Having someone to love is FAMILY. Having somewhere to go is HOME. Having both is a BLESSING.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Profitable Hunt

Rob successfully took down a very nice 7 point buck on the first day of rifle season.
This is his first buck. We are proud of him!
My three awesome kids.

Daryl (17), Robert (13), Pap Stoner and Mark with Rob's 7 point and Mark's doe.

The processing begins.

Daryl - learning the trade of butchering and meat cutting.
He's a great assitant to Mark, who is certified and processes meat for others as well.


Mama & Chawlie Re'
The kids had been away visiting Pappy & Grammy for a week and came home for Thanksgiving. This Mama was so thankful to have her kiddos home safely, and Nevaeh's reaction to seeing me made me feel like a million bucks!

The boys with Zack & Natalie for Thanksgiving dinner.
Holidays MUST be shared with family, those you love most, if at all possible and Tom and Sherri came to stay for a few days. Mama & Daddy came also. My house was full of noise and laughter!

Grammy with some of her favorite little people.

Robert has taken an interest in photography and while he thrives on scenery and unique photos, he tried his hand at human subjects. He does a really great job and who knows where this interest will eventually take him.

It is ALWAYS special to have Mama & Daddy come and now that Dad is retired, their visits can be extended. Dad was able to stay and enjoy the first day of rifle season with his grandsons. You can see how Nevaeh felt about having Pappy & Grammy here! I LOVE to listen to Pappy and Nevaeh play together and Grammy and Nevaeh at bathtime.

They are the best grandparents a kid could ever have. While here, they visited with Zack & Natalie, who were here for a few days, talked with Kyle via webcam, and had phone conversations with Ashleigh & Cameron.

"God's been good in my life. I've been blessed beyond my wildest dreams when I go to sleep each night.
And though I've had my share of hard times, I wouldn't trade them if I could.....
.....'Cause through it all, God's been good!"


Saturday, November 27, 2010

And My Heart Stuttered!

You can always imagine what something would be like, but there are some things that you can never come close to understanding until you actually experience it for yourself! I have been in several vehicle accidents myself and to date the worst one was 5 years ago this December 9th. I was the driver and our youngest son, dangerously injured with head and facial trauma.
These pictures are from the latest accident in our family in which Daryl was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle. The emotions that I experienced that evening when he called to tell us that he was not far from home and had been involved in an accident were far different from any imaginings! I believe that my heart stuttered!
Daryl had been out for a weekend of survival training with the Civil Air Patrol and was coming home when a deer leaped down off a high bank and his insticts kicked in. He slammed his foot on the brake to prevent a collision. It had rained torrentially not long before Daryl passed through this roadway and the roads were still very wet. The wheels locked and Daryl slid across the roadway and was dumped into a very large ditch. The Jimmy then tipped over on its' side. He was not traveling at an excess speed for which we are thankful as that type of momentum would have caused the vehicle to roll completely, perhaps even multiple times.

The vehicle was totalled by the insurance company.

Mark and I went the next morning to the accident site and took some pictures.

Daryl was traveling on the road coming towards you in the photo below.

The ditch is behind the STOP sign and in front of Mark in the photo below.

The vehicle was not mangled and Daryl was able to crawl out his window and drop down into the ditch under the Jimmy. The frame was twisted and the cost of repairs was too high though the vehicle didn't look too back.

Grateful for another time when God's HAND was quick to protect and we thank HIM that Daryl was spared injury.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Butterfly Nevaeh...
...An example of the old passing away to become new!
As young parents, we decided against acknowledging anything that had to do with Halloween when we learned that the true origins were based in paganism. We were convinced that by joining in any of the cultural traditions, we would be condoning paganism and opening ourselves to demonic influences. As time has passed and we have learned more about our world in which we live, we have come to the realization that we as Christians unwittingly give way too much credit and attention to Satan and his evil, even while discussing it with our church family and friends and praying halfheartedly about it.
Now we have a little girl who is a vital part of our family, bringing with her some unique dimensions that were not present with our biological children. We find ourselves faced with the responsibility of teachings that will affect others beyond our immediate family in challenging way that we never had to consider before. Thus, we find ourselves considering the holiday of Halloween from perspectives as never considered. The decisions we make now coupled with these new dimensions may just be fueling the fire of rebellion for later. Don't get me wrong. There is definitely something to teaching our children that we do not completely fit in this world. It is true as scripture instructs us, that we are IN this world but not OF this world, as children of God. But our very young daughter has not yet, the intellectual capacity to comprehend this with understanding.
It's an age old question in the faith community: Should Christians celebrate the Halloween holiday? There are many opinions and writings regarding the issues of Christians celebrating Halloween. The easy answer is, "NO!" But before we stop there, let me point out that the Christmas tree finds its' origin as part of a ritualistc ceremony to a fertility god. Does this mean that if we have a Christmas Tree, we are paying homage to the fertility god? I certainly believe not. The cultural context has differed from that belief for centuries.
As a small child, my parents taught me that since Jesus was not going to sit down at our table in the form of human body, we would use our Christmas tree as His birthday cake! Because this "cake" was extra special, we needed to take extra care in placing our decorations and express our love back to Him through what we placed on the branches of our tree. On Christmas morning,we would all stand around the tree and hold hands while singing, "....Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus! Happy Birthday to You!" Having said that, I will point out that I do know of Christians, some being pesonal friends, who do not have a Christmas tree because of its' origin. It is a matter of personal conviction.
Did you know that the first day of the week we as Christians claim as our Sabbath, was originally the day of worship to the sun god? Yet, after Jesus Christ gave his life on the old rugged cross for our sins and rose the third day, which was the first day of the week, the Christians claimed the Day of Resurrection as our Sabbath.
So, in order to meet our challenges of teaching fairly and in good conscience, we have chosen to TAKE Halloween as we have some of these other "things" that we have taken, and offer our daughter and her extended family, another hallowed holiday of import. We have chosen to use this holiday to remember and teach what the Salvation of Jesus Christ is to us. We won't celebrate with witches, superstition, black cats, ghosts, goblins, spiders etc...Dressing up and eating candy for little kids is simply fun. And there are plenty of good examples all around us and in our Bible for kids to pretend to be like.
I have found a devotional using a pumpkin jack-o-lantern that portrays Salvation in a very clear and understandable way for even the smallest of children. I have no knowledge as to who authored it. Together with Nevaeh's church family, we celebrated HALLOWED-ween!
Being a Christian is just like being a pumpkin. Let's explain with this pumpkin that I have here to help illustrate what I mean. (Proceed to carve the pumpkin. I actually cut the top, eyes, nose and mouth ahead of time and just left the pieces in so they simply had to be popped out. You can also scrape the "yucky stuff" loose and just leave it inside to scoop out. This will save time.)
First, God picks you from the pumpkin patch and brings you in from the field. The Bible says He selects us out of the world. We are in the world, but no longer of the world. He then washes all the dirt off the outside that we received from being around all the other pumpkins in the dirt. All the outside influences of our former life must be cleaned up. Old things are passed away and all things are become new.
Then, He carefully removes all the "yucky stuff" called "sin" out from the inside. Look at this! YUK!! Sin will not have such internal power when we let God live in our hearts and have complete control of our will. He changes us from the inside out by the Power of His Word. That's why it is important to go to church and learn about God from His Word. He carefully removes all those seeds of doubt, hate, greed, and fear. He replaces them with the seeds of faith, hope, and love. After Jesus is invited to live inside, you begin to experience the changing power of God's love in your life.
Then He carves a new smiling face. Our countenance is changed by the power of His presence in our life. We then become so grateful that it shows on our faces! Now we are going to light this candle and place it inside. (We used tealights.) Look! This pumpkin now reflects the light from inside out. So too, when Jesus, who is called the Son of Light, lives inside of us, He shines through our life for all to see. We can let His light reflect through us to reveal His presence. "Let your light so shine before men that they may be able to see your good works and glorify your Father, who is in heaven." So you see, we Christians are really like this pumpkin! We will never be the same with Jesus living inside of us. We can say like this jack-o-lantern, "Thy presence, my light!"
Following the devotional showing the kids my pumpkin, then the adults assisted the children in carving their very own happy face. Then Pastor led the kids in the Halloween Pumpkin's Prayer before everyone went home. We turned out the lights so our lights would shine bright in our dark "world."
The prayer was authored by Liz Curtis Higgs. As the top has been cut off...Lord, open my mind so I can learn new things about you.

The inside yucky stuff has been cleaned out...Remove the things in my life that don't please you. Forgive the wrong things I do and help me to forgive others.

The eyes have been cut out...Lord, open my eyes to see the beauty you've made in the world around me.

The nose has been cut out...I'm sorry for the times I've turned my nose at the good food You provide.

The mouth has been cut open...Let everything I say please You.

Together we light the candles...Lord, help me show Your Light to others through the things I do. AMEN.

Halloween was an even more memorable occasion than ever before.

One mother communicated that her child had gone to sleep while watching his lighted pumpkin.
I pray that He never forgets the picture of Salvation.

It was fun. It was beautiful. It was special!

Below is a happy little butterfly and her pal Livie!

Thank You, Lord for the gift of Thy presence!
Thy presence, my light!!

Pound the Pastor!

Here at Evangelistic Tabernacle, the congregation refers to their display of Pastor Appreciation as Pound the Pastor. They have waaaaayy too much fun with that. We have been blessed abundantly and while our church family takes this special time to express their appreciation and loving care, it is a continued practice throughout the entire year.
I can't tell you how incredible it is to feel and know that you belong!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Change of Season!

It is that time of year again when the season for reaping is upon us. The air is crisp, the frost is on the pumpkin and we have brought our harvest into the storehouse. It has been busy yet fruitful! The labor has been at times difficult, but not in vain. God has been good! But then you knew that He would be!
"For, I, Jehovah, change not."
Malachi 3:6
"And God Himself gave rain and fruitful seasons to us from heaven, filling our hearts with food and gladness"
Acts 14:17

We have kept ourselves busy with labors related to our immediate church family, which I shall insert, is the best! We are so glad that God brought us to this place.

We have been busy in labors shared with the extended family of Christ. We were blessed to participate in a revival meeting held at the Franklin Bible Methodist Church in Ohio. We enjoyed our time there immensely and made some lasting friendships. Our "family" just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Nevaeh treasured her time spent with Pastor Jack and Mamaw Jane.

We have been busy meeting the needs of own personal family. And God has blessed us greatly. We are all doing well.

We are older, wiser and have learned many lessons. Among those lessons is the one that regardless how hard circumstances become, you just can't quit!

"Let us not be weary in well doing, for when the season is right, we shall reap if we don't quit."
Galatians 6:9

And, of course, a little firepower, doesn't hurt!! LOL