April 29, 2008

Crazy Hail

Tuesday night. I am still smiling from a sweet wedding I shot this last weekend. The bride and groom were such a blessing and their families and sweet friends so fun to be around. Originally I was going to drive up Friday and stay in a hotel so when Saturday morning came along I would be rested and refreshed, then shoot the wedding and stay over in Ft. Worth and come home on Sunday morning. I decided last week that I needed to come home Saturday night because our church was taking part in We Are The Sermon Day (WATS Day) and I was one of the photographers for the many events that would be happening on Sunday. The reception finished at 10pm and I hit the road. Stopped for a water to take some much needed ibuprofen after lugging camera equipment, and headed out. When I called Rob he said that there were some bad thunderstorms out there, but he didn't know which way they were headed. He guessed they were headed towards me but didn't know for sure. I called my weather watching friend who was asking me why I was still awake after 10pm, she is a night owl so I knew she would be awake. Anyway the weather looked like it might hit a bit on the road home, but it didn't look too bad. So I forged ahead. I hit some rain outside of Eastland about 30 miles but thought this is o.k. Anyone who knows me knows that driving is not my favorite thing to do, driving in rain, still not my favorite thing, driving at night...again not my favorite. Combine the three and I am a bit out my comfort zone. I covered the drive in prayer and God gave me His peace through it.
I was driving through Eastland and was getting a bit sleepy, so I drove through a drive thru to get something to eat and drink. It was midnight at that point. As I was in the drive thru the trees were bent over half way, doors on gates were swinging, there was a serious storm a-brewing.
Got back on the road and within 5 minutes, still in Eastland the storm sirens started to sound. The radio went to the emergency broadcasting on a local station. The rain was so hard that I couldn't even see the lines in the road, then the hail started pummelling my van like I have never experienced. Most of the vehicles pulled off the side of I 20, I decided to pull up behind a truck rather than sitting in the middle of nowhere in the dark all by my lonesome. The rain and hail were so hard I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was like there were people standing outside every window with hoses on full blast shooting them straight at my windows. It was crazy. The cool part in all of this was I praying the whole time and as crazy and wild as the weather was going what was inside me was peace. I just kept praying and God kept me sane. The only thing I was worried about was being lifted in a tornado and all the wedding images being destroyed. But thanks be to God, everything was intact, I got back on the road after about 20 minutes, rain still hard, but I drove about 5 miles an hour with my hazards on, I just wanted to get out of dodge!
No hail damage on the van which totally amazes me. The hail was marble size where I was, but it was so plentiful that I just wasn't sure what damage it would do. 5 miles south of where I was there was baseball size hail. So I got home about 1:30 am and was never so glad to be in my warm bed next to my sweet husband.
Then after all of that WATS Day had to be rescheduled for my groups due to the rain. But I was glad to be home nonetheless.

April 24, 2008

Walking With God

I am currently reading "Walking with God," by John Eldredge. I love reading memoirs, although I didn't realize that was what this book partially is. I was pleasantly surprised when it was filled with life stories from a year of John Eldredge's walk with God.
I am on page 27 so I am just starting out, but this book is excellent. Here is an exert from the book.

"...He assumed that God, being a loving God, was going to come through for him. In the sense of bless his choices. His ministry. Make his life good. He looked sort of dazed and hurt that it hadn't happened. He was trying to put a good face on it, but you could see that he had lost heart. This may be one of the most common, most unquestioned, and most naive assumptions people who believe in God share. We assume that because we believe in God, and because he is love, he's going to give us a happy life. A + B = C. You may not be so bold as to state this assumption out loud - you may not even think you hold this assumption - but notice your shock when things don't go well. Notice your feelings of abandonment and betrayal when life doesn't work out. Notice that often you feel as though God isn't really all that close or involved, feel that he isn't paying attention to your life........this man assumed the Christian life was basically about believing in God and doing good. Be a good person. That's good. That's a beginning. But it's just a beginning. It's sort of like saying that the way to have a good friendship is not to betray the other person. That will certainly help. You certainly want to have that going. But there's a whole lot more to friendship than simply not committing a betrayal, wouldn't you say?"

I could write out the whole chapter, but he goes onto talk about how important it is for us to seek God, pursue Him, learn His voice, follow Jesus. There is a big difference in believing in Jesus and being a follower of Jesus.

This passage hit me square in the face. When Jack was diagnosed with his brain tumor, I felt completely betrayed by God. I felt like he didn't hold up his end of the bargain. I might not have said it out loud then, but looking back that is what I felt. It took me a year to learn to love God for who He is and not what He does. I still get teary when I talk about how hard that time was for me. Yes of course hard on me because my son had a brain tumor, but oh so hard trying to figure out my relationship with the Lord. Bad things happen here on earth, can God fix them all and make them go away? Yes. Will he do that with all of our hardships and struggles? No. That place is called heaven, a place where there are no brian tumors, no cancer, no tears. God allows our faith to be tested while on earth, what we do with that is completely up to us.
The hardest thing for me to do during that first year was to praise God. I used my voice to praise Him in church when I sang, I certainly cried out to Him, I pursued His word in scripture many times a day, but 100% of my heart was not in it, I was not content in His sovereignty.
I will never forget on a Wednesday night at church, earlier that week I had made my peace, I had told God I will love You, I am yours no matter what happens to Jack...for the first time I really meant it. I meant it with all I was, and sang with my hands held high and tears pouring down my face because it was my sacrifice of praise. I would sacrifice my earthly desires for God's holy agenda and I would do it without murmuring discontent in my heart. I was Holy Sold Out. I felt such affirmation from God that night, I will never forget it. He was glad to have my heart back, and I was glad to give it.

April 22, 2008

Beechnut and .45's

Tuesday night. Way late. I had a technology scare tonight with my phone, but thankfully everything was backed up, and I restored and recovered all my data. Don't you hate the feeling that your world could be turned upside down because a piece of technology fails?

I just emailed my good friend Sarah tonight to tell her about my phone because she had a similar situation happen to her several months ago. But I also emailed her a weird thought I had yesterday. I was cruising along in my Chevy Uplander Minivan, listening to a mix cd I made several years ago. Filled with Waylon, Willie, Dolly, Randy Travis, Johnny Cash...I was singing to "Louisiana Saturday Night," "Joleen," "Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground," minding my own business singing at the top of my lungs as these are songs that demand such commitment. These are not humming songs, they are belt them out at the top of your lungs songs. So I am singing along and one of my most favorite songs comes on, "A Country Boy Can Survive," by one of the greats Hank Jr.,...he can skin a buck and run a truck line...a country boy can survive. His buddy gets killed by a man with a switchblade knife, for $43 dollars his friend lost his life...but a country boy can survive, He then goes on to say..."I'd like to spit some beechnut in that dude's eyes and shoot him with my old .45...a country boy can survive. An epiphany came to me as I was listening to Hank Jr., country people can survive. What would happen if our grocery stores closed down, banks failed, stock market goes under, computers quit computing? Could my family survive? Could we live off the land. I am afraid to say the answer to that at this moment, not very well. So I have decided that the Country Boy who Hank sings about would be a good neighbor to have. Maybe he would let us set up our tent next to his in the country and he would teach us how to live off the land.
Here is hoping that our countries infrastructure stays strong and stable.

Why I love to sing, "I'd love to spit some beechnut in that dude's eyes and shoot him with my old .45" is beyond me, but it is definately my favorite verse in the song, go Hank! I'm weird I know.

April 20, 2008

Jack's Last Steroid!!!

Sunday night. We had a great weekend. The kids all went to Monahann, Texas yesterday for a Bible Bowl tournament. They drove over in the people mover with several adults and a total of 12 kids. They had a great day and loved being on the road with friends.
Today we had a luncheon after church for our new worship leader and his family, George Pendergrass. For those of you who know Accapella George was a part of that group several years back. They are a sweet family and I know that we will be blessed by their friendship. Tonight was our last session for The Psalms of the Ascent in bible study. This bible study was excellent, the sisterhood was blessed. My relationship with Jesus has certainly taken a step up through the last 8 weeks. Each time I do a new Bible study I come out on the other side closer to the Lord.
Guess what? Today was Jack's last day to take a steroid pill. He was so excited. Please keep him in your prayers for his body to kick in his natural steroids. He is still suffering daily from atrophy as a result of the high steroid usage. His natural steroids quit working because the pills were so strong they shut down production. Now he is coming off of the pills and his body needs to restart. This process should have completed itself at the end of December, but his steroids never kicked in, so he was put back on the steroids again. This time the tapering was twice as slow and I am quite sure his natural steroids have not kicked in yet. Every day he is sick and nauseous. He takes it like a champ. In the morning I come out of my room to find him laying on the cool leather couch face down, trying to feel better. He is on anti-nausea meds but they don't really help that much.
Please pray for God to just start up those steroids of his and get him past all of this.
FYI: Jack was on steroids to shrink the swelling in his brain from the gamma knife radiation treatment in March of 2007. Over a year ago now, can you believe it? So he has been on steroids since May of 2007, 11 months.

This week will be full of preparations for a wedding I am shooting in Ft. Worth this weekend, and also for preparations for The Coffee Group speaking at the Alta Mesa C of C Ladies Retreat in Ft. worth, the following weekend. The Lord has blessed me with such inspiration this last week, I am excited to share His glory with our sweet sisters.

Thank you Jesus.

April 17, 2008

The church of Oprah

This makes me sad. Over the last several years I have watched Oprah maybe a dozen times. Every time I watch her show I always feel a bit conflicted. Her message of giving, sharing, loving all of those are part of developing strong character, making the world a better place, scattering kindness, paying it forward, such good things but the conflict came in when Oprah would speak of a god in very general terms. Then this last year, there was the new agey stuff that she would feature, and now her mega internet production of The New Earth.

I remember someone once telling me that Satan does a great job of making the surface of his trickery and evil look good. Most people don't actually set out to turn away from the Lord, they don't specifically choose evil, but evil covered up with some beautiful ribbon, and pretty bows will catch more flies than pure evil on it's own. Satan takes what is good and skews it to lead people away from Jesus.

When I watched this video tonight I felt sick to my stomach. I got chill bumps. I felt the Holy Spirit churning inside. This is not truth. There is a great God, the only true God, who created the heavens and the earth, He put inside us a craving to worship and follow Him. He desires our love and devotion. In the video Oprah says she realized that doctrine wasn't correct when her preacher said God was a jealous God. She says that didn't jive with her idea of "God is Love," well God is love, but He is jealous for us, not of us. He is jealous for our hearts to find their true love, in the one who created us. He wants us to be in truth and love. I think that God is jealous for all the people who are searching for the right thing to do, and the right way to live their lives, but not giving their hearts to Him. Jesus is our only way to heaven, the divine scriptures say it, they have said it for thousands of years. Do we have to do everything right? NO. Do we have to have the bible all figured out? NO Do we have to be theologians and read Greek or Aramaic? NO Do we have to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He walked the earth to teach us how to live in truth and love? Yes.

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name."
John 20:31

Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.
2 John verse 7

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:10-11

April 15, 2008

Be Passionate Today

Tuesday morning. Jack came home sick from school yesterday and is home sick today. He has a mega head cold. He keeps trying to convince me that he is ready to go back to school, but I wont let him. Is that crazy or what? What kid doesn't want to stay home sick? He is certainly suffering from his most dreaded feeling - Boredom.

I am working and getting alot done. I have had several sittings over the last week and with Jack being home I have been able to work non-stop yesterday and today.

I will leave you with a quote I saw today.

"Anything worth doing is worth doing passionately."

It reminds me of the scripture
"So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
Revelation 3:16

April 13, 2008

Relay For Life Pics

The Relay For Life was alot of fun. I loved being there amongst all the survivors and those who are fighting cancer. The feeling of victory was in the air. Here are some pics. Tom and Elaine (Rob's mom and her husband) came and our friends Nic and Vanessa also came to support Jack. We had a great time with all of our family and friends.

Here is Nic encouraging Jack to jump on the mat when he walks by.

Here is Jack laying on the mat.

Here is one of the luminaries that were made in honor of Jack. There were 9 people who made luminaries in Jack's honor. It was fun to count them as we walked around the track. Jack having no idea what a luminary was walked over to pick one up after I asked him to so I could take his picture with it, looked inside, and started tearing up. Tears streaming down his cheeks and said, "Why would someone give me dirt?" After explaining it several times I still don't think he really understood what the luminaries were for.

April 11, 2008

Survivor = Jack

Friday morning and the kids are out of school today. An unused snow day. We have some fun things planned and have been looking forward to this day all week. Primetime and Mine By Design along with my most favorite part of the day - Relay for Life tonight. Jack was asked to walk the "Survivor's" Lap 2 years ago. At that time he was finishing up chemo was rail thin and bald. I would have probably considered him at the time "Surviving." But tonight he will don the "Survivor" sash and make that first lap with other kids he knows and many other kids and adults that he doesn't. This time "Survivor" is a word we can embrace and cry and pray and shout joyfully. Thank you God.
I look forward to going this evening and taking pictures of my Survivor. Check back to see the pics in a couple of days.
Edit to add:
Relay For Life is at ACU and starts at 7pm with the Survivors Lap.
Jack's school, Wylie Intermediate, is walking and they are also running the booth, "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" there will be different booths that are raising money for the Cancer Society. The Relay ends at 7am.
This event is open to the public, if you want to come by and scream for Jack and the other survivors as they walk be there right before 7pm.

April 07, 2008

Some Great Info

Monday morning. The quietness of a Monday morning. Dreamy. I do love summertime, and I know that my kids are so ready for summer vacation, one thing I will miss greatly is dropping them off at school and coming home to my house with no noise, drinking my morning tea and studying my Bible did I mention with no noise. Peace and Quiet. I think I might be instituting a Be Still and Know God hour in our summertime days, I know that it will be a blessing to me, might even teach my kids the benefits of silence. We certainly don't have very many instances in our typically busy days to practice silence.

Jack did exceptionally well last Thursday with his visit to the podiatrist. It was by far the most painful procedure Jack has ever had done. We slathered his toenail and the tip of his toe with emla cream, but the shots to numb his toe were at the base of his toe where it connects with the foot. It was tearful, but he did a great job of holding still and doing just what he needed to do. Bless him. He now has a toe that looks great. He didn't have that procedure that removes the sides of his nail, just the part of the nail removed that was causing the problem. All the medicines and chemo he has been given over the last 3 years is really showing in his nails and they are very hard to take care of properly. When I would trim his toenails they often times just crack, and I didn't realize that I wasn't trimming the very edge as the nail would just crack off, but the doctor showed me how to take care of his nails in the future so that should be our last visit to a podiatrist, Lord willing.

Friday the girls and I in Coffee Group left for the A&M Church of Christ in College Station to present at their Ladies Day. The Lord was huge and blew us all away. One of the greatest "faith growers" for me is to step out on faith to places I know that without God I would fail miserably. God continually blesses my walk to Him and with Him in every instance that I share His grace and mercy.

I am grateful. I am grateful for my life that lives in the midst of God's glory, Jesus. There is such blessings and peace.

I am anticipating a new computer arriving tomorrow. I will be pulling everything off of my defunct and broken laptop and getting back to work like a crazy dog catching up on everything that I haven't been able to do since Wednesday when my laptop quit working completely. But the good news is, I think American will pay for my laptop. It is not what you know, but who God puts in your path with this type of thing I guess.

We had the most awesome lesson presented to our Bible Class yesterday. Homos*xuality was the topic. It was amazing.
Dr. Sally Gary spoke of the passion God has put in her heart to minister to those struggling with feelings they don't understand. It seems like there is a huge gaping whole of information in the Lord's church about this particular issue. Because we don't talk about it openly in church and if we do we are normally very pious and angry and we instill fear into those around us that are struggling with this, and they wont take a chance to come forward and let the people of the Lord help. The feelings are kept inside where Satan can fester their shame and fill their heads with lies and fear. As with any sin if it is brought into the light and people are treated with dignity and respect God's healing can take place.
After Sally shared her story she told us about an organization that she started called Center-Peace. Just this weekend a sister in Christ shed tears when she told us of her son who has chosen this lifestyle and she is so confused. Center Peace is an organization that helps the person struggling, and the families and friends with information and education. Currently ACU has a group that meets every week that has brought God's love and truth to the students struggling and even a family member or two attend. Center Peace is a very safe place, a place where people can share their struggles and feelings without being treated with hate and ugliness. Center Peace has started support groups at several Christian Colleges and soon will move into the State Colleges.
I didn't see a website, but if you want more info you could email centerpeaceinc@gmail.com
Because the church has stayed silent on this issue for so long most of the information our kids are seeing or hearing are from a perspective that is not consistent with the Bible.
There is going to be a class at Highland Church of Christ on Wednesday nights April 30-May 28. On The Basics; Choice, Roots, Change?; Helping and Not Hurting; Hope for Parents; Reaching Out.
I am hoping to attend because education is the key to "helping not hurting." I loved one of her illustrations yesterday of when the prodigal son returned that his father didn't wait for him to apologize and beg his forgiveness, his father ran out to where his son was and greeted him with love and rejoicing.
Another very interesting point that she made was that so many sins have their roots at the same places. Places of being hurt, neglected, rejected...they show can themselves differently but the very root of the sin is from being hurt somehow.
I was so grateful for this subject to be addressed to bring information to our class. It was such a blessing.

April 01, 2008

Jack's poor little big toe!

Tuesday evening. I worked from home today, uploading books that need to be printed, and uploading images to my on-line viewing site. I love my new office but the internet is not real quick so I am better off being at home when I am transmitting info. The kids are doing well, allergies are plaguing all of us. Jack has a doctor's appt. on Thursday morning to see a podiatrist. I wonder how many different types of doctors Jack could have? We have been trying to get rid of an ingrown toenail for months on one of his big toes. I think the Hyperbaric treatments dramatically increased the growth in his nails and before I knew it there was an ingrown nail that has been trouble.
We went to the pediatrician about it 2 weeks ago and she put him on antibiotics, but we just can't get it taken care of, so Thursday morning it is. Please pray for his comfort. This could be his most painful dr.'s appt. yet. I am sure we will slather it up with emla cream but it could still get ugly.
I go this weekend with the Coffee Group to speak at a retreat in College Station, TX. It will be good to share the Lord with our sisters in Christ. I am glad to have this opportunity, God is amazing.
God really is amazing.