth.

As a minister’s wife I find great JOY in ministry.  I cannot imagine NEVER getting to serve the Lord as a minister’s wife.  Sadly there are many ministers’ wives who have lost their JOY.   If you are one of those ladies, I hope this blog will be an encouragement to you and help you get the JOY of ministry back.

J-Jesus is what it is all about!  Do not ever forget this fact.  It is not about you, your husband, or your church.  When I get discourage, I remind myself that Jesus is Source of my salvation JOY and thus ministry JOY.

O-Overcome the bitterness of ministry.  Oh sisters, bitterness can slowly seep into our lives and become a burden.  It starts with discouragement, brews in to dissatisfaction or resentment, and becomes full blown bitterness.  When bitterness takes root, it can ruin your husband’s ministry and only hurts you.  If you have bitterness toward ministry, OVERCOME it NOW!  Find a fellow minister’s wife or a trusted person to talk to and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. 

Y-You.  Girlfriends, as a minister’s wife, we face all kinds of struggles and situations from church to family.  We can either handle them through God’s grace or completely leave Him out.  Always try to look for the good in a situation or person.  Oh I know, sometimes it is hard, but we can do it through God’s help.  My mom always told me I may not like a person but I have a responsibility to love everyone because God first loved us.  If the problem is a situation, look for a solution with the Lord’s help.  You are responsible for YOU. 

Joy in the ministry is crucial to a healthy relationship to Christ and the body of believers.  When you are joyful in your role as a minister’s wife, your husband’s ministry can be much more fruitful.  He will be encouraged by you and not worried about you.

So sisters, if you are struggling with your JOY in ministry, grab a handful of chocolate and crawl up in the Father’s lap.  Allow Him to replenish your JOY in Him.



Monday, December 2, 2013

Tis the Season


Ministers’ wives across America and the world . . . tis the season!  We must plaster on our smiles, decorate our homes to Southern Living standards, provide Christmas cookies and goodies that will make Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray proud, and shop for the perfect Christmas gifts for everyone including the hardest person to please.

Then of course are the Christmas church parties . . . yes, tis the season.  These parties are endless.  Just looking at my calendar for next month makes my stomach hurt.  Everyone wants the “pastor” to be at their party.  Okay, I say let him go.  Oh wait; I am married to the pastor so that means I get to attend too.  Oh and of course, many of the parties just happen to be on the same night, at the same time, in different places.  What’s a girl to do?  Well, you get dressed in a style that is appropriate for a fancy dinner, a scavenger hunt, and dirty Santa party and attend all three events.  Or may I should say that since there are three parties at the same time and in different places you get to simply make an appearance, greet everyone, and move on to the next party.

Okay girlfriends, I think you get the drift.  We are part of a wonderful church family who wants us to celebrate the Season with them.  I cannot wait for the parties to begin.  Fellowship with members makes you draw closer to one another and encourages the body of Christ.

Yes sisters, tis the Season to celebrate being a minister’s wife!
Share with us some of your favorite things about being a minister's wife at Christmas.