Friday, January 30, 2009

fPhoto Friday - Brennan's Handiwork

Earlier this week, Brennan posted some awesome photos on his Facebook page. He said he was just having fun and practicing in an effort to sharpen his skills. I think he captured some amazing images! With his blessing, I'm sharing them with you today...

Fog always makes for such a moody this!

So delicate and beautiful!

Another nice shot...good perspective and love the fog.

Lowering the camera completely changes the perspective...Wow!

Yet another slight shift in perspective and you get this shot. Incredible!

Really love this one in an abstract sort of way.

I positively LOVE sunset photos.
This could very well be my favorite sunset photo...EVER!

For more fPhoto Friday, visit Natalie @ Married to the Preacher.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Wonderland

For the last few weeks, I've read on a number of blogs about snowfalls all over the country...even in some areas which typically have little (if any). We had managed to get by with just a little here and there (albeit with record cold temps)...until now. We got 4 1/2 inches yesterday, then starting last night several hours of freezing rain, then, this morning several additional inches! Wow. It's positively beautiful.

When the freezing rain started last night, Tom and I decided we were going to use a vacation day and not attempt getting out on the roads this morning. Just moments after waking today, I learned our firm had closed due to the weather. Thank you Lord! I retreated to my favorite chair for my time with the Lord, grateful it would be completely unhurried. Afterwards, I sat down at the computer and almost immediately our power went off. It was only about 6:30 by this time so we decided to go back to bed for a little while. Within a couple of hours, power was restored and we were quite well-rested. Thank you Lord! We bundled up and headed outside to enjoy the beautiful snow and take some photos.

Back inside, I chatted with my Mom & sister on the phone and learned my brother-in-law, David and his employees had been out doing snow removal for more than 36 hours. Needless to say, they were exhausted and she was really concerned. We've been praying for them all throughout the day.

Later, Tom and I decided it was time to go and shovel at least a part of the driveway. Because of the heavy coating of ice in between the snow, it was very heavy. After about 20 minutes, we were already feeling worn out. A cheerful young man came up and said, would you like us to do your driveway? (Seriously!?!) He and two friends gave us their price and it was quite fair. Woo-hoo! We headed back into the warm house saying once again...Thank you Lord!

As I was preparing dinner, I spoke to my sister briefly again. My brother-in-law is still out working. It's going on about 44 straight hours now. If you would, please lift a prayer for David and his guys. Thank you.
Hope you're safe and warm wherever this finds you tonight.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Brennan!

20 years ago today, at 6:19 a.m., our lives were forever changed by you, our precious boy.

Late that first night after everyone left the hospital, I remember holding you -- staring at your sweet face, studying your little hands, hardly believing you really belonged to us. I couldn’t help but wonder then what you would be like as you grew. Had we only known the blessings and unimaginable joy that awaited us. God gave us an indescribable privilege when he made us your Mom & Dad. We can never thank Him enough.

We are so very proud of you and we love you beyond words. Wishing we could be with you on this your special day...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brennan & Brianna: The Proposal Story

For those hoping for a brief rundown of the proposal, this will likely be disappointing. There is much to tell about their sweet story. If you love all things romantic, I believe you’ll find it worth the read…

It happened on Brianna’s birthday (long since planned that way by Brennan, but a complete surprise to her.) They had talked about marriage for some time, and it was something they both really wanted. Unbeknownst to her, Brennan had already sought (and received) the blessing from her parents, and he had already bought her beautiful engagement ring (a princess cut diamond, with a beautiful setting in white gold.)

You may remember he attends college in South Carolina. She, on the other hand attends college in Cincinnati while living at home. In order that she not suspect anything, on the break closest to her birthday, they "celebrated." He took her out to dinner, then took her shopping at her favorite store and bought her a beautiful dress. As far as she knew, that was her birthday gift from Brennan (hee, hee). Surprising her on her actual birthday required a good bit of behind-the-scenes planning and a “top secret” trip home which, because of the distance, resulted in two days of missed classes. He was undeterred. He happily made the necessary arrangements and began planning a beautiful and wonderfully elaborate proposal.

It involved visiting 12 places that had special significance to them. (He planned to go beforehand to leave a rose and a special memory at each location.) By the time they reached the last stop, she would have gathered a dozen roses, relived many special memories of their relationship and there, he would propose. Sounds great, right? Well, about 10 days before her birthday, he happened to hear for the first time, the proposal story of some very good friends (Noah & Nicole). It was so strikingly similar to what he had planned, he couldn’t believe it! If you knew Brennan….well, that would never do! He was convinced he had to come up with a whole new plan. He began brainstorming like never before. After a couple of days, he announced…"I’ve got it! I’ll write her a play!" "Write her a play!?" we asked. "Yep." He reminded us that he worked best under pressure and he was confident he could pull it off.

He immediately began spending every spare moment writing. When he finished Act 1, he asked if I would like to read it. (Are you kidding?!) With the very first line, I was drawn in. It was their story and it was written so beautifully. As I finished reading, I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. That was just the response he was hoping for! He continued on, occasionally letting me read how it was progressing. It was amazing. Within 3 days he had the rough draft complete.

The play begins with a Dad tucking his young son into bed. As they talk about the events of the day, the little boy is thinking of a million things to talk about, in the hopes of holding off bedtime a little longer. The conversation turns to girls. He asks his Dad why girls act the way they do. In an effort to explain, he decides to tell him a story. It’s about a little boy in kindergarten who meets a little girl…and the story progresses. You soon realize the little boy in the story is the Dad. As the lights go down on Scene 1, across the stage the lights come up on a Mom tucking in her daughter, engaging in much the same kind of conversation, about little boys. The Mom begins to tell her a story, about meeting a boy in Kindergarten when she was a little girl. And so it goes.

The story weaves beautifully back and forth between the Mom & daughter to the Dad and son and follows the little boy and little girl as they grow up and fall in love. Along the way, there are certain scenes acted out in little vignettes as the story is told. When it reaches the point where the boy leaves to go to South Carolina for college and the girl stays home, the stage goes dark except for one spotlight shining down on an open Bible. It looks as though another vignette is about to start when the other players leave the stage. But for the presence of the Lord, the auditorium is now empty. At this point, Brennan takes Brianna’s hand and leads her to the stage where the Bible rests. He recites a passage that has become so dear to them all throughout their relationship, Song of Solomon 8:6-7:

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.

Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.
If a man would give for love
All the wealth of his house,
It would be utterly despised.

And then…with words unwritten in the script, known only to the two of them, he asks her to be his bride.

With help from the Lord and several others, he not only pulled it off, it was a huge success. Jordyn & Joshua, my niece and nephew played the parts of the boy and girl, and 5 (yes, 5) of their mutual friends made the trip along with Brennan to play the parts of the Mom and Dad, as well as Brennan and Brianna and other characters in the vignettes. Everyone who took part has an background in theater, so they were able to quickly memorize the script, figure out the blocking and lighting, etc. and add other touches that according to Brennan made it even better than he could have ever imagined.

On the day of her birthday, Brianna and her Mom, Lisa had plans to have lunch at one of their favorite restaurants. She was trying to celebrate, but missing Brennan badly and understandably a bit sad. Unbeknownst to Brianna, a plan was in place and Brennan was there. She and her Mom sat down. They were looking over the menu when her Mom said…"I have to go." Brianna said…"you have to go?" "Why!?" Her Mom said…"Because your birthday present is here…" She directed her attention toward Brennan. Brianna whirled around and the moment she saw him, she squealed, they hugged, she cried and people cheered. (What a moment!) At that point, Lisa, with her mission accomplished, wished them a wonderful time together and left the restaurant.

After a great lunch they were able to spend the rest of the afternoon together. As evening approached, he told her they had tickets for something called "Untitled Play," which was being performed at our church (where unbeknownst to her, the engagement team was working frantically, making the final preparations).

When they arrived, they took their seats front and center and the play began. She realized when no one else was in the audience, it was something special he had written for her birthday. She was stunned when she saw their mutual friends who had traveled home to play the parts. It was then she suspected this might be part of a proposal. Afterwards, she said it "couldn’t have been more perfect" which made Brennan a very happy young man.

Once it was apparent he had asked her and she had accepted, the engagement team made their way back into the auditorium, cheering and celebrating with them the wonderful news. Before long, they were off to share their joyous news with everyone else. As you might imagine, everyone was thrilled for them, yet not surprised at all that the couple voted “Most Likely to be Married” in High School, had committed that day to do just that.

We couldn’t be more happy for them. We adore Brianna. Her family adores Brennan. Their relationship has always been a beautiful testimony, centered firmly on Christ. We pray God’s greatest blessings for their future together, and look forward to seeing it unfold.

Oh, and the play? It now has a title… It’s called "She Said Yes."

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Double Dose of Precious!

Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Join Me in Prayer on this Important Day in History

While visiting the Presidential Prayer Team site this morning, I read a beautiful prayer written by one it's members, Donna Pirone. I've made it my prayer on this historic and significant Inauguration Day, and I invite you to do the same...

"This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalm 118:24

Father, we give you thanks for this special day to celebrate the inauguration of our new president. While he was being formed in his mother's womb, you charted every day of his life. You knew from his beginning that one day he would be elected president of our great nation. We ask that your hand of guidance, protection, and blessing will follow him all the days of his life.

Today, he stands before you and before our nation with his hand on your Word to pledge his allegiance to you and to us. We need his help, he needs our help, and together we all need your help, for without you we can do nothing. Will you protect him, and his family today from harm and from evil? As we pray for the new vice president, we ask that your guidance and direction will fill his mind and heart as he assists our new president. Will you protect him and his family today and keep him mindful of all that you are?

From the beginning of the opening prayer, to the end of the celebrating, may your name be praised in the heart of every American. We are so blessed, Father, and we need to remember that our freedom, our security, and our provisions come from you alone. Thank you for a government that is by the people, and for the people. May we acknowledge your presence in all that we do and say this day with thanksgiving and praise.

We ask these things in your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.

* * * * * * *

As you pray for the Obamas and the Bidens and their upcoming administration, please also pray God's blessings upon President and Mrs. Bush, as they prepare to leave public life and adjust to their new home in Dallas. Following Inauguration ceremonies, they depart Washington from Andrews Air Force Base, traveling to Midland, TX where they will participate in a welcome home event in Centennial Plaza. Pray for their safety and protection.

If you'd like to sign up to become a member of the Presidential Prayer Team, follow this link.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Special Announcement

Would you believe I’ve been keeping a secret from you? More than anything because I wanted it to be special. I’ve been trying to think of how best to share this exciting news and I think I just need to “spill it!” Exactly nine months from today (Lord willing), our family will be growing. No…I’m not expecting (though that would indeed be a surprise!), we aren‘t adopting and no, we‘re not getting a pet.

What in the world am I trying to say?!?

On October 17, 2009, we’ll be adding a daughter-in-love to our family. Yes, that’s the day our son, Brennan will take his sweetheart Brianna to be his wife!!! We are so excited for them. They’ve been together since 8th grade (7 years!) They’ve been engaged for a little while now and the wedding plans are in full swing!

I am anxious to share with you their proposal story, but that will have to wait until one day next week. My time today is short. I realized this morning the wedding is exactly 9 months away. I thought what better time to share the news!?

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend. Blessings to you!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Scripture Memory Challenge - Verse #2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

God has been speaking to my heart recently through many different avenues about renewal. He's creating in me a real hunger and thirst for it. I’m praying earnestly to fully submit my will to His, as I ask Him to do a major work of spiritual renewal within me. That's one of the reasons I’ve decided to take part in the Scripture Memory Challenge. I want His word to transform and renew the way I think!

This desire for the renewing of my mind actually began several months ago. You may or may not know I began a weight loss journey in September. For many years, I had given food a place of prominence in my life it never should have had. I knew it, and felt shame over it, but I wasn’t willing to let it go. For too long, I listened to the enemy tell me I would never have victory over this area of my life. As I prayed, God began to create in me a deep desire to honor Him by taking better care of the body He had given me. When the enemy would threaten with discouragement, the Lord would encourage me with verses like Isaiah 43:18-19. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past; See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." He wanted me to forget past failures, set my eyes firmly on Him, and trust in His ability to change me. I finally got it, and I was READY. Wouldn’t you know, within a couple of days I received a company-wide invitation to join Weight Watchers at Work? I was the first one to sign up! Since that time, I’ve radically changed the way I think about food (how I prepare it, what I’m eating, how much I’m eating, etc…) I’ve broken a number of long-standing poor eating habits, incorporated daily exercise, and lost a significant amount of weight (24 pounds, so far). Physically, I feel better than I have in years. Best of all is the joy that comes from knowing this area of my life is now far more pleasing to God than it was at this time last year. As I continue to rely on Him for strength, He continues to walk faithfully with me on this journey every day.

As you might imagine, these changes have inspired and ignited my desire for the Lord’s continued renewal and transformation of my mind. I’ve already been so encouraged by meditating on and committing to memory the first scripture. I’m excited to see how God will move in this process throughout the year.

It’s not too late, if you wish to take part. Simply go to and sign up, or you’re welcome to journey along with me. In either case, just leave your name, location and the verse you’ve decided to commit to memory, between now and January 31st. (For those who have already signed up, I’d love to hear your second scripture!) Blessings!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Coal Basket

As I read my Grandpa's obituary today, I considered the two contrasting professions that characterized much of his life...coal miner and pastor. Soon thereafter (and not coincidentally, to be sure) I ran across this message. Though he didn't write this, he certainly could have. He always read (and encouraged us to read) God's Word every day. I'm so grateful for his legacy of faith.

# # #

The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible.

His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.”

The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house.

The grandfather laughed and said, “You will have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was “impossible to carry water in a basket,” and he went to get a bucket instead.

The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.”

The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean.

“Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.” That is the work of God in our lives. To change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His son.

Take time to read a portion of God’s word each day, you will never regret you did.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Well Done Good and Faithful Servant...

A sweet reunion is taking place in Heaven tonight. My Grandpa, Walter Hubbs passed away late this afternoon, just 10 days shy of his 94th birthday. No doubt all of Heaven, particularly my Grandma, his sweet bride of 68 years, is rejoicing! It thrills my heart to imagine them worshipping together at the feet of our Lord. You may remember, I shared their story last year.

Since Grandma passed away in 2004, several of my Aunts and Uncles have taken in and cared for Grandpa. Most recently and for the longest, he's been with my Aunt Brenda and Uncle Zollie in Georgia. They have been such incredible caretakers during the most difficult stage of his illness. I am humbled and thank God for their sacrificial love & compassion.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Funnies - Best Milk Commercial

Earlier this week, a friend sent this to me and I've giggled about it over and over. Hope it brings a smile (or better yet a belly laugh) to your Friday!

P.S. As with all videos from Youtube, please realize they may suggest "related videos" at the end that could be innappropriate.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Work of the Hands - Pay-it-Forward Challenge

Are you like me? Do you just love receiving a hand-made gift? It represents an investment of two valuable & time. Last month, a dear blogging friend sent me something absolutely precious she had made for me, and it touched my heart so! It continues to make me smile everytime I look at it, and it's a great reminder to keep her in my prayers.

I love making things for people. My problem? I suffer from lack of creative ideas, limited crafting abilities and time. My solution? Seeking out (other people's) cute ideas (within my crafty comfort zone) that I can re-create (especially during these winter months). That being said, I got really excited when I saw this Work of the Hands Pay-it-Forward Challenge on Amydeanne's blog (160 Acre Woods). She took the challenge from Lori (All You Have to Give) and Krista (Scraps in Bloom). Here is how it works.

The first 3 bloggers to leave a comment on this post will receive a hand-made item from me. Those 3 bloggers promise to post this challenge on their blog (meaning they too will ‘pay-it-forward’, creating a handmade gift for the first 3 bloggers that leave a comment on their blog!!) That's a lot of hand-made love being passed around! ; )

Here's the part I got really excited about...the gift can be anything you choose and any price range and you have 365 days to make/ship your item. No worries if you're outside the U.S., I don't mind international shipping. Are you up for it? What do you say?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Word Filled Wednesday


For more Word-Filled Wednesday,
please join us at the
160 Acre Woods

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 Scripture Memory Challenge

I took a moment this morning to stop by Beth Moore’s blog. I was so excited by what I saw! As a means of growing ever-closer to the Lord, she put out a challenge to her readers to join her in memorizing scripture this year. On the first and fifteenth of every month, those wishing to take part are asked to leave their name, location and the scripture chosen in a comment (as a means of accountability). As I prepared to leave my comment, I realized there were over 2,000 people who had already done so (and the number is still climbing!!) That’s an enormous amount of scripture across our country being memorized and meditated upon! Memorizing scripture is so important to our overall spiritual well-being. Like reading God’s Word, it builds and strengthens our faith for the inevitable trials that will come our way, and it draws us into a closer walk with the Lord. So often in my own life, passages I have memorized surface at the precise time I need them. Sometimes it’s for a friend or family member, other times for me.

I’ve taken this challenge, and I’m excited to think I’ll have 24 new passages committed to memory by the end of this year. As an added measure of accountability, I plan to share my verses with you here on the first and fifteenth of each month. I’m starting with the scripture I posted on New Year’s Eve, though at a friend’s request, I’m adding one additional verse (thanks, Paula!)

Lamentations 3:21-25 (NLT)
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.

What about you? Want to join us? Let me know in a comment and then head over to Beth Moore’s blog and sign on!