Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My Simple, Pink Journal

For Christmas, my assistant at work gifted me a simple, pink journal. The pages are lined with blanks for the day's date in the upper corner. It has an elastic band to hold the faux-leather cover closed. On that cover, the words "Amazing Ideas" are decoratively embossed into the grain. The book size is small enough to slip into my purse but big enough to effectively write some "amazing ideas" within.

The note that accompanied the sweet gift made it all the sweeter. She wrote that she felt I had some "amazing ideas" and that she had thought of me when she saw my simple journal. I decided that I would indeed use my new journal to write "amazing ideas," but what my dear friend may not have known, was that I knew the ideas that could and would fill these blank pages would probably not be exclusively my own.

From social media posts to sermon notes, from my daily scripture reading to more intense Bible study, God impresses His truth upon me all the time - if I would only open my eyes to see and my ears to hear. He does indeed speak to me. He does show me things . . .

My simple, pink journal has become my central point for writing down quotes, phrases and passages that God seems to be pressing on my heart. Organized only by filling in the blanks for the dates, I can thumb through and see evidence of God speaking to me.

You know, the kind of things I'm talking about - those comments that the writer or speaker says that resonates with your current situation and you find yourself mentally saying, "Amen!" or "Ooh! That's good!" or "I need to remember that!" or "I should write that down somewhere!"

I have finally found a place to do just that - write it down somewhere. . .

Just this morning, I found myself near tears from work stress and longing for one more week of summer. I opened my planner and realized that it was my turn to blog. What should I write about? I want to be transparent and honest and honestly, I just wasn't feeling I had anything to say. I was feeling lots though - stressed and overwhelmed with work, sad that summer is ending, longing for more time to spend with my kids, hurting for a couple I know that is hurting. I wasn't feeling I had anything to offer . . .

So, I opened my simple, pink journal - surely there I would find inspiration; I would find something to write. . . .

Instead, I found where I had written words of Truth, spoke to my heart, through scripture and other believers to me . . .

This is the first quote my eyes fell on:
"When God seems silent, trust His promises more than your perceptions." - Jon Bloom

And then flipping a few pages back, there was this one:
"Turns out, coming to the end of ourselves (energy, resources, savvy, wisdom, or strength) is great freedom. It's where we exchange our frantic peace-keeping for His perfect peace-giving . . .  In admitting our insufficiency, we find joy and strength in His all sufficiency." -Ruth Chow Simmons

Here's one more:
"The fight of faith is fought with the promises of God. And the fight of faith is the same as the fight to walk by the Spirit. He works when we are resting in his promise." - John Piper

Through these quotes, I have been reminded that God is bigger than and is still with me in the midst of all of these feelings . . . The words that I copied down then, are still speaking to me now. . .

This morning, I now find myself thanking God for these truths and for the simple truth that the Creator of the Universe is the Lover of my soul AND that He speaks to me. My feelings are completely altered. My outlook on this day has changed. My attitude is hopeful. I am feeling better.

If one of your to-do lists tasks this August is like mine - to shop for, buy and organize a gazillion school supplies for some kids and/or teachers you love - add a simple journal to your shopping basket. It doesn't have to be pink, but it could be a valuable tool you use to remind you that God is speaking to you and to record what He is saying . . . You just might find yourself needing that reminder every once in awhile like I did this morning . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Grace Under Fire

Seventeen years ago, I after completing high school, I finally received my college degree.  It was difficult juggling marriage, a high school son and a junior high son, attending ALL their ballgames and helping with homework, plus encouraging my husband who was in his doctorate studies, and managing all the housework and my homework.  In addition, I had to drive an hour and a half each way to attend class.  This meant leaving home early in the morning and not arriving home until 7-8 p.m.  It was exhausting.  Many days when I arrived for class, my mood and attitude was often less than Christian. Let’s just say I LIVED on Peanut M & M’s to calm my nerves. 

The workshops I took required freelance writing assignments.  These assignments were then presented before my peers and the professor for review.  For the most part, my assignments received rave reviews. However, one professor spewed venomous criticism.  Because I stood up for my Christian valves and would not write vulgar material, she regarded my work as trash.  Her words were very hurtful and damaging.  Finally, in a private meeting with her where she once again was rude and snide, I had had enough.  Quite frankly, I threw my pen down on her desk and stated my beliefs and opinions of her narrow mindedness then I left her office.  No, it was not the best way to handle the professor.  I realize now years later that she was a hurting person who need me to reflect Christ regardless of how I was treated.

Ladies, I am sure that within your churches you have faced critics who are poised to destroy you.  You take and take but eventually their words break you.  Recently, a person in our church sent out several letters to various members.  The letter was poorly written and raged against the church staff.  This person did not want salvation preached, did not believe in evangelism, and hated all the music in our services.  They wanted everything their way no matter the cost.  Funny, this person was not brave enough to sign the tirade, but the members and church staff who received it knew exactly who it was.

Sadly, this individual is known in our church as a troublemaker.  They have been asked to leave at least four other churches in our area because of their destructive nature.  For now, our church staff has decided to ignore the comments and keep following God’s leadership for the church.  The members of the church who received the letter have spoken out in support of the church staff to other members.
Although I do not go out of way to reach out to this individual, I have prayed for their heart to be convicted.  I have asked the Lord to help them realize the damage they are doing to the His Kingdom.  This person’s rage is not really directed at the staff but at God and they will one day answer for their actions. 

Girlfriends, as long as we are in ministry there will be critics.  Take a moment today to read Nehemiah 6:1-9.  It is about the opposition Nehemiah faced in rebuilding the wall.  Despite of the opposition’s attack and lies, Nehemiah kept at his God given purpose and asked the Lord to “strengthen his hands.”

May God strengthen our ministries to face whatever Satan decides to throw our way.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Please Pray!

I want to invite you to pray for me and my daughter and we prepare to go on a mission trip together in a few weeks. By God’s grace this will my fifth mission trip and her fourth.

We will be going to a community in southwestern Mexico. Our team will be working with local churches to provide humanitarian aid to families, and I’m really excited that we will be conducting Vacation Bible School during the week! How awesome that many children will be hearing the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!

My specific prayer requests are:

Please pray that the Lord will grant all of us safety in the air and on the ground as we gather to our destination, and for safety in Mexico as we serve in our daily mission assignments.

VBS: There are about thirty on our mission team and during the week we will be ministering to over a thousand children. Pray that the Lord will open up the hearts of these precious young people to hear the Gospel and that many will receive salvation!

Shoe Distribution: Not only will the children learn the Bible in VBS, but all of the kids we minister to will receive a new pair of shoes. Pray that the kids will see the visible love of Christ as this need is met in their lives.

Wisdom: Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom as we show love, compassion, understanding, and patience as we interact with the members of the community.

God’s Glory: Above all, pray that the Lord will honored and glorified in all that we do as a team during this wonderful outreach.

I thank you in advance for all of your prayers, and I again I am very excited to see what the Lord will do on this trip!


Saturday, July 7, 2018


It would not seem right if I did not bore you with more pictures.....smile.  Our Pride & Joys.....Cameron Lee and Kinley Grace.  May they always love each other as they do now.

Friday, July 6, 2018


In May, I blogged about being invited to STEP OUT OF MY BOX and lead a weekend Ladie's Retreat.  I asked for prayers.................because.............I CAN'T, BUT GOD CAN.

Well.................GOD DID.

Isn't it awesome...................if we allow God to take control, things work out beautifully?

I had prayed, and prayed and prayed and had many folks praying for me.  This was the church's first retreat, so for months their church had prayed for the retreat and prayed for me.  It was held at Carson Springs Bible Camp. Their church had prayed for months and they had all of the surrounding churches praying.

Remember.........this was WAY OUT OF MY BOX.  My comfort zone is working with children. 

I Couldn't............But GOD DID.

I had everything planned out.................and used most of it.  BUT....several times during the weekend..........God would send me down a different direction.  It was amazing how God used everything.......to reach someone.

Thank you for the prayers.

Once again, God took a simple person and used me to encourage and motivate a group of ladies.

GOD DID.....................................as he always does if we allow him too.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Worms, Donuts, Redneck......

God has always used simple people and simple things to reach people.

He is still doing that.  Here's three examples.  I could write many more, but I chose these three.

Example #1:
I may have shared before, but about 32 years ago I was teaching VBS in Lincoln County, TN.  I had four year old.  A lady showed up with her twin daughters.......they would not stay, so I told mom she could stay with them.  She did and every day she had to coax her shy girls to come to VBS.  (I later found out that mom and dad had never been to church as a married couple, but someone had invited the girls and mom decided it was time to bring them.)

On Wednesday of that week of VBS, I brought a container of fishing worms and dumped them out on the table for the kids to play with.  The twins LOVED it.  Every child got to pick out a worm for a pet and we put potting soil in a clear cup and put the worm in there.  There was instructions given to the parents that after two days, the children were supposed to let they worm loose in the flower garden or vegetable garden or in the yard.

Thirty years later, Roger was preaching a Homecoming for a church in Lincoln County TN and the same lady came up to me and called me the "worm lady".  They are very active in their church and her husband is the chairman of deacons.

Their testimony is that after the WORMS at VBS, the girls started begging to go to church.  (They were country girls that were raised on a farm, so they could relate to the worms.)  Long story short................the family began going to church.........several years later the girls got saved and soon afterwards mom got saved.  Dad had gotten saved in his younger days.

God used WORMS to reach this family.

Example #2.
We were at a Bi-Vo Ministers and Wives retreat several years ago.  Usually we stay in the Music Road Hotel, but that year we were booked in the Inn across the street.

On night after the sessions, a group of guys went and bought Krispy Kream Donuts and a group of us sat in the lobby, fellowshiping and sharing and eating donuts.

One of the new couples passed by going back to their room.  We invited them to eat a donut.  At first they said no but we soon talked them into it.  They wound up and stayed in the lobby with us until late.

A couple of years ago, at a council meeting, we were sharing how the retreat helps us and the pastor that we had talked into eating donuts with us..............stood up and shared........I've never told anyone of you this..........but.....our first year to the retreat, we only came to get out and because it was already paid for.  His mom and died and several months later, his dad died.  He was having serious problems at church.......................they were WAY IN THE VALLEY.  He shared that all because of the donuts...........which lead to fellowship, they stayed at their church and were renewed.

God used DONUTS to heal this couple.

Example #3
I've already shared with you how I came up with my version of Bible Journaling and I call it "Redneck" Bible Journaling.  This simple little hobby of drawing, coloring and studying God's Word...........God has used to reach many, many people.  

I take my Bible Journal everywhere I go.  It is very common for people to come up and ask me about it.  At that time, I get the opportunity to share about God.

Though Bible Journaling, I have met many, many friends.

I currently have folks in Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, East Tennessee, Georgia, Huntsville, Al, Singapore and not sure where else..................doing my "Redneck" version of Bible Journaling.

I've even been asked to teach retreats about it, etc.

God is using "REDNECK" BIBLE JOURNALING as a tool to minister.

God uses simple things and simple people.

If God can use WORMS, DONUTS and "REDNECK" BIBLE JOURNALING.......he can use ANYTHING.................................as long as we allow him to.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

God Bless America!

God Bless America!  I pray that each and every one of you have a safe and enjoyable 4th.

We are relaxing.......Roger....following tradition, has two whole butts on the smoker and they will cook for about 13-15 hours.

Later this even, we will drive to Cleveland to watch the fireworks with our grandkids.

Tomorrow, our son will come and spend a few days with us.

Thank you God for Blessing us and allowing us to live in America!

Galatians 5:1
Christ TRULY set us free.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

First Date

Yesterday, July 2, 1972 was mine and Roger's first date.  It was a first date for both of us.  We got married 1 day, 1 month and 7 years later.

I remember it like it was really yesterday.

In our community, Concord Church had a big Independence Day celebration.  It started on July 2nd every year, where they began making stew in huge cast iron pots, over fire.  Back in those days, people did not worry about "unsafe" foods.  

To make the stew, they went around to all of the homes in the community and everyone donated something they had canned or frozen out of their gardens.  And several of the farmers donated chickens they had killed.

YUM.  You can't get chicken stew like that anymore............cooked for hours over a fire in a big on pot.

Anyway....back to the Independence Day Celebration....they put the chicken stew on July 2nd and began selling it by the bowl, quarts or gallons on the 3rd.  They also had pork shoulders laid out on the homemade barbecue pits, slowly smoking over the hickory wood, where many men sat up all night laughing and cooking.

Also.....you have to remember, this was a community celebration that lasted three days.  There were horseshoes, talking and just enjoying each other's company.  And folks came far and wide to get a cold glass of Mr. Taylor's homemade lemonade.

Early on the 4th, folks would begin to line up to get some of that fresh, delicious barbecue.  They sold it by the shoulders, by the pounds and by the sandwich.  By 10:00, usually the meat and stew was gone.

Great memories.

Back to 1972.  Roger had been over watching them cook the stew and decided to be brave enough to over to our house and "visit" me.  He stayed for several hours.  It was his first time to "visit" a girl and my first time to have a boy visit me.  He was 16 years old and I was 15.  I was not allowed to go anywhere with him until I turned 16.

In October, I turned 16 and was excited because I would be allowed to actually ride in the car with him.  BUT.....I soon discovered that it would still be very limited.  Our first months of dating was going to revivals..............................with my younger brother in the back seat.


My, my, my..................how times have changed.  Maybe if we went back to the "courting" type dating today....................marriages would last longer.

Thank you for letting me reminisce.............

Monday, July 2, 2018


We normally have a little garden.....just large enough to pick fresh veggies.  

This year it did not happen.  

Roger had to have shoulder surgery and I was having neck issues.........plus the other junk we were going through.....plus it rained and rained all Spring.

Therefore.........NO GARDEN!

Today......I was very sad because I did not have a garden to go and pick fresh veggies.  I was craving a veggie supper.

SO.....we made a trip up on the mountain to one of our local farmers and bought the produce above, plus the beans below.

Can you guess what I had to eat tonight?  Add all of those plus cornbread and onion and you are right.

Of course it would have been easier to just walked out my back door and gathered the garden..................................but, this worked almost as well.  The final results were JUST as well.

Made me think.  Sometimes we get hung up on this is the way it's always been...........or this is how I do this or that..................and we forget that there is always ANOTHER WAY.

And most of the time.........the end results....just like my veggie meal...........is just as good as "the way I wanted to do it."

Remember...............there's ALWAYS ANOTHER WAY!

Love you ladies and looking forward to spending this week with you.

P.S......Don't you LOVE fresh veggies???