Friday, November 7, 2008

Nothing as Planned

A personal day....aah! Doesn't it sound nice? A day for me. To do whatever I want, wherever I want, for as long as I want...or at least until it is time to pick up the kids from school. :) I grabbed my Bible, computer and school papers for good intentions of grading. Dropped the kids off at school and headed out. Bought a coke and kept my eyes open for garage sale signs as I scouted the perfect place to read and pray and write.

Unfortunately, that's as close to plan as my day is going to get.

In Lynchburg, Virginia, where I attended college there are several perfect spots to read and pray. A community of townhouses surrounding a quiet "lake" with a gazebo and picnic tables. The James River where God placed a perfect, large, flat rock which has an indentation which fits my body perfectly (at least it did twenty years ago!). Crabtree Falls.

In Kimberling City, Missouri, there is a rock cliff 300 feet above Table Rock Lake with a hidden spot where I loved being alone with God.

But today, I couldn't find a spot. I know God has a place for me in Longview, but it must not be ready for me. So, I headed to my sister's house. It is always a comfortable space with cozy furniture and no children. (Now, don't get the wrong idea. I love my kids!!!! Both my own and my class...but everyone needs to "Be still and know that I am God." And we all know that kids and being still DO NOT go together! No matter how hard we try to make them :) )

My arms were loaded down with all my stuff and I was struggling getting her door open. I'd like to blame it on her door, but using the wrong key didn't help matters. However, before the realization of trying a different key dawned on me, I took all my stuff to the van to have both my hands free. Out of habit I locked the doors and after successfully getting into the house and returning to retrieve my things I realized that the van key is on a separate keychain safely nestled in my purse. Inside the van. With locked doors.

Now, while waiting two hours for my van to be unlocked I realize that half my day is over and nothing I wanted to do has been done.

Except, I was forced to be still. The still wasn't as I had planned it, but it was how God allowed it. His plan not mine. He is always on His throne even when we make mistakes, even when we think we are in control, even when the world votes against us, even when what we want doesn't come about.

Be still and know that He is God. Yesterday. Today. Forevermore.

(In my mind, I just now said "Praise You, Lord!" and was reminded of Chloe going to the van this morning. She was singing her own creative "Bless You Jesus" song when she started singing of Dora and Boots. With her precious little voice, she said, "I praise you Jesus, for Dora and Boots. I praise you!" In all things, give thanks to God!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wild Goose Chase Review

As Steven Curtis Chapman inspires Christians through his recordings - such as "The Great Adventure", "For the Sake of the Call" and "Divin' In" - to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us, Mark Batterson joins him in his written word; this time in the book "Wild Goose Chase." Mark challenges us to "reclaim the adventure of pursuing God."

He uses Biblical and modern day examples, including some of his own stories. He speaks of Nehemiah who followed the passion that burned in his soul despite his lack of knowledge or experience. We read about Moses who lost his life of leadership for the Israelites and became a leader of sheep until the monotony of his day was interrupted by a miraculous conversation with God. Mark reminds us of Abraham who saw God work in spite of his assumptions, and Peter who was transformed by God's grace as well as others.

There is an adventure awaiting us even after failure, in spite of our fears and emboldened by our faith. And, I have to say this fits me to a "T!" I have lived through seeming failure, at times feel strangled by my fear and yet enjoy Texas-sized faith. I don't want to set limits on how God can move in my life.

While I was reading this book (which can be read in one sitting, yet I have read piece by piece as I am getting ready for my first day of fifth grade tomorrow) I actually picked up the reins again on a passion that God has placed in my soul. A passion that continues to burn even after months of not thinking about it. I don't know what God has planned, or what will happen with the passion He has given me, but as Mark says, I am going to "go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention."

How about you?

Wild Goose Chase released today, you can purchase your copy at or Also, check out Mark's website at

You can even enter here for a chance to win a copy of the Wild Goose Chase by leaving your name and email address in the comments. I will number all the comments by the time stamp of your posting and then use to determine the winner. I will announce the winner on Friday, August 22, 2008!

Good Luck and Happy Reading!!

Wild Goose Quote

"In the words of Andre Gide, 'People cannot discover new lands until they have the courage to lose sight of the shore.'"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wild Goose Quote

I have been diligently working to prepare myself for my very first day as a 5th grade teacher, and watching Michael Phelps break records. So, Wild Goose is being digested slowly and deliberately to be sure. I'm only finished with chapter two and what a fun chapter! It is entitled "Goose Bumps!" I'll never think of them the same way again!

I'm sharing a great excerpt from the chapter to continue whetting appetites for the full review to be shared on the 19th! (Be watching!)

"God ordained passions often break our hearts. And they can seem like an overwhelming burden to bear. But pursuing our passions is the key to living a fruitful and fulfilling life. It is the thing that wakes us up early in the morning and keeps us up late at night. It is the thing that turns a career into a calling. It is the thing that gives us goose bumps - Wild Goose bumps. And nothing will bring you greater joy."

What gives you Wild Goose bumps? I didn't need a second to know the answer for me. One of those things is a book idea that the Wild Goose placed in my heart six years ago and fear of not being good enough has held me captive. After reading this chapter, I reached out to someone that I just knew would agree to be a part of the process of writing "Voice Lessons."

His answer was no.

At first I was confused. I was disappointed. I thought for sure the Wild Goose was leading me in a certain direction. Right then, my passion was breaking my heart. But I will keep on. Mark Batterson states, "Never underestimate someone who has the courage to come out of the cage and pursue a God-ordained passion."

My favorite verse is Joshua 1:9 "[Gay] have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage! Do not fear or be dismayed, for I am with you always!"

Don't underestimate me as I have "come out!" and will pursue the passions God has ordained for my life.

Reserve your copy of "Wild Goose Chase"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wild Goose Quotes

I absolutely love quotes and this book is full of great ones. Here are a couple to get us started...

otra dia, otra aventura.

"The Wild Goose chase begins when we come to terms with our greatest responsiblity: pursuing the passions God has put in our heart."

Wild Goose Chase

My books arrived!! Since the day I applied to preview the new book by Mark Batterson, author of "In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day", I have been anxiously awaiting opening the cover and breathing in the change that I knew would consume me. I am 36 pages in and am so convicted and inspired.

With "In a Pit" I was inspired to chase a lion again. I have said many times in the past five years that everyone gets more than one adventure in life. I get to risk it all more than once, right? RIGHT!

"Wild Goose Chase" is promising to convict me as the Wild Goose prompts me to respond to the passions that He has placed in my soul. The book is available for purchase on August 19th and you can get yours at or Or you can enter to win your copy right here on my blog. Keep checking back for updates and details on entering to win "Wild Goose Chase."

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cost of Parenting

I have spent my fair share of hard earned dollars on bottles, burp rags and bibs. I have supported Huggies through three babies; two of them boys who didn’t like the words, “potty training.” My home will never have enough bookshelf space to hold the overwhelming number of books that seem to find their way into our lives (tonight we brought home 10 more). Doctor appointments. Vaccinations. Haircuts. Summer Camps. Athletics. School – uniforms, supplies, lunches.

I think you get the point. Parenting costs an exorbitant amount of money. But it also costs something else.

I love being a mom, but I don’t always love the responsibility of making wise decisions as I try to teach my boys in ways that will guide them as they grow to young men.

Yesterday we spent the day at my sister’s house, playing games, eating pizza and m&ms and enjoying each other. I was snapping a few pictures and wanted one of Cameron and I. He asked to have the camera, so we put our faces close together, he reached his arm out and snapped. I figured the camera would be a little too close, so I asked him to give the camera to his dad so we could have a better picture. As he reached forward to hand off the camera, it dropped.

Now I don’t know about you, but I hate error messages and this time was no exception. The camera read, “Lens Error. Restart Camera.” We got out the user guide, checked the Table of Contents, but no troubleshooting. There wasn’t anything that talked about restarting the camera. We – my sister – investigated a little further and discovered that the lens was bent. No more camera.

Did I mention that the camera belonged to my stepmom? How about the fact that her brother is getting married on Friday? That gives me five days to remedy our problem.

I found out that repairing the camera would cost around the same as purchasing a new one, so at least the course of action was determined. But what to do…make Cameron pay for it? make him pay half? just take care of it and not make him do anything? After all, it was simply an accident. He wasn’t throwing the camera or tossing it to his dad. He wasn’t being irresponsible or careless. He simply dropped it. I mean, we all spill things and drop things. We trip, we stutter, we add sugar instead of flour to recipes (well, at least some of us). Accidents happen.

Do I really want to make Cameron spend his hard earned and time consuming savings on an accident? The answer is “No. I don’t.” So, tonight Cameron and I went to Sears and I bought, with Cameron right by my side to hear the total, a replacement. At one point while we were waiting on the salesman, Cameron told me, “Mom, you could make me pay for this. I am the one who dropped it.” I agreed with him and was impressed by him. He understood the meaning of responsibility.

I didn’t spend any money on him tonight as we stopped by the video game shop and bookstore and he knew why. I had already spent money on him by taking care of his mishap.

Tonight the cost of parenting was $190 + change (and not just the monetary kind).

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Bucket List

Recently, I watched a movie that had piqued my interest the first time I saw the trailer, The Bucket List. It was almost everything I had hoped for and it didn’t disappoint. I told a friend about the movie and that obviously led to a discussion of what would be on our own bucket lists – if we had them. What do I want to do before I “kick the bucket?”

Well, for starters, I want to skydive. And not just anywhere. I want to skydive over some amazingly beautiful scenery. Perhaps find a place in the hill country of Texas during spring when all the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush are in full bloom.

Next, I want to be kissed on a gondola in Venice. Being in Venice would be nice. Being on a gondola ride would be great. But the dream – the only part of this that could make the list is being kissed by the man I love on a gondola in Venice. Goosebumps!!

I want to teach my children to snow ski and glide down the mountain with them. What will inevitably happen is that they will bump and grind down the blacks while I glide down the blues and meet them at the bottom. But still, it makes my list all the same!

Going to Peru for an extended period and working alongside lifelong friends who have served there as missionaries for over 40 years is a must! I learned to type as a little girl by flipping through their rolodex of friends and supporters while my family assembled their monthly newsletter. Yes, this was before computers and the internet. Admittedly, this was the 70s. I am old…well, I’m getting there. And getting to Peru will happen.

I desperately desire to have the blessing of leading someone to salvation through Christ in the 10/40 window. Someone will have the honor of leading that last one to Jesus and then immediately hear the trumpet sound. Someone will usher in the second coming of our Lord and WOW, don’t you want it to be you? I want it to be me and the only way it can is if I am opening my mouth everyday telling those around me about the power in the blood of Jesus. He sacrificed Himself to cover my sins and offer me eternal life through His shed blood. How can I be selfish and keep this to myself?

I want to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway on a beautiful, sunny day with the top down. Well, let me clarify a little. I don’t actually want to be the driver because I want to soak in the beauty of God’s creativity! I want to be with the man I love as he drives us down the Pacific Coast Highway. And, we must be in a convertible or it is pointless. Okay, not pointless, but the effect is definitely not the same. I’ve owned a convertible and nothing beats it.

I want to walk in a bookstore in a little store in Timbuktu and see my name on the cover of a book. I want the Holy Spirit to fill me with words that will inspire others to love and grow. I want Harry and Mitch to become real to children everywhere. I want Voice Lessons to take shape and rejuvenate a generation of missionaries.

I want to build beautiful houses for people who thought they could never own such a place. I want children who live in duplexes and apartments to discover the joy of walking into their own home.

I want to lead my children as they learn to make a difference in their world. I want to see them make choices that will build the kingdom. I want to teach them how to outgive one another.

And, I want to hold my grandchildren. I want to be the grandmother my mom never got to be.

I want to hear God say, “Well done.”

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cinnamon Street Swing

Facebook is so much fun - keeping up with the lives of those I love. I have discovered some interesting things about people through the pages of their profiles. One such discovery is that I have some amazingly talented friends! Heather Amer has a beautiful eye for photography - - Mackenzie Lee has a gift with the written word and Josh Burgbacher is creative with Photoshop (at least I think that's the program he uses for his pics).

One picture that is in a photo album of Josh's inspired me to write a short little story. I've been thinking about it for weeks and this morning after I encouraged Chloe to watch some cartoons before I had to get out of bed, The Cinnamon Street Swing simply came together. It is based on the verses from John 14 about God sending us the Holy Spirit as our comforter.

I usually equate the Holy Spirit with conviction, keeping me in line. But His purpose, as stated from the lips of Jesus, is peace. He is with me so I won't feel abandoned or distraught. I have the Holy Spirit living in me and as I learn to live out the character of Him, I will bear His fruit.

God is so gracious and wise. He knew we would need a Savior and He knew we would need a friend. Thank you my Heavenly Father for providing ALL I need.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"You're Right!"

Being right is not something that I generally am. I don’t have the greatest memory in the world and I remember more about people than I do other things. So in talking with friends intellectually about politics or history I tend to get quiet because I invariably say something incorrect. I end up looking blonder than I pay to be!

I have a friend that has a mind like a steel trap. She knows everything and remembers everything she learns and hears. In a conversation with her, I always defer to her if we disagree on a topic.

A couple of days ago I was recognized as being right – twice! One time felt really great and the other felt terrible. It made me think that I’d rather not be right at all. I would rather be a part of finding solutions and collaborating new ideas and fresh insights with others.

I was in a conversation with a friend who enjoys discussing politics. We are not going to be voting for the same candidate in November and as usually the case, I question why he has made his particular choice. It typically boils down to the word, “change” which leads me to the argument that we will never truly enjoy change in our country until our government as is becomes scrapped and we start over. As long as senators get paid more than the president and enjoy long-term power and financial reward from lobbyists, politics will remain the same – no matter who is in office. My friend agreed with my summation and acknowledged, “You are exactly right.”

Wow! Who knew? It felt so nice to hear and to end our daily discussion on this note. I loved it!

On my way home from work that same day, I was talking to Kelly on the phone – as is our custom – and he shared that he started reading a book I recommended. (In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson – It is a great read!!) It led him to remember a decision that he felt was thrust upon us five years ago but know appears to have been chosen by him. He said that instead of the path we had taken, we should have not moved at all. He asked what I thought and I hesitated before answering. Because five years ago, I suggested that maybe the choice is to stay.

This time being right, without hearing anyone acknowledge it, was horrible. I wanted my opinion to be considered five years ago. Now I just want to be a part of the decision making to tomorrow.

Everyone wants to matter. Everyone wants to be respected and valued. Everyone wants to have a voice. Everyone wants to have someone listen to their voice. Let’s listen with our ears and our hearts. God is speaking. I want to hear!!

Speak to ME, Lord! I want to hear Your voice today!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Do You Need Help

Yesterday I read a note on a friends facebook entitled "Top Five Phrases I Hate to Hear." My friends use of the English language was pure genius and the note was right on. Phrases such as, "I like you, but...", "Fine" ("It is a lazy, thoughtless response to an, albeit over-asked, question,")and I believe "We can still be friends," was included. One thing he discussed was when we ask "What's up?" and the reply is "Not much." He states "The idea that such a negligible amount of action is taking place at any given time is as exceedingly preposterous as it is lethargic."

I thoroughly enjoyed reading his note - laughed my way through it, posted it on my facebook and forwarded it to a friend who I know would enjoy the thought process behind the writing. However, I experienced a situation last night where an "albeit over-asked question" was asked of me and I know the answer I gave, which was not "Fine." was not the one the asker was hoping for.

I was in my van - unairconditioned - with 3 tired, dirty and hungry children, heading home for dinner and a movie. We were almost there, around a corner and up a little hill, when the van started sputtering and there was absolutely ZERO power. I pressed the gas - nothing. When I released, the van would move forward a little. Inching forward with a sputtering engine was frustrating to say the least. Finally, my van gave up and went still. I turned off the engine, and turned on the hazards. I picked up my phone and called Kelly to tell him the van was dead on the side of the road. I could see our house through the trees and we were heading that way.

Before I could get out all my words a truck pulls up beside me and asked the question that we have all asked, hoping for the "Fine" answer. "Are you okay? Do you need any help?" However, I wasn't going to let my friend down and respond "I'm fine. Someone's coming." No way. I said, "Yes. Could you help me get my van to my driveway?" We could see it, however, a little hill stood right in front of us. They groaned, chuckled and groaned some more. But being from East Texas, they got out of their cool, comfortable truck and pushed me home.

All of this reminded me of a verse from my favorite book, which says, "Ask and you shall receive." We must use real words, with real emotion and be willing to express our real needs. There are people in our lives and along our paths that care. When we ask how you are, we truly want to know. When we ask if we can help, we sincerely want to extend a helping hand.

So, how are you today? How may I help you?

Friday, July 11, 2008

God Speaks

I love quotes. I usually watch movies with pen and paper in hand so that I won't miss the one line that makes a movie unforgettable. Tonight God spoke to me about the things I've been convicted about and for these couple of weeks through a quote from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego...

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)

My God will save me from the blazing furnace, but even if He does not, I will serve no other god!

Trust His Heart

I have a close friend who has spent the last year anticipating the ministry her and husband would begin together. As the original plan fell apart, God presented a new ministry that quickly became complicated and hurtful. We have spent much time on our knees crying out to God and I love that He records each tear in His ledger (“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights,each tear entered in Your ledger, each ache written in Your book.” Psalm 56:9 (The Message) ). I love that He loves me and cares when I hurt.

Sharing my friend's pain led me to remember the song sung by Babbie Mason, "Trust His Heart." The lyrics, I have included here...

Trust His Heart
Written by: Babbie Mason and Eddie Carswell

All things work for our good though sometimes we can’t see how they could.
Struggles that break our hearts in two sometimes blind us to the truth.
Our Father knows what’s best for us; His ways are not our own.
So, when your pathway grows dim, and you just can’t see Him,
Remember He’s still on the throne.

God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind.
So when you don’t understand,when you don’t see His plan,
When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.
He sees the Master plan. He holds the future in His hands.
So don’t live as those who have no hope. All our hope is found in Him.
We walk in present knowledge, but He sees the first and the last.
And like a tapestry, He’s weaving you and me to someday be just like Him.
God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind.
So when you don’t understand, when you don’t see His plan,
When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.

Singing as much of this song as I could remember last night, made me wonder what I know of God's heart. What is it that I can truly trust? Following is a small sample of all that God's heart truly is.

Deut. 31:6, 7, 23 & Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18; 10:25 & I Chron. 22:13; 28:20 & II Chron. 32:7 He is my strength and courage.

Jeremiah 29:11 He is my future and hope.

John 14:27 He is my comfort.

I John 4:8 He is my love.

Psalm 118:29 He is good!

I can trust in His courage! I can trust in His strength! I can trust in His future and hope! I can trust in His comfort! I can trust in His love! I can trust in His goodness!

So can you!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pushing It To The Limit

This weekend our family spent a day (I mean the entire day...didn't leave until the park was closed) with another family at Six Flags! It was so much fun! The moms took the little ones to Looney Tune Land and the calmer rides, the dads took the older ones straight to the heart-stopping roller coasters! Everyone had a blast! We rode Batman, Superman, Aquaman - you get the point.

Six Flags has a new ride this year called Tony Hawk, The Big Spin. It is a roller coaster where the car spins round and round as it goes up and down the track. The signs around its perimeter are Got2B hair product signs, featuring Tony Hawk, with the tagline that reads "pushing it to the limit." I walked by these signs several times that day and each time was challenged by that phrase.

At one point of the day, I felt as though I was living the phrase as I rode "Mr Freeze." I went with a 9 and 10 year old and they were giving me little tips, such as "Expect the Unexpected" and "Keep your head back." So, I took my hair clip out, leaned my head against the head rest and expected the unexpected. And, that is what I got. The engineers that designed that ride truly pushed it to the limit!! The train shoots out (feels like 0-60 in 1 second) and...I can't even remember the first thing. All I know is that I was suspended in air - straight up - and thought I would fall out of the car. The upside down loop is more like the eye of a needle in shape and the train rides the track frontwards and backwards. W. O. W.

The ride is incredibly short but amazingly intense! We arrived back with wind-blown, tangled hair and hearts racing 100 mph!! So thankful they are still beating!

Earlier in the day, Cameron was turned away from the ride because he was just a little too short. Some rides will fudge and let him ride anyway, but I am SO glad that the workers of Mr. Freeze didn't fudge. That extra inch could have been fatal - at least it feels that way!

After riding I kept thinking about that phrase, "Pushing it to the limit." And I wonder, do I push my relationship with Christ and my service to Him to the limit? Do I offer Him every last bit of time, energy and resource that I possess - that He allows me to possess? What do I do when my alarm goes off in the morning? Hit the snooze or use that nine precious minutes in communion with Him? When I find that quarter on the ground, does it find its way in my change purse to eventually get lost in a candy machine or do I offer it to Him to mulitply like the loaves and fish?

Dr. Falwell once preached an entire sermon on the phrase from Scripture, "And He went a little farther..." Jesus, Himself, pushed it to the limit in everyway imaginable. He prayed and then prayed some more. He gave and then gave some more. He healed and then healed some more.

How will I push it to the limit today? How will I go a little farther with My Savior?

How will you?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Idiots and...

Last night was the best 4th of July I have had in a long time, maybe ever! We slept in, ate yummy cinnamon rolls, juicy fruit salad and watched some cartoons. We watched a movie and then went to buy some fireworks (money may not grow on trees, but it definitely goes up in smoke! :) Then we headed over to some friend's house to cookout, swim and shoot off our fireworks. The best of the night was called "Sky Candy." What a beautiful display right above our heads.

The kids had "crackling balls" that we would light and they would throw up in the air. Well, they are supposed to throw them in the air, obviously away from one another. However, as the night wore on the "crackling balls" seemed to be from the five loaves and two fish (never ending) and the kids became a little lax in their aim.

Each kid shot off roman candles and twirled sparklers. The little ones loved throwing the snappers to the ground and hearing them pop! We were all having a good time and were ready for the big guns. The men moved to the end of the yard and setup the bigger fireworks. We were all watching the sky, enjoying the beautiful colors when all of a sudden it shot straight across the street and exploded! The next one went skyward again and we continued with our fun.

Later as we were all back by the pool, swimming in the dark and eating watermelon, it dawned on me how gracious God had been. The firework that went astray could have just as easily come toward the house where we were all watching on the porch as it went straight across the street. And then, I look at all the children jumping and swimming in the darkened pool (the pool lights wouldn't come on) and knew in my soul that God was continuing to pour His protection out on my family as we remained safe and injury free.

I commented on this to my friend and she said, "Haven't you heard, God provides extra grace to children and idiots." Hate being in this category, but thank you Jesus for giving us an incredible holiday!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

No Other Gods

This summer, I joined the Living Proof Ministries summer Bible study called "No Other Gods." I enjoy getting involved in Bible study and the writer of this particular study (Kelly Minter) will be at my church in August and I had just read a rather hilarious, yet serious, article that she had written. So I was hooked - doesn't take much, huh?

Now, the title of the series didn't inspire me too much as I have always viewed idols, or other gods, as people or things. However, Kelly describes false gods/idols as a functional god. What is it that motivates us, masters or rules us or what holds power over us? What is the controlling force in our lives?

2Kings 17:7 says, "All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods."

Kelly asked us to consider our "pharoah" and what his power looks like in our life. WOW! The last five years have definitely been a struggle for me. My life definitely isn't what I expected or even hoped for. I felt called to be a stay-at-home (except for coaching cheerleading and writing/speaking), youth minister's wife, mom. And that is exactly what the Lord blessed me with until 2003 when our world caved in.

We spent that year dealing with the hurt, confusion and disbelief. Actually, my husband spent that year with those things, I was ready to jump back into whatever God had next. I tried to volunteer at the church we were attending and was told there wasn't a need. My husband did some supply preaching while we sent out resumes and asked the Lord to place us in full-time ministry again. We are still waiting on that and slowly anger has crept into my soul a little at a time.

I am angry with my husband. Angry that he is angry. Angry that he is still selling cars. Angry that the house we were living in became inhabited by ants. Angry that our current living space is so small. Angry when I am late to work or church. It seems I am angry at everything, everyone, everytime.

Even this morning as I was getting ready for work I couldn't find my gold butterfly necklace. I crept back into my room to search in my jewelry box. As I was rummaging, my husband, who was still asleep in bed, raised his head, rolled over and went back to sleep. My anger swelled up raising thoughts of, "How dare you be mad at me! You are still asleep in bed and I am about to leave for work. I'll make as much noise as I want." Thankfully, the Holy Spirit convicted me quickly that I had another god. I prayed for forgiveness right away and felt the Spirit melt over me. (My poor husband. He did nothing except reposition in bed and I was about to spend my entire day mad at him.)

The Word says, "God is not a god of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind." God is also not a god of anger, but of forgiveness, peace and a sound mind. Those are the things I desire to have power over me and controlling my thoughts. No other God will do!

By the way, Kelly, if you are reading this...I am sorry from the depth of my soul. I love you and promise to not give in to my anger any longer! The blood of Christ has covered me and there is great power in the blood!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Comfort Food

Last weekend we went out to my aunt's house for a visit and came home with a bounty of fresh vegetables: eggplant, yellow squash, cucumbers, green peppers, banana peppers, jalepenos, tomatoes and white squash. YUMMY! I was so excited to bring home my bounty to share and, of course, eat!

My kids eyed the white squash, unsure what to think of it, and watched as I sliced it, peppered it, coated it in cornmeal and drop it in the fryer! The sound made my mouth water - simply thinking of it this morning makes me hungry. (That and the fact that I haven't eaten breakfast! :) ) My dad came in the kitchen to check out the delicious aromas and asked if I had sliced enough, so out came one more squash!

When they were nice and golden, I took them out of the oil and the moment I felt I could handle the heat, I took a bite! WOW! Not only was it delicious, but it instantly took me back to the days when I was a little girl and my cousins and I would visit grandma's in the summer and we would eat fried chicken, mashed potatoes and fried squash! Can't forget the buttermilk cornbread, you know the kind that is baked in a cast iron skillet that has been preheated with some oil, so that when you pour the batter in, it sizzles!! Man, I love that sound!!!

My kids ( well, Cameron and Chloe!) tried the squash and didn't have the same glorious smile cross their face. Theirs was more of a frown; an "Are you kidding me?" look of disgust. Jackson surmised that when they are older, perhaps they would enjoy eating squash and other varieties of vegetables, but today they would stick with the cucumbers - drenched in ranch dressing! - and good ol mac and cheese!

I think that perhaps not. Perhaps it is because my wonderful grandma introduced me to the delights of fried squash at her kitchen table with my sister and cousins around. I believe that comfort in the memory of being part of a happy, strong family makes me love fried squash so much. Even the ones I made last night, which were short on salt, were still perfect to me.

Monday, June 9, 2008

That's What Friends Do

I read the following newspaper article the other day about an eight year old boy who saved a 5 year old from drowning.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. -- Adults didn't see a drowning 5-year-old, but his 6-year-old friend did. Haden Stusak, 6, of Fayetteville is being called a hero after he dived into a pool to investigate a shadow on the bottom that turned out to be his friend. Josiah Buddah, 5, and Haden are buddies. Haden is a good swimmer, but Josiah can't swim without his water wings. On Sunday, Josiah took off his water wings and sank to the bottom of the deep end. "I was scared, I was scared," said Josiah. An adult spotted a shadow in the pool, but couldn't get to it. No one knew the shadow was Josiah. But Haden got curious and dove down to investigate. He had been practicing diving to the bottom. When he discovered Josiah, he grabbed him and pulled him to the surface. VIDEO: 6-Year-Old Saves 5-Year-Old Friend From Drowning "Well, I grabbed him like that; he was like unconscious. I grabbed him and I was swimming like this," said Haden. "He jumped inside the water; he helped me get back up," said Josiah. Two nurses and doctor started CPR. "They took me to the hospital," said Josiah. "I was dead and couldn't breathe." It all happened in seconds. "I could have been burying my baby this week, so just to know that he's here, No. 1, is amazing, because to see your child lifeless for a few minutes, you think it's over," said Josiah's mother, Judith Buddha. "So I called 'Help, help, he drowned,'" said Haden. Haden's parents told Channel 2 they ask him not to talk so loudly and to keep his voice down. This is one time they're glad they heard his screams. Josiah is doing well and is now swimming with a float suit. He will start lessons in a couple of weeks. And in true hero fashion, Haden says what he did was no big deal. "We're friends. That's what friends do," said Haden.

WOW! What a great quote and reality for Haden. That is what friends do! Kelly and I are blessed to have such friends in so many people. Right now we are staying with some of those friends in Kansas City. We met Steve and Cherie in college and now, close to twenty years later, we can pick up right where we left off.

For several years we both lived in the Branson area and played spades regularly. We have been skiing together and stuck in a snow storm together. We haven't seen each other in three years and last night when we arrived at their home, it's like no time had passed at all.

My favorite book says that to have friends you must show yourself friendly. Steve and Cherie do just that. I am confident that if I was at the bottom of the pool - either figuratively or actually - that they would dive through the depths for me. We are friends. That's what friends do!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Being sick is a miserable thing because you can only stay in bed for so long. And, if you are a mom you can't stay in bed at all! There are little people depending on you for everything, so you can't baby your own sickness.

Well, besides my daughter and I struggling with allergy symptoms, my computer is infected with a virus. (Now you now I don't have a mac!! :) ) So, until I can get it to a doctor (Geek Squad) and get a vaccination or antibiotics (norton anti-virus) I won't be able to blog.

I will be back, because I love to write. Until then, I will miss you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Is it really "Just a Game?"

Some might say that I am a competitive person. Okay, everyone would say that I am a competitive person. I love sports and teamwork and I absolutely love winning!! I grew up in a Dallas Cowboys house. My dad subscribed to the "Dallas Cowboys Weekly" and I would spend Sunday afternoons every fall curled up with him on the couch watching TV. It wasn't until I married Kelly that I learned the joys of college basketball! And not just any college basketball, but the birthplace of basketball where the inventor of the game himself, James Naismith, coached - University of Kansas! Rock Chalk Jayhawk! KU!

I have been a fan - avid fan - for 17 years. I learn the players names and their stories. I watch them in the pros and I've even seen Greg Ostertag in a movie! I remember the season when the Jayhawks were number one all season long and were on their way to the championship and then we played and lost to the Arizona Wildcats. (who, by the way, went on to win the championship. So at least they beat everyone else too!) It crushed me to the core. I cried and hurt and hated what Jacque Vaughan and Jerod Haase were experiencing. Later I bought Jerod's book "Floor Burns" which was written throughout this amazing season and I cried all over again as I lived it through his words.

I remember the feeling of betrayal and loss when Coach Williams walked away to coach North Carolina. It is personal! I take it personally. And yet, I find myself now telling my young, sensitive son that it is "just a game."

I used these words last night as we watched Memphis lead our Jayhawks by nine with about two minutes left in the national championship game. As I was preparing my son for the loss I told him that the sun will come up tomorrow, we will go to school, play with our friends and still be die hard Jayhawk fans. Nothing in our lives will change. I was trying to separate the feeling of being a member of the team to being a spectator, albeit a loud cheering one!

Even as I said the words, the score began to change. I put my son off my lap and started cheering! "What was I thinking?" I know how much time two minutes is! "Steal and Score!" (my mantra!!) And then the miracle occurred as Mario nailed a three to bring overtime and a national championship to the Kansas Jayhawks! We are the National Champs!

This morning, we celebrated with a stop at the donut shop for breakfast, wearing Jayhawk attire to school and work, adding National Champ photos to our computer desktop, ordering Jayhawk tshirts commemorating the victory, sending an email to the Kansas assistant coach who shared his address with my son and enjoying the accolades from friends. Friends who actually "congratulated" me on the win! Me! I was congratulated! See, I really am a Kansas Jayhawk and it is not "just a game!"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I did it! (part 2)

After posting last night I got to thinking about my heavenly Father and how He teaches me. My favorite verse is Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you; be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid for the Lord your God is with you wherever you may go."

Did you catch the "commanded" word? Joshua had been encouraged to be strong. He had been told how, even shown how by Moses. Joshua even enjoyed a strong, solid platform to base his courage on. And yet, the Bible records four (perhaps more could be found by a more in-depth study) times where Joshua is encouraged to be strong and courageous and then this last time in Joshua 1:9 he is COMMANDED!

Exasperation must have set in as Joshua heard the instructions over and over and felt like he was simply "blowing the gum out of his mouth" and not actually blowing a bubble.

Eventually, he must have mastered the concept because in chapter 10 verse 25, Joshua passes on his knowledge to others as he instructs, "Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage..."

He did it!! And we can too, because the Lord our God is with us wherever we go!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I did it!

I've spent the last few months trying to teach my son how to blow a bubble with bubble gum. This is not an easy skill to teach, and yet once you learn it is the easiest thing to do. Most times when you are teaching someone how to do something, you use words and actions at the same time to demonstrate the "how to." Well, if you can do this with blowing bubbles, you should upload that to Youtube! It just cannot be done.

I would talk Cameron through the process and then show him by blowing a bubble. When he would try, he would simply blow the gum right out of his mouth. He would get another piece and I would try a new technique. Perhaps one little step at a time would work. You get the gum to the front of your mouth by your teeth...oh, you know how. Anyway.....

The tough part is describing how to push your tongue through the gum out of your mouth and then pull your tongue back in leaving a hole where you can blow the air. I didn't do very well here did I? Well, obviously through all my gobbledygook, Cameron got it and can now blow a mean bubble!

Without three pieces of gum at one time!!!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Eye Contact

I am a people person. I enjoy talking to people and I even get a kick out of watching people. Today was a great day for this as people were everywhere outside. This weekend we had some severe weather and the university sustained some damage. So, there were facility workers out in force cleaning up debris from trees and bushes. Students were out jogging and there were groups of people milling around - glad to be outside without precipitation pelting down.

Most days I have to walk three buildings down to another office on campus and invariably pass people on the sidewalks. Today I passed by lots of people and just a few made eye contact and offered a greeting. And I wondered, why is this? Some people look at the ground until the last possible moment, glance up, nod and keep on walking. Others look away the entire time and you know they are relieved when you pass. Some look down, unashamed that they are completely ignoring your presence. And then, the joy when I find someone like me who is glad to smile and say a simple, "Hi!"

One day, I was passing a building and a professor walks out gets in step with me and asks me how my children are. I look at him and say, "They are great. But I'm not who you think I am." He takes a second look and realizes that he has no idea who I am! It cracks me up! But at least he took time to acknowledge that there are people in his world.

So as you are out today, look up and make eye contact with those around you. Take a chance and offer a greeting and a smile. It might be just the thing that other person needs. However, I'm sure you will get the most out of the experience!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

God's Amazing Grace!

Once again, God's ways are not my ways.

As I was praying for Rachel and her baby and asking my friends to do the same, I was confident in God showing favor and blessing. And perhaps He did just that. Baby Grace died Monday morning, March 17, 2008. Her mommy and daddy were able to hold her and love her for awhile and that in itself was a blessing.

Throughout my 34 years of being a child of the King I have seen my share of prayers being answered differently than I had planned - but always answered. Just a few years ago I prayed for God to honor my mother's heart and provide a way for me to be home with my boys in the summer and along came Chloe. Twenty years ago I prayed for God to heal my mom of cancer and she received the ultimate healing.

Although His ways are so much better than mine and His thoughts so much higher than mine - to the point where I cannot comprehend - I can always trust Him and know deep down in my core that He loves me and has a plan in every situation.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rachel's Baby

James 5:14-16 is very fitting for today. It says, "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up... Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

My good friend, Rachel, is pregnant and due to deliver her first baby in July. However, her water broke on Saturday and she went to the hospital. They were able to stop the leak and Rachel is on bed rest in the prenatal ICU. The doctors are saying that the baby could not survive if born this early. Please pray that Rachel will keep from going into labor for at least fourteen more weeks...four at the very least.

Amazingly enough (God's creation is fabulous) it is not until week 24 that our lungs are developed enough to distinguish the difference between oxygen and carbon dioxide. I never even considered this important ability. Saying this means that the little one wouldn't even be able to be under a ventilator if born today.

Join me in prayerfully examining our lives, confessing our sins and being confident that our prayers for Rachel and the little baby will be powerful and effective.

Please comment and let me know you are praying with me. "For where two or three are gathered togethered in my name, so I am in the midst of them." "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven."

Agree with me in seeking God's healing for Rachel's little baby.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Have you ever told someone you would pray for them and completely forgot? I'm sure we all have done this. In college, my Christian Woman professor mentioned that when you say you will pray for someone to do it right away. I have begun this practice and somehow praying right away helps me to remember to pray later.

This week I was invited to an event on Facebook to remember a dear friend's mom who passed away on March 13th many years ago. I responded that I would be there in remembrance and prayer. I immediately began asking God for the grace to remember her. I didn't want to let my friend down. Especially since I lost my mother twenty years ago. I know how painful the anniversary of her death is. I always wished for a way to let people know about her and the beauty of her life and now my friend found a way.

Well, yesterday (March 13) was a long, slow day. I was searching for things to do to occupy my time and thoughts. But not once did I remember my friend's mom until I began to talk about my pastor's wife and I called her the wrong name. The name I used was my friend's mom's name. As soon as I said it, I knew it was wrong but was so thankful at the same time.

God didn't let me down and I didn't let my friend down. I thanked God for Angie Pearson and the beautiful daughter, Abby, that I get to call my friend. At the same time I thanked God for my own mother, whom I miss tremendously. And also it was a time of remembrance for Rhonda Martin - a friend and mother who passed away unexpectantly last year.

Don't ever take your mom for granted! Lavish her with love, respect and attention. Go and see her, take her flowers, ask her to go shopping with you and take her to lunch. Nurture her with all that you have because she has done that for you.

My favorite book says, "Every good and precious gift is from above." Your mom is one of these gifts and each day is precious.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Five years ago as Kelly and I began our faith walk of planting a church in Las Vegas, people began telling me to enjoy the journey. It didn't take long for me to realize that enjoyment would definitely NOT be a part of this journey! And yet well intentioned friends and family continued to say it. I decided that I simply wanted to travel well. I wanted to be respectful and hold my head high. I wanted to be strong and understanding. I wanted God, my heavenly Father to be proud of me even if I wasn't enjoying the journey He was leading me on.

Moving to Texas last summer finally brought an end to the pain of Vegas although we are still searching for a full-time ministry position. I don't know yet if I am enjoying the journey I am on right now, but Monday night I received some insight that I know I will always remember.

I was watching "The Bachelor: Where are they now." Kelly was in the room and forced to endure the agony! (can anyone relate!) Ryan and Trista came on and Chris Harrison talked about how romantic their story has been. He asked Ryan how he keeps romance in their relationship and Ryan's response is now one of my favorite quotes. He said, "Living life properly is romantic."

I love romance! I love being with my husband, spending time with him and enjoying his company. I love that he makes us all lunches every morning. I love that he gives my babies their baths. I love when he calls me in the middle of the day just to say "hi." But, wow! Knowing that the way we lived our last five years - properly - is viewed as romantic. It definitely changes my perspective on the past.

Colossians 1:10 says, "We pray that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God."

I think through all the struggles and heartaches, the failures and growth I have pleased God. I have been living and will continue to live a romantic life!

I love my Kelly, Jackson, Cameron and Chloe! I love my family!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


My boys won Excellent ribbons at the ACSI regional speech meet in Tyler, Texas last week! They worked so diligently on their selections and spoke well. First time nerves took over and I am confident that next year Superior ribbons and even gold medals could be in their reach!

I am now on Facebook! The IT guys with facebook had to set up my account for me as my name is blacklisted! I'm still rather disgusted and wish I could file suit, but... As I was setting up my profile, I couldn't use my maiden name because again, it wouldn't accept Gay. So if anyone out there from my high school or college days tries to find me they will be unsuccessful.

I now have a literary agent! I wrote a children's book over Christmas break and signed a contract with an agency last week. It is an exciting time for me. I have so many book ideas running through my mind and one is actually in print looking for a publisher. The book is the first in a series which focuses on character development. I'm going to go ahead and begin on the second.

The Kansas Jayhawks are finishing the regular season as the Big 12 champs! (tying with Texas - but I don't want to mention that!)

Life is exciting and definitely full of possibility! I am dreaming and living!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Proud to be Gay

For the majority of my life I have had to deal with people snickering and poking fun of my name. Some are brazen in their enjoyment of making fun, others quietly try to hide their amusement and still others think I am laughing with them.
In junior high I tried to go by my middle name, but it just doesn't fit me. In college I decided that I could tell the maturity of a person by their reaction to my name. But I have never experienced the reaction to my name that has happened this week.

I have been trying to set up a facebook page and I can't because they will not accept my name. Can you believe it? It took me a while to catch on to what the error messages were actually saying to me. Seriously. I tried over and over to get setup before it dawned on me that the problem is that my name is Gay.

You know, the thing I stand on is that no matter what anyone says about me or my name, no matter how anyone treats me or laughs at me because of the way I look or the way I dress or because of my name, I know who I really am.

My favorite book says that "I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are God's works and I know this completely!"

I am wonderful just the way I am!
And keep watching because I will have a facebook page and I want you all to be my friend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Keeping it Straight

What a day! I have started a new job at a college here in Texas, and am I feeling overwhelmed! I am the Coordinator of Donor Services which is a fancy name for someone who receipts all the donations that come in to the school. And let me tell you, there are more than I expected- and I haven't experienced end of year donations yet! Anyway, with donations come people wanting to know what has come in for their departments and accounts. Everyone calls with requests of income and confirmations.

Well, I am a people person and not a numbers person and I'm nervous that I can't keep it all straight. My red notebook is more important than ever! It causes me to be in awe that my heavenly Father can keep all of our requests and wonderings straight. I am simply dealing with 20 or 30 and He is dealing with millions!

We have been created by an awesome God and He wants to have a relationship with each and every one of us. He will not forget me or overlook me or get distracted! He remains focused on me and my needs and concerns. He even knows what I'm going to pray for before I actually do it. Wouldn't that be a great trait! I could have someone's information ready for them when they call instead of having to add it to the list!

Following is a devotional I have written for my church's website. ( check out the women's ministry page for devotionals) It goes right along with this.

“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights,
each tear entered in Your ledger, each ache written in Your book.”
Psalm 56:9 (The Message)

When I was in high school I wanted to be just like my youth minister’s wife. She was beautiful, smart, married (which is always a dream for a teenage girl) and in an obvious love relationship with Jesus. I began to watch her closely and emulate what I saw. One thing I learned from her that I still enjoy to this day is journaling.

My mom bought my first journal and I began taking notes in church. I had the amazing privilege of sitting under the preaching of Paige Patterson and my first exposure to a little Greek. This ignited a spark of desire to learn on my own and my journal grew from simply church notes to devotional thoughts and prayers of response.

Through this relationship that was budding in the pages of my journal, I began talking with Jesus all day and my journal became an integral part of my days. I jotted down thoughts and prayers and all my important nothings. My journal is simply full of letters to Jesus; letters from my heart.

I have looked back through my journals and my important nothings in high school were all about boys. I prayed about which ones to date, which ones to set my friends up with and which one I would marry. In college, my letters to Jesus remained on boys but also showed my first true hurt in life as my mom died. The pages written during those days truly display the pain and confusion I felt as I lost my best friend.

My journals from the early years of marriage show my excitement and faith in the life God had chosen for my new husband and me. The way He provided for us during seminary and our first place of ministry is recorded in my journals. The struggle between wanting to become parents and not becoming pregnant brought questions but not always answers. And yet, my love and trust in Jesus remains evident in my journal, especially at the birth of my first and shortly after, second sons. I returned to the days of journaling about boys.

Besides the grief of losing my mom, my journals are happy and content memories of how God directs and uses us to build His kingdom. They are full of verses that God used to speak to me specifically about situations. These journals are my life story.

A few years ago my life story became one of seeming failure. My husband and I stepped out in faith and came back broken and in pain. The pages in my journal are now tear-stained with words that cannot be read. Many nights I fall asleep on a wet pillow and wake up with a headache from the tossing and turning which keeps true rest far away. I wonder when the joy of ministry will find me again and my life story return to joy.

Until that time, it is comforting to know that God is also journaling. His important nothings are all about me. He keeps track of each toss and turn that keeps me awake and counts each tear that falls down my cheek and those that get wiped away. He knows about my sleepless nights and each ache that lives in my heart. God journals about me and includes His very own words to cover my life. The Bible says that Jesus lives to make intercession for me and that intercession is evident in His ledger, His journal.

Friend, God also cares about you. He cares about your joys and your tears. He knows what keeps you awake at night. So even when physical rest eludes you, know that you can find true spiritual rest in the arms of our Father.

Gay Anne Bates

Monday, March 3, 2008

March is here!

God's creation is amazing with the four seasons and all the different celebrations we can enjoy. Valentine's has always been a favorite, the 4th of July - what's not to love? - Thanksgiving and grandma's cooking and of course there is the magic of Christmas!

But the most exciting time of the year is most definitely March Madness! Especially as a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks! I have been cheering for this legendary team for 17 years and each and every year could be the year they win it all!

March Madness is the optimist's dream! The time to believe that this really could be the year! This could be our time! Our one shining moment!

My favorite book says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for.." Well, I have faith and the thing I hope for in March is for the Kansas Jayhawks to make it to the Final Four and win the NCAA National Championship!

WOW! March is finally here!