Friday, August 31, 2012


A good friend is sad that you're moving away, but helps you pack anyway.

Elysa and Rhonda collage

Today I am thanking God for good friends like Rhonda, Betty, and all the others who are helping us take this next step on the journey towards serving God in Jackson and then on to Africa.  We couldn't do it without them.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I wanted to update our friends on what is going on here in our corner of storm tossed Mississippi.

As my regular readers will know, our oldest daughter Anna evacuated from New Orleans on Sunday and my sister-in-law and her kids evacuated from the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Monday.

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They spent the last few days with us helping us pack, sharing their puppy with us, and playing games. They returned earlier today since the storm has started to lessen in South Mississippi and they are missing my brother. We woke up to no power this morning due to heavy winds but thanks to the efficiency of Southern Pine Electric, by late morning, the power was back on. Now, it is just windy with a few sprinkles.

That's the good news.

The news that needs your attention and prayers is that there is a big dam in South Mississippi that is in danger of failing. A hundred in Mississippi and tens of thousands of people in Louisiana are being evacuated as a result. Pray for the people's safety but also pray for those working the situation.

My husband Jim is one of those people. As the dam safety engineer for the State of Mississippi, he is a crucial part of the effort going on right now to prevent a dangerous failure from occurring.

Please pray for all the engineers and others working this situation. Pray for those involved in decision making, such as Jim, to have wisdom, knowledge, and provision.

The last prayer request, and also a practical request, involves our move to We Will Go Ministries. We are moving to our new house tomorrow and Saturday. Jim had planned on being off from work so he could help us move. Hurricane Isaac has changed those plans. He will be working the dam at Percy Quin State Park for at least two or three days. We must move now. The new owners of our home take possession the middle of next week. We need help. The kids and I can do most of the packing and moving but we cannot move the heavy furniture ourselves nor can we pull the trailer to We Will Go.

The kids and I have already been praying and we are trusting God to provide helpers --- especially strong, muscular, male helpers. Please pray for us to keep trusting God, to be at peace despite what's going on with Jim, and that we will receive the help we need. I think it is actually kind of exciting to see how God is over and over again allowing us to go through crazy situations but He keeps proving faithful in all of them. My kids are growing up seeing that when God calls, nothing is too big for Him. I want them to never, ever say "no" to God because of fears or concern over lack of provision.

I want them to always say "yes" to God and then watch with anticipation as He brings it to pass.

For more details about the dam situation, go to this link:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Hurricane Isaac is definitely being felt in my home state right now. Starting Tuesday, beaches were already under water, roads were flooding, winds were getting strong, and tides are surging. Friends in neighboring Louisiana and even Alabama are reporting similar conditions.

hurricane isaac weather

Please keep praying for us. Wednesday is the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and for most of us in this region, that memory is still very fresh. Many of us lost loved ones or loved places. My dad and his wife completely lost their home as did several other family members. Thankfully, our region learned a lot from Katrina and most of us are taking the situation very seriously. But we still need prayer.

Pray that people will use wisdom. Pray for God's provision. Pray for peace of mind and protection. Even my little Merry asked if she could sleep in the hall so she could be close to us. I assured her that God was always close to her.

And He is.

We aren't promised that life will always be easy. We aren't promised that we'll miss all of the storms. But He does promise us that nothing can separate us from His love.

That's something to cling to right now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


If you don't hear much from me over the next several days, there are a few possible reasons.

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1. We are moving to We Will Go Ministries this week so are up to our proverbial necks (or in my case, my big hair) in boxes, duct tape, and dust bunnies.

2. We are in the path of Tropical Storm Isaac and we're forecast to get lots and lots of heavy rains, high winds, and possible tornadoes by Wednesday. That means we're very likely to lose our electricity. No power means no computer which means no blogging.

3. Because we are moving, we will be cutting off our phone and electricity in a few days even if we don't lose it due to Isaac. I have no idea when we'll have internet in our new home. Again, no power and no internet means no blogging.

So though you might not be hearing much from me (unless I get my act together and post some in advance or work something else out), I hope you'll remember to keep us in your prayers.

Thanks and with love,

Monday, August 27, 2012


DeNise Cason with a bid of $30. Thank you so much, DeNise. I hope that every time you wear the necklace you'll know that I surely appreciate all you do for the kids at Bheveni Carepoint, not just because you bought a necklace that will help feed kids for a while, but because you year round bless those precious ones through your prayers, your sponsorship, your gifts, and your presence.

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I look forward to the day that you can visit me in Swaziland and we can just hop into my very own bakkie and drive up to see our sweet ones.
Bheveni Carepoint DeNise Cason Swaziland

For others who might be interested in learning more about the ministry of Children's HopeChest in Swaziland and Bheveni Carepoint, visit this website:

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Friday afternoon, we drove to New Orleans to see our oldest daughter Anna and celebrate our youngest daughter Merry's 7th birthday. We traveled over the crossway, watching as the skyline grew larger and larger with each passing mile.

P8240388 New Orleans Skyline

Now, it is Hurricane Isaac that seems to grow larger and larger as it travels toward us here in Mississippi and our neighbors in Louisiana. And as opposed to Friday, when we were traveling toward the coast, now untold numbers are doing the opposite.

Though official evacuations have not been posted, many are already traveling the roads to escape not just the storm's destruction, but hopefully to escape crazy traffic jams and prolonged journeys as tens of thousands will begin to evacuate over the next couple of days.

Anna is one of those. Last night, she went ahead and filled up her tank, bought some provisions, and began preparing for Hurricane Isaac. Today we monitored the weather and news. As soon as we received word that Holy Cross College had cancelled classes for the next three days at least, we called her and told her to head home.

By this evening, New Orleans was starting to go into high-gear hurricane preparation and evacuation. Anna said that all the gas stations she passed already had lines from the pumps out into the roads. She also said that it took her an hour to drive the distance from her apartment to the edge of the city, a distance that normally was only about 30 minutes.

We have other relatives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that will probably start their evacuation tomorrow morning.

These are just a few of those who remember Katrina and other storms and just dont' feel like staying is worth it.

Please pray for these folks. Pray for them to have safety as they travel. For them not to run out of gas in all the stopping and starting. For families traveling with small chldren who often need bathroom breaks when interstate exits are blocked and there are no restrooms available. Pray for those who, unlike Anna, have no family or friends to evacuate to. And pray for those left behind. Some, like doctors and police officers, are not allowed to leave. Others, don't feel they have the means to leave.

Praying for mercies and miraculous provisions,

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Happy Birthday, Little Miss Merry. Finding out I was expecting you, was the best gift I ever received on a Christmas morning.

P8050293 Elysa and Merry Edited up

Though you are now a big seven year old, you will always be my "born in America" baby. We've got some crazy good adventures in store for us as we move to We Will Go and then on to Swaziland and I'm truly thankful that God created you to be a part of this amazing journey.

Love you, Baby Girl! Forever and always.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Look at this big, empty, brown room. It is my new bedroom at We Will Go. And there are a whole bunch of others like it that are big, brown, and empty. They all need to be filled.

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Filled up with our family, filled up with laughter, filled up with love, and yes, filled up with our stuff.

Our house has sold, the closing is the first week of September, and so now it is time to get our farm house packed up and move all our belongings to We Will Go.

We'll be packing, transporting, and unpacking basically all day long, all week long starting on this Monday. So if you've just been dying to help (yeah, you know you have) then now is the time.

Leave me a comment, send me a fb message, or give me a call. We will be more than glad to put you to good use! I promise.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Yep, our new house is all prepped out and just waiting for us to move in next week.

PicMonkey Collage Pinterest Look Faith House prep day

We spent most of today working alongside fabulous folks from the We Will Go family and new friends from First Baptist Jackson. Furniture was moved out and about, bathrooms were scrubbed, kitchens were cleaned, repairs were made, and a stray dog was bathed and played with. We ate our first meal there (thanks to the hubster who made a Wendy's run), took a cake break with friends on the back porch, took lots and lots of photos (hey, I was there, after all), and got blessed big time by all those who were willing to work hard on our family's behalf.

Those who know me in real life know that I don't blink a mascara'ed eye at throwing a party for 30, 40, heck, even a hundred folks. But tell me to organize a house and get it all prepped up and this woman starts breaking out in mental hives.

So believe me when I say, I am overwhelmingly grateful for today. God is calling our family to move into this new area of life and ministry, but He's also sending lots of reminders that we're not supposed to do this journey alone. He wants all of us to be a part of a faith family and loving families are all about being there for each other in time of need and in times of rejoicing.

And this event just happens to marry the two of those together in amazing ways.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


At We Will Go, we try to keep it simple. We don't want to get worried about the things that would distract us from what God's called us to do. We don't want to argue theology or get caught up in too many policies and procedures. We try to follow closely the essentials of the Christian faith and live out this verse that hangs in our worship pavilion:

 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’   No other commandment is greater than these.”  --- Mark 12: 29-31

P7180064 Betsie at We Will Go edited

Sometimes I look back at my life and am filled with regret that all too often I thought Christianity was all about just being good, you know, the rules and regulations.

Yes, because I love Him, I want to obey Him.  I want to please Him.  He's set in place principles that are for my own good--- and the good of others --- because He loves us so much.

But I wish I'd discovered a lot earlier how crazy amazing He is. He loves me not because I'm good but because I'm His. The plans He has for me are mind-blowing, so much more than I could ever plan for myself.

He's teaching me more and more that being a "good witness" isn't all about what I "don't do" but what I DO! It is loving those He brings into my life, especially those who have been rejected or forgotten about. It is praying for healing and wholeness for those hurting. It is dancing and singing in His presence just because I'm in love with Him. It is doing for others what I would want done for me if I were in need. It is extending grace because I was first extended grace. It is offering mercy because He was merciful to me. It is speaking words of truth and encouragement to those hungry for a message from God. It is trusting God to do BIG things because He is a BIG God. It is letting His Spirit flow out of me to the world around me so I'm doing the things that Jesus did.  It is speaking life and light into dead and dark places and situations.

I wish I'd known this during my teenage, college, and young adult years. I had a good life, but in most ways, it was pretty selfish. My walk with the Lord was so superficial. I think about all the opportunities I missed to really be Jesus for those around me. 

A few years ago, I went back to my college campus for a couple of days.  Before entering the cafeteria, I prayed that God would lead me to who I was supposed to connect with.  Before the meal was over, I met three students.  To make a long story short, they were committed Christians who were seeking to reach the campus for their Lord.  We ended up, right there in the dining hall, praying together.  Out loud.  Holding hands.  I am ashamed to admit it, but that was the first time I'd ever done such a thing on that college campus.  For the whole four years I was a student, I only remember praying at official ministry functions.  I hate to think of the many chances I missed to pray for a sick friend's healing, ask the Lord to guide someone as they made an important decision, or speak a blessing over a roommate as they started a new job, or left on a trip.

I want the rest of my life to be different. I want to be radically used by my radical God. I want every person who knows me to see Jesus. I don't want them to reject God's plans for their life because they never knew any Christians walking out a real faith.  I don't want to be a "private faith" Christian who was too selfish or snotty or insecure or scared or self-righteous to love them in the ways that the Lord would have me love them.

If you don't know Jesus and want to know Him, I'd be glad to talk to you about Him. He's not who  all too many of us act like He is, like my actions and attitudes made Him out to be.

And if you do know Jesus but feel burdened down by never being good enough, never being strong enough, never feeling like you're making a difference in the world, I'd be glad to talk to you, too.

God, the REAL GOD, not the twisted image we've created way too often, loves you. He is passionate about you. He wants to be the Father you need Him to be. He wants to give you a life that is more incredible than you can ever imagine. He wants you to be freed from past hurts. He wants you to be victorious over addictions. He wants you to walk in fullness and glory and light and love and purpose.

We're not promised that it will always be easy. Jesus' life here on this earth certainly was not. But He does promise that when you give your life to Him, NOTHING can separate you from His love. He also promises that He'll use EVERYTHING, even the hard times, for your good. He'll be there with you til the end and then beyond. He'll be with you forever.

It doesn't get any better than that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The online auction is still going on for this handcrafted, pewter, red-beans-and-rice necklace. All proceeds from the auction go toward children's ministry in Swaziland.

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For more details, you can click on this link:

If you aren't able to post a bid, facebook or email me ( jimelm "at" windstream "dot" net) with the amount you're bidding and I'll post it for you!

And as the Swazis say when they are grateful, siyabonga!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Have I told you that I love Africa? That I am absolutely crazy smitten about that continent?

Yeah, I thought so. It doesn't take hanging around me long at all to pick up on that tidbit of information.

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One of the aspects I love about We Will Go is that there are a whole lot of others there that love Africa, too. Most of the missionaries that live there have been to Africa, some of them numerous times, and we often have visitors who are also African aficionados. This past week was one of those times. A team that just finished up ministry school with Iris in Mozambique came and did their post-school outreach at We Will Go. It was so great hearing their stories, praying with them, serving alongside them, just enjoying their "just back from Africa" awesomeness.

Besides the We Will Go folks, I also have family members who are now African freaks --- well, besides those in my immediate family. My sister-in-law and her husband spent three weeks in Kenya this summer. I blogged a good bit about their trip and included some of her writings. Michael already loved it. Now Deidra's gotten bit by the African love bug, as well. We spent a few hours Saturday night looking at pictures, listening to their tales, and dreaming with them about lives spent in Africa.

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And look what she brought me back! Aren't the little mud hut earrings precious?

Yes, I am one blessed woman. Not only is God letting me move to Africa next year, but He's sending me lots of friends in the interim that don't mind at all when I go on and on and on about Africa.

Shoot, even my oldest daughter, who before was always adamant about "not being called to Africa" now wants to live in Kenya for at least a few years.

At this rate, I'll have all my family and friends moving over there.

Well, a girl can hope, can't she?

Sunday, August 19, 2012


After over a week of living on her own, ordering and perusing her text books, learning to cook pancakes without oil, making numerous trips to the library, visiting a local church, and getting her apartment all cuted up, it is now time for the next step.

P8110155 resize Holy Cross College

Tomorrow, Anna starts her college classes. She has a great schedule. Holy Cross College only allows their freshmen to take 12 hours their first semester so she's taking sociology, psychology, history of rock music, and public speaking --- all classes that really interest her and none of which meet on Fridays or at 8:00.

Her dad and I have both said we wish we could be little birds sitting on the window sills watching her these first days. In some ways we know it will be a challenge to adjust to the college classroom, but for the most part, we think she's going to do great. We'd just really enjoy seeing her set loose on a college campus as she interacts in class and doesn't hesitate to let people know when she sees the world differently. I can venture to guess that Anna, with her personality and world experiences, is going to be quite the interesting student for her professors. After all, she's already been forming arguments against some of the information presented in her text books!

Oh my. These professors and fellow classmates have no idea what awaits them!

Love, love, love my Anna girl.

I really am proud of her. She's smart and well spoken and passionate. She's a strong young woman with a mind of her own and a God-given heart for the oppressed and hurting.

God's going to use her in big ways, and tomorrow, is just one more step forward on this journey.

If you would, pray for Anna. Pray that she'll meet good friends, find the right church, get a good job, and adjust easily to the classroom. Most of all, pray that she'll continue to take the things God has taught her this summer and in all the years before and apply them to everything He brings her way in this amazing new life.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Looking for a way to impact Jackson for Jesus? Join us Sunday afternoon at We Will Go Ministries. We will be worshipping the Lord (two of my kids, Betsie and David, are leading), hearing powerful teaching, serving a meal, praying for those in need, and just doing whatever else God brings our way to serve the least and the lost who come our way.

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The service starts at 3:00. If it is your first time and you'd like to come early to learn about the ministry, get a tour, etc, then be there by 2:00. The service ends between 4:30 and 5:00 and then the fellowship meal comes afterward. That part is usually finished around 6 or 6:30. This is a really relaxed affair so if you need to get there late or leave early, that's totally cool. We realize that lots of folks have evening commitments at their home churches.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or need more details. The ministry's website is

Friday, August 17, 2012


"There were ten lepers healed, and only one turned back to give thanks, but it is to be noticed that our Lord did not recall the gift from the other nine because of their lack of gratitude.

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When we begin to lessen our acts of kindness and helpfulness because we think those who recieve do not properly appreciate what is done for them, it is time to question our own motives." --- Leaves of Gold

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Recently, our church's youth group served at We Will Go. They came to put into practice those things they have read about in the Bible.

We WIll Go Collage with text
They lead worship, provided food for the hungry, served the meal, spent time talking with inner-city neighbors, prayed for needs, and helped with clean-up. They were a part of impacting lives for Jesus but, in doing so, also had their lives impacted.

All too often, we make our church experience in America all about entertainment and "bless me". Left and right, we see young people turning away from the church, and sometimes even Christianity, because we've sold them a counterfeit form of the faith. If we are trying to hold them with games and free pizza and exciting events, then we're going to have to keep upping the adrenaline and fun in a feeble effort to compete with the world. And these things won't hold them. Once they are faced with doubts during a trial or run up against attacks on the faith in a anti-Christian environment, then shallow religion is not going to hold them.

Only an authentic, well-grounded faith is going to last. And one of the ways that authentic, personal faith occurs is through putting into practice the very things they see in the Bible.

When you lay hands on the sick and see them healed, feed a hungry homeless person and watch them come alive as they are showered with love, clothe a street child dressed in rags, befriend a former drug dealer who becomes a new person through the power of Jesus, see spiritual healing occur in the life of a former prostitute, or watch as someone is delivered from addiction, and watch miracles occur as God's power moves and makes things happen that only God's power can make happen, then that faith becomes a lot hard to walk away from somewhere down the road.

It is very hard to stop believing in something that has been real --- something that you've actually been a part of, not just read about or heard about.

I speak from experience. Several years ago, after miscarriages and church hurts, I considered walking away from the faith. I was so confused and in deep pain. But one of the things that kept me was just what I've written about. I'd seen too much to deny the reality. I might not have understood many things about God, but I'd experienced too much of His realness to say that He didn't exist.

I had seen physical healings occur in miraculous ways. I had been a part of supernatural happenings that could have only been from God. I had watched as messed up lives became something beautiful and amazing. I had experienced grace and freedom in ways that were intoxicating.

I had seen God move and had known Him personally.

At times, He seemed distant and unfathomable. But I never could bring myself to deny His existence because He had proven Himself real --- and loving --- too many times.

So if you are wondering how you can grow in your own faith or help your kids develop in an authentic walk with the Lord, then put yourself or them in as many opportunities as you can where God is working. Go on mission trips, visit the sick and pray for them, minister at homeless shelters, lead prison Bible studies, prayer walk in your city, volunteer at an after-school program for inner-city kids.

These works don't save you. Only dependence and faith in Jesus Christ can do that, but it is as you serve Him and start getting out of your comfort zone and the church walls that you open yourself up to do things that really need His provision and Spirit in order to succeed. It is as you actually do the things that Jesus did that you will understand Him better and begin to experience His reality in ways that don't happen in safe, clean, easy venues.

If you want this radical authenticity, or want it for your family, tell Him so. He'll know if your hunger is real and He'll provide ways for you to truly start being His hands and feet in a hurting world.

Because what the world really needs isn't another "church folks only" activity, what the church needs is the radical, amazing, practical love of Jesus.

And that's what you need, too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


For most of us here in America, red beans and rice for supper either means we're eating some food from our roots, especially if you grew up in Louisiana or on the Mississippi Gulf Coast) or it is getting near the end of month and because money is tight, we're eating cheap.

Red beans and rice are one of those foods that are easy to fix, provide a big protein punch, but don't cost a lot of money. Back in the olden days, red beans and rice were the traditional food cooked on wash day in many places, such as New Orleans.

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In places like Swaziland, red beans and rice are all that stand behind starvation for all too many. All across the nation, you'll find kids --- sometimes as young as 1 or 2 years of age --- walking a mile or more to a carepoint for a meal. For many of these young ones, this simple meal of red beans and rice or mealie mush cooked in a big pot over a fire, is the only meal they will get that day. Organizations like Children's HopeChest and Adventures in Missions is doing all they can to feed these precious ones.

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But food, even simple fare like rice and beans, is not free for these ministries. It takes donors to provide the funds to purchase the food that is ever increasing in price while the economy continues to struggle in ways that make our American recession look like a prosperous boom.

To raise money to buy food for children at Bheveni Carepoint in Swaziland, I'm auctioning off a beautiful, handcrafted, pewter "red beans and rice" necklace.

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The red beads, silver bean shaped beads, and fresh water pearls plus the charms of a bell pepper, garlic head, onion, bottle of hot sauce, celery, sausage links, and hot pepper, along with a clasp comprised of a wash board and laundry pin all come together to make a delicous recipe of an accesory.

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This piece, handcrafted by pewter artisan Maurice Milleur of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, originally sold for $65 at the Mississippi Craftsmen Guild gift shop. I am auctioning it off starting at $20.

When you wear this piece, you'll be wearing a piece of Southern culture, but you'll also wear it knowing that some beautiful children in Swaziland are being fed today, in part, because of your winning contribution. Don't want it for yourself? I bet you've got someone in your life who would love this meaningful piece of jewelry.

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To enter the drawing, leave a comment with your name, contact information, and the amount of your bid. The bidding will end Sunday, August 26 at 10:00 pm.

And if you can't bid but want to help, please share this link with others through your blog or facebook. The more that know about it, the better chance of raising lots of rice and beans money for my Bheveni babies.

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P.S. Thanks to my mama for donating this piece. She's such a faithful supporter of missions. I love and appreciate her so much!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Once again, we've been blown away by God's goodness and provision.

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Over the last several months, God has been teaching Anna about trusting Him as she submits to His plans for her life.

She had to trust Him to raise nearly $6,000 in just a few months for her mission trip to Africa. And she had to trust Him to get her to college.

For years, once our family grew beyond two children, we started being asked how in the world we were going to afford to send that many kids to college. We simply answered that we weren't going to afford to send that many kids to college. We expected them to work hard, earn scholarships, and trust God to provide a way for them to go to college if that's what He wanted for their lives.

As Anna approached the end of her homeschool years, we spent a lot of time praying, seeking God's will, researching college and scholarship options, preparing her academically, and also encouraging her to work a job so she'd start providing in part for her financial expenses.

God led her to a college perfectly suited for her vocational goals, she scored really well on her ACT, and this spring, she was awarded a full-paid scholarship. Her college of choice, HOLY CROSS in New Orleans, is a private college so the scholarship was a nice one but as there are no dorms, she would be expected to find her own housing, cook her own meals, etc. The scholarship would only cover tuition plus a small meal plan.

I'll be perfectly honest, we don't have the money needed to just pay all her expenses. We've got six other kids, we are in the process of selling our home (which costs a lot more than I ever realized), we've got medical bills and moving costs, and all the other things add up to mean that other than helping pay her first month's rent and basic set-up costs, we just don't have any leftover to pay for month after month of living.

But we kept telling her to trust God to provide. She's hoping to get a work-study job but even if she gets one, the first check won't come in til sometime in September. And praise God, she did qualify for some pell grant money, but again, that won't kick in til mid-September. In the meantime, she's got groceries to buy and a truck that needs gas and all the other things that require money.

We drove away on Sunday and almost emptied out our checking account to leave her with a bit of cash. It was something, but not much. Ultimately, God was going to have to be her source. Yes, He had used us and graduation gifts from friends  to provide, but now it really was going to have to come from other avenues. She wasn't stressing, but she also knew that things were really, really tight and an emergency, such as an unexpected truck repair, would break her.

After we left Sunday morning, she and Chandler --- her sweet friend who is staying a few days with her --- started going thru more of her boxes. She came across a bunch of old mail and as she sorted it, she found an unopened letter. When she opened it, there was a check for over a thousand dollars! It was a refund check. It had been mailed to her quite a while back but she'd never opened it for some reason. I guess she thought it was junk mail or it got lost in the shuffle or maybe God just blinded her from seeing it, knowing that it was going to be needed right now.

Whatever happened, she found it now and the timing was perfect.

Here she is, starting her life as an adult in her own home, and on her very first weekend of this new life, God gives her a big lesson on trusting Him.

Because you see, we should work hard and do what we can to live wisely, but ultimately, He is our provider. Every good and perfect thing comes from Him. And He has told us that if He calls us to something, that we need to trust Him to provide.

Anna's learning lessons now that are going to serve her well in the years to come. He's got a call on her life that is going to be at times dangerous and come with a high price. She's going to be walking a hard path in many places and will only be able to succeed by completely leaning on Him. The tasks she'll face are ones that require resources beyond her means. Only God is going to be able to provide what she'll need on this crazy but beautiful journey.  And He's teaching her now that He is not only capable, but willing.

Thank you, God, for loving us enough to call us, use us, equip us, and make the way not just possible, but incredible.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


There's something about the way she moves....and in this case, it is the way she moves to college in New Orleans.

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Yesterday, we finished moving Anna into her apartment. One of her best friends, Chandler is staying with her about a week. Chandler is much more of a girlie girl than Anna and has promised to teach her a few recipes and help get her apartment unpacked and looking cute. Anna is thankful to have a friend around for these days leading up to class starting next week and I am, too. It would have been a whole lot harder for this mama to have left her chick behind if I'd known I was leaving her alone. Knowing that Chandler is there for her during this time of adjustment to her own nest is pure and blessed salve for this mama's heart.

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I'm thanking God for the plans He has for Anna and the many ways He is blessing us all during this time.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


"God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house.

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God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them."

Bono, lead singer of U2

Friday, August 10, 2012


Who knew that grown women could get so excited about deodorant?

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Since getting involved with the inner-city ministry of We Will Go, I'm learning to get excited about new things, including deodorant.

And why am I excited about it?

Not because it is necessary for someones survival, but what it represents.

First, the donation of it is going to bless a homeless person or someone who is working hard but just can't make ends meet. It is a nicety that helps them be more acceptable in public and makes them feel better about themselves. It also is a way for us to show love to them. When they come to the Hands-and-Feet ministry looking for toiletries or a sleeping bag or a pair of shoes, getting those items not only tells them that someone cares enough to donate them, it also gives the volunteers a chance to talk to them, pray for them, and build relationships that will hopefully lead to further ministry in the future.

Second, I'm excited because this donation came from a fellow alum from my college, Mississippi University for Women. She read about the need through facebook and took the time to buy a bagful of toiletries. It fills my heart with joy to be able to connect people to those in need in this way. It is such an encouragement to see people wanting to get involved with showing the love of Jesus to "the least of these" in tangible ways.

And third, I'm excited because this was a direct answer to prayer. I didn't realize it at time my friend gave me the toiletries, but when I gave them to the ministry director and founder at We Will Go, they got all excited themselves because they said they'd specifically prayed this week that God would provide toiletries for the ministry.

I love how God works. And I'm sure that God gets excited about deodorant, too, because He knows that in this case, deodorant means love.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


"Praise is warming and desirable. But it is an earned thing.

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It has to be deserved, like a hug from a child."

Phyllis McGinley

And speaking of praise and hugs, today is my dear friend Shannon's birthday. That's her up above receiving that great hug. Shannon has been my friend for nearly as long as Anna has been alive. She's fun and crazy and an authentic follower of Jesus. She loves her family, some days almost as much as she loves her favorite band, Switchfoot. SHe makes me laugh and I trust her with my kids. I'm very blessed to have her in my life. Though I'm not with her today, I hope this let's her know that I love her very much and would definitely give her a big hug --- and maybe a lipsticky kiss or two --- if she was here. Heck, I'd even have Hurricane playing in the background.

Keep on head banging, woman!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Over the last nearly nineteen years, Jim and I have shared a lot of "firsts" with Anna.

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Whether it was her first horse ride or her first birthday party, her daddy and have been blessed to be a part of her life.

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Now we are experiencing a host of new first experiences as she begins her college years.

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Yesterday, her daddy and I drove her down to New Orleans and began moving her into her very first apartment.

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Then today, we attended freshman/parent orientation at her college, Our Lady of Holy Cross. She met classmates, registered for classes, and got her student parking tag. Her scholarship has been applied and she's now officially enrolled as a new student studying Applied Behavioral Sciences.

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Once again, we've been blessed to be with her during another first. But this blessing doesn't come with a price. Now our first chick is flying the nest and that means we're now experiencing a first. We now, for the first time, have an adult child who is building a life apart from us.

We are so very proud and happy for her. She's going to a great college, living in a nice apartment complex, meeting so many new people, and striving to live for Jesus over these next four years. She's going to have so many incredible experiences.

But most of them will not include us.

That's hard.

But I wouldn't have it any other way. We have done all that we could to prepare her for this day and she's ready.

She's ready for a whole lifetime of firsts and I just know that God has some absolutely beautiful ones planned.

Monday, August 06, 2012


Today, my mom will stay with our six younger kids while Jim and I take our oldest down to New Orleans with her first load of stuff. This is it, folks. We're beginning the process of really and truly moving Anna out of the family nest and into her own nest.

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Please pray for Anna as she takes the lessons she learned on the mission field and the things God has been teaching her to her new place of ministry...her apartment complex, her college campus, and all the other places in New Orleans that He already knows are waiting for her.


Saturday, August 04, 2012


Today, we moved our first few boxes into our future home at We Will Go. The interns who have been living in Faith House have now moved into their new homes so now all we're waiting on is to get Anna moved into her new home.

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Once she's settled into her college apartment, we'll go crazy with the packing and by this time next month, we will be living our brand new life in inner-city Jackson.

Please keep praying for us as we make this transition and make plans to come see us! If you live locally, we'll be centrally located and easy to get to. If you're far away, come anyway. Our ministry has lots and lots of guest housing and we love to introduce new folks to the amazing and miraculous things God is doing in this beautiful corner of His creation.

Friday, August 03, 2012


My voice is almost gone, we're all worn out, and the trash is copious, but it is all totally worth it and my heart is filled with happy lovin'.

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Today I got to spend time with two very special women, one of my very best friends and my very favorite author, who is also a dear friend. Lisa Samson is down painting kitchen murals for my friend Rhonda. We got some good talking time this morning and then they came by my house late this afternoon while I was getting ready for our party.

And then after they left, others started arriving as friends piled in our house to commemorate our moving from our farm into inner-city Jackson. According to those I asked to do head counts, we had around 60 folks here. There was lots of laughter, and noise, and food, and noise, and sharing memories, and noise, and wrestling, and noise, and lots and lots of love.

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And to think that I was actually worried that hardly anyone would be able to come.

What a blessed woman I am indeed. What a blessed family we are. God truly has gifted us with so many amazing friends. I'll be going to sleep tonight with a smile in my heart, laughter ringing in my ears, and plans for the new house's blessing party already circling around in my head.

Thursday, August 02, 2012


Happy birthday, Betsie Boo! You are truly a Joyful blessing and I'm so proud to be your mama.

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Yes, as you said, you are no longer "sixteen going on seventeen". You are, indeed, growing up so fast...growing into an amazingly beautiful woman of God. Sometimes I am just in awe of all God is doing in your life. It is an incredible gift to be a part of your journey.

I love you so much!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


It has been a big week around here for the big girls. Anna just got home from Africa and tomorrow Betsie turns seventeen.  This photo was taken the day we took Betsie home from the hospital as a newborn.  Precious, right?

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And for this big girl? Having my oldest home and my next oldest celebrating a special day means this mama is also having a big week.

The dark chocolate Anna brought me back from her trip and the chocolate they are buying from the store so we can fix scrumptious goodies for our moving-away party are pretty epic, too.