Friday, December 28, 2012


Grace.  It's my oldest child's middle name.  And, boy, do we both need it!   I absolutely love the hands-on lessons God teaches me through parenting my children.  Usually when I'm lecturing teaching my children about God's best for them I hear that still, small voice that is speaking those same words (only better) into my soul.  I've attempted much character training as the-blind-leading-the-blind.  I mess up in being patient, kind, loving, forgiving, etc. while I'm encouraging my kids how to produce the fruit of the Spirit.

I sinned against my oldest a week or so ago in an ugly-scary-momma kinda way.  As she sat on the bed crying,  we discussed that mommy had sinned in her anger and that mommy was wrong.  I asked her to forgive me, and for a very long 4 or 5 seconds she just continued looking down at the bed.  I held my breath.  She finally looked up at me smiling, arms spread and ready for hug and said, "Always, mommy!"  Now that's pretty awesome.  Grace extended to me by my 9 year old when I didn't deserve it.  How much more does my Father in heaven lavish me with His grace and mercy.  He's the Potter and I'm the stubborn clay.

I'm a mess.  A mess that God loves.  A mess that my children love.  A mess that God is, praise His name, not finished with.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


I am so excited to have the opportunity to give a gift to my sister.  I presented her with a fun and easy way to preserve memories.  I had fun working on the first page of this scrapbook with the help of a pro, Mandy!  The book starts off with a handwritten letter to my nephew, Kasen...


You are here!  And you are precious.  Oh, how you have been prayed for.  I don't know at what point in your journey that you will read this but I pray my words will bless your heart.  You are only four months old but you have already stolen many hearts.  To gaze into your big, bright eyes is to know that there is a God in heaven.  A God who knit you together and brought you into this world for a purpose.  You see, while you are the first from your mother's womb that I have held, you are not the first I have loved.  You have two siblings awaiting in eternity.  My arms have ached to hold them.  Your parents' arms have ached and longed to hold them and look into their eyes.  But, Jesus needed to hold them first.  I know that one day they will greet me.  They will greet your parents.  I pray they will greet you as well.  God has set eternity in our hearts.  He has given us the opportunity to accept His Son as our savior so that we can worship Him as King of kings and LORD of Lords forever and ever.  When the Spirit calls you, listen.  Your path will be made straight and your burdens shared with Jesus.  I want nothing more for you than for you to love the Lord your God with all your heart.

You have my love and support, always.  I love your parents.  Your mom is an inspiration to me.  I am proud of her and I pray you will be as well.  I know that she is cherishing each moment with you.  You can hug her as often as you want to.  She has held you and rocked you and watched you grow.  When you were born I wept.  I wept with such joy.  I wept that your beautiful mother was finally holding the fruit of her labor.

You are wanted.   You are loved.  You are cherished.

Love,  Aunt Lilli

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I'm a cleaner.  Now, this doesn't mean that you can come to my house and not find dirt, clutter or dust!!!  I just like things clean and enjoy making them so, especially on Thursdays.  Thursdays are bathrooms, dusting, vacuum bedrooms and mopping day.  When do I vacuum the rest of the house you might ask...well, usually 5 times a week.  Some people would call that O.C.D. but I don't believe in labeling.  ;-)   Anyway.  For my birthday, drum roll please, I got a steam cleaner!  I took my birthday money and ordered something I've wanted for a looooong time.  Can I just say that I am over the moon for my new steam cleaner?  I picked one that detaches from the mop pole and has all kinds of attachments so you can travel around cleaning like a wild woman!  And, I have.  I had the best time cleaning everything I could get to.  (you have to try out all the attachments to make sure they work, right?)  I have steam cleaned baseboards, walls, doors, doorknobs, ceiling fans, countertops, nooks, crannies and even the agitator in the washing machine.  Am I the only person out there that cleans machines that themselves have the purpose of cleaning?  I mean, sometimes you need to vacuum out your vacuum.  I'm starting to sound O.C.D. so I better move on.

Despite how shiny and sterilized my doorknobs are, they will become covered with dirt and grime again and again no matter how much I wear out the steam cleaner.   Cleaning, de-cluttering, and freshening are not one-time deals, at least not if you want to maintain a clean and de-cluttered environment.  Cue segue.  Keeping your heart and mind clean and de-cluttered is not a one-time deal.  It's continual.  It's constant.  If you really want to ask God to search your heart and show you anything that doesn't look like Him, be ready for some deep cleaning.  God, if we are willing, will use all the "attachments" He has to get into our nooks and crannies.  He has the power to cleanse and not just sterilize but to sanctify.  Jesus will do in your heart only what you ask of Him.  May we desire regular maintenance of our hearts as well as some deep cleaning, even if it creates some steam! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Recently I tasked my oldest girls with some creative writing assignments.  I told them to write about life since Grandma and her husband have moved in.  Whatever they wanted to say as long as they were honest.  My purpose was to have them be reflective and to draw out any potential issues.  I am trying to be very mindful of any potentially harmful effects on them during this season.  Charlotte, whose servant heart humbles and amazes me, had me in tears with her completed assignment.  Me telling you won't do her pure and simple words justice.  I will show you.
I don't think, in this case, Jesus minds some misspelled words!

Here's an extra peek into Charlotte's heart just for fun! 
She's been studying Revelation!

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.  Matthew 19:14

My Isabelle. My joy!

It's Isabelle's birthday month.  That's right, we celebrate birthday months around here.  I love birthdays and celebrations.  It is hard to believe that my sweet Isabelle will be 9 years old on the 23rd.  9.  The last single digit year I get with her.  I am cherishing this time I have with her.   Because our family is often all together, I don't seem to get a lot of one-on-one time with my big girls unless it's for schoolwork.  So, when the opportunity arises for a one-on-one date night, we go!

Isabelle and some other music students played for the residents of a local nursing home.  Isabelle played two piano pieces and did very well.  She's gifted.  When we were done, I knew that if I offered for just she and I to go have dessert somewhere, she would be thrilled.  She finds joy in the little things.  She's good at rejoicing.  I mentioned going out for dessert.  Well, that was it.  Big eyes and a big grin told me that that was exactly what we were doing.  Now, where to go?  She thought about a blizzard but I told her that we could go sit down at a restaurant and order dessert.  Hmm...she had never done that so she had lots of questions because she wanted the experience and dessert to be just as good as a blizzard at D.Q.  I suggested Ruby Tuesday and she decided she would try it.

Oh, my!

That child read the dessert menu and descriptions aloud with such dynamic that anyone's palette would grow anxious.  She carefully pondered her options (she's like her momma that way) and after the waiter's 3rd attempt to take her order she had decided.  Double chocolate cake with creamy vanilla ice cream.  We did "cheers" with our cups of water and dug in.  She was glowing from the whole experience.  She said, "wow, I didn't know the dessert would look so pretty or taste so good."

My big girl ordered her very first grown up dessert in a real restaurant.  She was grinning from ear to ear.  Elated.  Full of joy.  It was contagious.  I couldn't help but smile and giggle with her.  She's ready to do it again.  And I know it's not just for the dessert so I look forward to next time as much as she does.  How fun.  What a blessing she is to me.  She is often my mirror, reflecting my imperfections a little too clearly.  We are teaching each other.  We understand each other.

Joy in the little things.  Sometimes that's what life is about.  That, and a little double chocolate cake!

So proud of my almost 9 year old.  Happy Birthday Month, honey!

I am proud of you!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas, lights, and me

I love, love, love Christmas time.  It is actually my most favorite time of the year.  I have very fond memories of family time together, listening to Christmas music, enjoying the lights at Callaway Gardens since their beginning, Christmas cantatas led by my Daddy, Pop & Granny's...ahh, Pop & Granny's.  My most favorite place to be as a child.  Miss them so much!

I could listen to Christmas music all the time.  If I had the room, I would keep a tree up all year long because I so enjoy the lights.  I'm a lights kinda girl.  We put approximately 1500-2000 lights on our tree each year.  Oh yeah, and the tree goes up on November 16th, my birthday.  I'm such a stickler for that that I had my husband promise that, if I died, he would continue to put up the tree on my birthday.  How morbid is that!  ;-)  I also tell people that my place in Heaven will be the one lit up with beautiful lights.  I'm just drawn to light.  I love to just lie beneath the tree and stare up at all the lights.  I don't care about lots of presents (although I do love a good gift).  Just the gathering and reflecting.   I just want everyone together and having fun even though the electricity bill is going up because of all my lights! 

All that to say, I'm struggling this year.  Struggling with celebrating, with consumerism, with what our culture has turned Christmas into.  And with what Christians have supported and gone along with.  Now, please don't hear any of the following words as judgmental but as me sharing my heart, and if God has something in the words for you, then they were worth me sharing.

My tree didn't go up on my birthday this year for many reasons.  We had just moved my grandmother and her husband into our home and we were leaving for a trip to KY for 2 weeks and, I'm just struggling.  I told my husband that I didn't care if the tree went up at all this year.  He fears I've been replaced by an alien.   The tree is up now and it's beautiful.  I've always enjoyed the lit tree and never let this culture spoil or taint what I have kept pure in my heart.  I'm not sure if my heart is now tainted or if God is changing my heart but I believe it is the latter.  What is this season about?  Yes, it's about Jesus' birth.  Let's all gather around Luke chapter 2 and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas.  But, have we missed it?

Gift giving, of itself, is beautiful.  Jesus is God's gift to us.  His truth.  His forgiveness.  So, I have no problem with taking delight in providing for another's need or desire.  But I don't think that is always what is happening underneath all the packages and bows.  Unfortunately many gifts are given out of obligation, duty, or pity.  Some are given under the guise of fantasy and pretend gone a muck (for the record, I encourage imagination and pretending as long as reality is recognized for what it is.  May the credit and glory for the blessings in your life go to the One from whose hands they come!). Some gifts may be given with the thought that the more you spend, or the-bigger-the-better, the more love you are demonstrating.  I am glad that, in God's perfect timing, He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners...  He came.  Not with pomp and circumstance but softly, tenderly, humbly, quietly, perfectly, The Word among men.

Immanuel.  Immanuel.  God with us.  God.  Creator.  Communicator.  Omnipotent.  Sovereign.  LORD of lords and KING of kings humbled Himself and came to be. with. us.  Among us.  God with us.  Jesus.  If you know Him, He is with us not just in December but always.  By Him and through Him all things were created.  Becoming more like Him.  That's what this life is all about.  As we become more like Him, we shine His light into this world's darkness.   He is Truth.  He is the Light of the world.  Did I mention that I love lights?  I pray that I'm drawn to the Light more than anything else.  The things of this earth really do grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.  And not just during this season of cyber deals and door busters but year round.  We have the opportunity to be a city on a hill.  A light that cannot be hidden and that leads to Jesus. 

I don't know how the Lord will manifest Himself in your life but will you come with me and lie at His feet to behold the Light of the world?

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Life's journey can be inspiring, saddening, encouraging, scary, and...beautiful.  Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.  The key is perspective. 

My journey has crossed paths with many influential people.  Some influences are positive and some are negative.  Paths can cross for years, months, days or even just moments.  During my recent trip to Kentucky, I was able to enjoy precious moments with many people whose influence on my life has been significant to say the least.

I got to eat with Audrey, talk with Audrey, hug Audrey, drink coffee with Audrey, and did I mention eat? ;-)  Love me some Audrey (and her family)!!  I miss her terribly but all is well with kindrid souls be they near or far!

My family got to spend time with "The Harpers".  They are, well, family to us and we are always blessed by and at ease in their presence.   I think a Hewett-Harper vacation is necessary in the future!!

We visited my Aunt Vivian and got to meet Katie's beautiful daughter, Charleigh.  Watching Aunt Vivian be a Grammy is delightful especially knowing she once was blind but now has the sight to behold her granddaughter's expressions.  Garrett came by to say hello.  Our paths first crossed when I first carried him in my arms and now...he can carry my children around. Now that's a journey that makes me feel old!

I had an amazing afternoon full of words, tears, and joy with my Uncle James.    He and his family have profoundly affected my journey.  Uncle James is a beautiful soul.    We poured out our hearts and, as always, I walked away enriched and filled with things to ponder on for years to come. 

The impact others have on my life is based on perspective.  Thank you Lord for this journey and those who share it with me whether to teach, encourage, sharpen, or refresh.   I hope that even as I travel the difficult parts of my journey I can focus on Jesus and see my influences through His eyes.