Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's a Small World

Maybe it's because I work at a church that has contacts all over, or maybe it's just because this is Mississippi, but a really strange thing happened today. We were on our way back home from my mom's house in Brandon. We were on 49 in Magee, stopped at the light in front of the Wal-Mart. Someone in the car in the lane next to us was waving and honking. I shaded my eyes and rolled the window down. It was Curt Hale,
blog post photo
the children's pastor at Pinelake. He has lead our Kid's Camps for the past several years. Just last week he spoke at our banquet for Children and Preschool workers. I love Curt. He and Noel and the boys were headed to his mom's for Christmas. After the light turned green and I rolled up the window, Mr. H looked at me and said, "I know I'm married to the church lady when we are hailed by children's ministers from churches in other cities." Have I mentioned how much I love my job?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Porklets, Presents & Gingerbread Houses

I know it's Christmastime. I got up at 4:45 this morning to make porklets. You probably call them mini pigs-in-a-blanket: little sausages wrapped in crescent roll dough. A family we know always called them porklets, so for us, the name stuck. I sent 64 of them to school with L this morning. They are having a breakfast Christmas party. I probably won't get to go to the party because of the presents . . .

. . .lots of presents. Our church had an angel tree in the front lobby this year. We had about 90 angels on it. Most of them were from our local elementary school. The gifts came in last Sunday and the parents will pick up the last of them this afternoon. It has been so much fun connecting the parents with the presents.

My eldest wanted to make a gingerbread house this year. In the planning process, she decided she didn't like ginger, so she made it from her wonderful chocolate chip cookie dough, minus the chocolate chips. She and L decorated it yesterday afternoon. It is a beautiful sight. I think she was inspired by the pictures she saw at (photo 10) of London attractions done in gingerbread.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Love My Girls

Tonight was our staff Christmas Party. It was at Bro. Neil's new house. We decided no kids. (Well, Silas came but he's under 6 months.) Anyway, my eldest suggested that they all go to the movies together. Neil has 4 kids, 3 of them girls. We have 3 girls. Danny has a girl. (Dr. T's youngest would probably have joined the party, but she was making $$ babysitting for Bro. Mark's 2 little ones.) Neil's oldest and our oldest are college freshmen and they took 6 little girls to the movies. Our eldest's boyfriend came and brought his little sister, too. (One guy with 8 girls!) After the movie they came back to our house for supper. I love the fact that they are all such good friends.
When Mr. H and I got home, the house was spotless and M was baking cookies for her class party tomorrow. Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky.
Then I realize that it's not ALWAYS so easy. But when it IS easy, it's harder to remember the times that parenting isn't a piece of cake (or a batch of cookies)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas in Reverse

Tonight the children of Agricola Baptist presented "Christmas in Reverse." It is the story of Christmas going back all the way to the Garden of Eden. My L was Mary. She did a great job.

As I was looking at the pictures, I was reminded that we had some miracle children singing tonight. Just 2 weeks ago one
young man was in ICU after being in a horrible car crash. He was able to come tonight.

His mom thought he just wanted to watch, but, no, he wanted to sing. He told her they needed him.

The other miracle child sang with the preschool choir. This little one weighed less than 2 pounds at birth and yet was there tonight, singing away. These 2 children are so much a part of the reason we celebrate. God has been good to us.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Heavenly Things

This morning, very early while it was still dark, I went outside to see if I could catch a glimpse of any shooting stars. This is the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. But, wouldn't you know, it was too overcast to see anything. I was bummed. About 2 hours later, as we were leaving to go to school, I looked out the window of the van and saw this:

If not for the cloud cover, this rainbow wouldn't have been possible. I guess God knew I needed a reminder of His promises more than I needed something to wish on.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rurban things

Dr. T likes to write about Rurban things. Sometimes, he IS the rurban thing. Here's something you just don't see everyday: Your pastor and youth pastor, playing the piano and singing on a trailor pulled down the road by the minister of music. I love where I work.

Monday, December 10, 2007

the season's heating up

In more ways than one.
It was 80 degrees outside today!
And I'm supposed to go to a Christmas meal tomorrow night. I still haven't decided. The church staff party for Thursday night has been postponed because 2 kids of the adults involved have a band concert (M is 1 of those kids) and 1 kid has a basketball game. We are rescheduling for Monday. We're having surf, turf and bird. I'm providing the baked potatoes. My oven will cook 40 at a time. I probably won't be fixing that many this time, but I know I can when the occasion calls for it!
So next Monday I have a function, then I have to fix pigs-in-blankets for L's party on Wednesday.
I have no idea if we are going anywhere or if anyone is coming here for Christmas. Sometimes I just feel like drifting with the current.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What a Weekend

We're finally home.
This weekend started early Friday morning and we're not finished yet. We started out by feeding the GC Rebels early that morning. (The Bulldog in me forces me to qualify our Rebels with the "GC") Those boys can put away some groceries. Our pastor, Dr. T, took some pictures of the event. You can see them here. While I was in town I took some pictures of the local support.
This sign is made out of red cups pressed into the holes in the chain-link fence at the Middle School. I figured while I was in town, I'd pick up check M out of class. As it turned out, it was a good thing. While I was in the hall waiting for her, Mr. H called from Atlanta saying that he couldn't locate his keys. They might be in his checked baggage, but if they weren't, he needed a ride home from the Mobile airport in about 2 hours. So M and I took some pictures around town.

This vehicle was parked at the Sonic.

McDonald's was showing its local spirit and so were some of vehicles in the drive-thru.

Our church had a message for the team, too.

and so did my van.

We picked up L at the elementary school and headed for the airport. We picked up Mr. H (no keys) and came home so he could the unpack the big suitcase he took to Boston and pack the overnight bag for the trip to Jackson. He was home for about 30 minutes!

We saw lots of vehicles with "We Believe" written on them on Hwy 98 and Hwy 49. We saw some friends from another church when we stopped to get gas in H'burg. Rocky Creek Baptist brought 2 vans.
Being in the stadium in Jackson was a lot like being at Gill Martin Stadium in Lucedale. I saw all the same people. We just had more room to spread out at War Memorial Stadium. Our eldest and her buddies from MSU drove down from Starkville after exams. She even had some friends drive up from LSU. Mr. H took this picture from the South Panola side of the horseshoe.
I wish we would have won the game, but it was a great game anyway. I didn't hear any bad things said about our boys. They gave it their all. They played hard all the way to the very last second on the clock. They didn't give up when they were behind 21-0 at halftime. In fact, they won the 2nd half of the game, scoring 21 points, while SP only put 7 points up in the 2nd half.

We spent the night with my mom in Brandon and drove home this afternoon. We had to be a the rehearsal for our Christmas musical at 3:00. We dropped off the girls and headed to church. Mr. H as a wonderful solo near the end. He's a great singer, if I do say so myself. He's also playing the offertory in both services tomorrow morning, so I'm on my own teaching the Sunday School lesson.
I need to get going now, but I wanted to let everyone know how the game went and how much fun everyone had in spite of the final score.

Friday, December 7, 2007

David and Goliath

I can't sleep. I've been lying there for an hour and I'm still awake. This will be a long day and it has started WAY earlier than I had intended!

This morning at a little before 8 am, Agricola Baptist Church is feeding breakfast to our team. I'm in charge of the milk and orange juice. The usual "Men's Breakfast Team" is handling the steak, sausage, eggs, grits, and biscuits. They have 'mass quantities of manly food' down to a science.

After they eat, my friend Mark is going to speak to them on the topic "Be Strong and Courageous." He has a wonderful ability to speak to people this age.

Then our David will be off to face Goliath.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

George County Rebels, We Believe!

I had to go to town today to take L for a checkup. Everywhere I looked, there it was: support for our team. At the banks, at the grocery store, on professionally printed banners as well as hand printed ones, spelled out in plastic cups stuck in the chain link fences around the elementary and middle schools.

The State Championship game is tomorrow night in Jackson, and I think George County (in its entirety) will be there to cheer on our guys. The schools are all closing at 12:30 and most of the businesses are shutting down at 2:00. EVERYONE is headed north to War Memorial Stadium. There are several chartered buses, lots of church vans, and an uncountable number of private vehicles that will be traveling up 98 to 49 and then into the city of Jackson. College kids that were at George County in recent years are taking a break during exams to be there for the big event. I don't know if we'll win. I hope so. But I think right now, for most of us, this is a chance to be together, to be united, to be part of something bigger than ourselves. And we love it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

O Christmas Tree

This year we have an artificial tree. My girls are crushed, but I have a reason: for the past 10 years we have gone to 1 of 2 tree farms, owned by friends of ours, and cut down our tree. Neither of those 2 places are selling trees this year. I didn't want to buy a tree that had already been cut who knows how long ago. So I went with a fake. But it's pretty and it's 9 feet tall and it came with the lights already on it.
But the best part of the tree is the ornaments anyway, right? Those are the things that tell your family history.

This green ball says that I took home-ec in the 8th grade. There is also a purple one and an orange one.

This little man is dressed in the band uniform that Council #7 Hanging Moss wore when I was in the 10th grade.

My grandmother was always making something. She didn't like to be idle, so when she watched her "stories" in the afternoon or other shows at night, her hands were busy. I have about 5 of these beaded ones in different shapes. When I got married she made sure I had something to go on my tree that first year. She sent me a set of the 12 Days of Christmas. Each one is a wreath with a number 1 through 12 and a disk of the French Hens, gold rings, maids a milking, etc. They do not photograph well!

I had an older bulldog ornament, but it perished in a falling tree accident 2 years ago. My mom got me this one to replace it.

This handkerchief angel was a present from my Sunday School
teacher several years ago. She prayed for each one of us as she wrapped them for us.

When the girls were small, there were lots of ornaments made at school of construction paper and their photograph. We don't get those any more. Of the old ones, most of the glitter has fallen off and the picture stuck to something over the summer. I don't really mind, though. When they get around to having their own trees, I'll be able to give them something of my grandmother's and probably something of mine that I did to keep from being idle myself.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

good job

I think my favorite part of my job is doing payroll. At least once a week, several people are very happy to see me. And if it's payday for the Mom's Day Out staff, I get bonus hugs from their clientèle.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More About Our Office

Seems like I'm on a roll (or is it a rut?) with posts about co-workers. This, however, will be about the office, not so much those in it.

My office is in the fellowship hall of our church. The "Big Room" is on the other side of my office wall. There is a set of drums less than 5 feet from my desk through that wall. At any time of day, there is a reasonable chance that I will be treated to a drum solo by anyone passing by. (Some are more talented than others.)

I share my end of the building with 2 others: The Scary Man and Sparky the Firedog. The Scary Man's office I think is in transition. It's loosing some of the youth oriented stuff (the wig, mask and hat, however, are still on his couch), and I'm not sure what will be taking it's place. You can see the floor in there now. The boxes of T-shirts are gone. Reverend Sparky's office is still too new to look like a working office. It does show promise, though. He has a recliner and he knows how to use it.

My office is sometimes a popular place to stop in, but I think it's just because I am the dispenser of a popular confection. Rev. Sparky told my eldest that it's like a bar, but the poison of choice is jelly beans. I usually keep a jar of the good ones on my desk.

Aside from jelly beans, I do have some odd stuff in my office. There is an origami crane from the Rickshaw Rally VBS we did several years ago.

There is other origami that is the result of a 7th grade homework assignment that my eldest had years ago. I bought a cube of post-its and started folding away! (that's my dad tying my mom's ice skates in the background: it's my favorite picture of them. And for you LOTR fans, that's Arwen with her sword on the left edge. Aragorn was cut out of the picture.)
There's a picture of M with Senator Trent Lott taken July 4, 2004, when he spoke and she sang at Agricola Baptist. (as I was looking at this picture, I noticed that Simmie was there in the background. Boy, I'm gonna' miss seeing him! He was one of those guys that was ALWAYS there, doing what needed to be done. In this case, it looks like the job was eating!)
I have some little clothespin dolls that I made for my grandmother that are supposed to look like my girls . When she passed away, I got them back.
And then there's the cabinet that all the little ones know about. It holds a wide variety of little action figures and the toys from kid's meals from local burger places. Every kid under 4 that comes my way (and some older ones, too) seems to know about it and remember it. They just help themselves. I rather like the idea that folks of any age can find what they need in my space.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Some Days

There are some days that you just wish had never happened. Yesterday was one of those days. With no warning, no hint of illness, one of the most honorable men I know went to be with the Lord. There is no doubt in my mind that's where my friend is. But clouding the joy we have for him, is the overpowering grief we feel at his absence. He was someone you could ALWAYS depend on to do the right thing, even if it was a hard thing or an uncomfortable thing.

Some people's passing, it's sad to say, don't make much of a ripple outside their own family. This man's influence was so much bigger than what most of us call family. Our pastor, Dr. T, considered him to be one of his very best friends. Dr. T said of him last night that "no one is irreplaceble, but some places are harder to fill than others." Simmie has left a huge hole in our hearts.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Another CoWorker

Have I ever mentioned that I have the greatest job in the world? Where else can you take such great pictures of your co-workers? Dr. T (our pastor) took this picture of our youth pastor this morning. They were all getting ready for a fire prevention program for our Mom's Day Out.

Not everyone was happy to see "Sparky." Some of the smallfry ran away screaming at the sight of a larger than life dalmatian. That can be very traumatic for a new youth pastor.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


As Bro. Mark says, "You know it's scary when you can go into your office and come out looking like this." He found all this just lying around his office. (You can tell he was recently a youth pastor!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What's in Your Job Description?

There is that item that is in every job description: Other duties as assigned. For Danny Carter, head of maintenance at ABC, this is one of those other assigned duties.


Wild Weekend

This past weekend was action packed. Have you ever hosted a sleepover with seven 7th grade girls (plus the little sister and her friend)? There was running and squealing and jumping and squealing and just plain squealing and squealing. I picked them all up from school (did I mention that I have a mini-van?) and we looked like a sardine wagon. I don't think there has ever been that much weight in that vehicle! We almost didn't make it over the lip of the parking lot. When we got to our house, I know our neighbors thought we were a circus act (you know, where the clowns keep unloading and unloading from the tiny little car.)

Dinner was easy though: bonfire, hot dogs, and s'mores. I have found that if you can get them all out of the house, they will stay out to play in the dark. Hide and Seek, excuse me, Man Hunt (Hide & Seek is for little kids) is a ton of fun in the dark when it's cool and clear outside. They finally came in about 10:30 for Mr. H's cheesecake and presents. Then they had movies to watch. Mr. H and I went to bed. At some point after 2:30 a.m. (I guess the movies were over) I had to go shush them up. But all in all, they are a great group of girls. Several of them we have known for at least 3 or 4 years. One, we've known since she was 2 years old.

It was tough to get them moving the next morning. I don't think they went to sleep until after 4. But there were more things to do this weekend. The eldest came home for her sister's party and we had to go shopping for some winter shoes. She and I both got some Sperry Top-Siders. My last pair was purchased for Christmas 1978. They lasted for about 20 years. I'm hoping for similar longevity in this pair.

Sunday was our church bike ride. We left right after church and headed to Penn's in Petal for catfish. It was a gorgeous day for a ride. We go back roads, usually 2 lane, for these rides. Our pastor was in the lead. He took some pictures along the way. You can see them here. Look for a post on 10/28 called "The Ride."

Sunday night was also our monthly KidStuf presentation. We had special guest Curt Hale from Pinelake Church to come do some of his music. Curt has led our Kid's Camp for several summers and is a favorite of my kids. Curt's wife Noel came with him and they led the music portion of our evening service. Wow! As good as Curt is on his own, they are even better together!

When I got home Sunday night, I was ready for the weekend to be over. It was great, but it was long.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Out of Date Technology

I was straightening up some in my office today when I ran across a box of 3.5 disks that I used to back up my financial software before I got a flash drive. I need to get rid of them, but just throwing them away is out of the question. They have several years worth of contribution records for our church members. My shredder won't shred them. It's made for paper and CD/DVDs. I thought about just reformatting them before I trashed them, then I realized that my computer doesn't even have a drive that will accept them anymore.

I've been through a lot of technology changes. When I was in college, desktop PC's had just come out. I didn't have one. I could have done of my assignments on one available in the business office, but it was only open during "business hours." I had classes during those hours. The engineering computer, however, was available at all hours of the night. But that meant typing out your program on IBM punch cards, handing them in at a window and waiting for your green bar printout and cards to be returned at another window.

Back then PC's saved info on a cassette tape (which was more convenient than a deck of cards.) Then came floppy disks (and they really were floppy). Then 3.5 disks. Those started out holding so little information, that it took a stack of them to back up very much data. They got bigger on the inside as time went by. Then flash drives came along. I have one on my key chain. It makes taking things from home to the office much easier than disks. Until we got DSL here at the house, I hated having to e-mail pictures because it took forever. Now, just save it on the flash and take it with you. I wonder what the next new thing will be and how long it'll be before it's obsolete, too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Turning 13

Today is M's 13th birthday. She was born on a Sunday morning, in time for her big sister and grandparents to tell everyone at church that she was here.

Thirteen is an odd age to be. You are officially a teenager, but still too young to do so many of those teenager things, mostly due to the lack of a driver's license. It's especially difficult if you are in the middle. You want to dress and be like your big sister, but you see all the fun your little sister is having with her friend and their games. You feel the pull of growing up and can't wait, but it's scary, too. There are all those 'what if's: What if I can't do it? What if I get lost? What if someone laughs at me? (I think this is the one that's hardest at 13)

If you think about it, those 'what if's never go away. We just grow into them. We learn that whatever we have to 'do', we usually have time to learn how to do it. We learn that if we get lost, there are people who love us that will help us find our way. And we learn that sometimes, we just have to laugh at ourselves.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Soup

There are some dishes that just don't jump up and scream "Try me!"
Pumpkin Soup is one of those dishes. But sometimes the situation is just right for a trial.

Last week the Ladies Ministry at ABC had a soup swap. (One of the great "extras" about working at our church is the food opportunities.) You bring a pot of soup and some empty mason jars. There were little 4 ounce cups for just a taste and larger bowls for more serious research. When you found your favorite (or favorites) you could take some home in your jars.

There were all kinds of soups: vegetable, bean, cream of different things, a couple of seafood bisques, and pumpkin. With that many to choose from, I didn't have anything to loose by trying just a spoonful of the pale orange stuff. Wow! I was surprised. It was really good. And easy, too! (The ladies sent home a cookbook with everybody's recipes in it.) I made some for Mr. H when he got home from his trip and he liked it, too.

My very favorite was made by Bro. Neil, our Worship Leader (Minister of Music). I believe that man can cook better than just about any lady in the congregation. His was a seafood bisque that I'll have to make some other time.

Here is Sheila Brown's recipe for the pumpkin soup:

1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree (OR --I used a small "for pie" pumpkin, cut in half, cleaned, baked for an hour, then peeled and mashed)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup heavy cream

1. Saute onion in butter in a medium saucepan until tender. Add 1 can chicken broth; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

2. Transfer broth mixture into the container of a blender or processor. Blend until smooth.

3. Return mixture to saucepan. Add remaining can of broth pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in whipping cream and heat through. Do not boil, ladle into individual soup bowls.

This is really good with cinnamon croûtons on top. (cinnamon toast cut into small squares). Try it, you just might really like it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Insights from My Eldest

I talked to my oldest daughter last night. That's not unusual. She told me about her interesting day. That's not unusual either, although the day itself certainly was. There were tornado watches all around Mississippi State. Her single Thursday class was canceled and she was "encouraged" not to leave the dorm for several hours.

Being an intelligent girl (and a meteorology student as well), she kept an eye on official weather sites. She knew when the watches were canceled and it was safe to bail out. She and a friend attend a BSU bible study on Thursday nights and that's where they went.

As we talked last night, she told me something that she had learned at the bible study. They were talking about marriage, discussing the verses in Colossians and Ephesians about submitting and loving. She knows how lots of women today feel about that word "submit." Then they talked about some of the basic differences in men and women. Men, for the most part, want respect more than love. Women, generally speaking, value the love more than the respect. In essence, the bible is telling married couples to give each other what the other needs and values most. It made so much sense to her. And it is valuable truth. I know it's true in my marriage. I know my husband respects me, but I need to feel and hear the love. He knows I love him, but he needs to see and hear the respect for his worth.

I have high hopes for my daughter's future. She has a head start on so many things.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Morning of Rain

I'm sitting in my office listening to the rain outside. It is such a nice sound. It surprised me this morning at home when I heard it. I walked past the closet housing all the utilities and heard it hitting the vent pipes. I didn't really trust what I was hearing, so I went out on the front porch to make sure. It was still dark, so I couldn't really see it, but I could feel it and hear it.

I had promised the girls that we'd get breakfast on the way to school (since we ran out of milk and I forgot to get some on the way home from church last night.) In the 12 miles between my house to the school, there is only one place to get anything to eat: Courtyard Lane. It's a convenience store, deli, gas station, tanning bed, public gathering place. For breakfast, you can get biscuits with bacon, link sausage, patty sausage, eggs, cheese (and probably anything else you like) and take it with you. They will make you a plate of breakfast if you want to stay there and eat. There is a regular crowd of guys that meet there almost every morning, but we were earlier than them this morning. It was a little cool in there for my youngest's comfort, so we took ours to the car. I moved over to the edge of the parking lot, so others wouldn't have to walk past us while we were eating.

It was fun, sitting in the car while it was still mostly dark outside, listening to the rain all around. There wasn't much conversation. They were eating and the rain was hard to talk over. My youngest, who hardly ever eats anything, polished off a man-sized biscuit with bacon. By that time, we saw a school bus go by, so my middle schooler said we could go now. You know, it is just not cool to be the first one at the middle school bus stop!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Some Pastors Are Just Cooler than Others

Our pastor left this morning for a few days out of town. If you see this man on a road somewhere in Mississippi, drive carefully. We want him back in the same condition that he was when he started!

You can see his blog here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Perfect Day

Today was one of those days I would like to keep forever. I was driving back from Jackson this afternoon and tried to take in every detail. It was perfect for every sense.

For the eyes, it was green tinted with gold, covered by cloudless blue. The temperature begged for the windows to be rolled down. Sometimes the sun would paint a distinct warm rectangle across my legs. Later in the day, when the sun was low enough to reach through the passenger window, I could feel it, like a warm hand. touching my neck and shoulder. Freshly harvested hay, burning leaves, and warm pine needles took turns to scent the air all afternoon. The only thing missing was a soundtrack. And then I found that, too: "Forever Autumn" came up in the music rotation.

The day could only have been better if my beloved had been with me, but I suspect I wouldn't have recognized the glory around me. It was simply heartbreakingly lovely. I want to paint it into my heart so that I can always find it again.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Sound of the Love of God

Isn't it weird how different things excite different people? Tonight at our church we had our annual meeting of the committees. All the committees that were recently elected met together for "dinner & a meeting." After the meal, the crowd regrouped from its social configuration (spouses and friends together) to its functional arrangement: each committee or ministry gathered around its own table.

At this point, you're thinking: How incredibly, mind-numbingly, unspeakably boring.

But you're wrong!

I'm on the finance committee (now you're thinking: She's really lost her mind!) but hear me out. What I could hear going on around me was the sound of ministry. Okay, that's a church word. Let me translate. It was the sound of people who want to show the love of God to the world, planning how to do just that.

Here are some examples: We have a Mom's Day Out at our church. On Tuesdays and Thurdsays there are lots of little ones there: playing, learning, eating, napping. Most of the families represented by those little children are not members of our church. For quite a number of them, this is the only contact they have with any church. There is a group of people who gathered around one of those tables tonight whose main desire is to use this contact to put a face on the Love of God.

At another table was what we call the Staff & Personnel committee. Their goal is to enable our pastors to devote all their energy to the responsibility God has given them: to reach, to teach, to lead, to equip, to encourage, to counsel. This group understands how important these men and their families are to the goal of showing God's love to the world around us.

All around me I could hear the sound of the love of God at work. None of these people get paid for this, but they are storing up treasure in Heaven. (There's another of those church phrases.) All those present tonight were there because they know some things are important . . . eternally important.

I'm so glad I was there tonight. I've been to this event in years past, but tonight was the first time that I understood what God could do with it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Have you ever learned something about a person that profoundly changed your understanding of them? It happened to me yesterday, and the person was my daughter.

This weekend she made a sacrifice that I would never have expected. And she did it with absolutely no fanfare, no self-seeking motives. In fact, I would probably never have known about it if I had any other job in the world but this one.

I am astounded by her maturity. She may be young, but she has a wise heart.

Monday, October 8, 2007


These are our 2 cats: Grisabella (the calico) and Mrs. Jones (black & white).
These two creatures really can't stand one another. They are NEVER this close together without hissing and spitting at each other. Well, to be truthful, it's Mrs. Jones that does the hissing and spitting. Gris just wants to play. She's several years younger than Jonesy. Mrs. Jones doesn't play. I suspect that she was there first and Gris eased up afterward without starting something. This was such an unprecedented event that I thought it should be recorded for posterity. We may never see them this close together with both so relaxed again.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Middle Child

Our middle child has been neglected. She always does everything well, so we've come to expect that from her. Our youngest has recently made some dramatic advances at school, and we've praised her. But the middle one says, "I always do that and you don't think I'm special!"

I really do think she's special. She's a lot like me and I'm afraid if I make too much of that, it will show. Of all our girls, the middle one is most like me physically. (I wish I had her hair, though!) She likes so many of the things I like.

Here's an example: Last year our pastor was preaching through Psalms. He asked for volunteers to illustrate all or part of the 23rd Psalm. I was all for giving it a try. So was she. I had seen a journal that she decorated the end papers of with angels, so I knew she was capable of this. Even so, I was amazed at her creation. She really captured the "at home" aspect of 'I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.'

Check out the details of the throne! She told me, "Jesus will be on that throne forever. He'll need to be comfortable." She's a very practical kid.

Here's my contribution to the 23rd Psalm art show:

I get intimidated by all that blank space. Since I am much more comfortable with words than I am with drawing, most of my artwork takes this form. I concentrated on the 'paths of righteousness' aspect. All the things that He is to us make up the way of righteousness.

Well, now I've given equal time to all the girls. I feel better.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Honors Dorm

My eldest sent me this picture from her dorm lobby. Those kids just think a little differently.


My youngest did an amazing thing last night. She wrote a book report. I know, I know: it's just a book report. But the amazing thing is that she did it all by herself. This has never happened before (she is in the 5th grade.) And there was no screaming or gnashing of teeth or thrashing around on the floor. She simply sat at the kitchen table and wrote it. Occasionally she would ask how to spell a word like "souvenir" or "opinion", but all the words were hers.

This is my child who has ADD. This is my child who is now taking a medication called Adderall. I fought putting her on medication for a very long time. I watched her struggle to make passing grades. I watched her call herself stupid because the didn't make straight A's like her older sisters. Now, I have watched her do this task and finish it all by herself. And the point is not to make her like her sisters, not to get all A's. The point is to let her reach her potential - HER potential.

I always had problems with parents who "drugged" their children. I thought it was a discipline problem or a laziness problem. Now I know better. (Boy, am I glad I never SAID any of those things to those parents!) I'm watching for side effects, but what I'm seeing now is her success.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Exquisite Worship

I need a word for worship last night. Not so I can go back there, but so I can keep it with me - Present. It needs to be something like 'exquisite,' but that word seems too small, too much like a gemstone. I need something bigger, as if you took 'exquisite' and exploded it so that it was a cloud that filled the room: so that you could breathe it in and feel it fill you; so that as you moved through it, you could feel and see it gather, sparkling, on your skin. This must be what it's like to be addicted to the Presence of God.

Is that what Isaiah saw when he saw the Lord "and the train of His robe filled the Temple . . . and the entire building was filled with smoke"?

Something big is about to happen. That many people can't have been in the Presence of the Lord for things to stay the same. He changes us so that we can become more and more like Him. I'm keeping my eyes open so I won't miss what's coming.

Later today, Dr. T is going to post some pictures of last night, but they won't come close to what being there was like. I can still feel it when I breathe.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Found It

This is the picture I was looking for. It was hanging in the hallway in the Harbor. I took a photo of it, which doesn't exactly translate well, but you get the idea.

All those things that Jesus is, we should imitate. We should let them work together, too: let them not be individual characteristics, but parts of one whole.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

What Am I?

I was thinking today about all those things Jesus said "I am ..." about. The gospel of John is full of them. You know, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6) and "I am the light of the world." (John 8:12) Well, it lead me to this: If I am supposed to be imitating Him, trying to be as much like Him as I can, how much of His 'I am' am I reflecting?

Am I being a light to those around me or am I spreading darkness?

Am I showing anyone the way to life? Am I telling the truth in love? That's a really hard one, because sometimes the truth doesn't sound like love. But one without the other can be dangerous.

What about "I am the bread of life"? (John 6:35) Wow, that one works on so many levels! Am I healthy for other people to be around or am I poisoning them? Am I providing them with something that will help them grow? Do I have enough salt in me (Mark 9:50) or do I leave a bad taste in their mouth? (That one really speaks to me because I've made homemade bread and forgotten the salt. What a waste of time and ingredients! It just doesn't satisfy.)

Several years ago, I made a crossword picture of the 'I am's from John. I'll see if I can post a picture of it here this weekend.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Getting Around

My mom has Lupus. Until recently, she's dealt with it pretty well. Then, about a month ago, her hands lost most of their feeling, and now she can't drive. My brother lives in the next county from her and I live a couple of hours away. Neither of us can be there to take her everywhere she needs to go. She has some really great neighbors, but even they can't do everything. I started checking into the options.

Rankin County Human Resources Department has a bus that will pick you up and take you where you need to go and then come back and get you when you're done. The price varies, depending on how far you go, but $6 will get you a trip into Jackson. Not bad. Mom's day is Tuesday. Call on Friday and let them know and they'll come get you Tuesday. She tried it out this week going to get her hair cut and fixed.

She called me early Tuesday morning, wanting to know if I thought they'd really come pick her up. I didn't hear from her so I knew they must have come. She made it to the appointment and didn't mind waiting about 30 minutes after she was done. On the way back, someone on the bus noticed it was lunchtime, so they all stopped and went into a chicken place to have lunch. The driver was so nice: she wouldn't let Mom struggle with a tray, she carried it for her. Mom told me about a man and his wife fussing about his car keys and why they were in the wife's purse in the first place. Then someone remembered they needed to stop by the store for something, so they all went in and got something. (Mom's cats are thankful. They were out of cat food.) Mom said she finally got home about 3 that afternoon. She was tired, but it sounded like she had a good time.

I know she was scared to do something like this for the first time. But she did it, and I'm so proud of her. It looks like she's made some new friends (or at least has found some entertainment!)

It's scary to think that something we take for granted, like the ability to drive anywhere, anytime we want, might not always be an option for us. I'm so thankful for people like that driver who took such good care of my mom.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Under the Rainbow

I looked out early this morning, hoping to see part of the lunar eclipse, but it was overcast. Not even any stars were in sight. A bit later I heard the rain on the roof and hoped Mr. H's flight wasn't delayed out of Mobile.

The rain had stopped at our house by the time we left for school. Our drive to school and work takes us west on Hwy 612 every morning. This morning I noticed the beginnings of a rainbow up ahead of us and showed it to the girls.

Rainbows always seem so far away. Usually. . . but not this time. We came to a field and I happened to look out the passenger side of the windshield. The end of the rainbow was touching the ground in the field we were about to pass! Just before we came even with it, the rainbow disappeared and we were in the rain. I never knew it was possible to see the end of a rainbow. If Oz is over the rainbow, Agricola is under it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Is Faith a Feeling?

I've been hearing today about the Time Magazine article discussing Mother Teresa's "dark night." For decades, she didn't feel God's presence. And yet she continued with the job He had given her. It wasn't a fun job, either. What would make someone stay and be a light to "the least of these, my brothers"? I believe she was closer to her Lord than she knew. People put so much emphasis on feelings. That's probably why those same feelings get hurt so often.

Mother Teresa is model for all of us. Trust God to be Who He says He is, Who He has always been. Feelings can't be trusted: God's Word can.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Good News or Bad News?

I heard on the radio today that Harrison County reported record gaming revenues for the month of July. My understanding of the news story is that they have never taken in that much money from gambling in a single month since gaming became legal.

I have a question: Doesn't that mean that people (Mississippians and others) have never lost that much money in Harrison County before? I guess for some the glass is full, but only because someone else's glass is not.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Empty Nest Here

We have delivered our eldest to Mississippi State. It wasn't nearly as traumatic as everyone lead me to believe. I suspect that's because she isn't the emotional type. If she had been in tears, I would have been right there with her.
I got an e-mail from her this weekend, telling me how she and 5 of her friends stayed up til 2 am playing Scattergories. Then she told me where they went to church on Sunday morning. I think she'll be fine! (except for the roommate, who has taken over the room and decorated every inch with her stuff, leaving no room for my kid's stuff. I think this relationship is doomed!)

She also informed me that she had tickets for all the on-campus games! This, from a girl who only went to her high school games because she was in the band. Her dad will be so proud!