Saturday, November 9, 2013

Right Now

It is 3:28 in the afternoon. And I am in my pajamas. Still.

I should be at a photo shoot in 2 minutes, but...

...Hubby is upstairs in misery. Maybe the flu.  Maybe stones.  Maybe blockage.

Maybe forcing a reschedule of Sophie's baptism tomorrow.

DEFINITELY not doing that without the daddy there to see it.

Someone has to tell the mama to pull it together when her sobbing gets out of control.

Oh ... it is sooooooo gonna get out of control.

The girls have been fighting like cats and dogs all. day. long.

I pulled the Santa card ... in November.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and all that.

They are now sitting at the kitchen table writing letters to Santa, using the Toys-R-Them book as inspiration.

I told Sophie that Santa would need to be able to READ her letter or he might think "b-i-k-e" spells "c-l-e-a-n-i-n-g  p-r-o-d-u-c-t-s".

She is now re-writing her list. Very carefully.

I am in the process of editing pictures from a Senior Pictures photo shoot I did recently.

Working with "boy" effects is turning out to be kinda fun!!!

Kinda wondering when/if I should reschedule said baptism.

And when/if I should force the man into the car and take him in to see someone.

I feel helpless.

I'm watching Christmas movies on Hallmark channel like it's my job.

If I really could get paid for this, I would be a rich woman.

Hattie just asked how to spell "no-no for ladies" ...

I think I'm gonna have to edit these lists ... searching for a wac vac for her last year has taught me well.

Sophie just added "power wheels go cart" to her list.

We may have to chat.

Please pray for my hubby. Please.

It is now 3:39 ... I'm out.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Because my baby girl making HER decision just happened to coincide with Billy Graham's birthday...

And because Billy Graham was the tool that the Lord used to bring me to MY decision...

And, ya know, because my cousin Shirley asked ...

(HI SHIRLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

(Shirley's mama, my Aunt Buddy, was, FYI, THE most beautiful woman - inside AND out - that I have ever, ever, ever, ever known. For real. Loved her so very much!!!)

I want to tell you a little story.

My story.

My story about MY cross.


The year was 1987 and I had just turned 19 years old.  I grew up in a Christian home. And, honestly, I have the most amazing heritage of faith that I can imagine. I grew up surrounded by people who loved the Lord with great abandon.  And, right around the time I was turning 19 years of age, I was beginning to figure out that THEIR faith could not save me.  I remember I had asked for a Bible for my birthday that year and my Aunt Laurea and Uncle Marvin had spared no expense in getting me a GOOD one. A study Bible that I ended up using until it was rag tailed, marked up, dog eared and literally falling apart in my hand. Best birthday gift ever.

Our story, however, takes place about a month after I had received that Bible. I was searching and confused. Searching because I still felt that hole and confused because, hello, I grew up in that faith, shouldn't I know how to get me some?!

I was living in Denver Colorado at the time, going to the church my mommy had grown up in. God had worked hard to set the stage for what was about to happen next.  Ya see, it seemed that the Reverend Billy Graham was coming to town.  I had heard of him but only REALLY knew his name at the time.  But, let me tell you, that little church was all kinds of fired up about that crusade.  In fact, they were putting together a little croup to go see him.

Well, I was social, so I signed up to go too.

I can remember that we were in the nose bleed section of the old Mile High Stadium. I'm talking so high up that I could look behind me and see the parking lot down below.  And, ya know, being so VERY high up there, it was all but impossible to understand a THING of what was being said way down there on that platform. I remember the choir singing. And, what do ya know, I just learned TODAY that my cousin Shirley was IN that choir.

(HI SHIRLEY!!!!!!!!)

I remember a guy coming out and singing a solo "People Need The Lord" ... I understood a few of those words because I remember thinking "yeah, I KNOW I need the Lord ... but how do I GET the Lord????"  And, to this day, that song sticks in my head like nobody's business. My head and my heart.  Little did I know then, but I was about to find out how to get me some.

They introduced Mr Graham and the place irrupted. I don't really remember there being a jumbotron, but there must have been cause I can remember thinking "ummmm ... this guy? He's, ya know, OLD!"

***oh 19 year old self ... you were such a moron!***

Everyone settled back into their seats and he began to speak. Let me tell you that I could not understand a THING. We're talkin Charlie Brown's teacher here... "whah whah whaaaah, whah whah whah..." I looked around and people were on the edge of their seats, hanging on his every word. Every word that I could not hear or understand.  A couple people stood to their feet and raised their hands. I started looking for the popcorn guy! I had no clue. Zero. Nada. NONE.

Honestly, I was a little bored. I got a little distracted with people watching, but I was really not at all into the whole thing. Not like everyone around me was. I tried again, really hard, to listen to the words. And I still just could not understand a thing. I was getting a little tired and hungry and anxious, sadly, for the whole thing to be over. And then it happened.

I felt a presence near me. Felt was seemed like hands on my shoulders and heard an almost audible voice say to me "Listen to this part. This is for you".  Suddenly Mr Graham's voice was crystal clear in my ears. I heard and understood every last word as he said "God looked down through all of time. The past, the present and the future, and saw every sin. Every single sin that ever had been and every would be committed and as grievous as that sin was, He loved us still. God loved us still.  So, the Lord sent His Son - His ONLY Son - to this earth. He KNEW we could not save ourselves. And He loved us too much to leave us here alone, so He sent His Son.  And Jesus came. He came to earth and He lived on earth and He taught on earth and He LOVED on earth. But Jesus did not SIN on earth. He was the only one that never sinned on earth. But He KNEW. He knew that our sin was just too much for us to bear. So Jesus Christ TOOK our sin. He BECAME our sin. And He paid the price for our sin. MY sin. Your sin. EVERYONE'S sin. He took it all. And he let them beat Him and torture Him and spit upon Him. And He let them crucify Him. He LET them kill him because He knew the penalty of sin is death and He would rather die Himself than let US perish. So HE perished instead. He DIED for our sin. He died for us - for you and for me.  But what you need to know today, what you need to understand today, is that If God had looked down through all of time and seen Only one sin. And if He had looked through all of time and seen only ONE sinner. And, my friend, if that one sin was yours. If that one sinner was YOU. If you were the only one who ever, in all of time and creation, who needed redemption, Jesus STILL would have come. Jesus STILL would have died. He would have let them hang his body on that cross. He would have died that horrible death. He would have let them put His body in that grave. And, my friend, hear me, He would have risen again on that third day. And He would have done it all just for YOU. Just for you. Because THAT is how much the God of this universe loves YOU. He loves you with an unending, unrelenting and unequivocal love. He loves YOU. And He died for YOU. And He wants to save YOU. You just need to believe. He offers salvation to YOU if you just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ ..."**

And, just like that, his words faded away - back to Charlie Brown's teacher - but what I heard and understood that day, changed my life completely.  They pierced my soul and changed my heart and lit a fire that has never been quenched. I was officially head over heels in love with the Lord. I had found my very own faith.

The next Sunday I sat in that pew and looked up at that big wooden cross hanging against that long red curtain. I looked at it like I had never seen it before. It was brand new to me. Because it was not longer just a cross. Now, it was MY cross.  The symbol of MY salvation.

Up until that day, I would have told you that I was saved and I would have believed it. But I knew that morning that I had not had a single clue what "saved" meant until that cross became personal.  And, now it was personal. It was MY cross. It was my faith. I had, indeed, got me some!!!

And, I owe it all to Billy Graham. I am so thankful that he allowed the Lord to use him the way he has for all of these years. DECADES. He is such a sweet, humble, amazing man of God. He can take the power of the cross and make it real and simple and personal and TRUE.  Yesterday was Mr Graham's 95th birthday. And, he is STILL letting the Lord use him in mighty ways. He has such a burden on his heart for the lost and the hurting of this world - this nation - that he has spent the last year putting together a message. Last night I watched My Hope America and within the first minutes I was in tears. I watched this now frail man impart a message so passionately and so clearly and so personally that it took me right back to those moments in that stadium. And I just wish I could let every single person see what I see when I look at that cross. I wish I could help everyone see it as personally as I have seen it since those minutes.

If you are still searching. If you still need answers. If there is still that hole inside you that cannot be filled with things of this world, please watch My Hope America. HERE is a link where you can find a local listing. And HERE is a link where you can watch it online.  I know you will not be sorry. It is THE most powerful presentation of the Gospel that I have ever seen.  I pray that it Blesses you!!!  If you let it, it will change your entire life.

Thank You Billy Graham. I look forward to the day that I can walk across the floors of Heaven and hug you and thank you personally for leading me to the Lord and to my salvation.  May the Lord Bless you and keep you sir, I honestly do LOVE you so very much!

**I cannot promise you that these are the EXACT words that Mr Graham used that day, but it is how I remember it. I hear it in my head in that soft southern drawl and with his distinctive inflections.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What? I Can't Hear You...

Last year, on the day after Thanksgiving, I started feeling a little "off".  If you do the math, you will notice that that was, roughly, 49 weeks ago.  I would tell you how many DAYS, but that would involve more math than I want to do.


  Math Homework

Sophie Lee B
+  Waited WAY Too Long In The Afternoon to Start
Pure Unadulterated TORTURE

OK, where was I? Oh yeah. I started feeling a little off.  By Saturday night, I was flat out sick. I had some kind of sinus issue goin on and my ears plugged up and I felt all manner of ICK.  And, while MOST of the ick went away, the ear thing decided to move in and set up camp.

I called the doc, went for a little visit and was told I had an "angry" ear. My response was "you would be angry too if you felt like this! Now, stop analyzing the mood of my ear and medicate me, thank-ya-very-much!"  Except, ya know, not out loud.  The doc then assured me that adults don't GET ear infections (tell that to my EVERY SINGLE FALL medical history), but since something was clearly going on (what with the anger issues and all), he would indeed medicate me.

Thank you. So much.

However, the whole angry ear thing didn't really go away.

And, by mid December it was accompanied by a ticked off throat.

And, seein as how I was scheduled to sing a solo on Christmas Eve, I went back to the doc. Only, ya know, it was Saturday night, so I went to an Urgent Care type doc.  He looked at me for all of 17 seconds, called it a sinus infection and medicated me further. But, this time, he brought out the big guns.

The big guns, AKA the "that doesn't fall under that free antibiotic thing so get ready to pay out the wazookie" guns. YAY!

The Big Guns kinda helped. My throat felt better and I no longer wanted to stick an ice pick into my face to relieve the pressure. Which, ya know, was beneficial.

But the ears? Still somewhat angry.

After one more round of antibiotics in the early Spring, I declared my ears to be, perhaps, not really "angry" so much as in a kind of "seasonal depression". Maybe, I thought, they just need to wait for better weather to get back their happy go lucky selves.

So, I waited.

The summer was a little better. They were more moody than angry over the summer. Pretty happy for a while with some anger issues here and there. I could handle that. In fact, I hardly noticed, except in the moody periods when I couldn't hear a thang.

By the way, being unable to hear makes it SO much fun to sing.


And then in October I flew to Arizona.

And, then I flew back.

And, if you have ever flown with ear issues, I know that you just cringed for me.

On the landing of the last flight I heard a loud pop, accompanied by a searing pain.

And that loud pop was the last thing I heard out of that ear - unless you count my heart beat, the blood flowing through my veins, the popping of my knees (yes, I can hear that INSIDE my head now - joy!) and the VERY loud chewing of my food.  But I can hear NOTHING outside of my head with my right ear.

And, also, it hurts.

So ... yay ... to the doctor.  More meds - but not antibiotics this time to see if it would help.


And now I wait for an appointment with the nice (Oh, please be nice ... and smart ... and clever enough to find the problem before medicating me further) Ear Nose & Throat specialist. I finally got a call back and instead of waiting till late December, the are squeezing me in on Monday.


So, suffice it to say (in a very long and drawn out way), I am asking you to please pray for answers. And healing. And grace.

Thanks so very much! Y'all are awesome!!!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

And The Angels Rejoice

I wondered all day what I would write about today. Even came here and stared at the blank screen wondering what to say.  But the events of this amazing evening are to good NOT to write about.

Tonight my baby girl gave her life to Jesus.

Sophie, as I said yesterday, has always had a special kind of faith. She just knows that God is real and she loves Him.  She has been asking for a while about baptism, but something has always held her back. And, honestly, I was OK with that because she is only SIX. I want her to make a life decision and KNOW what she is doing.  So, I was OK with her taking a little extra time.

About a year ago she witnessed a baptism at church and asked me later why that lady took a bath in her CLOTHES at CHURCH!? I explained to her what baptism was and what it meant and her response was "well, I love Jesus too, when do I get to do that?" We have some literature on baptism for little ones and we have read through it over and over and over and over ... for a year.  And every time we've read it, when we get to the part about choosing baptism, she would say not yet. I just wasn't sure why.

This summer I wondered if maybe she was afraid of going under the water. So we practiced in the pool. And in the lake. And in the bath tub. We practiced all over the place. But she still said not yet. And I still was not sure why.

This morning she brought it up and we talked it all over again. And I asked her again if she thought she was ready yet. And she, again, said no. So, this time I asked her why.  And what she said both made me giggle and broke my heart.  She said "I don't want to go to Heaven" and she started to cry.

I was a little worried at this point...

I asked her WHY she didn't want to go to Heaven and she said "I don't want to die, I would miss my house and my friends and I would miss YOU mommy!!!"

That sweet girl thought that she would head on up to Heaven as soon as she got baptized.

I tried to hold in the giggles as I told her that she would not die soon. That she would probably be a very old lady before she died - that it would hopefully be a VERY long time before she went to Heaven.

And then the bus came.

So, fast forward to after school. I am running around cleaning the kitchen and getting ready to head out the door to Bible study. I'm explaining to the girls that as soon as daddy got home I would be leaving but would be home before bed time, etc...  And suddenly Sophie looks at me and says "mommy, if I get baptized, who will put me in the water?"  I told her that she could choose. It could be daddy, or pastor Andy or Mommy or ...

"I want Mr Jerry to baptize me ... or Mrs Polly" (Mr Jerry & Mrs Polly are Sunday school teachers that she just LOVES and has loved forever!).

"Well, I said, how about Mr Jerry AND Mrs Polly?"  She was thrilled at the thought of BOTH of them baptizing her and declared herself ready to be a Christian. So I stopped what I was doing and we talked about it. And I gave her the phone and she texted Mrs Holly (our children's director) and told her that she wanted to be baptized.

Daddy came home, we discussed it a little more with him, read her book over again and then we prayed with her. And our baby girl told Jesus that she loved Him, that she was soooo sorry for her sin and that she wanted to follow Him, to do the right things and that she wanted to go to Heaven. We walked her through a prayer where she declared her belief in God and the cross and Resurrection. And, just like that, my girl is a Christian.

She called and told her grandparents and we took pictures and texted a bunch of people and celebrated with ice cream.

And she called and asked the two sweetest people you have EVER met, Mr Jerry and Mrs Polly, to please baptize her. I think they were a little shocked, but they were thrilled and agreed. Now we just need to talk to Mrs Holly and figure out when.

And, oh my WORD, will I flood you all with pictures when it happens.

Praise His Holy Name! I am just beside myself with the greatest joy I have ever known. To know that I will be with my baby in Heaven ... Oh, PRAISE HIM!!!!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Like Sophie Prays

My Sophie girl turned six in September, but in some ways she is so much older than her years.

With the attitude of a teenager, this girl can stomp her foot, roll her eyes, cross her arms and "HUMPH!" with the best of them.

And then, she can turn on the charm, smile that pretty smile and talk you into just about anything.  She has about half the people she knows wrapped around her little finger. Including her parents. What can we say ...

... we are smitten.

Can ya blame us?

But, there is another way in which she just seems wise beyond her years.  And that is in the way she understands God.  She's always just had a very simple but intense faith. She lifts up a prayer like it takes no effort at all.

If we meet an ambulance on the road, she prays for whoever it is going to help. I don't even have to suggest it, I know she just will.

If she sees a pretty sky - a colorful sunset or sunrise - she will immediately stop and thank God for His artwork.

If she knows someone is hurting, she will pray for them every day without fail.

Her heart hurts for the homeless, the sick and the needy. And she has the heart of a warrior - a PRAYER warrior. A warrior that sees a need and takes it to the Lord. A heart that will not stop praying until the need is resolved ... and sometimes she continues anyway. Because "I think he still needs Jesus".

A year or so ago she was praying for Bob. Now, I do not know anyone that SHE knows named Bob - at least not anyone that I knew of in need of prayer. But she prayed on for him. At meals, at bed time, anytime she prayed, she asked God to be with Bob.  So, one day I asked her "Honey, who is Bob?"  She looked at me, thought about for a minute and said "I don't know!" But she kept on praying for him. For months.  And then one day she stopped.  After a few days with no prayers for Bob I asked if she had forgotten to pray for him. She looked at me with a big ol smile and said "oh, Bob is OK now!!!"  But, she still doesn't know who he is. And neither do we.

But God knows.

But, by far, the best thing about the way my little prayer warrior prays is that she does it KNOWING that He will answer.  She sometimes prays "God, please ...", but more often than not, she prays more like this: "God, thank You that You will ...."  She doesn't ask, she thanks Him in advance. Because she just knows He will.

I think that is AMAZING. She has no doubts, she just trusts.  And, we have prayed for people that have gone to Heaven - Uncle Ginger. Uncle Gary. Baby Sawyer. And, every time she has wept and just fallen apart in tears because "I didn't want him to die!"  And it has broken my heart to tell her that our prayers were not answered the way we wanted, but she just says "It's OK mom. Heaven is nice. God loves him!!!"  Because she just KNOWS.

So, I have decided. When I grow up ...

... I wanna pray like Sophie prays.


Close Your Eyes and Pretend

Pretend that this is yesterday.

Cause, yes, I missed yesterday. My 30 days of blogging got messed up. On. Day. FOUR.

(so sad)

Anyhoo ... His mercies are new every morning and I am claiming that mercy this morning, so I wanted to hop on here and ask you to extend mercy to me as well.

Pretty please?

I do have some stories to tell, but today ... I mean, YESTERDAY (wink, wink) ... I want to leave you with this:

A friend and I were talking on Sunday about miracles.  About how people may be less inclined to believe our God because they don't see Him performing miracles today. And that just slays me!  KILLS ME.

They assume that because He is not parting seas open and walking people across dry ground, that He is not here. But, Y'ALL! He DID part the sea. And He left the tale and all it's lessons to guide us. And, lest we think we are the first generation to forget all of that, He reminds us that the very generation that walked across that dry sea bed forgot too!

And maybe He IS parting seas. No ... no, no maybe about it. He IS parting seas in our midst. Maybe not actual bodies of water, but I have seen him part the sea of the debt that was drowning my family and walk us across dry land to where we could breathe again.

I have seen Him part the seas of a hopeless diagnosis and bring healing that baffles doctors.

I have seen split wide a sea of depression and bring hope.

I have watched him make a way through the waves of a turbulent marriage and bring calm where once the waters of divorce raged fierce.

And I have watched Him, every single day, walk a little girl whose seas where once turbulent with abuse and neglect and despair into the promised land of a family that loves her beyond words (not that WE are her promised land, but He is!). He walks her through a condition which could drown her into a world unreachable into a place where miracles of her overcoming that condition are commonplace. A world where we could say we don't see miracles anymore ... but, PRAISE HIS NAME, they are right there.

Right there in the every single day.

And, I imagine, if we all look hard, and seek Him more, we can see those miracles ourselves. Every single day.

Every. Single. Day.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nine ...

Yesterday was Hattie Day! Nine years ago she came to our house to live. I don't think any of us had any idea of the adventure that was about to begin. But I would not trade one single moment!!!

She is the adventure I never saw coming.  I watch her defy every odd that her diagnosis throws at her and I know. I know that God has some pretty big things in store for this child.

And I just pray every single day that I don't mess that up!

Today I watched the child that we were told would never be affectionate, conversational or social walk around church and greet people like it was her job, hug all of her friends, make NEW friends and make sure everyone she met felt welcome.

And then, at lunch, the child who used to shut out the world - especially in unfamiliar or overwhelming situations - noticed a couple in a crowded restaurant with a baby in a carrier. And my child, who was supposed to be "silent" according to all the people who should know, called out to me from across the table in a not at ALL silent voice "MOM! How do two people get to have a brand new baby?!"

And I had to remind myself how VERY many times I prayed to have a conversation with this child.

And, oh how faithful He is ... even when it may not be so convenient for me :)

And I am so thankful.