Look who’s 11!!!

  

 This sweet girl turns 11 today!  I have loved watching her grow and mature into a lovely young lady. Ruby is a reader!  She still loves playing with her dollhouse, and her imagination is out of this world. She is loyal and consistent. Ruby takes her oldest sister role seriously…always ready to make sure Molly and Mack are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. She is laid back, and I love spending time with her. She’s the only child I have that is perfectly ok with silence and just being together without having to be doing something. 

We are taking her to DollyWood today for her birthday. It’s her favorite place!  

   
   

New shoes and earrings and a watch and other fun birthday items. 

I’m sure I will take some pictures at the park and add them later. Technically, I’m writing this the night before from the hotel bedroom. I’m exhausted. We have had a challenging two weeks, and we put a cherry on top this morning when Josh took me to the ER. See, earlier this week I had some sort of allergic reaction — a first for me in all my 38 years. It didn’t let up even after steroid shot and steroid pills, so I went to another doc who gave me another steroid shot and told me to keep taking the pills. Two days later, I still had awful welps and miserable itching. My lip was swelling again, so I start feeling like surely I’m going to die (dramatic much?). So we went to the ER where they gave me an IV of steroids, Benadryl and Pepcid. Fun times. 

Mack was watching all that the nurse was doing and was starting to feel weird. He didn’t say much, but he told Josh he needed to stand up a second. My eyes were closed because I don’t do well with anything hospital related. Evidently, Mack doesn’t either because before we knew it that boy was flat on the floor!  He passed out!!  So there we sat—Molly in her arm brace for her broken arm, me with the IV meds and Mack passed out on the floor!  What a sight we were. The staff took good care of Mack and assured us that this happens often. The girls were crying hysterically because they love their brother and it scared the poo out of them when he fell out. 

Gracious. We have hit a rough patch if there ever was one. I am doing much better it seems…but pray with me that I can know what caused such a reaction. I’ve been a bit anxious about it all and have been asking God to give me perfect peace as I keep my mind steadfastly on Him, trusting Him (Isaiah 26:3, I think).

Mack is doing great. He says that at least now he has a story to tell!

So, Ruby, after a day like today (5/25), let’s hope your birthday (5/26) is low-key and stress-free!  We love our Ruby-Doo!

  

Everything is Mine In Christ

“Everything is Mine in You.”  These lyrics from a Christy Nockels song have been rolling around in my head and heart for two weeks. I have everything I need in Christ. 

Then why do I often feel so needy? Or empty? Or exhausted? What about all of my wants? Is realizing that all I need is in Christ the answer to my endless desires?

Could it be I am living in my own strength, not asking for the full equipping of the Lord through the Holy Spirit?

I was drawn to I Kings 17 where Elijah was told to go to a widow’s home. This widow was hopeless, going to make her last bit of bread, eat it with her son and die. 

That’s pretty hopeless. She was at the end of all she had in order to live. But God had a word for her through Elijah.

In I Kings 17, after Elijah had the audacity to ask for her last bit of bread, she answers him, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar, and behold I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat and die.” Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son.  For this says the Lord God of Israel, “The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.”

So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.

Like that widow, if we give our very little to God, He will not allow us to be exhausted or empty. She had to let go of the little she had…In Christy Nockels’ song, “Everything is Mine in You,” she repeats a line several times…”Pry our fingers from the earthly, Let us love your glory” …so true. Only when we lose our grip on the earthly will we truly embrace what He has for us. 

Here are some verses the Lord has brought into my path that underscore the truth that everything is ours in Christ Jesus. All we need for life is in Him alone. We must live with our hands open to give, to love, to surrender to His will and with our hands open to Him, He fills them with all we need. 

1Corinthians 3:21-23 “So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.”

2 Peter 1:3 “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. ”

2 Corinthians 6:10 “as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.”

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. “

Hebrews 13:20-21 “May the God of Peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ”

Romans 8:31-32 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

These verses in Romans 8 go on to tell us that nothing in all this earth can separate us from the love of Christ. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”  

Overwhelmingly conquer?  Sounds amazing. I think I misunderstand what overwhelmingly conquering really looks like. 

G. Campbell Morgan says, “Bearing persecution, we are demonstrating the meaning of true godliness. Suffering hunger, we are proving that man does not live by bread alone. In nakedness, we reveal the beauty of spiritual adorning.  Living amid perils, we are revealing the power of our Lord. Dying by the sword, we are demonstrating the weakness of the sword.  This is more-than-conquering.”

I want to live a more-than-conquering life where I truly believe that everything is mine in Jesus. I want to live like the widow as she listened to the word of the Lord and surrendered the little she had to Him and then found that she never ran out of what she needed. That kind of life is there for the taking. But we have to open our grip on the earthly to receive it. 

“Awards” Ceremony

This time of the year many are posting their kids on awards day.  It’s quite sweet, but my kids needed some explanation of what an Awards Day was; we’re home schooling, so they don’t experience some of the traditional things that go along with school. 

However, I had an impromptu “awards ceremony,” and I told their dad how great each of them are! I called them up individually to the middle of the living room. 

I announced each child as, “my star ___ grade student.” They all received perfect attendance and were Honor Roll students (forget the fact that we don’t grade anything).  Ruby excelled in reading. Molly excelled in sewing.  Mack excelled in imagination/costume design/inventing things out of tape and boxes. 

And it’s only appropriate that the “ceremony” was with kids in their pajamas!  I suppose it also doesn’t matter that we aren’t really finished with school either. Lol!  

   
 

Oh, happy home school days!😄

Mid-May Madness

True to every other May, the calendar has been full. Travels, celebrations, more travel, trying to wrap up school work, and on and on. 

This summer I’m leading a Bible Study called BREATHE by Priscilla Shirer. I cannot wait to dive in with other ladies from church. We will take a look at margins in our lives. I can already tell that the Lord has been preparing me for this time. Margins. Rest. Priorities. Saying No so I can say Yes to what is important. Owning my time, under the Lord’s leadership alone. 

It’s going to be goooood. 

So before summer officially begins, let me share some pictures from around here(And around the world)!

   
   

   
   

   
     

   
 

I wish I could show you my favorite picture…but I’m not sure about the rules…..I met some amazing people with amazing stories. Most of the people I met have been in jail for their faith. Many are now refugees; they all are active in the church and their faith is inspiring. 

   
   

   
           

These pictures are from Hagai Sophia, a museum in Istanbul. It used to be a church in the Byzantine period and then became a mosque when Muslims came in and conquered this land.  In addition to taking down crosses, they plastered over mosaics of Jesus. The plaster is coming down and revealing the christian mosaics. The building is now a museum. Inside, you can spot the crosses that have been changed or altered. The cross is offensive and represents the central truth of Christianity…that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world and was buried and rose again.  It sets Christianity apart from every other religion of the world. While so many are working their way to God through good works or weighing their good against their bad to secure their eternity, God came down to us as Jesus. Fully God, fully human. He met us where we live!  He did the work. We simply must believe and place our trust in Him alone. 

   
 

Above you can see where they took off the top part of these crosses.

Below is a picture of a large door at the entrance of the museum. You can see where the horizontal part of the cross was taken down. 

  
I Corinthians 1:18 “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved it is the power of God.”

   

We came home exhausted and jet lagged, but thrilled to be back with the kids. Molly had a fall while we were gone and ended up breaking her arm. 

 
She didn’t get a cast though…the break is up high on her right arm and this brace does the trick. After tears of disappointment, Molly was atleast happy that she had never seen anyone with a brace quite like this one. Molly has waited for a broken arm for a while. She was hoping she could have a cast; I was so happy that she could take this brace off for showers and stuff!  It’s going to be a long six weeks, but nothing like if she was in a cast!!

 
Ice cream always helps. 

And then today we tried out the small pool in our neighborhood. 

  Thankful for summer! Thankful for my kids! Thankful for the brace instead of a cast! Thankful that we are in our last days of school work!  Thankful that Josh comes home today from his last bit of travel for the summer…I think. 😊

So that sums up our May so far. Ruby has a birthday coming up, so that is next on our calendar. Fun times! 

Comma Splice Fun

Today I had the privilege of teaching my girls about compound sentences and comma splices. It was awesome. At first they were less than enthused about it, but they got into it!  Syntax was something I heard in college in English 101, and I’m sure in high school I learned bits of this….I particularly remember Mrs. Hamilton, my Senior English teacher, harping on “comma splices everywhere! Comma splice, comma splice, comma splice,” she would say in her very southern twang. But Dr.Hines at Middle Georgia College took one morning to lay out the very basics of the English language, and I was in love. I don’t know what made it so different than high school, but it all just clicked on that beautiful fall morning in Cochran, Georgia. I love writing and words and all things grammar. I write blogs all the time in my head that never make it to print because I don’t always have the time to follow through properly. 

There are so many stories swirling around in my head. For example, just the other night we were discussing spiritual gifts as a family. The kids were giving their two cents on what they thought their gifts were.  Josh and I gave some insight, and then Mack interrupted us to say, quite confidently, “Mom, I know your gift. It’s work!”  Ok then. When he saw the look on my face, he quickly changed his tune and said, “Oh and it’s LOVE!  Your gift is love.”  Crazy kid. 

And speaking of a crazy kid and stories I want to write, last night we went to a High school Graduation Dinner. I started talking to the girls about how one day they will have one of those, and I even asked them if they could imagine Mack having a graduation dinner.  They were giggling and saying how cute and funny he is.  Then, Molly piped up,and said, “Yeah, I’ll be at his dinner with my husband and my baby on my hip.”

Ummmm, Molly. You’re only 19 months older than Mack. 

She’s on the fast track to marriage and babies. Dear goodness. 

Ruby is very much a first-born child. Today they were playing in water in the backyard, and Ruby could not just play. She had to have rules. And only her rules counted. And she changed the rules often. It must be exhausting being a first born child. She decompresses by HOURS of reading a day. She loves to go upstairs and get on her top bunk and read out loud. I love hearing her; she uses such great inflection. She also has great voices for different characters. The other two beg her to read “just one more chapter” every night. 

Three little stories all because I wanted to share about how fun it was to teach English today!  

Remember, if you have two independent sentences that you want to bring together, then they must be joined with a comma and a conjunction OR with a semicolon.  If you only use a comma, then you are committing a crime—it’s called a comma splice. 😬 Happy Writing!!

Book Recommendation!

  

A Must Read Book!  

Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose tells an incredible story of her life beginning as a newlywed missionary in Macassar and into her time in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. The suffering she and so many others endured is appalling. I could not even imagine what those brutal years were like. 

The beatings. The hard labor. The lack of warm showers (or any shower at all!), only two outfits, no shoes. Uncomfortable beds. The diseases that set in. The death of her husband. The unknown.  The small rations of food. Fear of being beaten. Medical conditions going uncared for. 

A prisoner of war. 

The Japanese leaders were ruthless and uncaring….HOWEVER, they had some exceptions. Darlene was one of them. She was highly favored by the main guy, Mr. Yamaji. She even had opportunity to share Jesus with him. He was visibly moved by the good news of the gospel–that Jesus died for him and that Darlene loved even him, an enemy. 

Darlene was eventually moved to another prison where she was isolated from everyone. Her living conditions were even more deplorable than the first prison camp. They tried to convict her of espionage, and she even stood to be executed for it, but God intervened. He used, of all people, Mr. Yamaji, to show Himself strong in her life. How God cared for her is overwhelming. 

He intervened all throughout the way in awe-inspiring ways. I cried several times with amazement at how good and personal our God is. 

The scripture was her life. She quotes so many verses that came to her in these dark days. She would remember them at the exact right time. I was so challenged to keep memorizing and meditating on Scripture. It has power!!!  And reading Darlene’s story makes me ashamed that I, in these pristine of conditions, can sometimes find it hard to draw from God’s Word for all I need. However, I have caught myself not giving voice to complaints, as I recall in my mind what life was like for her as a prisoner of war. 

Suddenly, not having anything to wear is not only a lie, but ridiculous. Wishing and wanting for this or that is plain nuts. 

Proper Perspective can come to you after reading a book like this. We’ve read several books as a family that make us realize we don’t know much at all about suffering (And The Word Came with Power and Gladys Alyward…both fabulous reads!).  This one has marked me. I won’t soon forget the suffering of Darlene Deibler and her shining example as a follower of Christ. 

One night after being interrogated at prison, she recalled a poem by Annie Johnson she had just two weeks before memorized:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater. 

He sendeth more strength when the labors increase. 

To added affliction, He addeth His mercy,

To multiplied trial, His multiplied peace. 


When we have exhausted our store of endurance,

And our strength has failed ere the day is half done,

When we reach the end of our hoarded resources, 

The Father’s full giving is only begun. 


His love has no limit, His grace has no measure. 

His power has no boundary known unto men. 

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,

He giveth and giveth and giveth again

I Peter 1: 3-7, 13

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled  and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…Therefore prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Darlene most definitely lived for the next life. What a beautiful example she is to me. Please read this book. It’s like a layer has been shed from my eyes to more clearly see the unseen (2 Corinthians 4….”but the things which are unseen are eternal.”)

And this song goes right along with Darlene’s life. She knew that everything was hers in Christ. 
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zokDEfvD5gY

Fun weekend!

We went to Augusta on Friday to spend time celebrating my mom. I won’t be in town for Mother’s Day or her birthday next week, so we planned an early trip over for those special days. 

   
   

   

We drove over to Athens, GA for Josh to lead the chapel service for the UGA baseball team. It was actually the first time we have taken our kids to a game, and they liked it a lot. Last week I told Mack what we were doing…”We’re going to Athens and watch the team play that Daddy used to play on, UGA.”  Mack looked at me confused. “Really??  Daddy played baseball there. Where is it?  What’s the name?”  It made me laugh. I know we’ve talked about it before, but evidently he didn’t get it. 

The whole day brought back lots of memories. It feels like a whole lifetime ago that he and I were dating, and I was at the field watching him play. I was so proud of him being able to go back and share with those guys about the most important part of life—Jesus. 

   
  
   

  

 

   

  

  

 

   

  

  

  

  

  

 

Friends of oursmet us there!  We had fun!

   

 

And Mack woke up this morning and put this outfit together. 

 I think he will want to go to another game! What a fun weekend with family!