Sunday, December 6, 2009


I'm always amused by ironies. Oddly enough, one of the ironies that amazes me is that to make a weak bone strong you must perform weight bearing exercises. It makes no sense to me. If something is weak, I say let it have a rest! :)

The same thing is true in our walk with Jesus. To strengthen us, sometimes He has to put weight on us. The Master Trainer. :)

It's during those times that I am especially thankful for the "secret place". My time...alone...with my Creator and Lord...who guides, directs, comforts and instructs. Strength is renewed. Discernment is given. Steps on the path are revealed.

God is amazing!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Susan Kavanaugh

Six years ago this afternoon a big piece of our heart was taken with Susan Kavanaugh on her journey home. After an 8 month battle with cancer, God’s grace and mercy ended her suffering. It was the hardest time we've ever been through so far our lives. She was more than just a mother-in-law to me. She loved me as much as she loved her flesh and blood children…at least I never felt loved any less than them. :)

I first met Susan long before I even knew she even had a son. I will never forget the day. I was a freshman at Darton College. My advisor had allowed me to sign up for a class that had a prerequisite that, being a first-semester freshman, I did not have. So, I had to go to evening registration in the Student Center to drop that class and add another. I stood outside of the locked glass doors waiting with all of the others. It was, by my watch, the precise time that the doors should open. I have to be honest and say that I was a little aggravated that the woman sitting on a chair right by the door would not unlock it. BUT, I just couldn’t get mad because she was so pretty and graceful. She was talking with some other people in the room with her and her smile was so contagious…who could get mad?!? Needless to say, that was Susan. I had no idea that within a little over a year, I would be engaged to her son.

If you did not have the privilege of knowing Susan, I’d like to describe her to you. First of all, she was beautiful and graceful – very easily gave Princess Diana a run for her money! She was the woman in the room that caught your attention no matter how much distance was between you and her. She just drew you in…you had no say in the matter…you were captivated! :)

She loved her family more than life! There is nothing that she wouldn’t have done for any of us. She cooked for us all the time – loved to have us around her table…and as newlyweds we took her up on the offer many times a week. We were her top priority…we never had any doubts about that! Thanksgiving and Christmas are bittersweet for us. This was her favorite time of year and she spent all of the extra time in her days showing love to us. There are so many special memories we hold in our hearts.

She loved her friends. If you were Susan’s friend you reaped the same benefits as her family. And just let her hear that you are either getting married or having a baby and she would spoil you with attention! I love being around all of her old friends to hear stories that go back 30 years ago! It testifies that she was a faithful friend.

She loved Jesus! She knew where her security lied. When Scott and I would be struggling through the first few years of marriage and getting settled financially and in our jobs her first response to every problem we had was, “We just have to pray about!” She never tried to fix it herself or give advice right off the bat. She pointed us to God FIRST. I have no doubt she spent hundreds of hours praying for us!
Susan called me one day a few months before we knew she was sick. We had noticed several personality changes and a few physical things as well. She was at home from work with what we all thought was another sinus infection. Hannah Grace and Emily had spent the night with her a few nights prior to this day. She said, “I was just sitting here in my chair, looked over at the fish (Hannah Grace’s favorite – beta fish in a peace plant) and noticed Hannah Grace’s handprints were left all over it. It made me think of her and I just smiled.” Hannah Grace had left a mark and that mark brought Susan comfort. Here we are, six years after losing such a precious person, and HER marks are still evident in our lives. Each year that passes brings a little more healing but the void is and will always be there. The marks she left, still as strong, makes it bearable.

We often say that going through this experience automatically enrolls you in a club that no one wants to be a part of but once you’re in it, you are a changed person. You can choose to be changed for the better or for the worst. God’s grace has pulled us to the better. He keeps our family ties strong. Each time she poured love on us we were unknowingly sitting in God’s classroom learning how to love one another. She was a great teacher!

Some of you are probably crying at this point…especially if you knew her. But here’s what you must take away: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. I watched as my husband read this verse to our whole church just two weeks after his mom died. Was it hard to read? YES!!!! Did he mean it? YES!!!!! Was it even harder to live out? STILL IS!!!!! But know that WHATEVER situation you are in – easy or hard – it is safe to go ahead and praise God for it! I have no doubt that God’s heart broke for us as He watched us grieve. What I also have no doubt about is the comfort He gave and the plan He has! He is a good God – even in the darkest of circumstances. List your blessings today! Write them out on paper! Spend time thanking Him! He is good!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


That, my dear friends, is a paraphrase of what MY OWN HUSBAND said to me this morning! Can you believe it? I told him this was going to be my blog topic for today but I don't think he believed me.
Am I hurt or upset? Goodness NO! He says things like that because he KNOWS what I'm capable of and he pushes me to do my BEST!
So, keep looking for a new blog design!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Fall and winter are my favorite times of the year! I get mood lifts and stress decreases. It's all because I cannot tolerate South Georgia heat and humidity so by the time we actually experience fall I am past ready. Here are some other reasons why I love fall:

1. Falling leaves. I LOVE driving/walking outside when the wind is blowing and leaves are swirling all around. It's almost romantic.

2. Mums! I love them but Scott doesn't care for them too much so we don't have them. I love the various colors and designs in the petals.

3. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. Scott patrons Starbucks almost daily. My heart smiles when I get that phone call or text: "PSL has arrived at Starbucks today."

4. Fall Porch Decor. Women in the south who have an eye for all things fashionable are experts at fall porches. Since we do not have the blessing of watching leaves change colors here in the south we have to re-create the process. Oranges, browns, reds and greens adorn most house fronts.

5. The fair. Complete with a hot dog and elephant ear. When I was younger I would go on all the rides that turn you upside down and inside out but I can't do that anymore. I guess it's just part of aging.

6. The morning sky. It's different in the fall. I love waking up to crisp, cool air and a purple and pink sky. God paints those for us, you know! Isn't He good?!?!

7. The nighttime. I love the time around 4pm when the sun falls slightly to cast shadows in my home that only happens in the fall. Then, it becomes dark much sooner than the summer. It almost slows life down. For the Kavanaugh family, slowing down is a welcomed thing!

8. Turtlenecks & Sweaters. Most people around the country pull these out in September. Not us! In the south you might be lucky enough to pull them out in October. I love turtlenecks and sweaters!

9. Cornbread Dressing. I grew up loving cornbread dressing and we only had it twice a year - Thanksgiving and Christmas. When I got married that was one of the first dishes that I had to learn to make. At first I followed my grandmother's and mother's recipe but eventually I made it my own. Scott says it's the best he's ever had...even told my Grandmother and Mom that....can you believe it!?

10. Pumpkin Pie. This is an indulgence of mine that can only occur a few times a year or I'd be bigger than a house! You know the Philosophy brand of shower gel? The Pumpkin Pie shower gel has a recipe for Pumpkin Pie on the bottle....go try it! I'm just sayin'! Granddaddy Kavanaugh had a saying when he ate something good......Pow Budduh!

11. The Today Show. This is weird, I know. But honestly, the show is more interesting to me in the fall. Maybe it's because they have segments that pertain to my favorite time of year...comfort foods, fall fashion, etc. At any rate, it's more enjoyable to watch in the fall.

Monday, October 26, 2009


It's official...I'm addicted! If my husband would have been with me he would have died of embarrassment...just hearing the story almost did him in! I was in Sunday School by myself yesterday. EK is feeling a bit under-the-weather and Scott stayed home with her. Like all good Southern Baptists we eat each week in Sunday School...and where there is food there must be beverages. While I was in the beverage line looking at my options my eye was caught by the big black and hot pink......BOX TOP! It was calling my name from the Juicy Juice bottle...just staring at me, begging to be torn off! Of course, I couldn't just rip the thing off because it could have been brought in by another mom with a Box Top addiction who was planning to clip it and send it into her child's school. So, I tried, with as much discretion as I could to ask around..."Do you know who brought this Juicy Juice in?" Well, discretion only lasted for so long...people wanted to know WHY I wanted to know! When I told them, I was amazed to find that the other moms understood my plight! Eventually, I found that the bottle belonged to a friend whose child is in preschool. So, I ripped that box top right off and stuck it in my Bible!

Is that sad?!?!.....wait, don't answer that! :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I was visiting one of my favorite blogs tonight and found this post by Lysa TerKeurst, founder of Proverbs31 Ministries. Having two daughters, a lot of these things are already on my prayer list for them.

Rise above the girlish chatter and gossip. When people talk about others in hushed whispers, they are saying nothing but how insecure they are about themselves. Be uncommon sweetheart.

Rise above the daily beauty contest. You can't see it now, but you have the makings of a gorgeous woman inside and out. Be uncommon sweetheart.

Rise above the incessant need most teens have for someone else validate your worth. No boy will ever be capable of truly making you feel pretty, witty, and loved. Let Jesus fill up those spaces in your heart and eventually show you a boy worth your time. Be uncommon sweetheart.

Rise above the talk about first kisses and stolen moments. Realize how precious and priceless your purity is. What a beautiful thing it is that you still have the gift of a first kiss to give. Be uncommon sweetheart.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Have you ever felt insignificant? Like people seem to look past you and never know you are there? There have been times in my life that I have felt invisible. Dismissed. Not good enough. Ignored. Disliked. Uncared for.

Remember Hagar? God had promised Abraham that He would bless him with descendants that outnumbered the stars in the sky. When a child didn’t come immediately, Sarah took matters into her own hands. The result was a child fathered by Abraham through Hagar. The Bible tells us that Hagar became embittered with Sarah because Sarah had used Hagar to get what she wanted. Ultimately, Sarah treated her so badly that Hagar fled into the wilderness.

Let’s pause here for a moment and look at a few things. First, imagine what Hagar must have been feeling. She had been used and disregarded. Has that ever happened to you? A friend or loved one uses you for the sole purpose of their own good? It’s not a warm feeling is it? Second, scripture doesn’t tell us just how far along Hagar is into her pregnancy. At any rate, she is in the wilderness…alone…maybe even feeling insignificant given the circumstances. But what happens next captures my heart.

The Angel of the Lord appeared to her and asked, “…where have you come from and where are you going?” Hagar says hat she is fleeing from Sarah. The Angel of the Lord tells her to return to Sarah and submit to her. He also said that He would make the number of her descendants too many to count. Her son would be called Ishmael. He also described Ishmael’s temperament and future. What Hagar says next is the most worshipful and meaning statement to me… “You are a God Who sees,” or “You are the Living One who sees me.” Can you imagine feeing insignificant and dismissed and suddenly having an encounter with your Creator that lets you know beyond any doubt that you are significant to Him?

I don’t have to imagine it…I know first hand. I remember the day. When His love for me became so personal it was overwhelming. I realized that God…loves…ME. He sees ME. I’m not just an abstract thought in His mind or a blip on His radar. He’s active in every moment of my life. Like Hagar, the encounter left me changed forever.

How glorious is our God!
Genesis 16 and Psalm 139

Monday, October 19, 2009

R.I.P my dear fuzzy slippers! Anyone who has worked backstage with me at any event is well aquainted with them. They have served their purpose well but much to my husband's delight they have bitten the dust. Now, I must find a new pair to carry on the job!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This morning I am sitting at my computer wearing my comfortable robe. I am minutes away from brewing a wonderful smelling pot of coffee. I have gotten my children ready for school and sent them off on their way with my husband. On my agenda today: finish some design work, go to a hair appointment, run school play rehearsal and work on the details of the Spooky Goulash Bash for over 200 children. Somewhere in there I may even get a chance to have lunch with a friend. Oh, and there is a certificate in my wallet for a pedicure...if I felt like cramming that in as well.

Do you know what breaks my heart? There is a girl in Cambodia right now who is locked up and sitting in a dark room waiting in terror for the next man who will come in and rape her. Minutes, maybe hours after that, the next one will come in...and the next...and the next. That is her day.

I sit here every sense of the word. I am free to do all of those things I mentioned earlier. Free to hug my children and my husband. Free to get in the car and drive to see a friend or just to be pampered at a salon. I also have the ultimate freedom of living in Jesus Christ.

I've been extremely burdened over the last few days for these women who are experiencing the darkest, most vile evil I can imagine. As a Christian, I am heartbroken and moved with compassion. As a woman, I am infuriated. The problem of human trafficking is so much bigger than me but God has spoken to my heart that I can do something. From where ever I am, at any point of my day, I can pray. Is my faith so immature that I have forgotten that is the MOST powerful thing I can do? Is my unbelief so big that I forget at any moment Jesus Christ can make a way of escape for these women and children? In the midst of the tragedy God IS good! He alone can reach the women that I cannot.

Please pray! Pray for their salvation - physically and spiritually. Ask God to burden your heart. Ask Him to remind you of their plight when you have forgotten.

"Rescue the weak and needy;
Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked."

Psalm 82:4

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The bow on the Package!

I love fine things. I’m not sure what events fostered this in my life as my taste has always far out-weighed my wallet. I love rich colors. I love fine fabrics. I love rare flowers. I would walk over hot coals for diamonds and sapphires. At the perfume counter, you can bet I’m going for the most luxurious smell with the highest price tag. I don’t set out to want the most expensive…it just happens. I’ve figured out the reason I love finer things is mostly because they have a quality that sets them apart from the rest. My favorite line is they have a quality that is the bow on the package.

That’s another thing I love, by the way – gift wrap! I’m a sucker for it. Cute gift bags with brightly colored…or better yet, patterned tissue. Uniquely shaped giftboxes with just the right design just makes my heart happy! But my favorite thing by far has always been the bow! Each Christmas this is evident. I drive my husband and children nuts trying to determine what our gift wrap theme will be so that I can find the perfect ribbon. These can be tense moments because my hubby leans toward non-traditional colors (think blues and even black) while I like to stick with more traditional (reds, green, lime green, etc). We both agreed a long time ago that when the Kavanaughs give a gift to someone the wrapping was going to be a force to contend with! Our first Christmas as a married couple was my favorite! We had no money for the kind of wrapping that we wanted…ribbon was a luxury. We disliked (and still do) the premade, shiny, sticky bows. So, I spent hours cutting the wrapping paper into ¼” strips of paper and curling them into ribbon which I sewed together with a needle and thread. It was the prettiest bow I had ever seen! Thank goodness, our budget has allowed for real ribbon for the past several years…and each gift gets one ( a handmade bow). Why go to so much trouble? Because the person receiving the gift is worth it!

I was in a meeting a few weeks ago with a very good friend and a new client. The friend called the meeting together to discuss design options for the new client’s Christian newsletter. My friend said, “The secular world is driven by excellent packaging/ marketing of their products. They work to have the best designs, colors, prints, etc. As Christians shouldn’t we want the best packaging for our ‘product’?”

So, I’ve made that question personal over the last few weeks. What does my “packaging” of Christ look like to the world? Do I give it my personal best or do I make do with shiny, sticky bows? Can the world tell from looking at my “work” that there is a Creator bigger than me? Can they look at my actions and my speech and know that I am walking in such a way as to give glory to God? Can they look at my home and tell that the Lord of my life is a God of order and worthy of my best? Can my husband and children look at my packaging and know all of these things? (ouch!)

Why go to so much trouble? Because the gift that I display to the world is the most valuable, most expensive gift they could ever possess. He is worth the finest packaging. Don’t you agree?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We are trying something new in the Kavanaugh home - more structure. We aren't too laid back but we haven't been as structured as we need to be on a few details. This is week two of the new process and things are looking pretty good.
First of all there is diet. This is especially important for us because EE has Celiac Disease - an autoimmune disease which requires the elimination of wheat gluten from her diet. You can imagine what this breads, cakes, cookies, etc. For the first year things were very hard for us. We NEVER knew what to eat and what not to eat. But that was six years ago. I've gotten very familiar with how to make something gluten free...and this requires me to make everything from scratch.
Eating out isn't totally out of the question. Up until a few weeks ago we were a family that ate out more than we ate in. A very busy schedule makes it almost impossible to eat at home. We have our regular spots where we know EE can find gluten free items. Here's the thing: a few times I have found onion rings (battered in wheat) in her french fries. (Yes, one little crumb can wreak havoc on her) There's also the fact that most of the things she can have are very high in fat and sugar. It makes me feel like the world's worst mom when I let her have those things.
So, one of the decisions we made was to park it at our dining room table. It has been quite fun as I have tried new recipes and even veggies that I have never eaten before. Some things have worked very well, some are mediocre and some...well, not so much. But it HAS been fun! It's also healthier. I know for a fact that every bite EE is putting into that cute tummy is good for her and will not cause her to be sick. THAT is worth i.
The second big change is "THE LIST". Have you ever been to the point that you realized you have been doing EVERYTHING for EVERYBODY? Well, Scott noticed this for me...and I'm glad he did. He's trying to help me see that the girls need to take a lot more responsibility than they have been. He made "THE LIST" that the girls have to check each morning and afternoon to make sure everything is done. From cleaning their room to making their own lunches the girls are doing their share! It's been so nice to move that burden from my shoulders to theirs. At first I didn't know what to think about it but I see now that it will benefit them greatly.
One of the other things Scott has done....he takes the girls to school each morning. This provides me with extra time to clean, do laundry, work or get PTO stuff quiet. :) He's a good man!
Not all change is good...but what's been taking place at our house is WONDERFUL! :)

Monday, August 17, 2009


It's not a high and noble dream like Martin Luther King...but's my dream. It's certainly not the same dream I had five years ago. Back then I would have given my right arm to be in the Christian music industry. I would have bet my life that was the calling God had placed on me. So many things have happened since then, namely a "bigger than me" confrontation with the Lord. It was my "Jacob" moment. The moment when I finally stopped wrestling with God...the moment that He "marked" me forever so that I would never forget it!

So, I died to that dream...and when I did I saw other God-given gifts in my life that He chose to foster. He has provided me ample opportunities to use these gifts and I've taken each one! He really has blessed me...and now - I feel that the crossroads is in the horizon. A point at which I will be faced with the decision to grow or to plateau. What's stopping me from growing? I'm not really sure. Part of it is a fear of failure...but that's not of Him if I truly believe He is pointing me in that direction. Part of it is lack of resources...but I know that He has everything available to Him and therefore to me if He wills. So, I guess what's stopping me is the absence of a clear word...the path I'm supposed to take.

It's probably no coincidence that our Pastor spoke this past Sunday of Robert Frost's The Road Less Travelled and Jesus' teaching on the broad and narrow. I suppose a lot of people have gone down the path the I'm feeling called to. One Google search proves that it's a pretty travelled path. I can't help but think on the flip side that the road becomes pretty narrow when it's God who calls you to travel it! The fork in the road is on the horizon but in the mean time I will pray and wait...and hopefully He will keep fostering the gift!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dreading Tomorrow

Tomorrow is D-Day...the day we've been dreading now for a few weeks...Scott's tonsillectomy. This is a simple surgery with a mean recovery. Scott HATES to have sore throats. Give him any other pain than that. Several people have told him the worst pain they ever experienced was after having their tonsils removed. I have a feeling it's going to be a rough weekend.

It's rather weird what I've done to prepare for tomorrow...I boarded the dogs. They are playful little pups who are accustomed to waking up at 6am...whether you're ready or not. They bark and growl at one another while playing. It just wouldn't have made for a peaceful environment. I have cleaned...everything...even the carpet. Don't ask me's just the way I am. I have to have clean carpet before I leave town and, apparently, before surgeries. :) The only logical thing that I didn't do was to buy groceries. Go figure!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


It was here before I knew it and has passed. The first day of school! We've been very busy this week catching up from last week's events and planning for Scott's tonsillectomy this Friday. While we were prepared for the first day of school, it just didn't feel like the first day of school. I've felt rushed this week with all of my responsibilities at work and the girl's school. Usually, I savor every moment of helping to pack book bags the night before and soak in all the fun of the morning. This year, I delegated book bags to Scott, lunches to the girls and my morning was spent just trying to get out the door! HOWEVER...we had enough time to stop and take a photo....Now, the little one smiled and was very excited. My eldest, on the other hand, was a different story. The only way I coaxed her into getting in the picture was to say, "I can either take the picture here or at school outside of your classroom." She got in front of the camera in a hurry. ;) The eldest was NOT happy to be starting back to way, no how! I heard about how boring it was going to be and how it just wasn't fair...and someone should be sued for making her read four books over the summer. It was pitiful. I knew there were some other issues that she wasn't very excited about facing as well. We had talked about it the night before. So, as I waited in the carpool pick-up line all I could do was pray that God would give her a joyful attitude no matter how her day went. God is faithful...
This, my friends, is the result of a VERY good day! The issues will still be there tomorrow...but for today they were mastered! Looking at her is like looking 23 years into the past at myself!!! I know exactly how she's wired because she's her mother's daughter. We are headstrong and we stand firm...that's a great thing when you are standing against a wrong...but when used incorrectly it can wreak havoc! She made good decisions today and was the leader God made her to be. I'm proud of her...beyond words! :)

So, it's almost time for bed. The end to the first day of school. There are only 170-ish left! :)

Friday, July 31, 2009


Does anyone else but me hear that sound? It is the sound of a school bell and it's getting louder by the day! Now, let me be clear...I realize that "back-to-school" means that my precious ones are getting older - growing up. I do not wish these years away because I can't even think about them being old enough to leave my nest one day. However, I can hardly contain my excitement that SCHOOL IS ABOUT TO START!!!!!!
In just 5 days my home will be mine again! There will be no little people here for hours on end making big messes due to boredom. No little snipped ends of Popsicle wrappers for me to find in the strangest places because someone decided to sneak them. No more paint speckles in my bathtub. (And really, why did they have to use my bathtub anyway? Wouldn't theirs have sufficed?) No more, "She's looking at me and won't stop!" or, "She's breathing too loud!" for me to hear every waking minute.

In just FIVE days (count them and relish..1..2...3...4...5) I will drop them off at school and come back home for a hot cup of the QUIET!!! And then, you want to know what I'll do? The moment will be fleeting and then I will realize that 2 extensions of me are not there. I will start to miss them and get all weepy about the fact that they have moved up one whole grade! Then, I'll watch the clock, eagerly awaiting 2:30 when I will pick them up and hopefully hear about their day.

Ahhh...the life of a Mom! Love it!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Have you ever stopped to think how much we rely on numbers? They drive the clock. It seems like most of our society today is watching the stock market. We either cringe or sigh when we look at our check book. They make up our speed limit. Houses and lots are marked by them. There are countless ways that numbers play a part of our every day life.

Thoughts like this come to me a lot. The thought of the importance of numbers came to me in my grandfather's hospital room this past Sunday as he was dying. As I was sitting by his bed holding his hand, my eyes were glued to the monitor above me. For a little while the numbers stayed in the same general area but before I knew it...and certainly before I wanted them to...they began to quickly change. With each passing second his oxygen level, blood pressure and heart rate dropped.

So many thoughts ran through my mind. I wondered, here in the moments of his death, what it was like in the moments he was born? What were the most important moments in his life? What was he like as a little boy? Could he have ever imagined so long ago that this day would arrive seemingly so quickly? So many emotions flooded my heart in those moments. One part of me wanted to beg for the numbers to go back up but the other part knew that his faith was soon to be made sight!

Those numbers finally indicated that my Grandfather had been taken from this earth. With his last earthly breath he was holding our hands and hearing our voices...and with the next one he was face-to-face with Jesus Christ! The feeling in my heart at that moment is almost indescribable!

I don't know what the moments were like during his birth...and I only know bits and pieces about his childhood as they have been told to me. But the one thing that I am honored by is that God allowed me to be present for the moment ordained for my grandfather before the beginning of time! I will never forget it...I will always treasure it! I look forward to hugging him again after my moments on this earth are done.