Crying for Communion.....


This past Sunday morning during church, a sweet little boy in front of me started to cry as the communion tray passed him and his mom wouldn't let him have a cracker.  As I heard him crying, I thought to myself, "God longs to hear all of us crying for communion.....crying to spend time with Him......crying to be His and only His."

I know his tears weren't necessarily because of a deep desire to commune with God.  They were tears for a cracker. But realizing this, made me think about the things that usually make us cry and whine.  Aren't our longings normally for silly things like crackers?  I know mine are.

I'm hoping that the next time I find myself longing for something, I'll remember the cries of this little boy and hear God whisper, "Long for communion with me..not "stuff." 

Help me Lord to cry out for communion with You,

Battlefield of the Mind (Week Three)

I spent some time in the garden this morning pulling weeds..lots and lots of weeds......

And as I sat there on my little stool, I couldn't help but think of how similar our lives can be to a garden.  God has placed so muck potential inside all of us and yet the devil can just creep in and take over with all kinds of thoughts and schemes.....

What do we do when faced with life's "stuff?????"

I have friends who are dealing with some huge issues right now:  parenting concerns, marriage issues, health problems,and the list goes on and on and on........I found myself praying as I pulled each weed, longing to feel God's closeness as I sat in the midst of His creation.

Jesus found Himself in a garden time and time again..walking with His Father.I have to believe He dealt with His own set of weeds as He walked on this fallen earth.  

I think the devil would love to just pull us down with the weeds he sends our way.  Defeated Christians are okay with the devil.  They don't get in his way.  They hide under their weeds trying to gasp for sunlight and air just enough to make it through the next day in their garden.

But this morning as I looked at my real garden, I knew I had a choice to make just like we do in life.  Tackle the weeds or give into them.

Today I chose to tackle them.  And guess what!?!?!  I discovered blooms on my cantaloupe, lots of green tomatoes promising a future harvest, runners on my strawberries venturing out to create new plants, and peppers almost ready to be eaten!!! 

The chapter for today is so fitting:

It is called, "Don't Give Up!"

I love  the passage that's included:

Deuteronomy 1:6-8

The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, "You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates.  See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-and to their descendants after them."

God was telling them it was time to get up and move on!   They had been in the wilderness long enough!

Do you ever have a wilderness feeling?  I sure do!  I can have a great day one day and then feel so defeated the next.  I have a story to share on another day about something I'm dealing with right now that has become a weed in my life, but I'll save it for Monday.

For today, I just want to encourage you to pull a weed or two in your life!  Stand up and face the mountain or the wilderness or whatever seems to be surrounding you and claim God's power as you put one foot in front of another knowing that God is with you.  He's bigger than any mountain, able to rescue you from any wilderness, and definitely not stopped by the devil's weeds of doubt, fear, insecurity, loneliness, or whatever you may be feeling.

I love you all.

I remember reading this over and over while Nick was going through chemo and facing transfusion after transfusion.  I read it now in my grief and it still brings great comfort.

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters,
       I will be with you;
       and when you pass through the rivers,
       they will not sweep over you.
       When you walk through the fire,
       you will not be burned;
       the flames will not set you ablaze.

In order to win the battle for our mind, we have to remember that God has already promised us the victory!!!!! 

Praying for you today,

Faith's Journey.......

olivias photoshoot 0034 My cousin's son who is a photography major has been visiting with us for a week, and we had the opportunity to take Olivia to a friend's photography studio and practice his photography skills one day last week.  (Thank you, Debbie.)

Olivia hasn't been feeling very well for a while now, and this was her first outing in about five days so it was just good to get her out of the house doing "something fun."  Out of all of the pictures, this might be my favorite.

Olivia is such an "American girl" now that seeing her in somewhat "Indian" attire makes me smile.

I remember when Olivia was about four, I was in the kitchen with her one day and she looked at me very seriously and said, "Mommy, when I grow up I'm going to go back to India and tell people about God, and Jesus, and Spirit." 

And then, without missing a beat, she added this deep question,

"What is Spirit?"

It was all I could do not to laugh.  This sweet little four-year old girl was dreaming of helping her people learn about Jesus long before she really understood just how badly they needed Him.

I remember thinking, '"I don't ever want to forget this moment."

When we visited India last spring and witnessed firsthand the worshipping of so many different false gods, I realized for the first time just how much Olivia's life had truly been changed by becoming a part of a Christian family.

When I saw an Indian mom crying as she lowered her baby's head onto a dirty, concrete slab in front of their "god of death," as if she were begging the god to somehow save her child, my heart broke. 

When I saw shrine after shrine lining every road we traveled on, covered in trinkets and silk flowers that had been left by poverty-stricken Indians who were trying to appease this god or that, I felt powerless.

Here I am, a 44 year-old woman who knows so much more than Olivia could have ever known at the age of 4, and what am I doing to help India?????  This question haunts me over and over again.

I feel that it is time to share a dream I have with all of you.  This dream started as I thought of India and our own Olivia's journey.

See, Olivia's middle name is Faith, and she is definitely a girl of great faith.  Her journey in this world started when she was found by a policeman after being dropped off a bridge in a small village in southern India at just a few days of age.  From there, she spent 6 weeks in a nearby hospital and then was moved to an orphanage.

Her journey took a very different turn a year and a half later when she flew here to American with Tim who had gone to pick her up from a world where she had already begun chanting praises to false gods during regular ceremonies within her orphanage walls.

Since being a part of our family, her journey as "Olivia Faith" has truly been a journey of faith in so many ways.

Olivia's journey has known cancer from the time she was four - watching her buddy and big brother Nick begin his own tough journey at the young age of 7.

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Olivia's journey has known the joy of being baptized into the family of God.  I remember when she decided that she was ready to give her life to Him..she was so determined and so happy.  She cried tears of joy as Tim shared with the church that she had decided to accept Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior.....her little head barely peeking over the baptistry as Tim spoke.

Olivia's journey already includes deep grief.   She misses Nick so much.  Only with a strong faith in Heaven has she been able to regain her smile and joy.

Olivia's journey has embraced Nick's foundation, and she longs to play an active role in its ministry.

I think the fears over the past few days regarding Olivia's health have been a catalyst in awakening within me this dream I have had for some time.

I realize daily that millions in India need to know about God, Jesus, and "Spirit."  (The Holy Spirit!)  How can I and how can you help these people?

Well, here's my dream:

Olivia "Faith" has a journey.

At the same time, each of us are on our own journey of faith.

So, my dream is called "FAITH'S JOURNEY." 

Olivia Faith's Journey......

Your Faith's Journey......

My Faith's Journey........

If you are willing to join me and Olivia on this journey,  I am asking that you please consider cleaning out your drawers, closets, sheds, and garages.  Then save all of your items for an opportunity to join in a nationwide yard sale month for Mid-India Christian Mission.  I am going to have posters made through Nick's Foundation so that you can print them out online.  These "Faith's Journey" posters will tell about the work in Mid-India and explain how our yard sales will help the people there learn about the love of God.  You can decide if you want to give all or part of your yard sales' profits to the mission work.  I will give you the address for Mid-India's forwarding agent so that your donations will go directly to them.  I'm hoping that everyone will take pictures at their yard sale and send them to me so that we can put together a power point to share on YouTube...the power of Faith's Journey.

I am praying that we can raise at least $50,000 for the Mid-India Christian Mission Orphanage.  Just imagine the hundreds of kids who would then be better equipped to share the love of Jesus with their country.  By stepping out in faith that God will use our time, energy, and money in ways we never dreamed possible (much like the Bible story of the boys' fish and bread that fed thousands), I believe we will begin a journey in our faith that is life-changing.  Who knows?  This project may begin reaching a different country every year!!!

Please pray for the people of India and start cleaning now!!!

By mid-August we sh ould be ready to launch

"Faith's Journey."

olivias photoshoot 0035 I believe we will all be blessed as we step out in faith, willing to give so that others can know God's love.

Luke 6:38

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Thankful for a God who stretches me to the point of waking up to His dreams,

Relieved and Thankful...

Dr. Cook called Tim while I was on the road to mom's and said that Olivia's ultrasound was clear!  Her blood work was normal except for low iron, and her protein level in another test had dropped significantly!!! The low iron level explains why she has had such a lack of energy lately.

Dr. Cook has talked to a specialist in Columbus and they believe Olivia has "Orthostatic proteinuria" (Martha and Tiffany, you were right!)  This is a benign condition that you can look up on the Internet if you are curious to know more.  :)

Thank you for your prayers.  Olivia will start multi-vitamins and extra iron now, so hopefully her bouncy self will be back soon! :)

Praying you find many ways to cherish today,

A Too-Familiar Morning................................
As I left our house in the early hours of the morning with Olivia in her jammies under a blanket, I couldn't help but recall all the early morning trips with Nick in his jammies under a blanket.

Sitting in the waiting room of the hospital lab with Olivia and seeing a sweet but familiar face preparing to call me to do pre-registration paperwork sent chills through me. As I sat across from her desk, handing her my insurance card and answering her questions, I tried to act as if it were just a normal day, a normal moment.............

And then a voice came over the intercom.

It was the chaplain, asking everyone who would like to join him in prayer, to take a minute and pray.

As he prayed words that spoke deeply to my soul, I sat there with my head bowed and tears quickly filled my eyes. I knew that the prayer was just what I needed. A prayer of remembrance for all God has done in my life and how I have to trust Him on uncertain days.

As the prayer ended, the receptionist looked at me and said, "You look familiar. Where have we met?"

I wanted to pretend I didn't know.

I also wanted to answer her question.

For a minute, neither was possible.

I looked at her and said, "I can't answer the question right now, or I will cry." But it was too late. The tears were falling, and she was apologizing, and there I sat in the stupid lab reliving my past with the tears I had held back for nearly two years in that very room as Nick had faced transfusion after transfusion and test after test.

I was finally able to say, "My son came here for blood work many times......He passed away.......... Nick." As soon as I said, "Nick," she whispered, "yes," as if suddenly his sweet smile had entered her mind, and then I felt better. Just knowing she remembered him and all he had faced gave me a feeling of safety that I needed in that sterile environment where medical procedures can unknowingly overshadow a parent's hurting heart.

Poor Olivia. When I returned to my seat and she realized I had been crying, she said, "Just so I won't be nervous, are you crying because of me?" That made me laugh a bit, and I explained what had happened and she felt better.

The truth is: We're waiting now for some test results on Olivia that we're praying are okay.

She had some very high levels in a test yesterday and the doctor wanted to run some more detailed tests today.

So, today, I'm trying to live while I wait with my phone in my hand.

Having feelings that are too familiar...........................

the battle between trust and fear

the battle between peace and restlessness

the battle between worrying and not borrowing trouble

Olivia is asleep. She has peace.

I am praying that God gives me this same childlike faith so that I can pack a suitcase for a trip to my mom's and simply rest in His arms that have held me through so many restless days.

Claiming a promise God has kept time and time again in my life-

Is. 42:16

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.

And praying that you feel Him leading you too,

Hello Monday......................................................
Though words seem unattainable on this Monday morning, my heart continues to overflow with love for all of you and a feeling of thanksgiving for a God who gives Hope to our lives even when life doesn't make sense.

My cousin's son has been visiting with us for the past week from Oklahoma. He is a 19 year-old, college student who is majoring in photography and graphic design; and we have been enjoying SO MUCH having him in our home.

We've had a list of all the things we wanted to do and places we wanted to go while he was here, and it's been fun to check things off the list day by day. Tomorrow, I take him back to my mom's house and then Thursday I have to tell him good-bye, probably not seeing him again for at least a year.

I can't help but think of Heaven in an extra-powerful way at times like this-

And how great it will be to never have to say good bye or make a list of things we want to do in short amounts of time with friends and family.


Freedom from to-do lists
Never-ending hellos
No more goodbyes

So, today, I say "Hello Monday," and embrace it for all it has to offer - trusting that one day I will say "Hello" to Monday and never have to say good bye.

Praying your Monday is filled with reasons to smile,

"Battlefield of the Mind" Bible Study - Week Two


For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.......

Romans 8:5

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

This week's chapter really boils down to these two Scriptures.  If we can somehow come to grips with these words from Proverbs and Romans, we will be on our way to winning a very life-changing battle...

a battle for our  mind.

First, what we tend to think about and how we tend to think will play a major role in who we are and how we feel and live.

Second, if we are living with our minds focused on spiritual things, we will begin living in accordance with the Holy Spirit.

Joyce Meyer says that for Christians

"right thinking is a vital necessity."

When we are physically sick, we go to the doctor so that he/she can help us get better based on the symptoms we are experiencing.

We need to get to a place in our walk with Christ where we begin to see symptoms of spiritual sickness and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM too.

floss your mind

If we don't change the way we think, we are not going to become fully His.  The devil will continue to have a stronghold over us, and the world will see us as an inconsistent person who wavers between strong faith and weak faith, joy and lack of joy, contentment and discontentment, etc.

The last verse I'd like to share from this chapter's study is

Matthew 12:33

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit."

(Just had to add this note:  We will be in this battle for our mind as long as we live on this planet.....some days we will feel like we are winning, some days we will struggle......I believe success comes when we realize that the days that we feel like we are winning outnumber the other kind of days.)

Praying for you as I thank you for your prayers for me (we are in this battle together),

Drama King.............................

When he opened the seventh seal,
there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

I love that there are verses like this in the Bible.

They remind me that God, the Creator of Everything Seen and Unseen, loves drama.

As humans I think we are often looking for the next great movie, the next great book, the next great play...............

Because we love a dramatic story.

Well, God inspired the most dramatic book ever and I hope you'll find time to sit and read a bit of it today.

Just imagine a movie where someone opens a sealed envelope and for 30 minutes after that there is complete silence.

Don't you think we'd sit and watch closely as the scene played out with no conversation-only actions.

I recommend reading the rest of Revelation 8 sometime.

In complete silence.

It's a powerful chapter.

Have a wonderful Thursday and remember that any drama in your life is being orchestrated by the King of Kings...................................He has a beautiful plan.

Trust Him.

Love you all,

A Surprise Morning Revival!!!!
Last night my mom and my cousin's son (Tanner) arrived at our house for a visit. It's the first time Tanner, who lives in Oklahoma, has been to our home in his 19 years of life! I was so excited to have them arrive!!!

We stayed up til after 2 a.m. playing a board game and laughing!

So, this morning when I rolled over and looked at my clock and saw that it was five minutes til nine, I had a little panic attack when I realized Peppy (one of our dogs) had a 9 o'clock appointment to get his summer haircut. Just saying that sounds a little silly, but it's true. Peppy is one of those dogs that needs a good shave about every four months or he'll be miserable under the load of his fur.

Well, the sweet lady who cuts Peppy's hair lives about 10 minutes outside of town, so I threw on clothes, ran a brush threw my hair, and didn't even take time to brush my teeth............I was out the door, scooping up Peppy who was innocently eating dog food on our back porch, and on my way to Flo's within five minutes.

When I arrived, Flo and I had a good laugh when I told her what had happened, and I took a minute to look at her new front porch columns that she has added since her precious husband went Home to be with the Lord last spring.

I went back in to tell her how pretty everything looked, and we started sharing some little special things that have happened regarding her husband and Nick since they have not been here with us.

Before we knew it, we were both in tears and just sharing story after story of how God has shown us His Presence and their presence time after time. It was wonderful!

One thing led to another, and Flo began sharing about how all of our words are recorded which reminded me of something I had heard years ago from a preacher who was a scientist about how he believes that walls and doors and trees actually absorb our words and that God will be able to play them all back on the day of judgment.

I'll never forget sitting and hearing this sermon when I was probably only about 11 years old. I hadn't really thought about it in a long, long time. I love how God can bring things back to us as adults that we learned in our childhood.

All of these unexpected morning events have challenged me in two ways:

1. Think before I speak. God stores up our words.

2. Remember that as I am parenting, I am filling my kids' lives with the memories they will recall as adults........what kinds of memories will they be brought back to.............memories that draw them closer to God or memories that pull them away?


I had no idea my morning was going to start like this, but I am so thankful that it did!!!!

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to have a little morning revival with Flo!!!! Thank you!!

Praying your day has a revival tucked into it somewhere too!!!

Malachi 3:16

Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

Luke 19:40

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."


Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

No Matter How Hard We Try.....

camp and kittens 0001

On the way to pick up Olivia for camp, Todd and I had to notice when we saw this van in front of us at a red light.

Todd grabbed my camera and took this picture!

Every time I read the words on this van's window, I am struck with the reality that no matter how hard we try, "Perfection.....or Perefection" just isn't within reach while we walk on this earth.

I'm so thankful that PERFECTION came.......

not on the back of a mini-van

through a carpet cleaning business


in a manger

through an ordinary girl with an extraordinary calling.

And I'm thankful that one day PERFECTION will come again!

Right now we have faith, hope, and love...

But on the day that PERFECTION returns, the greatest of these (LOVE) is all we will  need!

No more need for faith or hope once we're standing face to face with


Until then, I'll be content with faith, hope, and love...and the world's idea of perfection....... "perefection" is as close as it gets.

1 Corinthians 13:9-13

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


The Kitties All Have Homes!!!!!!

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Kitties number three and four went to their new home this week!!!  Can't you tell they are going to get a lot of love and attention!!!camp and kittens 0011 (2)_resizeWe had to laugh at this kitties poor little face!!!!!  HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Kitty number five traveled all the way to Lexington with us and was a surprise graduation gift for our friend's daughter. (pre-approved)

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We've received word that this kitty has been named "Smokey Robinson and will be called "Smokes."  As you can see from the picture above, Smokes met a new little friends when he arrived in Lexington.  :)camp and kittens 0059 (2)_resize  And finally......kitty number six was delivered last night to his new home.

Kitties number one and two are doing great and have been named Shadow and Crookshanks.  Still waiting for a few names to be reported to us!

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We're back to only having Marbles..Olivia's trying to give her extra love...she's been crying for her babies.  ;(

Bible Study - DAY ONE

Well, today is the day!  We're venturing into a weekly study of Joyce Meyer's book, Battlefield of the Mind, that will more than likely take us the rest of the summer and maybe a little into the fall....


But I believe that once we get into this very far at all, you will all agree that the material within her book is relevant, powerful, and useful in facing our daily battle with satan.  I highly recommend ordering a copy of Joyce's book so that you can read along with us.  She has a chapter book as well as a pocket-sized devotional that, I believe, are both well worth the cost.  You might even be able to check them out an area library and just keep renewing them for a while. :)

First, I think it is vital to remember that the Bible clearly says in Ephesians 6:12 that "we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms."   To some, these words may sound scary, foreign, or almost unreal; but my prayer is that by the time we end this weekly study that all of us will see more clearly the war that is being waged against us CONSTANTLY in the spiritual world.

The good news is this:



WE KNOW THAT "Greater is He that is us than He that is in the world."

I use to see the Bible as a book full of so many words that couldn't possibly make a difference in my personal life.  I remember going to church and listening to sermons and even sitting in Sunday school and thinking that the only things in the Bible that made sense were the stories of Noah, Moses, David and Goliath, and those other heroes of the Scripture.

But life has forced me to make a choice.

Dig into the Word and realize that I am not facing the tough things of this world alone or somehow trudge through the storms of this life by myself hoping that in the end something will make sense.

I have chosen the first, and because of that I understand what Joyce means when her book begins with the words, "we are in a war."

So, for our first day together in this journey to become equipped to face the battle that goes on in our mind's daily, I want you to remember the power of this next passage:

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I cling to this verse every day.  Knowing that God has given us the power to demolish thoughts that go against His Word and make them obedient to Christ is life-changing to me.

In your grief, confusion, depression, loneliness, fear, doubt, insecurity, sadness, anxiety, and the list goes on and on, you are not powerless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!sword-of-the-spirit-maryn-chilson

The Bible is our Sword of the Spirit!

It is our weapon!

Use it today to take down the devil when he allows thoughts to creep into your mind that are not from God,

Taking Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee

Erich had two days off in a row from his new job; so Tim, Todd, and I decided to slip down and spend a day and a half with him while Olivia was at camp.

We picked up a small grill for Erich's apartment deck and threw in our ice cream freezer, so we could take a little bit of Kentucky with us!

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Todd, Mallory, and Erich on the campus of David Lipscomb College where Mallory will be finishing her senior year this fall.

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A little glimpse at the inside of Erich's apartment. 

nashville 0007_resize Todd brought his Zelda movies to show Erich. :)

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Tim and Erich outside of Belmont Church of Christ where Erich and Mallory worship every Sunday.nashville 0022Our soon-to-be daughter-in-law. :) nashville 0076_resize Tim, Elvis, and Erich in downtown Nashville.

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The pool in Erich's apartment complex.

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We were downtown as they were setting up the runway for the CMT music awards!

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Erich's first nursing job started with an interview in the building next to this sign...Thank you, Middle Tennesse Medical Center for allowing Erich to begin his nursing career with you!!!  nashville 0122_resize As Erich and I walked across the "walking bridge" that connects downtown Nashville with the Titans' Stadium, he said, "This is where Mallory and I started dating."  I had to take a picture, and of course I LOVED that the Titan's Stadium was in view of such a special moment in Erich's life! 

Nick was a HUGE Titans fan!!!  He would definitely give this a THUMBS UP!

It's been an emotional week in so many ways...saying bye to Erich, seeing the Titan's stadium and knowing Nick wasn't with us to enjoy it, and then driving back home so that we could be at Aaron's funeral was enough to do me in for a while.

I thought that after having to say good-bye to Adrienne and Nick until I see them in Heaven, I would find it a little easier to say good-bye to my other kids when they simply move to other places, but........

I'm realizing that there is a level of sadness in all of life's changes.

I'm excited to see all that God has in store for Erich and Mallory, but my mommy heart still can't believe that I am on the other side of Legos, action figures, and video games with this great child of mine.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything,
       and a season for every activity under heaven....

Cherish your time today,

Can't Wait to Hear All The Stories...

Thanks to Facebook and a wonderful dean's wife, I've been able to have a sneak preview of Olivia's week at church camp.

silly olivia

This is Olivia BEFORE the faculty scavenger hunt... smiling olivia

During a worship service, Olivia took a minute to say "cheese."talent show olivia 

Olivia and her friend Emily WON the talent show!!! 

They sang Francesca Battistelli's song, "Free To Be Me." 

Here's the song, in case you haven't heard it.

(Oh, don't forget to click "pause" on my blog music to the right.)


Looking forward to hearing all of Olivia's stories when I pick her up tomorrow,

A Balancing Act that Never Ends...


SONY DSC You've probably watched someone walk across a tightrope before...arms outstretched, toes perfectly pointed while feet carefully cross in front of each other. The tightrope walker moves slowly and steadily attempting to keep his balance on the thin, small rope as he moves from one side of the arena to the other high above the unnerved crowd who as a group seems to be holding its breath with every step of the brave entertainer.

I find life to be a lot like tightrope walking.

I teeter daily between these two things:

praise and joy for a God who created such a beautiful world and Who gave His one and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins so that we could have the Hope and Promise of eternity with Him and

sadness for a world so full of pain and heartache.

Tim and I just left Aaron's funeral.  Hugging Tim and Sandy and crying as we embraced for what seemed forever, I felt the pain all over again and the depth of sadness that comes when forced to let go of a child long before it seems fair.  Does it ever seem fair?  I don't think so.

I sat with another friend during the funeral who also had to let go of her 13 1/2 year old daughter years ago after a fight with leukemia.  Her daughter would be my age now, so the loss for her has been nearly 30 years. Even though that much time has passed, tears flowed from her eyes in the same way they flowed from mine. Grief has no ending.  I held her arm throughout the service and hoped that in some way my hands were comforting her in the way her daughter Andrea would have wanted to do if she were here. 

I find myself mentally stretching my arms out far on each side so as to take the next step in life without falling to one side or the other.

I cling to verses like Psalm 37:23-24:

 If the LORD delights in a man's way,
       he makes his steps firm;

though he stumble, he will not fall,
       for the LORD upholds him with his hand

and Psalm 40:1-3:

I waited patiently for the LORD;
       he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
       out of the mud and mire;
       he set my feet on a rock
       and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
       a hymn of praise to our God.
       Many will see and fear
       and put their trust in the LORD.

I wonder sometimes how to take the next step, and then I read passages like Proverbs 4:25-27 and I feel inspired.

Let your eyes look straight ahead,
       fix your gaze directly before you.

Make level paths for your feet
       and take only ways that are firm.

Do not swerve to the right or the left;
       keep your foot from evil.

Suddenly, I think of Aaron and Nick and Andrew and Jared and Tyler and Andrea and Colby and Zach and so, so, so many more who have slipped from this old earth into a new and glorious world and I realize that, like them, God is calling me to look straight ahead and fix my gaze directly before me on Him.

Arms outstretched showing my total dependence on Him (no clinging to people or things around me), I determine today to keep looking straight ahead.  After digging into His Word (our only weapon against the devil's attempts to discourage and steal our joy), I find the strength to regain my composure and become energized once again to press on in this balancing act of life.

Praying you stay focused on Him as you continue this balancing act called life,

Heavy-hearted....and yet full of Hope

Friends of ours who moved to Tennessee several years ago will be coming back home this week to have the funeral of their 14-year old son who lost his fight with leukemia last Thursday night.  Aaron has been a patient at St. Jude's for the past 10 months, and like Nick, was a smiling fighter all the way through his battle.

Please keep Aaron's parents and sister in your prayers.

At church this morning, we learned of an ATV accident yesterday that took the life of 15-year old boy in a town not far from here.  He is related to a family in our church, and his mom works with one of our area optometrists.  I've been to Tyler's mom's Facebook page today to send her message, and I can tell from all of the sweet words that Tyler, too, was an amazing and special young man.

Please keep Tyler's parents in your prayers.  He was their only child.

As I think of Aaron and Tyler tonight, I am reminded of so many other families who have been taken down this painful road of grief in just the past couple of years.

I remember the words of Jesus as he refers to the devil as a "thief" who has come to "steal, kill, and destroy," and I think of all of us who have been robbed of our children's futures and had our dreams destroyed by the evil one.  I could easily be overcome with fear and sadness when I think of all of the families with broken hearts like ours tonight. 

But then I remind myself of all of the promises tucked within God's Word...

Jesus says, "in this life you will have trouble but take heart because I have overcome the world!"

In Colossians, Paul says that "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."

I love Jesus' words in the book of John,

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

And I can never forget God's words in Psalm 126,

 Those who sow in tears
       will reap with songs of joy.

He who goes out weeping,
       carrying seed to sow,
       will return with songs of joy,
       carrying sheaves with him


Somehow God is going to use all of our pain.

Somehow God is going to redeem all of our sorrow.

Until then, I believe that those of us who are grieving are called to rest in God's arms, trusting Him for each new morning.  The first steps are never easy.  Getting out of bed is often all there is strength to do in those first few months of grief.

Slowly, by clinging to God's Word, Hope does rise again in our hearts.

So, for tonight, I am heavy-hearted for Aaron and Tyler's families, but I am still full of Hope; because I know that God is greater than our deepest heartache, and He will be faithful to provide both of these families with exactly what they need to make it through each new day. 

And most of all, I am full of Hope because I know that Aaron and Tyler have been taken Home........

We can never even begin to imagine just how wonderful life is for them now.

I rest on that knowledge tonight as I pray for the Stampers and Baldridges.

And I also wanted to let you know that I will be away from the Internet for several days and will miss sharing life with all of you.

God bless your Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Until Thursday,

Sleeping can be dangerous...

Mark 13:35-37

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' "

I love knowing that Jesus could come back ANYTIME!   Sometimes when I am feeling really blue about the reality that Nick will never be here more feeling his  hugs, no more hearing his voice, no more seeing his sweet face light up.....

I remember that He is with Jesus and that he will get to be a part of the exciting day when Jesus leaves Heaven to come bring us all HOME!  It's just like Nick to have this kind of opportunity!!!!  It makes me smile just thinking of how excited he will be when that day arrives!

Until then, I have to soak up silly little moments here on this earth where sleeping is something that isn't safe even at sleepovers!

A few nights ago while Todd, Adrian, Trevor, Caleb, and TJ were soundly sleeping, Olivia decided to pull a little prank.  About 3 a.m., she woke me up to say that she was hiding the boys' shoes in the deep freeze.  I remember thinking, "Did I just hear what I think I heard?"  I got up to see what was going on, and sure enough, Olivia was slipping through the kitchen with a flashlight!

I had to take pictures the next morning when the boys woke up and discovered her little mischievous deed.  (Oh, remember my deep freeze quit working last spring while we were out of town???  Mom and Dad graciously bought us a new one this spring....but I'm thinking Dad wasn't planning to have it used for things like this!)

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Adrian finds the evidence!

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Frozen shoes.

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He then makes the day and sleepover 0014_resize Trevor and Todd realize that Trevor's shoes are frozen solid!

memorial day and sleepover 0015_resize   TJ decides that ice cold flip flops are "awesome!"

I hope that your nights of sleep don't involve sneaky little girls pulling pranks but


I hope that when Jesus returns you are ready!

Much love,

UNAFRAID.....Book Tour Continues

Karon Goodman, author of Unafraid: Living God's Plan on a Ladder and a Promise, has been on an online book tour over the past few months.

You may remember a blog post or two that I wrote about her book at the beginning of April. 

Well, the book tour continues and you can follow her book's story by either clicking here and going to her blog or by visiting June's partner blogger!

I have to be honest, I tend to be a closet blogger which means that I don't venture out very often into the world of blogging, and I probably need to do a little more visiting because when I do, I am always blessed! I know you will be too!

It's kind-of like going to a neighbor's house for a cup of coffee and that's something else I need to make more time for, right Jennie, Sandra, Angie, Trish, Carrie, Martha, Becky, Rachel, Donna, Trish and Topsy?!?! (And these are just a few of my sweet neighbors that I love!!!)

Anyone up for coffee??? Email me at! I think a cup of coffee with some friends sounds wonderful right now!

Please keep Karon in your prayers, too. Life is tough, and she is facing some tough days..........

Thankfully, she i s facing them unafraid.

Can't help but think of Nick's favorite verse right now.


Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified.  Do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Much love,

Growing in Him........

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Helicopter seeds have covered our backyard this spring.....even floating into every nook and cranny of our deck and picnic table.

The other day I discovered two small plants growing from the space in between two boards on our deck.  I bent down to pull out the first little leafing plant and realized that one of the helicopter seeds had actually begun to transform from its seedling stage into a little tree (even developing roots!) right there in the emptiness of the deck's crack.

As I pulled up on the leaves, the entire growth slipped right out of the opening and into my hands with barely a little pull,.....roots and all!

A lot of things went through my mind in that moment.

First, I was amazed at God's creativity and unbelievable ability to take a tiny, feathery, seed and produce a huge, strong tree.  If he can do that with a seed, what can He do with you?!?!?!  Never underestimate God's ability to use you for great things!

Second, I was struck with the truth that even though something may begin to grow roots it is not secure unless the roots are growing into something solid and nourishing.  Where are your roots?  Where do you reach for security and sustenance?  Do you reach for people or for God?  Do you reach for self-help books or your Bible?

Third, I wondered how many seedlings fall from trees every spring and never get the chance to reach their full potential because of a lack of sunlight, soil, or rain.  What's lacking in your life for you to become all that God wants you to be?

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,       which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.

       It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

Praying that your day is filled with opportunities to grow closer to Him,

A glorious transformation!

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body"

(Philippians 3:20-21).

I changed my Facebook status about 30 minutes ago to share a quote of C.S. Lewis' that I love.

He says,

"You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body."

Then just five minutes ago, I thought I'd check my email before heading to bed and couldn't believe it when the GriefShare devotional for tomorrow had just arrived in my inbox and was entitled, "Your New Body."

This is what it says:

God promises that your earthly body will be transformed to be like Jesus' glorious body. What does the Bible say about Jesus' body?

"Our glorified body," says Joni Eareckson Tada, "will be a body like the Lord Jesus' body. It was perfectly fit for earth; He could eat a breakfast of fish on the beach with His disciples after His resurrection. His body was also perfectly suited for heaven; He could walk through a wall, or be walking on the road to Emmaus in one moment and appear in the upper room in Jerusalem the next. So we'll have these incredibly marvelous bodies, perfectly suited for both earth and heaven."

I'm reminded of a night several months ago when Olivia was making all kinds of comments and asking all sorts of questions about why she had been given her body when she was "made" and I had been given mine......I didn't have a lot of answers, but it was fun to listen to her deep thoughts. At the end of all of her questions she simply said, "Well, this shell is going to bed."

I thought that was so funny and yet so true.

Our bodies are simply shells to hold our souls.

C.S. Lewis got it.

Joni Eareckson Tada gets it.

Olivia gets it.

God longs for all of us to get it.

We are souls that simply "have" bodies.

And one day we will be given a "new and glorified body!"

For some reason, this random theme seemed to jump in front of me tonight!

I hope it comforts you like it comforts me!

Take care of your shell while you have it, but more importantly prepare your soul for eternity!!!

Thankful for His promise of a glorious transformation!

Where I've Been.......

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Keeping track of teenage boys who have decided to make movies this summer based on their Zelda video day weekend Sunday 0013_resize

Wondering how many teenage boys are willing to be seen driving with a Care Bear as their passenger?memorial day weekend Sunday 0015_resize

Buckled, of day weekend Sunday 0006_resize Taking Olivia to get her first perm......

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Having a college camp team over to our house to make banana splits...... (We are their prayer parents for the summer.)

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Giving them supplies so that they can create team t-shirts.......

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Watching Kate......

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And Logan.......

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And Kimi.....

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And creative. :)

week of may 24 0004 (2)_resize    Attending band banquets where Todd and his friends received certificates for their accomplishments this year in band!week of may 24 0024_resizeSaying bye to Randy, our house guest for a few weeks while he took a summer class at KCU.  Thankfully, Todd and Randy became great friends while he was here, because Randy will be traveling with Todd for a couple of weeks later this summer in a choir.

Its been busy here.

I just wanted to share a little of what has been happening in our home.

We miss Erich and Evan so much!  Erich loves his job!  We're planning to go see him in Nashville some time next week!  Evan's internship is going great!  We talk to him every day and cannot believe all of the fun things he has already had the opportunity to see and do! 

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

God bless you all,

About Me