Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Out of the Depths by Edgar Harrell

I'm not much of a war buff, but the harrowing tales of the survivors speak loudly to my heart. Don't give up. This one is no exception. The USS Indianapolis (the "Indy") carried and delivered parts to bombs that ended the war. After delivery, they were sunk in shark infested waters by an enemy submarine. Due to failure on many fronts, no one knew they were missing. They were left to tread water for five days. By a miraculous chain of events, a pilot happened to spot them due to trouble he was having with his own plane. That wasn't until the forth evening. 

As you can imagine, most of the men aboard that ship died. They were either blown to bits, suffered hyperthermia from the water, or were eaten by sharks. Their faces were blistered. They suffered from dehydration and delusions. Some died from drinking the salt water. Most, like I said, were eaten by sharks. For days, they were out there surrounded by sharks. Most of them were wounded. They were covered with boils. The survivors were separated by several miles in the ocean. By the time rescue rafts started being dropped, they were too weak to climb in them. Even in the planes, the could not even sit up. Their bodies were laid out flat side by side. After all of this, when they arrived home weeks later, they were not greeted by fanfare of any kind due to a Navy cover up. 

I thought the book offered a unique perspective to this tragedy. Mr. Harrell explains how much of the war was fueled by religious extremists. The Japanese kamikaze pilots worshipped their emperor as God and were willing to die for him. Most belonged to a form of ancestor worship called Shintotism. They made fierce and reckless moves to get honor through death. Failing on a mission or being captured was like being dead to their family. 

On the other side of this is Edgar Harrell who was young, but had a dynamic faith in God. He prayed and cried out to the God of heaven. He quoted scripture. "Even in the depths of the sea, Thou art with me." He and many of his comrades were crying out to God even over their bloated tongues (from dehydration). He said that by the forth day, even the atheists were calling out to God. 

Edgar knew that he had been rescued for a reason. He continues to this day to share his story for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. The Lord bless him. 

This book was graciously provided by Bethany House Publishers for review. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Letting My Roots Show

Saturday we drove home for the first time in three weeks (four for me). Since then I've had new tires, new brakes, a/c charge and a window tint. I apparently thought it would be fun to support the economy in Huntsville. I am cruising along driving like a dream. I'll let my roots show and tell you that I love Houston's Country Legends on the radio. The host would ask if we wanted more Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn. I said, "yes, of course!" while nodding my head in my car. I get sad when the signal fades. On occasion, I have to turn down the music because, well, a lot of Country music is about making love. That's probably why it's so awesome. 

 Of course, I enjoy some good Christian stations as well. I'm always making a fool of myself in the car while worshipping. My girls spend half the drive bickering over something inconsequential and half being completely enamored with each other. Parenting is truly a unique dichotomy. 

My man had his a/c in his car serviced before summer started. I'm sure you can tell where this is going. His a/c just started blowing hot air on the trip home. The poor fella. Thankfully it wasn't the hottest of days. The bad part is that he will not be able to get back to the shop he had it serviced at until August. The kicker is that his driver side window came off the track so he can't even roll it down to catch a breeze. We are hoping that a mechanic at camp can look at it. 

I'm at home cleaning up for a group coming Wednesday. Our house is chaos. Everything needs cleaning. It hasn't been cleaned since the beginning of May. I'm trying to accomplish this with my three littles in tow. Say a little prayer for me. 

Love y'all.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bring Some Chicken Wings

Perhaps you saw my post on IG yesterday about being enamored with pronouns referring to the Lord. Ephesians 4:11 starts out saying "And He personally." Another version reads, "And Christ Himself..." Today in Children of the Day our verses start with "FOR THE LORD HIMSELF..." Beth actually goes on and on about the fabulousness of these words herself. I don't know about you, but that is like salve on an open wound to my heart. 

I have been thinking about this phrase in my IG picture. Do you feel like you always come against a setback before you are launched into something God is calling you to? Should we be looking as set backs as launching pads? Perhaps surrendering these things and asking the Lord to have His way in them.

We are wrapping up a week of house sitting in Huntsville (while still at camp). It's been nice to have a little space to sprawl out and heal. It would be a hard week to be in the lodge all of the time because  the gigantic church that is there brings in so much stuff that the place looks like a FBI command center. We are headed home tomorrow. Denbigh will lead worship at church on Sunday and head back to camp. I'll be home for the week entertaining a church group from Clifton. I'm a little nervous about seeing our yard since we haven't been home in almost a month. I'm looking forward to getting to work on a few things. Come visit. Bring some chicken wings. love y'all.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Don't Let the Bought Air Out

You know that feeling you get when you are coming to the end of a summer cold. It's as though your head might be swimming in a foreign substance and you can't quite fully wrap your mind around one single thing. This is my head this very day. I don't need sympathy. I'm in good spirits. I just haven't been out in the public much this week. I've been keeping our cold in house. I'm kind of grateful for it. It made me sit down. The more I sit down, the more I read and pray. The thing I love about having a prayer journal is that I can go back through it at any given time to petition the Lord for someone I had written a request for. I don't even have to be completely coherent. Sometimes, I'll just put my finger on their name and pray the Father's love to wash over them or simply say, "Come, Lord, Jesus." I know he hears me. How great the Father's love for us. 

Let's talk about some things that lack all depth. The cool conditioned air (aka bought air) was going out in my car so I had my sweet Mercury serviced. Two hundred and seventy bucks later, I'm as chilly as a snowman. While we were waiting for my car, we popped over to the Sam Houston Homestead. The girls love that duck pond. There were tons of baby chicks all over the place. Sweet memories. It reminded me of all the baby chicks I used to chase around my Papa's place and the radishes I stole from his garden.

Moving on to even less depth, I bought some cute clothes. I always laugh when I see "what to wear segments." I have no idea why. I think it's because I just can't take myself that seriously. I have decided to show y'all anyway. That'll be coming soon. I'm the kind that will pair a seventy dollar shirt with Goodwill pants. I like a nice casual elegant feel. So, my favorite place to buy shirts is Cold Water Creek. Did you know they are going out of business? My mama gave me gift cards there all the time. Can't we sacrifice another store in its place, like say The Dress Barn? Who even shops there? I tried to go in there once, but all I kept thinking about was cows and feeling bloated. Speaking of barns, I've been shopping for boots. I started looking around and found two pair I liked. Slowly, I look at the price tag and they are $2,500 and $4,000. I haven't owned a car worth that much in the last decade. My daddy would call that whiskey taste on a beer budget. I do, however, have buckets of birthday money that I promised I would spend on myself. I came across these boots called "Old Gringo" on the interwebs. I thought that describes me perfectly. I may splurge and get them. Stay tuned. 

I follow this beautiful lady on the Instagram.
One more thing that has no depth. The cashier at the Dollar General in Riverside, Texas was going on and on about how good my man's hair looked. She said that he was so lucky to have such good hair. He told me that I did not need to tell the good people of the internet, but really, how can I keep it from you? His hair is all the rage in East Texas.

Love y'all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

To Delight in Our Children

Finding quiet moments in the day to write here are pretty much non-existent. I try to get my brain to focus and create amidst the chaos. Life is full. Life is beautiful. Some days are harder than others. Sometimes the weighty thoughts that befall us as parents are heavier than we thought we could bear. At the end of every day, I have learned to ask only two simple questions.

Did I love well?
Did I preach the gospel to myself and my family?

Grace falls. It fills in the gaps for us. I have been clinging to this verse for close to a decade...first as an untaught child and then as a parent.
I know, at the end of the day, the only good and beautiful things that can come from my children are a result of Christ. They are the result of the most precious whispers of the Holy Spirit, brought about by God the perfect Father. I rest sweetly in that. Its so easy to over think this whole thing. It's easy to fall into moral parenting that focuses more on action than heart. It's easy to lean too hard on pseudo grace and refuse discipline. My prayer is always that the Holy Spirit would illumine the hearts of our children to the gospel. 

I have heard that the two things that children yearn for are stability through clear boundaries and to be delighted in. Consistency is an ever present prayer. I constantly ask God that I might delight in my family. May my girls feel cherished. These things are hard when attitudes are fully present. Justice and mercy only meet perfectly in Christ alone. I ask that He would let me be like Him and point them to him in every instance. It is easy to start seeing our children as their sin nature because we believe it to be our job to flesh those things out. The thing is that delighting in is always more productive that dwelling on. Does repentance need to come? Absolutely. We must remember that our identity is in Christ and not the sum of the mistakes made. Our failures are simple road maps toward the gospel of Jesus Christ. May we point our children home and delight in the image of our Maker in them.

I have been thinking about what a privilege it is to serve and pray at camp. The familiarity of it can sometimes make you lose the gravity of what you are dealing with. I sometimes think that is why we are confronted with spiritual warfare. It wakes us up when we would much more readily walk through life half asleep. Right now, we have the privilege of praying for the staff of one of the largest churches in the fourth largest city in the nation. What an impact they can have. May Jesus pour out His Holy Spirit on these leaders to share the gospel. May they be equipped, strengthened, and encouraged. 
Pray us all well, friends. Love y'all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The House Girl by Tara Conklin

I receive most of my books from publishers to review and some from blog readers.
I also tend to pick up one random novel at Target in Huntsville each summer because it's the highlight of shopping here. I usually read it a little at a time alongside the other books I'm reviewing. This year I was drawn to The House Girl. They had signed first editions sitting out for purchase. I opened the cover and read about how the author had been intrigued by the term slave doctor and it had started her on the journey of writing this novel. It grabbed at me as well. The idea of a person that had the job of healing a person to send them back to harm grabbed at me. It seemed equally spiritual and grievous. It was a role I could not fathom.

This is one of those books that changes you. It makes you more aware of the hurt in the people around you. It awakens your heart. I usually spend my summer working through these, but I made it through this in a little over a week. I found myself staying up until 1:30 in the morning reading these words. 

The novel involves a modern day lawyer involved in a slavery reparations case and the life of a slave. It alternates and mingles their stories to make you think very deeply about freedom. I was struck time and time again by the things that were forced upon slaves. The brutality often left me nauseous. One man would use the Bible to see the slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad and another would use it as an excuse to gouge out a man's eyes for helping slaves to freedom. The horrors of our own depravity gripped me. The beauty hidden in small kind gestures took hold of me. This is a passionate, well written novel.

May healing grace wash over us all.

Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
Romans 5:20

Friday, June 13, 2014

He Bought Out Target

Do you remember how exhausted you were after a week of camp? It's a deep kind of tired that there are no words for. I don't even remember what week we are on here. Five maybe. It's intense tired. All of my people are sickly. The warfare is intense. I cannot even describe to you what the pastors and church leaders who pass through this building come against in the trenches over here. We are on a wild mission field. The battle for lives and Kingdom dominion is very real. Pray. I know that Jesus hears us. Today, one of the pastors told me she was overwhelmed by peace after warfare at a precise time of day yesterday. She had no knowledge of the fact, but it was the exact time the camp wives and I were praying for them. We serve a beautiful, powerful God.

My sweet husband and my three girls have some sort of respiratory funk. It is a yearly occurrence. The camp cough. Denbigh lost his voice and could not sing for two days. You could see where that would cause a problem. (side note:Austin and Chad sang in his stead. I was so proud of those men rising up) Today, my man headed to the doctor and he gave him some cough syrup (and some ridiculous antibiotics that he doesn't need). Hopefully, he will be on the mend asap. He is sounding better today.

During the lengthy amount of time it takes to get a prescription filled, my man was alone, waiting, in Target. This should NEVER happen, y'all. The man spent nine hundred thousand dollars on toys for my girls. I may be exaggerating, but he went crazy. He kept trying to justify it by saying that they were sick. My sweet Lulu had to miss her last day of VBS today because she was coughing so much. I ached in my heart as she cried. So, we have watched movies and played with millions of dollars of toys today.

Anywho, love y'all. Grace and peace to you from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Give to Gomer's House

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Theology and Antics

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Children of the Day is so good, friends. I am always amazed at the depth of tenderness Paul shows to the people in the church. His angst for the well-being of every one in the church it a beacon of light to us all. I keep praying that we could be Christ to everyone, even those who aren't living up to their part. May we err on the side of grace.

If you have seen my signs on Etsy, you have been given a peek into my prayer journal. Most of the words come to bear fruit on wood because I have been meditating on them and praying them. When you buy one, you are getting a little chunk of my prayer life. I pray for the person who will receive that sign. I yearn for God's word to bear fruit in their lives. Also, I love to pray. If you ever have a need for someone to pray over you, please let me know. It would be my pleasure.

I've been meditating on the second part of Psalm 119:37

"Revive me in your way."

Here is another crazy band guys update. Note: when you stay up until two in the morning, you lose your senses. 

I bought the fellas some Big League gum balls. I think they were pumped.

This interesting love tester is at the Huntsville movie theatre.
The fellas made this movie at two in the morning. It makes me think of Jon Acuff's Jesus Juke. 
Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Xealots by Dave Gibbons

Sometimes, deep in the quiet of prayer, I am overcome. I am overcome for people. The warfare is deep and embedded in the human experience. God uses this struggle to direct our lives. I thought the author of Xealots really touched on this with great accuracy. It is funny that he described us as Holy Spirit X-Men, but also completely on par. Through the Spirit, we are supernaturally enabled to accomplish things in warfare that cannot be accomplished by the flesh. It is great and beautiful to align your life with the Spirit as far as you can do so aligned with God's word.
The first three quarters of the book were amazing. I was encouraged and edified in them. The last quarter section was a bit iffy. When the guy started quoting Jayzee, I raised an eyebrow, but still understood the point. He spoke of certain revivals that I'm not sure about and used some cheesy language at the end. I still could pick up on his desire to convey divine impressions in our lives. It was a good read. It encouraged me to stay the course and realize that the things that we endure are to draw us to Christ for the glory of God. I was reminded of how often God has chosen small groups to impact the world for the Kingdom. He has more often drawn people from the margins. I was encouraged that our failure is part of our humanity. It makes confession part of our natural rhythm in Christ. It makes us lean heavy on the the mercy of Christ. I have been reminded of the beautiful work of forgiveness. I have heard the call to keep affirming and communicating the message of grace. I loved this:

"When we forgive, we release the offender, we accept the betrayal, and we sacrifice ourselves--our sense of entitlement--for the sake of another...
We will be freed to live like the Father, giving unconditionally."

My dearest friend Camille recommended this book to me and I truly enjoyed it. Would I pass it on to a friend? yes. 4 stars!

*The X instead of a Z in an allusion to the Greek letter chi (X), an abbreviation for Christ.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Well, Fancy That.

It's Tuesday, it is the second day of VBS for Miss Lulu. She is loving it. That sweet girl loves people. Yesterday, though, when she came back, she told me that some girls were trying to take her backpack and the things she made at VBS. Of course, her dad wanted to beat some elementary girls up, but I told Lulu to tell her teacher if it happened again (and to forgive). That girl walked up to one of those big girls today and told her that she did not like what they were doing. She then told that girl that she was willing to be her friend anyway. I might have shed a tear over this. Something is sinking in, y'all. Kindness. Now, just so you don't get jealous of my awesome parenting skills, I am sure she also pushed her sister at some point this afternoon. 

We took our girls swimming again today. I just love it. I love the whole thing of putting sunscreen on their sweet little legs and faces. I love seeing their adorable little bottoms in their suits. It's ridiculous. I've become my grandmother. I pinch those sweet bottoms and huff those babies like nobody's business. On the walk to the pool I was nose deep in Yaya's curls just thanking Jesus for these moments. 

Happy Tuesday, Y'all.
I have a new sign on Etsy. All proceeds support Gomer's House.

Monday, June 09, 2014

A Real Gully Washer

I had taken a picture of a painting I did and then wrapped it up to ship. My three year old deleted the picture. There was a yellow bird, pale blue background, beauty for ashes. I know you can picture it in your mind's eye. It was glorious. Between that and the one year old throwing all of our pajamas into the bath, it's crazy here. I dropped our 7 year old off at VBS this morning. They were supposed to bring all of the kids out here (a thirty minute drive) as part of an extended session. Guess what. It started pouring. I mean a gully washer. They are not delivering the kids. I can't go get her because my car is in getting the windows tinted (Chayah keeps getting really hot). That car has all of the car seats in it. Finally, we found some kind soul to go pick her up. Back to the window tint...I also bought Chayah a trucker fan to blow on her seat when it gets really hot. I have no idea why, but it is really humorous to me. You'd think I was on the set of Smokey and the Bandit over here. East bound and down.

I finished Xealots and and working through The House Girl now. I'll talk more about them tomorrow. Slave stories are hard to read. The depths of depravity and the things we humans can perpetrate against one another is sobering and nauseating to say the least. I'm also in week three of Children of the Day. I cannot tell you how much this study is speaking to my heart. If you are weary of seeing the crimes perpetrated in the church and against the body, pick it up. Grace is chasing after us all. Oh that we would submit to it. 

I am going to watch a movie with my girls in this delightfully rainy weather.
The Lord bless you and keep you.

Friday, June 06, 2014

From the Depths of YouTube

I'm still feeling under the weather, y'all. I'd love for you to say a little prayer for me. It just comes in waves. On another note, our two littles went to the waterpark over at The Wild today. They had a blast and we were able to see big sissy Lulu. Our one year old started shouting, "Sissy!!!" It was the cutest. The counselors were sharing with me how much they enjoyed Lulu and her insight at Bible times. What a gift to my mama heart. We go pick her up tomorrow morning.

*If you have a chance, say a prayer for the staff here. They work so hard to serve these kids and each other.

I have really enjoyed the week with my two littles. We have had lots of time one on one. We have read books, colored, swam, watched princess movies, & sported tiaras. It was magical. It has been special to me. I liken it to when you get to go on a date with your man.

I gave a little money to help some people adopt a boy named Titus. I thought you might like to help too. Here is their blog. The Brewer Blog

In case you wonder what band guys do after worship (when they are too hyped up to go to bed)...they watch stuff like this:

and they come across the weirdest thing I have ever seen. I mean this had to be pulled from the deepest, darkest realms of YouTube.

So, there you have it. We've all gone crazy. Pray for us. Happy Friday.
love y'all.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Big Daddy's Birthday

Hello, sweet blog reading friends. I am safely back at camp. I drove to see my mama and then my daddy for his seventy-third birthday. My two littles went with me while Lulu was at camp at The Wild. We definitely missed big sister, but it was fun for the girls to get more individual attention from the grandparents. There were definite high caliber snuggles going on. My daddy's birthday was grand as well. Fried chicken and key lime pie. It was well worth the three plus hour drive each way to see him. 

This morning, I attended the loveliest of times of prayer with the staff wives here at camp. Y'all, it brought such joy to my heart to spend time with these ladies. I have been here tucked away praying for this camp alone. I think these ladies and their tender hearts toward Jesus are an answer to my prayers. It's beautiful. May God use our prayers to tear down walls and build up His kingdom in their stead. May our hearts be united in grace for every single person inside these gates. On a side note, I held sweet baby Rya and there was a lake view with coffee and poppy seed muffins. It was a perfect Southern morning. 

What are y'all reading? I've been reading this book entitled Xealots on my iPad (recommended by my dear friend Camille) and I picked up The House Girl at Target the other day. Both are good. Stay tuned. My new friend Paula gave us a book this morning. It's called Letters to Pastor's Wives. I'm looking forward to it. 

Love y'all. The peace of the Lord to you. 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Round Bales and Rainbows

I've been a little under the weather, but my daddy is turning seventy three tomorrow so I drove the back roads from camp to my mama's house. My iPhone recently needed to be reset and I forgot to reload my music on it. My two girls (one is at camp) and I ended up listening to old school country on the radio. You know, the music of tortured poet Keith Whitley still gets to me. It swirled many memories in my mind as I drove through sprawling farm land speckled with round bales and old red barns. It set my heart yearning for the simplicity of life. 

My stepdad detailed my ride "Crazy About a Mercury." Y'all, I look smooth. 
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 02, 2014

The Loving Kitchen by LeAnn Rice

Here's the thing about being Southern, you never want to say words that aren't kind. It makes a thing a bit heavy when you don't really enjoy something. I think Leann's story is amazing. She seems like a lovely, strong, beautiful woman. Her recipes seem like the good old fashioned things Southern dreams are made of. I just wouldn't buy it. The pictures were all extreme close-ups of food that were not appetizing. Where are the place settings and tablescapes? The elegantly arranged plates? The banter between recipes was choppy and lacked warmth and charm. It left me wanting to hear a good old fashioned story. Perhaps Benita Long's cookbooks raised the bar in my mind's eye. Maybe Sophie Hudson made me crave more literary hospitality. Don't judge it by my lack of interest. Check it out for yourself, maybe it will strike a different chord with you. Love y'all. Buckets of blessings to you. 

This book was graciously provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for review. 

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Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...