Friday, May 10, 2013


Today should have been just another day for her. It's not her birthday, but she'd be wearing a tiara for sure (which would probably be permanently attached to her head by now). Pink, ruffles, lace, rhinestones...and that would just be her pajamas.

Would she still have her tracheostomy? I don't know. I know for a fact, though, that if she did, the ties would not be the standard blue, because her momma would have bought up every pair of pink/purple/princess/girly ties she could find on Etsy.

Would the consult she was scheduled to have in Boston have been successful? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, her momma would never have given up on her. She left late into the night every night, and would call at the same time an hour or so later to check on her blood gas. She gave up everything for her girl, but she would never have called it a sacrifice.

Would she be walking and playing? It might have been with assisting devices, but she would have fought through it with her quiet, determined peace (and the occasional tantrum when she was just absolutely over it). Would she still make us work for her smiles? Undoubtedly. And they would still be every bit as rewarding as they were then.

She stared into the depths of our souls and spoke more with her eyes than any words could say. She decided when to grace us with her presence, and she decided when it was time to go Home...three years ago today.

She reminded her nurses, doctors, and therapists from every discipline why we chose to enter the professions we did. She taught us to be grateful for every day and every victory. Her momma taught us what unconditional love on earth looks like and what utter dedication means. Her continued strength is inspiring.

Sweet girl, we remember. We promise never to forget what you taught us.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

the carpenter

i have been incredibly blessed to have a father and a grandfather who are/were men of virtuous character and unflinching integrity. my grandaddy (dad's dad) went Home to Jesus in March of 2008. since a few months after his death, a couple of lines of poetry have been swirling around in my head. in october, i started trying to figure out what to give my grandmother (the woman who has EVERYTHING), and those few lines sprang to the forefront of my mind. i sat down and scribbled out several verses, trying to sum up the life of an incredible man with a few words. this was the result.

The Carpenter

working the harvest with dad in the heat;
A young man called James, eager to please.
dad speaks as they work of another man's son,
raised as a craftsman 'round nails and wood.
Born to serve others; Jesus loved the condemned,
built a legacy of love, then died for our sins.

The Carpenter's story resonates deep,
and the quiet young man
gives his life to the King.
Caring for widows and others in need;
seeking the orphans and least of these...
heart of a man, reflecting his King.

Holding the hands of the girl he loves;
He pledges his life, to cherish and hold.
With vows and rings, two hearts become one...
She looks in his eyes,
he leans in and smiles,
"'til death do us part..." and he kisses his bride.

gallant young husband, his Faye by his side
enlists and moves north,
Serves his country with pride.
Two years, a new baby, then home to the south.
Shop class and textbooks, purple and gold,
LSU Forestry; geaux Tigers geaux!

Building and woodwork; two of his joys...
but nothing compares to three little boys.
Carpenter's hands cradle newborn sons
Staring in wonder; joy overcomes.
Three little lives, his to teach
To guide to the cross of the carpenter King.

Life moves on for the carpenter and Faye
Boys growing up and moving away.
Holding hands in the sunset,
two rocking chairs sway...
love keeps increasing;
new mercies each day.

Carpenter's hands hold grandbabies close;
watching a legacy of love unfold.
Fireworks and rock piles,
Four-wheeling through trees...
he looks his family; the joy they bring,
and silently praises his Carpenter King.

Carpenter's hands; reaching for Home,
Sweet beulah land he's dreamed of so long...
Standing in awe of the One on His throne
The King gently beckons,
"Well done, my son...
Welcome home."

Mississippi farm boy;
No claim to fame...
But a stone in the ground
Etched with dates and a name
Can never explain the legacy left
By a man named James.

Friday, March 30, 2012

calling all prayer warriors...

raise your hand if you remember sweet baby Harper...all of you? good. if not, check back through my posts for last spring. she did well after heart surgery, and FINALLY started sleeping through the night a few weeks ago...much to her mama's relief! her cardiology follow up appointments were going well until a few months ago, when Dr. Robinson noticed some extra tissue growth around one of the valves in her heart within a small hole that was left after her first surgery. He has continued to observe it closely, and it was determined several weeks ago that Harper will need another open heart surgery in order to remove it.

Here is an excerpt from mama Amy's blog:

"This wasn't supposed to happen. Harper's heart was supposed to grow, and as it did, the residual hole would become more and more insignificant. That would have happened except for some muscle tissue that has grown in the area underneath her aortic valve, limiting the growth of that artery and causing it to start being blocked off. The pressure has been building and there is already a small amount of leakage from the aortic valve, indicating damage. If the tissue is not removed, the situation would become fatal. There is no less invasive procedure to do this, so another open heart surgery is required.

It is impossible to tell from the echo-cardiogram the exact location of this tissue. Ordinarily, this would be a very straight-forward surgery to go in, cut out the tissue, and get out. Unfortunately, our doctors are concerned that the tissue has grown over part of the patch that was used to close the holes in Harper's heart. If that's the case, the straight-forward surgery has now become seriously complicated, basically requiring them to redo what they did the first time in addition to cutting out the tissue. The surgeon won't know exactly what he needs to do until he opens her up. This possibility of the more complicated surgery is really what terrifies me the most and I'm asking, or rather begging, for your prayers on this. Please just pray that Harper will only need that tissue to be cut out and nothing else next Tuesday. I beg and I plead daily for this, but I need the prayers of others as well. I am desperately pleading that you specifically ask God to bless us in this way. I'm also praying that God's hand is all over the doctors and Harper on Tuesday, that He wraps us all in His loving and comforting arms, that He gives me peace and understanding, that He keeps Eli and Landon safe and happy while they are away from us, that we have competent and compassionate nurses, that Harper comes out of this surgery as her spunky and precious little self with no long-term effects or complications, that this PLEASE be the last time we have to go through this, and that God's will be done and He receive the glory no matter the outcome. I can't even begin to pretend that I understand this. I can't wrap my mind around the "why" of Harper's damaged heart. Satan works at my heart and my mind and he wants my worry, doubt, and fears to overtake me. I have struggled with this so much more this time around and it takes a real emotional, physical, and mental effort to just focus on the goodness of God...on His promises and His faithfulness, where I can always find peace and comfort."

There's really no better way to explain it than that. Please, please hit your knees for this precious family and their beautiful baby girl. To leave some love for Amy and her family, head over to her blog and leave a comment on her post: I'm sure she'd love the encouragement. Updates to come...

Monday, February 20, 2012

runnin' fools

Who likes to run? You? Oh good...that makes one of us. Who knows you should stretch before you run? You do? Awesome; that makes two of us. Guess who had a stupid moment this morning? Gosh, you're smart. *I* did. My calves will not be my friends when I wake up later today.

I hate running. Do not like it at all. Do not like huffing and puffing like a 4 pack a day smoker, do not like my hair frizzing itself into oblivion. I do not like it, Sam I am. I'd rather have green eggs and ham. I'm really not going to like it as I start to run more than 60 seconds at a time.

I've heard of these nutters who enjoy running. They talk about "runner's high"...evidently it hits around mile 18? I'm sorry...I would not be high at that point. I'd be dead! These fools buy Nike, Adidas, and New Balance like other folks buy Versace, Prada, and (insert your fave brand here). They run more miles per day than I DRIVE. They run in rain, snow, fog, blistering heat, hurricanes...they never miss a day, no matter what. Their feet and legs look awful if you get up close. But have you seen the rest of their bodies? These people may seem nuts to the rest of us, but they look GOOD, y'all. And to hear them talk, they FEEL good. After a while, they crave their time on whatever surface they choose to discipline themselves with.

I admire them. I want to be like them one day.

I know another type of nut too. These people LOVE their Jesus. They run to Him with every hurt, every joy, every everything. He and His word are their passion. They do everything they can to like him. Have you seen their fb statuses? They're spending their own money to go to other countries and love on their fellow human brothers and sisters. They're even adopting abandoned children...doing for the least of these what Jesus did for all of us.

They are in the Word every day. Doesn't matter if they're busy or tired or overbooked. They MAKE time to spend with the Father because spiritual well-being is integral to a healthy, balanced life. And slowly, over time, they begin to see a change: not in their bodies, necessarily, but in their HEARTS. Their vision changes. They become fools for Christ; seeking only Him and His desires. They are euphoric as they discipline their hearts to follow Him. They have hurts and bruises too, but have you seen their hearts? They look GOOD, y'all. And to hear them tell it, they FEEL good, too. They crave their time with the Father.

I so admire them. I want to follow Christ like they do.

I switched from regular to diet soda at the beginning of the year. I went off diet 5 days ago. I can tell already that I'm not as tired. I've been trying to walk/run(ish) a couple times a week at least. I want to be healthier just for me.

I'm reading through the bible this year, a little every day. I want to look deeper into spiritual disciplines. I want to be ravished by the Lover of my soul.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25

Thanks for the comparison, Paul.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


so I was driving home this morning, and this song popped up on my iPod. you know how when you've listened to a song a thousand times and know it so well that you space out and start thinking other things, but can still pick up and sing along with the lyrics at any point? that was me this morning. I had to restart the song TWICE to refocus an listen all the way through. and the God Who speaks through anything (and usually weird things) began to whisper to my heart...

Our Hope Endures
Natalie Grant

"You would think
only so much can go wrong
Calamity only strikes once
And you assume
this one has suffered her share
Life will be kinder from here

He never promised me it would be easy. but He DID promise to never, ever leave me and to never give me more than I could bear, especially with His help. His strength is perfect in the absence of mine. "But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction." (Job 36:15)

Oh, but sometimes the sun
stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky
rains night after night
When will it clear?

Psalm 30:5 promises that weeping and sadness may stay for the night, but JOY comes in the morning! Even in the worst times, we find joy and peace that pass all understanding.

But our Hope endures
the worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our Hope is unchanged..."

what beautiful words, and what comfort they bring! hope is so much more that just being happy all the time. I can attest to this as an incurable, unfailingly optimistic optimist. there are days when i may not smile the whole way through, but there is a Gentleness in my spirit, reminding me of Whose I am and the promises He holds for my heart and my life.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I have wanted to write so many times, but had no idea where to begin. God is elbow deep in my heart and my life, teaching me slowly to trust Him. I am so thankful for One who does not throw up His hands in frustration when I don't get it right the first (or 342nd) time. His mercies are new every morning; every moment...GREAT is His faithfulness in this girl's whirling dervish of a life.

I have always been bad about tithing...knew I should, but I had a hard time consistently making it my top priority. At the beginning of 2011, I made an unofficial resolution/covenant to give my tithe with every paycheck that year. God says in Malachi to test Him and see if he doesn't throw open the floodgates of blessings. my human mind wanted to see if He'd prove it. This "experiment" would also be a way to walk in deliberate, palpable obedience to my Father.

guess what?

It worked. (I know, shocker).

No, I didn't win the lottery. $100 bills did not rain from the sky. But I had enough. Be it a car crisis that my emergency fund covered or a random bonus check that came at just the right time...He was faithful. every time.

It's the middle of January 2012 now, and life has thrown me a pretty tough curve ball in the last few months. I've tripped, gotten dirt in my scrapes, and I'm still working on giving my anger to Him. But God, in His infinite wisdom, has spent the last 13 months teaching me what trust is. I hear about it everywhere. I read about it. Today's sermon was about it. And slowly, ever so painfully slowly, I am learning to share my control freakiness with the One who created it all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I love skittles...they're sort of an ADD candy. they come from the same bag, but have different flavors, colors, and sometimes are even shaped a little different. my mind feels like a bag of skittles lots of times...all of my thoughts are coming from the same place, but a plethora of different subjects and situations. such is my mind today, so here is the bag of skittles that is my head...

I am just over halfway through Dave Ramsey's FPU class. love it. have learned so much. I am the epitome of free spirit, but I have found such peace with a budget and cash envelopes. if you haven't taken the class, I'm telling you...RUN like Flo Jo to the nearest place you can find that offers it. the class is free; you only pay for materials. it will change your life.

recently started rereading Harry Potter...they never get old. JKR is a literary genius!

last I checked, Miss Harper is doing well! she came home after heart surgery still requiring her feeding tube, but has since graduated to being able to drink all of her bottles ALL by herself. yaaaaaaaaay!! she is now settling into normal life with mama and daddy and big brothers Eli and Landon. pray for continued protection from illness and that she will continue to grow big!

I went on a delivery recently for a 23 week baby. we tried our best, but the little guy was too tiny to make it. I let the labor nurse know on my way out that I'd be more than happy to come back and do handprints and footprints. she called me 30-45 minutes later. as I had the father lift his tiny son so I could ink his little hands, I marveled again at the privilege I have to be a part of the lives of the families I interact with. I never have to wonder if I'm going to be the hands and feet of Christ...opportunities abound! most people have never seen a baby as small as this one, and it's incredible how complete they are. they have fully formed arms, legs, fingers, toes...many times, you can even tell who they take after. my little guy looked just like his dad, and I don't know whose nose he had, but it was definitely distinctive. what an honor to show compassion even as I dressed him in a little gown covered with rocket ships and tucked him into the basket he was lying in on his mom's bed. I know it sounds cheesy, but I love that I love my job!