Friday, January 30, 2009


Mama Deane sent this to me about a year ago. I have it posted on my bulletin board in front of my desk. I may have posted this before. I need to read it every single day. It shows me big glimpses of just exactly what freedom means when walking with Christ. He is the only One who can free us from ourselves, our humanness, our sinfulness, our stubornness, our hard-heartedness. He wants us to be free and to love...and this is a start.

The most creative power given to the human spirit is the power to heal the wounds of a past it cannot change.

We do our forgiving alone inside our hearts and minds; what happens to the people we forgive depends on them.

The first person to benefit from forgiveness is the one who forgives.

Forgiveness happens in three stages: we rediscover the humanity of the person who wronged us; we surrender our right to get even; and we wish that person well.

Forgiveness is a journey; the deeper the wound, the longer the journey.

Forgiveness does not require us to reunite with the person who broke our trust.

We do not forgive because we are supposed to; we forgive when we are ready to be healed.

Waiting for someone to repent before we forgive is to surrender our future to the person who wronged us.

Forgiveness is not a way to avoid pain but to heal the pain.

Forgiveness is the only way to be fair to ourselves.

Forgivers are not doormats; to forgive a person is not a signal that we are willing to put up with what he does.

Forgiveness is essential; talking about it is optional.

When we forgive, we set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner we set free is us. When we forgive we walk in stride with the forgiving God.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Wynton Marsalis, the incomparable jazz musician-composer-bandleader, returns to Symphony Hall with the acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, comprising 15 of the finest jazz solosits and ensemble players today. Under Marsalis's sure hand, the remarkable versatile LCJO performs across the US and around the globe and swings into town with a brand-new show.

I am going to this tomorrow night and I am totally stoked. Mom, Dad and Rolando, my Bolivian brother, are coming to the ATL for the weekend and in looking for something for us to do, I discovered this! My friend with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra totally hooked us up. Thank you Mary Susan! Rolando is a musician and is going to love it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Carly in Kenya

one if my dear friends is a young girl, no different from you or me. immediately upon college graduation, she went to Africa and really hasn't come back. we were in Mozambique together. i vividly remember her always out playing with the kids, either in the water or on the soccer field. she was always so full of energy and so in love with these wild, unruly children. she is in Mombasa, Kenya, living with another young girl and housing 7 street kids. "housing" meaning, clothing, feeding, discipling, teaching, providing medical care, enrolling in school. i am amazed, envious, proud, in awe and in prayer. reading this blog will change you. no, it may not forever change your life. but whatever was on your to do list for the day, that was such a priority, or whatever you were in need of, will seem insignificant after reading this...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Carla

Today is my sister's birthday. She deserves more than a blog entry. She deserves a novel, a trip around the world, a gold medal, a Nobel prize. There is nothing in the world like a sister. It is so comforting to know that there is a human being out there who knows you so well. Who shares memories of your childhood. Who shares your crazy family (If you are family, I am not talking about you). Who kinda sorta looks like you. It is one of the greatest gifts anyone can have. She "gets" me like no one else on earth.

My sister is amazing. She is who I write to in my mind when I do this blog. I keep it to "talk" to her and let her know what I am doing. She has four gorgeous, precious, brilliant children. In having these, she created for me four of the most memorable, exciting days of my life and four of my favorite people on this earth. I never knew how much my heart could love until I held her babies. But I don't just love her for her beautiful babies. She is pretty beautiful herself. She has genuine dark black hair and huge deep blue eyes. She kinda looks like a skinny Delta Burke or Vivien Leigh or Snow White! She has the mother heart of Caroline Ingall's, the cooking ability of Paula Deen, the creativity of Mary Englebreit, the imagination of Madeline L'Engle, and the brave heart of Joan of Arc. She is really that amazing.

She was in kindergarten when I was born and is 7 years older than me. So by the time I was 7, she was 14 and we didn't get along so well. As I try to recall way back to when I was a toddler, I just remember her just being my big sister, her protecting me and always being there. I remember her hating to go to school and just wanting to stay at home. And now looking back, I can see that here I was, getting to stay at home, all those years, while she had to go to school. We laugh about how she told Mom that she wanted to stay at home and cook and sew and live the life of Laura Ingalls. She read all the time. She always, always had a book in her hands from the moment she could read. A lot of my memories of her are her quietly reading. I was a little more rambunctious. She loved animals and had such a huge, huge heart for them. I didn't care so much. I regret not loving her more and for being such a bratty little sister. She was born to be a teacher and one summer I remember her teaching me French! She had taken it that year at Hart County Comprehensive High School and used her notes and book to make note cards of vocabulary to teach me. I still remember the words and phrases she taught me! I slept with her almost every night. I had to remain in my bed until she went to bed. I think Mom must have put me to bed about an hour early in hopes I would fall asleep at the desired "bedtime" ,but I would wait until I heard her turn out the light in her room, then jump from my bed and scurry into hers. And yes, you could HEAR the light switch. We lived in an OLD house and the light switches And she always smelled like SeaBreeze Astringent Cleanser.

I remember when I found out there was no Santa Claus. I was devastated. We were at Granny McCarley's and it was on an episode of Punky cruel is that? Some dumb kid show telling all these kids there is no Santa. She could not believe I didn't already know, I was probably 12!! I was just a kid for a very long time and part of me still is. But I remember how well she handled it. She used it to witness to me and tell me about faith and Jesus and handled it brilliantly. I just can't help but think what we could have done together when we were young if we had been united and I had not been playing pranks, being mean and such a goofball brat. I should have encouraged her and loved on her and been her biggest fan. I always admired her though and was so proud to have her as a big sister. I still love it when people see us together for the first time and say, "you must be sister's". It makes me beam. Because of the age gap, she has been a lot like a mother to me. She bosses me. I get mad. But then I listen, think about what she said, then do whatever I was going to do anyway, it doesn't work out, and then I realize that she was right...sorta. I still have trouble admitting that she knows best.

I loved growing up as her little sister. In school, teachers loved her, because she was so studious and such a great student. They thought that I was like that and they were really nice to me at first because I was "Carla's little sister". Little did they know, I was a prankster and a goof and a class clown and would do anything for a laugh.

It was great having an older sister, because you always knew somebody had your back. Plus she was cool and let me hang out with her and wear her clothes. I knew about all the cool trends and music and stuff because I had a sister in high school and high schooler's were the coolest!

I wished I would have spent more time with her growing up, allowing her to teach me things and take me on all these adventures that she had read about in all these books she was consuming. She had a vivid imagination. But I was too busy hitting tennis balls up against a brick wall, banging a basketball on the hard dirt in the backyard and skateboarding- all three of which have gotten me very far in life.

So now, we are getting it. I am her intercessor and she is mine. There is never a day that goes by that I don't stop and pray for her, or just imagine where she is in her house that day, what she is doing, and just send up big prayers of health, wealth, and strength for her. I take her with me wherever I go. I admire things that remind me of her. I love to buy gifts for her. I take much more pleasure in giving to her than keeping for myself. I want to give her the pleasures I have as a free woman, travelling the world as she gives me the pleasures of loving on those four little punks. We have been in a great season of finding God together and discovering how amazing He is. It is really astounding to have conversations where, despite not talking in weeks, God is often saying the same thing to us. I have dreams of us all living on the mission field and her teaching in a one room school, kids all over the place in holy chaos. Oh, it's my dream fulfilled, for us all to be there. I have been to the nations and each time I want nothing more than her by my side to help me, to figure this all out, to be that Mother Heart that the orphaned, abandoned, and unlovely need. She is so good at it and she could boss me around and tell me what to do! I could dream all day about what it looks like. But this is what we do now. We dream together. We pray for one another. We have each others back. We move in different giftings and have very different strengths and when we come together we are a force to be reckoned with. So watch out.

Joyeux anniversaire! You're my favorite person on the planet. I hope your weekend away was fun. I loved holding your baby and watching our DAD kiss all over him, feed him a bottle, console him and put him to bed!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Little Girls

Happy Birthday Gracie!

Be still my heart

I love these looks he gives me. It is as if he is saying, "Woman! Get a life and get your lips off my face. How many times are you going to tell me that you love me? And how beautiful I am? And how precious I am? I appreciate all your words of affirmation, but they are a bit much."

The Baby can talk!

And oh! how precious it is. He says it with a very Southern accent and of course it is just too cute! When I arrived on Saturday to sit for him he was surrounded by a house full of 10 year old girls and he was ecstatic! He kept pointed at all of them with his chubby little finger and screaming, "Bye Bye" in his little Southern accent and waving. He was saying it with every fiber of his being. His whole body would tighten and he had this funny crazed look on his face. He has been saying it for over a month now, but he must have gotten a little burned out on it because everyone was making him say it all the time. This is my first ever personal video post. Brace yourself, there's more where this came from!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy MLK Day

If you have not been to the Martin Luther King Center in downtown Atlanta, you should go. It is a very moving experience.

"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love". -Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that". - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 16, 2009


There is power in a testimony. It gives God the opportunity to do it AGAIN! So, yesterday I was sitting at my desk and the girl who works across the hall got a disturbing phone call about her cousin. She is 6 months pregnant and was having pain and contractions and called her doctor and they were sending her to the ER. So I went into her office and we prayed for her. Just a simple prayer of life and of health and God's will of LIFE and HEALTH and PEACE. About an hour later we heard from the cousin. They were sending her home. They found nothing wrong. She was totally fine. Just a little dehydrated. Yeah, God!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

for Gracie

I have no idea why someone set this Song to Cartoon Network, but it was the only version I could find that played the full version by the original artist. Ignore the Video, turn it up and dance. Love.

Happy Birthday Gracie Girl

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Gracie" turns 10 tomorrow!

I remember when Carla found out that Emma Grace was going to be a girl, she gave Kevin a card as part of the surprise that had a dainty, petite baby girl on it. From that picture that stayed on the refrigerator for a few months, I guess I envisioned her to be a tiny, petite, all girl, baby, with bows in her hair. This wasn't the case. She was fat. I actually think Nathaniel is bigger now than she was, but at the time I thought she was the fattest thing I had ever seen. She looked miserable at times, she was so fat. So many rolls. She would have to wear a much bigger size in pants just to get them large enough around the waist and we had to roll up the legs. She wore a lot of those "leggings" and cotton dresses with empire waists as a toddler. She had dimples in her elbows for the longest time. As soon as she could talk she changed her name. Carla intended for her name to be "Emma Grace" and for her to be called "Emma Grace", but Gracie had other plans, and named herself. At around 18 months she decided she no longer liked her position at the kitchen table, one that had been established before she was born. Carla, Kevin and Catherine all had their "assigned" seats. As soon as she was able to communicate, one day Carla noticed that little Catherine was sitting where Gracie once sat and Gracie had taken her place. She is a leader for certain and I admire her fearlessness and tenacity.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

flared nostrils- a continuing tribute to The Birthday Girl

She can never NOT make a face!

Gracie the Ham

These were all taken around December 2005/January 2006- when she was 7. You can see her making a monkey face in front of her cake on her 7th birthday. She is such a goofy little thing and it's funny that her little personality shows so much in pictures.

Don't cross her

This is the birthday girl about 4 years ago. So that would make her 6. She refused to swim because this lifeguard blew his whistle at her and told her to stop running. She got kinda embarrassed and he scared her and she got mad. She used to kinda have this little developmental speech "thing" and it was so cute and I miss it. It has gone away now. But she looked at me and said, "It's no fun with a lifegward". And she used to say, "oooo-ga- lee" for "ugly". But now she is all grown up and pronounces everything correctly and it makes me sad. Now she reads and writes poetry and draws and paints and likes to play "Pioneer Girl" and "Indian Girl" and she is tough as nails. She fears nothing. This is good and bad. You don't want to cross her. Don't blow your whistle at her and tell her not to do something. She has determination and wit and intellect and a big heart. Oh! I love her so much it hurts.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Emma Grace

One of my favorite people on earth is turning 10 this week, on the 15th. So I am going to dedicate this weeks postings to her. She is amazing. She is kinda like me, but she's tough. She is a natural born leader. She is smart. She is funny. She does imitations. If you stick around long enough, she will do one of you. She is honest. She is sweet. She is creative and artistic. She has big cheeks with freckles on them and silky dark hair. I love her to bits. These two photos were taken at two different weddings, with her in a frilly dress, running. That's my girl. Don't let those patent leather Mary Jane's slow you down Sweetheart.
And here she is on two different occasions, at weddings years apart, blowing bubbles. I love her cheeks.