Tuesday, September 30, 2014

[ thank you. ]*

I am happy to announce that starting tomorrow I will be a full-time stay-at-home mama to two of the coolest girls around.

This decision has been something that I have wanted for as long as I can remember, but oddly enough it has not been an easy one.  The Lord clearly called me into ministry while studying His Word in high school, and over the years He continued to clarify that call.  It has been a blessing to see that call come into fruition . . . and to be able to do so through the church that discipled me as a new believer made it especially rewarding.

Over the past 8 years I have served in many roles in our church, from Communications to Vision and Strategic Planning.  I have genuinely loved each role, but found deepest satisfaction in my most recent role as Director of Rescue Ministries.

But after giving birth to our sweet Afton, and taking 2 months off, David and I realized a few things:

1. The Lord took care of us financially during those two months while we went without my pay.  Yes, David had to work extra, but we realized it was doable.  With faith, hard work, creativity and sacrifice, we could figure out how to make it work long-term.  (We think! If not, I may be sending you my resume. Ha!)

2.  I loved, loved, loved being able to pour into my girls every day without being in front of a computer screen working or in meetings juggling them.  I found much fulfillment in being able to support my husband in the two ministries for which he is responsible.  AND I found myself with the freedom to actually do more "ministry" for those around us.

3. The Lord calls us to different things for different seasons, and by walking away from vocational ministry for a time would not mean disobeying His call.


4. If I didn't make the jump now, I may never do it.  We realized that I love my job SO MUCH that if I went back to work and continued to pour all of my energies into it that it would only get more difficult to walk away.

So, my first week back to work in early August, I sat down with our pastor and shared my heart, and told him that I would work through September to allow leadership to formulate a plan.

Although I am terribly sad (and scared!) about this transition, I am also ridiculously excited.

THANK YOU for your support and encouragement over the past (almost!) decade.  It has truly been a blessing to be able to serve the members of FBCL and our community.

I am incredibly thankful.

Monday, July 14, 2014

[ Afton Ruth ]*

These are the questions we hear every time someone meets our newest little one, Afton Ruth:

1. Where did she get all that hair?!

The first words that were said when I was born (documented in my baby book for all generations to see) were not, "She is beautiful" or even the generic "It's a girl!" Nope.  The first words anyone said: "Look at all that hair."

But, I am not the only one to blame. David was born with a full head of hair that looked like it had already had a grown-up hairstyle.  Much to my mother-in-law's chagrin, everyone called him "Little Man" or the rare, bold fellow who didn't quite understand the fierce mama bear-ness/ hormone surges that befit new mommies would call him Mr Magoo.


2.  Does she have Native American heritage?

Yeah, way back somewhere we both have some Native American blood, but not enough to get her a college scholarship or anything.  

But if you have asked this question, we know what you are really getting at.  You want to know if David is her biological daddy, because you can't figure out how two total whiteys can make such a tan kid. I will level with you: It is a mystery to us too.

(And, yes, he is the daddy.)


3.  Where did you get her name?

Sweet Afton.  Her first name comes from a lovely Robert Burns poem, "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton" about a stream in Scotland.

In 2000, the year that David and I met, and almost 300 years after it was first penned, one of our favorite groups did a lovely musical version of it that you can hear here:

Go ahead and have it playing while you read the rest of this post.  It will be magical, like an episode of Dawson's Creek.

Throughout my pregnancy, I prayed Psalm 1 over the baby girl in my belly:
that she would be blessed,
that she would delight in The Lord
and meditate on Him and His Word continually,
that she would be like a tree planted by streams of water,
yielding much fruit,
and that she would prosper in all that she does.

Because that Scripture was on my heart the whole pregnancy, I looked for names relating to water or trees.

But, let me tell you--the more I thought about it, I realized no girl wants a name that means big tree or strong tree or solid wood or anything manly like that.  (Could you imagine a self-conscious middle schooler having to say, "my name means thick trunk" while all the other girls names mean crowned one and dainty.  She would hate me.  I'd have to get counseling and then develop a shopping addiction.  We would lose our home and be forced to move into the woods.  This would be bad.)

And the only names that I could come up with that referenced water were, ironically enough, Native American names.  David vetoed most of those right out of the gate. (He conceded by telling me I can name our future dog Shenandoah.)

So we went a little abstract and named her after the poem and song that we loved so much.  Our sweet Afton, named after a beautiful stream flowing gently through the fields.

Her middle name also has significant meaning.

Ruth means, satisfied.  I love that.  It connotes a fullness.  What more could you want for your child than a full life with deep, true satisfaction.

And the biblical book of Ruth has such significance, clearly displaying God's sovereignty in all things.

Also, my lifelong best friend, who is considered family more than a friend, has the middle name of Ruth.  She is a blessing to everyone who has ever known her (seriously) and her quiet, yet powerful influence has shaped my life in greater ways than she will ever know.  For my daughter to have a heart like her Aunt Hilary's, would be a beautiful gift.

So, to our
Sweet Afton Ruth:
May you have a fruitful, prosperous life, finding deep satisfaction and delight in our sovereign God.  

(And, Afton, please note that if anyone calls you Mr Magoo, your mama's fist will be like a solid tree on their head.  Hormone surge.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What, then, are you, my God?

From Augustine's Confessions:

What, then, are you, my God?
What indeed, if not the Lord God?
For who is the lord besides the Lord; who is God besides our God?
Highest and best, most mighty, most almighty; most full of mercy and justice, most hidden and most present with us, most lovely and most strong. 

You are abiding and unsearchable; you change all things, but are yourself unchanging; you are never new and never old, yet you renew all things and bring the proud to their old age unawares.

You are always at work and always at rest; you gather to yourself, though you lack nothing.

You bring together, fulfill, and protect; you create, nourish, and bring to completion.

You seek, when you are short of nothing.
You love, without the fever of passion.
You are jealous and fear no rival.
You repent but do not regret; you are roused to anger, and remain calm.
You change your works, but your counsel is unchanged. 
You take back what you find, yet you had never lost it.
You are never in need, yet you rejoice in riches; never grasping, yet you demand a return from us. 

For you we preform works beyond our duty, to put you in our debt; but who has anything that is not your own?

You repay debts, but are no one's debtor; you remit them, and suffer no loss. 
And yet what have we said of you, my God, my life, my holy Sweetness? What can anyone say, in speaking of you? But woe to those who keep silence concerning you - who speak so much, and say so little!

[Confessions 1.4.4]

Friday, May 10, 2013

Holding Out A Hand

This video is about an organization for girls that I had the privilege of working with in Bangladesh a few years ago. I remain incredibly thankful for that experience which opened my eyes to the harsh reality facing millions of women and girls globally.

Holding out a hand from CommissionStories on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

[ Back to the Beach ]*

****I drafted this post over a month ago****

Okay, before I share YET ANOTHER batch of beach photos, I feel like I use share a few disclaimers.

We take a lot of long weekend trips rather than longer trips.  That way we are able to spread out vacation time which keeps us from getting burned out at work or burned out on the beach too. :)

Also, we have a lot of generous friends who invite us stay with them when they travel.  We are not spending money on anything really other than food on these trips.  I just felt like that was important to say because it might appear as though we are blowing gobs of money traveling all of the time, when in fact we are not.  I just really wanted to explain that because it could appear very hypocritical that we are talking about the desire to sacrifice for our friends in need around the world and then it looks like we live the lifestyle of the rich and famous.  Like I said before, we are surrounded by generous people who are too good to us, which allows us opportunities for adventure that we would otherwise not get to experience.

Whew. I feel better just getting that off of my chest.

So, with the disclaimers declared, let's talk beach.

David kicked me out of the house July 4th weekend so that he and Bear could install insulation under the girls' room.  (We are super concerned about helping them be as warm as possible when they come since they're used to temps well above 100 as the norm and bundle up in hats and coats when it dips below 85.  And...we just happen to live in a house built in 1929 (ie pre-insulation/ energy-efficiency.)

Goodness, I am wordy today.

So, he kicked me to the curb.  Kristen picked me up on the curb and we headed down to the beach.

We were about 15 minutes from home when I realized I forgot the camera. MORON! So the trip had to be captured on my ghetto phone.  Some of these pictures might require you to close one eye, squint and do the hokey pokey in order to make out what they are of...but you should get the idea anyway.

First stop: Sprayberrys in Newnan.   If you have never been before, I'm going to need you to walk away from your computer, get in your car and drive there now.

Meals like this were consumed:

Because 3 out of the 4 of us were on very strict diets, I will not say how many of us consumed meals like this.  And chocolate milkshakes. And bowl after bowl of pickels.

My mouth is shut.  (It was not however that night.)

Jonah wanted two photos in front of the sign.  A "serious" one and a "inja" one.  We think he means ninja.  I also think he uses inja for indians, which might confuse the girls when they come and Jonah calls them ninjas.


Let me interrupt to say that I now sport a new do.  Some days it is a mohawk. Others it is like the side-spike from the 90's.  I felt like this was important to note before it makes an appearance and you freak out thinking I may be undergoing chemotherapy.  I am not.

As I am going through the pictures on my phone, I am quickly realizing that it was practically a food-tour. Yikes. So, I guess let's continue on a tour of restaurants on the Gulf.  At the condo, we are lots of M&M's:

Esther Grace's bookbag of toys for dinner at Boondock's:

KD & Cobb at, you guessed it, dinner.  My goodness, this is getting embarassing:

Jonah, doing another "inja" chop.  Umm, this face is hilarious and scary all at the same time:

View from Boondock's:

Jonah talked about getting a tat all week. KD told him to keep it tasteful.  He wanted a Superman symbol with tribal barbed-wire.  Well.....

Cobb is originally from Texas like David, so of course, we had to introduce the kids to Whataburger.  HUGE hit:

Esther Grace's lunch:

 Her lunch choice led to some devastatingly potent diapers.  Please note Jonah's reaction and then her response:

Back to Whataburger.  Jonah adopted my habit of two straws. . .only to decide that three was actually better. 
He could barely fit them in his mouth!

Outlet Shopping.  What beach trip is complete without one?  I had Jonah walking through the stores saying, "Oh, I am definitely going to buy this." and "Oh, this blazer would go great with my khakis".  I may have even told him he "needed" a seersucker suit.

His mom wanted to kill me, I am sure.

And then.....

Jonah decides that he HAS to buy some "weiss-beaters" (wife-beaters).  He was adamant about this.  I thought it was hilarious and when I could finally keep a straight face I asked him, "Who do you know that wears those??"

He said, "My daddy."

???????  So, we store to store and I made him ask the clerks if they sold wife-beaters.  We finally scored some at the undies store:

He quickly removed his polo and wore the "weiss-beater" in its place.  He also went shoeless.
Did I mention that his mom probably wanted to kill me?

Kristen's Dad came down a few days later.  And here are the boys at....dinner!:

While at dinner, David sent me a text that said, "This is what I look like after a few days with Bear." There was a photo included. He was a filthy mess.  (He looked like Bear).

Kristen's dad, Rick, sent him these next two pictures that said, "This is what your wife looks like after two days with me"

That night, at dinner. Esther Grace, cuddled with her parfait:

One night we took Jonah to this really cool place called WonderWorks.  We did things like lay on a bed of nails.  (Which huuurrrrttt, by the way.)

Played virtual reality games on a green screen.  See Jonah as an NBA player??

The BEST day of the trip though was when Rick took us out on the boat to Crooked Island.  It was AMAZING.
I rode on top of the boat.  And there were a few times that I imagined myself as a rodeo cowgirl. I was holding on for dear life!  LOVED every minute.

Esther Grace did too:

We collected BUCKETS FULL of shells, conchs and sand dollars. 

 View to the left:

View to the right:

KD used her swimsuit to hold about 30 lbs of shells. No joke. It was ridiculous and I didn't think David would believe me about the insane number, so I took a picture.   Unfortunately, my thumb blocked the evidence.  But, take my word for it. :)

On July 4th we sat on the 14th story of the condo and watched fireworks at eye-level for hours.  It was such a unique experience.

And, to cap-off the trip, on the drive home KD, Cobb and I discovered a drive-thru convenience store.  YOU DROVE THROUGH!!  How cool is that??

(The attendant to the left of me, was scared out of his mind. I think I said to him 10 times: "You literally drive-thru!!")

Thursday, July 21, 2011

[ Trusting, Though We Don't Understand ]*

"It seems more difficult to trust God than to obey Him.

The moral will of God given to us in the Bible is rational and reasonable.
The circumstances in which we must trust God often appear irrational and inexplicable.

The law of God is readily recognized to be good for us, even when we don't want to obey it.
Yet the circumstances of our lives frequently appear to be dreadful and grim, or perhaps even calamitous and tragic.

Obeying God is worked out within well-defined boundaries of God's revealed will.
But trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries. We do not know the extent, the duration, or the frequency of the painful, adverse circumstances in which we must frequently trust God. We are always coping with the unknown.

Yet it is just as important to trust God as it is to obey Him. When we disobey God we defy His authority and despise His holiness.
But when we fail to trust God, we doubt His sovereignty and question His goodness.
In both cases we cast aspersions upon His majesty and His character.

God views our distrust as Him as seriously as He views our disobedience."

[from Is God Really In Control? Trusting God in a World of Hurt by Jerry Bridges]

Monday, July 18, 2011

[Vacation :: Day 4]*

After our trip to St. George Island with the Gilberts, we headed to Rosemary Beach to spend a week with our good friends, the Nash's, Mulkey's and Hancocks.


By Day 4 there was a serious battle between my skin and the UV rays.

And my skin was losing.  Horribly, by the way.

In Alys Beach there is a darling (yes, dah-ling) little coffee shop called the Fonville Press:

(photo ganked from google images)

Since my skin was SCORCHED, I made my way to Fonville to avoid any interaction with the sun.

Since I only packed sleeveless shirts (big mistake), so I use a scarf/vest thing to cover as much exposed skin as possible and biked to the coffee shop.

A few minutes later, I was sitting in the coffeeshop's courtyard under a thatch-covered pergola, sipping a most-delicious iced mango tea and reading book #2 of the trip, when I reached a level of relaxation like never before.

I'm telling you, like never before.

Can I just explain this to you? My husband thinks I am a "hippie-weirdo"

(this photo was also ganked)

I was curled up in a wicker chair. The was a cool ocean breeze flowing through the thatched roof.  Water was dripping out of zen-like fountains. Birds flew in (seriously!) and were singing. SINGING!  (Well, chirping, but go with it).

Am I in a Disney movie? Is a mouse coming to make me a dress for the ball?


Soft music is playing in the background.  Islands in the Stream by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

Is my body turning to mush? My brain has slowed down.  I realize that I have read about 5 pages on my kindle and don't recall a single thought.

Is this what being on drugs feels like?

Oh my goodness.

If so, I need drugs in my life.

I decide to pull a few chairs together and lounge for a moment.

[In a coffee-shop, mind you.  Yet, I still feel like it is acceptable to form a bed out of their furniture and proceed to lay across them. The relaxation has obviously affected my decision-making abilities. Did they slip me a roofie?]

A child runs by and it startles me and I realize that I have been sleeping.

Full-on drool-induced coma.

[I'm still not sure how long I was passed out.]

I slung my scarf/vest/ cape thingy over my sun-fried shoulders and hoofed my Huffy back to the house in total embarassment.

But even the embarassment couldn't keep me away. For the rest of our trip, I made at least 2-3 trips A DAY down to Fonville for the liquid crack they were pushing as "mango tea".


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