Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Golden Bowl

Whenever the girls and I are going to travel somewhere I give them an approximate time of departure. Leah is usually out in the van anywhere from ten to twenty minutes before time, just sitting and waiting. She's a lot like her momma, trying to find any alone time (with her own noise) she can. Rachel gets out there a few minutes before time, then I come out with all my stuff. We wait a little while for Hannah, who usually is hurrying out the door with her shoes in one hand and a jacket or extra shirt, purse, and make up bag in the other so she can finish getting ready on the way. After all the doors are closed and we're heading down the driveway the power of the aroma hits me.

I started really thinking about it the other day. The aroma thing gets its start earlier in the day with three different scents of body mousse in the bath. Add to that three different kinds of deodorant, flavors of toothpaste, and lip gloss. Then comes the lotion, different scents, of course, and then the biggest hit of all: three different perfumes. Quite a bit of the different perfumes, might I add. Sometimes that is even added after the doors are closed on the van.

I keep ibuprofen in the vehicle.

I really like having girls that sometimes shower a couple of times a day and want to smell nice. I think that's a really good thing. When I think about it, it makes me smile.

Back in the fall, one of our students' truck wasn't working and his parents were out of town. They asked if I could pick him up from football practice and take him to his house to clean up and then to Open House at the high school. Hannah and I went to get him at the field house and as soon as he got into the van I smiled. He had that familiar locker room smell that I hadn't smelled in several years. Locker room smell isn't a bad smell to me. I immediately went back in my heart to when the boys were playing sports and how I missed that. It was a good thing. Made me smile.

The other day I read a verse in Revelation 5 that said, "And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." I couldn't get that out of my mind. These golden bowls presented to the Lamb of God were full of the sweet scent of our prayers for our husbands, our children, our families, our church, our soldiers. Then my mind kept going and I started thinking that maybe when they pour it out He won't smell anything from me. Or not enough from me. Some days may be more than others, depending on the need.

Oh, sweet, sweet Jesus. I want to be so intimate with You that one bowl is not enough. To enter into Your Holiest place so often that the elders are scrambling for more golden bowls. My heart hurts at the thought that a bowl might be emptied at Your feet and You smell nothing from me. I want so bad for You to get a whiff of all the different scents from the prayers that come together and smell so beautiful. I'm desperate to hear from You that I've done a good thing. I so want to make You smile.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Uncle Arnold

A couple of weeks ago my Uncle Arnold called Michael to see if there was water in our horse trough because he wanted to come that Sunday to be baptized. We know he knew the Lord for years but he is at a point in his life that he wants to know he's done what he's supposed to do. This man has buried two of his children and his wife. Through those times I knew he had a strength that had to come from the Lord. He, like the rest of us, has a past he's not proud of. But he's trying. Really trying. When he first crawled into the tub, he started to sit down and baptize himself! Michael told him that was his job, so he stood up and held his nose. So cute.

Probably the sweetest thing for me was when I looked over past the men's shoulders, I saw my Uncle C.W.'s blue eyes. I knew out of all his brothers, this would have brought C.W. the most joy. He was rejoicing in heaven with the angels. I know he was.

So cute.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ladies' Holiday Dinner

Allie handing out tickets for door prizes.

Leah and Rachel practicing their "red carpet" walk one of many times.

Lisa, Michelle, and Sue

The first year we were here I sort of introduced the ladies of the cowboy church to the Ladies' Holiday Dinner. The first time I ever saw one was at University Heights Baptist Church in Stillwater. The ladies up there knew how to decorate a table! I was only able to attend one when we lived there because Kyle was always playing ball on the Saturday of the event. I did, however, help one lady buy the fixin's for her table. I'm embarrassed to say she had to explain to me what a plate charger was.

So I decided our ladies here would probably enjoy this type of event. The first one we had I decorated the tables and we had 18 women. They all enjoyed it so much. The next year we had several tables that others decorated then the next year even more. Last year Brandi Dillard took over and we packed that little triple wide. They had so much fun and started talking that night about how they could do their tables the next year. This year we were in our new building and probably had 250 people or more by the time you counted the sweet men who came to serve us. Brandi and Jack and her mom Sharon went the extra mile to make sure everyone was blessed.

One of my sweetest memories of that night was seeing the excitement of Cheryl as she showed me her table. She used the theme of the Fruit of the Spirit. She had been taking notes in Bible study on Monday nights and she was so excited. She even had little coloring sheets of the fruit with crayons as a fun gift. It was sweet because she is a brand new christian and her joy was contagious.

Another sweet memory was looking over and seeing the men of our church praying before they came to make sure we had our glasses full and plates of yummy food in front of us. And of course hearing Randy, my cousin, tell us about the God-given potential we have in us and encourage us to see ourselves as God sees us. It was a sweet, sweet night.

Monday, November 2, 2009

One More

Here is one more video to show what I live with at my house. Constantly. The girls are always picking on each other, wrestling, laughing - anything to get a break from school. They did the voice alter thing and it is especially funny when Michael talks and says "Oh sweet" as he walks away.

Our lives are crazy. I love almost every minute of it.

Hannah family Song

Hannah wrote this song last Christmas when the kids were in. We only had about 14 hours with all of them at the same time and we made the most of it. We'll have to try to do that again this year working around new jobs and, prayerfully, renewed jobs. More on that later.

Once again, she begins singing and adds things as she goes.

Girls Playing Around

The girls love playing on this computer and altering the voices. There are several I'm going to upload so Adam and Amber can see them. We are in Tulsa right now so the other kids have seen them and we wanted to share. By the way, Hannah is making this up as she goes and Leah is going along. I'll try to add a few others if you don't mind. We really want Adam and Amber to see!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Redeemed, How I love to Proclaim It!

I spent most of Monday afternoon in the word studying for our ladies' Bible study. We are studying the fruit of the Spirit and we are on kindness. One of the definitions was "tender concern for others; the genuine desire of a believer to treat others gently, just as the Lord treats them". I would study for awhile then get up and go across the room and get down on the floor and pray and thank God for His kindness. I did this several times, because I couldn't sit still. I was supposed to be down on the floor. I don't know if it was because I felt so unworthy of His kindness or just an overwhelming sense of gratefulness. I'm pretty certain is was 100% both.

See, right in the middle of studying I get a text message: "I'm sending you a computer, don't buy one". Now I know I said earlier that God's redeeming arm may have nothing to do with computers or vacuums, but I know how my God is. I know that He loves me and cares about what I care about. If He wasn't going to replace those things for me or provide a way for us to replace them, He would make it ok with me. Really ok. I was good with that.

The next day I'm out at the barn when someone drives up to the house. A few minutes later the girls run out to get me so I can see what is sitting in my living room floor. A vacuum cleaner that picks things up when you vacuum!

I almost feel bad for telling you these things. You may think that there are a lot more important things that people need and they are not seeing God's hand. You are right, there are. That is why I feel unworthy. What I do know is that His heart is for all of these things. We have to trust that heart that loves ours. Sometimes we don't see His hand quickly in something and we lose faith. It is in those times that we are experiencing His goodness because everything that filters through those big loving hands is for my good. Even the waiting times. Especially the waiting times.

Don't shorten His redeeming hand. If you are not seeing the answers you need right now, hang on, they are coming. Don't take things into your own hands. Let the Redeeming Lord of Isreal take those broken, hurtful things in your life and make something so very beautiful out of them. When you can't see His hand, trust His heart.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


HANNAH - hini flu -recovering

LEAH - hini flu - recovering

RACHEL - hini flu - recovering

COMPUTER - overuse - dead

VACUUM CLEANER - strangulation by excessive hair - dead

This week has to be better. Michael was banned from the house because we have a couple of people he needs to be available for in these last weeks of their lives. He didn't need to be sick. I've been giving Tamiflu, Theraflu, Ibuprofen, water, apple juice, orange juice; I've been rubbing vicks vapo rub on chests, under noses and on the bottom of feet for the last week. In between times I have laid hands on my computer, kicked my vacuum cleaner, and washed alot of blankets, sheets, and pillow cases. The flu cases are recovering, but no such luck for the computer and vacuum.

I'm super excited.

One of my favorite scriptures in Isaiah says we are not to shorten the redeeming arm of the Lord. Only He can redeem the broken things in our lives. Okay, okay, I know it doesn't pertain to things like vacuums and the like, but, then again maybe it does. See, His heart is for me.

Did you hear that? HIS heart is for ME!!!

All that is hurt or broken in my life, He can redeem. I'm going to trust Him with that.

I know that God redeems all that is lost, messed up, broken, or misused in our lives. Every mistake I've ever made, He can redeem. Every hurt I've ever endured, He can redeem. I am so in love with knowing that. All these things can be used to bring Him glory. Even a stupid broken computer.

Because His heart is for me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Feast of the Tabernacles

If you live in east Texas you know that fire ants really like it here. What you may not know is that their mode of transportation is water. For real. They all hold legs and ride down the rapids of rain run-off until someone yells "JUMP!" then they all jump off and quickly begin building their mound. We have had bookoos of rain in the last couple of weeks with bookoos more expected in the next two days. Needless to say we have bookoos of fire ant mounds. That is a cute word, isn't it - bookoos?

Yesterday we were all sitting eating lunch and Michael commented on all of the fire ant mounds in our yard. I said, "It reminds me of the Feast of Tabernacles." He said, "That is exactly what I was thinking - the Feast of the Tabernacles." His eyebrows were up so I knew he hadn't thought of the feast at all. Might have even been mocking me a little bit. Surely not.

Anyway, I was just imagining the trip down the water for these little guys. I'm sure in their little ant ways they were laughing, singing, and I'm oh so sure there were a couple of boys scaring their moms by turning loose with most of their legs, shouting "Look ma! no feet!" Can't you just picture it?

For a couple of weeks I was studying about the Feast of Tabernacles and the pilgrimage of the adult Jewish males to the temple to celebrate the ingathering or harvest. Most often they would pack up mama and the little ones to go along for this joyful holiday filled with celebration. There were only three requirements for this holiday: the building of a temporary shelter or booth (to symbolize when the children of Israel dwelled in temporary shelters as God led them through the wilderness and provided for their every need); the taking of four kinds of foliage; and rejoicing all seven days. Just a thought: what if we were required to rejoice the whole time we celebrate our holiday season? Is that possible? A goal, maybe?

When the Jewish people were on their pilgrimages they would sing the Psalms of Ascent beginning with Psalm 120 going through Psalm 134. In Psalm 120 they were in a foreign land longing to be in the presence of their God. Don't you know that the closer they got to their beloved Jerusalem the louder they sang, the more they laughed? They had to have been tired, though. Can you imagine the young moms? I remember what it was like when the girls were babies going across Texas for Christmas. We had a heated suburban, bottles, disposable diapers, and later on, movies that could keep them entertained, but I was pretty stressed by the time we reached Grammy and Opa's.

Their goal was to be where God was because He didn't dwell in their hearts like today. He dwelt in the temple. They were eager to be with Him. Their journey runs so parallel with ours if we really think about it. We are on a journey to our heavenly Jerusalem. There should be joy in the journey. An anticipation that makes the others question the hope that is in us.

The difference is that we have access to Him 24 hours a day but sometimes others can't see the rejoicing in us because we are so overwhelmed with world stuff that it covers up the God stuff. Shame on us. We don't have to walk for miles. We just have to say "Jesus". Whisper "Jesus". Cry "Jesus". Immediately He is there to answer, to crouch over and embrace us, or to let us cry at His feet until we're done. My prayer for me and for you is that we will be eager to be with Him. That we will rejoice daily in the fact that we can call on Him at any time. That others will see that joy.

I'm expecting more tabernacles in the yard in the next few days as fellow sojourners catch up to their relatives. After they celebrate a few days and I know we have no more rainy forecasts, I'll stop pretending they are pilgrims on the way to the temple and start pretending that they are fire ants with a vicious sting. I'll go feed them a little Malt 0 Meal so they will enjoy a little sweetness before they go meet their Maker.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Dare You not to Smile

Kayla, Jade and Eli came Labor Day weekend. We went to Canton on Saturday and decided next time we would let Nanny keep Eli at home. It was a little warm for them. Kayla and Jade are starting a business online making a variety of accessories for babies. They have some really cute stuff you need to check out. We did some pictures to help get their blog started and couldn't resist getting outside to follow Eli around.

Every time I look at his pictures it makes me smile.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

They Glorified God because of Me

I didn't say it.

Paul did. He was writing to the believers in the area of Galatia, basically rebuking them for going back to their old ways of following the law. I went back to Acts 13 and read where he had been there before encouraging them in the temple. One thing really stuck out to me. He began his encouragment by reminding them of their God Who was with their ancesters in captivity in Egypt. Then he said, "With His uplifted arm He brought them out of it."

With His uplifted arm He brought them out of it.

I stayed on that verse a while, because we all know it was Moses' uplifted arm that parted the waters for the multitude of men, women, and children to cross through on dry land to continue their journey to the land that was promised them.

Truthfully? It couldn't have been Moses. He was only the willing vessel. He could have never held that arm up long enough to get all those people through. He just said "yes". Or maybe "okay". Come to think of it, he argued just a little bit when God first told him He needed him. Then he agreed.

Back to the Galations. The first part of this letter to those believers was basically Paul's testimony of his conversion. At one point he told them about how he went to some churches that had never met him in person, but had heard that he once persecuted the Jews. They knew by word of mouth that he stopped persecuting and started preaching the faith he once destroyed.

Then he said it. Those words I've thought about daily in the last several weeks. "They glorified God because of Me." I don't know about you, sweet ones, but my heart breaks over the thought of not being a willing vessel like Moses and Paul. Do you say "ok" to Jesus when He asks you to put a comforting arm around a hurting sister? Do you say "yes, Lord" when He asks you to forgive someone who has wronged you? It's hard for Him to use a hard, unforgiving heart.

Do you glorify God in all you do so that others tell their friends about your love for your Saviour? To people you don't even know? Do you honor Him and humble yourself before Him so that you will have a usable heart?

Does your heart feel heavy right now, like mine, because I know there are times that I'm not willing? Sweet Jesus, I want to glorify You so that others will glorify You because of me. Not just me, but for all these precious ones I love so much. That our testimonies of Your greatness will be told to others whether they know us or not. And that You will be glorified because of us. All of us. I love You so much.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Motherload

Tomorrow Hannah and Leah will turn fifteen. It was only yesterday we brought these tiny girls home from the hospital and now they are looking at cars every time we are on the highway hoping for something wonderful. Every year I take them out when they are all three the same age and get some pictures. Rachel turned fourteen the 19th of August, so until tomorrow they are all fourteen. We had fun taking these. Leah was being our comic relief for the afternoon, the role Hannah usually plays.

I am so blessed by these three girls. They bring life and laughter to our home. All with very distinct personalities, yet all with like spirits. Leah is our electronic expert, has been since she was small. She is our "sound man" and right hand man for her daddy at church. She makes sure his mic is ready and his guitar is on stage. Then puts it all up when he is done. Hannah is our creative genius. She's always writing songs or drawing pictures. She's very talented at both. Rachel is a great photographer and, well, Rachel is just our Rachel. She has the steady personality that doesn't get riled easily. Goes along with whatever anybody else wants to do. I'm so grateful to the Lord for such precious gifts.

They have been practicing and for the last two Wednesdays they have been leading worship with the youth group at our church. They are learning the guitar and constantly copying off new songs with chords to learn.

You will understand why I first came up with the title of this blog when you see how many pictures there are. I couldn't decide. Be happy, I left the other 200 or so in the "Girls fourteen" folder. A motherload of pictures. A motherload of responsibility. A motherload of love.

As I was loading these up, I became overwhelmed with the responsibility that is mine to raise them to love and fear the Lord. Every day that goes by that I don't put Jesus into them is a day that they aren't as well equipped as they need to be. The world floods in without them even trying to grab it. I have to continually teach them to combat that with the things of the Lord. Sometimes I feel like I know nothing. That I can't do enough. Those many days that I am so weak - well, you know the rest.

He is so very strong.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

East Texas

I had a free Saturday a couple of weeks back so three dear ladies wanted to go take a road trip to east Texas. We went on a tour of the Roseland Plantation with a sweet tour guide who loves the Lord, to a winery for lunch, then on to check out Bo Pilgrim's place in Pittsburg. Pretty fun day. I smile thinking about Cathy playing in the water, kissing Bo's chicken, and oh yeah, kissing Bo (excuse me, his statue). Thinking about Lucy stuck in the old car. Thinking about Elaine worried about when would have lunch. I have to tell you that this was the first ladies' trip I've been on that someone said, "If anyone needs one, I have some nitro pills in my purse!" Whoa. Gone are the days of scavenging for Advil or Tylenol. I think I've graduated.

The plantation was beautiful. Bo's house was amazing. The treat, though, was spending the day with three godly women who love their Jesus and talk to Him alot. They even talk to Him about me because they know I need it.

Thank you sweet sisters, you truly washed my feet.