Feels like I'm going home

Cherokee, NC is a very special place to me.  I have many fond childhood memories of camping trips in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Cherokee was always one of my favorite places to visit!

Several years ago, Scott and I made the decision to do some mission work in that area.  You can read all about how we felt God calling us to go there here.  

Over the past few years, we have made several trips up there to minister to the needs of those in the area.  It's slow progress establishing relationships within the Cherokee nation, but we were greatly encouraged when we met and were able to work with the local missionary for that area last summer.  

There are two very special people in Cherokee that welcomed our efforts there from day one.  They have also welcomed us into their home when we visit.  Their names are Danny and Teressa Sweet.  

Clay Nations Photography
He is a retired pastor and they attend Cherokee Baptist Church where we worship on our visits.  Although we don't see them often, we have grown to love them dearly and their hearts for the Lord.  

Both times we have stayed with them, I have experienced the best sleep of my life!  I talked about it on our last trip, wondering why I always felt so at home in the upstairs bedroom they offer us.  So on our trip last summer, I decided to take some pictures of this special room.  

Looking into the room from the door

looking back toward the door from inside the room

There are two bedrooms that share a bath upstairs.  
This is the other room decked out for Christmas :)

Not long ago, I was thinking about this bedroom and still wondering why I always feel so at home in there and sleep so well.  Suddenly I was reminded of a photo I had in my bedroom as a little girl that I loved so much.  I immediately went upstairs in the attic to see if I had saved it along with some other childhood keepsakes.  And I had!

It looks worn and stained from being stored away in an old box, but do you see the similarities?  And it has that same homey feel that is so welcoming and comforting to me: quilt on the bed, small framed pics on the wall, similar wall paper.  That bedroom reminds me of this picture.  I can even remember when Mama bought this picture for me at a school fundraiser.  It hung on my wall for years.

It was a time when Holly Hobby was the rage.  It was also a time when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and started praying to Him before bedtime.  I remember wearing a blue flannel gown in the winter, loving dolls, and I absolutely LOVED decorating my bedroom :)

This whole post may sound silly to some of you, but it means so much to me to be reminded of my childhood and the early years when God was already shaping my heart and putting dreams and passions within me.

I'm so thankful for Danny and Teresa's warm hospitality and the instant reminder of God's grace each time we are blessed to be in Cherokee, NC for a visit.


God's got your back!

I've been studying the Gospel of Mark lately.  I'm learning about Mark as a writer and his unique way of showing us the power of Jesus - through the many miracles that Jesus performed, and ultimately, His death on the cross.

I was studying chapter 6 recently and found myself thinking about one particular part of the chapter all week long.

In this part of the text, Jesus and the disciples had just fed the 5,000 and Jesus instructed his guys to get in the boat and head out across the lake.  He told them he'd join them later.  They didn't ask how...and I guess it didn't really matter anyway.

After they set out in the boat, Jesus went up to the top of the mountain to spend time alone with His Father in prayer.  That evening, He looked out across the lake and could see that the disciples were struggling to row the boat against the wind.  They were too far out to turn back, but still had a ways to go.  We don't know how long this goes on, but regardless, Jesus sees what is happening.

{Jesus sees you, my friend!  No matter what you are struggling with, He knows and He cares.  Nothing that happens to you escapes His attention.}

Instead of going directly to the disciples and calming the storm immediately as Jesus could have, the Bible says that "He intended to pass them by".  When I read that, my mind was full of questions.  Why would He allow them to struggle and fear the storm?  Why would He just walk right past them and leave them to fend for themselves?

I suppose the answer to these questions could vary.  Maybe He wanted to test them or help them build some "spiritual muscle"?  But, as Jesus walked on the water across the lake, intending to pass by them, they saw Him and thought He was a ghost.  Needless to say, they were terrified!

{Have you ever been in a storm in your life and didn't recognize Jesus near you?  Were you afraid of what was going to happen to you during the storm?  I'm reminded of the saying, "Sometimes He calms the storm....sometimes He calms His child".}

When Jesus heard their cries of fear, He said, "It's me!  Do not be afraid".  It was only then that they recognized Him.  We know from the Gospel of Matthew that this is the same account where Peter walks on water toward Jesus, only to take his eyes off Him and have to be saved.  It is only when Jesus and Peter get in the boat that the winds calm and the storm subsides.

As I thought about this story all week, I felt God reminding me of three simple things:

(1) God's got our back.

Just like a parent watching their child from a distance to make certain they are ok, Jesus was watching the disciples in the boat on the lake.  He noticed they were struggling.  He notices us as well.  He sees our struggles and our fears....and wants us to know that He's Got Our Back!

(2)  He goes before us and prepares a way.

Maybe Jesus intended to pass them by because He wanted to go before them and prepare the way.  He might have even planned to have a fish breakfast waiting for them on the other side, but He cancelled His plans when they saw Him and were frightened.  Nevertheless, He has a good plan for our lives and will work through and with us to accomplish His will.

(3)  He makes detours.

Not only does God have our back and go before us to prepare a way for us, He also makes detours.  When we are struck with fear or uncertainties and cannot continue on our journey, He will meet us where we are.  He will turn around and come back to His children and help us in our time of need.

So the next time you are in a situation and find yourself afraid, remember that God sees you.  He has a good plan for your life and will make a way for you.  If you stumble or fall along the way and call out to Him, He will turn around and come to you.  He will meet you right where you are, strengthen you, and help you continue on your journey.


When God answers prayer

I don't know why I'm always taken by surprise when God answers a deep, heart-felt prayer all of a sudden.  Maybe it's because, as in this particular case, I've prayed about a certain situation for so long that I had begun to wonder if I was asking for the wrong thing.  But after 4 long years, I'm finally getting a break through of sorts in a certain area of my life.  I'm finally sensing that change is just around the corner.  I finally feel God's providential hand moving over me and parting the waters, so to speak.

God is definitely up to something!  I sense it in my spirit and can barely keep my thoughts from consuming me and the "what-ifs".  I can't go into all of the details just yet, but I have reason to be very excited about a couple of possibilities in the very near future.  Not only for me, but for my family.

Just like the children of Israel, I have at times had to wait and wait and wait some more to reach a point where I feel I'm no longer in the dessert or wilderness, but a place of peace, contentment, and promise.

I've come to understand that often God is not changing my circumstances, but is changing something in ME.  It's painful and scary, but I find myself repeatedly telling Him to have His Will in my life.  No matter what I think is best, I know for certain that He knows what I really need.  He has a good plan for my life and I want to cooperate with Him and accomplish what He has set before me.

I look forward to sharing more with you soon.  In the meantime, I'd appreciate any prayers you could offer up for me as I wait on His perfect timing.


Happy Birthday to YOU !!!

You see this guy right here?  Well....it's his birthday!  The big 2-0!  And that makes it official......he's no longer a teenager.  That also makes this mama a little sad :(

I do believe this is the first time I've not been able to look at my child face-to-face on his special day :(  But that's life.  When they grow up and get busy living their own lives, it just happens like this sometimes.  And it'll be ok.  I'll get to see him soon and spoil him a little bit ;)

So here's wishing my favorite young man a VERY Happy Birthday today in the ATL!!!  (already text, Facebooked, and Twittered this...I can't say it enough)

Now, please find time to text your mama and let me know what kind of cake/dessert you want to celebrate with when you're able to come home ;)


Project Update: burlap covered canvas, coffee filter wreath, & fabric covered chair seat

Well, as usual, I'm late posting pics about my spring break projects.  That's because I was later finishing them up than I thought I'd be.  By the way, the DIY word art is still a work in progress.  But I did get two of them done and another one that came to mind.  

The burlap covered canvas was the easiest to do.  I purchased the canvas, burlap fabric, and wood pieces from Michael's craft store.  Scott stapled the burlap onto the back edge of the canvas for me.  

I sprayed the wood pieces with white spray paint and then applied them to the burlap with super glue.

I used fancy tools to give the pieces time to set......hee hee!
(The books just give some added pressure to speed up the process)

And here is the finished piece!

I'm in the process of adding touches of blue to my neutral color bedroom, so I'll have to post pictures of the room later.  

The other project I had planned was to make a coffee filter wreath. All you need is a wreath form, coffee filters, and hot glue to apply them.  This was a little time consuming, but I think it turned out cute.  

I have to admit, it turned out larger than I thought it would.  I bought a small wreath with the intent of hanging it from the mirror over my mantel.  Well, by the time I added all of the filters, it looked huge!

After the fact, I realized I could probably cut the filters in half and it would help keep it a smaller size.  That will be another project for another day :)

After the Peaches to the Beaches yard sale, I got inspired to make-over my desk chair in the bedroom as well.  I wanted to redo the fabric covered seat.

Since I'm adding a touch of blue to the room, I went to Hobby Lobby looking for some fabric for the cushion.  And I found this pretty blue print..........

Again, this was a very simple project to complete in a short amount of time.

I cut the piece of fabric to fit over the wood seat and cushion.

And Scott stapled it to the back of the chair for me.

I didn't worry about centering the design on the cushion.  I liked the randomness of the placement.

After the cushion was complete, Scott attached the wood part of the seat to the bottom of the chair for extra support.  

And here's my new desk chair for the bedroom :)  
I can't wait to show you the makeover on the room!  A couple more purchases, and it'll be done.

There's a few more projects in the works as well as a living room update, so I'll be back with more soon!


Peaches to the Beaches

Our annual Peaches to the Beaches treasure hunting was another success this year.  Scott and I had a great time browsing through the various stops along Hwy 341.

We saw some cool looking furniture at this particular place.  
Even got some ideas for redoing our two desk chairs at home.  

We went in a couple of old historic homes filled to the brim with beautiful old furniture and decorative items.

Sadly, our plans to leave Thursday night and head to the beach to spend the night got changed.  Mainly because a tree fell on our well Wednesday night in all of that wind.  We didn't have water Wednesday night and Thursday until Scott got a chance to repair it Thursday evening after work.  So we just got up early Friday morning and headed out.  We literally shopped all day!  

Surprisingly, this is the only stuff I bought......$19.00 worth!  But I love all of it and look forward to implementing it in my decor.  

I especially loved this yellow pig planter I found!  I bought several things there and forgot about him when I went to pay for the other items in hand.  When I realized it, we had to go back on our way home and get him.  I can't wait to see how cute he will be with a small plant in him in my kitchen :)

Scott drove us the whole day (usually does most of the driving since I don't like backseat drivers telling me what to do...ha!).  I'm so glad that we enjoy spending time together.  We have fun whether it's a date night at a fine restaurant, grocery shopping, or treasure hunting.  So thankful for him!

What about y'all.....any of you go to that 200 mile yard sale last weekend?  What did you find?

Some of my favorite people

I just cannot express to you how much Scott and I love these two young ladies.  Dillan met Courtney & Sterling over a year ago in Atlanta when he started attending Georgia State's BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries).  They quickly became the best of friends and are such an encouragement to Dillan in so many ways.  Their walk with God not only inspires him, but it inspires me as well.  

Sterling has worked very hard to form Georgia State's first Christian sorority, Sigma Alpha Omega.  They recently held their first spring formal and Dillan attended as Courtney's date.  Don't they all look beautiful? 

Dillan's also been keeping pretty busy in his acting endeavors.  He's been on The Origianls on CW several times, either as an extra or a 'Night Walker'.  I can't keep up with what scenes he's supposed to appear in, so you can just imagine my surprise to see him pop up on the screen in a scene with 'Elijah' last week.

Here's a better picture of this particular scene that wasn't taken from this mama's iphone ;)

He's also been asked about doing some more modeling lately.  I love this shot of him recently.  I've got it framed on my desk at work.  

I just started my last class at Liberty University.  I'll be graduating in 8 weeks!  I can already taste the freedom of the summer!  Looking forward to a beach trip and NO HOMEWORK!
family vacation in Panama City Beach, FL in 2012

So what have you been up to lately?  Are you as ready to jump into summer as I am?