Sunday, January 8, 2012

Catching Up...

Have you guys seen the story that CNN did on Passion students last week? If not, check it out It also features one of Wellspring Living's "gradutates"...a survivor of trafficking.

This weekend has been a blast and the upcoming week promises to be so as well! Yesterday, I made a financial three rakes! We did some yard work before the rain, got the Christmas decorations down, I took the kids to get their hair cut, and we found the perfect TV stand at the Wellspring Treasures store in Peachtree City (for only $15). If you live near Kennesaw, Duluth or Peachtree City and have never been to one of our Wellspring Treasure stores, you really should visit one. They have some nice clothing, household goods and furniture and the profits help provide operating costs for both the homes.

Today I caught up on some podcasts, Trey played Ultimate Frisbee (in the rain!), and the three of us helped with auditions for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Auditions continue tomorrow with callbacks on Tuesday. I'll be helping with the kids in the show. Bree and Trey's plans were to be on production as well but it looks like the director might have some other ideas so they might end up on stage.

I'm not normally a television type person but I'm hooked on Once Upon A Time and Downton Abbey! Making it home in time for the Downton Season 2 premiere made my night! Love the story, the script, the actors, the costumes, the scenery...I'll have to catch tonight's episode of Once Upon A Time on Hulu.

My friend Jill passed along "Here's To Hindsight" by Tara Leigh Cobble and I finished it in just a few days. I've already passed my copy along but if you get a chance to pick it up, it's a good read! I'm trying to start John McArthur's follow up to "Twelve Ordinary Men", "Twelve Extrodinary Women" but haven't had a chance to really get into it. LOVED Twelve Ordinary Men so I have high hopes for this one. Anyone else got any suggestions for good reads, pass them along!

Also, created a You Version account back in July but confess I hadn't really done that much with it. Then someone tweeted about their reading plan on compassion and I was motivated to check it out. Now I have a reading plan on compassion and justice. I still don't know a lot about other features but I'm sure I'll be figuring it out.

This week:
I'll be starting a new class with the girls. They want to know what they need to do to get into college so I'm created a life skills class on the "hows" and "whats." We'll talk about picking colleges, credits they'll need, the SAT versus ACT, financial aid, filling out applications, college life and hopefully have a mini college day at the end. I've got several people coming in to help including a couple of students from Spelman. I'm really looking forward to it!

This week at the office will be crazy busy with follow up from Passion. Students started emailing before the conference was even over wanting to know how they can be involved!

I've got a meeting with two women from a church interested in Immersion Project and we'll be organizing details for that.

As mentioned before, we'll be helping with auditions for Joseph on Monday and Tuesday. The kids have church on Wednesday and Bree and I will be helping out at Shakespeare Tavern on Thursday.

I really hate to admit it but I have traffic court in Newnan this week so if you could pray favor over that, I would really appreciate it!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I spent most of this week with a headache. Not your common, ordinary of those headaches that kicks the crap out of you like Rocky did the Russian guy in Rocky V (completely unrealistic by the way, the Russian would've creamed him...I mean, look at the guy!).

The first couple of days I managed. Pain relievers seemed to work and I got along fine. By the third day, I was confined to my darkened room, trying to lay as still as possible. I'd tried everything:
I thought it might be sinuses so I bought meds for it.
Someone suggested I might be dehydrated so I drank enough water I could've been a well.
I considered the idea that my eyes might be strained so I stayed off computer, didn't read, and didn't watch TV for a day.

I'm still not sure if it was viral, hormonal, or if the kids have been beating me in the head while I sleep. All I know is being that inactive is not something I am used to. Not sure what to do with myself, I took a quick dive in the pity pool, found the water tepid, and jumped out again.

I began to have a conversation with God. I started out praying for people I know, world issues followed, a list of things I'm grateful for after that...and then somehow it just turned into conversation. The past few months I'd forgotten that conversation with God-like all conversation-is two way. There's the talking part and the listening part. For those of you who might be concerned, I wasn't hearing audible voices...just a sense that God was there, the feelings of peace, of motivation, options coming to mind I hadn't thought of before, verses that I remember that answered questions.

While I hope to never have a headache of that "magnitude" again, I did relish the time spent in real communication with God. I have a habit...and it's one I've indulged in often these past few months...of talking to God rather than communicating with him. I do it with my children too. They are talking to me and I'm half listening, waiting for them to finish so I can tell them what they need to do, what they've failed to do, or what the plans for the day/next day/week are. I get so caught up in the "doing" that I forget the importance of hearing what my children have to say, my friends have to say..what God is saying to me.

When I get like busy that I don't really spend time communicating, in relationship with, being with...God or anyone else...that is when I find myself struggling with impatience, a lack of grace, a bent toward impatience. Communication isn't just about listening to others because it makes them feel better. It's about bringing out the best in me. Especially when it comes to listening to God.

We all know the story of Mary and Martha and how Jesus told Martha that Mary had found the "good thing." I'm sure Martha must have been shocked! To think that sitting and listening as oppossed to being a good hostess was the "good thing" would have been counter cultural to her. That was a completely new thought. And the same goes for our culture...especially today when everyone is in a rush and we feel our schedules so full and we constantly have something in our hand to distract us from the person in front of us. Communication is about talking, listening, without distractions. And-like grace-it is something we need to practice. It's something we need to make room for in our lives. At least it is something I need to make room for in my life. Because I want to be that better me, to engage in the "good thing" as oppossed to the busy thing, because I want the people in my life to know they are incredibly important to me. And because it is the way I draw closer in relationship with God and as much as I want to be a good Mom, make the world at least a little bit better, or be a good friend...more than anything, I want to draw nearer to Him. In doing so, I'm better able to do all those other things.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We Wish You a Merry Christmas...

Well, we certainly hope you had a merry Christmas...and a happy New Year!

I must confess that it is entirely possible that if friends of ours hadn't bought and delivered a Christmas tree to my front door (this is almost literal, they left it in garage), we might not even have decorated a tree this year! But since they did, we couldn't just let the poor thing go to waste, so...

And of course, if we decorate tree, we have to put out Embree and Trey's nutcrackers, my nativity scenes and various other Christmas decorations. (For those who don't know, Bree and Trey collect nutcrackers and have since they were in 1st and 2nd grades. I collect Nativity scenes)

Cue cute kitty picture not because it is relevant but because it's just so adorable I had to include it!

Christmas Eve was pretty quiet and relaxed. Even though I had to buy to last minute gifts, I managed to avoid crowds (*gasp*). We attended church and then had our traditional "hot cocoa deluxe" which is so amazingly good...but so rich we can only handle it once a year!
Christmas day was waking up and having enough time to spend some quiet moments reading Bible, praying and reflecting before the kids woke up, opening presents, followed by a flurry of cooking (enough to feed a small state...we still have leftovers), good friends coming over, lots of eating, lots of good conversation, lots of laughing, playing games and we went to see a movie.
Bree got pallete of eyeshadow from Ulta, calligraphy kit, and a Kindle!
Trey got video games and a controller for his PS3 that he's been wanting for almost a year.

I got the most beautiful scarf (from Italy) I've ever seen...and then as belated Christmas gifts, a bunch of stuff for house including new dishes (green!), new rugs for bathroom (green!), and a necklace (wait for!)

Kitty got to play in all the wrapping paper. Everyone had a good day!

New Years Eve was a reminder that my kids are growing up. We actually weren't together for NYE. Bree and Trey went on double date with their boyfriend/girlfriend and a few other friends to Dixie Land Fun Park and I hung out with adults! You know your friends are true when you sing karaoke that badly and they still love you the next day!!! lol All of us had a great time. New Years was spent getting ready for our Passion guests and then we went to dollar theatre to see the reboot of "Footloose" which I-not at all grudgingly-have to admit I liked!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Can I confess something?
Course I's my blog (and by the way, thanks for reading!)

I struggle with being "enough"
Specifically with being "good enough"
No where is that more evident than in my parenting. It's a reality that I'm not "enough" in this situation. I'm not enough to be a Mom and a Dad. I never have enough money, enough time, enough energy, enough patience, enough insight, enough of whatever it would take to fix all of my children's problems, strong holds and fears with a wave of my hand.

The worse thing anyone can do is suggest I'm not a good parent. And sometimes, someone might say something and not even realize what they said I translated as "you aren't enough"

It happened recently. Someone I know was offering me the chance to sale this product and while they were talking they made the comment that this would enable me to take better care of my children financially. There it was...I don't take good enough care of my children. It's true...we struggle financially. And we struggle more financially because I choose to work for non-profits than we would if I got a job in a business/corporation or even if I'd kept my job at the State. I've struggled with this before...does my need to have a job I find fulfilling matter more than my ability to provide financially for Embree and Trey? You could make the point (and Bree and Trey have, so you know) that because I love what I do, because it makes such an impact, then I am happier and thus a better person and parent. You could point out that God has always met our needs. But I've wrestled with the question and now, here someone was, pointing it out. We live paycheck to paycheck because of my choice.

Christmas Eve we are at church and there is video. It's a father and son talking about giving. The son says to the father "It's not often a guy can say the most generous guy he knows is his dad" Bree and Trey look at me and my first thing is "they are thinking of their dad". I immediately went into guilt mode. But I was wrong. They were thinking of me. They were thinking their Mom was the most generous person they know. They were proud of me. To them, I am a good Mom. I'm enough.

Freedom Climb

On January 11, 2012 forty five women will begin climbing Mt Kiliminjaro to help raise awareness, prayers and funds for the women and children all over the world who are being exploited. January 11th is-in case you don't know-National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US. The funds they raise will go to OM projects around the world that not only help women and children from being exploited and trafficked but help prevent it.

You can read more about the climb, the climbers, and the projects that will be funded on the website:

I'm so privileged to know several of the climbers and several of the members of the prayer team who will be at the foot of the mountain. I'd love to encourage you to support them in prayer as well. You can choose a project to give to or buy Freedom Climb merchandise on the website. You can also "like" Freedom Climb on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter.

Help OM be a voice for those who aren't allowed to use theirs!

Guest Rooms

One of the things the kids and I were most excited about when we got this house was the fact it has four bedrooms...a guest room! It is so much easier to have a spirit of hospitality when you have a guest room! We very briefly played with the idea of making it an office or a craft room...but we knew it was going to be a guest room and felt it would have a very special purpose. We started praying God would reveal to us His plan for this room...

Last week Bree and I did this treasure hunt through everything to try and make the guest room "homier." One of the women from the women's home needed a place to stay. Living on her own had not worked out for her and she really wanted to live with a family. After meeting her, we thought we might be that family. She came to stay with us for a week to see if it would be a good fit. After several days Bree made the statement "if anyone is ever going to fit in with us, it is her" however there was a "but" at the end of it. All three of us could tell our house guest was really struggling. I'd prayed the entire week before that if this wasn't a good fit, God would reveal it to her before he revealed it to me so she wouldn't feel we were rejecting her. He answered that prayer but it broke my heart in the process. The simple fact is she isn't ready to move from the home. The reality is she needs more help. And help that Wellspring can't specifically provide. Her therapist gave us the names of several residential programs that do deal with some of the issues she is dealing with and we are trying to find one that will take her. The problem is...with no insurance and no money...many programs can't or won't take her. Please pray that either payment will come or we find a program willing to treat her for free. Please pray for her as she continues through the recovery process. Having to take her back early was sad but she was really struggling and knew it was the right choice. She is also nervous and afraid about what comes next so please pray she is able to have peace.

Tonight, I'm waiting for the next occupants of the guest room (and spilling into the living room). Last year I volunteered for the Passion conference and made a good friend, Ali. Ali is volunteering this year and brought along three friends so they are sleeping here to save money. I'm really looking forward to seeing Ali though I don't expect to see much of her. If you've never volunteered for Passion, you can't really understand but it is both the must exhilirating and exhausting experience ever. You're generally working 14 hour days and when you finally make it to the place you can lay down...that's usually what you do! They'll be here until Thursday.

After that, no plans for the room...but it's there and we're open to whatever God wants to do.


The Communications Team at Wellspring Living recently finished reading Mike Foster's book "Gracenomics" (If you haven't heard of it, check it out on Amazon ). It's a short little book. The lay out and font make it an even quicker read but it takes a while to process. Mike Foster, founder of People of the Second Chance, writes that there is a shortage of grace in the world. He talks about the need for grace, given grace to ourselves, giving grace to others...

It was a very timely read for me. I've recently noticed something about myself. I have no problem giving grace to the homeless guy on the street. I have no problem giving any of the girls or the women at the homes grace. The other day I met a girl, maybe three months pregnant, on her way to jail for probation violation. She couldn't pay her fine, the judge wouldn't give her any more community service in lieu of payment, so she went on the run. She'd found out she was pregnant just three days earlier. She'd been drinking the night before. She has a two year old being raised by her Mom. I have no problem giving her grace.

However, the soccer mom complaining about her hectic schedule, the annoying adult cast member, the guy who can't seem to figure out the little stick jutting from his steering wheel operates a turn signal. Those people who lead "normal lives" who I've decided have no idea what real problems are...them, I struggle to give them grace.

"You don't think they deserve it."
We were in small group. It was accountability time and I discussed this insight and what I'd been reading in Foster's book. One of the women in my group, with no attempt to soften the blow, spoke truth. I had somehow set myself up as a "judge" (me who pride myself on not being judgemental!). I was deciding who was worthy of grace and who wasn't. I don't know how long I've been doing it but it's definitely gotten worse over the past few months. I've had to repent several times and really process in my prayer journal. God has had to change several opinions, outlooks and attitudes.

The simple fact of the matter is no one deserves grace...that is what makes it grace. But everyone should get it. This isn't my rule. It's God's. It became the rule when Jesus died on a cross so that I could receive that everyone could receive grace. However, some people are harder to give grace than others. And I really, really appreciate what Kelley said when we talked about the difficulty in believing the guy who killed the little girl in the apartment complex recently deserves grace. She said "just because there is grace doesn't mean there isn't justice" That guy will go to prison...probably for the rest of his life, if he doesn't get the death penalty. But grace is still available for him.

For him...for Osama Bin Laden...for the prostitue...for the cashier at Kroger...for you...for me.

Sometimes, grace is our second response and most of the time it is more a response from the Holy Spirit than it is from our human selves. But it is a response we must all practice. We must let the Spirit work.

The really cool thing is...the thing I've found...the more I practice giving others grace, the easier it becomes. And the easier it becomes to give them grace...
the easier it is to give myself grace.