Post-Christmas Surprise

In my Christmas post, I wrote about how Christmas takes on a fresh meaning each year as the Holy Spirit puts life anew into its powerful story. Well, this year our family has another added meaning to this special occasion. We were blessed with our best gift the day after Christmas: a positive pregnancy test! The early signs and symptoms had me thinking that we might be expecting, but it was the 2 First Response Tests that confirmed it for us. Being able to share the news of an extra special present after the all the gifts had been unwrapped was something we will never forget!
The nurse in me knows that we are still early in the game and that a lot can happen between now and Sept 5 (tentative due date), but I don’t think God wants us to wait until then to thank and praise Him. After the extensive infertility work-up and treatment we did just before conceiving Dylan, we are in awe of the blessing that God allowed to happen so easily and quickly. With Tim leaving tomorrow to start Army Chaplaincy training for 12 weeks, there is a little something in me that wonders if the timing of this is right. But we have written a blank check to God with our lives and are allowing him to fill in the address in the top left corner, the amount in the “for” blank, and the timing in the date field. We are trusting his timing and his judgment.
Thank you, Lord, for this Christmas blessing. Thank you for sending your Son to us as a baby, so tender and mild. And thank you for sending this child to us!Yes, they are positive (both of them)!!

Happy Blog-iversary

It has been 1 year now since I started this blog, and I wanted to write a special post in that honor. This blog has done alot for me. At times it has kept me going. At other times, it has kept me in touch with family and friends that I otherwise might not have. At still other times, it has helped me to express the thoughts and stirrings of my heart as God has led us through quite a journey over the past year. It has been great to journal on this journey. Thanks to all of you who stop by periodically to peruse. Special thanks to those of you who occasionally leave comments or send me e-mails.

Christmas Thoughts

Each year I am amazed at how God brings to light a new piece of the Christmas story and sheds a fresh light on its glorious message. This year I have found myself drawn to the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against the prospect of the Messiah's birth occuring.

  • Too young - Mary was of too young an age to have been engaging in marital relations with Joseph, and therefore would not have been able to conceive.

  • Too old - Elizabeth was too old to be carrying and child and had been barren her whole life

  • Too far - the prophets told of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem, but Mary & Joseph were living no where close to there.

  • Too crowded - Joseph could find no place suitable for his family to stay and for the birth of the child.

And yet, Mary did bear a child, born of the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth, too, bore a child who would prepare the way of the Lord. And who but God could arrange such a timely census which would bring the gestating Messiah to the proper place? Joseph may have felt he was "settling" for second or third best by bunking in a stable. But God ordained that birth place and took note of it for the angels to proclaim on high. Proving once again that he excels in the unlikely and the miraculous. Proving that he is indeed mighty, sovereign, glorious. This Christmas season, like no other, I need to know this. I need to know that I serve and worship and surrender to a god like that; the Old Testament calls him El Shaddai. I call him "Father". Thank you Lord for humbling yourself into the body of a helpless, frail, and vulnerable baby and subjecting yourself to the hardships of this sin-infested world. All so that we may know you through your suffering and death. Immanuel --"God with us".

Commissioning Service

Today was Tim's Commissioning Service where he took the oath to become an officer in the US Army. His ranking is that of 1st Lieutenant, and he is officially on his journey to become an Army Chaplain. The commissioning was performed at our church by Commander Saunders, the seminary professor that first brought to light in Tim's mind the idea of Chaplaincy as a ministry.
Babe, I am so proud of the man you are and the heart you have. To God be the glory for what He is doing in our lives!

A December to remember

December 4th hit me a ton of bricks. Not the kind that hurt, but the kind that definitely get your attention. I realized at that point that we were one month out from Tim's departure to CH-BOLC (Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course). The Lord has granted us the privelege of being able to afford to have Tim quit his job early (the week before Black Friday, none the less!) so that he might have more time to spend with his family and say his farewells. God was so gracious to us through this, as it has proven to be such a beautiful gift. We took Dylan out of daycare for a month to spend time with his dad, and so day in and day out this month they are making memories.

So many things are up in the air right now and my mind sometimes feels like it is swirling. Our house is for sale (great time to be selling Real Estate, huh?) and our possessions are being sold and boxed up. Questions arise like: When should I quit my job? What will it be like to be a single mom? What will it be like to be single for 12 weeks? How will Tim fare? What will Dylan think, and more importantly what will he remember? When and where will we move to? How will we adjust? The thing is - I HAVE NO IDEA. But one thing I do know...I know God's heart. I know that He will show himself mighty to those who are faithful to Him. Scripture says that "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." Phil. 1:6 God is definitely the originator of what has transpired in our lives, so we are trusting him to keep us going until we reach that place of completion. Our motto in this home is DEFINITELY "One day at a time".

Tim's Commissioning Service is this Sunday afternoon and we are excitedly anticipating that. He will thenceforth be known as Lieutenant Raburn. That will take some getting used to! In all seriousness, I just have to say from the bottom of my heart that I am so inexpressibly proud of Tim in general, and doubly so in light of the sacrifice he is going to make. Lately I have been asked quite frequently if I am sad about leaving or if I'm "okay" with moving. My answer is and has been this: When you see someone that you love dearly find what it is they are called to do and run toward it, unafraid, with enthusiasm and passion, your heart has room for nothing but pride. I love Tim and support him whole-heartedly in this endeavor. Does this mean there won't be days of sorrow and nights of tears? No. Even though my heart is filled with pride for Tim, does that mean that my mind doesn't try to fill with fear? No. The best way I can think to describe my thoughts about this is to quote from the book I am (STILL) reading (I'm a reeeaallly slow reader) "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy DeMoss:
"Joy, peace, and stability come from believing that every circumstance that touches our lives has first been filtered through His fingers of love and is part of a great, eternal plan that He is working out in this world and our lives."

I believe that part of my preparation for this journey is what God has led me to through life experiences and studying His word over the past several years. I have many times found myself drawn to passages, verses, and books that speak to the suffering that we are called, even priveleged, to endure for God's glory and Christ's sake. This ideal is clear to me, that it is not 'will I suffer?' but 'when will I suffer?'. Again to quote from the aforementioned book:
"By convincing us that our suffering is undeserved or unnecessary, the Enemy succeeds in getting us to resent and resist the will and purpose of God. The message that was preached by the Lord Jesus Himself and by the apostles who followed Him was a call to take up the cross; it was a call to sign up for battle; it was a call to suffer."

Please do not take me to be saying that I am going to be laying out in the street, homeless and hungry, suffering for Jesus. I realize that what we are going to endure as a direct result of accepting this calling is a different sort of suffering. But it will be a struggle of sorts that will challenge our family. I think the view God has revealed to me on suffering has made me better able to accept my husbands calling and more willing to embrace my own. Arthur Mathews, missionary to China 1938-1949, wrote that:
"We tend to look at the circumstances of life in terms of what they may do to our cherished hopes and convenience, and we shape our decisions and reactions accordingly. When a problem threatens, we rush to God, not to seek his perspective, but to ask him to deflect the trouble. Our self-concern takes priority over whatever it is that God might be trying to do through the trouble....An escapist generation reads security, prosperity, and physical well-being as evidences of God's blessing. Thus when he puts suffering and affliction into our hands, we misread his signals and misinterpret his intentions."

I know my "insight" may seem rather cavalier to some, but as Nancy DeMoss says in the book, the truth is that God is far more interested in our holiness than in our happiness; for He knows that apart from being holy, we can never truly be happy.

A Weekend Away

Tim and I had a wonderful time this past weekend staying 2 nights at Living Waters Retreat in Berryville, AR. It is a retreat for minister's and their wives located in the wooded countryside of Northwest Arkansas. They accept only minimal payment and offer a time of solitude and seclusion to ministry couples who need a restful break. Tim made all the arrangements, paid the fees, and chauffeured me all the way there. I felt so special and blessed. We have a long road ahead of us in the near future, and this chance to get away was much needed and much appreciated. I love those times when he and I can relax, reflect, and reminisce.

I was once again reminded of the many different reasons I love my husband. He is a man of many talents, considerate, firm in his convictions, and funny at heart. He is a simple man, not simple minded, but simple in his ways. He prefers simple clothing over high-fashion. He has one pair of each type of shoe: brown dress, black dress, tennis shoe, work shoe. He has one belt that he can flip to the black side or the brown side. :) He prefers no-fuss haircuts over heavily styled coifs. If he is eating a food that comes with or without nuts, he prefers without. Beneath that simple exterior is a man that is full of complexity and surprises. He is a genius when it comes to the depths and breadths of technology. There is nothing electronic that he cannot fix (thanks for fixing my laptop screen, babe!). He can watch a Sci-Fi show from beginning to end and follow every twist and turn with no problems, and remember all the foreign names he encountered. His mind can comprehend mysteries with ease and he can see trick-endings before they come. He is skilled with his hands and good at modifying and building. He has the gift of focusing in on detail. As I reflected back on all this, I thought "What's not to love!"

As we arrived near the cabin, we slowed to read the address number from a mailbox. We realized that was our turn-in and as we turned, a doe darted down the side of the drive way, as if to say "Welcome, follow me." We got to do one of our favorite past-times together: hiking. We used to hike a lot when we were kid-less but haven't in a while. Among the interesting things we saw were a red-headed wood pecker, a tree partially chewed up by beavers, and an empty tortoise shell. We worked through a chapter of our Sunday School class material Fireproof, the Bible Study. We ended up getting to the cabin without either one of our cell phones ~a slight oversight:) ~ and there was no phone in our cabin as well as no wireless internet signals. We had a truly technology-free weekend! This made me a little nervous, knowing that if Dylan had an emergency we would not be instantly reachable (my in-laws could have called the number to the house on the property and the owners would have walked down to our cabin). But of course all my worrying was for nothing and he was fine. In fact, I highly recommend a techno-free day, weekend, or week every once in a while. It truly takes away all distractions and offers time to focus.

My heart is also grateful to the cabin owner's, who are lay people in their church but sensed God calling them to build two cabins on their land for the specific purpose of ministering to ministers who need a retreat. They are providing such an incredible gift of service.

We found a tree where the beavers had clearly left their mark!
Optical illusion: which way is up and which way is down? Tim took this shot with our camera upside down. The water was almost perfectly reflective, proving that things are not always what they seem :)The beautiful view from our cabin's deck.


Today we got the news that Tim's Army Chaplaincy training will begin in early January. So he will head to Ft Jackson, SC then and we will be apart for some time. And then we will be stationed somewhere far from here. This is what we have been thinking would happen, so it is nothing new; it is just final now. Two words that have been on my heart and mind this week have been "captivated" and "horizons". I don't know why exactly I have been chasing those words in my head, I can only speculate that God is reminding me of how He is the one that has "captivated" me by His love and mercy and brought me to this place of preliminary acceptance. Perhaps "horizons" is supposed to remind me that as we begin to say farewell to so much of the familiar, there are horizons yet to come - reminders of the future that awaits us. A reminder to keep our eyes focused ahead of us on Jesus. A reminder that whatever He is bringing us to is greater than what He has brought us from or through...truly His best is yet to come. The song Whatever You're Doing by Sanctus Real has been a testament for me lately, as my heart echos the second verse and chorus:

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills?
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything
I surrender...
To whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life...something Heavenly

Fall Fun

We spent some time in our leaf-stricken yard last weekend, trying to uncover the hidden grass and keep it alive this winter. Dylan had a blast playing in the piles and was a "big helper" with putting the leaves in the yard bags! It was definitely a fall fun family affair.

Army Intel

For those of you who have been praying and waiting along with us, I wanted to give you word that we heard from the Army today regarding Tim's Chaplaincy application. He has been accepted for active duty as a Military Chaplain with the US Army! We feel so humbled and priveleged that the Lord has allowed us the opportunity to serve Him through sacrifice. We don't know many details, but Tim is likely facing a 10-week officer's training course in January which Dylan and I cannot attend. After that, we are in God's hands. Well, we are always in God's hands, and have been so for the past year as we have prayed every step of this journey. Continue to pray for us as we seek to take care of details and arrangements that may prove to be stressful. We need wisdom as to the timing of selling our house and quiting/changing jobs. This is not going to be an easy process, but we are convinced now more than ever that this is where God is leading us. Much like Abraham when he had Isaac on the alter, we know that we are called to this sacrifice no matter how much it may hurt us...and that God will provide through it, as we identify with Christ through His sufferings. Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement!

Tate Farms Punkin' Patch

Today we went to Tate Farms Punkin' Patch in Meridianville, AL. The pictures are proof that we had a wonderful time!

Thoughts from The Word

This morning I found myself in I John for my Bible study. I was actually in a hurry to read these verses, answer my devotional question, and move on to the next one in Lies Women Believe. But I found myself drawn to I Jn 1:9, and the more I read it and thought about it, the more it came to life. Now, I'm no Bible scholar (that would be my husband :) or commentator but I do know what I gleaned from this passage.
I Jn 1:9 - If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unfrighteousness.
I think the reason this caught my attention is because it seems to have elements of contradiction in it. Knowing that the Bible is infallible and that it is truth, I took a closer look. The words "faithful" and "just", at first glance, appear to be opposites. Faithfulness, when it come to forgiving sins, tends to imply unconditional love and favor toward us who are undeserving. "Just" or justice, when it comes to sins, tends to imply punishment and getting what we deserve. I have read this verse so many times yet never stopped to dwell on each adjective. It was almost as if I read them together so many times and so fast that they became a new word" 'faithfulandjust"! But seperating them back out brought them new life to me.
So how can God be faithful and just when it comes to sins? In order for Him to be faithful to forgive our sins, He had to bring about justice through someone else. God's supreme character demands (and I say deserves!) holiness. In His sovereignty, He set forth a universe with the sole purpose to glorify Himself unto that holiness. That universe turned its back on Him and left Him unglorified. A price had to be paid for that eternal mistake. And since we were the offenders, we should be the ones to pay. "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." Eph 2:4-5. God offered up His son as a payment for the price of that eternal mistake. God's wrath toward our mistakes was satisfied in the punishment of Jesus Christ - namely his death. There is the "just" component of our verse.
With Jesus having taken our blame through his substitutionary death ("and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." I Jn 2:2), God can now show His favor toward us through the redemption of our souls (salvation), eternal life, and forgiveness of sins. There is the "faithful" component of our verse.
Though at first this Scripture may have seemed "old hat" to me, I found (once again) that there is life in every verse. "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Prayer for this Fall season

I saw this prayer on the DaySpring site and thought it was too good not to share:

There is so much happening in our world right now.
In the midst of it all, it's so good to know You're in control,
Your love is never-ending, and You provide for us.
As the trees turn colors, and the nights grow cooler,
may we be reminded that every season of our lives
is a part of Your loving plan.
~Holley Gerth
"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Recent pics

Here are a few pictures from some recent visits with my parents. This first picture says it all: "From generation to generation -- Roll Tide!"


For those of you who have been waiting, praying, and wondering...I wanted to give an update on Tim's venture into Military Chaplaincy. It has been a month since I last posted about it and I wanted to write something so you could know where things stand...and so I could thank you for your prayers and words of care-

We thought everything was "sealed up" in the envelope, so to speak, and was on its way to the recent Chaplain Accessions (sp?) board meeting. However, we recently learned that a single portion of the paperwork had not made it in time for the board hearing. So...that means that Tim's packet, or envelope, will have to wait until the next board meeting in early November.
We are unsure how this affects his timetable for training, etc. but for now we can do nothing but wait. We are truly on God's timetable. It has been an interesting process to say the least! At times, we sit on 'go' and at other times we just sit. It seems like we stand still for a few weeks, then we run forward 3-4 steps, and then stand still again. I'm sure it is all preparation and training for what's ahead, though. Please continue to lift us up in prayer as we wait and continually petition the Lord for wisdom...and as we pray for stamina for the race/walk ahead.

Now for some braggin' time! :) I'm sure you've all seen the YouTube video out there of the cute little asian girl singing the Lord's prayer. It is adorable and boy, does she belt it out!! Well, Dylan has joined the ranks of Toddler Theology Stars with his first Scripture memorization!! That's right, he can recite the following verse:
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth Genesis 1:1"
Thanks to AWANA Puggles and a little help from Mom & Dad, Dylan has been saying this quite frequently. I wish you could hear him say it - it is, of course, adorable. When he says Genesis 1:1, it comes out "jennis wowon"! Maybe I can get techno-savy and record & post-it on my blog...maybe;)

We are so proud of you, Dylan! We pray that as you grow the Bible will be something you truly cherish as you learn:
"Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11
God, please help us as parents to remember the Scriptures are vital to a child's well-being and to:
"Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:19

Tag, I'm it...Too!

I've been "tagged" by my blogger friend Laura to post 6 random things about myself. So, here goes. Let's see...

  1. I once survived a tornado that ripped through my hometown. My Dad was actually out on the road when it was passing through our city. I can "smell" a tornado coming, too.

  2. I dreamed of a career in the WNBA, but barely made the cut for the varsity basketbal team...needless to say, dream shattered.

  3. I met my now-husband when I was in high school, but we didn't start dating until my sophomore year in college. We got to know each other while singing in our BCM praise band. We shared a hymnal! :) The most attractive thing about him to me was that he had surrendered to the ministry (and that's saying alot, 'cause he's HANDSOME)

  4. One of my favorite things is enjoying coffee with creamer in the mornings.

  5. My first car was a Chevrolet Celebrity stationwagon...also known as the "cool-mobile"!

  6. If I could have a career that didn't necessarily have to generate income, I would be a caterer or a pastry chef.

Well, there you go. As random as they came to me. :) Thanks Laura, for the "tag"!

Oh, and I wanted you all to meet our new family doctor! He is so cute and uses only TLC in his treatments. Best of all, he IS taking new patients!!

Good reading...

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I have started reading Lies Women Believe by N. DeMoss. The title is very catchy (I have left it out on my work desk and have had many inquiries about it!) and after only a few pages the Truth of the Scriptures comes to light. So far, some of the insightful and convicting things that have been revealed to me are:
  • Regarding God's goodness...
Hannah Whitall Smith said: "A great many things in God's divine providences do not look to the eye like goodness. But faith sits down before mysteries such as these, and says, 'The Lord is good, therefore all that He does must be good no matter how it looks. I can wait for His explanations.'"
Wow, what a powerful statement that is...if one can even say it!
  • Regarding the way that God loves us the same as He loves His Son...

Again, Hanna W. Smith said: "If we believed this, could we ever have an anxious or rebellious thought again? Would we not believe in every conceivable circumstance that the divine Father would care for us in the best possible way and meet our every need?"

In believing this, what hesistation should their be in us to follow any leading from Him? None!

  • Regarding the "problems" in our life...

"We want God to fix all our problems. God says instead, 'I have a purpose for your problems. I want to use your problems to change you and to reveal My grace and power to the world.'"

I am merely on page 68 and already I am humbly empowered by the thoughts contained in this book. It has given me a perspective on Eve, the snake, and the tree that I've never seen before. It is very eye-opening, when you consider all the lies we "buy" (or perhaps "bite") into each day. That billboard you pass on your way to work, is just a picture of a woman with alot of airbrushing - not the perfect, flawless model she portrays herself to be. That extra piece of chocolate cake really won't make you feel better - no matter what your emotions tell you. That male 'friend' who has been showing you attention really isn't your knight in shining armor - despite what your heart says. Moving into that prestigious neighborhood won't make your family happier - regardless of what the Jones' are doing.
So many things that appear great, are just a front. I am reminded of a fireworks store in our area which states it is the World's largest fireworks location and to pass by the front of it you might agree. A massive front wall stands on the building, similar to that of a Wal-Mart or Target. However as your car passes the structure you realize it is not what it is just a front, just a wall. The structure that exists on the backside is merely a small shack. We are surrounded by so many falsehoods that sometimes it becomes difficult to find the truth, much less recognize it. Thank God that he has given us 66 books of truth to guide us on this journey and help us steer clear of deceitful roadhazards. Satan often comes to us not with bold, blazen lies, but with cunning craftiness. His art is something to take note of and then to turn from.

Alive and typin'

Wow! I haven't posted since the 16th of August? I'm probably in jeopardy of being fired from my blogging position...good thing it's not my paying job! September has stormed in thanks to Gustav and summer is on its way to a close. This has been such a great outdoor season and Dylan and I have tried to eat it up on my days off - savoring every adventure not knowing where next summer will find us. I made the lady at our water park let us keep our expired punch-card because I wanted it for Dylan's scrapbook. How pathetically motherly is that!!
We spent the long holiday weekend with my parents for Labor Day. We enjoyed their company and their help. We did a few weekender projects and also made time for fun. Pictures to follow soon, I promise.
For those of you who are keeping up with our chaplaincy progress, Tim was recently granted a necessary medical waiver regarding his ear (he had surgery to correct some hearing loss a few years ago). So the next steps he is facing are a physical and an interview.
I am about to begin reading "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. From what I hear it is a must-read for all women. If you've read it, please let me know so we can compare notes. If you haven't, I'd love for you to start reading it with me! I'm sure I'll be posting what God lays on my heart.

Being a mom...

There are so many things I love about being a Mom. One of them is listening to my son talk, listening to the voice God gave him, and snickering at the words he says. Like "Mommy, me hold you?" (Somedays I think, "I wish you would hold me, I'M TIRED!") and "Mommy I not cake a nap!" Today I was given a new name by Dylan. It's "Sweetheart ElastaGirl Mommy". I LOVE IT!! I was trying to tell him he's my sweetheart and that is what he replied back with "You're my Sweetheart ElastaGirl Mommy!" You see, Dylan is convinced that our family has morphed into The Incredibles (and I do think we have an incredible family :) He is Dash (yes, he calls himself that), Daddy is Mr. Cwedible (the "In", apparently, is optional) and alas I am ElastaGwal. What an imagination!
This afternoon we went for a walk, had a wonderful time at the park, threw rocks in the stream (very boyish!), and spotted birds and planes. As our stroller approached our driveway, I peaked down into the seat and saw the most precious sleeping boy. My heart melted, for only the 6,457th time since February 24, 2006.

Trust and obey

This morning in the shower, the words from an old hymn came to me " and obey, for there's no other way...". Having been through what I have this past week, I knew those words came straight from God through the Holy Spirit. And in His usual on-target fashion God spoke to me at Sunday School through Hebrews 11 regarding faith and works (trusting and obeying). A sermon on I Corinthians 15 reminded me that there is a victory to be had in every situation...whether it looks glorious or grim to us, it matters not; God is looking at a bigger picture and is working in us a far greater glory. The Lord has allowed 2 trying situations to come our way recently. Both of which provoke the automatic response of "Why, God?" I think there is no harm in asking this; it places us back in a humble position of reverence - we are acknowledging that God must know the answer, and that is why we ask. Many other questions flooded our minds this week, not the least of which was "How could you, God?" and "What happens now?" I know not the answers, but I think the words that came to mind this morning hold a clue " and obey, for there's no other way to be happy [have joy] in Jesus than to trust and obey..." Deep in my heart, I know that the answers to our questions don't really matter. What does matter is that we are trusting in Him, looking for His will, and seeking to give Him glory in all things!

A Trippin' Time

Over the weekend we went to visit my parents and had a wonderful time celebrating Dad's birthday. We had a family party Sunday and then we "did Chattanooga" on Monday. Dylan had a great time and was the life of the party. It was so wonderful to have Tim with us!


Waiting…it can be such a challenging thing. Not for you, though, God. Why is that? Is it because you know the outcome of each event? You see what has passed, what is, and what is to come, all at the same time. Kind of like a picture drawn on a series of transparency sheets. Looking down at all of them stacked in perfect order, you see the finished product. For us, we are stuck on a single page of that transparency looking at what sometimes in no way resembles its true form…waiting for the next page to come down and help us make sense of what is going on. God, you can look at a pregnant woman and yet see the child that she carries growing up, see the children that child will bear, and even see the elderly adult that child will become. You must wait like a baker who has meticulously and flawlessly prepared the ingredients for a delicious cake and is watching it rise to perfection in the oven. Knowing that in due time it will be ready to eat, admiring your superb culinary skills. How we as humans long for such assurance - You are to be admired for the strength in your confidence.
But we can’t see past the ingredients list; we often feel the mixing will never end; we await the pre-heating oven as if it will never come. And then when the baking begins, we are unsure if the timer will ever ding or if the cake will turn out right after all. But what about the times, God, when you know the outcome will be negative, or worse, tragic? How is your waiting then? Do you feel angst as each step nears the catastrophic completion? Does sorrow sweep over you knowing that suffering will be the picture seen once the transparencies are all lined up? If there’s one thing we know it’s that, as your children, your heartbreaks for us when we hurt.
There’s something else to consider, too. That there is a purpose and design in suffering. Because of your strength, you not only see the good but God you can take the terrible and make it worth while. Even in the tragic, there is order – so that what happens to us is not accidental or a product of chaos, but falls in to array, like the transparency sheets. The same strength that comes from your confidence of knowing good outcomes is also present in our bad times and can carry us through. Help me, God, as I wait on you. Weary and anxious, may I rest in the strength of your confidence – trusting that you know what’s coming, and that good or bad, you see it, know it, and have a plan for it.


Boy, have I been missing my blog! I have had NO time to write recently and it's funny how I feel so pent up. I guess this posting is as much for my benefit as for anyone else. Work has been such a stressful place for me this week and it has been very draining to deal with. I have sensed an oppressive presence here that has made for a challenging work environment. Each night I have left work, gone home, released the days anxieties, gone to bed, and prayed that the next day would have a better layout. But not so. It seems that each day just got more and more stressful and continued the draining process from the day before. Today all I can think of is "It's the weekend! It's the weekend!" Thoughts of sleep and relaxation are dancing through my mind and visions of me getting my hair done and a pedicure are in my head. I guess I am in major need of some refreshing :) So I pulled out my pocket calendar (that Mom gave me) to make a hair appt and there at the top of the month of July was a scripture verse. It amazes me how timely and poignant the scriptures can be! The verse said "The times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." Acts 3:19. Thank you, Lord, for the reminder I needed that while beauty shops can be beneficial for the body, it is time with the Lord that refreshes our souls. So, over the next week I hope to refresh my soul and myself.

Whenever I am feeling stressed or anxious, music (and prayer) is one of the ways I cope. I have found alot of solace in this song on our i-Pod by Jeremy Camp:

You spread out the skies over empty space
Said, let there be light
To a dark and formless world
Your light was born
You spread out your arms over empty hearts
Said, let there be light
To a dark and hopeless world
Your son was born...

What a wonderful maker
What a wonderful savior ...

No eye has fully seen how beautiful the cross
And we have only heard the faintest whispers
Of how great you are

That last part is exciting to me. To think that of all the glorious and wonderful things we have heard and know about God; they are only like a faint whisper of His full and true majesty. Wow!

Like father, like son

Dylan's imagination is growing with each passing day. Recently he has begun to imagine that he, too, has a job and has to drive a special car to work each day. Wonder where he gets that idea from??? He calls his dad's work vehicle the "Fire Gog car" and loves to take a turn sitting in it and "driving it" when Daddy brings it home on his lunch breaks. I guess this has the cool-factor equivalence to your dad driving his squad car home from work each day :) He wouldn't let me take the 2nd picture below until he had buckled his seatbelt. He is first, Mom!!

Pictures from the fireworks show on the Arkansas River in Little Rock

America the Beautiful by Katharine Bates
3rd verse
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.

Who more than self
their country loved

And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine

Till all success be nobleness

And every gain divine!

Happy Independence Day!

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.Thomas Jefferson, Rights of British America, 1774

Pictures from the great North

Here are a few of the best of the best pictures from our Ohio promised!

Thoughts from my trip...

My son and I have just returned from a trip to Northern Ohio to visit my dad's side of the family. It was sometime during this trip that I decided that I am a millionaire. (No, I've not been playing the Ohio lotto!) But I don't mean a millionaire in financial matters...I am a rich woman when it comes to the wealth that has been afforded me by the family the Lord gave me. In terms of a family tree, my roots go deep. To this day, I am 29 and I have a great-grandmother (which means my son has a great-great-grandmother) still living who is going to be 97 this year, Lord willing! Until last year I had all 4 grandparents not just still living but still married. Phenomenal! Knowing and keeping up with cousins, and second cousins, and grand-nieces has helped me feel connected and stay grounded. Our family has seen its share of the devastation that divorce can bring, but we have held together to leave a legacy to each new generation that comes along. I feel a great strength has been passed to me through the character, relationships, and love that my family has provided. I don't know what the future holds for my immediate family, or how close to or far from extended family we will end up. But I know that I, that we, will be deeply and dearly loved...and that there is a group of 40+ people (not to mention Tim's side!) who will be rooting for us and supporting us any way they can.
All this causes me to think about the way Jesus Christ changes lives: how a man in a pick-up truck picked up a hitchhiking soldier one day from the side of the road and made it a point to tell the hitchhiker about Jesus. And how that hitchhiker, under Holy Spirit conviction, prayed the sinner's prayer that day. And how that hitchhiker turned baseball player became a minister of the gospel. And how together with his wife that minister of the gospel of Christ raised a family of 3 children for the honor and glory of God. And those 3 children - one of whom is a minister, one of whom is a minister's wife, and one of who ministers through foster care - each worked to raise their children in a Christian home for God's glory. And now, together with my husband, the baton is ours, to in turn pass along to our children, and so on. But it all started with one man who knew the power of God in his life, and was not afraid to share it. Even with a hitchhiking soldier. It's purely a humbling thing, to think that God has been working His purpose in me since that time. Just think of what a story-weaver God is. I'm so glad to serve a Mighty God who regards His children with love & foresight.
Pictures to follow soon from the trip, I promise!

Little Favorite Things

Today I've been mentally compiling a list of "little favorite things". You know, those things that you find yourself enjoying, even loving, but that aren't big deals like a new car or a job promotion. So, I thought I'd put them in writing for your amusement and enjoyment. My little favorite things list:
  1. Soaking wet swimming pool hugs from a kid with blue lips
  2. That familiar smell of my husband's neck
  3. Capri pants, flip-flops, and freshly painted toenails
  4. The sound of my son's voice in a whisper
  5. The sweaty smell of a baby after a good, long nap
  6. Belly buttons
  7. A long, hard run - one where your muscles ache but it feels good
  8. Ringtones that let you know a loved one is calling
  9. Gentle rain falling in the night
  10. My husband bringing me home dark chocolate from the store, even though he went there to get medicine for himself
  11. A cool breeze on my shoulders on a hot summer day
  12. Listening to a Sunday sermon by a loud preacher, but hearing God's voice louder still
As the song says, these are just a few of of my favorite things. But #6 really got me thinking. How cool are belly buttons? Not just because of the incredibly miraculous part they play in nurturing us prior to birth, but the fact that they stick around. That everyone has one. That most people's are ticklish. They are a forever reminder to us that we were loved by a mother once. That our existence was totally dependent on her for a while. She at least loved us enough to give us life, and most likely went well beyond that. No matter how far we go in life or how independent we become, we were all a parasitically dependent being at one time. As a daughter, that is a humbling thought. As a mother, it is a delightful one.
To trump that, how cool is God that he saw fit to bestow such a blessing on women. Every belly button is a gift given by a mother to another human - through God's design. What a task we women have, not just in passing on belly buttons but in being the portal through which each generation to come will come. God never makes mistakes and always does things in an orderly, purposeful way. He could have easily made our bodies so that our belly buttons disappear shortly after birth. But he didn't. He let us keep them as midsectional reminders of his divine plan.

Open doors

Sometime back I eluded to the possibility that my husband felt a calling to serve the Lord and our country as a military chaplain. Since then many things have transpired and so far the Lord has not closed any doors in our path. This past Sunday night, Tim had the opportunity to give his testimony and share his passion for the ministry he feels the Lord has called him to. To say the least, I was quite proud of him. He also had the privelege of giving the evening's sermon. The church then voted unanimously to endorse him on behalf of the ABA as a candidate for chaplaincy. Even though doors seem to be opening, we are treading each step with care and prayerful consideration. If you care to listen, this is the testimony Tim gave before he preached his sermon.

Memorial Day

To those who gave their lives in the line of duty;

To those who fought for this country and have passed on;

To those who served us through the military;

Our hands and our hearts salute you.

Enjoy your freedoms this Memorial Day,

for they were bought with a precious price.

"All gave some. Some gave all"

Big Beach, Bigger God

Our vacation was a wonderful time of rest, relaxation, & refreshment sent from the Lord. The feeling of sand squeaking beneath our feet, the sound of waves lapping at the shore, the wind (and I do mean WIND) flowing over us like God's breath...all of it melted our stressors like falling shackles and made us feel alive. We had 2 days of decent weather to get out on the beach, and then 2 days of storms - and with not much else to do it made us slow down, rest, and just be still.
Tim enjoyed some much needed rest and reading some things other than seminary books! And as for me, I haven't been able to read so much since I was in nursing school! We had quite a host of company with us on the beach...King James, Beth Moore, John Piper and James McDonald, and the complimentary USA today. The bible study "Stepping Up" by Beth Moore kept me engrossed in the scriptures, while Dr. Piper (as always) challenged me in spiritually in-depth ways. When we arrived Monday and first stepped out on the beach, I was reminded of the way I feel each and every time I stand with my feet toward the ocean...small! For me, there is always a tendency to stand there and hear a voice tell me "See, all those problems and worries you thought were huge, they are seemingly insignificant and almost so tiny they are non-existent." Momentarily, that has offered my mind relief. But the next cry of my heart is "But they are real and significant to me!"

This time, through his book "Don't Waste Your Life", Dr. Piper helped me put it all in proper perspective. The hugeness of the ocean, the vastness of the Grand Canyon, the enormity of the universe...they are not meant to put us in our place of smallness, or to tell us that our little lives are or are not important, or to make us feel better about ourselves. In contrast, they are all about God, and his hugeness, his vastness, his enormity, his AWESOMENESS! They say nothing of ourselves (our stresses, our self-worth, our importance) but say volumes about the character, nature and being of God. Every grandiose thing on this planet exists not to make us feel small, but to help us realize how HUGE and POWERFUL and MIGHTY God is. No matter how big or small we feel our problems are or we feel we are, God is always saying "I'm bigger than that. I'm more majestic. I have power over all that." We forget that He is our creator; and that he made us not to be small and insignificant, but important. He made us and placed us in this world full of grandiosity so that we are continually surrounded by things that remind of us of the GRAND God that he is. So to me, on the beach, this time...God said "Yes, you have stresses, and worries, and things that are on your mind. They are important to you, and to me. But I am bigger!"
Dylan enjoyed the week at Grammy and Poppy's house, and fun was in no short supply. He has been talking about it ever since! At the week's end, we took a short trip to Tim's grandparent's house for a night's stay. It was good to see Granny and Pawpaw, and Dylan enjoyed 'exploring' their property and trying to catch their stray cats with a fish net!

Mr. Master Raburn

Tim Raburn, BSC, MTh

We are so proud of you. The Lord has blessed all your hard work. Congratulations, graduate!

Cookie monsters

This is the picture I took yesterday during our cookie-making session. Somebody had dry underpants all day at preschool yesterday (and it wasn't just me) so we had to celebrate the occasion! (Way to go, Dylan!!) On the way home I told Dylan that we would make some cookies in honor of his success. A few miles later down the road he told me "Mommy, we gonna make cookies. You essighted?" (translation: Are you excited?) At home we donned our aprons and pulled out the baking stones. Then, a little later, we savored our sweet rewards. With his mouth as full of oatmeal raisin as it could possibly be, I heard Dylan say "I want summore!" When Daddy arrived home, he walked into a wonderful smelling house and partook of our treats, too.

Happy Nurses Week - 2008

Happy Nurses Week to all my nurse friends out there! We are making a patient at a time. Keep up the strong work!

Praise the Lord -- the end is here!

We are praising God and rejoicing in the fact that SEMINARY IS OVER! Tim has faithfully fulfilled all the requirements to be a Master of Theology. His last paper was cancelled, and he was notified 2 days ago that his thesis was ACCEPTED! It has been a long road since January 2003 when Tim first started taking classes. He went in this with the intention to finish in 2-3 years...but then life happened. Life that included youth ministry and a new son. Needless to say, I am so very proud of you, honey. This verse comes to mind when I think of the achievement the Lord has blessed you with:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15

Please continue to pray with/for us as we seek God's will about the next step in our ministry lives. We have some of the answers we need regarding Chaplaincy, but not all of them. God will be faithful to answer; we are trusting Him.

Graduation is May 9th...and then look out, VACATION HERE WE COME! (Thank you, Uncle Sam:)

Lessons from the little one

Recently I had the pleasure of doing our bedtime rituals with my son by myself, as my husband was working late that night. A deeply profound thought occurred to me, as it so often does, in the middle of our ‘goings on’. Being a 2 year-old, Dylan has at times chosen to communicate his frustrations through crying and fussing. This of course gets my attention and I intervene as best I can in a timely manner. But on this particular night he chose to “use his words” and tell me what he wanted and needed. I can’t tell you what a difference that made in my spirit and sensitivity. To hear him verbalize to me what his desires were touched me and made me desire to reach out and extend fellowship to him – to let him know that ‘yes, I am accessible and would love to help you, if only you will call on me’. At that instance, I had an “Aha!” moment with God. In my heart, the Holy Spirit showed me “It is exactly the same way with me.” God will answer us even if our cry to Him is an “Uggggh!” But there is something that captures His heart when He hears us cry “Abba, Father, help me. I need/want this.” He has always invited us to lay our burdens at His feet and through Christ has welcomed us into His presence. When we call Him by name and make our requests known to Him, we can know that we are making the Father smile.

Dylan, thank you for the lessons that you are teaching me about the Lord. So small, yet you are leading me to learn more about the God I have worshipped my whole life. From the womb your Father and I have prayed that you would one day come to know this Savior we call Jesus. I love you, son!

Top 10 reasons why I love my husband

In anticipation of our upcoming 8th anniversary, I have compiled a list for you, Babe. I am posting it on my blog so everyone else can know the wonderful things about you that I love so much. Happy Anniversary (early)! Here goes...

10. Tim can build a computer from the ground up with just a couple of pieces of conductor wire, a CPU tower, and a processor...and he can fix anything that has a mother board or a memory card in it :)

9. He loves Shakey's almost as much as I do.

8. He lets me win at basketball ;)

7. He tells me I am beautiful.

6. He watches chick-flicks with me.

5. He fixes my blog when I mess it up or need help with new features.

4. He gave me 2 dozen roses for Valentine's Day.

3. Twice when I was throwing-up sick, he stayed by my side and held my hair back so it didn't fall in the wastecan. (That is true love)

2. He is a GREAT father to Dylan

1. He answered God's call to be a minister.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

We enjoyed a lazy Sunday afternoon. We spent sometime laying around and watching "Bible Action Songs" video. Thanks Nana! Click the last picture to see a short clip.

From Drowning in Disappointments to Upheld by Hope

It’s not supposed to be this way... I chose to revisit one of my favorite books yesterday.  (Love Lysa’s story!) And my whole heart resonat...