Monday, May 30, 2011


Isaac (or Ike) is 8 years old.  He's the oldest of his siblings---and quite the first born.  On the flip side of that, he's a sensitive guy.  I love his heart.  He's also very musical.  He reminds me of his mother at that age.  She went around singing all the time!  Isaac is singing as soon as he gets up and you can hear him throughout the day.  (Side note:  One time we had all the kids in the back of our brown station wagon [before car seats], going to Amarillo.  Amy was singing "Jesus Loves Me" at the top of her lungs.  In the middle of the song, she beat up her brothers and immediately sequed back in to the song.  Too funny!)

Isaac loves football right now.  I got to watch him at his last game of the season---and saw him throw the touchdown pass to win them the game!  Way to go, Ike!!

Since I was going to be here for 3 days, I told each of the kids they could choose their favorite place to eat and we'd eat out one meal a day.  Josiah chose Chuck E. Cheese's (and I survived to tell you this!), Olivia chose Chick'n Shake (Steak & Shake)--for the shakes alone, and Isaac chose Panda Bear--mainly because it was across the street from Maggie Moo's--their favorite ice cream place.

I'd never been to Panda Bear and it was quite you can tell.

And this boy does like his ice cream.... do they!

Isaac suggested on the way home from lunch that we surprise mom and dad and hide, dress up, hide Andy the dog, jump out, etc., etc.  I suggested they'd be plenty surprised if we cleaned the house.  The three weren't too excited with my version of a surprise.  Mom & Dad are due in about 3 hours.  I hope we have time to pull it off!!!

The Pianist

We had a tragedy last night.  I told the kids we'd have a picnic in front of the TV and watch an episode of Little House on the Prairie while we chowed down on hotdogs and mac & cheese.  It was going well until about half-way through the story.  It was a very sad episode without a happy ending.  (I sure didn't remember any Little House without a happy ending!!)  I was trying to explain the story line and reassure the kids it wouldn't happen to them and that God had a good plan for their lives (yep---that intense!).  I started another episode hoping to redeem the night and the next episode was scary!!  So I turned it off and we watched cartoons for a bit--hoping we wouldn't have nightmares.  Everyone had settled down and it looked like the night was redeemed. 

Now what you have to know is that Josiah is our little pianist.  He plays by ear and even plays with 2 hands (he's 6 years old).  As he watches TV, he hears intervals and chords in the music and has to run to the piano and figure it out.  So after our horrible Little House experience (and everyone is completely over the sad/scary experience), Josiah tells me he wants to play something for me.  Ta-Dah!  The Little House theme song.  Ahhhhhh!!!!!

We only had a small meltdown and everyone got hugs and thankfully slept through the night.

I wish I'd brought my video camera to record this stinker.  He's very gifted.  His daddy is also giving him piano lessons.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

He's totally indiscriminate.  He plays the keyboard just as well.  In fact, he turns on the rhythms and adds his own touch to it.  And he's totally oblivious to all else going on around him.   During church yesterday, he heard an interval in the music and turned to me and said, "That's the same as this!"  And he began humming a song he knew.  Josiah hears music in his world.

Oh!  And by the way....we're on day 3 of the bug dress with Olivia.  I may try to peel it off of her during nap time and wash it.  Ha!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Olivia's Dresses

I asked my mom to make my younger granddaughters a tent dress like I wore in the 60's.  I loved my tent dress!!  Mom found a pattern on Ebay of the very dress I wore.  Olivia is wearing two of the dresses I brought with me on this trip.  Ember Sherman made some adorable hair clips to match Livie's dresses.  I believe she sells them---and every girl should have a couple of these!!

This is the fabric I chose for Olivia.  I knew she'd like the bright colors (it has pink, after all!) and the butterflies and lady bugs.'s her favorite.

This is the fabric I chose for her mother.  I knew Amy would appreciate the colors.  Olivia  calls it her "fruit dress" and she wore it to church this morning.  I wish you could see this hair clip up-close and has net in it and is so cute!

This is Andy, the Dog.  Last night, when the kids were in bed and the lights were out, he crawled under a table by the love seat and began moaning!  Amy had warned me that she wasn't sure what he'd do with  them gone---he usually sleeps on their bed.  I coaxed him out from under the table, but he just wandered around yelping and moaning...until he found my bed.  We've become pals.  It's only fitting...Andy.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I had the strangest day yesterday!  I thought I was leaving for Florida at 6:30 a.m.  Found out it wasn't until 1:30 p.m.!  So I took my time getting to the Amarillo airport.  Not being able to find a parking space in the covered parking should have been my first clue---everyone was flying for the long weekend.  (I had to park on the 3rd level.  I only tell you this so I can remind myself where to find my car when I get back.)  
As I got to security, a young woman with a baby was in front of me.  Her husband called to her and spoke in a different language.  I think it was French.  I was immediately drawn to her because (a) she appeared to be from Africa and spoke French and reminded me of our adopted daughter, Amanda, (b) she was traveling alone with a baby (c) she just looked lost.  Later, she went to the desk and the young woman at the desk was very kind but explaining the last flight had left for the day.  I went to see if I could help.  I asked the attendant if there was any way they could put her on another airline.  There wasn't.  Apparently, she'd been on another flight the day before and had not come in time and missed it.  The next flight out with an available seat was Sunday.  I kept trying to help her---call her husband, etc.  
A loud commotion began to happen and everyone began moving towards the noise.  A man was yelling and then it sounded like he'd been tasered.  He was cursing loudly!  His momma would not have been proud.  I had to peek myself---couldn't stand not seeing what was going on.  From another observer, I found out the man had been coming to get on our flight and an officer was walking with him.  I guess he'd caused some kind of ruckus at the gate and was followed.  I'm not sure if he was tasered, but it took 3 officers to get him on the ground and handcuffed.  Craziness!
I was so hopeful that because that man didn't get on the flight that my African friend would.  But it didn't happen.
We flew through a storm once we got into Florida, but landed without event.  Amy & the 3 kids met me at the curb and we drove to their home!

Isaac & Josiah modeling their shirts.  They like to pretend they are in the A Road Less Traveled band.  (Their uncle is lead singer).  Josiah is Kuhrt (drummer) and Isaac is Mumzie (Uncle Zach).

Olivia is modeling the new dress Granny made her.  It's hard to see the new hair clip Ember made her.  But it's cute!!

I intend to enjoy every minute I'm here.  Mom & Dad are on a trip of their own this weekend.  Now...if only I can find the football field for Ike's game!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Helping Victims of a Disaster

Six years ago, our church took a Disaster Relief team to help after Hurricane Katrina.  It was unbelievable!  We stayed in a Baptist church which had also received extensive damage and had carpet, pews and sheet rock ripped out of their sanctuary.  We set up our cots and stayed there.  The Disaster Relief team manned cooking, mud-out, chainsaw, clothes washing, shower and clothing units.  It was like a well-oiled machine once the units all got set up.  The Red Cross provides many of the units and then the Southern Baptists man the units.  I was very impressed with everything they offered the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  These units and teams go and serve victims of every natural disaster---not only in the U.S., but around the world.

Gayle White & I worked in the clothing unit.  There was a large tent without walls set up and piles and piles of clothing under the tent.  There were only about 4 people working that unit and we worked long hours just sorting the clothing and shoes into sizes so the people who needed them could readily find them.

I learned a lot from that trip.  And I was disgusted and angry after working so many long hours in the intense heat and finding things like this:

Coats of any kind.  If there's been a hurricane or tornado, that means it's been hot weather.

Formals.  Not needed.

Mismatched or glittery shoes.

Ties.  Enough said!

When people are suffering after a disaster, it's NOT the time to empty out your closet and send them things you've been waiting to get rid of.  Now I know there was a group of teenagers who helped other teenagers in Alabama after the tornadoes there and sent prom dresses so they could still enjoy their proms.  That's different.  But unless there's a drive for such a thing, assume it's not needed.

Let me tell you what is needed in all sizes:

Gayle & I would dig through piles and piles of clothing and get so excited when we'd find a pile of tshirts.  One church sent all of the tshirts left over from camps, Disciple Nows, VBS, etc.  Those were a treasure!!  They were new shirts and came in all sizes.

Shoes came in a 6 ft x 6 ft x 6 ft box.  We had to dismantle the box to be able to get into it and when we did, shoes went everywhere!  If the shoes weren't tied or strapped together, it was next to impossible to find it's mate.  And there were so many unnecessary shoes.  People were looking for tennis shoes or steel-toed boots--something they could wade through the mud and then throw away later.  Mud boots or rain boots would have been priceless after a hurricane!  They came looking for work gloves and we never had any.

After the Katrina experience, I knew that if I was ever able to help I would send the above items.   These are the very basic items people will be looking for.  Please consider sending NEW items of clothing if you can!  But at the very least, send things that will really be useful.

By the way....the clothing that is brought in and not usable after a disaster only leaves a mess that town must clean up at some point down the line.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I John 4:18

"There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection]."

I read this a few days ago and I've been meditating on it. I've been confused over this line: "For fear brings with it the thought of punishment..." and I asked the Holy Spirit to teach me what it means and I think He has.

get not understanding love if I'm fearing punishment from God for myself. For most of my life, I've expected God's belt to hit me because I've messed up so many times. But I didn't understand what it meant in regard to others. But I think I get it now.

I remember praying with a woman for her husband.  He was in sin and estranged from his family.  We fully expected God to punish him--and, frankly, prayed for it!  But instead, we watched God pursue him with love.  That's when God revealed His longsuffering love to me.

And now He's teaching me that fear brings the thought of punishment...but love turns fear out of doors.  That's what I'm learning to do--turn fear out of doors.  "Perfect love casts out fear."  In turn, I'm coming to a new understanding of love.  I want to grow into love's complete perfection.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mint Roots

I thought our flower beds had experienced some kind of weird blight this past year.  Our hedges died, our wisteria died and we had an ash tree that died.  But after discussing it with our local greenhouse expert, we were told that the deep freezes this past winter killed our plants.  Our flower beds were looking pretty sad--especially considering that our friends had it looking fabulous when we came home from China last summer.

But I knew I could count on one thing coming up in our garden.  MINT!  I planted mint in our flower bed about 3 years ago.  No one told me it would take over my garden.  And I discovered that I didn't even really like fresh mint.

But here it is in all it's glory.  As I started working in my flower beds today, God gave me a visual.  And it's something He was already dealing with in my heart.  So I ran and grabbed my camera and began taking photos--after I'd already pulled up most of the mint!

Do you have a stubborn root growing in your heart?  As I began digging up the mint (and it was everywhere!), I realized the root of mint grows like many long fingers snaking through the soil.  The mint looks so minty and fresh!  But the roots take over and choke out the life of other plants growing in the garden.  It even begins growing in the middle of flowers.  I found myself digging and pulling from every direction.

And then I got to the root of it all.  WOW!  Is this a hunk of root, or what???  It was so satisfying pulling this out of the soil.  What root is growing in your heart?  It's been a root of fear in my own life.  It's taken many forms on the surface...but the root of it all has been fear.  This past year, I began to recognize what the root was in my own life.  And I feel like I've done this very thing---dug out the big chunk!  It's soooo satisfying!

And the good thing as you dig out the has no life of it's own.  Apart from the soil where it's fed, it dies. 

And the mint?  It can be tasty.  But apart from it's root, it dies, too.  What is the "mint" in your life?  It could be anger, bitterness, adultery, materialism, etc., etc.  It may taste good, but it will choke the life out of the true fruit.

You may get dirty like I did as you dig up those roots.  I even ended up with a splinter in a finger that I can't seem to get out.  But is it worth it?  Absolutely....ab-so-lutely! 

But as you fill the trash bag with all those roots, you may need some help carrying it out.  (This was very heavy!!)  But God has told you to yoke up with Him and He'll carry the heavy burden and give us the light burden.  He delights to do the heavy work.

In place of the mint, I've planted grapes---true fruit!  No more mint which is just the appearance of something appealing...but which can choke out the garden of your heart.  Clean out those ugly roots in your garden beds and let the true fruit grow.  It feels so good--so freeing.

I think my garden is going to mean a little more to me this summer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Double Dream Feet

Isn't it great to live in a country where you can become famous for...anything?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Word of Life

The spoken word is so important.  Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..."  In Genesis 1, one of the first recorded things God did was to speak light into existence.  He spoke...and it was.  It was life.  Each act of creation following that involved God speaking.

If you read my blog yesterday, you know I was talking about speaking the Word of God aloud--and how it equips the Spirit of God with the Sword of the Spirit.  In that, I'm not saying that we speak and create what we want.  Oh no.  We have to come in agreement with the Spirit of God and the Word of God.  God already has a plan.  A good plan.  And one with which I must come in agreement.  It's not me deciding I want a Mercedes and quoting a part of Philippians 4:12, "and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance..."  If I'm wanting a Mercedes, I need to go to God and ask if that's His will for my life.

Faith comes by hearing the Word (rhema--spoken word) of God.  I have a dear friend who is angry with God.  She "believed" years ago that God was going to heal someone and He didn't.  But faith (or belief) isn't us speaking our word and blindly believing for it.  It's hearing God and then taking Him at His Word.  If you study Hebrews 11 (the faith chapter), you will notice that each person mentioned heard God and then believed.  That's faith.

God still speaks.  But we must be tuned in to hear His voice.  One day, I was walking down a street talking to God.  He stopped me and asked me (I don't hear an audible voice...but a gentle voice in my spirit), "What do you hear?"  I began naming the things I heard:  a car, a lawn mower, kids laughing, dogs barking, a motorcycle, birds, etc., etc."  And then He asked, "Were they making noise a moment ago?"  "Yes," I replied.  "Then why didn't you hear them?," He asked.  "Because I wasn't tuned in!"  God is speaking now one way and now another though man may not perceive it."  Job 33:14.

I've meditated on this all day.  And as I picked up my Bible tonight to continue where I'm reading, I read this:  "[WE ARE writing] about the Word of Life [in] Him Who existed from the beginning, Whom we have heard, Whom we have seen with our [own] eyes, Whom we have gazed upon [for ourselves] and have touched with our [own] hands."  I John 1:1.  The Word of Life.  That's who Jesus is.  The Word made flesh.  The spoken Word.  When we come in agreement with God and speak His Word---that's why there's power!  The Spirit is wielding Himself into a situation.  The One who has all power over our enemy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

You speak it...

You speak it and the Spirit wields it.  The Word of God, that is.  God reminded me again about 3 weeks ago how important it is for me to be speaking out the Word of God as I pray for my family (or anyone or anything, for that matter!).  The Word of God is part of the armor of God.  It's called the Sword of the Spirit.  If it's a sword and the only offensive weapon, it's pretty important in our battle against the enemy.  The impressive thing is that we don't have the hard part of the battle.  All we have to do is speak out the Word.  The Spirit has the strength, power, and precision to wield the sword.

I can tell you that I've seen dramatic results as I've prayed/spoken the Word of God aloud.  It's not enough just to read it--even though that is necessary and important.  Reading the Word transforms our minds.  But Satan can't read your mind.  It's when you speak the Word that power is loosed.  A sword is put into the Spirit's hand to use in battle.  I'm convinced.

Try it.  Come in agreement with God's Word for your situations.  Pray it aloud.  Give the Holy Spirit a sword to use.  And let me know if it makes a difference.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Lubbock with Dax

Of course, I'm here in Lubbock with Zach & Shanna as well as Dax.  But the main reason I came was to help out with Dax as Shanna went back to work this week.   Have we had FUN!!  Dax is adorable.  He mostly eats and sleeps still, but we have those few minutes after he eats that he coos to us.  He's precious.  Just take a look at these photos and tell me I'm not right!

Don't they come up with the cutest things?  I love Dax's little frog cover-up for bathtime!  Or...maybe it's a turtle.

Dax is a lot like my kids were.  Put him in a car seat and....

Isn't this precious?  I love watching him sleep.  He keeps his hands near his face all the time (and scratches himself) so he wears his mittens.

Dax absolutely loves his swing!  When you first put him in it, he stares and talks to all of the animals as they go round and round.  We call them his "friends."

He's a little talker-boy!  But I haven't gotten him to say Gee yet.  

He sure likes his pacifier!

Is he not precious?  
(And I'm just kind of impressed with my iPhone camera!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

I really liked this book.  If you're a Jane Austen fan, you'll like it, too.  The setting for this book is the English countryside in the early 1800's.  Mariah has been sent away from her home by her father.  We don't learn until later in the book, through Mariah's writings, why exactly she was sent away.  But she ends up at a dying aunt's estate and is allowed to live in the gatehouse while her aunt is alive.  One stormy night,  Captain Matthew Bryant arrives at her house having fallen from his horse.  Mariah, a horse lover, is able to secure the horse for the Captain.  The Captain is looking for a house to lease to persuade a young woman to marry him.  This begins a friendship between Mariah and Captain Bryant since they both understand the captain has his cap set for another.
Mariah's aunt dies; but leaves her a key to a chest.  She also tells her to keep it a secret from her dead husband's son who is desperately trying to sell off anything of value for his own pocket.  Inside the chest, Mariah finds journals full of family secrets.  Mariah is also secretly an authoress.  She asks her brother, who is really forbidden to see his sister, to take a copy of the novel she's written to a publisher.  Her aunt's stepson, Hugh Prin-Hallsey, forces Mariah to pay rent after her aunt dies, so Mariah is desperate for a way to raise money.  She realizes how taboo it is for a woman to write a novel, so she uses a pen name.  Not only does she wish to write anonymously because of the censure of her culture, but she also didn't want her father to find out.  He would not approve.
The rest of the book is filled with many twists and turns that keep a reader very engaged in this book.  I loved the story line and the writing style of Julie Klassen.
I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to Bethany House  for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.