Tuesday, December 27, 2005

And a great time was had by all!

I love reading small town newspapers! The articles always seem to end with the line contained in this title - I just LOVE it when 'a great time was had by all' - and that describes our family's Christmas of '05! This was our year to be together on December 24-25 to celebrate! Great delight! My parents were here and all the kids! My sister and her family came over for Sunday! We all worshipped together Sunday morning - except poor Jenny who got really sick the night before - boohoo!
This time of year always brings on times of reflection -- so I want to share one of my 'ah-ha' moments with you.
When it finally struck me Christmas was on a Sunday, I moaned out loud. What a crimp it would be to have to rearrange the opening of gifts and the 'big meal' to go to church. (When your husband is the preacher, I felt it would be totally inappropriatae to .. well, you know, just not show up!) I was excited when the announcement was made that we weren't having class. But then the reflection began - is there any place I would rather be to celebrate the Lord's birth than with my family.
This last year has stirred in me a much deeper appreciation for God's idea of 'church family'. You know I have always loved it but now I really, really take delight in it. I am so grateful! So ... it was a perfect year for Christmas to be on a Sunday! So with my physical family surrounding me, I also spent a little time hugging on and laughing with my church family.
I wish Christmas always came on Sunday! The highlight: spending time worshipping the One I love with the people I hold DEAR!
Thank You, Father, for the joy of Your Son. Thank You for binding me with together with others who adore You and claim You as Lord! Thank You for the gift of Sunday; the gift of communion with You and a family; the gift of Your perfect Son - our Lamb, Whose blood links us as blood relatives! Thank You, Father, for my family!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Christmas Tag for fun and A Christmas Thought for Real!

Here is a Christmas Tag game my daughter had on her blog and I thought it would be fun to add to mine!
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Rick wraps each gift more meticulously than you can even imagine but the gifts Santa leaves hie gifts unwrapped.That's the way we know which gifts he brings on his sleigh and which ones are from us!
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Absolutely WHITE which my son-in-law puts up beautifully! (He does the colored ones too but just wanted to give hime a little advertisement for a little business he helps Rusty with during the holidays!)
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but I think I will for next year - with a timer!
5. When do you put your decorations up? As soon as possible after Thanksgiving!
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Any thing Mexican - oh yeah, that is my favorite all year too!
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? waking up to see what Santa brought!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? We never discussed it! I have no idea when or how! I was afraid if I admitted anything he would stop coming!
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? As a child, we always opened everything on Christmas Eve and then Santa came Christmas morning but...that's not how Rick's family did it. So, of course, being the ever-submissive wife that I am, we switched and I love the switch! But...this year, we are switching back to eve just because Christmas is on Sunday!
10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? Usually sugar but we always leave candies too.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? LOVE IT
12. Can you ice skate? I tried it once but my friends had to come get me (instead of just skate around me laughing, when the 'big machine' was wanting to clean and smooth the ice - the 'big machine' got tired of waiting on me to move out of the way.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Christmas is full of favorites!
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Being with my family and taking great delight that we all love the One that we celebrate!
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Fudges, candies, etc.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Gettting all the lists together; shopping with Jenny and Rick; going to James Avery; buying ornaments; cooking candies
17. What tops your tree? a star
18. Which do you prefer Giving or Receiving? for sure giving
19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? O Holy Night; MWS's Gloria; Mary Did You Know
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? They are ok.

Feel free to join the fun! All you do is Copy and Paste; then change the answers!

Just a thought for real! Yesterday, we met Rick's brother in Waco (he's from Florida and we haven't seen him in forever!) We had a great time! At the table next to us was an older group - as one of the men was leaving, he turned to Malaya and said, "Merry Christmas, honey, none of this 'Happy Holiday' stuff for me!" I said, "Merry Christmas to you too! We believe in Jesus too!"

I have to tell you - I am not one bit sad about the rest of the world changing up their terminology about December 25. I am great with Target or whoever else saying "happy holidays". Whether they say 'Merry Christmas' or not does not mean they love Him or that they choose to serve Him. In my little opinion, Christians must stop fighting for what we want the world to say and concentrate our energy on radiating His Light! Radiating Him - to show that the love of the Lord is the only way out of darkness. A Christian's anger or sarcastic tone is not a light but a great big squelcher to getting out the news that Christ loves us! I'm afraid sometimes people run from Christ because they don't want to develop the spirit of some Christians! May we dedicate ourselves to radiating His love and show people how to really celebrate our risen Lord!

So Merry Christmas, sweet friends, and may these words be the distinguishing mark for believers!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Anna was baptized!

In February, the Decatur Church of Christ invited me to speak at a community ladies' day as a fund raiser for WARM (Wise Area Relief Mission) - that was before they were considering Rick and before he was considering coming here. The WARM representative leading the day was a precious woman, Anna. We really hit it off - I was so impressed with her heart for the poor.
When Decatur called us to consider the preaching job, my fire was so lit to get to know Anna better. I told several people that I was attracted not only to the church family but also to the community.
When I started teaching the Wednesday night ladies' Bible class in September, Anna came! She and Jerry have been coming on Sundays and Wednesdays for a while. We have been so blessed by having them! She even came to our retreat! Two Sundays ago, I began teasing them - when the visitors were asked to stay seated, they stood! They invited us over, along with Jeff and Kelly Jones, to study with them Sunday night. They both have such a heart to know Jesus! Yeah, I didn't make a mistake with the wording - they invited us to study! They fed us royally and we discussed the Lord. Rick left several verses on baptism. Anna is a student! The Jones' went back over Monday night to answer more questions. Tuesday, Kelly called with the news! Anna woke up Tuesday morning wanting to be baptized into the Lord Jesus! Tuesday night, at the Isham's hot tub, Jeff Jones did the honors! ( We love our friends, Jeff and Kelly. What a blessing to share life with them!)
Anna, we love you! and cannot wait to witness how the Lord will use you and mold you in days to come! Welcome to our church family! Welcome to the journey!
I love this church! I love this community!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Gift!

I started out for work this morning after listening to the weather report but didn't get far into my trip. A few - a very few - miles out of town it started to sprinkle a little - not a big deal - turn on the old reliable wipers - but they were not working right. Aren't they made to take ice off too?!?!?! The 'rain' was freezing! A rare sight for this little Texas girl. I pulled over for a minute to let my defroster do its thing. But the second time it happened I decided to head for the warmth of my home. My heart began to race - I am soooo excited. I few phone calls with clients to cancel our appointments - then - let the fun begin! I can undo the last of the boxes today! I am cooking for the second time in my new house! Chili, of course. (Yes, I know I have lived here over a month - but...)
Today, I want to have some time catch up but I also want to spend some time with my 'honey'! When I walked in the door last Thursday night from a late night in the office - about 10 - Rick was sitting in his chair watching tv, looking very sad. I kissed him and went to get my supper - I realized he had eaten 1/2 of his supper, waiting for me to finish. He said, "You know, we bought this house so we could enjoy it together. Instead, I am enjoying it all alone."
I realized right then that I have been working way too many late nights. I have been way too busy! It hit me like a ton of bricks. I spend a lot of time in my life helping people understand how to nurture their marriage relationships. I refuse to neglect mine! This was such a wake up call for me!
I am grateful for the gift of today that I can spend time with Rick. I love you, honey, and want to be a very present wife! It really is the desire of my heart.! I love you!

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Mother's Heart

I had a sign that once was taped on my fridge that read, "making the decision to have a child is like making the decision to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body." What do you think? There is something about that mother-child bond that I don't have the verbal skills to say any better than that!
Yesterday, my daughter wrote a blog that has touched many. When she was little and hurt, I had so many choices of ways to make her feel better. She loved to sing, she loved to cuddle, she loved a good snack, she loved to go visiting or have a friend over. But now she is a beautiful young woman - and it not a skinned knee anymore, it is a hurting heart! And I can't 'fix it'! and her dad and I are so frustrated that we can't take away our little girl's hurt!
Please check it out: www.kindermommy.blogspot.com.
Please join our family in praying! Jenny and David are raising our precious Malaya to love the Lord and we all anticipate the day she professes Him as her Lord! We would be delighted for more children to come into their home to join us in bringing praise to the One we serve!

Father God, Giver of all that is good! I have been praising Your name since my head was still on my pillow this morning. I love You and I am learning to trust You! Your history with our family has been rich! Please, Father, please bless Jenny and David with another baby. Please, God, fill her womb with life. We choose to continue to love You no matter what; we choose to worship You no matter what; we will continue to praise Your Name because You are worthy. We know that You are the One we need, that You hold the miracle. Please, Lord, touch us with it! Holy Spirit, thank You, that You will clean up this prayer and make my groanings understandable to the Lord! See me heart, Oh Father - hear the words of my heart!
In the blessed name of Jesus, Amen and amen.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Today is my spiritual birthday!

November 26, 1967, at ten years old, I walked to the front of our church building, in LaMarque, Texas. Bob Johnson (known to me then as "Brother Bob") asked me if I was ready to make Jesus Christ the Lord of my life - I said 'yes'. Did you catch it? I was ten years old! But I could not and I still cannot imagine my life without Him! I was blessed to grow up in a home where both my parents knew the Lord and talked of an active relationship with Him.
The push to walk down the aisle however came when, between Bible class and worship that day, Bunny Bryce firmly told me she was going to 'go forward' that morning. Well, why not today!?!?! (get it, kind of like 'why not tonight?) I knew I loved Jesus; I knew I wanted to wear His name; I knew I wanted to be clean to God; and I knew that on my own, I was stinky. I knew enough to KNOW that I needed a Savior.
After 38 years of walking with Him, I know now that I had no clue how desperate for a Savior I was. I LOVE that God does His cleansing even when we have no clue. I LOVE that I don't have to understand His love, His grace, or His mercy. I LOVE that He simply has called me to rest in them. There is nothing that I have to 'get' except that He is God and that I am not. He gets it and I don't - but I get Him! (a quote from Mike Cope at Stream, 2005) I LOVE that everytime I come to an 'ah-ah' (a time when I learn something new) moment with Him, I don't have to climb back in the water to receive His forgiveness. I LOVE that He continually cleanses me - even though I don't understand Him! My salvation is all wrapped up inHis work - NONE of my own.
I feel so blessed to have been raised in a family that honors 'spiritual' birthdays. This morning, I woke up at my parents' house (we were still there for Thanksgiving). My parents both greeted me with a Happy Birthday. What a blessing! Not only do they honor the day my body breathed its first breath of life, but they honor the day my soul was gifted with the Breath of Heaven! Thank you, Mom and Dad! Thank you for teaching me so much about the real Gift of Life!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I come to the Lord with a heart FULL of thanksgiving!

We are leaving a little after noon today to go to my Mom and Dad's house for the holiday. Malaya spent the night and she is going with us; Jenny and David are coming later.
I love this time of year! We did our first real Christmas shopping trip yesterday. The sales hadn't started yet but who has time to wait?!?!?!!?
As I reflect back on this last year, I am so grateful that the God I serve is moving, is constantly revealing His power and might -- and that He is faithful! That He lovingly blesses His children with His presence!
This has been a year full of His presence! I am thankful!
For my children - all six of them - being such reflections of the Lord's love to us.
For my little granddaughter, Malaya, and the rich joy she brings to my life! I love being her Grammy! and I can't wait to be a Grammy to our new forming little one! (Can't wait until June!)
For my new church family! What a blessing to be part of a church family where we feel so loved and affirmed by the leadership! And so many brand new friends!
For the ministry, Come before Winter, and all the new friends that have come as a result of our travel! I LOVED our team! and made so many new precious friends from Europe! Makes the anticipation for heaven swell!
For God's Word - I love the age-old treasures found in it!
For music to praise Him! I LOVE to sing to Him!
For my wonderful husband! I adore him! He truly completes me! The Lord constantly uses Rick to bless me!
I am grateful that God has called me His own and constantly works in me - that He chooses to use someone like me! He knows all my 'stuff' - and still calls me to shine for Him - using the Light of His love to do it! Amazing!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm home and now awake enough to write!

Wow! Thanks so much to those of you who lifted our trip to the throne room of the Lord!!! He was His usual Faithful Self and covered this trip with blessing! He was HUGE for us and totally amazing! I don't know where to start!
This trip was a first for me is so many, many arenas. I have never travelled with a team of women that our only link was that we are all crazy about God. That was an especially rewarding experience. I'm not sure I have ever laughed more and cried more and felt more totally 'at home' in my whole life! I LOVE my new friends! God bound us up tight!
And the missionary women! Oh my! How beautiful are the feet of those that bring good news! These women put a whole new meaning on the word 'sacrifice'! They are amazing instruments on the altar of God! I really wanted to bring several home with me! I loved worshipping with them, praying over and with them, studying God's word with them, reading with them, and, of course, partying with them!
Germany is beautiful! So sharp in color! Lots and lots of flowers! Gorgeous! On the Saturday before we left to come home, we toured Martin Luther's home and the church where he hung his 95 theses. He was buried inside that church. We surrounded his grave and sang - in four part harmony - A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Talk about history coming alive! Sweet moment!
I am delighted to have gone and delighted to be home - home with my brand new Decatur sisters. God has been so sweet to me! (I think I have said that a lot recently.)
Thank you, Father, for the gift of friendship. On the other side of Your world, I now I have brand new friends that I will get to party with in heaven when we all speak the same language! I saw you, Father, in their eyes and in their tears! I can't wait to share moments in life with them again!
And in Decatur, I have brand new friends to share part of this journey! Help us, Father, to step in closer to You each time we hang out!
Oh, Father, what a blessed woman I am to have a family who professes You as the Holy One! Thank you for their faithfulness in prayer over my trip. I am glad to be home and back in my husband's arms! I missed his kisses!
I am blessed, Lord! Thank you for this new chapter opening with such a 'bang'! I love to be 'wowed' by You. Only You can do it this wonderfully! Thank You, Lord! Thank You!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Prayer Warriors Unite!

Well, November 4 is almost here! I leave tomorrow afternoon for a mission trip with a group called Come before Winter. I am delighted to have this opportunity. I will be traveling with 13 'girlfriends' to Germany to facilitate a weeklong renewal for missionary women from several locations in Europe. We each have been asked to have our friends and family lift us up in prayer during the prep time and during the journey. I am reminding those who I have previously asked and soliciting more prayer covering beginning tomorrow. While this trip has been planned for more than a year and a half - I had no idea how it would all unfold. My prayer requests have been turned in long ago but I had no idea what a turn my life would take in the last month: I have sold a house, bought a house, had surgery, and moved - all since October 7! Craziness! (as my son Josh would say). But the Lord has so got my back - He has been soooo sweet to me! Oh, I could go on and on about how at home I have felt today - at home in my new house, with my friends, in my own skin! At home because I KNOW He is in my heart! Wowsie-powsie!
This could get really long - I'll journal tomorrow so I don't forget a thing - maybe a future blog --but for now, my prayer requests:
*for Rick while I am gone.
*that my ministry will be a sweet and fragrant aroma to the Lord.
*that the flights to and from Germany will be free of anxiety -- and motion sickness!
*that the Spirit will fill me with wisdom and discernment in all my interactions with the women on my team and the missionaries who attend. I want to be a Proverbs 11:25 kind-of-girl!
*for my mom and dad (my dad is not doing very well - I pray he will not be in pain and that his health will improve asap)
*for my new church family! - Please join me in thanking the Lord for bringing us together!
*that the Lord will just be HUGE for us!
Thank you so much!
Can't wait to write more on November 14 - my first day home!
I love you, my friends!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Birthday, David

Today we celebrate! (We really did on Saturday because of the hustle and bustle of this week.) We are so thankful that David Shawn Bizaillion is part of 'us'! He is amazing! The list would be too long to blog if I attempted to list all the things my son-in-law does for us but -- even with all he does (did I already say it is a LOT) -- nothing compares with his sweet servant heart! David is a joy - he is full of rich wisdom! David, today we praise God for your life! Oh, yeah, I do that every day but today more than ever! Happy, happy 31st!
Thanks for being such a fabulous husband for our precious Jenny! Thanks for being such an awesome daddy to our angel, Malaya! Thanks for your quest to know the Lord better! Thanks for enjoying life! And thanks for sharing ours!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Almost done

Well, we are coming to a close. We are surrounded by boxes. Not much left. David and Jenny came over and spent the day working, working, working. What a blessing! Oh, Malaya worked too! She, at five years old, did ALL my spices! (Isn't that amazing?!!??!) But Jenny and David - oh my! I am so humbled to have them in my life! There is something about the way Jenny and I work together that is really rare and so connecting! In times like this, my attention span gets really short - so overwhelmed - she sweetly redirects me, we laugh, we enjoy the moments, and we love closing the boxes.
And David, he is such a wonderful work partner for Rick! He is so willing!
We celebrated David's birthday tonight! What a perfect addition to our family! We are so proud of him!
Almost closed - the final box - the final chapter - in a very long story. Only long because it has been so painful. But the Lord is so good, so faithful! I just want to be on His side, with Him at my side - forever. His sweetness is immense and so deep. Usually closed chapters haunt me but I have learned that with closed chapters, it means a brand, spanking new one gets to open! Open it, Lord - I'm with you! I can't wait to see what You are going to do in the newest chapter of our lives! Have Your way, Father! Reign in my heart!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Packing up my 'stuff' AGAIN!

Well, I've had a cancellation for the last appointment of the day and I am heading out the door to go a box or two before church tonight. (Moving is not my hobby but you would think so as often as I have done it lately.) But I have developed an enjoyment of looking through memory boxes of my kids! We had some great times watching them grow up! And we didn't even know how much fun we were having! Time to reflect can be such a blessing!
Tonight I am teaching our class from Luke 5. Now don't you know these were some events for reflection in years to come!
"Hey John! Remember when our boats were filled up with Jesus' catch! I'll never forget the looks on everyone's faces when we walked after the Lord and they had to clean all those fish! We laughed so hard we cried! Boy, that Jesus was the partier, huh? Remember the laughter and hugging that He did when He finally got to touch that leper! Don't you just know that God had been waiting forever to get His holy hands on him and tell he was CLEAN! And do you remember the time we were in that house listening to Jesus teach and began to feel like Chicken Little! The sky began to fall - IN THE HOUSE! Jesus was cracking up at those four guys finding an incredible way to get their buddy at His holy feet to be healed! What about the party at Matthew's house! Loud - now, those tax collectors knew how to eat and party-down! Even those ol' Pharisees and scribes began to gather to see what was going on. They could hear Jesus' laughter from the street! They knew He was in there! and they didn't like it one bit! They started asking us questions when we went outside - they were trying so hard to intimidate us! Remember their horror when Jesus came out and began answering their questions before we had to!!! He started telling them about how we HAD to party - something about wineskins. So funny!"
May we join the disciples reflecting on how God has been such a faithful, healing, cleansing, joy-filling God to follow! I just love that about Him!

Monday, October 24, 2005

I can't wait!

Wow! I can't believe it has been so long sinceI have written. The last entry was right before the retreat that Kayci and Jennifer came in to do with me. I want to write about it. Oh, and that was the same weekend - while I was at the retreat - that we got a contract on our house - with no idea where we were moving - we just knew we were more than ready to leave Trophy Club and get to Decatur! Oh, and that was a few days after I found out I was going in for a little surgery. But it was before we found THE house! We are closing on both houses on November 2!!!! And I am leaving for Germany on November 4! So many blog entries in the above! But none of the previous are more exciting than the news we got last night!!!!
We were taking Jenny and David, and, of course, Malaya, to see our new house after church. I have been so excited for Jenny to see it - I hold her opinion in the highest regard. She has such good perception - and that is not my gift! They met us at church. (I miss going to church with them more than I have words to say.)
After I dropped Malaya at her class, I walked down the hall to mine and there was my youngest son, Jonathan! I was so thrilled to see him and his precious wife, Jennifer! My heart was soaring. As class was starting, Jonathan leaned down the aisle to show me what he had picked out for his birthday - his 'Jedidiah' hat, jacket, and shirt. Jedidiah is one of my favorite boy names - really it is my favorite boy name! It means 'loved by the Lord' - how beautiful! I asked if he was trying to tell me something and he said 'no' with a fairly straight face. We looked at the house and were filled with anticipation! We can't wait!
Then we took the kids to eat and Jonathan said that he and Jennifer had decided on a job and their start date was in June. My youngest son, my gorgeous-eyed man-child, sat right across from me and told me his wife, my precious Jen, was with child! Not just any child - but my grandchild! I LOVE being a Grammy! I LOVE it! and now I get to do it again!
I pray for you, sweet baby! May your lips profess the name of the Lord and may your life be rich in service to our King! I can't wait to tell you about Him! I can't wait to see you and to hold you and to kiss you ....
I can't wait!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I've been tagged...

I have also been tagged.......

First Memory: Glimpses of my 3-year-old birthday party
First Kiss: I don't remember and don't want to!
First Concert: Doobie Brothers, I think
First Love: Rick - we were babies! - I fell hard for him at 18!
First thing I think in the Morning: Five more - PLEASE!
First Book I remember loving: A Tale of Two Cities
First Pet: Honey Bun, a precious, cute, grumpy fat little chihuaha (sp?)
First Question when I get to Heaven: Where are those no-fat chicken enchiladas?
First word I think of for Vacation: Famliy
First Best Friend: Donna Ohlund, LaMarque, Texas
Last Time I dressed up: October 1 for the ChristianWorks auction
Last thing I ate: Rick cooked grilled hamburger patties with onions and baked potatoes - YUM!
Last CD I bought: Jana Long (the wonderful singer from Avalon)
Last time I cried: Last night when I read Jenny's tribute to her dad's birthday on her blog
Last time I told someone I loved them: When Rick left for work this morning
Last really fun thing I did: Co-presenting a ladies' retreat with my daughters-in-law
Last thing I watched on TV: Monday Night Football, Steelers and Chargers
Last Halloween Costume: HMMMM! I don't know - that is a shame!
Last Concert- Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, and Stephen Curtis Chapman -- Awesome!

I tag Kayci, Jennifer, Heather, Emily, Jen, Tonia, Sandy -- Oh, let all my girlfriends get a tag! Just copy and paste on your own blog or here in the comment section! It is so much fun to remember!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Excitement is in the air!

I am sooooo excited! This weekend is the Decatur ladies' retreat! My precious daughters-in-law are coming in to present with me! (When we first scheduled it, it was going to be all four of us - Jenny too. But David's sister is getting married and Jenny thinks she needs to be there! We will miss you so much, Jenny! We'll have to plan something else soon for you to come over and tell your story so my new friends can know you.)
I would love to tell you all about it - but I don't want to! (Does that sound like conflict or what?) I want to wait until the weekend is done and THEN I'll reveal our plans.
I would invite you and beg you to pray that the Lord will be huge for us - the Decatur girlfriends - this weekend. Please pray that He bind us together as family and draw us close to Him! We want to be like the Isaiah 40:11 little lamb -- gathered by Him and carried 'close to His heart'! Beautiful imagery, huh?
Oh, Lord, please draw us close enough to rest in Your heartbeat. We want to walk in the rhythm of Your love. Be big for us, Precious Lord! Be really, really big! We love you and can't wait to see how You will use this weekend to bring glory to Yourself! That is our desire!

Monday, October 03, 2005


Last night at church, we had a reception for our new members. We have several families that have joined us over the last six months. Since we have only been there for 5 months, we were one of new ones being spotlighted and welcomed! I'm not sure if we have ever felt more embraced! (Crockett had such a gift for this too!) It is such a blessing for the Lord to use so many sweet new friends to be His arms to welcome us!
Saturday night, we had a similar but very different experience - it was the night of the ChristianWorks Auction. I LOVE this night every year. It has been in a huge banquet room at the Anatole in recent years. The moment we find a parking place and begin our ride up the escalator to the ballroom - my heart begins to flutter in anticipation! I KNOW that once I make it through this long winding hall, the party begins! People in the registration line are exchanging hugs - and names (I know faces from long ago but can't quite find their 'spot' in my history). I take great delight in the warm embraces of such precious friends. The common link with most - if not all - of them is that we share the family name - Christian. We are blood relatives - covered in His blood.
You know, it's like getting to practice heaven! I can't wait for the warmest welcome, the best food, the sweetest embraces, the smiles of friends and fellow travelers who share a mutual delight with me, and finally, finally getting to KNOW Him and as I am known by Him!
Won't it be time!
Oh, Father, I want to be Your welcoming arms and Your eyes of grace to the people in my world! Give me a heart to embrace others, Lord! In the name of Your Son - the One Who makes us His blood relatives!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Boy Jesus

In the gospel written by the doctor Luke (was he Paul's personal physician?), we read the only story we have recorded of our Lord Jesus as a boy. I admit that this story brings me more questions than answers and I love the intrigue! Sometimes my questions express my confusion; here, my questions express my awe and my draw to know Him more intimately.
In Luke 2: 41, this story begins with the time and place - not unusual for a good story. This story is unveiled during the Feast of the Passover. What must it have been like Jesus to hear the story of the Passover? When He was 12, did it 'click'? What was it like watching a distracted young mother tend her children during this feast? Or a middle-aged man who had grown bored with the yearly tradition? Or was He already looking ahead to a Passover that would happen about 21 years later - the one where He became the Sacrificial Lamb? Did he know when He was 12 that He would be The Firstborn to redeem the people He was eating beside?
What was it that drew Him to the temple? What was it like for Him to sit among the teachers, listening to them asking them questions. What would Jesus question?
What must it have been like for Mary to search for her special son for 3 days? I wonder if she was trying to figure out a way to tell God that she had lost His Child?
What was the look exchanged between Mary and her oldest son when he was found? Was it a look that brought her to her knees in worship?
Just a few questions I'm pondering today as I journey to work. I want to know You, Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Mentoring Relationship

I love the concept of mentoring. It is a 'hot' topic today - lots of meanings, lots of places to use the idea. The definition I use is: A mentor is someone further down the road from you, who is going where you want to go, and is willing to shed some light on your path to help you get there too. I can just see her -- a woman just a few steps in front of me, walking backwards - gracefully, holding a lantern on the road just ahead of my next step. Her voice is so gentle as she urges me and encourages me to continue following her.
I LOVE my mentors! Please note this definition says nothing about age. I have been mentored by some women years younger. I have been blessed with many. I want to carry this theme on in future blogs. But today I want to thank a few of my mentors.
My daughter, Jenny, has been a patient mentor to me: from her I learn authenticity, unconditional love, and how to grow in Christ even when you don't get your way. I love sharing life with her. She is a great shopping buddy!
My daughter-in-law, Kayci, who is teaching me how to ask the hard questions. She and I can sit for long periods of time on the beach and read and talk and laugh!
My daughter-in-law, Jennifer, who is teaching me how to be gentle, how to love people more. She emulates kindness and acceptance. I love her precious phone calls just to check on me. I love her help in the kitchen!
I LOVE my girls! We share something rare and rich!
My sweet co-worker, Vicki, draws me into Sabbath rest.
My precious friend, Judy, teaches me what it means to be servant. Her home is one of my favorite places to be!
Saturday, I was with Richardson East Church of Christ. So many wonderful sisters in the Lord. Susan is precious - so is Maria, Carla, and - wow! - so many sweet faces. There was one sister that I found myself continually drawn to because of her eyes of encouragement. I would love to sit at the feet of the older woman who sat on my right (the 2nd table back). She was giving me guidance all the way (through her eyes and through repeatedly mouthing 'amen') - to step into faith and be bold in my proclaiming of the power of Christ in transforming our lives.
My 'girlfriends' continue to hold the lantern on my path.
God, thank You for sending me powerful mentors. Please give me a teachable, spongy heart!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

When the Girls Get Together!

I'm already fired up! In about 2 1/2 hours I get to meet with about 50 friends and study the book of Luke. I believe - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that something special happens when the girlfriends get together to study God's Word and share prayer requests.
I LOVE the visual I get when I read Romans 15: 5-7 --
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another then just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring to bring praise to God."
Can you just picture it with me - beginning at about 7 tonight, when God looks at the fireplace room of the Decatur Church of Christ building, He sees one mouth and one heart lifted to Him.

Lord, we long to bring You praise and glory. Bless the study of Luke tonight. May Your Son's birth be real for us and may we find the treasures planted in Your Word just for us - Your daughters! Thank You, Father, for the Gift of Jesus. May we always choose to bring You glory! In the Name of the Perfect Lamb, Jesus,

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Praising God

Last week, in our Wednesday night ladies' Bible class, we began a study of the gospel written by Dr. Luke. I have fallen in love with this book already. So many key components! Luke has so much about prayer, women, children, the Holy Spirit, the underdog (the poor, oppressed, the outcast), eating and laughing, and "praising God". That phrase - "praising God" - is mentioned more times in Luke than in the rest of the New Testament altogether.
I have decided, after just sharing from chapter 1, that I want to be like Elizabeth. Everyone this precious woman came in contact with praised God. It says so much about her!
1. The angel directed Mary to Elizabeth's house immediately following his message to her. He knew the blessing she needed to hear and the power Elizabeth's words would carry. Mary was certain to face many days uncertainty ahead but Elizabeth focused her on God's hand.
2. Mary is free to worship God in Elizabeth's presence because she knew Elizabeth 'got it'. Mary boldly begins one of the greatest praise songs of all times!
3. When John was born and Zechariah could speak again, he didn't begin by complaining. Rather immediately when Zechariah's mouth was opened, he begin to praise God. (vs. 64) Note only had his lips been opened but also the eyes of his heart - maybe after watching his wife for nine months.
4. Their neighbors were all filled with awe and began to spread the news about the hand of the Lord.

Who is your Elizabeth? Who continually points you to praise?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Happy Birthday, Josh

Twenty-five years ago today, my life was forever changed with the birth of our second child, our first 'man-child'. Joshua Louis Ross was born at the end of the hottest summer that has ever hit Abilene, Texas.
I did not have brothers - just one sister and, quite honestly, never pictures myself having a son. I never pictured myself enjoying dirt and sunny baseball games on Saturday afternoons. I never pictured myself signing the paperwork for my child to play a sport where they are suited up head to toe in pads with an ambulance with open doors in the end-zone, with a doctor and a trainer (who our family grew to trust more than any doctor) on the sidelines. I never pictured myself watching the man I parented with cheer after the games when our child came home to announce that he had won the Slobber-Knocker award in the Friday night game. (We had taught him, and I thought rather well, that in our family we don't hit people.) I never pictured myself having a child that played the 'monster' or the 'blood' position. (I'm still not sure I have that right.) I never pictured myself loving every minute of watching him play.
He has grown from preaching on the hearth of our living room to his older sister and younger brother to preaching from a real pulpit to sisters and brothers in the family of God.
I so identify with the verse in Luke that says that Mary treasured the things about her son in her heart. Josh, the Lord has provided so many treasures of you for my heart! Thank you for being such a source of strength and faithfulness in the last year when the road has been so hard. Thank you for being a lover of family prayer! Thanks for being a passionate sharer in gems found in God's Word!
I love you and can't wait to see how the Lord is going to use you in the years to come! He has certainly blessed this mother with your presence! You are a joy!
Happy, happy birthday!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Who's on the throne of your heart?

A few years ago, Rick and I went to a concert by Michael W. Smith. The whole night was an amazing and incredible experience but the moment I remember as a stand-out was when the lights dimmed and M.S.W. walked to the end of the stage and quoted Psalm 139. Powerful! I am convinced he had taken ownership of David's words.
Glance into the thoughts David shares here with me --
Bottom line: God made us; He is crazy about us; and He will never leave us. He knows more about me than I have a clue! Let that settle for a moment. The God Who knows it all and can't help but love us anyway. The One Who knows every thought that ever whizzed across my mind and every thought that held me captive - He continues to invade my heart and He longs to pour more of Himself in it! Go figure! My mind cannot comprehend it!
Just yesterday, I was reflecting on verse 13 in Psalm 139. Malaya and I were searching through the craft department of Wal-Mart. I stumbled across the knitting needles - I don't knit - but I couldn't help but pause for just a moment and wonder what size needle did it take for God to 'knit me together in my mother's womb"? I picture His hands as HUGE but His touch as so intricate that maybe the needles were too small to be seen by human eyes. Oh, excuse me - sometimes I get lost in my imagination of figurative words of scripture.
You see, in my very vivid imagination, I picture a scene something like this:
When the Creator set my heart beating inside my mother's womb, He placed His thumbprint right smack dab in the middle of it! As I grew, that print eventually developed into a throne. Then came the day - at least the first day - that God began to whisper to my heart - "Who do you choose to sit on the throne of your heart, Bevie?" I remember the first time I chose Him for real - the first time I claimed as the Lord of my life in public - right there in front of my church family.
But then came a day over 2 decades later, that I began to cry out to the Lord for help. I was doing everything 'right' I knew to do - my hands were so busy! but I had an unsettling in my heart. Through my tears, I begged Him for help - I knew there had to be more. I didn't know what else I could DO but I was certain there had to be more to walking with the Lord because His peace and His joy were not radiating in me. I was kneeling beside my bed begging Him with the same words over and over when suddenly, I felt certain He was writing a message on my heart: "Check your heart, darling daughter. Check your throne."
You see by this time in my life, I was married (to a minister) and the mother of 3 precious children. I adored Rick Ross. I have unbelievable maternal instincts. I was made to be a mama. But, clearly, my husband and my children do not belong on the throne of my heart. Would you agree with me that whatever God gives us for good, Satan can use as His playthings. (I just hate that about him.) I begged the Lord right then and there to help me, to show me, to guide me how to take those precious loves off His throne. Nothing belongs in that spot but God Himself. His throne only feels at peace when it gets to conform to Him.
Since that about 10 years ago, My Father continues to gently nudge me when something gets in the way of Him having His rightful place in my heart. Nothing else belongs there - not my self-identity, not my church family, not my profession, not ANYTHING - just Him. What a sweetness is found when God is seated on the throne of my heart. I think I'll close and do a throne-check for a few minutes. (I have to do it more frequently now I know what it is.) Won't you join me? Let's act like the princes and princesses we have been chosen to be!
Clean us up, Lord! We want to be yours! Reign in us, Father! Take a seat! We choose You as King of our hearts!
Can I get an amen?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hi! I'm a blogger!