Monday, June 30, 2008

A Miracle, 5 years ago....

So today is my son, Eli, turns 5!  I can't believe that A: Time goes by that fast.  And #2: That I have a son that is 5 years old!  I love his birthday, and not just for the obvious reasons like parties and cake.  (Although, I REALLY like parties and cake!)  But I love that it is the anniversary of the most amazing medical miracles.  Now, for those of you who have talked to me recently know that I am really excited to see and experience God's healing power over the last few months.  But what is so cool is that God had already demonstrated the ultimate miracle that only a handful of people get to see, and I just realized it not too long ago.  Yes, I am talking about resurrection of the dead.  You see, when Eli was born, he was clinically dead.  He was white, lifeless and not breathing for only God knows how long.  I have watched the video of his birth only once because it is just too upsetting.  They immediately rushed him up to the Neo-natal intensive care unit with an oxygen tube in his throat.  One the way up to the NICU, he pulled the tube out of his throat, and started breathing on his own!  He was 9.15 pounds when he was born, yeah, I know...
After he had gone up to the 4th floor, the doctor came in and told us more bad news.  He had suffered respiratory failure, post-stress disorder, he had broken his collar bone, he would not be able to go home with us from the hospital for a long time, and he would likely not breast-feed.  (Which was very sad for me because that was what I had planned.)  He was in this little incubator that had tubes running everywhere on his little/huge body, feeding him and monitoring his breathing, heart rate, you name it.  We could only go see him every 3 hours and only 2 people at time could go in.  It was a very sad but joyous time.  Very emotional to say the least, (not too mention my recovery was less than ideal :)  But it didn't take very long to see that God had something different in mind for Eli.  The next morning after he was born, I went to see him and he immediately started breast feeding with no problem.  His breathing and heart was normal so he was allowed to leave the hospital when I was released, and his collar bone healed in record time!  It's so amazing to watch him now, playing in the pool and laughing.  Watching him jump and play and smile and growing up to be one of the most amazing little boys I have ever met!  He has such Godly favor, everyone who ever meets Eli falls in love with him, and I think its because God's hand has been resting on Eli since the moment he was born!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Black Saturday

So today is Black Saturday.  I am sitting here dreading the next 3 hours.  In a little bit I am going to head to the airport to say good-bye to my best friend Tara.  We have had a fun past 24 hours though...I really don't want to say alot right now as I have already cried once today and I see a 100% chance of rain on my face for the rest of the day.  I love you all and are very glad that I have ya'll to have fun with while she is gone, loving the world to life.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Andy "The Street Poet"

So I was reading Tara's blog, and she found the blog site for Nathan, the store owner in Chattanooga.  I read his blog that he posted today and it touched me greatly.  Only because you never know how one small act can impact so many people.  His words were so sweet, I wanted to share them.  So here is what happened in Nooga, from his perspective:

Today in the shop three young ladies from Canton, GA (does that make them Cantonese? They definitely weren't Asian...) stopped in and were very excited about our merchandise and what we're doing as a business. Which was really encouraging. They made their purchases and continued on their vacation day. I was glad to have sold some stuff, but didn't really think much of it until they came back in right before closing. They had with them Chattanooga's Street Poet. I haven't caught her name yet, but many of my fellow Chattanoogans know who I'm talking about. For those who don't, she's a woman, probably in her late thirties, who roams downtown and offers to recite an original poem in exchange for a few bucks. I think she's homeless, but I'm not completely sure. I'm pretty sure she's not employed and has a hard time providing for herself. I'm also pretty sure she's not a crackhead or an alcoholic. Anyway the C.S.P. tried on a few outfits for the Cantonese ladies, who gave her their honest opinions in the way that only a group of women shopping together can. The C.S.P. picked out a blouse and skirt outfit that really made her look nice, and the Cantonese ladies picked up the tab for her. This is a woman who usually walks up to you in a grungy T-shirt and tattered jeans. She left the shop with her new clothes on and a new smile on her face. I learned later that they had also taken her out to eat earlier for some Thai food, which she had never tasted before. It was an honor to assist in my small way with such a beautiful picture of anonymous love. The Cantonese ladies did not have an air of doing the C.S.P. a favor. I think they were sincerely enjoying her company, even though they're from out of town and had only just met her.

So here again we've got blessing magnified on several angles, unexpected by all parties. You've got the C.S.P., who had a wonderful night out on the town with spur-of-the-moment friends, and who is now enjoying a nice, new set of clothes. I'm sure she feels like a million bucks right now, and more importantly, she might even have some inkling that she's worth it. I hope she writes a poem about it. Then you've got the Cantonese ladies, who enjoyed her poetry and her company, and found in her an opportunity for a really sweet ministry that even other members of the body of Christ might not have gone so far as to pursue. Then you've got all the overseas cooperatives that benefitted from their purchases -- in India, Kenya, Ghana, China and Ecuador in this case -- receiving the fruits of the fair trade movement. And then there's me, the guy at the cash register, sitting back and watching it all happen, but in the back of my mind knowing that part of the reason it can happen at all is because the Lord has placed me in this line of work to keep the shop running and open.

Incidentally, one of the Cantonese ladies is going on a year-long mission to 11 countries with her husband, and she'll be blogging about it

Our 8 hour adventure in Choo-choo to the Nooga!

So, Tara, my sister Amanda and I decided to have one last crazy adventure together under our alias: Tayhaymaysteenster.  Yeah, I know it's a mouth full!  We decided to let the wind blow us up North and we ended up in Chattanooga.  Or as we have begun to call it:  Choo-choo to the Nooga.  (We have a tendency to nickname EVERYTHING!)  The day started out skys, big billowy clouds, and VERY hot!  Our fun day started off like most of our fun days do....awkward.  We went to eat some mexican in Canton before heading north and found that it wasn't very mexican.  Tara's dish was supposed to be veggie fajitas.  Now, I don't know about you, but I never seen carrots, squash, and zucchini in a mexican dish before....I'm just saying.  So we get to the Nooga alittle later and find it to be scorching hot.  Like a ninny, I'm the only one wearing jeans and see that I'm not going to last another hour.  So we stop by this cute little shop called "World Next Door."  FYI: LOVE this place!  It had all of these amazing things made in other countries and the proceeds went right back to the countries that made the items, like Kenya and Ghana, etc.  Shout out to Nathan and his wife that own the shop, and thanks for making our trip completely memorable!  So I bought a beautiful, colorful, very light weight skirt and changed.  Much better.  Now, I am telling you this story because the skirt comes into major play later in the day!  We just walk around soaking up all of the beauty in the Nooga.  There is incredible architecture there...New, modern buildings mixed with the older historic looking shops, it's really nice.  We have fun wading in the little pools around the aquarium, sitting by the river, going to candy shop and finding the world's largest jawbreaker (another blog for another day,) eating some great ice cream and sorbet.  All of the sudden, within like 20 minutes, the sky turned black.  Now when I say black, I mean so dark grey that certain clouds were almost seriously black.  We knew a storm was coming so we decided to be little dare devils and sit by the river, eat some fudge and watch the show.  The few lightening bolts we saw strike were very impressive, and very intimidating!  Soon, it started to rain on us and when we couldn't take it any longer, we ran under covering by the aquarium.  When it started to let up, we decided to go eat some dinner.  So heading to the nearest pizzeria, all 3 holding hands soaking wet, (there we go with the holding hands again :) we are approached by a woman named Andy.  Now, Andy is homeless woman who walks the streets of Chattonooga and is known as the street poet.  She writes and recites her poetry to try to earn $12 a day for a place to stay that night.  We didn't have any cash, but thankfully, God showed us other ways that we could help her.  I really love it when God gives us the opportunity to live out what he has commanded of us.  Matthew 25: 35-40 sums up our experience with Andy.  

"I was hungry and you fed me,
 I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
 I was homeless and you gave me a room,
 I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
 I was sick and you stopped to visit me,
 I was in prison and you came to me.
 Then those sheep are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about?  When did we ever see hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink?  And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?'  Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me- you did it to me."

We were all 3 very excited about meeting God in Chattanooga!  It was a great time we had with Andy, one I will probably never forget.  Just a funny side note:  We eat Thai for dinner and had another weird mishap with a dish.  2 words for you: nasty and feet.  Before parting ways with her, she told us about a large carousal that was on the other side of the river.  The weather was completely beautiful again at this point so we decided to go check it out as we are all about acting like kids!  We had a blast riding on a huge beautiful wooden carousal and laughing like children.  But we had even more fun frolicking in the huge fountain with some college students after!  We were soaked through and through!  SO fun... As we were walking back over the bridge back to our car.  I had a moment.  You know, one of those moments that feel unreal, like you are no longer in your real life, but maybe living a scene out of a movie.  It was mostly dark, just a tiny bit of sun peaking out over the mountains.  The lights had come on the bridge and carousal and on the aquarium on the other side.  We stopped to hear a musician playing his guitar and harmonica.  I was looking out over the bridge, eating some more fudge, just trying to take in the lights, city, music, and water below.  It was beautiful.  I love those beautiful moments.  We decide that 8 hours of adventure was enough for one day and make our way to our car to change into dry clothes.  As I am changing I notice that my entire leg and feet are navy blue, my hands are suddenly stained as well.  My undies, yeah,  no longer white...After getting wet, my handmade skirt from Africa dyed my skin, clothes, and Amanda's clothes a dark blue!  AAAHHG... I look like I had been severely beaten from my waist down!  It was really funny... especially considering I am writing this a full 24 hrs and 2 showers later, still blue!  Bottom line:  One of my top nites ever!  A GREAT adventure, one for the blogs in fact.  Tara, Amanda, you are the best partners in crime I could EVER ask for!  I love ya'll and thank you for the great memories!  CHOO-CHOO IN THE NOOGA! 

Pictures will soon follow!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

With you, I can be me...

A letter for my dear friend Tara.
I have been thinking alot about the last 3 years the past couple of days.  I been thinking about the funny times, the frustrating times, the sad times, the trying times and the just plain awesome times.  :)  We have talked alot about the funny times and laughed about them the past few days, but I want to talk about the times that have made a lasting impression on me.  The times that I feel we have spiritually grown together.  Let me start off by saying that I would not be who I am today without you.  God sent you to me to help mold me into the woman/warrior princess he has called me to be!  You have shown and taught me to be fearless for what I believe in, to stand up for those who can't themselves, to love myself and paint my God colors for the world!  You have shown me that love is the answer to ALL questions, and how to step out of my comfort zone.  I have learned that if you step out of your comfort zone enough, you cease to have one!  You are a beautiful example of what God has called us all to be, Jesus in human form.  And I love you for that, and thank you for being a shining star.  Okay, so for our remembering.....
I want to thank you for the night that you prayed over me in Nashville.  You prayed things over me that I desperately needed to hear.  It is so hard to be a mother to autistic children.  Sometimes you feel helpless, frustrated, guilty, and partly responsible.  You reminded me that I was NOT at fault, that God had an amazing plan, and that I was doing what God called me to do.  Thank you...
I want to thank you for dropping everything to go to Lakeland.  Watching you and the others in our small group pray over him the night before we left lifted me up so much.  I am SO blessed to have such wonderful friends who care about me and my family.  You, Andy, and Amanda laying hands and praying over him in Lakeland was something that I will not soon forget.  You will forever be apart of the chapter of Eli's healing!
Now for one of my favorite moments.  The other night when we prayed over the man on the side of the road in the accident.  After praying for him, when we were walking back to the car....We held hands on the way back to the car.  Now, I know that that might sound a little gay.  But we were both a little shaken up and it was quite an experience.  I was thinking about that moment a couple of days later and I realize how significant that moment was to me.  Here we are, two grown married women holding hands on the side of the two school girl children on the playground.  I smile when I think about it because it's a beautiful picture of our faith in that exact moment, childlike.  In that moment, God was bigger than the situation and we trusted him completely.  That's the reason I love you Tara, because I feel like I can be childlike around you.  In my faith, in my silliness, in my heartbreak.  When you are away, and I feel the need to be childlike, I will remember us.  On the side of the road, walking in the tall grass, holding hands.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Okay, so most of you know that I LOVE making memories.  You know, those moments that happen and you just know that you will remember it forever?  Well, Tara and I have about a million.  So to spare the world of our massive CRAZINESS, I will share some of my favs: 

*holding dixie cups to people's hinnys at Old Smith's Bar and hearing the ocean!
*you, Tracy, and Richie praying over me in Nashville.
*being the only people to hear heaven's bells!
*you running in Destin...
*the chaos that engulfed as you drove and the windows fogged!
*the Ace...
*drunken noodles, tofu, and Thai iced tea.
*manicures and pedicures...
*you knowing everyone everywhere we went!
*corn hole-eo
*the skinny fashion show!
*lost and Heroes...
*sharing our God-colors with the world.
*our Monday bible studies...
*getting sunburned together...
*feeding the homeless with you in Lakeland.
*the drive to Lakeland!
*late nite games...
*going to hear Rob Bell in Atlanta.
*eating with the men after :)
*getting persecuted with you in Atlanta...
*sharing the same heart with someone...
*missing you when you were gone to Africa.
*our genesis week...
*our small group time.
*you video taping  Pey-pey's birth.
*the hours before she was born.
*our Christmas pics*  ;)
*letting the wind blow us where is may...
*facial piercing:  Mike Nite!
*serving at Inside-out together.....Top Nite!
*the MANY dinners we shared together.
*our Jesus talks...
*our dreaming about living in community together.
*the night we were driving on 575 and the fog was so thick we thought we where going to die!
*corn-dog being healed!
*calling you whenever I was obedient to the Lord, you are always the first person I want to tell!
*miracles, signs, and wonders...To GOD be the glory!
*Shane Claiborne, Joshua Mills, Rob Bell, Jon Crowder, Todd Bentley...
*seeing you pray over my son and husband.
*all of the movies we saw together....uncountable....
*the part where you changed my life...

(Aside from my husband and family.)  I have NEVER laughed, cried, pondered, wondered, or dreamed with anyone more than you Tara.   Especially laughed!

Here's to you Tara...

For those of you who are not Tara or, these first few blogs may not be that interesting to you.  But if you are just a bit curious about the friendship dynamic or how God can use relationships to change lives, well then, you might just want to keep reading...
For those of you who do not know, my best friend in all the world is leaving in 10 days to travel the world for a year spreading God's love to the far corners of the earth.  I am very overwhelmed right now with MANY emotions.  Sadness, joy, excitement, and grief are just to name a few.  I am SO excited for her and can't wait to see how God is going to use her to change thousands of lives.  (Because he will!)  But, I am saddened to lose such an amazing friend.   So, to sort out all of these feelings and per the request Tara, I am starting a blog.  It is probably a good time to do so, because my Abba, father, seems to be working crazy in my life as of late.  And not only do I want to share what he does for his glory with everyone I can, but I don't want to forget anything either!  Some posts will be funny, some will be sad, and I am sure that some will be very odd.  But my prayer is that God will use them to bring you joy, make you think, and ultimately share his love with EVERYONE around you.  For that is what Tara has helped teach me.  So, my sweet Tara, I dedicate this blogsite to you....