Monday, April 30, 2007

The Long Way Around

My husband had his ride "pimped" last week. If you don't know what it means to have your ride "pimped", don't feel bad. This simply means to outfit your vehicle using extreme accessories. In my husband's case, he added light bars in various locations on his truck including a siren/horn. In his line of work, he needs to be able to respond to emergencies quickly, without waiting in traffic. Trust me, if you hear this horn or see these flashing lights, you would be moved to pull over! This truck has more lights than the Eiffel Tower.

Although we would like to go through certain parts of our life in fast forward, God appears to work slowly. It seems like our trials are the parts that go in slow motion. As I was studying Moses and the Exodus out of Egypt, one thing in particular stood out to me--there was a much faster way out of Egypt to the Promised Land that God had told Moses to take the Israelites to. If you've ever seen the two on a map, you would notice you can literally draw a line connecting the them. Why in the world would God have the children of Israel to wander in the wilderness for 40 years and have Moses lead them hundreds of miles in another direction? I don't know the answer, but I know God often takes us the long way around just to prove He can do miraculous things in our life. The Israelites learned how sovereign God is and how He provides for our every need. Going quickly from Egypt to the Promised Land would not have made such a lasting impression on them as to God's goodness, grace and mercy.

So is God leading you through a trial and it seems like He is taking the long way around? Listen carefully because He has something He wants you to learn.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Reoccuring Stains

When we moved in our house as newlyweds, we didn't think about the future too much when it related to carpet color. We picked out a beautiful shade of "oyster" for our carpet and it was regal. Resolve Carpet Cleaner quickly became my friend. When I saw a spot, I immediately cleaned it. When we had visitors, our white carpet was the first thing they commented on when they walked in the door. Fast forward 11 years and 2 children later.

I've done my best at keeping it clean since, but between spit ups, apple juice spills and babysitter mishaps, it just hasn't been the same. So I had it steamed a couple of weeks ago. When I walked in and saw my carpet back to its original state, I was thrilled (there is nothing I enjoy more than a clean house). But when I saw the invoice left behind, there was a note at the bottom--"Some stains may reappear when carpet is dry". Later that night, some of the spots I thought were gone were back indeed.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." That means the old conditions of your life are gone and there are new conditions. Everything has become new. It is good news that all things are made new, but it is also good news that old things are passed away. In Christ old things are passed away. Another translation says "dead and gone." It doesn't mean that you were not abused, you did not have a problem with drinking or you were not divorced. People go through all those things, but your identification with Christ is stronger than that.

My carpet stains may reappear but if I am in Christ my past sins, blemishes and faults no longer come back to haunt me.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Word of Thanks

Yesterday's rain was a nice change to the dry weather we've had lately, although central Mississippi once again came in with the lowest amount of rainfall--0.37" as compared to Vicksburg (0.70") and Meridian (1.48"). We have been so fortunate lately to miss out on the type of severe weather outbreaks that have plagued other parts of the country, especially considering we are in the heart of our severe weather season. By all accounts, it has been a benign season for us. When the rain came in yesterday afternoon, the atmosphere cooled off and that left the cold front very little to work with once it arrived last night. I got home around midnight so it wasn't as long of a night as I initially thought.

Today Stephanie Bell-Flynt and I recorded a commercial at the Mississippi Institute for Aesthetics, Nails and Cosmetology in Clinton. This will be the donation location for Pantene's Beautiful Lengths hair campaign. It is the first time I've ever been to the Institute and I can tell you this place is "top notch". I am so pleased they will be cutting the donors' ponytails , not to mention giving fabulous gifts to the participants. May 21st will be a day to remember for all of us and for the cancer survivors who will benefit from our human hair wigs.

On a more personal note, I want to tell you how much your posts/comments have meant to me on this blog. Not a day goes by that I don't get an email from someone who has read my blog and needed a bit of encouragement for the day. Some of you post comments; others send me a private email because they don't want to post. I read all of them and I have been blessed by your words. On the days I think of discontinuing this (because I don't think my life is that interesting), I find another reason to keep on keepin' on. So, thank you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Severe Weather Day

This is shaping up to possibly be a long night for me! If you've been watching over the last few days, you know severe weather is possible today, tonight and into early Thursday. Ten people have already been killed by tornadoes in south Texas yesterday with 76 people in hospitals due to injuries. Here is a link to a story on Yahoo.

Please be weather aware today and make sure your NOAA Weather Radio is on and working for the next 24 hours. We could experience hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

The good news is a dry, sunny weekend is expected. In the meantime, we have some rough weather to endure. I'll see you tonight...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Inconvenient Blessings

Ever had one of those weeks? Last week was mine. My husband was out of state on business, I had several speaking engagements, work, plus tending to the children by myself (with the sitter's help at night). Needless to say, my plate was full and I didn't need anything else added to it. That all changed when I received a phone call from a fellow church member.

She called to let me know about a family in our church who had just had a baby. She asked if I could take a meal to the family, whom I didn't know. "Sure," I said as I gritted my teeth. Inside I'm thinking, "I don't have time for this. I can barely remember to put deodorant on before I go to work!" So last Friday, I made a meal and dessert between keeping the kids, cleaning house, working out and getting ready for work. My attitude wasn't the best but I had already committed. Then I read 2 Corinthians 9:10, "Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."

I want to be made 'rich in every way so that I can be generous on every occasion'. But if I do for others only when its convenient for me, what good am I?

I visited with the new mom for a few minutes, loved on her new baby boy and talked with her 2 other children. She has her hands full! I left knowing I had blessed someone else for the day, even if it wasn't the best of circumstances for me.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Change in Focus

Being a teenager is tough. Not only do they deal with changes in their body, but they have changes socially. I received this email last week about a teenager who was faced with a big change last year. Instead of focusing on herself, she has turned her hurt into helping someone else. This email did my heart good.
My daughter Kandi is donating her hair to Beautiful Lengths. She was like number 200 or so to sign up. She did not want me to make a big deal of this, but this is a 14, almost 15, year old girl that has a big heart. Her Dad is a minister and last February turned into a nightmare for any ministers family. My husband was asked to resign and not come back. This was the hardest on my two teenager daughters, Jana who was 3 months from graduation and Kandi finishing the 8th grade, having to move. We were able to work it out and they both finished at their old school. Jana was going off to college this year so the change was going to happen anyway. Kandi on the other hand had to move, leave her friends, and start high school at a new school. She has had a tough year being the new kid but she has had the Beautiful Lengths to aim for. We visited the Blair E. Batson Hospital recently to see a friend of hers that had had a car wreck. While there she saw a girl coming down the hall with a drip and no hair and said, "Mama that's why I am going to give my hair!" I am truly blessed two have two healthy kids and blessed to have a daughter who looks beyond her own self to see the needs of others. I just wanted you to know this has helped two-fold!!!! God Bless-- T. Wallace, Meadville
If there is one thing I've learned over the last couple of years its that in order to get my heart's desire, sometimes I have to give alittle bit of it away. God has a way of healing our hurts when we choose to focus on the needs of others.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Call to Prayer

If you're like me, you've found yourself doing alot of praying this week. Govenor Haley Barbour has declared today a "day of mourning" across our state. I'd like to take it a step further and make it a "day of prayer". I'm ready to move on, but prayer is the only way I can do that.

Whatever you do today, just pray. We don't have to pray. We get to pray. I used to think God wanted long, drawn-out, wordy, colorful prayers. Not so. He wants to hear directly from my heart. In James 5:15, says we ought to offer prayers in faith. What does that mean? Praying in faith means to believe whatever you are praying about will come to be; you are believing who God is and what He will do. When Gracie wants to jump off the side of the pool, I can tell her I'll catch her. But until she has faith in me and jumps off the edge of the pool, she will never know how strong her mommy is and that I really WILL catch her.

The grand thing about prayer is portable—you can do it wherever you are and whatever time you wish, at lunch or at the dinner table with your family. But pray. And pray in faith.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Reaping What We Sow

I heard this on the radio yesterday and it really moved me in light of this week's events.

A concerned student wrote, "Dear God, why didn't you save the school children at Santee? Columbine? Pearl? Littleton? Jonesboro? Conyers? Padukah? and Blacksburg, Virginia?" signed a concerned student. "Dear concerned student, I am not allowed in schools." Sincerely, God.

How did this get started? When Madeline Murray O'Hare said she didn't think prayer belonged in schools, we said "Ok". When some said the Bible didn't need to be taught in schools because the Bible says 'Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not kill,' we said "Ok". When Dr. Benjamin Spock told parents they should not spank their children because our children would grow up to have behavioral problems and cause self-esteem issues, we said "A child psychiatrist should know better than us," so we agreed. When a woman decided she wanted to have an abortion, we said "No problem. It's her body anyway" and we looked the other way. When a member of the PTA said we needed to start giving condoms to boys in school and give them over to their selfish desires without informing their parents, we didn't protest. When our political leaders started having extramarital affairs we said "As long as the economy is good, we don't care what our leaders do behind closed doors." When someone took nude pictures of children, then put them on the internet, we said "Its freedom of speech." When muscial groups started making songs with lyrics full of murder, rape, drugs, killing and suicide, we said "It's a form of expression. No one ever listens to the words anyway."

Our children have no regard for the law, human life and sometimes their own life. Yet we wonder 'how could this happen?' Well, it could have something to do with...we reap what we sow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fixing Our Eyes

I've found myself hugging my children alittle tighter, kissing them alittle more and letting them crawl all over me here lately. It is going to be quite some time before our country heals from the Virginia Tech massacre. In watching some of the news coverage this morning, the story I found most profound was the one of the professor who survived the Holocaust, only to be gunned down by a 23 year old who considered himself a victim in life. And while there are no words or phrases that will make us feel better in this time of never ending questions, the Bible offers hope.

In Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." The Hebrews are encouraging the early Jewish believers who, because of persecution and hardship, were pulled toward reverting to their old ways. They are told to "keep on keeping on" and to "fix" their eyes on Jesus.

During these days of seeking answers to our questions of why this event happened, we can take comfort on looking to Jesus to heal the broken hearts and persevering through our own daily trials and troubles.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

100% Sold Out

Its been a horrible 24 hours---the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and the 15 deaths attributed to severe weather on the east coast. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it did. We were all bombarded with the images on television of students running for their lives and SWAT teams hunkered down behind buildings. After seeing all of the coverage yesterday, I finally broke down and cried all the way home last night. I cried for those students who will never know what its like to graduate college and land their first job, those will who never know what its like to hold their first baby and for the parents who thought they would die long before their own child ever would. I've had my moments of disdain and outright anger towards other people, but I've never gotten to the point of killing someone, but by the grace of God.

Isn't that true for all of us? God's grace has kept us out of situations like yesterday's and has brought reason to our brains when we weren't being very reasonable to deal with. I was reminded yesterday of how quickly life passes by and the dyer need for hope and salvation in this world. How many of these students right now are spending their eternity walking streets of gold? How many are burning in a never-ending furnace with Satan and all of his cohorts? It pains my heart to even think about it all, so I must take responsibility for my lack of witnessing to others. Sure, I "live" my life right; I don't steal; I don't murder; and I obey most of the Ten Commandments. But what about the command Jesus gave us to "go and tell" others about Him? No, I don't feel called to pick up and move to Africa to live as a missionary. But why can't I tell others about the hope I have in Christ Jesus?

One of my favorite scriptures is I Peter 3:15 "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." God doesn't want just some of our attention; nor would He settle with 99% of it. Perhaps through these recent tragedies, He will gain the 100% He desires and wants in my life.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Forgiving Without An Apology

So much has been in the news over the last week about radio talk show host Don Imus' comments regarding the Rutgers University ladies basketball team. I won't repeat what he called them but it wasn't flattering. Now Imus finds himself unemployed after a lucrative career in 20 plus years of broadcasting.

Much was made last Friday about Don Imus meeting with the team to apologize to them, mainly after Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson made it an even bigger deal by demanding Imus' firing.

Being a minority in a male driven profession, I certainly understand why African Americans were upset and offended along with the basketball team who had obviously made a name for themself with their trip to the Final Four. I don't agree at all with Imus's comments, but thought it would've been interesting if the ladies would've taken another approach. While all of the fuss was made at how important it was for Imus to apologize (and be fired from his job), I thought how much more of a story it would have been if the ladies gathered around a throng of television microphones and said "We forgive Don Imus."

There were no microphones the day Jesus hung on the cross, was beaten and bruised because of our sins, and died. However, while he hung on the cross, he told God, "Forgive them".

Demanding an apology is one thing; forgiving without an apology is another.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Watching for Severe Weather

Since this blog is called "Forecasts & Faith", this is the moment when I need to talk about the forecast (which I do on here frequently when there is something significant to talk about weather wise).

Late tonight and for the first half of Saturday, we are expecting a severe weather outbreak. The National Weather Service has posted a detailed graphic. Check it out at this link:

I expect the worst of the weather to arrive by daybreak and continue until early Saturday afternoon. Granted, we could use the rain, but periods of heavy rain and flash flooding will not be out of the question. Please make sure you have your NOAA Weather Radio on tonight and Saturday if you plan to be away from the television. And as always, shoot me an email if you have any questions, . I'm sure it will be a long 24 hours for me!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Beautiful Lips

Yesterday, I had a speech to give in Meadville. I was hurrying to get my makeup and hair done and finished a few minutes early before the sitter arrived. I put on my favorite shade of lipstick and sat down on the couch next to Gracie. She looked at me and put her hand on my face and said, "Mommy, your lips are beautiful!"

On the way to Meadville, I started thinking about the words that I say and the comments I make. As Christians, our words are our radar in the spiritual realm--our words are how God locates us and how we communicate with Him. But our words can also build up and tear down others. In James 1:26, it says "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."

The tongue is a hard muscle to train and rein in, especially when we spout an inappropriate word every now and then, talk about someone else maliciously or even make uncalled for comments. James is clearly saying that if we claim to be spiritually mature, but yet we don't sound like we are spiritually mature, then we are lying to ourselves and those around us. Its a humbling thought that our words can affect how others perceive us.

So I had to ask myself, are my lips really beautiful? Are my words filled with beauty and edification or one of despair and negativity?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Joy Stealers

Yesterday was a good day. I had a meeting concerning the latest numbers for our Pantene's Beautiful Lengths campaign (1,302), the hair cutting event and everything surrounding that day. When I left the meeting, I felt so blessed to be leading this effort. Then, I walked into my office and answered my phone which was ringing.

It was a viewer named Paula and she was none to happy with me. "Last week when north Mississippi was having bad weather, you pronounced Lafayette County as 'LA-fay-ETTE' instead of 'La-FAY-ette'. Since you're from that area, you should know better!" I agreed with Paula and told her that I had been taking all sorts of medicines for bronchitis and really didn't feel like myself last week; I had no doubt I probably had made several last week. I also went on to explain that my weathercasts are impromptu. I have no scripts, no words to read--only a 3-4 minute speech to give off the top of my head along with showing my maps/graphics. I am going to make mistakes and I apologized for the slip up. "Well, I know you graduated from Mississippi State and the correct pronounciation doesn't really matter to you, but we are die hard Ole Miss fans and we are very sensitive to things concerning Oxford." I told Paula while I was at MSU, I was obtaining my Masters degree so there was no socializing going on during that time. I was there to study. As far as college loyalties, I loved Mississippi College since I received my Bachelors there and met my closest friends there. However, I told her many of my family members went to Ole Miss including my husband. "Well, I just wish you would pay closer attention to the things you say and try not to make these kinds of mistakes in the future," she concluded.

Have you ever had someone try to ruin your day? Paula was getting close. After having such a productive, positive Pantene meeting, Satan had obviously put Paula up to bring me down and criticize me until I couldn't take any more.

As you go throughout your day, be aware of people Satan puts in your path who will try to change your attitude and put a chip on your shoulder. Don't let them steal your joy and what all God has for you today.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thanks Mom and Dad

Today is my parents' 48th wedding anniversary and my dad's 68th birthday. My parents got married on dad's birthday, probably so he wouldn't ever forget his anniversary date!

I'm sure my parents have been through their share of rocky roads, disagreements and difficult times over the last 48 years, but the choice they made to stay together has blessed me and my siblings. Mom and dad never talked about finances (or lack thereof) in front of me nor did they ever argue in front of me, although I'm sure there were many "silent nights" in our home due to their disagreements. They made sure we were at church as a family every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. If I ever thought of sleeping in on Sunday morning, daddy was quick to take away my Saturday night privileges. There were many occasions as a teenager when I would hunker down in the backseat of our 1979 green Chevrolet Impala because I was embarrassed to be seen in such a vehicle, much less be seen riding around with my parents! They did their best and in my opinion, their best WAS good enough.

More than anything, my parents made a choice to love each other. When you are young and in love, love is a gushy, feel-good feeling. After you've been married for some time, love becomes a choice---a choice to stay with the person you married even though you have great disdain for them, all because you made a promise before God on your wedding day. My parents choice to stay together, fight the good fight and work through the problems have benefited me in setting an example of how God relates to His children. Although we mess up on a daily basis, say things we should take back and do things we shouldn't, God never turns His back on us. God's love for us is the perfect correlation as to how our marriage should be.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Queen Egg

We are back and had a wonderful time. We spent some much needed time together and enjoyed every minute of it. We all visited with our families and caught up on the latest going on with everyone. I only wish we had more excuses to get together more often!

On Sunday afternoon, the time came for our annual family Easter Egg hunt. I can't tell you how many were hidden because no one counted before the eggs were hidden. It didn't seem to matter because the kids were out to have fun anyway. When I was little, there was always a "queen egg" to be found. It was usually a larger egg that had a few extra surprises in it and if you found it, well, you found THE egg of all eggs!

One my sisters did the "queen egg" this year and she put a few dollars inside it. If you want this egg, you have to be willing to look high and low and all around because chances are, it will NOT be on the grass right in front of you. My nephew found this year's prize egg and hooped and hollered the whole time. It was hidden in a bird house entrance about 6 feet up.

I thought about how our spiritual life is like this sometimes. There are spiritual tidbits (or eggs) that come to us easily. We soak in the preacher's sermons on Sunday mornings and take away comments or points made. But there are other times when we are spiritually dry and we can't seem to find the answers to our problems. Times get tough and we feel alone. That's when we have to take the initiative and start looking for the "queen egg". In 2 Chronicles 28:9, David says "If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, he will reject you forever."

If we look alittle harder, seek alittle more, and immerse ourself in the word, the answers to our problems will be found. It isn't always an easy find, but it is a find that will offer us the peace and reassurance we are looking for in our time of need.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Few Days Off

I will not be back at work until Monday. My husband and I are taking a few days off to spend together and shipping the little ones to my in-laws. We'll make the trip to the Delta for Easter and visit with my folks.

With this cool snap upon us, don't be surprised if the Easter Bunny needs to wear another fur coat over the weekend. I think we may have to do an inside Easter egg hunt with the kids on Sunday. It seems like a flashback to Christmas instead of a Easter weekend forecast.

I hope you and your family enjoy your time together and are thankful for the first Easter Sunday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Cleaner with Good Intentions

Baby Will has a new obsession--he likes to vaccum. Kind of. Gracie has a miniature Hoover vacuum that makes noise but has zero suction to it. It looks just like a real vaccum cleaner, only much lighter and it isn't worth anything when it comes to cleaning. Lately when I pull out my Oreck, Will goes and fetches Gracie's Hoover, turns it on and follows me throughout the house. It is the cutest thing to watch. He works his little heart out at vaccuming and helping in his own way. I know he has good intentions but he really isn't doing any work.

In I Samuel 16, God is telling Samuel to find a new king and annoint him to replace King Saul. Samuel has Jesse parade his sons in front of Samuel (the first beauty pageant maybe?). Samuel is looking for a strapping, handsome young man but God tells him in verse 7, "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart."

In the same way, God looks at our heart and our intentions in following Him. What does He see when he looks at you? A well-intentioned appliance or one that truly works for Him and does the job?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Refrigerator Art

How many times have I walked past our refrigerator and thought "I wonder if Gracie will notice if I throw away this picture she drew?" She's quite an artist in her own mind and our frig is the display easle for it all. Not just her artwork adorns our refrigerator, but it is filled with some of my personal favorites of pictures--William and I before children, one of my Mrs. Mississippi International pictures, several of the kids being "sweet", photos of my siblings and their families, etc.

I let my imagination run wild yesterday as I was thinking of cleaning off the displays...if God had a refrigerator, would my picture be on it? Would the things I've said, the people I've helped and the sacrificial deeds I've done decorate it? The many times I've cooked food for a new mother, would that be a pretty picture? The times when I've given a homeless person a couple of dollars at the intersection, would that picture be on God's frig? What about when someone has needed some encouragement. Would that picture be included in His display? I think so. In James 2:14, the Bible talks about the relationship between our deeds and our faith. "What good is it my brothers if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

So if God had a giant refrigerator, would your pieces of artwork (actions/words) be on display for Him to be proud of?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Doing Your Best or Preparing to Win

On the side, I coach young ladies in the interview/talent areas for pageant competitions. I enjoy getting attached to the girls, watching them improve their self esteem and for many, see them take home the crown. I'm working with one local teen as she prepares for the Mississippi Jr. Miss competition this summer.

Two weeks ago, I started working with "SB". I explained all she needed to start doing in staying current with national, state and local news; journaling her opinions on various topics; and making the most out of her idle time and using it for preparation. We did a few mock interviews and I could tell SB wasn't going anywhere. Not that she was horrible at interview, but she wasn't making strides. I was frank with SB and told her she needed to decide how she wanted to approach the Jr.Miss competition---she can work on doing her best and making new friends, or she can prepare to win. If SB was going to work at doing her best for the pageant, in my opinion, she was wasting her time and her parents' money in hiring me. If she was in it to win it, then she was on the right track. The choice was her's to make.

Last Saturday, we met again. We started our mock interviews and I could tell a drastic improvement had taken place. When she finished, I asked "What happened? You have improved so much!" SB smiled and said, "I decided I wanted to win!"

In Philippians 3:14, Paul decided he wanted to win in his spiritual life. "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it (spiritual perfection). But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Don't get me wrong, I competed in pageants for years. Some I wanted to do my best in because I knew I up against fierce competition. But when I decided I wanted to win, that's when I started taking home crowns.

Is your spiritual life one that you would say you are "doing your best" at? Or, have you decided you want to "win"?