Thursday, January 29, 2009

Genuinely Thankful

Today is a very thankful day... Hmm... Thankful Thursday... I like the ring that has!

I'm thankful that my Aunt Elsie is now back in her apartment at Vernon Woods after spending the night in the hospital with a little bout with some heart trouble. Apparently she had some fluid build up around her heart, but now is feeling better and back at home where she can rest.

I'm thankful that because it's Thursday it means we're going to Cisco's. This is our favorite Mexican restaurant in town, and at least 45 Thursdays out of the year, we're there. Saralynn loves our waitress, Mrs. Kelli, and she absolutely adores Polo. He's the man that brings our chips and salsa to us. He is an absolute delight, and though he doesn't speak much English, the smiles he and Saralynn share transcend any barriers or boundaries. She knows, somehow, that it's Thursday when she wakes up in the mornings and will say "I go see Polo 'night". It is so cute!

I'm thankful that Kelly's daughter, Harper, has had such a good day. Read up here: http://kellyskornerblog.com. Thank You, Jesus!

I'm thankful to be helping (at least planning to help- we have a meeting next month) with our 10-year high school reunion this summer. I'm excited to re-connect with old friends from school that I haven't seen in a long time.

I'm thankful that it's almost the weekend!

What are you thankful for? I'd love to share in your excitement!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's Your Name?

My dad has been working with Saralynn, teaching her to know what her full name is (and it's a doozie- I'll answer to that one in a few years, I'm sure). She is named for both her grandmothers- Sara is Garrett's mom's first name, and Lynn is my mom's middle name. Her middle name is Elizabeth, which is also my middle name. So, her full name is Saralynn Elizabeth Pelt. The conversation goes something like this:

Pop: "What's your name?"

Saralynn: "Saralynn". (I'll have to get some video of her saying it for you to get the full effect. She used to call herself NeeNee- we haven't figured that one out yet...)

P: "What's your full name?"

S: "Saralynn Elizabeth Pelt" (we eventually get there)

So, now that we pretty well have that down pat, Pop moves to other family members...

P: "What is Pop's name?"

S: "I dunno. What?"

P: "Ken"

S: "Oh, ok. Pop is Ken- "Ten".

We move on through Mimi (Becky- "Bety"), Uncle Bub (Matthew- "Mappoo"), and Daddy (Garrett- Dawett). We even talk about the kitty, Muffin (Muppin).

Then, on to Mommy...

P: "What is Mommy's name?"

S, very resolutely: "Mommy".

P: "Her name is Mary Beth".

S, very puzzled: "Mewy Beff?"... thinks a minute... "No, she's Mommy".

That's my girl! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Where Were You?

In an attempt to preserve the events of today in my mind, I'm going to blog my thoughts as I watch the innauguration. I'm here at work, InterCall, Valley, AL. Not much activity around here today. Less than 10 work-related emails have come through, in contrast to the at least 30 that would've come through by now. I'm surrounded by friends and co-workers, all of whom are glued to cnn.com on their computers, watching the events unfold before us. We will enjoy red, white, and blue cupcakes after President-Elect Obama is sworn in as President Obama.

The overwhelming thought to me: at this point, it doesn't make a hill of beans difference who we voted for. History is unfolding before us. My sweet Saralynn is at day care right now, oblivious to the fact that her world will never be the same. After today is over, editors the world over will scramble to re-write history books. She will probably never fully understand the history of the past and will probably never fully understand the scope and magnitude of what's happening today.

I just listened to Pastor Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church pray over President-Elect Obama. I listened as he said "I ask this in the name of the One who changed my life". Wow.

I feel so blessed to be able to watch the events unfold. I'm thankful for a job that let us watch from our computers. I'm thankful for the men and women that are away from their families fighting so I'm able to watch. I'm thankful for the freedom to be able to watch. I'm thankful that I was able to vote. Though I voted for a different candidate, I did get to vote- something not every human is able to do. And, even though I didn't vote for our now sworn-in President Obama, I will continue to pray for him. I pray a hedge of protection over his family as they journey through today. I pray for clarity of mind and heart for him as he begins his administration.

Above all, what is resonating with me most as I pray now for our newly elected president, is a passage of scripture I came across during the election. Was it written especially for this season? Possibly. But is it true? Of course. It always has been and always will be.

"There is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Romans 13:1

Mr. President, I am honored to be a part of your history and pledge to pray for you and support you, as my Jesus commands me to do. I pray that you feel and recognize the hands that hold you, for they are the same hands that hold me, and I find security in them. I pray you do, too. May your days be blessed with His love.

Jesus, I pray for Your protection and for Your peace for the Obama family in the coming days. I pray that You help us all to take one day at a time and see each day for the blessing it is. Thank You for freedom.

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Great Quote

For anyone that knows me well, they know I like quotes. I like to post them, think on them, even pattern my life around them in some cases. This one has become my new favorite quote. We are studying the book of James in Sunday School, and our teacher used this yesterday morning. It's by Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois:

“I would never want to reach out someday with a soft, uncalloused hand ~ a hand never dirtied by serving ~ and shake the nail-pierced hand of Jesus!”- Bill Hybels

Wow. What a thought. Let's face it- any of us that have ever been in ministry know that it is hard work. I struggle a little with the phrase "called to ministry". Yes, that phrase typically is used for those that serve God's church full-time, but that doesn't mean that laypeople or volunteers are any less called.

I accepted my "call" to the ministry while at Junior High Camp in Cleaveland, TN when I was in the 6th grade. I literally felt the hands of Jesus on my body as the speaker at camp asked us to move if we felt God speaking to us. I flashed back, in that moment, to the time I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 9 years old. I walked the aisle to publicly tell my church at revival services. As the invitation was being played, with my head bowed and eyes closed, I felt a hand on each of my shoulders guide me out of the pew and down the aisle. I looked up to see if it was my dad, who was standing beside me and knew of my plans to walk that aisle. But, no- it was my Heavenly Daddy, prodding me to tell my church of what He'd done in my life. Back to my camp experience, I felt the same hands, and, because I'd felt them before, I knew them. I knew that touch, that expression of love. My heart had been heavy all week- still to this day I'm not sure exactly why, but that night, I was able to finally tell my Jesus that I was ready to serve Him with my life. Did that mean moving to a third-world country? I didn't know. It didn't matter. He'd asked me to commit to serving Him, and I did. And, again, because I knew the hands that led me out of my chair and into the dark night and onto my knees on a patch of grass in a national forest, I knew that no matter where He led me, He'd be with me all the way. "All the way my Savior leads me..."

Now, to the reason I bring up this quote. There are many places, many ways to serve Jesus and His church. Some are in very public ways- singing, preaching, teaching. Others are in very private ways- praying over services, writing notes to homebound members, answering telephones. Notice I DIDN'T say "some are in big ways, and some are in small ways". In my eyes, NO ministry is small. It takes all kinds to minister. Why? Because those being ministered TO are "all kinds". God didn't call everyone to sing in the choir. If we were all in the choir, there would be no one in the congregation listening and receiving the musical Word. God didn't call everyone to teach Sunday School. If so, there would be no classes to teach. God didn't call everyone to pick up the left over bulletins after each service. If so, we'd never get to eat lunch. (OK, that one was funny, but you get my point).

Yes, in order to make services at church work, it takes us all. It takes someone to make the coffee, it takes someone to put out the chairs, it takes someone to stuff the bulletins we all use. It takes someone to type in the words we read on the walls. The trend? It takes SOMEONE. And guess what? SOMEONE is all-encompassing. SOMEONE is not gender-specific or age-specific. It just takes SOMEONE.

Sweet Jesus, please remind me every day that my service to Your church is my service to You. Admittedly, service is hard, messy, and sometimes downright exhausting, but You already know that, right? Please find in my heart a willingness to serve- to get dirty, to push myself, even to tire myself out. Because, as You proved in Your scriptures, You speak to dirty, pushed, tired people. You use even those people. Because, in the end, it's the dirty, pushed, and tired that You look for. It's those people that need You. It's those people who's hearts are open to You. I pray that You find my hands to be dirtied and calloused by the service I've offered to You. May they be my gifts- my offerings- that help bring people to You. You have a work to do in this world, and because it's Your promise to fulfill, You'll get it done either way- with our without me. I pray that I'm the vessel You choose to use to fulfill Your promise, whatever that may be. I pray that I'm ready and willing to be used. Find in my heart an openness, so that when You look for a servant, You don't pass by because I'm not ready. Use me. Let me be Your hands and Your feet. Move me out of myself, out past my attitudes and actions, so that Yours shine through. I want to radiate You more than I want to reflect You. Radiating You means You're so inside me that You can't help but shine through. In my life, be lifted high.

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Watch My Mouth"

So, for those of you who have not had the pleasure of living life with our Saralynn directly, let me share what a joy it is. She is this huge ball of energy that goes non-stop from the time she gets up to the time she goes down. We enjoy every second of every day, even though our patience wears thin from time to time.

I had a hearing loss as a child that thankfully could be corrected with tubes. It seemed like I heard very well for a while and then, as the tubes began to wear down (or do whatever it is that tubes do), my ability to hear well decreased, too. Mom and Dad were more than patient as I would ask them to repeat, time and time again, what I missed hearing. Mom was great to tell me to watch her lips as she would form words, or even watch her closely as she spoke- a reading of lips, if you will. I find myself doing the same to Saralynn, not because she can't hear, but that sometimes she doesn't want to hear. :) Most times, I can say "watch my mouth" and she turns to me, watching very intently as I speak to her.

Lately, our words have come back to haunt us (or at least she's learned to use them back to us). Case in point: We were all gearing up for dinner Monday night- Mom bringing dishes to the table, Garrett putting ice in glasses, Dad putting finishing touches on the food on the stove, Matthew putting silverware out, (not sure what I was doing, but I know I was busy). Saralynn says "I want juice in my cup". I heard her, but again, we were all busy. I hear it again- "I want juice in my cup". Still no response. I guess we all kept on going, thinking someone would get the poor child something to drink. After a couple of more times saying it, trying to get SOMEONE to hear her, she finally says "WATCH MY MOUTH. I want juice in my cup". Wow. All the busyness stopped. We all turned, looked at each other, looked at her, and then spontaneously erupted into laughter.

I sat and thought about that later. It was cute, yes. We laughed, yes. But, do I want her to always watch my mouth? Hmm... Many times things come out of my mouth that I don't want her repeating or knowing. Is it fair to only want her to "watch my mouth" at certain times? Yikes. Very humbling for me. It makes me think of that song "Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See". Shouldn't a parent's mouth be one a child can watch and mirror? Shouldn't she feel safe mimicking me?

Jesus, please help me be the example You want me to be to my daughter. You entrusted her to me for a reason. You gave her to me and put a desire in my heart to teach her about You so that one day she will accept You and we will spend eternity together with You. Help me weed out those things in my life that don't honor You. Help me not to say things that I don't want her to repeat, or act in ways I don't want her to imitate. Help me reflect You.

(And, by the way, it worked. Saralynn got her juice).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Emotions

If you haven't already, please visit Angie Smith's blog:  http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com.  Angie and her husband, Todd, who sings in my all-time favorite Christian group Selah, lost their daughter last April to what Angie calls "a situation that made her compatible with life".  Their story will humble you.  It did me.  It touched me like I'm not sure I've ever been touched before.  Even if you don't watch their video of the few hours they had with their daughter here on Earth, read her words.  They are written from the heart of a woman who knows, in the most intimate way I think I've ever seen, her God.  She knows Him the way I want to know Him.  She trusts Him when it seems crazy to.  But, she trusts.

The past few days have been very emotional for me.  For many different reasons.  But, at the end of it all, I'm grateful.  I'm grateful that God takes our mourning, our insecurities, our frustration, and our sometimes unbearable-to-ourselves bad moods and turns them into beautiful songs and symphonies.  I had a music professor that once said "You almost always expect a song to end on a major chord.  But, the ones that end on minor chords always get your attention.  That's no accident.  That's the way the composer intended it."

Thank You, Jesus, Composer of beautiful music for making beautiful songs, even when they end on minor chords.

Intentionally, 
Mary Beth

Friday, January 9, 2009

Why am I surprised?

God is so neat. That sounds really elementary, but sometimes we so caught up in the "bigness" of it all that we miss the small things.

I'm a member of our church's prayer chain, and just received an email regarding another family whose granddaughter has been battling a difficult diagnosis and illness. This young girl ran across a scripture that maybe you've seen before, but maybe not.

I'm in a real attitude today of praying and thinking of those who are hurting. Mrs. Sharon is still on my heart, and this scripture blessed me. I hope it does you, too, as you pray for those around you that need the healing touch of Jesus. Isn't His touch such a balm that heals our hurts and wounds?

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an external glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal..." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I was on Beth Moore's blog earlier watching a tutorial on scripture memory. Guess what word she used as an acrostic to help me learn? RENEW. And, look- the scripture above says we are RENEWED day by day. Coincidence? I think not.

Thank You Jesus that are troubles are momentary and temporary, and thank You that what You're preparing us for is eternal!

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Please Pray

For those of you in the LaGrange area, you will see this request on multiple blogs and may even receive multiple emails asking you to pray. Please be intentional and pray each time you receive it. For those of you not in the area that happen upon my blog, please lift up prayers, though you may not know the family directly.

Mrs. Sharon Niedrach is a true hero of the faith in my life. Mrs. Sharon worked with our youth group while I was growing up, and I am blessed to say that she was on her knees for us so much that I bet she has calluses on her knees. She is one of the most genuinely beautiful people I have ever met in my life. I am blessed to know her and her precious children and grandchildren.

Mrs. Sharon has faught a most heroic battle with pancreatic cancer for the past two years. This horrible disease has brought havoc on her body, but has done nothing but strengthen her spirit and her faith in the God that has never left her during what must have surely been dark days. Tests from this week show that the treatments she has been receiving are not reacting as the doctors would like for them to, which is quite obviously not news she and her family wanted to hear. Her doctors are dilligently seeking a clinical trial for Mrs. Sharon, but as of now, nothing has been found.

Please pray for Mrs. Sharon and her family. Her husband, Bob, is also a true example of what it means to be a godly leader, father, husband, and more. He is her primary caregiver at this point. They have four children and their spouses who also need our prayers- Amy, Wendy, Jim, and Nancy. Amy and Wendy were counselors of mine at camps growing up and always have been role models to me. Nancy is a sweet friend of mine that I've had the privilege to pray for and with for a long time. Jim was older than me, as were Amy and Nancy, but was always an example of "that guy you wouldn't mind taking home to Mom and Dad". Mrs. Sharon is grandmother to beautiful grandchildren that are also testaments to her grace and faith.

Her children have asked for specific prayers, so I'd like to share them here. You will notice that they ask for prayers for other families who are hurting. What a testament of their faith! The LeGodais family lost their father unexpectedly this week. His daughters went to school with my brother and me. I'm personally unsure of Mrs. Beall's situation, but God is not, and will hear your prayers on her family's behalf. Thank you in advance for your prayers! Niedrachs, it is an honor to go before the Father and lay our prayers for you at His feet. May you all smell the sweet aroma of His goodness around you in the coming days.

Sweet Jesus, hear our hearts as we pray, and thank You ever so much for helping us understand that none of this is a surprise to You. It is all meant to bring You honor and glory. Thank You that even though we may feel angry, confused, not know how to trust that all is well, that You are strong enough to take our insecurity, and use it as a blessing in our lives. We give these families and their trials to You. Please complete the work You've started in them. Humbly we pray, in Your name, Amen.

P*R*A*Y!!!!James 5:13 "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray."James 5:16 "... pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

The next two weeks will be a time when Mother, Daddy & the doctors will need certain clarification on what to do next.Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all yourways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." Isn't that what we need now most? The situation is impossible for us to understand with our human hearts & minds. All we can do is acknowledge His soverignty, His perfect plan, cling to Him for hope and pray He will direct the doctors in the right path. Please pray that Mother will have a strong sense of where she is in this fight. Psalm 143:8 "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul."Psalm 142:1-3 "I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before Him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows weak within me, it is you who knows my way...."

We continue to ask the Lord for a miraculous healing. And we know in death, as a believer, Mother will be healed. 1 Corinthians 15:42 "so will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable, it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power..." But we also beg of Him more time with her in this life. Please pray that with us. He is our only hope. Psalm 28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my shiled; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped."

Pray for weight gain. Dr. Duttera encouraged her to eat anything & everything that sounded good to her... (which isn't much.)Pray for pain & nausea management... feeling better helps her eat better.Pray for my Daddy... her primary caregiver.Pray for others in similar situations: The Family of Claire Beall, The Family of Tom LeGodais... we are not alone in suffering.

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Thursday, January 8, 2009

a pic from a few months ago


Our sweet Saralynn was a star in the LaGrange Daily News late last year. This photo was taken at her day care's annual Parade of Costumes on Halloween. Because she was not into any costume that didn't resemble her own clothing, we were a Kitty Cat this Halloween. She wore black leggings and a black turtleneck, and I found a set of ears and tail at Wal-Mart. I painted whiskers on her face with eyeliner and painted her nose pink with lipstick. The only way this was successful was telling her that I was painting a smiley face on her face. She loves to have smiley faces drawn on her hands, so liked the idea of one on her face. If one looks closely, they will see that the ears are rounded rather than pointed, so it can be argued that she was a mouse rather than a cat, but at any rate, she was cute, and she made the paper! We, of course, have multiple copies at home, but I was on the newpaper's website this morning and saw the picture still there, so figured it was blog-worthy. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Few Cute Pictures...

















So, since one of the main reasons I moved blog sites is because it's easier to post pictures, it'd help if I'd post some, huh?
Here are a few random pictures from the weekend. Saralynn's Nana and Paw Paw gave her a dress-up trunk that she's been exploring. We've gotten the boa, tiara, and shoes, but haven't yet graduated to the dresses and skirts. She'd much rather have her "Coach Shirt". Coach Phil Williamson, the Athletic Director at LaGrange College, and also one of Saralynn's first Sunday School teachers, gave her an LC shirt, which she would live her entire life in if she could. She also thought it would be neat to wrap her hair up like Mommy's when she got out of the tub. The last picture is her "oh, what iiiis it?" face. We saw this with almost every present she opened. The face was captured as she opened her baby doll stroller from Aunt Amy and Uncle Carl and cousins Carson and Lainey.

I hope you all enjoy glimpses into our life as much as I enjoy posting about them!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Intentionally Praying

As mentioned earlier, I want to be more intentional this year, and one way I want to be more intentional is in my prayer life.  So, with that said, I'm asking you to join me in praying for Tony and Lisa Amstutz, friends from church.  Lisa and I serve together in the 11:11 cafe on Sunday mornings before our contemporary service begins.  She is a fabulous mother and homeschool teacher to her children (ok, maybe only Chloe so far, but I'm sure Carson and Camilla will soon follow).  She sews beautifully and is couponer-extraordinaire, among her many other talents.  Tony faithfully serves each Sunday by showing up EARLY (like, 6:00 AM) to help set-up for the already mentioned 11:11 service.  He then heads upstairs to sing in our 8:30 service choir, then joins Lisa as they teach our singles/somewhat newly professional/some college-aged folks' Sunday School class, then goes back upstairs to sing in the 11:00 service, and then after all that, heads home with his family.  Whew!  Lisa co-hosted our annual Birthday Party for Jesus this past Christmas season, and it was a success, as always! 

Tony and Lisa are some of the most genuinely kind people I think I've ever met.  They ALWAYS have a smile, and go out of their way to speak, even when they see me outside church (even in line at the consignment sale :) )  

They don't know that I'm posting here, and would probably fuss at me for all the words above, but I would ask that you please join me in praying for this precious couple.  For reasons only God knows, and though we shouldn't, we find ourselves questioning, the baby Lisa was 3+ months along carrying is now in the arms of Jesus.  Please join me in praying for comfort, for peace, and for a calmness of spirit for Tony, Lisa, Chloe, Carson, and Camilla.  Questions?  Yes.  That God will answer?  In His time, I believe so, yes.  It may not be until they reach Heaven themselves, but I believe with all my heart that yes, their questions, their hurts, will all be answered.  But for now, we are left.  Left to wonder.  Left to hurt.  But, most of all, left to pray.  I, for one, am hoping God uses this trial for His good- to complete whatever work He started.  Our Sunday School class began a study of the book of James this morning, and my mind constantly drew back to Tony and Lisa as I thought about James' mention of considering it joy to face trials of many kinds.  Tony and Lisa, if you're reading, know that we hurt with you in this trial, and even though you might not be able to now, I consider it a joy on your behalf.  Why?  Because we have a faith in Jesus that lets, no, beckons me to believe that this trial will work out for the good of those THAT LET IT.  Sure, we can go through trials and come out somewhat bruised and battered, but otherwise unchanged.  Or, we can go through trials, come out on the other end, battle scars and all, and show the world that because of the healing hands of Jesus, we are better people for it.  

Thank you, sweet friends, for praying for Tony and Lisa and their family.  And, thank you, Tony and Lisa, for living out your faith to those around you.  It is an honor to pray with and for you now.  

Sweet Jesus, hold this family tight in Your arms.  Thank You for holding that precious baby now.  Thank You for holding us up when we feel like trials are unfair or too hard to bear.  Only You, Jesus know how truly unbearable trials can be, because only You were able to withstand the weight of the cross You were given to bear.  Thank You for holding the weight for us now as we lay our hurts, our disappointments, and our questions, at Your feet.  Please see them as the offerings they are intended to be, and continue to complete the work You started in each of us, so that, in Your timing, we are made complete.  Our offerings are Yours, Lord.  

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Friday, January 2, 2009

One Word 2009

I love reading other blogs, and admittedly stealing other peoples' ideas... Hey, at least I'm owning up to it, right?

I came across a blog a little big ago by Ali Edwards. I'm excited to read some more about her in a bit, but one of her posts struck me. She suggests that everyone come up with A word- that's right- ONE WORD to (hopefully) define your 2009. Read more here- http://aliedwards.typepad.com/_a_/2008/12/one-little-wo-1.html#comments (even gain a little insight into a word or two, if you need some help). What an awesome concept! Something you hope to live by, something you hope to gain. This word can be a noun, verb, adjective, etc. As soon as I read about the idea, my word came to me, so I share it here:

My word for 2009 is: INTENTIONAL.

From Mr. Webster:

intentional: (adj.) 1. done with intention or purpose: intended 2. of or pertaining to intention or purpose

and, perhaps, my favorite definition: 3. pointing beyond itself

In 2009, I want to be intentional:
In my affection towards my husband. I want to SHOW him more than just TELLING him how much I love him and our life together.
In my time with my daughter. Every day that passes is a gift I'll never open again. I want to relish each and every second I have with her. As Angie Smith says, live life as if it were in snapshots. When Saralynn does something cute, take a picture in your mind. She smiled that smile that makes her eyes disappear, so in my mind, I take a picture- CLICK goes the camera.
In my time spent with God. I want my prayer life to flourish like it never has before. I want to read and study more (a bit more on this later).
I want to be intentional about life in general. I don't want to ever take life for granted. It's too short, goes to quickly, and has too much to offer to let it move swiftly by and just assume it'll always be like it is now.

But, most importantly, I want to be intentional about pointing people beyond myself. I want my life to be such that it's all about Jesus, which in turn becomes all about the people around me. I want the songs I sing, the messages I share, the cards I make, the conversations I have to be all about Him. That is, after all, the point, right?

As mentioned above, I want to be more intentional in my time spent with God. As an outpouring of that desire, I am committing, along with thousands of other women, to learning, memorizing, and internalizing scripture. For me, this is being done through Beth Moore's blog (you can log on to find out more about it- http://http://livingproofministries.blogspot.com/2008/12/1st-15-siesta-scripture-memory-team.html. What an awesome opportunity! Can you imagine the joy our Father must feel as He hears the hearts of His Princesses learning and internalizing His word? If you'd like to join in, feel free to do so. You can leave comments here, or on Beth's site.

I am also borrowing an idea from another fellow blogger, Angie Smith. She says it so much better than I ever could: http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/2008/11/seven-prayers-day.html In a nutshell, as a mother, I want to commit to praying over and for my daughter. Yes, something I should, and do, every day. But, these are intentional prayers, prayed at intentional times during the day. Would you like to join me in this area, too? Please do. There's no greater gift we can give our children than praying over them and for them.

And, finally, on the note of living life as if it were a series of snapshots, I'm participating in Project 365. Read for more info here, http://www.beckyhiggins.com/blog/2008/12/this-is-big.html, but in short, Project 365 is all about pictures. A picture a day for a year. Wow, a big project, you might say, and you'd be right. But, in trying to live an intentional life, I'm giving this a shot. You take a picture a day and journal about it. At the end of the year, you have a year's worth of pictures to look back on. Pictures of what? ANYTHING. Maybe a picture of the messy den. Why? To signify that, yes, it will get picked up, but not now. Saralynn has asked for a story, so I'm going to read to her. The den will be spruced later. Or, one I'm looking forward to soon: a picture of a pair of our shoes on either side of hers. Why? A reminder that she's watching us- waiting to one day fill our shoes. Care to join this one? I'd love to know of some of your picture ideas- only if you don't mind sharing- I just might snag an idea or two. HA!

So, as 2009 rolls on, please, Lord Jesus, help me be intentional in all things. Thank you for the creativity and passion You gave me. Help those to be blessings to others in this coming year!

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

So, here we are...

The move is now complete. For those of you that are willingly changing locations with me, thank you. It is my sincere prayer that this blog becomes a place of community. For us to share life together. I hope it brings family in far away places a little closer to us more often. I hope it brings friends we don't see often together, sooner, too. So, at any time, about anything, please feel free to leave a comment. I'm resolving to do a better job this new year of staying more in touch with the ones we love. Please do your part and do the same.

We love you all and can't wait to see what this new year brings. Happy New Year! Happy Reading!

From our hearts to yours,
Mary Beth, Garrett, and Saralynn

Back-Up, Part 4

Moving to a new location
January 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
So, after much thinking, I’ve decided to move my blog. This is for many reasons. I already have my email account with Google, so moving to Blogspot/Blogger makes sense. The backgrounds, etc. are cuter. Some people may think that this is not an acceptable reason to move, however, it is indeed one of the reasons. Plus, I’ve given the blog address on the new blog the entire family’s name, not just my own. So, in the future, please visit http://peltfamily.blogspot.com. I’m hoping the new blog becomes a place where my family and friends can catch glimpses into our day, and grow and learn right along with us. I’m going to back up all of my old posts from this blog there, so everything will be together. But, for now, please visit the new site. I hope everyone is pleased.
Love,
Mary Beth

Not the Way You Planned
December 29, 2008 at 3:13 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
I just got an email that seeems to tell it all… Christmas posts to come, but for now…
Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods.
They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, ‘Someday I hope to be a greattreasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with anintricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.’
Then the second tree said, ‘Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take Kings and Queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. People will feel safe in me because of the strength of my Hull.’
Finally the third tree said, ‘I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest Tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill, look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.’
After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, ‘This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter, and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.
At the second tree the woodsman said, ‘This looks like a strong tree. I will be able to sell it to the shipyard.’ The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the men said,’I don’t need anything special from my tree, I’ll take this one,’ and he cut it down.
When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.
The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying Kings had come to an end.
The third tree was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark.
The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.
Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.
Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said ‘Peace’ and the storm stopped. A t this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.
Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.
The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, God will give you great gifts.
Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined.
We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His Ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.
May your day be blessed. And until we meet again, may God cradle you in the palm of His hand.

The Absence of Blogging
December 16, 2008 at 9:51 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
So, in case anyone noticed, I’ve been a little behind on the blog lately. Not for any particular reason, just behind. So, here I was, trying to get my thoughts together to pick up where I left off, when it hit me- my idea to recount some of the things I’m thankful for was, and is, a good idea, but shouldn’t be something I think about in order to blog about. Those things should radiate out of me anyway. Do they? Can you tell by seeing me that I’m grateful for the things I’ve already mentioned? I surely do hope so!
My heart is literally racing as I think of the things I’m thankful for. Little things. Decorating the Christmas tree with my ever-so-chatty 2 year-old… “Mommy, an apple”. “Mommy, a train”. As we list out each and every ornament we’re putting on the tree. So thankful. Thankful for the precious voice that shouts “look, the sunshine” as my dad puts the star on the top of the tree. (Our star has the wise men going to see Baby Jesus on it- I promise to put pictures on the site as soon as I figure out how- instructions, anyone?- I’m not the techie in our family).
I’m thankful for a husband that can fix anything. The dimmer switch in the dining room is on the fritz, and he’s fixing it today. Whew! Thanks, honey!
I’m thankful for my grandparents and their influence on my life. I’m grateful that they enjoy the loudness and chaos that sometimes abounds when Saralynn shows up for weekly visit on Fridays. What they see as music to their ears is to some people chatter and clammer, but they love it. I’m thankful Saralynn knows and loves her “Eemaw” (Memaw) and Papa and loves to go to their house. She can give you directions- “go dis way Mimi”, pointing all the while.
I’m thankful to be a part of the most amazing church ever. This past weekend we exprienced Jesus during our “Tonight, Heaven Touches Earth” musical. I’m thankful that God calls talented people like Jay and Amy Rouse to use their gifts to advance the kingdom. I’m grateful to be a part of the choir that helps lead people to the throneroom of the King of Kings!
I got to sing at our amazing 11:11 service, for which I am extremely grateful. I sang “Breath of Heaven”, and even though that song is a staple at Christmas like “Amazing Grace” is every other day of the year, I messed up the words. Oh, well. God never asked for perfect gifts. He asked for gifts of all kinds, that He perfects in His timing. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to use my talent- to be able to take my gift and lay it at His feet. Thanks, Chad and leadership team, for the opportunity. I pray God listened and unwrapped the gift of my song with all the excitement with which I presented it to Him.
So many things for which to be thankful this season. The list goes on and on and on… Little things, big things, things in between. (paying homage to the one-and-only Dr. Seuss).
But, most of all, Jesus, I’m thankful for you- thankful that You find it worth Your time to listen to my rambling heart that often can’t articulate what I want to say. Thankful that You can form my thoughts into words and actions that You can use.
Friends, are you thankful? If so, I’d love to know what you’re thankful for. Comments welcome!

Christmas Songs…
December 11, 2008 at 7:41 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
This past Tuesday night, Saralynn’s day care put on their annual Christmas program. What a fabulous time we all had, watching our angels sing songs they’ve been learning.
Saralynn’s class sang “Jingle Bells” and “Where is Jesus?” (to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin?”. (Where is Jesus, where is Jesus? Here He is, Here He is, lying in a manger, lying in a manger, Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh.) Though she’s been singing at the top of her lungs the past few weeks, she didn’t sing that loudly that night. She bobbed her head to the beat of the music and sang every few words or so, but was just precious either way!
This season, and always, I am so very thankful to the staff at the FBC Child Development Center. Since I have to work and am not able to be with Saralynn on a daily basis, I am so thankful to know that her teachers take such wonderful care of her. Thank you, Ms. Kathy, Miss Cara, and Miss Holly, for the care you provide to my daughter. Your love and caring are true gifts that we cherish! Mrs. LaGail and Mrs. Kim, thank you for your leadership to all of the teachers and all of our children. We pray for you often and are grateful for you!

My Aunt Elsie
December 11, 2008 at 7:35 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
Thank you for your prayers for my Aunt Elsie. She did indeed have a small stroke, but thanks to some quick thinking by the staff at Vernon Woods, she was able to be quickly transported to the hospital and treated.
I’m so thankful for Aunt Elsie. She will be 91 years young on New Year’s Day. She is my grandfather’s younger sister. Though I don’t have too many memories of Aunt Elsie and her husband, Uncle Vester, from my childhood, I’ve enjoyed reconnecting more with her in the past few years. Saralynn loves picking her up every Sunday from Vernon Woods and taking her to church with us. She loves to show Aunt Elsie that the water is wet (in the fountain on the square).
Aunt Elsie lost her son, Robert, to a most courageous battle with cancer in August. Robert was one of the heroes of the faith, and of life in general, and if he were here, I’m sure he’d agree that he got his good qualities from his mother. So, during this thankful season, and this season of awaiting the coming, I’m thankful for Aunt Elsie and look forward to the coming of her 91st birthday, and many more birthdays to come!

Lookin’ at Lights
December 8, 2008 at 3:08 am (Uncategorized) · Edit
As previously mentioned, Garrett and I went to his company Christmas party. We met up for dinner, catered by our church’s own chef extraordinaire, Jim Pendergraph, and then it was off to Callaway Gardens for Fantasy In Lights. It was cold, but a good time was had by all! Thank you, Jonathan and Shannon Lawson, for opening your home, and to Rob and Mandy Bowman for a great evening of fun and fellowship.
Garrett works for a great company in Chick-fil-A, and for a great boss in Rob. I’m so very thankful to Rob for his friendship and support to Garrett. Rob’s beautiful wife Mandy was my nurse when I had Saralynn, and their son Bo is a few weeks younger than Saralynn, so their family, complete with Sweet Ansley, is very special to ours. Bowmans, may you be blessed tenfold for the way you give of yourselves and support those around you!
It’s been a long day, so a good night’s sleep is in order… Until tomorrow…

Chili+Football= a ton of fun!
December 7, 2008 at 9:35 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
On the 6th day of December, I’m thinking thankfully… hmmm… kinda has a ring to it…
Garrett and I went to Coach Kenny and Mrs. Teresa Moores’ house for our Sunday School Christmas social. We had a chili cookoff and the guys watched the SEC championship football game between our beloved Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators. Most of the girls stayed upstairs talking and catching up. It’s funny how you can get so behind with such dear friends, but sometimes kids and life just get in the way. We had a great time!
As I mentioned, we had a chili cookoff. There were 6 different pots of really good, yet really different chili. My Garrett’s chili brought home first place! I have to say, it was very yummy! We’re enjoying our Christmas Cookie candle prize already!
And, unfortunately, our Roll Tide gang’s undefeated season came to an end at the hand of the Gators. That would be the only down portion of the evening.
So, today, I’m thankful to the Moores for opening their home to us, and for our wonderful Sunday School class, who accepted us with open arms. Garrett hasn’t missed a Sunday since we joined, and the only reason I missed one week was because I was teaching the singles’ class. I’m grateful to God for allowing us to have such wonderful, supportive friends who are only a call away and willing to pray for any need that arises. We moved to a new classroom today because we’ve grown so big! WHAT A GREAT SIGN!
So, with a thankful heart, I close. Garrett and I are going tonight to his company Christmas party. Hmmm? A glimpse into what I’m thankful for in my next post? Could be…

Please Pray
December 7, 2008 at 2:23 am (Uncategorized) · Edit
Please pray for my great-aunt Elsie Whatley. As she is lovingly known to our family, Eichie (pronounced Eye-chee), suffered a “baby stroke” this morning. I was able to go to the hospital with her and stay while the doctors examined and diagnosed, and I was very privileged to do so. Aunt Elsie will be 91 years young on New Year’s Day and is more lucid than I am. She is a true hero in my life, one I’m grateful for, and one for whom I covet your prayers. All signs point to the fact that she will be fine and that this was isolated and caught early, but we all appreciate very much your prayers!

My Mom…
December 7, 2008 at 2:20 am (Uncategorized) · Edit
So, I missed blogging on the 5th. Today is the 6th and I’m playing catch-up. But, with good reason. The 5th was my mom’s birthday, and I was able to spend some good time with her. My departmental Christmas party was during lunchtime, and afterwards, we were granted the afternoon off. Mom already had the day off, so I came home and picked her up and we took a girls’ trip to the best place on Earth… Wal-Mart. (Collective groan here). We then picked Saralynn up from day care and went to my grandparents’ house. We enjoyed our time there, visiting and watching them smile at Saralynn’s antics. Then, we enjoyed a spaghetti meal at home and a nice, quiet evening.
So, as you can imagine, on this, the 5th day of “who I’m thankful for”, I write to say how much I love my mom. For people that didn’t or don’t have good relationships with their mothers, I’m so sorry. I have the best relationship I could ever ask for with my mom. She always has been such a source of support and love for me. She cared for Matthew and I while my dad worked hard, long, and sometimes out of town hours in the car business. She always knew just what we needed, and knew that a Ziploc baggie with ice that had been crushed with a hammer was the cure-all for any illness. She lovingly (though maybe through tightly clinched teeth) stayed up most of the night reading a book that had to be read when I had procrastinated and had a test the next day, and stayed up well past midnight hand-coloring the Spanish flag for a project. She very precisely applied make-up to the spots on my arms that had peeled from sunburn so I could attend my senior prom looking as normal as possible. She was there every step of the way during the wedding planning process. She so beautifully sang “Happy Birthday” to Saralynn while she was still in the nursery and made up the tune to a song that still to this day soothes Saralynn when Mimi sings it. All these things and so many more describe my mom and the admiration I have for her. But, above all, the thing that defines my mom best is her friendship to me. We’ve laughed, cried, fought, made up, and through it all, enjoyed each other’s company all through the years. I’ll never forget the look on her face as she read the poem I wrote for her birthday 3 years ago that told her she would be a grandmother. Moments like that make me proud, not only to be her daughter, but to be her friend.
Happy Birthday, Mom. Your love, your caring, your friendship, and your just being you are such gifts to me. Thank you for your example to me. Your never-give-up spirit taught me that anything you love is worth fighting for. Your words of encouragement, in good times and bad, resonate in my heart every day. Thank you for being the perfect example of what a woman of God is. Thank you for praying for from the minute you found out I was coming. Thank you for praying for my husband before you knew him, and my children before you knew them- though now there is just Saralynn, I hope God blesses us with more one day, and I know that you’re already praying for them. Most of all, thank you for modeling Jesus to me. I accepted Him because I was taught to want to meet Him and experience His love because I saw you love and experience Him.
I owe you so much, but today, your birthday, all I can offer is “thank you”.
With all my love and admiration,Mary Beth

The Parade
December 5, 2008 at 3:39 am (Uncategorized) · Edit
Today, as strange as it may sound at first, I’m thankful for the workers of the City of LaGrange. Mom, Dad, and I took Saralynn to the annual Christmas parade, and had a blast. I left work early and got to LaGrange early to make sure we got good “seats”. I was able to nab a place for all of us right on Church Street, right near the rope that warned “don’t go any further”. We sat with Paul, Kristen, Michael, and Katie Barnes and Don, Dawn, Juliette, and Jonathan May. The kids all chattered the entire parade about the Christmas trees, big trucks, dogs, horses, and many floats they saw. Seeing the twinkle in my daughter’s eyes as she experienced the parade for the first time was magical for me, and I have the City of LaGrange employees to thank for some of that. When I got to the church, there were at least a dozen workers driving and walking up and down the road putting out cones and checking to make sure that everything was as it should be. Yes, it’s their job, but they all did it seemingly willingly, and hopefully in the name of instilling the Christmas spirit in the hearts of a few youngsters along the way. So, from this tired yet extremely happy Mommy, thank you COL workers, for doing your part to spread Christmas cheer to my family. I wish each of you the Merriest of Christmas seasons!
As my child anticipated the sight of Santa tonight, I anticipate the sight of the Savior,Mary Beth

Back-Up, Part 3

Gert
December 3, 2008 at 7:32 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
Six years ago this past July, the 16th to be exact, I met the man of my dreams. Location: Ormond Beach Youth Camp, Daytona Beach. I was the Youth Minister at FBC Pine Mountain, which, though thought by many at camp that year, is not a town that only consists of a speed bump. They have two or three traffic lights, thank you very much. I took my group of 22 to camp and we had a blast! It was awesome because the youth ministers didn’t have a specific “job” once we were there, meaning we didn’t have to lead a group or anything very detailed. We had to have the right ratio of kids to adults to come, so the ministers got to enjoy the week hanging out and loving on our kids, leaving the “discipline” and in and outs to our chaperones. So, on Tuesday morning of camp week, I was headed to the beach (in my perfectly legal tankini, of course). On the way out the door, I hear one of the directors’ voices, “Hey, I need your help”. I look down at my ghostly white legs, thinking “my legs need the sun’s help”, but opted instead to see what Cindy needed.
Unbeknownst to me at that point, the resort in which we were staying was vandalized, and much of the sound/audio visual stuff was stolen. Enter Garrett. He was, for lack of a better way to explain it, the techy geek for the week. (He’ll read this, and probably respond with the technical term). He was evaluating all that was missing and needed someone to follow along behind him, making a list for the police, who were on their way to file a report. I followed, meticulously writing every detail he as he gave it to me. This went on for the better part of the day, and even included viewing surveillance footage to see if any faces were recognized. That night, some of the chaperones and other adults were asked to keep watch of the meeting room to assure the vandals would not return. Sensing a pattern, I’m sure you can tell by now where this is headed- Garrett and I were paired up for “watch”. Suffice it to say, you learn a lot about a person while constantly chatting all night long to keep yourself awake. For the rest of the week, where one was, the other was not far behind.
We parted ways on Friday with plans for me to meet him at West Point Lake for his family’s annual reunion that Sunday. Let’s just say that from then on, we’ve not been apart much. The next year was spent back and forth at one another’s homes each and every weekend. He would mostly make the drive to LaGrange as I was still serving in Pine Mountain and couldn’t spend as much time in Jonesboro as he could in LaGrange, coming to church with me.
Almost a year after our first meeting, on Sunday, June 22, 2003, he proposed to me at Pyne Road Park. It was awesome! He had just moved to LaGrange the day before, and we had gone to Jamin and Michelle’s house for dinner and games- a pretty regular past-time, pre children. He had my ring with him and showed it off to them before giving it to me the next day. To say I was shocked was an understatement, but I was thrilled. The next year brought about wedding plans, showers, etc.
On June 19, 2004, I married my soul mate in a beautiful ceremony PACKED with music. Yes, those that were there remember that the service was almost 45 minutes long. To my wedding party, I’m glad you wore comfy shoes. Paul Blair took over as mostly my brother sang/wept, through the song they sang together, Jamin sang, Cindy Skipwroth sang, the Faithful Hearts sang, the handbells played, and yes, yours truly sang. Rewind 18 years. My dad and I went to a concert at our church a couple of days after my brother was born, and the lady there sang a song to her husband. I looked at my dad and told him I’d sing that song at my wedding one day. Back to the wedding. I looked into my groom’s eyes after we’d recited our vows and sang “Only God Could Love You More”, which still rings true today.
Then, on July 24, 2006, a little earlier that we ourselves had planned, but obviously in line with God’s plan, we welcomed our little Saralynn into the world. The day I’d taken the test to learn she was coming, Garrett had read the stick, seen the two lines, and stormed to our bedroom. But, as Saralynn was handed to him over the surgical sheet after my C-section, the world was a better place. The culmination of our love was crying hysterically back at him, pleading to be put back in her safe, warm environment. Thinking he’d have something incredibly profound to say, I suddenly heard, “I think she just peed on me”. Leave it to my Garrett to find humor in life’s most serious situations.
Now, to present day. Seven years later, packed full of many a laugh and tear, a very independent two year old mini-Garrett, and memories to last a lifetime, I still think so fondly back to the days of Ormond Beach. God ordained our union long ago. I often joke that God can take something as awful as a $10,000 vandalism at youth camp to bring about great things, and He did just that for me. I don’t know who those teenagers were that felt they needed video cameras and computers, but, I feel that I owe them a little- they helped me meet the one for whom I’d lifted countless prayers for so long. Sure, we would’ve met somehow, someway, but I still wonder about how it all came to be. What forshadowing- Garrett and his techy stuff, me and my writing. I was told yesterday that I should be writing somehow. I would love to, but this is my outlet for now. Oh, how ironic it really was…
On today, day three of my “important people in my life that are teaching me to anticipate and be thankful this Advent season” campaign, I am thankful for my wonderful husband that puts up with me, no matter what. I don’t appreciate him enough, don’t tell him enough, and often take him for granted, but underneath all that, I am truly grateful to be his wife and love our life together. Though it’s hectic, crazy, and often too crowded for much couple time, I relish the moments we’re able to spend as husband and wife, and not just Mommy and Daddy. The weekend of weddings a few weeks back started the notion that I need to tell him more often what he means to me, and my devotion today focused on honoring my husband, so that’s what I’m attempting to do, though I haven’t been very good at it lately.
Garrett, I love you, and am committing to do better at showing you what you mean to me. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life. Yes, the road has been long and difficult at times, but the potholes make me grateful for the lines and directional arrows that direct us back to each other when life presents distractions and detours. I’m honored to co-pilot with you as we look forward to the journey ahead. Together, with the map of God’s word and Jesus, who’s more trustworthy than the Garmin, leading the way, we’ll journey together.
To Infinity, and Beyond,Mary Beth
1 Comment

annemarieunderwood1 said,
December 5, 2008 at 3:05 am · Edit
Mary Beth,
This is Anne Marie, a good friend of Katie’s from Douglasville. I just wanted you to know that I did receive your blog message and it has been a blessing to me. I kept checking daily to see if anyone had left one and it was very neat to receive one from another sister in Christ even though we don’t know each other very well. However we already have an amazing gift in common and that is Katie and Chad and precious little Charlie. Also my husbands family knows the Blair family very well. My father-in-law and Paul have lunch as often as they can. I love blog hopping too! It’s neat to get a glimpse of other peoples lives and you never know how God is going to draw people to one another. I want to thank you for the sweet and encouraging verse you left, I am going to write it in my journal and remember it frequently. I know that when God blesses us with the joy of a little one I will remember your encouragement. I keep telling Katie we are going to make it to LaGrange one of these days for one of the new services that Chad leads. I have only gotten to visit once for Charlie’s first birthday a couple years ago. Boy where does time go. My husband is also in the ministry and works for our church full time. He is on the creative team and works under our creative pastor so we do not get weekends off except for rare occasions. Anyway as girls can do I know I am rambling, but I wanted to let you know that I would love to email you my ePatterns. The only thing you are not allowed to do is resell the patterns themselves. So my prayer has been that I can use these in some way to bless others and I am going to take that opportunity and send both the patterns to you. If you would like, you can just leave a comment on my blog with your email address, or if you dont want it out there for the world to see I completely understand and you can email me at annemariefarmer@yahoo.com so that I can send them to you. Thank you for allowing God to use you in someones life that you hardly know.Blessings,Anne Marie

Pop Paul
December 2, 2008 at 6:16 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
As I sit and reflect on people in my life that I’m thankful for, and that I’m anticipating good things to come for, I think about “Pop Paul” as he’s known to Saralynn. None other than our Minister of Music, Paul Blair.
There are so many things to say about Paul, but the first is THANK YOU. Paul is one of the purest, kindest souls I have ever known. God blessed not only our church, but my family in particular, when He sent Paul and his family to LaGrange. Our families have a rich history, from a cookout at our house where I watched Paul eat a hamburger that had been on the grill a total of about 15 seconds, to countless musicals, to Paul’s part in both my grandparents’ funerals, and many other precious moments in between. Paul has always had a soft shoulder that has caught many a Carter tear, a heart bigger than his body, and a spirit that rivals any other person on this earth. His caring spirit, gentle hand, always caring heart, and ever-upbeat words are true gifts to me, and I am forever grateful for knowing this precious man!
Our church has made many changes in the past few months, all of which I think are in the best interest of the environment of the church and its people. Our contemporary service has exploded, and has been just what many of the people in our church and community have needed. Garrett and I are blessed to serve in this service. With those changes comes the difficulty of trying to keep what “was” in tact while bringing along something new. Paul seems to have the biggest job of all in doing what he can to make sure that the Music Ministry doesn’t suffer too much. The most important thing to note about these changes is that we are still ONE CHURCH, and should work that way. Paul is doing all he can to keep that thought alive and well.
This Advent season, that gives way to Christmas, I am grateful for God’s present to me in Paul Blair. Paul, I promise you that I’m along for the ride that’s set before us. Please pray for Paul as I know he’s stretched thin during this season. Our entire church staff is, but none quite like Paul. Please pray for protection for Paul as he continues to seek God’s will for our church, and for the ministries and people of each.
Anticipating the Coming,Mary Beth
1 Comment

Michelle Blair said,
December 2, 2008 at 7:47 pm · Edit
Mary Beth- You said it much better than I could have! That was so sweet! We love our Pop too! Thanks for all of your support; I know he appreciates it! I forwarded this on to him!

Coming
December 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
Yesterday began the season of Advent. I have to admit, I don’t know that much about Advent, but am looking forward to learning. I remember as a child, I had a felt calendar that we hung out at Christmas that had 25 “pockets”- and in each, Mom always tucked a piece of candy. At some point during the busy routine of the day, we’d go to the calendar, take out the piece of candy, eat it, of course, and then prepare for the next day. It was our way of “counting down” to the big day! I’m sure she shared the meaning of Advent with me, but I don’t guess it ever really “stuck”. Our church has begun the tradtion of lighting the candles on the Advent wreath in the past couple of years, and this year is no exception. Yesterday’s candle was the Candle of Promise. Wow. What a way to start it off. The entire purpose of this crazy, hectic season is wrapped up in a promise- from God to us. He’ll be with us, always! He came in the form of a vulnerable baby, and I must admit, the story never resonated with me as much as it has now that I am a parent myself. The Miracle of the Season is so real to me this year, and I’m blessed to be a witness to the Love and Protection that came through that precious Baby!
As Advent literally means “coming” or “anticipation”, what are you anticipating this Christmas? I, for one, am waiting to watch promises unfold in the lives of those around me. So, during this Advent season, I hope to spotlight special people in my life, and ask you to join in praying for those people.
Today, Dec. 1st, please join my family in lifting up a prayer of thanksgiving for Chad, Katie, and Charlie Cottle. The Cottles have been a constant source of love and support since they arrived in LaGrange. Of course, since Chad and Garrett have known each other much longer than that, the support goes way back, but we are grateful for his family. Katie is the purest, kindest friend I have ever known. She is a constant source of encouragement to me, even while beautifully working through struggles of her own. Chad is a source of calm and trustworthy advice for Garrett, for which I am forever grateful. Charlie melted Saralynn’s heart long ago, and is often times one of the few ways we can “encourage” her out the door to church- “we’ll see Charlie”. This precious couple so selflessly gives of their time, talent, and treasure for the Kingdom and the imperfect people that go along with it. When I find myself tired and a bit dismayed at all going on around me, I think back on conversations and read encouraging emails from both Chad and Katie, and move on past myself, doing what I can to help tell the Story.
Please join me in continually praying for Chad and Katie’s pregnancy, that God would put His almighty Hand of Protection on their precious baby until it is time for us to meet him or her- sometime around the end of June. Thank Him, as we are, for the beautiful miracle we’ll witness through this family and their journey. Chad, Katie, and Charlie, we await with anticipation with you the journey that is to come for all of us, and are overwhelmed by your love for all of us. We love you more than you know and are grateful to be part of your lives.
Praying with anticipation, of what is to come for us all, in this season and always…The Pelts
1 Comment

Katie Cottle said,
December 5, 2008 at 2:49 pm · Edit
Mary Beth, You are too kind! We are so thankful for your friendship and prayers!!

Dobble, dobble, dobble
November 30, 2008 at 2:41 am (Uncategorized) · Edit
Like I know you did, the Pelt clan enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. My grandparents, Memaw and Papa, or “Emaw and Papa” as Saralynn calls them, came over in time to watch some of the parade, which was lots of fun! They came armed with a turkey Saralynn had made at school the week before. She took it to their house to show it off and left it, but it arrived home just in time for the big day. As she says, “a turtey says dobble, dobble, dobble”. So cute! If I can figure out how to do it, I’ll have to put up a video. We made napkin rings out of her handprint made to look like turkeys and made Indian hats and necklaces. We’re still making necklaces.
The day after Thanksgiving was a day for Garrett and I to spend some much needed time with Saralynn. She’s been a little under the weather, so we didn’t venture out shopping. We instead went to the Country Store at Callaway Gardens for breakfast and then enjoyed a nice, relaxing day at home.
Today has been a day of mixed emotions. Our beloved Dawgs got stung by a pack of Yellow Jackets, but the Crimson Tide rolled over some folks that can’t decide if they want to be eagles or tigers. Overall, a good day. Now, we set our eyes on a elephant/gator showdown next weekend. That’s all I’ll say. I’m not much on the trash talk- at least not until the game is over.
Please say a little prayer for my sweet baby. She’s been fighting this nasty cough and spiking fever since Wednesday. All seems well for a good bit of the day, and then all of a sudden, a 102.5 fever spikes. We’re praying for a good night’s sleep. Updates to come…
So much to be thankful for! I’ve become a blog junkie and am enjoying reading all the different angles of joy that are offered by and for the Cottles. Please continue to pray for a healthy pregnancy! God is so faithful, in His own time. Chad and Katie are some of the best friends Garrett and I have ever had, and we are absolutely overjoyed for them!
It’s off to prepare for Sunday School. I’m substitute teaching in the college/singles/young adult class. Reports on that tomorrow, too…

What a weekend!
November 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
This was one of those weekends that was a blur, but was one that I’ll remember for a long time!
Saturday morning we went to a birthday party for one of Saralynn’s very special friends, Katie Barnes, aka “KayBar”. We had a wonderful time playing with friends and watching Katie enjoy her special day.
Garrett and I then went to a wedding for one of the girls that was in the youth group I served. Paige married the perfect man for her in the sight of God and many witnesses, and it was a very special moment for me. During our DiscipleNow weekend, I had the girls write out their “list of attributes they looked for in a husband” and had the guys do the same for the wife they hoped to find. I’m not sure if this is the list Paige held on to or not, but she and Frank both had “lists” that they wrote out long before they met each other, and it was as if they had written it about each other now. Her mother was awed, but I reminded her that God knew the minute Paige was conceived who she would marry, so He knew all along that she wrote about Frank, and Frank about her. It was a very special day! Paige has always held a very special place in my heart, and I am very blessed to have been a part of her special day. Thanks, Paige, for the invite, and for allowing me the pleasure of being in your life.
Garrett and I then travelled back to LaGrange for the wedding of some childhood friends of mine. He was such a sport to accompany me to a wedding and not knowing the bride or the groom. This wedding was absolutely beautiful, and was 10 years in the making. Dean and Phil have known each other since preschool, as have many of our classmates. We all grew up together through ballroom dancing classes, schools, functions, etc., and it took AP biology to finally bring these two together. They began dating, and 10 years later, were married in one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever seen. The reception proved to be a precursor to our 10 year class reunion next year, and it was great to see some faces I haven’t seen since graduation night.
It was so nice to get dressed up and have somewhere fancy to go. Garrett looked very handsome in his suit, and I enjoyed breaking out the nice dress, makeup, and hair rollers again. I absolutely adore my everyday, somewhat mundane life at home as Mommy, but to glam up a little surely was a welcomed detour from the everyday. Thanks, Mimi, Pop, and Uncle Bub for babysitting! Thanks, Dean and Phil, for a great evening!
Then, to top off the weekend, we went to an amazing church service yesterday. The service began with Chad reading what church members are thankful for this season, and he read mine (mentioned in an earlier post). Though I had penned the words myself, it still touched me to hear them read. In the midst of this portion of the service, Chad also mentioned what he himself is thankful for this season, and one of the things is BABY COTTLE #2! He and Katie have prayed so earnestly for a new addition to their family, and God in His faithfulness, provided an answer to their prayers. If you haven’t already, check out their blogs for pictures of their cute little butterbean. :) Katie and Chad, it has been a pleasure to pray to the Father on your behalf. May this baby be blessed and annointed as Charlie is!
God is so faithful, even when we are not. He provides little and big blessings for us every day, some in the form of makeup and rollers, and others in the form of new life. Thank You, Jesus, for investing in us, even when we don’t deserve it!
And to think- all this, and it isn’t even Thanksgiving Day yet!!!

a wise piece of information
November 21, 2008 at 3:21 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
I ran across a little nugget today that I thought I would share.
On growing older…It’s frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.
Do you have someone a little more advanced in years in your life? If so, ask them a question- any question, really, and wait for their answer. It’ll brighten your day that you found out something (hopefully) new, and brighten theirs that you took the time to ask and listen for the answer

I’m thankful for…
November 20, 2008 at 1:19 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
Chad asked us at church last Sunday to think about things we’re thankful for. He asked us to email them to him, as part of this week’s service. I just emailed my thoughts, and thought I’d share them here. What are you thankful for this season?
Like everyone else, there’s so much to be thankful for, but, this Thanksgiving season, I’m most thankful for free will. At first glance, an odd thing to be thankful for, I know. But, I’m thankful for free will because, yet again, it’s one of God’s ways of showing just how much He loves me. God gives me the option to choose how I live my life. He wants all of me, 100% of the time- all my love, my talents, my time, but He allows me to decide how I will share my love, my talents, my time, and loves me even when I fall short of giving that all back to Him. He isn’t a puppet master that holds me by strings, manipulating my every move. No, He lovingly sets me on the stage and watches from the audience, willingly loving and applauding my good times, and even loving and applauding the times I don’t do well- in hopes that I’ll turn to Him for help. His gift of free will also allows me the opportunity to show His kind of love to those around me- those I know well and that know me well, and even those I don’t know and that don’t know me- and, sprinkled in along the way, those that don’t know Him. In His infinite wisdom, surely He could’ve come up with another plan to get His word out to a hurting and dying world than using imperfect me, but instead, He chooses to tell me “I love you enough to entrust My Story and My Love to you, for you to share it with the world”. Wow. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is! Thank You, Jesus, for loving me enough to let me choose, for applauding me when I choose well, and for dusting me off and letting me try again when I don’t choose well. Your gift of free will is one I cherish and am thankful for, this season and always!

Germs, germs, go away…
November 18, 2008 at 8:16 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
Saralynn isn’t the only one struggling with the cooties that come when the weather changes. Mom is at home with the crud, and poor Garrett is struggling with what I believe to be the flu. Lysol is our dearest friend these days!
Please say a prayer for precious Katie Cottle. She re-injured her back and is in lots of pain. We love you, Katie, and are praying for a quick recovery!
1 Comment

Kate said,
November 19, 2008 at 12:17 am · Edit
Thanks Mary Beth! I am very anxious to get well and come home and take care of my boys!!!

Mommy, my ears hurt
November 14, 2008 at 10:35 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
That’s one of those things you don’t want to hear first thing in the morning…
I had been doing so well on keeping the blog updated…
Tuesday morning of this week, as I woke Saralynn up for day care, she sleepily wakes up and says to me throug slanted eyes “Mommy, my ears hurt!” She digs her knuckles in her ears and, through tear-stained eyes, says it again, for emphasis. “Mommy, my ears hurt.” Then, the dreaded three words “Mommy, fix it”. By now, I’m ready to cry with her. She’s never said anything specific hurt before, so I knew it was a real, genuine hurt.
I sent everyone else on to work, and called the doctor. That was the most horrific thing I’ve ever been through in my life. DISCLAIMER: If you have a two-year old that complains of hurting ears, DON’T go to the doctor by yourself. My mom dropped us off while she ran a few errands, and Saralynn knew where she was as soon as we drove into the parking lot. “No, no, no”… came the muffled whines from the backseat.
Fast forward to the point at which they call our names. We had been peacefully watching “Charlotte’s Web”, methodically pointing out each animal as it passed across the screen. “Saralynn Pelt to the back please”. This phrase shattered our peacefulness. We get up to walk to the back and I hear “I want to watch TV”. Yet another phrase I’ve never heard my child utter. She would’ve asked for anything to get out of seeing the doctor!
The nurse asks her symptoms and orders bloodwork. Oh, boy, the fun… Saralynn begins to scream, as one would expect. The doctor then comes in and does a strep test. Again, screaming. Poor thing works herself up so she makes herself sick. Then, the exam. The doctor and the nurse come in. The nurse holds her feet, and the doctor asks ME to restrain her arms AND hold her head still. Thus, I get to see my two year old piece of my heart longingly look up at me through tear-filled eyes as if to say “how could you let them do this to me? And how could you partake in this?” My eyes began to fill at this point, as Saralynn cries “Mommy!” Little did she know, I was crying the same thing on the inside, wanting my mommy to help me help my baby.
Diagnosis: a double ear infection. Again. Prescription: antibiotic. Again. Poor Saralynn. The “messinine” is not her friend, and neither is the person that gives it to her. Namely, me. We’re three days into the medicine with seven more to go, and I’m ready for those seven days to be a memory.
So, we survived the past three days. We put countless diapers on countless babies, read stories over and over and over again, watched Elmo and Barney on TV (yes, I cracked. The mommy that said she’d never willingly expose her children to Barney gave in. She watches it at school, saw a commercial for it, and asked. What can I say? She’s sick.) And, all the while, as the thoughts of stir-craziness began to creep into my mind, all I can think of is how wonderful it is to have some one-one-one time with my baby, who is growing so fast!
“Mommy, my ears hurt”. Those words I don’t want to hear again, but that I’m grateful for hearing, because it means I got a few priceless moments with my Saralynn during the middle of the week. A rare treat I’ll cherish, even if it means a few doses of yucky “messinine”.
2 Comments

Michelle Blair said,
November 16, 2008 at 12:32 am · Edit
Bless your heart AND hers! I HATE ear infections! Grayson’s right ear is draining for the first time since we got tubes in February. I guess the only thing I am thankful for is that I got what I paid for- they are doing their job!! BUT, the ear drops are NOT Grayson’s friend! Hope to see you in the morning! Michelle

Pam Pruett said,
November 16, 2008 at 9:45 pm · Edit
Tubes were the best thing I ever did for Addie! She had an ear infection just about every month from 4 m-13 months!! Got tubes at 13 months and really, I must say that runny noses and colds have never bothered her! Sinus drainage occasionally is all we have dealth with in the past 7 years!!! Dr. Novelly (our ENT) is a GODSEND!!!
Hope she feels better soon!

couponing
November 10, 2008 at 4:42 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
So, I’ve joined the world of couponing. My family watched in awe as I spent most of my Sunday afternoon clipping and organinzing. Whew! What a job! But, if it helps my family, then I’m all for it. Some thrifty heroes at church have inspired me. Tips, tricks, anyone?

Back-Up, Part 2

A fun day with Garrett
November 10, 2008 at 1:54 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
I didn’t blog on Saturday because Garrett and I were out on the town enjoying a day together! So much fun!
Saralynn went to stay with Nana and Paw Paw in Jonesboro from Saturday to Monday, so Garrett and I got some much-needed time just to spend together. We went Christmas shopping for Saralynn, and just all-around enjoyed our day together. It was action-packed- we left at 9 am and returned at 9:30 pm, but had a blast!!!
I am very thankful for my husband and the time we do get to spend together. I love him very much, and sometimes forget how the little things like a smile, or a wink, or grabbing my hand as we ride down the interstate mean so much. Thanks, Garrett, for a great day!
1 Comment

Garrett said,
November 12, 2008 at 1:43 am · Edit
Thank you for the kind words. I truly enjoy the time we share together. You know I love Saralynn with everything I have, but I also love the small, quiet moments we share as husband and wife. I had a great time, even though I was worn out and worthless for the rest of the weekend. I love you and thank God for you everyday. Thank you for second chances and your love. It means more to me than you’ll ever know.

TGIF!!!
November 9, 2008 at 2:35 am (Uncategorized) · Edit
Today was the longest day ever! Work was chaos! But, thank goodness I have a job… More tomorrow after a day off. :)

A bittersweet day…
November 6, 2008 at 3:47 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
Today would’ve been my grandmother’s birthday. She went to be with Jesus in 2002, but I think of her often, especially lately. Our sweet Saralynn has so many of her characteristics- she doesn’t like socks AT ALL, wants her shoes off as soon as she gets inside, loves to be outside, and is jut all-around like her Great Grandmother Ice. My brother says Saralynn even looks like Ice (whose name was Icie Lee, hence the Ice) when she smiles. I hadn’t noticed it until he said something, but I think he’s right.
I miss Ice and PaClyde (who went to be with Jesus in 2000) very much, but I know they’re enjoying happier days in Heaven. Garrett’s grandparents, Memaw and Paw Paw, also went to be with Him around the same times as mine, so neither of us had the opportunity to know the other’s grandparents, but have had many happy (and even some bittersweet) times sharing memories.
Ice, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind sharing your special day, so here’s to the memories of all 4 grandparents who’ve gone on, and special love sent to the 4 that remain. We love you ALL!
And, on a happier note, Happy Birthday, Cousin Blair! We love you!
2 Comments

Katie Cottle said,
November 7, 2008 at 4:21 am · Edit
Grandparents are Blessings for sure! Glad you have sweet memories!

Becky Carter said,
November 7, 2008 at 3:04 pm · Edit
I see Ice in Saralynn in many ways - especially the way she crosses her ankles. I always talk to Saralynn about Ice when i rock her at night in Ice’s rocking chair. It has a very special place in Saralynn’s room - Ice can visit her there in her chair.
Love,Mom

Prayers for a Nation
November 5, 2008 at 3:19 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
So, here we are, the morning after the elections. No matter which way your vote was cast, one thing remains the same: the same Jesus is still just as alive, and moving in the hearts of His people! Sure, some things are different, but much is the same. We knew we’d wake up this morning with a new face that would lead our country. That much we can all agree on. Though we didn’t know which face that would be, we knew we would wake up to a difference. We woke up to much talk on the news shows about the politics of the evening, but did you notice what was “missing”? The political commercials and TV ads. May I subtly throw in my excitement at not having to watch another one for a while? Yet again, with no ads to view this morning, another difference. Even the roads looked different, with many of the signs that dotted the landscape yesterday removed today. But, even with all these differences and many more, one thing still rings true: Jesus is still at the right hand of His Father, who is still on His throne, and whose ears are still wanting to hear the voices of His people as they cry out to Him. No matter your political position, or your thoughts on the events of last night, I think we as Christians can all agree on this: God is still in control and still holding us tightly in the grip of His nail-scarred hand. So, what does that mean for us? It means that it’s time for us to remember the action we were called to in scripture:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Sure, we’ve heard this scripture over and over again in light of the elections the past few months. But, there is so much found in these words, that sometimes some of it seems to go unnoticed. A few thoughts, if I may:
God doesn’t say “when” my people… he leads it off with “if”. That puts the ball in our court, lets us make our choice. We got to make our own choice when we voted, but even more importantly, we get to choose whether or not we call on His name!
He reminds us that we’re called BY HIS name. That means we’re labeled Christians “little Christs”. A subtle reminder from the Father that we’re HIS- all the time!
“If they will humble themselves”- we can’t be haughty in our dealings with Jesus. No room for that. He was the ultimate example of humility- and He lead with His life. His actions spoke for Him. His words, important no less, were paralelled by His actions.
“If they will seek My face”- it’s not just enough to come before the Father and pray. We have to seek His face. As much as we all know to look in the direction we’re walking. or look in the direction of one that’s talking to us, we also should look toward Heaven- maybe not outwardly, but at least inwardly. Know the direction from which our help comes! When we converse with others around us, we look them in the face- doesn’t the God of the universe deserve the same from us?
“And turn from their wicked ways”- again, it can’t just be words we say. If we’re asking God to help us, we have to be willing to lay aside the sin that we all bear and let Jesus take control.
“Then I will hear from heaven”- to me, this is a picture of Jesus interceding to the Father on our behalf. God has the ultimate say-so, but these 6 words give me a mental image of Jesus saying to His Father, “Listen, Dad. They’re praying to you. And, because of the sincerity of their prayers, I’m asking You to please hear their prayers and work in their lives- in Your own way”. That may not be the exact, theological interpretation, but that’s the way I see it. And, I’m comforted by the thought that Jesus would talk to His Father on my behalf. Wow!
“I will…”- it starts with an “IF” on our part, but ends with a “WILL” on His part. Nothing else to say on this one, really. He will… No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Maybe not HOW we want, but HE WILL!
“forgive their sins and heal their land”- notice- it starts with healing our sins- individual sins- and then moves to healing our land. So many prayers have gone up the past few days and weeks for the health and protection of our country. I wonder how many prayers have gone up in that time for the health and protection of our hearts, homes marriages…?
So, this is by far my longest blog, and if you’re still reading, you deserve a prize. My last thought for the morning:
Saralynn held my hand this morning walking down the stairs, as she always does. She was, of course, very chatty, as usual. All the while I’m listening to her excitedly tell me all about something I don’t uderstand all of, I had this sudden thought: History was made today. The face of America has changed. The history books will have to be re-written. What we know of politics, and many other things has changed. And my child will know no different. What is different and life-changing for me will be a way of life for her. She won’t know what significance this brings to the world. She will grow up with new leaders in the White House and will one day ask questions as to why this was so historic, maybe why it took us as a country so long to get to this place. So, to those of us with children that will grow up with history being the mundane, please join together and pray for the hedge of protection Jesus offers to be over our children. May their hearts be guarded by the words we teach them and LIVE OUT before them. Jesus, continue to reign over all of us, and be glorified!!!
1 Comment

Mary Johnston said,
November 6, 2008 at 12:02 am · Edit
MaryBeth,Pam knows I love blogs and sent me your link. You have touched my heart with your very insightful words. Thank you for reminding us again that our God reigns, and what most importantly our job is to pray, for our nation and for that hedge of protection around our children and grandchildren.Bless you! Mary Johnston

Voted Yet?
November 4, 2008 at 7:52 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
I, for one, have not yet voted, but am anxiously awaiting 5:00 so I can leave here to head to the polling area. What a blessing to be a part of history. Sure, we all have our candidates picked out (or at least I hope we do by now), and, yes, there will be one winner and one loser, but in the end, all that matters is that Jesus is still on the throne and in the business of loving all of us!
As I sit at work, trying to look busy, and thinking of the countless other things I could be doing with my time than sitting, trying to look busy, I’m thinking all the while about Saralynn. Wondering what she’s up to at day care, thinking of something creative to feed her, and thinking of how big she’s getting. I’m reminded of the times I would hold her, just watching her chest move up and down as she breathed. The first time she laughed. Those sweet coos and smiles. And, yet, I’m also thinking about the day she’ll cast her first vote. Sure, it’s years from now, but then again, it’ll be here before I know it. What am I doing to make the world a better place for her? In my opinion, the presidential race can be summed up best, for all of us, in the words of Edward Everette Hale. What will you, the one and only you, do to make the world a better place, for all those around you?
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”- Edward Everette Hale, minister and author

Fishin’
November 4, 2008 at 2:05 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
Saralynn got some new fish today. Uncle Bub’s betta fish from college swam his last laps around the aquarium Sunday night, so Saralynn, Bub, and I went to Wal-Mart to buy some new fish. Aunt Dana sent Saralynn some money in a trick-or-treat card, so she picked out the fish. We asked for two and were given four, so their names are… drumroll, please… Eeny, Meeny, Miney, and Moe. Saralynn had a great time watching them swim around- they’re much more spry than Bub’s fish, who was a little advanced in age.
We’re happy to report today that all went WELL for Katie Cottle’s newborn cousin in his heart surgery. Praise God that He still loves and protects His children!

Seconds…
November 3, 2008 at 1:29 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
There’s a riddle that goes something like this: There are 12 seconds in a year… January 2nd, February 2nd, and so on… Sure, the argument can be made that there are actually 31,536,000 seconds in a year, but I like to focus on the 12 seconds, at least for now. Today is November 2nd- what will I do with today to make it different than November 1st or November 3rd? What a thought to ponder… What will you do to make today different?

Welcome to another month…
November 1, 2008 at 9:41 pm (Uncategorized) · Edit
So, in an attempt to do better with the blogging, I’m making a goal to write something every day… A new month, a new mindset… Here goes nothing…
Today is the first. The first of what? November. Night of daylight savings time. Time LaGrange College football has gone 8-1… EVER… And, hopefully, the first of many day-to-day blog entries. Why, some might ask… No one knows your blog exists… True. But, in the past few months more tha never, I’ve learned that the day-to-day, somewhat mundane exmperiences of life are the most important.
So, here’s a rundown of a few of those experiences of late: Saralynn made the front page of the paper today in her Halloween costume at school. I, for one, am very proud! Garrett is kicking booty running the PowerPoint projection for our new 11:11 service at church, which has exploded beyond anyone’s expectations. And me? I’m just loving every minute of watching my family live their lives- together!
So, a day of firsts… I wonder what the seconds and thirds will bring?…