Saturday, May 26, 2012


The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

We bought a GPS for the first time about three years ago when we were headed down to the beach. It was a totally new thing for me. I was amazed that, not only would the GPS talk us through our journey, step-by-step, but we could actually choose which voice we wanted directing us. There were various male and female voices to choose from. Some with foreign accents, even. We tried a few of them out and unanimously settled on the soothing voice that we affectionately referred to as "Clara." We named her Clara because that's the name of the street we had to turn down to get to the beach house we'd rented for that week - Clara Avenue.

Clara was calm, cool, and collected. That was just her way. And she knew the routes we should take like the back of her virtual proverbial hand. Even when we made a wrong turn, she could tell us within seconds how far to go before the next turn to get us back on track. Before she would give us her new directions, she would calmly and assuredly announce that she was "recalulating" our route. No screaming, no freaking out, no name-calling. Just, "recalculating."

It's amazing how much trust we put in Clara. We'd never met her. We couldn't see her. We just had faith that her programmers knew what they were doing. We blindly followed her lead, no matter where she directed us to go. Sometimes, she would take us on routes that really didn't make any sense. Like taking us 60 miles out of the way or through a really, really bad neighborhood. That didn't happen often, but when it did, we'd just tough it out, having faith that Clara would eventually get us back on track.

Why is it so much easier for us to have faith in technology than to have faith in God? Why do we place more faith in the created rather than in the Creator?

We should trust God to guide us through life so much more than we trust the technology of a GPS to guide us from point A to point B. After all, God is more capable of handling the issues of our lives than we are. We just don't always give Him the opportunity.

Many times, I've made plans without praying them through only to find myself later asking God to help me out of the bad situation that I created for myself. He certainly is under no obligation to do so, but He is faithful, and He has helped me out more times than I care to admit. Oftentimes, He let me go through some pretty bad neighborhoods, but He stayed with me and, once I realized my need for Him, led me right back where I needed to be. I'm so thankful that He is patient with me.

I feel sure that, absent my self-made plans and hard-headedness along the way, I would have saved myself a lot of pain and heartache had I sought God's guidance in the beginning, before I embarked on my new plans. I would probably be a lot closer to the place where He wanted me to be to begin with.

All those little detours I've taken because I didn't consult with Him first cost me precious time. Time that could have been spent on bigger and better things. Things that God had planned for me to do all along. Things I just didn't bother to ask Him about.

But God is full of grace and mercy and He is fully capable of recalculating my route when I make a wrong turn. And sometimes, the place He takes me once I finally do trust in Him is far greater than anything I could have imagined. If I could just learn to trust in Him from the beginning, my life would be much more peaceful.

Peaceful. Just because I trust in Him. What an awesome promise that is.

Linking up with:

Beholding Glory


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vacation Memories

The last nine months have been particularly stressful and a vacation would hit the spot right about now. Alas, it will have to wait for a little while longer. Since I'm in a beachy frame of mind, I thought I'd share some photos from our beach trip last August.

We stayed at the Calypso in Panama City Beach, Florida. I chose these condos for their proximity to the fishing pier and to the shopping and restaurants at Pier Park. Within walking distance to both. This is a view of the pier from our room at sunset.

Much to my daughter's dismay, she is usually the subject of my photo taking. I love to catch her spontaneous expressions. And the beach made it all the more fun. For me. Not so much for her.

All of these pictures of the water were taken at St. Andrews State Park. We stopped there before we headed home, and oh, boy, did we ever want to stay a while longer. It was so inviting! I don't think I've seen it this blue and this clear in a very long time.

Not too far down the beach from the crystal clear water, this is what we saw. And it stunk, too. Fortunately, the wind must have been blowing in the opposite direction because we couldn't smell it at the clear end.

A view of the coastline from St. Andrews.

We enjoyed ice cream from the Pink Pelican. It's sort of become a tradition for us to visit them when we go to Panama City Beach.

We also played a serious game of put put golf at Pirate's Island...

...rode some go-carts...

...and ate out. A lot. I look pretty darn goofy in this picture, but I think my husband looks kind of like Sean Connery, so I thought I'd throw it in the mix. Such a handsome fella, he is.

All in all, it was a great trip and I'm more than ready to go back. My parents always took me to Panama City Beach as a kid, and I have so many fond memories there. I love it!

What an awesome God we have to give us such beautiful places to enjoy!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Slowly, But Surely

I'm making a little progress here! I started this blogging thing in 2009 and have just now figured out how to add a photo to my header. All you seasoned bloggers make it look effortless, but let me tell you, I've spent a lot of time just trying to navigate my way through Blogger to figure out how it actually works. Little by little, I'm finding my way, and it's so much fun!

So, hopefully, it's a wee bit lighter and more friendly looking here. I'm pleased with it for now. I hope to be back with some fun stuff this weekend. I have some projects that I'd like to share once I get over this nasty cold I picked up from my husband.

Hope you're having a great week so far!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No Condemnation

Romans 8:1 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Today's the day. My oldest child graduates from high school tonight. I feel numb.

I feel like there are so many things that I took for granted while he was growing up. I didn't spend as much time with him as I should have. I didn't pray with him as much as I should have. I didn't do a lot of things that I should have. I find myself wishing for more time to do all those things I never did for my son when he was younger.

I feel ashamed of my selfishness. I feel guilty. My heart aches for my boys who grew up always separated by hundreds of miles from their dad. He is in the military, so visitation has always been rather difficult and infrequent, which is no fault of his own. Their childhood could have been happier. Instead, it was painful because, in addition to the fact that they couldn't be with their dad, I was distracted and preoccupied most of the time, searching for my own happiness. And it was my own selfishness in that pursuit that caused their pain. For a time, I couldn't see past my own desire for happiness enough to put them first. Not that I didn't love them. I did, always. But I took them for granted. I lived for myself and justified my actions by convincing myself and others that I would be a better mother if I could find happiness for myself. I was so lost and deceived.

What I didn't realize was, it wasn't happiness that would make me a better mother. It was God. And it was God who would fulfill that need that I was so desperately searching for.

The boys' dad and I divorced when they were young - they were four and two-and-a-half years old. I remarried first, and my new marriage wasn't without its problems. It was quite rocky and for a while, I questioned whether I had done the right thing. I guess deep down, I knew that I hadn't done the right thing, but I really wanted it to be the right thing. I had been counseled by therapists who merely validated my feelings and then prescribed anti-depressants to numb my emotions. Things just didn't seem to get any better.

One day, I called in sick because I was so depressed, I just couldn't get out of the house. I broke down sobbing that day and in my bedroom floor, I fell to my knees begging God to take the pain away. I begged for His forgiveness and pleaded with Him to just show me what He wanted me to do. I told Him that if I was supposed to go to my ex-husband and beg him to take me back, then that's what I would do. I just needed God to show me. I was exhausted from trying to figure it all out myself. Once I got it out of my system and felt a little release, I waited.

I don't remember exactly how long I waited, but it seems like it was about a week. I had been talking off and on with my ex-husband and told him I was thinking of bringing the boys to Charleston, where he was stationed at the time. I still wasn't sure what I needed to do, but that plan was on the radar. Shortly after this conversation with him, I learned that he had remarried and didn't bother to say anything to me about it.

So, that was that. Now what? Despite our problems, I knew that I loved my current husband, so I wasn't devastated. But I was still confused. I decided that, probably, God was trying to tell me something, but it didn't sink in right away. Sometime shortly after the news of my ex's remarriage, I became sick with what seemed like a stomach virus or food poisoning or a parasite of some description. Whatever it was, it was nasty, and it came out of nowhere. After a couple of days of it, on a hunch, I ran to the drug store and picked up a pregnancy test.

Yep. You guessed it. I was pregnant. And stunned.

If that wasn't a confirmation of what God wanted me to do, I don't know what was. As if my ex getting remarried wasn't enough. But, I guess in my mind at the time, it wasn't really. I'm sure God knew it would take more than that to get through to me. This pregnancy felt like God was saying to me: "What's done is done. You need to stay right where you are and trust Me from now on." It took my having another child to realize how precious children are and what a blessing it is to be a mother. God brought me to a place of utter dependence on Him and He knew exactly what it would take to change my heart. After so many of my mistakes and selfish decisions, He finally got my attention. He created me to be a mother, and it was in that role where he made known to me my deepest desires.

It still took me a long while to really appreciate the lessons that I learned in all this. My boys continued to suffer in that they were still and always would be children from a broken home, and with the birth of a baby sister, they were regrettably not given all the attention they needed. This breaks my heart. Also, when my daughter was about a year old, I decided what better time to go back to school and pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer. I was still searching. Thankfully, ours is a God of patience, and He saw me through a year-and-a-half of classes before He finally showed me that this wasn't His plan for me and my family. It was just another attempt by me to write my own destiny.

Gradually, as the kids have grown, God has revealed to me what He was trying to teach me all along. That marriage and children are gifts from Him, and they're a reflection of His love for us. He showed me that, since he blessed me with children, maybe He just wants me to be a mother. Not a student. Not a lawyer. Not anything besides a mother to these precious children. Raising my daughter along with my boys has given me a new perspective on God's love and forgiveness. Through all my mistakes, God carried me. That may sound corny, but it's true. Looking back, I can see that He was always there. He didn't leave me for one second.

Since that day of reckoning in my bedroom floor, I've seen my marriage restored and my family cared for beyond the scope of comprehension of my feeble little brain. Where my deepest desires were once to merely be happy, now, my deepest desires are to see my children walking with God and for my husband and I to be righteous examples of what it means to follow Jesus.

Knowing all this, it's so clear where all the condemnation surrounding my son's graduation is coming from. As my son graduates from high school and moves into the next chapter of his life, I will not embrace the guilt and shame of the past. Instead, I will, with a grateful heart, accept the abundance of God's grace and forgiveness, and, in faith, look forward to what great things He has in store for us.

Thank you, Lord, for your forgiveness. Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for your patience and love. Thank you, Lord, that in you, there is no condemnation. Amen.

Linking up with:
Beholding Glory


Thursday, May 10, 2012


I've always thought that teaching would be the perfect job for me. I love kids. And I like the idea of being off with my kids during the summer and Christmastime. For those reasons, it would be a great gig.

The reality is, along with the great hours, you're also dealing with 25 to 30 different personalities every. single. day. Personalities that haven't yet learned the art of self-restraint or the importance of "inside voices." Personalities that don't cover their mouths when they sneeze. Personalities that get sick and vomit in the floor and then you have to clean it up. Personalities with nose bleeds. The list goes on.

I'd never make it as a school teacher.

I learned that today.

What drew me to that conclusion, you ask? I went to the zoo with my daughter and her 3rd grade class. The little girls in our group were very sweet, but we had a couple of questionable moments. One of my daughter's friends twisted her ankle and then, later on, became sick to her stomach. We made it through alright, though. No, I didn't have to clean up vomit, but when she started feeling sick, it did cross my mind, and had that happened, I don't know what I would have done. I probably would have joined her. I've never been one to handle any type of bodily excretions, whatsoever.

Wow...this post just took a turn for the worst. Back to my point.

I did have a point.

I think.

Maybe not. Here are some photos I took today with my iPhone.

Hello, nostrils! Not a good angle...

Right before we left, a small boy - maybe 4 years old - came unglued when he spilled his drink all over his shirt. He screamed bloody murder. The kind of screaming that makes you think "what in the world are they doing to that kid?" Two women who had just come out of the gift shop saw the little fella crying. One of them reached into her bag and pulled out the t-shirt she'd just purchased from the gift shop. She walked over to the boy's parents and asked if she could replace their son's wet shirt with the new, dry one she just bought. The parents were reluctant to accept such a generous gesture from perfect strangers, but when the lady insisted, they consented. Even though the shirt was way too big for the little guy, he was happy and dry once again, and his parents were visibly relieved. I noticed my eyes welling up as I witnessed this scene. It had the love of Jesus written all over it. What made it even more amazing was that the boy's family was white and the ladies who offered to help were black. It just goes to show that, even in the midst of all the racial tension in the world today, Jesus is still at work among us, in spite of all that.


Linking up with:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I took this photo on Easter in 2010. It's my absolute favorite! I had just finished taking some Easter pictures of our kids, and caught them as they were walking back to their grandparents' house. This is their driveway. It's really beautiful, especially for the couple of weeks right around Easter.

Linking up with:

Black and White Wednesday


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ode to Dr. Joe

I'll preface this post by saying that my husband sort of made fun of my excitement about this tonight. All I can say is, it's the little things in life that make me happy.

I love it when things just seem to work out...

I took my son to his pediatrician this afternoon. I made a mental note of what time I needed to leave work and then pick him up from school in time to make it to the doctor's office by 2:00. I totally got the time mixed up, for some reason, and left about 45 minutes later than I should have. I was going to be really late to the appointment and I was afraid they wouldn't be able to see him. He was feeling so miserable, though, and I knew he had to go!

After racing the clock for nearly an hour trying to get there on time, I finally decided to call them and confess my dimwittedness. (Is "dimwittedness" a word?) The lady I spoke to was very nice. She said that it was an unusually slow afternoon and as long as we could get there within the hour, we'd be fine.

Why couldn't I have just done that to begin with?

I don't know.

Would have saved me a lot of grief.

We finally arrived and went straight back to see Dr. Joe. (We never go straight back to see Dr. Joe.) We had just been to see him in March with the same symptoms, only this time they were more severe. So, thanks to us being the only ones in his office at the time, Dr. Joe studied my son's medical file and then talked with us at length about his long history of sinus issues and what we need to do next. I felt grateful that he cared enough to spend that kind of time with us.

So many doctors just herd you in and herd you out like cattle that it's so refreshing to sit and talk to a one who actually listens to you and genuinely cares. He didn't have to talk with us to the extent he did. But he did, and I appreciate it. Really, even on not-so-slow days, Dr. Joe is not one to rush through an exam. But today, he had a little extra time and he spent it with us.

It just seemed like God worked it all out for us today. I love it when that happens.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Hey, Girl...

Hope you had a great Monday! I had a crazy day at work that gave me an awesome headache, and my daughter is too scared to sleep in her own bed. Should be an interesting night.

She's such a sweetheart, though, I really don't mind.

One of the very best things about my girl. I heart her.

I'm submitting this photo to the I Heart Faces photo challenge –

Photo Challenge Submission


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Good Morning, Sunshine

I stayed up until about 2 a.m. last night and thought, surely, I would sleep in this morning. I'm so glad I didn't. In fact, I wish I'd gotten up sooner.

When I looked out the window this morning it was around 7:00. And it was beautifully bright and foggy. I ran for my camera, and in flip-flop feet, I walked all around the yard in the dewy grass snapping pictures. I love foggy mornings!

It was absolutely divine!

This is my dad's pasture, which is adjacent with our backyard. He has goats, ducks, and geese that roam around the catfish pond to the left of these trees. My horse, Ginny, stays out there, too, but unfortunately, all the animals were scarce this morning.

Someone has been busy. There were lots of spider webs spun along the fence.

The hydrangea bushes are blooming, and it looks like they're going to be quite generous with their blooms this year. Yay!

I hope you enjoyed the photos. Have a glorious weekend!

Linking to Photography Week @ A Nest for All Seasons