"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Friday, August 29, 2008


Circumstances beyond our control, dictated a separation of sisters over twenty-two years ago.

I know it sounds mysterious...yet it is the unfortunate foundation of generational sin that caused my sister to make the ultimate sacrifice.

A mother's first priority should be the protection of her children. My sister and I were not afforded that privilege.

Forms of abuse never delved into; ignorance on my mother's part; her disdain for the female sex, and major conflicts in raising two girls and two boys, caused four children to drift apart....as sisters and brothers and ultimately as friends.

Fortunately in my life, God has placed some wonderful 'sisters in spirit' to walk alongside me as I dotted the pathway that has been before me. Fortunately there is Kerma, a forever friend. She and I met in 1981, and throughout several moves to several states, throughout death, divorce, vacations, phone calls, robberies, nursing school, vet school, jobs and my children...we've remained very close.

Sometimes it will be two months before we talk on the phone again...and yet, our conversation begins where it left off the last time we talked. I had the privilege of introducing Kerma to Christ several years ago....and we are truly sisters in spirit.

Denise, or as I lovingly call her "Benise". She lovingly calls me Quita Juanita Ouida....Denise and I became prayer partners in 1985. We were both new Christians. Me and my three children...she as a single woman with no children. She worked in an attorney's office, me in an auto repair shop. We had nothing in common but our love for the Lord....and yet He strategically placed us side by side...and we began a "ministry" of intercession that has continued for all these years.

She married and moved to Charlotte, NC while I stayed in Louisiana. And yet...God in His loving wisdom, brought me to Asheville, NC...and now she and I are two hours away...and just a phone call, email or text away. I love her as if she and I were born in the same family. She is definitely my sister...in spirit... and I love her as if she were my own sister.

I had been 'thrown to the wolves' employment-wise in 1992. While on vacation from the 'shop' as our family lovingly called it...my dad sold the business and I came home with no job, a mortgage, car payments, three teen aged children and absolutely no employable skills. I went to "Job-Link" and got my first church-lady job. I was the financial assistant for the Business Administrator of a large UMC in Shreveport. Neecee Blackwell was the graphic artist for the church. She was an ADHD untamed totally throwing caution to the wind woman. Under normal circumstances you would think a cautious, scared mom of three....being thrown into a 'lions's den' of the unknown and a spunky freedom loving married mom of a 2 year old would never have a thing in common....

But wow...did we ever . And still do. I needed and need her love of life. There is NOTHING boring about anything she does. She finds the exciting in grains of sand... a shard of color from a prism ... a hummingbird... Even now as she closes in on fifty years old, she still finds the excitement and wonder of life and living. She lives life abundantly and unabashed and unashamed. She grasps life like we gasp for air after running a marathon. She is a free spirit and totally opposite of me.....and yet....

Neecee needs my stability....she needs my ear when decisions need to be made. I taught her how to balance her checkbook....she taught me to love life. I taught her to ponder....she taught me to trust. We started a conversation in 1992, and it continues today. We are never far away from one another...thanks to the age of communication. I love her...and need her...and the comfort of our 'ya ya sisterhood' continues after all these years.

Christy... another 'church lady'. She and I met in 1999. We really did not know one another well, until she was thrown into a black cauldron we unaffectionally call "FF". Since that time, she and I have relied on phone calls, cards and her infrequent visits to "home." She respects my opinions (and I always have one) and I admire the fact that she loves the Lord constantly, continually and with a passion most people only dream of. I love Christy...because I can be totally honest with her. I know I can trust her with the deepest darkest dankest secrets of my soul...and she prays for me and loves me. She knows she can be 'real' with me...no hidden emotions....and we both carry these burdens for one another ... with love and affection.

Jill...sweet loving friend. She trusts God and lives like He's her husband. She prays and I know God listens. She and I met several years ago at work. We've become friends....good friends. We've have the type of relationship that is one of comfort....ease....we're happy just being together eating, shopping, driving, hiking. She loves me and I know it. She accepts me and I feel it, she cares and nurtures. I know I can call on her at anytime...day or night...and she'll be there for me. And she knows the same about me. She loves God with a fiery passion....I love her because she stabilizes me. She keeps me on my toes spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally...I suppose that means she keeps me well-rounded. We can talk about anything...and have. I have shared raw emotions with her...and there's a picture in my mind of two women...one has her hand on the other's shoulders...that would be Jill...she has my back...there is comfort in knowing she is there.

Janie....we met in 2004. Just a few short years ago...and yet...it continues. I knew we'd be instant friends when I met her. She has so many attributes I only hope to aspire to. She is classy, sassy, bold and loving. She and I share so many of the same life-stories. Thrown into single-parenthood while our children were so young. Janie laughs. She laughs and loves life. And then she laughs again. She is sanquinelly happy, too....and I enjoy being in her presence just because she allows me to see things a different way... with the smile of God. She has moved to Texas...and just like my other forever friends...we started talking when we first met...and we still continue the conversation today. I love Janie...she has wisdom that is the glue that keeps me together. And I know that I too have the same affect on her.

And as I think of my friends...I have the privilege of adding my daughter into this mix. A loving, beautiful woman...almost 30. My youngest friend. Our relationship still is mother/daughter...and yet it is so much more than that. We can walk around in underwear together and not think twice about it...something none of my other friends have ever been afforded...(and please.... no pictures in the mind!) Mel and I have laughed so hard together that it blinded us...and yet we have been so angry at one another it blinded us again... and I love her. I think that my life would have been so empty without watching her grow into the woman of God that she is now. I worry about her in a way that is only afforded a bonded relationship. I try to nurture her and guide her in a bold way ... and sometimes in a pushy way...and yet she still loves me...because she knows I only want the best for her. We are comfortable with one another, and I believe she is the only friend that I would truly die for. She is my precious gift from God.

Each of these ladies, Kerma, Denise, Neecee, Christy, Jill, Janie and Melissa push me to be a better person. Each of them has an attribute that I desire to have in myself. And with each phone call, text, email or card...I think "I want to be like her when I finally grow up."

And now, God has allowed me to be reintroduced to my real sister. Norma. She and I met again for the first time in twenty two years on August 28, 2008. Between us, we have raised 6 children. She two girls and a boy, me two boys and a girl. She started having children late...me early. I'm not sure that we have anything in common except our love for Christ and our birth parents...but this one thing I do know... I want to begin today to have another forever sister...my real sister....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wuv...twue wuv

I absolutely have loved the few days I've stayed at the Ray's home in Rochester Hills, MI. This morning the air is crisp, the grass is green and little Thatcher has a boo-boo. And when he gets hurt...he runs to mommy, daddy...and this morning...to whomever's arms were first...this morning it was Nana's.

Trust... I remember two years ago when Thatcher was just 3 years old. I had just come to Shreveport to watch the boys for a week while their parents flew to Rochester Hills to find a home. We went to my mom's home and as we walked toward the door, Thatcher reached his hands up for me to carry him. He hadn't seen me in months...yet he knew who he could trust.

Jack at age seven...handsome, full of energy and questions. We looked at a "secret hideout" that he had found underneath a huge tree. He climbed the stair steps of limbs as far up as he could. Trusting that the limbs would hold him. Then yesterday, he climbed a "new tree." As his daddy stood under the tree, Jack began his descent. Attempting to take the last step down, he asked his daddy to catch him. "Now don't drop me daddy" he said.

My son looked at his eldest and said, "Have I ever dropped you, son." Jack shook his head no and climbed down into his daddy's arms.

Beautiful, adorable Margaret. She trusts that the person holding her will feed, burp and hold her. She trusts that the person holding her will take total care of her every need. Her bottom lip quivers and pokes out when she believes her needs are not being cared for. And even if she cries to fight the sleep that overwhelms her, when she awakes from a nap, she loves and trusts that the same person who put her in bed will take care of her, change her diaper, feed her and cuddle her.

My sweet daughter in law cooks for us, cleans and nutures everyone in the home. My son makes sure all his family is secure and warm (or cool.) Both my daughter and I have felt so comfortable with the love and security afforded us....

...and then I think of Jesus' words in Matthew..."Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

How blessed I am to see this verse in action at my son's home. How blessed we are to see Jesus...with skin on.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What is perfect?

It's very quiet this morning, Monday, August 25 at 8:11 a.m. There's been a bit of stirring here in Rochester Hills, MI, but everyone has apparently climbed back under the covers for one more peaceful time of sleep.
I lie in bed pondering yesterday.

Pondering the smell of a freshly bathed baby girl named Margaret.
Pondering two rambunctious boys that never stop.
Pondering my oldest and youngest children playing computer games together and laughing.
Pondering 'scrappin' with my delightful, talented daughter in law
Pondering the delicious meals

And I believe right now.... this is perfect.

I hear four little feet pattering down the stairs and smile.

Another perfect day has begun.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Warning

When we get messages from God, we need to take them so seriously that they become a part of what we eat and drink, sleep and think.

I've been reading through the book of Isaiah. God continues to warn Israel that if they keep sinning, ignoring His commands, not obeying what He has distinctly told them, then He will back away and allow the enemy control.

And that's what happened. Israel heard God's command not to entertain their neighbors but to go forward...they were told not to marry those who honored foreign gods, they were told to be clean and pure and not live as the world lived; they were told to worship God only, and it was God only that they should seek....they heard God's voice, they said they understood, kind of like us saying "Yeah, I know"....and yet, they did what they wanted.

I read chapter 10 today. God is allowing Israel's arch enemy to conquer them. He's turning His back on HIS beloved people's sinful ways and allowing them to have the life they believe they wanted.

Their excuses?
Well, there's no one else around we can hang with.
Their lives are so exciting and ours is boring.
Their worship is so much more exciting than ours.
Well...at least they worship....maybe not the right way, but they worship.

As I have read these chapters these last 10 days, I began to remember a verse in Psalm that has always "put the fear of God" in me. If nothing else would make me want to change my wicked ways, Psalm 106:13-15 always gets my attention.

"Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They couldn't wait for His counsel. In the wilderness, their desires ran wild, testing God's patience in that dry land. So He gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it."

Are you having a desert experience right now? Are you not hearing from God, so you entertain those God told you to stay away from?

I walked in that desert several years ago...allowed my thoughts to override God's thoughts.

I still have the scars of disobedience.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


See Prayer Essentials For Living In His Presence, Vol 2, page 290-291. © Sylvia Gunter 2000. Available at www.thefathersbusiness.com There is an archive of previous devotionals on the website.

We had a plague of chipmunks at our house. They were making our yard "hole-y," gnawing wiring, and making a general nuisance of themselves. When one family moved into the house for the winter, I took great offense. Something had to be done! I baited my Hav-a-Heart® trap with irresistible morsels-- sunflower seeds. Within minutes, I had my first victim, and my re-location project began. Thirty-six chipmunks later, it seemed the colony had been de-populated.
However, the next year, I had to exercise the same due diligence when I saw those cute little critters scurrying around again. I had to keep alert to re-invasion. That season, more chipmunks were dispatched to another place. This year, I know what they can't resist, and my snare with the irresistible sunflower seeds keeps watch near their runs.

The analogy is clear. If the chipmunks had assessed the danger of the snare as being more important than the instant gratification, they would not have been caught.

The Bible describes Satan as a hunter who sets traps (Ps. 91:3, 1 Tim. 3:7). His traps take us by surprise (Eccl. 9:12). Snares are hidden and catch us unexpectedly (Amos 3:5, Obadiah 7). They hold fast their catch (Job 18:9). It takes someone else to get us out, in our case, God.

Can God's covenant people be captured? The obvious answer is "Yes" (Ps. 140:5), and we are oblivious to our captivity. What are the snares that hold us captive and hinder us from going on with God? What prevents our freedom in Jesus? What is keeping us from liberty in His Holy Spirit? What does the Bible say about what entraps us?

What snares tempt us and entrap us?

Alliances, making peace with the world Exodus 34:12
False gods, idols, serving other gods, or serving God like others serve their gods Deuteronomy 7:16
Desire for riches Deuteronomy 7:25, 1 Timothy 6:9
Enemies of God Joshua 23:13
Relationships not ordained of God 1 Samuel 18:21
Good things Judges 8:27
Leaders Job 34:30, Jeremiah 5:26, Hosea 5:1
Prosperity and security Psalm 69:22
The wicked Psalm 119:110, 141:9, Proverbs 22:5
Proud men Psalm 140:5
People Psalm 142:3
Words of our mouths Proverbs 6:2, 18:7
Sexual seduction Proverbs 7:23, Ecclesiastes 7:26
Sinful talk (transgression of our lips) Proverbs 12:13
Ill-gotten fortune Proverbs 21:6
Our own sin Proverbs 29:6
Fear of man Proverbs 29:25
Reliance on religious tradition and wisdom of man instead of the word of God Isaiah 8:14-15

How do we avoid being captured by the snares of wickedness? By being warned by the Word of God and not straying from it (Ps. 119:110). To get out of the trap of the evil one, we must ask God to grant repentance, so that we can escape from being held captive to do the devil's will (2 Tim. 2:25-26). Then we cry out for his mercy, receive God's forgiveness, and ask him to empower us by his Spirit to obey from a heart that is totally his.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Words from a Friend

"God will never call you from something unless He's leading you toward something better."

I just got off the phone with a dear man who is like a brother to me. He and his wife are pillars of our church. As I was bemoaning this and that (martyrism showing through) the above quote rolled off his tongue.

I thought...how many of us when God leads us from something...someone...some place...just sit and wait instead of brushing ourselves off and continually going forward. We just stop doing the things we've been commanded to do through His word...and we just sit and wait.

My heritage....my heritage is one of waiting. Years and years of waiting...for what? I don't know. How many blessings have been missed because I waited? How many times could my blessing be right around the corner, and yet I wait? How many times have the gifts God has given me been wasted....because I wait?

There are times of silent waiting that align themselves to the Word of God...but if we are waiting and it goes against what His Word tells us, then we are enveloped in a lie from Satan. We need to tear down those strongholds and start moving forward.
Acts 22:16

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Psalm 51

As I was doodling with http://www.wordle.net/ I copied in Psalm 51. What powerful words.

But have you have REALLY wondered why David says “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”?

Walk with me through a word study.


1. action violating law or code: a crime or any act that violates a law, command, or moral code
2. commission of wrongs: the committing of acts that violate a law, command, or moral code
3. overstepping limit: an act or the process of overstepping a limit


1. injustice or immorality: great injustice or extreme immorality
2. immoral act: a grossly immoral act


1. transgression of theological principles: an act, thought, or way of behaving that goes against the law or teachings of a religion, especially when the person who commits it is aware of this
2. shameful offense: something that offends a moral or ethical principle
3. estrangement from God: in Christian theology, the condition of being denied God's grace because of a sin or sins committed

One teacher I had many years ago described the three words like this:

Transgression is shaking your fist at God as you sin.
Iniquity is twisting God’s word to fit your circumstances and actions.
Sin is falling short of the glory of God.

Now what did David say?
Wash away my immoral injustice and cleanse me from my shameful ungodly offense. For I know that I overstepped my authority and broke the law and my estrangement from you is always before me.

No wonder God called David “The Apple of His Eye.” So repentant of his sins, his iniquities and transgressions that in God’s eye…David was sinless.


There was a man in my past whom I always wanted to be like. His name was Norman Sutton. He was a small man in stature but a giant in the world of praying. I knew if I asked him to pray for me or someone else, he would. Why did I know that?

Anytime anyone would ask him to pray, he would stop everything he was doing, and pray. He literally would stop walking and stop talking...grab the person's hands who asked him to pray, and he would. It was a powerful testimony to me even then and especially now, when so many people are asking for prayer.

Almost all the time when someone asks us to pray, we say we will. Most the time we do. Some of the time we forget until days or even weeks later when we see them again. GUILT sets in and satan takes hold and begins to hammer us with our inability to be the "Christian" we thought we were.

I have discovered a "lightbulb" in my own prayer life that probably everybody else has thought of ... maybe I'm just slow.... but I've realized I can just lift their name at that moment...not their problems...not their troubles....not their needs... and just say "Dear Jesus... [their name]"... God knows their problems...God knows their troubles...God knows their needs...I just need to lift up their name. Being able to do that keeps satan from getting a foothold in that part of my life.

Norman died this year. I think of the many jewels that man had in his crown...jewels of love, sacrifice, prayer and devotion. I can just see him grabbing that crown off his head and running to Jesus' feet and laying it down in front of His King... and Norman's happiness in being able to say, "Jesus, you answered every prayer I prayed. Thank you for being my Savior." I believe Jesus looked at Norman and said, "Well done my good and faithful servant."

I want to be more like Norman....Jesus' example for me on earth.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Here I am again. So very tired and yet cannot sleep.

Who created menopause anyway? I had become so hesitant to continue the straight estrogen I've been on---that with my dr's permission I finally quit taking it.

I had a hysterectomy when I was 25 years old. Taking straight estrogen causes one to be susceptible to uterine cancer. Well...I haven't got one of them. I asked my Dr. where all those cancer causing agents go if they can't plant their tiny destructive cells in the uterus. His answer was there wasn't enough studies done to answer my question. So I told him, I only wanted to take it long enough to get past the "shoot them before they speak" stage.

That is past. Now I just have the frustration, sleeplessness and anxiety that goes along with the big M. So what do I do on these nights that I am so tired yet cannot sleep?

I've started thinking of everyone I know whose name starts with A...living and dead. I pray for them if they are living...I pray for their families if they have died. I find that prayer helps me fall asleep...and getting my mind off of me is one of the best things I can do. Then I go to B, C etc.

Let's see...I think I am on N now. There's my sister Norma and my Aunt Nellie...and and and...


Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Shack

If you haven't read the book "The Shack" yet, I would recommend you find a copy.

I haven't been touched by a fiction book since "Gone With The Wind" so you know it's been a LONG time. Of course...there are those Christian naysayers who want to condemn the author of blaspheming God when William Young's portrayal of God is an Aunt Jemimah type of person.

And as I read the book, I truly began to think that the story was true. How could anyone write with just detail...without it really happening.

But let me tell you what touched me about this book....the truth of the character of God...and the message that will touch millions of people who have never thought about believing in God. This book, in my opinion, is an evangelistic book, being used by God to bring others closer to Him.

I'm not one to get so immersed in books I become part of them, but in this book, I felt the pain of Mac's heart when his daughter was kidnapped and murdered. I felt the agony of his soul when he was faced with the truth.

In one part of the book, God....had cooked up a wonderful breakfast for Mac. After the breakfast, Mac is so confused about God's love. Mac cannot believe that God would love the man who murdered his daughter. Mac cannot believe that God would allow his daughter to be murdered. In this exchange of words, God allows Mac to become furious, angry, hurt and despondent.

Since I don't have the book in front of me, this is the exchange as I remember it.

Mac: How can you love this beast who took my beloved daughter?
God: I love.
Mac: Why did you let him live and my daughter die?
God: I have given men freedom of choice.
Mac: You are God. You could have changed the outcome ... but instead you let this beast roam free, still roaming free, and my daughter is gone, we've never found her body, we've only found her blood. Why did you chose my daughter to die?
God: Mac, I love all. I cannot separate my love in levels for what they do and do not do. They are my creation. I cannot choose one over the other.
Mac: I don't understand.
God: Okay, let's look at this another way. I will give you all your children back to you... you choose which one dies. Any of them...you choose which one you want to allow to die.
Mac: I can't do that...I love them all...I can't do that.
God: I know. Mac...every person on earth is my child.........now...choose Mac...think of your three children and choose which one you want to give as a sacrifice for the others.

Mac has fallen on the ground, sobbing and screaming "I cannot choose any of my children...why didn't you just take me instead. Why did you have to let my baby die? Why didn't you let me die instead. Couldn't you have allowed me to do this instead of one of my children????

God said...I think you're beginning to understand. I cannot choose any of my children to die...so I died for them all. My love for all of them is equal... I think you understand now, my son.

Toward the end of the book, you see Mac's character change. The message of the book is real. God is love...God's love gives us freedom...because God is love.

It's a powerful fiction book. None of it is true. But WOW.... the feelings are amazing.