Friday, October 13, 2017

FINALLY....I reap a harvest...

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
FINALLY...............MY KITCHEN IS 99% DONE.  The back-splash has not been put up...BUT.....we are IN IT and it is WORKING.  Doing without it so long has made us appreciate it more!



CoNfEsSiOn TiMe....

 
I am a teacher and this week has been my Fall Break.....therefore I pre-wrote all of my blogs for this week and post dated them....................BECAUSE....I am spending my Fall Breaking keep these two blessings.  (Mom & Dad are on a cruise, so Mimi and Grandaddy get to keep them ALL WEEK.)
 
May you have a wonderful next few weeks.............and enjoy the fall weather.  I will see you again in five weeks.
 
 
.P.S.  Just a little update.  Cameron is four years old and loves cars, building things and pretending.  Kinley is three and loves coloring, drawing, letters and numbers.............anything school or craft related.  OPPOSITES.
 
When you stay with Mimi and she is a former Kindergarten teacher.....you learn to write your name EVEN though that is NOT your thing and even though your younger sister has been doing it for months....................and you are soooo proud of yourself and discover that you like practicing your name.  (Since this is NOT his thing.....this is a great accomplishment.)




 Also when you spend the week with Mimi and she enjoys Bible Journaling.....you get obsessed and Bible Journal three year old style.  (Don't judge me......no pants on.....just a casual, lazy day at Mimi and Grandaddys.)



Children are NEVER too young to introduce them to the WORD!
 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

JOURNALING.....to a New Level

I have shared about my methods of "quiet time" with other ladies at a conference that I led, but I have never thought to share it with the ladies at my church.  (I guess I just saw that as my private time with God...."

We have a "Secret Sister" Group Messaging.....and one of the ladies posted about her new "Bible Journaling" Bible.  It has the pictures already stamped in the Bible and you "color" the pages.  She was talking about how relaxing it was, etc. and some of the other ladies started asking questions and seemed interested.

I joined in and told them my story of over three years ago when I got interested but was too "CHEAP" so I came up with my own version of "Redneck Bible Journaling".

The ladies jumped ALL OVER that...............it was CHEAP and the only thing they really needed to purchase was the "book" which was less than $5.  They began questioning me.....asking for examples of my work, etc.

Long story short...............they are wanting us to have a "BIBLE JOURNALING WORKSHOP" so we can all learn and work on it together..........especially the ones that are a little nervous about beginning it.

I had personally mostly used the "Bible Journaling" for when I was so stressed that my mind would not focus on "reading anything deep." 

Anyway....I would like to share with you the testimony of one of those ladies.  She is in her early thirties, works outside the home and has two small children.

She purchased her a "Drawing Book" to begin journaling.  She has gotten soooo "into it" that she claims to be obsessed.  She says that it has made her so hungry for God's Word that she MADE TIME to join the Study Group on Sunday Nights, "DETOURS" and she MADE TIME to begin coming to church on Wednesday nights.

She shares that she was at a stage in her life where she felt that she did not have time for devotions and quiet time.  She began the Bible Journaling.....to begin with....just for fun.  It was through it that she got convicted of the "hours" she spent playing "Candy Crush" on her phone................so she deleted all of her game apps on her phone.

She also shared that the Bible Journaling keeps scriptures in her heart and gives her comfort and peace during the day.

SOOOOO......I had always looked at the Journaling as a "light, fun" way to read the scriptures...........BUT, after this lady has shared her testimony................
  • It's made her HUNGRY for God's Word.
  • It's convicted her to delete her "game" apps to give her more time for God.
  • It's caused her to FIND TIME to be a part of a Bible Study.
  • It has made her want to be at church every time the doors are open
  • It's kept her thoughts and mind to focus on "scriptures" instead of the things in the world.
In other words...................seeing what this simple "Redneck Bible Journaling" has done for her..................it has moved Bible Journaling to a whole new level in my mind.

Ladies........I know many of you are probably expert Bible Journal-lers............I would LOVE to hear your stories and how God has used this "hobbie".




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Quiet Time.....

I mentioned yesterday that "Bible Journaling" is a stress relief for me.  I am a doodler by nature.

I shared with a group of Ladies at a conference once that I have a bit of A.D.D. in me.  I get BORED with the same ole, same ole...................so I CHANGE my "devotions" or quiet time.
  • Sometimes I am going through a "Bible Study" book, where there is scriptures and work to do each day.  Right now, on Sunday nights, we are going through David Evan's Study...."DETOURS" so I am doing my "homework" each day.
  • Sometimes I use "Devotion Books".....read the scripture....the explanation and then write it down in my own words or what it means to me.
  • Sometimes I "Bible Journal" my Redneck Style.  I will find something on "Pinterest"....look up the scripture, meditate and many times go back and read the scriptures before and after that verse.
  • Sometimes I simply read the BIBLE and absorb God's Word.
I REALLY enjoy the "Bible Journaling" when I am stressed......because it is relaxing.

I can COPY..................but I am not creative enough to do much with my own ideas yet.  I hope to get there someday.  One day, recently, I was struggling with FORGIVENESS.....so I DID do this one on my own.....but it was quite simple.



PINTEREST is my FRIEND.....so I copy samples off there.  Some of my favorite....

 
 


Monday, October 9, 2017

GOSSIP

Copied this from Pat Brown's Facebook tonight.........love it and sooooo true!

Posted by a friend. 
G- going
O- out
S- serving
S- satan
I- injuring 
P- people
---------------------------!
Don't do this. It hurts people.

"Redneck Bible Journaling"

A little over three years ago.....I began to get interested in Bible Journaling.  I had a friend from Alabama that kept "pinning" things on Pinterest about it and I became very interested.  I began sending her messages and asking questions.

Now....three years ago, Bible Journaling was fairly new so the "special Bibles" were expensive.  Then I discovered that you MUST purchase "special" markers, pens, pencils, etc.............so that it will not bleed through the fragile pages.

I was soooo disappointed.............because I am CHEAP and was not willing to spend the money required to carry out this craft.

After Googling it....and searching on Pinterest....I read where if you were not comfortable with "writing in the Bible" just yet....to practice on notebook paper.

From that thought.....I found a "Drawing Hard Bound Book" in the art section of Walmart for under $5 and I purchased it.  The pages are thick.  I took my new "book", my sharpie pens, Crayola colored pencils, Crayola thin markers, pencil and any other supplies I already had on hand and began what I call my "Redneck Bible Journaling." 

I LOVE IT............and it is sooooo addictive.

I love to underline in my regular Bible and write in the margins, but I was very nervous about "messing up" my Bible by attempting to draw and color in it.  With my "Redneck Journal"...first...it only cost less than $5.........and second....if I totaled messed up.....I could always "tear" that page out and my book would not be destroyed.

I LOVE Bible Journaling.................it is such a STRESS RELIEF for me. 

When I complete my book, I will have a book of scriptures and thoughts that have meaning to me.

Like I mentioned before.........I have done this off and on for over three years.  Later this week I will tell you the story about events that have brought this to a new level for me.

The inside of my Journal............just plain drawing paper.
I decorated the front of my "Redneck Journal".
And, I also decorated the back.


 


Friday, October 6, 2017

Parenting and Discipling

I was blessed this August with the opportunity to attend the ERLC National Convention in Nashville. The theme was "Christ Centered Parenting in a Complex World."

Speaker after speaker shared Bible-based theology and applicable advice for the sanctifying process of parenting. The last discussion panel of the event was even addressed to those of us raising "preacher's kids."

Now, it is October and I could look back over my notes and share bits and portions of the quotes and tips I hurriedly scribbled down, not wanting to miss the next one. But, instead I want to share two things that I wish the Convention had done a better job communicating.

First, I didn't notice this at first, but when it was brought to my attention, I couldn't help but moan a little inside each time a speaker referenced this aspect of parenting...

In our group was the sweetest engaged couple. Now, I know I am a little biased as I have known the groom for nearly his entire life and I have treasured the relationship God has given me in his bride. Because these two lovebirds are yet to be parents, they approached the theme of the conference from a different place. Over and over again they heard how hard and difficult and challenging it was to be parents. We all laughed a little about it when they pointed out how the speakers were making it hard for them to WANT to become parents. Yet, they were right. There was little balance in the topics and discussions about the joys parenthood.

Don't get me wrong. As a parent of a high school teen, a grade school kid and a pre-school rug rat - I know parenting is often hard and difficult and challenging. But I also know that parenting is often fun and fulfilling and amazing.

As a parent, I play and learn and see the world through the fresh eyes of younger people. I don't "have" to, but I "get" to experience life and grow in Christ through three individuals whom God has temporarily entrusted to my care. It is an experience and blessing like none other.

This leads me to my second observation.

There were others in our group from the church that weren't parents yet. For whatever reason, God has not filled their homes with the pitter-patter of little feet. Some in our group only hear that sound when the grandkids are visiting. The organizers of the conference provided some encouragement in that role, yet I think they neglected another role that as Christians we are all called to -

"Parenting" those who are younger than we are in the faith. I believe Jesus referred to it as discipling.

As parents to our three daughters, my husband and I pray and desire nothing more than for each of "our" girls to have thriving, growing relationships with Christ. Yes, we work hard to provide and want to raise responsible adults- but, as the conference speakers reiterated over and over again, our role as parents has deeper, spiritual, eternal consequences to consider.

As Christians called to "make disciples" and to "teach them to observe all" that He commanded- we have the commission to love on and "parent" other believers. Not in condescending manners, but in humility with grace...

Doing life together, our daughters get to see and know the "real" people that their parents are. The discipling relationships we have with them can be a model for how we as believers can seek out and intentionally disciple others.

Whether in our churches or work places, in our friendships and acquaintances, we can intentionally seek out the intimacy and transparency that would allow us the influence to speak Christ into others and allow them to speak Him into us as well.

These types of relationships are often messy. Like parenting, they can be hard and difficult and challenging, BUT, they can also be fun and fulfilling and amazing. God can use them to grow us as much, if not more so, than those we disciple.

Remember, even though The Great Commission is a command, it is another "get to" not a "have to." It is God's blessing to us, to use us this way.

So, whether we are in the throws of any life-stage of parenting or grandparent-ing OR we are simply serving Christ, we should all have and be developing an active Paul/Timothy mindset, nurturing a spiritual "little" believer in the faith....

Don't get me wrong. I loved the conference. I gained both theological perspective and practical tips that I have implemented into our family life. It just didn't end there.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Feelings & Freedom


The feelings are oppressive and overwhelming both individually and especially collectively.

Helplessness.
Fear.
Anxiety.
Hate.
Grief.
Despair.
Hopelessness.

The flood of questions and rush of finger-pointers only seem to heap insults onto the injured, yet in our attempts to comprehend and somehow reconcile the events of the last few days, we all try to find someone to blame, some thing to hold responsible - perhaps to predict and prevent another such inexplicable act from occurring ever again.

These emotions are easily justified and easy to give into. Submitting to them only binds us again into the spiritually slavery that Christ came to set us free from.

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 ESV

 As Christ followers and Church members we are the light. We have been set free from these very real, very suffocating feelings, yet even we all too often give into them and literally bind ourselves up into the sinful consequences of succumbing to the undertow and tide of their crashing, devestating waves.

How do we stand firm therefore?

How can we speak into the darkness?

How do we help those enslaved by these feelings?

We see people standing in line to give blood. We see politicians and elected officials make pleas for new legislation. We see others throwing in financial support and/or starting other drives for other resources.

All these things are well and good, but unless these people are living in and offering others the freedom of Christ, the aid that they give will be temporary. While I am sure their motives are the most sincere, all the efforts, funds, explanations, and "answered" questions will still leave us with feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty.

In the meantime, life is already marching on. We are going to work. We are paying bills. We are fixing dinners and doing loads of laundry. The urgency to do something, anything is fading. 

In the midst of trying to come to terms with what has just happened and to explain the unexplainable, we all want to help. But yet most of us do not see the difference we can make on our own. We discount the power of our prayers and, all too soon, with the passing of not enough time, the passion of our feelings fade and our well of motivation to do something dries quickly up.

Before that happens, as we decide to turn off the talking heads on the news channels because we cannot take the weight of watching and hearing more details and more pain, let us realize that there are things we can do, ways we can step into to the fray and offer freedom through Christ. We ARE the light in these dark days. Do not turn away yet . . .

Church- we can't NOT be changed by all of this again. We can't sit by and watch and NOT DO anything. Where are our convictions? 

The excuses come easily enough -

I am one person, what difference can I make?
We don't have any "extra" money to donate.
I don't have any time to organize one more project.
We don't really know anyone directly affected. 
I live so far away.

My challenge is simple enough - By God's grace and design we are where we are to offer freedom and light to those we are around. 

Whether it is the cashier at Kroger's or our closest friend, we can live Jesus out to them. A smile, a kind word, a listening ear . . . True they may not be a victim of a hurricane or a survivor of a mass shooting, but we may or may not know the turmoil inside of them. Chances are we have not even taken the time to contemplate their life situation or history. 

So, take time to play with your kids. Be intentional to really listen to the lady who talks A LOT. Look the stranger in the eye. 

When given the opportunity speak hope into the despair. Combat the hate with love. Sooth the anger with gentleness. Share truth with compassion and abandon.  All to and with the people we live beside and with everyday.

These aren't just happy, abstract thoughts, but literal opportunities to fight back against the very real ruler of this age. We have been set free from his rule and reign - Let's make it habitual to live in freedom in such a way that Christ can use us to set others free as well. "... do not submit again to the yoke of slavery."



Monday, October 2, 2017

Opinions VS Convictions

"Opinions are like noses; everyone has one!"

Everyone seems to have an opinion about everything these days. AND everyone seems to feel the need to share their opinion with everyone else. 

Social media has provided a platform for people to say things in ways that they would never actual voice to anyone out loud. Hiding behind a keyboard and screen we've gotten pretty bold and brave. 

Sometimes, we are seeking to validate our opinion by gaining "likes." Or maybe our intention is to stir the pot in the guise of generating "discussion." Regardless, everyone seems to have something to say about everything. The topic "du jour" is always changing and is always "hot."

These opinions may be based on "fake news" or credible sources but they are all formed through our individual past exposures and experiences. 

We are quick to judge our "friends" based on whether or not they agree with our opinions, even if we aren't typing out our stand on the issue. "I knew I liked her!" "Can you believe he said THAT?!"

Sinful tendencies such as prejudices and racism creep into our inner thought dialogue despite knowing that as "Christians" we dare not type them into our status updates. 

Often forgetting the graces that have shaped our current circumstances and worldview we pick sides and vilify anyone whose opinion differs from ours. Lines are drawn and we sit in judgment over those that fall short of the standard that we have decided makes someone good or bad, right or wrong. 

Name calling begins. 
Enemies are made. 
Friends are lost. 
Relationships are altered. 
Opportunities wasted. 
God is blasphemed.
Divisions are widened.

Recently, while reading "The Accidental Feminist" by Courtney Reissig, I was challenged to think through the differences between opinions and convictions. 

Not everyone has conviction. While someone may have opinions on everything, she may only have convictions on a couple of things. 

Convictions require deep belief. 
Convictions demand action. 
Convictions are formed over time and study and experience. 
Convictions, fully formed and rooted within us, compel us to act without thinking, yet if needed we can articulately explain them because we have invested ourselves within them. 

As Christians, our convictions MUST be firmly and only found in our growing knowledge of our God and His Word. As such, we must display His grace in circumstances and situations when we are confronted with others who have opinions and convictions that differ from our own. We must define our Biblical convictions separating them from our own self-formed opinions.  

As humans, whether we claim Christ or not, we all act out what we believe. The presence of morals in any one person shows that on some level we are convicted that there IS a right and a wrong. That is why we watch the news and can ALL be appalled at the acts of one man in Las Vegas last night and we can ALL applaud the acts of heroism displayed in the face of such evil. 

In the light of current events and the volatile political climate, we MUST hold to our convictions and influence those around us the way Jesus did. He didn't backdown, but He always loved. He dealt with compassion with those seemed the most different from Him. He understood that there were those who would never understand or believe His convictions, but He never sinned against them. He prayed for them even as they crucified Him. . . I can't say that I've done the same . . . 

Whether we differ on the most recent Supreme Court judgment or the vote of our church's personnel committee, let's pray that we keep our personal opinions to ourselves and pray for the grace to act upon our convictions in ways that will bring our Christ the most glory.... 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Who Are My Egyptians?






A few weeks ago, my quiet time was in Exodus 14:13-14 where Moses addressed the Israelites at the Red Sea as Pharaoh’s and his army approached.  As soon as I read that passage, I immediately thought, “Who are my Egyptians?”



“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”



There are days as a minister’s wife that can be calm.  However, on other days, life can be challenging.  As I pondered who my Egyptians were, here is what I decided:



*Demands placed on me by church members:

These are not bad people.  However, they fail to realize I am only one person and they are many.  Although I try, I can’t meet all their demands.



*The critics:

What? Ministers’ wives have critics?  Yes, we do.  We are criticized from how we dress to how our children behave.  They criticize our husband’s sermons to the songs in the service.  Let’s face it.  I sometimes wonder if there is a sign over my head that reads “Complaint Department.”

What I have learned is that these people are not happy and you just have to let God handle it.



*Myself:

This one hurt.  I have always been a people-pleaser, and I constantly compare myself to others.  For years (and at time even today), I experience little to no self-esteem.  When I can’t make everyone happy, I feel guilty and I second guess everything I do.  This leads to comparing myself to others who have more talent and ability.  Gee, who needs an “Egyptian” when I can beat my own self up?



The close of verse 14 is what we need to remember each day.  It says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  When our Egyptians (whoever or whatever they may be) attack, we need to be still and to allow our Mighty Warrior-God- to stand before us.  For He has promised to deliver us from our enemies.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Don't Play Favorites





“For there is no favoritism with God.” Romans 2:11



As you know, I am a chocoholic.  I do not play favorites.  Any type of chocolate is acceptable with me.  God also does not play favorites either.  He desires that ALL people receive his saving grace.



In recent weeks, news outlets have bombarded us with images of war between nations and racial tensions.  There just seems to be no peace or loving-kindness anywhere anymore.  Look around your community, and I would guess not all people look, act or ever speak the same language as you do.



The community our around the church where my husband pastors has certainly changed over the years.  What was once an upper middle-class area is now a melting pot of different socioeconomic backgrounds, racial backgrounds and religious views.  Not all the people around our church look like us.  Some even have pink hair and tattoos! (Just for the record, I have nothing against hair color or tattoos.  As a matter of fact, I have been sharing with a lady who does and I love her).  I dare to say that any given long-established church has an ever-evolving community around it.  Guess what?  THEY ALL NEED JESUS!  So, what should we do?



We should be willing to step out of our comfort zones and into the mission fields just outside the doors of our churches.  Go knock on a few doors.  Invite someone with pink (or green, purple, rainbow) hair and tattoos to your church.  Have a fun block party event.  There are tons of ways to become missional in your own backyard. 



More importantly, we should not play favorites meaning desiring one type of person over another.  Jesus ministered and call all types of people to faith.  Yes, you should treat a tax collector, a beggar or a prostitute the same.  Jesus did and those individuals became strong witnesses for Christ.



John 3:16 clearly reminds us that God sent Jesus into the world that whoever (red, yellow, black, white, rich or poor) believes on him would gain eternal life. God does not show favoritism because we are all precious in his sight.
















Friday, September 15, 2017

When We Are Tempted To Complain...

So much devastation. So much loss.

Our nation has experienced the destructive effects of, not one but two, powerful storms that made landfall in Texas and Florida. Other states in the Southeast also were plummeted with damaging winds and torrential rains.

Our nation has also experienced, even in the midst of such tragedy, people from many different cultures, races, social economic backgrounds, and religious affiliations come together with a common goal of helping those in need, whether it be aiding in heroic rescue efforts or providing essential supplies such as food, water, and toiletries.

As I contemplated the horrible losses: the homes and businesses that were destroyed, the lives displaced, and worst of all the loved ones that were lost, I was convicted about all of the “petty” things that I sometimes complain about, especially in light of this type of suffering. For myriads of people, life changed in an instant. Homes and businesses can be rebuilt, but loved ones cannot be replaced.

Some of my reflections:

The next time I am tempted to complain about not getting a good night's rest, I will reflect on the fact that I have a bed in my home to sleep in tonight. Many are sleeping in shelters.

If I am tempted to complain about the selection of food in my house or about having to cook, I will reflect on the fact that I still have a kitchen in which to prepare food and a refrigerator to store it.
Many don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

If I am tempted to complain about “not having anything to wear” (ladies we are good at this one!), I will reflect on the fact that I have a closet full of clothes. Many had to leave their homes with just the clothes on their backs.

If I am tempted to complain about the old car that I drive, I will reflect on the fact that I do have reliable transportation to take me where I need to go. Many had their vehicles swept away in the floods.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

And as we think on those that have lost much, please let us pray for them, that our Lord will comfort, heal, and restore. Also, we know that our Father in Heaven can bring salvation from these tragedies, as many place their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ!

So, when we are tempted to complain, let us remember our innumerable blessings.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!!

God is obviously trying to get the attention of the people of America.

Hurricane Harvey.......Floods..........Fires........Tornadoes........Hurricane Irma.....Hurricane Hose..............Hurricane Katia.

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!!

Thoughts & Prayers

Please join me in praying for our dear Lana Rose in the loss of her dear friend, Sharon Ramsey.

We love you Lana....and when you hurt, we hurt.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Dilemma

I have not had a kitchen since the first of August.  Eating out every meal is expensive and FATTENING.  The bank account has gotten smaller and the hips have gotten larger.


Now....the BIG Dilemma currently is..............I had my big family reunion in Alabama this past weekend.  Usually it involves lots of cooking.  That did not happen.

Roger smoked some chicken on the smoker and I threw together a couple of recipes that require No Cooking............Frito Corn Salad and Apple Salad.  (I will share the recipes at the end of this blog.)

SOOOOOO....it the end....it was ALL good.

BUT....the dilemma I now have is our church Homecoming is this coming Sunday and we have a visiting preacher coming to speak.  Anyone that knows me....knows that at any church meal, I cook enough for an army and usually have nothing left.

I mean.....my typical church meal would probably consist of two pot roasts with carrots, Frito Corn Salad, pintos, Mexican cornbread, a giant banana pudding and more.

Homecoming is this weekend.  I STILL have NO WORKING kitchen.  HELP.  BIG DILEMMA!

After fretting over it and loosing sleep and lots of prayers.....I swallowed some pride and send out an email to the church members requesting and begging them to HELP me out and fix extra food.

See,,,,the church people keep asking us what they can do to HELP with our kitchen situation.  FINALLY.....I told them how they could help.  Smile.

Dilemma Solved !

Isn't this how we as pastors wives tend to do in many areas?  We undertake and do LOTS because we think it is expected and we HAVE to.  When, in reality, our church members are probably just waiting for us to ask for HELP.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 Milky Way Apple Salad


 3 red delicious apples cut up with peelings on..
2 granny smith apples cut with peeling on
1 cup of sugar creamed with 16 oz of cream cheese
16 oz cool whip
3 Milky Way bars chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix all together in a large bowl



Frito Corn Salad

3 cans white shoe-peg corn, drained
1 cup Mayo
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 red sweet pepper chopped
1 sweet onion chopped.
Mix together and just before serving, add a bag of Chili Cheese Frito Corn Chips.
 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

THE Kitchen

FINALLY....beginning to see a little progress...........but still have a LONG WAYS TO GO. 

I keep reminding myself that I will LOVE it when it is finally finished......but............in the meantime..................

Life is ALWAYS full of detours..................guess in the game of life, this is a tiny detour.

AND....I have to remind myself....that at least I have a home.....I have a kitchen (although it is in disarray right now).....I have a husband who is enjoying building this for me................I AM TRULY BLESSED!






HOUSTON FLOOD RELIEF

I know that everyone is devastated about the horrible state that Texas and neighboring states are in due to Hurricane Harvey.

I have head many people say that they feel lead to "do something" but don't know what and they are afraid to just give to anyone or any organization.

Our daughter and son-in-law have a dear friend who is the pastor of Clear Lake Baptist Church in Houston, TX.  Their church has been spared, but surrounding areas have not been as lucky.

The church has set up a ministry to "HELP".  100% of ALL donations go directly to help these people. 

It is my understanding that the church has set up a complete ministry to help.  They are giving out clothing, food, etc.

The pastor's name is John Aaron Matthews and his wife is Emily.  They are former BCM Directors of TTU in Cookeville.  John Aaron took over as BCM Director of TTU when Dr. Joe Wiles retired from the BCM and became the Director of Missions at Stone Association in Cookeville.

Here is what John Aaron posted on Facebook of ways YOU CAN HELP.

Give Now Through the Church - HOUSTON FLOOD RELIEF

"Facebook Friends Far Away Here's how you can help us help Houston.

Mobilize your friends, small groups, and churches to collect gift cards to Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Target, Gas Cards & Restaurants.  Mail them to Clear Lake Baptist Church (15700 Space Center Blvd., Houston, TX  77062) and we'll give them to families in need to help them recover.  Please share this post with your friends.  You can also send handwritten notes & prayers with these cards.

You may also give online now at http://pushpay.com/pay/clearlakebaptist

Thank you for your prayers and support."

John Aaron & Emily Matthews


We can and should PRAY for EVERYONE............but we can also put actions to our prayers by GIVING.

Clear Lake Baptist Church is one of our Southern Baptist Churches. 

Please feel free to share this info with your family and friends. 


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

GOOD in the BAD

My Momma always said....to find the GOOD in anything that is BAD.

So.....that is what I am trying to do.

Last time, I blogged about my husband getting notice from his secular job that they are doing away with his position and out-sourcing to a company in India.  His last day is November 10th.

If they had waiting until March 2018.....he could have taken an early retirement.

BUT....the last couple of years, his job has been VERY stressful mentally and physically.  They are required to work LONG hours without overtime pay, etc.

He's a pastor so he already is working full time.  The secular job has been a thorn.

I also mentioned in the last blog that right at the time Roger found out about his job termination, he tore out my kitchen.  (We are getting new cabinets, new appliances, new flooring, new design, etc.)

Well....if I am going to find the GOOD:
  • Because they are "letting him go" at work, he does not feel the stress he had before.  I mean..............they can't fire him....they already have.
  • Because he has not been under so much stress, he has been able to do LOTS OF WORK himself on our kitchen.
  • Keeping busy has helped him from getting depressed and thinking about things.
  • We had money set aside for cabinets.............because he had the TIME.....he and the neighbor have built beautiful solid hickory custom cabinets for the same cost that we could have purchased cheap, premade cabinets.
  • Remodeling the kitchen has given Roger an outlet to let go of some of his frustration.
All of that being said...........it has been a PAIN to go two months without a kitchen.  It has been frustrating to live in a disorganized home.  (Kitchen boxes are EVERYWHERE.)

BUT.....the whole process has been good for Roger.  It has kept his mind occupied. 

NOW.....I challenge each of you to STOP and ALWAYS find the GOOD in the BAD

It is always there.....you may just have to dig a little deeper....but it is there.,


 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

DIRTY WORD: C*H*A*N*G*E !

C*H*A*N*G*E*
CHANGE

Yes....I complain because sometimes folks in church DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE.  They want things the way it has always been.

YET......I am probably the world's worse about hating change.  Because it is me, I don't even realize it.  I don't mind change at church, etc......but when it personally touches me....I DO NOT LIKE IT.

Thirty-two years ago....almost exactly, I went to a party and was introduced to BeautiControl Skincare/Makeup Company.  I fell in love with it.  That was way back in the day when "Color Me Beautiful" was so popular and so expensive.  Beauti-Control offered a similar service for FREE.  I discovered that I am COOL.....a cool WINTER to be exact.

That explained why certain colors looked best on me and also explained why the darker, bolder colors looked better than the pastels.

And the "color" for your face was easy to apply, easy to blend and for the first time in my life...............I really liked the way my makeup looked.

Long story short......from that night forward, I began using Beauti-Control.  I must confess that I could not afford ALL of IT.................so I started out with the "color" and slowly added bit by bit.  It was later when I added the skin care.

Eight after being introduced to BeautiControl, we moved to another town.  My director took the opportunity to talk me into becoming a consultant.  It was a way to meet new people in my new location.  Soon the business was growing quicker than I really wanted it to............but just as suddenly....my husband's secular job moved him two hours away and by this time, both my children were in school and I did not have time for the parties, etc....so I never had another party.

However, to get the discount and to stay active, you must place a minimum order every quarter.  Over the years, several ladies who were looking for a consultant found me and each time I placed an order, I ordered for them too.  It worked for all of us.

When my daughter got old enough, I started her on the skincare and she fell in love and begin using it.  When I gained a daughter-in-law, she also began using the products.

Are you seeing the PICTURE?  I was VERY comfortable with my products and had NO desire to ever change.

All Good Things Must Come to an END....

I got a notice the first of July saying that BeautiControl was Permanently closing its doors August 31st after

I DO NOT like CHANGE.

ESPECIALLY when it directly affects me...........

But...my Momma always taught me to try to find the good even in bad things.

NO.....the company did not decide to stay open.  (The original owner will open a new company the first of the year, but the products will be different, etc.  Not the same.)

The Good in a BAD THING:
  • Because they are closing their doors, during the past two months, they have drastically reduced the prices of the products.
  • There is a 3-5 year shelf life of the products, so I was able to purchase my foundation, blush, eye shadow and skin care, etc. at fraction of the original price.
  • Because of the great sale.....I was able to stock pile some of my favorite items.....to postpone the agony of having to find new products.
  • AND.....I was able to purchase LOTS of CHRISTMAS presents and 80-90% off.
  • The girls have lots of NICE stocking stuffers this year.
  • Everyone I know will be receiving BeautiControl for Christmas.   Smile.  Well....at least a LOT of them will.
Before all of you "consultants" for all of the million of companies out there try to reach out and win me over to your team or products..............I am not interested.  I have enough products that I LOVE to last me for a while.


That being said...............I DO NOT LIKE CHANGE.......but as much as I HATE CHANGE............................................

I LOVE BARGAINS....................so...............it was still a WIN!!!



Monday, September 4, 2017

FOOTBALL TIME - ROLL TIDE


It is officially FOOTBALL TIME.......fall is in the air.!

This ROLL TIDE is dedicated to Bro. Randy Davis!  Smile

HOUSE DIVIDED




 
Twenty three years ago we moved to Tennessee.  Our daughter was in the 4th grade at the time.  She quickly told us that we may have moved her to Tennessee, but she would NEVER marry a Vols Fan.
 
She kept her word.  In college she met her husband who is from Sparta, TN and is a huge GATOR fan. 
 
Yes....they are truly a HOUSE DIVIDED.  AND....now our grandkids have chosen sides.  Kinley has declared that she is a Roll Tide all the way.  Cameron says that boys go for "Go Gators".  Notice the wreath on the door.  Smile.
 
On top of that....their babysitter has played "Rocky Top" to them since they were infants.  Smile.
 
We grew up on the Tennessee/Alabama state line and always cheered for Tennessee too.....unless they played Alabama.  The only team we DID NOT LIKE was Auburn.
 
BUT....when we moved to Tennessee, we quickly learned that we were not suppose to ever go for Tennessee.
 
 
Kacie and Chase.....are a HOUSE DIVIDED......and they both take football serious.
BUT....they love each other and they have a happy marriage...because they have learned to work together in spite of their differences.
 
Wouldn't it be great if church folks could learn the same lesson.......work together in spite of their differences?

Friday, September 1, 2017

My Reading Diet

What are you reading?

I have always loved reading. From my childhood, like Disney's Belle, I adored fiction books. I could escape into other worlds and other lives. Adventures and mysteries especially with a faith bent would draw me in and absorb my attention.

Historical fiction series such as "The Zion Chronicles" and "The Zion Covenant" by Brock and Bodie Theone took me into the past while allowing me to wonder how God might have altered things behind the scenes of history.

As I got older, I grew into an avid Austen fan. A tub filled with hot water and bubbles was my chosen "nook" to enter the worlds of Emma, Elizabeth and others.

While traveling in the car, Ted Dekker's works sparked my imagination. And Lisa Samson gave me female characters I could relate to. (She wrote one on pastor's wives! Check out "The Church Ladies")

I would also read non-fiction books, basic Bible studies and things directed toward the Christian woman. Liz Curtis Higgs and Beth Moore became "friends" as I went. 

Somewhere along the way I discovered the blog and books by Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters. The Girl Talk Blog provided a "family" of sorts. These four ladies who know and understand ministry from the perspective of being ministers' wives gives us a reminder that we really are not as alone as we sometimes feel. (http://www.girltalkhome.com)

Then, sometime after my second daughter was born, my reading habits drastically changed.

Life seemed to get really busy. I began working a paid position at church. Keeping up with two kiddos, ministry and running a household, I couldn't seem to find to time to pick up a book, much less read it. When I would manage to crack open a cover, I would find myself, drifting off to sleep before I finished the first page. Soon I quit reading altogether.... 

Oh, but I didn't quit reading altogether. I quit reading books. I even fell off the practice of reading Bible study books, making excuses about how there just wasn't enough time in the day. 

Yet, I still managed to spend time scrolling through Facebook. Just this morning I got lost in the rabbit holes of this link and that. Very little of what I clicked on had little to no redeeming value. 

About a year ago, the Holy Spirit convicted me that I needed to do a better job feeding my soul. Deuteronomy tells us that we can't live by bread alone, but "every word that comes from the mouth of God." I knew I needed to start eating some meat because my spirit was ever-so-slowly becoming malnourished. I wanted deeper insight and teaching on God's word. 

After seeking the advice of a good friend, I started with Jennie Allen's "Restless," thinking that it would be a quick read and I would then jump into another book and author that I had somehow missed in the seven years since I had "quit reading."


But it wasn't a quick read. As real life "hit" and the journalling topics led me deeper, the time it took to really digest the truth I was reading took me months to finish. It was all worth the work and time in the end. God taught me a lot through the process and the pages. 

It also whet my appetite for more. 

This summer I read and finished "Missional Motherhood" by Gloria Furman. Then, in my quiet time I went through it again, outlining and taking notes, trying to savor the truths she explained. 

I have also started another Jennie Allen study, "Proven," and a new-to-me, author, Courtney Reissig. I have started the first chapter of her "The Accidental Feminist," and I am anxious to open it back up for a second helping. 

Over the last 12 months, life definitely has NOT slowed down. Our family of five is busier than ever. God has not added another hour or even a second to our 24 hour days. So where have I found the time to do this reading?

The Holy Spirit has shown me where and how I can trade the lesser things for the greater things. I am turning off the TV. I am praying for discernment and discipline for my time on social media. I am looking for opportunities to read. 

I have also given myself grace. My expectations are to read and to process what I read without a time constraint.  I am not reading to meet a goal or to complete a resolution to read a set number of books in a set amount of time. I want my reading to be a quality thing not a quantity thing. 

I still love a good fiction book, and want to reread an Austen novel or two. Maybe that will happen later - but for now I want to look at what I am reading and my motive behind reading it... 

To escape? If yes, then why am I wanting to escape and have I prayed about it first? 
-or-
To grow? As a mother, wife, leader, a Christ follower? If yes, is it Biblical? Are their scriptural truths I can apply?

There's an old adage that "we are what we eat." No one can deny that we become what we consume. What is it you are "eating" and why are you "eating" it?

I wake up in the morning wondering what I might get to eat that day. (We Vinsons love food.) We all have cravings too and we understand that even if tastes good it might not be good for us. We all should pray for discernment to make the best decisions for what we take in, what we read. 

I am always looking for new recipes. (Did I mention that I love cookbooks too?!) I am always looking for new books to sample. It is easy to stand in a bookstore or begin clicking through Amazon and become overwhelmed with all our options. Not wanting to waste my limited time I have to read, I wonder where I should start. 

So, what's on your menu? What are you reading now? What do you recommend? What is worth my time?

Please comment with what you've read that you've found satisfying. In the same way we look for positive restaurant reviews, the thumbs up or thumbs down from a trusted friend carries a lot of weight. 


Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Prayer In the Aftermath of Harvey

The images on the television screen would look like something out of a high-budget, Hollywood movie, except the people aren't pretty enough. Despite lists of accolades and awards, no celebrity actor or actress is that talented either.

The images coming out of Texas, Louisiana and even Florida are raw and gritty.

We can't visualize or even really imagine the pictures we are seeing. We can't appreciate what these people are going through, unless we've literally, physically been there ourselves.

There are images of utter devastation and news of lives lost drastically compared to reports of strangers rescuing strangers -common, everyday people stepping up and stepping in. There are also reports of price gouging and looting interposed with businesses opening just to serve as evacuation shelters.

I chatted with a lady on my way into Kroger yesterday morning. As we made small talk, she began to complain about the necessity of having to buy groceries. In my head, I thought, "Really? We have a fully stocked market, money in our accounts, and dry intact homes to return to. How many of our fellow Americans were wishing to wake up to this mundane chore today?" Despite this lady's perspective, my Facebook feed is filled with compassionate calls to donate, serve, volunteer and help.

There has also been a lot of media coverage and opinions shared on the action or lack of action of one of Houston's most famous churches. A public relations nightmare for all of us that bear the name "Christian" no matter what actually happened when....

There is no doubt in my mind that our God is already working His good in ways we will never know or be able to appreciate in the aftermath of this natural disaster. He is indeed God and He is indeed very good.

The natural world we reside in is fallen and this natural disaster is a reminder of its fallen state. We also see evidence of man's sin nature in the way so many have manipulated and will continue to seize opportunities to manipulate and take advantage of his neighbor.

Some will say that through natural disasters like this, we see the "best in humanity" as people go to great lengths to preserve and restore life. Celebrities pledge money, hold "______ -a-thons" to raise more funds and people will give. People will go.

Many of those going and serving and saving are Christians. Others are morally "good" people. Even those helping that would claim atheism or to be agnostic have had to have these "good" motives come from somewhere. The book of Romans tells us that even these tendencies that shape what we believe is the "right" thing to do, come to us from our good God whether we chose to acknowledge it or not.

Countless lives are being forever and eternally altered and changed. As we have seen in the past, people will remember their lives "Before Harvey" and "After Harvey."

Our challenge is that this would be an opportunity for us as Christians to live and to respond and to serve in such ways that Christ would be glorified above all.  Whether it is the person we are serving or the person we are serving with, we would boldly extend the hope of the gospel, the answer to the greatest need we all have.

The whole country has once again stopped and taken notice. Now is the time to speak boldly with our actions of love, not with political or theological divisions. Let the United States and the world see a unified church that is the hands and feet of Jesus. There will be a time for all of that (probably happening sooner than it should) but in the mean time, let's show our living Savior as the solution He is to our deepest problems - sin and all the consequences of living in this sinful, fallen creation.

Hurricane Harvey is still leaving it's mark. Here in Tennessee, we are expecting what's left of this monster storm. "Slight" or "marginal" risks for severe weather color the maps out of Nashville for today and tomorrow. All depending on what direction the storm takes next.

As the rain is already falling out my window this morning, I am praying.

What am I praying? For one, I am asking where and how can I help as I seek to put action to my words. I want to be discerning to know exactly where I and my church can plug in to help.

But my prayers are for God to do more than simply meet the physical, temporary and long term needs of all those suffering immeasurable loss this morning. I am fighting a spiritual battle. I am praying that God would work mightily in the hearts of the victims and volunteers to push back the gates of hell to restore far more than possessions...

Would you join me in praying this way?