Sunday, December 30, 2007

Point of Grace - How You Live

This song is on my heart as we leave 2007 and enter 2008. I pray that you spend some time thinking and praying about your life in this new year. We all have so many desires and wishes for each new year that rolls around, but God has revealed to me some simple things...."Live for Me!"

Ok, I'm all yours Jesus. I'll pray that my everyday life is lived out for you.

Even if you have seen or heard this song a million times, give yourself 4 minutes to listen and let it soak in. I just love this video. Enjoy y'all!

May 2008 bring you closer to Him and may He be your hearts greatest desire~

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A lot of Christmas pictures!

We had a fabulous Christmas and covered a lot of family, food, and gifts in 24 hrs time. I won't comment too much on each picture, but allow you a look inside our time together!! I hope Christmas blessed you all.

Where is Santa now?? We only checked this radar every 2 minutes!! Just too cute!



We even at dinner off the fancy Christmas china and that table called the Dining Room table....thanks mom for fixing that up for us!!




And, then there was the "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake!



MOM! These candles won't light!!






And, there was a note for Santa himself.....and he had to sign it before he left!




And, then we had to get Santa's cookies just right!



Opening ONE gift before they went to bed....





Thank ya....thank ya very much! GOOD-NIGHT! Christmas morning awaits.....




CHRISTMAS DAY!!!!

Don't worry, this is not all for my kids. This is at grandparents house and there are 5 grandchildren. Still alot though!



Dylan's favorite gift of all....a PSP.



Tyler's favorite gift...a scooter thingy that is motorized




Clay's favorite gift are tickets to a Memphis Tiger basketball game....



Come on mom! Please not a picture!



There was a lot of coke drank by my kids these last few days and a lot of PSP playing too. It was a BIG technology Christmas for them and we all might need our stomachs pumped tomorrow.





The Thomas kids and their cousins hope your Christmas was full of fun and cheer.
And, may the new year be filled with God's love in your hearts and homes.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Dream Center

Dreams

It is Friday morning. Two of the three children are still asleep at 8:00....(I love breaks from school and the sleeping they do!) And, it's foggy and wintry looking, but a balmy 55 degrees outside!!! But, I am overcome with thoughts and emotions as I sit in my comfy bed with my laptop on lap, big giant cup of yummy coffee next to me, and Christmas is literally 4 days away!

Life is good.

But let me tell you of an amazing experience from Thursday evening where life is not so good for everyone......

Last night, our families within Children's Ministry at our church, had the opportunity to deliver "dreams" to the Dream Center here in our home town. Let me tell you what the Dream Center is first. This is a Christian facility for adults and families to live for free while they get their feet back on the ground. You see, there is no alcohol or drug addiction, they just need some help getting their feet grounded. They must have a job and go to work. As soon as they begin to make enough money and afford a place of their own, its time to move out and move on. It is truly a wonderful place for people to get the help they need, spiritually and emotionally. It is a temporary landing when they had no place to go. I LOVE IT!!

For 3 or 4 years now, our Children's Ministry families are given an opportunity to take a "dream" off our Dream Christmas tree at church. And, can I tell you when I first get this list of dreams from the center that I cry like a baby over it. There is a 23 yr old male at the center who asked for one item in particular......I thought, this is great, we can do this......and then he asked for a 2nd dream.......

A family that loves me.

Whoa! I took a deep breath and prayed right there for that boy. There is heartache in this world. There is sadness in the Dream Center. There is a desperate need for hope and love for these folks. Really, for any of us.

I could hardly get through our presentation last night of the "dreams" that we had bought, prayed over, and delivered to these families. The emotions were high in my heart and finally broke through as we sang "Silent Night" at the end.

Their dreams were very different than our dreams. They want families that love them. They want items for the center in which they live.....BASIC necessities that we just go out and buy at Walmart. They want easy, easy things. These are their dreams.

The joy from this event comes at the end of this process of picking a name off the tree, getting their dreams, wrapping the gifts, and then.........you get to actually SEE who you bought for and prayed for. To put names and faces together was awesome. We made dreams come true last night and the gratitude from their hearts and mouths was the most genuine thing I've seen in a long time.

Their faces were joyful. Their "thank you's" were straight from the heart. Their hugs were from deep within. Their dreams were met.

Thank you to all our church families who participated and who were able to come. We gave them hope. We gave them love. We came together as the body of Christ. I felt Jesus in that room last night. I was overjoyed and full of love.

I hope you have had those feelings of "Jesus in the room" and being overjoyed and full of love this Christmas season. If not, I pray your heart allows Him to do that beautiful thing that only Jesus can do........His presence can come at any moments asking. He is at His finest when He is present. Because, hearts and lives are changed forever whenever He shows up.

I love you, Jesus. I want to thank you for your birth. You were the greatest gift of all. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude.

Merry Christmas friends. I love all of you deeply. Thank you Leigh for praying.

Romans 15:13 was our scripture and it says this...."May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Amen.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Kids, Carols, Candles, and a word from God

I'm beginning to write this on Sunday night and asking God to give me the words to convey my heart to you. I told someone at church tonight that if you could split me down the middle in two parts, I would be 1/2 happy, and 1/2 lay down on the floor and cry for 101 reasons.



Tonight at church, we had our annual Carols and Candles service. This service is my favorite service during Christmas. I grew up going to it on Christmas eve, but our church has communion on Christmas eve and this service is the weekend prior to Christmas. And, I absolutely love what it does for my heart and to my heart. I think.

I instantly had a lump in my throat from the very beginning.



We began to get ready for the service and I decided that I wanted peace among us as we left the house and entered the sanctuary, so I told all 3 boys that they didn't have to "dress up" for the service. And, that went over very well to say the least! So, we pull into the parking lot and the first family I see is all decked out and I instantly second guess my decision. However, I knew we were probably going to be sitting in the balcony because we were late getting there and maybe noone would see us! :)



And, then my mind began swirling all around (for a split second) the opinions we all have based on what we wear to church. And, I grew up getting dressed up for church and there were no casual service or jeans in church. But, I've become more casual with myself and my family as we head out on Sundays. But, my point with this thought was not about me but about the man, woman or child that cannot have nice clothes for church. What if they want to come into church but don't feel as if they "look" the part so they do not. That breaks my heart. So, now I begin to pray for a place for everyone to find God and worship with Him. I will show reverence to God and give Him my best. But, my best should be found in my heart. And, that is exactly what I asked God to do. Purify my heart Lord and let me come before you to worship and be only with you.



Ok, moving on to what was inside the beautiful sanctuary tonight. As we headed upstairs to the sanctuary I proudly sat with my family right smack in the middle, looking down to see the full choir, the orchestra and musicians in place, and God's house filled to the rim!! WHAT A SIGHT! Right then and there, God fell on my heart and into my mind and I couldn't get Him to let up. He arrived with much to say over me during that 45 minute service. Oh goodness. What do you have to say Lord?? My heart was prepared and once I focused my mind, I heard so much from Him. This is where we started.....


As I looked around at the people sitting near me, I could see many things.....I was HIGHLY entertained by a precious 3 yr old boy who used his candle as a microphone to jam out to some of the very grown up songs. I saw him also use this same candle to try to look through it like a telescope or something. And, then the highlight was him sticking the candle up his nose for all the boys around to giggle and laugh. Even this mother. He would say out loud in the hush of the service..."Look Mama!" I truly love all these moments as a bystander and not the mother. I wonder if momma was sweating buckets over there with that precious boy who reminds me so much of my Dylan?!


I saw families who deal with anniversaries of the death of loved ones in the month of December. I wonder how their heart felt during that service and I prayed for each of them to experience another level of God's healing and mercy. When you put the church body together, you can look around and see much that has taken place in their personal lives. Our own Sr. Pastor lost his mother just this past week and his dads death was 2 yrs ago on Sunday. December can be a very difficult time for so many. I felt that emotion come over me with each reading of scripture and each magnificent song. I prayed for God's presence to touch each families life in that new and loving way that only He can do.


I got teary eyed as my finger followed along the words to some of the traditional Christmas hymns and my sweet 7 yr old son sang his heart out. He sang with true joy. I had flashbacks of my mom holding the hymnal down for me as a child and using her finger as a guide so I could follow along. That moment can take you back for a second as you see yourself all grown up and you have been given the beautiful gift of children to grow, love, and teach them about Jesus.


My oldest son sang and that made me so happy. He truly followed along with every word, song and prayer. It was beautiful for me to see him participate and not be "too cool."


I saw families of many generations come together during this Christmas season. I thought of the future when my boys come home at Christmas and what that relationship will be like and look like. I will pray daily for their futures. I don't want them to fall off this safe path they are on now. The world has not hit them yet. Oh, Lord, may their hearts and minds be set firmly on Who you are and Your desires for their life.


And.... now the end of the service and the lighting of the candles and the dimming of the lights.....


Ok, Fran....no crying! You see, this is a very tender part for this momma's heart.....the beauty of the church and its families, the children carefully holding their candles waiting for their turn, realizing again that WE are the light of this world and we pass that light on to each person we know....our families first. We sing the beautiful song, Silent Night, and tears begin to roll down my face. I can't help it. God has come in and showed me many things tonight.


Jesus came as a human. The WORD became flesh to dwell among us! That hit me fresh and new. He came for me, for you, for all of us. I pray that each person in church REALLY knows the daily-ness of God. I pray that when we leave the church and shine our light brightly, others will be drawn to us and we can share Jesus with others. He is the perfect gift. I pray that you spend some time reflecting on Him, your family, and your prayers for the World, His kingdom and your role.


I was blessed beyond words at our Carols and Candles service. I allowed Him to come in and reveal things to me that I might not have seen.


Do that between now and Christmas. Ask Him to reveal new things to you. Feel Him in places that you should and then places that surprise you. Wherever you find yourself this Christmas, spend some extra time seeking Him in these new places.


Have a wonderful day my friends! Thank you Jesus for coming to dwell among us.....first as a baby and now in our hearts. I love you~

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jesus "action" figure

Somewhere I read about family traditions at Christmas and to be honest I had to think a little bit. There is much we do together during December, but to think about a tradition caused me to think deep. What do we do year after year that would be considered a tradition???

I will say that my DNA is made up of some strong service genes. I love thinking about how we, the body, are all made up so differently with different gifts. When working together, we can bring others closer in their walk with Jesus. We might even be the first glimpse of Jesus these people ever have! What a thought! If you ever just think about the differences in humanity you can get blown away. Boy! God knew what He was doing, huh?! We all have gifts and a purpose.

The body is defined as the physical part of a person and also a group working as a unit. Think about it....a GROUP working as a UNIT. I love it.

Thank you Jesus for the differences in the wonderful body. Let it bless us and not divide us. May we have the eyes and heart to see your beautiful body living at its potential!



Today, my 2nd son, Tyler's 4th grade class, went to RIFA. RIFA stands for Regional Inter-Faith Association. It started 31 yrs ago by a group of pastors to help people who are without jobs and are in need food, clothing, etc. Today, they take care of the working poor, the homeless, and anyone that is of need. RIFA provides EVERYTHING, to the best that they can, for those with a need. One piece to their puzzle is the Snack Backpack program for elementary school children. Let me explain this fantastic puzzle piece....

The schools began to see that children were coming to school on Monday morning very hungry. Teachers learned that these children had not much, if anything, to eat over the weekend at their homes. So, with donations, RIFA puts together a "backpack" once a week for these 250 children to take home EVERY Friday. This, my friends, is one beautiful example of the body of Christ at work. Here are some of the kids assembling the backpacks for the children.....



You see, some people want to shop for the food to bring. Some people will be able to take the time to sort through the food. Some people will want to fill the backpacks. Some people want to load the backpacks into the proper place for the school to pickup. Some can give a lot of time. Some can give only a little bit of time. Some might not be able to give anything of time, but they can give money to buy the food for the backpack But, in all of this, there is one most important similarity.....

THE HEART OF JESUS!

When we are able to do what God calls us to do...no matter how much or how little... God doesn't see size....we can be Jesus to others. We can be Jesus to others and maybe they didn't even see who did all the work. Sometimes our work is behind the scenes. Sometimes our work is with our hands and feet right there with the people.

I love it all!! I want to serve and show Jesus to anyone I can. Because, Jesus transformed my heart and life, I want others to see the hope that comes from only Him. He heals. He restores. He loves. He saves. He provides. He is faithful. He is merciful. He can do anything with anyone! HALLELUJAH!

One tradition my family can count on in December is being Jesus with skin on to many people. I want my kids to be hands on for Him. I want them to be involved from beginning to end with a family we might support at Christmas, a mission, or a project of some kind. They won't just buy the gift. We will find scripture for that family and their circumstance. We will pray daily for them. We will deliver the gifts as a family if we are able. We will see it from beginning to end. WHY?

This will make a difference as they grow older. I want them to be servants for Jesus and growing His kingdom. It needs to be something they feel, see, and hear. Here are Tyler and his classmates being hands on and making a difference in the Kingdom....







Y'all the body of Christ is the most beautiful thing to me. I pray that I am not angered or frustrated when I don't think people are doing what they should be doing.
God convicted of me this recently and I pray for the body to be using the gifts HE gave them. Not the gifts that I think they have.

The Message says this in 1 Corinthians 12:4, "God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit."

So, if your gift is service, wisdom, teaching, preparing, etc. The gift is from God and when we work and operate together in unity, we are a beautiful body in action.

My child experienced action today as he put his hands and feet and heart to help others. I pray that you, during Christmas, will experience the fullness of serving and showing the love of Christ to others. And, that will look different for each of us. And, thank you Lord that it is!

And finally, boys wouldn't be boys if they weren't allowed to jump in a giant box and stomp the trash down! Have a joyful, loving, giving Christmas. May Jesus shine brightly for others to see Him through your family.



Love you all! Be a Jesus Action Figure this Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I am the worst wife today...and I'm laughing about it

My hubs just walked past me and said, "This was my dinner tonight..."

1.A peanut butter sandwich before kids basketball practice(we had no jelly or turkey for a better sandwich)

2.Two waffles (after kids basketball practice and me and Dylan ate finely at mexican restaurant)

3.And a prepackaged thingy of blueberry muffins while watching Boston Legal.

That's not nice y'all. We are dying laughing though. The sad thing is I have been to Wal-mart, Target, Kroger, and Walgreens every day and yet we have nothing of substance.

At least we can laugh. Oh yeah, and he's come down with some crud in his head and we have no medicine either. WHATS WRONG HERE PEOPLE????

Monday, December 10, 2007

December pictures and some randomness

I am going to share some complete randomness with you today that includes some favorite pictures and scriptures. I hope this will bless you as you have stopped by to read what I have to say.....And, let me start with my Christmas card scripture from this year that is powerpacked in one beautiful sentence....

John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."

WOW! That is huge, and beautiful, and very cool. I can't get my mind around what the Father has done for each of us. I love you Jesus! Happy Birthday my Savior!

Now, onto some randomness and I hope it brings you Christmas cheer as you may feel crunch time, overwhelmed, stressed, sad, depressed, or frustrated. May His presence come in and do things that only our Savior can do.

A few days ago I wrote about my 3rd sons birthday and wrote that he is complete joy to our family. I found this scripture and it blessed me as I thought about my Dylan and I pray it blesses you if you have children..

Psalm 23:25, "May your father and mother rejoice, may she who gave you birth be joyful." Dylan, I rejoice over you, sweet one.


Ok, now onto the other December birthday we have....my hubs!! His birthday is 4 days after Dylan's. And December birthdays are really difficult by the way. So, if you are planning a baby...try November or January. I almost forgot hubs! I wish y'all could have seen my kitchen the day of his birthday....I was cooking up a storm for dinner and even did a giant brownie birthday cake because thats the one thing we all love....ovens were smokin and I was a little frantic...those of you that know me, know that cooking dinner AND a birthday brownie cake is requiring a lot of me.
But, you do it out of love for your family. And, I'm thankful for my family.

Psalm 95:2, "Let us come before him with thanksgiving...."



Also in that same week of 2 birthdays, was our annual Christmas parade. Well, our church does something very cool, I think. We have a hot chocolate station and we pass out free hot chocolate to anyone and everyone. It is a beautiful act of love and kindness to share with others. We simply say, "Have a very merry Christmas."
It was so much fun. It gives me complete joy to give to others....even a cup of hot chocolate. And, then to see some of our own precious children pour and serve to others. That brings a tear to this eye! So, here we are.

Ephesians 6:7, "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people..."



Me and hubs at the parade!



I just love this family right here...oh, do they have a fabulous testimony!




And finally, my dear friend Carolyn and I rode to Victory Ranch which is just north of where we live. Victory Ranch is a christian camp in the Summer for kids but during the winter season they do all sorts of things. This January, this is where our church is having its first ever overnight retreat for women! I am beyond excited! Whenever I have gone to an overnight retreat, I'm changed for life. I desperately want all the women from church to come. I want them to come get away with Jesus. I am praying for God to make a path for them to come. It's hard for us mommas to get away. He will bless the socks off us though. Because thats what Jesus does when we gather together in His name! So, these are some pix that I took of that day. I can't wait. And, for all you prayer warrior friends out there who are outside of TN, would you please pray for the event? Thank ya!

I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. And, I need time away with Jesus to accomplish this.



Yes, this is a buffalo. There are many to greet you when you enter in the Ranch.



This is where we get fed! How cool is this?!



And, then it was time to go. See ya in January Victory Ranch! I just love the name.
It makes me want to spell it out...V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

Psalm 60:12, "With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies." You go God! You trample down anything that is not of you in my life!

Bye, Victory Ranch.


If you are in need of some hope right now, this is one of my absolute favorites:
Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

God is awesome. He can do things we cannot do on our own. Give Him everything. Trust Him with everything. He's in the business of hope, love, peace, healing, joy, salvation, restoration, grace, mercy and a million other things.

May God's presence and love be more real to you than you have ever experienced.
Merry Christmas~

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Oh baby, it's here!!!


For all of you siesta's out there that I'm gonna cry all over when I meet you for the 1st time...I'm SOOOOOO super duper excited because the wristband came in for San Antonio and Siesta Fiesta next Summer!!!!!!!


I truly can't wait. I am sure I'll be a nervous wreck, but it's a good thing. And, yes I'm strange for even taking a picture (a blurry one at that) and then posting it! :)
Love y'all! Have a beautiful day.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas With a Capital C

I heard about this video this morning. It's too cute. I was singing along and I don't even know the words....and I love the point they are making. Enjoy!
And, Merry CHRISTMAS!

Christmas with a capital "C"

UPDATE!! I figured it out Bethanne!! I am so happy. I am becoming techno savvy! :)



Y'all if you have not seen or heard this, then click on this link below and enjoy. It's fun, and easy to find yourself singing right along with this song you've never heard before! Maybe you have though. :) And, on another note...I want to know how to post Youtube videos without doing this linkything and my brain can't figure it out. Sorry...thats what I really wanted to do, but I'm just a girl from Arkansas living in Tennessee that doesn't know what the heck she's doing! HA!

Merry Christmas everyone!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAckfn8yiAQ

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Black Friday...Advent....and some hope

Today was the 1st Sunday of Advent....Advent means "the coming." This is the time on the Christian calendar when we celebrate the coming of Jesus. He is coming! He is coming! We celebrate the coming of His birth. We also celebrate the glorious return He'll make one day in the future.

Let me share something with you that one of our pastors on staff shared last week and it came up again in our sermon that is completely worth sharing in regards to Advent and HE'S COMING!

When you even say those words, "He's coming" or hear those words "He's coming,"your ears kind of perk up a little and want to know more about who's coming and when are they coming??? It peaks my interest in regards to how we, as humans, act when we hear someone is coming. It can be a good thing or a bad thing. Now, I've got a whole new visual of how I begin to visualize the coming birth of that most amazing baby boy named Jesus. Oh, what a special birth announcement in the heavenlies. The gift is coming.

Let's go back in time a week or so. Remember the infamous Black Friday?? Remember how you either were a part of it or saw the people on tv?? Remember the lines of people waiting outside Best Buy or some other store all night long in the cold waiting?? Remember the anticipation, possibly even seeing the gift just inside the door of the store??? Do you remember?? Do you remember how it looked to be close but so far away?? Remember how you felt if you were out there with them??? Were you exhausted, but would wait it out?? Were you anxious, but excited, to get the gift you wanted so badly??? We lost sleep. We woke up early. We sat outside in the cold even. For what???

The gift.

Oh, the gift. Lets think about gifts for a second. Here's a tough question. Can you remember what gifts you gave your family last year?? Can you remember what you received as a gift last year from your family??? I'll be honest....I can't remember much.

But, oh, the gift of His birth. This gift means something huge. It meant hope long ago and it still means something deep into our hearts over 2,000 years later. The gift of hope.

Gifts (not necessarily tangible gifts) are important to me at Christmas. As I get older, I think about the amazing gifts that were brought to baby Jesus when he was born. I want my gifts to others to be just as amazing. We all do. I do not want to get caught up in the crazy, frenzy world of "they don't have enough and they need one more thing." I want to give personal, meaningful, thought out gifts to those people I love. It's also getting harder each year.

Let me ask you a question regarding the season of Advent and the coming of Jesus' birth many years ago......

What if we camped out with that same excitement from Black Friday and that same kind of anticipation of getting "the deal" and we anxiously waited on the doorsteps each time the church doors were to open .......for the gift? Oh, yes.....that most perfect gift. I can see it. I want it. It's just right inside the doors. Do we get that excited over being in worship either alone or corporately?? Ouch.

"Oh Jesus, please Lord please, fill me with that excitement, joy, anxiousness, I can see it just inside the door kind of desire, for YOU. For You Jesus. I want to experience You like no other Advent.....like no other time in my life. May you come in and fill my heart with that hope the people were desperately waiting for as they were seeking out the birth of the Messiah! You are the one. You came Jesus! You came!! You are the perfect gift. I want to experience You every single day.

Hope is defined as: to desire something with confident expectation of its fullfillment

Romans 15:13 says this..."May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

I hope for many things this Advent season. And the things I hope for are not tangible. I pray that you spend some time today thinking about what hope means to you. What kind of excitement do you have this year? Is He waking you up early? Is He causing you to be excited?
Are you anxiously awaiting Him?

I hope that you anxiously await the celebration of Jesus' big day! I hope you cannot wait to get inside church and feel the gift, see the gift, embrace the gift you have received!

I love you Jesus. I want to experience you fully this Advent season. You are unbelievable in what you do and who you are, and I put all my hope in you! May our hope in Him be full all year long.

Merry Christmas! And, Happy Advent season!





Saturday, December 1, 2007

The baby is 7 today...



First of all, I guess I need to stop calling him the baby because he is ya know 7 now but, i'm a momma and he is my baby. :)

Oh, this 3rd son of mine is complete joy to this family. I was induced with Dylan because I had 2 other children and having a home birth was NOT AN OPTION! He came quickly that morning and had a HEAD.FULL.OF.DARK.HAIR and was just the most beautiful child I had ever seen. I cried. I knew I was complete and finished. Our family was done. It was finished. We were just beginning as our family of 5. The family God had intended for us was beginning.

Dylan is still the cutest thing to me that has ever lived. His personality increases his cuteness factor too. He is joy. He never complains, whines, cries, or is a booga-boo to deal with. He is joy for us. And.....he makes me laugh like no other. His expressions are priceless. He will put on a show and completely entertain us for days. He can play sports with any 10 or 11 yr old.....the beauty of older brothers. The kid can hang.

Dylan, I love you deeply into my heart. You make mothering a complete joy and an honor that I hold in high regard. We tried for almost a year to "make" you and almost gave up. Oh, thank you Jesus for this gift of this amazing child. May he grow to be the man you wish for him to become. He is complete joy and I love him to pieces!!

Happy birthday Dylan. You are just the coolest. Oh yeah, and I love how you call shorts "short pants." Hee hee.

Love you,

mom

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wonderful, delightful, beautiful, gorgeous Christmas music

mws banner

Well...my free copy of this CD came earlier this week and I have one word for you......

B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L

It is just beautiful. If you are looking for a new Christmas CD, then go out and get this beautiful one. It stirred my heart, calmed me, excited me, made me love my Jesus deeply through this music. Excellent job Michael W. Smith and all your very talented musical folks!


Again, its beautiful and it will bless you to death this Christmas! Now, get to Lifeway!
Merry Christmas everyone~
Fran

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bethlehem bound.......

Our pastor read this to us in our staff meeting today and I made a copy so I could post it. I pray you have room for Him every minute of every day in all things you do this wonderful Advent season. I am completely in awe of Him and thankful for His love for me. I praise Him today because He is truly everything.

In Search of our Kneeling Places


In each heart lies a Bethlehem, an inn where we must ultimately answer whether there is room or not.


When we are Bethlehem-bound we experience our own advent in his.


When we are Bethlehem-bound we can no longer look the other way conveniently not seeing the stars not hearing angel voices.


We can no longer excuse ourselves by busily tending our sheep or our kingdoms.


This Advent, let’s go to Bethlehem and this thing that the Lord has made known to us.


In the midst of shopping sprees, let’s ponder in our hearts the Gift of Gifts.


Through the tinsel, let’s look for the gold of the Christmas star.


In the excitement and confusion, in the merry chaos, let’s listen for the brush of angels’ wings.


This Advent, let’s go to Bethlehem and find our kneeling places.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Who are you???

Go ahead...get the tune of the song from the late 70's by "The Who" in your head..."Whoooooooo are you? Who Who Who Who????" That's all I'm singing after I titled this!!! Ok...moving on.

Not one picture from our Thanksgiving so I'll be moving on from that too! I know you are highly disappointed. I do believe we had close to 100 people at my in-laws. CRAZY!

After spending ALL of November in "gratitude mode," I have seriously thought about what to say each time I write in this journal/blog....Since its still November, I'm sticking with the theme of gratitude and thankfullness even as we transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas!

This is my most favorite time of the year! If it weren't for the birth of that precious baby...we would all be completely lost....and that just scares me to death, makes me sad, but completely fills my heart with love for God who sent His son to dwell among us! He came to have a relationship with piddly ole me!

So, I sit here on Sunday evening with my family and ask myself a very important question. A BIG, BIG question. I am trying to think of all the times in social settings with family, friends, and even strangers and you hear people ask...."Now, who are you?? What do you do??"

Isn't that interesting that we want to "label" people based on who they are married to, where they work, where their kids go to school, who their friends are, what church they go to, their stuff, etc. I don't think we mean to do anything with this information other than putting them in our mind with a bunch of adjectives that help us remember who they are. At least I hope we don't do anything else with that information. I hope we don't judge or criticize people based on these adjectives. But wait! We sure can, can't we??? The world wants to label us and put us in boxes and thats fine as long as I'm in the Jesus box! :)

So, Fran, "who are you? What do you do??" Hmmmm.....what do I want my label to be first and foremost in the minds of others? And, how I rattle off the answer to the question...does that mean anything?? Why don't I name "I'm a child of God" first and foremost?? Because I'll just get it out there in the open.....it is not the 1st thing I say. And to be honest, I may not say it all. And you know what??? If there is not an opportunity to say, "I'm a child of God," then I hope my words....conversations, not talking about others, keeping my mouth shut when needed......along with my actions, speak volumes about "who I am."

Deuteronomy 7:6 says this, "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession."

DON'T YOU LOVE THAT VERSE???!!!! You, me, all of us, are His treasured possession. Now, that is precious.

I am His.

That is who I am.

I belong to Jesus. It's not about anything else other than being His, FIRST!

I hope, daily, I can share something about Jesus to someone. If I do not have that opportunity to do so, I hope through my words and actions, people will know Who I belong to.

So...."Who are you? What do you do?"

My heart is busting with gratitude for Jesus. I love what He's done for me. Everything and everyone else will fall into its proper place when I put Him first. I hope you are confident in who you are and whose you are. Spend some time with Him daily. He'll knock your socks off when you do. And...I want to be blown away!

I'm many things to many people. But, I am His treasured possession. Always. No matter what I do to mess things up. That makes me grateful. It makes me love Him more. Being His treasured possession is an amazing thought.

Do you know who you are today?? You, being in Christ, are His treasured possession. Embrace Him. Embrace that truth and promise.

"Thank you Jesus for loving me, for treasuring me. Help me to shine ever so brightly for you this week. Help me to be a light that will bring others closer to You."

Lots of love, friends~
Thank you Joanne for the scripture out of Deuteronomy that I saw on your site. :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Just had to......

Glitterized by flmnetwork.com

Y'all, in case you didn't hear....my home state Arkansas Razorbacks upset the NUMERO UNO LSU Tigers tonight in about 400 overtimes. It was thrilling, exhausting, and made me wanna dance!

Wooooooooo Pig Soooooooie......Razorbacks!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007




Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families!! Gratitude is a word that has taken on new meaning for me this year.

Psalm 136 says, "Give thanks to the LORD for He is good. His love endures forever."

Blessings to everyone~
Fran

Monday, November 19, 2007

SEC football and God go together!!

Yes. You read that correctly! SEC football...specifically a UT football weekend and Jesus were in the same spot Saturday afternoon. Together with 105,000 people, I saw some FANTASTIC, THRILLING, DOWN TO THE WIRE FOOTBALL, and some GREAT BIG JESUS. God will go anywhere won't He?? It's just a matter of having our "eyes on" and seeing Him everywhere. I shall start from the beginning of our family adventure Friday afternoon as we made the trip across the state of Tennessee. I got the kids early from school on Friday and you would have thought we were going to Disney World! They were a little EXCITED to say the least! It's fun to see them get happy over adventures. They never get "non-excited." At what age do you stop getting up early because the trip is today or you quit acting goofy and silly because the trip is today??!! Lord, I don't want to grow up.

Ok, we traveled all afternoon to Knoxville and stopped off at Texas Roadhouse to eat just as soon as we got into town. A fun restaurant it is. There were several birthdays that night and everytime they wish the person a "happy birthday" they say "YEE-HAW!" Well, that's just fun. And, to be able to throw your peanut shells on the floor?! I felt like a total wild child!

Ok, we ate dinner....stuffed to the core. Found our hotel downtown that was just a mile from campus....kids were HIGHLY disappointed that it was dark and we couldn't drive around and see the beauty of UT. Tomorrow was just not soon enough. But, we got checked in and inside the hotel lobby was a big, big, big, gigantic, tv/movie screen that was nothin but ESPN baby! This is boy heaven for my guys. They would have sat there until game time if Momma, the party pooper, wouldn't have made them come to the room!

Ok, lets get to the heart of gameday. We had a glorious breakfast at the hotel and then loaded up and hit the road jack. We got in our wonderful, parking pass lot and then started walking towards the campus. Oh, wait. 1st stop=Starbucks! Ok, mom was ready to go! It was about 10:00am and the tailgaters were all over campus. I mean all over the place. Every restaurant parking lot, every gas station parking lot, every campus parking lot (that is official tailgating I guess) and every open space you could find was some SERIOUS tailgating going on. It's just smellin so good. I just ate a yummy breakfast, but could have easily dived into some hotdogs, hamburgers and chips and dip at this point.

Where is Jesus at this point?? Oh, He's everywhere friends!! The beauty of His creation is among us. The trees were in beautiful form. Take a look at the boys in this gorgeous one....



Ok, here's another one of us as a family. I was the corny mom who said, "Um, kind sir taking the picture, can we face this way so the beautiful trees are in the background?" I always hated it when my mom would do this!! I don't know why.



Ok, so God's glorious creation was just beautifulgorgeousmagnificent this weekend in East TN. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! There He shows off just how creative His artwork can be each.and.every.Fall. I don't ever tire of the change of seasons.

Well, we walked through the very big parking lot heading toward the biggest stadium in the world and saw some AWESOME tailgating. There was a hummer that had a ginormous flatscreen tv in the back. Ummm...how do you do that?? I'm sorry. I'm not a big high tech tailgater so how do you get cable in a parking lot?? And, how do you get that, biggest flatscreen ever made, into the back of your hummer no less?? Anyway, God was here during tailgate time because there were friendships and fun EVERYWHERE!! I love seeing people together with the people they love and having fun with. God made us for relationship with Him and others. I thanked Him for the people I wish I was tailgating with in that parking lot next to that hummer that I don't have a picture of. But, I have their neighbor....they weren't too shabby either.



Onto the game! We got to this crowd of people and I felt ourselves saying, "Lets act like we know what we are doing here. Let's try to not look like we have no clue whats going on and why all the people are gathering here!" Well, I don't know the official name of what was about to take place, but it was kinda like a parade. The band, cheerleaders, and eventually the coach and team (very cool part) came marching through the campus and eventually marched right into the stadium. So....here they are...the band and my kids "high-fiving" Coach Fulmer. At this point they thought they were "it on a stick!" God was here at this point because I loved the feeling of unity and supporting a team. We are all on His team. I can't imagine what His team looks like from the heavenlies as we cheer, rally, and high-five each other in the name of His team!! Whew. I bet its glorious!





And. Now the game. These next pictures just MAKE ME LAUGH. I think you'll see what mattered to Dylan...eating his chips and dip was first and foremost. And, being there early. Notice that these pix don't have alot of other people in the background. It was all about seeing every aspect of what was going on INSIDE the biggest stadium in the world!!




See, I think this might be our Christmas card...of course, with something very clever to say....



And, now it's time to enter the field. It's time to recognize each Sr. who is graduating. This was their final home game. I wondered..."what is it like in heaven as we enter His presence and shake the nail scarred hand of our coach?" Do the heavenly angels sing and welcome us home?? I can't imagine what they sound like! Do we run through anything special?? Do we get high-fives for a "job well done, good and faithful servant" as we enter in?? I bet we do!



Well, the game was GREAT! UT was losing 95% of the time, but somehow managed to come from behind in the 4th quarter and pull out a V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!! Thank you Patti for praying. Because, it worked! :) We won! We won! We won!! It was a nail biter. I sure didn't want the boys first UT experience to be a loss. And, it wasn't. It was a wonderful win.

Something occured during the game that is also worth noting....we had a father and son behind us. The son was probably 14 or so. The dad was obnoxious. He drove me NUTS! Nothing positive, productive, or encouraging came out of his mouth. Now, I am a competitive human being, but I pray I have the discernment and wisdom to know when to "SHUT UP!" This guy was going on and on about how bad everything and everyone was. The type of dad that is just embarrassing and he needs to keep his mouth closed. I truly felt sorry for his son.

But, in front of us was a very different father and son. This son was severly handicapped and in a wheelchair with so many pieces of medical equipment hanging off it that it made me anxious. This dad was loving on, talking to, making sure his son was warm, cheering with him, clapping his hands for him, stroking his hair, and continually made sure he was warm and covered up. Can I just say it was Jesus with skin on in this father. I have never seen such devotion, love, and attention paid to another human being......during a football game!! I would catch myself just watching them together. Don't you think that is exactly how Jesus is with us??? NEVER EVER taking his arms off us....NEVER EVER taking his eyes of us......cheering us on even when we can't see or understand what is going on right in front of us. That daddy was Jesus with skin on. It was beuatiful y'all. Just beautiful.

I don't want to be that person complaining, criticizing, tearing people down or being thought of as a negative person. I want to be looked at just like I saw that other father being with his son. I bet we all do.

we have so very much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week. I'm thankful for Jesus in my everyday world. He is in all things that we do. Even at a UT football game. I pray you see Him in ways, places, and people you wouldn't normally be looking for Him.

We had a fabulous weekend. It was some great family time. I am thankful for the precious people God has placed in my life. I love Him for giving me the gift of family and friends. I thank Him, daily, for you. I love you all. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

1 Chronicles 17:8-12

"O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually. Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles....."

Thank you Jesus for Who you are and the great things You do.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's all about the meme....

I will first of all say "thank you" to the precious blogging friends who tagged me for this fun little meme about myself....what does that word mean anyway?? I just got tickled because I read this title as "Its all about me." And, it is.

I think it's 7 random things about myself. Well, I've already broken the rules because I didn't post the rules first as I think I'm supposed to and I'm sure that I'll not tag anyone else because honestly....

I just got in from Knoxville, Knox-vegas, Rocky Top Country, East Tennessee, the Great Smokey Mountains....and I'm a little on the sleepy side and my brain is having a hard time focusing....Ok, lets see if I can make sense and try to find 7 random things about myself that aren't the worst things you've ever read!

1. I had a horribly car wreck in college that nearly killed me...or let me say should have killed me, but the good Lord had better plans and wasn't finished with me yet! Thank goodness!!! It was a yucky, yucky time.

2. Since I have all boys in my house....except for the dog and she doesn't watch tv....I will catch myself turning it on ESPN and seeing whats going on in sports world even when the kids aren't around or even home. Like right now...I'm watching the Boston College/Clemson game.....ALONE.....SO VERY SAD. I KNOW.

3. I have a very competitive nature when I am playing anything....this could be a simple game with the kids....I promise I'm not mean....or even a round of basketball outside. I always want to have the last shot and make it! I might have something bigger going on there.

4. If I had more money, I would want to adopt a child or two or three or four. If that is one thing I could do....I would. It breaks my heart to see children from other countries that are hungry or without a family. Its just too much for my heart.

5. I have a very high pain tolerance. No examples here. Just childbirth experience with son #2 that opened my eyes that I can tolerate just about anything.

6. I would have loved to have been a Dr. or nurse in Oncology. I so wish I would have pursued that back in the day. I am very tender hearted toward the suffering.

7. I think nuts in brownies are just wrong. Nothing crunchy should be found in a brownie or even a cookie for that matter. It's just GROSS!

Ok, that is all I can come up with right now. I don't know who to tag so I'll leave that part blank. I have completely loved reading this stuff on y'all. You people are just crazy and cute and funny!

Have a great rest of the weekend. Our Knoxville trip will be the post on Monday! There is so much to say that I'm in "sift mode" right now. I love each of you.
Blessings to all~

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I am SO thankful for Bible study

Y'all...it's Thursday morning and I'm just completely S-A-D!! Bible study is over!

I loved this particular study. I loved the group. I love the accountability. I love what I learned. I love what God showed me. I love how He spoke to me. I feel like we have been side by side for 10 beautiful weeks and now its time for Him to leave and go home. I hate this feeling.

It's OVER and I'm just sad. My group of amazing women and I have spent the last 10 weeks studying the Tabernacle..."A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place" by the beloved Beth Moore.

Who knew the Tabernacle was so profound, so amazing, so beautiful, so meaningful, so full of depth, so full of Jesus, so full of His glory, so inspiring, so full of God's love for His people, so truly HIM!!! God's desire is to dwell with His people.
Oh, that touches me a little differently this morning as I reflect about what I have learned. He wants to dwell with me. ME!

This study has just blown me away. We are the current "house" for Jesus if you are a believer of Jesus. We are the light that should shine BRIGHTLY for the whole world to see. We are to shine BRIGHTLY my friends.

I am a changed human over this study. God has done a number on me and my heart.

I am so thankful for that. I mean truly grateful for our "now" God and His ability to get in there and do a number on each and every one of us. I love Him with all that I have. I thank Him with all that I have. I praise Him today for his perfect Word.

I hope you are in a small group or a Bible study where you can see, feel, study, and know our Most High Father! I pray that you are diligent with your homework and your time spent with Him. I pray that you do so out of complete desperation for MORE JESUS PLEASE!!!

I can't wait for our next study to begin after Christmas! Do you have any favorites that you would like to share as we pray about what to do next?? I'd love to hear what Bible studies have touched your soul.

Have a great day with Jesus!! I will add another workbook to my stack of "finished." My Bible will be in my possession at all times. I am an addict. I am addicted to Him and His Word. Don't you just love it???



Enjoy Him today! And shine brightly for all to see how awesome He is!
Blessings~

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's been 10 years

I have so much to be thankful for on this Monday, November 12th that I hope I can articulate what I have to say and that you will understand my expression of gratitude and love on this day!!!

Psalm 136:1 says, "Give thanks to the LORD for he is good, His love endures forever!"

First of all....HAPPY BIRTHDAY TYLER!!!This is my 2nd born son and he is officially in double digits now....and might as well be driving a car soon because he thinks he's all that!! Something about turning 10 and thinking that 16 is right around the corner!! He is all grown up now.....according to him! I'll not ruin his party by telling him 16 is not as close as he thinks!





The day Tyler was born was N-U-T-S! He could have been born on the highway in Greenville SC because it.was.time! There was no dilly-daddlin around when it came to his arrival. I could not sit my bottom down in the car because this child was "COMING!!!!" It is an experience that I can bring back in my mind like it was yesterday.

When we got to the hospital, I had the slowest wheelchairpusher in the hospital. This boy had to be 14 and could have cared less that a baby was coming. After 2 days (not really), he got me upstairs and the nurse said "ma'am, you are at 9 cm I need you to not push and let me find the Dr." WHATEVER!!! That ain't gonna happen sweet nurse! There is no holding a baby back when they are ready.

By the grace of God and a complete miracle, I quickly got an epidural and within 30 minutes, this precious bundle of a baby boy...broken collar bone and all....arrived!! He was gorgeous! And, my heart grew by leaps and bounds. I now had the 2 most precious children on this planet. His older brother was every bit of 15 1/2 months old and oblivious for a very long time that he had a younger brother.

The next 1-2 years was completely stressful and crazy and nuts and depressing and scary and unsure and exhausting!! But, WAIT.ONE.MINUTE!!! It's time for Jesus to enter the picture!!!!! The heavenlies have to love it when they see a "revelation" about to take place. Because that is what was about to occur.

I had been a Christian for many years, but had no clue that Jesus could be real. When I was thinking I might run away or my husband might run away due to this stress of having 2 very young babies, Jesus came into my life and KNOCKED ME DOWN!!! A family member took me to Bible study for the 1st time and I literally saw 100's of moms who looked just like me....stressed, crazy, nuts, depressed, desperate, scared, unsure, and exhausted. That comforted me for a few minutes. But, then......

They became different people as soon as their Bibles opened and Word and Truth and love was spoken over them by such an anointed, God loving woman. I had no idea what was going on. Did you hear that? I had no idea what they were doing by opening their Bibles and underlining and all. I cracked open the only Bible I had ever known....the King James Version and then began to play along. Ahem. Ya know, act like you know what you are doing. I had no idea where these books of the Bible were found, much less why they were underlining, writing notes, and "amen-ing" every thing this teacher said. I was completely blown away.

From that day on, Jesus took a hold of my heart and mind and I have never turned back. He has become so real to me at times that I swear I felt His presence. I mean truly felt another human there with me. He has moved with such patience in my life that I just don't see how He doesn't throw His precious, loving arms up in the air and say, "she just isn't getting it!" But, He doesn't. He keeps on and keeps on and keeps on. We have been in such beautiful, forward motion, there is absolutely no going back to a life without a very real Jesus.

So, ya see. The birth of my 2nd son is significant for me. If he and his older brother wouldn't have been so close in age, I would not have encountered Jesus at the time I did. And, maybe not in the way I did. I can always quickly look back and see how much time has passed since Jesus and I began our personal journey together. It would be almost 10 years ago. I cannot believe that much time has passed. But, I look at how far we have come and yes, its been 10 GLORIOUS years.

I hope you know Jesus on a real and personal level and that you experience Him daily. He is everything to me. I love Him with all that I am. And, He loves me in spite of the mess I bring before Him!

Happy Birthday Tyler!! Your birth brought me closer to Jesus! I love you, son.
You are precious in the sight of this momma! I pray God's hand and favor over you as you seek His face and His will for your life. I love you, Tyler. I love you, Jesus! There is not enough gratitude adjectives to describle my feelings toward either of you. I'm most thankful for Tyler's birth and the real revelations that Jesus continues to show me every day!

And, now...a picture of my all grown up boy of 10! Funny thing is, he's crying under the sunglasses....they had just lost their last game at the World Series this past Summer....He'd die if he knew I said that!

I blog so you can get a glimpse into my life as wife, mom of 3 boys, and someone who simply wants to bless others along the way. Have fun and be sweet :)

Boy 1

Boy 1

Boy 2

Boy 2

Boy 3

Boy 3

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