Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Hero's Salute

As you celebrate Memorial Day with family and friends this weekend, please remember to honor those gave the ultimate sacrifice.  My husband shared this video with me.  It is a tribute to a fallen officer, Staff Sargeant John Beale, who died in the line of duty last year in Afghanistan.  He was a 39-year-old veteran of Desert Storm who later joined the National Guard with a strong desire to return to military service in 2005.  As a civilian, he worked for his local county water authority where he was also very involved in their youth programs.  He left behind a wife and two children.  This is his procession...spanning multiple communities.  Truly, one of the most moving videos I've ever seen.  In a time when true patriotism and support for our troops seems to be diminishing, the spirit of America demonstrated by these Georgia communities will touch your heart and restore your hope.  To each and every one who gave their lives in the line of duty...thank you.  May we never forget. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Craft Day!!!

Last Saturday was soooooo much fun!  It was Breezy, her Mom, Lisa and me, crafting and creating!  If you saw my last post, you know Lisa is quite creative.  And if you saw this post, you know Breezy is very talented, too!  The ideas that flow from this!

One of the things Breezy was looking forward to during this time of vacation was crafting...and let me tell you, crafting she has done!  Holy cow, the girl is AMAZING!!!  I wish I could show you everything she's made since she's been here!  Some are gifts, so they need to be kept secret.  = )  Still others are being kept under wraps for a different see, she's building an inventory.  That's right!  She's creating all sorts of charming products for her very own website!  Really & truly!  I think I'm almost as excited and anxious as she is!  When everything is up and running, you can bet I'll pass along the're in for a treat!     

Want a tiny little sneak peak? She says I can show you what she made on Saturday...

A charming little bottle gift, two hair accessories, one vintage style pin..

She created the darling little owl on this tote bag by making a stencil from freezer paper!

Isn't that adorable!? 

Although Lisa and I weren't cranking out scores of items like Breezy, we did get quite a bit accomplished on the projects we had undertaken.  She was working on the scrapbook from the Breezy's bridal showers and the wedding. 

She loves to incorporate memorabilia and vintage elements.  Her pages are BEAUTIFUL!  

As for me?  I worked on a gift and though I can't show you the whole thing, I'll give you a little peek, too! 

I'll share more about this later and maybe even do a tutorial.  But for now?  I'm sleepy and not thinking too clearly so I bid you good-night!  Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Christmas in May...Elegant Feather Ornament

Better late than never!  (It's still the 25th for just a little while longer!)  In keeping with my tradition, here is this month's ornament.  This wonderful idea came from Breezy's Mom, Lisa! = )  It's easy, elegant and meaningful.  (This was shared as the favor for their December Women's Prayer Breakfast.) 

Take a glass ball ornament, fill it with a single white feather.  (Lisa says these can be found by the bag at Hobby Lobby).  Simply draw on sprigs and berries with white and silver markers (found at any craft store) and add a sheer ribbon for hanging. 

Lisa wrote this beautiful poem which she typed onto a card with a pretty little angel.  Simply punch a hole and thread it over the ribbon for gift-giving.  (I haven't yet figured out how to make this an attachment to the blog post, but I do have it as a PDF file.  If you'd like me to send it to you, simply e-mail me at 

Posted by Picasa

Isn't that a great little ornament?  Special thanks to Lisa for sharing such a wonderful idea! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Trip to SC, Graduation & Our Kids are Home!

Greetings!  Hope this finds you well.  Just wanted to share a little about our trip to South Carolina and Brennan's Graduation. 
Initially, we had only planned to go down early Tuesday for Graduation that evening and come home Wednesday.  When we found out both Brennan & Breezy were in a play the weekend before, we felt we couldn't pass up the opportunity to head down early to catch the final performance on Saturday night.  It was called Joseph of Aramathea.  Brennan played John the Baptist and Breezy played Martha.  It was wonderful and we enjoyed it so much! 
On Sunday, we spent several hours with the kids, including lunch at their favorite local spot...a wonderful Mexican restaurant that was FANTASTIC!  Let me just say it quickly became a favorite to us, too and I suspect we'll visit anytime we're in town.  Everything was positively delicious!  It started getting rainy and stormy as we headed back to the hotel. Tom and Brennan chatted and Breezy and I checked out all sorts of was great! 
On Monday, Brennan had some final exams and projects and Breezy was working, so Tom and I were on our own.  It was unfortunately still very, very rainy in Greenville, meaning we couldn't do many of the things we would have normally enjoyed (we love their beautiful downtown area).  Tom said, "let's head to the beach!"  (You need to know Greenville, although in SC, couldn't be farther from the beach!)  We went to Google to find the closest, which was Folly Beach, near Charleston, 3 1/2 hours away.  Unfortunately, they had rain in their forecast that day, too.  We checked other beaches, just in case, but all were expecting 70% rain and thunderstorms!

We decided to take our chances that we'd miss it and hit the road.  After all, it was better than sitting in the hotel all day!   About 2 1/2 hours into the trip, we hit some unbelievably hard rain.  (So much for our chances!)  It was so hard to see!  Finally, it cleared up just before we arrived at Folly Beach.  It was cloudy there, but not raining! 

(photo courtesy of Google images)
We walked on the beach for a while, put our toes in the (very) cold water, and then decided to head over to Charleston, an an effort to beat the rain.  The skies were getting darker by this time and it was sprinkling just as we arrived.  We parked and started walking around town, then stopped for a late lunch at Five Guys Deli (there is one locally but we've never eaten there).  It was terrific! 
We both quickly noticed there were college kids everywhere!  (There are a number of colleges/technical schools in and around Charleston.)  As we were finishing lunch, the rain got heavier and this time accompanied by thunder & lightning!  We decided the rest of our exploring was going to be better done from the car...i.e. no photos.  (Sorry!)  = (  We headed back to Greenville thinking we'll have to try visiting again sometime in better weather! 
Tuesday was graduation day and at last, the sun returned!  It turned into a beautiful day.  We took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in a bit, had lunch at Panera, then headed to the school for graduation practice.  Later, we enjoyed dinner with the kids and then we headed back to the school for the big event!  Though Brennan's college is a small one, they went to great lengths to host a special, inspiring and wonderful ceremony. 
Receiving his degree...

With faculty and other 2010 graduates, Rachel & Natalie

Thought this was such a sweet moment...Breezy is so proud of Brennan! (and so are we!) 
And a kiss for his favorite girl!

Following the ceremony, there was a wonderful reception for the students, family and friends.  Everyone enjoyed it so much.  Finally, it was time to call it a day.  We were making the trip home on Wednesday and wanted to get a good night's rest.  Speaking of making the trip home, a certain couple followed us here!  = )  They have several vacation days and they wanted to spend it with their families.  (Hooray!)  You can only imagine how much we're loving that!  = ) 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Potter & the Clay (originally published April '08)

…We are the clay, and You our potter; and we are all the work of Your hand. ~ Isaiah 64:8

Have you ever watched a potter work? He takes a dense mass of clay and first pounds and shapes it into a ball. He then places it firmly in the center of the potter’s wheel and begins the slow process of shaping. Initially, the clay is quite rigid and unyielding, so he continuously uses water to keep it workable.

The potter’s job requires much patience. As the wheel spins, he continuously changes the position of his hands and fingers as he shapes the clay into what he wants it to be. More pressure here, a more delicate touch there, literally even squeezing in some places. He might even change the speed at which the wheel is turning.

Once the clay takes on its initial shape, he begins using tools that trim away excess and further refine it into the desired form. By now, the piece looks finished, but must be placed in the kiln and subjected to intense heat before it is fully strengthened and usable to its fullest potential.

I’ve been thinking about our message yesterday which brought this question…

“How are you responding to God’s attempts to mold and shape your life?"

More specifically…

Have you first offered yourself to Him for use?

Are you allowing Him to pound, press, apply pressure and even squeeze where needed?

Are you soaking in the water of his Word in order that you might remain workable?

Have you given Him the ability to trim away those excess things in your life keeping you from a closer walk with Him?

Are you willing to be subjected to intense heat so that in the end you’ll be fully strengthened and more perfected?


Are you resisting being used at all?

Are you fighting his attempts to pound, press, apply pressure and even squeeze where needed?

Have you neglected soaking in the water from God’s Word and in doing so, become resistant, rigid and unyielding to change?

Are you trying to avoid (or asking God to take away) painful situations, rather than endure the work of His refining tools?

Do you give up in the midst of intense heat, before ever realizing the full strength you could gain in Him through the process?

In the end, I don't want to be a vessel whose shape bears no resemblance to the Potter's design; one that represents defiance and resistance to His workings. Instead, I want my final shape to be that which He lovingly intended and purposefully created because I surrendered to His hands. More than anything...I want to be a creation He can look upon with great joy.

Lord, I want to be used by you. Help me to allow you full access to every part of me. Do what is needed to shape me into who you want me to be. Help me stay saturated in your Word so that my heart is tender and workable. Take away those things that keep me from a closer walk with you. When I find myself in the midst of extreme discomfort, Lord remind me those trials are from you, specifically designed for me, that I may become fully strengthened and perfected in you. May it be so Lord Jesus…

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lessons for Life (Through an Old Man at the Airport)

Tom and I are spending a few days in South Carolina.  Last night, we were privileged to see Brennan and Breezy, along with many of our "adopted" kids in an outstanding play on the life of Joseph of Aramathea.  It was fantastic!  We'll be remaining in town, taking a mini-vacation as we await Brennan's graduation on Tuesday evening.  Meanwhile, I'm repeating a former post or two...this one is an all-time favorite, shared first nearly two years ago. 

For those of you familiar with Beth Moore, this is possibly a story you've heard before. Personally, this has been one of the most impacting illustrations on humility and obedience I have ever heard. I've read it countless times over the years and it never fails to challenge me. I know it is rather long, but I promise, well worth the read.

Taken from the book, Further Still by Beth Moore

At the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego.

I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man. 

I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me.

All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man. I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing. I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. "Oh, no, God, please, no." I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, "Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!"

There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, "Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane."

Then I heard it... "I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair." The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, "God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm your girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man."

Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. "That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair."

I looked up at God and quipped, "I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?" God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: "I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, "Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"

He looked back at me and said, "What did you say?"

I repeated, "May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"

To which he responded in volume ten, "Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that." 

At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, "SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?"

At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks.

Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, "If you really want to." Are you kidding? I thought...of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, "Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush."

"I have one in my bag," he responded.

I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.

A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's.

I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees and said, "Sir, do you know Jesus?"

He said, "Yes, I do." Well, that figures, I thought.

He explained, "I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior." He said, "You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride."

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it. Our time came to board, and sadly, we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him.

I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, "That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?"

I said, "Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!" 

And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted, you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!

I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way, all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me. 

John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Laugh Break

Happy Friday!  A friend sent this to me a while back and I absolutely loved it.  Pour yourself a cup of coffee and take just a few moments to listen.  Jeanne Robertson is a professional speaker and humorist.  (Almost guaranteed to give you a few giggles!)  = )

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Mother's Day Gifts... = )

Just had to share with you my charming Mother's Day gifts from Breezy & Brennan.  They were perfect!  First...

I should tell you...I've always loved flowers in a Mason jar, but this was precious!  I love the way that ribbon and button dress it up.  She added that sweet mini clothespin and made the card attached with scrapbooking software.  Isn't that a great idea!? = )   

Then...this!  I absolutely LOVE it!  She stained the wood plaques and then Mod-Podged pink paper to the front which she distressed.  She added a slight antique coloring to the photos and added a beautiful quote (chosen by Brennan), then embellished with ribbon and buttons.  The photos she chose are some of my favorites.  This is truly an absolute treasure!

I've always told you Breezy and her family were talented and creative.  Over the years, I've seen her create some wonderful and very special gifts for Brennan.  It was especially meaningful to receive something so special for my own!  Apparently, her inspiration for both gifts came from things she has seen in blogworld. Yes, she too has been bitten by the blogging bug!  (I love it!)  She has been having lots of fun exploring & getting all sorts of ideas.  = ) 

Oh and lest I forget!  Here is the beautiful quote:

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.  ~Washington Irving.

Hope you had a wonderful and special Mother's Day, too! 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!

I was privileged to spend yesterday celebrating Mother's Day with my sweet Mom.  We had such a great time!  I'm beyond grateful He blessed me with a Mom that is tender, kind, caring, compassionate, fun, flexible, talented and so very easy to love.  What a gift!  I pray His most abundant blessings for her.  

A little later, I'll be seeing my sweet boy and daughter-in-love...I absolutely cannot wait!  It's my first Mother's Day with two kids!  ; )  They've been in town this week, working with the college seminar team which has provided a few bonus visits (the greatest Mother's Day gift, ever!)  What a treat it has been and how I love them so!     

Tonight, we'll honor my  mother-in-love, Millie.  She too is a treasure to me and I truly thank God for her.  At nearly 90 years of age, every Mother's Day we have together is a special gift. 

In the quieter moments, I can't help but think of so many Mom's I know, in all walks and stages of life...

* those joyously celebrating their first Mother's Day and those whose babies are preparing leave the nest;
* those who now care for their aging Mothers as she once cared for them;
* those spending Mother's Day without their own dear Mom;
* those whose arms still ache to hold a baby of their own and those who were privileged to hold babies that have now returned to Heaven;
* those separated by distance and those separated by broken relationships;
* those who gave birth to babies that will be loved and nurtured by arms other than their own; 
* those with a house full and those with just one....
I'm praying for you today. 

A friend wrote this morning and I couldn't agree to salvation and my husband, there has been no greater gift or privilege in my life than being a Mom.  I truly can't thank Him enough.  

Hope your day is special in every way!  Savor every moment, every hand-picked flower, every hand-made card, every sticky kiss, every "I love you"  They make the sweetest of memories as days go by.           

Friday, May 7, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Greetings friends!
Only have a quick minute.  Just wanted to say Congratulations! to Judy of Just a Little Something for You! She won my drawing for Elaine Olsen's book, Peace for the Journey: In the Pleasure of His Company.  I'm thrilled because both Judy & Elaine are among the dearest people in all of blogworld!  I know she is in for such a treat with this book. 

Speaking of such a treat...have you met Judy or visited Just a Little Something for You?  She is a lovely, gracious and talented woman whose blog is a delightful mixture of family, creativity, inspiration, recipes and wonderful gift ideas.  She's a tremendous encourager and a treasured friend.  Please stop by and say Hello!

If you missed the drawing, but would like Elaine's book, visit Peace for the Journey.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Very Special Day for Elaine of Peace for the Journey

Two years ago, just a couple of weeks after my blogging journey began, I found my way to a very special place...Peace for the Journey.  With the first post, Elaine had me.  What a gift of expression!  Just as quickly as I fell in love with her style of writing, I fell in love with her heart for God (both of which are extraordinary!)  I've often said since then, the words that flow from her pen are truly anointed, and I mean that with all my heart!  As the wife of a Pastor and devoted Mom to four, her real life provides the inspiration behind her posts.  She weaves a story like few others but all the while, pointing you straight to the source, the one who unmistakeably owns her heart, the Giver of all Peace...Christ. 

Well...I'm overjoyed to tell she is celebrating the release of her book, Peace for the Journey:  In the Pleasure of His Company.   Can I just tell you... I cannot wait to get my copy! I've already thought of a friend or two I'd like to bless with one, as well.   In fact, one of you will be blessed with a signed copy!  Simply leave a comment anytime between now and Thursday at midnight (Eastern time).  I'll draw and announce the winner on Friday. 

If you'd rather not wait (or you want more than one copy), take a moment and watch the trailer below, then follow the link for ordering information.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Back in the Day...

Special thanks to my friend Looo (not a typo) for sharing!  = )