Monday, November 27, 2006

My Cup Runneth Over

Our Christmas Pageant began yesterday, and God was in the midst. Several decisions were made for Christ last night. In those moments of the invitation, all of the hours of practice and sacrifice were all worth it.

Hazel and Emilly are both part of the pageant. Emilly is a sheep, and Hazel is an angel. I know all parents must feel this way, yet, somehow I feel that I am unique. My heart is completely overwhelmed when I see them on stage singing or not singing to Jesus. When they come out in their Christmas dresses for their last song, it is all I can do not to run to them and wrap my arms around them. They are beyond precious! And somehow God saw fit to place them in my life as my daughters. It is in His grace that I am somehow found deserving to have them for this season. He is so good to me! Even as I write this, I cannot stop the tears. They mean so much to me. I love them beyond words.

Thomas is also in the pageant. He looks so handsome when he opens the pageant with a little introduction, and then he snaps his finger and says "let the music begin". At that moment the stage becomes a winter wonderland with people in Victorian attire. Magical!

Later when Thomas comes back out, I tend to be offended by his character. Oh, I know that as a Roman soldier he is not suppose to be nice, but it is heart rending during the crucifixion. Then he tells Mary, the mother of Jesus to leave, and my heart is broken for her. I know it is a play, but somehow it comes to life with all the emotions. I cannot say that in that moment at the cross I want to run to him, but he plays his role with passion. He is truly believable in this role.

The lady who plays Mary at the cross is amazing. Her name is Nancy, and what can I say...she plays the part amazingly! She truly does weep at the foot of the cross. And it makes that moment priceless. I am honored to work with her. When Jesus is taken off the cross and prepared for burial, she bends down and touches his face. That is one of the most beautiful scenes. The love of a mother. Tender. Loving. Heartbreaking.

God has blessed my life abundantly this year. I cannot wait to spend a little more time reflecting on this after the pageant is over.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Yesterday I began giving thanks to those who have meant so much to me this year. And now I will continue.

Dad, you are a blessing in my life. Your legacy is that of faith. You have challenged me to choose right in the hardest of situations and encouraged me when I have failed. Through all the ups and downs of life you have loved me. Dad, on this Thanksgiving, I want to thank you for leading the way to Jesus and a love that is always there. Dad, I love you dearly.

Mom, I have understood more this year what it means to have a daughter. You have walked with me through some of the most unbearable things that life has thrown my way. At times you have not agreed with my choices, but I have always known that you loved me. There is something about the mother/daughter relationship. As I have seen the girls struggle with their situation, I am reminded of how you never wavered in your devotion to me in my struggles. Now I see that it was harder on you in some ways as a spectator than on me as the one going through it. Thank you, Mom, for your consistency in your faith in me that I would be ok. I love you.

Mike, my brother, you are a hero. You put yourself on the line each time you go to work. You protect families and individuals. There is nothing small about what you do. I pray that you will stand in the midst of God's plan for your life and remain firm in His will. I love you.

Faye, last night at dinner Hazel asked if you were my mom. I told her that you were one of the moms that God has blessed me with. I am thankful to have you in my life. You have given my dad and our family joy, hope, love and macaroni salad that is to die for. I am eternally grateful for you. Thank you for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. The food was amazing and the fellowship was wonderful. I love you, Faye.

Bubba, you live life without worry. I have often wished that I could be more like that. You have loved all of my children as if they were your own. Thank you. With children like mine, it takes a lot of family to raise them and keep them safe. I love you.

Jenny, my sister-in-love, I don't know where to begin. Well, maybe I do. From the moment I met you, I have always thought you were so beautiful. We have come from two different worlds that somehow don't always mix. Yet, you always found the perfect way to reach out to connect with me. You have walked with me through seemingly impossible to deal with situations. I will always remember the first time you met Z. He had been hospitalized while you and Mike were down visiting. You came up to his room and brought him a toy. Even though you didn't know him, you sat on the floor and played with him for the longest time. At that moment, my heart was completely overwhelmed with love and gratitude for you. No, it wasn't the gift. It was the kindness of your heart. Lately, things have not been as you would have planned. My prayers and my love are with you all at this time. Trust God. Give Him your all. I love you.

Michael, could it really be that you are almost twelve? You would have thought it was me who was pregnant when I found out that your mom was pregnant with you. Your birth added a new dimension to our family. I would even say that you were born with a smile on your face. Michael, you bring a lot of joy to those around you. Even when you were younger, you were always telling jokes. You have the amazing gift of making people laugh. Never lose that. You made me so proud this summer while we were all in GA. You took Hazel with you wherever you went. She never had a moment to feel different when you were around. Thank you for being so kind to her. I love you, Michael.

Laura, my niece, you are so precious to me. From the moment you were born, we have known that there is something so special about you. Maybe it was the jet black hair with a mind of its own that first told us that. You are a girly girl who can play sports with the best of them. I am so thankful to have you as my niece. You add a uniqueness that is all your own. I love you, Laura.

Ms Sara, you have become like a grandmother to me. You are so kind to all of us. When we are at your home, it feels like we have "come home" to a place we have always known. You have loved my family like your own, and I am eternally grateful for that. Thank you for your warm heart and hospitality. We love you.

Thank you God for my special friend, Debbie. Over the past twelve years, we have been through some of the hardest circumstances that a person can ever face. But God in His loving kindness brought to each of a person we could call friend to walk beside us. You challenge me to walk closer to God in the best and worst of times. Through it all you have loved me and prayed for me. Lately our time together as been limited to quick dinners, but I treasure each moment that we have together. Thank you for being a place to go with my plethora of words and a safe place to fall. I love you, my friend.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Lifetime of Thanks

It is Thanksgiving Day, and we are simply taking it easy this morning. We will not leave for my dad's house for a few more hours. So, I thought I would take a moment to try and put into words all that my heart is feeling today.

My first thanks must always be to my God. You brought me out the pit and set my feet on a Rock. Even when things have gone totally crazy this year, I may have been shaken but my Rock is my firm foundation.

As we have rehearsed so many times these past few weeks for the pageant, I am so moved at the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus. It was for me that He was sent. He thought of me by name as He hung on the cross dying. Jesus was separated from You, His Father, to be a sacrifice for my sin. Jesus was willing to do this for me. Yes, I know that He died for all mankind, but I think it is more personal than that. You see as individually not as a mass of people.

Many times I fail to say "thank you" to my husband. Thom, you are amazing. You have walked with me through seemingly impossible times. Times when I have wanted to give up on everyone and thing. You have remained strong. When our child, Morgan, passed away, I wanted to give up, but you remained strong that God would be our Provider. Eighteen other children have come into our lives. God has truly provided. When Mike decided that he needed more independence, you stood with me. We loved, prayed and hoped for him. We still do.

Since retiring a year and a half ago, we have seen God provide us with a new house and community. While the community still seems a bit peculiar, our home has become a refuge. This is where we belong at this time.
Thank you God for my son, Mike. I love him so much. He is on my mind daily. Please keep him safe. Bring him back to You and to us. We know that You brought Mike into our lives for a reason. Let him know that we truly love him.

God brought two miracles into my life this year. One is named Hazel.

Hazel, you are a beautiful four year old bundle of energy with long sandy blond hair and soft blue eyes. At first, it was hard to see the who you really were. The rage that filled your heart and mind was terrifying to me. The screaming made it hard to get close to you. So, God in His wisdom allowed you to become seriously ill in February. You were hospitalized with RSV and pneumonia. Your SPO2 level was 85%. Sleeping with you in an oxygen tent as you struggled for each breath allowed our hearts to be bound together. At times, I do not know where my heart ends and yours begins. We have bonded in a way that I cannot explain.

The second miracle was Emilly.

In January, at seventeen months of age, you were quiet withdrawn with eyes that had little to no life. Hazel was your everything. She had raised you since birth, and you needed her like the air you breathed. Ten months later, you are still shy around "new" people, but for those of us "old" people you are quiet the performer. Silliness comes easily and naturally for you. Cute does not begin to describe you. Since turning two, you have become much more independent. Your favorite words are "No", "I do it myself", and "I don't want to!" Amazing! For a child who would not complain about anything, you have matured immensely in these past few months.

Hazel and Emilly, I am so thankful for the joy and laughter you have brought to our home these past months. The ride has been bumpy at times, but we have done our best to maintain a smile on our face. I know that God is in our situation. He will not fail us. This next year could possibly be one of the hardest that we have ever had to face, but we serve a God who is alive and active. He is not quietly sitting on the sidelines of life watching what is happening to us. God is in control. Nothing surprises God. Let us trust Him in it all, and we will watch the amazing things that He will do. A year from now, I am believing that we will be celebrating together how God has delivered us from this situation.
This is only the beginning. I have many more things to be thankful for, but right now I must go get ready to leave for our celebration with my family.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Human Side of Things

Our lives are wrapped around practicing for the 9th Annual Christmas Pageant at our local church. The stage is set, the costumes are almost ready, the cast is present, but the lines and words are slow to come. Well, slow may not be the word. Maybe more like there but not in the right order.

Last nights practice seemed more like the lines you would here on America's Funniest Videos or TV's bloopers and practical jokes. For example:

The original line was "Welcome to the 9th Annual Christmas Pageant..." but it came out "Welcome to the 9th Annual Christmas Parade..."

Words of songs tumbled over each other, tongues were twisted and some even tied. It was absolutely hilarious. I am so thankful for laughter. It could have been really intense, but instead we laughed at ourselves and tried our best to move on. Somethings were done over many times, but it was not done without gales of laughter.

The pageant begins a week from this Sunday. I cannot guarantee that I will know all of the songs, but I can say it will be fun to see how it all comes out.
With a cast of over 50 people who knows what will happen next!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ , and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19