Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Shots for the Christmas card we didn't deem worthy - but still bring a smile to our faces, so thought I'd share them here!
CHRISTMAS!!! It's a special time of year, no doubt. It can encompass the very best smells, sights, sounds, tastes, feelings, and yet...somehow leave us wanting... I read a letter this morning & it so expressed everything I think & feel about this time of year, and especially right now, that I just had to share. Even though it was sent a couple of weeks ago, when I read it today, it seemed eerily appropriate considering the heartwrenching events of this past weekend in Conneticut, and really  - life in general. This letter is from John Eldridge. You may know him as the author of "Wild at Heart," among many others. It helps me cement things in this forgetful brain of mine when I write them out myself...so here's to keeping it in the front of my mind & extending my heart to you (through his words!). Grab a chair, a mug of your favorite, hot, steaming drink, and thoughtfully, reflect on these words. I promise you'll be glad you did.
"Dearest Friends,
And so it is Christmastime.
Christmastime - what does the word evoke in you?
Perhaps there is the initial sense of pressure, of all the many things you need to get done.  Beneath that, perhaps the word Christmastime evokes some hopes for the season, desires that this time of year arouse. Deeper still might be memories of Christmases past, and all the longing that those awaken.  Can you feel it?
It means something very different to me now than it did when I was a boy.  Back then, in the golden days of childhood Christmas, before the end of the innocence, the word was filled with promise - stockings, and presents, and gatherings; the beautiful tree lit at night and hopes that Santa would come,  The promise of a bike, a baseball glove.  As a young man, newly come to Christ, a major shift occurred.  The season became filled with the wonder of Advent - the Incarnation, Bethlehem, the coming of our Redeemer.  All the joy that the old Christmas carols capture so beautifully.  The promise of a Savior. 
In recent years, though my love for Advent has deepened, I find myself thinking in another direction.  My thoughts and desires turn not so much backwards - either to the memories of childhood Christmases, or to the wonder of Bethlehem - but rather forwards, to another Advent we are longing for, all of us, whether we know it or not.
There is a golden treasure at the heart of Christianity, which I think we have lost.  Let me show you what I mean, by quoting a few passages from the New Testament:
         We wait eagerly for our adoption (Romans 8:23).
         You eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed (1 Corinthians 1:7).
         We eagerly await a Savior...the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20).
         While we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus
          Christ. (Titus 2:13).
I was reading through passages like these described the other day, and what I was struck by was, No we don't. I don't know anyone who could be described as "waiting eagerly" for the return of jesus.  Really - how many conversations, emails, texts have you received this year in which the two of you spoke longingly of how you are eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus? I rest my case.  Sure - we want Jesus to come back.  Sure, it is part of our faith.  But are we actually, daily, looking forward to it with hopeful hearts? Waiting eagerly? You begin to see what I mean.
Yet - this is the cental treasure of Christianity.
This is the very core of our faith.  The older liturgies used to repeat it weekly, for a reason: Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.  Without this at the forefront of our hearts and minds...we are lost.  We turn to this world with all our hopes and dreams...and it cannot deliver.
Friends, dear ones, your heart was made for the Kingdom of God, and nothing on this earth can possibly satisfy because this earth is broken and the Kingdom has not yet come in all its glory and fullness.  Now, you know I believe that a great deal of healing, restoration, and goodness is available in this life.  But if you read back over the old saints, you'll find their hopes totally set on the return of Jesus, the second coming, the Second Advent.  Here is one of my favorite passages from George McDonald:
     We may however say to ourselves, One day these souls of ours will blossom into the full sunshine. When all that is desirable in the commonness of daily love, and all we long for of wonder and mystery and the look of Christmastime will be joined in one, and we shall walk in a wondrous dream yet with more sense of reality than our most waking joy now gives us.
Christmastime is a promise. It is a herald, in twinkling lights and songs, in bakery smells and beautiful packages, in parties and celebrations, of the coming Kingdom.  All those desires (and disappointments) it awakens, they are telling you of the return of the King.  Jesus Christ came once, to rescue this world, just as he promised.  And he is coming back, dear ones, just as he promised.  When he returns, life will finally be ours.  All that we long for in the wonder and look of Christmastime will be ours.  Forever.
If you do not find yourself "eager awaiting" this, you might want to stop and ask yourself why.
And so, I wanted to invite you to a new oway of observing Advent, Christmastime, and the holidays.  Let this be a time of turning your hopes and dreams towards the Second Advent, the return of our King. (Personally, I pray every Christmas eve that he'll return on that very night; wouldn't it be beautifully poetic, to have Jesus return Christmas eve night, under the stars, in Bethlehem?!).
However he chooses to return, our King and friend is coming, dear ones.  This is the hope and treasure of our faith.  This is the deepest longing of your heart.  Christmas merely hints at it.  Knowing this, putting your hopes on the one and not the other, has a surprising effect - you'll find your heart is freed to sing the carols with a greater joy, freed to enjoy the gifts of the holidays without the pressure.  Free to breathe."

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I have a precious new friend at work...MUCH younger & totally creative, and she was showing me her darling blog the other day & I realized, "Oh No! I haven't updated mine in months."  You probably have picked up from facebook or elsewhere that major changes have taken over since I posted last in February.  I'll hit the highlights & then TRY to keep up from there. I'd really like to do more with this...I think getting paid to write, create, etc would be pretty awesome!! Amazing what some of these ladies are doing making a career out there in blogosphere world!!

P is very happy at his "new" job, which he started at this summer.  We realized not long after my last post that the job we moved here for was not what we had been led to believe it was going to be.  That was pretty heartbreaking.  Depressed beyond belief & rather strapped financially, we considered packing it all up & moving "home," but since we had purchased a home, his previous position had already been filled, etc, we determined: we are stuck for the time being!  So I didn't embrace becoming a "Roman" for quite a while, and hence (probably) the reason I stopped posting.  While "wallering" (as Grandmother would say) in the mire of despair, we decided to pray about the situation, and P got not one, but two job offers in the same week.  That gave us a graceful exit to the company we came here with & now he is happily settled. 

As family accountant, I quickly saw that it was back to work for me, so in MARCH started pursuing my nursing license here in GA.  LOOOOOOOOOOONG story short: I now have my GA nursing license - again - but that took until SEPTEMBER! The bureaucracy at the state board level is unbelievable.  It has been an ardous adventure, but I am now employed & have a job that lets me have "mommy" hours for the most part.  It's for the same company that P works for, so that's a bit of fun.  We're located in two separate buildings, but can meet for lunch.  I like holding hands walking across the hospital campus.  Sigh.  Still a teenager at heart sometimes.

On a positive note, we have met some VERY kind, lovely people, who have been nothing but a total joy & blessing to us, and I'm sure as time & life goes by, we will develop deeper friendships. It just takes a while.  And when you've had a lot of "life history" it's hard to find that same depth.  And, of course, we're all busy busy with kids. But, I see promise.  Lots of promise.

Kids are doing AWESOME.  Maturing quickly...much too quickly! Really into sports & music & friends, but we are all still homebodies at heart.  We've seen some beautiful fall weather & the trees have been lovely.  I hoped to get some last pics today of the colors before they completely faded away, but we stayed home & had some "down" time after church.  Speaking of...it's only taken us 11 months, but I think we might have found "the one" today.  I'll let you know.  It's been an adventure of its own.  LOTS of tears & discussions over this one!  Moving a family is hard!! 

Had a particularly interesting pity party the last week or so, missing my girlfriends as well as the familiarity of our old church (lots of new excitement going on there...) & the closeness of family.  Then today, in 2 separate events, but now I see were tied together at the beginning & end of my day came this:
     a.  "Maranatha" - the "hello, how ya doin?"  members of the brand new early church greeted each other with whennever they would see each other.  See, life was hard for them, being persecuted & all.  It means...& they would grab each others hands & intently look into each others eyes..."Hang on...He's coming back soon!" Thank you, Craig Groeschel.  www.lifechurch.tv today's message.
     b.  My heart goes into a nosedive when the expectations I have in this world aren't fulfilled.  Really...I think this has been my issue lately.  Do you ever get tired of just being "heartsick" & trying to put on the happy face?  Found this: "...set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:13)  FULLY on Jesus & His return...NOT on the things I want/expect/desire from this life now.  "The kingdom of Jesus is coming, & with it, the life I am longing for."  Thank you, John Eldridge. www.ransomedheart.com

Pity party over.  When I get that "feeling" in the pit of my chest because things haven't worked out the way I thought they were going to, and when I hate that my house is full of mismatched furniture & I can't get it decorated the way I want, blah, blah, blah...I shall say to myself:
   "Ahem! Self...set your hope FULLY on the GRACE you have been given & that will be given to you when JESUS gets here...and He will be getting here SOON.  This is a short, brief, blip on the spectrum of eternity.  The life I am longing for is coming when Jesus' kingdom arrives. Now...what am I supposed to be doing here in Rome, GA for HIM???"

Talk to ya soon...I hope! I'd love to hear from you...post some responses!

Just a pic of my 3 crazies that makes me smile on a great day in Cloudland Canyon a couple of weeks ago.  My heart. She was singing & dancing to "Buttermilk Biscuits."  Sir Mix-a-Lot.  80's.  Don't ask. It's the little things that make my heart truly full. I just have to remember that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Catch up!

Hey y'all (she said with a soft southern Georgia accent)!

Deepest apologies for not keeping up with this better the last few weeks, but life has been a whirlwind (I know... when is it not?)! Here's a synopsis of what's been happening with us & from now on, I'll attempt to post more regularly & give detail. I'm trying to figure out how to post pictures on this blog & so far have been unsuccessful, so here's hoping I get that figured out so you can see our beautiful city & our faces (which may or may not be so beautiful, depending on the day).

1. Mobile house SOLD!! Praise God...what a crazy roller coaster that's been.

2. Rome house PURCHASED! Praise God...what a blessing to be able to rent until closing. I think we pushed the "senior" owners a few years closer to their death with all the stress of Mobile house adventures.

3. Precept Bible Study class found! Studying 2 Peter - extremely convicting, great small class, lovely teacher. Only downside...it's in Cartersville, about 30 min away. Hopefully I can find one here eventually.

4. Kids are adjusting well. Alex & Madelyn have kicked it into gear & are doing GREAT at their schools. Alex has a ton of new friends, went to his first "dance" here for Valentines (no date thank you very much & of course, he didn't dance!). Madelyn has found a good friend, finally. Molly has found a twin in her class...total tomboy, only wears Under Armour, lives in our neighborhood, musical, Christian, and sometimes her grades are good...sometimes, not so much, but enjoying school. We'll get there...pray for some decisions we need to make for her regarding some testing/therapy.

5. Paul is moving the Calhoun clinic up in the company ranks dramatically & loves it there. He has tremendous co-workers & has done some great marketing, which he enjoys. We're ready to get him here in Rome...looking like it will be this summer. But if he got an opportunity to buy into the Calhoun practice, he wouldn't mind staying there. Pray about that for us, if you think about it. Calhoun office is about 30 minutes away.

6. We'd been here all of 12 glorious days & I got sick...long story short, ended up with a total hysterectomy/surgery/the works. Very thankful for it, found some pre-cancerous stuff in there & feel like God was watching out for us. Of course that's dramatically slowed down the cleaning/organizing/unpacking/attempts to decorate, but we'll get to that too as I get stronger. I'm definitely feeling much better now that we're two weeks out from surgery. My mom & Paul's mom were able to come & help get us through the first 10 days, so that was a big help.

7. For Valentine's Day, we kicked it up a notch, threw the whole family in the van, and drove to Fuddrucker's for burgers. Good burgers, but oh how we miss our go to in Mobile...the Big Time Diner. Milkshakes like theirs are not to be found elsewhere, we've decided. Girls & I baked some goodies earlier in the week & they want to start a kids online cooking show. Kind of like "Spatulatta." Got to think about that one...but I must say, I turned on my inner Giada quite well...if only I was her size & had her hair, I think I could pull it off. "The salty crunch of the peanuts & popcorn, combined with the sweet chewiness of the Craisons, and the rich dark chocolate M&M's, all bound together by the pure white chocolate cream made for a Valentine treat anyone would be glad to receive." Then the sad news is, no homemade treats allowed at school. Bummer.

Well...that's about all, folks. I've had a lot of "downtime" & have discovered some great websites, apps, books, shows; realized how woefully inept I am at all this blog stuff...you should SEE what a lot of these "bloggers" are doing! I've got to get the photo technology figured out! I'll share some in further posts...I hope.

Here's part of what I'm memorizing right now (food for thought): Grace & peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or shortsighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance in to the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 2 Peter 2:3-11. Deep, challenging stuff.

Blessing & hope to you!

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 6 - Things I like

Words you like to hear: "I am SO happy at this job." Paul is LOVING his new position.  Has goal to be top therapist in system this year.  Growing clinic like crazy, and had staff member say yesterday, "God is all over you being here."  Woo Hoo!

Smiles on all three of my kids faces as they trotted off to school this morning.

It's the weekend & we're going exploring & shopping for bookshelves & birthday present for Paul.

Panera - thanks for coffee & wifi; Am very glad Monday & home internet is coming.

Prayers of friends & family - especially for this ridiculously crazy journey on the road to selling our house.  It seemed like such a simple thing...NOT!!!! Please pray SOME BANK, SOMEWHERE, will fund this German's loan & close by the end of January.  God bless Marcile. And give the owners of our home in Rome patience & understanding.

Max is terrified & in hiding.  Which is not funny, but it kind of is.  He experienced the actual "shock" yesterday for the first time when he tried to venture past the flags marking the underground fence.  I've never heard a dog SCREAM before.  It's not even turned up high.  Apparently he's very sensitive, my dog.  Anyway...he won't be trying that again, for a while, I'm sure.  There's a lesson in there for my kids, I think.  Boundaries & punishment when you cross them with the purpose of keeping them safe & out of harms way & staying where you'll be happy....table discussion for this evening.

Am taking the camera this weekend & will post pics.
Love ya'll!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January 4 - School, kids, & Starbucks

Good Morning!

The kids are officially registered, enrolled, all are IN school today & I have made it to Starbucks!!  Hallelujah!!!
It was a lovely sight yesterday to drive into school pickup & spot my "Eeyore" A in a group of kids, laughing & smiling. He had to approach my car from the rear & didn't know I could see him, but as he walked away from the group & toward me, there was an unmistakable GRIN on his face.  Life is good.  And this am the words were, "I really like it up here."  Thank You, Jesus!!  He had more homework last night than he's ever had in his life, a whole 45 minutes!!  He's finally going to be challenged.  He gets to take band & PE & informational technology along with core classes this semester, & is in advanced math & language arts as well, so his plate is full.

M1 started today, after a hard campaign for homeschool on her part, so there were some tears & fears, but she had found a very nice friend to show her around this am, and I'm looking forward to the report this afternoon.  Shopping for school supplies perked her up, and the possibility of getting to decorate a locker seemed especially wonderful. She, too, gets to take band & PE with her classes, so she's seeing that as a positive. We're going to a "real" salon this afternoon for a "Zendaya" haircut.  If you don't know who that is, be grateful you don't have knowledge of the Disney channel stars.

M2 slept almost 13 hours last night after her first day of school and only roused with much encouragement!  She's got a great group of teachers & feels like a big girl changing classes. She got to play dodgeball @ PE so all was right with her world. My hopes that she would decide to sleep in her own bedroom in the new house since we are all located upstairs have been dashed.  It is not to be.  However, she is taking her showers in her own bathroom instead of mine, so I feel progress has been made.  Thankfully, most nights M1 doesn't mind a bed partner.

P is busy at work.  He's interim director of the Calhoun clinic (about 30 minutes away) until construction on his Rome office is complete in June/July.  He's enjoying getting to do more "hands on" care & likes the marketing.  His company hosted a mani/pedi party for nurses of the referring doctors last week, and his toes look very lovely. He left the house this am in a handsome suit & tie, ready for a big lunch with the doctors.  My husband appears quite the professional!!

Random thoughts for which I'm thankful today:  Much is unpacked at the house; we are functional.  Much is left to do.  I'm so enjoying a basement!  Max, the dog, is staying in his invisible fence without issue (hooray! - now to keep him out of the garage..).  Cats are nesting.  Nights are COLD.  Frost is pretty in the morning.  Getting lots of exercise going up & down 2 flights of stairs a bazillion times a day. Two lovely neighbors on either side, one also with a German Shepherd to stare at Max, since they can't get to each other to play.  I'm able to drive around without constantly staring at the GPS on my phone...that's a plus for the drivers around me. Ran into my realtor in Staples yesterday while school shopping.  Love a small town...I know one person & that's who I see while out & about!  Who would have known how much I adore the laundry room being upstairs IN the master bedroom?!  Laundry is being done at the speed of lightning...it's phenomenal!  The population includes a lot of Hispanics here.  My husband is relearning his Spanish quickly & maybe I will have bilingual (sort of) kids.  I will have to smile a lot & try not to appear lost. Coffee & writing are therapeutic.

Great is Thy faithfulness,O God, my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord, unto Me.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to shield & to guide
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside.

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2

Apparently I’m not supposed to comment on resolutions (or lack thereof) because I just lost the entire paragraph & I don’t know why!  One second it was there, the next it was gone.  I’ll take it as a sign.  Maybe I’ll try a different direction.
I’m tired of making NY resolutions that are so high & lofty that I can never possibly reach them.  I doubt I’ll ever be the weight I was when I married, or that I’ll ever be the perfect housekeeper & organizer.  I won’t be the perfect wife, mother, daughter, sister, employee, friend, volunteer, even though I desire to be…well, sort of.  I can’t be all that…certainly not at one time. And what I’ve come to realize is that I DON’T want to be perfect. Who decides what “perfect” is anyway? Aren’t you tired of putting on a show for everyone else around you?  Don’t you want to have friends who appreciate your weirdness, puffiness, bad hair, & lack of taste?  I do.  Because none of us is “all that,” and I’m tired of trying to put on a front. 
I DO want to surround myself with other people who realize their desperate need for grace and mercy.  I DO want to surround myself with people who care more about worshipping God from their heart & soul than what they look like to others when they do.  I DO want to make time to invest in deep friendships, the kinds that take the effort of actual one on one conversation face to face, versus 500 facebook “friends” or occasional texting. I DO want to purposefully invest in my marriage & relationships with my children, recognizing that it will require saying “no” to some good things. I DO want to worship God & put Him before all others…people & things & food.  I DO want to be still before Him, so I can hear His voice clearly. 
I’ve made some colossal mistakes in the past 2 years because I allowed myself to get so busy, I didn’t stop to listen.  I DO want to hear what He has to tell me.  There were decisions that made such “sense” from a human, earthly perspective, but took our family far from His good & perfect will.  So this year, instead of a list, I have but one resolve: to sit at His feet & hear His voice & do what He tells me, worshipping Him with my whole life.  Because really, won’t that take care of everything else?
“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry & weary land where there is no water.  Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.  Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You.  So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.  My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness (the richest foods), and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.  When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.  My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63: 1-8
Today, I’m thankful for my God, who supplies all my needs, and gives me rest for my heart & soul & body in the shadow of His wings, and who delights in me when I sing praises to Him.

January 1

I was standing at my kitchen sink this morning, preparing the first pot of coffee for 2012 (we know there will be a minimum of 364 left to be made), and was looking out the window.  There is a beautiful large window over my sink…well, I say “my”,  but we still haven’t been able to close on our house in Mobile due to the crazy mortgage company & holiday issues, but hopefully we will close in January because the German has switched to our mortgage comp & they say it can be closed in three weeks.  So back to the window that the owners of our home in Rome have so graciously allowed us to rent until the closing goes through.  Are you confused yet?  I know I have been.
Where were we?  Ah, yes, the window…ANYWAY…there is a lovely large window over my kitchen sink that gives me a wonderful view of the back deck & yard.  We sit near the top of a hill, so everything slopes down from the house.  It’s a high & lofty feeling, I tell you.  I could see the sun rising on the first morning of 2012 and saw clouds literally RACING across the sky.  It came to me in a moment that we are so like those clouds. 
Clouds don’t get much say so in where they get to fly; they are blown about at the mercy of the wind, coming & going.  They are heavy & present & voluminous, dripping one minute, but can dissipate the next like a warm breath on a crisp cold morning. What a cloud can know for sure is that each day will bring changes.  Sometimes it’s a lazy summer day…still & peaceful, slow moving & warm.  Other days are tumultuous, like a hurricane wind that blows with force & and anger, destruction & uncertainty.  Some days they get to hover & watch from high above, staying out of the fray; some days it’s foggy, and they’re down in the bottoms dealing with life from the depths.
The other thing a cloud can know most definitely is that if it does make it through the night intact, the sun will most certainly rise in the morning.  A new day will dawn.  There will be a fresh start, a great adventure, never before seen places to explore.  And especially at this time of year, who doesn’t love the sense of new beginnings?
All this holds true for us as well.  There are things I know for certain no matter where I am: the sun will rise each morning, the SON has risen, indeed, and I will be blown into challenging, sometimes unexpected places.  I’m ever so grateful for that constant knowledge. 
Today I’m thankful for family that drives long distances to show love by helping us unpack at feverish paces, a husband that works hard to provide for his family, children that are bending & trying to stay upbeat with all the uncertainty of their new lives, the past, the future, old friends.
May our new year & yours be blessed because we have the ever present SON in our lives, no matter where we are or what we face.
“Yet those who wait for (hope in) the Lord will gain NEW (fresh) strength;                              They will mount up (sprout) with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired,                They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31