Archive | November 2011

Relationships

Today is my mother’s birthday. She is 88 years old, and has lived a hard life, but she keeps hanging on. I truly believe that is all that she is doing is just hanging on.

My family has never been on that could be considered anywhere NEAR a close family. I am closer to some of my aunts and cousins than to my own siblings. That is a long story that I’m going to keep to myself for a bit longer. Both of my brothers are much older than me. Well, I say much, but the youngest of my two brothers is 5 years older than me. That’s enough that I had to tolerate all the years of being compared to him and how well he did in school, how he never got into trouble, how perfect he was, because he was a boy! Yep, that’s what I said. Because he was a boy!

That was an actual reason given to me by my  parents when I asked to do something that he had been allowed to do at either the same age I was at the time, or even earlier! He was a straight A student in school, without even putting forth any effort. I was a struggler, and definitely defiant! My brother could do no wrong in my parents eyes, or anyone else’s for that matter! I, on the other hand, was known as the family trouble maker. I was blamed for all of the problems my family had, and I do mean all of them!

Like I said, we were not a close family. My oldest brother disappeared from the family when I was a child of about 6 or 7 years old. He was in the Air Force when I was born. I’m not exactly sure, but I believe he is about 20 years older than me.  My earliest memory of him was right before he pulled his disappearing act when he gave me a dog.

We were living in Phoenix, AZ at the time and my father was a carpenter. He traveled all over Arizona building houses for Jim Walter Homes. He built quite a few in the mountains of Arizona.  Typically, if he was somewhere north, in the mountains, we would travel to where he was for the weekend. He had a very small travel trailer that he stayed in, and we stayed in when we went to visit. This trailer was so small that he had to build in a bunk bed over the master bed for me to sleep in. My brother got to sleep on the floor. The only reason I got the bunk was because he was too heavy to climb up and sleep on a flimsy piece of plywood covered by a maybe 2 inch piece of foam.

Anyway, on one of these trips, my oldest brother came to visit us. He brought with him the most beautiful dog I have ever seen. He was an Irish Setter. I don’t know how the decision was made, but I ended up with the dog. My brother had bought two and could only keep one in his apartment so that was the excuse he gave my parents. I’m sure it didn’t go over easy with them. But, no matter, I got the dog. His name was Mutt, but he was most definitely no mutt. He was still a puppy at the time.

Mutt ended up being my lifeline for so long. I had a few friends when we lived in Phx., but these were childhood friendships and they don’t typically last very long, especially when one of you moves away! The summer between my 5th and 6th grade year of school, we moved back to Texas. My father had come to Texas many months before us, “looking for work”. There is another long story there as well, which I may share at a later date.

Anyway, we came to Texas. I was so upset at leaving my few friends and the comfort of familiarity I had with our house and my school in Phoenix, but I was just a child, and a girl at that!! I never got to ride in the front seat of the car the entire trip!! When we made it to Texas, east Texas actually, we went to my mothers home town, where some of her siblings lived. I remember staying at various aunts and uncles and had no clue as to why at the time. Now I know though that my mother was having a difficult time locating my father!

Anyway, once she located him, and life started to get back to normal, or at least normal for us, they bought a small piece of property and my father was going to build us a house! Meanwhile, we would live in…….the tiny travel trailer!! Boy, oh boy, was that fun! My brother and I were ready to kill each other almost every day! I tried to spend as much time as possible outside, in the woods exploring.

I loved living in the woods. I could go somewhere way out in the woods, far from where we lived, and play, and pretend. I would pretend I was a very rich girl who lived in a huge house, so large that my brother, on the days I pretended he could live with us, lived on the opposite end of the house, and I never had to see him! Many times I just pretended that I wouldn’t let him live with me in my mansion.

One of the main things I remember about my childhood, is the fact that my parents NEVER took us to church. I don’t recall ever even seeing  my parents in a church unless someone was getting married or there was a funeral. They used God’s name in vain on a regular basis. They NEVER prayed, at least not that I was aware of. We never said Grace before a meal at holidays or anything like that. We also never really  made any holidays special. Thanksgiving was just a day that my mother would cook chicken and dressing, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, usually green beans, and rolls. Sometimes there might be another vegetable in there. But there was no focus on family time. We would sit down and eat, my father would finish and go sit in his chair to watch football, or wrestling, or whatever else he could find, and then proceed to sleep through it. The only time the television was ever turned off in our house, was when my father was asleep, in his room.

I kind of got off my point there, but my parents never indicated an importance of family ties or connections. I had cousins that I had never met, even though I was a young teenager and they lived maybe an hour away! Oh, there was the occasional “family reunion” at our house where my mother’s family would come and we would eat, and I usually ended up playing by myself because all the other kids were either much older, or much younger than me. So, I spent a lot of time alone. But, these reunions didn’t start happening until I was about 12 or 13. So, there were lots of family members I did not know! Yep, not much closeness in our family.

There is so much more to this story, but I will stop here for now. I will share more at a later date.

What is our ultimate responsibility as Christians, believers in Jesus Christ?

A couple of days ago I issued a challenge to anyone reading my simple little blog. Take a portion of what you would spend on yourself or someone else for Christmas gifts, and spend that on someone in our area that is really in need. I believe as part of that challenge, you (we) should also be reaching out to any potential  lost souls and introducing them to Jesus Christ! Shouldn’t that be our ultimate goal? I personally love the idea of giving an entire Christmas to  someone who might otherwise not have one, but I believe that we need to let them know, these gifts come to them as gifts from Jesus, just like He gave us the gift of salvation! They are not really gifts from us, because Jesus gave them to us, specifically to share with others!

I have been a very materialistic person in the past. If I found something I wanted, I was going to have it, on way or another! I didn’t care who had to do without, as long as I got what I wanted!! But, it is a wonderful thing when God  makes a huge change in your heart to the point of not caring whether I get a gift or not, as long as I can share what I have with  someone less fortunate than myself! THAT, is the real gift that I receive.  Just to see, or hear, the pure joy and appreciation for what you  have done for them, just gives you  such a warm feeling. Imagine how Jesus feels when we show Him pure joy and appreciation for the gifts He gives us!!

I would like to add something to that challenge. If you know the family is in need of spiritual help or direction, give them a Bible. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one, but it does need to have the names and phone numbers of at least three different churches and pastors that they can contact for future needs. If you feel comfortable doing so, give them your phone number and invite them to call you at anytime, to talk about their spiritual health and how they might be able to improve upon it. Here, you have to remember, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.’ You can tell someone all about Jesus and the love He has for them and the sacrifice He made for each of us, but if they are not ready to hear it, your words will fall on deaf ears.

Does that mean that I am saying that if they show no interest, you should leave God out of the equation? NO WAY!!! God is the reason you are doing this after all, right? I mean, you are doing this as a simple way of sharing the love of God with a neighbor or coworker who is in need. So, no matter what, you have to pray to God to give you the opportunity to tell them about Him,  and then SHUT UP AND LISTEN!! The Holy Spirit will speak to you, guide you, and help you  with the right words to say at the right time. But, you have to be open to hearing the Holy Spirit speak to you!

Many people, myself included, have a very difficult time discerning whether instructions or guidance is coming from the Holy Spirit or from some other source that we really should not be listening to! So, how can you tell whether what you are hearing is coming from the Holy Spirit or not? Listen carefully. Is the action you are being asked to take, the words you are being given to speak, an expression of God’s love? Are you simply sharing the love of Jesus in what you are doing or saying? If you are, then I believe you can trust that it is coming from the Holy Spirit. But, if you are simply offering a few gifts to someone to make yourself feel better, and you just really don’t want to take the time to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with this family, or person, then you need to rethink your reasoning. If you are not sharing the LOVE of Jesus Christ and demonstrating that love, then you are just feeding a man a fish dinner as opposed to teaching him to fish for his next meal!

You have to show people that you have faith and no doubt as to where your next meal is coming from. You have to prove your trust and faith in God to provide for you, but those you are offering help to have to see that in your actions. They have to see you telling them to “do as I do” and not “do as I say, not as I do.”

If you spend more than 5 minutes talking with someone at any time, there will be an opportunity to talk about Jesus with them. Once that door is opened, you must walk through it and invite the person you are speaking to, to step through that door with you. And once they step through, you must take advantage and talk to them about God and what He has done for them, and what He WANTS to do for them still!! Always have a Bible handy, even if it is on your fancy smart phone!! Always, always be prepared to share the word of God and His blessings with anyone who will sit with you for more than 5 minutes and actually listen.

Take advantage of every opportunity!! Our days on this earth are fewer every day, and we are instructed to be fishers of men, to bring more to Jesus. That is a job that NEVER stops.

So, as I challenge you to help a needy family this Christmas, go to your local Christian Book Store and purchase a Bible to include with the items for the family! Now, we don’t want to seem to be bragging about what we are doing, but, if you tell the owner or manager of the Christian Book Store what you are doing, I bet you will end up with more than a Bible to include in the gifts for the family! You may even end up with a Bible for each member of the family.

As always, be much in prayer about what you are doing. Let God lead you to the right family. Listen to the Holy Spirit for ques and openings of what to say, and when to say them. Remember, you are never alone in any part of this. Pray without ceasing!!! Pray about what to do and for whom. Pray about the needs of the family, pray about YOUR reasons for doing this. Make sure your heart is right. Remember, satan will take advantage of any opening we give him. Don’t give him any  opening!!

God bless you all, and I look forward to hearing your stories of how you answered this challenge, so please share!! I pray each of you has a blessed day  tomorrow, the Lord’s day. I hope you  enjoy a special blessing from each worship service you attend. I pray that each service you attend makes you want to attend more, and more; and then you will be inviting people to come and visit your church. When they do, it falls on your shoulders to make them feel welcome and comfortable!! DO NOT miss this opportunity!!

Remember, non-believers are constantly watching believers for failure! It will happen. They are watching you also to see how you respond to that failure or change of plans, or whatever it may be. Don’t give satan the satisfaction of messing up your chance to witness to someone. Always strive to be as much like Jesus as possible. Love each other, forgive freely.

And, that is all I have for now!! Have a great weekend!!

 

Black Friday and What happened to our sense of giving during the holidays?

Seems like the whole black Friday thing has really taken off over the past few years, doesn’t it? I mean, I do not remember getting up at midnight to go stand and wait for a store to open so I could buy my Christmas gifts. I don’t even remember there being any ads for the “door buster” sales when my kids were small, or when I was growing up!

This just shows me how commercialized the whole Christmas season has become. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy putting up decorations and seeing how beautifully decorated others have their homes, but I don’t get so upset anymore when I get my tree up and decorated, and have no gifts to put under it yet. That used to be a major upset for me!! So much so, that one year I wrapped empty boxes and put them under the tree! Tell me that is not pitiful!

But, as I grow in my relationship with Christ, I listen a little more closely to the words of some Christmas songs, such as one playing right now, “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.” Isn’t that the kind of thing we should be concerned with at this time of year, and always of course. Or, rather than worrying whether we are going to be able to purchase that $50+ video game or other gift for someone on our “list”, how about we concern ourselves with those right around us who are not concerned about that video game or a gift under the tree as much as they are wondering if they will be able to provide their family with ANY kind of Christmas dinner!

I would like to issue a challenge to everyone of you who reads this. I’ll explain the challenge in a moment, but first, let me back up a bit.

Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a group of ladies who all joined together and chose two families to help with the Christmas holidays. These were families that we found either through a church or school. One family was a family of I believe 5 kids and a single mom. She wasn’t even going to be able to put up a tree for her kids. Now, granted, her oldest was a high schooler, but she had a youngster about 2 or so, and you know that child had no understanding of the situation. We raised the funds and materials to provide this family with a Christmas tree, decorations, food for Christmas dinner, and a few other meals as well, and some VERY nice gifts for the entire family, even mom!! She sat and cried as we brought the items into her home. We left the tree for her and her children to decorate, helped her put the groceries away and I believe we even provided her with wrapping paper to wrap the gifts. Her children had no idea where these items came from!!

The second family touched me even more. This was a young family of four. The husband had recently lost his job and was spending every possible minute searching for another, on foot. They did not have funds for gas for their car for him to go look for a job!! They did have a tree already, though nothing under it. It was an artificial they had already had for years according to the mother. This family, with two daughters, both under the age of 8, ALL cried as we brought what we had for them into the house! We provided them with groceries, and of course all the fixings for Christmas dinner! We had MANY gifts for them, some we had pre-wrapped because we knew the girls would be home from school when we delivered them, but the gifts that stand out in my mind the most are a couple of coats. These girls were walking to school every day with only a very light sweater for warmth. Mom’s coat wasn’t much better. When those girls saw they had new jackets, actual coats, you would have thought we gave them a million dollars!!! The squeals and giggles were so wonderful!! Those were gifts we went ahead and gave them because we felt that was an immediate need. The appreciation shown by this family was just so overwhelming I found myself tearing up as the girls watched us put gift after gift under their tree! We had also found a couple of job leads for the father!! I honestly don’t recall if anything came from them or not, but if not, it was not for a lack of trying on his part! This was the most blessed Christmas I think I ever had!!

So, my challenge to all of you is to find a family in need in your area. If you don’t know where to look, contact the local elementary school, churches, or any childrens shelter in your area. And give them more than just a few toys for the kids. Remember those parents aren’t going to get anything either. And, keep in mind that it is very possible that they have no idea where their next meal is coming from. In that case you can go to a local grocery store and purchase a gift card for them. I know, “how do we know they are going to buy healthy food and not beer and cigarettes!” Well, you don’t. But, when you give them the 0pportunity to provide for their family by giving them a gift card, what they do with it is between them and God.

Bottom line, if this is a family who is truly trying to get up on their feet and just keep getting knocked back down, your simple gesture may be just the boost they need!!

Oh, we also provided Bibles in their gifts! One of the little girls, I believe the oldest was so excited that she had her own Bible!!

So, if this is something you seriously want to do, pray about it. Ask God to lead you to the right family or the right need. Give what you can. If we don’t have a turkey for Christmas, but I can provide one for a needy family, I will be just as full as if I had eaten the entire bird myself. There is nothing as rewarding as giving to someone in need and seeing the joy in their faces when they receive.

Now, there are a lot of scenarios where you do not actually get to give the family the gifts yourself, and that is okay too. Just know in your heart that you have made a child and a parent smile and praise God!! Isn’t that our goal? To lead others to praise and follow our savior? To help others to see that God loves them just as much as he loves me.

And, yes, I plan to do just this for Christmas. I’m pretty sure finding a family in need won’t be difficult in today’s economy.

Give whereever you can this Christmas season, even if it means you or your family skips the gifts, or you eat sandwiches for Christmas dinner. God will bless you for your sacrifice!

Forgiveness can be such a difficult thing to give!

‎”Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.   Colossians 3:12-14″
 As much as I want to fight against it, God tells me I must forgive those who have caused me grief, or sinned against me, or even those who just don’t like me for whatever reason. As difficult as it is, I do forgive you all. R.E.T., I forgive you for the way you have treated me, disrespected me and my family, and the names you have called me. R.F., I forgive you for the things you have done to attempt to damage my family, and my husband. There are many others that I need to forgive as well, and I will, just probably not going to post them!!!
You wouldn’t think something so simple as telling someone you are sorry or asking for forgiveness would be that difficult, but when someone has hurt you and/or your family so severely, it is really difficult. It is also difficult when you don’t know how the forgiveness is going to be accepted, but, at least I don’t have to worry about that. Once I have done what God has instructed me to do, and I have done it, the rest is between the individual and God.
And then there is that thing about loving everyone, even those who have sinned against you. TALK ABOUT HARD!!! That sometimes feels practically impossible!! When someone has hurt you as badly as what some have hurt me, ever loving them just seems impossible. But then I remember, God doesn’t tell me I have to be best friends with the person. I just have to love them as He loves me. Matthew 5: 43-44 tells me “43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, and as hard as it is, God has told me to do this, so I have no choice but to be obedient and do just that!  As difficult as it is, I forgive those who have done ungodly and just MEAN things to me, or called me really bad names, accused me of some terrible things, and I could go on and on. Those people know who they are.
I am so thankful that God gives us the ability to be forgiving. If He had not done that, can you even begin to imagine where our world would be these days? I know I can’t!!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!

Getting ready for First Place 4 Health to start!!! Please pray for me and those who get involved!!

I honestly can not wait until we get to start this program at Peachtree!! I have spoken to so many women that are interested and that just boosts my excitement even more!! I have a lot of baggage to lose, physically, mentally, emotionally, and probably even some spiritually. That is why I am SO impressed with this program. It covers all the bases!! It encourages bodily shrinkage, but growth of your mind, heart, and spirit!! “Study to show thyself worthy”, believe me, we will be studying!!! But I have no doubt that, especially people like me, will benefit from this tremendously!! Still concerned about the cost, but putting that in God‘s hands. He will provide for me, and those participating in the program. I truly despise not being able to get into any of my clothes that I didn’t have a problem with just two months ago!! I am at the point that I don’t care what the medication was doing for me, if it is going to cause that amount of weight gain in that short time span, I’m getting off that!! I plan to try taking the girls walking tomorrow. We will see how they do on their leashes. I’ll probably burn more wrestling with them than anything!! Oh well, a calorie burned is a calorie burned!! RIght? I really want to lose down enough to be at a healthy weight for my height, and to get there, I probably have about 75+ pounds to lose. I know it’s not going to happen overnight, but that is another thing that I think is so incredible about this program, all the Bible study materials that are available!!! I truly believe we could switch to a different Bible study book every 12 weeks and never use the same book for probably 3-4 YEARS!!! And that’s not counting the 6 week study at Christmas and the 6 week summer study!! I just really pray that women will respond and make the committment to participate! Please pray with me, as I try to get this off the ground in the next couple of months. Please pray that I am prepared and that I follow the Holy Spirit in all I do and say Please pray for all of those participating in the program, whether coming to class every week, or doing it at their own pace from home, just pray for understanding, clarity, and peace.  I believe that if we are able to be at peace with  what we are doing, making our bodies a healthy temple for our Lord Jesus Christ to dwell in, we will do just fine. We may not lose but a pound a month or so, though I hope for better results than that, but, even if we lose no weight, if something I say, or someone else says or does, helps to show someone else the love of God and help to lead them to salvation, it will all be worth  it!!

Thank you dear Lord, for giving me this opportunity to lead this group of First Place participants. Lord I pray for a good response from Peachtree, but also from other churches around the area, even reaching some of those who don’t have a church home. I pray that there be one thing I do or say, each and every day, that brings someone a little closer to the Lord. I pray Lord, that only love comes from me. I pray that you help me to control my tongue and my temper, and let me just be able to hold on until I can get alone with you and cry my eyes out over something that has hurt me in some way. Lord I ask your forgiveness for anything that I may have said or done today that did not bring you honor and glory. I ask for forgiveness of missed opportunities to talk to someone about you, and share the message of love and salvation through Jesus with someone. I ask you Lord, to please continue to give me those opportunities and give me the wisdom and strength to follow through with each moment. I thank you Father for the forgiveness of my sins and shortcomings that you so freely give. I thank you for my family Father. You have truly blessed me with 4 wonderful kids who have challenged me many times, and continue to do so. But I thank you for those challenges, because through them, I learn to trust in you and lean on you even more. I thank you Father for the 8 beautiful grandchildren you have given me, each with their own special place in my heart. I pray your blessings and protection upon them all. I pray all of this in Jesus’ most precious and holy name, AMEN

November 20 — A Very Special Day

In 1981, I met a young man that I had no idea would become my husband within one year of that first meeting. A very good friend of both of ours introduced us because she thought we “would like each other.” Well, we went out a couple of times, but as soon as this really cute guy I liked at school turned his eyes on me, we did not date anymore. At least, not for a few months.

This actually occurred a couple of months prior to November. My birthday is also in November, and someone had left me a card in my mailbox overnight in order for me to get it for my  birthday. I had never, EVER, had anyone do something so sweet for me!! I really  did not know what to think of it at this point.  Well, the guy that I  thought was so wonderful, ended up breaking up with me, actually doing me a favor. I was just too much of a teenage girl to realize this!

In March of 1982, my senior class, all 14 of us, were making plans for our prom. I went shopping with some of the other girls and found several dresses that I just fell in love with!! But, my parents refused to pay more than about $20 for a dress, and I was not going to get new shoes! I was lucky to even be able to get my hair done!! But, fortunately, there was a friend of my br0ther who happened to be the same size as me, and offered to let me use on of her dresses. I remember she had a few, and the one that just stood out for me was a banana yellow color! I loved it!! So, she gave it to me!! Even with that, my parents still would not go for new shoes,  so I had to wear brown shoes, the lightest I had, to go with them. But, my biggest problem was that I did not have a date!!! And I had no clue of  who  I was going to  invite!!

After putting a lot of thought into it, and running across that birthday card again, I decided to see if Gerald would be willing to go with me to the prom. I had no idea if he was dating anyone at the time, and fortunately I don’t think he was. So, I called him, about a week and half prior to prom. I had no idea of what I was going to do if he were to say no!!

So, scared to death, I called him. We talked for a while and then I asked him, “would you be interested in going to my senior prom with me?” I certainly did not expect the response! “Yes!” I just could not believe it!! I HAD A DATE TO PROM!!! Now, I could really make plans!!

Well, God had other plans. On the Sunday or Monday before prom was to be Friday night, Gerald called me and I could tell something was wrong. We had talked on the phone every night since I had asked him, and this time something was different in his voice. So, after talking for a few minutes, he finally told me what was wrong. His cousin, whom he had grown up with and was really close to – thought of as his best friend, had died in a car wreck and he was going with his family  to Jasper for the funeral, and he wasn’t sure when they would be home. (We lived in Athens) Even though I was broken hearted, I told him not to worry about it, that it was much  more important for him to be with his family than to go to a prom! He said they might be home Thursday night or Friday morning and if he got back in time, he still wanted to take me! So, I said okay and told him again that it was okay if he didn’t make it back, we could go out the next weekend. He said “yeah, but that’s not your prom!” to which I responded, “I don’t care. I’ll be here when you get back.”

Fortunately for us, he did get home on Thursday. He spent all day Friday running around trying to find a tux, and ended up with the only one he could find being one that was light brown, western style!! I told him that was fine. So, we made our plans of what time he was picking me up, and I took off to the beauty shop to get my hair done!

One detail I forgot to mention is the fact that Gerald was on crutches at this time as well. I believe it was the week I asked him to go with me, he was playing basketball with some guys at school and twisted his ankle! So, he had a cast on it, I believe, but he was most definitely on crutches!!! How are you going to dance on crutches??

Well, when he picked me up that evening, I thought he looked awesome!! Loved the tux! And he was just such a gentleman, not like any of the other guys I had ever gone out with.  He came to the door, put my wrist corsage on me, and then held the door for me, opened the car door for me, and had the car radio playing really low when I got in.

We were having a banquet at our prom, but we decided (actually he did) that we would go out to eat  somewhere else before prom. So, we went to what soon became our favorite steak house there in Athens, and of course, we had lots of looks and stares from people, but, we did not care. At least not until all the rest of Gerald’s family showed up there to eat!! And were seated so they could see him, but not me. I had not yet met his parents.  But again, he was such a gentleman!!

Once we got out of the steakhouse, we headed to the prom site. It was decorated so nicely, and we got our turn for our pictures to be taken.  We spent most of the evening just sitting at our table, chatting with each other and some of my friends. His ankle was hurt so we couldn’t dance! That is, until a certain song came on and he insisted we dance to it. “Waiting for a girl like you” by REO Speedwagon was the first song we ever danced to, and it was sort of magical! I mean, he had to have been in pain, but he never let it show, and the words to the song just seemed to fit!! I swear I think I heard him lightly singing the words a couple of times. Everything about that night just felt right!

Even when we went to the prom after-party in someone’s barn, we only stayed a short time and decided we were going to go and do our own thing. So we rode around some backroads just talking, and eventually we ended up at a beautiful spot overlooking Lake Athens. This was a well known ‘parking’ spot for teens, but we managed to find us a spot where noone else was and we could see the lake and the moon shining against the water. It was absolutely gorgeous!!

From that time forward, neither of us ever dated anyone else. Sometime in May, a few weeks before school was going to be out, and we were both graduating, we were sitting in my driveway after a very nice date, just sitting there talking, when he did it!! He asked THE question!!! He asked me if I thought I could ever consider marrying a guy like him. Oh, was I ever excited!!! I told him that I most certainly could! Quiet for a few  moments, and then he said, “well, would you?” I said “would I what”, “marry me?” I thought we had already established that! But then I thought for a second and I realized that he had not really asked me the first time, he just asked if it might be a possibility!!! So, I immediately turned and looked right into his eyes and said “yes, I would love to.”

His eyes have always just mesmerized me! Such a gorgeous color of blue, and filled with just kindness and love! I knew, when I looked into those eyes that he was going to be my very best friend for the rest of my life. I knew that he would give his life to protect me. I knew that he was going to work as hard as he possibly could to take care of me and any family we might have! I just felt so comfortable and so loved when he held me! I had never felt that before!! So, yes, it was very special!!

Well, we started with a wedding date of June 3, 1983, then we moved it up to January 8, and then his parents moved back to Jasper and he was moving with them! There was no way I could be that far from him for that long and planning our wedding!! So, the date got moved up again! This time to November 20, 1982. When we finally decided on that date, it was already October!!! So we had to get things planned like REALLY fast!! But we managed, and were married on Saturday, November 20, 1982 at 2:00 PM. And that has truly been one of the happiest days of my life!!

I will tell you about the wedding day at a later time. It is a rather amusing story of it’s own!!

If you are  married to the love of your life, let them know. Sometimes through the years, we just assume our partner knows how we feel. Well, maybe they do, but they still want to hear it. So, never, ever forget to tell each other that you love them.

Thank you again Lord, for bringing us together, and bringing us through all of the difficulties we have had, and through the losses and pains. Thank you for all of the wonderful blessings you have given us, including our children and their children! Thank you for never giving up on us God, even though we turned our backs on you for a pretty long time. Thank you Lord, for my wonderful husband, whom I pray you allow an additional 29 years, at least, to spend with me and me with him.

First Place materials ordered!!!

Yes! I am actually doing this, and it feels so right! I have prayed and asked God for guidance with this because I know I can attempt any Bible study I want to, but if I don’t let God lead me in it, I set myself, and others participating for failure! I most definitely do not want to do that!! I am so excited to get these books I have ordered and start reviewing them and to see exactly where to begin with this program. I am happy that God has given me about 6 weeks of preparation time! He knows I need it!!

I really, truly hope that I have several people choose to get involved with this. This program is not just for those who want to lose weight, although it will help with that. This program includes all aspects of your health, your physical health, mental health, emotional health, and (I think) most importantly, your spiritual health. That is what I love so much about this program. It is going to show us all how to incorporate our spiritual self and study with the healthy eating and exercise skills we learn. We will be learning about our emotional health, and once again, God knows exactly what I need!

That is one reason I truly believe this program will be successful for Peachtree. Although I will be leading the group, or the “teacher” (though I don’t want to think of it that way), I will be learning right along side with all the participants! I have no doubt they will all teach me as much or probably  even more than I can teach them!!

I especially look forward to the discipline this is going to teach me, which is another reason I believe God is letting me get ready for this so much ahead of time. I have to get myself disciplined, at least a little, so that I can set a good example for my co-participants!

Please pray for me as I dive into this project that I truly feel God is leading me to do. Also, please include in your prayers anyone who decides to participate! Pray that they may get out of this program, exactly what they need. Another prayer request is going to be to please pray that people make the choice to get involved in this program and really participate, and that I will have so many participating that I will need help with leaders!! I would much rather have a HUGE crowd of people ready to participate, than only one or two. But, whatever the number of people God sends my way, I am going to do my very best to help them learn the tools that they need to get themselves healthy in all aspects of their lives.

I am going to wait until I get my materials in and have a chance to look over them just a bit before talking to my pastor about it again. I have already mentioned it to him and he indicated that he thought it was a great idea!! So, I just want to be ready with some specifics when I meet with him again about this.

Dear God in Heaven, Father I can’t thank you enough for what you are doing in my life! You are leading me down a path that I very much need to go down and I am so grateful that you are walking that path right beside me. I pray Lord, that people will listen and hear you calling them to participate in this group! I also pray that you will bless each and every person who participates, even if their participation is limited to prayer. I continue to seek your guidance Lord, with this, and any other project you have for me to do. Father, I want to follow in the footsteps you have laid down for me, and I ask that, should I slip off one of those stepping stones, you please pull me back on, and help me to get back on track. Father, I thank you so much for leading me to this program, and what it has the potential of doing for myself as well as anyone who participates. I ask you Father to lay upon the hearts of any person, male or female, young or not so young, to participate in this little group, because I know Father, that each and every one of us could use some instruction regarding at least one aspect of our health.  I am specifically not calling this a weight loss program because I know the use of that term can close the door for some people. That is why I am so thankful to you Father, for showing me how important it is to stress that this is not just another weight loss program, but a total health program. Father, I love you and I thank you for giving me this opportunity. I thank you for all the blessings you give me each and every day that I take for granted and I pray that I stop taking things for granted and instead see the beauty of the gift you are giving me. I ask you now Father to forgive me where I have failed you or disappointed you. Forgive me where I have sinned, whether through gossip, aggravation, my attitude, or whatever else there may be. I thank you for the forgiveness you have given me and I especially thank you for your son, Jesus, my savior, forever!! Father, I pray now that you go with me as I lie down to get some rest and I ask you for some good, restful sleep so that I might wake refreshed and ready to get on with things I need to get done. I also want to thank you Father for what you have already done with my physical health. I know doctors and medications have been involved, but none of it would even begin to be the least bit successful, if it were not for you! Thank you!  Father, I also ask that you please touch Gerald and heal his body, help him to get over whatever this is that has him so sick. There are so many prayer requests that I have been made aware of lately and Father you know what they are and what the needs are, so I lay these requests at your feet and I ask that you just touch all of those involved, give them comfort and peace, and whatever else they may need. Again, I thank you Father for the love that you have given me. I love you Lord, and I pray these things in Jesus precious name, Amen