September 29, 2008

None will be held guiltless....

"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." Deuteronomy 5:11

The 3rd Commandment presented to Moses on Mt. Sinai. We often say to our kids do not use the name of the Lord in vain, don't use it as a cuss word. We have a majestical God who created each hair on our heads, all the beauty in nature, the Ancient of Days, the I Am Who I Am, and our society uses the name God like it is nothing. We hear it on television, in the grocery store, on the playground, people using the name of God profanely. Many of our ancestors out of reverence for God never spoke the name out loud, never wrote it down, as their lips were not even worthy to say the name of God, nor their pens to write. We have moved from a humble people centuries ago who revered God, to a people who use His name profanely in a text message like it is nothing. That is what this rant is exactly about, OMG. Does anyone else cringe when they see this? In our day and age we have even given a text to profaning God's holy name. May God have mercy on us as a people.

Last night I was in bible class and the speaker on the video was saying that before she gave her life to Christ that it would not be unusual for her to hear the name of Jesus Christ used profanely 100 times a day, and she never gave any thought to it. She accepted Christ as her Savior and that changed. I don't remember exactly what she said, but what I feel when I hear the Lord's name in vain is pain inside. Physical pain, sharp and quick. I think the Holy Spirit in me is cringing and that is flowing into my being. In the past I have stopped at the comma in my recollection of the scripture above and that is what I quoted, but Stormie O'Martian brought up the fact that you actually bring a curse on yourself when you use the name of the Lord profanely, a curse from God, He will not hold anyone guiltless that misuses His name.

I made sure my kids knew the EXACT meaning of the OMG, because the use of the word "anyone" above surely includes my pre-teens who are learning to text. I would not allow any of my kids to use profanity, but there is no word worse than the name of the Lord in vain. Convict our hearts and the hearts of our children that Your name is Holy and only to be praised.

A Morning of Respite

I worked on my computer last night to get my Monday work done so today I can have a morning that nurtures my scattered soul. My plans for today include, putting some pinto beans in the crockpot, bake some cornbread, easy and delicious comfort food that reminds me of my Nana; finish laundry for my family, folding and putting their clothes away while tidying their rooms here and there; reading scripture throughout the morning; praying for the Lord's presence and mercy in all that fills my soul this morning. May my family feel welcomed and loved when they come home, and may I be ready to run here and there with peace of mind when the after school Monday marathon begins. This is where my heart is today, this is where God is calling me to sit with Him.

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Those words just bring peace to me, they simplify the busyness of my day, they bring to light what is most important. May God shine His face on you today, his treasured child whom He loves so dearly.

September 26, 2008

Pockets, Celebration and Transformation

It is Friday morning, dark thirty. The kids are still asleep for about another 20 minutes until it is time for me to wake them from their slumber. I just finished my morning Bible study, our ladies class is doing the study, Power of a Praying Woman. I am so excited about it, God has certainly been calling me to a more intimate prayer life and I know if I will seek Him on that He will be so glad to bless me with it. Everywhere I go, each way I turn I hear the words be still, silence, meditation, from friends, preachers, mentors, scripture...it is changing the way I pray, it is changing the way I prioritize. When I was writing in my study guide today what would I change today to be closer to God I was thinking about silence and waiting upon the Lord. The words pockets of silence came to me. I would love to go on a weekend retreat and just be in silence and wait upon the Lord, but that is not attainable to me at this particular season of life, finding pockets of silence through my day certainly is. So that is what I will do today is to find some pockets of silence to lift my eyes, look up, feel His radiance on my face, breathe in His Spirit, and exhale His abundant love to others.
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Totally sweet post on Carlos Whittaker's blog Ragamuffin Soul, I thought I would embed the video, but the story Carlos writes about the video is so cool and explains it in such detail that I felt it best to send you his way rather than show the video here with my summed up words....Simon's baptism...good. It made me cry to see this man in the water about to be baptized so excited he couldn't even put on the churchy reverence demeanor, he showed how he felt about it and it was glorious. Celebration.
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Again I learned so much this week at the Summit at ACU. Most were not new thoughts to me, in fact I had read them all before here and there in scripture. I didn't hear these particular words this week, but to me it was radical obedience. Going against what our culture has so clearly drawn us in to, materialism, desensitization, busyness, a luke warm faith. I ask God to help me not hold on tight to my stuff, break my heart where His breaks so I can be about His business, to see busyness as the false god it is to me, instead of scheduling myself so busy today, I need to be open to any appointments God has for me, and keep praying for increase in my faith while spending time with Him in scripture, meditation, prayer and waiting on Him for the increase. Thank you God for I am willing to receive your transformation.
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Shine on.

September 25, 2008

Jack/ACU Summit Inspires

Jack had been counting down the days to the newest installment in this series he is holding below. The new book is called Brsinger, Rob and he are trading the book back and forth reading it. He LOVES to read. He wanted me to take his picture with all three books, and then a second later he was reading and in his own little world.



ACU Summit finished up last night. I went to exceptional classes and I loved all of what I heard. The key to what I heard is not to let it just sit and then fade away, it is to act on it. The theme was to cross the fence, welcome and love all people around us, be hospitable, and I loved the way Greg Kendell Ball put it yesterday in the Photography and Missions class, to enlighten those around us of the needs of the world with the images we take with our cameras. I left the Summit inspired to live simply, reach far and wide and shine the light of God. Thank you God for the power of your Spirit that can take Your scripture and make it so real and apply so specifically to my life.

If you haven't clicked over to my updated photography blog today is a great day to do that, I have a couple of sittings up from this last week that have some great images in them. You can subscribe to that address and it will let you know when I post a sitting.

As you can see in the images above Jack looks great, he is feeling well. We are truly grateful for his health. Tumors and Cancer have simplified our lives in so many ways. I am grateful for the life lessons I learned through Jack's battle. My prayer for myself and even for you is to not sweat the small stuff, focus on what is important, be still and allow the voice of God to speak into your life, be in His word so we know God more every day so we can be about His business not caught up and tunnel visioned on our own.

September 24, 2008

I desire Mercy not Sacrifice.

Thanks again to my sister Becky for her thoughts yesterday that I posted on my blog.
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Wednesday morning, not quite as early as Tuesday's post. Today is the last day of ACU Summit, it has been great this year. I have never come away so inspired. I am looking forward to the photography and missions class today, it is called Oculus Dei, I am no greek student, but I think that means the eye of God, or maybe what God see's. I bet I will find out today.
Rick Atchley is hitting it out of the ballpark at 1:30, he is speaking from the Text of Amos. One of my sweet friends Sug asked me yesterday, what he was going to do for his last presentation today, because it seems like it just can't get any better. The Word of the Lord is the superstar, it is just nice to have someone look at it through open eyes and not be afraid how to translate it, it is growing each of us in the session. Amos was called to Israel by God to prophecy for the Israelites, God's chosen people, who had all the rites and traditions figured out but they were not seeking justice. In our culture today we think of justice in the terms of putting criminals in prison, more prisons, more police officers, biblically justice most often means to look out for those oppressed, the poor, those who can not take care of themselves. God says "I desire mercy not sacrifice." When God reprimands His people through His prophets most of the time it is because they are not being merciful to those around them, they are too caught up in their wealth and lifestyle, or maybe like the Pharisees in the New Testament, they were following all the rules but their hearts were hard. God told the Israelites that he would reject their worship and their sacrifices, because they were not taking care of those around them that needed to be taken care of. I also loved Rick's point on the difference between benevolence and justice. Benevolence gives people just enough to get by, justice brings them to a position where they are on level ground and they are able to do for themselves. (I loosely quoted that because I don't have my notes with me).
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Some people might read the last sentence above and associate that with a political platform, but Amos is speaking to the hearts of people and what they are doing personally. This is much more personal and a personal call than a platform.
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My prayer for myself is that God will forgive me when I have chosen comfort over His people, may I allow His Spirit that dwells in me to be the voice I follow to serve the oppressed and give mercy that I have been given by God.
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May I treat all the people around me in accordance with the grace and mercy God has given me, not based on the grace and mercy I am being shown by them.
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May God be praised for a week of classes that have helped me see His character in a less distorted way.

September 23, 2008

ACU Summit/My Sister's Blog

Very early Tuesday morning. Yesterday was a great day, I spent the day at the ACU Summit. Every class I went to was rich in content and heart. First I started with Sexy Sacrifices: Have we laid our children on the altar of commercial culture? Below is the video they started off with. It has some graphic stuff in it, but this is what we see in a normal day on television, magazines, walking down the street or through the mall with our kids. These images are what our children are defining themselves by. One thing that really stuck with me was that as adults we have other points of reference and life experiences to see this in the context that it belongs, but our children who have grown up with this around them have no points of reference other than this, this is the eye glass they view themselves and others with. Our job as parents and faith community will be to help them see their self worth and value through the lens of God and not through the lens of commercial culture. Our kids are being bombarded with adult like clothing, adult like spa experiences, adult like cell phone usage, adult like television privileges, cable, movies, we allow them freedoms to act like adults, then are baffled why these younger generations are moving into sex more easily out of marriage and at very young ages. The industry of marketing to kids uses a term called compression, if they can draw younger kids into more adult purchases they will be consumers of their products for a longer time, our kids are pawns to industry. Yesterday was the information day, today is what we can do about it in our kids lives to help them find their worth in them selves and not in comparison to an ad in a magazine that isn't real in the first place. I am ready to hear some great information this morning.


Then I went to a class on hospitality which was very thought provoking, we think of having people over for dinner more than likely when we hear the word hospitality, that is not all it includes.

Then the main speaker in Moody at 11am spoke some very uncomfortable truths on judgementalism.

Lastly, Rick Atchley spoke on the Lifestyles of the Rich and Amos. Out of the book of Amos he speaks to how God does not condone favortism. He has 2 more classes and said that the best was yet to come.

Today I will probably go to the Missions in Photography in the morning as yesterday's hospitality class was a one day offering, but the rest of the classes will be the same. There are hundreds of classes to choose from, in the Rick Atchley time slot there is also Rubel Shelley and Jeff Walling to choose from, now that's just not fair!
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Yesterday's topic was not an easy one to write, nor was it one that I had ever thought to write about in any detail. I had an entire post above the story of my dad that I had written then all the rest of it just flowed out. I deleted what I had written on the more general topic of mourning above it because my heart was in what I had written on my father and I felt like that was where God was calling me to let my pen rest for the day. My sister Becky had read my post and then had something to say about it, she writes on a private blog so I can't link it, but she said it was o.k. to post here what she had written.

DAD, by my sister Becky.

I don't know exactly where this post is going to go I just feel the need to get it out. I just read my sisters blog and she was talking about my dad. She is 5 years older than I am and so her world in which she grew up with my father was a different world than I did. My parents divorced while I was in seventh grade. They divorced when she was finishing high school. I then moved to Australia with my mom and younger sister and brother days after finishing ninth grade. I flew back for six months when I was seventeen and I stayed with him and his girlfriend at that time. I had forgotten how his drinking had such a big impact on everyone around him but he was still my wonderful dad. There were two sides to my dad. One was the one that I loved dearly when he was sober. The other was a drunk man who we had to parent. I hated that man for taking away my father from me. I guess deep down I still do. My sister and I had a very different relationship with both of our parents. We are very different people. She is the oldest and therefore I am sure she lived through and had different experiences than I did. I hurt for my dad still. I didn't spend enough time with him because I could not stand to be with him when he was drinking. He would also promise to do things and would not do it. I remember being very proud of him for doing things that parents should do. Such as remembering to do the irrigation when we lived out in the country. He would have to get up at 2 or 3 am and wait for an hour then close it off again. I thought that was so great that he did that. On my honeymoon we visited a used book store and I found a book called something like Adult Children of Alcoholics. I bought it and read through it. I thought all my life that it did not really bother me or effect me. It had. My years of rebellion were proof of that. I love my father very much and think of him often. Growing up and even in my adult years every time I would talk to him on the phone I would break down crying. I do not know why I did that even to this day. My little sister said she would do the same thing. So basically I loved my father and still do even through all his many short comings. I miss him.
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Thanks Becky for allowing me to post what you wrote. Your words are touching and powerful and speak to the multiplicity of being raised in an environment that was full of love, confusion, disappointment, lies, tears, instability, all those happening in any given day and on most days. Some times only our tears could be our expression. I love you.

September 21, 2008

Blessed are those who mourn, Part 1

Sunday afternoon. Today's Bible class was good, our topic was "Blessed are those who mourn." Let me just say that this seemingly docile subject touched so many people, never have so many hands gone up in the air to add something to the conversation in class.

In my last ten years I have lost both parents.

My dad died in an accidental drowning after he had drank too much Chivas and passed out in a hot tub. My twins were 7 months old. I hadn't talked to my dad in several months. We weren't in each others lives regularly but we certainly loved each other. I found comfort in his apartment (he lived North of Dallas) that my siblings and I went to clean out, he had a beautiful red bible opened on his coffee table, his journey of self destruction through alcohol had found it's way back to the Lord. He still drank but he had turned back to Jesus. Praise God. My dad had died to me emotionally many years back. After I came back to the Lord, one of the first things that God had put on my heart was forgiveness for my dad. God knew that I had anger and unforgiveness in my heart where my dad was concerned, and that is food for the devil, the journey of forgiveness took almost a year, but at the end of the year my heart was once again softened to my dad, and there was no bitterness. That was several years before my dad died, I was so glad I had a loving relationship with him again.

Through those years that my dad and I had a rocky relationship I still sent him birthday cards and father's day cards. I remember standing in a card aisle for each occasion trying to find the right card for him, agonizing to find a card that stated that he was my father, but I didn't want anything that stated he was a "great father." I would find cards with expressions like, Happy Father's Day, have a great day, then I would simply sign the card, love, Tammy. No other words. Those cards that I struggled to buy were bound together by a piece of twine which he carried with him in his briefcase everyday for years until I found them after he died. Every card that I had sent him he had kept.

My dad was a man who was full of life, very charismatic, he could bring out the best in those around him, that was until he had too many drinks and then all that went away. He took this world by storm with his smile and laugh, spent some time at the top of the ladder, then slowly rung by rung hit bottom. When he died he was living in an extended stay hotel with a chocolate cake on the kitchen table and an empty glass and bottle of Chivas next to him, but he had found his way back to Jesus and I know that he was welcomed with open arms. The best of what was my father is complete and whole as he left his torment behind and was taken up to heaven and I anticipate the day I see him again.

How did I mourn for my dad's death? I don't think I did. I was saddened by it, but I didn't spend alot of time crying, my twins were 7 months and Derek was 2 years old, they got me back into the swing of things pretty quickly. Because of his lifestyle I think all of us kids knew that he was on borrowed time. I just always felt like he would die young, he was 57 years old. I was glad his 41 year struggle with alcohol was finally over. We had made our peace and that was good, had I not worked through that before he had died I think it would have been a much messier time for me. I did however mourn all of his life for the man he could have been without the addiction to alcohol.

Now losing my mom 9 months later, that was a different story for a different day.

September 20, 2008

Congratulations ANNA!!!

And the winner is ANNA!!!!
Congratulations Anna, I know you will love the book, Same Kind of Different as Me. Had I known that Anna was going to be the winner I could have given her the book last night when I went to her house to take pics of her kids. I don't think Anna currently has a blog. So I will link you to her cute family pics instead.

September 19, 2008

DRI Dove Hunt Luncheon on my Photog. Blog

I just posted some images of the DRI Luncheon and Celebrity Dove Hunt on my photog blog.

September 18, 2008

Mish Mash

Loved this on Denise's blog yesterday.
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I am celebrating my good friend Sarah's birthday this morning with our little coffee group of friends. Can't wait.
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2 shoots today, I am heading out to DRI to take some pictures of a picnic on the lawn. I can't wait.
Then tonight I am taking pictures of some friends and their kiddo's at their house.
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If you haven't listened to the author of The Shack, Paul Young's little blurb in my previous post on The Shack it is very interesting. He was the child of missionaries growing up in a time where on occasion kids were put aside for the Great Commission. One thing I often hear from PK's (preacher's kids) is that the church always came first. This isn't a comment about that at all, I can only guess how difficult it is to have a congregation who "expects" you to be at their beck and call and small children who need their daddy. It is sad what I have witnessed as a church secretary many moons ago about how the patrons of a church feel like they have the right to the preacher no matter what time of night or day it is, sometimes for emergencies which is understandable, but most of the time to gripe. That last part might have been more of a comment.
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Today's the last day to comment on what you like on your toast. Once again tried to link to my OWN blog and I am apparently still doing it wrong. It is two posts back, Kung Fu Fighting and a Contest is the title. Sorry, I am slightly inept, although I am thinking that it might be a browser issue. Next time I might log out of Safari and log into Firefox and give it a try. I bought the book yesterday and I will be ready to mail it out once I draw a name out of the hat.

Paul Young about The Shack


This is about 3 1/2 minutes long. A bit of history to why he wrote The Shack and what it stands for in his life.

Updates on Jack / ACU Summit

Big doin's for Jack this week. Jack has been in physical and occupational therapy for 3 and a half years. He has gotten to the point where he needed a break, actually he wanted to just not go back. I called his physical therapist and talked with her about it, and she said that it was very normal for kids Jack's age to feel like they needed a break. I was thinking a couple of weeks, but she suggested 3 months. I asked her how Jack was doing as far as progress and she said that he was certainly functional and has made major strides in improvement over the summer, but that he was still behind his age benchmark. The only time this will really come into play is with team sports. We are scheduled to go back in 3 months for an evaluation that will compare his results from this week to then. If he hasn't gone backwards then he could be officially released. Jack is currently in some activities...hip hop and thai kwon do that are like mega therapy sessions as far as balance and coordination, and that was my stipulation to him that he keep participation up in each of these activities in order to take a break from therapy. He was all for it. Jack and Rob now have their Tuesday afternoons back...hooray.
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Next week is ACU Lectureship now known as Summit. For the last several years I have loved attending several of the lectures. I am looking forward to heading out to the Summit.
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Back to Jack, Rob and I decided to not have the plastic surgery for the right side paralysis on his face. There was a surgical procedure that would take a muscle from the inside of his leg and then through several incisions in his face, similar to face lift incisions, attach it to the inside of his facial area. There are 5 muscles on each side of our face, this muscle transplant would over time bring movement back to the middle three. That sounds like a pretty good deal, and we would all love for Jack to have his smile back, but it has several drawbacks.
The main drawback is that the bulk of the muscle adds alot of bulk to the side of his face. The pictures we saw of other children were taken over a year past the surgery and the side of their face that the procedure was on was still several times the size of the non surgical side. For ever the right side of his face would look larger than the other. His resting face right now looks absolutely perfect, it would look lopsided after the surgery. There are several other things we just thought would look better after surgery, but after seeing the pics we just felt a letdown. So we cancelled the surgery. Every day there are new procedures that are invented and there might be a better option later. Jack was fine with canceling the surgery. I continue to ask God to intervene and bring all those nerves and muscles back to life. He could heal Jack's face with no bad side effects.

September 17, 2008

Everybody's Kung Fu Fighting / A Contest

Behind the scenes with Chase Jarvis and KungFu HDTV Chase Jarvis is a well known commercial photographer. His style is fresh and always cutting edge. This is a totally cool look at how a kung fu dude fights all the elements for a commercial.



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Jack finished the last of the milk last night with his dinner. I didn't want to get out to go to the store, so I just thought to myself, no cereal in the morning. I love cereal. I should eat eggs, it regulates my blood sugar much more and I don't go through the day hungry, but the fact of the matter is I love cereal. So my dilemma this morning was what to eat for breakfast? Toast. I think that toast is yummy too, in fact I think I like it as much as cereal but it does require the extra effort to pull the toaster out of the cupboard, so it often gets pushed aside until we are out of milk. The first time I ever thought toast was hip and metropolitan was when Mad About You was on TV with Jamie (Helen Hunt) and Paul Buchman (Paul Reiser). They would want a late night snack and it almost always was toast.

Having toast, now what to put on it. This is where my Australian ancestry shows through, 2 of my 3 favorites are english in nature, Vegemite and Orange Marmalade, then raspberry jam, sometimes if I am really hungry I like peanut butter, I always like a smidgen of butter to say the least, and prefer to never eat toast dry. Jack likes his with grape jelly no butter, Sophie with jelly or peanut butter, Derek with butter, and Rob he likes to choose from all jams and even apple butter.

So now I want to hear from you! What do you like on your toast? Leave me a comment about your toast preferences and I will be giving away a copy of Same Kind Of Different As Me to one of the lucky participants, I still run into people who have never heard of the book. I must try and rectify this one contest at a time. The contest will end on Friday night at midnight. Several of my readers have read the book, so if you have already read it I will send you a different prize in it's place.

September 16, 2008

My One Thing, New Photog Blog

Jen@BlueYonderDesigns did it again. Thanks to Jen this blog was given a fresh look several months ago, now she has given me a great new look for my photography blog. Jen is a leader in service and creativity in the blog creation industry, love that I have been able to work with her on several occasions. Once I get all my links, posts and ducks in a row with that blog I will link it on the sidebar, but for right now you can take a sneak peak.

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Both ACU presentations that included Ron Hall and Denver Moore the authors of Same Kind of Different As Me have been uploaded to ITunes U. I couldn't find a direct link, but if you log onto Itunes there should be a link to ITunes U, look for where it allows you to browse universities, choose Abilene Christian University, then you should see the picture of Denver Moore in the top box with an explanation of the video and will allow you to download the video's for free. Both the Q&A and the Evening Presentation are uploaded. Enjoy!

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My One Thing - (Today it's two)

Yesterday was my class on Christian Spiritual Formation by Dr. Wray up at ACU. This class continues to bless me. Each class starts off with some sort of exercise to center our thoughts and mind on Christ. Yesterday several students read a selection of prayers that were penned centuries ago. Each of the prayers read were humbling and certainly put Christ right where He belongs, in the center of your being.

Here is an exert of The Shield of St. Patrick who lived in 388-463.
...As I rise today,
Christ be with me, Christ be within me, Christ be before me, Christ be behind me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ be beneath me, Christ be above me, Christ in my quiet, Christ in danger, Christ to win me; Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit, Christ when I stand, Christ to comfort me, Christ to restore me; Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. Christ in the heart of all that love me, Christ in the mouth of all who speak of me.

Tomorrow I will post the prayer I read by Bernard of Clairvaux who lived in 1090-1153.

One of the highlights of class was a video who showed interview footage of the late Henri Nouwen. So powerful, a theologian who was one of the great spiritual men of our time. Sometimes the study of theology can make the simple seem so very complicated, and can cause arguments when Christ calls us to peace and unity. Henri Nouwen was a man whose spiritual center of Christ was evident in all he lived. Once he reached the top level in theologians in our modern age, he walked away from it and worked at Daybreak a home for mentally challenged individuals in Canada. He ministered to the poor. All of the great books, papers, lectures, and learning he had accomplished, was given even more credibility when he walked away from it all. Truly a man of God and an inspiration for all.

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Just started reading the Mitford series yesterday. At Home In Mitford. Looking forward to reading this series.

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....time to work.

September 14, 2008

Interview With A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts Authors

Who doesn't love a good bloggy giveaway??? How to enter? Leave a comment for this post. I will randomly pick a name from the comments, then pass it on to the authors and they will in turn enter it into the pot of other randomly selected commenters and the blog hosts. The winner's name will be announced on October 19th. Now to the good part...what's the giveaway? In the spirit of Christmas...this is a Christmas book after all, the authors will give away a Christmas basket valued at $200. You can go here to check it out. So read up about these wonderful authors and leave a comment. You will see the picture of the basket on the sidebar. This blog is full of yummy recipes and Christmas ideas, so click on over to check it out.
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A side note before the interview begins.
The book is full of recipes, traditions, holiday ideas...and I submitted a family tradition from my paternal family and it was accepted, Christmas Gift is what we call it. So much fun and our family enjoys the back and forth shouting of "Christmas Gift" and "Christmas Eve Gift, " each year. I think that it is has southern roots because I have run across many others that have this same tradition...and I thought we were the only crazies out there! Special and heartfelt thanks to Cathy Messacar who edited this piece for me and made it publish-worthy.
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A SCRAPBOOK OF CHRISTMAS FIRSTS

(Leafwood Publishers, October 2008)

A wonderful new gift book, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts, is available in October for Christmas giving. Today, I’ve invited the six coauthors to share their unique story of how they came together to publish this exciting book full of stories, recipes, tips for simplifying the holidays and so much more (click on bookcover to see the trailer!).

First, let me introduce Cathy Messecar, Leslie Wilson, Brenda Nixon, Trish Berg, Terra Hangen and Karen Robbins. Thank you for being here today, ladies.

Karen: Thank you for the invitation.

You are from three different areas of the country—Texas, California, and Ohio. How did you all meet?

Terra: We all six joined The Writers View, an online group for professional Christian writers. Trish and Brenda met in person in 2004 for lunch, I understand, and on 9/18/04, after reading a post Brenda sent to TWV, I sent an email to Brenda, asking if she would like to join with me and walk alongside each other, as a Barnabas group. Brenda said yes that same day, and suggested Trish too. Very quickly Cathy, Leslie and Karen joined in and our stalwart band of six was formed. Living in California, I was so happy to find 5 Barnabas writers in other states so we could bring together a wealth of different viewpoints and expertise

Brenda: Actually, We haven’t met. We’re all great colleagues and friends via the internet. Four years ago Terra and I formed a dyad to support each other as Christians who write in the secular markets. Along came Trish, Cathy, Karen, and Leslie (not necessarily in that order) and we formed a close knit bond of support, creative energy, and professional accountability.

Karen: I met Trish through an online forum called The Writers View and she invited me to join the group.

Trish: Although we belong to the same Yahoo writing group, we met one by one online. Eventually, the six of us decided that since we all write as Christians for a secular market through magazine articles and newspaper columns, we could support and encourage one another.

Leslie: Though we met virtually through The Writers View, I have been blessed to give and get hugs from Trish (at a MOPS conference), Cathy (in the area on business) and Karen (in town for a writers' conference). I can’t wait to meet Terra and Brenda face-to-face, though I feel as though I already know them!

How did you come up with the idea to do a book together?

Brenda: The book is Cathy’s brainchild. She mentioned the concept of telling stories of events that happened for the first time at Christmas and sharing holiday historical tidbits and recipes and each said, “If you need any help, let me know.” That offer morphed into each of us equally contributing and co-authoring A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts.

Trish: Yep, Cathy came up with the idea and the title, and asked us if we wanted to join her on this project. Of course, we said Yes!

Terra: Cathy mentioned the idea for a Christmas book to the group, and someone (I think it was Leslie) suggested that maybe our group could all write the book together. Cathy agreed to lead the way on the project. The earliest email I have on this is from 9/7/05, which shows that this has been a three year collaboration from idea to publication.

Karen: (Chuckling) Terra is a librarian and keeps our historical records by saving our e-mails.

Leslie: Actually, Terra, I wrote that comment (in a group e-mail) kind of tongue-in-cheek. Cathy, the ultra-sweet person she is, took my joking at face value and here we are. However, I believe God prompted the passion and ideas we all bring to the project and that He will do mighty things as a result of our collaboration!

Why did you decide on a Christmas theme?

Brenda: It was Cathy’s concept to write a book centering on Christmas.

Cathy: For several years, I’d been thinking about Christmas as a threshold to introduce Jesus to folks who aren’t familiar with him, and I love a simpler Christmas with the emphasis on family, friends and doing for others. I knew of some families who had experienced “firsts” at Christmas—reunions, losses, special surprises—and I wanted to collect those stories.

Terra: Cathy’s idea immediately resonated with me because Christmas books are “a way past watchful dragons,” as C. S. Lewis wrote. Many people won’t buy a book about being a Christian, but will buy a holiday and family fun book, thus the “past watchful dragons.” People who want to grow in their faith, and people who have no faith but celebrate Christmas will buy our book and hopefully be led to put the focus back on Christ for the holiday, and for their lives.

Leslie: Though Cathy birthed the idea, the rest of us quickly hopped on board. Not only is Christmas special to me—especially now that I have a family of my own—but also that particular holiday cries out to be simplified, to return to the meaningful aspects of celebration, and to lose some of the hype and commercialism.

Tell me a little about what is in A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts? What is your favorite part?

Cathy: I like that you can read one chapter in about 15 minutes and, with all the different suggestions, it feels like Christmas Eve. Makes you want to set up the nativity! Many of the suggestions for family activities can be adapted for any family get-together.

Karen: There are heartwarming stories about things that happened for the first time at Christmas. For instance, one of my stories is about the first Christmas with our adopted children. And the book is pretty. When I first saw the colorful pages and drawings, I fell in love with the illustrator’s work.

Brenda: I don’t have a favorite part – I love it all!

Terra: I like the way the parts are woven into a seamless whole, like a patchwork quilt, that is stronger and more beautiful than the parts.

Trish: It’s like everything you ever wanted to know about Christmas, all the best tips and recipes, and neat stories all wrapped up in this perfect little package.

Leslie: I love reading the special stories, hints, recipes—whatever—and imagining the precious family time that precipitated each moment. Plus, the book is gorgeous, beautifully printed, truly something to be proud of. And we are.

I’ve heard that the book is really a nice gift book; can you tell me a little about the format?

Cathy: Yes, it’s a hardbound book, full color interior. The layout makes it easy to read. It has a definite scrapbooky look on the interior. Different logos identify sections, such as an oilcloth-look Christmas stocking appears beside the “Stocking Stuffer Tradition” (help for connecting family members), and the “Cookie Canister” recipes are on a recipe card, and the back ground of “A Gift For You” is a gift box with bow. It’s a classy gift that they can be placed on a coffee table or in a guest bedroom during the holiday season.

Brenda: I like to describe it as a Starbuck’s sorta gift book. It’s high quality, crisp, and practical.

With six different personalities and areas of ministry, how did you manage to put this all together and still remain friends?

Karen: We pray a lot for each other and it helps that none of us have an over-inflated ego.

Cathy: There were no squabbles. Surely, we had differing opinions, but we knew that any of us could suggest an idea for this book and that each idea would get fair reviews from others. We actually voted on some aspects—everyone in favor say, “Aye.” If you’ve ever watched women at a Dutch treat luncheon when they divide up a meal ticket, it can be intense as they split the ticket down to the penny. As the project came together, I was in awe of my gracious coauthors, unselfish women who respect each other.
For some decisions, we did a round robin—things like book title and chapter titles and what categories to put into the book. Then, as compiler, I’d send out a list of needs to The Word Quilters, that’s what we call ourselves. For instance in a section we call “Peppermints for Little Ones” (hints for children’s activities), I’d put out a call, and the WQs sent in their hints, and then I put them into appropriate chapters.

Brenda: (Smiling) Are we still friends? Seriously, we each have our own platform, ministry, and family life, and those interests kept this project in perspective – it was important but not the only thing on our plates. No one was so enmeshed in this project that she campaigned for her own way. We never had a bitter disagreement or insistence to be “right.”

Terra: We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.We offer support and ideas for our separate writing projects and for personal prayer requests. I love these ladies, and I have only met one of them in person. So far, Karen is the only one who has met each of us, and one day we hope to meet in person, in a circle of friendship and love.

Trish: I think we are all very flexible and forgiving. We do have a variety of personalities here, but God has worked amazing things through our little group.

Leslie: Though I have seven non-fiction projects in various stages of completion, I could not be more thankful that this is the one to reach publication first. I am truly blessed to have worked with these women, learned from them, watched as they’ve poured heart and soul into crafting a product that will impact lives for the Lord.

Where can my readers get a copy of SOCF?

Cathy: The coauthors will all have a supply, plus our publisher, Leafwood Publishers, will have plenty of copies and discounts for buying five or more. Or they can be ordered at most online stores or by your local bookstore.

Karen: And anyone who leaves a comment here can be entered in a drawing for a free book and a gift basket worth $200! For a list of its contents, check our blog, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts. And while you're there, leave another comment and increase your chances of winning!

Tell me more about your blog.

Karen: We started our blog in July and it is accumulating a wealth of information about Christmas. Each of us posts one day a week following the theme for that week. Watch for new recipes, tips, ways to simplify, stories, etc., similar to what is in our book.

Leslie: Ooh, ooh, let me answer this one. I’m probably the newest to blogging among the group, but I LOVE it. I’ve enjoyed posting and receiving comments back from readers. What an amazing adventure having an online voice can be! This blog will focus on a different theme each week—anything from tips to avoid overeating during the holidays to how to give a guest room special touches—and expand on the material in the book. I think readers will get to know the authors’ individual personalities and connect on a more personal level. Plus, they get that many more ideas, information, inspiration (!) at no additional cost.

WQs: As an added bonus for inviting us to your blog, we’d like to pass along this Christmas tidbit to you and your readers:

Enjoy a blessed Christmas this year! And thanks for inviting us to share our book, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts, with you.


September 13, 2008

What Must Befall Thee - Denver Moore


One of the questions that was posed to Denver Moore at the Q&A on Tuesday was regarding forgiveness. Denver grew up as a sharecropper. Through his life he was treated inhumanely in so many ways. One of the hardest parts to read in the book is when Denver was a teenager and was walking along side the road. A white woman needed help along side the road with her car. Reluctantly Denver helped her, not because he didn't want to help, but because it was safer to just keep his distance. A group of white boys rode up on their horses after Denver had changed her tire and they let him have it for bothering the nice lady. Beat within an inch of his life that day. With the woman who had asked for his help standing along side the road not saying anything. This is just one of the wrongs that befell Denver. So what does Denver have to say about forgiveness? You Forgive. He is a man of few words, so you can imagine he didn't expound alot on his answer, but he said we all need forgiveness, so we have to forgive others.

Another quote of Denver Moore, "What must befall thee, must befall thee." Denver knows that without the past that he led, the unfairness that was laid upon him, he would not be the man he is today. What we go through in our past plays a huge part in our character. We certainly do not have to let our past define us, but as scripture says, God can bring goodness out of everything. My greatest hero's are not the people that are on the front pages of magazines, my greatest hero's are those who have overcome, overcome abuse, overcome oppression, overcome disability, overcome their circumstances. That is why I love Denver's story so much is because he chose to follow the path God put before him. There were two roads he could have followed, the life that was comfortable for him which was of violence and loneliness, or walk a new path that would transform that anger to holiness and righteousness.

September 11, 2008

Brendon is in Glory

Sweet Brendon Coates passed away yesterday morning. His mom was holding him in her arms, he was peaceful and just drifted away. I am sure that the Lord had some mighty angels to escort his spirit to heaven. Brendon has no more pain, he has no more brain tumor, he is with Jesus. The hard part is that his family is here on earth missing his sweet smile and the softness of his tender hands, his precious toes.... His smile was contagious and his outlook on life full of joy. The legacy that a 5 year old boy left behind was one of optimism, kindness and strength. I covet your prayers for his mom Allison and her husband Tony, and Tony's 5 year old daughter named Amelia. Tony and Alison were just married 2 months ago. Tony stepped into a tough situation and stood by Alison's side each step of the way.

The visitation will be at Elliott Hamil downtown Abilene from 6-8pm Friday night.
The memorial service will be at St. Paul's United Methodist Church 2pm Saturday.

Yesterday was such a tough day. It was grey outside, rained almost all day long. I had so much to prepare for to get ready for Artwalk today, but it seemed so trivial. I tried to work for an hour or two but nothing really was going right, pictures were falling, I would set something down and then forget where I put it. So I left work and drove over to Ally's house, there was a sign on the door, they were resting. The quietness that surrounds a person's passing, the whispers of the visitors, the reverence of the last place that one takes their last breath. That is just what I thought when I was in front of their home. It reminded me of the quiet that surrounded my mom when she passed away at home in her bed with her children and hospice by her side. Those last moments were precious to me, maybe some of the very most precious moments in my life, maybe even the most precious. It is a place where holy could be felt by all who walk on that hallowed ground, a place where one's spirit transfers from earth to heaven in the blink of an eye.

I went back up to my office and worked for the rest of the afternoon. Still thinking about Brendon and Alison. Last night I went to evening services at my church. Each song we sang all I could do was lift my hands and sing aloud to the God of compassion, the God who loves, the God who heals broken hearts, and I sang with my whole heart knowing that I could cry out to Him and He would fill those sad and empty places, and He did.

Brendon is complete and whole.

Father God, please cover Brendon's family in Your presence. Please soothe their hearts, in their grief be their touchstone. In scripture it says, "Where does my help come from, my help comes from the Lord the Maker of Heaven and Earth," You are their help, You are their hope. I pray that you will touch the hearts that can be your physical touch on earth to minister to this precious family.

Here is the link to the write up in the Abilene Reporter News: http://obits.reporternews.com/obit.cfm?id=6253
The write up is beautiful and represents all that Brendon was on earth so very well.

Artwalk is tonight. Come say hi!!

Tonight is Artwalk and I am the featured artist in the Cockerell Building. Mosey on up to the 2nd floor to say hello. I have so many new images up, the images I am highlighting are some images I took when I was in California earlier this year. I hadn't done anything with those images and I thought this would be the perfect time to put them on display. Wedding images from Alabama and South Carolina plus my favorite place in the world, Abilene, TX. All sorts of babies, high school seniors and families. We will see what the weather does, hopefully it will be clear this evening so it will not hamper the crowd at Artwalk.
I can't wait!!
You can find my studio at 1133 N. 2nd Street, Suite 203. Artwalk is from 6-8pm.


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There are so many more things I want to share after listening to Ron Hall and Denver Moore speak at ACU. The question and answer session was so insightful. I will write more about the events at ACU tomorrow and in the following days. I look forward to talking more about this wonderful book.

September 09, 2008

Denver Moore and Ron Hall at ACU

There were two events that I attended today at ACU. The first was a question and answer time with the students and faculty of ACU. I was grateful that I was allowed to attend to capture some images for the school.
This is before the question and answer session started. I love the looks on these girls faces.

Ron Hall getting miked up.

A little praise and worship before the session got underway.

Prayer time.

And it begins....


Here is Denver answering many questions.


Several books to have signed.

Denver sharing his wisdom. The wisdom God gave him.

One of the students asked Denver if he would sing. The moderator didn't want to impose on Denver so asked him if he planned on singing during the evening presentation. Denver said "I better sing now, cuz we don't know what might happen between now and tonight."

A student capturing a picture of Denver singing on her iphone. All the questions were texted to the moderators phone number, then he in turn asked the questions. All the freshman at ACU this year were given iphones as part of their registration, the school is utilizing the technology in many ways.

Book signing time. Ron and Denver were so gracious and kind to each person.



The second event of the day was held in Moody Coliseum. This was open to the public and several thousand people came to hear Ron and Denver speak. No one left disappointed, the stories of their lives were intruiging, inspiring, convicting and we were so blessed to hear Denver sing several songs. I loved every minute of it.
Jim, Abbie, Denise, Susan and Vann all waiting for the event to start.

Mayor Norm Archibald moving through the crowd.

Ron was first up. He did a great job with the intricacies of he and his wife's story. His wife Deborah, Miss Debbie, as Denver calls her was the star of the show. Only to be surpassed by the amazing providence and goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is alive and active in our world today, He thrills me to no end, and to hear how His goodness filled Deborah, how she served the least and most dangerous of Ft. Worth, how God's love prevailed just brings tears to my eyes. Glory. Miss Debbie is in Glory right now, and because of her life, homeless people have been served in many more ways.



Then it was Denver's turn. He quoted scripture, preached a little, encouraged us to give, sang a couple of songs. He had some serious fire in him and a little girl who was sitting up close to the front got a little scared. He told her there wasn't any reason to be afraid. Then I think he got a little tickled with himself. He is certainly filled with wisdom and boy does he know the truth. One of the students earlier in the Q&A had asked him how he knew so much scripture if he couldn't read the bible. Denver learned to read and write in the last year or so. Denver said that when he hears scripture God puts it in his subconscious level, then when he needs to recall it, it is right there. Denver was homeless for 25 years and in prison for 10 years. On the streets homeless people will go to a church service then head into the mess hall for a meal. 3 meals a day, 3 sermons a day. Then when he was in prison, there was one man who knew how to read the bible. Denver and a group of men would gather around him to hear scripture read. In the time that Denver was in prison that man read the bible from cover to cover 7 times.
Another thing Denver said earlier was that where a man would lack, God would give him something to make up for it. What I took from that was Denver couldn't read or write, but God gave him an incredible memory.





This is my favorite picture of the day. Denver is sitting next to an artist rendition of an image that a freshman at ACU drew through his inspiration from the book. Several students were recognized, this was the winning submission.

The school presented some ACU Sweatshirts to Ron and Denver.

Book Signing

Collecting money for the homeless population in Abilene. Miss Deborah never referred to homeless as "homeless," but as God's people. Denver pointed out that we are all homeless, we might not be "houseless," but until we get to our final destination, heaven, we are all homeless.

I am so grateful for Ron and Denver and the book, Same Kind of Different As Me. The book has changed lives all over the world. Has inspired believers and non-believers to reach out to those who live on the streets, or people who are suffering. I am grateful for the opportunity that we all have set before us to be one person who can shine God's light to all of those around us.
Hope you enjoyed this post. It was a fascinating day. Anyone who would like to grab an image to use on their blog is welcome to, please just be sure and leave the credit info on and if you would be so kind show me some link love.
Thank You God for the weaving of our lives together. Thank you for Ron and Denver and Miss Debbie and all who serve the homeless in Abilene and throughout the world.
"Who ever gives to the least of these, gives to me."

My One Thing, ACU Tonight ; )

My favorite thing about class yesterday. Dr. Wray asked us "Why do you want to become more spiritual?" Some of the answers; I want to know God more, Christlikeness, Led by the Spirit, Peace, move on to the meat in scripture.
(Note there is a huge difference between "religious" and "spiritual," we didn't talk about that in class, but I want to make sure that it is clear here.)

Who does God love more?
"natural man" - unsaved, non-believer
"carnal man" - saved, believer, worldly, walks as men, restless, non-discerning, milk, resists leading by the Spirit, grieves Spirit,
restless, walks in darkness
"spiritual man" - saved, believer, walks in the light, filled with the Spirit, Peace, Spiritually discerns, meat, weightier matters, ungrieved Spirit, joy, Abide in Christ.
The answer is "yes." He loves all men and women equally. I want the peace, joy, discernment, yielding to the Spirit, I want to abide in Christ. For me the path is clear, I have lived as all 3. Seeking God actively to me is living life in victory on earth.
The text that was used yesterday was 1 Corinthians 1-4.
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I am so excited to say that my "Chuck Norris wears John McCain Jammies" flair has made it to the 183,000th rank! Woohoo, we are moving on up.
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Today is the big day. Ron Hall and Denver Moore are in Abilene tonight to speak at Moody Coliseum on the campus of ACU. Starts at 7pm. I can't wait to hear them speak.
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Have a "spectacular" day.

September 08, 2008

Pray for those who are persecuted.

This is my 601st post.
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For those of you on Facebook, you will know what "flair" is, I have created a couple pieces of flair. My latest is a black button, that says "Chuck Norris Wears John McCain Jammies" It is a black button with white writing. It is rising in the ranks, I think it might be the 200,000 most popular button. O.k. 200,000 doesn't sound like much, but considering the button I created for Same Kind of Different as Me is like 1,000,000th, 200,000 is quite an accomplishment. Go...find it, add it, send it, help me rise to 100,000!!
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Today is my 2nd class for Christian Spiritual Formation, can't wait. Tomorrow I will post my favorite thing I learned in class today.
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Our church service (late service which is called Refresh) yesterday was about the people martyred for Christ, and those being martyred today. I read a wonderful book about modern day martyrs several years ago, it is called Hearts Of Fire, it is so inspirational. I have re-read it many more times. When I read that book or am on the Voices of the Martyr's Website, it grows my faith exponentially and it allows me to be aware for people who live in our world today who are being persecuted for their beliefs. In America it is so "not the in thing" to be a conservative Christian. At times we can feel weary about speaking of our love of Christ for fear of someone thinking we are a Jesus Freak (yes I am a Jesus Freak), or maybe we could be judged harshly because of other "Christians" who have spewed hate and judgement on people of alternative lifestyles and other sinners. Did Jesus ever spew hate? No. He did however have some harsh things to say to the Pharisee's and to the people who were trying to make a profit by using the temple courts as a shopping mall. These "Christians" will never change hearts by their hate and judgement, or at least that is not how my heart changed after I had walked away from Christ's will for me, it was through the faithful love of Christ who called me to Him in His mercy and grace. Love changes things, the love of Jesus transforms. Jesus calls us to love and truth together, one without the other is incomplete.
In our country our faith costs us so little, it is almost taken for granted at times. In persecuted countries, there is nothing taken for granted, you know that if you speak of Christ you could be murdered, many times by your own family members who don't want shame to come on their family. Each of the persecuted Martyrs and each of us were put right where we are, with the family we were born into, the life that surrounds us, each of us were made for such a time as this. Each one of us is called to shine Jesus' light through our eyes and hands to others. We must all run the race together, being mindful and prayerful for each other to not lose our faith, either because it is taken for granted, or because we are afraid of brutality. In Christ Alone We Stand Together United.
I went to the Voices of the Martyr's Website, website today to find a picture of someone who is currently standing up for their faith in Jesus and is being persecuted for it. I found this precious little girl.

To read her story click here.

This awesome young man goes to our church. His name is Serge and he is a running machine at ACU. He lived through the Genocide in Rwanda, and lost his faith because of his experiences. His own church members who were from a different tribe were the one's killing his family and friends. He has been beaten because he wasn't in the "right" tribe. His persecution turned him away from His beliefs, but the love of Jesus and those who Jesus used here on earth to be His hands and feet, hearts and smiles towards Serge brought Serge back to Christ in a renewed way. He plans to go back to Rwanda to help unify and help heal, because he was healed.

September 06, 2008

This is really cool.

I stumbled upon this link to 3 mini slideshows of photographs taken in and around the Republican and Democratic Party Conventions. A little behind the scene info and some insight to a New York Times photographers day.

The 3 slideshows: The Main Event, Protests and Vision.

Even though the mark of a good journalist is to write an un-biased account, their filter system can and often times does show through. It seems like the word "spin" is common place this time of year. One photograph can say what 1000 words would have a tough time delivering. The emotion and imagery are a sight to behold.

September 05, 2008

It's Tough Being A Woman, Preview

Saw this tonight on the Lifeway All Access Women's Ministry Blog. Can I get a shout out to the Lord for our sister who has gone on before us, Queen Esther. Hadassah, for those that know her by her first given name. She was created for such a time as then, but we sisters are created for such a time as this. I wonder what fresh word the Lord has for us in this study. Can't wait to find out, the study is released in November, our ladies Bible class at Southern Hills will start the study in January of 2009. I am always like a little kid waiting for Christmas when it comes to starting a new bible study led by Beth Moore. Will I be able to wait to watch it, or will I buy the audio cd's and get started ahead of time?....


Esther, It's Tough Being a Women from LifeWay on Vimeo.

By the way Boo and Big are in Las Vegas at the last Deeper Still Conference for the year. I SO wish I was there, I thought long and hard about how much a plane ticket would be to run out to Vegas for the weekend to hear Priscilla, Beth and Kay....but alas life was too busy to consider it seriously. Boo and Big will be blogging over at the All Access blog to keep us updated on the weekend.

One More Week and One Fun Pic

Friday morning. What's up? Things are good here, busy, but good. Rob has been putting in ALOT of extra hours at the Bakery this week. We have completed our first week of APAC, Sophie is taking 3 classes, theatre, music theatre and hip hop. Jack is also taking hip hop. What I wouldn't give to see him shakin' his groove. He came away from class not overly excited about it, but not wanting to drop it either. So we will see. Derek will play flag football with Upward Sports this fall. I think he will start in the next couple of weeks.

I am still reading Philip Yancy's book on prayer. I haven't had alot of time to read this week, so I need to get back in it soon. Here is a quote that I loved.
"I became more convinced than ever that God finds ways to communicate to those who truly seek God, especially when we lower the volume of the surrounding static."
The scripture "Be still and know that I am God." Is one I think on almost each day. I am making strides in finding quiet, lowering the static so I can hear God's voice. This is a daily choice, not one that comes naturally or easily, but the blessings are huge. I read a great write up on a book on Sabbath here. here. I have just started reading this blog and I love it, Anne went to Uganda with the same group as our preacher Phil. Enjoy.

Here is a fun pic I took last night.

September 04, 2008

Mark Your Calendars for Next Week

Tuesday Night, September 9th
Ron Hall and Denver Moore at Abilene Christian University, Moody Coliseum, 7:00pm



You still have time to read the book if you haven't already. Go, buy, read.....join us at ACU, get there early if you want a good seat!

Thursday Night, September 11th
Come see me and my work next week during Artwalk. 1133 N. 2nd St. Upstairs Suite #203 Abilene, TX 6-8pm

September 03, 2008

Temporary Tattoo Removal....Check

Wednesday morning. The kids are loving school, I love school even more this year because for right now the kids are riding the bus to and fro. I am saving some big $$$ on gas and I am getting about 90 minutes more work time on the computer, and the best part is that I am forgoing the morning stress of traffic in and out of two different campuses. Can I get a holla!!

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This is my MOM TIP #1 for the school year. Every Friday from now until the end of football season my little munchkins (o.k. they are not little any more but I keep on trying to "think" them little) will be sporting some sort of temporary tattoo on their neck's, foreheads, arms, cheeks...I had to google how to get those things off as it had been since football season was over last year that I was in the temporary tattoo removal business. I started with oil, vegetable then olive. I saw a trace of something come off, but my sons cheek was already on its 3rd shade of red for just that miniscule little bit. So I headed back to my trusty Mac and googled, how to remove a temporary tattoo? And there it was the answer that I had hoped to find...scotch tape. I dug through the kitchen junk drawer and all the way in the back found some scotch tape...I think the key is scotch tape, as it is not strong enough to take the skin, but will remove the tattoo. Here in Texas someone might read this and not have scotch tape, but have 20 rolls of duct tape in multiple colors even camo, and think, well if scotch tape works then this silver tape will work better...no, don't do it, your child's face will be mutilated. Stick to the scotch tape, just tear off a little, stick it right over the tattoo and voila!! Tattoo removal. I did have to use about ten little bits of tape to remove one tattoo, but there was no red face and it took about one minute. And I have to say that of the two tattoo's I removed, one from each cheek, the side that I had tried to use oil on came off much easier than the dry side. So my plan is to prep the area with some oil, let it sit a minute or two, then scotch tape it. Saturday nights just became much less painful.

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Went to Derek's open house for school last night. Rob and I rushed to get there on time, then found out we were half an hour early, so we sat in the JR. High gym all by ourselves and discussed life for 30 minutes. It was glorious. Jr. High is definately a whole new experience as compared to intermediate. I loved getting to walk Derek's schedule, we were given his schedule then would go from one class to the next. Sitting down and listening to each teacher, then when the bell rang we would move on to the next classroom. It was totally fun.

I am grateful for the life God gave me.

September 02, 2008

My One Thing From Class

Tuesday morning. Bright and early, actually it is not bright yet, but definately early. I thoroughly enjoyed my first day of school yesterday. Ofcouse it is just one class and I am auditing it, not going for a grade, but that fact saved me about $1800 and a gazillion hours of homework = priceless. The class is called Christian Spiritual Formation.
I thought that it would fun for me to make Tuesdays my "One Favorite Thing I Learned In Class Day." As long as I don't forget to do it that is, hence another reason I am glad I am not takings tests or writing long papers.
So my favorite thing I learned in class yesterday:

Many times our spiritual formation develops spontaneously rather than deliberately.
My definition of this is that on the day you find out your child has a brain tumor your life changes in an instant, each day is truly the gift it was intended, the busyness of life is boiled down to what is really important, the power of the Holy Spirit becomes very real, the power of prayer and ability to call on God who is accessible 24 hours a day and 7 days a week comforting and empowering. These blessings came off the page of scripture and found life in me like they had never done before - spontaneously in the course of a 7 word sentence.

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I loved this blog post about Sarah Palin's teenage daughter who was just announced formally to be with child out of wedlock. As true to my past blogging ability, if you click on this link it will take you to the main blog, the name of the post is "Sarah Palin, rut-roh" one day maybe one of my friends will take pity on me and tell me how to link to one particular post and have it actually work. Till then...

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Heads up to all you Abilene or close to Abilene readers...Marcelain Photography is the featured artist for Artwalk in the Cockerell Building for September. Artwalk takes place on the 2nd Thursday of each month, this month it is Thursday, September 11. 6-8pm. There are so many galleries of art to look at besides my work, so it will be a night full of many different artistic talents. Please come by and see all the new images I will have hanging and say hello.
1133 N. 2nd St., Abilene, TX (corner of Cypress and N. 2nd) I am in suite #203.