Monday, November 28, 2016

Intentional Christmas

It's baaaaaack!

"The Most Busiest Time of the Year . . . ."

Yesterday was the official start of the Christmas season, the first Sunday of Advent.

My man and I sat with the calendar pulled up on my IPad after our daughters were in bed.We added pageants and parties. The little squares began to quickly fill. The "notes" were cluttered with reminders to bring a dish or an ornament or both a dish and an ornament.

With lots of expectations placed on our family by well-meaning church members and by myself, I find myself quickly feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Is that a cold-sore forming on the side of my mouth?

Dear Sister, PLEASE, do let this season be the fertile ground Satan uses to rob you of the joy to be found during this "Most Wonderful Time of the Year." We can be SO busy with all the Christmas activities that we miss the TRUE meaning of Christmas.

Yes, I know that you know, Christmas is all about Jesus.  I know that you know that the REAL reason for the season is to celebrate His birth... but have you taken the time recently to stop and really reflect on what we are celebrating?

As our pastor said yesterday, it can't be found in a Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel. Yes, it might be a tear-jerker, pulling on our heartstrings, but if we aren't careful, if we aren't intentional, we might find ourselves more "moved" over an emotional movie or a clever advertising scheme than the true meaning of Christmas.

So, how can we be intentional to have a meaningful, worshipful Christmas season when we are so busy?

I don't have any magical, easy answers to this question. Actually, if you've found some way or some method or some thing over the years, please share it in the comments . . .(Scroll down to Vickie's Post, "A Simple Christmas" for a good start!)

For now, I am starting with a simple prayer. I started praying this way as a single college student prepping for exams and feeling overwhelmed during this time of year. I asked that God would make my Christmas experience somehow more significant by impressing upon me something "new" from the familiar old story. Every year I have prayed this, He has answered.

Despite the busy-ness and through the bustle, God faithfully deepens my holiday season with depths from the simple story my 3 year old can explain. He has promised that if we seek Him, we will find Him - especially if we are seeking Him in a manger.... The shepherds and the wise men responded in worship, I have found we will too . . .

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Even Though

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.

Everyone has gone home.

No more chaos.

Toys that have been out all over the floor for days are put in their appropriate tubs and stowed under beds or stacked on closet shelves.

The beds are all made.

The towels are all picked up off of various door knobs and floors, washed, folded, and put away.

No more forts and tents made out of various and a sundry blankets and pillows adorn our living area.

No more paper plates stacked ready for snacks and leftovers.

No more laughter and noise and people.

No more watching movies all piled in our bed.

Everything is put away in their proper places and all is back to 'normal'.

It is quiet.

I am alone.

I am grateful.

Grateful for the chaos, the noise, the mess, and the people that made it.

Grateful for the Lord who blesses me with these people.

As I ponder this….I wonder….

If there were no people.

If there were no toys or children.

If there was nothing like I had just experienced these past few days with family all home.

If my health or the health of our children or grandchildren was bad.

If my husband was sick.

If we were homeless.

If we were estranged.


Would I still be grateful?

Would I be able to say like Habakkuk, “even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord!  I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!  The Sovereign Lord is my strength!  He makes me surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.  Habakkuk 3:17-19

What is my “even though”?

Even though I don’t have fruit and even though there is no harvest and even though I am empty and barren and even though there is death…..even though things don't go my way....even though I don't get what I want....even though ________...

Can I still say “I will be joyful?”  Can you still say you will be joyful?

Would I still be joyful?  Would you?

Father, I am grateful for the blessings and the abundance that come from You….may You give me the grace to be grateful and joyful during the “even though” times as well.  May You find me faithful during the "even though" seasons.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thank You!!

It is the Tuesday before thanksgiving.  Being thankful, grocery lists and to-do’s are on the forefront of most of our minds.

Like you, I have much to do….kids and grand kids coming from far and near...(and who knows what church members will come at the last minute!! Anyone remember this from last year?) I’m pretty sure no one wants to hear all that I need to do.  Actually, I don’t want to hear all I have to do.  In fact, I so don’t want to hear all I need to do--I left home for Panera Bread so I won’t even have to SEE all I have to do.  So, here I am smelling broccoli cheese soup and cinnamon crunch bagels and typing...and no one is at home cleaning, cooking, washing sheets, blah, blah, blah!

Now that you have the scene and the smells in your mind (and nose) I’d like to express my gratitude for the amazing opportunity I had to speak to you precious Tennessee minister wives at The Summit.  Seeing your faces, hearing many of your stories, laughing and crying with you—often at the same time, and experiencing God’s presence together encouraged my heart and my often weary soul.

I’m so frustrated with myself for not taking your picture from my vantage point on that very high platform so that you could see what I saw.  So many beautiful faces from all ages and backgrounds and ministries and passions—yet with one common goal—to know God and to glorify Him with our lives and to become like Him in character and will.

Faces that were new to me.  Faces that go back decades.  Faces that have just recently become sweet reminders of God’s desire for us to have and cherish kindred spirits.  Faces that were in pain and faces that were rejoicing.  Faces.  People.  Women.

Thank you Lana Rose and team.  Your relentless work and dedication made the Good Cup and the luncheon a blessing to so many.  Thank you for the time and effort and commitment you put in to those two exceptional days which produced a great work—your effort was definitely not in vain!!  He was honored and glorified by all you did.  Oh, and those amazing centerpieces!!!  Perfection!!!

Lana shared with us that she will be retiring (sometime 2018 I think!!  I am too sad to remember specifics)  Oh yes, I am super excited for her…but at the same time I am selfishly gloomy.  She has been an encourager to me in countless ways…as well as many of you!!  Her tireless devotion to her Lord and Tennessee Baptists will be greatly missed!!  Please let her know how incredible she is and definitely pray for her as she finishes the course with Tennessee Baptists well!!

Besides thanking Lana and those of you who were on the planning team for the Summit events, I would also like to thank those of you who actually read this BLOG.  You are why we do this.  Even though I have no idea who reads this…You are not invisible.  Even though you might not realize it…You are a blessing.  I am truly grateful for you!

To the other ladies who also faithfully write for this BLOG—thank you for your words.  Your dedication.  Your tenacity.  Your wisdom.  You!

As you reflect this week on all you are grateful for…why not tell another ministers wife how grateful you are for her. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Simple Christmas

As a minister’s wife, from September through December my life is so jammed packed with responsibilities that I rarely stopped to think about Thanksgiving or Christmas until a couple of weeks before the big days.  This year is no different.  However, I have decided that Christmas will be a little different this year.

Oh, we will stay with our family tradition meal started by my parents-a Mexican Fiesta.  However, gift giving is going to get simple and I want to have fun with it.  The following ideas are some that I have come up with and some ideas are borrowed from various people.  Hopefully, an idea or two will help you keep Christmas simple and a little less stressful.

*For a child-Fill a small box with new PJ’s, a book, and a snack.  Allow this gift to be opened on Christmas Eve.  You can also do a simple variation of this gift for an adult.  Just have fun with it.

*Have your children make gifts for their grandparents.  (Grandparents have everything they need).  As a grandmother aka Vivi, I look forward to getting handmade gifts from my grandsons.  I especially love getting pictures with their handprints/footprints on them.  These gifts are precious treasures to me and reminds me keep making memories with my babies because they are growing up too fast.

*Stocking stuffers can often break the bank.  Stay on budget by shopping the local dollar store.  I love Dollar Tree.  This store has great ideas for all ages.  For instance, create a stocking filled with snacks for your college age child.

*To provide some laughter on Christmas day, play a game.  Purchase various $5 gifts cards (Starbucks, Sonic, McDonald’s, etc) and give as prizes.  My entire family loves this idea.
*Instead of busting your budget on high ticket items or buys tons of gifts for your family member, try purchasing only three gifts-a need, a read, and a wish gift.  (Remember the Christ Child received three gifts at his birth).

*Weather permitting buddle up on Christmas Eve and walk outside to look at the sky.  Read the Christmas story outdoors.  Be amazed that God sent his only Son from Heaven’s high throne to be born of a humble birth in order to save us from our sins.

*Because our family is scattered in different directions, we have decided not to exchange gifts.  We would much rather eat well, laugh a lot, and spend quality time together. (We still purchase small gifts or give money to our sons, their wives and our grandchildren).

*Grandparents, instead of a big expensive gift for your grandchild, put money toward their future college education.

As I said these are just a few ideas I have to simplify my Christmas.  I would love to hear some tips that you may have.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

"Ta Da!"

Today, my blog is a simple reminder of God’s greatest creation.  It is so perfect and so unique that nothing else in the entire universe compares to it.  That special created being is YOU!  Yes, my girlfriends in ministry, we are each uniquely designed by God.  When ministry life gets us down and we feel absolutely worthless, I want you to remember the following truths:

We are a work of art.  Pure perfection crafted by the Master Artist.  Each part of our being-every cell, atom, organ-was selected just for us.

Unhappy with your body shape? Too short?  Too tall?  Big feet?  Wide hips?  Flat chested or full chested?  Yes, your body is just how the Master Artist imagined you.

Dislike your hair?  Too curly?  Too flat?  Limp and thin?  Dull color?  Bright red hair?  Premature grey?  Just think about it.  The Master Artist gently caressed your head to create the perfect headdress for you.

Envy your girlfriends blue eyes over your brown ones?  Hate your drab green eyes?  Silly girl, God hand selected those gorgeous eyes just to fit that perfect face!

Freckles, pale skin, dark skin, your accent, your talent, your unique God given gifts, you name it.  Everything about you has been specially selected by the Master Artist.  His loving hands molded us in our mother’s wombs.  We are his workmanship.  Wow!  We are his Masterpieces!  There is absolutely no one else like you!

Just think about it.  When the Master Artist, our Heavenly Father, finished creating each of us, he stepped back and shouted, “Ta Da!”

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Early Thanksgiving

In my earlier blog this week, I urged everyone to go out and vote.

On Wednesday morning, after the official results were in, we awoke to a new president elect of the United States. Many were elated; yet, many were very disappointed. We don’t exactly know what this means for us as a nation, but I am so glad that we can all put our faith and trust in the One who rules the nations!

We can vent, cry, protest, get angry, grumble and complain, pout, etc. OR, we can choose to be THANKFUL!

In the Word of God, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Yes, we can be thankful, even when things don’t go our way.

Here are just a few things to be thankful for…….

• We live in a country where we can choose to vote, and not have a self-appointed dictator to rule over us in an atmosphere of fear and oppression.

• We live VERY affluently compared to billions of people in many parts of the world.

• We have access to clean water; many in the world don’t and daily succumb to disease and death.

• We have cupboards that are overflowing with food; close to 800 million people in the world suffer from chronic malnourishment.

• We are blessed with families and friends who love us and care about us deeply.

• We can freely go to the church of our choice and worship without fear of imprisonment or loss of life.

• Most of all, we have a Savior who loved us and gave Himself up for us so that we can be forgiven of our sins and have an eternal home in heaven!!

As we choose to be thankful, also let us not forget that the Lord works ALL things together for our good; this is a faithful promise from a Faithful God!

Trials, tribulations, disappointments, and heartaches will come, but remember God is our Father, Jesus is our Redeemer, the Holy Spirit is our Helper; three of the best reasons to give thanks.

So, my sisters, I wish you an “early” Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 7, 2016


My sisters, if you haven’t already, I want to encourage you to get out and VOTE!

In my home state, we had a record turn-out of early voters (I was one of them) who didn’t care to wait until November 8th to cast a vote for our next president.

Unfortunately, this is the first time in American history that we are faced with a choice of two very “not so popular” candidates…you all have seen the news, watched the debates, and been exposed to all of the mud-slinging that has gone on in the last several months. Need I say more……

On Wednesday morning, November 9, 2016, our nation will have a new president. We don’t know what the future holds, but I know WHO holds the future.

This election and all the preceding campaign chaos did not catch God off guard. No matter who moves into the White House, our Lord is still on His throne directing the outcome of elections, and most definitely, directing the outcome of all of our lives. I can rest on that!

Yes, our country is in peril, but Our Father is in control, always has been and always will be.

So, do not fret if “your” candidate loses the election; our sovereign God knows the end from the beginning.

Again, please go out and vote, and exercise this fundamental right of every American citizen; and remember that no matter what, Our God Reigns!

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.”
Psalm 103:19

Friday, November 4, 2016

Calling ALL Bi-VO WIVES....

If you have not already registered for our Bi-Vocational Pastors & Wives Retreat in January.....please do so today.  You will not want to miss this.  In the past 18 years....we have only missed ONE retreat and that is ONLY because of the birth of our Granddaughter.

Frederick Brabson – New Covenant Baptist Church, Knoxville
Roger Britton – White’s Creek Baptist Church, Rockwood
Anthony Cannon – Riverview Missionary Baptist Church, Lenoir City
Jeanne Davis – Conference Leader, Brentwood
Randy Davis – Executive Director/Treasurer, Tennessee Baptist Convention, Brentwood
David Evans – Ministry Specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention, Brentwood
Jim Haggard – Middlebrook Pike Baptist Church, Knoxville
Tim Inklebarger – Bethel Baptist Church, Corryton
Willie McLaurin – Ministry Specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention, Brentwood
Lewis McMullen – Ministry Specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention, Brentwood
Lana Rose – Ministry Specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention, Brentwood
The Shepherd Family – Paris
Danny & Rhonda Sinquefield – Faith Baptist Church, Bartlett
Joe Sorah – Ministry Specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention, Brentwood


THURSDAY, January 26
1:30 p.m. – Registration
2:00 p.m. – Welcome and Warm Up (Introductions) – Jim Haggard/John Parrott
2:30 p.m. – Let’s Sing! – Roger Britton
2:45 p.m. – Devotional Challenge – Jim Haggard
3:00 p.m. – Special Music – The Shepherd Family
3:15 p.m. – Message – Fredrick Brabson
4:00 p.m. – Break
4:30 p.m. – Breakout Conferences
Women: “How My Life Demonstrates Loving God” – Jeanne Davis
Men: “How My Life Demonstrates Loving God” – Willie McLaurin
5:30 p.m. – Break for Dinner
6:00 p.m. – Dinner
7:30 p.m. – Let’s Sing! – Roger Britton
Special Music – The Shepherd Family
7:45 p.m. – Message – Randy Davis
8:30 p.m. – Fellowship – GOOD NIGHT!
FRIDAY, January 27
7:30 – 8:30 a.m. – Breakfast at Hotel
8:45 a.m. – Let’s Sing! – Roger Britton
9:00 a.m. – Devotional Challenge – Anthony Cannon
9:15 a.m. – Special Music – The Shepherd Family
9:30 a.m. – “Loving Family” – Randy & Jeanne Davis
10:15 a.m. – Break
10:45 a.m. – Breakout Conference (Together)
“How Our Church Family Can Love Community” – Joe Sorah & Lewis McMullen
11:45 a.m. – Special Music – The Shepherd Family
11:50 a.m. – Message – Danny Sinquefield
12:30 p.m. – Lunch on Your Own
Evening Session – First Baptist Church, Sevierville
5:30 p.m. – Indoor Picnic
6:15 p.m. – The Shepherd Family
7:30 p.m. – Adjourn
SATURDAY, January 28
7:30–8:30 a.m. – Breakfast at Hotel
8:45 a.m. – Let’s Sing! – Roger Britton
8:50 a.m. – Special Music – The Shepherd Family
9:00 a.m. – Devotional Challenge – Tim Inklebarger
9:15 a.m. – “How Your Church is Loving Community” – Group Dialogue
9:45 a.m. – Break
10:15 a.m. – Let’s Sing!– Roger Britton
10:25 a.m. – Special Music – The Shepherd Family
10:40 a.m. – “Evangelistically Loving Your Community” – David Evans
11:10 a.m. – Wrap–Up – John Parrott


Cost is $225 per couple which covers hotel, meals and breaks.

God Knows.....

We have our church FALL FESTIVAL planned for this coming Sunday, November 6th.  We are having it at the Community Center, near the Projects..........and using it as an Out-Reach tool........part of our GiveHIM TN Project.

No matter WHAT you seems like Satan tries to tear it down.  (I guess we should consider that a compliment.  My dad use to say....if Satan is not trying to destroy, you must be doing what he likes.)

We have the inflatables reserved.  Food is planned.  Candy is purchased, etc.  The Community Center was reserved.  We are pulling it altogether.

THEN....Monday we get a call that they had forgotten, but the Community Center had been reserved for a Big Basketball we may have to change locations.  OUCH!

We PRAYED......and PRAYED......and PRAYED............and, for once, did not stress.  We decided that God would work it out and even if we had to move it to the would be okay.

We got a call from the Community Center Tuesday..............and was told that we could STILL have the Festival Sunday..........EVEN if the Ball Tournament was going on.  The manager said that the tournament would give us an EVEN larger group of folks to reach out to and witness too.

Humanly.........we could have gotten discouraged. 

BUT....God Knew.......and HE ALWAYS KNOWS............and sees the BIG PICTURE.

NOW....we get to have the Festival and we are put in a position where we can witness to a crowd that would probably have NOT attended the festival under normal circumstances.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Faucet or Drain?

Jack McCall spoke at our school in-service in August.  That was the second time that I had had the opportunity to hear him.

One of the things that he spoke about that I carried away with me was "The Faucets and Drains" of our lives.  Everyone we come in contact with is either a faucet or a drain.  They either give or take.

As the pastor's wife and seems like LOTS of the people that take up so much of our days are DRAINS.

After a while.............the DRAINS............drain US.

I know that this is the ministry that God has called us into..................but many days, I just long for FAUCETS...............because the DRAINS are wearing me out.

And, sadly........the DRAINS go on and on. 

You know the kind I am talking about...........the ones that want to talk and talk and talk and say the same thing over and over again................. but HEAR nor HEED to ANY ADVICE.  They will come by or call all hours of the day.  They are selfish and think of no one but themselves.  Whewww..................

Am I the only person that sometimes just wants to say, "Time out God................and then tell those DRAINS to GET A LIFE.  You made your bed, now lay in it?"

Sometimes....I don't WANT to be the pastor's wife...................I want to be ugly.  (Oops....confession 101.)

Please send me some MORE FAUCETS in my life to balance out the DRAINS....

Am I the only one?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016



Actually I voted Monday.  How fitting............"Trick-or-Treat"???

NO....I did not LOVE either choice.  I even kept praying for a third choice......BUT....that did not happen.  I VOTED!  As an American Citizenship and as a is my duty to vote.

Regardless of our of the candidates will be our new President this time next week.

God is STILL in Control! is time to begin PRAYING for our new President and PRAYING for all of the folks he/she appoints.  PRAYER CHANGES THINGS.

Let's spend MORE time PRAYING for him/her......and less time complaining.  It is what it is and for four years, we just have to TRUST.

We may not can see how anything good can come out of the the next four years.......BUT......

PRAY.....for our NATION.................PRAY for Our Leaders!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 just a number....

Everyone says that AGE is just a's all in your mind. 

Last Thursday, I turned 60! 

Some days I do not feel 60.  Other days I feel older than 60.

I can truthfully really did not bother me to have this birthday.  I am at the point in life where....I am just thankful to have great health. 

Back in May....Roger and I were asked to go back to our home church in Alabama for the Homecoming Service.  We saw several people that we had not seen in thirty years.....some of them apparently have lived a rough life...................let's just say....I am PROUD to look 60.....but PLEASE don't tell me I look 75.  Smile.

At 60.....I KNOW my life is well OVER half it got me to reflecting.  What legacy am I leaving?  Have I made a difference?  What will folks say about me when I am gone?  

None of us are promised a tomorrow.  We never know how much time we have.  We should strive to live each day as if it is the last.  We should be witnessing and telling others about they can join us in eternity.  We should make a DIFFERENCE for the Kingdom of the Lord.

Are you making a difference?  What will folks say about you?