Even on the most difficult of days.

Battles y’all… they are so real….and so brutal. This year was supposed to be so much better than last year. It had to be. Unfortunately,  It has already had its share of ups and downs.

This past Wednesday was exceptionally difficult. When you feel like you are barely keeping everything balanced as is, and then you have a moment (or in my case, a morning) where multiple things crash down at one time. One bump in the road, I can handle. In fact, I am getting pretty good at it. But man, it was like I was walking through a minefield. Every text…every call….was something else that was going wrong. It was a retreat back to my room and put schoolwork on hold cause I need to pray and cry for a while kinda morning.

Otis and I were both just overwhelmed. We knew that we needed to have faith, but when everything seems to be crashing down in a very real way….that’s a hard thing to actually do.

Of course this happens on a Wednesday. A day when we are supposed to be preparing for a service that night. It always seems that the hardest battles show themselves on Wednesdays.

My original plan was to come to the church early that day. We had a list of things to do for the ministries that we are in charge of, not to mention preparing for our upcoming Easter event. After about an hour of my meltdown, things did not seem any better. I called Otis and changed our plans. I told him that I honestly didn’t even feel like coming that day at all.

Part of being a family that works hard at ministry together, means that we all have jobs to do and we work together to make things happen. As much as I would have liked to crawl back under my comforter on Wednesday morning and not face anything, the bottom line was that Allie had a job to do. So, we went to the church as planned. I got busy with my list. Even if life isn’t fair or working out, I can still busy myself to get things done. I know that when God told me to quit my job, that there was ministry for me to do…I know that it was His voice. I have not taken a single moment for granted. I know that it is a huge blessing that I have been able to spend the past couple of years working along side Otis. To have the freedom to homeschool our kids and have the freedom to spend time during the week helping  my husband- that’s a big deal to me. HUGE. To be able to serve beside him and not only help, but be present at every single event has meant so much to me.

The thought of my schedule changing and not having that freedom anymore is nauseating. Seriously.

Wednesday I was able to mark almost everything off of my to do list. Service time rolled around and students started arriving. Checking in on their school week and sports activities was a great distraction.

Worship time rolled around and I felt like doing anything other than singing and actually worshiping. I was all cried out.

In that moment when I had an awful, difficult, lousy day…I chose to worship anyway. I chose to raise my hands. More now than ever, I need to surrender completely to God. He has me. Even on the most difficult of days, He is more worthy than I could ever fathom.

I was determined that Thursday would be better. It was. God showed up in our situation and proved, once again, His faithfulness. The difference between 10:30 AM on Wednesday and 10:30AM on Thursday was mind-blowing.

No matter what you might be going through today. Choose to make that choice to worship. Your emotions and thoughts might not always line up, but making that choice is the first step to change your point of view.

Even on the most difficult of days, He is worthy.





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Keep On Trying

Hello everyone! Today is what I am calling a catch up day! It is a birthday week at our house- our sweet Allie turns 14 on Saturday! (Unbelievable!!) Her grandparents took her shopping and out to lunch yesterday for her birthday. That was a great surprise and a wonderful afternoon for them and her. So, yesterday we only finished about 75% of our school day. Which is fine…. I mean, flexibility is our greatest perk of homeschooling!

Today our goals are to finish up the work from yesterday, we are having a special unit study with projects on the Winter Olympics (Gary is suddenly very into this?). We also have to go to the bookstore for a new book for Allie’s Literature course.

On a side note, Allie opened her very own Etsy shop this week for her artwork. She has already received two orders, so finalizing and shipping those is also on our list for the day.

It is so easy to put so much pressure on ourselves and get buried in to-do lists, emails, work, school, church, life….

When we get overwhelmed in our schedule, we tend to get snappy with people. Usually, it’s those people closest to us.

I’ve learned that it is vital to our family that we plan on catch up days sometimes.

Everyday can be so packed with ministry that we forget to take time just having a relationship with Christ.

If you read my New Years post, then you know that one of my goals was to read my entire Bible this year. I have always been pretty transparent that Bible reading is/was one of my personal struggles. I have no problem reading devotions or Christian books. I can study to prepare for a series or service- no big deal! The thing that gets me is just the day to day reading of the actual Bible. Like, not in a devotion form. Maybe I’m not supposed to admit that out loud- you know, with the whole pastor’s wife thing…. but this is me. When I do just read the Bible on it’s own, I default to New Testament or Proverbs. When was the last time that I just opened and read Leviticus? So that is why I started a read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan this year.

I was so excited and started out so strong! I was keeping up with my plan and daily reading. I felt accomplished! Then I got a little behind…. then I was scared to even open the page in fear of how many days I might be behind. I gathered the strength to just face it… I mean geez, it’s only February… how bad could it be!?!?

12 Days.

I was 12 days behind in my plan!

Now I feel like a slacker. See, I’ve still been reading the Bible in my other devotion, but I had fallen behind in this particular plan. 12 days isn’t too bad, but it still would’ve been real easy to just shake it off and try again next year.

Is that what the Lord wants from me?

Of course not! He gives mercy and grace. He wants my effort, not my perfection. So guess what… I’m still reading my entire Bible this year! I’m going to do a little extra reading each day to get caught up. I’m going to be mindful of opening that plan when I have extra time here and there, instead of scrolling through IG.

I’m going to keep trying and pushing toward my goal.

Isn’t that what Christianity is all about anyway? Striving to be like Jesus. And when we mess up… getting back up and trying again!

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The Voice of God

Today is our son’s ninth birthday. I can’t think about this day too much without thinking about part of my testimony. You read about people “hearing the voice of God”, but most of us have never heard that actual, audible voice.

I have. Once.

It all has to do with our son. Before I dive into that…I need to give you a little back story.

Gary was the son that we prayed for. We already had an amazing daughter that we loved so much. She was three years old and we felt like we were ready to add another child to our family. We had no problem getting pregnant with her. We struggled with Gary. After almost a year, we finally had a positive test. We were so excited. We made the next available appointment that the doctor had, which happened to be a day when Otis was at work. I told him it was fine. I had been through this before. All of the home tests were positive, so I’d go in, they’d congratulate me and send me home with a blurry picture with an arrow pointing to a little spot that said ‘baby’. Then we could tell family and friends. The only problem was when I went in, that isn’t what happened at all.

They pulled the ultrasound wand out and circled all around my stomach. They went round and round. Then they called for another doctor to come in. I am laying there panicked….vulnerable….and alone.

The silence was broken by the doctor telling me that she was so sorry. She told me that I had absolutely been pregnant, however that it appeared that I had lost the baby. There was no heartbeat.  She told me that perhaps I had my dates wrong for my last period and that I wasn’t as far along as I should have been. My dates were not wrong. We had been trying to get pregnant for almost a year. I was recording those dates meticulously. I felt so broken in that moment. I thought why in the world would God allow us to get pregnant if we were just going to lose the baby?? The doctor told me that I had more than likely lost the baby, but that there was a small chance that everything was fine and that the projected dates were incorrect. She told me that I needed to make another appointment the next week to see if the ultrasound looked any different.

I left that office a mess. I was hysterical. This was not how I thought my day was going to go. Otis did his best reassure me that God has a plan. That was so hard to listen to, much less believe. We only told two people and asked them to pray. Going through normal routines and motions during that week was torture. Nobody at my work knew, no one at church knew…no family members knew….people interacted with us all week long having no idea what we were battling through.

Otis went with me to that next appointment. We went in dreading what we might hear. Then it happened- that same ultrasound wand went round and round my stomach again, but this time there WAS a heartbeat! The wave of relief was unexplainable. We thanked God for preserving this little life.

Everything was fine and normal with my pregnancy, well as normal as a pregnancy can be.

One Wednesday afternoon on our way to church when I was about six months along, we were involved in a car crash. A driver didn’t even look and attempted to pull across a four lane highway. We were going the normal speed and had no time to stop. The impact was hard enough that the airbags were deployed. It was scary for sure. After getting checked out, we were assured that our baby was just fine.

About a month after the car accident, I was at work on a Saturday afternoon.  I had been having some pain in my stomach, but I didn’t want to ask to leave work. I didn’t want it to look like I was just trying to get out of there early to start my weekend. My plan was to push through the couple of hours that I had left, go pick up our daughter, and then I could go home and get in bed. I left at my normal time, but I didn’t know what was wrong and in fact I wasn’t sure that I could drive home. I called Otis and told him that I didn’t think I could go get Allie. I was crying and told him the pain was pretty intense and escalating quickly.  I remember telling him that I didn’t know what was wrong, but that I was sure I was fine and there was no reason to panic. I went home, curled up on our bed and cried in pain. All I could do was pray in between the cries. The pain was worse then what I remembered labor being.  The only thought that was racing through my mind was that this must be what it feels like to have a miscarriage. I was so scared that I was going to lose him. I wasn’t home long when I heard our front door unlock. Otis had left his job early and come home to check on me. He immediately helped me up and told me that he was taking me to the hospital. We ended up spending the weekend there. They told me that I had an severe bladder infection. They watched the baby and me over the next couple of days and then sent me home with some medication. I was fine after that, but man was it painful!

Some time passed and we welcomed a beautiful baby boy to our family. We are so thankful for Gary. Life was wonderful. We were settling into our routine as a family of four. Allie was obsessed with her sweet little brother and was such an amazing little helper. I started new hours at work and was able to be with the kids during the day. Otis was just hired as the full-time youth pastor at our church. We were excited for this new chapter. I remember that it was our first Wednesday night after our hiring. This was the night of our first official youth service. We were in the upstairs youth room setting up and getting ready a couple of hours before service. We were each working on different things. Allie was playing. We had 11 month old Gary laying on a blanket in the middle of the room, so that we could both keep our eye on him. He seemed to be content playing with his toys. We were both working in different areas of the room and Gary was right in the middle of the two of us. He was away from everything- we thought we had picked a pretty safe spot. I was looking down at a piece of paper and heard a thud. My head shot up and I locked eyes with Otis across the room. We looked down- Gary was gone. We heard another thud as we raced to the stairwell. I had only looked away for what seemed like a second. Gary wasn’t even walking yet. He had scooted across that room so fast and fallen down a flight of stairs. I can still see in my mind the sight of his little body laying face down at the bottom of the steps. I raced down to him and scooped him up. He was screaming, his head was swollen and already purple. Otis was right behind me calling 911. The operator told us not to pick him up, but we told her that we already had. She told us that an ambulance was on the way and that we needed to keep him as still as possible. We strapped him in his car seat, thinking that would be that best way to keep him still and waited on the EMS. The ambulance arrived and transported Gary to the emergency room. The doctor came in and checked him out. He was too young to do a CT…his brain was still developing so much. They examined him and physically he seemed to be fine. Another wave of relief washed over us. We barely had time to exhale, before the doctor started his next paragraph. He told us that he would not be able to guarantee that there wouldn’t be mental or developmental issues down the road. We would just have to wait and see.  We pushed those thoughts out of our mind and focused on the fact that our baby boy was ok.

We never really had any other conversations about possible problems with Gary, but the words that the doctor said echoed in my mind constantly. I was home all day with the kids and worked at night, so there was no time to have a  break down. My time to myself was on my way home in the middle of the night. My shift ended at 3AM, I had a 45 minute commute home, and everyone in my house would be asleep when I got there so no one would see my puffy face or my tear stained cheeks. I cried- not a soft, whimpering cry. It was coming from a place deep in my heart where I had tried to bury it. I worried about the unknown. What if he never talked? Or wasn’t able to  learn at the normal rate? What if we took him to the hospital that night and he was fine, but he really wasn’t? I wrestled with these fears and thoughts for weeks. I cried every single night. I asked God why. I tried to pray through it. I talked to God between my sobs. It was becoming my norm. I balled my eyes out every single night my entire drive home. I blamed myself and felt so much guilt. One night ( I could show you the exact section of road I was driving over when this happened), I was pleading with God. I was asking Him what in the world we were going to do if something was wrong with our son. Then I was trying to ‘pray my way through’. I was trying to reason with myself and my thoughts. I said out loud ‘he’s going to be ok…you kept him safe when he fell down those 18 stairs.” In that moment in the darkness on the interstate, I was alone in my car. The radio was off. It was just me and my cries. I heard a voice. It startled me. I jumped as my head spun around and looked over at the empty passenger seat.  The voice said, “Of course I kept him safe. I kept him safe on those stairs and I kept him safe when you were in the hospital, just like I kept him safe when you were in the car wreck. I am keeping him safe….just like when the doctors told you that he had died and you weren’t pregnant any more. I kept him safe. He is my child, too. I have plans for him”

Insert lots of goosebumps right here.

I had spent weeks wallowing in the what if’s of the situation. I had no reason to let my thoughts consume me. Gary was acting normal. He was learning and moving and playing like normal. But in my secret place, it was eating me alive.

Today that little boy turns nine. He loves Legos, playing video games, and Pokémon. He is a math whiz and loves reading, as long as he can choose the book. He is the comedian of our family. The kids is hilarious! His timing is just something else! He loves Jesus and hates to work! haha! His imagination is astronomical. He can make believe with anything and creates all kinds of games.

We love this kid immensely. He is 100% boy and keeps us on our toes. He is going 90mph from sun up to late into the night. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

I often think about that night in my car. I think about how God loves us so much. I think about how Gary is my child, but he is God’s child too! He must have some amazing plans for this kid! I mean, I trust that the Lord has awesome plans for all of us….but to know that I heard an audible voice regarding my son. That is something that I never thought I would experience and will never forget.

I have thought about sharing this story numerous times before. Today felt right. I think his birthday was the perfect day to put all of this into writing.

God hears your cries and prayers- even if you are alone in the middle of the night on a dark highway. He has you in the palm of His hand and just like the song says..no power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand.

I hope that my story…our story….has blessed or encouraged you in some way tonight!


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Snow Days!!

This has been such a crazy couple of days!! We have had two full days of snowy fun, which in unheard of for Charleston!!

It was so much fun to be out in the snowfall. This was heavier than any that I had ever been in and it was fabulous! We had so much fun playing in it- the kids and dog loved it as well! It actually ‘snowed’ for several hours yesterday. We told our kids to enjoy every second, because it may be twenty years before they see it like this again!!

We had snowball fights and made snow cream! We were finally able to build a snowman today (since it started slowly melting and became slightly more of a wet snow). We named our snow lady Veronica and she might look pitiful… but we made memories that will last a lifetime!! If you go just a little into the woods behind our house, you will come to a small creek. We went back there twice to see how it looked in the snow and if it was frozen. The winter wonderland was so beautiful!

It was a lot of fun this morning when we first got up- we walked around the yard and could see all of the deer tracks in the snow!

We got out the kids boogie boards and slid down a ditch. We went for walks and have had two full days of family time! ❤️

I’m the type of person that can get very cold, very fast. So our outside time was frequently interrupted with breaks inside to ‘ thaw out’. But that’s ok!! We were able to get several episodes of The Flash in!

You could never stay in too long! I think we all knew how special it is to have snow like this in our area and didn’t want to risk missing out on too much!

Our sweet Jasper loved playing in the snow! When we took him in for breaks- he just wanted to come back out!

Tomorrow morning when we wake up, there will still be snow on the ground. We’ve told the kids that they can go out for a little bit in the morning, but then after that we are getting some school in!! As much as I love this snow! I feel like this right after Christmas break and all that our family has been through… I am ready for some sort of normalcy. I need routine!

I have enjoyed playing in the snow, no school, ignoring laundry, and making a big/late breakfast for my family… but in reality I know that’s not real life!

We are going to get up and savor a few more hours and then hopefully have a healthy dose of routine!!

Stay safe and enjoy the weather!! ❄️

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Goals, Goals, Goals

We have had quite a relaxing New Years Day around my house. We stayed up until midnight with the kids, drank some sparkling juice, and all crashed sometime around 1am. Allie had a friend stay the night, so I made sure to tell everyone that this morning was absolutely a sleeping in kinda morning! I got a new waffle maker for Christmas and have used it once already. I thought about being a picture perfect mom and waking up early to make everyone waffles. I changed my mind real quick. I slept in and then laid around watching tv and playing on my phone until about 10. I let everyone eat cereal or pastries for breakfast and starting making our big meal of the day. We had the traditional meal of fried pork chops, collards, hoppin johns, and cornbread. It has been a great day.

I am currently sitting here thinking about this coming year. Everyone has gone to bed at my house. Gary spent some of his Christmas money on a set of walkie -talkies. He gave one to his sister and he doesn’t quite grasp the concept that he doesn’t have to yell into them. It is quite entertaining!! 😂😂😂

This First day of the new year is symbolic- this is the day that people tend to set goals for themselves. We didn’t really talk about goals with Gary, since he is only 8. Allie did share some of her resolutions for the year and I am going to do my best to hold her accountable.

It is very easy to set big goals for yourself. Sometimes they are so big, that we quickly fall short and then just remove that goal from our radar completely. What a sad cycle!! I was thinking about the goals that I have for myself- I want to make them attainable. If that means starting out small and reevaluating in three months… so be it.

Why not take baby steps to have the best possible chance of success???

I wanted to share a few of my goals with you-

1) Bible Reading- I have always been very honest about this being an area that I struggle in. I can read devotions and verses no problem. I feel like I fall short with the diving in and really studying to go to a deeper level. I have no problem doing so when I am preparing to speak in Youth, but on a day to day basis… I’m not there. I also feel like I read chunks of verses with different devotionals throughout the year, but when was the last time that I read my Bible through completely? I started my Bible in one year plan today!

2) I want to grow. I want to grow my businesses. I want to grow my faith. I want to nurture my relationships. I want to be present. I tend to be like Martha who is busy with the details and not focused on the Lord right in front of her. I want to keep my focus in check.

3) I want to blog more faithfully. There have been many times this year that I thought about writing a post. I held back. Sometimes it was because I was busy, others because life wasn’t going too great and I didn’t want to sound depressing. When I go back and read my first post, I am reminded that God very clearly told me to start this blog. I need to be willing to be transparent in my struggles. My goal is to absolutely write more! (I’d love if you would subscribe! 😁)

4) I want to be a better mom. As a homeschool mom, sometimes it’s difficult to keep everything balanced. Add into that equation that we are also our kids pastors and it can make roles blurred. I attended a conference this year where a speaker shared about finding joy in your everyday. She shared about how you are going to want your children to want to come home for the holidays and visits later in life. I can’t live each day worried about completing a checklist as their teacher and never set aside time to just relax and be mom. So, my goal this year is to be “just mom” a little more!

I have several more, but I’m not going to bore you with all of the details. In a quick summary, I want to save more, give more to missions, and drink more water!!

I’m believing that my goals are attainable and that it is something that I can stick with! Like I said earlier, I can always reevaluate in three months and see where adjustments need to be made! Making small changes toward the better is certainly more rewarding than making no changes at all!!

What are your goals this year? Maybe you will inspire me??

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Good Riddance to you!

Happy New Years Eve!!

We are fighting the urge to curl up under the covers over here! It is cold outside!! I’m scared that if I get too warm and cozy, that I might fall asleep. It’s New Years Eve… I can’t fall asleep before midnight!! We are planning a festive evening of games, family time, some sparkling juice and watching the ball drop!

No matter how tired I feel right now, I have my coffee in hand and am so excited for these next few hours to pass! I cannot wait for this year to be over with!!

2017 has been a rough year for our family. I am so ready to tell it, “good bye and good riddance.” I would even be as bold to say that this has been the worst year of our lives. We have faced so many heartbreaking things- my husband lost his mother and his brother this year. We have dealt with sickness, hospital stays, planning funerals, and family drama. We have faced other, less painful, but still annoying issues during this year- a broken dryer, dead car batteries, financial stresses, and a broken dishwasher. Less than a week ago, the diamond fell out of my engagement ring and was lost. It has just been one thing after another. We have never faced a year with SO much in it.

This year has also been a year for growth. We have had experienced changes in our role in ministry. It has been an adjustment and a period of growth. He has taught us to lean on Him. He will guide and lead us, as long as we trust in Him.

We have to believe and trust that 2018 is going to be better. That this has all – as painful as it has been- is a part of God’s plan. These gut wrenching times have been stepping stones. God can use pain that the enemy puts us through for His good. That can be used for growth.

I still know the promises that I have had spoken to me from the Lord. I can look back in my journals and remember the excitement and hope in the future. Even though this year has pretty much sucked, I am choosing to hold on to those promises. Just because I haven’t seen them all come to pass yet, doesn’t mean that they aren’t. Maybe I just had some growing to do!! I have to cling to the hope that the best is yet to come. That tomorrow morning I will wake up and be able to take a deep breath, knowing that there is so much to look forward to. Even though the pain is still real and there is still healing to do, God has me. He sees right where I am on this journey and He will sustain me.

I am praying over myself this year- praying over my husband, children, church, family, dreams, finances, ministry…EVERYTHING!

I believe that 2018 is going to be the best ever. I am trusting for blessings, fulfilled promises, restoration, and peace.

I’m thankful that through Christ I have that hope!

Praying blessings over you in this New Year!

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Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving is behind us and all things are full speed ahead toward Christmas now….

It’s definitely my favorite time of the year. Before things get too hectic, I wanted to be sure and post a recap of our thanksgiving this year!

Our celebration always starts the night before. Our church never has service that night to allow the congregation time with -their family. The past I -don’t -even -know -how -many- years, we have opened our home to the youth group to just come relax and hang out. If you ask my family, apparently I turn into a bucket full of crazy before we host any event. It makes no difference if it is a Youth event, birthday party, or even just a simple dinner…. I always try to make our home look it’s best, meaning I always have a to do list. Our home is pretty small, but I love having people over. The ministry of hospitality was one of the things that the Lord really spoke to my heart when I left my full time job. I feel like I do have a knack for planning/preparing/hosting. Sometimes I let the size of the house stop me from opening it up to friends. God is reminding me that people are so often hurting- what really matters is the fact that you invite them and pour into their lives, no matter the menu or house size. It doesn’t all have to be pinterest perfect… just be authentic.

Anyways… not sure where all that came from…. back to our thanksgiving…

We loved having everyone over. We ended up with about 23 and enjoyed having a fire and oysters in the backyard. We had frogmore stew and chili ready in the house. Everyone just laughed and watched Christmas movies and had a great time. We spend so much time with these students every week, they are our family and we love them!

Thanksgiving is the one holiday that we stay home and don’t go anywhere. I involve my family in planning the menu and instead of choosing sides, they always choose the ‘all of the above’ option. We end up with a giant spread for only four people….but I always warn them that I am not cooking again until at least Monday!! 😂😂

This year we ended up with Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, potato salad, deviled eggs, and rolls. Wowzers! We also had a pecan silk pie, a caramel pie, and a pumpkin roll for dessert! Our fridge is so full of Tupperware containers that I was struggling for a place to put bottled water this morning! We had a fabulous day together! It always starts with lounging on the couch and watching the parade while going through the Black Friday ads in the paper! Since it is just the four of us, I don’t have any pressure as far as an eating time. We just eat whenever I get it all ready! My daughter came and helped in the kitchen some this year and also helped me set the table. We try and make it a special occasion- which means a nice table scape and I get out the gold silverware!

We have so much to be thankful for! Even when times are hard or we might find ourselves waiting on promises from God to be fulfilled, we can still rest in His faithfulness.

After we rested for a few hours, I got to take this beautiful girl out for a little Black Friday shopping!

We hit a few stores Thursday night and we’re back home before midnight. We crashed and slept in the next morning. We took our time getting ready and went back out to go to two more stores Friday! (Ya know I had to take a trip to Hobby Lobby)

The one thing that has been different this year is our Christmas decor. We usually buy our tree the day before Thanksgiving, so that it is ready to move in the house and decorate on Friday. The grocery store down the street from our house where we have bought our tree from for years did not have them this year. So, we ended up finally getting our tree from Lowes TODAY. That’s crazy to me! Usually our home is completely decorated and the tree is finished. Not true for this year! But, I do have the fall decor put away. Sticking to his Black Friday routine, my husband did get all of the outside lights put up! #waytogobabe

Although it might be weird for me to not have everything all set up, I am glad that we were able to find a tree today and am looking forward to decorating it (fingers crossed) tomorrow!

I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving and took a moment to recognize all the things in your life that you have to be thankful for! ❤️

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Weak Spots

What does that title mean to you? How would you define a weak spot?

I remember one day, we had a leak in our attic. The water was leaking and caused there to be a weak spot in our ceiling. When you looked at it, it looked almost the same as the rest of the ceiling. You couldn’t necessarily tell that it was a weak spot. You might have that suspicion, but nothing was absolute. Then my husband reached up and touched the weak spot…. his fingers went right through!! The area in our ceiling was so weak that the slightest bit of touch – not even necessarily pressure, but just the slightest touch- caused breakage.

I can relate to that hope in my ceiling quite a bit lately.

The enemy knows all about us. He is, after all a master deceiver. He knows what buttons to push to hurt us. He knows our fears.

If you have known me long or ever heard my testimony, then you know that I had quite an unhealthy relationship with my mother. One thing that I have always believed is that if you aren’t being a role model for someone to look up to, then you are probably giving them an example of what not to do. That is how I always felt- that I would never be like her. Having said that, motherhood has always been a dream of mine. I never had a vision of a certain career when I was in high school. All I knew was that I wanted a family. I wanted to be that mom that was driving the kids around and had snacks packed and great birthday parties.

I am so grateful for my two amazing children. I love them with my whole heart. I pray over them and can literally start crying by just thinking about how fabulous they are. When the Lord told me to leave my full time job, I was stepping into a realm that I had never known… being a stay at home mom. I am so thankful for this time in my life. Having the opportunity to spend every day with them and teach them, will always be the greatest honor of my life.

These times haven’t exactly been easy though.

We have faced death and drama in our extended family. We have faced the financial stresses of being a one income family. We have faced the challenges of having a teenager. We have faced the challenges of homeschooling.

We have faced them and by God’s grace we have made it through so far, but not perfectly. Some days are just plain hard. I’m not super proud to say that there has been moments of lost tempers and arguing.

Every time I lose my temper, do you know what I hear? I hear the enemy whispering in my ear “you’re just like her” or “what if your kids aren’t speaking to you in twenty years either?”

The devil knows my weak spot. It’s this family of mine. The people that you love the most are the ones that can drive you the craziest! Fussing at my kids for not doing their chores is not me being a bad mom! I have to remind myself that. Believe me, no family is perfect…. but I know that we love each other and are there for each other no matter what. I know that my family is nothing like the situation that I grew up in. I know that, but lies whispered can cause moments of high emotion.

This might all sound crazy to you. It makes perfect sense to me. You might think I’m a great mom or a awful mom or a mediocre mom…. either way, I have to rely on God’s Grace daily. EVERY. SINGLE.DAY.

My weak spot might not be the same as your weak spot. We all have to be aware of our weaknesses so that we can be ready for the attack.

Recognize lies for what they are- LIES. Don’t let them in. Be ready. And by all means, allow yourself some grace. There is plenty to go around!!

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Fall Youth Conference 2017

Every year, we take our youth group to an annual youth conference with all of the other Assembly of God youth groups in the state of South Carolina. It is an event that we always look forward to. The past several years the conference has been held in Myrtle Beach, SC. The event is kicked off on a Friday night with service. After that, there is usually some sort of late night activity and then it is wrapped up with another session on Saturday. Dismissal is around noon- we would ordinarily grab lunch and then head home. That’s right, less than 24 hours.

We decided this year that we would change up our usual routine for this trip. First of all, we decided to stay an extra night and make it a weekend long trip…. fantastic choice! Secondly, we opted to rent a house so that we could all stay together versus dealing with a bunch of hotel rooms! Both of these choices made the weekend even more fun! Otis and I have said that we don’t think that we will ever go back to the way it was before!!

This was our amazing view-

We had a wonderful time at the actual event! Great worship… great speakers….. fun at the late night activity…. it was all phenomenal! It is always so good to see other friends who serve across the state that we may not get to see very often!

The late night activity was three hours at the Fun Warehouse! A group of us who spent many of our teenage years skating were looking forward to that option at the fun warehouse! This place had laser tag, go karts, skating, and an arcade!

Since we had an extra night, we took the group to the pirates voyage dinner show. I had never been. It was the first weekend of the “Christmas show”. It was so much fun!! I couldn’t recommend it more!! It worked out great for a group our size— offering dinner and entertainment in one place!

Sunday morning, the leaders got up and made a big breakfast for all of the students. After everyone ate, we came together and had our own little worship and prayer service. It is always so sweet to me to feel the Holy Spirit in such an intimate setting like that. To hear the voices singing over the music is refreshing to my soul. It always makes my heart happy. We had some meaningful worship and some powerful prayer time. In fact, we almost went past the time that we were supposed to be out of the house because we were in the moment and lost track of time!

I love these teenagers dearly. Sometimes they might drive me crazy, but I couldn’t love them more. I’m so thankful and honored that this is the calling that the Lord placed on our lives! Any weekend that we can love on these guys and impacts are made in their lives is a weekend well worth it!!

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Catch up on life 

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve wanted to and thought about several different topics. The bottom line is that we have been SO BUSY!!  It’s a crazy time of year for us!!  I do have some posts coming soon in a few different subjects, but I thought that First I should do a general post catching everyone up on life lately for our family.

Football season is always busy! Otis serves as the team chaplain at West Ashely High School. This has opened amazing doors for him to build relationships with these boys and pour into their lives. He is able to go to their Thursday practice and have a devotion with them. He is also on the sidelines for the JV games on Thursday nights and the Varsity games on Friday nights. He leads the team in a prayer after the game.

We have also fed the team a few pregames meals. Preparing chicken, green beans, and pasta for that many hungry boys takes some prep work!! We are so thankful for those that come around us and help us to bless our schools!!

Otis loves these boys and so enjoys the time that he gets to spend with them!!

He is also a part of FCA at the school every other week. If you add all of this to our kids sports, church events, youth group, fall festivities, other family and youth group members athletics…. wowzers it has been a busy time!!

So while we hate to see football season end, we are welcoming a little more free time in our schedule!! 

But back to the catch up–

We have had senior nights for the family members that our unbelievably graduating this year!! Time passes so quickly!! I hate to think that our Allie will be in high school next year!!! We are so proud of these amazing people! 

Fall is my favorite season by far!! I love all things Christmas, so to me the cooler  weather ushers in the holiday season. My heart skips a beat when I hear the first Christmas song of the year or see decorations being out out in the stores!! It is the most wonderful time of the year!! Fall also means Halloween, fall festivals, and the fair! We have taken advantage of so much being offered in our community recently and logged in some much needed family time! 

Our kids have also been playing tennis every Saturday morning with the City of Charleston. This was Gary’s first year and Allie’s second. They both enjoyed it! 

A busy schedule often leads to feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. That can be hard when we are also balancing day to day school work. We had been getting through everything just fine, but I felt like some of the joy/wonder of learning was missing. Plus, the beach always makes things better! We took off one morning this past week and headed to Sullivan’s Island. We visited Fort Moultrie and recited a little Poe on the beach. It was a good day with lots of laughing! 

It was a much needed day to catch our breath!

We had our first family chat yesterday about the menu for Thanksgiving. We do our best to cherish each season of life and take full advantage of all it has to offer!

Hoping you all have a great first week of November!!

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