Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things I'm thankful for on November 13th, 2008

Today, I am thankful for...

Older, wiser, more mature friends who will go to lunch with you and later pray for you in your car!

Prayer warriors!

Sweet, sweet children who shower me with hugs, kisses and love!

New Shutters on my house.

Breakfast for dinner.

My God.

Swapping ideas, tips and encouragement with other photographers.

I'm thinking thankful thoughts today!!!!

What are you thankful for today?

Things I'm thankful for on November 12th, 2008

Today, I am thankful for...

Non-existent Seasonal Depression. This is a major praise report!!! I have suffered with this pretty severely in the past, but this year I'm actually enjoying the time change. This is nothing short of a miracle.

Much-needed repairs getting done on my house.

My mom. She is such a strong, amazing person. I love her!!!!

My friend, Cory, being born on this day.

Friends in the ministry who just "get me".

Friends outside of the ministry who love me.

My family, as always!

I'm thinking thankful thoughts today!!!!

What are you thankful for???

Things I'm thankful for on November 11th, 2008

Today, I am thankful for...

The veterans of America. Thank you so much for selflessly serving to keep us safe.

All of the wonderfully encouraging people God has put in my life.

My awesome Beth Moore Bible Study!!!! (A Woman's Heart - God's Dwelling Place)

Digging deep into the Word of God. I'm pretty much in AWE right now.

My husband - he's so goofy and fun.

Meeting friends at Starbucks and sitting in the big purple puffy chairs in the corner while solving life's problems. ;-)

Staff Meetings at church and all that come with them. We work hard but we manage to keep it exciting.

Friends who have started blogging about things THEY are thankful for - YAY!!!!! Let's start a thankful revolution.

I am thinking thankful thoughts today!

What are you thankful for???

Things I'm thankful for on November 10th, 2008

Today I am thankful for...

No Stitches!

Quality time with my husband... and Lincoln. And Abbey and Luke when I can get it!


Mondays with NOTHING on the schedule.

The few bright orange leaves that haven't fallen off the tree in our front yard.

Leftovers night.

I am thinking thankful thoughts today!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Things I'm thankful for on November 9th, 2008

Today I am thankful...

That my Mother-in-law kept my 3 kids last night so Aaron and I could prepare for church.

That we had an AWESOME church service today!!! Thank you, God, for consistently blessing us!

For teamwork in worship today.

That people liked my curly locks, even though I wasn't sure I did... ha!

That Lincoln wasn't hurt any worse than he was after church today. Poor baby fell HARD and cut a gash in the frenulum inside his upper lip. He might need stitches tomorrow, but we've learned to just be thankful this child is alive!!!

Cheryl Linz, for telling me what that thing is called in between his upper lip and gum!!! (frenulum)

Hollie Robinson, for taking over when Lincoln had blood everywhere because I freaked completely out and was useless. And Ann Watson for getting him ice.

That I hear a little birdie outside my window right now - aw, it sounds so sweet, even though I don't care for birds.

That my husband can PREACH.

That overcast skies make great photoshoots - especially when shooting my favorite Aussie neighbors!

That in the midst of a really busy day, I was able to get all of my errands done and my soup on the stove so that I can relax for just a few minutes before those crazy young adults get to my house. Love you!!!!

For all of the neat, new people that I have been visiting our church lately!

I am thinking thankful thoughts today!

Things I am thankful for on November 8th, 2008

Today I am thankful for:

My old neighbors and forever friends, the Casanovas, coming here from Cookeville to spend the day with us. Yay!!!!

Our new-ish friends, the Taylors, for having us over for a YUMMY Mexican feast last night. Great food, lots of laughs, good conversation... and being embarrassed by our kids not wanting to leave what they called "the best house ever". Ha!

All the possibilities a Saturday has to offer!

The opportunity to do photo shoots for my friends and future friends. I love making people see how beautiful they are!

This GORGEOUS day.

Our two awesome dogs, Buster & Bianca.

Playing Nintendo DS with my kids until my arm feels like it's going to fall off, but not caring because we are screaming and high-fiving with each victory.

Laundry. That's right. Laundry.

I am thinking thankful thoughts today.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Things I'm thankful for on November 7th, 2008

Today, I am thankful for:

Pajama days.

Beautiful Fall weather.


Good friends who are secure enough in our friendship and secure enough in their beliefs that we can have a civil conversation about our differences.

Our new President-elect. He is a classy, smart, even-tempered, peace-loving man who loves his wife and his children. Thank you for the example you are to families everywhere.

My kids' teachers: Rachel McCree, Beth Shafer, Angelica Bangean and Christina Keller - you are God-sends!!! I couldn't have asked for more perfect matches for my kids.

All of the friends from high-school and college I have re-connected with!

My church family. I love you!

The world I see through my camera lens.

And last but not least, my hunky hubby and my mind-bogglingly amazing kids.

I'm thinking thankful thoughts today.

In honor of Thanksgiving month...

I am attempting to write a blog every day of the month of November in honor of Thanksgiving.

I would love to hear what you are thankful for!!! Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A few thoughts... off the cuff

I'm just going to type. I'm not going to edit and I'm not going to try to be politically correct. I'm just going to type what's on my heart. I'm typing as a person, not a pastor's wife, ok? Ok.

Congratulations to Barack Obama and all who supported him. He has a hard road ahead and I pray - sincerely pray - for this man and his family.

I am so proud of John McCain. He is a true American hero in so many ways. His speech made me proud. He had a hard job to step out from President Bush's shadow. He may be old and may not be the great debater or the wonderful orator that his challenger is but he has served this country for more years than I've been alive and I thank him.

Now, here is what troubles me: In my mind, the Christian community (as I see it) has had a wake-up call in the past week. Why? Because here are some of the statements I've heard from people:

"I've never been more excited about anything in my life"

"There is hope in the world now"

"I've never been more proud to be an American"

There are more statements, but I think you get my point. How sad is it that people are more excited about an election than they are about the God of the universe? Pretty sad and pretty sobering.

I'm not disputing that there is reason to celebrate if you were one of the millions who supported Obama throughout this campaign. But when people begin to hang their hopes and general happiness on one man and that man is not Jesus Christ, that - to me - says more about the ineffectiveness of evangelical Christianity than anything. We are worried about foreign missions (and when I say "we" I say "me" because yes, I am passionate about it) and yet our brothers and sisters next door have to wait on a presidential election to be more excited than they've ever been in their lives.

Christianity has gotten a bad name of late, and I think we've earned it. To be a Christian is to be a Christ-follower and I'm not seeing a whole lot of evidence that the vast majority of people who call themselves a Christian know Christ well enough to pull that off. For too long, we've relied on occasional church attendance and an icthus sticker on the back of our car to change the world.

It ain't working.

And as far as the abortion issue goes, let me be clear: Overturning Roe vs. Wade is not going to save the unborn. I won't go into it any further than that right now because I have a little munchkin pulling on me to "come cuddle", but there is more to say. Well, ok, I WILL say that as a pastor (of sorts), I have "counseled" and prayed with people devastated and torn apart by the pain and regret of abortion. I've yet to run across ONE person who does not painfully regret the decision to abort.

Do you understand that? Legislation is not the hope of the world. Barack Obama and John McCain and Sarah Palin are not the hope of the world. Jesus Christ is the one true hope of the world. I believe that with all of my heart.

And let me just touch on the issue of homosexuality. The hatred and fear that Christians are purporting towards the gay community is not working for us. Sorry. It sure isn't drawing anyone to Christ. I'm gonna say something that is going to make a lot of my Christian friends very uncomfortable: I love my gay friends. I do. They know where I stand and what I believe - but they also know that I love them. I'm more interested in them KNOWING Jesus Christ than I am in exiling them. Because you know what? He's worth knowing.

And as far as the economy - man, I really don't want to be a socialist nation. I used to be a fierce democrat because I was such a blindly compassionate person. Then, one day my friends John and Lorna Pyka said "yeah, that's great to give money to the poor from all o these programs, but where is the money coming from?" "Why, from the government, of course!" was my reply. Ha! It comes from the working Americans. Ok, ok - according to biblical principals, we SHOULD be feeding and clothing the poor. But I believe it should come from the church and from individuals. I don't want the suits in Washington deciding who and where my money goes to, ok? I want to be led by the Spirit of God about that. I want to have enough of my paycheck (whenever I start making money again, ha ha) left over to be able to bless people as the Lord leads. I agree wholeheartedly with my husband that a legitimate third party needs to emerge, because neither one of the 2 main ones is cutting it for me right now. If you work, you should be able to keep most of your money. The church needs to do it's job but it can't if no one is able to give to the church because the government has all of the people's money. Make sense?

Here's the way I see it now. I have an opportunity and it's a golden one. Instead of relying on legislature and a leader who doesn't even know I exist to make decisions on my behalf, I can wake up and start making a difference right where I am. The ripple that my life creates right here will become a gnarly wave elsewhere. When I walk in LOVE and walk in the Spirit, I can be a salve to a hurting heart.

So, I am not downcast - I am encouraged. God's Word will not return void. He will do what He said He would do. I can either be a part of it or I can complain and moan. I can either be a part of it or I can look to a man-made leader to legislate my beliefs.

I encourage anyone and everyone to read my husband's blog:
It's wonderfully written and he's really smart. :-)

I love you all. I really do. We may not all agree on every issue, but that's ok.

God bless.

I just realized I left out something very important. Other comments that troubled me, but on the other side of the coin:

"We are all screwed"
"Life is over as we all know it"
"The sky is falling"

Yeah, those aren't helpful, either!

Monday, September 08, 2008

When depression hurts...

I cannot even believe this happened, but it did. It totally did.

This weekend, I recorded almost every single episode of the "House" marathon on USA. Lincoln would come in a play on the computer while it was on in the background, but I didn't think too much about it.

On Sunday after church, one of my friends was having a really hard time and needed me to pray with her. I grabbed a few other ladies and we began to pray. As we were praying, she began to cry pretty hard. At that same moment, Lincoln was being chased by a bunch of girls and he ran up to me, looking pretty scared. I made him sit in the chair with me and help me pray. It was pretty cute seeing him lay his hand on my friend and whisper "Jesus".

After praying, we all went out to our cars. I had all 3 kids in my van and I pulled up beside my friend to check on her one last time before driving off. I've been really worried about her and just wanted to make sure.

As I started driving off, I hear this comment from Lincoln:

"I think maybe her needs Cymbalta... for when it hurts."

WHAT????????????? Did I hear him correctly????

"What did you say, Lincoln"

He said "I think maybe her needs Cymbalta for when it hurts. I saw it on a commercial. but it's not for a child. Only for adults, like moms and dads."

There is a commercial that plays several times during each "House" episode. It starts by saying, "Where does depression hurt? Everywhere. Who does depression hurt? Everyone. But there's help with Cymbalta."

I couldn't help it, I burst out laughing. It was just absurd. He was so serious. Later that day, I began watching a House episode on my DVR. The commercial came on - he heard the music and came running in my room and had this really weird, accomplished look on his face and said "This is it, mom. Is it Cymbalta or Imbalta?" I said "Cymbalta". Without even looking away from the TV, he said "Yeah. Cymbalta."

Here is the Youtube video of the commercial.

I REEEALLY need to be more careful about the commercials he watches! (Abbey & Luke, too, I'm sure!)

Just had to share.

Friday, August 08, 2008

I'm NOT Mace Windu!!!

Warning to those reading this who are sensitive to the word "Poop" - read no further.

For the rest of you, however, I have a funny story to share.

Aaron made the grievous error of "accidentally" throwing away the boys' favored Light-Sabers. If you know us at all or have read any of my recent blogs, you know this is not good. Not good at all. How does one accidentally throw away light-sabers? We won't get into that right now.

Anyway for about 2 days, I listened to Luke lament the unfairness of no longer having his beloved saber. Lincoln was only occasionally annoyed - basically when he wanted to whop Luke on the head with it - but Luke became fixated on the fact that the sabers were gone at the hand of his father.

No longer able to sustain the berating on Aaron's behalf any longer, I took the boys to pick out new light-sabers. Luke is a student of all 6 episodes and knows which color saber each character has, right down to the BASE of the saber. I mean, really, who notices things like that? My son, for sure.

As we entered the Star Wars aisle, I asked the boys what color they wanted. Lincoln immediately said "The purple one" I asked him which character had the purple one and Luke replied "Mace Windu!" A young boy walking through the aisle called out "Mace Windu rocks." Wow, who knew?

After securing the purple saber for Lincoln and the blue saber for Luke, a.k.a. Anakin Skywalker (before he turned evil, mind you!), we continued on to finish our shopping. Of course, the boys flicked their sabers out and stood en garde. Luke said "I'm Anakin Skywalker and you are Mace Windu!"

Lincoln replied in a low, menacing tone "I'm NOT Mace Windu, I'm Poops Windu."

I was so caught off-guard that laughter erupted from me before I could catch myself. Lincoln seemed not to really notice or care. We continued on.

Later on in the quest for groceries, I heard Lincoln again say his name was Poops Windu. I decided to investigate a little.

Me: "Lincoln, why are you saying this?"
Linc: "Because I not Mace Windu."
Me: "You're not? Why not?"
Linc: "Because I'm Poops Windu."
Me: "Hmmm, I've never heard of Poops Windu."
Linc: "He's in EPISODE 7, mom. EPISODE 7. I can't be Mace Windu because I'm a little boy."

Ooookaaaay. My theory is that Poops Windu is Mace's son, who appears in Lincoln's imaginary episode 7. I'm too afraid to ask for confirmation.

I haven't really heard anything from Poops Windu today... which, you know, I'm ok with! Maybe he's already forgotten. :-)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ok, Jenni, this is for you!

My dear friend/sister-in-law Jenni wrote me the following email today:

Subject: I feel bad having to be the one to tell you this, but ......

Body: you haven't posted a blog in over a month and a half. There. Now, I've said it. Get busy.

I wrote back that I was surprised it had been that long.

She responded: June 17th. I'm just sayin'.

So, if you really want me to write that badly, you have to be willing to be IN the blog. Mwa ha ha ha. (that's an evil laugh, for those of you who might be confused or concerned)

Ok, on to more serious things. My kids go back to school in (now) less than a week! Where, oh where has the summer gone? I have thoroughly and completely enjoyed this summer with the kids. Last year, I was ready to be shipped off to the closest loony bin. But really, what good would that have done? They would've found me at the closest one.

But this summer, we found our sweet spot. 8, 6 and 4 is where it's at. They're cute. They're fun. They can dress themselves and (for the most part) they're potty-trained. We've had a blast.

The first part of the summer was just spent at the pool or hanging around the house. Abbey and I sat up late each night watching Phil of the Future on Disney and playing computer games. So much fun, that girl!

Shelby, Scott and the boys spent several weeks here and a miracle occurred the week of VBS. We were able to go out to eat every single night while other people cared for and fed our 5 children. Oh, and my son got saved and baptized. But back to eating out... No, just kidding! Yep, Luke gave his life to the Lord and followed that up with water baptism. He has taken it very seriously for a 6 yr old.

The last part of the Cavender visit, we ALL (Cavenders, Sherry/Mimi, Ryan & Jenni, and us) traveled to Gatlinburg and stayed in a beautiful cabin in the woods. We had SO much fun. We cooked - well, Scott was the grill-meister - we had fireworks and played in the outdoors. I will definitely be posting pictures soon - or I will come back sometime when it's not 12:30am and add pictures to this blog.

A cool thing has happened with Luke this summer. He has become obsessed with the Presidents. No, seriously. He can name nearly all of them. He can name some I didn't even KNOW were Presidents. And he has accumulated these little bits of trivia about them. He googles them and reads as much as he can and asks me the rest. He knows that James Madison was the shortest. FDR was the first ever shown on TV. Which means there has only been a total of 10 shown on TV. Yes, he counted. The list goes on. In addition to the Presidents, he is still pretty obsessed with Star Wars. All 6 episodes. In detail. He googles that, too. Gotta watch that kid.

Lincoln continues to be the comedian of the family. He is just stinkin' funny. And he knows it. He will tell you "I'm hilarious", which makes him slightly less funny. Or, it would - if he wasn't so cute. We have this little packet of cards of - you guessed it - the Presidents and he picked 3 of them and held them up and said "Look, Mom! The Jonas Brothers when they are older!" And he might be little, but he is tougher than a corn-cob. He looks deceivingly small.

Abbey has grown up more than Aaron or I either one want to admit. In so many ways. I see so much of both of us in her. She decided at some point in the summer (about the time Shelby got here!) that she was tired of hanging out with the kids while all the good conversation was with the adults. So, we obliged for the most part and let her partake in some grown-up conversation (censored, of course!). It was hard on here when he had to shoo her from the room so we could talk sometimes, and she didn't go willingly.

Oh! The last thing I will share before scooting off to bed. I don't know if I mentioned that we gave Buster and Bianca to the Bagwells, but we did - in April. The kids were so sad... and so were Aaron and I, to be honest. We just thought they would be happier somewhere where they could get some attention and be around other animals. Boy, were we wrong! While we appreciate Doug and Sue more than they will ever know - we missed our puppies! So, when I took the kids to KY for 2 weeks to visit mom and the gang, Aaron got the dogs back from the farm. They are thrilled to be back and we are thrilled to have them. They are such good dogs.

Ok, that's it, Jenni! I'm all talked out for tonight. YAWN. Off to bed! :-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where's my Light-Saber?

***Truly, I did not mean for funny stories of my kids to take over this blog... even though that's kind of why I created it. I had planned on writing some deep stuff on occasion. Alas, the kids win.***

Ok, this may take the cake for Funny Things Said in the Allison Household this week.

As I was cleaning the boys' room just now, the 3 kids were watching a movie on Abbey's bed. (What's wrong with this picture, I ask you?) Suddenly, I heard a blood-curdling scream, and in ran Lincoln, crying and holding his face.

"What happened?" I asked.

"Lukie hurt my face" he said.

I scooped him into my arms and tried to console him. I knew he was very tired and was basically waiting for me to finish vacuuming so he could go to bed.

He sat in my arms in great distress for a few moments before he said, in reluctant exasperation:

"I gotta find my light-saber and go destroy him."

Dramatic pause.

"What did you just say?"

He started wearily trying to get up out of my lap and in a look-what-he-made-me-do-now-attitude he said again "I have to find my light-saber and go destroy him."

I burst out laughing.

He wiped the tears from his face, put his hand on my mouth, looked me dead in the eye and said "That's not very funny."

Oh, yes, Lincoln. Yes, it is.

[As I was writing this, Abbey came down to tell me goodnight and started reading what I had written. She looked up at me with indignation. "Console him? Seriously?" I looked at her, puzzled at what her problem was with me saying that. "I don't even know what that word means... but seriously?" "Great" I said, "Now I'm going to have to add THAT to my blog."]

Speaking of Abbey... last week we were watching Nashville Star and it was showing the audition process and all the different types of people who try to make it through. It started showing various military men and Abbey got really emotional when one didn't make it through. Abbey said "Oh, I feel so sorry for the soldiers who DON'T make it – it must be heartbreaking. I mean, they just came from a heartbreaking war and then come back HERE and get their heart broken!" This was said with much angst and drama.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

My kids strike again...

Just today I braved three separate stores with three kids in tow for 4 hours... looking for the elusive swimsuit that would miraculously make me look like a size 2... ah heck, who am I kidding? I'd take any other size at this point.

My kids behaved so well that I decided they must have been in shock having seen me in various stages of contortion while trying on suits.

To reward them, I took them swimming for several hours to cap off the day.

My oldest, Abbey, looked at me at one point and asked if i ever wore a bikini (in stark contrast to the MUMU I currently opted for). I answered "Oh, yeah... before I had kids."

Her answer? "Oh, so WE made you fat?" The minute the words were out of her mouth, she recanted with "Not that you are fat now, mama. Really. Seriously. You look good."

Out of the mouth of babes.


The other day, Abbey and I were cooking breakfast together and she used a word that startled me - only because I couldn't figure out how she even new the meaning of it. I asked her how she knew what that meant and she said "because I just listen to it". She went on to add "It's just like in the 'Nancy Drew' movie... I knew that 'sleuthing' had to mean 'solving a mystery'."


Lincoln has pretty much cracked me up all summer so far. Today, while I was shopping for swimsuits, I mentioned out loud that I might need a bigger size in one of the prospects and Lincoln looked around in surprise and said "Why, mama? You're not bigger - you're little!"

As we entered the last store for the day, I bypassed the shopping stroller because I just wanted to hurry but Lincoln protested that he wanted one. I said nah, to just come on... but he stopped and looked at me with the most confused look in his BIG brown eyes and said "But, mama, it's me, Lincoln! I'm your baby boy!" Of course, I had to turn around and get him one. I'm a sap.

Lastly for Lincoln today: While we were in the pool, he kept coming up and kissing me and doing something else that felt strange to my face. I said "Lincoln, what ARE you doing?" He responded very matter-of-factly "I'm licking your nose." WHY??? "Because it's delicious!" Okkkkaaaayyy.


Luke is a man/child of few words. It's his actions that crack me up. He is really into his hair right now, and has spent many, many minutes combing it down onto his forehead into a rather odd style. We noticed just lately that there is a HUGE chunk of his hair MISSING from the middle of his bangs. When asked if he cut his hair, he responded with an all-too-fast "NO!" like we were insane to even ponder such a thought. I took him and Lincoln to get their hair cut today because it was wet with sweat just walking from the van to the store. He was a perfect angel the entire time his hair was getting cut and as soon as it was over he stared at his hair and face for quite a long time, turning from right to left and really inspecting it. He kept trying in vain to smooth the inch or so of hair he had left down onto his forehead. After a few vain attempts, he finally turned to me and proclaimed "Mom, I don't like my hair like this. Can we just put it back on?" :)


I feel like I am leaving a lot out, but it's late and this will have to do. 8, 6 and 4 are the best ages. I really wish I could freeze them like this.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More Deep Thoughts by Abbey

I was tucking Abbey into bed the other night and as we laid there, she said "Mom, is global warming real?"

I was a little caught off-guard by this question for several reasons. First, I've been a little too busy to even give it much thought (sorry to all of my tree-hugging friends)... and second, it was a particularly chilly day and the last thing on my mind was global warming.

I said "Well, they do say the iceburgs are melting at an alarming rate of speed..."

To which Abbey got a dramatic look (is there another one?) on her face and replied "Oh, no, those poor Polar Bears! They are my favorite Arctic animal... well, except for the Arctic Wolf."


That was, amazingly, the end of our discussion.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Negativity, part 2

I think I'm almost over it, but the fact remains that I am still observing people I love (as brothers/sisters in Christ) just ensnared in the grip of negativity and I'm so saddened about it. At first, I was angry. Angry because the negativity came out in a very ugly, hurtful way... and let's just face it - I'm human. It's not like I'm Iron Man... or Woman. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is a load of crap. But then I just became sad because these people are really the ones being hurt by their own inability to see things on a larger scope.

Anyway, I've been really studying the Word and seeking God on how I need to respond to this. Regardless of how other people chose to think or act, I have a responsibility to respond in a godly manner.

I listened to a teaching by Brian Houston (whom I respect highly) on negativity, and here's what I got from it:

1) Negative people are actually unhappy with their own life. There is obviously something going on underneath that would make someone incapable of seeing the good in something. Matthew 12:34 says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. If you find yourself constantly rolling your eyes and finding something negative in the things around you, I'd be wiling to bet that you are just generally unhappy and dissatisfied with your own life.

2) People who are negative will ALWAYS think they are right. They can't even fathom the possibility that they are wrong. Proverbs 16:2 says that "all a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord."

3) Negativity breeds negativity. My grandfather always said "if you mess with poop, you're gonna get it on ya." Basically I think what he was saying is that if you surround yourself with people (or even A PERSON) with a negative nature or someone that leans toward the negative, you are going to pick up that nature! Proverbs 13:20 says that he who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. I think when the Word speaks of fools in this context, it might be a self-righteous meaning. ???

4) Negativity distorts the truth. My son Luke will often get in a bad mood and make statements such as "No one loves me. Everyone hates me. This is not a good family." Now, first of all these are NOT true statements! Everyone loves Luke and we are a good family. And usually it's not long before he will recant his statements and apologize and give everyone hugs. Ah, if only it was like that with adults! It's too often that we get cranky or in bad moods and then the next thing you now, we're seeing things through a CLOUD of falsehood.

Which brings me to the last thing:
5) Negativity makes uninformed, dumb judgments. I know of someone recently who decided to make a judgment against someone else... and then decided to become OFFENDED based on the judgment he had made. It really was a very general, rash judgment that did not take into account any investigative or supportive proof. He just decided he wanted to be mad about something and so he was. He then allowed this offense to fester and take root and cloud his views on other things. Did he take his offense to the person who supposedly offended him? No. He just talked about it to other people. To make a long story short, it turns out that once he finally did talk about it to the right people, they were able to explain the other person's actions and shed a completely different light on it. See what I'm saying? Instead of choosing grace and compassion and being open to the possibility that there might be more to it than what he was seeing, he chose to make a harsh judgment.

So then what do we do? My answer right now is the answer I've been handing out like candy. "Think thankful thoughts." It's so simple, yet so profound. 1 Peter 1:13 says [ Be Holy ] Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Grace has been given to us by God. Let's pay it forward.

Friday, May 16, 2008

10th anniversary!

Wow - I can't believe it's been 10 years!!! Sometimes it seems like only yesterday and other times, it seems like we've been together a lifetime. I honestly can't remember what it was like to NOT be married to Aaron. We have melded out lives into one life so seamlessly that even our memories seem weird without the other one.

A lot has happened to us in 10 short years. I'll recap the highlights:

1998 - married after 8 months of dating (with one big breakup) and 6 months of being engaged. Pastored the Jr. High Youth Group at Cornerstone. Went on a mission trip 3 weeks after our wedding.

1999 - Got "Nash", our beagle puppy on our 1 year anniversary. Decided to move to Texas to start a church with Pastor John & Melissa. Not long after, we found out we were pregnant with our first baby! Moved to Texas in November of that year - I was about 4.5 months pregnant.

2000 - Started Hope Fellowship - had our first service in January... our grand opening service on Palm Sunday. On Easter morning at 5:33am, I had Abbey, our first baby! We lived on a farm out in the middle of nowhere in a farmhouse Aaron's grandfather built. It was rough, but we had some good memories there! When Abbey was 5 months old, we moved into Frisco to be closer to the church.

2001 - Found out we were pregnant again! Went through Sept. 11th with the rest of the world...

2002 - Gave birth to Luke on the first day of Spring!

2003 - Felt God moving us back to TN to resume our pastoral duties at Cornerstone. A few weeks after making the decision to move, we found out we were pregnant with Lincoln!!! We moved to Hendersonville with an almost 3 yr old, a 1 yr old, and me 9 weeks pregnant. In September, Aaron's father passed away. 3 weeks later, his grandmother, Ama, passed away. About a week after that, Lincoln was born, very very ill. Lincoln was in and out of the hospital for the next 5 months. Abbey was 3.5 and Luke was 1.5.

2004 - We tried to breathe in and out while Aaron pastored a large youth group and Lincoln recovered and Abbey and Luke grew.

2005 - Left Cornerstone to start Sumner Life in Gallatin! We had been married almost 7 years - had 3 kids and had pastored at 3 churches. Whew. In August of this year, my father passed away. Abbey started kindergarten.

2006 - I don't even remember this year. What happened? We pastored Sumner Life and raised our kids! Seriously, that's all I remember. Oh! My brother got married and Aaron's mom moved to Hendersonville, just down the road from us to help us with the kids. Oh, and we lost our youth pastor amidst much controversy. But, we gained David and Margie - thank you, Jesus.

2007 - Another year of raising 3 beautiful kids and pastoring a church-plant. Luke started kindergarten. At the end of the year, my mom had quadruple-bypass heart surgery.

2008 - And here we are! We merged with the Hope Center Fellowship in February after 1 short month of "negotiations", ha ha. Luke just turned 6 - Abbey just turned 8 - Lincoln is 4.5. Aaron and I have been married for 10 years! It's been a wild, wonderful ride... and I look forward to the rest of it.

I love you, Aaron! I can't imagine my life without you!!!
(I'll try to add some wedding pictures later!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008



I wrote a brilliant (tee hee) blog on negativity and the effects of it's poison. It disappeared.

I am painfully observing the ugly grasp of negativity in some people's lives right now. It would be fascinating if it wasn't so sad.

I'm of the notion that Jesus is enough - that you don't need theatrics, pep rallies or shenanigans.

Life is so much better when you walk in thankfulness instead of always looking around at what could be different or better. Be gracious. Be compassionate. Be thankful.

Jesus is enough.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Easter Weekend '08

We laughed, we cried, we got Toilet Papered. All in all, it was a great weekend of remembering what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross and out of the grave!!!! We were so blessed to have Scott, Shelby, Austin and Denton in town from Texas to have fun with us!!!

Here is a little recap of the weekend: (You might have to pause it and go through manually to read the captions - sorry!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Our trip to Sea Island, GA

Aaron and I had the blessing of spending a few days in Sea Island and St. Simons Island, GA with some other ministers to learn about the need in the country of Angola in Africa. It was a missions fundraiser of sorts, where emerging leaders could learn from more established leaders.

We were so excited to be able to spend some time with Pastor John and Melissa and Nick & Kim Serban. It was HARD to leave our babies... in fact, here's what they looked like on our way to drop them off with Mimi:
Abbey was especially thrilled... not.

We were sent information ahead of time about how nice the resort would be... but we honestly had no idea! As soon as we walked in, a butler was waiting for us in the lobby and greeted us by name. I guess when we had gotten our parking pass, they had called up to the Lodge and alerted them we were coming.

We were taken to our room by Tim, our butler. (Yes, our own butler!) He was excellent. He very pleasantly showed us around our room and told us that even though it was past the deadline (we got in around 11pm!!!), he could bring us some warm cookies and milk!
(You can't see the cookies, but OH were they good!)

Our room was INCREDIBLE. Feather beds and down comforters. Our butler opened the door to our balcony when we got there to let us hear how close we were to the water - we could hear the waves hitting the shore! Our bathroom was awesome. Huge walk-in shower, full tub, heated towel rack and heated mirror. Speaker system so you can still hear the TV. Our own bathrobes and slippers. Huge TV WITH TiVo!!!

As we woke up, I snapped a few pictures in the daylight:

The view outside our room was amazing:

That first day, I was able to go to the Spa and relax and get the best massage of my life. The Spa wasn't just any old spa. Oh, no. It was a 65,000 sq ft. monster of amazing proportions! Phuong was my massage technician. Here are some artsy pictures I took of the spa:

The next day (while the men were golfing - again), Melissa and Kim and I went to lunch at Sweet Mama's and then to see the Lighthouse.

As soon as we parked the car and walked toward the water, I saw something with a fin come up out of the water! I gasped and said "I just saw a shark!" The girls laughed at me and right after that a man walked by and said "You better get your camera ready - the dolphins are out" There were dolphins everywhere! We watched them come up in perfect synchronicity. It was such a neat moment. Neptune Park is the place where the lighthouse and dolphins were.

After this, we dropped Kim off for her Spa treatment and Melissa and I just drove around and saw the sights. Some of what we saw:

Later, after the guys finished golfing Aaron and I went out to where the majestic 150+ yr old oak trees line the entrance to The Lodge.

Aaron proves that he was still working, even though we were out of town!

The last night we were there, Aaron was really tired after playing golf the whole time and learning more about missions... but I was a little wired. Thankfully, I had remembered to TiVo American Idol, so I was able to watch it and write on my other blog about it!

All in all, this trip couldn't have come at a better time for us. The last 3 months have been wonderful with the merge and everything... but nothing if not stressful, ya know?

I am so glad to be back home... but found myself wondering where my butler is!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sometimes it snows in April... er, March

Some 20-odd years ago, I was moderately obsessed with the artist formerly known as the artist whose name was formerly a sign and is now Prince again. Or, just Prince if you're nasty.

He was (and still is) so talented and mysterious and even though he was a bit raunchy at times, I was just enthralled with his music. Always the reclusive eccentric, at one point in the late 80's, early 90's, he was asked a question about his next album. In true Prince form, he mysteriously answered "Sometimes it snows in April." And that was that. No further explanation. He left us wondering what the crap that meant, if ANYTHING. The answer really had nothing to do with the question. But, it made many of us try to figure it out.

Strangely enough, the following year it DID snow in April, by golly. Weirrrrrrrd. That didn't happen very often back then, I remember.

So, what? you ask.

Here's what.

It's due to snow a bunch tonight. Normally the snow skirts right around us here in the Tennessee Valley. In the 10 years I've lived here, we've maybe had 3 or 4 BIG snows. (By big I'm talking more than a dusting.) Or maybe we've had more than that and I've simply ignored them because I don't like snow. That's right. If I'm prepared and can sit inside by the fire and not have to go out AT ALL, it's fine. But I absolutely do not appreciate getting out in it. I'm weird, I suppose. I just don't like being cold. It drives me crazy.

So, all the fuss and hubbub surrounding this snow reminds me of a really big snow we had here in Tennessee shortly after I first moved here in 95 or 96. I was single back then and hardly ever bought groceries. However, I had left work for the day and decided to stop at the store and get some essentials before going to my apartment. I walked into this place called Super1 Foods in Madison. It was one of those Warehouse stores that had gobs and gobs of stuff for cheap, but you didn't have to have a membership.

Anyway, I walked in and went straight back to the bread (so that half the loaf could mold since I was single, but was only .45) and much to my surprise the ENTIRE bread shelf was EMPTY! The snow hadn't even gotten there yet and people had completely cleaned out the bread aisle! The milk was the same, I later found out. But standing there by the bread aisle was a lady. She was giggling to herself and taking pictures of the empty bread aisle. Really. Maybe she was mentally disturbed, I don't know.

So today I had to go to Wal-Mart because I had been putting it off all week. It was a madhouse of people stocking up on food as though there was no hope of leaving their house for days. Thankfully I didn't need bread or milk. Whew!

Going back to Prince. He actually later wrote a song on his Parade album entitled "Sometimes It Snows in April". It's a beautiful ballad - very simple with some crazy jazz chords stuck in. There is a line in the song that makes so much sense to me in regards to my previous blog about Seasonal Depression:

Springtime was always my favorite time of year,
A time 4 lovers holding hands in the rain
Now springtime only reminds me of Tracy's tears
Always cry 4 love, never cry 4 pain

Fall was always my favorite time of year. Especially October. Ahhh, my favorite month. In recent years, though, I have felt as though I cannot enjoy October because it's over before I realize it was here (due to my freakishly early SAD appearance). Now, Fall seems to only remind me of the painful things we've experienced in the past 4 years of Falls. (grammer?) Which tells me that I need to get busy making THIS Fall (yes, I realize it's only March and I have some time before Fall gets here) the best ever, full of NEW memories that will take the place in my mind of the more painful ones.

Always cry for love, never for pain.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Just saving the world...

Ever have that feeling that someone is watching you? Even writing about it makes me want to break out in Michael Jackson's classic line "I always feel like... somebody's watching me!" Who was that guy he sang that song with? Normally I would look it up, but now I'm too lazy...

Anyway, I was sitting at my dining room table working on the computer a few afternoon's ago. I had that strange sensation someone was looking at me. Sure enough, as I lifted my eyes ever so slightly to the top of the stairs, here is what I saw:
This is my son Spiderman... I mean, Lincoln. As I burst out laughing, Lincoln jerked the mask off of his face and said these words (which made me laugh even harder):

"What??? I'm just Spiderman! I'm just saving the world."

Now, these pictures were taken with my cellphone camera because I was afraid if I ran to get my camera he would leave.

My little man - so brave. So funny. Gee, he's just saving the world. All in a day's work.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The end of S A D ness...

Every year I'm surprised by it, and yet every year it's the same.

Sometime between September and January is my death. (It depends on what kind of year I'm having. Bear with me.)

But March 1st is my resurrection.

I tend to suffer from something called Seasonal Affective Disorder... or SAD as "they" like to call it. This is a condition where your brain (particularly your hypothalamus, which controls mood, energy, etc.) is affected by a lack of sunlight. In some people, it is worse than others. I'm one of those people.

Some common symptoms of SAD are:

* Depression
* Hopelessness
* Anxiety
* Loss of energy
* Social withdrawal
* Oversleeping
* Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
* Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
* Weight gain
* Difficulty concentrating and processing information

Yep, that's me in a nut shell. The first time I experienced it was in January of either 96 or 97. I woke up the first Sunday or the year and felt paralyzed with the thought of walking out of my apartment door. I just couldn't do it.

When we lived in Texas, my condition wasn't as bad - and especially when I was pregnant for some reason. I never had it when I was pregnant. Hmmm.

The worst experience I ever had with it was the year after we moved back here to Tennessee from Texas. See, TN is situated very near the time change "border", so it gets dark here WAY earlier than a lot of places in the Central Time Zone. Texas is further away from the Central Time Zone line, and as such gets more sunlight.

Anyway, the year we moved back to Tennessee, several things happened in the Fall of that year. I believe I have blogged about this many times before but I'll quickly repeat it. In September of that year (2003) Aaron's dad passed away rather unexpectedly. I was pregnant with Lincoln and Shelby was pregnant with the twins. A month after that, Aaron's grandmother passed away. Then, of course, 3 weeks after that, Lincoln was born and that was a nightmare. He was so sick he almost died and ended up spending weeks in the hospital and had to be fed by a feeding tube for 5 months. It was a LOT to handle, on top of full-time ministry and 2 other lively children.

ANYWAY... we made it through that year - if you can call it "making it through" considering I was pretty much in a fog. BUT, when the next September rolled around, I began to slip into a downward spiral. I couldn't get enough sleep - during the day - and couldn't sleep at night. I couldn't remember what month or season it was. I would catch myself putting the cereal in the fridge, leaving water running, etc. All the while, my own dad was in the process of dying from the effects of early-onset of Alzheimer's.

I couldn't understand why this was happening at this time of year - whatever time of year it was since I couldn't grasp the concept of what time of year it was. Finally, I went to the doc and told him I thought I had a brain tumor or was dying of something horrible. He figured out that I was experiencing SAD, just earlier because of everything that had happened the previous year during the same months. Crazy!

But there is good news, boys and girls.

Something happens to me on March 1st. I come back to life! It's wonderful!!! It's like turning on a light switch. I don't know that it's always been March 1st, but for the past 3 or 4 years it has been. What is so weird is that when I'm under the effects of SAD, I have the hardest time keeping up with what month, day, etc. it is. But then, one day I feel myself feeling REALLY good... and then that feeling lasts for more than 24 hours and that makes me take notice and look at the calendar and - ALAS! - it's March 2 or 3!!!

SO, I'm really happy right now. It's March and I've come out of my seasonal coma. The sun is coming back to me and I love it. I'm going to try and make the absolute most of this year. I will have to say that this past season has been the TAMEST I've had in many years. I attribute that to all the festivities surrounding the merging of Sumner Life with the Hope Center Fellowship. The more I'm busy, the less I have time to wallow in my dumps. However, it's a vicious cycle because the dumps usually sneak up on me and take over before I have a chance to defend myself.

Now, I DO want to add that I absolutely put my faith and trust in God and I know that He has the ability to remove this from my life. And I believe that will happen. I will overcome this. But until then, He will sustain me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

American Idol Season 7 blog...

I have a new blogspot dedicated strictly to Season 7 of American Idol. Yes, I am that serious about it. Ha!

Here is the link:

Monday, February 18, 2008


We had the best day today. Aaron had the day off. The kids had the day off. So, we headed downtown and went wherever the crazy wind took us and goofed off. It was so much fun!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I'm not an accident-prone person, really I'm not. And after giving birth to 3 babies, I'd like to think I'm a pretty tough gal. But what I experienced today turned me into a blubbering cry-baby!

So, here's the deal: I was bringing 2 baskets of dirty clothes down from the upstairs to the laundry area. I was SUPER-careful while going down the stairs with the baskets. Once I hit the bottom floor, however, I turned toward the kitchen area and picked up the pace. To my right in the area going from my dining room to my kitchen is a wall with a chair-rail.

Exhibit A:(Notice I broke part of the chair-rail!)


I apparently did not leave myself enough room on that side and I hit that corner with the tip of my pinky to where it got wedged between the rubbermaid laundry basket and the edge of the chair-rail. I hit hard enough that it bounced me backward.

I dropped the laundry and grabbed my hand and started pacing back and forth. People, I'm being serious when I say that I momentarily lost my breath. I was afraid to look at my finger because in my mind, the pain was the equivalent to my pinky being ripped off. Seriously.

With what little breath I had left, I yelled for Abbey - my sweet, smart baby girl! She ran down and saw me holding my hand up to my chest and thought I was having a heart-attack!!! My poor baby was so scared! She ran around trying to find the phone and I told her to call Aaron and tell him I broke my finger and to come home. I wanted him to look at it for me, because I was too scared to.

Abbey handled it like a pro. All three kids began to cry and I finally looked at my finger. Ah, it was still in tact! But, bloodied. At first glance, I saw that my fingernail had been ripped away from the nail bed from the inside corner to about halfway across my nail. Yuck, I know.

Within what seemed like seconds, my mother-in-law appeared at our door - Aaron had called her because she was closer! She helped to calm the kids down and I tried to run cold water over my finger, which really hurt the nail bed which was exposed!

This happened 5 hours ago and my finger is still throbbing to beat the band. I can bend it, so if anything is actually broken, it's at the very tip. I don't even know if that's possible, but if it is then I'm sure that's what has happened.

Here is a picture of what my non-injured pinky looks like:


And here are some pictures of my injured pinky:


It looks like my thumb!!!


So, I'm gonna live. Of course, I WAS going to audition for America's Got Talent next week and play piano and sing... and that is in serious doubt at this point. Man, I really wanted to meet "The Hoff", too. ;-)