Saturday, December 24, 2011

Who He says He Is

One of my most favorite Christmas passages is found in Isaiah 9:6-7

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end."

Since we know that the Bible is God's Words, inspired by He, himself; it's fun to see the names God claims as He declares His son's coming. I wanted to share the footnotes my Bible holds concerning this passage:

"The same two Hebrew words underlying 'Wonderful Counselor' describe the Lord as being wonderful in counsel. 'Mighty God', His divine power as a warrior is stressed. 'Everlasting Father', He wil be an enduring,compassionate provider and protector. And 'Prince of Peace', His rule wll bring wholeness and well-being to individuals and to society."

The wisest most wonderful counselor ever, a warrior of a God, a provider and protector, and one who brings wholeness and well-being to all who will have Him. What a baby, what a God!

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Early Christmas for Knox

Becca and Keri, in their usual style, have abundantly blessed us with gifts for baby Knox! I took a picture of my can see those below:

Please note the little rain boots. After unwrapping them, Justin set them next to all twelve of his pairs in the foyer. He was very proud! Knox' (I'm guessing that's how I will make my son's name would be good if I checked on that.) Anyway his middle name will be "Mack." This is after the Mack truck. Their mascot is the bulldog, hence all the little bulldogs on the shirts.
This is what my son will be named after. That's Justin, in a Mack truck. Secretly I love it, but I like to pick on Justin for naming our son after a piece of equipment. Now, for the one piece Becca and Keri sent that my son can never wear...."Bachelor" would be false advertisement. He is already married to his Mommy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Boy

I realized, I have not even written about the most exciting news our little family has heard in a while. Our baby is a boy, a son. My fingers are just now recovering (bones healing) from the squeeze Justin gave when they identified the proper equipment necessary to be a little man child. We are very happy. I will miss bows, glitter, ruffles, and lace, but there is still hope. Not of my boy wearing any of that, but of another baby one day.

After the announcement of the gender, we had to return to the waiting room until our doctor could see us for his appointment. Justin was talking 90 to nothing about all the experiences they were going to have, all the machines they were going to destroy, just so they could rebuild, all the forts he had intentions of building, and about all the "treasures" they would bring home to park in my yard. He was so happy. When I saw how happy he was and how much excitement he felt, bows and ribbons left my mind, ok, not completely, but miniature Cinch shirts and cowboy boots will be cute too!

My family is full of girls. Between my brothers and sisters, there are 6 granddaughters, and 0 grandsons. So, Justin knew the risk of running with me, before we got married. But come to find out the gender is completely determined by the Father. That works well for him, because his family is boy heavy. As the nurse explained how this works I thought about our heavenly Father. The Bible says we are made in the image of God, as a people, as a whole. How interesting that He modeled even this, after himself. Our identity is found in our earthly Father as a mirror to the way our identity is ultimately and truly found in our eternal Father.  Who He says we are, is who we are. Regardless of what we feel like, or act like. He's the authority not our feelings or the world or our friends or our family. No one else.
Galatians 1:10 says, " Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

This verse can be troublesome for those of us who are people- pleasers, want everyone to be happy, or just desire to be liked. I think sometimes as a Christian it's a temptation to desire to "fit in" yet still be God's girl. Sometimes that coincidences well, because the world does still respect morals, general kindness and goodwill towards others. Yet, sometimes the world and the Word differ so radically there is a definite fork in the road and a decision must be made.Those are the moments that tend to be either extremely easy or extremely hard. Sometimes the world's way is so disgusting we don't think twice. Yet, others, it seems so easy that it beckons as a huge temptation. God knows. God understands. 

May your encouragement be, that you are His. And who He says you are, is ultimately who you are, even if you do not believe it. Strive to please Him alone. Even when you fail, He gets to say you are loved, cherished, redeemed, and forgiven-because you are His, and He decides who you are.

Now, back to browsing cowboy nursery decor. :)  

Monday, December 12, 2011

No longer 16

Today at lunch duty, a girl and a boy were fighting over a bag of Funions (those chips that taste like onions) and I dutifully asked them to stop. I threw in my own opinion and said, "Why would you want those things anyway, they are gross!" They immediately defended their position of complete devotion to their chip of choice. I told them that I had eaten so many as a young girl that I got burnt out on them. One turned to me dead serious shocked, "They've made Funions for that long?" First I said, "Huh??" Then I had to walk away.I guess even though I still feel 16. I am not. Ha. (I guess.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Accepting Grace and "Coffee"

A couple of days ago, I needed a latte. Not just wanted one, needed one. Let me take that back, I needed a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Now, Hamilton is fresh out of pumpkin spice lattes (like forever).  To "get a latte" means you run down to the Cefco, grab your cup, choose your flavor and go for it. You get about a half cup of water before the latte wakes up and shows its beautiful face. But nonetheless, I knew it would satisfy my craving and be a special treat for that particular morning.

I ran in, grabbed my cup, chose my flavor, and headed to the cashier. She rang me up, and I swiped my card. The machine didn't read the card, so I swiped again, and again, and again. Then I switched sides and swiped again, and again, and again. (This latte was a need.) Then she tried the old plastic sack trick. Nothing. I was freaking out, because I knew I had no cash and had nothing to purchase the latte, which I needed, with.

Just as the last attempt failed, an older gentleman took his place in line behind me. I didn't want to keep him waiting, so I started to tell the clerk, "I'm so sorry I ruined a cup and made a latte, but I've got nothing to purchase it with" and then quickly leave my latte and the store. But just as I started, he said, "Put her coffee on mine." My first thought was "Oh no. He thinks it's a coffee, but it's a latte. That's a difference of at least seventy-five cents! I'm so embarrassed. Why did I HAVE to have the latte?!?" But what I said was, "Oh no, you don't have to do that." Without skipping a beat, he smiled and said, "Well you need that coffee, and you can't pay for it. So, I will. There have been times the machine wouldn't read my card either."

I was shocked, blessed, and getting a spiritual analogy all at the same time. I quickly said, "Thank you so much!"- then ran out the door with my latte so I didn't have to experience the shame of my $1.50 "coffee." The older generation can't seem to fathom paying more than thirty cents for a cup. Or maybe that's just my Daddy. I was so glad he wasn't covering me at Starbucks.

So, I got in my truck and thought about the perfect parallel between he and my Father. I needed restoration from sin, and there was no possible way I could pay it. No matter how many times I tried/swiped, my actions/card weren't enough. God had to pay it, or else it wasn't gonna get paid. I was so blessed by that man buying my coffee, I couldn't get over it. I made sure I took a mental snap shot of his pick-up so I could describe it to Justin, and see if he happened to know him. All this, over a buck fifty coffee. It was a wonderful gesture, but how minuet it was compared to the sacrifice of His Son. I couldn't thank the man enough, but there are days I forget to thank God. Yet, no condemnation, because He already paid for even my selfishness/lack of gratitude. I just want to be better at being thankful and grasping what He gave and paid for. Honestly, it is hard to grasp an eternal reality when you can not see, touch, or experience it immediately, as you can a cup of coffee. But one day, when we do...Oh the joy!

The flip side, is how easily I accepted the coffee, but struggle with accepting His gift of grace. I enjoyed my coffee, and didn't worry for the remainder of the day, "Gosh, how am I going to ever pay for this coffee." I knew it had been paid for and was good with that. I long to accept grace in this way, but my sense of pride encourages me to find something I can do, even if it is just a small payment. But Truth says, I am incapable of even a payment, because the payer must be totally perfect, and I can't help myself one bit on that one! The fact I struggle with the acceptance of grace, gives me hope, that maybe to some degree, I do recognize the magnitude of the sacrifice.

If any of this makes any sense to you at all, I am glad. Look for Him, trying to reveal Himself to you, in everyday experiences. It is His good pleasure to do so, and our unmeasurable gain.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Benefit of Doubt

I did not write this, but found it on a blog a couple days ago. I loved it and sent it on to several of my friends. It is powerfully written and true to the heart. A bit convicting as well- but even conviction is beautiful, right?? It's communication with our Father. At least we know He is still speaking to us in our spirit.

The Benefit of Doubt

If there were ever a group of people who should second guess their impulsive judgments about others it should be Christ followers. We know what forgiveness is. We know we are not enemies. We know all of us have something to learn. We know all of us are flawed. We know the "ideal self" is myth. We know none of us sees things clearly. We know everyone is a critic and everyone has a critic. We know people love to talk about everyone's failures but their own. We know pride is nothing more than an elaborate cover-up for our insecurities. We know evil runs through every single one of us. We know God will finish what He started. And, most of all, we know Christ.

Of course, it's hard to extend the benefit of the doubt when you're licking your wounds. I'd rather operate with the assurance that I know what I saw, I know what I heard, I know what I felt. It's hard to argue with me when I'm talking about myself. But, then, I think of him. And, how he said, "father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing." The ultimate benefit of the doubt.

Maybe next time I'll say to myself, "he didn't mean it, and, even if he did, I don't know." Sure will save me a lot of grief. Rummaging through past hurts and sorting out possible motives only contributes to my delusion of certainty. Instead, I should live with the benefit of doubt.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I have not written lately, but I have been obssessed with reading. I think because it is an activity I can complete from my bed or the bath tub, while sipping 7-Up. Those have been my two favorite hot spots lately. I have read several pieces that spoke so loudly to my heart, that it seemed the Lord was leaning down into my ear. I want to share several of them with you over the next couple of days.
The first writing I wanted to share comes from Streams in the Desert, which is one of my most favorite books for times you need a little encouragement. This  speaks so much to me, because it is reinforcement encouraging us to be us, in Christ. It frees us up to realize that who we were created to be in Him, is exactly who He wanted. We can release ourselves from pressure to be anyone but us. That is, afterall, how and where we will be the most effective.
                                                 Learning to be Content-Streams in the Desert
A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and founde vertyhing withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick oflife and etermined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine.
The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life aways because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on all through the garden.
Coming to a heart's-ease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. "Well, heart's-ease, I'm glad amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened." "No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart's-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart's-ease that I can be."

Baby On the Way!

Justin and I have exciting news. Most of you have heard, and actually we are still procesing it ourselves, but we are Pregnant! We are very excited and feel so blessed. We realize what a divine opportunity this is, and what a charge from God we have been given. We accept it with arms wide open and can not wait to see what the Lord does in our little family. We are due April 22nd, and should find out around the first of December whether we will buy pink boots or blue. We ask for and so appreciate your prayers for our family as we make these preparations, and of course for a healthy and strong baby!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Newest Treasure

My dear friend Heather introduced me to the Pioneer Woman. She had told me about her a couple times, but the moment I read the blog, I was hooked! The simple story is city girl meets country boy, they fall in love and have babies. (And live in the middle of nowhere.) Ree Drummond, is hilarious, and quick-witted. Since I recently have fallen in love with her, Justin and Becca ordered me her cookbook, and her novel, which is her very own love story. It was the coolest surprise gift! The novel was great, and the cookbook is packed for a colors, pictures, and recipes. I attempted my first, homemade cinnamon rolls. They were quite delicious & quite dangerous. I think you like her :

Saturday, August 20, 2011

30 Day Challenges

One of my favorite authors/speakers is Nancy Lee DeMoss. She is a single woman, who has committed her life to whole heartedly serving women, and helping them regain their purpose. In high school, my church completed the Bible study "Ruth" which she had written. Since then, I have listened to her through the radio and online and checked out her blog/website. Just this afternoon I was reading a few of her articles on becoming a virtuous woman of God. I found these 30-Day Challenges.
  • 30 Days of True Woman Makeovers
  • 30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge
  • 30 Day Choosing Gratitude Challenge
  • 30 Days of Praying for your Pastor
  • 30 Days of Praying for your Pastor's Wife 
Sometimes when we really desire change or desire to see God work, it requires devoted focus. Our lives can become so busy, even with the best intentions we can fall off track. But below on this link you can enter your email address and they will send you daily encouraging emails, I believe. Be sure to check out her blog too (, if you have time. She has several authors that contribute to it, and you can browse by topic and subject.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Weekend of Parties...

Last weekend was Party Central! It began with my dear friend Keri's bachelorette party...complete with Italian food and cheesecake, and of course I crowning veil. We then had her shower Saturday morning. Tim attended this shower with Keri-making it more of a comedy show than a shower! That afternoon we followed up with her lingerie shower, complete with you know what...very little!. Finally that evening I headed to Corsicana where my mom hosted a Pampered Chef party, complete with an apron contest (through pictures you can determine your favorite!). When my head hit the pillow on Saturday evening I was exhausted! But we had so much fun and laughed and ATE!
 Keri's Table for her Party
Beautiful Bride
Phyllis, Mrs. Garcia, & Mrs. Nanny
Mom & Kristen
De'Renda & Phyllis!
Everyone and their aprons....oh Phyllis! 

Aunt Sherry & Yvonne

Nashville Pictures

This was the inside of the hotel we stayed in-The Opryland Hotel. 
One of Justin's Awards for being a "Top Gun" winner.
The Grand Old Opry
We had crossed our fingers we would run into him...or at least I did.
Ride Day!
One of our most classy pictures yet.
My husband, waiting on our flight, in a wheelchair, spit cup between his legs, boots off, and a construction cone on his head. I'm the luckiest girl alive!

Nashville, Tennessee

When Justin & I got married, our original honeymoon plan was to take a trip across the South. We both love history & farming and the South is full of both. We wanted to visit historical markers, tour plantation homes, & wind up in Nashville to take in all of Music City. Well, then we begin to look at the cost & the practicality of that particular trip. Justin's great-uncle offered us several free nights in one of his condos, down on the beach in Corpus Christi. We accepted that gift quickly and we thankful for our opportunity. We both commented that we could go to Nashville "one day."

On our way home from our honeymoon, Justin's boss called just to let him know that he was one of the top salesmen in the nation and he won a free trip to Nashville in July! Plus he could take me. :) This trip was all expense paid-airfare, shuttle rides, hotel, food-everything. Plus there would be a Justin Moore concert, and a Zac Brown Band, thrown in. Through Ken's free passes, I got to fly for free also. We were beside ourselves with the timing and blessing of this trip. We had a second honeymoon, and it was on the company!

The food was fancy (I think Justin's favorite meal was a chicken fried steak at the Cracker Barrel on our way home), but still. Each meal was served with more silverware than I even own. We had free entertainment, a free trip to the Ryman and the Country Music Hall of Fame. We even stood on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. One of my most favorite parts was the ride day. This is the day that Polaris introduced all the salesmen to the new rides that would be making their debut this year. We got to test drive all of them, & their competition. That was so much fun. A couple I rode on my own, but it was more fun when Justin drove. He's a daredevil!

I wanted to post pictures, but my computer is not accepting any of them. I'm gonna go ahead and post. And if it decides to cooperate I will post pictures then!

Sunday, July 31, 2011


My Dad told Justin and I about this prayer for rain that was written during the 30's, the Dust Bowl era, and published only three times in the history of the Livestock Weekly magazine. They only print it  when circumstances grow to be disastrously dangerous. It ran this past month.

My Dad told Justin that he had been asked to pray this past Sunday in front of the congregation. When he prayed, he prayed specifically for things mentioned in this printed prayer, such as "Lord, send a rain that cleans out the gutters, send a rain that pushes out the rivers, send a rain that is a good, heavy, soaking. He said people snickered. Justin looked straight at him, and said, "Well, God tells us to pray specific things, when we need specific answers." They get each other. They are fighting the same thing, in different regions. Daddy nodded, encouraged, and looked down as dust blew through the alley at the salebarn. When you stake your whole life on something, and pour your heart into ranching, a time like this is hard to swallow. When it's your livelihood, and not your flowers your worried about, it changes everything.

Oh, how we need the rain. It's brown, burnt up, & it's hot. Salebarns are recording record numbers of livestock being sold because ranchers and farmers have nothing to feed their cattle. It's a scary thing, one which we can do nothing to control. It's all in God's hands, so we petition Him, and ask you to join

O Lord, in Thy mercy, grant us a rain, and by that we don't mean a shower. We want to go out in our car in the early evening and watch the lightning go ripping across the southwestern sky in hot blue forks as the fat clouds roll in on us from Lampasas County. We want to hurry home to close the house with the first fat drops the size of marbles on a suddenly rising wind, chasing us and plunking on the hood of our car. We want to scramble all over the house just as the first sheets descend, frantically slamming down the windows, while the drops thunder on the tin roof of the porch and lightning blasts illuminate the waving treetops.

O Lord of Hosts, we want to look out of the windows and watch the regiments of fat, close-paced raindrops march diagonally down in sheets, until we can't see the outlines of the street light on the corner and it looks like a great pale luminous ball through the driving drops. We want to hear, about a minute after the first rush, the gurgle in the tin gutters under the eaves, and, in 25 seconds more, the sputter of the downspout and the hollow churning of the water in the cistern.

God of Israel, Isaac and Jacob, let it come down so hard, let the drops dance so high that the outlines of streets and sidewalks seem covered with a six-inch fog of splattering drops. Then let it just keep up for a while, and then begin to taper off, and then turn right 'round and get a lot worse, swishing, pounding, splattering, pouring, drenching, the thunder coming — "Crackity-BAM! Bam - bam - bumble - bumble-bumble" — and the lightning flashing so fast and furious you can't tell which flash goes with which peal of thunder. So that all the women will get scared and climb on top of the feather beds and scream at you not to get too close to the windows. So that in between lightning flashes you can see the dirty yellow gutter water rippling across the street, instead of along its sides.

And then, O Jealous God, repeat the whole act about three times, and in the middle of the second time, we will get out the old tin wash pan and climb the attic stairs to put it under the tiny leak in the roof which usually you can't even notice in an ordinary rain. And after a couple of hours, kind of taper it down, O Lord, to a good, steady rain — not a drizzle — but a business-like one, that keeps up until just about dawn and then spits a few drops occasionally during the morning from a gray sky.

O Shepherd of a Chosen People, when we walk to work that morning, let us see pink, thin-nosed angleworms that have crawled out of the grass and drowned in the sidewalk puddles, and big pools of standing water in every yard, with just the tips of the fresh green grass breaking the surface. Let it knock all the buds off the elm trees, so that streets and sidewalks are covered with a brown snow, except where the running water has gathered into thick scum over the pools around the choked drains.

Then let everyone begin wondering what the rivers are doing, and when we go down to the bridge, make us drive through about two inches of dirty yellow water running over the pavement, and when we get on it, let us watch a pig and two Buff Orpington hens and half a woodshed float by, about three feet under our shoe soles, and Lord, let the farmers holler their heads off about how it will be to wet, now, to get their corn in early enough.

Thou Art My Shepherd, I shall not want if Thou leadest me into green pastures, and beside the still waters, while the little pasture ponds stand full to the brinks of their cement dams.
O God of Battles and Lord of Many Mansions, if you don't want it to rain in Texas, all right. And if you do, all right. But we are weak in faith and pray for a sign such as you gave to Aaron to confound Pharaoh's magicians and sorcerers. Take this business of weather prediction out of the hands of a lot of incompetent Washington Bureaucrats and make it Thy special province. They're playing horse with us, Lord. They promise a rain and all we get is a mangy little thin-flanked shower that you could hang your hat on its hip bones.

Texas is indeed the Promised Land, O Lord, and if it gets a break it will flow with milk and honey. But we can't live much longer on promises. So in Thine own way and in Thine own time make up Thy mind, O Lord, and we will bow before Thy judgment, and praise Thy everlasting name. Amen.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


My mother- in- law, Nancy, and I were talking yesterday about life purposes. Kind of ironic that we were bumming in it out in the swimming pool for a couple of hours,while discussing such an active topic! But we were just resting for a minute.

I went home and thought over and over about that conversation. Life purposes. It's such a huge topic that is so hard to even wrap your mind around. Many of us are looking for just that. What is what is my life purpose? What am I here for? How can I feel optimum fulfillment in the way I spend my time, here? It's evident, we are not alone in this, or Rick Warren would not have sold millions and millions of copies or The Purpose Driven Life. The more I thought on this, I concluded this exact topic is one reason I love Jesus.

With Him, we can know, as long as we are still drawing breath, we have a purpose! That to me is beautiful. The world suggests that your value/purpose lasts as long as your ability to offer a certain thing, be it your looks, your brains, or your talents and skills. But with the Lord, we have such a deeper value, based not on what we can do or who we are on our own, but who we are as His children.

We often find our purpose in being a wife, a mother, an educator, a doctor, or even a volunteer coordinator. But, what happens if we lose our husband-or chose not to marry, or we lose our children, or we lose our career? Are we then sunk, without purpose? I believe that God may use these titles a vehicles through which we carry out our purpose, but it is not our purpose. It can't be. Because it we lose them or it, it would cause us to lose our calling. We have a deeper calling and purpose, to glorify God with our lives. That blesses me so much. No matter our age, position in life, if we accepted Jesus into our heart as our Savior,we have a calling/purpose!

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. I Peter 2:9

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Depraved Indifference

Justin and I had the chance to go home to Corsicana this week, and we went to church with my family in Kerens. David Reaves, their youth minister, spoke a heartfelt message and showed this video to the congregation. Before it was over I had snotted up my shirt, Justin's shirt, and Baby Anna's shirt. The message-It's true. And I pray that as you watch it, God speaks to your heart in the deepest, most intimate place. And shows you not only, how He longs for you to love others, but His great love for you. We are a chosen people beyond comprehension. May we pass the love on. Lord, help us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

His Faithfulness

In the past couple of days I have spoken with four of my closest friends who are experiencing the Lord's faithfulness. It has made me glad, every single time! Today, I experienced it myself. Not that there are moments we do not experience it, He is always faithful. But there are those moments that it is so real you feel like He is reading your journal and listening to your prayers :)  Praise to our Faithful God!

Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. 
Psalm 36:5 (I love how His faithfulness surpasses what we can see with our own eyes.)

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 
Psalm 86:15 

O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you? 
Psalm 89:8

God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up.They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left.
Lamentations 3:22-23 The Message Bible 

Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Psalm 119:90

Jesus Christ the Messiah is always the same, yesterday, today, yes and forever! Hebrews 13:8

How has God been faithful to you today? This week, this year? Is there a fear you had that He protected you from? Or is there a fear you had that became a reality, but His faithfulness to get you through it, surpassed your expectation? Let's thank Him today....He loves the praises of His people and promises to inhabit them! 

I love you!


Monday, July 11, 2011


Grace, I love that word, and I love it as a name. I wanted to attach it to my first born baby girl, but one of my sisters and one of my sister-in-laws has claimed it. Isabella Grace, my oldest niece- and Emma Grace, my fourth oldest niece. I guess that using a name three times is a little over kill. So, I'm working up something different, but who knows if that will be taken by the time I actually get to hold her! I'm probably destined to six boys anyway. 
So this fascination with grace. I want it. It has such a ring to it, a southern type charm/hospitality, it's sounds so...fancy, a word used over and over in the Scriptures, a word used to describe our God.

You see, you know you don't have it when two people who know you best, call you "Graceful." At first it ticked me off (see, not alot of grace there) but then after I noticed my behavior patterns, I concluded they were onto something. Even as a little girl, every time I would reach to open a new cereal box, my mom would grab it out of my hands and "help" me. I guess she got tired of sweeping Fruity Pebbles up off the floor, after I split the bag in half. And now, every time, I reach for a piece of mail, my husband laughs, grabs it, and "helps" me. I guess I do shred the envelopes, but I don't even realize it until he laughingly points it out. And I don't open new packages gracefully, I'm usually excited about their contents, especially if it's Fruity Pebbles. And I probably have bone chips because I walk into every door I go through. Not a lot of balance. Not a lot of grace. But, I want it...does that count?! Surely, it's got to be a start.

The Lord calls us to be graceful in our speech. This can be hard for me. As previously mentioned, I have never been accused of being emotionally stable. Go figure. I feel alot. And, I am a passionate person, which often leads to regretted words, not intentionally hurtful but emotions and feelings can get to going so fast and mix so quickly that I wind up saying something I don't even mean. But of course, God speaks to us on this... (as He does everything difficult!)
Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." And if the Lord calls me to it, He must be willing to supply whatever I need so that I can obey. Even if I need alot of supplying!

The word "Grace" has been a hard "church word" for me to understand. It's a more abstract word and a concrete definition is hard for me to muster up. It's used over and over in church, but for some reason I can not wrap my mind completely around it. I often hear it used with "mercy." To me, defining mercy is easy. I just think of two people arm wrestling. One begs for "mercy." You see, I have a picture of it there. But grace, grace is harder for me to grasp. I have heard that "grace is getting more than you deserve," "grace is unmerited favor," and "grace is God's goodness." And I guess that does help me understand grace from the perspective of how the Lord offers it, but what about me offering? How am I, as a person, to offer grace, when I am imperfect and I am not God? Such a noble trait and quality that describes our am I to even pretend to mimic that one?!

So, Blue Letter Bible to the rescue.... I learned several tidbits that are helping me grasp grace....

  • ("Benefit" is the effect of the gracious. ) So, I took this to mean, IF I am being gracious in my life, especially my speech, then the receiver of my speech will benefit. 
  • (Grace bestows pleasure, delight, favorable regard) I will bring pleasure to those I speak with.
  • (Grace has a friendly disposition) Fairly self-explanatory :) 
  • (The receiver will feel favored, gratitude, and thankfulness) This is probably my favorite. I want those I interact with to feel favored. I want them to feel loved and I want them to feel  valued. I think this is how Jesus was. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons so many down and out folks were drawn to him. His gentleness, His acceptance, His favor, His Grace.
I want more than anything to be more like Him. I want to truly be graceful :) And I want my speech to be full of grace. But what if we have to speak a hard thing to someone. What if it is not a easy and fun conversation? I'm so glad you thought of that...I did too, but then I found this.... 

Sometimes, we have to speak truth. But that never gives us free reign to drop the grace filter. It's easy to do, but it's not right. We bring each other no benefit, without grace. 

Ephesians 4:15 says, "we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ." If to speak "the truth (which isn't always a fun conversation) in love" means we get to drop the grace, we forfeit the second half of the verse "to grow in every way more and more like Christ." So that to me, means that speaking the Truth and speaking with Grace, can be done simultaneously, And,in fact, must be done simultaneously, to best honor Christ and "benefit" those we speak with.

I want to be woman of grace. A daughter of grace, a friend of grace, a sister of grace, a daughter-in-law of grace, an employee of grace, but most importantly-in my newest role, a wife of grace. I want my speech towards my husband to be full of grace always. Shortly before I got married, a wise woman told me that a wife has the power make or break her husband's spirit. That can be done through words or actions, but since I'm stuck on this graceful conversation, let's go with that. I always want my words to benefit Justin. I always want to speak to him in such a way that he feels favored, and gratitude that I am his partner. I want him to benefit from our conversation, always. The more time you spend with someone the harder it can be to keep your conversation graceful. The more time you are together, the more time our sin nature has to offer us a alternative, if you know what I mean. But what if, we gave God total access to our hearts, and minds. What if we asked Him to work in a way with us, that graceful conversation poured out of us. What if the Holy Spirit over took our thoughts and our feelings so that grace poured out. Wouldn't that be wonderful!? I am asking for it. And for the rest of this week, before I speak something, I am going to ask, "Will this benefit him or her?" I want to offer grace to others, because He does to me. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

*eMiLy bRaVeNeC*

Today Emily, my little sister, has been on my mind, on and off all day. That's a lot of time, considering I have been up since five. I drove a tractor most of the day, so I had plenty of time to meditate. I can not believe I am still awake. Anyway...
Emily is a special sister, friend, daughter, employee, student, and wife. Why you ask?...I am so glad you did!
 First of all, Emily is the most dedicated and devoted individual I have ever met. It does not matter what she is working on, be it a paper for school, a project for charity, or pricing yard sale items with my Mom, she does everything 100%, everything. That, is admirable. Emily is strong and Emily is a fighter. I have never seen her quit. That, is admirable. She's smart too! I think she took something in the neighborhood of...oh, about 42 hours last semester. Ok, maybe is was 24, but that is still alot! Emily is stable and certain. These are two qualities that I admire so much in her, which I often lack, on the account of my emotions! But she is sure footed. She knows who her God is, and she knows who she is. That, is admirable! Emily MIGHT, might have four pairs of shoes. That type of discipline blows my mind. I have nothing else to say about that...I must move on! Emily is wise. I call her all the time and ask her opinion. To be six years, I often hang up and think, well, "She's got less  years, but much more wisdom." (I think that could have something to do with that stability I mentioned earlier...:) ) She's a heck of a writer, and good debater...state tournament, I might add. Now finally, the last reason I admire Emily so, I have never seen her have a pimple in the past twenty years. This is extremely notable to a gal who has been on prescription pimple cream since the stinking fifth grade, and is STILL on it at 26. I used to think by the time I started getting wrinkles, I would stop getting pimples. Unfortunately, turns out, they co-habitat just fine. The good news is, when my grandkids come over to make cookies with me, they can borrow my anti-acne cream should they feel one popping up. Emily has been on my mind today. It might be because she and her husband just bought their first house (it is amazingly adorable, by the way) or it could be because she celebrated her one year anniversary with her husband Darren this week. Or it may be because she is about to prepare to student teach...for whatever reason, she is special. I wanted you to know. And if you know her, you already knew, and if you didn't now you do. Goodnight! PS: A couple of pictures...the family picture is in Emily's new home!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sale Barn Days

  I consider growing up agriculture to be one of the biggest blessings of my life. It is hard work, but so fulfilling. It teaches a work ethic and a love and appreciation for the land that can come from few alternate sources. Maybe I am just biased! But I love it. I jokingly told Justin I grew up in one of two places: the salebarn or a store! My mom is a shopper to the core, on of the best I have ever met, with a specialization on BARGAINS. This week I got the opportunity to go to Corsicana to my Dad and brother, Ben's salebarn. It's a family affair in the summer, when everyone is off and we all get to are a few pictures!      

Emma Grace (bribed her with a gumball, which she smashed on the clean floor and  
re- chewed!)

Brother Ben bringing the cattle up

Ben and his helpers loading the round pen
Kristen and Anna Kate
Emma Grace and Mom

Again Ben is moving cattle...It's rare he allows a picture, I got lucky!

Cousin Brent: I am sure he is smiling at me, even though he is not looking! A Good Hand if you ever saw one!

Brother Mark is our auctioneer. Perfect Job for him! He is very active!

Our little Perk at the end of the day. This is Rocky, who would become Rockette, after closer analysis and investigation. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our Favorite Honeymoon Day...

Justin and I took a little trip to Corpus following our wedding. We had a main agenda, but found time for other events as well. Our most favorite, by far, was the King Ranch, in Kingsville. The King Ranch is one of the largest ranches in the world, and boasts of 825,000 acres. I had been to visit a couple times, once as a little girl, and once as a high school girl, but when he asked if I would go with him, I was hands down excited! Yes. 

We made the drive from Corpus and arrived right in time to get on the tour bus. We were a few minutes late but they let us on. We could not believe the bus was not full in the middle of the afternoon to tour a ranch. What in the world would people have to do besides that?! 

We learned that there were over 60 cowboys hired, just to tend to the Santa Gertrudis cattle on the ranch. Brush work, fence work, feeding, anything else, outside of animal care was hired on through contract labor. These cattle receive the best of the best in feeding programs, fencing, doctoring, grazing, anything. What better place could a calf be born into?! Very few, if any. These cattle are chosen! I mean, people pay $500 for a leather bag, with their brand on it. These cattle lack no good thing. 

We also learned that Mr. & Mrs. King had five children. They lost one son to pneumonia, two daughter married, following prep school and stayed up north and made their lives, one son was uninterested in ranching and chose to farm. Mr. King alloted him a generous amount of land and finances to get his farming business into full swing. This left one daughter who loved the land and wanted to farm and ranch. Clarification: one girl, out of four living children wanted to stay and run the 825,000 acre cattle operation. Justin and I looked at each other wide-eyed. Dang. Some girls have all the luck!    

 If you will note in one particular picture, the kid across the aisle from us was not really into it, ha! I think he woke up once and that is when the tour guide slammed on the brakes and brought the bus to a screeching halt in order to show the guests a red hawk. Yea, Justin and I were in awe too, but in a different way. We wanted to ask why she would stop for a hawk, when there were thousands of cattle to see! 

Anyhow, after leaving the ranch Justin and I drove in silence for a while. It was such a beautiful place, and  honestly, it made you hungry for a lifelong opportunity to ranch all day, everyday, for the rest of your life. Once we did gather our thoughts, we talked about the Mr. and Mrs. King's kids, and just why they would pass up an opportunity to run a working ranch like that. 

It caused me to think of a couple of spiritual implications that correspond. Those cattle, were born into luxury. They had no say in it. But they were born into one of the greatest lives a calf could ever hope for. (If calves hope for good lives, I do not know.) And those kids. They were born into such extreme wealth and opportunity, not by their own choosing, but by the work their father had done. I guess you see where this is going?!

Just as to be a "King Ranch" calf, or a "King Ranch" child would be an incredible way of life, not perfect, not void of hardship, but in really good hands. But so is being a child of The King! As children of God, we are born into incredible wealth, not always monetary, but wealth, extreme none the less. We are born into a legacy that began long before we were created. We were born into a story, and were offered to play a magnificent role just as Mr. King's children were. Do we recognize the wealth and opportunity and abundant life our Father offers us as Christians? I do not always live up or out of my potential in Christ. But I want to!

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

We have a good Dad, may we live out the life He has called us to. After all, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills! -Psalm 50:10 

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Welcome to our blog! As I leave Tyler and begin a brand new season in my life I want to stay in touch with all of my friends and family! And fortunately, Evant, Texas has internet! No, it's really not as bad as I make it out to be, I mean there is a Wal-Mart, if you drive 30 miles! Justin and I would like to invite you to stay in touch with us. Everyone is busy and this will be a way we can post pictures, comments, and all the details of what the Lord is up to in our lives (And we want to hear what He is up to in yours)! We invite you to join us as we begin a brand new adventure!

Oh Taste and See that the Lord is Good! Psalm 34:8

Justin and Erin Mauney