I'm so glad you've stopped by my blog! I am a Women's Minister and a former Pastor's Wife. I love finding God in my regular-everyday-stuff. I struggle with keeping up with the laundry, I love blogging, and my kids are my first line of ministry. I am recently widowed. So God and I are on a brand new journey as I try to find peace and understanding. Please grab a cup of coffee and let's get to know one another as we journey on our faith walk together.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The best part of Paper Dolls!

I'm really watching these days to see which toys are my kids' favorites and which ones really need to be boxed up and placed away for safe keeping.

I know as Christmas nears, it would be a wise move on my part to quietly transition some of the less-played with items to the attic in order to make room for their "much anticipated-requested-more age appropriate" toys.

One of my best qualities can also at times be one of my worst... I love to clean!  How could this be bad?  Well... my husband often refers to it as the "whirlwind cleaning."  Sometimes I think the best and easiest way to clean is to just throw it away!  I'm definitely NOT a pack-rat!

So... the other day I was cleaning my 6 year old daughter's room.  Yes, I was in a "whirlwind" mood.  In fact, I brought the trash bag up to her room - just to be prepared.

But just as I was about to "clean" what looked like little jibblets of paper - I noticed it was not trash after all - but rather the stands, or the bases, for her paper dolls.

Paper dolls have become her new favorite thing to do in bed.  I keep them in a giant zip lock bag on her bookshelf.  And after all the hugs, kisses, stories, and prayers - she gets them out on her bed and plays until she falls asleep.  I love it!  I think this is precious!  I love that even in this world of high tech toys that entertain them - she still loves to use her imagination to create a wonderful world - all from paper!

I knew better than to throw the most important part of her paper dolls away.  I knew she would DEFINITELY need the base in order for her newly dressed dolls to stand or rise to the level of her imagination!

Yesterday as I was reading my One Year Bible I ran across a verse that made me think of Jordan's paper dolls.  Yes, a lesson can come from paper dolls - just bear with me.

Psalm 119:116-117 (ESV)
Uphold me according to Your promise, that I may live, an let me not be put to shame in my hope!
Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for Your statutes continually! 

I don't know why I thought of Jordan's paper dolls after reading this - but I just couldn't get out of my head how His statutes, His Word hold us up - much like the base or the stand of a paper doll!

Twice in these two verses David asks the Lord to hold him up!

Uphold me according to Your promise
Hold me up

If we're going to make it in this life, we desperately need the Lord to hold us up!  We need Him to uphold His promise to us, we need Him, we need His Word alive in our lives!

Ladies, I think too often we throw much of what He sends our way to the wayside or perhaps in our whirlwind living, we toss it out with the trash.  When in fact, it's the most important piece - it's the very thing that allows us to stand!

Much like Jordan's paper dolls, we need the Lord and His Word to be our base, in order for us to stand or rise to the level of all He has planned for us!

Today, if you're hoping upon hope to find something that will help you stand, something that will keep you safe from the scary parts of life, look for your stand - His Word - and never never throw it away!  I promise it will hold you up and give you hope!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

His Word Sunday

It's Sunday morning and time to "get back to work" as we leave the wonderfulness of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

I don't know about you... but I need a little push to make it through to the end of the year.

I read several verses from my One Year Bible this morning that gave me the "push" or the "hope" that I was looking for.

These two were my favorites! If you too need a little extra juice to make it this morning, I hope this helps you like it helped me!

Psalm 119:114, 116 (ESV)
You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your Word.
Uphold me according to Your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!

Proverbs 28:20 (ESV)
A faithful man will abound with blessings...

Just keep on keeping on this morning.  You are in a safe place filled with hope & blessings if you remain faithful!

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Make new friends... but keep the old...

It's Friday morning... the day after Thanksgiving.

We are still in Texas enjoying time with family.  Yesterday started with 14 people in my parents house and ended with just 2!

After the fabulous feast, my Dad, husband, and 2 children traveled about hour away to go hunting on my Aunt & Uncle's land (Thanks Uncle Sammy & Aunt Sharon!)  My sister and her family left to spend the evening with her in-laws.  So... at the end of the day only my Mom & I were left at home.  The peace & quiet was AWESOME!!

As I woke up this morning to a very quiet house in the country, I was able to have nice moment to reflect on all that happened yesterday....

and the one thing that came to mind was this....

"Make new friends, but keep the old...
one is silver and the other gold."

Do you remember this song?  I absolutely LOVE traditions!  I love the comfort they bring!  The things that we do every year at holidays makes me smile - weeks in advance!

Here are some of our Thanksgiving Day traditions

Our Old "Friends"

We make Thanksgiving Day shirts with all the kids - and take their picture...

Before eating, we all take a moment to share our thankful moments from the year...

These items are ALWAYS on the Thanksgiving Day menu - turkey, broccoli/rice casserole, rolls, salad, and apple pie...

Here are some of the new things we enjoyed this year...

Our New "Friends"

My cousin Caleb & his wife Brittany and their two adorable little children - Charlie & Olivia - stopped by for a quick visit!  I haven't seen Caleb in years!  I missed their wedding and have never had the privilege of hugging & kissing those adorable kiddos.  What a WONDERFUL treat this was!

We added New Orleans stuffed merilitons, sweet potato/pecan pie, and cranberry/jalepeno salsa to the menu...

John took JP on his first hunting trip Thursday night & Friday morning...

You know what's great about all of this?  
It's all silver & gold.

What are the silver & golds 
(old & new) from your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Retro Thanksgiving

Each morning I read the One Year Bible.  It's one of my most favorite and treasured times of the day.

Right now we're reading through Psalm 119.  This is the longest chapter in the Bible - it has 176 verses!!  And most of them are about delighting, following, obeying, learning, the Word of God - His statutes, and His rules.

Today, most people may not even see this post as they are traveling over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house for Thanksgiving.

This morning as I was reading about God's rules - for some reason I started gearing up for the car rules we'll have today as we travel to Texas.

stay on your side of the car
stay in your seat belt
we'll take turns with movie choices
no hitting or yelling

.....you know the drill....

I thought about all the fun methods of entertainment my children can enjoy on this 6 hour drive and traveled back in time to the ways my sister & I enjoyed our Thanksgiving travels.

The year was 1970 something...

and instead of the the comfortable mini-van with movies and games my sister & I made a make believe world out of the back of a station wagon.

When we would go on long trips (longer than 30 minutes) my parents would put a mattress in the back and we would fill it with dolls, barbies, and games like these:

There were no required seat belts in those days!  Can you imagine?!  And strangely enough... I never remember flying into the front seat!

Strangely enough though...
the car and the games of 1970 may have looked very different from today - but the rules remain the same!  And today... I hope my children will not only follow them - but delight in them as well!

I'm curious....

What's your favorite memory of traveling with your family?
How did you travel and what did you do to pass the time?

If you're here from iFellowship... WELCOME!
I hope you grab a cup of your favorite beverage
and hang out with me a while!
Leave me a comment, so I'll know you came by
and know that I'll be by later to visit you as well!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In "this" rejoice! In "this" be Thankful!

I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving!

Is it because most people get 2 days off?
Is it because there's tons of food to be enjoyed?
Is it because of the plethora of family gathering around a table?

Perhaps it's because of football & naps!
(who is your team to watch this year?)

I have so enjoyed reading everyone's posts about thankfulness.  Indeed the Bible tells us to be thankful...

Psalm 92:1 (ESV)
It is good to give thanks to the Lord

However, yesterday as I was having my prayer time the Lord showed me something about thankfulness that I often overlook.

Every year at our Thanksgiving feast, after we pray for the food, we go around the table & share something for which we are thankful.  I love this time with family!

Some years there are tears, some years there is immense laughter, but every year we recognize the good the Lord has brought our way.

Again, in my prayer time this week, it was as if the Lord was making the words in my Bible bold - highlighted - and underlined - regarding something I often fail to thank Him for at this time of year.

Bear with me... as this is not a typical "thanksgiving" verse...

To read the rest of this post come & join me at Seeds of Faith Women!

Seeds Of Faith For The Christian Mom

Monday, November 22, 2010

How did it go?

This is the question I continue to get asked - even 2 weeks after the retreat!

I love it!  

So, I decided to devote my entire blog post today about Weekend 31 - the Fall Women's Retreat of Journey Christian Church.

The retreat was held at the Solomon Episcopal Retreat & Conference Center located in Loranger, Louisiana on November 12-13, 2010.  For our last session - we met in this beautiful chapel!

We had a WONDERFUL leadership team who started planning way back in the summer.  This retreat and these ladies had the hand of God upon them from the very beginning.  We knew we wanted to have our retreat at this specific location... however, the earliest opening for our group was 2013!

We met & prayed and within days they called to announce a cancellation!  And so it began!

WEEKEND 31 is based completely on Proverbs 31 and the entire weekend was centered around what we read about this wonderful woman!

Our t-shirts were purple - from verse 22, "her clothing is fine linen & purple"

Our table decorations in the conference room had purple table runners with little lanterns on each table - from verse 18, "her lamp does not go out at night."

Surrounding the centerpieces were red & white "jewels" from verse 10, "her worth is far above jewels."

The leadership team had special things for each & every lady from the moment they arrived - in order to make everyone feel special & loved.

As they arrived at the conference center each lady was given a personalized embroidered retreat bag - with all kinds of fun goodies inside.

Then... as they signed in at the registration table they were given a uniquely designed name tag & a t-shirt.

When they found their room - each lady found a scrolled "welcome letter" along with a diamond shaped purple cookie on their bed!

Friday night was all about how we, as women, were created to be beautiful!  Mainly because we are created in the image of God - and the Bible is filled with descriptions of the beauty of the Lord.

Friday night we had a wonderful time around the bonfire!  We sang songs & one of our seminary students led us in a very insightful devotional!

Saturday we dove right into Proverbs 31... with a new twist!

The entire retreat was designed to dispel any thoughts that this "woman" is fictional or unattainable - but rather... not only is she attainable - but God created us to be this woman!

We can be
godly, energetic, wise, graceful, active, trustworthy, 
profitable, industrious, watchful, influential
content & confident!

....Just to name a few

We covered a little history of this great chapter...
Solomon is known to have written most of Proverbs.  In fact, Chapter 31 is no different.  It has been said that "King Lemuel" is in fact, King Solomon.  Verse 1 of chapter 31 tells us these are the words of the King's mother.  This means these are the words of Bathsheba!!!  

The key message of the entire weekend was this...
When a precious jewel is found in nature, it is no where near ready to be made into the jewelry we wear.  There are a variety of processes which first must be applied to this precious stone.  The first one is removing, knocking off, or cutting away the rough limestone or marble that has grown around the stone. Once the stone has been cleaned it then must be faceted.  But the need for these processes doesn't make this jewel any less valuable.  It doesn't make it less a diamond, or a ruby, or a sapphire - just because it's dirty on the outside.

We are much like this jewel - actually we're better, because verse 10 says that we are worth more than jewels.  But sin has entered our life and has covered our beauty.  Sin has covered our ability to reveal just how valuable we really are deep down.

God has made us to be a treasure!  We only need to clean up a bit - by applying the characteristics of this godly woman to reveal our God-given beauty!

This retreat covered the first process - "knocking off the rough" - part II will be "building the facets"

A special thanks goes out to my husband and one of our deacons for helping with the sound & lights all weekend!  What a team!

I can't wait until next year!!!

Here is a slideshow of our time together!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

His Word Sunday

Today is the last Sunday before the start of Advent.  Therefore, we're either buying & preparing for next Thursday's Thanksgiving Feast, or we're buying & preparing for all the parties & festivities of Christmas.

This is the time of year where it's easy for tempers to be short, patience to be small, and for bodies to tire easily.

This verse from James just stood out to me this morning and I'm making it my battle cry until I see January!

James 5:11 (ESV)
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.  
You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, 
and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, 
how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

...just real quick add this one from Psalms to seal the deal....

Psalm 119:5 (ESV)
Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!

Go & be steadfast toward the purposes & statutes of the Lord!

Friday, November 19, 2010


I really should come up with a catchy Title for my Friday blogs.  For the past several weeks I've put up a country video and asked a fun question.

I'm TOTALLY open to your ideas on this one!!!

This week I heard this song often.  Probably because I was on the road - A TON!!!

Last Wednesday we drove 6 hours to Texas - so our kids could stay with grandparents while John & I led the Women's Retreat (John was my sound & light crew).

Thursday we drove back to New Orleans.
Friday we drove to the retreat center.
Saturday we drove back to New Orleans.
Sunday we drove to Texas to pick up our kids.
Monday we drove back to New Orleans.

Even with all that driving - I never got tired of hearing this song.

What words of wisdom ring in my ear?

From my Mom:
"Clean as you cook!"  
That way you don't ever have a messy kitchen.

From my Dad:
"Don't quit!"
No matter what I'm doing or have promised to do - I can never just throw in the towel.  I must hang in there to the finish!

From my Lord:
Oh my... which one do I pick?
"For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

It really makes me think about what I say often, and will it ring in my children's ear long after I'm gone?!

What words of wisdom 
(voices, if you will) 
do you hear?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Strong foundations... even in the swamp!

I love having my prayer time in beautiful & peaceful places!  Most days, this is my kitchen, in the still & quiet of the early morning... with a cup of coffee no less!

However, last Saturday morning I was leading a retreat in Loranger, Louisiana (the North Shore for the locals).  I got up early and went to the retreat center lodge and got a vanilla cappuccino then walked down by the lake.  There was still a light fog over the water and a couple of ducks chatting away with one another.

I prayed for a bit... for the ladies in attendance, for the next session of material, for lives to be changed... you know the drill.  Then I opened my Bible - seeking a personal word from the Lord.

I love how He is so faithful to speak to us when we are earnestly available with listening ears & spirits.

I read something from a chapter in the Bible that most could almost quote.  I love reading my One Year Bible and finding new "treasures" that somehow I missed the year before!  Saturday morning the Lord showed me something so very personal and yet generic enough for me to pass it along to you today.

Hebrews 11:10 (ESV)
For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations whose designer and builder is God.

This verse is about Abraham and how he was more than likely yearning for the heavenly city, but also how he very obediently, by faith, was traveling to the place that God would show him.

I paused as I read this verse.  
We see a lot of these in New Orleans.

Homes everywhere here are being raised, especially after Hurricane Katrina, even 5 years after the storm.  The history of the place where I live in New Orleans is that it used to be a swamp.  Many many years ago, the swamp was covered and a town was built.  This makes for very bumpy roads, broken sidewalks, and allows for my garage to fill with water with every big rainstorm.

As I read this verse and thought about the city where I live, my mind quickly went to where most of us live  - not literally, but rather spiritually & emotionally.

Do you ever feel like your life is on sinking ground?  
Like you can never quite get your footing?

As long as we live in this fallen world, we're going to have to deal with our own version of personal broken sidewalks, bumpy roads and the flooding of problems.

However, we can "shore up" our lives with the ultimate Builder & Designer of all foundations - GOD.  You may have to still live in the swamp - and the many trials that come with mushy grounds... But I want to encourage you today to let God be the designer & builder of your faith and rest your life on His foundations!

Who is the designer & builder of your home?  
Avoid the floods by allowing Him to shore up your home, bringing a strong foundation to your soul!

If you're here from iFellowship... WELCOME!
I hope you grab a cup of your favorite beverage
and hang out with me a while!
Leave me a comment, so I'll know you came by
and know that I'll be by later to visit you as well!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I want to learn!!!

This past weekend I spoke at a retreat called, "Weekend 31."  It was all based on Proverbs 31.

One of the verses that I covered was, Proverbs 31:19
"She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle."

I've done enough research to know that the distaff and the spindle is close to sewing.  My mind quickly travels back in time to about 1988 - when my Mom tried to convince me that I needed to learn how to sew. That I would be "miles down the road" if I only knew how to sew.  That I needed to know how to hem my future husband's pants.  That I, at the very least, needed to know how to replace a missing button.

But.... unfortunately, I wanted NOTHING to do with this skill.  At 17 years old, I could really care less about my future sewing skills!!  And as a result I disregarded her teaching.

Fast forward to 2005 - when I really started studying Proverbs 31.  Imagine my utter horror when I saw that apparently a Proverbs 31 woman knows how to sew!!!   I was horrified!!!  I thought, "Oh, how I messed up so many years ago!  If only I had learned how to sew when I Mom tried to teach me, then I would be closer to being this iconic woman in scripture!"

I must confess, as a 40 year old woman, I now am at a place in my life, where I want to learn how to sew!  And to be completely honest with you - it has NOTHING to do with wanting to be a Proverbs 31 woman. It's all about hemming my husbands pants, replacing missing buttons, replacing ratted and torn car seat covers, and being impressively crafty at the holidays!

So, in lieu of all of the above, this past week, as we dropped off our kids with my parents for the weekend, I asked my Mom if she had a spare sewing machine.  I am honored to say that I am now in possession of my late paternal grandmother's machine. 

To read the rest of this post come & join me at Seeds of Faith Women!

Seeds Of Faith For The Christian Mom

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's almost here!!!

Wow!  I can't believe it!  Weekend 31 - our Women's Fall Retreat is THIS WEEKEND!!!

Our retreat is sponsored by my church Journey Christian Church and I am honored to be the speaker!

It's all about Proverbs 31.  It's all about living out the woman of God, He created us to be!  And much like a diamond found in the rough... sin has entered my life and covered my beauty, making it hard for the godly characteristics to shine through.  So we must knock off the rough - clean up a bit - in order to see the "more than precious jewel" He created us to be!

Here's a small video that will introduce our retreat!  I thought I might test it out here - among trusted friends - to see what you think!

I hope you like it and I wish you all could come to New Orleans this weekend and join in on the fun!

(I love my friends!!!  I'm working on correcting a couple of typos in the video!)

If you're here from iFellowship... WELCOME!
I hope you grab a cup of your favorite beverage
and hang out with me a while!
Leave me a comment, so I'll know you came by
and know that I'll be by later to visit you as well!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Calling All Warriors!

This weekend I'm speaking at a Women's Retreat.  I'm super excited about the message the Lord has laid on my heart to deliver.

Yesterday & today, I've been studying my material - making sure of two things, 1) that I'm absolutely prepared, and 2) that I'm saying what the Lord wants me to say.

The text for Friday night is Proverbs 31:10:
"An excellent wife, who can find?  For her worth is far above jewels."

Some translations say, "excellent", some say, "virtuous"... but the Hebrew word here is actually valor, strength, mighty as in a warrior, valiant!

I think too often we look at our English words and miss a HUGE message!  Ladies!  Hear me when I say - We, as Moms and Wives are valiant!!!  This job of raising children and submitting to our husbands is not a job for the faint of heart - but rather requires the strength of a warrior.

I think Pat Benatar got it wrong, Love is not our Battlefield - but rather life as a Christian woman, wife and mother in this present world is our battlefield!

Just stop and think of the big and small "battles" you potentially fight every day...

To read the rest of this post & see just how valiant God sees you... come & join me at Seeds of Faith Women!

Seeds Of Faith For The Christian Mom

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just something fun...

This is going to be a crazy week!

I'm speaking at our Women's Fall Retreat this weekend and am just SUPER excited about it!  There will be lots & lots of hustle & bustle as Friday approaches.

I'm not sure how sane my brain will be regarding my blog - but please still stop by - you just never know what you'll find here on any given day!

So just to let you know what Living Above is all about....  see here!  My blog at a glance!

If you'd like to make ones of these for your blog too just visit Wordle!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

His Word Sunday

This morning I read a verse from Ezekiel that reminds us all that God is in total control.  Strange how we need to be reminded of this often, isn't it?

This verse spoke to me today and I hope it does the same for you.  I pray that God will use this to either comfort you and bring hope or to bring you back to Him as He wanted to do for the Israelites so many years ago. (notice all the "I" statements at the end of the verse - POWERFUL!)

Ezekiel 17:24 (ESV)

And all the trees of the field 
shall know that I am the LORD; 
I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree,
 dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. 
 I am the LORD; 
I have spoken, and 
I will do it!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Celebrated Veterans of Marriage!

When I first started "Living Above" in 2009 I knew it belonged to God, and He would be the one to use it for His purposes.  Since that time, He has led me to use this blog to teach, to guide, to educate, and to honor.

Today is a day for honoring!

Today my parents have been married for 45 years!  November 6, 1965.  Their story is one I truly cherish and I have them tell it often because it makes me smile.  Just a couple of country kids who fell in love.

Dad was in the Vietnam war, Mom was still in high school.  He called her up one day and said, "I'll be on leave in about a month - let's get married!"  And that's exactly what they did!  Then, my Dad went back to the war for 14 months and my Mom finished school.

So often we hear of Veterans of big wars being interviewed and celebrated.  So I decided to interview my Mom about this wonderful day in history - for they are indeed veterans of marriage!

I asked her what she remembers about that day, 
November 6, 1965.  
Here is what she said:

  • Dad's best friend was a little upset he was going to miss the Opening Day of Deer Season
  • All her bridesmaids had those big funny hats
  • Everything was so different then - and yet still the same as today
  • She recognized she was a young married woman, with a huge potential of becoming a widow, as Dad went back to the war.

On the surface of it all - one might wonder, "Will this last"?  
I'm so proud of them 45 years later to say a resounding YES!!!

We live in a day & age, a culture, where we don't see many 45th Wedding anniversaries in the paper.  We see tons of engagement & wedding announcements - but not many anniversaries.

These two people are beating the odds!  In fact, I did a little digging... less than 5% of marriages make it this long today!

So what's their secret?  I asked them.  
Here's what they said:

  • Commitment - to their marriage & each other
  • Selflessness

My Mom said this...
 "We had to just stop & think at the times we wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits... Do we want to be in this shape (divorced, separated) 50 years from now?  Do we care more about ourselves or our kids and our witness... 50 years from now.  We've learned to count the cost."

Here are some of the things they have faced over the past 45 years:
  • Serious car accident - Mom almost died
  • Scare with Breast Cancer
  • Financial woes
  • Dad - Laid off from work
  • Mom - Depression
  • Several illnesses & surgeries
  • Mom's Mom remarrying
  • Prescription drug addiction (Dad's Mom)
  • Death of parents
  • Birth of 2 daughters
  • Death of granddaughter (Anna)
  • Daughter's divorce
  • Retirement
  • Being a banker in this economy

These are the verses that continues to get them through the tough days:

John 15:16 (NASB)
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you."

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
"'For I know the plans that I have for you', declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."

She said when she thought about a future without her husband, she figured that didn't sound too hopeful - so they decided to stick it out together!

I asked her what were some "life changing blessings" in their marriage.

She said two main things - looking back:

  • In 1970 the Holy Spirit led them to join Denman Avenue Baptist Church.  (they are still members of this church 40 years later!)
  • Knowing their 4 beautiful grandchildren are being raised to love the Lord.

What are some of the things that I have learned from them in watching this marriage?

  • They put the Lord first - when they say they're going to pray about it, they really do!
  • They go to church together - they don't miss!
  • My Dad is the leader of their marriage
  • My Mom submits to my Dad's leadership
  • They still do sweet things for one another 
  • They still date!
  • They respect each other's individuality
  • They support each other's hobbies
  • They still surprise each other
  • They don't expose each other's weaknesses - rather they help to fill in the gaps!

Mom & Dad you've done good!  

I'm super proud of you!  

You're an excellent 
example to us all!