Thursday, January 13, 2022

Today I said goodbye to my Mam-maw

  I am so thankful that the Lord worked it out for me to go to Michigan to see my Mam-maw. Her health has been declining for a little time now and when she fell shortly before Christmas, she started feeling much worse. Hospice has been called in. Even though I know I will see her again in heaven, it still breaks my heart to know that we will have to say goodbye to her here on this earth.

As I walked into the house and went to the bedroom, things were quite different. Normally there was a queen bed in the small room her and Pap-paw used to share. Instead there was a hospital bed and a nightstand next to it full of medical supplies. When I walked in Mam-maw was so happy to see me. She was very weak and frail- looking in her bed, but her smile made me feel right at home as usual and always very loved. She was so glad I was there and I was so glad to be there.

 I spent the next 5 days trying to be a blessing in whatever way I could but in return, I was the one that was blessed by being there. I shared moments with Mam-maw where she would ask me to read from the Bible. Whenever I would read a passage she would have me write it down so she could read it again later. She would also have me sing hymns to her. The one she had me singing the most was "The Sweet By and By".  Have you listened to the words of that song lately? It was quite hard to get through but yet comforting at the same time.

Mam-maw knows she's not doing well. She felt bad that we had to take care of her.  One day she told me "I've had a good life. I've had a good church and I've always wanted to go. I've had a wonderful family and good neighbors."

It's amazing how often she talked about church. She talked about the church she grew up in as a little girl, Carr's Branch Baptist church. She also talked about the church she got saved in at a Revival meeting, Little Baron Baptist church. She talked about her church,  Frenchtown Missionary Baptist Church where she's been a member for 61 years. She talked about visiting Winkler Road Baptist Church and then she talked about visiting my church, Victory Springs Independent Baptist Church, and talked about how she was there for opening day and for several of the Anniversary services. I heard her tell several people over those few days to stay in church. It is her passion, you can tell. She loved serving the Lord in church! We all take that so easily for granted.

I was also able to see my mom and my aunt Robin care for Mam-maw tirelessly and lovingly.  It's amazing all that they are doing but with such compassion and love for their mother.  But I know it's because Mam-maw is reaping what she has sown for so many years. She has always been a caregiver to anyone that comes her way, whether it be to feed them a meal or to comfort in any way.  She has been there for so many people.

As I left this morning it was very hard. Very, very hard. First I looked around the old farmhouse where I had so many memories of my childhood. I remember Mam-maw babysitting me and rocking me.  I remember watching adults sit around snapping beans and talking. There's so much laughter that has been shared in those walls.  There are so many memories around the dining room table as we squished in as many people as we could. I remember sleeping upstairs where there's two bedrooms that are joined together so it's really four beds all together. I remember as a kid thinking it was a big slumber party as our uncles told us scary stories before bedtime . I thought of all the sounds heard in that home, for instance the creaking stairs or the way the furnace comes on and how you can hear it throughout the whole house. But laughter is what I really remember the most.

She taught me that moments together are so important. She taught me that it's a treasure to just "sit and talk." She always took time to stop, look you in the eye and make you feel loved.

Then I said goodbye to Mammaw this morning as I left to go to the airport.  I hugged her tight and noticed my tears fell on her cheeks. I told her that she is the best Mammaw ever and that I love her so much. I can still hear her say, " I love you." I don't ever want to forget. 

So I may have said Goodbye. But really it's just a see you later. I'm so thankful for the hope of heaven and that goodbyes aren't permanent.  One day we will laugh together again. What a day that will be!

There's a land that is fairer than day
And by faith we can see it afar
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there
In the sweet by and by
We shall meet on that beautiful shore
In the sweet by and by
We shall meet on that beautiful shore

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Silas turns 13!

How can it be that my boy has turned 13??
We had so much fun celebrating him all day long! Of course we started off with the gifts :-)
Then he wanted to head to a new State Park. He chose to go to fanning Springs State Park. We had never been there before and we absolutely loved it! It's a very small park but the Springs are beautiful.

It was a chilly day for North florida. We woke up to the 40s that morning. But one of Silas's goals was for us to play volleyball at their sand volleyball court. We had a great boys against girls competition. I wish I could say that the girls won but, hey we needed to let the birthday boy win right? 

The Springs are 72° year round. The kids talked us into letting them get in so even though it had warmed up to the 50s and the water was 72 it was absolutely freezing!

 What made it even neater is that there was a manatee in the springs!
The kids didn't quite swim out to wear the manatee was. But we definitely have plans to head back there in the future! And who knows maybe we'll even be able to swim with the manatees!
For lunch he wanted to try the KFC that was just built on our exit. He has a running tally of who has the best chicken sandwiches. Kentucky fried Chicken now ranks number three!

 We finished off the day having funnel cakes for his birthday cake. It was a wonderful day celebrating our wonderful boy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

2022 VSIBC theme

I love our vision service at VSIBC!! Patrick and Josh start preparing for it months beforehand.  
This year our theme is 'Revive thy Spirit, Revive thy heart.'
We have great plans ahead with bite size goals for each month for our church.
I can't wait to see how the Lord will bless!


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

A New Year, A New Plan

It's here!  We said goodbye to 2021 and now we are on to 2022!  I love Christmas and holiday time, but there is just something fresh and exciting about looking at the year ahead.  I love sitting down and evaluating what worked last year and what didn't.  I love looking at the year to come and ask how I can do better.  It can just be so refreshing to wipe the slate clean and begin anew.  Anyone else with me on that?

This year Tabitha bought me a new planner.  Her and I can be so alike in many ways.  We love to plan and prepare.  Last year she tried a new planner from  In the leafy tree tops.  She loved it and as I watched her fill it up, she knew it was what I needed (or should I say wanted!;o)  ) too.  So, when I opened up my new planner from her on Christmas,  I was quite excited!!  I have enjoyed ( and felt pretty overwhelmed) filling it all in.  It is very detailed!! But, now that I have it all set up, I'm excited to work the plan!

As I've been filling in my planner for my coming year, I'm trying to keep in mind Isaiah 55:8-9,

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I know the Lord wants me to prepare and plan for my family.  I want to do things decently and in order.  But, ultimately, my life is in His hands.  There will be days that I have everything planned out perfectly and all ready to go, but He may choose to direct my steps differently.  So, in my planning this year I want to be diligent, yet flexible.  I want to live on-purpose with goals in mind, yet be willing to listen to the Holy Spirit's leading and let Him direct my path. 

I've been praying about a word to focus on for this year.  I am so excited about it and I will be sharing it soon!!

As I've looked to the year ahead, I've been reminded what my Mam-maw prayed when I was with her in November.  She prayed several times, "Lord, help me to always do right."  It was a sweet prayer, and that's my desire, too.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Christmas 2021

Our Christmas was absolutely wonderful and full of great memories.  Did things go exactly as planned?  Of course not. :o)  But, we enjoyed our time together!  Christmas Adam (the day before Christmas Eve) I made sure everything was wrapped and ready.  Our tree was overflowing!! For now (and this may have to change soon) my kids all buy for each other, including in laws and nieces.  The budget for my younger ones may be small (so thankful for Dollar Tree!) but their gifts are well thought out and given with so much love.  How blessed we are!

With having 2 of my kiddos that are married, we decided to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve morning.  It worked so well last year with Joshua and Tabitha!  But, early Christmas Eve Tabitha got sick.  We don't know if it was from pregnancy, or something else, but the poor girl was pretty miserable.  So, plans changed somewhat.  We still had AJ and Brenna over and had a big brunch.  

Brenna contacted my high school friend that is now an author.  She sent me a signed copy of her book.  So excited to have a great book to read! We filled up on brunch, then tried out some of the new things from AJ and Brenna.  We enjoyed some dart competition on the porch and just spent some good time together.  I loved it!

That afternoon Tabitha started to feel better.  Praise the Lord!!!  Even though she was still weak, they came over and we exchanged gifts. 

They are doing such a good job training these girls for God's glory.  They are very polite.  After each gift they would go to the person and give them a big hug and a thank you.  So sweet.

Freedom is turning into quite the jewelry girl.  She loves her new necklace from Aunt Beffy.

And all of a sudden Victory Belle is standing on her own!!

Lollipops from Lollipops!

As usual, we had a very meaningful Christmas Eve.  We gave our stocking gifts to Jesus and talked about what we gave Him last year.  We read from Luke 2 and talked about what our decorations in our home really mean.  Then, all my kiddos piled together to sleep in the living room.  This year, there was a little more room as I now only have 4 kiddos at home.  A little bittersweet, that's for sure!

Christmas Day we opened more gifts!  And had a wonderful leftover lunch of turkey.  We played and played and played!  My kiddos are now to the age where they are great competition and hard to beat!

 Then, it was off to Grammy's for Christmas Dinner.  It was so delicious!!  
We then ended the day with a birthday cake for Jesus.  As we sang to Him, I was reminded of how many blessings He bestows on us, not just on Christmas, but each and every day.
It sure was a wonderful Christmas season!

Friday, December 24, 2021

My spirit hath rejoiced in....

Mary.  Just think about her for a moment.  Think about her upbringing, her circumstances, her betrothal, and then the words she heard from the angel.  Stop and think.  This really happened.  

I was telling Patrick last night that some of the events in the "Christmas Story"  often seem magical as if they aren't real.  But, they are!  The angel. The virgin birth.  God in flesh.  It really happened!  And when I think about Mary, and all she faced, it's amazing to me.  Who would believe her that she had kept herself pure and that this child was of the Lord?  Would her parents?  Her siblings?  Her friends?  Her spiritual leaders?  But, yet, her response is amazing.  The Bible says, "And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."  Like I said, I find that amazing.  She chose to rejoice in God! 

 It makes me think of how we view Christmas time.  Usually our expectations are a mile high. It's easy to look at our situation, and how we want things to turn out and rejoice in those.  And when things don't go as planned, we are let down and disappointed.   We often create wonderful traditions, and memory making moments (like gift giving, cookie baking, caroling....) and then rejoice in those.  Now, believe me, I love all those things.  And I try to fit in as many as possible.  But, when our rejoicing is in the things and events that we create, we are setting ourself up for disappointment.  Mary rejoiced in God.  Even though there was much unknown and uncertainty around her, she chose wisely.  

I'm so thankful for all the glorious things of the season.  I love all the memories we get to make.  But, ultimately, I want to choose to rejoice in God.  He is worthy!


Almost time!

In the last few days before Christmas we try and fit in as much Holiday Cheer as possible.  It has been so fun, but it's almost time for Christmas!
We enjoyed a quick stop to Brenna's for pie and fudge.  Her camper looks so cute and festive!

We had so many (too many!) goodies left to bake!!

We've enjoyed the little break from school.  This year we are actually on schedule, so it makes the break even more sweet!

It's always a blessing to have friends stop by for tea!

Brenna is enjoying married life.  They had a picture at this same spot last year (minus the kissing of course!)

We made one final run to the store and got some Peppermint Chip Shakes while we were at it.  Yay!!

This year I had my family open up "Christmas Adam" jammies.  They loved it!  I think it's the early and first gifts that are the most appreciated.

And we've enjoyed another round of turkey.  Oh yes!

So, it's almost Christmas!  We're having a great time!