Saturday, November 5, 2011

Macaroni & Cheese

One of the recipes that I have spent the most time searching for is Macaroni & Cheese. It has taken a while to find the right recipe, flour and pasta but the work has paid off. I use the recipe from the Pioneer Woman with gluten free adjustments. You can read the original recipe here on her blog. She posts step-by-step pictures which are helpful...especially when making the roux. And don't let the roux scare you. If I can do can you! 

Everyone, even those who are not GF, will love this dish. My brother-in-law and I are very picky eaters and we love it! Enjoy!

Image from

GF Pioneer Woman Macaroni & Cheese


  • 4 cups Dried Macaroni (Quinoa Ancient Harvest GF Elbow Macaroni)
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
  • 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour (Better Batter, Jules Gluten Free, OR GF Bisquick)
  • 2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
  • 1 pound Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme (I skip these :))

Preparation Instructions

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
In a small bowl, beat egg.
In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.
Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
Add in cheese and stir to melt.
Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.
Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Emily's story & how it can help YOU!

I have come across more people lately who are gluten-free. The most amazing thing about that is these are people who have been in my life for years. Some of them were there to encourage my family at the very beginning of our own GF journey. I love the fact that God takes our trials and hardships and uses them to help other people. I never want our family's experience with Celiac Disease to be wasted. So, I have decided to add a tab to my blog that will contain gluten free recipes. I have spent the past eight years of my life learning how to prepare old family favorite dishes in a manner that is gluten free...but also tastes good! (That is the challenge with GF.) Before I begin posting those recipes, I wanted to include a Facebook note that I wrote in 2009. It shares more details of Emil's story. I hope it encourages you! Check back soon for gluten free recipes!


We had spaghetti for dinner tonight. That's not a big deal to most people. But for my daughter, Emily, it means a lot. She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when she was almost 2 years old. CD is an autoimmune disease which causes her body to "attack" her intestines if she ever ingests even a crumb of wheat gluten. You'll hear me refer to it as an allergy to simplify it for people...but it's far more than an allergy. A "reaction" for her isn't temporary and if she were to stray from her gluten free diet for a long period of time, she would have a very high risk of developing intestinal cancer not to mention the fact that she would be so malnourished her body could not function.  
Many people ask us how she was diagnosed. We were blessed because the diagnosis came only a month or two after her symptoms appeared. Our healthy little toddler had lost weight quickly, except for her distended tummy. Her eyes appeared sunken in and her face was bony and pale. There were other symptoms that I will spare you. She went from being an active little girl to spending all of her free time sleeping on the running, skipping or giggling. After a simple blood test and an intestinal biopsy we had our diagnosis and life gluten free. 
At first, I thought it wouldn't be hard. After 2.5 hours at the grocery store and many tears shed, I left with Fritos, bananas and chicken. The realization hit me hard that this situation was going to be insurmountable. At that time there were no support groups...and let's face one in Albany, GA even knew what wheat gluten was! I spent the first three months of her diagnosis totally consumed with notebooks to journal safe food and unsafe food, food labels and a phone to my ear calling all of the food manufacturers to ask what was in their food. Also during this time we had to be focused on getting Emily "caught up" because the time she spent ingesting gluten had depleted her body of everything that God put there to make her healthy. We had to be very purposeful about what we were putting into our child.  
God had blessed me with one friend, Jackie, who lived in Albany at the time. Before Emily's dianosis, God had sent Jackie on a journey of learning to feed her family better...with whole foods. She did research for me...baked gluten free goodies (which is NOT easy)...and listened to my problems. She was a bigger help than she could possibly know. With her help and lots of time researching I began to feel less overwhelmed. After MUCH PRAYER from our family and church and having implemented all we had learned, we began to see amazing results! Within three months her stomach wasn't distended anymore and her physical appearance was almost back to normal. There were many battles to face after she began to get well. People have a hard time believing that one crumb of a cookie or cracker can make someone sick. People have tried to go to battle with me on that and in situations such as daycare, school and other public settings it can be difficult to say the least. But God's grace brought us through it.  
That was such a long time ago. Emily is seven now. It's neat to see how God knits together a child's temperament in their DNA knowing how they must be equipped to handle what He has for them to experience in life. From the second Emily was born she has exhibited compassion, love, contentment and a good attitude. She has never once complained or asked "why" she has to deal with this. There are no "real" birthday cakes that she can pizza parties to partake freshly baked cookies like we know them. And it's not just in's in seasonings, chocolate, name and it can have wheat gluten in it. My daughter is amazing because I would have thrown my hands up by now.  
If you've made it this far into the rambling you're probably wondering why I'm writing about this now. Well, it all began with spaghetti. I purchased a different kind of gluten free noodles to save a buck (Gluten free is a very expensive diet). I knew immediately after I cooked them that they were going to be bad but I crossed my fingers hoping that Em's taste buds wouldn't notice. My sweet girl sat there through the meal without complaining. After we were all done she looked at me with her big, brown eyes and politely asked if she could have a PB&J (gluten free of course). While I cleaned up the dishes she sat happily with her sandwich and she was one always.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I just thought I would take a minute to encourage all of you who have had a bad day. My disclaimer is that 1) I know there are many others whose day was so much worse than mine and 2) after a whole day has passed I can finally laugh.

7:28am | After a trying morning, the girls and I finally head toward the door for school and the office. Scott had the day off. It was pouring down rain, so I walked each girl to the car under an umbrella. Scott delivered my cup of coffee to the car since my hands were full. {he's good that way}

7:29am | My youngest, who has already had a meltdown just a few minutes prior, continues the meltdown due to the back seat that was apparently folded up and wouldn't budge an inch back into the upright position. {note: said child is fighting a cold...we all know that magnifies emotions. :)} As my daughter continues to meltdown, I admit...I fussed about the seat being folded up in the first place by the culpit who wanted to skip the middle set of seats and sit in the very back. {can I at least get an AMEN from a mom out there?}

7:30am | With my coffee in hand, I put the car in reverse and hit the gas pedal. We were all jolted by the crash into my husband's car. I put the car in drive to remove my trailer hitch from my husband's bumper. Coffee spills all over my lap. My only response was to get out of the the pouring rain.

7:31am | I hear primal screams coming from inside of my car and realized that I never put the car in park. In a moment of horror I watched my SUV roll toward my house. {I promise you that cars at any speed, rolling toward a house, seems like a million miles per hour.} I jumped into my car and hit the break just in time to be approximately 2-3 feet from the brick exterior wall of my daughters' bathroom.

7:32am | I exit the car again and walk behind my car...the long the go inside. Why walk behind my car? There was no room between the front of my car and the bushes! Scott took over the task of taking the girls to school. I'm glad he did. I was shaking and just a smidge were the girls in the car who stared down the brick wall of doom. {Don't tell Scott, but I really DO feel for him most of the know, living in the land of estrogen.}

7:34am | What is a girl to do but change her coffee saturated jeans...and brew another cup? ;)

So, that was the start of my was yours?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Meet Blake & Charlye. God designed our paths to cross almost two years ago...then, He wove our hearts together in ministry seven months after that. Scott and I get to see this couple in two different settings: their ministry lives and their personal lives. I can tell you they are no different in one mode than in the other. Today, on their third wedding anniversary, I have been thinking of a way to describe them and two words come to mind: LOVE & CONSISTENCY. Let me tell you about them.

I have decided the best way to describe Blake as one of my partners in ministry is that he is my right arm and my left brain. You see, I am a worship leader who can't read a lick of music. A typical week includes me trying to explain something I hear happening musically in my head and how I want it to come to life in our corporate worship setting. Blake takes my thoughts and makes it happen with the band. He never shows frustration. Only support. I value that in him. He is a leader, both on and off the stage. He leads our young men's small group and I know they are blessed to have him.

Charlye is the quiet type...but dont' mistake being quiet as being weak. I think of her as a mighty princess-warrior in God's army through both her prayer and her worship. She is a spirit and truth can see the presence of the Holy Spirit resting on her when she praises God. It's a blessing to me. Charlye also leads our young women's small group. I hear first hand from those girls what a difference Charlye has made in their lives. That's a blessing to me too.

As a couple, they shout the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their actions. They are faithful to one another and faithful to their Savior. In our modern world where marriage is not valued, they are one of the couples that are defying the odds. I believe they will tell you that the reason they are doing so is because of their love and surrender to Christ and their love and mutual honor toward one another.

Blake & Charlye...I love you both. You inspire me and many others. I pray God's riches blessing on your lives and His continual blessing and expansion of your ministries. I know the following scripture has become so commonplace but it truly does fit you both. Let it wash over your hearts!

1 Corinthians 13:1-7 {The Message} 
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. 
   Love never gives up.    Love cares more for others than for self.    Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.    Love doesn't strut,    Doesn't have a swelled head,    Doesn't force itself on others,    Isn't always "me first,"    Doesn't fly off the handle,    Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,    Doesn't revel when others grovel,    Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,    Puts up with anything,    Trusts God always,    Always looks for the best,    Never looks back,    But keeps going to the end. 

Monday, October 3, 2011


1. The FELLOWSHIP. I love the opportunity to be around our people for 2 days with basically no interruption. During the breaks and free time, the guys play some sort of man-sport and the girls get together to chat. There's no outside schedule to worry about so you have time to really get to know one another better.

2. The FOOD. Probably one of my most favorite things is to see what kind of snacks people bring to share with everyone. Last year, Erica {the college student that I mentor} brought Gooey Cake Bars. They were divine! I hope she reads this blog and brings them again this year! The meals are always so good that we joked about re-naming the weekend the Food Summit!

3. The WEATHER. For this girl, who could do without summer, the cooler temp allows me to focus. The crispness of the morning and evening air brings refreshing right on the heels of refreshing that comes with spending an extended, focused time in prayer. There's nothing like being out in the country, under an open sky, having a conversation with the designer of the universe!

4. The WORSHIP. There's something different about worship at the Prayer Summit. It's not big and loud. It's simple. It's anointed in a different way. There is no sound equipment and I love that! Those of us who are magnified though a sound system each week, get to listen as the voices of our people ring clearly through the air. It's really beautiful.

5. The UNITY. There is power in prayer. There is even more power when many believers are praying together. We come back from the Prayer Summit with a bond that lasts for a long time. We've spent time interceding for one another, our church, our city, our families. That kind of prayer unites.

6. The LODGING. Yes, you read that right. I actually like the fact that we have all girls in one cabin and all guys in another. It reminds me of youth camp years. I give the younger girls grief because they never sleep {they stay up talking and tweeting} but I secretly love it. I love being a part of it for a few days before returning to the real world.

7. The INACCESSIBILITY. My cell phone drives my day...there's no way around it. It comes with my ministry, and that's okay. But for 2 days I leave my cell phone on my pillow and focus only on what God has to say to me and what I need to say to Him. No beeps. No blinking light. No notifications. It is wonderful!

8. The COMMUNION. Not just the bread and the juice but the actual communion between me and God. The fellowship...the conversation. Last year I was able to pour my heart out to Him about one specific thing that I was having a hard time dealing with. I was suffering silently about this particular issue. He didn't fix it on the spot...but He grew me in the months that followed and by the fourth month He had broken through. I am thankful for the time at the Prayer Summit when I was able to crouch down in the corner of a country chapel and pour out my heart to God.

These are just a few things that I love about the Prayer Summit. I hope you can join us this year and seek God for what He has for you and wants to do in/through you. It's a weekend you won't regret!
Twitter: @GreenbriarCh  #GBPrayerSummit

Saturday, September 24, 2011


There is a commercial on television that hits a nerve with me each time I see it. Here it is: 

I’m not really sure why this commercial hits a nerve with me. Maybe it’s because more often than not, I do not make good breakfast choices because I’m on the run. Or maybe it’s just because I’m weird. Either way, God brought the commercial to mind just a few minutes ago as I was reading this scripture. 

Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” 

For as long as I can remember there has been a debate about the best time of day to have a quiet time (a personal, intimate time with God through His word and prayer). Some people believe that you should have your quiet time just as your feet hit the floor in the mornings. Other people believe that it really doesn’t matter when you have your quiet time as long as you have one. Some people are legalistic about it while others are grace abusers…that is a whole different blog post! I’m old enough now to have walked through several phases of life that required different things of me. When my children were infants it was impossible to have a quiet time before my day began...I was doing good to get one in before bedtime. At this phase in my life, I usually have my quiet time as soon as I drop my kids off at school. I don’t think God is the hall monitor handing out tardy slips for each minute that passes before we have time with Him…but I do believe that the sooner I can make the good choice of getting alone with Him for prayer and the word, the better my chances are of having victory through my day. Here’s what Beth Moore says in her Bible study, “Breaking Free”: 

“To live victoriously, every day we must learn to pour out our hearts to God, confess sin daily, acknowledge every hollow place, and invite Him to fill us fully! Then we need to continue to fan the flame of His love by reading scripture, listening to edifying music, and praying often. We also need to avoid things that obviously quench His Spirit.  
In my morning time with God, I ask Him to satisfy all my longings and fill all my hollow places with His lavish, unfailing love. This frees me from craving the approval of others and requiring them to ‘fill my cup.’ Then, if someone takes the time to demonstrate his or her love to me, that’s the overflow! I am free to appreciate it and enjoy it, but I didn’t emotionally require it.” 

We have a choice. We can begin our day with the appetite of our flesh and the result will be a craving so great that no one or nothing can satisfy it. Or, we can begin with a feast on the Word of God with God Himself and find satisfaction that will overflow into each and every circumstance that comes our way. I want the feast that satisfies!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I wish I knew the exact date when I first met Scott Kavanaugh. I had a friend who was dying to set me up with this boy that she grew up with. I didn’t like blind dates and would not agree to her plan. She thought she had the solution to my refusal when he walked up to her in the mall one day when I was with her. They began to chat and she introduced me. I thought he was very cute – that was the word we used back then – so I decided to join the conversation that had just begun about his brand new car. It just so happened that I was about to make my first new car purchase and was considering the same one he had just purchased. So, I asked him, “How do you like your new car? I’m thinking about purchasing that same type.” In typical JSK “attitude” style, he looked at me and said, “Well, fine, I guess. I just got it.” Psshhh! That was the end of that! I told my friend no way, no how would I go out with someone so rude!

But, as life would have it, that all changed… English 201 found me in the class of one of the most liberal professors our college had at that time. I knew that the semester would be tough on me because of that; so on the first day of class, I was preparing myself for the weeks ahead. And then, the professor began to call roll. Professor: “J. Scott Kavanaugh?” Scott: “Here.” Professor: “May I ask what the J stands for?” Scott: “No, you may not. That’s why it is an initial.” I was hooked from that moment on! It was the same sarcasm that I had experienced one year earlier, but something was different this time. That semester ended up being the best few months I had ever had. And the rest is history.

 Today is our fourteenth wedding anniversary. I don’t save reflection for this time each year…I think over those fourteen years often…not because they have been bad…but because they have been so graced. Fourteen years of marriage has included the birth of two little girls that forever stole our hearts; the death of four grandparents and one parent that took a piece of our hearts with them into eternity; financial lows; financial highs; grocery budgets that began at $50/2 weeks up to the current $175/week; historical acts of God and man that have changed life as we knew it; friends that have remained friends to this day and even some who have wondered away. Through every single day of each year one constant thing remained – the hand of God has been on us each step of the way. To God be the glory!

J. Scott Kavanaugh – I love you more than any other person on this earth now or ever. There is no one I would rather spend the rest of my days with. I love you with all of my heart and I look forward to the years we have left until we are taken home in death or we meet Jesus in the parted sky! You are my man! I love you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Today’s blog post is for the women of Greenbriar Church who were not able to travel with us to Louisville, KY for the Deeper Still Conference. This particular conference was the very last one in the FIVE YEAR run of conferences. If you never had the opportunity to attend one let me paint the picture for you. Attenders always arrived on Friday night greeted by 8,000 to 17,000 of your closest girlfriends from across the country. There is nothing like waiting for the doors to open with that many sisters in Christ. I promise you…the numbers are no exaggeration! Upon finally entering the venue there was no mistaking the energized atmosphere! From music to booths set up by the LifeWay Women’s Team, there was always something to keep your attention…and it wasn't just fluff! It was all relevant to Christian Women. Finally, the 5-minute countdown would begin and spirit-filled worship would commence. And then…about 20 minutes later the first of three anointed and powerful speakers would take her place on the stage, bringing God’s word to a sea of hungry women. Then, the process repeated itself the very next day. I’ve never been to an event with these speakers that I haven’t heard clearly from God about how to apply their messages to my life. Over the next 3 posts, I will attempt to share with you what they brought to us. First up, KAYE ARTHUR. {All words in parenthesis are my thoughts.}

Kay began her teaching time with this statement: “400 women were asked, ‘Have you ever doubted God’s love?’ Seventy-five percent said, ‘Yes.’” She went on to share that when those women were asked why they doubted God’s love, the reasons included sexual abuse, feelings of guilt, rejection by others, experiencing a loss, because God doesn't answer my prayers, because I feel unworthy based on my past.

Then she turned the question to us…Have YOU ever doubted God’s love because He isn't performing as you expected? {ouch} How secure and confident are you in the Lord? Are you sure of His unconditional love…how He knows all about you and loves you anyway?

Sometimes, we make the mistake of thinking that God loves us because we are lovable but Romans 5:6-8 tells us differently. Scripture tells us that Jesus died for us while we were helpless {we couldn’t save ourselves} and ungodly {we aren’t good enough to save ourselves}. There’s no mistaking that we aren’t loveable. The solution was found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and through His sacrifice God lavished love on us {I John 3:1}

Kaye spent the next 20 minutes or so giving a very detailed description of the physical suffering of Jesus Christ as He bore our sin and appeased God’s wrath. The scripture she clung to for the majority of the time was Isaiah 52:14 through Isaiah 53. The picture she painted hurt my heart.
John 1:11 tells us that Jesus came to His own but they did not receive Him but to all that did, He gave them the right to become children of God…and then into verse 13 she commentated, “Salvation…not because of your family name, not because someone willed you and not because YOU decided…it was because HE did {decided}.” {Ephesians 1:3-10}

1 John 3:2 says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” She posed the next question: “How are you living in light of His return?” And then, she spent the remainder of her time taking a hard look at what separates true children of God from those who are not…including those who think they are children but have been deceived. I will give you the scriptures she referenced as well as her commentary.

1 John 3:3 “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Is sin in my life causing me to doubt God’s love? If we have habitual sin in our lives (same sin, time and time again) we should examine our salvation because of this…

1 John 3:6, “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.” If the power of sin hasn’t been destroyed then you aren’t born again.

1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” No child of God practices sin because Jesus, God’s seed, dwells in him.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” If there is no change {in your life} then you aren’t a child of God.

1 John 3:10, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” Those who are not of God are obvious. {It should be noted that “doing right” does not refer to man’s moral code. The Greek word is dikaiosune and means, “the condition acceptable to God; the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved by God.” } {Loving your brother is further expressed through verse 16.}

{So, what about those who profess to be of God?} In John 8:41 the Pharisees said, “We are not illegitimate children…the only Father we have is God Himself!” To this, Jesus replied, “If God were your Father, you would live me, for I come from God and now am here. I have not come on my own, but He sent me.” The message is clear: If a person doesn’t love JESUS, they do not love God.

Romans 5:5, “…God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” We are only able to love because of His love in us through the Holy Spirit {which produces the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22…go check them out.}

1 John 4:16, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”

Kay’s purpose, I am convinced, was not to scare the women who were at this conference. But in our culture…a world filled with no absolute truth and a “love wins” mentality, she had to draw the line in the sand using the pure word of God. It wasn’t an easy message to hear but Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” At the end of it all, God’s Word divides those who are in Him and those who are not. It’s clear.

My prayer is that whoever may come across this lonely, little blog of mine will examine themselves using the mirror of scripture. If you have any questions I would love to speak with you. You may email me at

Friday, July 1, 2011


I decided that my blog has been sort of serious and heavy for the past week and a half so, it's time to add some fun stuff! At the beginning of June, I loaded up a van with five other women and we began a 12 hour drive to Louisville, Kentucky for the last Deeper Still conference with Beth Moore, Kay Arthur and Priscilla Shirer. We had the best time and made so many memories...and even a few new friends. Here are just a few snapshots taken by my friend, Jaye Bice and myself. (Mine are the really blurry ones :))

This is me and Jaye, our pastor's wife. Jaye and I first met at the wedding of Johnny & Jill Schroeder, where I was the wedding planner. Little did I know then that her husband, Tim, had been praying about asking me to come on staff at Greenbriar Church. She later told me that she was watching me like a hawk to see if I was someone she could do life we all know, when you are in ministry with a group of people, you see them a lot more than you see your own family! A few months after the wedding it was Jaye who called me to ask us over for dinner. The rest is history. I came on staff...and in the process I gained this wonderful woman as a best friend. She supports me in every area of my ministries at Greenbriar. She loves my family...especially my children. She intercedes for us. She allows me (expects me) to be 100% myself. We laugh together (a lot)...we cry together. We get along tremendously well on trips (even when our husbands come along). I've said it before but she's the friend that feels like she's been in my life since birth but in reality it's only been a few months short of two years. Anyway, sorry to ramble...I just wanted gab a little about her!

These are the brave women who made the trip. We overcame a hotel with no air, 2 bugs in our bed, a sack full of vendor hotdogs, one bathroom/one sink for all us, a flat tire on the way home and when we all were starving and tried to find food, the only exit available was one where everything had been taken out by a tornado. (THAT scenario made us think twice about complaining!) In spite of all the minor irritations...we had a BLAST!

I realize something is a little *ahem* this picture. Jaye is always behind the camera (even though this was my camera) so I had to superimpose her...rather sloppily, I might add. This was our dinner on the Ohio River at a place called "Rocky's". It was better during my first trip to Louisville but after 12 hours of drive time I think we were all just ready for bed!

We had a little time to kill on Friday morning so we headed to Churchill Downs! The store manager was gracious enough to let us use some official hats to record a welcome video to send back home for church that Sunday. I LOVED THE HATS! I thought about buying mine but with a price tag of $550.00, I decided to put it back! The pic of me hugging that sweet girl is Ivy...she glows. Literally, she does. She loves Jesus and helps the needy. That is her in a nutshell.

The pink hat is Katy, the person I mentor. I LOVE this hat on was perfect! I think her picture should be on a Kentucky Derby ad! The other lovely lady is Sharon. I think she and Katy called ahead about hat colors because they matched their outfits! So cute!

This is us (minus our photographer). I love this picture because of Katy.
She's going to kill me. :)

This first picture is from Deeper Still December 2010. At first glance, it appears that I am choking my dear friend, but if you look closer you will see that she has a complex about her neck being too skinny (is there really such a thing?) and asked me to use the scarf to cover it up. This picture perpetuated the false assumption that I am in keeping with Deeper Still trips I decided to choke Ivy in front of the Actors Theatre! As you can tell though, I actually love her to pieces!

And at the end of the last day, we gained two new friends from the conference. The had flown in from Panama City Beach and needed a ride to dinner. So, our 6 turned into 8! We loved meeting them and still keep up with them on Twitter!

I cannot wait for the next trip! Girls trips are so much fun...I think boys miss out on so much! I'm not sure when the next road trip will be but I sure hope you are part of it! Until next time....

***Will post more about the content of the Deeper Still Conference in a few days! It's GREAT stuff! So thankful for these women of God who bring the WORD without apology!

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I only have a few minutes to post this but I HAD to get the update out fast! Praise God, the polyp was BENIGN and the other areas of concern were just irritation. The pill cam did catch a diverticulum in her small intestines. We will have another test to find out if it's Meckels Diverticulum. If it is, Scott and I will have to decide if we take it out now or wait until it becomes a problem...the answer will probably be to take it out now since they can become dangerous quickly.

Emily will always have to be watched, however, because juvenile polyps that occur frequently have a high rate of turning into malignancies. I'm choosing to cross that bridge when and if we come to it. For now.....I am overjoyed that this one is benign!

I've got to tell you, I have been preparing my heart for the worst. Not in a morbid, hopeless kind of way....but in a trust Jesus no matter what kind of way. This has made me ask myself some hard questions about how far I'm willing to surrender to Him. To be honest, I want to live every day of my life like that.

In the middle of my rejoicing the thought hit me that there are parents today that DIDN'T receive good news. We met some parents like that while we were in Macon at Children's Hospital. My heart goes out to them. Please lift them up with me...I don't know any of them but I know they need us to stand in the gap!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Today is day 5 in our 8-11 day wait on Emily's biopsies. To say it has been slow is an understatement and sometimes, with each minute that passes, we find ourselves fighting for our joy. And in the moments when we think we are about to lose our minds, God provides distraction. I'm so thankful for His grace!

I was asked Sunday by my co-worker, Johnny, where I had been in the Word while we were in the hospital. He wanted to make sure I was turning to the right Place with my fears and heavy heart but in that moment, I was so exhausted and overwhelmed to give him an answer. I was in several different places in the Word over the days we were in the hospital. I wrote most of them in my journal and when I reflected over them today, I knew I wanted to share one of the most significant.

I wanted to keep up with my Bible study in Tammie Head's "Duty or Delight". Most of the time when you are waiting on God to speak, it is best to stay on your structured reading routine versus the hunt-and-peck method. This one particular day she touched on a familiar that we almost glaze over because we've heard it so much:

"Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time." Hebrews 4:16

The Greek word for "boldness" is parresia and it means "freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, openly, frankly, i.e without concealment, without ambiguity or circumlocution, without the use of figures and comparisons, free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance, the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity." Does any of this cause a flood of emotions within you? It did for me!

For those of us who have received Jesus Christ as LORD and SAVIOR, we have rights. Yes, you heard that correctly. I, for one, have spent too long walking around as if I don't have any rights. Sometimes, we confuse walking with boldness in our rights with irreverence toward God...and it just isn't so. Prayer...bold our right, given to us by God! And look at how bold our prayers can be! (Go read the definition again...go ahead, I will wait.)

How many times have we edited our prayers before God!?! Plenty. Out of embarrassment. Out of shame. Out of unworthiness. Out of fear. But based on that definition of boldness, however, we have no reason to edit! We can lay out our deepest fears, our worst hurts, our biggest dreams, our intense anxieties...whatever it is...we can bring it to Him! Our words do not have to be eloquent nor our phrases long. It doesn't matter...we just need to get to the heart of the matter.

And my FAVORITE part of that definition is, "...the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity." GOD DOES NOT IGNORE US! When we come before the throne of God, we have secured and audience of One. He listens. We have His attention! In these days of waiting, I have been uttering some pretty raw and honest prayers...and I am so comforted by the fact that He hears!

Another part of that verse that speaks to me is we will find mercy and grace "at the proper time". I'm sure many of you have had opportunities to ask God, "When?" When will You...heal my marriage...provide a job for me...heal my my loved one...etc. This verse reminds me that the answer lies within the sovereignty of our God..."at the proper time." He WILL answer. We just have to wait until the proper time.

I want to share two pieces of encouragement that I have listened to several times. The first one is a sermon by Judah Smith at the New Spring Church Leadership Conference in 2010. He talks about living in the mean time while you're waiting on the proper time. Click here and then select Judah Smith, session 4.

The other is "While I'm Waiting," a song by John Waller. This is my personal battle plan while I'm serve Him, worship Him, commune with Him. If you are waiting on God to move in your life, I hope you will do the same!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I am so sorry it has taken a while to update everyone on Emily. My antivirus program would not allow me back on the hospital's wireless internet...and by the time we arrived home I was too exhausted to pull out this laptop. So, here is the update a few days late.

Emily was taken Thursday, shortly before lunch, for her endoscopy and colonoscopy. She was so brave. During the colonoscopy they found the polyp that you see below. Scott and I were able to see it in person after the scope. Personally, the name "polyp" doesn't do it justice. When I think "polyp", I think small and puny. As you can see, this was no small or puny growth. The doctor has sent that polyp as well as other biopsies to pathology. We anxiously await those reports this Friday (July 1) or the following Monday. There were other concerning areas but this polyp, by far, is the most concerning.

Emily came out of her scopes like a champ! After 30 minutes or so in recovery, she was ready to eat! BUT, not so fast! The doctor decided to insert a pill camera that traveled through the parts of her intestines where no scope can go. Given his findings in the colonoscopy, he wanted to cover all bases. This meant another 9 hours without eating and an extra night in the hospital.

Eventually, 9 hours passed...and a milkshake party commenced in room 306! I wish I could have videoed Emily's response after her first sip of chocolaty goodness after 5 days of no eating! She was in heaven.

That night, we also had some therapy dogs to visit! They were a bright spot and provided some distraction by performing various tricks.

Then, Friday morning we received the OFFICIAL word that we were going home! We happily loaded Emily up and headed down I-75 South.

And now...we wait. We wait to hear from pathology about the biopsies. It's probably the hardest thing I've ever had to wait on. I got up for church this morning...thankful, by the way, that I lead a team of worship leaders who truly live worship as their lifestyle and could easily step in and take charge...but the one thing I asked God was, "How do I act (in front of our people) as if this wait isn't worrisome and excruciating?" He reminded me of my ultimate example of the way I should act and that example is in the person of Jesus. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane we know it was an excruciating and intense time of waiting for Him because we are told that he began to sweat drops of blood. He knew what was ahead of Him and in His waiting, He did not put on a mask. He poured His heart out to God in complete honesty. And somehow He still considered with joy the cross set before Him. I'm not sure what that looks like for us entirely, but I do know this: Jesus knows every anxious thought we have, every fear, every worry...and we can pour our hearts out to Him in complete honesty as we wait.

Thank you, again, for praying for us. You have no idea how much your prayers have been felt. It has been humbling and overwhelming. I would ask that you pray also for the Thompson family, whose father is in the hospital with congestive heart failure after undergoing the removal of a kidney as well as the Sims family, who has just learned that their grandmother has brain cancer. That news comes on the heels of the death of their grandfather last year. There are some hard things going on within our church family but as we proclaimed this morning, JESUS reigns in our midst. HE is freedom. HE is hope. We look to HIM. We hold on to HIM. God is still God and God is still good! Praise be to God!

soli Deo gloria