Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 2010






Here are some of our almost 300 Xmas pictures! We had them done by Digital Events photography 863 440 4558 or 352 406 0720. Rick & Linda do WONDERFUL work, so give them a call if you live in the central Florida area! www.digitaleventsphotography.itgo.com

It is a COLD morning here in Florida. Our neighbor had a reading of 24 degrees this morning and we have a heavy frost. Yikes it never gets this cold in early December! Glad I bought us all some warm clothes, just in time!!!!! We don't usually have alot of sweaters & coats none of us but Jon will wear them BUT last winter changed us. It was so cold for so long and this winter looks like it might be the same! LOL I just got a text from my friends to see if I'm going walking with them...NOT! Well I would but I can't take Sam out in this cold! He is still snuggled in his nice warm bed!

So we're are still waiting on the LAST permit in order to begin the church renovation! It should be in this week hopefully! WOW I've learned alot during this process! It's been crazy but I think the end result will be worth it! We were hoping to be done by Christmas but now I don't know but it's ok. We actually are enjoying having church services in our beautiful newly renovated Fellowship Hall. It's been FULL the last few Sundays, I kidded Jon that soon we'd have to go to two services:) I'm so thankful that it was done first! We almost decided to do the church first but I'm thankful a guy in our church stepped up and wanted to do the Hall first, it has worked out so well for us to have it since we've been out of the church for a month thinking construction was imminent! LOLOL! That's what we get for thinking that!

Last weekend Shad got Scarlet Fever & Strep, we're hoping no one else gets it....but the doc told us we'd all been exposed! Strep just keeps going around our school. One family has had it 3x!!! And they have 5 kids! YIKES!

Life has been quiet for us since we got back from NY as far as Sam's health goes. I am in the process of dealing with the School Board regarding Sam's lack of Orientation & Mobility training which is a must for children who are visionally impaired. They have denied him yet again because he doesn't understand the concepts of left right, front, back...Yesterday we had a big meeting and I began the process of "due process" where I will eventually take the School Board to court if they don't' give him the services he needs. At this point I've agreed to a "pre-resolution meeting for next Monday. If they don't meet our requests, we will go further. I feel his "due process" has been hindered and he has been discriminated against because he is mentally retarded. It makes me angry because he needs so much help yet gets so little. Surely he is not the first VI child with delays they have ever given service to!!!!! I HATE the public school system. He has great teachers that come in the home and work with him BUT overall I hate the system. The system does what is best for it m not the child! Well for one little boy that will change! When Sam was born and we realized he had problems, I thought that we'd be surrounded by services....LOL NOT!!!! I've fought for everything he has ever gotten and it ridiculous! I had NO idea how much fighting I'd have to do for everything! Whether it was medical, therapy, school, SSI/medicaid...the list goes on. Not one thing has been easy for us. I can't imagine what some parents do, just give up most likely! It's pathetic! But I will fight for my son the rest of my life, he will get the things he needs!!!!!! It doesn't bother me to fight, I don't mind confrontation when I'm representing my child. And I'm certainly not afraid of going to court! LOL At least all those years as a probation officer/supervisor prepared me for that! So if it has to go that far...that won't be a problem. I didn't mind court when it was for a case and I certainly don't mind it when it's for my child!!! But it's stupid that I have to fight like this! But I've educated myself and I'm ready for whatever it takes. With Sam, I've fought many battles, not all at the same time. His most important has been battles for his eyes and health. At this point, he is stable (thank God) so now it's time for me to get his educational component where it needs to be. I've fought some little fights over the years and he does have some services in place but now I need to get it all in place for him. So here we go.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving




At this time of year, I begin thinking about what I'm thankful for....there is so much and I don't mean that as a cliche'! I'm blessed!

These year we have been through some hard times and worries about Sam but we've have friends who have gone through so much heartache this year with sickness & death, job losses, hard times....it makes you realize what is truly important! I think I'm learning that scripture "Rejoice with those who rejoice and grieve with those who grieve" Life is not easy! And if anyone think it is they need their heads examined:) But thankfully God is with us through our Life's Journey wherever it takes us!

So I'm thankful for my family first of all! I'm so glad God gave me a wonderful husband and our three boys! I was lonely for so many years growing up but I love the scripture that says "He puts the lonely in families" God certainly did that for me and sometimes I wouldn't mind a little happy lonely time to myself:) I look at my boys and it amazes me how God gave each of them to us. They are all three a miracle and amazing...I think of Steve & how awful the pregnancy was, and those moments near delivery where we thought we'd lost him....so glad we got him. I think of Shad and how God ordered his steps, and ours to bring him all the way from China to be our son. God was with him even on the day he was abandoned on the street as a baby, whispering that He would bring him a mommy & a daddy. Then I think of Sam, how hard it was to get pregnant and to keep the pregnancy, all the bed rest & uncertainty...his premature birth and all he has faced in his short life. But I'm so thankful for him!

I'm thankful Jon still has a job, although we don't know how long that will last with our new governor who wants to cut the Dept by 50%, somehow I don't think chaplains are high on Mr Family Values agenda!!!! I'm thankful for our cute parsonage out in the woods and all our animals! I'm thankful I learned how to garden this year and am looking forward to doing more next year.

I'm thankful that our church is growing and that our fellowship Hall was redone this year and that work is going on as I type, tearing down the old part of the church getting ready for a remodel that should be done before Christmas! I'm thankful we are doing landscaping! It's rewarding to us, as pastors, to see with our eyes what all is going on! It was a "hard row to hoe" to get to this point but it's been so neat how God has truly supplied what we needed & wanted for the remodel. It's going to be lovely!!!!! I'm thankful we have a sweet church, full of people who love us and each other. No church is perfect but I love how our church has changed over the past 5 years and has become a truly grace filled church, where everyone gets along and has a goal to reach the community & also practically to restore and redo our church campus. When we came here almost 5 years ago, this church was in disrepair in so many ways and to see how far it's come in 5 years is wonderful! Hopefully by the end of the year, it will be physically what we envisioned. And then with everything in place we can with a renewed effort, bring in more folks. Not that a church has to be perfect physically to reach the community but in America, people do have standards and things they look for. Now we will be up to those standards and every building will be a pleasant place physically to worship and learn about God!! But don't worry, no gold faucets in the bathrooms:) Not that grand, just pretty, clean and functional!! I can't wait!

I'm thankful for friends. I have relationships I've had for 20 plus years and they mean so much to me! What a foundation a long term friendship gives you! I think of my BFF Angela who I'm going to get to spend some time with soon. We've been friends for over 30 years!! Wow she knows me and I know her although we don't get to see each other much, it doesn't matter, we're just s close as ever. I'm so thankful for that friendship, it's kept me grounded! My college friends, Jan, Kim, Mary Beth, Meichele, Charlene, Jackie are my closest and all live away except for Jackie but I'm so thankful for them. They also ground me and know me. Even when I see something they post on FB, I smile cuz those are my friends!

And I'm thankful for Facebook and how it's reconnected me with friends from high school and college, work situations and ministry....it's neat to be able to stay in touch with friends and laugh with them.

So who knows what tomorrow holds? I've truly come to the point that I realize how uncertain our lives and fortunes are...we don't know about tomorrow but we know who holds tomorrow and I'm forever grateful to God for His sustaining power over the past year and so thankful that I have that to rely on for next year and the years to come!!!

NOVEMBER

Wow it's been awhile since I posted last.....Lots of stuff going on with Sam, including a quick trip to NY but everything is good. If you'd like details on his recent issues, go to his caring bridges page @

www.caringbridge.org/visit/samclanton

Can't belive it's almost the end of the year!!! Wow what a year!

Today a crew started tearing down the back walls of our church so the remodel can begin next week. What an expirence bringing this whole thing together! I feel like we've learned so much in the process, pratical as well as spiritual things! How exciting to see God provide for the church's need.

My goal is to get back to blogging more often. I've been dealing with so much with Sam lately and tend to put his info on CB rather than on here but hopefully all is calm for now! So hopefully you'll see me more on here again:)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Angels Unaware

I always kid my husband about all the animals I take care of and say that they maybe "angels unaware". But I have my own angel story....

I haven't shared this much but maybe I should.....

On our way home from China, the translator dropped Shad and me off at the
airport thinking all was well...BUT the "president" of North Korea was in town
in Guangzhou (think of China as the same as the US~ Shad was from Chengdu ~Las
Vegas...then we flew to Guangzhou~Miami and from there we had to go to
Beijing~New York) So the planes were all grounded...things got crazy in there!
We got bumped off of 3 planes. I finally got us on a plane to fly to Beijing
and realized when we were in the air, there was no way I was gonna make my
contacting flight to the US. I was so alone with a sick baby somewhere over
China. There was no Americans' or English speaking Chinese on the plane...I was
almost in tears, so I bowed my head and prayed that God would help me. I have
never felt so alone in my whole life. No one knew where I was or what plane I
was on at the time....

So when we landed in Beijing only 10 min before th plane was to take off....I
ran out of the plane. A Chinese man asked me if I was trying to get to
Continental for the Newark flight! I said yes and he told me he'd help me. So
we were off running...when we got there they wouldn't let us board at first
although they were grounded with engine trouble. Finally they let us into the
waiting area....where we stayed for 12 hours while they worked on the plane.
The guy who said his name was Peter (lots of Chinese rename themselves American
names) helped me with Shad, brought us supper and found me a phone card I could
buy so I could tell Jon what was going on. We finally boarded at 3 am, as we
boarded I noticed his luggage, HUGE RED bag, since we were late, we had our
luggage put on last. I told him I'd see him in Newark. When we got to Newark
at 3am the next day....our plane was the only group going through luggage,
custom ect...I kept looking for my friend and his ugly luggage...never saw him
again. It was impossible to miss someone as our plane all waited in line
together...maybe 100 or so of us as many chose to take the next day's flight out
instead of going on a plane with engine trouble....

So was he an angel? At first I was just disappointed that I didn't' get to
speak to him and after customs and Shad's middle of the night becoming an
American citizen...I wasn't thinking clearly. As I was telling Jon about him
the next day, Jon got the oddest look on his face and it hit me....maybe God
sent me a Chinese angel to help me when there was no body else....

Thursday, September 30, 2010

September

It's been a busy month, can't believe September is almost gone. Maybe that means the lovebugs in Florida will soon be gone too. This month we said goodbye to a dear friend and church member who died from cancer. Dan was a "stand up " guy. That was my husband's theme at the funeral. Dan stood up for what was right. He was a great guy, an outstanding person and will be missed.

School is going fine for Steve & Shad. Sam is doing good with his teachers. We had some problems this month with the administrators but we got that worked out (mama got her way).

We joined the YMCA and are really enjoying it. I did a stability ball class (there was nothing stable about it) and a yoga class this week. Jon & Steve are playing racquetball daily and basketball too. Steve is still in the process of taking the classes to be allowed on the weight machines. He is looking forward to do them. The little boys go in the nursery and they have a special room for Sam. He didn't do too good in the general population LOL. I don't mind him sitting in the smaller room with the toys by himself, I suggested it cuz I know he'd be happier.

Well that's been our month...looking forward to the fall and some cooler weather here i Florida.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Turning 45 years old!!!!!

Wow in a few days I'll be 45 years old!! How is that possible? Ive met the requirement to be "middle aged" since how many people actually live to be 90? So probably more of my life is behind me than in front of me...somebody send me some happy pills!!!!

I'm not in some ways where I thought I'd be at 45 years old. I never really thought too much about it, but I know I probably didn't think I'd still be doing diapers and having little kids:) I'm at least happy with the way I look, no gray, I've NEVER had to color my hair (although I know some people who think I do!) I don't have too many wrinkles, I'm in pretty good shape physically, so at least that part is good. I have a great husband who I love now more than ever before in my life. We have a true partnership and friendship. These past almost 7 years of being Sam's parents have made us grow closer together. But we're not dependant on each other either...I LOVE where we are at! I love being a mom to my 3 boys and I love the different stages of their lives that we go through. Right now it's fun to be a mom to a teenager and participate vicariously in his life:) I love seeing what our oldest does and how he is becoming a man.

It's interesting being a pastor's wife, I've learned alot through the experience...not always the best about human nature but nevertheless I've learned...

I feel my life is grounded now and although I don't have alot of freedom with Sam (since he requires alot of care) I'm very happy and content where God has me. Is it the same place I thought it would be at this point in life, NO not really but God is God and He leads us...

IN the past 45 years, I've learned alot. There are a few things I'd do different if I could go back, times where I've hurt others, but for the most part even the heartaches of life have taught me well. Life is interesting, it can be scary but when you learn to roll with the punches, it does make life much easier to deal with! Even hard times gives us the depth that we need not to be shallow people. Now I don't like hard times anymore than anyone else but they do enrich our lives if we let them.

Let me share with you this quote i just recently read in Mary Beth Chapman's book "Choosing to See" "Even the saddest things can become,once we have made peace with them, a source of wisdom & strength for the journey,that lies ahead"

my favorite poem

THE WEAVER
"My life is but a weaving between the Lord & me;
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily
Oftimes He weaveth sorrow
and I in foolish pride
forget He sees
the upper and I the underside.
Not 'til the loom is silent
and the shuttles cease to fly
shall God unroll the canvas
and explain the reason why
The dark threads are as needful in the Weaver's skillful hand
as the threads of gold and silver in the
pattern He has planned

That kind of says it all...if our lives are in His hands, then He is in control. That doesn't mean hard times won't come, I know that, but it means He is with you in those hard times. I really wouldn't trade the life I have lived for anyone. Not that it's been pain free, far from it, but it's given me a depth that I'd never would have had otherwise. I appreciate the good times, I know they can change but I'm thankful for normal boring days,,,

On a bit lighter note, it is funny how much technology has changed in 45 years...remember the old black phones? We even had a "party " line so you'd be able to listen to your neighbors calls...that was fun!!! Now my teen has a cell phone:) The kids ask me questions like "did you have a fridge back in the old days? How old do they think I am!!!! The crack up when I tell them we didn't have tv until I was 4 yrs old and then we only had 4 channels in black and white!!!!

So life is interesting, wonder what the next 45 years hold...?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nutrition and Exercise!

In this fast paced, fast food life style it is hard at times to ensure that you and your family get the most nutritional foods and the exercise that you need. I'm going to share with you some of the tricks I use and maybe they'll help you too.

We really try to avoid eating out at all but when we do we try to make the best choices. For example, if we go to McDonald's or Wendy's we buy regular size hamburgers NOT cheeseburgers with NO mayo. That cuts a ton, maybe up to 400 calories off the order. No Big Macs for us. Then if we let the kids get fries, they either share one large one or I buy just a small order each (depends on which is cheaper, coupons etc...) A normal serving size for an adult is a Happy Meal/Kid's size but we have super sized everything including ourselves. At KFC they now have grilled chicken so that is what we get instead of fried and we get corn as a side. Corn is better than fries! Some places have a healthy menu and we order off of it. If we get PIZZA which I love I ask them to go light on the pepperoni. Jon and I usually get a separate pizza with chicken and veggies on it. We all go with thin crusts at the pizza places that have them. That usually cuts down several points in fats. If we go to a nicer place then we still try and eat as healthy as possible!

At home, we only keep healthier snacks. We like Ruffles chips and dip so we buy the lower fat Ruffles and the low fat dip. Or we go with salsa (fat free & chocked full of veggies) & chips. We buy microwavable popcorn but it's the SMART BALANCE kind and low fat. I don't keep any sweets in the house, on occasion we might buy a cake or something but not very often. We do have fruit and fruit snacks always available. I will make brownies BUT when I do, I use Eggbeaters (egg whites) Smart Balance Oil, Smart Balance margarine and I spray with a non stick spray. So they are as low fat as possible but still taste good. I make cakes & muffins that way.

I also puree' vegetables into food. For example: if I make meatloaf, then I use the leanest ground meat (with no antibiotics) as possible and I puree' a 1/2 cup of carrots into it. No one knows the difference and they end up with some extra veggies! I use the book Deceptively Delious by Jerry Sinfiels's wife. It's great! I also add flax meal to casseroles alot. There is alot of things I puree into dishes thanks to that book. Also I drain meat after it's cooked...that gets a few more calories/fat out!

And we NEVER eat anything or buy anything that we know has trans fat!!!!!!!!!
I try to always have fresh salad in the house, ready to eat. Midget carrots too and ranch dressing...at least they are getting veggies in them!

I try not to buy much processed food and the less preservatives the better. We have quit eating lunch meat, bacon, hotdogs etc....because of the NITRIDES. It is usually the last ingredient in cured meats and it will kill you!!! There are links with lunch meats/hot dogs / bacon and cancer. There is UNcured hotdogs and bacon out there, you just have to look for them and then check the fat content. Publix carries two brands of uncured hotdogs and one has like 18 grams of fat!!! Also Boar's head deli products carry some lunch meats with no nitrates.

All our pastas are either wheat or vegetable pasta (one brand has a tri colored pasta that will give you a serving of vegetables in each 4 oz. I stick with those. Even Kraft's famous mac & cheese now offer whole wheat boxes! My kids can't tell the difference! It's so much better for them. And bread is whole wheat...soemtimes I'll let the kids get the white wheat but it's really not that good for you. Our grocery store carries whole wheat fresh breads and that's what we use to make garlic bread with. It's so good!

When I buy frozen foods like fish sticks, I get the lowest fat possible. It's no good to eat fish if you're eating a serving with 22 grams of fat!!!! I buy low fat ice cream....

We rarely fry anything in our house. I bet in 20 years I've fried less than 20 times! We bake everything but every so often...I'll bread and fry okra or green tomatoes...but I do it the smartest way possible. I use egg whites and fat free milk as the "wet" ingredient and I picked the "healthiest" seasoning/coating and I fry in Smart Balanc oil. I drain the stuff really good to get as much grease as possible out. If I stir fry something, I use olive oil which is a good oil.

Also be very careful with your salad dressings!! A salad is no good if you put on 30 grams of salad dressing! We use Kraft's low fat dressings. They have no preservatives and are really tasty. We also use fat free mayo~the only difference is it's made with egg whites and no the whole egg. I make my own tarter sauce with fat free mayo so when I'm eating fish, I'm not eating a ton of fat!

Eating HIGH fat will kill you dead! We eat as low fat as possible- fat free milk (again Smart Balance that comes from cows who don't get antibiotics) FAT will clog your arteries, it causes heart attacks, strokes, and cancer!

We try and watch portion size with my husband, me and our teenage son. We don't just keep eating and eating or we try not to:) Also if I buy a treat, like a bag of chips and dip, that's it, when it's gone it's gone...I don't keep a ton of that in the house. It's just too easy to keep eating and eating!


So as you can see I use alot of tricks in my cooking and buying food. My kids already read labels and without me telling them will, put something back on the shelve and say "oh it had trans fat or the sat. food was 13 grams" They know we wouldn't buy it! I'm trying to install good healthy eating habits in them. My husband's side of the family has lots of heart disease so we are trying to avoid them following in relatives footsteps. My side of the family, for the most part, were pretty healthy as far as food went. But they all had their own gardens and ate lost of vegetables even if they were fried at times. But they got alot of exercise, they didnt' have a sedentary lifestyle at all.



EXERCISE! Well I try and walk 10,000 steps a day. Usually I get about 5,000 done at the track and then the rest throughout the day. If I don't go to the track then I make myself do 40 minutes on my exercise bike at level 3 which is pretty hard. I don't love exercising but I know I must to stay as healthy as possible. I love it when I'm done! Boy when I get up and get my walk in by 7 pm, I'm wide awake and ready to face the day ~ those endorphins are kicking in!!!!!


My husband is quite the walker/runner and he goes for about an hour most days. It's hard for me to get the boys to exercise at home. They do good at school (their school is VERY sports oriented which we LOVE) but at home, they want to watch tv, play video games...so we do things as a family to get them off their butts! Whether it's going to the State Park or any park, the beach or even getting them to walk around at the mall...they tend to do better away form home. Now when it gets cooler and they can be out without getting so hot (we do live in Florida) then they will play in the yard or on the trampoline. It's challenging but I don't want my kids having health problems as young people!!!

So we try everything we can to be as healthy as possible. It's challenging and Lord knows I'm not some tiny little person BUT just think how big and unhealthy I'd be if I didn't use this self control in food and exercise

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My struggles as a Pentcostal

I'm struggling this morning with the whole healing issue (what's new?) We have a wonderful man in our church who is dying of cancer. He is a godly man, faithful to his wife, family and church. He is loyal one of the kind of church members that all pastors pray to have! Everyone has prayed for him. He has prayed...there is no sin in his life, surely with all the people who have prayed for him, someone has has to have faith! So he is not healed....WHY????

I can rest in the fact that we are in God's hands but what I struggle with is the things I have been taught all my life and the "stories" I have heard. I do not believe that we as individuals in the church world are so far from God that He doesn't hear our cry. I've heard things like "Well God heals overseas cause they are more desperate, they don't' have medical care etc" BUT let me tell you it don't matter where you are in the world geographically if the doctors have done all they can, then you are desperate!!!!!!

I don't doubt that the God of this universe, the Creator of it all can heal or do whatever He wants to do! I just don't' know that He chooses to do so! I read the bible, I have a bible degree and I've studied it in the Greek & Hebrew. I have not in the past studied alot on healing because it wasn't something I was dealing with personally. But as a mom with children with medical issues as well as being a pastor's wife, there is alot I see now that I had not seen as a younger person. So I've started reading different books, studying different approaches to healing within the Pentecostal/charismatic movement and I still have not come to any conclusion.

GOD is GOD regardless of my doctrinal ideas or yours either!!!!! But I must know the doctrine and understand it and have peace about what I teach and share with others. I will not pass along false or distorted doctrine!!! I will not make things up so someone can have a fairy tale to hold onto! We need to know exactly what the bible NOT man says....I'm so afraid that over the years, we as a church have exaggerated stories and maybe even believed man's stories rather than what God says through his word. It is not always easy to understand scripture and it has to be taken in context...

Anyhow today I'm struggling with this issue more than usual.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

REVIVAL in Mobile Al- Bay of the Holy Spirit

So we went to the "new" revival in Mobile Al at John Kilpatrick's church (think Brownsville)...

I went with an open mind & heart despite I am the most conservative Pentecostal/charismatic Assembly of God Pastor's wife out there:) I truly believe in testing the spirit! If it's God then it will stand up under my testing! I worry about people who just believe everything that comes down the pike. I also worry about people who are so cautious that they won't be moved by anything! I think there is a balance in there...moderation.....that's where I want to be. I'll go and check out something, I can always leave if it's weird!

So we drove up and went last Thursday & Friday. On the way out of our driveway, I really decided I did not want to go! It was a long drive with 3 kids and you know how expensive it is to be on the road. So we're driving down our road, and I'm already a bit irritated cause you know how it is to leave the house, everyone forgets something.....So I inwardly started fussing at myself & God...thinking 500 miles is a LONG way to go to a service!!! We had watched a couple of clips and our hearts had been stirred plus they were saying miracles were actually happening....(more about that later) So my mindset is we take Sam all over the country to the best doctors we can find, so what's is wrong with taking him to a revival service where there is prayer for the sick? Anyway I was going back and to in my mind about the whole thing. We get about an hour from home and we stop for gas and breakfast, and I open Jon's wallet and he has lots of cash!! Here i was so worried about $$$, I'd forgotten we had cash left over from the trip the previous week to Miami for Sam! I was really trying to figure out our budget for the trip and it was totally stressing me out...So I felt like God was saying to me that everything was ok, just relax, so I did!

That night at the service, I definitely felt the presence of God but I'm easily distracted & distrustful. I'm not distrustful of God but I do not like to be manipulated in any way whatsoever! Evidently that was the first night in the Mobile Civic Center and there was "spiritual warfare" going on. I really had to push through some things to say the least. After the worship, which was good, the evangelist called for people with vision problems to come forward. We took Sam & Shad forward. Sam is a bit like me. He really does not like people nor trust them when he meets them. So they were trying to pray for Sam, who was busy pushing hands away as hard as he could. I couldn't help but laugh! If Sam gets healed, it will have to be a God thing. He really can't stand the traditional "laying on of the hands"!!!!! To be honest, they gave up on him, which did kinda tick me off! I feel like if you are saying there is healing going on, then push on through whatever you have to to see it happen!

Shad on the other hand LOVES attention! So he was very responsive to the guy and was grinning from ear to ear. The evangelist did spend some time praying for Shad and asked us a few questions about his eyes, in a nice way. Neither boy "got healed" but I felt I was obedient in taking them. I felt God had wanted me to take them and I did. I trust God for them. Although of course I'd love to see my boys both healed and whole on this earth, I know that life is short and eternity is long and that they will be healed for all eternity. I can trust God in that. I still do not know if God heals on this earth, but I trust Him whether He chooses to or not!


I'm just being honest here, not trying to be disrespectful or anything like that...

When we returned to our seat with the boys, I felt like we had "failed" in the eyes of some around us. No one said anything to us, that is just how I felt. No one else got a healing either but we were sitting in the pastor's section and there were some real "excitable' folks around us....

The sermon was good, really right on, nothing weird or off at all. There was an altar call- a general one and Jon & Steve responded. Jon was touched ( but ya'll know he's a bit open) Steve on the other hand is more like me and he felt someone tried to push him over....he didn't go down ....just like his mom!

So although there was some things that made me uncomfortable, I know God's presence and I did feel it.

The next day we had fun, Jon took the boys to a Civil War site and I met an old high school friend for lunch. We had such a good time talking that I was running behind getting across town to meet them for the service. And to be honest, I really didn't want to go. I was too conflicted from the night before and the only reason I went was we were so far from home, felt like I might as well go since I'd put that much effort in to going....


I sat and held Sam through the worship which was good. Then there was a testimony time when people were allowed to share what God had done for them. There were several reports of healing but to be honest, they weren't that convincing. It bothered me that people came forward with stories of healing but not medical documentation or even their pastor who could attest to the story. For example if Sam was healed there, obviously the leadership doesn't know us. However all they'd have to do to confirm the story is to call our local leadership and ask them about Sam. Same way in a local church if someone got healed, everyone would know their background and could tell a difference. Well I think in situations like that, you shouldn't just have everyone up telling their stories without documentation or at least their pastor's confirming the story. In this day and age someone could get up and say all kinds of stuff and be a "spy" from some network show out to make fun... Anyhow there were several stories shared, I don't know what was real and what was emotionalism...I've seen it happen to good people who wanted to be healed so badly that they'd "confess" they were healed because they felt something emotionally. They didn't mean anything bad by it, they were just stirred up...unfortunately I've seen those very same people go through doubt about God even, when the evangelist had left town....They weren't healed anymore and couldn't understand it....Anyhow I wasn't comfortable with the testimony time. I want to see & know that things are TRUE before it's shouted to the roof tops!

The sermon was really good that night and something very curious happened about halfway through the sermon. My left shoulder/arm started shaking! I handed Sam over to Steve thinking maybe it was from holding him for so long. Then I really began to shake. I tried and tried to fight it but it was uncontrollable. At the conclusion of the sermon, a general altar call was given. Of course Jon went down. Well I was fighting the whole shaking thing and I didn't want anyone to notice me so I went down, off to the side out of the way. By that time, I was shaking all over. There was no big emotions going on in me at all! If anything I was shocked and trying my best to get the whole thing under control!!!!!!! I could barely stand at that point. In my heart, I began asking God what was going on...I still don't' have an answer really...but God started bringing to my remembrance the past, years ago, when I was so concerned about other people and their souls and I saw just how far I was from that love...I began weeping & repenting and asking God to light a fire in my heart, help me get past MY LIFE and all the responsibilities and think of others again like I did before.

At some point, the evangelist called for everyone in full time ministry to come forward, I really tried but there were so many people and I was shaking so hard, I just couldn't get up to the front. I just gave up and stood where I was and God continued ministering to my heart. It wasn't to give me goosebumps or a good story but it really was to get my attention and redirect my heart.

So you ask why did God do that or maybe it was just my emotions....I can tell you it wasn't my emotions. I was there but barely to be honest with you! It was NOT at all that I was so into the service and had some expectation of some supernatural occurrence...not at all....So why would God do that??? Actually I feel although things were not "perfect", when man is involved (which is always) then nothing is going to be perfect....the presence of God was there. Whether He was there because of the hearts of the people or whether the leadership was really pressing in to God or a combo of all of that...I do not know but I know the presence of God and it was there!!!!

The oddest thing was after we'd gone back to the hotel and gone to bed, I woke up twice and was shaking!!!! Both times I was dreaming about the revival. I was shaking so much my teeth was chattering...I wasn't cold...But I was so tired, I just fell back asleep. I really think that happened to further prove to me, it wasn't my emotions.

So what do I think? I think it is a true move of God that needs to be carefully pastored and accountable. Will it be a revival lasting years...? I don't know, I don't really think so but I do believe it is a time of refreshing for the body of Christ. I know so many people say the church world has so much "refreshing" and services, conferences etc...but they don't have many real moves of God. When you are a pastor or in full time ministry you need a touch of God, the fire of God to burn out the dross in your life from time to time! I have to admit, I love to be in a service where no one looks at their watches and where there is time to let God work on us. Over the years I've been blessed in being in services like that from the time I was a child on and they made an impression on me. I love that my kids were there. Sure we discussed somethings but it was good for them. I even love when it's 11pm and the two little boys are asleep on the pews. There is just something about being in that kind of atmosphere that is something the kids will never forget.

I think we'll go back, actually we may go back next month if everything works out so we can be up in that area. Will I shake again? I have no idea nor do I anticipate it but I want to be in an attitude of openness to God. I'm hungry for God to move in my life. I feel I've spent so many years dealing with stuff in my life and so many years in rebellion that I want to see God move again. I spent the early part of my 30's in rebellion to God and then some years of recovery...then came Sam and all the additional responsibilities in my life...now I have 3 kids and a very busy life. I'm not the same person I was back in the early 90's when I had all kinds of time to be in revival services...but I want to be open to how God is choosing to move in this time while always keeping the focus on God.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Update

Steve had a great trip in Detroit! He loved doing the outreach and can't wait to go to the one next year! He came back charged up! I've noticed him reading his bible and praying more and having a better attitude overall. He wasn't overwhelmed by the youth services or the music. didn't get some big emotional touch but just the fact he participated in something bigger than himself drew him closer to God. We are so glad he went!

We got back from Miami yesterday after driving in Tropical Depression #5! Sam's cornea looks good but his eye pressure/glaucoma is up and that is very serious! We are concerned about the situation

School starts Monday and the kids are excited. Steve will be starting high school and Shad will be starting 1st grade. Sam also will be starting 1st grade on homebound and he will love seeing his teachers again!

There is a revival breaking out in Mobile AL. It's with Pastor Kilpatrick who was the pastor of Brownsville A/G in the 90's during that great revival. We are planning to go up at the end of next week for a couple of days although the kids will have to miss a couple of days of school. I think it will be an amazing thing for them to experience and of course we will have Sam prayed for. There are some healings taking place and I trust Pastor Kilpatrick enough to know that this stuff is for real and not just exaggerations...I want to see for myself!

Our church is having a special meeting this Sunday with Jermiah and Charity Hubbard. Charity is the one who sang during the Brownsville Revial "Mercy Seat" I think our church will be greatly encouraged.

Friday, August 6, 2010

caringbridges....

Sam has a caringbridges page the address is www.caringbridges.org/visit/samclanton and I enjoy having it to update on Sam exclusively. Over the years, doctor visits, hospital stays, we've met other's with CB pages that I follow and those friends often put other friend's websites on their pages. So I read quite a few of them. Most of the children I read about have life threatening illnesses, mostly cancer although there are some children like Sam who have more stable (for the most part) situations. So many times while reading these CB pages, I have wept for the parents and the children. It's so hard to read of a child relapsing with cancer or dying. My oldest son came in one day when I was reading and crying and he asked me "Mom WHY do you do this to yourself?" Especially me, I won't even watch Bambi! Every movie I watch has to be slap stick comedy! I don't like to be sad. I figure life is sad enough why add to it!

But these are real children with real families and in an odd way, I feel like I honor what they are going through and their lives by reading their website. I know I pray for them and their families alot, even if I've never met them.

And some of the parents have all kind of odd ideas spiritually. One family is Buddhist/New Age and one goes to a Medium....it's different and sad. You can just sense their feeling of hopelessness. I pray for the parents souls. Some of the hardest to read are the ones of the children who have passed away and their parents continue posting, sharing their pain. Those posts break my heart and I pray for God to touch them and lift their burden, if possible.

I had been following a little girl, Hannah Grace. Her dad is a young minister with our denomination and a student at one of our colleges as well as I believe he is on staff at a church. Reading her site, has been an amazing experience. Her father & mother have showed so much faith & trust in God that it has inspired me to trust God more in my life. HG recently passed away and I cried again for her, for her family but I was encouraged by their faith at the same time. Her father announced her passing by saying "No angel wings here, Hannah Grace is safe in Jesus' arms" I loved how he wrote that as many in the cancer/childhood disease world will write when a child dies that the child has now earned their "angel wings". Honestly that had always bothered me, although of course I understand what they mean by the statement. (but we as redeemed humans will one day judge the angels ...we have a song the angels can not sing...) But he wrote with such faith and trust although his heart was breaking about looking forward to the day when they would worship around the throne together. No bitterness, no reproach of God...just trust!

I encourage you to read this little girl's site, go back to the beginning and read their story of faith www.caringbridges.org/visit/hannahgraceharrison You will be encouraged to trust God with your life!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer Time Blues

Summer times blues.....the end of summer time blues....

With Steve gone to Detroit, my husband at work and its so hot, I'm basically stuck at home with the little boys! AAAAAGGGHHHHH! This is gonna be a boring week! I feel for them too! Then next week we have to be in Miami for Sam's procedure but that is NO vacation! Then the next week school starts! Where did the summer go????It seems like we were just getting out of school and leaving for the mountains!

Although I do LOVE the schedule of school. It seems like when we have to be on schedule everything runs so much better. Steve will be in high school 9th grade this year! Shad will be in 1st! And Sam will also be in 1st through the homebound program. Steve is planning on playing basketball again this year so we have that to look forward too. Steve & Shad both will have tough teachers this year. The good thing about the kids going to a private school, there are some things you know in advance. I particularly excited about Steve's teacher. He is a little bit afraid hahaha. He says she is alot like me! But she will be what gets him really motivated! Our goal is for Steve to do dual enrollment in college while he is in 11th & 12th grade. I believe with his new teacher we'll be able to do that! And with Shad's new teacher, I believe he will advance quickly. In their school, they work at their own pace, and if a kid is gifted, then they can work through the work quicker. I believe Shad will do that. He finished kindergarten work a full month before school was out and they let him do a little 1st grade work but I think this year, they'll just let him fly:)

Well next week Jon is taking the whole week off, we go to Miami Tues& Wed-as long as Sam has no complications (unlike the last 2 times) we'll be home Wed night! So maybe we'll have some time at the beach next week! That would be nice! I'd like to stay over somewhere but probably won't be able to afford that with the Miami trip & school supplies/uniforms to buy:( But at least we can go for the day!

So I should try to clean the house or do something productive today. I HATE feeling like a SLUG! It goes against my grain but it is so hard to get anything done without Steve or Jon being home or at least Sam's teachers being here....when the teachers are here, I at least have him occupied. With no one but me, he wants to occupy all my time:) Not that I really mind especially when he snuggles in, and puts that little arm around my back so he can get as close as possible.....but I do like getting stuff done too.

So I have the end of summer time blues!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Train up a child.....




Well our oldest son is on his first missions trip! He went with another church to Detroit Mich for the Assemblies of God annual Fine Arts/AIM trip. Steve is not in the fine arts completion but he is doing the AIMS trip which is an inner city mission trip! He left at 4 AM Sat morning and they arrived in Detroit about 3 pm on Sunday.

Already it's been a learning experience for him as he raised ALL his money to go by himself! He sold discount cards, tickets for Outback, spent 6 Saturdays at Publix supermarket, holding a bucket for donations, he worked the Daytona Speedway's gates the weekend of July 4th and a few other things! He actually raised $107 over his goal and was able to give the credit to a good friend who was lacking a little bit. Even his spending money came from people who saw how hard he was working:) The only thing we had to spend $$$ on was a few new pairs of shorts, that he needed anyhow:) We were so proud of how hard he worked! I think it was a big accomplishment to him to raise his own support. We could tell that it made him feel very independent!

So he's off to do all kinds of projects with another 1,000 kids from the Assembly of God nationwide! He is going to do projects in the inner city, work with Convey of Hope giving out food to needy families and do some door to door outreaches. He'll be out from 9-4 pm and then they will have a youth service nightly. I realize all the effort that these teens put forth may not cause a massive revival in Detroit BUT it may cause the individual teen to have a life changing experience! I did a bunch of short term mission trips while in college and I'm sure the trips did not do a whole lot to further the cause of Christ in the places I went:) But I learned a lot, learned how to work with others, be submissive to authority, be flexible and be bold!!! So in the long run it does help the kingdom...and you never know some soul may be touched by these teens coming to help them.

It was a little hard for us to let him go, he's only 14 and for him to go out of state without us...and REAL out of state, was a bit unnerving (esp for me) but we know it's good for Steve.

We have a small church wih a small youth group so we have always allowed him to do things with another church that we are good friends with the pastor and youth pastor. We started letting him go to youth camp 3 summers ago....although the first year I took him and had a long talk with the camp director about lightening, pool rules...ect...he was gracious to me. I look back now a bit embarrassed but that was my baby:)

We've allowed him to do things that would allow him to grow spiritually. It's not about going on trips for the heck of them but there has been a purpose. With a child, you see what they want and then guide them to it. He loves youth camp, youth convention, PK retreat...each time he did something new, I had to hold my breath but so glad he stepped up and did the stuff (and glad we let him)

I grew up really restricted. My family didn't want me involved in anything or to go anywheres even if it was with the church. They worried too much....well I worry too and we don't send him off just to do whatever unsupervised...but we send him off, in capable hands, so he doesn't even think about the fact he has other's supervising him.

You have to give your child room to grow and mature WHILE still watching over them, it's a balancing act. You don't want to be like my family, where I was allowed to do nothing nor do you want your child to run wild and go everywhere with no purpose either.

As we were following the bus down I-4 to our turn off Saturday morning, Jon & I both were a bit emotional but Jon said some really profound things...The scripture "train up a child" literally means to cause to them to go with their own unique personality, bent, interests, in a godly way....We try to do that with all our children. We will never try to "call them into ministry" I've seen that done too many times and honestly I really don't want them in ministry IF that is not their calling because it is NOT an easy life!!! We want to direct our boys in a godly manner towards their personalities & interests, without trying to impose our wishes on them. Of course, we have high standards and expectations of them but I think it's good for kids to have goals set. You just have to get them to think the goals came from their minds:)

So I encourage you let your children grow, help them to get ready to leave the nest with good habits in place and help them grow spiritually without being weird. And I mean YOU as the parent...don't get weird or have too many rules. Rules are good but always have a reason for a rule and be able to explain it. Honestly we've never had more than a mummer about any rules we've had on the boys. usually when I've explained it to them, they've understood.

We have rules in place in our home about what the kids, watch on tv/movies, what kind of video games they play, and music that they listen to. We send them to a christian school, to youth camp, have them in church every week and in other christian activities. I'm careful with what friends my boys hang around and whose homes they are in....I always say they may get in trouble and go away from God but they'll have to go through us FIRST!!! WE WILL NOT MAKE IT EASY ON THEM!!!!!

But on the other hand, we don't raise them like I was raised with silly rules that had no basis in reality...Like you couldn't go to a movie theater, but you could rent that movie and play it on a VCR....or you couldn't go bowling...a friend of mine was not allowed to go skating...: how odd! We try to make rules that deal with the heart more!

We teach the boys "don't put any unclean thing in front of your face" (that's from the bible) I'd much rather my kids go to the theater and watch the latest G-rated movie, than stay home and rent an R rated movie...(honestly when i was a teen, I wasn't allowed to go to movies YET our youth pastor rented "Against All Odds-rated R. I recently bought it and watched about 5 minutes BEFORE I THREW IT IN THE DUMPSTER!!!! I had forgotten the language/sex scenes...but was that too stupid? almost like what made a movie bad was where it was shown not what was in it!!!!!) We explain WHY we want them to be careful about what they see/hear and how we want them to please God in their choices as they get older!

some people don't take their kids to church much, don't watch out for what the kids watch on tv or play on video games, give up on policing their Ipods, let them hang out with kids who don't care anything about God...and then they wonder WHY their kids are out of control!!!! Then they ask for prayer for their kids...come on...GUIDE your children, guide by example...While these kids live in our house, they'll be in church whether they like it or not...it's not up to them!! But it's never been an issue, and I really don't think it ever will be.

I'm not a perfect mom by any means. I yell too much and I don't have much patience, (except with Sam) But I'm determined to train up my kids spiritually. I admit to my kids when I blow it, although I also explain to them THEIR part in it:) I don't apologize to them for them getting in trouble, nor do they escape punishment even if I yell at them too much! (I'm thinking of a recent episode when my favorite casserole dish that my deceased mother in law gave me - got broke...I YELLED big time and 2 boys had a whole day of no tv, music, computer, games...etc....! I did later in the day explain WHY I'd gotten so mad and apologized for how I spoke to them but it didn't lessen their punishment by one minute!!!!!) Sometimes parents in my generation forget WHO is supposed to be in charge in the home!!! And it's not the kids! We respect our children BUT we don't let them run the home either. I've seen homes like that and no one is really happy including the kid. Actually that day the boys ended up apologizing to me, playing a regular board game together & it turned out to be a nice day. They need boundaries...but maybe not a mama screaming at them!!! So it's a learning expirence for all of us. It is good for a child to know that his parent will admit where they've blown it.

I love my boys and want to see them grow, spread their wings...and soar in life...and we want to be there to encourage them every step of the way!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

produced church





This is a parody on the contemporary cool church! Cracked me up but it's really supposed to make you think...Personally I think the modern Charismatic/Pentecostal/Evangelical have tried so hard to be so cool & relevant that many churches have just become "cookie cutters" and they are so predictable! We recently ran into a friend we went to SEC with (not on FB so don't nobody think I'm talking about you-although if the shoe fits...) and the guy had the cool clothes, hair cut, glasses and required tattoo, cool speech "Hey dude what's up?"....it was sad , here was this 45 yr old, TRYING to look & sound like a youth pastor LOL. It took NO effort to imagine what his church was like, everyone in jeans, with their coffee on Sun morning, in for an hour then out....You know it's rather laughable....he wasn't being unique or himself, he was following what he felt was the way to grow a church, being relevant....

I'll be honest, I did go out and buy Jon the required black shirt and ripped jeans and shoes to match....and he felt like an IDIOT!!!!!!! He tried to wear them to something and he just cracked up and said he couldn't do it. I did get him to wear them for our Xmas pic last yr so we'd all match but they've just sat in his closet. He will wear the shirt TUCKED in with a pair of dress pants. but he can't bring himself to wear the jeans, I figure Steve will be in that size soon....He's just not about being the cool pastor! LOL Keep it real! Now he rarely wears a suit and when he does, rarely a tie but it's more than anything just because that is what he feels comfortable with. We aren't formal at our church but we're not informal either, just kinda in the middle....no one sports a cool new tattoo, there is a few with some old ones, but honestly they try to cover them up...And I don't have a problem with someone getting a tattoo but don't just do something to be cool. It looks stupid to a watching world, like a kid playing dress up.....

Honestly I don't want to go back to the '60's where all the men wore a 3 piece suit and the ladies wore dresses & hose and all the little rugrats were dressed to kill in their Sunday best....But it's like we've had to swing the pendulum so far that it is ridiculous. I remember when I was a kid no one would even chew gum "in the house of the Lord" Now it's coffee & doughnuts every Sunday morning! There's nothing wrong with Starbucks (love 'em) but just be yourself.

The world isn't gonna beat down your door whether you as the pastor has the latest hip style or their favorite brand of Starbucks coffee...they are looking for reality. Sure the "cool" church may grow for a season in numbers but according to research by George Bara the more contemporary churches have the least amount of commitment. (I read that in a study and can't quote the study but I know it was his group that did it.) I'm sure every church struggles with commitment, our church is more traditional but very grace oriented & we struggle with people being committed. But I believe that the "seeker sensitive " church in the long run will do more to hurt the body of Christ than to help. In 20 yrs or so, when church historians begin looking back, I believe it will have ran it's course as did the Charismatic movement of the 70's, the big ministries/tv ministries of the 80's & 90's...

What do people crave? We all crave God first & foremost! Then authenticity within church. The whole contemporary church movement, "church outside the box" probably started wtih the best of intentions...but like anything else, when a pastor feels he needs to be a carbon copy of someone else, the whole thing looks silly! There are "moves of God" that speak more to my heart like the Brownsville Revival & the Lakeland Outpouring" from the 90's but it was so silly to me when I began to see ministers base their ministry on trying to be like Steve Hill or Rodney Howard Brown. Be yourself! Don't try to copy another minister's way of doing something, it doesn't fit you....

Are there any more pioneers out there????

So far today I've have a phone call from one lady and a visit from another...both conversations were about "Finding a church home"...Can we say we are live in a consumer mentality????

The caller was upset because a church she had been attending had her fill out a questionnaire & attend a class before she could become a member. Instead of encouraging her to attend our church, I encouraged her to understand WHY the church/pastor required that. I explained that the bible teaches "to know those who labor among you" and church membership is far different from just attending a church. Church membership should be taken serious and "not entered into lightly" just like marriage...LOL The class was to ensure SHE knew what kind of church she was joining. It was an Assembly of God church in this area, we know the pastor slightly but I'm sure that he's not some werido and has a reason for what he requires. She didn't like the application process because the application asked about HER gifts and what SHE could do for the church. She innocently asked me "wasn't the church supposed to provide for HER needs???" Poor thing....I explained it's our responsibility AS MEMBERS to get involved in some aspect of ministry within our church whether it was cleaning the church, helping in the nursery or praying....We talked for quite a bit and I encouraged her to meet with her pastor and talk to him about this rather than just run off & leave the church.

Then a woman came by and stopped in and asked about our church. She was nice but literally gave me a list in what she was looking for in a church....! I just laughed (nicely) and told her we didn't have all that she was looking for but she was welcomed to visit. She then describe a church she had recently attended and told me what she didn't like about it. Evidently the pastor preached a "tithing sermon" a rather long one before taking up the offering. I could agree I really am not into all that. YES I believe in tithing and it IS an important part of church attendance and a responsibility of a church member, BUT that is not something we focus on here at our church. Yes my husband will mention it and even include it in a sermon but it's not a big emphasis. And you now what, God has met all the needs of this church! It's been incredible how the finances have come in for everything we needed. We are set to start a remodeling phases of the sanctuary in September and ALL the money that we need is in and most of the supplies (paint, new carpet, new chairs/sets all new audio equipment, wood floors new sheds etc..is bought!!!!) God provides!!!!

But anyhow she didn't like the sermon there, she wanted more than we offer....Makes me wonder does ANYONE think about BEING a blessing to the church rather than being blessed by the church??????

We live in a world of CONSUMERS!!! Bless me, do for me, what about helping others??? I love larger churches where there are all kinds of ministries available. We went for years to a "mega-church" that was great, so I'm not against mega churches, they can be great. But Christians should learn to be able to give out what they've been given!


What we'd give for more committed, NORMAL people to work with us and be people we know that we could depend on!!! Every pastor is appreciative of those ones that he knows are faithful, committed and doing things for God & the church for the right reason! In our situation, we need folks with a pioneer spirit, people you don't have to hold their hand nor do you have to watch your back either!1 (that can be just as bad!) Are their any left? Does everyone have to have every new program in order to serve God or can they use what God has given to them already to give back to the world, starting in their local community & church????

It can be discouraging......

Friday, July 23, 2010

Christian Songs...or "Love " Songs

I love all kinds of music... rap, heavy metal (only a little), rock & roll, soft listening, praise & worship, hymns, country, southern gospel music...I for the most part listen to only Christian music but we have some secular music cd's that I on occasion listen to. If you looked through our Cd collection, you'd laugh cause there are many styles we like.

But there is one "style" that drives me crazy......Christian 'worship" music that sounds like you are singing to your boyfriend/girlfriend....I know the bible says we are the "bride of Christ' and then you've got the Songs of Solomon...but some new music that is out is embarrassing to me!!! I was recently somewhere and the worship group was singing and I was actually really into the music. Then they began a song I didn't know...as the words came forth, I was actually embarrassed! They were words, I'd use only to describe a love relationship between a man & a woman....So I kinda did a quick look around and everyone else was all into the song, singing away...So I thought "is it just me?" I talked to some friends & Jon later and they agreed with me, the song made them uncomfortable...(well my bro in law- as always disagreed with me - he told me I had a vile mind...LOL) But yet people sing these songs that make them uncomfortable...NOT ME!

I guess I feel when I'm singing worship songs to the Creator of the Universe, I want to keep it a little more formal and reverent! I know we have a personal relationship with God, but I really don't want to be that personal.....!!!! If you hear a song and you can't be sure that if you just heard it song on the radio whether it would be a christian song or an easy listening love song...don't ya think something is wrong???? I don't know am I the only one who feels like this?

Sure we have old hymns like "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" but the word go "Jesus lover of my soul. Jesus, I will never let you go, You lifted me, from the mirey clay and set my feet upon a rock and now I know , I love you, I need you,tho my world may fall, I'll never let you go..." ok I can deal with that. the song is quite clear to WHOM it is being song to. Other songs...and I don't' want to put their lyrics out there since I'm disagreeing with them ... are just werid. Jon actually asked our worship leader not to do a particular song because of the wording....some of these songs sound like the writeer is romantically in love with Jesus...I don't' know but that gives me the willies.....YUCK! Does anyone besides me remember the 80's and some minister would use the term "Make Love to Jesus"...? Ok that totally GROSSED me out!!!!!! I understand they meant be one with, be intimate with...but the terminology was WAY too much for me!!! So are we still seeing some of that odd speech but now it's in song version??

So what do you think? have you ever sung a song you were uncomfortable with??? Just wondering....

Is the CHURCH bad...?

Recently it seems I've been reading/seeing/hearing alot about how BAD the church is. Everyone has a criticism of the church. I see it on facebook, "non traditional" authors, in magazines, on tv, people tell me all their bad experiences...just this morning on the way to my walk I passed a sign "churchhatesme.com" from a new "cool " church in our area...so what do I think about it????

True anyone who grows up in church can tell a crazy tale or two...I have about 100 or so. I've been hurt, let down, talked about, and even ridiculed by the CHURCH. So what is my response? The church is only made up of other humans. Have you not been hurt, let down, talked about, ridiculed by humans or has it only happened to you by the CHURCH? Well I've had all the above happen to me at school, at work, in family, in life in general. So why does it make it so much worse when something happens to you in church? If I had a dollar for everytime somebody told me they got hurt in church and "WASN'T EVER GOING BACK" I'd be able to retire:) Wow, if someone hurt your feelings at work and you said that and follow thru, you wouldn't have a job...or what about in your family situation? Most of the time we just suck it up and go on cause we have to.

So what's the difference? So the person quits church & gets flaky and says "I can worship God out in nature" hahah that one really cracks me up cuz come Sunday morning that person is probably still snoring under their blankies....

The bible clearly teaches corporate worship and teaches the church is the body of Christ that should function together. It even gives the exhortation "Forget not the assembling of yourself together, even more so as you see that day approaching" Wow that's in the Bible. But I had one guy tell me as we were discussing this subject that he was assembling together with me at that particular time, that the Bible didn't mean in a church setting, it could be any setting...it was would have been laughable if it wasn't so sad.

I'm a pastor's wife, raised in church my whole life and I'll be the first to tell you the church is flawed...WHY??? Cause we are humans, God doesn't make us robots when we come to Christ so therefore we have the opportunity to screw things up...but would you really want someone else to stand in your way to God? Can you be saved & not go to church? Yes. Will you be living a victorious life? NO! I've never met anyone other than a few old saints who were bedridden and couldn't go to church who were living a victorious life and not going to church! and that's the truth! Think about the people you know who aren't faithful in church attendance, are they REALLY the ones you can depend on when you need someone to be there for you in a spiritual capacity? NOOOO! And what kills me is people who can go EVERYWHERE else BUT church cause they are "sick". I just roll my eyes when I see/hear that.

Now, we are not legalistic about church attendance, we don't have a Wednesday night service anymore (really since hardly anyone would come) but there is something to be said about finding a church home and being faithful! It is an important Christina discipline that no one wants to talk about today. You have a responsibility! Have you ever heard "You only get out of it, what you put into it???" Well that's true! If YOU would put something into it, you might be surprised!


So personally I don't like these attacks on the church! Granted there are some churches out there that are not preaching the gospel, that are in false doctrine and unhealthy. There are dead mainline churches and dead charismatic/Pentecostal churches. But really for the most part, those are not really the kind of churches I hear complaints about...usually it's just a regular church, where things DIDN'T GO THAT PERSON 'S WAY!!!!!!!Maybe the pastor called for some respondsibiblty in their lives or maybe someone did say hurtful things to them...but GET OVER IT!

Remember YOU will stand before GOD one day for YOURSELF. Not for Sis MeanGirl or Bro Blabbermouth or for the preacher you didn't like cause he told you to pay tithes.....So get to a good Bible believing church, be faithful (there is a respondsibiblty on YOUR side too!!!) and get grounded!

And honestly not trying to sound like a conspirator...but I truly believe this wave of attacks on the church that we keep seeing is from the devil. When I see all the books out about making your church seeker sensitive and what the sinner wants in a church...it turns my stomach. I love everyone but I will never be a part of a ministry that waters down the gospel to reach people. It's great to move with the times about NON ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION matters like what time the service is, or what people wear to church...but when all you get is a feel good sermon, something is wrong. When I met people going to Charismatic /Pentecostal churches and they are living with their boyfriend/girlfriend and have NO conviction about it...it makes me wonder about what kind preaching they are hearing....? Is it just patting them on their backs and telling them Jesus loves them? Or is it messages of conviction, Jesus loves you and wants to save you from your sins???

The old saying "Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go, cost you more than you ever wanted to pay, and keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay" is so true! I want to give a pure message to others. I KNOW what sin will do in a life! Although I was raised in the church, I decided as an adult to turn my back on God! And turn I did!!!! It was the most miserable time of my life!! So although I had never before experienced the ravages of sin, didn't really have a testimony of God taking me out of themirey clay...I do now! And I know that that is a horrible place to be! So why would I not want to tell someone how to be free?????

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm proud to be a mom of a "retarded ' son!


I get a newsletter called "the MATCHMAKER" MUMS National Parent-to- Parent network Newsletter. I've been getting it since Sam was little and back then no one had ever heard of Peter's so I hoped to connect with another family. This newsletter is for any parent of a child with special needs. It has some liberal leanings and I'd actually called to have myself taken off of the list back during the election of '08 but nevertheless I still receive it. So last night I opened it and read the most horrible essay I have ever read in my life. It is written by a mom of a child who is retarded. It doesn't give any more info about he child...but it gives plenty of info about the mom!!!!!!!!!

It's called "The Dark Side" by Jennifer Hamilton. She begins by quoting her son Andy who says "I hate being retarded" and then she goes on to say "I hate being the mom of a retarded child" She goes on to say that many parents have allowed themselves to be pressured into saying and often even thinking things that they don't really feel. She goes on to say that she knows moms who are so conditioned to being brave that they have practically convinced themselves that their child's disability is a blessing. This author writes that a friend of hers recently stated she couldn't stand to be alone with her child (who I presume is handicapped too) for more than an hour and so it gave the author the great sense of relief that she could make a list of her negative reaction, and not dress them up with apologies or explanations but simply to put them down as a statement of where she stands! she then proceeded to list them...

DEATH She has frequent death wishes concerning her son. Fantasies about accidents. fatal but painless illnesses...

BOREDOM Her son bores her and on occasions, the boredom of his slowness approaches pure hatred!

ANGER She is angry at the doc who prescribed the wrong size diaphragm, herself and her husband for having conceived the child and FURIOUS at god for allowing this to happen (Oh now we get God in the picture only because she's mad at Him for not giving her a perfect son)

GUILT She is guilty over the frustrations and restrictions of his life

SHAME She says perhaps self-consciousness would be a better expression because it is not immediately apparent that he is retared, she wished he had some physical impairment that would promote instant sympathy & forestall misunderstanding by strangers. She says she deliberately talks down to him to make it obvious that he is different and thereby spare herself from public embarrassment.

She then goes on to say that "looking back over this list I sense that it's only a beginning. There are deeper & more complicated feelings that I have yet to recognize....My common sense tells me that others in my situation must have had similar dark thoughts...For my own part I feel that since Andy had the courage to admit the feelings that his disability aroused, I owe it to him to develop with myself the same kind of honesty." WHAT A SICKO!!!!

OH MY GOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know as a christian I'm not supposed to hate anyone but WOW I have no nice feelings towards this selfish witch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God help her son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll start by saying I'm HONORED to be the mom of a retared boy! I don't believe all those silly ideas, that God and the angels were looking for the perfect parents and chose us to be Sam's parents....We live in a fallen world, and sometimes things happen while a child is being formed in his mom's belly. But God created Sam and brought us through a difficult pregnancy & birth and He gave Sam life. Sam is who he is and who God created him to be. I'm even passed the stage of wishing he was "normal" In the beginning, I wanted him healed so bad but I love & accept him as he is. I didn't care about whether he was healed for MY sake but for his sake, to make his life easier. But then I realized, Sam is who God created him to be. God knew that Sam had Peter's Plus Anomaly in his chromosome 17...God wasn't shocked by Sam's disability....Sometimes I don't like to even call it a disability because it is Sam, who he is, and I love him!!!!!!! And having the hope of heaven, I realize that any suffering we go through is not even to be compared to the glory we will have in heaven. For all of eternity, Sam will be completely healed, so what is a few years here on this earth????

So let me counter her writings with my own thoughts on each of these subjects she brought up

DEATH I worry that Sam will die on almost a daily basis, at least a few times a week. Although I know when he goes to heaven he'll be whole but I don't want him to leave me. I love holding him & taking care of him, feeling the warmth of his little body in my lap. I worry that he'll out live Jon & me and his care be overwhelming to his brothers. (although Steve & him have such an incredible bond!)

BOREDOMShe has to be kidding! I'm never bored with Sam! I have so much fun with him and enjoy him so much. He is the silver lining in the cloud of disability! He has enriched my life so much! I've gone so many places and met so many people that I would have never known if it wasn't for Sam!!!!

ANGER If you've read my blogs, I went through a time of being angry after we lost our twins and I NEVER want to be there again! God is sovereign and we are in His hands, come what may! I'm thankful that God gave us Sam. Thankful that all the fertility treatment worked, thankful that he survived prematurity! Thankful that he is my boy!!!!!!

GUILT I did in the beginning wonder if somehow Sam's disabilities were my fault. But then after all the doctor's assessments..DNA testing...etc...I realized it was just something that randomly happens...Before I knew I was pregnant we'd gone to Branson MO and on the way stopped to watch a crop dusting plane for Steve in Arkansas. For a while I wondered if I got some chemicals on me that could have caused Sam to have problems. One doctor was reassuring after explaining all the chromosomal stuff he added "If every woman who had a crop duster fly over her had a child like Sam, the whole Midwest would be full of kids with Peter's " that really helped and made sense!!!!

SHAME Or Self consciousness...Sure I feel self conscious when people look at Sam but not because HE embarrass me ! But rather those people PISS ME OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I hope i don't offend you by my strong language) I don't feel a need to "talk down to my son" Actually sometimes I will say to him "some idiot is watching us...." And I say it as I'm glaring at the offending party!!!!!!!!!!!

So those are my thought on this article! I feel very strongly because I do count it as a privilege to be the mother of all 3 of my boys. I am so blessed by them. Just because Sam is different doesn't diminish him or my feelings for him. What if he'd been born perfectly healthy but got cancer , or was injured and became disabled by any number of things? Would that diminish my love for him? NO!!!

Honestly reading that idiot's article makes me fear for her son'! If not for his actually physical safety, at least for his emotional well being! Surely she can not treat him with love & respect if she if fantasizing about his death!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Poor little boy! Although Sam can not disguish that he is disabled he doesn't really speak or have the understanding to know he is different IF he did understand he would KNOW that we love & accept him AS HE IS!!!!

The author has the mindset of this world. It dominates her thoughts and she has given into them. We live in a world that wants perfection, that doesn't value life, unborn, the elderly, handicapped people...it is dangerous. One day that lady may find herself disabled, a casualty of old age, maybe some crippling disease, or dementia ...I wonder if she'd like someone fantasising over her death then???? No one is promised a perfect life, lots can happen along the way. If you don't show compassion, then will compassion be shown to you???

I try to live my life compassionately towards others. That is one thing that Sam brings out of me. A compassion for the weak, sickly, handicapped...not to say I dint' have any before, but NOW my feet are in their shoes, so compassion wells out of me!

I remember thinking years ago before we had kids, that I would never want to have a retarded child. It was just almost more than I could think of to have to deal with. However with time, age and caring a child inside your body, it didn't matter to me if my kid had 3 heads! It was MY child and I'd love it with every ounce of strength I had!!! After I lost my twins, one who was at the least extremely physically handicapped I just cried and cried and told God that I wanted that child NO MATTER what was wrong with it. And I meant it. It was flesh of my flesh, no matter what was wrong with it. Before I had children, I didn't have that crazy maternal feeling.....had NO idea...but after having Steve.......it hit and has never let me go. It's almost supernatural, that maternal feeling that washes over a mom! I had it some after I was pregnant with Steve, but the moment I delivered him and the doctor handed him to me, honest to God it was like "an anointing' I don't know how to describe it but it happened so fast & strong! I wan't a real maternal person before him but in that second, it was like "pixie dust" was sprinkled over me. I can't really use the term "pixie dust" cause it was so strong! More like a barrel of it was oured on my head!!!! Me who'd never really successfully changed a diaper in 30 years of my life suddenly became MAMA! I would have killed over that little baby if I'd had to with no qualms!

I feel that way about my kids so strongly still and especially Sam because of all he has gone through! Believe me, ask some nurses, doctors, teachers, therapists...anyone who did anything that I felt was not in his best interest. they get it from me. I don't even care anymore about what they think of me, actually I never cared what they thought of me but I din try to tone myself down for my poor husband's sake! I guess I should say I'll pray for this lady but I'd really like to "lay hands on her" fast & furiously!!!!!!! God be with that poor little boy!!!!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 4th thoughts

So tomorrow is July 4th and it falls on a Sunday. That makes it convenient for a cookout following the service...fun.

My husband was debating what to preach tomorrow. He is in the middle of a series on the cross but thought maybe he should do a sermon that was more connected to America. He never asks me my opinion on what to preach cause he always can preach- he really is "instant in season & out"! And he was really just kinda thinking out loud so you know I had to throw my 2 cents worth in.....I encouraged him to focus on Jesus-the cross...that's what is eternal! That's how he was feeling too but since we're having a 4th of July day, he felt some conflict. But you know being an American is NOT gonna save you on judgement day! The only thing gonna save you is the blood of Jesus. And I believe on that day, no one will be caring or thinking about what country they are from or where anyone else was from as we all bow before the King of Kings & the Lord of Lords!!!

Now before I write anymore, I want you to know I'm very political, completely right wing, LOVE the USA...BUT the USA is not an eternal country! This world one day will pass away. I'm thankful to be a citizen in the USA but my real citizenship is in heaven! I feel uncomfortable when people began "worshipping" the USA! God has blessed our nation but America is not the promised land! Some people equate America with God...God is so much above America, there is no comparison!

We do not have flags in our church. The ones we had were very dirty and we took them out and it's not high on our agenda to replace them. We do have one in the church lawn that pays respect to our country but to me the things in a sanctuary are symbolic (or practical- mics, ceiling fans, etc...) It's not that I don't love the USA but this world is not my home, I'm only passing through. I thank God for this country & for all the blessing He has given but it is not my final home. So inside the church, I personally feel it is inapporiate to have the American flag honored daily as if it is as important as the Christian flag. (not that I think the Christan flag has to be there either, I've always thought that was a bit weird...to be honest...) Out in our church yard we have the American flag flying. We used to have a christian flag there also but it got old and was taken down. One thing that made me very uncomfortable was legally if the American flag is flying then any other flag is to fly beneath it if on the same flag pole. That bothers me for the symbolism of the christian flag is far above the American flag! I don't want any other country flying above the American flag but the symbolism of the christian flag flying below it REALLY bothered me. I know many churches deal with this by flying the flags on separate flag poles but that was not what we had....

I worry about the "separation of church & state" but I don't worry about Christianity influencing this country, it's laws, morals, values...I worry about the state influencing the church's morals, values etc.... I think Christan's should be all up in politics and that we should influence the government justly but I do NOT want the government to influence us. Whether the present government in "a friend " to Christians or not. We should take stand on moral issues and stay up for godly principles, things that are clearly in God's word!


So before I'm beheaded...take a moment & think about what I've written. What is more important to you? Do you confuse the USA with God? Do you think because you live in a "Christan" nation it makes us more right than other countries? We are IF we are following God's principles in dealing with situations but when does that happen? America is not equal with God only a servant that God has used to reach this earth for HIM.

I'm not a USA basher! That makes me madder than fire when I hear some people I know doing that! I want to bash in their heads for them. The people I know that are so ready to bash the USA are usually LOSERS with a capital L and if you reading and you wonder if I mean you? Don't wonder I do!!!!! I love the USA but I do not equate it with God! There is a difference. I would give my life for my country BUT only if my country was right! Why? Because I serve a higher authority! The values of America are ever changing, God's values do not change with time. He is the same yesterday, today & forever. Singing "God Bless America" is not going to meet your need in your darkest hour but singing "Amazing Grace" will give you the strength to go on! Why because God's songs, words, and power is eternal while the United States is only temporary!

So when it comes my time to stand before God, all "the things of this world will have grown strangly dim in the light of HIS glory & grace. So be thankful God has blessed this country of ours', be appreciative for the men who have fought & died so we could keep our freedom but know true freedom comes from the ONE who gave His life so we could live for ever in eternity in God's kingdom!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New look to my Blog

Hope you like the new look. It seems easier to read and is pretty.

Just finished a 2 1/2 mile walk on the hospital track which is very hilly. I realized when we were in NC that although I walk 3 miles or so a day, I was not in very good shape. I'd been walking around the lake or at the Hillsborough River. It was better than nothing but didn't really get my heart rate up or cause me to have to work very hard. I'd sweat but this is Florida....So now I hope this is the key for me to get in better shape.

I really want to have stammina and be able to tackle hills! I want to make sure I stay healthy for my kids espicailly Sam! Reading the guidleines for what my waist should be makes me realize I have a way to go! For woman if your waist in more than 32 inches, you have a HUGE risk of all kinds of diseases and heart issues. I'm not about wanting to fit into a certain size but I want to be healthy so I can live this one life God gave me!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lonely

Just feeling lonely today. I was able to run some errands in Lakeland by myself w/out kids...but really wanted a girlfriend to hang out with. So I did everything by myself, even ate by myself...I NEVER do that. But felt like crying....I'm not usually like this but I just feel lonely, I have for years. I used to have so many friends to hang out with that I had to juggle people around...But some folks moved away, I quit work and lost touch with a lot of friends and I think lots of people are overwhelmed by the life I live now. I have so many responsibilities that my life is so structured with all I do for Sam -it's too much for others. I noticed some ladies out shopping together laughing and having a good time and I thought "God I really crave that!" One thing though, you can't make a friendshop happen anymore than a romantic relationship. You either click with someone or you don't. And there is nothing worse than having to hang out with someone who you just don't get or who doesn't get you!! And I'm a different kind of person. I'm not spiritual enough for most other pastor's wives or even churh ladies but I'm too spiritual for heathens...LOL that's a joke everyone!!! Untwist your .......!!!!!! But I am "different" in the way I look at life than alot of people. My husband kids me if I haven't been friends with someone for 20 plus years then I don't care anything about them! That's not quite true but boy I wish all my "old" friends didn't all move away from here except for a couple!

When I had Sam, I hate to say it, but I found out who my true friends were and sad to say, there weren't a ton of them. Oh sure I have tons of causal friends but true friends are few and far between. It's hard. I've always been such a "social butterfly" that loneliness is hard at times. I've adjusted and can deal with it but it still stinks. But I can't do the things I used to be able to do. I can't just go and run and be free. If nothing else I know I have 30 eyedrops to get into my baby's eyes before he goes to bed at night. So life is structured around what my son needs. But that's ok and it will always be ok! Whatever I have to do for him is worth any small "sacrifice" I think I make!

Sometimes I look at my friends who are my age and all their kids are at least in high school or at least teenagers and I still carry a diaper bag! It's different and will always be different since Sam probably won't progress much mentally or physically past the point he is now....And this may sound stupid to other people but I feel like Sam is my own sweet angel to take care of and one day when I'm in heaven I'll have all the time to rest, relax and be with friends and God but my time now is to take care of my son. That is truly how I look at my life but I do get lonely for friends...

What a whiner I am...maybe I'm PMSing:) Soemone please send me some meds:)

More vacation pics






Some random shots...we took over 300 pictures. I've already got the photo album done. that makes our 20 something album since we had kids or maybe 30 something...I love having pictures & videos of the kids. They grow up so fast!

As you can tell we had so much fun! Hope we can do it again! AS far as I know the kids didn't break anything in our friend's cabin...I quickly went through and put all the breakables away as soon as we got there! Hope I found them all and put them back out too! Haha don't want them to think we took something home with us! But I know breakables and 3 boys do NOT mix especially when one can't see very good and thinks everything is a ball!

Summer....






I make a goal to write more on my blog then LIFE gets busy...

We had a wonderful vacation in North Carolina. A man my husband works with offered us his cabin in Murphy NC- the very most western corner of NC. We had a blast! We left out the day after school was out. the first full day there we visited 4 falls about an hour away. How beautiful that was! On Saturday we went to Cherokee NC and the edge of the Great Smokey Mountain Park. Jon & I had been there years before without kids so it was neat to go back. We even stopped and fed the bears in Cherokee. Jon got mauled by a little bear, it was sorta funny. I did ask if the bears had had their rabies shots and they had:) On Sunday we visited the Assembly of God church in Murphy. The folks were so sweet & welcoming. I know people say things like that about churches but this one REALLY was! The pastor preached a good solid sermon and we all went out to eat afterwards and someone even picked up our lunch:) They sang a melody of songs that reminded me of when we used to go street witnessing back at SEC. Kinda warrior type 80's songs. I hadn't heard them in years but remembered every word once we started singing. Steve (who makes fun of MY music) said during the service, "those sound like Petra songs" The pastor's wife sat with Sam in the nursery & he stayed with her the whole time! Glory1 That was a first:) That afternoon we drove to Hawisa Dam and also to Field of the Woods where there is the biggest 10 commandments. We walked up all the steps to the top. Dear Lord I thougth I was gonna die!!!! By mistake on the way there we drove into Tennessee and drove through Ducktown & Turtletown...what funny names!!!

On Monday we had to have our brakes fixed. Evidently we were riding them too much! They may have had some issues before but anyhow a guy from the church fixed them and basically just charged us for the parts! I'm telling ya NC folks are great! Then we drove to CHIMNEY ROCK my FAVORITE mountain!! I actually went there as a kid with my aunts (40 yrs ago this JUne...funny...) and Jon and I had been there a few times years ago so it was great to take my kids there. We walked all the trails including EXCLAMATION POINT! I do NOT remember it being so hard 20 years ago hahah! But it was beautiful and we had a blast. Jon carried Sam in a backpack we rented. I do NOT know how he made it up the mountain with him. I could barely get myself up!!!

On Tuesday we rode the Great Smokey MT Railroad. The kids loved it. I got a bit of motion sickness. It was beautiful and a new experience for the kids, they had never been on a train. We splurged and bought tickets in the a/c car. So glad we did! It was a hot day. The boys were all over the train and Sam loved the motion of the train. It was a fun day capped off by a TCBY (y'all remember them -This Can't be Yogurt) On Wednesday Jon & Steve went whitewater rafting! They had so much fun a real dad& son thing to do. I stayed at the cabin with the little boys. On Thursday we stayed in the Murphy area and hit all their thrift shops. I bought a nice dressy denim jacket for $2 and an afghan for $3:) We drove to the Folk School in the area and looked at their gardens and went through the village of Brasstown.

We drove home on Friday..what a wonderful fun time we had. The vacation was dubbed "the biggest loser vacation" cause we walked so much up & down mountains and to falls....I hope we lost some weight. I thought I ws in good shape since I walk a few miles almost everyday day...Well here's a bulletin for you...walking in Florida and waling in mountains are TWO ENTIRE DIFFERENT THINGS!!!!!! There was more heavy panting going on and my heart was pounding out of my chest...I didn't even care what other people thought either. When we'd met folks on the mountain, they were all dying too! We'd just weakly nod at each other & keep going!

So thankful for that time with my family. Often you hear the phases "God will give you the desire of our heart." Well it truly was the desire of my heart to take the kids to the mountains this summer. I thought about it last year and thought this would be the perfect year to do it. And God worked it out! the guy who doesn't know us real well ( maybe if he had he might not have offered..LOL) offered Jon out of the blue the use of his cabin! We could have never afforded to do it otherwise! It was a wonderful time of making memories together and having fun!!!!! I'm adding some pictures from our trip- hope you enjoy them!