Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Back

Today is New Year's Eve and I am looking over this year on it's last day. I must say that 2010 has been one of the most difficult years I have ever experienced. (and when I say that, I recognize that my life has apparently been one of extreme ease!)

It has been an emotional year. It has been a sacrificial year. It has been a year of growth.

The emotions have been primarily due to my age, I think....(hormonally inconsistent and crazy) :)

The sacrifices have been me having to give up time with loved ones. (Ben entering seminary and needing to spend so much time and energy on that)

The growth has been exponential! I have learned to not be so attached to everything. God has worked on me to be thrilled when good things happen and to be neutral when disappointments come my way. That has probably has been the greatest thing for me. I am learning to live with my hands open...if God chooses to put things in my hands, then I praise God for that! If God chooses to take something out of my hand, then I praise God for that!

So maybe by "difficult", I mean FABULOUS!!!! (though I wouldn't mind a little less growth in 2011!) :) Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Endurance & Patience

I love when I hear clearly from God! The leadership from our co-op has been asked to "go to the mountain" to seek and hear from God about all things co-op. Ideally, we are to spend 4 hours away with the Lord. I haven't been able to find or carve out a 4 hour block of time, so I am doing it in small chunks.

Today I did the first hour. I hate feeling like I am rushing God to speak to me, but I'm sure HE was able to see my need to honor the request to do this and yet the inability I have had to make it HE spoke pretty quickly! What a blessing!

I was able to get some administrative details worked out on the calendar, but then I got to the big question I had been pondering for a couple of days.

Colossians 1:9-10 was what came to mind and made the impression on me for the answer from God. "....asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all that you may have great endurance & patience & joyfully giving thanks to the Father."

Having great endurance and patience....these are the words God spoke to show me the answer. Praise God that even in the midst of a rushed time schedule and a busy, noisy place (Panera at lunchtime), the God of the universe spoke clearly to my soul and gave me peace!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Feeling a bit overwhelmed with life recently. I have taken a few things off of my plate to help out with that and it HAS helped....but should I take more off? I am feeling bipolar lately. I am not bipolar, but having contradictory thoughts and feelings about lots of things.

I don't like being this way and am trying to stay in the Word and cling to what I know is true. It will all work out and be ok. In the meantime, I will just keep venting here and having a periodic catharsis.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Boys

I love my boys. They are fun, energetic, sweet to their mama, and ALL boy. But boys grow into men who have heavy burdens on them. They have to be the spiritual leaders of their homes. They have to be able to work hard to provide for a family. They have to be gentle and kind, yet firm and strong.

I carry a burden for raising boys who turn out to be men of integrity, honor, poise, and grace. Lately my boys are going through phases of difficulty and challenging authority. Now, I know that this is normal, but when it's boys going through this, I feel an extra layer of responsibility for handling it well. You might call me sexist, but it's the way it is. (and as I always say: saying one thing about one doesn't mean the opposite about the other)

I want my two boys to grow up to be men of to follow an unseen authority, therefore able to follow seen authorities. I want my two boys to grow up to be men of to handle disappointments with grace and humility. I want a lot for my boys!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


A few short days left in 2010. Time enough to reflect on the year, what has happened, what went right, what went wrong.

I can't wait until 2011 and attempt to live with my hands open...ready for God to do anything! To live expectantly....ready for God to do anything! To live with some boundaries....ready for God to do anything!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


So today is Christmas Eve Eve! It's almost to the perfect spot. I have probably mentioned this before, but I heard something from a comedian once that I believe is the best place to be!

So...tomorrow is "next". Tomorrow still allows for the possibility of anything to happen. Absolutely anything can be under the tree on Christmas Day. Anyone can ring the doorbell. Anyone can be on the other end of the phone.

The anticipation is the most joyous and brings the biggest smiles when you are "next".

I pray for this great anticipation of being next for all of us....for smiles as big as Texas....for love as grand as the universe!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Only a few days until Christmas and the anticipation is ever growing. It's growing for all of us, not just the kids. We all love this time of year, but this year seems to be extra special. Can't really pinpoint why, but we feel like God is really moving in our lives recently.

We have been in a several year "wait" mode. God has had us be still and has not been speaking much. We have been serving while we wait, and though we feel as though we have more time in this stage, we do think that HE is moving and beginning to stir our hearts toward new things.

We are in anticipation of what HE is doing! It is always exciting when this happens....and we have learned that we can't predict what is going to happen, just that something WILL happen.

So...Ben and I are just as anxious as the rest of the brood...but not necessarily for what is under the tree...but to see what is going to be planted in our hearts, ready to open when the time comes!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Thoughts

I am finished with my Christmas shopping! Today and tomorrow we wrap and then we relax for the next several days and enjoy the season. I am doing as our pastor said and expecting the unexpected. I am awaiting the celebration of the birth of Jesus and, even more than that, awaiting HIS return!

For the next few weeks, the pace of our lives will slow....the moments are going to be lived to the fullest....the thoughts of Jesus will be constant!

I pray your Christmas is expectant and fulfilling...joyous and peaceful...full of love and laughter and life! I pray that the baby born is real in your life and the HIS return is anticipated.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Women Who Inspire Me Part 6 (last one)

#6...Sara...she is the epitome of a faithful follower of Christ! She lays all her burdens and concerns at the feet of Jesus...and there have been a lot of burdens and concerns in her life in the last many years.

I NEVER see her without a smile on her face and to be hugged by Sara means you are enveloped in the warmest embrace you can imagine. She is encouraging to others in the midst of her own struggles. You leave Sara, after having tried to comfort her, having been comforted and edified ever so much more than you gave to her!

I love her dearly and aspire to be more like her.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Women Who Inspire Me Part 5

#5...Janie...she is amazing! Janie is a fabulous, loyal friend. She is the mother of 2 energetic great kids and the wife of one terrific guy.

God has allowed some difficult times in their lives recently and Janie hasn't skipped a beat! She has carried on being wife and mother extraordinaire. She gives grace unceasingly. She loves with all her heart. She laughs with her whole body. She hugs with every ounce of strength she has.

I love being around her. I consider it the highest of honors to be her friend. I count it a privilege to be a sister in Christ.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Women Who Inspire Me Part 4 mom. My mom is a wonder! As long as I can remember, she went to bed extremely late and got up at 3:30am. She would exercise, do laundry, make breakfast and begin dinner, and most importantly, she would have her quiet time with Jesus. By the time she left for work, she had already put in a full day!

My mom has MANY great qualities, gifts, abilities, and talents...but what has made the biggest impression on me lately is how she is caring for Daddy.

Daddy has Alzheimer's and a host of medical issues that require doctor's visits and medications. My mom loves Daddy with all her heart and takes care of every need he has. He still lives at home and goes with my mom everywhere. Daddy is a bit lost without mom, so she rarely does anything without him, as it begins to cause him distress.

Whenever anyone asks my mom how she is, she says, "I'm blessed." That is not just a pithy saying for her....she truly is blessed...she knows she is blessed....and she believes it with all her heart.

My mom inspires me to be a better wife and mother. She inspires me to have an even better relationship with Jesus. Thanks mom!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Women Who Inspire Me Part 3

#3....Nikki....The minute Nikki walks into a room, there is sunshine! At least that's how I see it. She always has a smile on her face. She is the littlest bit of a person...very skinny and not too tall...and the most bubbly thing you would ever meet!

Nikki has some people in her life who are difficult at best. She doesn't even seem to notice that! She loves on each and every one of them. I have NEVER heard her complain about what they do or the things they don't do that maybe they should be doing. She picks up their slack and carries on with life.

She has two boys who are the world to her. Her oldest has had some difficulties. I have not known anyone who has searched out how to help another person as Nikki has done for her oldest. She has read every book....she has talked to every person....she has tried short, she has been the most humble person I have known and taken every piece of advice she has ever gotten and tried it. She has worked tirelessly for his cause.

I am always amazed by Nikki and her positive, bubbly response to life. I just talked to her the other day on the phone and though the beginning of the conversation, I was trying to cheer her up, by the end, she had done the same for me! Now how does that work?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Women Who Inspire Me Part 2

#2....Hilda....She is this wonderfully unassuming woman! The only reason you might normally notice her is that she wears something on her head all the time. She is very short with extremely long hair. Her true inspiration has come from how she has handled a difficult situation recently. It has made me see just how God has wired Hilda!

In early September, Hilda's son, age 30, disappeared. His car was found near a river. No witnesses...nothing. There has been no activity on his credit cards or money taken from his bank accounts. There have been no phone calls or contact with anyone.

Hilda calls his cell phone daily hoping that at some point, he will answer or at least return a call. The cell phone is about to be turned off by the cell phone company for non-payment and then her last way of potential contact is gone.

Hilda has never once, not had a smile on her face. She is hoping in a positive outcome, but realizes that that might not be the case. She keeps picking up neighborhood kids and bringing them to AWANA and continues to teach guitar for our homeschool co-op, missing only one week during this situation.

Hilda laughs and has a way of making the rest of us feel better as we are trying to comfort her. How does that work? She is amazing and wonderful. I could only hope to respond to such a difficult time in the same way she has. I am proud to say I know her. She inspires me in my walk with God, my trust of HIS nature, and HIS promise that all will eventually work for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to HIS purpose.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Women Who Inspire Me Part 1

I know six women who have inspired me greatly this year. They, on the outside, are ordinary might not even notice them in the grocery story. They aren't flashy or loud. They aren't the center of attention. But they are my heroes for this year.

#1...Helena...she is the mother of five kids...has been homeschooling them while being a wife to a firefighter. She found out that her husband had done some things that got him arrested...and while she thought the whole issue had been dropped by the DA, all of a sudden he told her that he had been going to court and taking care of it and that he made a plea bargain and he was being imprisoned for 15 years! The next day, he was taken to prison!

She never didn't have a smile on her face. She immediately enrolled her children in school, which killed her, and moved in with her parents, and filled out every paper she could to get on assistance. She walks with her head high! She brings her children to church still and sits on the front row. She has turned down some of the assistance because she feels as though they have been given so much and surely there must be another family who needs it more.

She relies on God and through friends, the church, and the school system, God has provided for her immeasurably more than she could ever hope or imagine.

Over the next five days, I will introduce you to the other five women. I hope you love them as much as I do.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Tale of Two Trees

I have noticed two distinct camps in Christmas tree decorating, this year more than any other. It seems like either people decorate with a "fashion" tree or a "kid" tree. I have a combination of both, but it probably leans way more to the "kid" side.

I have this ornament that was given to me on my first Christmas, 45 years ago. I never let anyone else hang it up and I hang it very close to the top of the tree so that it is protected. I really love this one!

I have the macaroni-spray-painted-gold wreat made by one of my kiddos. I always hang it on my tree! I love it too!
Then there are the picture ornaments made mostly in Sunday School. Darby is the only one who doesn't have one....where were her SS teachers?

Then we have beautiful Lenox ornaments given by my sister-in-law for many years. Most of the kids have them and they are all done by year. They are stunning! When my kids leave the house, all the Lenox will be gone and take any hint of a "fashion" tree with them!! :) That will be sad.

Our tree is not gorgouse, but it is FULL! Each branch has one ornament and some have two or three! We have boxes and boxes of ornaments and we use them all! I love looking at the homemade ones and the picture perfect ones alike.

Fashion trees are beautiful, but I have decided that they are a bit too sterile for my tastes. I'll take the kid ones any day.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's Almost Here!

I just want to say for the record that I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! I love the true message of Christmas. I love the gifts. I love the baking. I love the creating of surprises. I love Santa. I love counting down the days. I love decorating. I love shopping crowds. I love it all!

I love emulating, in the best way I can which is still pathetic, God who loves to give good gifts to those who ask (Matt. 7:11). It brings me much joy to give good gifts to my children! The anticipation of the awaited Christ-child, the Savior of the world, the Lover of my about more than I can take and I just get more and more thrilled at the coming days.

I hope your Christmas is as lovely as can be....bright and peaceful...expectant and exciting! That's how ours is every year and I expect this year to be no different.

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I see couples around me who seem to just tolerate each other.

What does it take to get to that point where there is simple, unadulterated toleration?

Did they wake up one day and decide enough was enough, but they weren't leaving?

Did it come on gradually where the touches stopped....then the laughter died...then it was just easier to stay that way?

Ben and I see this so often as we work the marriage conferences. Not anger. Not rage. Not sadness. Not frustration. Just toleration.

God did not intend for us to be that way! He wants us to live the abundant life (not necessarily meaning monetary wealth)! He wants to provide your marriage with more you could ever imagine or hope for! He wants your marriage to be a light to others in the world! When all others fail, he wants you to show His grace and mercy through your marriage. Your marriage is one of the smallest missionary units there is!

Live it well! Toleration is not ok! Just don't tolerate it!

Monday, December 6, 2010


So are there really people reading this blog from all over as it seems to indicate from Feedjit? Or is this a scam to get me to pay for Feedjit upgraded services? Though it would be the ultimate in cool to have people from those places reading my blog....seems a bit odd.

But....if you are reading this and you are from some faraway destination....welcome and I hope you know that Jesus loves you and HE has a plan for your life.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jill Brannon is a Genius!!!

There is my crazy crew...minus the two smart girls (Bailey and me)...those hay bales were high!
Just the way we walk around everyday! :)
23 years....still love each other madly!

The girls...Darby (12), Bailey (20), Kally (9)

The boys...Rainey (7), Rawley (4)
Jill did such a great job! (If only she would have shaved my three extra chins off and placed my curves in more appropriate places...*sigh*...I guess I'll have to do that work myself!) RUN...don't walk to get Jill to take your pics! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Re-prioritizing Results

Have begun really working on the re-prioritizing's working!

I am happier!

Ben is happier!

Life is good!

I find that I am a sheep and really keep doing the things for which I get rewarded. So...I will keep doing it.

Mole Hill Out of a Mountain

It bothers me that little things bother me. Does that happen to you? I can get so easily annoyed with the tiniest, infantesimal item and then easily brush off something that is quite large. I hate that!

It seems to me, in my limited experience, that women seem to be more like this than men. Men seem to move on, get over it (if it even bothered them in the first place), stay friends with the horrible offender.

Don't get me wrong....I love being a woman! But I hate this part of myself. I want to work at not being this way...but I know I can't do it. So, I will add that to the list of things that I pray about for God to work in me.