Sunday, September 30, 2012

Absent from Flesh

By Isaac Watts and Jamie Barnes

Absent from flesh, O blissful thought
What joy this moment brings
Freed from the blame my sin has brought,
From pain and death and its sting.

Absent from flesh, O Glorious day! 
In one triumphant stroke
My reckoning paid, my charges dropped 
and the bonds 'round my hands are broke.


I go where God and glory shine,
To one eternal day
This failing body I now resign,
For the angels point my way.
For the angels point my way.

Absent from flesh! then rise, my soul, 
Where feet nor wings could climb, 
Beyond the sky, where planets roll, 
And beyond all keep of time.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Reflections on a Week of Writing

At the writing retreat last weekend we were challenged to write 20 minutes a day. I was also given the personal challenge of writing a page a day on a book that has been in the works for over 10 years (I honestly do not remember when I started it). So Monday I started with this challenge and it has been refreshing. During the kids rest time I sit in their room to help them actually rest (this is another story) and I take my journal and book with me. I began by writing in my journal about the events of the day or since the last time I wrote in it and anything that God is teaching me or feelings that I need to write out to work through. When I finish journaling, which usually takes more than 20 minutes, I pull out my story and write. Everyday I have written at least a page and most days I have written more than that! As I was typing up what I have added since the last time I typed I realized I have written 10 pages (handwritten) and most of which was done this week. That is more than a page a day with only five days of writing. God has really blessed my faithfulness to sit and write as I believe this is something he wants me to do. Just getting in the habit is refreshing. I decided to take the weekend off of this, like you would with a 9 to 5 job, and will begin again on Monday. Though writing is wonderful and therapeutic for me, the break, especially from story writing, is good. I do plan to journal during the weekends as it is great for life in general. And life is what leads to creative writing of all kinds.
To punctuate this productive week, the writing group I am a part of met this morning. This group is always encouraging and uplifting, and today was no exception. I love having a safe environment to share and receive feedback. God gives such good gifts.
Blessings Today
296. Writing Group
297. Claire DeBakey
298. Shannon Skelton
299. Marie Peterson
300. Amanda Noonan
301. Paper and Pencil
302. Computers
303. Jamey acting out his favorite movies
304. Reuben laughing when Jamey holds his hand to pray
305. Reuben reaching for Jamey and Lillian to give them hugs and kisses before bed

Friday, September 28, 2012

Things to Remember

271. Going to water aerobics
272. Playgroup
273. Rain
274. Jamey singing Bible verse songs in the back seat
275. Lillian walking around quoting Bible verses (Ephesians 6:1 is her favorite :))
276. Reuben getting excited and clapping his hands
277. Listening to laughter of Jim and the kids wrestling
278. Jamey wanting to help Lillian and Reuben
279. Singing with my kids
280. Kids getting excited about school
281. Reuben's giggles
282. All 3 kids playing together
283. Starting to teach Jamey how to take pictures
284. Going to bed early
285. SWI
286. Ashley Wells encouragement and advice
287. Homemade cookies
288. Meeting new people
289. Family outing after 4 straight rainy days
290. God being real and personal
291. Writing in my journal everyday
292. Writing at least 1 page of my book everyday
293. Clean hair
294. Two new rose blooms
295. New season of TV shows

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Food, Fitness and Faith

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Food, Fitness, and Faith for Women: A 21 Day Journey to a New You was our book for my current SWI class, Raising Healthy families. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Based on the title I thought 21 days with 21 things to do, essentially a what to do guide book. That was not the case. This book was insightful  challenging and Scripturally based. There was no "you must do this" or "you cannot do that". Instead each day had a topic on health weather physical, spiritual or emotional and they discussed the subject with Scripture and thoughts. It gave suggestions, but ultimately said that anything you do needs to be discussed with the Lord and physical decisions should be discussed with your doctor.

My favorite aspect was the questions to consider at the end of each chapter. There was nothing fancy, simply things to think about and write down goals or ways to apply what you are learning. There is no guilt just facts and things for you to think on.

I highly recommend this book. Though it says for women, I found it very straight forward and not overly girly so I think a man could read it if he so desired.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Writing Retreat!

What an amazing weekend! It was tiring, but educational and so much fun. I love writing and I love being around people who love to write. It was such a blessing to be able to go with 10 other people to a beautiful mountain cabin and discuss what writing is and how it is glorifying to God. God is the Creator of all things, the maker of Heaven and Earth. We are created in the image of God and therefore we also have the ability to create. Writing is creating! And therefore it is God honoring to create, to write. I personally believe that these talents can be used falsely and create things that are not God honoring, but if we are seeking the Lord, let our creative juices flow and see what beautiful things we can create!

261. Kids laughing
262. SWI
263. Learning about herbs and spices and how good they are for us
264. Learning about creative prayers
265. God reiterating to me that He wants me to create
266. Walking with Ann
267. Walking about 3 miles!
268. Quills Coffee (I cannot get addicted)
269. Meeting new people who like to write
270. Meeting people who are different than me and I can learn from
271. Being able to discuss differences
272. Courage to spend a day with people I don't know
273. Courage to share my creativity
274. Being able to encourage others
275. Being encouraged by others
276. Learning to see things in a different creative light
277. The sunset
278. Learning more about God's grace
279. Not being able to fully comprehend who God is
280. Being able to seek God and know Him more
281. Getting a few pictures hung
282. Jim and Becca thoroughly cleaning the kitchen
283. A fenced yard the kids can play in
284. Jamey and Lillian helping to put up groceries
285. Jamey knowing where the groceries go
286. Finding several things we needed on manager's special
287. Watching Jamey playing with Reuben
288. Reuben giggling at Jamey's antics
289. Reuben in the kids room!
290. All 3 kids napping at the same time for about 3 hours!
291. Getting to journal
292. Writing almost 2 pages in my story
293. Jamey talking in funny voices
294. Jamey singing to the Bible verse CD
295. Jamey saying Scripture
296. Lillian saying Scripture
267. Watching my kids make connections
268. Lillian's funny sense of humor
269. Sleep
270. Having access to the Bible

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blurry Days

Monday and Tuesday I was awoken around 4am to fussing and was never really able to get back to sleep. It has been very blurry from lack of sleep. God has been very gracious to me and I am so grateful. He has given me endurance, perseverance and patience. He also gave me time of sweet communion with Him! I do not remember much from the days in general, but I can testify to the faithfulness of my Heavenly Father.

241. Early mornings that allow an hour with the Lord
242. NAP! in the whole house
243. Rain
244. Cooler weather
245. Playgroup
246. Dawn
247. Coupons and Good deals
248. Community group
249. Transparency
250. Sleeping until 7am!
251. Catching up in my journal
252. Having a Bible to read
253. Reading some for fun
254. Jim!
255. Sarah Sloan
256. Banana bread
257. Kids napping at the same time
258. Becca making Mac and cheese
259. Grilled chicken instead of breaded
260. New season of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Amazing Weekend

Jim and I had the privilege to attend the SWI Family Life Conference over the weekend. It was such an amazing blessing as well as many other blessings that came with it. I love being part of a community that values family so highly and desires that their students be equipped with the knowledge of Scripture in what God desires for family. A large portion dealt with marriage and how to put your marriage as a priority. It was not a list of do this and don't do that, rather it was a time to learn from a seasoned couple in ministry and have God's Word poured into us about marriage and ministry. I may post a few things I learned at another time as it is getting late and I want to write out the blessings God poured out this weekend in just a couple short days. God answers prayer!

206. Family Life Conference
207. Meeting Amy McVicker (again)
208. Meeting Matt and Samantha Norton
209. Having Steve and Jim meet (after connecting with Valerie at Recess)
210. Great dinner provided by the seminary
211. Practical things to aim for in marriage
212. Being reminded about realistic expectations
213. Time with Jim
214. Yummy breakfast provided by the seminary
215. Meeting Robbie and Stephanie Gouge (major answer to prayer!)
216. Opportunities to connect people
217. Meeting Abby Webb (Another major answer to prayer!)
218. Godly women who are willing to speak candidly even about sensitive issues
219. 2 can dine for $20 at BJ's!
220. Finding a couple cheap things needed
221. Jamey praying for airplanes
222. Lillian singing "Jesus Loves Me" and half of her "ABC's"
223. Becca able to be with the kids so Jim and I could attend the conference
224. Jim being able to work out his schedule to attend conference
225. The Lord's faithfulness
226. Emails from Katie Magee (another huge answer to prayer!)
227. God connecting His people
228. God puts people of all kinds together
229. Realizing I have much to offer because of the work Christ has done in me
230. Gathering to pray for Greg and Dawn
231. Meeting Joanna who has connections with a Russian community near by!
232. Seeing David and Alba Egetter this morning
233. Working on getting a more regular schedule in place
234. Seeing God's grace at work in our kids
235. Reuben high 5ing Mrs. Rebekah this morning
236. Connecting with people at church
237. The giggles of the kids while wrestling with Jim
238. Getting coupons for the week together
239. Seeing the Lord at work in so many ways
240. Learning to be open to what the Lord puts in front of me

Saturday, September 15, 2012

God Given Talents

"And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts." Exodus 31:4-6

I realize that this passage is given in a specific context and do not want to miss quote the Word of God, but as I read this I was reminded that God is the giver of talents as well. I have only recently realized that my love and ability to write has come from God. He is the one who made me and my brain to function the way it does. He has given me creativity and an outlet to use it. Though I struggle, He is the one who has given me the ability to put words together in a specific way to send a message. I pray that it is His message and that it will bring Him honor and glory. I am still growing in this but God is faithful and continuously works on my heart showing me how to do everything for His glory. 

I was also reminded by this passage that God is the creator of the arts. I know that this can be an area of controversy in the church, but art that is to honor God is an act of worship. This particular passage is for those God set apart for the craftsmanship needed to make and design the temple with all of the things in it that God had specified. Today we are not required to follow all of this ornateness as believers are the holy temple of God, but we can still beautify our churches and homes with art that honors our Lord. Being artistic is God given. Have you looked at His creation? He is the greatest artist of all! We must not worship art as that is clearly idolatry, but let's give God honoring art it's due and appreciate the talent that God has given to some of his people.

What talents do you have? Are you using them for God's glory or your own? Are you using them at all? Seek out how God desires for you to use your talents today. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Brief Update

I have a moment to write so I shall. I have so many things that come to mind that I want to write on, but the time is just getting away and right now the family and getting the house together is a priority. There have been so many blessings and even more to come this weekend, but I wanted to get an updated before the weekend as it will be a busy one (in a good way). The week has also been busy with women's prayer, swi, classes of the others, starting school, kids being kids and getting the house organized bit by bit.

So the blessings I can remember this week include:

176. Jim being able to get his scheduled fixed to have this whole weekend off
177. Quiet Sunday evening
178. Women's prayer Monday evening
179. Being reminded that we are to be worshipers of God before anything else
180. Meeting Sarah
181. Learning there is a Russian woman at our church
182. Watching Jim and the kids wrestle for half an hour
183. The giggles that come from the kids as they play with Daddy
184. Cool weather for a few days
185. Playgroup
186. Dawn Wilburn
187. Starting community group
188. Meeting new people
189. Opportunities to meet those with questions and want to discuss them
190. Laurel Rhyne coming and helping me unpack and organize most of the kids school stuff in the office
191. Reading the Bible!!!
192. Communing with the Lord
193. 11 hours of sleep!!!
194. Laurel bringing us dinner
195. SWI fellowship
196. Running into people I haven't talked to in a while
197. Ann having the kids over to play
198. Getting most of our bedroom organized
199. Putting some stuff in the attic! (I like having an accessible attic)
200. Connecting via email with Milli
201. Connecting via email with Anastasia
202. Free e-books
203. Doing a survey that told me about other self-publishing places (more research to do)
204. Starting school this week
205. Both Jamey and Lillian singing "Jesus Loves Me" with signs

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Week of Blessings

It has been a busy week as we work on making our house a home. Needless to say I am behind on my blessing count and I know I will forget some, but I will record those I can, to the best of my knowledge, remember.

136. Being able to walk to church from the house
Reuben trying ice cream cake
Not fond of the cold
137. Jim and Daddy figuring out how to get the bunk beds together
138. Celebrating Reuben's birthday with the family
139. Ice Cream Cake!!!!!
140. Never Ending Pasta Bowl at the Olive Garden
141. Shoes for Reuben (Thank you, Nana)
142. Getting the entertainment center anchored
143. Pictures and Nick-Knacks put on entertainment center
144. Movies organized on shelves
145. Going through books and sorting
146. Jamey's willingness to help
147. Jamey moving two boxes of books across the office room by himself (strong boy)
148. Getting kids clothes sorted and organized
149. Kids shoes sorted and organized
150. Kids toys sorted and organized by location
151. Successfully moving Lillian to "toddler" bed
152. Going back to cloth products
153. Having paper products for the transition
154. Watching the kids play together
155. Fun laughter
156. Jamey and Lillian pushing Reuben in the "baby" swing and Reuben giggling
157. Big kisses from Reuben
158. Lillian asking to rock with me
159. Jamey asking for hugs and kisses
160. Jamey praying (this week he is thanking God for airplanes)
161. Women's Prayer for the nations
162. Erin Owen opening her home
163. Talking to Chelsey about International missions
164. Opportunity to teach the little Romanian and Russian I know :)
165. Jim working extra
166. Fall Family Festival at Southern
167. Free Chick-fil-A
168. Spending time with friends
169. Wearing the kids out on inflatables
170. Free pictures
171. Hearing Jamey beginning to make connections about Spiritual things, God and humanity
172. Lillian saying Bible verses and answering questions about God
173. Coupons
174. Walking to playgroup
175. Becca cutting and painting my nails

Friday, September 7, 2012


Today at 4:34 p.m., our precious baby, Reuben Yates, turned 1 year old. I cannot believe it has already been a year since I gave birth to our little man. It has been a year full of adventure and changes. He has grown so much and is so big. Reuben is our little adventurer. He crawls everywhere and climbs on everything. He wants to see everything and be involved with everything going on around him. Reuben is not afraid to make himself heard and loves for anyone to talk to him. He is beginning to show some interest in possibly walking, but since the others were late walkers I am not holding my breath. Overall, Reuben is so much fun! I love his laugh, his hugs, his kisses, his smile. He is truly a blessing from the Lord and I am thankful He has given Jim and I the privilege of raising him. Happy Birthday, Reuben! I cannot wait to see what all the Lord has in store for you.

Monday, September 3, 2012


It has been awhile since reading a fantasy book focused on Dragon lore and this one did not disappoint. Though told through the eyes of a teen-aged girl it is a story that many can identify with on some level. I believe what really drew me in was her feelings of the necessity to hide but the strong desire to simply want to be known for who she is and still be loved. I believe these are true of all people no matter who you are as our flesh and spirit battle. Though clearly not a Christian book, underlying themes do speak to me as a Believer and reveal how much these things are real in all of humanity and how the only thing that can free us in this desire is a relationship with Christ. Jesus does know us perfectly, scales and all, and still loves His people, calling them to Himself. He knows our deepest desires because He is the one that gives us those desires knowing He is the only one who call fill them.

The book also deals with the issue of racism though in the context of humans and dragons. Racism permeates culture and is completely against God's plan for His people. It was a great reminder that all people matter because they are made in the image of God and as a Christian, I must be willing to engage people of all backgrounds, races, languages and nationalities. We are told that every tribe, tongue and nation will be around the throne and we do not know who they are. We must overcome our prejudices and selves to be willing to reach out to anyone God puts in our path.

*The book club I originally wrote about is no more. The book club label will now simply refer to books that I have read

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Settling In

We finally got moved this week and we are slowly but surely getting settled into the new house. It has been a busy and exhausting week, yet full of blessings. Monday, while moving some boxes, Jim and Becca got to the house when the inspector was here. The green light was given and we got full permission to move into our new home. We moved as much as possible during the day. Jen came to help take a load. Tuesday we attained a U-haul and loaded up some. In the evening we had several able bodies to help load us up. Many thanks to Jen, Greg, Dawn, Jeffrey and Laura for their able hands. We did not finish until almost 2am, but we got it done. Wednesday morning Mandy took the kids and the 3 of us headed to the apartment to gather the last few things. Sarah came to help us with cleaning, another huge blessing. Our previous neighbor Heather prepared lunch for us. She made Romanian food, which allowed me to feel like I was there for just a moment. (I miss that area of the world.) Jim had to work, but Becca and I worked awhile on the kitchen until she had to leave for class. Thursday was mostly a productive day. Lillian was not feeling well and woke us up off and on throughout the night. This made us all a little sick and tired, but we made it through getting much of the kitchen done and some of the living room. SWI was a nice respite. Thursday night we finally got some sleep. Friday we got more done, but still so much more is left to do. Today more sorting and figuring. I hope to be done in a week, but at this rate it could take a month. Thankfully there are people who can help with the kids, just got to get that figured out!

Blessings I can remember from the week
101. God's provision
102. God's protection
103. Getting moved on Tuesday
104. Jen Jones
105. Greg Wilburn
106. Dawn Wilburn
107. Jeffrey Kellow
108. Laura Kellow
109. Getting a U-haul
110. Getting most of our stuff moved on Tuesday
111. Figuring out how to put the beds together with Laura
112. Mandy Montgomery
113. Sarah Sloan
114. Getting the apartment cleaned on Wednesday and officially moving out!
115. Heather Matasaru
116. Romanian Food!!!!!
117. Getting much of the kitchen organized
118. Getting most of the kids books sorted and on a book shelf
119. SWI
120. Meeting new sisters who give encouragement
121. Ann Daugherty
122. Free bunk beds and dresser
123. Family here safely
124. Pizza
125. New Car
126. Getting the internet up and working
127. A new house to live in
128. Cordless Blinds
129. Rain
130. Room for toys that Reuben can play in and have fun
131. Jamey teaching Lillian animals and colors
132. Jamey helping wherever he can
133. Jamey learning to sort alphabetically
134. Lots of space
135. Quick healing for Lillian