Friday, October 31, 2014

The End???

They say it takes 30 days to make a habit.

As I said in my first post of this series, I'm not sure who they are... but that's what they say.

And I think they more or less may be right.

The thing about a habit is, it may replace another habit.  Give up cigarette smoking? That's a bad habit... and it may be replaced by overeating... which is another bad habit.

You may have quit smoking for years... and then smell one cigarette and want it so bad you can taste it.

And then, you pick up that cigarette... that one cigarette just this once because you are so stressed out...

And next thing you know, you're right back where you started at... if not worse. That pack a day habit has become two packs a day.

I started this #write31day challenge with the idea that I didn't like my way of thinking.  My negativity affected those around me. Caleb was feeding off of it.  I wasn't as enthusiastic about my work.

Stinkin' thinkin' was killing me.

In this challenge, using Philippians 4:8 as a guiding framework, I attempted to take captive my thoughts.  I attempted to flip the negative to a positive and focus on the good... on the true, honest, right, pure, lovely, praiseworthy, virtuous, and of good report.

Some days it was easier than others.

Some days it was like the Heavens opened and sunshine and happiness reigned.

And other days, I was faced with difficult people and difficult situations who, as Lysa TerKeurst would say, wanted to "bump my happy."

Somedays, I let them....

But I'm slowly realizing that the only person I can change is me... Oh, hopefully I can change your outlook on things, too, by presenting a new outlook, but ultimately you have to make the decision to stop your own stinkin' thinkin'.

And somedays, on those really difficult days, I'm not even able to really change myself.. it takes Jesus.

As Wallace quotes to his students a lot, I need Jesus.  Every day.  All day long. On the good days, and especially on the bad days.

This habit thing is hard. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, right? And it's easy to slip back into the complaining... if I'm not intentional.

So maybe this 31 day challenge is over, but I can't let it be the end. 

I have to keep pursuing. Keep learning.  Keep seeking God, and staying in His Word.

Today, I'm thanking God for new beginnings, for His guidance, for His correction.  I'm also thanking Him for The Nester who came up with this challenge, for the fabulous facebook community of 31 dayers who have encouraged me and taught me through their words.  I'm thankful that I can write, that I am a writer, and I'm thankful for small steps toward the next big thing... even if I don't know what that looks like.

Because He is Philippians 4:8.  He is the Word made flesh, and HisSpirit now resides in me. Through Him, all things are possible,a nd I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me...

Because I know what is true.  I know what is right. I know what is pure and lovely and praiseworthy.

And even on days when I doubt it, it doesn't change.

He doesn't change.

Go forth, fellow 31 dayers... and change the world.. one word at a time. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Think on Jesus

Yesterday as I wrote I pondered how I would bring this series to a close.  Some of my fellow #write31 dayers have been planning and writing in advance, so they knew exactly what they'd be writing about. I've been taking it day by day, though, and trusting God that He'd  know what I needed to write about.  (And let's just face it.  I'm not that good at planning... well, I'm sometimes good at planning.... just not that good at following through).

And it's been good.  Thinking on Philippians 4:8 has made me more aware of my thought process. It's made me keep my eyes open to what is true, and honest, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.

I'm still not there... but life is a process.

I finished up yesterday with the last word of the verse, things, and thought to myself... two days to go. How am I going to expand on this? What can I say to bring it all together?

Well, God...

As I sat in Bible study last night, listening to the teachings about Jesus, I got overwhelmed. I mean, He's Jesus.  How can you describe Him? I've been working through Matthew this last week, and also reading about The Family of Jesus, and it amazes me how everything comes together. As we flipped from Old to New Testament and I thought about all that Jesus has done, I got overwhelmed.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God... In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth... spoke them into existence.

In  the beginning... The Alpha, as in Jesus.  The Alpha.

We were told to turn to Revelations and there is was.  I got teary eyed because while I'm  not a Biblical scholar, I'm learning these words and what they mean and they mean so much now that I'm thinking on them.

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war."- Revelations 19:11

He that sat upon him was called faithful and true... and in righteousness.

He... was called... True... from the Greek, alēthinos- that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true genuine.  Derived from alēthēs, also found in Philippians 4:8... whatsoever is true.

... and in righteousness.... dikaiosynē, meaning in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God, derived from dikaios, the same word used to describe His earthly father, Joseph.... the same word that is found in Philippians 4:8.

Yes, thinking on these things... think on Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
He is true.  He is honest.  He is just. He is that pure and spotless lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Though He was not lovely to look at, He is full of the greatest love that we could ever imagine. He is that good report.... the gospel, the good news.  He is virtuous.
And, oh, He is praiseworthy.
"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.:- Philippians 2:8-11
He is Lord.  He is worthy.  He is our soon Returning King.
He is the Omega... the End.
Think on Him. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Think on the Light

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
So, 29 days later and I'm at the end of the verse.  I'm not sure how I managed to stretch it out this whole month, but God is good and He's given me what I needed. I know that He knows what I need before even I do.

It's easy to think on these things when life is going great. It's easy to count your blessings when the sun is shining and life is good.  It's easy for me to be full of grace when it's just me, at home, alone (although to be honest, sometimes I don't even like me. Have you ever been in one of those moods? I hope I'm not alone...)

But we can't just sit at home.  As much as I'd love to pull that electric blanket over my head and be oblivious, I can't.

Because we were called.

Called for a purpose.

And that purpose doesn't include hibernating and reading good books. (Although wouldn't that be grand?)

But no, we were called to be in this world.

And this world has troubles... we've already established that.

But we have the promise of His glorious light to go with us.

I'm thinking of light and darkness today as the seasons are changing and the time change coming up this weekend. I have often thought that I have seasonal affective disorder, because I don't do well in the wintertime. But He said He was the light, and those who walk in Him would not have darkness, but the light of life.

He also said that I am the light of the world... meaning that because He is in me, His light should radiate to others.

If I'm not thinking on those Philippians 4:8 things, I can get bogged down by the yuckiness of this world.  I can start focusing on the darkness, and not allowing His light to shine through.

Think on these things. Light overcomes darkness. Goodness wins in the end. And I was called out of darkness into His glorious light... to be true. Honest.  Just. Pure. Lovely. Of good report.

And in this, His grace is sufficient. Linking up with

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Think about That- I Reckon

I'm from Eastern Kentucky, and we pretty much speak our own language.

We also speak this language with a southern drawl, at least I do.  As I've gotten older, one of my favorite words is y'all.  And I'm  not even a people person...

I say ain't and use grammar incorrectly.  I really wasn't that bad until I became a nurse.  You can laugh if you want to, but throughout middle school and high school I loved to write, and my English teachers did not prescribe to Eastern Kentucky slang.

Nursing, though... first, we don't write in complete sentences.  There is never a subject in charting, because it is assumed you're talking about the patient about whom you're charting, because otherwise, what relevance would it have? Secondly, we're taught to communicate with our patients in ways which they understand.

When I went to work in a nursing home, I took this literally. Even though I once got called down for my naturally loud voice ("Honey, I may be old, but I am not deaf. You don't have to scream at me." Um... sorry... that's just how I talk to everyone.), I adopted the mannerisms of speech that many of the patients had... and I don't mean that stereotypically.

I just started using ain't. And reckon. And bless your heart... a lot.  I say that a lot.  It's a Southern thing... and Kentucky is close enough.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to "think on these things."

As I mentioned yesterday, think means to consciously put your mind to something. It comes from the Greek, logizomai, which means "to take into account, to consider, to meditate on... and also to reckon."

Yes, you read that right.  To reckon. One of those Eastern Kentucky words that slipped into my vocabulary so easily.

As In, "Reckon it will rain tomorrow?"

You think?  And then the response, usually translated as an affirmative. Something that you know will happen.. unless you say, "I reckon not."

Generally speaking, though, when I say reckon, it means that I'm assuming it will happen. What I'm thinking about is, indeed, likely to happen or is true.

So we are to "reckon on these things..."  Take into account whatsoever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable.  Consider them as being absolute.  When you see the negative in the situation, believe that these things are there, anyway... because you reckon on them.

I have always grinned when I read a verse Paul wrote, not because it is a light subject matter, but because it sounds like something someone from here at home would say.  (And I recognize that he didn't actually say reckon... but I can just imagine it coming out that way. Perhaps with a Southern drawl, for full effect...)

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

Y'all. Bless our hearts.  I reckon that the troubles we are going through this very minute are nothing.  Nothing! Compared to the glory we have coming in us!

Reckon... the same word used for think in Philippians 4:8. 

Reckon- I don't just think.  I know.  I know that in all of this world's trouble, there is good. There is truth, and honesty, and righteousness, and pureness, and loveliness.  I know there are things of good report and things that are virtuous and praiseworthy. I know that in this world, I'll have trouble, but Jesus has overcome, and that is truth and right.  And I know that the glory that will be revealed... it will be worth it all.

Just think about that. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Take it Captive

"Think on these things..."

Think... to  have a conscious mind.  To employ one's mind  rationally. To consider something as a possible choice.  To call to mind something. 

Thinking is an action.

It's very definition is conscious... rational... considerate... deliberate.

Yet so often my mind doesn't seem to be conscious.

Conscious... as in "fully aware". "Aware of one's surroundings."

The mind is funny in that...

Thinking is conscious, but often it means that as I am thinking, I am unaware, or at least not fully aware.

As I'm thinking of what my happen tomorrow, I'm not appreciating the today.

As I'm thinking of that stupid thing I said yesterday or how I lost my temper ten minutes ago, thinking of what a failure I am, and how Caleb is going to be that kid... you know the one... because of all of my failures...

I'm not enjoying the laughter today.

As I'm thinking of how much I'd rather be at the beach (and I really would... and I'm trying not to dwell on that)... I'm  not appreciating the beauty outside of my window.

My mind goes a million different directions at once, and often it doesn't seem conscious or rational. 

In fact, it is often very irrational. Things that would never happen in a million years become sure certainty.

"Think on these things..." Whatsoever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, of good report, full of virtue and praise.

Take the irrational, illogical, unconscious fears and seep them in truth, purity, and love.

Take every thought captive...

and consciously think on these things.

Because I am a child of the King.  He holds my tomorrow.  He has a future, a plan, and a purpose for me, and it was preordained before the foundation of the earth.  He loves me with an everlasting love and no weapon formed against me can prosper because He is my strength and my salvation. He's working all things for the good and He's working me for the good because He's not finished with me yet... I'm a work in progress and He is faithful to keep His promises.

Breathe deep and accept these things... these promises... and think on them.

Finishing up the #write31days challenge on Philippians 4:8 this week.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Thinking

"Think on these things..."

Sundays are for thinking.

For meditating on God's Word and for looking ahead to the coming week.

For reading and processing what you are reading.

For football and thinking of whether that play was the best play that should have been run... because we're all armchair quarterback and coaches.

For resting and soaking in His goodness and thinking of sunshine and happiness...

At least that's what my Sunday today is for. Hope you're feeling His goodness, too.

Wrapping up this month of Philippians 4:8 for the #write31days challenge. The rest of this month I'll be summing up what it means to think about things and remembering what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, praise and virtue...

But today, I'm just resting and thinking to a minimum. 

And enjoying every minute of it!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

There are No Words...

Today I watched a video session from Beth Moore's The Patriarchs.  I'm on week 5... been slowly (and I do mean slowly) working through it. 

Today's lesson was about Jacob and his vision at Bethel.  Several times Beth mentioned being aware of God's presence.  She cited the verse where Jacob said, "Surely God is here and I didn't even know it." (My paraphrase).

That got me thinking.

A lot of times I'm asking God for directions, asking God to show me Himself...

But I'm typing on my computer or scrolling down my newsfeed on my phone.

I go through life unaware a lot.

Beth then went on to talk about visiting the Grand Canyon.  She said that she had seen lots of pictures, but they just don't do it justice.

I can vouch for that.  This summer I got to visit when I attended a conference in Arizona. It was an all-day trip, but well worth it.

Standing on the edge of that Canyon, I can remember thinking how vast God is. I often think of that when I'm standing at the edge of the ocean.

At the Canyon, though, all the colors just contribute to the vastness.  You just know it didn't happen.  There has to be a master painter.

I think that when I see a sunset, as well, or view the oranges and reds on the hillside right now.

We are so very, very small.

And He is so awesome.

Sometimes, there are no words to praise Him. Sometimes, I just have to sit and gaze around me. No words, just something in my spirit.  Sometimes I find myself tearing up at His greatness.  I'm reminded of the verse in Isaiah where he says, "Woe is me, I am undone." I am undone... ruined... destroyed...

Because He is so great. And I am not.

Pondering on praise as I reflect on Philippians 4:8 for my #write31days challenge.

Friday, October 24, 2014

I'm that Mama

"Finally my brethren, whatsoever is true, whatsoever is honest, whatsoever is just, whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, whatsoever is of good report, if there be any virtue or praise, think on these things."- Philippians 4:8

You'd think after writing on this one verse all month long I'd be able to type it from memory... and I'm pretty sure I did, but am checking just to make sure...

Because I'm paranoid like that.

I've been writing on this verse for 24 days, and it's starting to come a little more natural.

Oh, I'm still that Mom that sits up in the bleachers during ball practice and tries to coach...because obviously I was a cheerleader and that makes me qualified to try to teach a kid how to play the post position.

Even though the said kid was doing exactly what he was supposed to do on defense.

And it may or may not be only the second practice that kid has attended since he played pee-wee league, where everyone just ran up and down the floor in mass chaos...

And I'm also the Mom who finds my blood pressure rise as he says, "I have one more question." Fifteen dozen questions later, and my head feels like it is about to explode, because introverts need quiet and alone time and to lay in the bed with the covers over their head under the electric blanket that was just purchased from Walmart.

And I'm still that person who blows under her breath when the bus in front of us decides that it needs to drop the kids on board off at their house, which means that I can't get to my destination as soon as I need to... I mean, what was that bus driver thinking? Doesn't he see the panic in my eyes in his rearview mirror?

I may or may not still be struggling...

but I also see how that boy runs up the floor and doesn't quit when doing those suicide drills (I mean, how many times could I do that?)

And I see how all of those questions mean that his mind is working and he's thinking outside of the box and realize that often my frustrations come because he's thinking so much faster and deeper than I am.

I see his hand that is now bigger than mine and think of him helping pack out the garbage at Hope Lodge, think of him making conversations with the patients there, smiling and just being him.

This thinking on these things... it can be hard sometimes, I'm not going to lie. 

But it can also be oh, so good.

Good to recognize that the truth is he's not going to be little long. That honestly, I'm madly in love with that little guy and even when he is infuriating me, he has my heart.  Being his Mom is teaching me about being just and fair no matter how difficult it may seem (especially when it is so UNFAIR that I am the only mother in the world who will not just put his contacts in for him as he struggles to get them in... atrocious, I know.) Thinking of how as a teenager, our struggles are so much different than they were when he was young and innocent and pure... free from hate and angst and all of the yuckiness that comes with middle school.  Thinking of how lovely it is when he shows compassion for others and loves his volleyball sisters and his friends from school.  Thinking of how the girl at Appalachian Wireless said that he was her favorite customer, and of how many people have told me what a good kid he is (all credit to God!!! And also the village that helps raise him). 

I don't tell him enough. Don't give him enough praises.  So tonight as I called him on my way home from the football game I told him extra how much I love him. How proud I am.

Because I'm thinking on these things...

And seeing that I have to do more than just think on them.

Writing for the
#write31days challenge... just a week left!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised

This week I've been thinking about praise.

In our churches today, we usually think about praise and worship... as though they go hand in hand. 

And some of my earliest memories are about music in the church.  My Papaw singing Prayer Bells of Heaven and Meeting in the Air.  Amy Grant. 

Yesterday I read an interesting article about worship in our churches and it really made me think. 

The article likens the worship in our current churches to pagan worship. I don't know a lot about pagan worship, and am sure that I have many misconceptions, but at first, I was like what? 

And then realized that I kind of had a similar thought earlier this month... at a Pearl Jam concert.

Yes, I realize that Pearl Jam is not a group you'd expect me to bring up when discussing praise and worship, but here's the thing...

I love Pearl Jam.  I mean, really, really love them.  I associate Pearl Jam with my late high school years and Wallace.

You may have seen me post something like this on facebook, "There's nothing better than the windows rolled down, sunroof open, and Pearl Jam blasting." (Ahh... the memories of summer. And also the memory of when the price of gas was only $0.99 a gallon.)

So, Wallace and I went to watch Pearl Jam to be entertained.  We were entertained.  It was the best date night we've had a in a very, very long time (which really isn't saying much when you consider that a. we don't go on many date nights and b. they usually involve a basketball game where he is scouting the other team). 

And as I looked around me at that concert, I saw the die hard fans.  You can probably imagine them, too, if you know anything about Pearl Jam.  I'm pretty sure that several of them were under the influence of some kind of mind-altering substance.  Some of them stood, enraptured, eyes closed, soaking in the music, swaying back and forth...

And I thought, "Wow.  This could be a church service except they aren't worshipping God. They're worshipping Pearl Jam."

Music moves us.  A soulful song gets down deep inside of us.  There's been times when I've been  in a good mood and have heard a sad song and wanted to cry, just because of the magic of the instrumentation.

And sometimes I think we like to be entertained a little too much in church.

I'm sorry if you're saying ouch. I love contemporary music as much as the next person.  My radio on my car is usually on K-Love (when I'm not listening to Pearl Jam... and I do recognize the irony.) And there really is nothing like being in a big arena like Rupp and listening to the ENTIRE gym echo with the sound of an audience singing songs like 10,000 Reasons.  Every time I leave a Christian concert, I can't help but think that it is a small taste of Heaven. 

That's not always praise, though.

Being entertained and hearing pretty music isn't praise.

For me to praise God, the One and Only, I have to give it all.  I can't be worrying about the person behind me or in front of me or behind me. 

Praise and worship isn't about me.  It's not about how lovely I sing or the number of instruments we have or even the words that come out of my mouth.

It's about Him. It's about being in His presence and feeling His Spirit and knowing that it is Him.  It's recognizing that there is nothing greater than Him... no entity.  No person.  No force of nature.  He's in control of them all...  Praising Him from the depths of my heart, sometimes with no words, sometimes with hands raised, always with a humble spirit, recognizing that I am nothing and He is everything.  Allowing Him control. 

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised."- Psalm 48:1
"Great is the Lord, and most worthy to be praised; His greatness no one can fathom. "- Psalm 145:3
"For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.:- Psalm 96:4

Continuing my series on Philippians 4:8, and this week I'm talking about praise.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Today I'm staring at a blank screen and trying to drum up some inspiration.  For the most part, this #write31days challenge has been relatively easy.  While Philippians 4:8 is just one verse, it can be expanded upon in so many different ways, and can be applicable to every part of our life.  I think that must have been what God intended... that we meditate on Him and His Word, and those things which are true, honest, right, lovely, pure, admirable, praiseworthy, and of good report.

As I've written this month, I've truly been able to see things in a new perspective.  I still am negative.  I still complain... but I'm finding that more and more I'm getting that nudge to stop it. 

Stop the insanity...
Because really that's all negative thinking is.

(And I don't say that lightly. As a medical professional, I know that insanity, mental illness, is a very real disease.  Too often it is taboo in the Christian community.  We don't talk about it.  If you are suffering from a mental illness, know that there is no shame in that. Find a good Christian counselor and don't be afraid to take medication.  It doesn't make you a lesser Christian. It just means that you recognize that sometimes God uses man and their smarts to heal you.)

But back to negative thinking and insanity... Insanity as in "Cray-cray." (I can see Caleb saying, "Mom.  Don't.  Just don't." He's been saying that a lot lately as I continually prove that I am not a cool Mom. Is there even such a thing as a cool Mom? If there were, I'm not it.  And I'm 99.95 % that is a very good thing.)

Oh, these rabbit trails... sorry.  One of my favorite definitions of insanity is "Doing the same thing but expecting different results." And see, that's kind of how negative thinking is... because when I'm complaining, it generally means that I'm not acting on anything.  I'm just verbalizing my displeasure. NOT edifying and NOT building others up.  So I'm essentially doing the same thing but expecting things to change... just because I complain.

The opposite of negative is positive, right?

So the opposite of complaining... an antonym listed in the thesaurus?


If we want to change, we must take action.  The first step to making change is... well, taking the first step.  I may not ever want to be someone's best friend... but I can make them feel better along the way. After all, I'm to have a mind like Christ, and be His ambassador, a city on the hill, the salt of the earth, (and that does NOT give me permission to be salty. Don't, Mom.  Just don't.).  The light of the world.

This week, I'm challenging myself (and I'll hope you'll join me.)  For every negative thought that I have, I'm going to take it captive... and change it to a positive.  Surely I can find something praise-worthy about that person that I'm disagreeing with or sitting in traffic or the rain.  I'm going to then turn that positive into praise and thanksgiving.

Oh, boy. 

We'll start with you.  I'm sure by this time your praise is, "Thank goodness she's winding this post up."

If that's true, well, Bless your heart. 

Seriously.  Blessings to you!  And thanks for reading this far.  Hopefully tomorrow will not be quite as crazy... but no promises here.  Just keepin' it real!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Praise- Be Someone's Sunshine

There are some people that I really like.  They are like warm, fuzzy blankets. They are like hot chocolate on a cold day. They are like sunshine.

And then there are others, who bring the dark cloud of gloom and doom and just suck the life out of me.

I hope that I am in the former category for other people, but I fear that sometimes I am in the latter.

It's easy to pick apart these individuals.  They are usually negative, and negativity (and positivity!) are contagious.  You know the type... they complain about EVERYTHING.

Philippians 4:8 reminds us that "... if there be any praise, think on these things."

That means praising God, absolutely.

But I can't help but think it means praising other people, too. defines praise as: "The act of expressing approval or accommodation."

We all know our weaknesses. I don't need anyone to point out to me that my house is messy, and that at times I am lazy, and that at times I am defensive.  I know these things.

It is sometimes much more difficult to see our strengths... and does anyone even notice? Does anyone even care?


As I've been reading this chapter this month, a verse continually comes to mind.  Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupt communication  proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

Matthew 12: 34, "... out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Matthew 12: 36, "...every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."

This verse scares me, because I say A LOT of idle words.  A LOT.  Mostly about other people.  And not the kind of thing that builds them up.

However, when I am using Philippians 4:8, it gives me a filter through which to look at people.  When I am thinking of praises, I'm looking at the good in people.

And we shouldn't just think them.

If you're thinking someone does a good job, tell them.  Verbally. Or write them a note.  Or send them a text message.  Or post something on Facebook.

I guarantee they were wondering if someone noticed. That communication is good to the use of edifying... building one another up.  It ministers grace to that person.  And it just may be enough to cause them to focus on that positive aspect of themselves and do something to correct the negative.

As Angela Thomas always tells her son, "You... be the Sunshine."

Praise someone today!

This is part of my series on Philippians 4:8 for the #write31days challenge. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

This Monday morning I find myself sleeping late and struggling to get out of the house on time... again.

Sitting in traffic in the drop-off line at the middle school...again.

Wishing that it could be summertime... again... and always.

But in the back of my mind, I'm singing.

"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen."
I know this song as the Doxology.  I don't know when I was first introduced to it.  It's one of those songs that just gets in your heart and you know it...

Because we were made to praise.

I don't debate different denominations of religion.  As I'm growing older, I believe it is much more about the personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Religion isn't necessarily about that.. after all, look at the so-called religious leaders in Jesus's day.

I think we can get hung up on the differences and fail to see that we are all more alike than what we think.

I do think there are some fundamental truths that you have to believe in.

The doxology talks about one of those... God the Father, Jesus the Son (who died for my sins... not just the sins of the world... but mine.  And yours.  And if no one else in the world needed saved, He still would have gone to the Cross.) and God the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost (our Comforter.  Our Counselor). 

Philippians 4:8 says, "... if there by any praise, think on these things."


In the Greek, "epainos", meaning commendation, and praise.

We are to think of praise. 

We must begin to think of praising God... and then we must apply this to others around us.

Praise God... giving thanks.  Amen. 

This month I'm breaking down Philippians 4:8  as part of the #write31day challenge.  This week, I'm expanding on praise. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Praise to the Lord

Here in Kentucky, it's a beautiful fall day. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the hills are full of reds and oranges that are magnificent.  The wind is blowing softly and it is cool enough to wear a sweatshirt, but then the sunshine warms you just enough.

I wonder if it is days like today that Isaiah is describing in 55:12, "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."

I can't imagine the trees actually clapping, but I do know that as the wind blows through them and the leaves move it seems as though they are whispering.

And the mountains and hills bursting into song... that's hard for me to imagine, too, until I view them in their multicolored fabulousness and can almost hear them...

Singing praises. 

Praise to the Creator.

"Finally, my brethren... if there be any praise, think on these things."- Philippians 4:8

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."- Psalm 150:6

Writing this for my #write31daychallenge., thinking on Philippians 4:8.  This week I think I'm going to be focusing on praise, because it's a pretty big area... unless God leads me another direction. 

What are you praising God for today?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fill 'Er Up

"Finally, my brethren, whatsoever is true, whatsoever is honest,  whatsoever is just, whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, whatsoever is of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things."-  Philippians 4:8

Day 18 of this #write31days challenge , and the days are starting to run together. 

As I've lived in a whirlwind of volleyball games and work and basketball practice and academic team practice and shark tank preparation and football and church and trying to fit in family time and making sure we all have clean socks...

I've been on autopilot.

Move from one place to another, without really thinking.

 It's like this analogy...

I'm sitting in the living room watching football.  I get to the bottom of my Diet Coke can.  I go to the fridge to get a new one (or yell for Wallace to bring me one... hey, I'm comfortable on the couch!) There is no more Diet coke in the fridge.

1. This is a matter of crisis in this house.

2. I immediately think of how thirsty I am.

3. This is a CRISIS in this house.

Now, there's no more Diet Coke in the fridge because I got too busy to go to the store to get any more.  Or maybe I went to the store and got so distracted by everything else there that I forgot to get Diet Coke.  Or maybe Wallace took the last couple to school.

I may try to drink a regular coke... but you know what? It's not as good.  I've been drinking Diet Coke for so long that it doesn't taste the same.  It doesn't satisfy me.

Thinking on these things is like that. 

In order to always have enough "good" thoughts, I have to make sure that I look for them.  I have to be intentional.  And what oges into my mind through what I read, hear, see..

that's what I'll think about.

If I don't take time to read God's Word, or go to church, or just sit quietly and listen to Him...

If I don't take time to prayer , thanking Him for all that I have...

My soul will be empty, just like my fridge. 

When my soul is empty, it's easy for me to try to fill it up with other things.

Negative things.

I need to keep my soul full so that my mind will think of those things.

When His Word is constantly in my heart, I see what is true.  What is honest. What is right and pure and lovely and of good report.  I see the virtue in others...

And I can't help but praise Him.

Now, excuse me while I go to the fridge and get a Diet Coke and get into His Word. 

Y'all have a blessed Saturday.  May your day be beautiful and your favorite football team win.  (Unless, of course, your favorite team is LSU.  Because  then my favorite team won't win. And we all know that UK deserves to win.)

And all the crazy Diet Coke drinkin', football lovin' Jesus girls say Amen.

Friday, October 17, 2014

What I Know is True: Senior Edition

I've always heard that you should write about what you know.

Today, I'm thinking about what I know.

I know the squeak of tennis shoes and the thump, thump, of the roundball on the gleaming hardwood floor.

I know the sound of a whistle blowing and of girls laughing in the locker room. 

I know the taste of victory... and the agony of defeat.

I know the thrill of watching the ball swish through the net noiselessly, or the feel as the clock ticks down to 0.0 and you look up to see that it is tied.

I know these things viscerally. 

I can close my eyes and see them, see the huddle and him in the middle, and sometimes the eye rolls and sometimes the rapt attention as the play is drawn, and even sometimes the cracking of the clipboard in frustration.

I know when to encourage and when to just sit quietly and let the Coach stew. 

I know these things... because I've learned them in my marrow.

I'm learning some things, too...

Learning what a setter does and what an attacker does. 

Learning the different kind of serves.

Learning the look of pride when someone scores an ace on a serve or gets a spike or bumps it just over the net so it can't be hit back.

Same occasional eye rolls. Same rapt attention. Same frustration at times... and then pure joy at others.

Some things are universal. Some things are just true...

Teams become family and families occasionally fight, especially teenage sisters...

But love is all-powerful, and when you mess with one you mess with all of them.

Hard work really does pay off and practice doesn't always make perfect but it can make it so close that if you squint you can look past those mistakes. 

And the glory of the win takes away all of the agony of the defeat... most days.

As I watch a Senior sit in the bleachers and support her team even though she couldn't be on the court because of medical reasons earlier in the season, I know the meaning of true friendship.

As I  watch a Senior player who is playing for the very first year serve the game winning point on Senior night, I know pure joy from the smile that lights up her face.

As I watch a Senior dump it over the net again and again and again into the perfect spot, thinking of how at the beginning of the year she had to sit on the bench because of eligibility issues, I question what is just and right.

As I watch a Senior who is the most positive player on the team even when she doesn't get as many playing minutes as every one else serve time and again, even in high pressure situations, I think about lovely.  (And she really is lovely. Inside and out.)

As I watch a Senior that I have known since a baby dive for the ball...

As I watch a Senior jumpserve in the game and it go into play and be hit right back to her, and her knock it back over the net...

As I watch a Senior go for the ball out of bounds, making plays quietly and speaking more with actions than words, knowing that in between practice she juggles schoolwork and a full-time job...

As I watch a Senior volley and never give up...

I'm reminded that while I may not know volleyball, I know this. 

There is more to athletics than hitting a ball.

There's dedication and teamwork and perseverance and a few tears and some bruising...

And a true athlete presses on.

This month, I'm working through Philippians 4:8 for the #write31 challenge. 

Tonight, I'm pondering on what is true... what I'm learning to be true, and what I know deep down in the bottom of my heart.

I don't know my purpose in this life, other than to love God and others.  I'm still trying to figure it out.  I do know that this is true, though.  My husband is meant to be working with teenagers... and I sure do understand dramatic girls.  And sometimes, I shake my head in frustration... but most nights, I'm so very thankful... because I'm not just blessed to be Caleb's mama. 

I'm blessed to get to be a Mama to a group of lovely girls... and when they get sassy, they go home to their real Mamas.
Seniors Top Row: Brooke Adams, Michaela Southwood
Third Row: Candy Herald and Beth McIntosh
Second Row: Kasey Young and Morgan Slone
Bottom Row: Leeandra Henson and Katie Watts
Photo courtesy of Brittini Hayes photography
Thanks, Volleycats, for making me think.  For making me smile.  Now let's go win a District Championship.

2014 Breathitt Volleycats. Courtesy of Brittini Hayes Photography

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Philippians 4:8 in Action

So, here it is... halfway through my #write31day challenge and I only have a couple more phrases left in my signature verse, Philippians 4:8. 

I'm thinking to myself, "How are you going to make this stretch out for 15 more days?"

Sometimes I tend to overcomplicate thinking.

So this morning I'm pondering just what I want to get out of this challenge. 

Some people are participating to help them provide clarity on a topic.

Others are participating because they are contemplating writing a book, and this is their springboard.

Some are participating because they want to increase and expand their blog audience, and that is a definite plus.  I'm part of a group on facebook where we visit each other's blogs and comment, and I've been introduced to some awesome topics that I never would have thought about.

But me?

It's really about the writing.

Writing helps me clear my head.

And ultimately, it's about the finished product... not the words or this blog or who comes and reads (even though all that is great).

The finished product is me...

And I'm nowhere close to finished.

These Philippians 4:8 words remind me of Jesus.  He was true and noble and right and pure and lovely and admirable.

And we are to act like Him... the best we can... looking to Him,  the Author and Perfector of our faith. 

"By their fruit you shall know them."

If I'm focusing on the true and noble and right and pure and lovely and admirable, my actions will begin to reflect these. 

The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

The heart reflects the man. 

The Lord looks on the heart.

My actions should reflect His; the greatest of these being love.  And as I reflect on the true and noble and right and pure and lovely and admirable, my heart will reflect these.  My words will be kinder.  I'll demonstrate those good fruits, the fruit of the Spirit.

And He is faithful to finish what He started.. this, Christ in me, the hope of glory...

His grace is sufficient to perform this completed work.  Amen and amen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Virtue: "Good People"

"Finally, my brethren, whatsoever is true, whatsoever is honest, whatsoever is just, whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, whatsoever is of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things."-  Philippians 4:8


A small word with a big meaning.

Moral excellence... is there even such a thing anymore?

I'd like to think that there is.

The word used in Phil 4:8 is translated from the Greek  arête, meaning "a virtuous course of thought, feeling, and action" or "moral goodness or excellence."

A virtuous course of thought... much different from what I was practicing yesterday.

As I pondered this verse this morning, I thought of Proverbs 31.  I read a portion of this passage at my Grandma's funeral in January... the part about her children rising up and calling her blessed.

The word translated in Proverbs, from the Hebrew chayil , means "strength, might, efficiency, wealth... an army."  It's the same word used in Ruth 3:11 when Boaz has accepted his role as her kinsman redeemer: " And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman."

In today's world, it takes a lot of strength to be a virtuous woman... to think on things of virtue.

To be upstanding and wise, fair, thoughtful, honest, and morally sound.

To be "good people", as we call it in Eastern Kentucky... you know, like, "She's from good people.", implying that someone can be trusted.

Virtue is not lost.  You see it in the person who returns the $100 dollar bill found laying on the ground.  You see it in the person who pays for groceries when the person in front of them comes up a little short.  You see it in kids who struggle to make good grades and refuse to take the easy way out.

Too often we focus on the negative things... and in our world, there is plenty to look at.

But all around  us, there is good.  We just have to look a little harder, and sometimes thing outside of the box. 

And perhaps create our own.

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world."- Gandhi

More on Philippians 4:8 here as I #write31days.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Just Not Feelin' It.

Y'all, I'm not a Pollyanna thinker. 

Not that I even really know what that is... but I am much more the glass half full kind of girl... or without one stinkin' drop even in the glass.

That's why this Philippians 4:8 challenge is starting to get a little rough.

Because I am just done with positive thinking.

Give me some griping. Some complaining.

Like this morning.  I started out a post on things of virtue, the next phase of Phil. 4:8, but just didn't have the words.  I'll finish that one later.  I looked over lecture notes, packed up my stuff, and started the short walk to the building next door, an internal complaint session in my mind. "Why does it have to be raining? Why can't my class just be in the same building as my office? Why can't we have a tunnel so that I don't have to get wet?

And then I thought of Kami, trekking across UK's campus from her apartment in the pouring rain. And of people who work outside in the pouring rain all day, every day.  And people who don't have a job. 

It's a tug-a-war within myself sometimes.  James tells us that the tongue is hard to tame, and I get that... but so is my mind.

Paul says that sometimes he does stuff that he doesn't even want to do... hating what he does, but not being able to stop it.

Lord, I need help being positive...

But it is so much more self-gratifying to gripe.

About other people. At Caleb. At Wallace when he doesn't answer text messages.

I could go on and on.

"Finally, my brothers and sisters... "

After you have rejoiced, and prayed, and given thanks, and found peace, think on these things...

And Paul, the same Paul that hates stuff that he sometimes does yet does them anyway, goes on to explain why we need to rejoice and pray and give thanks and find peace and think on the whatsoevers.
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."- Philippians 4:11.

I have LEARNED to be content. 

Learned- manthano... to learn through practice and habit.

Content- autarkes- sufficient, strong enough, INDEPENDENT OF EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES, contented with one's lot.

No matter what. 

Thinking on the positives, the true, honest, lovely, pure, just... the virtuous and the righteous...

gets my eyes off of me and my external circumstances.  It focuses me on  my internal circumstances... my eternal circumstances.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

"Christ in me, the hope of glory."

As I think about that, how can I not be Pollyanna? 

Sometimes we just need a little heart check.. or a big one... or a little bit of digging into His Word.

Thank you, Lord, for being patient.

Continuing my series on Philippians 4:8 where I'm trying to develop a new habit of thinking on His things...

But habits take practice, and practicing sometimes mean we make mistakes...

But He is good. All the time.
Linking up with Holley Gerth today...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Musings

"Finally, my brethren, whatsoever is true, whatsoever is honest, whatsoever is just, whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, whatsoever is of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things."-  Philippians 4:8

Oh, Monday. 

Good morning to you, again. 

As I posted last Monday, sometimes it is hard to focus on those whatsoevers on Monday morning.

Especially on a Monday morning where the sky is quickly turning gloomy and it's the Monday after a glorious fall break...

When all I really want to do is lay in the bed and read and take naps and snack on blueberry cake donuts from Krispy Kreme.

Just keeping it real.

I love my job... absolutely love it...

But if I am not very careful I can get away from thinking the whatsoevers and start wallowing...

It's at this very moment that I tend to start listing the things that I need to do... but I'm not going to subject my readers to that nonsense.  Instead, I'm going to think on...

glorious golden sunrises and sweatshirts warm from the dryer, crisp autumn air as I walk in the sunshine under blue skies, the smell of rain, orange and red leaves painting a landscape of God's handiwork, Volleycats lined up in the front of a country church and fried chicken and fellowship, the first sip of Diet Coke from a straw and His Word and talking with Caleb on the way to school, I love you and See you later and stray kisses from nowhere landing on your cheek, surprising. 

What are you thinking on this Monday morning?

#write31days of Philippians 4:8...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

If there be...

"Finally, my brethren, whatsoever is true, whatsoever is honest, whatsoever is just, whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, whatsoever is of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things."-  Philippians 4:8

For the past eleven days, I've been thinking about Philippians 4:8 for the #write31days challenge. Phrase by phrase, I've been breaking down the verse and really meditating on what it means. 

What is true? What is honest? What is just? What is pure? What is lovely? What does it mean to be of good report?

And how do I translate that to me?

I started to skip right over the next phrase, and move on to virtue, but as I looked at the verse in the Greek (no, I'm not a Bible scholar, but Blue Letter Bible is awesome!), something said I needed to comment on it.

"... If there be any..."

As I've looked through this list of whatsoevers, sometimes I've asked myself... is there any of that stuff? In today's world, is there anything true or honest or just? Anything pure?

Sometimes it's hard to see the good.  And sometimes I choose to look past it.

"If" is one of the biggest two-letter words in the English language.

In case that...

Supposing that...

Whether that...

In case there be any...

Supposing that there is any...

Whether that there be any...

Ei tis... whoever or whatever.  Thayer's Greek Lexicon elaborates, "When anything is simply and generally assumed to be, or to be done, or to have been done, or to be about to be."

Assume that there will be...

All of these things.

Even when we can't readily see them. 

This phrase is also translated, "If any..." or "If any man..."

As in,
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any G1536 man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."- Matthew 16:24
"If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."- Mark 4:23
"Therefore if any man G1536 be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."- 2 Corinthians 5:16
For me to focus on all of these whatsoevers, I must be an "any man".  Following Jesus. Denying myself.  Taking up my cross.  Listening.  Realizing that I am a new creature.  ALL things are new.
Including my mindset.
Help me, Lord...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Good News

"Go, tell it on the mountain.  Over the hills and everywhere. Go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born..."

Perhaps one of my favorite Christmas songs from when I was little. 

Tell the gospel.  Euaggelion.  Good news.  Glad tidings. The beginning of the gospel was Jesus Christ...

And the last commandment He gave us? 

"Go into all the world and preach the gospel."

Preach it in word. Preach it in deed. Preach it as you live it... who Jesus is and what He's done for you.

"Whatsoever is of good report...."

Good report.  From the Greek euphemos... eu meaning well and pheme meaning report or fame.

Well as in "Well done, my good and faithful servant."... don't we all want to hear this?

Good news.  Give us something to smile about...

but instead it is darkness and illness and violence, sucking the life right out of us.

Bad news sells... sensationalized.

"Whatsoever is of good report..."
But sometimes it is easier to share the bad. The negative. In small towns, the rumor mills run 24/7 and the stories get expanded until the hardly recognize the original.

Throw more fire on the kindling and let it burn...

Words to ignite and to pit us against each other.

Half-truths or no truths.

We may stumble backwards and try to do damage control, but the damage is already done. 

A word can't be taken back.

The old adage is true... if you can't say nothin' nice, don't say nothin' at all.

"Whatsoever things are of good report..."

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."- Ephesians 4:29

Think on the good news... and if you don't see any in front of you, look up. 
Continuing my series on Philippians 4:8 through the #write31days challenge. 

I'd love to hear about your good news this morning! Share in the comment section below.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pure as Snow

"Whatsoever is pure... think on this."

As I type it's sprinkling outside.  It's turned cool, an invasion of wintertime in October... at least it seems that way, when compared to the warm temperatures I am bidding farewell.

Thoughts of winter conjure up images of pure.

The snow that floats to the ground, crystals gleaming in the light outside my living room window.

Even though winter is not my favorite season, and I perpetually long for the kiss of sunshine on my skin... there is something about waking to the ground covered in white.



Pure- from the Greek hagnos.  "sacred, pure from fault, clean, chaste, pure from carnality."

There's not much considered pure in today's world.

Young girls tarnished by a need to be accepted.  Headlines about acts unthinkable.

No modesty... in clothing, in action, in words.

Even as I write, I think about modesty... because how many of us have pure motives?  We may demonstrate fake humility... but secretly crave validation of our opinions.

How many likes can I get on instagram or facebook? How many followers? How many retweets?

We present our lives in a picture-perfect manner... knowing that we aren't pure. Knowing that we are all stained... but we can't share that.

We all live in glass houses. 

Which of you can throw the first stone?

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Here, the word pure is from the Greek katharos, meaning to be purified, as through fire, to be unblemished, clean, blameless, unstained with guilt, innocent.

How can we ever be this kind of pure? 

"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure"-  1 John 3:3

Hath this hope IN HIM. 

The only way that we can become pure in heart, unblemished, free from guilt, is to look to Him.  The Redeemer. The One who covered our sins so that our hearts could be washed as white as snow. 

Think on Him.  When this world seems murky. When your day is as dingy as that snow becomes as it melts and turns to mud.

He is pure.  He is unblemished... and He wants you to be the same.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal Savior, He's waiting with open arms.

Pure in heart...

For more on my thoughts on Philippians 4:8, visit my #write31days challenge day one.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Think on the Eternal

"Finally, my brethren, whatsoever things are  true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are  pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue or any praise, think on these things."- Philippians 4:8

Rejoice.  Rejoice.  Don't be anxious.  Ask God.  Be thankful.  Have peace.


How do we find peace in this troubled world?

By seeking Him, first and foremost. He is our Prince of Peace.  He tells us that in this world we will have trouble, but He's overcome the world. "Peace I leave with you." He promised.

But sometimes my head is spinning with thoughts and there is no peace... just worry and doubt and anxiety and stress... what ifs and whys and why nots.

All temporary. 

Colossians 3:1-2 tells us, "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."

As I think about all of these whatsoever things, I'm reminded that even they may be temporary. 

Things don't last.

Neither do bad times...

This, too, shall pass. 

But He won't.  Eternity is set in our heart and we are all looking to fill a God-shaped hole, so often we seek friendship and earthly possessions... but it's not enough.

Or we seek affirmation through social networking.. but it's not enough.

Even thinking on lovely, pure, acceptable things sometimes may not seem enough, because sometimes there is no justice and sometimes there is no honesty. 

He knows. 

He was lied about.  He was beaten, undeserved.  He set His eyes on the prize and endured the shame because He had His mind set on the eternal...

An eternity of me and you.

So when it seems like even Philippians 4:8 isn't enough... when those things are fleeting and your mind is still harping on negativity, picture Him.  He's sitting there, interceding for you with an everlasting love.

Think on this...

Come back tomorrow when I'll continue to break down the verse from Philippians 4:8... I just wanted to share a little about what I was thinking today. This is part of my #write31days  challenge where I'm breaking down and applying Philippians 4:8 to try to help me combat my stinkin' thinkin'. 

Is this an area where you struggle? Is there a certain verse that helps you stop the madness of negativity?  What part of Philippians 4:8 is easiest for you to see?  I'd love to chat.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Isn't She Lovely?

"Whatsoever is... lovely... think on these things..."- Philippians 4:8

I apologize in advance for the length of this post... but my girl is turning 21!!!

How did that happen?

This month I'm participating in the Write 31 Days Challenge, where I'm writing about the  "whatsoevers" in Philippians 4:8.  Click here for the rest of the series... and know that I recognize I'm skipping a couple of parts, but I'll go back.  October 8th, though?  It's all about the lovely...

"... whatsoever is lovely... think on these things..."

Lovely: from the Greek prosphiles: "acceptable, pleasing, lovely"... defines lovely as "exquisite beauty, charming".

They could have Kami's name listed next to it.

I was charmed the minute I saw those chubby cheeks. I mean... have you ever?  A teenager never knew what love was until I held that girl... 8 pounds of pure cuteness.

(Mom, me holding Kam, and Holly, October 8th, 1993).

She was adorable.  Even when she cried. Even when she peed on me.  Even when I played airplane with her, holding her above my head, only to have her spit up  in my mouth.

I was in love.

She looked like a Precious Moments doll. Those big brown eyes. Those chubby cheeks.  Perfection. She was my mini-me. I didn't mind sitting in the back seat of the car because sometimes she would hold my hand. She followed me upstairs and followed me in the living room. She loved to watch cartoons sitting in my lap and loved for me to read to her.  When she got big enough, she'd sleep with me, curled up right next to me as close as she could get. I'd wake up to find her feet in my face or to discover that she had rolled out of the bed. Her bedtime prayers were long... she must have got that from Grandma Na.   She'd pray for all of her cousins and her friends and their pets and pretty much everyone else anyone knew.  As she got older, I went to work and she didn't like it. One time, the nursing home called, wanting me to come in and work an 11-7 shift. "My sister said for me to tell you that she is busy." She didn't want to sleep by herself.

She loved to cheer.  We'd lift her up in preps above our heads and she'd giggle uncontrollably.  Kami "Bizzybeth" was certainly busy. She loved playing dressup in high heels and beads.  Always a fashion queen, she was thrilled when her yellow soccer uniform complimented  her "lovely dark hair".  She spent the remainder of that season running up the field with her hands in her pockets, but she looked good doing it.  When Wallace would pick her up in the morning, she'd complain about what he was wearing and threaten to call the fashion police.  How she loved her Wallace. 

He was her boyfriend.  He had her spoiled rotten.  "Don't worry, Dad.  If you won't buy it for me, Wallace will." She knew  the days he got paid.  He went to more Disney movies than you could expect a college guy to go to.
She walked up the aisle wiping the tears away when I got married.  She was always such a pretty crier.  You know the kind... the tears would pool in those shiny eyes.  I asked her why she was crying.  "Because you're leaving me."
I was going to the backyard.  She wore a path from Mom and Dad's to my house.  She'd spend the night and we'd pile up on the couch and watch Nickelodeon.  She would snack on goldfish and we'd play Barbie dolls or with her 1 million Polly Pocket accessories.  Or sometimes she and Allie would team up against Wallace.  He wasn't the best babysitter in the world. One time, I came home to find them in the driveway, playing in the rain. "What are y'all doing out here? It's cold..."
"Wallace told us to."
"And y'all listened to him?'

Kami and Allie... best friends from birth.  You've never seen two different girls.  Kami all about fashion.  Allie all about softball.  Allie a natural lefty... Kami, I'm not convinced it's natural.  Allie, the older of the two, took the role of boss just like her Mama... and Kami would just smile.  So she learned to write with her left hand and gave up her "Pappy" because Al would stick it in the dog's mouth. "Mommy, I want my Papppy!" She'd cry  on the way home. Mom would reply, "If you're old enough to ask for a pacifier, you're too old to take one." Even with their differences, they loved one another fiercely.  Too beautiful girls we were blessed with October 8th.
Kami is one of the smartest girls I know, and I don't say that lightly.. but sometimes she either overthinks things or doesn't think at all... like the time we pulled up to the gas station and saw the dispenser labeled air... you know, to pump your tires. "What's air?", she asked.

As she grew, her grace and beauty radiated.  I am biased, I recognize, but doesn't she just look like a Southern belle in this pic?

She was gracious to all she met.. except perhaps Caleb. Remember how I told you Wallace had her spoiled?  She didn't take too kindly to someone else for him to spoil. "Well, you just better be glad he's a boy." She told me one time in a huff, "Because I can still be the only little girl." Oh, she loved him. She'd hold him and snuggle him and smile at him... "When is he going to, you know, start talking and stuff?"

Joke is on you, Kami... because he has never stopped.  And he sure did get on your nerve!!! And still does.  But how y'all love each other.  How he missed you when you were gone to Governor's Scholar and how he misses you now that you're not home much.

This face says it all. I don't think she was impressed with the kiss and she didn't want to get her dress wet.
 A special gal, this one, with some special friends. These four have remained friends from almost birth... Brittney a little younger, but Kendall, Meg, and Kami started out in the nursery together in the same month (pretty much) and never turned back. They've supported each other in all of their endeavors, and even though they currently go to four different colleges, they still get together over breaks and laugh themselves silly.
And you'll still see this Wildcat fan cheer like mad for this Hilltopper.  Maybe almost to the point of tears when she was in the NCAA tourney on national TV.

Graduation day, and this one didn't shy away from the microphone.  I believe she is the only speech that I have ever heard clearly in that coliseum.  How fitting that she stood in up front, after all of the hours she spent there growing up... pushing herself to do her back handspring (or maybe just waving a flag in the back of the routine.

And she fit in too well at college.  Sorority events, football games, classwork, a part-time job, and she spends most of her time in Lexington.  It's a rare treat to meet for lunch.  So busy... still Kami Bizzybeth. 

But never too busy for Daddy. 
And also not too busy to travel thousands of miles to Guatemala to put a smile on this little girl's face.  As she and Britt presented in church about their trip, I couldn't hold back my tears.  A week later, when the broadcast was televised, I cried some more on the treadmill.  So very proud of her selflessness, her love and compassion for these little ones... and also because my girl is growing up.

Twenty-one. So much life in these short years.  Seemed like I blinked and here we are.  It seems like just yesterday she was smiling with her front teeth out, watching Rugrats and hanging on Wallace's shoulders.  And here she is, a junior in college...

I have no idea what the future holds for Kami... but I know it is good. Because she is lovely. She is God's, and she knows it.  And God has so many plans for this sweet girl, just as he did 21 years ago, when we were a little surprised that she was on the way... and also when we may or may not have been slightly disappointed because she wasn't a boy. To quote Mulan, "Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?"

Yep, God knew what He was doing when He sent us Kami.  She has brought me so much joy, so much laughter.  I am so proud of her. She is one of my best friends and I know that there will be great things to come.  Happy 21st birthday, baby girl!!!