Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fill My Cup Lord

I heard an expression several times this evening.  How do you fill the cup of another person?  What can I do to fill someone's cup.  Allowing grace, sacrificing self, giving, encouraging someone in their gift and blessing others perhaps to name a few.  I love this expression and hope I will use it often and keep it close to my heart.  My cup was filled by sitting around a fire talking, listening, laughing, loving, caring, and just being with other women who are ages 14-57.  I craved it and wanted to drinking in more of that moment gift from God.  Often times we feel guilty if we allow time like that for ourselves as if we don't deserve it, that we are not worthy of it's privilege, and the uncommonally good feeling we get when we do it makes us feel like maybe we are doing something wrong.  Knowing how good this feels I should wish and want this for others to experience the goodness and grace of God.  When I sacrifice going and doing for someone else because they really want me to, it fills their cup.  Instead of stepping in and taking over, I allow someone else to operate in their gift receiving the blessing their gift and passion brings to others.  Encouraging someone to try something new or experience something they never would have had they not had the encouragement overflows the cup. I am tempted sometimes to take matters in my own hands instead of allowing God's plan to unfold forcing the issue which usually leads to sin in me.  Instead we must trust God to work out His plan, filling His cup that overflows my cup with joy.
I know of may times my cup has been flowing, overflowing and filled to the rim.  Jesus did that for me. The "cup" was the suffering and crucifixion that Christ faced in order to atone for the sins of the world.  "You can indeed drink from my cup...."Matt.20:23  When I drink from His cup He fills my cup in an abundant flow of living water that feeds my soul daily.  How am I filling His cup?  It is a question I will ponder, so that I might fill the cup of Jesus with as little as my faithful heart.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Swans a Swimming

No this is not a story about the classic 12 days of Christmas' Seven Swans a Swimming.  I promise.  I can't promise you 5 golden rings if you read this post, that 6 geese will lay you some eggs or that any Lords will do any leaping. What I can hope for is that you will be enlightened and encouraged in some way.
One day coming home from carpool my daughter and I notice on the opposite side of the interstate, like interstate 10 going east, was this very large white bird.  He was pacing back and forth looking really lost and afraid.  We were headed west and our exit was quite a ways down the road.  I had to make a split decision whether I was going to turn around and go help this bird......I decided yes I would.
So we went to our exit and got right back on to the interstate. I was praying the whole way back the bird would not move and still be there when I got back.   I see the bird is still there as I pull up, so I park back away from him so he wouldn't run out into the interstate.  I realized how stupid this was, but I also saw this bird who looked panicked about what to do and where to go.  A swan in the headlights so to speak!  I look behind me and wait for a time when there was a break in the 18 wheelers that were flying by and then jumped out of the car.  I instructed my daughter to stand behind the car and just motion for people to slow down.
I start walking toward the swan and he actually started walking toward me so I stopped to see what he would do.  He stopped.  Then he turned around and zzzzzzzoooooooom a big truck went sailing by.  He was ok and just stood there.  So with a big break in the cars I started clapping and praying and saying "ok swan fly away", as I walked toward him again.  He then began to walk away from me, gaining speed more and more.  I watched and heard his little webbed feet as they pounded and scratched the pavement that was not made for web feet.  As he gained speed he began to gain altitude but he also was wandering left out onto the interstate.

I looked back and pretty far away was a truck with a bed camper in the back.  I started really clapping and yelling, "come on swan, come on, faster faster".  I could tell as he was trying to gain vertical and he appeared to be tired.  We were standing on the backside of a hill, so we were beneath the draft he needed to get up under his wings.....here came the camper truck........Just as he got enough lift and the wind caught his wings he just barely cleared the camper top.  He continued gaining altitude as we jumped back in our car and followed him.  We exited the next exit (hard to drive btw while you are watching a swan) and saw that he went down on the other side of the interstate where I knew there was a lake...I was guessing but hoping at the same time.....We drove a few yards and pulled over but couldn't see the lake, so we went a little further til we could see a clearing in the trees and saw the water......and the swan.  HE FOUND IT!   There swimming, resting, drinking, and relieved was this swan.
I took a chance to save this poor bird from well.....you know.  It was a lesson for me that taking a chance to help someone else is yes rewarding for them, but the blessing in return far outweighs anything I have ever experienced.  Obviously this was not a person, but imagine if it was.  I can not tell you why I took an interest in this swan, but I am so glad I did.  Just as I am so thankful my Lord Jesus takes an interest in my life and He helps me.  He is powerful above all things, He is merciful, and He is King.  He stepped out of His own, became man so that He could save us, know what we deal with, help us, guide us and lead us to a life with Him.  A life where we can rest, drink from living waters, and live life relieved.
"Have you not known?  Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth and all living things, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles (or swans), the shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint".  Is. 40:28-31

That swan is still there and I noticed another has joined him.......like him we are never alone. Amen.

One2One Network & Blissdom 2011

One2One Badges

One2One is not one of those things that your find and forget.  It is one of those social media phenomenons that finds you when you post a lot about giving.  And most importantly it is one of those networks that really makes sense, works for the benefit of others and never lets go of your heart.  I am hoping that through my awareness, my blogging about and coming to a greater understanding of what they do it will get me closer to a greater ability to give back and of course hopeful of winning a trip to Blissdom 2011.
Tis the season for giving that is for sure and many and all charities are calling and getting their last minute requests out to make year ends quota.  Tis the season at One2One Network is more than just a season its a lifestyle of giving to help others.  It is helping others get in the mindset of giving back all year long and not just seasonally.  They "ignite conversation and spread awareness" for others about all different kinds of charities, brands, ways, collaborative efforts, opportunities to achieve and give and getting people connected in ways unlike before.
This past month and a half I was asked again to be an Ambassador for Macy's Department Stores and their new campaign for the season Heart of Haiti items sold in the stores.  It was another opportunity to give a gift that gives back. I really enjoy the people I met and got to talk to when I am involved with this sort of thing.  And I know whatever I am doing is making a difference in someone's life somewhere in the world.  That is the part I love best.  With six children I have had limited time to volunteer and give back of my time.  Most of my giving back has had to do with their lives and activities.  But, I have volunteered at a local Christian Women's Job Corp in Kerr County helping women achieve their goals, heal broken hearts and lead women to the One who knows them the best, Jesus.  I have volunteered in my local church singing and leading worship as well as teaching bible study.  I am helping to raise money for a local family whose 14 year old daughter has recurring Leukemia, by selling bracelets made by women in the Philippines through Threads of Hope that helps give back twice.  One to the family and one back to the women.  I also am partnering with Soles4Souls, 2 Minutes to Greatness, and 147 Million with my online tv show called Madre Minutes that airs twice a week on MomTV and Mingle Media TV.  I am hoping to raise awareness of these awesome ministries.
This message of giving back may seem trendy to some, but really that is what will make a difference in our self centered world.  And really isn't that what God did for us?  He gave the gift of His Son, Jesus, as a gift that saves souls and gives back......and keeps on giving.  Forever.  My hope is yes to possibly win a chance to get to Blissdom, but my greater hope is that more of you will join in with One2One Network and come to a greater understanding of the blessing you receive when you give and the difference it will make in your life and someone elses.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Visions Dance in Their Heads

I'm dreaming.......of the one I love.  I'm wishing....for my one true love.  I am dreaming and wishing I could say this is a picture of my tree......but it's not.  It is a picture take a few years ago when we all went to Disney World at Christmas time to meet up with Chandler's basketball team who was playing in a tournament there.  We went to the Christmas Choir performance and it was incredible.  This was one of the many trees around Disney World and on the stage that night.  I just thought it was pretty the way they had it lit like it glows.  I think this is how we think our trees are suppose to be......perfect.

Not quite like Disney's but this is the first year I have sort of done a themed tree.  I sent my husband out and daughter to get another pre-lit tree which we have to have due to allergies.  When they came back it was a much narrower than trees we have had in years past.  They thought I was upset it was smaller, but actually I think I felt liberated.  I was not sure how we would put all our ornaments on the tree.  Then the light went off in my head......I don't have to put them all on I can put on the ones I want to and maybe do a certain color and or themed tree.  O my, it was like a deliverance from a mindset that my tree had to look a certain way.  And.......and I got it decorated so much faster.....I used white, silver, crystal, gold and a little bit of blue ornaments.....I used some of the decorations I used for my daughters wedding like the white hydrangea, feathers beaded wire glitter adornments and I think it turned out really nice........
This visions of what our tree will look like dance in our heads, the details of Christmas all crammed in like sardines waiting to come to fruition all at once and in about an hour poof its gone and done.  It is in the small details that God wants to reside. Love is a gift.  His Love is our free gift.  He cares so much about our visions and dreams.  Yet, if we were to tell others those visions and dreams they may seem silly to them, they may discourage you from persuing them, but when you know that God has put them there, when you give them to Him and ask for His glory to shine through all those dreams ( cause lets be honest here.....He is the One that gives us the visions and dreams to start with) then you know He's got your back, He will be your strength, He will be your guide and your Rock upon whom you may stand when the going gets tough.  Life gets hard, but we stand firm and push harder.  With God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
This one is for you Lai Lai & Boo......how bout BooLai Unique Boutique

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

He's Known Me Microscopic

Planning a birthday party is a big deal in our house.  Birthdays are huge and we love them. Full of traditions, presents, food, and maybe even a party.  The day you were born is very special. Yes this is a picture of me when I was born.  God's Word says in Jeremiah, "I knew you when you were in your mother's womb" and "the hairs on your head are numbered".  He knew me when I was microscopic.  He knows me that well.  He knows me better than I know myself.  I surprise myself sometimes with stuff that I do or that comes out of my mouth. I think after, "Gosh did that just happen and did that just come our of my mouth?"  Do I want to know that person inside?  Who is that person?
God always has a way of redeeming that person inside because Jesus is in there doing a mighty work and shining His light in those dark places that person seems to hide.  When I don't allow His light to shine there, or I ignore His calling my name, or think I can slough off His pruning cause I am too busy, then I am sadly mistaken.  I think that is when our mistaken identity slips out......"that person" who misses the mark and takes me down a road I never intend or want to go down.  I am mis-taken for someone else.  I allow myself to be taken.  For some reason I cross over, I allow, I ignore, I disregard the opportunity to commune with the Creator of the universe.  I fall short of His glory.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind living in His glory.  From glory to glory like a hopscotch game never having missed a box or number in the square, hopping from one to the next in perfect rhythm, not stepping on any of the lines, landing on two feet then one foot knowing He will keep my balance, bending and stooping to pick up the prize (Jesus) in one of the squares, not faltering in any way and then when it's time for me to turn around and hop home, He helps me again to make it all the way back to Him.
This is His birthday gift to us every day. We don't have to have a mistaken identity.  We don't have to fall short and He wants to be with us, on our side, on our team in this game we call life hopscotching our way back to Him. Even when we falter He is there to get us back on track, back between the lines, with lines redrawn, His gift remaining steadfast as we continue on.  This is why He came to set us free from that sinful person that is no gift to us, but more like a disaster waiting in the wings.  Why is is so hard for us to receive the gift Jesus brings?  He brings the gift of Hope wrapped in swaddling clothes.  The fact that He has known me since I was microscopic tells me that when faced with His truth, His love, His character, His Spirit I must have an innate sense of who He is in me.   2 Timothy 2:13  "If we are unfaithful,he remains faithful,for he cannot deny who he is."  When we have Jesus living in us and when faced with His truth, He cannot deny Himself in us. It resonates, sounds the alarm, puts up a banner that Jesus is in the house. Hallelujah!  Receive His gift.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jesus Never Sleeps

It hit me today, two days after Thanksgiving how tired I am.  Never wanting to miss out on any visit, staying up too late, laughter, shows and football games, girl time and just the busyness of having lots of people home and the maintenance of keeping up.  Takes it's toll after a couple days.  I would not change it for anything and love every minute of it.  NO COMPLAINTS.
As I was  cooking and preparing my table scape for all the family to arrive I was trying to stay focused on the timing of everything to cook and and be done at the right time, pay attention to details for decorating to make it feel warm and inviting and just trying to really think about each person who would be coming to my house, 17 all together for dinner.  No one would have known if I had left off a detail on the table or a small ingredient somewhere, but the fact that I put it there gives it opportunity to bless.  Just as God puts the details in our lives He desires to bless us with them.

It made me realize how hard Jesus works on our behalf.  Jesus never sleeps.  He is always up doing, praying, working and interceding on our behalf and without any complaints.  He pays attention to every detail of our lives.  God is so faithful in our little lives, in every detail, through tough exhausting times, through good times, when we are down and out or just sailing along with flying colors; then we realize how big our lives are to God, and we are blessed.  He cares about the details as well as the big issues we encounter.  He can do anything, He is who He says He is, and can do what He says He can do.  Why do we resist the intrusion of the divine to live in the kingdom of self when it never troubles God when we bring our troubles (and joys) to Him; what troubles Him is when we don't.  God is proposing and all we have to say is "I do".  These little people proverbs that I have heard or thought of myself, speak to me about the heart of God.
Details.  How detail do I allow God to get with me?  Do I allow Him into every nook and cranny or do I shut Him out as if He doesn't already know those places.  So funny how I am sometimes.  Some people would not know if I had left off some of the details on my table scape, but putting them out there gives God an opportunity to bless others.   No one would have known if I had left out a small ingredient somewhere, but the fact that I put it there gives it opportunity to bless.  Just as God puts the details in our lives with great intent and attention to our hearts desires, as He desires to bless us with them.  They are put there for a  purpose.  I feel it is the same when we confess our most intimate of details with God, putting it out there for Him to turn into blessing.  I am always amazed at God's timing in my life in all the details that make it work right.  The Lord may not show up when you expect Him to, and He will always be on time.  I have to pay attention to the details in my life otherwise I could very well miss the blessing God wants to share with me........ "a land that the Lord your God cares for.  The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year".  Deut. 11:12.

He cares for us from the beginning to the end and in all that we do.  His love is never ending and great is His faithfulness.  He made each of us with such great detail it is imperative that we pay attention to the smallest of details when He reveals His plan along the way.  Like my time with my family I don't want to miss one second of what God has detailed in His plan for my life.  If you notice this year in our sister pic.....Chandler is still serving on the mission field in Thailand (this month) and Kyle, our Marine, had to be out in the desert in California for more training.  They were a noticeable missing ingredient in this picture......and in our time together.

Curve ball or no curve ball a baseball pitcher must be precise in every aspect of how he holds the ball in order to achieve the pitch he desires.  If he is off or if the batter is not paying attention they both miss.  It is when we concentrate, push aside the distractions, envelope ourselves with the minute procedures,  keep our eye on the prize and focus intently that we deliver back to God what He plans for blessing and smack life square on for a base hit, double, triple and if we are really blessed...... a home run right into His arms.  Hope yours was as great as ours......

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Got a Tattoo

Ps. 119: 9-15
Not really.  It will be interesting, however, to see how many come to the site (right now I am at 3995), how many tatt SEO's come my way with messages on how to get one or remove one and just how many of you come out of curiosity and if I really did get one.  Well I did not get one, but know several people who are close to me who have one, are getting one or want one.  At first reaction, it is not something I would do for myself or really wish for someone else either.  At the same time I am called not to judge.  I am called to lead. I am called to pray, to rejoice, to celebrate, to love, to serve and a whole lot more.  I also am called to do all these things by His side and with His heart.  That is where I fall flat....usually on my face before God and sometimes just flat on my face. It is then that I remember the heart of God.  I know "they" saying "it doesn't make you less of a Christian to have a tattoo or get one", (who are "they" by the way?) but at the same time it struck me that I don't need one either to remind me of God's love for me or how much I love God.  I don't need one to show others who God is in my life.  His Word is written on my heart.
I made this ring out of PMC, precious metal clay.  It's my first attempt, it's not perfect, but I really love it.  I used a kitchen torch to burn away the clay and I had to put it under the white flame in order for the clay to burn off.  I feel like I have been in the white hot flame this week as God has been burning away the chaff in my life.  And yet what a perfect heart it creates out of it's imperfect and irregular shape.  When I opened my Bible to take this picture I was hoping to place the ring on Ps. 118:8 which some of you know is the verse that is the very center verse of the bible and reads, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."  Instead I was focused on the lighting, the ring and the heart and forgot to double check the verse.  This is my life as I know it.  I forget too often and need God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit there in my heart, double checking, putting my life in just the right light, in just the right place for it to make any sense to God.  It has to be by His design, otherwise I would have missed this message all together.   As it turns out it this is a much better verse and perfect placement of the ring by God's design for this little message He gave to me that I share with you.  If you can read the verse where the ring rests it's Ps. 119: 9-15 which reads, "How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word.  With my whole heart I have sought You;  Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!  Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.  Blessed are You, O Lord!  Teach me Your statutes.  With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth.  I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches  I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways".
1 Cor.10:31 reads, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it for the glory of God".  An important principle (on issues the Bible does not specifically address) if there is room for doubt whether it pleases God, then it is best not to engage in that activity.  Rom. 14:23 reminds us that anything that does not come from faith is sin.  Our bodies and our souls have been redeemed and belong to God as a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell.  You are not your own, you were bought with a price therefore honor God with your body.  What am I learning in this fallen world?  That even though there are things that may not please me I am not the one to judge whether it pleases God......
So I don't have to fall flat on my face in despair, or anxiousness or shame.  God has put His signature on my heart like a tattoo.  He has written my name in the book of life tattooed there for eternity for all the saints to see.  So, I guess I do have a tattoo hidden away inside my heart, in the palms of Christ hands, in the countenance on my face, in the walk I choose to walk and in the love I am able to give because He freely gave to me.  We're not perfect, but God really loves us.   I love you and you love me.......so what else really matters?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Revisiting Our Past

You might think this is about going back to your childhood home or seeing an old friend that takes you down memory lane.  No this is a little different.  I spoke last week with many other wonderful speakers, teachers, doctors and the like for A Woman Inspired Beauty and Wellness Boot Camp that started Monday Sept. 27th.  I spoke on Wednesday about my journey with my family with Homeopathic and alternative methods to take care of yourself and your family.  This is like revisiting my past because I don't have to use it much for my family like I used to when they were all at home and little.  I don't seem to have to dive into the reference books as often because of the familiarity of the symptoms and remedies.  I feel more confident because I have done it so much that I can address what to do without looking it up.  I have given some help and advice online, but this conference has made me dig back into these books.  When I first started way back when, there was not that much about homeopathic online, but as the Net has expanded so has its resources.  This is the way I wish to be about the Word of God. Confident, constantly expanding my knowledge and ready to give an answer.
All this looking back has me looking back into my past experiences, reliving some of the moments and sharing them with others.  It is amazing to me how often we refer to our experiences and use them as a point of reference.  We take the good from them and use them to help someone else, mold ourselves into what God has created.   Through those experiences we share with others and or allow them to change our own lives.  Our past experiences, I think, both define us as well as redefine us, all at the same time and all in good ways.  Even the bad ones help make us a better person if we allow God to use them.   God ultimately defines who we are through Christ Jesus, and in doing so, we identify with Christ's suffering.  I must embrace the suffering I sometimes go through in hopes that they will mold, shape, map, define and create in me the person God intended me to become until the day I meet Him face to face.  I believe what I learn here is only preparing me for greater works He is preparing for me in heaven.  The choices I make, some good and some not so good, define where I have come from, redefine who I am, but don't define who is the I AM.  As long as I take His definition and apply it to my life and use them for His purpose, His glory and His plan then I am redefined in His eyes.  Philippians 4:8-9 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable----if anything is excellent or praiseworthy----think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-----put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you".   If we only focus on the past of either what someone else has done, either to themselves or to us, or what we have done to others or to ourselves, then we miss the point of Grace.  Why do we run from Grace?  "It's a good thing and we all need it", my pastor proclaims this morning.  When we pray to God we expect Him to listen, to stop and listen and come to us, so why are we not returning the favor?  Why are we not running to Him as we expect Him to run to us?  Do we think God is going to do something to us?  In reality, God wants to do something WITH US?

God is doing a work in me.  Hallulujah!  As I reencounter parts of my past life, I can embrace it.  I have seen how far God has taken me from that place.  I can be joyful about the progress I have made since then.  I refuse to let any past thing define who I am, but at the same time see how God redefines me because of it. 2 Cor. 4: 16-18 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal Glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal".

Monday, September 13, 2010

Round the World and Back Again

When we all plan for a trip we gear up, we plan, we map out, we designate, we  communicate and we prepare for the expected and unexpected.  Imagine if you can taking everything you need in this backpack......FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR!  She will sleep in a two man tent, sweat til she thinks she can sweat no more, walk where angels go before, weep with those who weep, she will walk where heaven and earth collide, she will kiss the hands of children bringing God's love where ever she goes,  fearfully and wonderfully made is she, and He will give her eyes to see the way He only measures beauty.  You are beautiful to me, you are brave, you are strong, you are more than I could ever ask or hope for.  

Gearing up for Chandler's departure has been easy thus far until this week when the realization and closeness of the date is actually in view now.  The start of her journey is close at hand, like now, which makes for her time here all the more precious.  The girls tease me when I use the word "precious", but to be honest we all are so out of tune these days with just how precious our lives are with each other.  How delicate the balance is between us and others and the grace it takes to live in this world.  I know I could only do it with God's grace cause my grace isn't big enough, but His is infinite.  Today, Sept. 13th is Chandler's birthday and she leaves for the Philippines.  The Philippine flag will now fly in front of our house until the next country and so on and so on until she is back in the USA again.
When Abraham started his 1500 mile journey of Faith he was fueled by just that, Faith.  It is taking Chandler tremendous Faith, God's Faith, to step out into this moth eaten world, the over grown streets and deserted places left to wither and die.  "And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country,.....for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God".  Heb. 11: 8-10  There will be many times she will go, and not know where she is going, who she will meet or what she will experience.  Like Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade, who is standing on the ledge trying to get across a huge gorge in between the two cave entrances, he remembers leap from the lions head from his black book of clues as his father lies waiting for the water to heal his wounds saying, "you must take the leap boy, you must believe, you must trust".  As he takes that all too familiar step out onto the abyss he says, "with God take that leap of Faith".  He does and as we all know he steps out onto a solid rock bridge.  A solid bridge he can not see at first until he takes that step, then it is revealed to him......
I think much will be revealed to my sweet Chandler.  She is my hero and I love her so much.  I am so deeply proud to be her mom and pray for God's protection every step she takes, every place her feet tread, all the mouths she will feed, the people she will embrace, all the lives that will be changed because of her and the lives that will change her forever.  She is packed up, prayed up and ready to go.  The rest is up to God.
You may follow her along her journey at Adventures in Missions .  Thanks for your support both financially and prayerfully.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yes Abba!

Our small prayer group at Laity Lodge Women's Retreat Summer 2010

I am not sure I know how to start this blog. For the past two years I have had the privilege of going to the Laity Lodge Women's Retreat where I have met, prayed with and explored the things of God with other women.  It was so sweet as some of us from last year reunited again in our small prayer group while welcoming others who were new to the retreat.  This year I was the artist in residence and was able to teach some of these ladies a new technique as they taught and showed me the gifts within themselves.

I focus this blog, on the lady on the far left, Carol Bradley, as she is gone now to be with Jesus after a riding accident this week.  She loved horses and was a devoted mom who loved her kids.  I got to know her through her struggles, her blessings and her challenges as we all shared our lives with one another.  Though a brief encounter with each other it has been an encounter that will last through eternity.  I know I will see her again.  I think that is what makes this easier to bare.  She was a quiet demure woman who spoke softly, deliberately, openly, welcoming counsel from those of us who have gone before what she was facing.  None of us realizing what she was facing in less than a month.....our very own Savior.  My own encounter with her in the art studio and in the river was one of joy and inquisitive expression of how much she loved what we were doing.  She marveled at the chance meeting of another who might be one who graced her with whatever God offered through them to her.  

I got the email three days ago.  Knowing family was flying in, that decisions were being made, so I waited.  Today, however,  I just knew I had to go and see her.  It was the same feeling I got when I was to go and pray for a little boy named Isaiah Sanchez in Denver.  Even if I was not allowed in, even if I was too late, I knew it was never too late with God and I had to go.  I just had to.  So I put aside the cares of the day, devoted them to Carol, to God and to the time I had to be with them both.  Even though the appliance man was scheduled, even though dishes were in the sink, even though beds were not made, flowers not watered and cats not fed, I went.  I made allowances for those things that we normally think are pressing and put them in God's hands.  

I arrived at the hospital not really knowing where to go, never having been to the medical center in San Antonio and trusting God every step of the way.  Still receiving calls along the way about weddings, appliances, xcountry meets, bus pick ups and lawyers. Still I made my way to say goodbye to one of God's angels.  Just like with Isaiah God gave me a parking place right up front, directed me through asking the right people how I might see her and directing my steps each step of the way.  I have to admit my heart was pounding. I was scared. Then, I confronted the door of the SICU......locked.  The sign reads, "Vistors 8:30am-12pm, 1:30pm-5pm".  I had thirty minutes to wait so, I see a ledge by a window.  I sit, I pull out my bible and read Psalm 91 filling in her name whenever I can declaring His Word.  Just then the door opens and Robert comes out. He asked if I was waiting to see someone.  I told him who I was wanting to pray for and he said follow me.  He takes me back to see Carol.  I got to meet all of those who had been taking care of her, monitoring her, praying for her, wishing for her, wondering about her, inquiring about her, and requesting on her behalf.  A ministry within itself.  They allowed me time alone to pray, read scripture to her, tell her thank you, goodbye and to say hello to Jesus for me.  The third time I have asked someone to say hi to Him in two years.  It doesn't get any easier, but I know they deliver the message.  I sat in a corner, watched, listened to cell phones go off with each individual ringer, wondering, amazed and spell bound.  Then I asked for a timeline.  She was to go to surgery at 2pm where all of her organs would be used locally.....all of them.  Tremendous blessing.  It was 1:30 so I started to leave thinking her family would be there soon, but something made me ask, "Is her family coming back?" The nurse said, "No they said their goodbyes last night".  I was amazed God had allowed this time just for me.  Just me, God......and Carol.  I asked if it would be alright if I could stay with her till she left. They said fine.  Another blessing.  So I sat, I prayed, I read, I brushed her hair back, I placed my hand on the bottom of her foot and knew she had already seen our Savior.  You see her feet are what drew me to her in the end.  At the end of our retreat, after I had help others pack up, cleaned the studio and packed up my supplies, which took like an hour, I headed down the hill to the river.  As I entered the river as you have to do to exit the camp there she was, Carol, barefoot standing in the hull of the Frio River, pants rolled up, as someone suggested we all do.  She swayed her legs back and forth as her foot skipped over the top of the water.  As if feeling it for the first time she said, "Yes Abba".  I drove past her, pulled the truck over, took off my shoes and joined her in the water, feeling the fresh feeling she did as the coolness of the Frio ran over the top of our feet, we exchanged one last hug and goodbye.  We shared once more the abundance of the retreat, we embraced and vowed to see each other here, there or in the air.  Yes Abba, she says, as I went back through my old emails that she responded to of pictures sent by our prayer group leader. She ended with, Yes Abba as Nancy, our bridge builder, said at the retreat.
Today was beyond amazing as I said farewell to a chance meeting that made me realize more how delicate life is, how precious our time together is and how chance is usually, no, always divine.  The verses I read to her come from Romans 8:15 "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs....heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory."  And in Galatians 4:6 "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, Abba, Father."  We are more than conquerers....we are heirs to the Creator of this universe who orchestrates everything for His divine purpose and plan.
I followed her bed down the hall as people watched her pass.  In front of me walked the nurse with the dolly of stacked igloos waiting to bring life to another. Reality.  I walked all the way to the elevator where she was going realizing I needed to go a different way to exit, I was not going with her,  yet complete in my resolve in why God sent me, I said one last goodbye and told her to have fun in heaven.  I found my way surrealistically back to my car, got into my oven baked seat and wept, saying now what?, now I am still here, now I get to drive back.  
To drown out tv noise from the other room,  I went to my old stand by MWS album Freedom for I knew it was all instrumental, not knowing the second song on the album is titled Carol Ann.  As I type, I am listening to over and over (click to listen)  Michael W. Smith's song, Carol Ann, having no idea what her middle name is, knowing she is with Him. As life would have it our football game this evening for Sydney's new school was in Mason.  Carol was from Mason.  Jealous in some ways of where she is, also knowing she would not want to miss in her families activities, but realizing we are all wanting what she now has.....eternity.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reunited and It Feels So Good

You remember the lyrics by Peaches and Herb. Well, that is if you listen to 80's music. Or was it 70's, yikes!  Now that I have that song stuck in your head, let me share with you my last two weeks.  LLYC's slogan "Best Two Weeks" says your camp experience will be....."best two weeks of your life".  I would have to beg to differ because what we just did was one of the best two weeks EVER.  William and I have come to the conclusion that when we go somewhere we want to go where some if not all our girls are or can join us.  It is an amazing phenomenon watching the girls as they reunite.  The hugging, spooning, out and out howling, borrowing and fun they all have is more than any entertainment package anyone could put together.
If you have not discovered Vacation Rental by Owner you should.  We have experienced it now two or three times and love staying in peoples homes.  This place in New Orleans had a salt water pool and was fantastic.  We had a dinner party with future in laws, hung out and watched tv, took naps, and the house was close to everywhere, clean, and big enough we could all stay there and never feel on top of each other or the owners who were upstairs......and just had a new 5 week old baby.  IT WAS FAB.  My point is it just felt good to all be under one roof.  It was like old times when everyone lived at home.
God was doing a work in me on my 3000+ mile road trip, if I count when we drove to Raleigh, NC and then the drive home from NOLA.  My 4 days of driving across America taught me a lot about my oldest, about myself and about other people we would encounter others.  Most everyone you meet is pretty nice if you just smile at them. I never met anyone who did not respond favorably to smiling.  It was fascinating for me to see God's handiwork in all the different landscapes.  He has such a variety for us to enjoy.  All that He has created for our pleasure and enjoyment.  So why don't we enjoy it more?  Why are we not taking better care of it?  Why do we overlook what is right in front of our faces most days?  It is highly unlikely I will drive that drive again, but highly likely I will never forget what it looked like.
I fell in love with discovery.  In love with falling in love over and over agin as love kept growing more love.  What God was helping me with and showing me was the difference in loving and letting go.  That I can let go and that is still loving.  Hanging on too long with training mode with my adult kids, let's call them what they are, and thinking they wanted to listen was what I discovered most about them and myself.  A fine line to walk.  I am learning and hoping they will ask for my opinion or advice without my usual piping in as it tells me in Ecc. 5:2 "letting my words be few", or not keeping my seat as it tells me in 1 Tim 2:2 to "lead a quiet and peaceable life".  Quiet here literally means "keeping one's seat".  O how I love to jump up.  Something I have come to realize is that I pipe in, jump up and speak out more times out of loneliness for adult conversation and fellowship.  The search for significance, if you please, in conversation with another who affirms me and my ideas. Wanting them to remember me as the Carrie Underwood song goes, "Don't Forget to Remember Me".  All they have to do is look in the mirror and they can not forget......there I am in many ways in many faces.  He is teaching me to be affirmed in Him, find my source in Him and trust He will always listen even when I am alone.  As much as I, we, have worked to train, impart, teach, love, help our children they were teaching me how much I love discovering God more through them.   What they were sharing with us and each other opened my eyes to His fruit from the seeds that were planted so long ago.  It was so fun to hear them encourage each other, to love each other, to embrace each other as adults, sisters in the family and sisters in Christ.  The older ones don't want to be trained anymore......all of our labor is seeing blessed and tastey fruit.  Why do you think they call it labor and delivery?  We labor and God delivers!

I am seeing a difference in the way they react, respond and receive what I have to say.  They have already heard it. Why do I think they haven't?  I guess I just miss the engagement.  I miss them.  I miss us as a one unit family.   I think I just slip back into that mode without realizing it.  He is teaching me now just to be myself with them, like a friend.  They patiently and sweetly hug me, tell me they love me, thank me and do all the things I adore.  The thing is, I did not teach them that, He does.  I now get to reap the blessings from this fruitful family tree as we will shortly be all over the world.  It takes work, hard work, to stay connected the way we were when we were all under one roof.  That is what this weekend felt like.  The journey getting there, 3000+ miles for some of us was a challenge.  Some of us it was 10 hours and for some just a couple blocks, but all the roads led us home together.  Home was a vacation rental by owner that did not matter the address cause it was where we felt, heard and saw the heart of God in each one who crossed its threshold.  Memories of our time will have to sustain us til once again, wherever that may be, we meet up again, we run home to discover more of what God has uncovered since last we met.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Living Beyond Our Years

My oldest daughter and I have been on the road now since Tuesday making our way across America.  We hit 2000 miles today and are staying with relatives in Alabama.  No bad weather til we got here, but feel blessed that is all we have encountered.  I decided if I was going to journey across America I was going to do it in style, with massage every step of the way and just enjoy the time spent with her. So we got massage in San Diego, Fort Worth and will again in Jacksonville by the beach.  Can't wait!  We have seen just about every type of topographical landscape imaginable, going from 68 degrees to 112 degrees heat index, running over road shrapnel tires from 18 wheelers, encountered a water moccasin, laughed with friends, met people who knew people we knew in the middle of nowhere at a Starbucks, listen to the Broad Minded and Dr. Laura on XM, dreamed a little, cried and even revealed a few things to each other that have resulted in healing.  I would have to recommend this recipe to anyone who attempts to drive 2000+ miles in four days driving.  It is the only way to go.  We finally made it and we went 2681 miles.  We have four more days til we get to NOLA for our family reunion where we will be for a few days to rekindle, release and fellowship our family ties.  We are a unique family and I am so blessed to be a part of it.
All this driving has made me feel as though my life is moving under my feet as fast as the road is moving beneath the car.  Though I know it is not the road that is moving, however, after a while it is what if feels like and the car is just sitting still.  I guess that is because Interstate 10 and 20 are pretty flat and straight.  Our trusty navigation system keeps us going on the right road while God keeps us on the right path in our thoughts and conversations.  My daughter is one of my best friends and can tell her anything knowing it will be met with love, compassion, understanding, forgiveness and wisdom.  She is an amazing person and I am so blessed to have this time with her as she begins her new life in this new place. I feel sometimes I am constantly starting a new frame of mind, a new set of rules, a new direction and a new hope for my life on a daily basis.  She will do it more often physically because she is married to a Marine pilot.  I feel like I am constantly wanting to be in a new place with God, a new place in my walk and constantly looking for that newness that I once experience as a younger person. I know I am growing old, but I really want to keep my young at heart attitude. 
I crave the idea of "living beyond our years", so that what we establish here lives beyond our natural lives and on in our children, their children and their children's children, in to eternity. This idea I got from listening to Anita Renfroe on Broad Minded show on XM.  A legacy carried over to the next generation that lives on.  The sacrificial love given and steps made to reveal and increase healing will ensure our lives, what we believe, our hope that will be carried on beyond my years.  I messed up big time as a new mom discovering my own selfish and self-centered behaviors, not having a clue really what to do with raising a baby. I had, still do in some cases, this need for perfection, and making sure everything was a certain way, need for control and wishful thinking.  And if it weren't a certain way then I was a failure as a mom, that it was out of control, that I did not know what I was doing.   Well guess what?  I really didn't know what I was doing even with those unrealistic ideals.  I was living up to an expectation that was so far out of my reach that it ended up coming back to bite me.  So I finally could settle on setting the bar high enough to reach, then I would reset it and so on.  I think that is why I have this on going fixation on the newness with God.  Seeing what's next with God every step and beyond.   When I read Jeremiah 29:11 for the first time it was so freeing for me to know and trust that He "knows the plans for me" because they are the plans, "I have for you".  The more I try to plan the tighter bound up I became in making sure the plan was going  according to my plan, missing the point and forgetting to consider His plan for me.  It was all or nothing with no give, no slack and little room for error.   Going to Montessori mother baby classes to better equip myself to parent was a great idea, yet somehow I allowed the self in me get the best of me which in turn really wasn't the best of me and was worse for my kids.  But I learned, they endured and forgave me so sweetly.  Now I get to go on 2000+ mile road trip together because we worked hard to get down the road thus far.
So living beyond what I can naturally see is like driving on this road we have been on.  We have our pop up nav system, our map, our co-pilot, water, phones, snacks, sunglasses, craft projects, magazines, books, music and the like.  The most important thing we have on this trip is one another.  The time we have spent together will live way beyond our years as stories will be told of trips driven, taken and endured across this country, across the world and beyond.  Live beyond your years and see where God takes you next. It truly is the greatest adventure.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are They Live or Are They Memorex

Most of us that grew up in the 70's & 80's remember the Memorex commercials of Ella Fitzgerald and the high pitched sound that breaks the glass.  Well who could tell anyway, I mean it was a commercial.  It was marketing.  Well as our house has been on the market and we have staged it, fixed fences, cleaned out carports and updated bathrooms there were some things that we did to help with "marketing".  Recently my father in law moved in town into an independent living apartment so he could not care for all the plants that were out at his house.  Not wanting them to die William brought them home and we have been caring for them.  They are lovely and many of them William's mom planted, took care of and kept up before she passed.  Well we have window boxes all around under these old metal lever style windows.  There are three under our dining room window that are in a ton of shade and before we moved the fence the sprinkler would not hit it and I would forget to water cause it was around the side of the house.......So once the fence was moved I decided it was time to plant something really pretty to look at outside the window........I then began to look at some other flowers around the patio comparing them to some flowers I have that are not real in the house and it is amazing how real they can make flowers now......so you decide.  Are they live or are they Memorex.........

    You decide.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Silver Spoon

Well Spoonie made the trip to our carport just fine.  On loan/exchange from a friend...... free storage for free use of Spoonie.....what a deal!  See the heart in the window......more on that later.  She did not have to travel too far, but boy are we glad she graces our driveway.  I have not had much time to spend inside of her galley, but can not wait for our first outing.  Spoonie will house what I am calling Mom's Kitchen that will go out and feed the hungry and the needy where ever they may be.  She drives well and only has a few minor dents and pokes in her side, but that is what gives her the character she deserves.  Wonder where she has been? Who slept inside her at one time?  Who now will be blessed by her permission of hope that adorns her insides?
All the comforts of a real kitchen with propane stove and oven, two sinks (better than mine), great counter space, storage, hardwood floors and an eight track player.  The retro clock needs a little work along with the player, but that is easily remedied....with maybe a flat sceen?  The original pipe is still on the side with wires attached where the antenna once branched out its limbs to catch the latest news that will now hold either a Texas flag or a Mom's Kitchen flag......I haven't decided.

A pretty pale blue adorns her interior like one of those Vegas flame drinks with pretty umbrella. She even has AC.....ahhhhhh who was thinking on that one?  A silver heart floats in the window that reads HOPE for that is what she brings to a nation that suffers.  There are people in need and Spoonie is ready for the task, none too great or small as she travels down the road bungied together, so flaps don't fly as we puddle down the highway.  This a dream come true for me to bless others with His Love, His Grace, and His never ending Mercy that watches over all of us.  Some of us just need to stand in the gap for others til they get back on their feet, til they fly again, til they can reach out and extend the same to the next who is down and out.  We all are called to do our part.  For Spoonie, her time has come to take the lead, help us with Mom's Kitchen, abandon it all for the sake of the call.

As Bonnie Raitt says,"I gotta new thang, the kind that blows my mind.  I am leanin' heavy on the throttle. I want to celebrate my new opinon. I aint' the same plain Jane, keepin it bottled up inside.  I have been waiting all my life to see things from the other side.  No need to pack much, c'mon and ride with me baby for we're headed for the county line.  When you really think about it, isn't that what it's suppose to be like. And it sure feels right.  We'll say goodbye to all our troubles, let all the neighbors talk, we're gonna have the time of our lives".
Can you just imagine me and a host of others jammin in the kitchen, cooking up a storm, lovin' every minute, sweatin' our rears off and helping someone in need.  What more could God ask for?  What more could I ask of God to have such a blessed opportunity?  It will be a journey.  It will be an adventure I am sure.  Spoonie will serve us well I am sure of that.  These are the best times of our lives.

We will be cruzin soon.  If you would like to know how you can help just email me. Can't wait!
Don't know what is down this road, and tomorrow is a mystery.....and that is ok.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Blog is Up.......and It's Good!

This past week I have been working with someone I have never met. Someone who only got to know me through my pictures. And who somehow was able to get inside my head and know what I was wanting to express on my blog.  That is a gift and finding her through social media truly was a gift because the result of the gift is evident in the appearance of my blog. I am very please with what she was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.  She worked hard explaining to me the processes and held my hand all the way to the end.  I was truly blessed and excited to see what she came up with.  I must have sent her 100 pictures to look at.  She was very gracious, patient and kind. And together we got it done.  I hope you enjoy it.  
I have done away with my website and am consolidating everything here on my blog.  You can now even purchase my wares here through pay pal.  I am so excited about being able to offer you these select designs of my jewelry on Madre Designs, and my specialty purses on Hattie Bags. I will mix in some of my repurposed antique finds that I turn into functional art pieces.  I hope you will spend some time and look around and enjoy your self while you are here.  Please sign up for both Hattie Bags and Madre Designs pages as followers, so that when I update those pages you will be the first to know when I have created something new.  Thanks for visiting, tell your friends and let me know what you think.  I appreciate your business, compliments and comments.
Kindest regards,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ode to Jimmy Buffet "When The Coast is Clear" Dinner

Jimmy Buffet is one of my all time favs......me and millions of other fans.  Tonight he did something I could only dream of doing......helping.  He held a free concert down at Gulf Shores to help support, encourage and get people to help and come back down to the Gulf.  I was so impressed with what he was able to do, I feel so constrained by my ability to do anything that I decided to honor the Gulf coast with my dinner tonight.  So Jimmy if you ever read this I wish you could have been here to taste these yummy Gulf shrimp, the creamy Kings Grits and the tastey Fredericksburg, Texas peaches which are over the top this year.

I grilled the shrimp and onion, made the grits that my son in laws family brought us from North Carolina with milk to make them creamy then grilled these golden beauties to perfection topped with Hershey Milk Chocolate and graham cracker crumbs.  A sort of peach s'mores without the marshmellow.  The graham crackers symbolized the beaches in the Gulf after the song revealed by Jimmy "When the Coast is Clear", the peaches symbolize all the sweet people that live there, and the Hershey chocolate represents the oil that is spilling millions of gallons into the Gulf.

Although whipped cream would have been delightful on top.  Just a dallop.  I am still hoping this summer or fall at some point I will take Mom's Kitchen over to the Gulf coast and feed all those who are working so hard. Just as a thank you for all they are doing for getting the coast clear.  My heart sinks when I see the pictures, when I read the news of the spill and have just felt helpless.  I am hoping for grocery store partnership like HEB and any volunteers who want to come with me to feed them in a Airstream kitchen.  My idea is to feed the folks there with a good home cooked meal.  My small way of saying thanks.  Lots of red tape unfortunately with stores and money, but I am keeping the faith.  Still collecting hair for the booms and doing what I can in my part of the world.  Like Jimmy said....we all have to do our part.    Enjoy the visual read.  Thanks Jimmy and thank you volunteers that are working so hard for "When the Coast is Clear".Jimmy Buffet

Monday, June 28, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Here is my audition for the new Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).  If  you are so inclined shoot me a vote please. I would appreciate it.
Click here to see Audition for Madre Minutes OWN show.

Thanks for the vote and I'll see you in a minute hopefully on the OWN network.  It's a shot in the dark but you never know right.  It's one way to get His word out there.  Thanks yall.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day God

We celebrate Father's Day and all over this country where families honor, distinguish, and recognize father's.  In churches, on television, on the radio, in malls and stores, in the newspapers, magazines, and any other social media avenue it can gain exposure the message goes out.  We give presents to our dads thanking them for all they do for us sharing our sentiments with them and others to bless them in some way.  Our earthly father's are important, especially for women and girls, when establishing that personal relationship that only a father can establish with his child.  I admire so much the individualized relationship William has with each one of our six daughters.
He has impacted each one throughout their lives in different ways.  His ability to know what each one needs before they ask, to anticipate how he can help them and his ability to micro manage parts of their lives helping them discover independence from us as they mature into adults.  He is an amazing father to our girls and God knew what He was doing when He gave William to me and to each of them.

Someone asked me today, "What is the key to a good marriage, communication?" I paused and thought for a minute and almost instantly said, "grace".  God's Word says, "Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you", and since I believe the Word of God is Truth and I believe Jesus is grace then if I have Jesus I have grace and all the rest will be added.  She said,"Love is not the key?" And I said of course you have to have love, but for me when I know Jesus' grace I have love as it is part of all the rest that He freely gives that add up to a great marriage.  I don't find that you can compartmentalize Jesus that way thinking there is just one key. He is the key and He is grace.  William walks in amazing grace.
This made me think of how would I wish God a Happy Father's Day? How do I every day?  Do I think about how blessed I am to be a daughter of the King when I am in crisis and I need Him most?  Do I show Him my adoration every day and do I pray to Him just to say I love you, good morning and good night?  Am I appreciative of the blessings and gifts He has bestowed on me as the Creator of all living things?  Everyone lives with their own convictions and this one hit home with me, that I am lacking not only in my telling William what a great father he is, but also telling God what a great Father He is too!  When was the last time you told God, "You're a great father God".......like you would your own father?  That is the type of communication and relationship He wants to have with you. Here is what He does for me.  He sings over me with delight, He calls me His love, under His mercy He pleads for me to wait.  He sees no stain on me and calls me His child.  He calls me beautiful.  He asks me to cast all my cares at His feet, and tells me to find my rest in Him.  He will breath His life inside of me and bears me up on eagles wings hiding me in the shadow of His strength.  He restores my soul with quiet waters resting as I am made whole. He calls me His bride, His beloved.  
All these things add up to amazing Grace, His Grace that is such the perfect picture of what we hope for in our earthly fathers.  William is running a close second........I love sweet Willie.  You are an amazing father to our 6 incredible daughters.
It is thanks to you and your mentoring, listening, love, care, nurturing patience, and guidance that has shaped them into the wonderful women they are today.
Happy Father's Day God!  Happy Father's Day William!