Train up a child…

Tonight is a big night, my baby will officially leave Viola Elementary behind as he graduates from the 6th grade. That chubby baby has grown into a young man who can talk for  days about baseball and bow  shooting.  He’s quick with a smile and a laugh.  He’s a young gentleman who holds doors for others and says, “please, thank you, and excuse me” when talking to strangers, though he and his brother still exchange barbs way too often for Mom!  It’s a little surreal to think he will be joining the kids roaming the halls of the high school building next year. (We are a very small school where Jr high & high school are together).  He’s at that in-between age, he’s not a little kid, but he’s not a teenager, either.  I pray that we have equipped him to handle the pressures of high school and to stick closely to his faith.   I’ve prayed for him since before he was born, and he accepted Christ at age 8.  I’m proud of him.  He has a bright future and I can’t wait to see what God has planned for his life.  

Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

I believe, help Thou my unbelief


There is an old gospel song with the line, “I believe, help Thou my unbelief.” What an unusual, redundant statement. How can you believe, yet confess unbelief in the same breath? These were the words spoken by a desperate father in Mark 9:24. Even though I’ve heard that line many, many times, I never really stopped to read the passage until a few weeks ago. That very line was written (in my handwriting) in the margin of my journaling Bible. No doubt I had intentions of coming back to it, but had never taken the time…. or maybe God was not leading me to that verse at that moment in time…until He did, and that made all the difference.   I eagerly dove into the chapter to find out about this unusual statement. It’s funny how God shows you things when you really dig into the scriptures, because the Bible is just as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago.

Mark 9 describes a desperate father whose son was possessed by an unclean spirit. Not only would the boy succumb to “fits” and foam at the mouth, but he would also fall into the fire and into water putting his very life in danger. This poor father was probably at his wit’s end. I can imagine he had seen every doctor, healer, and anyone else he thought might help, but still had no answers… until one day when he heard that Jesus was near. His statement, “Lord, if you can help my son…” was probably a cry of desperation. He had no doubts that Jesus could heal his son if his son could be healed. Jesus responded with his own question, “If…?” We all have “ifs” and doubts, but with Jesus, there is no if. He can do all things, even (or maybe especially) when we feel like we have exhausted all our options. The father’s question of “if” wasn’t so much doubting the power of Christ, but more so just wondering if his son could be healed at all. When Jesus gently pointed that out, the father of the boy with the unclean spirit quickly stated, “I believe, help Thou my unbelief.” Help me remember, Lord, that You are capable of ALL things, and NOTHING is too great for You to heal.   Jesus ordered the unclean spirit to leave the boy and never return, and just like that, he was healed. Later His disciples, perplexed, asked Jesus why they had not been able to cast out the spirit, His answer: “That kind can only be removed through prayer.”

And there is the key to all things, prayer, plain and simple.
Fervently seeking God.

As I read these verses and really thought about this father and his son, I couldn’t help but draw some parallels from this passage of scripture to many things in our current society. Let me explain.

Over the last several months, our quartet, 4His Praise 4HisPraise_black-copy(shameless plug with a link to our Facebook page.)  has been given the opportunity to participate in some fundraising events for John 3:16 Ministries. It has been such a blessing to see Jesus work in the lives of these men. If you aren’t familiar with the John 3:16 Ministries, it’s is a spiritual boot camp for men with addictions. It wasn’t until my cousin went to John 3:16 that I became familiar with them. They are truly changing lives through the total commitment of the director, instructors, and staff, and the reason it is working is because Jesus is in the midst.  Click here for more information on John 3:16 The Cure!

But where does this passage come in? I’m getting to that part. While I wholeheartedly support the John 3:16 ministries, I have felt for the last couple of years that I am being led more toward women’s ministry, and as I read about this father, my thoughts turned to the women behind the men at John 3:16; moms, wives, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, and other family and friends. How many of these women have uttered almost the same desperate cry to Jesus, “Lord, if You can help him….”
How many times have they watched that “unclean spirit” of addiction take over and cause their men to stumble, fall, and risk death or serious injury because of that addiction?
How many times have they sought answers from this treatment program or that jail term?
How many times have they heard the promises “I’ll change” or “It’s the last time, I swear!”?
How many times have they wanted to give up?
How many times have they ended up on their knees begging God for answers?
How many realize John 3:16 was no accident and there is ALWAYS hope at the foot of the cross?

Ladies, you are not alone.  You are at this point of your life because God has heard those desperate cries for help and has brought you to this place.  That darkness you’ve been going through is growing lighter.  Jesus is there, run to Him.  Rest in Him.  Forget the “ifs” and believe.  It is no accident that the LORD has brought you to a little place called Charlotte, Arkansas.  Your prayers are being answered.  No, it won’t happen as quickly as it did in Mark 9, but God is faithful and He provides exactly what men…and women…need today.
Just say, “I believe, Lord, I believe You are the answer.” Just truly believe in the power of prayer.  Not a one-shot-wonder-fix-it-quick kind of prayer, but daily, on-you-face-humbled-before-God prayer.  Prayer is the answer, though it may take months or years, and we may get impatient, but prayer is still the answer.  We just have to trust God’s timing, for His timing is perfect.  While we wait we continue to believe.

I believe… I believe there is no problem or affliction too great for Jesus.
I believe He is waiting on us to bring our burdens to him and prayerfully lay them at His feet.
I believe in prayer. Honest, fervent prayer. Humbled at the feet of Jesus without pride or pretense, over and over, fully believing that Jesus is capable of ALL things.

Do you believe?

This is my girl…

After several years of following Kelly’s Korner Blog and seeing the singles’ day, I thought it might be time to introduce my girl….with her permission, of course.

Meet Casey.

She’s 27, which is really hard for me to believe because it just seems like yesterday that she was was a tiny baby.  She has a really fun sense of humor (gets it from her mother, I’m sure), and loves to laugh.

Now let me introduce you to her children…..

She quite possibly has the most spoiled dog (Sterling) on the planet, but he’s a sweetie and adores her.  She also has Riley (top right) and Boon (bottom right…though Boon is pretty much retired now).  As you can guess, she’s loves horses and love to barrel race.  She’s a big fan of professional barrel racer, Fallon Taylor, designed one of FT’s flamboyant rodeo road ensembles.  Casey was baptized at age 8, and is a member of the First Baptist Church, the one Kelly’s dad pastored for many years.  In fact, he was the pastor on her very first trip to church and presented her with a sweet little pink Bible (which I still have).  I know she will probably kill me for this last photo, but I had to include her first trip to church….

And that’s my girl!  I’m very proud of the kind hearted, responsible woman she is.

Life is not a highway, it’s a whirlwind!

At least around here it’s a whirlwind.  It seems like school started a week ago and now we are 3 weeks into the second semester!  Life is so busy right now, but I know someday things will slow down and I will miss this chaos. (maybe)

So here is the big thing we are working on right now, a benefit for the John 3:16 Ministries. The house in the photo above is the Fulton County Faith House on the campus of John 3:16.  It will provide a home for 8 men from Fulton County (and possibly other counties) while they are residents of John 3:16.  The building is complete, but it needs to be furnished, which will cost between 12 and 13 thousand dollars.  This ministry is very frugal and will use the money in the most cost-effective manner.  So, if you want to have a good meal (fish & chicken with all the trimmings), and hear some good gospel music, join us at Salem First Baptist Church, Salem, AR on February 6th….and bring a donation!

Now, some may ask, “What is this John 3:16 thing you’re talking about?”  I’m so glad you asked!  John 3:16 is a spiritual boot camp for men with addictions.  It is completely funded by donations, which is why they can share the gospel with the residents.  The length of time a man stays varies, but it’s not a 30-days-and-you’re-fixed kind of thing.  Nope, it’s a place where God, the Great Physician helps men kick the addictions to drugs and alcohol, get right with God, and become souls on fire for Jesus.  No, not everyone stays on the right path when they leave, but there is an 87% success rate.  It’s tough, they don’t seem to gloss it over and tell you it isn’t your fault; it’s the “you messed up so repent, confess, and serve the Lord” attitude that really works.   These guys find new accountability partners to help when they graduate from the program.  They have support.  What’s really wonderful about this ministry, they aren’t just changing the lives of the men in the program, but it is restoring families, too.  So many families have come to know the forgiving, saving power of Jesus through this ministry.

So, if you want to know more about this program, you can just click on this John 3:16 and find out lots more information….oh, and I hope to see you at SFBC on February 6th!

Playing Catch Up

Well, 2 months since the last post, and I had promised I was going to keep up with my Bible journaling on here, whoops!  I have been journaling, just haven’t had time to post it…no, rephrase that, just haven’t taken the time to post it!  Let’s recap on events since August 1 and maybe you can sympathize a little….take a deep breath….

School Bus

School started.  Always a busy time of the year.  Logan is in 6th grade and the 2nd or 3rd week of school we were slammed with a 6th grade fundraiser.  I think I just need to make a donation instead of ordering stuff.  I’m also one of the junior class sponsors, and our year has been hectic (especially this past week) preparing for OUR big fundraiser, the annual Black and Orange game.

Oh, and Logan decided he wanted to play Mighty Mite football at Salem, you know, since we don’t have much going on this fall, anyway.  Yeah, right!  Now, look at the photo below and just take note, even though 6th graders can play mighty mites with a school they do not attend, my son is still representing his Viola Longhorns with the orange socks.  I’m raising him right!
Logan MightyMite

Also in August, Casey asked if I would help her with a little contest, an NFR (National Finals Rodeo) outfit for Fallon Taylor.  I said, “Sure, I will.” but in the back of my mind I’m thinking there is no way under the big, blue sky that she will pick the outfit we designed, so I won’t have to worry about it.  WRONG!  See that name third from the top, that’s us…Dirt Road Chic.  Yep, she picked our design with several others (because the NFR is 10 performances).

Dirt Road Chic

Well, challenge accepted, and I didn’t get too worried about it because, after all, the Finals are in December, and it was just the middle of August, so we had time.  Silly me for thinking I had time…Casey received the white jeans and white shirt from Fallon Taylor (yes, the REAL Fallon Taylor…if you don’t know who she is, Google her), and along with that came the little note that she had to have the completed outfit back by SEPTEMBER 30.  I may have just panicked slightly when I realized we only had 2 weekends we could work on it, but we did it, and it was back in her possession on September 29th.

Fallon is known for her bright, outrageous style, and I’m a little worried that ours may be a little tame, but it’s ok.  I really wish I could show you the finished thing, but I can’t…at least not until she wears it, but I can promise you, as soon as we see it on her my social media feeds will be “Fallonized”.   Oh, and just for the record, SHE IS TINY!  I don’t think I could have gotten one leg in her jeans!

In the middle of the chaos, Casey and I also decided to be the hosts of the Fulton County Holiday Shopping Extravaganza.  It’s October 24th at Fulton Co. Fairgrounds…you should come.

So the last couple of weeks we’ve been gearing up for the big Jr. Class thing and I’ve been a distracted….maybe crazy is a better word.  I haven’t slept much and just cry at anything, and October 7th, my oldest son posted this on Instagram:

“I’m gonna walk with my grandaddy,
and he’ll match me step for step
And I’ll tell him how I’ve missed him every minute since he left, and then I’ll hug his neck.” 🎵🎶
Happy Birthday Grandad! I’ll see you again someday.

Yep, waterworks.  I just happened to see it at school, too, and my juniors and seniors were looking at me like I was nuts…I guess I am a little nuts, but doesn’t every family tree have a few?

I guess I say all that to just illustrate a small part of why I’ve felt very overwhelmed and drowning the last few weeks.  I was seriously about to have a huge pity party with Ben & Jerry, but tonight I have a little different perspective because of the women’s conference at our church today.  That’s another post, because this one is getting a little long, but my outlook is better, my joy is restored, and Tuesday night I can check one more thing off my to do list.

KingJesus I made this in Photoshop last night.  God was taking care of my pity party before I even knew it.

What a mighty God we serve!

There’s an app for that….

We live in a digital, wired world.  It seems there is an app for everything from fitness, to dating, to finding a great parking spot in a strange city.  Apps keep us connected with each other and updated on the latest news, trends, and music, but now there is an app that allows you to connect with Jesus.

It’s the First 5 app from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  If you are female and breathing….and have a smart phone or tablet….you need to get this immediately. (go ahead, grab your phone and get it, I’ll wait…or if you’re one of those people who need more information you can check out their website  just click here. )


So, you’re wondering what this is all about, right?  First 5 is the idea that we need to give God our first fruits (aka:  the first 5 minutes of our day).  If you don’t have a morning devotion or quiet time, this helps.  I’ll confess, I don’t think my best few moments are the very first ones of the day, but this app is really helping my day start on a high note, and if you start the day off right, it’s so much easier to have a great day.

The first Bible study is in the book of John, and each day you get verses and a little devotional.  Todays was one of those that really spoke to me.

Off the mat

It was taken from John 5:6 “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ ”  This man had been like this for years, he could barely walk, someone had to care for him all the time, of course he wanted to get well,… but wait, there’s more…. John 5:7 “The man responded: “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.”, and other excuses about how people would cut in front of him..etc.  Jesus ignored his excuses and said, in John 5:8 “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”   Excuse time was over, if he truly wanted to be healed then he had to pick up mat and start walking.

How often do we do this?  We claim we want a victory, we want healing, or peace, or whatever else our prayer might be, but when it gets down to brass tacks, we end up with the “yeahbuts” disease.  You know the one I’m talking about, when Jesus says “MOVE” we say “yeah, but what about….?”  Excuse after excuse.  We question the sovereignty of God.  Maybe it’s just me, but somehow I really don’t think I’m alone in this one.

We ask Jesus for a blessing and when He extends it, we have a million excuses of why it won’t work.  What we really need to do is GET OFF OUR MATS and do it!

The app has a message board-type-thing, and as I scrolled through reading the comments made by many, many women, I noticed a recurring theme…fear.  Fear holds us back and keeps us from blessings.  Fear keeps us on that mat, and satan is all too happy to tell us we can’t do something.

This really stuck a chord with me today, and I realize that I am allowing things to hold me back and keep me from doing things I want…need…to do.  What about you?

Jesus, keep my eyes on You and off that mat.  Amen

Now go get the app and get busy with your study of John!

Bible journaling

I’m behind.  I always intend to keep up a blog, but with no set deadline, it doesn’t happen.  It’s funny how life just gets in the way of our best intentions!

The purpose of the blog was to share Bible journaling, which I’ve not done that much of, either, so here’s a little post to get caught up with that.  I will probably duplicate some of them, but that’s okay, the Word is definitely worth reading over and over!

The Parable of the Lost Sheep, Luke15:1-7
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in times of trouble.” Thank you, Jesus, for never leaving me!
Luke 2, the birth of the Savior. This past Christmas, my thoughts turned to Mary, she was so young! Did she realize the magnitude the life of her tiny baby would bring?
Matthew 22:37-40. This was a joy filled page. I had fun with it, but it is a reminder of whom we should love first!
Restoration Isaiah 60, and Isaiah 62. Hope, this page came after someone I had known very well lost hope and took his own life. Without hope, we are so lost, but Restoration comes through the Savior. So many things in my life have needed God’s restoring hand.
Mark 5:25-34 She knew the power of Jesus, and knew just by touching the hem of His robe she might be healed. Her faith healed her.
Feel the Nails
Matthew 27:32-44 The greatest sacrifice was made for us….and we don’t deserve it.
Burn Bright
John 8:12 Jesus is the light of the world. We must proclaim His word so he will continue to burn bright. Natalie Grant has a wonderful song, “Burn Bright”, which was also an inspiration for this entry.
Blessed is the nation
Psalm 33:12. Blessed is the country whose Lord is our God. Ours used to be, and it’s time we get America back to God, for it is only through HIM that we will be blessed as a nation.


I hastily began a new blog partly because I was invited to join a group of lovely blog ladies, and partly because I broke up with Blogger and was rebounding into the arms of WordPress. (It was for the best, really.)   When I began the new blog I had grand visions of sharing my newfound love of Bible journaling, but with the everyday busyness of life, I quickly realized I did not have enough content to create a blog post a month. Oh yes, I still do Bible study, but the plans I have for working on the journaling to go along with the Bible study are still in rough-sketch from…. at least for 2 more weeks, when school is out and I will have a little bit of extra time to devote to my craft.

As with most things, plans evolve after a time, after we have had time to put them into action and work out the kinks. I needed a little freedom to share things in life that might not fit with Bible journaling, which leads me to the point of this post…

I have many interests, and many hobbies. I love to cook, I love to draw, I love photography, I love my family,  I love Jesus, and I live on a farm in rural Arkansas. While Bible journaling will still be a large component of this little slice of cyberspace, the things that make up everyday life, will also have a place here. At times my life may be a little boring or mundane, but in every circumstance I will try to find the joy and remain grateful for God’s grace. Please join me on this new journey…. life on a dirt road.

My advice to newlyweds

June 2009, Makenzie & Caleb.
June 2009, Makenzie & Caleb.

Wedding season is upon us. In fact, we have 2 family weddings in as many weeks. Along with weddings come wedding showers. At my cousin’s shower a couple of weeks ago, the hostess asked us (guests) to write down advice on a little stick (tongue depressor type stick), and leave it in a jar for the newlyweds to look at later.

I didn’t do it. It’s not that I’m a rebel or don’t wish them a lifetime filled with happiness, it’s that I’m just too wordy and there is no possible way I could have written my advice on one stick.

After much contemplation, here is my advice:

1. God comes first. If He is the center of your relationship then you already have an advantage. As our pastor said once, “It’s hard to hate the person you pray with.” So true.

2. It’s not about you. Wives, when you put your husband’s needs first, and husbands, when you put your wife’s needs first, it’s a win-win situation. Don’t be self-centered and do small kindnesses expecting something in return, because then it becomes about you. Often the smallest random acts of kindness, done strictly from love and expecting nothing in return, are the most meaningful. Give freely with a cheerful heart.

3. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence, it’s greenest where you water and fertilize it! Marriage isn’t always easy, and instead of looking at what other people have and wishing for the same, focus on all the great things about your spouse. Don’t compare your marriage with another. It’s just like comparing yourself to supermodel; you will always find flaws (unless you happen to be a supermodel, in which case you could probably benefit from a cheeseburger or 2). Problems arise when we begin to focus on the flaws rather than on the good stuff.

4. Encourage and pray for each other. You don’t have to be all mushy and gushy about it, but a little praise never hurt a relationship. If he mows the yard just mention how nice it looks. After she dresses for work, tell her she looks nice. (…and vice versa). It’s easier to encourage each other if we receive encouragement.

5. Say “I Love You” often. Those three little words mean so much.

I do not claim to be a relationship expert, but I have learned from past experience. A few years ago, when our marriage was going through a particularly difficult time, I was on my knees praying that God would change my husband’s heart. In the midst of the a prayer, I distinctly heard the words, “What about you?” Ouch! It was at the moment I realized how self-centered I was in my prayers, and probably life in general. I just thought I was right, when in all honesty; I was so wrong. Thankfully, we serve a mighty God who DOES know the right way, and knows what areas need work in order to change a situation. When I began to pray, “Lord, change me and make me what You want me to be.” I began to see a difference. Because I asked for Him to change my heart, I felt that burden lighten. I was able to release the anger and bitterness I had held for so long. I was able to forgive, and to start healing.

I still pray for God to make me the person He wants me to be, and I ask Him to bless my husband. Oh, there are many areas in my life that still need drastic improvement, but I am praying for God to work on those areas. I’m rough, but He is still polishing.

So that is my condensed version of marital advice. (See, I told you it wouldn’t fit on a popsicle stick).

To Stacie & Noel, and Samantha & Eric: may your marriages be blessed. Allow God to become the head of your household and you will never regret it.

As the Bible states in Joshua 24:15: As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!