Friday, July 30, 2010

Must Reads

I want to recommend two powerfully convicting books for the Christians out there. These are must reads for ever single believer. It doesn't matter if you are 15 or 85. If you are a believer, it is quite possible that you are falling short of what true Christianity should look like. I have discovered that I am falling way short.

The first book is called Radical by David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL.
The second book is called Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

Both of these books are basically talking about the same thing...that the average believer does not live a radical life for Jesus. We don't love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, even if we say that we do. Our lives don't look that much different from an unbeliever's life. We live most days without really thinking about God, without truly consulting Him about every decision. We live most days without doing anything that requires true faith, yet He calls us to walk by faith minute by minute. We don't give extravagantly, love loudly, reach out to the poor, the widow, or the orphan, or share our faith regularly. We pick and choose what parts of scripture we would like to obey, disregarding much of the Bible, saying that it doesn't apply to today. We live very lukewarm lives and we are OK with that. We cannot even go to church faithfully.
I have ready Crazy Love about 6 times since the spring and I have read Radical once. Radical stung a bit more and I haven't read it again. Just looking at the cover makes me want to pray. I have been completely disgusted with myself. I have cried and I have confessed sin in my life....the sin of not putting Jesus above all things. I desperately want to make changes, and quite frankly, I am not all that sure where to start. It is hard to break out of the comfortable box that I am living in...this comfortable box of the American culture. I truly don't want my life to look like everybody else's life. I would love for people to look at me in my casket and say, "Now she loved Jesus. He was everything to her." If I died today, that would not happen. My happiness is too dependant on other things and it changes based on the events of the day.
Gene and I have had lots of discussions about the material that we have read and we are both feeling the exact same way. We have been comparing ourselves for too long to Christians around us, rather than comparing ourselves to Jesus and the commands of the Bible.
These books have helped me to see that the Christian church is asleep. We are like a sleeping giant who has accepted the status quo. I want to wake up and impact the kingdom. How am I going to do that.....I have NO IDEA!
Here are just a few things that have convicted me the most...
*I am not actively sharing the gospel....a clear command to every single believer. I do share my testimony and the gospel with people who come to my church and certainly people who are in our ministry. But, those people come to me. What about the command to "go to them"? I have casually turned my back on that one. I can't remember the last time I shared my faith with a complete stranger in Wal-Mart, at the gas station, in the mall, etc. I don't look for those opportunities and I am serving in ministry with my husband.
*I am not actively involved with the poor, widows, or orphans, another clear command in scripture. Will Jesus say, "Well done, good and faithful servant," if I have chosen to ignore a command repeated over and over and over again in the gospels? I don't think so. Sure, I give during Thanksgiving and Christmas time, I write a check every single month to help feed the hungry, and I give to special events that we sponsor as a church...but is this really enough? I used to think it was enough, but now I am not so sure. I think I should be involved in a very hands-on way, ministering to those who are less fortunate than me, face-to-face. In those face-to-face moments I can share my faith and the reason that I am giving. That is a little different than just writing a check and sending it through the mail.
*I have also been choosy with some of the other commands in scripture, like the one in Philippians 4:6 that says "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." If you know me well, you know I worry. I worry to the point where my chest hurts and I can easily make myself sick. I don't take risks because of the what-ifs that might happen. Every time I worry, I am telling God that I don't trust Him.
Unfortunately, there are many more examples that I could share with you. I will spare you the disgusting details.
Jesus Christ died on a cross shedding His blood so I could be completely forgiven and free. When I asked Him into my heart and accepted Him as my Savior and my Lord, I said that I would commit my life to Him, not parts of my life, but every single aspect of it.
God is at work in me and I am so thankful. I need a personal revival. I have for a long time.
I want to encourage you to read these books, starting with Crazy Love. I think many "Christians" will discover that they aren't truly saved because their lives have never been transformed and they are unable to turn their back on their sin. They will also discover that church attendance is the VERY LEAST that we can do, and for many that is all they do for God all week long and they don't think about Him until the next Saturday night when they try to decide if they will go the next morning.
This isn't exactly a very upbeat blog post, but these books have been so convicting to me. I think everyone who calls themselves a Christian should examine themselves and see if they are really "in Christ".
I have been asked to lead a women's retreat in November and after a week of praying about it, I cannot get a peace about not doing it. I have thought about it each and every day. I don't really want to do it because I am not a great public speaker. I can facilitate a Bible study and I am comfortable doing that, but going in to another church as a "guest speaker" and standing on a stage is a whole different ball of wax. I had been praying for opportunities to grow as a believer, to do something that is a risk, and to reach out with these convicting messages that have been on my mind and heart for months. I guess God is answering my requests, even though I meant for Him to give me the opportunity to minister to a needy family in my community, or something like that.
I would appreciate your prayers for me. Pray that God would give me a boldness that I don't normally have, that I would effectively share the message that is on my heart in 3 concise sessions, and that lives would be changed, including mine.....and maybe that I don't throw up on the stage....not that I am "worried" about doing that, because that would be sinful.
Until next time...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Rough Morning

If you read my blog entry yesterday, you know that I was having a really bad morning, and I was consciously choosing joy. Well, let me just say that choosing joy is not always a magic pill, at least not immediately.

After writing my blog entry yesterday, I made the decision to visit my cousin Brian Lowery and his wife, Abby, and their beautiful new daughter, who were at Baptist East in Montgomery. My "plan" was to leave at 9:30 because I was going to meet my mother and I needed to stop and buy a baby gift. At 9:25 I was loading the girls in the car. I smugly thought I was doing pretty good. All that changed in an instant when I opened the back car door. Reagan had left cookies laying on the backseat of my car yesterday and thousands of ants had overtaken my backseat. There was no way I could put my children in there. I wanted to spray my entire backseat with ant spray and get on the road, but I knew we would smell the poisonous fumes all the way to Montgomery, so I headed inside to get the vacuum. As I was vacuuming the car, I periodically looked up to check on Gracen and Reagan as they played on the patio. As I was finishing up, I looked at the clock in my car which read 9:35 and thought, "For me, five minutes late is not too bad." I turned to get the girls and they were in the inflatable pool. I thought it was empty, but one look at Gracen told me otherwise. She was wet from head to toe. Apparently, it rained enough the night before to leave about an inch of water in there...which is plenty to completely ruin the outfit of a one-year-old, especially when she decides to lay down in it and roll around. Reagan was wet too, but not to the same degree. I have to be honest, I wanted to snatch up two girls and beat them to death. I didn't, but I really wanted to at least get in the car and leave them on the patio to fend for themselves until I got home. I didn't do that either.

We headed inside to change clothes and dry Gracen's hair. I was so irritated that my chest was starting to hurt and you'll remember from my previous post that I already had a horrible headache. I was sweaty and a little wet myself after all of this and went to change shirts.

We all went back outside to load the car and then Reagan started holding herself and chanting, "I gotta go poo-poo....I gotta go poo-poo...I gotta go poo-poo." Reagan waits until the very last minute to announce that she has to go to the bathroom. By the time she makes the announcement, you better find a bathroom quickly. By this point I am 25 minutes late, I start crying, and get both girls out of the car. While inside, I check Gracen's diaper and she is wet again as well.

We finally left about 40 minutes after I had planned. I called my mother who proceeds to laugh at my situation and then quickly stops laughing and says, "I know its not funny, but I so remember those days." I said, "I bet you had a nice peaceful morning, didn't you?" She said, "Yes, ...yes I did." I wanted to cry again.

When I hung up the phone, I was thinking, "God, you were right to withhold children from me for over 10 years as I begged You for them. You knew I was too selfish for them. You knew that I was too type-A personality to handle the craziness and mess that comes with them each day. You knew I would be irritated quickly when my mornings were no longer about me....having my quiet time, exercising, getting ready by myself, etc. And yet.....I love them so much. Thank you for my children." I turned on my ipod and listened to praise and worship music the entire 40 minute drive to Montgomery. I was still a little short tempered with them until well after lunch, but God did move in my spirit to focus on the good.

God is teaching me so much through my children and some days completely breaking me to tears as I learn that my schedule is no longer mine and it won't be for years to come. I am learning a good bit about unconditional love, grace, and mercy. God graciously gives me these things and I pass them on to my children. I definitely showed mercy when Gracen decided to get in that pool. What I wanted to do to her is NOT what I did! Thankfully God doesn't annihilate me either as I continually fall short of His holy expectations.

Life is a daily struggle and I am thankful that I have a Savior who walks with me through it all.

My day did improve. Mom and I went to Target and she bought some back to school items for Reagan and a dress for Gracen. I got a free lunch at Panera Bread and enjoyed a nice time with my mom and my younger sister. I got to see a beautiful new baby girl at Baptist East. Both girls were well behaved at all locations. Once we arrived back home, both girls rested in their rooms for close to two hours. And we celebrated my nephew's birthday at my in-law's house last night...another good time with family. Both girls were asleep by 8:30, and Gene and I went to bed right after that. I slept from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. So I finally got a full night of sleep.

God is good.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Bad Mood

#1 I really didn't mean to take a blogging break and I apologize.

#2 I usually start the week with a weekend wrap-up, but honestly there isn't that much to wrap up. We arrived back in to town at the end of the week and I spent all weekend doing laundry, buy groceries, running errands, cleaning up the house, doing yard work, sorting through the mail, etc. Getting ready to go out of town is a pain and getting things back on track after a trip is equally painful sometimes, but the time away with Gene was so worth it. We were also in a little "God bubble" all week long, hearing awesome worship and convicting preaching twice a day, without the stresses of children and life. I was convicted about so many things and will hopefully share some of that over the days to come.

Today, I am willing myself to be joyful. The weekend was a little stressful, followed by a stressful Monday. I have fallen into a pattern of going to sleep way too late trying to catch up on things and having small children, I can not sleep late. If I choose to sleep, I miss a good quiet time, walking, and getting ready by myself....which I prefer. This morning I have a terrible headache, the throbbing kind where I just want to close my eyes. Gracen got up too early which means I lost my exercise time and Bible study time. I know Satan is just trying to rob the wonderful truths that I learned this past week in Georgia, and I choose not to let him win. So I am listening to a praise song this morning...."Oh, How He Loves Us" by David Crowder. I have listened to it over and over again for the last hour, choosing to praise God for His unending and unconditional love for me. Asking Him to help me pass that same love on to these two girls who require so much time and energy from me.... time and energy that today, I simply don't want to give.

I am going to choose to focus on the blessings this morning. God tells me in Phil. 4:8 to think on the things that are honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. As I think on these things, He will meet me there and change my spirit. It is 8:30 a.m. as I write this and I have been up way too long and God hasn't changed my spirit yet, but I will continue to focus on Him and the truth of His Word until He does. He is always faithful!

Until He answers, I am going to drink one more cup of coffee, take some Tylenol, continue to listen to some praise and worship that leads me to worship Him, and pray.

Come Lord....come quickly!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hello From Georgia

I failed to mention at the end of last week that I was going out of town and I have not had internet access until now, so I thought I would give a brief update.

Gene and I left for Georgia on Sunday morning for an entire week without the girls. We needed the time away together and I needed a break from being mom 24/7. I have not been away from my children overnight since before I got pregnant with Gracen and she is now 15 months old. I was due a break. I have truly missed my girls and cried when I had to hug them good-bye, but I more than "survived" the week without them.

Gene has been working with a close friend Tim Williams and Williams Evangelistic Ministries for some time and he was asked to come along side Tim and a guy named from Allen Scroggs to do the first ever Red Line Students Events Youth Camp. Gene wrote all the curriculum for the week, designed the graphics, and preached every morning to a group of about 200 teenagers. He also did whatever Tim needed him to do.

We got the pleasure of staying in a beautiful 3-story cabin close to Helen, GA, complete with beautiful views and a hot tub. We stayed with Tim and Joy Williams, great friends of ours from our church, and new friends Tony and Cheryl Samples. Tony is a minister in Georgia at Pickett's Mill. They have all been so much fun. We have laughed and truly enjoyed each other's company.

The camp has been work...for Gene...not me...but we have had a good bit of free time together as well. Gene had to be over at the camp, which was about 15 minutes away, at 8:30 for breakfast. I stayed in the bed, ate breakfast in my bed, and met him for praise and worship at 10:00. We ate lunch at 12:30 and then had free time/couple time from 1:00 until 6:00. We all had dinner together at 6:00 and then headed over to the next praise and worship service at 7:30. Our nights have been late. We haven't gone to bed before midnight, but it has been so worth it. It has been wonderful to hang out with such wonderful Christian friends, to start and end each day with such powerful praise and worship, and to have so much undivided time with Gene. I love that man! (Sorry that was kind of random, just felt I needed to say that.)

The most powerful thing I have taken from all the preaching is that I want more passion in my walk with God. I need to have a passion for souls and a passion for sharing my faith. I get so wrapped up in the busyness of my own life and the lives of my kids that I forget to share my faith with lost people. I minister to people in church all the time because that is where we are, but God places people in my path all the time that I should share with and I miss so many opportunities. Sharing the gospel is more than sharing with those who come to church, but going to people who would never enter the church doors.

God forgive me for not being more of a light, for hiding the wonderful gift of grace and mercy that you have given me as I walk through Wal-Mart or as my kids play in the yard and a new neighbor walks over.

I need to remember that God has a purpose for my life and He has placed me where I am for a reason.

Oh, how He loves me! I want to Love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I want to be fully surrendered to Him...whatever that means.

Well, it is almost midnight on Wednesday evening, but I wanted to update my friends and family with what is going on in my life this week. I came back to the cabin, while Gene is still at the camp helping two contemporary bands load up...Seventh Time Down and December Radio. It sounds like work but he is loving that! He called and said he would be at least another hour so that is my cue to go to bed.

Until next time...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Swimming Lessons

Reagan has been taking swimming lessons from a sweet friend of mine, Kendra Orozco. I have know her family for about 6 years now. I got to know them well when I taught Kendra's brothers, Cole and Chase, in 4th grade about 6 years ago. Their mom, Beverly, and I just connected. I can see her once or twice a year and we can talk like we have seen each other every single day. The conversation and the fellowship is just easy. Don't you love friends like that? I love the family and have stayed in contact with them and discovered at the beginning of the summer that Kendra teaches swimming lessons at her house. Of course, I signed Reagan up.

We started in June and Reagan took her last one yesterday. I am amazed at how much she has grown as a swimmer in such a short time. At the beginning of the summer she was a little skittish of the water, had to wear arm bands, and held her nose when she went under. Yesterday, she was diving off the diving board in a dive formation, without holding her nose. She also picked up dive sticks from the bottom of the DEEP END and swam all the way to the shallow end under water...without holding her nose or coming up for air. I was blown away by that. She was like a little fish, swimming in the proper formation under the water and doing frontward and backward flips under the water...all without holding her nose.

Can you tell I am a proud Momma?

I was watching her swim yesterday and I was just blown away by how much she has grown. She is turning into a little girl right before my eyes. I kept looking at Reagan, looking at Gracen, and then looking back at Reagan just amazed at how quickly the time has passed. It seems like Reagan was just a baby yesterday and now she is diving off the diving board into the deep end... and I'm letting her. I am so thankful for the every day thankful that I am with my girls everyday. I don't want to miss a moment...good or bad! As hard and long and tiring as some days are, I know that their childhood will be like a blink, and I'll never regret being their Momma or all the sacrifices that I make for them.

Gene and I are taking the girls to my brother-n-law's pool tomorrow morning so Reagan can show her Daddy her new skills. Gene is eager to go....which probably means that he doesn't really believe us. But, we'll show him!

Beverly took some pictures of Reagan's last day and gave them to me on CD. Thanks Bev! I wanted to share a few with you.

Here is Miss Kendra with Reagan. Isn't Kendra so pretty? Reagan loved her and told her she wanted to continue swimming lessons for 30 years. LOL!

Here she is diving off the diving board in her dive formation. Her dives were so pretty yesterday, while just a week or so ago she would do a belly buster every time. And Beverly has one of those nice, continuous action camera so you can see Reagan in motion. I only posted a few pics though. There were probably 10 shots of this one dive. My camera would have missed the whole dive with its delay.

Here she is coming down the slide. She would come down feet first, head first, on her stomach, on her back....just whatever she was in the mood to do! I love that she has a lot more confidence in the water.
Look at those pretty arms stretched out as she enters the water.

At the end of the lesson, Kendra and Carrie, another beauty that I taught in 4th grade years ago, taught Reagan a few cheerleader "throws"......I have no idea what the official term would be. Reagan had a blast with this and would have let them throw her up all day long. Again, this is a few shots out of about 40.

And of course Miss Gracen was there too. She ended up getting in the water towards the end of the lesson. I was not prepared to put her in, but she was determined to get in. That is why she is not in a swimsuit and her diaper is FULL of water.

We had a great time taking the lessons.

Thank you Kendra for teaching Reagan so much in such a short period of time, for going over the allotted time more than once, and for making Reagan feel so special and so loved.

Thank you Beverly for opening your home...inside and out...., for all the great fellowship time, and the wonderful pictures.

And Cole and was wonderful to see you guys again. I cannot believe how tall and handsome you two have become.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cleaning and A Prayer Request

I just read my older sister's short blog post and she was apologizing for being a bad blogger due to the busyness of life. I am going to apologize too. I am not blogging as frequently as I would like either. I will blame Gracen for this. She is into EVERYTHING and I can not find the time to sit down at the computer to blog. When I get her to sleep, I am trying to clean up around the house and have some one-on-one time with Reagan. Summer also has us on the road a good bit, but hopefully I will do better in a few weeks when Reagan gets back in school and we settle into a routine.

I did want to share 2 cute pictures of my little cleaner in action.

Gracen stays right up under me all day long. If I am putting clothes in the dryer or taking them out of the dryer, so is she. She attempts to do every job I do or at least she is right up under me as I try to do it. As cute as these pictures are, it would be much faster to do everything by myself. I try to remind myself that I could be training a future a homemaker, but honestly, I try to put off many jobs until she is asleep. Reagan entertains herself a good bit, but not Gracen. She loves to be with her Momma. The result, my house is a wreck and there is not much I can do about it.
Prayer Request:
I wanted to ask everyone to pray for Beverly Easley. She is a staff wife at my church and has 8 children that she home schools. She has cancer and things are not looking good. She is dealing with a recurrence of breast cancer and now the cancer is spreading and is in her liver. She has been to 4 of the top cancer treatment centers in America and has been sent home from each one. A few months ago she had no cancer in her liver and now she has five spots there and she is in intense pain each day. She has lost a lot of weight and is not strong enough for chemo. She is jaundice from problems with her liver and her gallbladder, which she just had removed. Beverly just came home from the last treatment center, her last medical option, and they sent her home and told her to enjoy her family. They would not give her a "timeline" because they said that they are not God.
Beverly is a sweet friend of mine and I pray for her throughout each and every day. I woke up twice this week in the middle of the night and got out of the bed to pray for her and ended up crying for her and her family. She has an amazing faith in the goodness and sovereignty of God, and I am struggling to see the good in a family losing their mother/wife. You can find her story at
I would appreciate any and all prayers.
Until next time...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

This will be short and sweet.

It is after 10:00 on Monday night and I am tired. I am falling into this pattern of going to sleep around 10:30 because there is so much to be done after the girls go to bed. This is not good for me. I normally go to sleep around 9:00 because I really NEED at least 8 hours of sleep. I would really like to break this cycle, but apparently that is not going to happen tonight.

I did want to say a quick "Hello" to everyone and give a report on our "Oh so boring weekend". Gene left to go out of town on Friday morning, and I am always immediately sad when he leaves. I remained kind of sad until he returned on Sunday afternoon. I tried to do things with the girls to keep ourselves busy. Reagan had swimming lessons on Friday and we went to the library, and the post office. I know, I know...exciting stuff. We picked up a movie for a family movie night, minus Gene. We got out the big air mattress, complete with popcorn and Sprite. Reagan enjoyed the movie, while I spent the evening getting on to Gracen who is in to everything. We got in the bed around 10:00.

On Saturday, Reagan had swimming lessons again that morning and then we headed home for lunch and Gracen's nap. Gene's mom came out and kept the girls for me while I went to Montgomery to clean my sister's office. I do this once a month for "mad money". Isn't it sad that I was actually excited about this little outing? It was nice to be alone and to be able to listen to some great preaching on my Ipod. Even cleaning toilets was a little slice of heaven in the middle of a very long weekend. When I got home, Gracen was just waking up from an "over 3 hour long" nap that affected her bedtime, so I paid the price for my freedom. I cooked the girls spaghetti, at Reagan's request, we ate, I cleaned the kitchen, I bathed the girls, and I finally made it to the bed around 10:30.

On Sunday, I headed to church. I am very used to getting everyone ready and out the door by myself so this was nothing unusual. Gene got home around 3:30 and we headed back to church around 5:30....home around 8:30 and bedtime close to 11:00...ugh!

I warned you that the weekend wasn't very exciting! Sometimes life is just like that isn't it!

I am very thankful that Gene is home and even more thankful that we are leaving on a trip together on Sunday. We will be gone for a week WITHOUT the girls. I am getting pretty excited about this and I am hoping that I can lay down before 10:00 each night and actually sleep all night long....and maybe even sleep past 6:00 a.m.

A girl can dream can't she?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Saying Good-Bye

Yesterday, we said good-bye to my sweet Granny. As I said in my last post, she was 90 years old. What a blessing to have a grandparent for so long, especially one who was healthy and was in her right mind.

Funerals are never easy, but seeing all the extended family helped me greatly. I had not seen some of them in years and it was just nice to have everyone together. I couldn't help but think how much Granny would have liked that too. We couldn't all seem to get together in the same place, at the same time when she was living. I immediately wanted to turn back the clock and call Granny more, send her more photos and letters, and of course, visit her more. Don't we all do that? We take life for granted and the people in our lives for granted. We realize just how important they are and what a huge part of lives they are when they are gone.

Seeing Granny in the casket was like a punch in the stomach....immediate tears and thoughts that this could not be happening. We had just spent a wonderful day with her in June, and I am so thankful for that time. I had the same "punch in the stomach" feeling as I walked into her house yesterday. I always arrived there eager to see her, so proud to show off my daughters, and it just seemed so empty yesterday, even with all the people mingling around. I would get teary eyed just looking around the den and kitchen area as memories flooded my mind. It was also so strange to think that I may not ever be back in that house again. I had been coming there for 30+ years, and again to close that door on such a huge part of my life is so hard to wrap my brain around.

The funeral was really nice. I thought the pastor did a great job. The verses that were shared and the song that was sung were very comforting. It gave me great peace to know that she was a believer, that she was ready to go home, and that she was at peace with that fact when she was in the process of leaving this earth.

I found myself looking around at all the family and friends that were present wondering who truly had that same peace. Many claim to be believers, holding on to some prayer that they said in childhood or saying that they believe in God or believing that they are good people. That just simple isn't enough. The Bible says that Christians are known by their fruit. We are to bear fruit in keeping with our repentance (Matt. 3:8). It makes me sad when I think of eternity in relation to the fruit that I see in people.....and I am certainly not just talking about those at the funeral yesterday, but Granny's death has just made me think about eternity in general.

We will all face a judgement day before a very Holy God. How do we live our day to day lives and not acknowledge that truth. Not making a choice....not wanting to think about this today, is making a choice...a choice to turn your back on God.

I rejoice in the knowledge that my Savior lives and He lives IN me. I am sure of that...100%... no doubts, no questions. He is in the process of changing me every single day. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Everyone can know God and be known by God. He loves all of mankind.

We have all sinned and we all fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) Praise God, that while we were still sinners Jesus Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) He didn't wait for us to be perfect or to have it all together. In doing so, he paid the ultimate price for the penalty of sin so we don't have to and He displayed His great love for us. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10) Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 1:13) Faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. (Romans 10:17)

Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me."

Pretty powerful verses.

Maybe He is knocking on your heart's door today.

If your doubt your salvation or you know that you're not saved, read over these verses again and again and pray that God reveals the truth to you. He is the only one that can do that.

I would love to introduce you to My Savior. If you have questions, message me at I will do the best I can to answer them.

One thing I heard about Granny over and over again yesterday was that she never said a cross word about anyone. No one could think of one negative word she said. She was positive and she saw the best in people. Seems to me that the fruit of the Holy Spirit was pretty evident in her life. Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

She was a pretty amazing lady, displaying all of the fruits of the Spirit everyday.

Granny, I love you and you will be missed.

Hazel Black Dean

June 1, 1920 - July 6, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July and Sad News

I just wanted to share a few pictures from the 4th of July. We decided to go to Wetumpka for their celebration. We arrived around 5:30 and watched a little parade and then met my sister's family and my parents at the playground/park. We let the kids play for about an hour and then headed to get something to eat from the many vendors. After dinner, Reagan got to play on the several inflatables and inside the Big Green Bus...a gymnasium on wheels. Both girls had a great time.

Here are Gracen and Hayden (cousins) seeing each other for the first time. They always walk right up to each and check each other out. It cracks me up!

My sister, Lindsay, and her family.

Gracen playing on the playground.
Reagan on the playground.

Gracen with my parents.

Just hanging out...

Reagan playing on one of the inflatables.

Three hours and sweaty...waiting on the fireworks to begin.

Reagan quickly made a friend who was sitting right beside us and the little girl asked Reagan to lay on her blanket. I am a germaphobe, but let her do this. I mean, what was I going to say?
Here they are watching the fireworks.

2 shots of the fireworks.... the music and the display of such beautiful fireworks made me so proud to be an American, but also so sad to what is slowly happening to our country.

We truly had a great 4th...actually a great weekend...hanging out with family and cooking out several times.

Sad news.... I received a phone call from my Dad Monday evening around 6:30 or so telling me that my sweet Granny had a heart attack and was on her way, by ambulance, to Baptist South in Montgomery. She died around 1:00 in the morning, assuring her children that she was at peace and ready to go home. Even though she was 90 years old this was very unexpected for all of us. This was my last living grandparent and it has been a difficult day. I think my older sister said it best...."It is like closing that door on childhood." There are so many memories that I have and I will miss her greatly.
The funeral will be Thursday in Georgiana, AL, her hometown, at 2:00. I would appreciate any prayers for my Dad, as he grieves the loss of his mother, and for our entire family.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Long Days of Summer

Well, I still need your prayers. I have done a little bit better in the late afternoons, but I am still really itching for a break by about 4:00, and I am really "done" by about 6:00. When Gene gets home, I want to turn the girls over to him and crash. Tonight after supper, I was walking around holding my Bible open to 1 Peter. I really wanted to sit down and read the book because my spirit was feeling a little empty and I just love 1 and 2 Peter. Anyway, I was holding my Bible, thinking that at any moment I could sit down and read and then I just kept seeing something that needed to be done or someone needed me or needed me to get something for them. I thought maybe Gene would just take the girls outside or something because he knew my day had been long. I know his days are long as well, but he needs to spend some quality time with the girls too. About 7:30, I finally made it to my bedroom and the quiet was wonderful. I did get to read my Bible and it did make me feel better. I also showered and painted my toenails, two things that would make any girl feel better.

Who knew the hot days of summer would be so difficult with 2 children who are different ages and simply do not like to do the same things? We try to go outside and do some things, but Gracen doesn't really care for the outdoors and is sweating like a pig in 5 minutes. The more she sweats the grumpier she gets. Reagan loves the kiddie pool, the slip and slide, and the sprinkler, but I think you can guess how these activities turn out with a toddler who is not all that steady on her feet. If we walk out onto my driveway, Gracen is trying to eat the rocks. If we are are in the backyard, she is trying to walk "into" the electric fence because she wants to get closer to Paw Paw's cows. I could give many more examples, but I will spare you the details.

So because the outside is so difficult, we try to stay inside. What can you really do inside all day? I read to Gracen is climbing all over me and trying to tear the pages.

I paint and color with Reagan as Gracen is trying to eat the crayons and drink the paint and yanks everything to the floor. Introduce her ability to climb up onto the kitchen chairs and now I have a whole new set of problems.

I get out the play dough and the moon sand and I could have sworn their was purple moon sand in Gracen's poo poo the other day. You know she is always trying to eat the stuff.

The longer we are inside, enclosed in tight quarters, the girls start to "argue" and I do use that term loosely because Gracen doesn't truly know how to fight. She has learned to throw a temper tantrum though when Reagan irritates her or will not give her something, which she is starting to use quite often to get her way. The little spankings she receives on her hand are about to move to her little fat leg. I think it is time. When she throws herself down on the floor, screams out and then stops and looks up at me, she wants a reaction, and she is about to get one.

I thought about going several places today, but again, it is hard to do something with a toddler and a 4 year old. Everything I thought of would be impossible with little Gracen. Poor Reagan.

Any ideas out there of how to survive these long summer days.... I am open to suggestions... really. I know that this is just a difficult season and in a few years, I will look back on these days and laugh...or breath a deep sigh of relief that the baby days are gone.

Of course, then I'll miss them.