20 Years

Today marks 20 years of marriage for my husband and I. More has happened than we could have thought or imagined. So many blessings, so many sorrows, so many joys and unexpected trials with unbelievable gifts along the way. The Lord is faithful and we are firmly rooted in His great love for us. We know to whom we belong and trust Him. If He allowed it, it is and will be for our good and His glory. Only God can make a promise like that and keep it.

IMG_0148I remember waking up really early on this day 20 years ago and it felt like a dream. This is what I had been thinking, planning and preparing for all my life. The day was here, but it just did not seem real. One of the many memories I have is before my dad and I walked the aisle for him to place me into my husbands care. The huge doors closed, as the last in the wedding party walked down the aisle, and a trumpet began to sound. The doors opened pretty dramatically and we entered. The aisle seemed miles long, but I knew who was waiting at the end. All thoughts of life before fled and I was pretty sure I was glowing. When my hand was placed in his, I felt like I was home.

The years have passed by quickly and we have more than lived to tell about it. We have fallen more in love with each other and with our God. While not perfect, we know the One who is. His Word is our daily guide and it is Him whom we serve. We serve one another because of His great love for us. This love overflows and we each benefit. Our children see this and get drenched with this effect. Do we mess up? Absolutely! I could give you a great example that took place just this morning. However, we ask for forgiveness, turn from our sin and continue on. Often we feel the pressures of this world, but we know there is more to come than this life. We march on towards Heaven making memories along the way.

I do not know your story or where you are on this journey, but I am glad our steps have collided. There is nothing in me that for a minute thinks I have this all figured out. I do trust the One who does and have chosen to give my heart to Him. He knows how to keep me in peace, love and focus. My heart is tender towards the Lord and that gives Him soft clay to work with. While not always pleasant or painless, I trust His working. And I am daily thankful to have a precious man beside me, whose heart is even more tender and who is a fierce leader and protector. My husband knows well how to keep that which was entrusted to him 20 years ago. May we bring the Lord much glory for many, many more years!

Happy Anniversary Damon!

*This picture pretty much sums it up:)



Surprised by a Statement

Do you ever say something and kinda look around to see who said that? It happened to me yesterday when we were talking with the pastor at the church we are visiting. He asked a simple question about our day, whether it was restful or busy? I automatically responded with, “We don’t do busy”. It shocked me a bit because of the speed by which it flew out of my mouth, but it is very true. Being busy, rushing from activity to activity does not work for our family. It did not work with just two or three kids and it sure would not work with seven. This is how the Lord has led us and He may do something else with your family.

IMG_5605When I look at the calendar and see an entire square full, a bit of anxiety arises. Will I remember it all? Will everyone be where they are suppose to be at the right time? When will we eat dinner if the evening is full? They are gone for most of the day, when will we reconnect? If this is an occasional occurrence, we do fine, but not if this is the normal for us. Some handle this just fine, but that is not my lane. Go ahead and pass us right by.

This is a conviction for us and I felt it affirmed again today when I read Ann Voskamp’s blog. She had a guest writer and the title was, “How Hurry is Incompatible with Love” by John Mark Comer. When I rush, I miss things, especially people. Quick conversations are not my favorite, but at times necessary I know. It takes time to learn about others and to let them know they are loved. It is easy to see why he chose this title. However, it is not easy to hear.

I think of another conversation yesterday and if we had been in a hurry, we would have missed it. A precious family asked us to take their picture as we walked into a restaurant. We visited for awhile and got to know a little about one another. It was an incredible blessing to meet other brothers and sisters in Christ! Come to find out, they care about what is most important to us too! It was good. An unexpected gift. We will be exchanging Christmas cards.

As for today, our youngest had a fun field trip to a pumpkin patch. The downside is that it was an over an hour away. This morning when I looked at all the things that needed to be done here, it would have been very easy to stay home. However, to miss time with this little girl was not an option. And the laundry and dust were waiting for me when I got home. We froze because it was colder than expected, but we had a great time. Sweet memories were made and that is far more important than chores.

Time passes and it is our choice as to what we fill our days with. Will we pack it so full that we have no space to see people? Will we decide today that we will ask the Lord for help in how to manage the time He has given us? If time was God’s idea in the first place, it would only be logical to ask Him how to manage it. That carries over in just about everything don’t you think?


Daily Strength

“But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.” Nehemiah 6:9

A few summers ago I studied the book of Nehemiah and I have loved it ever since. There is so much in this short book and I feel like I am on a treasure hunt to uncover something new each time I read it. Actually, I can say that about the entire Bible. I pray you are spending time reading God’s word. We make time for what is important and this should be high on our list. Time spent getting to know and praise our Creator in prayer, reading, singing and listening, does wonders for our relationship. I think about our kids and how I desire time with them. I want to know them. What would happen if we met at the hospital when they were born, and again the day one of us were to die? We would have missed so much life. We would not know each other at all. I have no desire to have that type of relationship with God.

IMG_5459Getting to know someone takes time. Building a relationship does not normally happen overnight. I think of how much I know about each of our children. It is important to know how they function best, what makes them feel loved and what overwhelms them. This takes more than my natural abilities and I am in need of something more than me. This privilege is too much for me, but not for Him. I can pray, like Nehemiah, and ask for strength. Days are long and laundry piles are high. My hands need strength to serve my family. Knowing who to ask for strength makes all the difference.

As we look at the week ahead, remember He wants to know you. Spend time with Him. Do not be shy about asking for help. If you are a parent and your child asks for help and you knew it was for your child’s good, would you withhold your help? Our children should be able to trust us, but we fail and mess up. God is not human and therefore does not fail. Ask for His strength for this week. Ask for the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you, if you are a Christ follower, to help you this week. You are not alone and should not live like it. Nehemiah knew his God and relied on Him to do all he was entrusted with. I want to be like him as we do the work that is planned for this week. What about you?


Do you remember Christmas morning, when there were several gifts under the tree and you were not sure which one to choose to open first? That has been what it has been like with writing. The Lord has given so many gifts lately and I could not decide which to write about first. As with anything, some are just between Him and I, but others can be shared. I have sorta spread them out before the Lord and waited.

IMG_5425There have been sweet birthday gifts from friends, precious time with family and specific prayers answered. How do you begin to write about the goodness of God? How do you type into words how much He loves us? He shows us everyday if we have a heart to see. I will confess that I have not always had this type of vision. Praise God, those days are gone! My heart is now open wide and it makes seeing, giving and receiving love that much richer. It is the kind of lasting love. This kind of love, expressed in so many ways, does not seek the next thing to be sustained. It is a constant and brings such peace. I love these words, “For our hearts rejoice in Him because we trust in His holy name.” (Psalm 33:21). What a gift it is to trust His love for me as I go about this life.

I will tell you about one of the gifts that came about in some unlikely boxes. I was searching for old books that I could rip the pages out of for an art project. My husband remembered a few unpacked boxes in the top of our closet that might have books. Might I add that we have been in our home for 10 years. There were lots of treasures, but no books. One of the boxes had a few makeup bags full of expensive products. They were like new and I could have used them all those years ago. However, they sat on a shelf unopened and unused. The only thing I could do now was throw them away. It made me so sad to have wasted so much money and it reminded me of what use to be so important. Image was a big deal back then and it was costly. I still like and wear makeup, but I know where my lasting beauty comes from. The light of Christ’s love cannot be packaged and sold.

Can I tell you what was also in this box? Several bottles of wonderful smelling perfume. Again, they sat unopened and unused in a dark box. These however are still usable. I was so excited to have new smells to wear! They were just waiting to be opened this whole time. I am reminded of one of my most favorite stories where perfume is significant in the Bible. “And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with the perfume.” (Luke 7:37-38). Can you imagine what an entire jar of spilled perfume must have smelled like? How it must have filled the room with a wonderful fragrance.

My perfume does not compare, but I would like to think it smells good. I remember hugging a friend and her perfume clung to me. Did the same happen to Jesus with this extravagant anointing? The financial cost was great, but what love she poured out. Do we do the same? Do we keep our love for others and our Savior in unopened, nicely contained boxes, high on a shelf? What would happen if you trusted the Lord and opened the box of your heart to His love?  I can only tell you my experience. Love poured out from the heart of God is like nothing I have ever known and it changes everything.

Want to hear something about other gifts? A dear friend, who recently lost her husband, gave me a new makeup bag with my favorite mascara and the best pink lipstick I have ever worn. She also put a heart-shaped mirror in the bag. Such kindness extended even while she is grieving. I was so touched and had to marvel at the significance of what I had thrown away and what I was given.  Another friend filled a bag with gifts my mom would have given me, even down to the fall scents she chose. How did she know? Only the Lord. My in-laws gave me their airline points and I flew first class back to North Carolina for a family wedding. I had a ball with my dad, sister and family. How generous of them! My husband and kids were so fun to celebrate with and did without me for a weekend. I am blessed with the most unselfish man who loves and serves others well. This too has been a gift for almost 20 years.

I know at times it feels like the Lord is emptying us of all we hold dear. Some of the things need not remain, but some are removed and we do not know the reason now. I have found that being like an empty box, rid of self and desperately wanting to be filled with all the Lord wants to pour in, is far better than anything I could purchase or obtain. I do pray though, that anything I can pour out as an offering from my heart will bless the Lord like this sinful woman, for we are much alike.  And as this next scripture reminds us, others can catch a whiff of Christ from us. “For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15). Someone will recognize the “smell”, some will become angry and some won’t know quite what to do. All of this is known by God and we can trust Him. I have a feeling this is what love smells like.

*Picture with my Aunt Debbie who is quite a gift.


Changing Seasons

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1

It is has been unbelievably hot here in Texas. Being from North Carolina, hot and October do not go in the same sentence. I think the changing of seasons is what I miss most about the mountains. Time was marked by the weather and I like that. One would think I was use to this climate, but I am not. However, the people and the sunsets make Texas a great place to call home. And the weather man says a “cold front” is making its way here and it should be cooler tomorrow. I pray it happens and we can get on with fall. A change is very much needed.

IMG_5296As I think on change, it always reminds me of the passage in Ecclesiastes about time. It goes from one extreme to the other. “A time of war and a time of peace.” (vs. 8). As I read through the list, I naturally choose the more lovely times. I have no desire for war, loss, hate, mourning and death. I will say that knowing these times makes the other that much more sweet and I appreciate them more. So for that I am thankful. It is during the not so lovely that I have been drawn into the heart of God more deeply. How can I say I do not want such a gift just because it was hard?

I received a text last night from a precious friend. Her husband of 55 years went to be with Jesus. She is in “a time to weep… a time to mourn” (vs.4). She knows the Lord and has hope of “a time to laugh..a time to dance” (vs.4). Do you have this same hope? Do you know there is a purpose to each season? Sometimes it is full of joy and other times joy is a choice. I found myself this morning begging to be out of this season. Goodness, did this bring such a heaviness and that feeling of wanting change. As we walked into church and heard words so specific to what my heart was feeling, I could have just wept. Only the Lord knew what I needed most. Circumstances remain the same, but my heart was reminded of the truth. It made the time at the Lord’s table that much more meaningful.

Friend, I am not sure of your season, but I know the God who does. I pray you have hope today for what is to come. While there may be many seasons before we go to Heaven that make you long for Home, trust the One who knows and loves you. “Consider the work of God; For who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider; Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other…” (7:13-14). Tonight I will remember, “You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.” (Isaiah 26:3). I know who I am dependent on and trust His plans, which are not always visible. May you sleep in peace tonight.