Monday, November 30, 2009

LORD, I AM, YAHWEH, Kyrios

I started a new devotion this morning. {Thank you, Phyllis!} It was exactly what I wanted. It is a new Advent season devotional. The purpose of this amazing book is to slow you down, and recall to mind the REAL reason for this season.

I am so guilty of trying to stuff as many traditions and things as I can into these 4 short weeks between now and Christmas. How many of you are willing to admit the same thing?

I am stopping that now, though. Don't get me wrong~I am still going to do as many fun things as I can with my family, after all this is a magical time of year for them. I'm just going to go at everything ELSE at a slower pace. And I want to read to them some of what I read each day.

This book combines 2 books that Ann Spangler has written: Praying the Names of God, and Praying the Names of Jesus. Each week she writes out a name of God and Scripture in both the Old and New Testament to support that name.

This week's name is Lord~YAHWEH, which is translated into LORD in many Bibles. She goes on to write that the Greek word for this is Kyrios, which is also at times translated into YAHWEH. Earlier pronunciations and meanings of this word were lost because it was not spoken. Well, it was, but only by priests. After the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, the word was not pronounced at all.

One of the Scriptures I read this morning~Exodus 3:14~suggests that YAHWEH means "I am".

Chills just went all over me.

I have to stop and write this one out.

Exodus 3:14, 15 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you'". God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites ' The LORD {YAHWEH}, the God of your fathers~the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob~has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation."


Well. Just what does one say after reading that?

This Lord~YAHWEH, I AM~is the reason we celebrate this season. It's not about "stuff", or how pretty your house looks with all the decorations. It is about Jesus. The One who was sent to earth as a baby in a manger~the One who became like us so we could become like Him.

Phillippians 2:9~11 Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I pray that I remember this, this CHRISTmas season. {I think that's how I'm going to start saying this word, with emphasis on the CHRIST, because ALL of our emphasis should be upon Him.}

I pray that I show this to my children in some way or form.

Jesus is going to be at the center of our attention this year. They are still going to get gifts, and we'll still be giving them and receiving them, so don't worry. I just want my focus and my attitude to change.

Make room for Him in your home~have you already, or have you pushed Him to the back of the shelf? Just think about that for a while today. How much of your focus is on Him? I know that mine is not on Him enough, but with His Word and this new Advent devotional, I pray that that fact changes.

Love to all of you today, in Christ.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful day. Truly. I know I've said it on here before, and I know I'll say it again, but I have so much to be thankful for. I enjoy my family so much. They bring joy to my life in countless ways.

We had a lazy morning. We hung out and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and ate a small breakfast. We went to my sister's house around one to eat lunch and camped out there for the rest of the day.

It was my 3 sisters and their husbands and kids {including me and mine, totaling 20}, 4 sets of parents {that would make 7 in my case}, a cousin from Texas {Desiree}, and her sweet friend from Belize, Norma. So all in all, that is 29 people who passed through Lisa's house today. Wow. You can just imagine the spread we had. Most of it was eaten, with not enough for leftovers.

I was proud of myself for not sleeping today. I ate very little turkey. Because, you can imagine, it knocks me out. Whatever that sleep~inducing drug is~it knocks me out.

We ended our lovely evening by going to see Old Dogs. It was really good, and I highly recommend it. It was very clean~no bad language or anything. It was really funny~at one point, I thought Graham was going to pass out, he was laughing so hard. I was laughing at him laughing.

We came home and ate snacks. Because who really needs two meals on Thanksgiving day?? Not us! Two boys had cheese dip nachos, one had cereal, and one had popcorn.

Oh, something I forgot to mention is that I've had a...

~duhn duhn duhn duhn....

...GIRL in my house since Tuesday night! My adorable niece has spent the past 2 nights with us. And I have loved it. She fits right in with the boys and they adore her. She even went to the movie with us tonight. I've been getting some ridiculous stares from people I don't know~I can imagine their thinking: "That crazy woman has 5 KIDS!!!" I've loved every minute. Her mom is threatening to send her to me next summer for 2 weeks.

I~we~are abundantly, immeasurably blessed. We really are. My heart is so full it could burst. I love my family. I absolutely cherish every single moment I have with them. I love the little moments, when for no reason, Jonah or Noah come up to me and say, "Mommy, I love you". I love the moments when Graham comes up to me and hugs me and kisses my cheek. And I love the way that Drew tells me "thank you, Mom!!!" in his gruffy voice.

I love the way that Graham prays unabashedly in a house FULL of people. I love that they all talk to God as if He were right beside them. I love the faith that they have in Him and the trust they put in Him.

I love the way my husband loves me. He loves me in his own unique way, but he does. I love that he still hugs me all the time. I love the way he makes me feel protected when I sit beside him. I love the way that he shows the boys that same love. I love that he is always the first one to start up a late night game of "chase" through the entire house.

I am blessed beyond measure. We all are, if you stop and think about it. It's all a matter of reflecting what it is God has given us.

Have you ever read the story in Luke 17 about the ten lepers that Jesus healed? Only one of them came back to thank Him. You know what Jesus said? Luke 17:18 says, "Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"

I don't want to be like those nine. I want to be like that one that had the thought to go back. Every good and perfect gift is from above, James 1:17 tells us. Everything. Not just certain things~everything is from and of God.

I met a sweet angel of a girl from Belize today. In talking to her, I realize how much we have that we just expect to be there. Food, for instance. She is not used to the amount of food we had today, and she told me they don't eat that much in her village. She thought she was in a mansion today~and she loved everyone and everything about today. She was precious and thankful.

How many times should we be more thankful?

I know I should be more outwardly expressive of my gratitude. These precious girls that I talked to today could probably teach us all a thing or two about life as we know it.

They're in a school called Master's Commission here in Memphis, and the school's purpose is to take away all that comes between them and God. That means relationships, internet, movies, probably even books. They are used to functioning on just a little, and I loved their attitudes today.

It just stuck out to me today, and it's something I hope to remember for a long time.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory"...Ephesians 3:20, 21 tells us.

Thank You, Lord. I am amazed at You. I absolutely, wholly and truly ADORE You.

Happy Thanksgiving day, friends. I hope your day was blessed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Already?

Where has this year gone? It seems like just yesterday that my precious grandmother, Vera Mae Myles, went home to be with Jesus. I cannot believe that another year has gone by.

I was getting the boys lunches ready for school this morning and thinking about exactly this time last year~my sister Debi had just flown in from Florida, and on Tuesday night Mammaw started going downhill pretty quickly.

We spent the majority of that night and the next day with her~then on Thanksgiving morning, she went home to be with her Maker.

I never thought of it until just now, but that makes both of my grandmothers something really special. Mammaw went home on Thanksgiving morning, and my dad's mom, Grandma Lloyd, went home to Heaven on Christmas eve 16 {17?} years ago. How cool that they both went home on holidays~holy days.

They were both amazing women. My mom's mom, Mammaw, was a precious, God~loving woman. She was always praying and she always had her mind, heart, and eyes on Him. I used to love the way she would pat my hand and lift up her sweet little hand in praise to the Lord for something good that I was telling her.

She loved to sing, and at one time had a beautiful voice. She loved hearing hymns being played on Sunday morning, and she loved to worship.

Dad's mom, Grandma Lloyd, was very similar. Grandma Lloyd was like the woman in the Bible who had nothing to give, but gave it all anyway. She was forever faithful in tithing, but more than that, she was always sending money to some organization or another.

Grandma Lloyd loved the Lord with all of her heart, mind and strength. She sang in her church choir, and she, too, loved to worship the Lord. He was her life. Every other Sunday, after church, we would all go over there and eat her amazing cooking. I've been blessed to have been handed down some of her famous recipes.

I'll never forget when my dad described her going home: he said that right before she died, she had this glow about her. He knew then, he said, that she wouldn't make it through the night. And sure enough, the Lord took her Home for Christmas.

It really was beautiful~and I'm blessed to have had two women like this in my life. Grandma Lloyd helped influence my childhood, and Mammaw helped influence my adulthood. My mom took such great care of her mom. I loved seeing that~how she came full circle and became her caregiver. Mom did not have a wonderful childhood, but I think the Lord helped heal some of that in the way that she took care of Mammaw.

Mom, if you're reading this, thank you for being an inspiration. You really did a phenomenal job of taking care of Mammaw, and I know you made her proud. She radiated from the love that you gave her. Thank you, also, for letting my boys be a part of that ~you shared those experiences with them, and you have been a huge help in teaching them what love is all about.

I am proud of you, too. I love you, Mom.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Short Week!!

I love me some short weeks!!! I am thrilled that we only have 2 days of school this week. I am really looking forward to the time off. I am excited about Thanksgiving, and seeing my sister Debi, and spending time with family, then FINALLY putting up our Christmas decorations. I cannot believe I lasted this long, but I did. It was hard, I have to admit, especially since I keep seeing Christmas stuff all around me.

Of course, as I say this, Jonah is getting in trouble for his mouth. Maybe that extra time with the kids isn't gonna be quite what I want it to be! Ha...I know, I know~not really. Jonah seems to be developing this annoying habit of arguing with everything and everyone around him. Fun times, I tell ya.

We had a great weekend. Friday night we let Drew decide where he wanted to eat. Graham had a sleepover to go to, and since him and Graham are like the Bobsey twins, we let him pick. What did he pick, you wonder? McDonald's. :) We went to Target after that so he could buy a game he wanted, and Jonah and Noah each picked out a little something. {In case you're wondering why Drew got a game and Jonah and Noah only got a little something, it was because Drew has leftover money from his birthday. Nobody else does. He did get something they all like, though.} Then we went to Rita's~this really yummy custard place here in the Ville. Saturday night we spent the evening at some friends' house.

It was a great weekend. I am excited about tomorrow already~the end of tomorrow, I mean! Todd is working tonight, so it's going to be a very laid back evening at home. I love nights like tonight~whatever goes for dinner, and it usually ends with us watching a movie. I have a netflix movie to watch, too. And a book to finish, and nails to paint....ahhhh, the list is endless.

I hope you all have a wonderfully blessed day. I know I will! Love to all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What I Did Last Night...

















Amidst hundreds of screaming young teenage girls {and a few of us older gals...some single, some moms}, last night Christa and I went to see this movie. W.O.W.

That's ALL that needs to be said. If you haven't read the books, read them. If you haven't seen the first movie, see it, then go see this one.

I'm seriously counting down until June, when the next one debuts.

Thanks, Christa, for being my Midnight Movie Girl!!! I had fun with you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thankful...Part One

On facebook, I've noticed lots of people are writing on their statuses what they're thankful each day. I have not jumped on that bandwagon, but I thought I'd put some here on the blog. And, let's face it, I can't think of new things when I'm under pressure each day to write something.

So. In case you were interested, here are 30 things that I am thankful for this year. Enjoy. Thirty, because there are 30 days in this wonderful THANKSGIVING month of November.

1. I am thankful that when I leave this earth behind, my REAL life will just be beginning. Travis Cottrell best says it: "No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me! From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny." {In case you're interested, that song is In Christ Alone, and I like Travis' version the bestest.}

2. I am thankful for the riches God has given me. Not in monetary value, but in health for my husband, my precious sons, and myself. The things that truly matter. Matthew 6:19, 20 says it the best: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

3. I am thankful for all the extended family that we have, and the relationships we have with them all. I love that we have "traditions" that we carry out with each set of parents, and I am thankful for all that they are investing in my kids' lives. I had wonderful influences in my life as a young girl, and I'm thankful that each of my kids can say the same.

4. I am thankful that we have the most amazing friends ever. We belong to a church whose members have become our other "family". I am thankful that when I go down to the altar to pray, I am never alone for long. I always have a friend~or two~that come and join me and pray for me. While I cannot pinpoint one BEST friend, I am thankful that I have several. Each one means something different to me, and I love each of them.

5. I am thankful that we have animals in our house! I am NOT thankful for the hair. As silly as it sounds, God has given us some amazing creatures to enjoy, and I love each of our 4. As do the boys. I cannot imagine my life or my house without them. I have two furry companions that follow me to bed each night~Sambo the fat, black cat curls up either at my feet or beside me, and Andy the WonderDog snores faithfully beside me on the floor each night. We also have Twinkles, who loves to play with toys and thinks she's a dog, and Skippy who loves to get sprayed by the shower.

6. I am thankful for a job that I love. It's not always the most pleasant, and it doesn't get much more humbling than carrying trays and pushing a trash can, but it allows me to love others like Jesus loves me. And I do love those kids at that school. I also love that I am able to be with my kids and their friends. And while they may not like that all too soon, for now, they do.

7. I am thankful for my old 'Burban. {Suburban.} I really do love my car. I sometimes think it would be nice to have a nice, new{ER} car, but then I remember that there is not another car that is big enough to haul around us, all our junk, plus Andy in the back. Because y'all know that he does love to take the boys to school with me every single day. And I don't like the newer models as well as the 1999 one that I drive, AND I am so not willing to pay the higher price tag. It's a little piece of Heaven not having a car note.

8. I am thankful for our house. I love my house. It's warm and cozy. And I love it with flowers in the front in the summer, and I love it all decked out for Christmas. I especially love all the sights and sounds that come from the inside.

9. I am thankful that I have a hubby who plans things for us to do. Like this past Friday night, for instance. For no reason other than the fact that he loves me, he completely surprised me with our concert tickets. That, my friends, is L.O.V.E.

10. I am thankful that I have a wonderful book of instruction to live by~in it are parenting principals and guidelines, marriage do's and don't, and other general rules to live by. It's the living, breathing, God~breathed Word that He gave us to enjoy.

11. I am thankful for people that have amazing voices~and the fact that I have their cd's to listen to and enjoy. Currently I am listening to....can you guess it? Travis Cottrell. If you're not familiar with his music, think Josh Groban, but more worshipful.

12. I am thankful for quiet moments like this one. Although I love having my kids underfoot, this quiet is just so nice every once in a while.

13. I am thankful for the school my kids go to. I appreciate the fact that they are constantly doing EVERYTHING THEY CAN to ensure that my kids are kept perfectly safe in their environment. I am also thankful that they are so on top of their education. There are lots and lots of ways that I can easily access their grades and talk to their teachers almost instantaneously.

14. And, speaking of their teachers, I am thankful for them. We've never had a "bad" one. I love that these amazing women instill the love of learning into my kids. I love that they're encouraged on a daily basis {by someone other than me} and that they are pushed to their limits. My boys love school, and I give their teachers the credit.

15. I am thankful for sunshiney days. As I write this, it's raining. And while it's kinda nice~because I have Christmas music playing softly in the background~I sure do miss seeing the beautiful sunshine. We've had a great unseasonably warm fall, with nothing but blue skies for the past 2 weeks, and my kids have LOVED playing outside everyday until past dark. Getting them inside on nights like that is near impossible, but I would not have it any other way.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Awesome Friday Night

Todd and I had so much fun last night. Seriously, that was one of the greatest things that my man ever could have done for me. I loved it. And needed it.

I get stuck in a rut sometimes, and it's just so good to get away and be refreshed. The worship was amazing. In a Baptist church, no less! Lol, I couldn't resist that. I'm just kidding you, my Baptist buddies.

Travis Cottrell DEFINITELY has the gift of leading worship. And it is a gift, and no, not everyone has it. He is just so natural at leading us into God's presence. It's just what he does. Worship.

I love that word. Worship. To pour extravagant honor upon. To adore. To love. To praise.

He is worthy of it, isn't He? I love seeing the words that we sing up on a screen and singing them to God. I don't just sing a song to be singing it~I sing it as if He is standing right in front of me. Like the elderly people we sat behind last night. I'm sure they would have loved it if I hadn't belted it all out like I did, but I was singing to my God! And loving every second of it.

Thank you, honey. I miss sitting beside you in church like that~it was just what my heart and my soul needed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Moment In Time...

Today was one of those magical days where young meets old, black meets white.




My precious boys made posters to hold up as the veterans passed by in today's Veteran's Day parade in Downtown Memphis.




I got to witness something beautiful today. Lives were touched as Vets rode, walked or drove by and saw the crowd of well~wishers. My boys had the privilege of being a special part of this.




Our day ended with an amazing conversation about the Military and what each branch was known for. They all agreed in the fact that their Pappaw was quite possibly, one of the coolest men they'll ever meet.




I would have to agree, wholeheartedly.




I love the picture of him shaking the hand of a fellow Korean War Hero.




Thank you, Daddy, for serving your country, and for being the greatest Dad ever. We love you.




Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What's Up?

Wow. I don't know what's gotten into me not writing. I've been in a slump.

I was so sick yesterday~stomach issues, fever, body aches~but started feeling better today. God has blessed me with good health, and a very strong immune system. Praise Him for that. I've been fever free since last night, and my stomach has gotten better all day.

I have to brag on my hubby. Have I told you how great he is?? He is. Seriously, the best ever. Sometimes so much more than I deserve. But before I tell you any more, I have to rewind a little.

Yesterday my sweet mother~in~love, Phyllis, worked in the health room at the school. I was so glad she was there when I started getting sick. She stayed there all day, and ended up taking care of Noah at lunch. He had a very loose tooth, and couldn't eat his lunch. She took him and his lunch back to the health room with her {she'd gone in to the cafeteria to tell them hello and that I wouldn't be there}, cut up his sandwich and fed him his entire lunch.

THEN, she stayed the rest of the day to read to both twins and brought them home to me at 4:00. After she dropped them off, she went to the grocery store and got all my groceries. Well, Graham actually did that~she said he did the whole thing from start to finish with little or no assistance. Go Graham!!! He's gonna be such a great hubby one day!

So after that Todd came home and completely took care of me. I cried like a baby over not being well, and he assured me that he could and would handle dinner, clean up and the kids. ***sigh***He is SO the man.

So today I woke up better but not 100%, so I still stayed home. Once the boys were gone, I ended up cleaning out their closets. And proceeded to find Drew's missing~in~action wallet for 6 months with the $45 in it. Seriously.

So it's almost time to pick them up from school and I'm getting dressed when Todd texts me.

Todd's text: Is Travis Cottrell the one who travels with Beth Moore?
My text: Yeah, why?

Silence.

Five minutes later he calls me back and says nevermind that text. Ohhhhh no. He tells me that he's in Jackson, TN today and as he's driving down the road, he sees a sign that says: "Travis Cottrell in concert Friday night". He pulls in and asks the ladies if it's THE Travis Cottrell. And it is. And then....the greatest man in the entire world bought us 2 tickets to go see him!!! And tells me that I have to get rid of the kids.

So. Thank you, Aunt Tricia. She is letting them spend the night with her that night. And they are BESIDE THEMSELVES excited at the thought of her lavishing love and attention on them all night! She's a great auntie. After all, she's the one who lets them "shave" in her jacuzzi tub.

And feeds them chocolate any time they want it. And might let them get a quarter or 4 out of her change jar. She's the bomb.

I am so excited about it all, needless to say. And to top off all this deliciousness, my kids, sister and daddy are going downtown first thing in the morning for the Veteran's Day parade. We'll be riding the trolley after that and having lunch. Can you feel my smile??? I am so blessed.

So. That's what I've been up to.

What about you? What have YOU been doing?

***On a serious note, my little friend Gavin Owens went home to be with Jesus last night. God is good and answered prayers of him going home peacefully. Continue to pray for his family left behind~that God would continue to give them comfort and peace.***

Friday, November 6, 2009

When Words Fail

I would love to write something witty and charming this glorious Friday morning, but I'm afraid it will sound trivial.

This precious little boy, Gavin Owens, whom I've been praying for, is about to leave this earth behind. Click here to read his story.

I cannot imagine what this family is going through right now, but I do know that the Author and Perfecter of our faith is giving them the peace that only He can give.

I don't really know what to say. Words have left me for the moment. Please join me in praying, possibly one last time, for this sweet little angel and his family as they await his last moments. Pray God will make his passing beautiful and completely peaceful.

In Jesus' name.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Who Really Cares About The Title?

It's another gorgeous day here in the Ville. Even better than yesterday because it's more brisk. I am such a fall person, it is ridiculous.

So I feel the need to confess up to something. About 3 weeks ago, I broke out my first Christmas cd. I could not help myself. KLove was not working on the bathroom radio that morning, and I have to have some music while I get dressed. Todd has a Phil Wickam cd up there, but I wasn't in the mood for him.

So. There was a CHRISTMAS cd just right there by the radio. I sure did slip that little thing right in there. And jammed. I love me some Christmas music!!!

So, even though I may be listening to Christmas music already, what with the one in my bathroom and thanks to the Music Man, I refuse to decorate my house for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving. I sure do plan on having it out of the attic and ready to start that very next morning, but this year, I am acknowledging Thanksgiving and how much we have to be so thankful for.

You're welcome, honey.

Oh, and about YOU, honey, I promise NOT to subject you to my pre~season music until it's the proper time. I promise.

Todd HATES when people put out Christmas before Thanksgiving. The last couple years he's just been nice and not said anything, but I really feel the need to honor what he wishes this year. And, it's a good lesson for my kids.

I gotta say, though, it is a sacrifice. Y'all, I love Christmas. Seriously. I love all things about it. The decorations, the music, the smells, the lights, even the insane traffic in and around the Carriage Crossing out here in the Ville. Because that is the ONLY mall I plan to go near. "Wolfchase" is a very bad word in my house.

I am so excited about life right now. I just feel so overwhelmingly blessed. Do not think for one minute that I take credit for anything that is a blessing to me right now. I don't understand why God loves me so much, but He does. David Crowder best says it. "Oh! How He loves us!!"

He is Wonderful, Glorious, Holy and Righteous. Victorious, Conqueror, Triumphant and Mighty. Healer, Deliverer, Shield and Defense. Strong Tower, my best Friend. Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Soon Coming King, Alpha, Omega, Lord of everything! He is Holy.

And He loves little 'ol me. Us. You. He blows my mind with His goodness and graciousness.

What about you? What awesome things has He blown you away with lately? Have you taken the time to look for them? Even by reading this entry, you're granted yet one more day here on this beautiful earth. Do you have a roof over your head? Clothes on your back? Food in your pantry and fridge? A car to drive? 2??? What about money? Do you have even $10 in your checking account? Because if you do, you're among the world's wealthiest.

Take the time to LOOK for Him today. Search Him out and all His blessings. Take the time to thank Him. Every good and perfect thing is from above, His Word tells us.

Remember the story of the men that Jesus healed from blindness and leprosy? Only one came back to thank Him. I want to be like that one~I don't want to forget where my blessings came from.

Thank Him today.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals , and friends, for this blog post.  We've had a great week around ...