Friday, January 30, 2009

An Echo

Today I ran around Atlanta....doctors appointments, IKEA, Loehman's, Neiman's and the 2-story Target. On the way to my friend’s house I decided to swing by our house on Ivy Gate Circle. It's okay.... don’t freak out…. I am not stalking them this time….the renters have vacated and we are anxiously awaiting new paying customers.

Oh how I have missed Hot lanta. I had an extra house key with me so I decide I would pop my head in. I had to tailgate a neighbor just to get through the gated community that no longer accepts my code.

In our haste to leave Atlanta I forgot to give the renters our garage door opener.... it was still clipped to my visor. So I used the clicker along with the extra key to sneak a peak.

With butterflies in my stomach I drive into the garage. Proceed to get out and take it all in. I stare and allow the nostalgia of my garage to flood my mind. I open the down stairs door. And wham... my house. It's my house. I look up the stairwell. Take in the familiar sight. Smell the familiar smells. Then I realize I am waiting to hear the pitter patter of little feet. (or paws)Yet a;; I hear is the echo of stillness. There is no Oliver here. No little puddy cat to round the corner and head straight for me.

Climbing the steps a feeling of loneliness fills my soul. I am all alone. All through our married life I spent 3 - 4 days home alone. With Harry flying I experienced the solitude of having a pilot for a husband.

I climb the remaining steps and arrive in the living room area.

To find.... nothing. No sofa. No books. No knickknacks from around the world. Nothing. Just the echo of my footsteps on the wood floor. Both Harry and I had left for Greece when the movers came to collect our remaining household goods. (Thank you Richard for doing our dirty work.... knowing what I know now and feeling what I feel now I am not sure if I could have handled the transition... or random people touching my things.) So this is the first time I have seen our empty house since we moved. If you remember the Round and Round post... I have been back, but just to go round and round the outside. And it was a shocker...

Into the kitchen nook. Nothing. Just the echo of my thoughts.

Round to the kitchen.... again nothing. Just the now spacious clean kitchen. And the memory of how things used to be. Where Harry’s coffee pot once stood. Where the only plant I have ever tried to tend… the Bamboo plant… sat by the window…contemplating when I would actually kill it. Where Oliver’s bowl used to sit. The echo of his automatic watering bowl.

"Wow Harry... look you always said I come in and pile my junk on the island bar.... and I did it again. Maybe, it's habit."

With the echo of my footsteps, I climb up the stairs again and into our bedroom. I kind of miss these stairs. They were my daily workout. No need for a stair climber when you have 4 flights on steps to climb.

To the bedroom. No bed. No carpets. No chair. Nothing. I was expecting to see and to feel what was.... our warm cozy inviting bedroom, but all that was left was shiny floors. I wonder what the last renters used to clean these floors? I never had them this shiny. Or maybe I just covered them up with rugs so I did not have to sweep every other day.

Then I opened the door to my long lost friend …….my closet

And hear the resounding echo of our shutters. Something about this closet… when you open and close the door the wooden shutters rattle.

But H-E-L-L-O space. Homes in Greece...or Europe for that matter... do not have closets. Not even a small coat closet. You store your clothes in a wardrobe. Correction: you store your clothes, all 4 seasons worth of clothes into a teeny tiny space....and not just your clothes, but those of your spouse as well. Sorry to say Harry has had to downsize on his wardrobe little bit.

“Look Harry.... and you said I could never pick up all my clothes off the floor."

Next.... my favorite place in the whole word. My cove. My private sancuary.
My bathroom.

It brings tears to my eyes. My bathroom. An actual tub I can fit in. My own sink. Harry's own shower. Harry's own sink. My dressings table. A mirror that I can actually see my entire reflection in. But my bath. My bath. Oh, my bathtub. Six jets which can be set at varying speeds....depending on what mood I am in.

I turn on the water to hear the wafting echo of cascading water. Oh, such an inviting sound.
And not to forget….HOT water …. And hot water on demand. Not this…. turn on the hot water heater and wait 45 minutes. Then you only have a small amount and have to wait another 45 minutes for the tank to heat up again.

I was awe struck with my old familiar surroundings. I wanted to stay. I was ready to call it quits….tell the Navy to take a hike...just to come back to my little piece of paradise.

If I had had a towel and a good book... I would have gotten in for real. And a good book too.

So I settled for the view I saw everyday for 7 years. A view I saw multiple times a day....remember I am one of those people who have at least 3 baths a day.

So as I pried myself from my most sacred place....I realize how empty our place looks. As I wandered into the other rooms I see none of our markings. Just the occasional spilled diet soda and coffee here and there. But nothing else.

The house was bare. Our furniture... gone. Not a single shred of what life was like pre-Navy / pre-fulltime ministry. Not even a photograph on the wall that showed we had once walked these halls. Hung our hat on the pegs. Or ran a many a hot water baths.

For all intent purposes....I had my house back. But not all the things that had made it my home. No Harry, Kayne, Oliver, or Miss Peabody. Just an empty shell of what life used to be like. I grieved a little while longer. Looked around. Took in the familiar sights. Smelled the familiar smells. Heard the usual squeaks and cracks of the house. Knew just where all the light switches were.

So I felt my way down the empty stairwell into the empty garage. walked towards the truck and stopped by the mailbox by habit. All I heard was the echo of an empty mailbox lid slamming shut.

So tonight... I feel a sad. Grieving the comforts lost and still hesitant for what tomorrow will bring. Change and constant motion seems so hard for me. Most of the time I would rather stay in my comfort zone and listen to the familiar echoes of our former life.

However, I now realize if I chose to stay in the comfort zone….I would miss out on what God has in store for me ….for us. And that would be a haunting echo to resound within me.

I want to be able to hear want God has to say to me with perfect hearing. With an open heart and acute sense of hearing.

Blessings to those with excellent hearing,


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Harry's Wailing Wall


Last week I shared a few pictures of our Wailing Wall trip while in Israel. What I did not have time to share with you.... is the "story" behind the pictures.

For some crazy cosmic reason... Harry and I have always had something going on. From driving fiascoes to pickpocketing ventures...and all in foreign countries... Harry and I tend to attract "crazy's". However, on this particular trip the craziness was ALL Harry.

Israel is hot. During our summer was extremely hot. Therefore, we drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. Yet, Harry has to have one of the worlds smallest bladders. *Please take note*** if you travel with Harry be prepared to stop multiple times for restroom breaks.**

On the 4 hour car ride from Atlanta to my parents home in North FL...this is our schedule:

Harry down a pot of coffee. Leave Atlanta.

Hour #1: Potty Boy needs a restroom...and gets a cup of coffee

Hour #2: Potty Boy needs 2nd stop... and gets a mega big gulp coffee... then spills 1/2 on shirt

Hour #3: Potty Boy is dying to make it to the restroom...and of course refills his mega big gulp.

Hour #4: Arrive at parents, but Harry is about to pop and cannot even say hello as he races to the bathroom.

I am all for stopping when one "has to go". But come on ....Harry makes our 4 hour journey into a 5+ trek.

So when in Israel and Harry says he "has to go" right now he means it. But like most ancient sites.... the accommodations are not up to par. As we are walking through the metal detectors of the wailing wall....Harry is frantically on search of a restroom. Yes there are metal detectors...and many many soldiers guarding the sacred place.

Below is a picture of what it looks like as you enter the Wall area.

As you can see the Wailing Wall is the ancient stone wall to our right. Harry is asking Trish, Jerry, and myself to help with the restroom search. As we are walking towards the wall I say,

"Over there by the wall Harry"

"Where? Over there by the Wall"?

"Yes, right over there! Straight in front of you. By the wall. We will wait for you here."

"Over there?" as he points to the right.

"Over there", as I point straight ahead. (Please take a look at the above photo....surely you can see the arched entryway of the bathrooms.)

"Over there?" a confused Harry asked again.

"YES, OVER there", a frustrated Kristie replies as she continues to point straight ahead.

As Harry walks away ... I begin to see his confused look. Quizically turning his head from right to left. With a quick step...he really has to go now...he turns back... runs over to us....looks towards the Wailing Wall....and asks in the most innocent childlike way...

"I just pee on the Wailing Wall"?

Oh my goodness.... he did not just say that. As we explain through tears where is actual restroom is...we are now doing the "pee dance" from laughing so hard.

Women's sector

Harry, Jerry, and Abraham after the potty break

Just thought I would share another story where Harry almost got us killed. Or at least himself shot for relieving himself on the Wailing Wall. The most sacred and holiest sites for Jews. Only Harry.

Blessings to those full to the brim and bursting over,


Tuesday, January 27, 2009



Our denomination has a Chaplains Commission. Our Chaplains Commission serves as a screening, certifying and monitoring agency for chaplaincy and pastoral counseling personnel. Their task is to facilitate the entry and success of people who are called to minister.

We are so grateful for our Chaplains Commission. These guys take such good care of us. Other denominations have limited contact with their endorsing agents. But not ours. We and they are in constant contact.....which makes us feel "loved".

From the commission we receive weekly updates. Harry fills out monthly reports. We see these guys at least once a year. And every other year we gather for our denominations General Assembly. Needless to say.... these guys take care of us.

This past week Harry was the profiled Chaplain.

So in keeping with the Valentine's theme....I wanted to share our "profile".

Profile of a Chaplain

This week, Navy Chaplain (LT) Harry Hansen, and his wife, Kristie, visited our Chaplains Commission offices for dialogue, fellowship and a staff luncheon. In a sense, God arranged to bring these two people together for their military chaplaincy ministries. As singles, they lived next door to each other in an apartment in the Atlanta area; struck up conversations around the need to get rid of a possum that made its way into their stairwell. From those occasional chats, they developed a relationship that finally led to marriage and joint chaplaincy ministries. Kristie was brought up in the Assemblies of God and Harry in the Methodist Church. As they deepened their walk with the Lord, they joined in marriage, and became part of the Mount Paran Church of God in Atlanta. For a number of years Harry was a commercial pilot with Delta. While fully employed with Delta, he completed, with honors, his Seminary training. It was during Seminary that he became interested in military chaplaincy; was accepted as a Chaplain in training, and finally his first active duty station on the island of Crete. Already, they have proven faithful and successful as a chaplaincy team.

When I first heard the term mind traveled to the psychoanalysis the officials use to catch serial killers. But as you can see Harry and I are harmless.

You can see the actual Chaplains Commission report here.

Crick, Jerry, and the rest of the COG crew...

It was so nice to spend time with you last week. We have not had Chinese food in almost a year now! Thank you!

We are so blessed to have you as our mentors.

You take such good care of us and for that we are grateful.

Blessings to those who diligently watch over us,


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Valentine's tribute

I am not one for scrapbooking, card making, or anything else your typical house wife enjoys. Sorry to disappoint you! This new layout is my tribute to all the other hard working spouses / mothers who enjoy decorating for the different holidays.

Along with the new layout.... Harry and I wanted to introduce you to us....

So for the next few weeks, honoring Valentine's lovey dovey stuff (again not my cup of tea, yet Harry loves the touchy feely stuff... probably why he is the Chaplain) we want to share our story with you.


Friday, January 23, 2009

My Wailing Wall

It is thought by Jews to be the most sacred of places, because the temple itself was the place where God resides on earth. Praying at the Wailing Wall signifies being in the presence of the Divine. Jews from all countries, and as well as tourists of other religious backgrounds, come to pray at the wall, where it is said one immediately has the “ear of God.”

Several weeks ago...I received a birthday greeting email. My friend writes.....

"Enjoy your personal special day! Do something nice or fun for yourself instead of trying to save the world or decoding and deciphering what God is trying to show or teach you."

.... I was thankful for the birthday message. But soon afterwards.... I felt a worrisome. This salutation is coming from a friend who follows "our guided steps". Have I portrayed our guided steps walk in a bad light? Do they feel that I in trying to save the world and decoding what God is trying to teach me is not a nice or fun venture?

I began to wonder how I describe our walk in our blog... I am describing my walk negatively? How do our friends and family perceive the words I have written? Do my thoughts have a negative or positive impact? Does my written conscious wrongly depict our faith in God?

To be honest.....I have both good days and bad. It's just life.

In my everyday life.... I have moments where my attitude is that of an excited toddler going to Disney World eating ice cream and riding rides until I'm dizzy. And others where I want to stay home in pajamas all day.

In my Christian walk... there are days when I want to praise God for all my blessings.... and then there are days my reflections are not so upbeat. It is just the normal ups and downs of a normal couple. I think?

The wall is the only remaining structure of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. Inside the courtyard King Solomon's glorious temple once stood. The temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times until only part of the western wall remained. This wall just outside of the Temple Mount is considered to be Judaism holiest site.

( Harry and Jerry at the wall)

(Trish and I on the women's sector)

Jews come to the Wall to praise God and to mourn the loss and destruction of the temple. Jews come to the wall from all over the world. Many write prayers and messages on paper and stick them between the cracks. At the wall you can hear some of them wailing or crying for the loss of their great temple. This is why the wall became known as "the Wailing Wall."

I have come to think of Our Guided Steps blog as "my wailing wall". It is a place where I come to express my praise for the multitude of blessings God has poured upon our lives. And it is the place where I come to communicate and mourn the brokenness of our lives. The good, bad, and ugly. Our disappointments. Our encouragements. Our frustrations and our laughter.

It's my wailing wall. The place where I write down on tiny slivers of virtual paper and stick it in the wall. My concerns. My aggravations. All of it. My wall is where I become transparent not only to God, but to you as well. It's my little spot... in hopes of capturing the "ear of God".

It's where I place my feelings.... from anxieties to adulations in front of you all. Why? I guess to show what life is like for a struggling, striving, trying to survive Christian couple God has called into ministry. We love the ministry God has called us to be a part of.

Not all days are good. Not all days are rays of sunshine. Neither are all days doom and gloom. Although, I do tend to be a little dramatic at times. (The whole toilet paper not going down the toilet is BAD on any day!) So through this blog I live day-by-day. The daily weekly ups and downs. But the big picture. The ministry. That has never been a disappointment. I am thankfully grateful for what God has allowed Harry and I to experience. Grateful for every minute.

I have learned to appreciate the peaks and valleys of our guided steps. The ebb and flow of emotions as we wade through the muck. Sure there are times we struggle more than others, but that's where we find ourselves fully relying on God for His wisdom and His guidance. That's where He builds our character. It's our formative years. Where He molds and shapes us to be more like Him. It's where He shows us that He IS God.

If my portrayal of the work He has called us to do has been seen in a negative light.... then I apologize profusely. I would not change a single thing if it means missing out on or not seeing His wonderful works. How lives have been touched by His hand. Lives changed for the glory of His Kingdom.

So, as you continue to follow Our Guided Steps and will walk with us as I try to save the world. And continue to figure out what God is trying to teach me. Good bad or indifferent..... Know that I consider this space my wailing wall.... my virtual journal so to speak. The place where I verbalize and vocalize my praises. Where I express....sometimes in vivid detail my concerns. But all with a thankful heart.

"Be anxious for nothing,

but in everything by prayer and supplication,

with thanksgiving,

let your requests be made known to God;"

Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)

Blessings to those who need a wailing wall,


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Baby brother

Finally....I have a few pictures of Karter Lawson...remember the baby brother Kadence and I wanted to name Kelton John.

So here are a few shots of the little man... and why not he's over a month old already. I am such a loving aunt. I just tend to steer clear until the can hold up their own head. And they can only spend the night once they are properly and independently "pottie trained".

And for those of you who thought I was bad dressing up Miss Peabody...
check out the reindeer....

Karter Lawson makes an adorable reindeer.... I think I still have Miss Peabody's antlers. Maybe next year we can have enough for a sleigh.



Friday, January 16, 2009



With everyone back to work after the holidays.... Kadence takes advantage of Auntie K as her daycare provider. Fortunately, my sister takes her kicking and screaming to daycare, which gives me a chance to have "me" time before I retrieve her around lunch.

Today at Kidsville... when her mother dropped her off.... Kadence ran screaming, crying, and carrying on with a "stomach ache". I even think she threw herself on the floor when her mother left.

A guilt ridden Kasey called me to say Kadence was not feeling well. She had called the daycare several times... to find her health was on the steady incline. Here are a few pictures.... taken when I retrieved her just before lunch....

Her self portrait.... I think I see a residual milk mustache....

I asked her about her previous stomach... to which she informed me she did not want to talk about it.

On the drive home.... Kadence is a music junkie as well... we listened to some more of the recently found Cd's. Elton John. We love Elton John. We tried to get Kasey to name the new baby brother Kelton John. It starts with a K. Last summer when I went to see him in concert... I called Kadence during her favorite songs.... Tiny Dancer and Benny and the Jets. As Elton John blares (that is the only volume she will allow) her previous condition has improved.

As Elton John sings of Philadelphia Freedom... I can only think of Kadence's recent freedom from Kidsville. As she lives and breaths it's daycare freedom.

And I guess who can blame her..... at home she is free to do just about anything she wants.... versus the structural constraints of daycare.
"Momma.... I think her stomach is feeling better now!"


Auntie K

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Penciled in....


To keep everyone up to date.... we have been officially "penciled in" for our next assignment.

Penciled in means.... not in ink, but the Navy has a plan for us. From the beginning of December we thought we were headed to Camp Lejeune, NC to spend the next 3 years with an infantry marine division. Then the option for Camp Pendleton, CA came around. Neither selection was ever penciled in.

So as of January we are penciled in for Virginia Beach, Virginia ... a 2 year assignment with the USS CARTER HALL. Again, we are "penciled in"... not in ink and not in actual "orders" just yet.

We still have until the end of 2009 before we leave NSA Souda Bay, Greece. But, man the time seems fly by.

Blessings to those who know were they are going,


Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Special Prayer Request

I received a call from Harry this morning....

Friends of our in Souda Bay, Greece, Ken and Cortney, brought their precious baby boy, Matthew Phillip, 2 months premature into this world on January 6.

And this morning baby Matt passed away.

I will post more details later and a link to her Blog when all their family back in the states have been informed.

So please pray for the Schwalbe's.

As they process these events.

As they make the arrangements.

As they travel back to the States.

As they deal with the upcoming days.

And pray for Harry as he ministers to our friends.

Yours in Christ,


Friday, January 9, 2009

A Psalm in my heart

"Praise the LORD.

Sing to the LORD a new song,

his praise in the assembly of the saints."

Psalm 149:1 NIV

Yesterday, as I traveled to the oral surgeon... I needed something to take my mind off the impending doom. I hate dentist. (And Kadence would tell on me for saying "hate" ... it's a "bad" word around here. And so is "whatever".)

Anyway, for the hour long trip.... I shuffled things around in the car to try and rummage through and find some music. We took one car to Greece and the other resides at my parents house. So everything in the car is dated. Old receipts, old parking stubs, my old hairbrush, garage door opener to the old house (I should probably send it to the renters), old crusted air fresheners if I can still call them air fresheners, even the old Atlanta radio stations programmed into the preset buttons.

But as I was rustling around to try and find something to listen to... I stumbled onto several of my old Cd's. Several were damaged beyond listening capacity. Many were not labeled... so I had to pop the ancient relics into the player to find out what was on them.

Oh, the memories flooded back. The first were of worship and then the sermon from our home church. Just to hear our old music leader, the choir, and the magnificent orchestra. Oh how I miss the harmonious sounds of the Mount Paran orchestra. And a mixture of traditional hymns and praise and worship music. And sung by the recognized voices of our home church.

Other Cd's I ran across were just old compilations I had liked at that particular time. Mercy Me, Sara Groves, Selah, Newsboys, oh one of my favorites David Crowder. So I have changed up the music a little on my playlist. I few of my favorites.

I am a song junkie. I can be in the worst of moods and turn on some tunes and my mood does a 180. I have playlist... or had playlists until our computer decided to go ca put on the journey across the pond. But I have playlist for just about every mood I desire to be in. Happy, sad, ready to clean the house, ready to sit and have a pity party... I even have driving music. But I thought ACDC might be a little much for a faith based blog. Whatever, right? If I can even say that word.

"To the end that my glory

may sing praise to You

and not be silent.

O LORD my God,

I will give thanks to You forever."

Psalm 30:12 NKJV

Blessings to those with a (Psalm) song in their hearts,


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Birthday Bash

Birthday greetings to Haley,

Tonight we celebrated Haley's birthday. Not a typical Taylor party which comes complete with crowds of people, balloons, cake, gifts, and even sometimes the unexpected. I think my tenth birthday... I had a slumber party... about 30 girls.... parents were going crazy.... kids were having a blast.... the next day we found out we had an outbreak of chickenpox. Happy Birthday!

But we were low key.... that is until tomorrow. Tonight everyone is at church, singing, teaching, and a kids in class. So tomorrow we will have festivities Taylor style.

Haley's family (other than us) .... nana, dad, and sister Italia are all in Birmingham. Italia will have another surgery tomorrow. A skin graft from her bum to her hand. Oh, will she be teased! If all goes well, we are hoping she will return home this Saturday. Then we will have to have another Taylor style bash.

Um yummy.



Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Whisper


The hustle and bustle of Christmas has finally past. All that is left is the after holiday shopping when everything hits the 75% off rack. After the pity party I tossed out about having a fake tree... I bought one on clearance. I know... I am such a sale out. But I saw this sleek stylish all white cedar looking tree that I thought would look stunning with all the black and red ornaments that I also found on the clearance aisle. Probably by this time next year I will have changed my mind or can no longer find the white sprig.

I wanted to share with you ....

I was doing some of my Bible readings and came across something that stood out to me. I love how scripture will find you when you need it. How I could a passage 10 times and then one day when I need it.... there it is and has a completely different connotation than last I looked.

But I was reading about Elijah. The great prophet of the Lord.

Here's the refresher crash course...

Elijah is the heroic figure who stands up to King Ahab, whose wife-Jezebel has introduced the worship of Baal into the Jewish Kingdom. In a "show of force" Elijah calls the Baal priest to have their God perform. When no such thing occurs Elijah calls on His God to prove His power. Which of course our God does. Those who witness the act declare, "Adonai, hu ha-Elohim." translation: "The Lord, He is God." And He alone is God.

This of course upsets Jezebel and to escape her wrath Elijah flees. Elijah flees and travels forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. God questions why Elijah is there. He answers, he is alone and in fear for his life. the Lord then says, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord. Look, the Lord is ready to pass by."

And here is my favorite part:

"A very powerful wind went before the Lord, digging into the mountain and causing landslides, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the windstorm there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a still small voice. When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his robe and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave."

After his encounter Elijah is told to go back the way he came and God gave him specific instructions as to what he was to do next. There is more to Elijah story. But my focus is on my new favorite part.

When I read these words I felt the Scriptures, God speaking to me. I felt like these past few weeks.... these past months have been a whirl wind of commotion and chaos. Harry losing his dad. My family thinking we were losing my dad. Traveling back and forth. The trials of starting a new ministry. The morning of ending another. The reluctancy in forgoing our comfortable lifestyle for a habitat unknown.

Catastrophe after catastrophe. I do not know which ones are which? Which stresser is the windstorm or earthquake or what? I think the call to full time ministry must have been the windstorm that caused the landslide... after the windstorm came the earthquake. Literally. Moving me out of my house and comfort zone took an earthquake. And while in Greece we have experienced 2 earthquakes. One the week we arrived. On the day of Epiphany... I am not making this up! And the other about 3 months later.

Then after the earthquake comes the fire. And that has to be... our rough patch with our dad's. Harry losing his dad has been one of the hardest things in his life he has had to go through. The thoughts of losing mine rip my heart out. You think life runs smoothly? Try loosing a loved one. One that you think left this world too soon. Want to experience the fire? Lose a parent and look to God and ask why. Then question His decisions? Reconcile in your head how a God who loves us so much can allow such pain and despair to creep in and settle. Decipher how a loving Father takes your earthly father too soon. Or what we perceive as too soon. Want to walk in the fire, want to feel the all consuming heat from flames of disappointment and hurt. Ever turn to God and ask Him why? God, Why would you do this? To us?

But that's when I realized what follows the fire....

NKJV:A still small voice

NIV: A gentle whisper

NASB: A gentle blowing

NRSV: The sound of sheer silence

Regardless of which translation you use.... It's that still small voice of God. It's Him quietly talking to you after all the windstorms, earthquakes, and fires have passed. It's Him reaffirming that He is there for you. Through it all. After the storms have passed He is there. He has been there all along, but the chaos passes and we will find Him. waiting there with His reassuring whisper. The whispers of Hope and Love. The voice that has the ability to still and calm your worst fears. The worst storms that life can send your way are ceased by His whisper. the sheer sound of nothingness, but Him.

When we anchor ourselves in Him and let the winds blow regardless. When we hang on to His word and ride the landslides through the muck. When we build our faith on the rock foundations of Him that earthquakes dare to tumble. When we get burned by the fire and continue on. Pressing on because there is still something else out there. When we look past the fire long enough to listen to Him.

When we allow that still small voice to penetrate our very being. Into our hears, but soaking into our hearts. to the very depths of our soul. We have to come to the place where we can block out the winds and rains and fires and concentrate to listening to what god has to say. His calming voice will get us through. His whisper will dissipate any impending disaster that comes your way.

"A very powerful wind went before the Lord,

digging into the mountain and causing landslides,

but the Lord was not in the wind.

After the windstorm there was an earthquake,

but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake, there was a fire,

but the Lord was not in the fire.

After the fire,

there was a still small voice."

I Kings 19:11 &12

We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Life's raging storms. I am thankful He sends us the whisper. The calming whisper.

Blessings to those hearing the still small voice,


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Kasey & the Gang


I wanted to share a few pictures of my sister and her family. Kasey, Lucas, and Kadence (Madie). Karter Lawson has a few pictures, but as you can see I do not have them just yet.

Don't let her fool you.... she is adorable, but SPOILED. She looks so sweet especially in the pictures. Remember the tantrums from the mall!

She has been our families joy, our life, our entertainment for the past 4 years. At least once a day every day she is at my parents house. Of course we all dote on her... it's Madie. Years from now her therapist may call her egocentric. Well... it's just that ...the world truly does revolve around her. At least our world. The family is waiting with abated breath to see how she manages with a little baby brother to share the attention.

I have teased her endlessly.... much to my sisters rantings.... baby brother is going to take your attention once he arrives. "He is going to sleep in your momma's bed. He's going to play with your toys. He's going to go to your daycare with you." And sometimes.... just to get a rise out of her. "When he gets here... we are not going to be able to play with you as much. Your momma will not have time to take you to dance anymore." As she runs off somewhat in tears.. these comments get me dirty looks from my sister and my mom... and my grandmother too. Surely, she knows I'm playing? Surely, they know I am just kidding her?

But we have been watching her and anticipating her reaction to the newly delivered bundle. So far she has done remarkably well. I have seen her love on him, cuddle him, coo over him, or just simply want to hold his tiny hand. She will kiss the top of his head. She will caress his hair and whisper little sayings into his ear. She is the protective sister and occasionally his caretaker.

I have even heard her pray for him. But then... she prays for our new puppies too.

We were worried how her psyche would handle the transition. I guess we just did not know the depths of this little toddler. Her formative years have been within the confines of a Christian home.She has been raised in church her entire life. She knows how to pray at the alter. I have seen who do it many times. She will trot up to it, kneel down, cross her hands, close her eyes, and lay her head down on the carpeted steps and PRAY. Watching her I close my own eyes and pray, "Thank you, Jesus." Over and over. The pull on your heart strings puts you in tears ... every time.

"Above all keep your love for one another fervent,

because love covers a multitude of sins.

Show hospitality to one another without complaining."

1 Peter 4: 8, 9

I love the word fervent.... what an awesome word for constant. Love one another constantly, without ceasing. Love covers a multitude of sins. It speaks of the forbearance that comes with love: Christian love is patient and forgiving toward the offenses of a fellow Christian.

I hope I can retain a fraction of the childlike innocence Madie has. An unfettered faith in its simplest form. A love that has yet to be tarnished by hurts and disappointments this life sends hurling our way. The knowledge and hope in the altar of God. To know that's where things of this life are taken to be given to Him. To place myself at the altar, kneel before His presence, lift my hands in surrender, close my eyes, give Him my prayers, concerns, and praises, and then bask in His greatness.

I look at Madie and with all her silliness... she already, at 4 years old has a purer understanding then others far her senior ... of God. Her God is uncomplicated. He is God. Simply put. He is the encompassing, omnipresent creator. He is the "fixer" to a little 4 year-old's problems. He is who she turns to. He is who she seeks at the altar. When I see her in action... spoiled through and through, yet her faith is as unspoiled as life could ever offer. And most of the time I am envious of her innocence and childlike faith.

Do not get me wrong.... she is still a 4 year-old mischievous selfish little joker. And the other day when Karter Lawson started crying she covered her ears and yelled, "I can't take this anymore!" And I know how she felt. She may have a new prayer request next week.

Blessings to those who fervently seek Him,


Cow Food for the New Year

"Hey Ya'll"

...a southern greeting. Since I am home for the New Year's holiday I was able to partake in one of our New Year rituals. Or traditions. My family, along with most of the Southeast US, eat black eye peas and some sort of greens to ring in the new year.

I was not sure where the tradition came from ... so of course I inquire into it's origins. I questioned my family.

From their understanding consuming black eyed peas, which are in the shape of small coins and when you soak them overnight .... swell, bring luck and prosperity for the upcoming year. Greens or turnips or collards or cabbage symbolize "greenbacks" money.

So our New Year's lunch menu consisted of black eyed peas, collard greens, pork chop, corn bread, and ice tea. I had to replace the tea with Diet Mountain Dew... hope there are no repercussions for the substitution.

So okay... I now know why we eat it and what the food represents, but WHERE did this tradition come from? Getting a vague response decided to ask Google. What did we do before Google? Or Ask Jeeves?

Folklore and others believe this lucky meal began during the Civil War. Northern soldiers would raid Southern farms and butcher the animals. What the soldiers did not eat themselves they would destroy. Leaving only the “cow food” behind. That “cow food” was black-eyed peas and it saved the southerners from starvation. Therefore, making black eyed peas and ham hock's a traditional meal. One that saved their lives .

Whether tradition ... or in hopes of gaining prosperity and money ...our family readily devours our share. Even a second helping at times. Others have their own traditions... the Dutch eat doughnuts. The round sugary treat symbolizes "coming full circle," completing a year's cycle. I think I like the Dutch tradition better. Would Krispy Kreme suffice? Considering our many incidents of 2008... maybe we should have had a doughnut for dessert.

Blessings to those coming full circle,



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