IF WE COULD SEE THE FUTURE!

When my kids were growing up we lived in St Louis about two hours from where we live now. We spent Memorial Day weekends here in Herrin with my family.

We would spend the days out on the lake. My parents didn’t have a house on the lake at that time, there were fewer of us, and we spent the whole day out in the boat. When I think about it now probably not the best parenting lol, but I think my kids loved it.

They rode around in the boat all day, they wore their life jackets all day, they ate lunch in the boat. When we stopped we would let them out to play in the water to cool off. When they feel asleep we would lay them under the dash in the only shade there was. It was the summer life they grew up with. Not a bad childhood.

We would start each Memorial Day weekend on Saturday morning at the Herrin Fest Parade.  Covering our ears from the fire trucks, watching the floats and bands, and getting the biggest bag of candy I have ever seen at any parade.

When my nieces and nephews came along we continued the tradition, but everyone grew up and we have not done the parade in years. This year we revised the tradition.

We took our grandkids Bella and Milo to the parade. Milo wasn’t too impressed he slept, ate a bottle and was a trooper in the heat. However, I am pretty sure he holds the record for the youngest family member to attend.milo parade

Bella loved it, she got into collecting the candy, she loved waving at everyone, and loved the band. She was getting her grove on, and I think would have marched away with them if she could have.parade 2

Who knew how things would change over the years. That we would all be living here in Herrin now, doing life together. That Brittany would be riding in the parade as Herrin Chamber President.Brittany parade

Four or five years ago I was wondering if God would ever bless our family with babies. It was a struggle I was having with Him. A struggle of doubt, bitterness, jealousy, anger and lack of faith.

I couldn’t see what God had in store back in those days when we were taking Brittany and Chris to the parade, but God did. In fact, even back then, God was already there in yesterdays future as we enjoyed that parade with Bella and Milo.

I avoid using the verse in Jeremiah because I feel it’s over used but it fits today’s post.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Thank you God that yesterday Bella and Milo attended their first, of what I hope is many Herrin Fest parades, with four generations of family, with parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and aunts and uncles.parade

Thank you that when we can’t see the future you are already there.

This picture is not at Herrin Fest but it is about the age my kids started attending. Poppy start saving your money because it won’t be long before the parade won’t be enough for Bella and Milo.





The Tongue

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Controlling your tongue, is it possible?

The person who can learn to control their tongue, can rule any situation. Never has my loose tongue gotten me anywhere, whether in gossip, in anger, in arguing, or in ugly speech. Never when my tongue has been out of control have I won. There are times that my tongue seems to have a mind of its own. Disconnected from my brain.

There are times when I know I shouldn’t say something, but I open my mouth and say it anyway. Times when I have known in my head not to open my mouth, but I do anyway.

James 3:2 says, “if we could control our tongues we would be perfect, and could also control ourselves in every other way.” On those occasions when I have been able to control my tongue I am in control, control of myself and the situation around me.

James also says in verse 6, “the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body.” Such a great descriptive phrase, a flame of fire. Uncontrolled a fire doesn’t stay small, it spreads. The tongue is the same way. I might set out to only share a little piece of information, just this one little thing, but once I open my mouth I have gossiped about everything I know, and probably added my own opinions to the situation.

If I am angry, once I say that first sentence then I spew out everything inside. It is like my mouth can’t stop and I have to vomit all the anger out.

James also says, the tongue is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. I hate to even think about how true that statement is. When we open our mouths and speak, our tongues can kill dreams, motivation, hopes, desires, and relationships. The tongue has the power to destroy so much, in a matter of seconds.

Lastly, James says, blessings and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. The words spoken by my tongue can do so much. Rarely have I been mad or sorry for words I put on paper, because I think through, and I control what I write down. I can cross them out, delete, them, or rip them up, but the words that come out of my mouth I can’t take back. So often I have regretted them, especially with the person I love the most. Brett has too often been the target of that deadly poison.

When I learn to control the words that come from my mouth, like I do the words on paper, my life and the lives of those around me are so much better.

God, today let the words from my mouth be blessings and not curses. Let my words be uplifting, not tear down. Let my words be encouraging, not discouraging. Let my words be full of love, not hate. Let my words today be yours not mine

Plant Your Garden Carefully

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I have never planted a full garden before. Just a few tomato, and pepper plants, and some herbs. Growing up I spent time in gardens planted by my Grandma’s. The thing I remember most about their gardens was what came out of them.

My Grandma Hanks always planted peas for me. I loved raw peas straight from the garden. I don’t like them cooked, but I could eat them by the pound, just out of the shell. My Grandma Scarbrough always planted cherry tomatoes for us. When I went to their house they would send me home with a bread sack full of cherry tomatoes. I would eat them til I had sores in my mouth. My Great Grandparents had a big strawberry patch, while everyone else picked berries by Great Grandma would sit me down at the corner of the patch and feed me fresh picked strawberries, still warm from the sun. To this day I don’t like strawberries cold from the refrigerator. They have to be room temperature.

As a little girl I just knew those great treats came from the garden. I didn’t think about what my grand parents had to do to make them possible. That they tilled the ground in the spring, they planted, they watered, they pulled weeds, they feed the soil all winter long with coffee grounds and scraps, all before picking the vegetables. There was hard work involved, those plants didn’t just pop up in nice little rows all on their own.

In our lives we have the option to rep what we sow. Reaping good things in our lives also requires hard work and time.

One of the drivers at work gave me this little poem below. The author is unknown, but the message is good for springtime planting.

Plant 3 rows of peas: peas of mind, peas of heart, and peas of soul. Plant 4 rows of squash: squash gossip, squash indifference, squash grumbling, and squash selfishness. Plant 4 rows of lettuce: lettuce be faithful, lettuce be kind, lettuce be patient, lettuce love one another. Plant 3 rows of turnips: turnip for meetings, turnip for service, turnip to help one another. Finish your garden with thyme: thyme for each other, thyme for family, and thyme for friends. Author unknown

God help me this Spring to plant good things in my life. Happy Planting!!!

Milo Arrives!!!!

I am way behind on blogging. Mainly because it has been a big week for our family. This little guy, Milo Jack, arrived at 11:55 PM, Tuesday, May 14th. He weighed in at 6 lbs 9 ozs. and is 20 1/2 inches long. He, Mommy, and Daddy are all doing great, and adjusting to life at home as a family of three.

We love him to pieces already and are so blessed to have him as a part of our family. Just like Bella he has an amazing story, and I can’t wait to share more about both of these precious babies in the future.

Bella has not had a chance to meet him yet, but I am hoping this face isn’t her reaction to him. This was her reaction to waiting all night for him to arrive, and Grammy wanting to get a picture of the cute shirt her Mommy had made. It says only grandchild, crossed out, then big cousin.

I just can’t imagine what the future holds, but I know who holds the future, and I know it will way surpass anything I can imagine.

Welcome to our crazy family Milo, we are so blessed to have you!!!!!!

Good Deeds

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Hebrews 10:1-4 “The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they never provided perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.”

If my “good” deeds could earn my way to heaven then there would be no need for Jesus’ sacrifice. If I could do enough again and again, year after year, there would be no need for the new covenant – BUT I CAN’T. If that’s what I am depending on then the good works can never stop, and the guilt will never go away.

Thankfully God created a new covenant and the blood of Jesus cleans and purifies me forever. I don’t have to keep earning, and striving, and working, and feeling guilty. I can rest and live freely in the grace of God’s perfect one time sacrifice, Jesus.

Does my life and actions reflect that? Some days, but some days I fall back into old habits. God, today help me to live by the new covenant, Jesus, not the old covenant, the law.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mothers’s Day to all the Mother’s out there. Mother’s come in so many different forms, birth moms, mother-in-laws, adoptive moms, grandmas, aunts, foster moms, sisters, moms for a season. They all mold us, influence us and change our lifes.

I am super blessed to have these two women as Moms in my life.

I was blessed to be born to the woman in the first picture. My Mom has always sacrificed and provided me with unconditional love. She is always on my side and has always been there for me. Thanks God for giving me a wonderful Mom.

I am blessed to be born again because of the woman in the second picture. Without my Mother-in-law, letting me tag along to church with her kids when I was a teenager, I probably wouldn’t have Jesus in my life today. Thanks God for giving me such an amazing Mother-in-law.

Both have been examples of faith and what a true relationship with God means.

Thank You God for providing me with wonderful women in my life, and filling our lives with great Moms in all shapes and forms.

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!

Come Boldly To The Throne!!

Hebrews 4:14-16 “So, since we have a great high Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

I don’t know if I come boldly to the throne of God. Mostly I more like sneak in quietly like a mouse. I slide in like someone who doesn’t really belong there. I definitely don’t ever feel like I am worthy enough to come boldly to the throne. Yet, that action belittles the work of the cross.

Jesus died on the cross so I could come boldly to the throne.

It is kind of like this. What if Brett got a second job, and saved up enough money to buy me a really big, expensive, diamond ring, and I opened it, and saw it. I loved it, yet I didn’t wear it. I left it in the box on my dresser. I might open it and look at it sometimes, or I might show it to someone if they came over, but I never wore it.

Brett would be ticked, and his feelings would be hurt, because he worked hard to pay for it, he wanted me to have it, because he loves me. The ring is already paid for, it’s already mine. Not wearing it would be like a slap in Brett’s face. He felt I deserved it, he wanted me to have it. He would want me to wear it.

Is not coming boldly to the throne the same thing? I don’t deserve that right, but Jesus wanted me to have it. He already paid the price. The gift is already mine. All I have to do is slip on the ring. All I have to do is boldly come.

And, these verses tell us, there is a matching necklace and earrings that go with the ring. Because I don’t just have the right to boldly come to the throne. When I do come, I receive His mercy, and grace to help when I need it.

God, today let me be a gracious gift receiver. Let me come confidently and boldly before you – not because I have done anything to deserve that right, but because you paid a high price for me to have that privilege.

Sisters & Siblings

Last week Brett’s Aunt Betty Faye passed away. She was my mother-in-laws last remaining sibling. These two ladies were the perfect example of what sisterhood, and siblings should be like. Up until just a few years ago that continued to travel together. Into their late 70’s and 80’s they would take off on trips to Florida together. Jump in the car, just the two of them and head out.

They were very protective of each other. They might fuss at each other, once in a great while, but you better have been ready to take on both if you were going to take on one. There were six siblings in their family all together, three boys, and three girls. These two were the youngest, and I think maybe a little younger than the rest. That maybe why they were so close. They lost their mother in their teens, or early 20’s which may have been another reason they were close, they were use to watching out for each other.

I know they were there for each other at different trying times in their lives. During the loss of loved ones, during heart ache, and struggles. They supported each other and counted on each other just like siblings should.

Both of these ladies have a deep love for God, and a gentle spirit about them. They both possesed the ability to make you feel comfortable and part of the family. Life and wisdom taught them not to worry about the things you can’t control, the little things that don’t matter.

One of my best memories of the two of them together, was a few years ago during one of the cousins converging trips. They spend an evening sharing stories of growing up, of what life was like when they were young, of hard family times, unhappy times, and good fun memories. It was fun to watch them relive memories together. One would fill in what the other one had maybe forgotten. I am fortunate to be a part of this family by marriage, I think we are called “hanger on-ers”, and I enjoyed it immensely, so I know it had to mean alot to the kids, and nieces and nephews of these two women.

I can’t imagine what it will be like for my sweet mother-in-law to go on alone without her sister, but I know she will. Because one thing they shared in common as siblings was that they are both strong women of faith, so even though my mother-in-law is alone without a sibling, she is never alone.

Thank you Aunt Betty Faye and Mom for being family matriarchs. For leaving an example of what sisterhood and siblings should look like.

Call or text your sibling today, tell them you love them. Start being that example if you are not already.

What If We Could VRBO Our Lives.

What if we could VRBO lives like we do houses? What if there was a web site where you could just go out and trade lives with someone for a few days or a week? Who would you choose? What would you look for?

There are always homes that I look at that I pass right by and wouldn’t want to stay in. There are lives that I wouldn’t want to stay in either, then there are lives that LOOK so much better than mine, that I want to try out. I can get caught up in lives that appear from the outside to be better than mine.

I use to watch the show Wife Swap, I thought what a crazy, stupid idea. I would never do that. But, by the end of the two weeks, everyone involved had a new appreciate for their own lives. A new perspective, a different look. I believe some even walked away with changes that improved their lives.

Some days I am just tired, or maybe just tired of being tired. I don’t want to get up and go through the same day again. I want to get up on my own, not by an alarm going off. I don’t want to go through my morning routine, get ready for work, have to dry my hair again for the millionth time. Travel the same route to work, even if it is only five minutes. Go to work do the same paperwork, the same calls, the same people, every day. Come home to the same chores and same responsbilities.

Wouldn’t it be fun instead to get up and be an actor, or a writer, a famous sports person, or a millionaire, someone who could just decide, today I am flying off to Paris for the weekend? I think what I am looking for, is someone who doesn’t have any daily responsbilities, or someone who can put them aside for a day if they want to.

However, those people probably have more responsibilities than I do. Their life may not be so routine, but they have alot more people counting on them, and alot more to keep on track of.

But, I know if I were to put my life out on VRBO, there would be people who would jump at it. People to whom my life would look like a breeze. People who would love the stability, the family, the routine, and community I have. People who would love to have a job to go to everyday, or a house and husband to come home to.

It is that reality, that there is always someone whose life is worse than yours. I saw a cartoon one time that had a race car, an old beat up car, a person on a bike, and someone who was in a wheel chair all in a row. The person in the beat up car is looking at the race car thinking I wish I had that. He doesn’t relize that the person next to him on the bike is thinking I wish I had a car. The person in the wheel chair is thinking I wish I could ride a bike. There is always someone looking at our life thinking I wish I had that.

When I think about that, there has to be somone whose life is at the bottom of the totem pole. Someone who no one would want to trade with. That person might be Jesus. Isn’t that ironic, that the Son of God, might be the person none of us want to change lives with.

I certainly would not want to be the person who lived a sinless life, who gave his all every day. Then was deserted by all of those around him. Betrayed by those closest to him. Someone who had never sinned, but willingly went to the cross for a world full of sinners. I am pretty sure I would pass right by his life on VRBO, but it should make me thankful for the life I have. It should make me want to remove my life from the VRBO board and live happily in it everyday.

God, today I am thankful for the life I have!

Examples Can Be Good or Bad.

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I believe one of the best ways to learn is by example. When I worked at Edward Jones, that was how we trained on the phones. When training, someone sat with you for a day or two, they listened in on your calls with you. They watched where you found the answers, they learned how to work the phone system, and they learned good customer service skills. Then they would take calls, while you looked up the answers for them. The next step was, they took all the calls while you listened, just in case they needed help. Once they were confident, and you were confident in their skills, they were ready to go solo.

So, you always wanted your best people training. You wanted your trainee to pick up the right skills, and the right habits. You didn’t want someone who slacked or cut corners. You wanted someone leading by example who did their best. Someone who gave the best possible service.

We can learn by good example, or sometimes we can learn by bad example. In Hebrews three, we learn from bad example, what not to do, verse 7 says, “Today, when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. They tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years.”

It goes on to say, that God said, “I was angry with them, and in my anger I made a vow: They will never enter my place of rest.” God didn’t allow them to enter the promise land because of their rebellion, because they tested his patience. He provided and they still complained. For forty years He lead them, He feed them, He protected them, He parted the sea for them yet they wanted to turn from him.

The writer goes on to say, be careful, make sure your hearts are not following their bad example. Make sure you are not evil and unbelieving, don’t turn away from God, warn each other. Don’t be deceived by sin and hardened against God. If we are faithful, and trusting God we will share in that promised land. that place of rest.

Then it says one more time, “Today you must listen to his voice, don’t harden your hearts against him, as Israel did when they rebelled.” Twice in one chapter the author gives us the same warning. Don’t harden your hearts, as the Israelite’s did.

What does it mean to harden my heart? It means to choose my own way, it means to disregard what God says, it means to rebel against God. We have an example of what that meant for the Israelite’s, and it didn’t turn out good.

God, today let me learn by example, let my heart be tender and open and responsive to you.