Sunday, November 02, 2008

This is it - on my way to Israel

Tomorrow we leave for (drum roll, please) Israel! I can't believe it! Robert and Sue Isham have given us this unbelievable gift! We are packed with camera batteries charging! I am taking my video camera too - the one reserved for capturing grandchildren moments. I want our special ones to feel like they are with me.
Please pray for my mom while I am gone. I know she will be lonely. If you are from Decatur, please call her or stop in for a visit while I am gone. I would really appreciate it!
Please join us in praying that the Lord will give us photographic memories for the next 11 days.
We are excited to make new friends and to get to know the six special buddies travelling with us even better.
He reigns!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Extreme Makeover: Girls' Edition

I can't believe it has been over a month since I have written! What about my new commitment to write more??? Oh, well --
ACU went well - not enough time - but a blast to share for an hour and then spend a whole lot of time seeing sweet friends and hanging with my fam!

I did a ladies' day for King's Crossing Church in Corpus Christi - I LOVED it! I met some precious people and made so many new friends! I spent the night with Brenda Goforth and got to hang out with Janet Griffith - what a blessed woman I am!

Jenny, Malaya, and Rick went with me to the State Fair! What a total blast! It was on October 13 and I still feel full! I loved the friend avocado chunks and the chicken-fried bacon! Of course we had our traditional tator tornadoes, corn dogs, and Tom's lemonade! YUM! YUM!

Sunday, before the Natalie Grant concert (which was totally awesome), Wise Choices Pregnancy Resource Center held an event for young women, ages 12-14. Jeffrey Dean spoke on sexual purity! He did a terrific job! I was super proud to get to M.C. the event!

(Drum roll please!) Saturday - I cleaned out my closet!!!!! I can actually now walk in my walk-in closet! It feels great! Now if I can just decide what to do with all my 'stuff'! There is definitely a spiritual implication there. I have spent the last year looking for ways to simplify life so I can focus more clearly on glorifying the Lord. The more clutter I get rid of - the more clutter I see. Hmmmmm!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

ACU Summit

This has been a super exciting month! After the big San Antonio celebration, I headed to Casper, Wyoming to be with a precious group of believers. I was actually in Wyoming approximately 24 hours but made some amazing new friends! The scenery was amazing but the hearts of those women were even more beautiful. I loved my time there! What an encouragement to my heart!

Then the next weekend, Rick and I drove to Memphis to see Josh and Kayci's new place. I loved being there with them! I loved celebrating Josh's 28th birthday! One precious sister made a delicious breakfast casserole for us! What a sweet idea and blessing! Then, as we were leaving town, we ate lunch with the Alexanders, one of the shepherds at Sycamore View - wish we had more time with them! It was great to meet some Memphis folks!
Kayci and I shopped while Josh and Rick golfed! Truitt was a fabulous shopper but I know he can't wait to go golf with the guys. We went that night to eat at Rendevous - great place for ribs. We walked around downtown - stopping to eat in the Peabody Hotel and then to eat delicious cheesecake! I LOVE downtown Memphis!

Ike was hitting Houston while we were in Memphis so when we got home, Jonathan, Jennifer, Jed, and Jocelyn were at our house - our precious 'evacuees'. On Sunday Michael joined us, then came some of their other friends - the Millers. We had such a great week - such a sweet serendipity out of the tragedy of Ike. (Jonathan and Michael left Thursday to go check out the damage in Houston. Jenn and the kids left just after noon today to head to Odessa for a couple of days.)

Kayci and Truitt flew in yesterday to ride to Abilene with us tomorrow. I am speaking on Monday morning and Kayci is speaking on Wednesday morning.
I have studied so hard for this presentation - how we as communities of faith can better protect and nurture the marriages in our churches. We have to let Jesus make more of difference in our marriages because He lives in our hearts! Please pray that I am able to articulate these thoughts well.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Girls' Trip to San Antonio

There were five (four adults and one very small baby) of us that converged on San Antonio, Texas, last Thursday to celebrate Jenny's 30th birthday. We had a total blast doing 'girl' things like eating and eating and eating, spending hours just sitting around talking after each meal, long naps, late movies, eating tons of chocolate!, sharing stories and dreams, encouraging each other in faith, and bonding in Jesus. We loved celebrating Jenny! We did only her favorite things! Jenny, Jessie, and I stopped at a fabulous chocolate store in Hico to buy a healing treat (chocolate bandaids) for our stressed out Jennifer. Jen was trying to leave Houston when she discovered that she had lost her wallet. BooHoo! A little chocolate helps any girlfriend feel better! (She did find her wallet within hours after she got home.)
Jocelyn seemed to thoroughly enjoy her first 'girl trip'! She never hurt for attention.
We were all there to meet her every need. She is a fabulous baby!

First night, we ate at Mi Tierra. Before we even ate dinner, we stopped at the bakery for our late night snacks. YUM! Mi Tierra has always been a family favorite for us! We sat on the patio and enjoyed the evening immensely!
This is Friday afternoon - we all layed around eating chocolate. These two slept, while Jen, Jocelyn and I were on the other bed whispering and laughing.
Here we are enjoying our Friday night walk on the River. So fun!

Happy Birthday, Jenny!

Thanks, Jennifer, Jocelyn, and Jessie for joining our celebration!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our Day at the American Girl Store

Last Friday, to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of third grade, Jenny, Malaya, and I took Nicki (the doll) to the American Girl store at the Galleria. We have wanted to do this all summer. I wished my camera had been on Malaya when we walked in the door.
Her eyes were HUGE - priceless.
Nicki got her hair done. Malaya chose exactly how she wanted it to look - ribbons and all!
Here are the two girls at lunch. You can see Nicki's menu. Aren't they beautiful????
Here is our table at lunch. It was just beautiful - all pink - with napkin rings you could keep. They each had a character trait engraved on them.Jenny and Malaya with Nicki. Malaya asked if this could be our new tradition-- going to the American Girl store on the Friday before the first day of school. Sounds good to me! I had a blast! Thanks, girls!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Truitt was here!

What a precious! Truitt was here for about 10 days
but it didn't seem long enough to get all the sugar we wanted.

Check out those eyes!
Cousin Malaya couldn't get enough of him either.

She is so so sweet with the little ones in our family.

They played so hard!

He loved to play outside in the water!

Here is in checking himself out in the mirrored window in our church.

Truitt, Grammy and Grampy miss you so much! Please come back soon!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21, 1976

Thirty-two years ago today, Rick Ross became my man! As I listened to him speak last night at Saturn Road on commitment in marriage, my mind went back to 1976 - the excitement I felt, the anticipation, the nervousness, the uncertainty, the certainty. We were 19 - mere children but felt, oh, so adult. We have defied the odds! We have made it!
Thirty-two years! So much invested here! Three gorgeous, healthy, deeply spiritual children who have chosen awesome partners to share in our family. We have 4 amazing grandchildren! We are ministry partners.
As I am reflecting over these years today, the word 'travel' describes the 'story of us'. We love to travel together. We love our trips! But I have loved our journey of parenting and grand-parenting, of growing deeper spiritual roots together, of learning tolerance of our differences - and even learning to celebrate them.
Our history is deep - this man KNOWS me!
He knows by the way I am breathing if I am getting motion sick. When we get in the car with someone else he asks to adjust the air for me. Such a protector!
I know I am a top priority to him! He loves to make special plans for us!
I have learned to love golf! especially Tiger!
And I got an I-Pod!!!!! I can't wait to load it! ( He knew exactly what I wanted - he listens to my heart!)
I love you, Rick Ross! I am delighted I get to share my life with you! Thank you for the years of work to get us to where we are! I am anticipating continuing our travels!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Reflections on Alaska

I am sitting in a Vancouver hotel room, waiting to leave for a home-bound plane and trying to decide how to put into words what I have seen over the last week. Impossible! Alaska has been an amazing place to witness the handiwork of the Almighty from a whole new perspective. Psalm 104 was my prayer of praise during our day at Glacier Bay. We had a fabulous time! I loved sharing this trip with Rick and the comfort and ease we feel when traveling together. Calvin and Virginia were ideal travel companions!

During the trip I finished Hold Me Tight - which I would highly recommend to anyone! Great read and extremely useful tools!
I also read a book that has been on my shelf much too long: "to be told: know your story, shape your future" by Dr. Dan Allender.Here are a few quotes:
*Your life and mine not only reveal who we are but they also help reveal who God is.
*Adversity introduces us to ourselves.
*Paradoxically, we're moving toward the discovery of something we don't yet know but have already received.
*A dream without suffering is little more than a fantasy.
* can be assured that the inciting events call for you to sacrifice your comfort and ease in order for your story to move forward.
*In the midst of affliction, we become either our truest or our most false self.
*God writes our story not just for our own enlightenment and insight, but to enlighten others and to reveal His own story through our story.
*What we do is what we really value.
What we value enough to do tells others what we really believe.
What we really believe shapes what we will become.
*...what we do matters little compared to how we do it.
*An absence of gratitude with regard to our present compels us to change it rather than be
transformed by it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Yesterday was an awesome, beautiful, contagiously delightful,.... day (I keep trying to use the abc's to describe it). We had high tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria and drove over to Berchart Gardens (I think I misspelled the name) which were TOTALLY amazing. The gardens were built over on old lime quarry. It was raining so they were not crowded at all - the gardens passed out umbrellas so there was no problem continuing to enjoy the sights. We were walking along enjoying the view, talking, and laughing then we rounded the corner to one of the most gorgeous scenes I have ever witnessed. It took my breath and my words away - only for a second - ha!The color was spectacular! The rose garden was indescribable too! The aroma was heavenly!
I don't want to skip over the high tea experience. We had a great time! I want to have the experience with my little grand-daughters. I love moments where formal and casual meet. It reminded me how much I love entertaining, how much I want to have relaxed table experiences with the people I love and value. I have a cabinet full of teapots, cups, and saucers. I want to get 'em out and have some fun!
We are having such a good time together. I love laughing and trying new things. We leave in an hour to head to our cruise ship. We will take off this evening for Alaska. My toes may be cold but I can't take off my flip-flops! Hopefully, I will be able to blog from the ship.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Up, up, and away!

The retreat is over. It was a delightful blast! I love that we are part of a community of faith that values marriage and that so many people are willing to set a weekend aside every year to explore some tools to create more intimate relationships. Thanks a million times to Kyle and Shelly Reeves! They are the backbone of this event. Nobody has a clue how much they spend in money and time to make this event happen. They believe that if one family is helped, it was worth it all. That is how the evil one will be defeated - through willing to go shoulder to shoulder beside each other as we all struggle to be overcomers (as Revelation would put it). The discussion at this year's retreat was so rich and so deep. It is a sacred moment when someone gathers the courage to share a painful leg of their journey and so many people of faith rush in to support.
The only downer of this year's retreat is that I got home without my Bible - boohoo! I had tons of help packing up so I thought someone had accidentally pick it up. I was beginning to worry about myself - can you go to heaven if you lose your Bible????? (Just kidding) Anyway, the hotel called the morning - after two phone calls from me - they found it!!!! Yea!
I will be stopping by the hotel on the way to the airport. We are on our way to Alaska! with our friends, Calvin and Virginia Buchanan. I am hoping to blog while we are on the ship but we will see. My firstborn turns 30 on Sunday, August 3 - yes, I will still be gone. We will celebrate well when I return. She is a blessing!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Marriage Retreat Tonight

We leave in a few hours to drive over the Dallas where about 16 couples from church are meeting us to spend tonight and tomorrow discussing marriage. I want us to really 'get' our deep need for attachment and explore why on this earth we are so desperately afraid of it. Dr. Sue Johnson says the only fears greater than our fear of attachment are the fear of death and the fear of combat. Our desire for attachment needs take us to such a vulnerable, sometime raw, place. Dr. Johnson believes that arguments are not about issues but about attachment. What John Gottman calls signs of contempt, Sue Johnson calls attachment panic - when we believe that we have reached out for attachment, however inappropriately, and it has been rebuffed. Attachment comes across in a variety of ways - one of which is anger. So much to say on this...more later-

Monday, July 21, 2008

Time in Houston

I love Mondays! Our class meets tonight and I so look forward to our time together!

My trip to Houston was a blast! Here are some highlights:

*Jenny and Malaya driving in from Keller

*Worshipping while Jonathan led singing and Josh taught

*Watching Malaya and Jed play together

*Taking Josh to the airport and hearing about Memphis

*Eating at Gringo's and sharing a meal with Jen; watching Jed eat ice cream

*Bath time with Jed and Jocelyn

*Prayer time at night with Jed

*Watching several episodes of The Young Riders (I love that show!)

*Hearing Jed say "adorable" when I ask him what I thought about him

*Seeing Jocelyn's brand new really big smiles

*Talks with Jen about some things that are important and some things that don't matter at all
(just fun)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mon Night Group and Thoughts on Attachment

I love our Monday night study group. We have several women from the community meeting for two hours to work through Kelly Simpson's Active Healthy Relationships program. The camaraderie is delightful and the discussion is rich! I have such a passion to give young women a forum to be intentional about living the lives that will get them what they want more than anything. These women are amazing and am thrilled to share time with them!
I am working through Sue Johnson's book: Hold Me Tight. She says that what we all want than anything is secure, safe relationships. Our hearts long for authentic attachment to another. I so believe her! This book is fabulous - and so challenging.
Due to the move in our culture toward independence, we have become more self-focused than relationship-focused and it is not serving us well. I witness the sadness of way too many because of a disconnect from others. We suffer from the ongoing wounding of our childhood - a childhood that maybe taught us that people are not safe; that people cannot be trusted to love well; that we will be hurt by loving/caring about another; that we hurt others that we want to love.
My question would be: how on earth do we enter into 'safe, secure' relationships without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or the covering of the blood of Jesus or the warmth of the mercy/grace of God. I am fully aware that outside of Kingdom of God people can have good, successful marriages but they are missing the penetrating purpose. There is sweetness found in new mercies every morning that propels a freshness like none other!
Just wanted to share a few thoughts stirring in my head before I hit the road for Houston, Spring really. Josh (our son who recently moved to Memphis) is coming to speak at Jonathan's (our son in Houston) church tonight. Jenny and Malaya will drive up too. I will stay until Sunday loving on Jed and Jocelyn! But for tonight, I will have 3 grand ones under one roof (wish Truitt could be there!). I can't wait!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Shack

The Shack is a must-read! I found it super challenging and am writing this post so I can begin - only begin - to sort through some thoughts as I wrestle with them. At the same time, I am experiencing a loss for words (that's when I know I am really wrestling!)
The forgiveness element of this book is what has me gripped. Those of you who hear my soapboxes from time to time know that I believe that bitterness (the lack of forgiveness) continues to hold God's chosen in shackles although He has released us. We continue to dance in pain even after the Lord has called us to dance in freedom.

Here are two quotes that are stewing in my head:
Jesus talking to Mack (page 148 and 149):
"But your independence with its quest for power and fulfillment actually destroys the relationship your heart longs for."
"Apart from my life inside of you, you can't submit to (your wife), or your children, or anyone else in you life, including Papa (God)."
God, to Mack, about forgiveness (page 189):
"People are tenacious when it comes to the treasure of their imaginary independence. They hoard and hold their sickness with a firm grip. They find their identity and worth in their brokenness and guard it with every ounce of strength they have. No wonder grace has such little attraction. In that sense you have tried to lock the door of your heart from the inside. ... There are many folks like you, Mackenzie, who end up locking themselves into a very small place with a monster that will ultimately betray them, that will not fill or deliver what they thought it would. Imprisoned with such a terror, they once again have the opportunity to return to me. The very treasure they trusted in will become their undoing."

Isn't that just like Satan to convince us that we are taking care of ourselves, protecting our own hearts, when really all we are doing is refusing the only true healing. I want to be willing to do the work myself and to encourage other people in this journey of life to step into the freedom of forgiveness - whether is sometime done to us or something we have done. May we recognize His covering of grace and mercy and wear it well!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity jiggity, jig, jig

As a little girl, that is what we always said as we drove into our driveway after a trip.
Our trip home was very eventful - oh, maybe not so eventful but definitely exhausting. We got to the airport in time for Rick to fly out at 1:30 (right after lunch) - didn't happen - and we pulled in our driveway together at 4:30 AM! But it did give me time to finish my Nice Girls Don't Change the World book and get almost done with The Shack - a total must-read!
First, I want to share a couple of quotes from the Nice Girls book:
"Then I came face to face with the realization that disappointing people is the greatest fear of the nice girl. It truly was my deepest fear."
"Fear magnifies our weaknesses and it hides our potential."
"When fear says, 'You are going to disappoint people so badly,' I say, 'Well, maybe so, but I guess I'd rather take the risk of disappointing people by not being good enough than disappoint God by not being brave enough."
"... the opposite of being a nice girl is not just a good woman, but a downright dangerous woman. A woman who shows up with everything she is and joins the battle against whatever opposes the redeeming work of God in our lives and in our world. A dangerous woman delves deeply into the truth of who she is, grounds herself daily in the healing and empowering love of God, and radically engages with the needs of the world."
Oh yeah, I want to be a dangerous woman on the Lord's side - a woman where my greatest fear is not disappointing people but where the only thing I fear is not becoming everything the Lord has set for me to be in Him!

Yesterday was Jenny and David's ten year anniversary! Hey, you two, we celebrate with you and for you! Your marriage is a blessing to witness! You make a great team. David, I cannot imagine our fam without you!!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Few Minutes at Pebble Beach

We have had a fantastic time in California! Today, we rented a car again - this time heading south around the Monterrey Peninsula. We stopped to take in the Pacific every few minutes - to watch the sea lions and the birds, and, of course, use every restroom along the way - ha! On one of the overlooks, we met a couple from Tomball. Their son is the youth minister for Metropolitan Baptist Church in Houston. (What's the old saying - 6 degrees of separation, or is it 9?)
We ate a late breakfast in Half Moon Bay - I had pumpkin pancakes and we split a potato dish that was really yummy! (I am writing this so I don't forget that I really like pumpkin pancakes. Wouldn't that be delicious on Thanksgiving morning???)
Then...we started on the 17 mile scenic drive through several world famous golf courses, ending in Pebble Beach! Gorgie-porgie!! We got out and walked as much as we could without paying the $525 to play - that would be EACH! Just to think I have watched history made there! The homes around it are incredible! A man working in the pro shop told us that 3 of the homes that are 'for sale' are going for $30 million! Who has ever heard of that many zeroes????? for a house? What do these people do?
Rick has been so enthusiastic in his love for golf courses that it has been undeniably contagious! I love being on them. I love the smell! I love the crisp look of a really, really good one. I love the quiet (I know - can you believe it??) But most of all - I LOVE Rick's face when he is on one! He loved Pebble Beach and so did I!
We head home tomorrow. I should have time to finish my Nice Girls book and start The Shack.
I am excited to sleep with my own pillows tomorrow night.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I love vacation days!

Since the conference was over Monday evening, Rick and I have taken in California as fast as possible. Yesterday, we spent the morning down at Golden Gate Park. It totally reminded us of Central Park in NYC. You step into such serenity. Then we got back on the bus (I am getting this public transportation thing down!) so we could go down to Fisherman's Wharf (had great clam chowder in bread bowls - yum!) and just hung-out at all the shops and spent a few minutes watching the sea lions while we talked to our family and caught up a bit. Then we caught a boat for am evening tour of Alcatraz. (Rick is an amazing travel agent! He reserved our spot for this cruise online months ago.) I found it hard to believe that people could survive those conditions. Some of the stories were so sad!
Today we got a rent car (again a Rick-online-reservation) and drove up this incredibly beautiful coast to Muir Woods. On our way out of San Fran, we stopped on Lombard Street to walk the crooked part. I tried to take pictures but without the video with my huffing and puffing for sound effects, the struggle gets lost. We hiked all the way down and then back up again. What a sight! While at Muir Wood, I learned that these humongous trees have what is called Family Circles. Their shared root systems make them stronger. Whew! Stay tuned for spiritual applications with that one! We had such a good time being together!
Tomorrow, our plan is to go south to Monterey Peninsula - heard it is gorgeous! Hopefully we can eat some seafood while we are there.
This week, I have finished reading Same Kind of Different as Me. Perfect timing - or maybe not - to be hanging in a city with such a prolific homeless population. I am learning so much about myself!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Last Day of Conference

I spent all day in one workshop with Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight, an emotionally-focused therapy book.
Here are a few quotes from the day:

Before you even know how you feel, it is registered on your face.

Love is not about perfect performance but emotional presence.

Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and the wrong.
Sometime in your life you will have been all of these.
(quote by Lloyd Shearer)

If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else. (quote by Yogi Berra)

At the first break, I met Rick and Bekki Cotton who live in Granbury and go to church in Duncanville. Cool!

Tonight we went to Bubba Gumps on Fisherman's Wharf for supper. So fun! But... I had a little trouble with the public transportation. We rode a trolley to get down to the wharf. The seats were full so I was standing. As soon as the trolley took off, I almost fell and I stepped on this older woman's foot. I apologized so sweetly but she wasn't buying it. The trolley stopped and I regained my footing. Then it took off again and this time I almost sat on her. I apologized again but could not stop laughing. The next stop she jumped up and loudly proclaimed, "I have to get off here." She huffed and puffed off. Well, that left her seat open. There was a pregnant woman standing and I offered, while I was cracking up, to let her have the seat but she, laughing too, said that I better take it. I quickly thanked her, agreed, and sat the rest of the way. I am still laughing!!!!! I can't wait to ride again tomorrow. Rick decided to take a taxi back to our hotel. Oh, what a roller coaster ride!!! Whew! I took 2 Dramamine and am very grateful! My head is still spinning!

Tomorrow, we are play all day. We are planning to go back to the wharf, via the trolley, I'm sure, and go on cruise-tour of Alcatraz tomorrow night. Can't wait!!!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Day Three of Conference

We are resting a bit before we go to hear John Gray (When Mars and Venus Collide) from 7:30-10:00 - but I want to recap this day before we go. We ate supper at an Irish Pub - the first time I can ever remembering ordering lamb. It was good but... oh, let me recap the info of the day - not the food.

First thing this morning, the plenary speaker was Dr. Sue Johnson. I will spend all day with her tomorrow. I am so excited for the opportunity because she was amazing today! She is the author of Emotional-Focused Therapy.
Some of her quotes:
"How to understand the great emotional bond and the great source of pain (love) is the greatest treasure hunt of mankind."

Isolation is more dangerous physically than smoking.
Your brain codes emotional isolation as danger.
You become emotionally 'stuck' when the person you go to for safe attachment creates isolation.

The code of attachment tells us that the primary need is to feel secure with another.

All arguments are about the power of emotional connection:
*Are you there for me?
*Are you accessible for me?
*Are you responsive to my needs?
*Are you engaged with me?
Emotional presence is solution.

Criticism by someone you love creates relapse in any 'issue' - ex. depression.

(more from her tomorrow - I can't wait!)

Dr. David Carder - on Close Calls: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage

The power of a temptation lies in its timing.

High risk times for affair:
Following a loss
In a life transition
During pregnancy or within 18 following birth (he has done extensive research on pastors and this has proven to be their most vulnerable time)

Most pastors who have affairs do so between ages 31 and 40 (43.9%).
Over 70% of pastors having affairs do so before the age of 40, with a huge % of those never reported to their 'people'.

The following list include the characteristics for alcoholics to relapse and they also lower barriers for affair prevention. When we are:

Father God, please teach us how self-care so that our hearts do not become the devil's playground. Fill us, as Your people, with wisdom and discernment to eat and rest well. Guard our minds that anger does not settle in. Help us to use every opportunity to practice forgiveness so bitterness does not take up room in our hearts. Fill us with Your presence and Your passion so that we do not let loneliness and boredom become fertilizer for the Evil One. We desperately want to bring You glory and honor in the way we do marriage.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Day Two of Conference

Happy Fourth of July! This was my precious Dad's favorite holiday. He loved when we celebrated with him - he didn't really care what we ate as long as there was watermelon to top it off. My mom is so sad today. It doesn't help that I am at this conference in San Fran. I have been thinking about her all day - and praying for her.

This day has been full and so rich! Right before lunch I heard someone calling my name - it was Charles and Judy Siburt. We just love them! We walked to a diner for lunch but had to eat at the counter so we are meeting again tonight to walk to an Italian place so we can visit and catch up.

I do want to journal some of my notes from the day.
Markman and Stanley (researchers) opened the day. Here is some of their quotes --
Commitment is the choice to give up other choices.
One fourth of the teen girls in America now have STD's.
48.7% women reported a negative reaction to 'hooking up' sex; while 51% of men reported a positive reaction.

David Olson--
5 Best predictors of a Happy Marriage --
*Personality compatability
*Conflict Resolution

Flexibility and closeness are the two that are new and are teachable.

Scott Stanley-- Sliding vs. Deciding
Too many people today are sliding through really big transitions then making decisions later.
(He's talking about relationships.)
My reflection of this last sentence: I want to work with the teen girls that I teach on how to break up. Nice girls don't know how and frequently get 'stuck' in relationships that are not emotionally healthy or safe because they have no clue how to get out. I don't want these girls to have life-long consequences because they slid. I want to be about the business of empowering then to be wise and discerning about relationships.

Tomorrow should be an amazing day! We end the day with a keynote by John Gray. He is so entertaining! In case I haven't said it lately: I LOVE my job! I LOVE my whole life! Rick, I am delighted you came with me to San Francisco!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Day One of Conference

I want to write out of few thoughts from the first day of the Smart Marriage conference mostly by sharing some quotes from a few of the speakers.

Gary Chapman's keynote: No one has ever died from breaking off an affair. Some have died from continuing them. No one ever regrets doing what's right.

His new book comes out July 15 entitled: Love as a Way of Life (doesn't that sound like something Jesus would just love?)
Does love stand a chance in this country? Love is our only chance!

2 essentials to a positive long-term relationship:
1. both partners feeling loved and appreciated
2. both knowing how to deal effectively with their own failures

From his class on The Five Languages of Apology:
Life's true meaning is found in relationships, also life's deepest pain.

Why do some people choose not to apologize:
fear the consequences of admitting the offense
don't value the relationship
have personality or esteem issues

On teaching children to apologize:
*teach them to take responsibility
*help them understand that their actions affect other people
*life has rules
*apologies are necessary when we hurt others
*teach them the five languages of apology
*teach them by your example

Dave Carder's class: An affair contains the following three components--
1. childhood magic - totally free of responsibility
2. Adolescent sexuality - exciting, spontaneous (like in a car - ha!)
3. adult mobility - business trips, choose to see each other in time that are not "regular" or easy
Healthy marriages-work involves maintaining all three.

John Van Epp's keynote: Years ago, research revealed that teenage marriages had a high rate of instability so the marriage age began to be pushed way up. For a period of time the slogan taught was 'marry later, marry better'. What we now know is that when the marriage age is anywhere from 21-30, higher stability is more likely to occur. But some people who wait until later to marry are more likely to be sexually permissive, have higher rates of substance abuse, have higher rates of cohabitation, and show higher acceptance of out-of-marriage births.

It has been a good day at the conference. Rick and I are about to leave to go to a banquet - always a highlight at the conference.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Off to San Francisco!

We leave tomorrow for the Smart Marriage conference in San Fran! I LOVE this conference! I want to be a sponge for 4 1/2 days. Rick is going with me to read and hang out.
I am trying to tie up loose ends tonight before being gone for 9 days and blogging made my list.

Jennifer, Jed, and Jocelyn spent last week with us. Jonathan came in Tuesday night so he could speak at church Wed night. He was amazing! I was just bustin' proud of him! Wednesday was his 25th birthday. We had a blast being with them. I'll post pictures soon. Jen got her hair cut while they were here and it is adorable!

I am currently reading "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. I came across this quote last night during the discussion that followed Ron asking Denver to be his friend (Ron is a wealthy white man; Denver is a homeless black man):
Denver -- "I heard that when white folks go fishin they do somthin called 'catch and release'. That really bothers me. I just can't figure it out. 'Cause when colored folks go fishin, we really proud of what we catch, and we take it and show it off to everybody that'll look. Then we eat what we catch ... in other words, we use it to sustain us. So it really bothers me that white folks would go to all that trouble to catch a fish, then when they done caught it, just throw it back in the water."
"So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: If you is fishin for a friend you just gon' catch and release, then I ain't got no desire to be your friend."
"But if you is looken for a real friend, then I'll b e one. Forever."
Denver, continuing to reflect: "Bein friends is like being soldiers in the army. You live together; you fight together; you die together."
Ron promised not to 'catch and release.'

It is a great book!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Introducing Jocelyn Brooke Ross!

Like father, like son - Jed and Jonathan
They both have toothpicks in their mouth.

Josh, Kayci, and Truitt left for Memphis Monday morning.
This is the picture before they hit the road.

Here she is!
Jocelyn Brooke was born Monday, June 2, at 12:57.
She weighed 7 lbs 14 oz. and was 20 3/4 inches long.
This picture was taken about 5 hours after she was born on Monday.
Please note she is already in her carseat since she came home three hours after birth!

Isn't she precious in her bow!

Jocelyn with her family (doesn't Jen look great????) This pic is on Tuesday.

Here she is talking to me on Wednesday morning before we had to leave! Isn't she beautiful?????

Monday, June 02, 2008

A little of this and a little of that...

This morning has been a whirlwind of excitement! Josh and Kayci - and our precious Truitt - are on their way to Memphis. Josh is the new pulpit minister for the Sycamore View Church of Christ there and it sounds like such an exciting opportunity! We are so proud of them and for them! Their house sounds like it is totally amazing. Can't wait to see it! But it was so hard to say good-bye - boohoo! Can't wait to hear all their stories about life in Tennessee!

Right before they left, Jonathan called from Houston to tell us that Jen is probably in labor! So today we could get to meet Jocelyn Brooke Ross! I cannot to see her! We should know something shortly. I am trying to tie up some loose ends this morning so I can make a fairly quick exit.

Summer is here! It is June! I cannot shake my former school teacher mode (and don't think I want to) that summer is the time to catch-up and do the things you want to do all year but don't have time. I treasure these months of the year!
This summer I plan to:
*sit out on my patio and drink ice tea with lemon and lime and watch my Missouri primrose bloom every night;
*read several books that are on my too-important-not-to-read list (Same Kind of Different as Me, The Shack, To Be Told, Dr. Worthington's book on Forgiveness);
*hang out with my man!

The preacher at our church, who I think is the best lookin' preacher anywhere and who I happened to be married to, shared yesterday that grace and peace go together - they are like friends. Grace is always first because without grace there is no real peace. Until you recognize that you are grace-covered, you cannot rest in peace.
Just thought I would share - May the Lord bless you with His grace and His peace!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Ok - here goes - I have put off writing this blog because it just doesn't seem real yet and, somehow, by writing it, it gives it more permanence. Such a heavy, heavy time. On April 29, our phone rang about 6:30 and I could hear my mom trying to talk. She was finally able to get out that she thought my dad was dead.
Rick and I flew out the door. It was true. A day we had known was coming had arrived. Two and a half weeks later I still feel like I am functioning in the mode Daddy prepared me to handle. We discussed his death many times and he told me to take care of my mom which I am desperately trying to do. (Her heart is breaking.) On the Saturday before he died, he told me he wanted a funeral in Decatur because they had made such good friends here. He said he wanted it as soon as possible after he died. And he told me that he wanted me to stand by his casket and thank each person for coming. My dad knew how he wanted to live and he knew how he wanted to die. He was and is one to be in charge when things get confusing for the rest of us. He continues to minister to me now with that steady reassurance.
This morning Mom rode with me to get my nails done and we discussed how sweet the Lord's timing is - I am grateful that I got to sit through Rick's series on heaven earlier this year and gather some thoughts about the place where Dad is enjoying rest.
Lori Lowe gave Mom a poem that she told me today has ministered to her beautifully. When I asked her what part meant the most to her, she responded 'the part about me having to let him go and his promise that he would meet me with a smile when I get to heaven."
This is a really wierd time in life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Learning to Love

I love that concept - learning to step into love a bit better, maybe with more wisdom. In Denver last year at a marriage conference I heard a speaker say that research is being done on happiness levels and that so far it appears the greatest happiness in life comes not from being loved well but from loving another really, really well. Now I ask you, doesn't that sound just like God to wire us like that??? The idea began with observing new mothers loving their babies - with no return yet - just learning to love well.

On Tuesday mornings, I meet with a small group of mothers to study the Word. We are currently in Philippians. I was awe-struck last week by the words in chapter 1, verses 9-11, from the Message:

So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy New Year!

Malaya shows off an extra-large 'Santa' grin. She is our precious!
Rick and the grand-ones on New Year's Eve. Aren't they a darling group?
Truitt Ross was a blast on his first Christmas! We are delighted he is here!
Barbie, my sister, and me with our parents on Christmas Day. We were so glad they could all be here with us!
Jed already has a burning desire to preach! The more people stared and smiled at him during his 'sermon', the more fired up he became!

Christmas was a total delight this year! It was our year to have everyone with us on Christmas Eve and Day and it was full of laughter, food, long talks, playing, and more laughter with joy on top!

As I move in to plans for 2008, I have one word I choose to pray through: simplify. I don't know all it means or what it looks like but I am begging the Lord to teach me and reveal to me ways He wants to manifest Himself in and through me by way of the simple. I think a good place to start will involve garbage bags and a journal - not at the same time but definitely connected.

I pray rich blessings on you, my precious friends - rich blessings of God's presence and fulfillment. I pray that this year we can find some time to chat over enchiladas and I can hear more life stories. I want to spend some time with 'my people' bragging on the Lord God Almighty!!!!