Sunday, November 20, 2011

Are you a Member?

Today, Mark and I officially became members of our church. We participated in a newcomers’ class and aligned ourselves with the mission, vision and beliefs of the church. Before finishing the process, we all shared our story of how we became a Christian. Here is my story:

I was raised in a great home and a wonderful church. We always went to church. Whether for a revival, choir practice, pot luck, to clean the inside or to mow the outside, we were there every time the doors were open.  One summer during Vacation Bible School, I remember going into one of the church offices with a group of kids and being talked to by the leader. The next thing I know we were all getting baptized.

One Sunday morning something happened that I won’t ever forget. It was the Sunday before I started my senior year in high school. I remember sitting in the pew listening to Bro. Brillhart (my pastor for 26 years) preach and as he started the invitation, an overwhelming feeling came over me. I just knew something wasn’t right in my heart.  I stepped out and walk down the aisle and remember telling the man at the front, “I don’t think I’m saved!” I was ushered out by a dear lady, Mrs. Francis Sample who resides in heaven now. I was shown the Scriptures that I had read and even memorized in AWANA. I just knew God was immediately and powerfully drawing me to Him. I wanted to personally place my trust in Him. I remember saying a prayer and when I walked away, I felt like 1000 pounds had been lifted off my chest. I knew I had just officially become a member of the family of God!

So that’s my story. What’s yours?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What's next?

Lots of things happened over the summer. 
We got to take some really nice family trips which included 2 water parks (Schlitterbahn & NRH2o), 2 zoos’(Dallas Zoo & Austin Zoo), and two new restaurants(Five Guys & Chipotle). Doesn’t seem like a lot but through the eyes of our 4 kids it was priceless! 
The other thing that happened over the summer is that Mark and I decided it was time to close San Angelo Church.  We set out to create a church that unchurched people would love to attend and we did that! I look back on all the hard work from many people that helped launch this new way of “doing” church and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!!  It was the most rewarding but challenging thing we have ever been a part of.  San Angelo Church may have only existed for 31 months but it will forever have an impact on the lives it touched!  As one person put it, “There is not another church in San Angelo that can take the place of what we experienced at SAC.”  
Now onto the question that started this post, what’s next? Right now we don’t know exactly. Hopefully soon we will know where we will begin the next phase of our lives. Lots of possibilities, but as we wait for God’s leading, we continue on as normal. I started back to work, kids started back to school, and Mark can’t wait for football season to start.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What time is it? Summer time!!

Well, we survived another school year!!  Now just counting down the minutes until it is officially over.  I actually get out a day earlier than my kids so I am planning on ending my day with a lunch with Mark and Madison. 

Looking forward to summer!  Got to get the pool up and start making the "to do" list.  I figure the earlier I get started I may actually get everything done that I want to before August gets here! 

Lots of things happening over the next few months and can't wait to share some of those with everyone soon!

So here is to our summer vacation full of plans, cook-outs, sleeping in, swimming, trips, projects and memories!!

P.S.  Stayed tuned for updates!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Part 3

After Mark and I said our "I do's", we headed off for a two week honeymoon to the Smoky Mountains and Disney World!!  We had a great time just getting to know each other again.  Being separated for 11 months makes you appreciate that person so much more!
Over the next few years, we enjoyed our life together.  We both had finished school, had acquired great jobs, built a house, got two dogs, and then one day it was time to start a family!  Five years and 3 months after we got married, our lives were forever changed with our first baby, Reagen Rose!! Then 22 months later, Kennedy Raine came along. Then 2 years later, Lincoln James Weldon, and then 2 yrs and 9 months after Lincoln, we were blessed with the fourth and final installment of our family, Madison Hope!

That's a lot of kids in a short amount of time!  But I wouldn't change that for anything!!!!

Mark and I have been blessed to have a wonderful family and home life.  Over the past years, we have often thought about our future and what we want out of life itself.  Obviously, the number one thing we want most is to seek and know God's will for us.  That's a hard thing to know sometimes.  I guess that is where our faith comes in to help us lean more on God than ourselves.  Recently, Mark has read a number of books that basically help you understand what you want out of life.  He has come up with a life statement that I am looking forward to seeing it come to pass: Pursue the extraordinary!

As Mark and I try to pursue the extraordinary, not only for us but for our kids as well, we hope that our story continues to touch and bless people as we continue down this road called life!!

Stay tuned......

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Life Part 2

I know some believe in "love at first sight" and that is exactly what happened for Mark.  That first sight of me was all he needed to know that he was going to marry me someday! How's that for a happy ending! I guess the first time I saw Mark, I thought I had a decent chance on having a date with him but I didn't get to talk with him that first night thanks to my Uncle Mike!  If you don't know my Uncle Mike, you have missed out!  He has a story for everyone. He had Mark's attention that evening and it wasn't until Sunday that I actually got to speak with Mark.  Over the next few months we began to get to know each other through the singles class at church and then he eventually asked me out!  I actually was waiting for a LONG time for him to do that and I even was "dating" someone when he finally asked.  He picked me up in his car (a red topaz with a nice sunroof), and we went to the movies (my choice- The 3 Musketeers) and finished up at Pizza Hut.  He didn't kiss me on the first date but he did on the second.  He actually asked if he could kiss me and with my braces and all he did.  I guess you could say that was the start of a beautiful thing. 
We had our ups and downs over the next 6 months or so and then one day it finally hit me.  He's the one!  All the years of praying for the right man and imagining who he was and where he lived came flooding in at that moment.  Mark was the one God made specifically for me!!  He had everything I had prayed for in a husband and then some!  I didn't have to compromise my wish list for anything. 
Then after a one year separation, (thanks to the AirForce via Korea) we made it official!  On June 22, 1996, I became a Mrs!

Part 3 next time

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My life part 1

Since starting this blog, I haven’t really shared a lot about my life and how I got to where I am today.
It all started back in March 1973.  I was born into the Hamilton family which consisted of my mom and dad and a 3 y/o sister named Cinnamon.  Don’t remember a whole lot about the very beginning other than some of the stories that have been told and pictures hidden away in photo albums.  My mom and dad still joke about the day I was born and how I had such a full head of black hair that they couldn’t tell me apart from all the other babies in the nursery.  I still get comments about “that hair”! 
I continued growing up in a wonderful family home and then one day someone else joined our family.  I will never forget the day when I was finishing up in my second grade class and going to my Aunt Debbie’s house after school and getting the call from my dad that said “it’s a boy!”  I was 8 years old and had a new baby brother named Aaron.  From the beginning, people have questioned why Aaron wasn’t named after a spice.  I don’t think he will ever evade that question.  He was actually named after some of the Hamilton side relatives and he has lived up to their prominent statures (big and tall).
Life continued on through junior high, high school, and on to college.  Great friends and memories were created and developed through that 8+ year span.  Then things started to take a different turn.  While attending Angelo State University, I started “dating”.  Isn’t that one of the main reasons to go to college is to date? LOL!  I actually never went out past a first date but looking back I can see why.  God had a specific guy for me and he moved him to San Angelo without me knowing about it.  During this time I had started nursing school and had a lot of projects to do and tests to study for and really didn’t have time to be in a relationship, I thought!  So on a Wednesday night at church, the night I didn’t go, my mom came back saying there was a “NEW” guy that had visited and he looked nice.  Of course anytime “new meat” visited the church it was game on!  I actually had to wait until the next Wednesday night to see this guy but it was worth the wait!
To be continued…

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Works in Progress

Last night at our small group, we discussed how raising kids is a great work in progress!  Just when you think you got that one parenting skill down with one child, the other child requires you to go in a totally different direction.  Talk about being a multi-parenting parent!  I think one of the hardest things to grasp is God’s not only using me as a mom to show my kids how to live and believe but He is also working in my kids lives as well.  Not one of us is a finished product.  He continually works in each of us!
I am glad God doesn’t stop working in my life.  I want to see God use me in a way I have never imagined before.  I can already see Him working in my kids and that is the coolest thing ever.  Here is an example about my 3rd grade daughter at school yesterday:
 On the way to recess today I overheard Reagen having a sweet, spiritual conversation.  Another girl was asking her if God and Jesus were the same.  It was really neat to her say yes they are the same.  They are one.  I’m not sure what started the conversation, but what a blessing she was in sharing about Jesus today!  Knew it would make your day to know that your sweet girl was sharing about Jesus!  
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.”
Please God, continue to work in our lives to help others see you in us! Amen!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Take Courage!

Don’t fret about tomorrow, but seek God’s strength for today!
What a statement to think about.  I don’t know how many times I catch myself worrying about tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year!  Most of my worrying stems from housework to laundry to school projects to what we’re going to do on the next school holiday.  As I get “older”, I am starting to realize that I don’t have to have it all together all the time.  There are times when my house will just be in disarray, laundry will be stacked up, and school projects will just have to wait but the important things like spending time with my husband and kids take priority. 
When I find myself worrying about things I can’t control, that’s when I have to stop and think about these verses in the bible: 
Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
This is hard to do sometimes.  I want to charge at my fears and make them go away but there are times when I just have to stop and take them to the Lord.  Because if I don’t, the following statement will happen:  “Fear can pop into your thoughts without a moment’s notice and overtake your mind, if you let it.  Make a conscious effort to give your fear to God and ask for his courage, strength, and power instead.  He will hold you, protect you, and give you everything you need to live in victory.”  Karol Ladd
Lincoln Brewster’s song, ‘Today is the Day’ so aptly describes what to do with those fearful moments.  I have a feeling I will be singing this all day long!
I’m casting my cares aside
I’m leaving my past behind
I’m setting my heart and mind on You, Jesus…
Today is the day You have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
Today is the day You have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
And I won’t worry about tomorrow
I’m trusting in what You say
Today is the day

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lessons from Jonah!

“But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals.  Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” 
Wow! This verse of scripture is found at the end of the book of Jonah!  Many are familiar with the story of Jonah and the whale.  God told Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh to deliver a message to the people to turn from their evil ways and Jonah decided not to go and ran away.  Because he did, he ended up in the belly of a whale! He finally realized he needed to listen to what God wanted him to do and after 3 days/3 nights; he re-surfaced on dry land and went to Nineveh!
It’s crazy how Nineveh was larger than the population of San Angelo!  Did you know that over 70,000 people in San Angelo DON’T go to church on any given Sunday?  I wonder if Jonah would have come here.
When Mark and I felt the call of God on our lives, we became greatly burdened about that number!  Growing up in church like we did, we just assumed everybody went to church on Sundays.  Besides what else would you do? J After careful consideration of our options, we chose to start a church right here in this city to try and reach some of those 70,000 people who have left church for some reason, have never gone to church or just don’t like church.  Through countless hours of prayer and gracious people, God has allowed us to see many friends and families experience church in a whole new way!  They aren’t outsiders looking in.  They are developing relationships with people who are in the same stage of life and seeing God in a whole new light!  People are connecting with the music and being challenged by the biblical concepts learned from the bible.  Mark has heard a number of stories from people that will tell you that their family member wouldn’t darken the door of their home church but they would enjoy San Angelo Church!  I can tell you, it hasn’t been easy but to be able to witness lives being changed makes all the hard work worth it!
So as we learned from Jonah, we will continually try to reach our Nineveh and offer people a simple kind of church that they can hear the life changing message of God.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This coming Monday, April 18, my husband will turn 40 years old!  Doesn’t seem possible that we are aging as fast as we are! He always gets complimented that he looks more like 30! I just wanted to share some thoughts about Mark and the 40 years he has spent here on earth. Hope you enjoy!
40.  Pretty Athletic (likes to play a variety of sports)          
39.  Positive attitude
38.  intelligent
37.  has exhibited leadership even at a young age
36.  not afraid to pursue dreams
35.  great dad to our 4 kids
34.  could argue with a fence post and win
33.  can make up a game out of anything (knee football, shooting games, etc…)
32.  hates to be surprised about anything (killed him not knowing the gender of our 4th child)
31.  can throw a nice spiral
30.  doesn’t like to be grossed out  (surprised he made it through childbirth)
29.  can’t spin around in circles without getting dizzy
28.  has turned the color green while riding in a small boat in Cancun
27.  was called “twinkle toes” in school (sorry babe)
26.  has an indented scar on his right leg (I think) from running into a boat trailer
25.  was a Para-legal in the United States Air force
24.  is color blind
23.  has a great singing voice
22.  came from a family of preachers
21.  is a great preacher/pastor
20.  went to 13 different schools by the time he was a senior in high school
19.  graduated with a masters degree from Liberty University
18.  was at Liberty when Jerry Falwell died, got to see his body in the rotunda of the school
17.  loves diet coke
16.  always had a desire to go to law school (back to #34)
15.  has met Randy White (former Cowboys player)
14.  was in the crowd at the ballpark for the filming of The Rookie
13.  knew he was going to marry me the first time he laid eyes on me
12.  consistently seeking God’s will for his life
11.  has made some incredible friends and acquaintances over the last few years
10.  the love of my life
9.    surrendered to preach at age 12
8.    has a deep desire to know God more
7.    wants to do God’s will
6.    has started San Angelo Church
5.    committed to me and our family
4.    has grown into a wonderful husband over the last 15 years
3.    inspires me to be a better wife
2.    desires to be totally committed to God and raise our kids to be bold in their faith
1.    wants to be holding each other’s hand when God calls us home! (hopefully not for a long time)

Happy Birthday, Mark!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy or Sad?

Lately, my daughter Madison will ask, "Are you happy or sad?".  I am not for sure where she learned that phrase at but sometimes it is easy for me to respond to and then it's not! Like last night, I was on my second round of telling the kids to get ready for bed and I guess Madison could "hear" that my voice level had changed and she just blurts out, "Mama, are you happy or sad?".  My response to that was,  "I am fast approaching MAD if you kids don't get ready for bed!" It's amazing that my 3 year old can tell the difference in my mood.  So what makes you happy or sad?
Here is my list:

* when my kids talk and play well together
* that electric feeling when Mark spontaneously holds my hand
* a great cup of flavored coffee
* walking 4 miles
* a clean/organized house
* a great meal from The Grill
* surprisingly enough setting up portable SAC as a family
* family get togethers
* smell of a brand new car
* a baby puppy
* a nice hot bath
* clean sheets on the bed
* getting my hair washed and cut at the salon
the list could go on and on....

* the end of a vacation
* unpacking from a vacation
* when my kids argue and don't like each other
* I don't get a good nights sleep
* people who stop at a yield sign
* being sick
* people who let you down
* impact of world disasters
* the way the world seems to be going down hill
* all the budget problems
* allergies
again, the list could go on and on....

For me, I would rather focus on the happy list but when I don't, I know I will have Madison asking, "Are you happy or sad?"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ASK Principle

I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know:  God answers prayer.
I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the guise I thought.
I leave my prayer to Him alone
Whose will is wiser than my own.
--Eliza M. Hickok

Do you ever catch yourself to shy or embarrassed to ask someone for something?  I know I do.  Sometimes Mark and I “argue” over asking someone a question or directions and you know that feeling you get when you start the conversation of “I’m not going to do that! Well, neither I am!” and then you just leap out of the car and just do it?  I guess it is the “fight or flight” syndrome that kicks in and saves the day!
Why is it that sometimes we don’t like to ask for things?  I am programmed to usually just do things without asking for help whether it’s house work, re-arranging furniture, cooking, etc…  I feel like when I ask for help it takes away a little of my control and then I don’t feel like I have done the task all by myself!  Sounds pretty selfish.

As I am trying to make myself a more positive person, I have had some great ideas in the books I have been reading lately! The latest one is the ASK principle:  “Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find.  Knock and the door will be opened to you.”  I have heard this principle all my life but rarely do I ever follow it completely!  In the society we live in today, we expect things to be done quickly and to be done right.  But God doesn’t always work that way.  I know I have prayed for things and some have come to pass and others have not and I am thankful for that. Asking things from the Lord is an act of faith that he encourages us to do.  In the stage of life I am in now I am asking God to move in my life to help me become a better follower of Him and to totally turn every area of my life over to him.  That’s a hard thing to do.  Remember my control story above?  Lord help me in this area!!

Seeking is all together different.  You can ask/pray to God all day long and if you don’t seek him, what’s the point.  Seeking is where I am at also.  The word seek has to do with desiring, endeavoring, or inquiring about something.  In order for me to become a better wife and mother, I have to be actively inquiring or seeking things.  That is why I have been reading the positive books and devotionals and blogging about them so much.  It’s worth the find!

Finally, knocking on God’s door.  Knocking is an action.  If you go to someone’s house and stand in front of the door and never knock (or ring the doorbell) how will they know you are there?  I think God feels that way sometimes.  We ask and seek but never fulfill the final step.  Taking action!  One man put it this way:  “if you want to get to the other side of the lake, you need to get in the boat and start paddling.”  It’s not good enough just to stand on the bank and admire the scenery and wish you could be on the other side.  You’ve got to do something.  If I want to become a better wife and mom, I can read every book known to man, but if I never make a change or put things into action, I will never succeed. 

God just wants us to ASK—and then we have to trust him for the answer! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Birthday!

On March 27, I will have been alive on this earth for 38 years!  Yikes, that sounds mature! Especially when this summer I will be attending my 20 year High School Reunion! Wow a lot has happened in the last 20 years. 
Since graduating from good ole’ Lake View High School (Go Chiefs), I graduated from college with a nursing degree, got married, had 4 kids, took some really cool vacations across the US and Canada,  bought and sold some cars and houses, took lots of pictures and videos, and made some wonderful relationships that will last a life time! Doesn’t sound like a lot for 20 years but I guess that just shows you how time goes by so fast!
As I am writing this I think back to a line in the movie High School Musical 3 where Gabriella says to Troy, “I wish time would just stop, or at least slow down!”  Now I know many of you may have not watched the HSM movies but with my kids we have seen them at least half a dozen times.  There are times when I wish time would just stop and let us enjoy the good times for more than a day! There have been many times that our family has had some great experiences and I wish that I could capture those feelings, smells, emotions and make them last forever.  One example is when my kids were babies!  I remember holding them, touching their soft skin, smelling their feet, and holding their little hands in mine. Now, they are older and smell like sweat and have dirt in places that I never thought possible. 
Even though it is nice to reminisce, I love the fact that my kids are getting old enough to make new memories and take different trips that we all can enjoy! For me, I feel like I have the potential to be a better person physically, emotionally, and spiritually than I have ever been before.  I don’t feel like I am getting “older” but I’m becoming a woman that is ready to blossom into a whole new lifestyle that is waiting to be revealed.  I just have to pursue it and be intentional about important decisions that will not only affect me but also my husband and kids!  I feel like I am on my way!
 Can’t wait to see how God uses me this next year!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

21st Century Woman

Proverbs 31 states:  “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?  She is more precious than rubies.  Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.  When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.  She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing for laziness.  Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her:  “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”  Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. “
How do you see your role as a wife (or future wife)?  I know for me personally, I love being Mark’s wife.  We met at church way back in the Fall of 1993.  After 2 ½ years, we officially became Mr. & Mrs. on June 22, 1996.  On our honeymoon, it was just like we were spending the same amount of time together accept that we didn’t have to say goodbye at night.  We were married and we could do anything we wanted!  Over the first couple of years, I never thought about my role as a wife like Proverbs describes it.  I just wanted to make my husband happy and meet all of his needs.  We struggled, like most newlyweds do, with finances, time, work and school schedules.  It does take a while to come together as one.  I remember the first few months of marriage. It was hard for me to be able to sleep because I wasn’t use to someone sleeping next to me! I slept in a twin size bed all my life so to upgrade to a Queen sized bed with someone else in it was strange.  Of course with marriage comes the duty of being the housewife!  But there is something about wanting to make your husband happy and feeling proud by him walking into a clean house that smells good and looks nice.  I still have that same desire today, even though it is a little more challenging with 4 kids!   As I have gotten older and learned from experience, being a wife takes dedication and lots of prayer.  I feel like God has instilled in me the desire to be a good housewife, mother, teacher, counselor, events coordinator, and an overall jack of all trades.  I want to serve my husband and watch over the household.  I want to speak with wise words and give instructions with kindness.  I may not like it all the time but down deep that is what I feel like I am suppose to do.  So I guess for the most part, I am a Proverbs 31 woman but in the 21st century!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


As I was reading through a devotional this morning, I came across an interesting idea.  The description of a gatekeeper, as defined in I Chronicles 9: 23-29, has very similar characteristics to being a portable church.
Here are just a few of those verses:
These gatekeepers and their descendants, by their divisions, were responsible for guarding the entrance to the house of the Lord when that house was a tent.  The gatekeepers were stationed on all four sides.  Their relatives in the villages came regularly to share their duties for seven-day periods.  The four chief gatekeepers, all Levites, were trusted officials, for they were responsible for the rooms and treasuries at the house of God.  Some of the gatekeepers were assigned to care for the various articles used in worship. Others were responsible for the furnishings, the items in the sanctuary and the supplies, such as choice flour, wine, olive oil, frankincense, and spices.
Sounds a whole lot like what goes on at http://www.sanangelochurch/ on a weekly basis.  We have a lot of gatekeepers who dedicate their time, muscles and sweat to help “guard” and care for the rooms at the house of God.   Along with other gatekeepers that provide the “choice flour, wine, olive oil, frankincense and spices”.  Even though for us it is chocolate balls, cookies, cheesecake bites, etc...
Thank goodness that we can learn and model our lives after the Levites to help create the house of the Lord to allow people to come and hear the life changing message of Jesus Christ. 
Give it up for the Gatekeepers!!    

Monday, March 21, 2011

We're in this together!

This is a blog post from Tricia Lovejoy. I can so relate to this post as Mark and I feel the same way about San Angelo Church!  Thanks Shawn and Tricia Lovejoy for the encouragement and perseverance of church planting!
I love my church.  I really do.  Not because it's my church...the one my husband and I planted....the one we've devoted our lives to.  I love my church because the people here get it.  They understand the chain reaction they have when they serve and give.  They partner together to create a place where people feel welcomed, loved, and accepted.
Do you know what happens when someone disconnected from God or church comes to Mountain Lake and they encounter a smiling face directing them to a parking spot, when someone strikes up a conversation with them as they walk in the doors, when they are served a free cup of hot coffee, and when they discover outstanding environments for their children to enjoy?  They feel comfortable!  They feel like they belong.  They drop their defenses.  Then, they can sit and listen to our Pastor share a relevant, practical message about God.  You see, if people have a bad experience in the parking lot or lobby, they won't care what the Pastor says.  They'll already have him tuned out.  So, life change starts with our people, not our Pastor.
The people at MLC get it, too.  They serve in volunteer areas making our church a great place to belong.  They give of their time and resources because they love God and they love our church.  Yesterday, my hubby taught on this "chain reaction" and reminded all of us that when we serve and give, we reap eternal benefits for the people around us.  Check it out:
-We come to church to learn.
-We feel welcomed and loved, so we continue coming.
-As we learn of God's love, our lives are changed.
-We want others to experience the same thing, so we begin helping other people feel loved and welcomed.
In other words, we begin with a "serve me" mentality, but we move to a "serve others" one.  That's the goal!  That pleases God!  So, if you are a Mountain Laker, join me in serving and giving.  Join the Cafe Team, rock a baby, or jump into Creative Arts.  Not only will you feel more connected, but you'll help others find their way to God.  Now, THAT'S radiating

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Break

Wow, Spring Break is here!!  While most people are planning quick trips to the mountains or the beach I am planning on spending it with 4 crazy kids and one handsome husband.  Even this morning the kids and I were talking about what we are going to do.  Of course I offered the typical suggestions:  go to the park, visit the library, go bike riding, etc…and then Kennedy states she wanted to go to Junction.  Ahh, Junction aka “The River”.  The city of Junction (rather the outskirts) holds fond memories for me.  Over 35 years ago, my grandparents bought 7 acres of riverfront property on the Llano River covered in rocks, cactus and oak trees.  I’m not for sure how many years it took but they eventually cleared away the unwanted rocks and trees and built a house that would last through their great grandchildren and beyond.  You see there is nothing grand or elegant about those 7 little acres but it does give me a sense of refreshment and peace every time I go there.  As a kid, I remember the two hour drive (when the speed limit was 55) from San Angelo and the excitement that I would feel when we left the pavement and drove onto the dirt road.  It felt like we entered into a new dimension of time.  Of course from the moment we saw the gate to the property we would jump out of the car and run to the house in time to see Ma-Maw and Paw-Paw waiting on the porch.  I could probably write several hundred pages on the memories that The River holds for me.  From the smell of the fire burning with cedar, putting out corn for the deer, tubing down the Llano river, the countless number of rocks skipped across the water, eating beanie-weenies to burgers, watching my grandmother “put on her face”, having your shoes filled with sand from the river, the list could go on and on. 
As the years have gone by, Ma-Maw and Paw-Paw have gone on to heaven but they have left a lasting legacy for me to pass on to my kids.  I think my favorite part of the whole place is the way the sun shines through the massive amount of oak trees in the late afternoon portraying beautiful sun rays that radiate throughout the trees.  I like to think of it as God’s love shining down on his creation. 
So we may just take Kennedy’s suggestion and go to Junction for Spring Break and just add more memories to our lives!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Waiting on God

Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in godliness, maturity, and genuine spirituality most of us ever encounter.—Richard Hendrix

As I started a new devotional this week, The Power of a Positive Wife, the second day focuses on waiting on God! Oh I could talk about this for hours.  Waiting on God can be such a blessing and a curse.  As the key scripture in the devotional focuses on the children of Israel and their journey from Egyptian slavery to the Promised Land, they had to wait on God and take the long route home.  But what a miracle they were able to be a part of.  Witnessing the parting of the Red Sea!  Holy smokes!!
I often find that if an idea or thought comes to mind I want it fixed/done/accomplished right then and there.  For example, when I have the idea to paint a room in my house, I just think get a bucket of paint and a roller and get started.  Besides who needs to tape off the windows and base boards or fill in holes with putty.  Just get the paint on the wall and move on.  My husband can attest to the fact that when I don’t do those things, he is the first to ask why!  Because then I have to go back and fix those things that should have been done right the first time.  The fact is the shortest route isn’t always the best route.
As I personally face valleys and deserts, I can see that God is shaping my life for a much greater, more powerful plan than I could ever imagine.  Even though I want the results STAT, he continues to reveal his plan ever so slowly.  Mark and I have often talked about how God has developed our character and grown our faith through the circumstances of life. It’s easier to reminisce about those though times when you have made it to the other side but like the Israelites, we too sometimes have to go the long route to stay in God’s perfect timing but the rewards far out-weigh the struggles. 
The same God who parted the Red Sea for the Israelites is at work in our lives.  We may not understand why he is taking us along a certain route—but we can always trust his love for us.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bloggers Block

I haven’t posted a blog in a few days and honestly, I am experiencing bloggers block!  I know there are a lot of things I could just blab on about but I would like to think my life is a little more interesting than a blab. Here goes nothing!
I finished reading the book The Power of a Positive Mom and there are so many tab marks sticking out of the pages it looks blue!  I was so impressed by the simple things I can do as a mom and wife to help me stay positive for my husband and kids, I just started tabbing everything I wanted to try and do!  Even while reading the book I was able to feel more of a positive vibe.  The author, Karol Ladd, has inspired me to become a more positive person.  I have also ordered the next book written by her called The Power of a Positive Wife!  Can’t wait to start that one!!  I was so impressed with her writings I even went as far as emailing her to tell her that.  This is what she sent as a response: 
Thank you for your kind words.  May God give you all strength, joy and direction as you serve Him at your church. I'm thankful for what you are doing.  Keep shining His light.  I'm glad to know about you.
In His Service,

That was pretty cool!!  Here’s a woman who lives in Dallas, writes books full time, and has more of a positive outlook on life than anyone I have ever been around, and took the time to encourage me.
So I guess that is worth blogging about!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Mothers’ Thankful Heart

I come before You, Father
To thank You for this life
The blessings You have given me
As a mother and a wife

I’m thankful for my children
As I watch them grow and play
Knowing that each moment
Will live for just today

I’m thankful for the laundry
For the dust to wipe away
I’m thankful for the problems
That make me stop and pray

I’m thankful for my husband’s job
The roof above our heads
I’m thankful for our daily food
For the comfort of our beds

I’m thankful for the errands
The phone that always rings
I’m thankful for the tears we cry
For the joy that laughter brings

I’m thankful for our family’s love
The way we sit and talk
The simple games we often play
The picnics and the walks

I’m thankful for the little things
That make up every day
For therein lies Your love, Lord
And the wonder of Your ways

I’m thankful for the memories
That life has brought my way
I count it as Your blessing
To be a mother every day.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Woman of Prayer (The Power of a Positive Mom)

Can you relate to this mother’s Prayer?
Dear Lord, so far today I am doing pretty well.  I haven’t screamed at the kids or thrown anything in a burst of anger.  I have not grumbled or gossiped or whined.  I haven’t been greedy or self-centered.  I have not yet charged anything to the credit card, and I haven’t pigged out on the chocolate cake in the refrigerator.  However, in a few minutes I will be getting out of bed, and I am going to need your help to make it through the rest of the day.  Amen!
What does it mean to pray?  I have been asked that by my kids on several occasions and usually I give the same response:  it’s talking to God about whatever you want to.  Jeanne Guyon puts it this way:  Prayer is nothing more than turning our hearts toward God and receiving in turn His love.
 I have often wondered how you become a woman of prayer.  Karol Ladd, the author of the book I am reading, says the best way to learn is to simply begin.  It’s like wanting to become a runner.  Start slow and steady, dedicating just a few minutes each day and then grow from there.  By being consistent in meeting with God each day, you will develop a habit of daily prayer in your life that will not easily be broken. 
I have been challenged by what I have read about spending time in prayer.  I know that I need all the prayers I can muster up to be able to raise 4 great kids that will pass on to their kids the wisdom they will hopefully learn from me.  There is no parenting book I can read or seminar to go to that will give the answers to every problem or situation that arises in life.  That why James 1:5 is so important for me to remember.  “If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him”. So as I find the opportunities to turn my thoughts upward during the day I will remember,  A Positive Mom is a Praying Mom!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fun Times

A good ole’ bump on the head
This week I had to go to Austin for a nurses’ conference so Mark and I decided to take the whole family and make it a fun trip!  We left early on Wednesday and got to Austin before the sun went down.  We had researched some places to go and eat and the first place was Maria’s Taco Xpress.  This place was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  We thought it has to be good.  We pulled up and the first impression was, “Oh-no, do we really want to eat here?”  There were only a few cars in the small parking lot but we decided to try it anyway.  Well it turns out that this place is good!!!  I think they have the best fish tacos I have ever tasted along with great fajita nachos and breakfast plates.  They kids really enjoyed it because we got to eat outside on a huge upstairs patio while watching the traffic go by.  So that was a great start to the trip.
Well the “hotel” we stayed at was basically an apartment complex turned hotel suites.  It was old but worked for our size family!  The girls slept on the couch bed while Madison and Lincoln slept on the floor with their own mattresses and Mark and I had a king size bed in the next room.  Well having this many people and one bathroom posses a couple of problems.  First, it was so dark in the rooms that if you needed to get up during the night you had to feel your way along the walls to try and not run into the wall.  Second, the kids have no idea how to get to the bathroom by themselves.  Well Kennedy somehow managed to get off the couch bed and make it past Lincoln and Madison to my side of the bed.  She needed to go potty so I told her to make sure she turned on the light, which was on the outside wall of the bathroom.  Unfortunately, a few seconds after she left my side, I hear a very loud “bang”.  My sweet girl had run smack into the wall.  Of course I fly out of bed and help her to the bathroom and get her to quiet down before everyone else woke up.  It didn’t end there!!  As I am trying to feel my way back to the living area I end up banging my head into the corner of the doorway and I just start laughing.  I told Kennedy this “hotel” is a death trap!  Even as I am typing this I am getting tickled.  So I finally get Kennedy to the couch and make my way back to the bed and “bamm” I hit the back of my head on the headboard.  Of course by now I can hardly contain myself from just letting loose laughing! 
All in all we had a great time!  Mark got to spend all day yesterday with the kids and we capped off the trip by eating at Freddies before heading home! 
I did have to think just for a minute why the left side of my forehead was sore this morning!  Aww, memories!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Power of a Positive Mom!!
I was at the bookstore yesterday and wanted to get a book that would inspire me to be a better person.  So as I was browsing through the shelves, I quickly was drawn to this brightly colored, daisy covered book entitled, “The Power of a Positive Mom” by Karol Ladd.  Instantly, I was captivated by the introduction and thought this is going to be good!
Here’s a little snip-it of the introduction:
          As moms, we have the opportunity every day to boost our children onward and upward.  Ours is a highly influential job.  Through our affirmative support and loving care, we are in a unique position to help our children reach for their dreams and achieve their God-given potential.
          Unfortunately, in the day-to-day struggles of motherhood, our good intentions toward our kids can seem to fly out the window.  We may start off the day with a fresh outlook and high expectations, but midway through the second temper tantrum of the morning (theirs, not ours), we somehow lose our handle on the uplifting encouragement we intended to share.  How can we be positive when we often feel like the greatest portion of our day is spent correcting, scolding, and trying to avert minor disasters?  It doesn’t help that we’re distracted from our efforts to be affirming by the daily chores of running errands, doing laundry, and putting dinner on the table.
I am so excited to read this book to help me discover how to be a positive mom!!