Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Ring

Gracie looked at my engagement ring yesterday and asked a question she has never asked before, "Why do you wear that sparkly ring, mommy?" "When daddy asked me to marry him, he gave me this ring. I wear it so people will know I'm married to daddy. It tells people that daddy loves me," I explained.

God makes it evident that He loves us, too, even though we don't wear a ring. Proverbs 8:17 says, "God loves those who love Him, and those who seek Him early and diligently shall find Him." In the New Testament, diligence means "earnestness or zeal". When you are dating someone, you earnestly seek their heart to win them over and you go after them with a zeal like none other. So in essence, God loves us and wants us to earnestly seek Him and His will. When we do, we win His heart.

Before I set off for work yesterday, Gracie came running up to me and said, "Look, mommy! I have a ring, too." It was an elastic, form fitted children's ring that came with a necklace someone had given her. "Daddy gave it to me," she said. "He loves me and married me!"

Oh, how I hope she still feels that way when she turns 16!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Going First and Cutting In Line

Earlier this month, we took Gracie to Chuck E. Cheese for her birthday. The lady behind the counter was busy redeeming tickets for prizes, so I stood in line and waited my turn. Suddenly, a little girl ran up and broke in line in front of me. I didn't say a word as I figured she was probably excited. The clerk behind the counter knew I was next so she proceeded to serve me. A relative of the little girl walked up behind me and said, "I can't believe you broke in line! My child was next! That is just rude." I just smiled and didn't say anything. The relative tried to get something started with the clerk, but she quickly finished with me and went on to wait on the little girl who broke in line.

Yesterday, I went to Walmart for our weekly grocery trip. Loaded down with groceries and both kids, I stood in line at the check out counter. A cashier was about to open and motioned for me to come to her line, so I did. When I pulled my buggy up, another lady jumped in front of me and plopped down a few things. The cashier didn't acknowledge her and started scanning my items. The lady grabbed her items, blurted out words that would make my momma blush and called me every name in the book in front of my kids and left. I had to keep my head down through the whole ordeal because I was afraid I was going to come unglued in front of her and the hundreds of Walmart customers there. I got in the car and thought, "What is it with people these days thinking they are supposed to be first at everything?"

Paul states in I Corinthians 4:3-4 how he feels about people's actions towards him. "I am not controlled by what people think of me. As long as God is satisfied with me, I am satisfied." I was almost controlled by those two people and their attitudes. A part of me wanted to "tell them like it is", but I knew if I did, I would have caused more harm to the situation. Letting it go was easier than fighting their attitudes.

Maybe I should stay out of checkout lines for a few days and let all of those who want to go first get the opportunity!

Friday, July 27, 2007

God Never Leaves Us

Its good to be back home! I've spent the last 5 days in the red dirt hills of Neshoba County enjoying the fair with my children. The Neshoba County Fair is the only place on earth where everything that is white turns red after a few minutes in the open air. I visited with many friends, took in the sights and sounds of the fair and relished some quiet moments.

My brother Doug had the heart defibrillator surgery on Tuesday. The surgeon said his heart looked good considering the beating it took from the two heart attacks. The doctors were so pleased with Doug's progress and surgery, they sent him home the next day! He has lost 20 pounds while in the hospital and has been told to lose more weight over the next 6 months. Doug took a ride yesterday to view all of the crops in the field and got updates from the workers. He got tired and returned home to rest. The doctor said all of this is expected and he will have to gradually build up his physical activity. However, the more he exercises and moves around, the better his heart will "repair" itself in some instances.

In looking back over the last two weeks of this blog, it really hit home---we have all experienced a miracle. Some miracles are smaller than others, but we know it when we witness them, don't we? Although the doctors have given Doug a less-than-normal-life outlook since this first started, we know that God holds the future--not the doctors. The Bible talks about the peace of God through difficult times. Isaiah 54:10 says, "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but God's kindness shall not depart from me, neither shall the covenant of His peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on me." Can you imagine how scary it would be to see mountains crumble and hills flatten right before your eyes? We think of those things as being steadfast, strong and immovable. Isaiah is saying that even though our life may be crumbling to pieces around us, God's kindness never fails and God has mercy on us. Don't ever confuse circumstances in your life with God removing His hand from your life!

So even though your world may seem alittle difficult even in the best of times, know that God has not turned His back on you. God is love.

Friday, July 20, 2007

God Is Still In the Business of Answering Prayers

It has been one week since my brother's heart attacks and my, has God brought him a mighty long way! I was able to talk to Doug on the phone yesterday and he sounded like a new man. The doctors took him off the oxygen, which means the fluid on his heart is finally coming off. The visitors were kept at a bare minimum Thursday and he took phone calls instead. Doug told me to pass along his sincere gratitude for the prayers you have lifted up on his behalf. He gives God the credit for his healing and the daily progress. The doctor, however, had devastating news for him: Doug will never be able to farm again. For someone who does not have a college education and farming is all he's ever known, you can imagine how upsetting the news was. God has certainly blessed our family with a very capable and intelligent cardiovascular surgeon, but I don't believe the doctor holds the future.....God does. After all, the surgeon told us Doug would probably not live and the surgeon told us a heart transplant was Doug's next option. Both of these diagnosis, the Lord has proved wrong. Now we are believing God brought Doug's life back to him with bigger and better plans for him. I don't think God would allow him to live and live only at 15% of the life he had before. That's not a fulfilled life.

Still no word on the defibrillator surgery. The doctor wants to get all of the fluid off completely before moving forward. He anticipates that will be done one day next week. When that happens, I will be there and will give Doug all of the emails and posted comments for him to read. I know this will be a source of continued support for him, knowing you are praying for him.

I will be gone until Friday. This is Neshoba County Fair week and I'll be there with my family and will visit with Doug several times while I'm off work. In the meantime, know that God is still in the business of answering prayers. I believe I will have even more miracles to share with you when I return.

"And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectations are in You." Psalm 39:7

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Being Still & Waiting

In reading the title of this blog, that's hard for me to do---being still. When I'm shopping, I walk fast; when I drive, I drive faster than I probably should; when I eat, I eat fast. I'm just always in third gear. My husband fusses at me about slowing down, but I'm just wired that way.

My brother Doug will not be having the heart defibrillator surgery today. The fluid isn't coming off his heart fast enough to suit the doctors. However, Doug was taken out of ICU yesterday and put in a room, which is a blessing (he had been in ICU since last Thursday). When the hometown and friends found out he was in a room, over 30 people came to see him in 5 hours time yesterday. The nurses started putting "no visitors" signs on his hospital door and when Doug found out people were driving so far to come see him and were being turned away, he asked the nurses to take the sign off. He wanted to thank those who had taken time off work to come visit and pray for him. Needless to say, he was pooped last night. Considering all of this, the nurses have told us absolutely "no visitors" today so Doug can rest. Today, we are specifically praying for him to rest and for the fluid to come off his heart so the defibrillator can be inserted at another time.

I read the story of Moses and his deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians. Before he leads them across the Red Sea, Moses tells them in Exodus 14:13, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."

Whatever trial you are facing, the Bible says God will deliver you and will fight for you. We need only to be still. So we are sitting and waiting on more of His answers to prayer..

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

When Faith Is All You Have

Your prayers have brought my brother so far in the last few days. Every email, every comment posted on this blog is being saved for him to read and it is keeping his spirits lifted. We received more good news Tuesday. Doug's heart rate is now where it should be--around 93 beats per minute. That's a dramatic decline from the 138 bpm last Friday. The weening him off the heart medications is going very well. However, he is continuing to keep fluid on his lungs and around his heart. The doctors have now limited his fluid intake and are hoping to concentrate on the fluid that remains near those organs. If the fluid doesn't come off soon, Doug will risk going into congestive heart failure. Assuming he continues progressing today, he will likely have the heart defibrillator surgery Thursday.

A farmer in Clarksdale (20 minutes away from my hometown) heard of Doug's situation and called my father. This farmer offered to handle any work related to our family farm while Doug is in the hospital. What a blessing! As you know, we have received over 6 inches of rain in July--far too much. Most of this rain has come in the last 7 days. It turns out there is no farming that can be done anyway, so this would be considered 'down time' until the land dries. Although we have complained about the rain in some respects, we are seeing this as a blessing as it seems to have come just at the same time that Doug is recovering. This is time he is not losing as a farmer.

One thing I've learned over the last few months: Prayer is asking for rain; Faith is carrying an umbrella when there is no rain in the forecast. Doug has been given a grim forecast by the doctors, but we are carrying an umbrella of faith. God loves to see our faith lived out.

So today, we are praying specifically for the fluid around Doug's heart and lungs to come off. We are also praying the surgery can take place tomorrow and that he continues to improve.

"And this small and temporary trouble I suffer will bring me a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For I fix my attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannont be seen lasts forever." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Serving Others While You Hurt

God continues to hear your prayers. Although we received some grim news Sunday night with the possibility of a heart transplant, my brother was sitting up in ICU Monday laughing and joking around with his wife and others who were allowed to come back and see him. The fluid is still coming off his heart and his heart rate remains steady. His breathing is still a bit labored, which concerns the doctors, but he is making strides in all areas. Two of my hometown's pastors visited him yesterday and both laid hands on him and prayed. My mother said she could feel the Holy Spirit fill his room and what an awesome feeling it was. Shortly thereafter, the doctor told us he plans to implant the heart defibrillator this Thursday. What wonderful news! It seems Doug has stabilized to the point that he can handle the surgery. However, the doctor said that could change if Doug begins to worsen.

Although my parents have obviously been grieved and have worried so much over the last few days, the ICU waiting room has been filled with families awaiting news on their loved ones. It has been so uplifting to watch my parents sit and talk with other people they don't know, ask them how they are doing, love them, and run errands for them. Even though mom and dad are hurting, they are finding a way to minister to other people. I believe God blesses us when we do that. When we are going through tests and trials, God sees what we're made of when we give of ourselves to others. God sees we're serious about our relationship with Him, He sees our commitment to following Him (no matter what), and He sees His son Jesus in us.

So in the midst of whatever you are facing today, find a moment to serve someone else...even if it's just a compliment, lending a hand, or asking what you can do to make someone's day alittle easier. God will see your heart and will honor that.

Today, we are specifically praying for my brother Doug to continue improvement from the weening off the medications so the defibrillator can be implanted Thursday and we pray that others are seeing Jesus through us.

"I am sticking with God. I say it over and over again--He's all I've got left. He proves to be good to me and to all who passionately wait and diligently seek him. It's a good thing to quietly hope for help from God." Lamentations 3:24-26

Monday, July 16, 2007

More Praise & More Prayer

We made a quick trip to Oxford Sunday to see my brother. Considering everything that has happened over the last few days, he is improving. Although his heart is doing 100% of the work now, it is only working at 15% of a normal heart. He has alot of fluid around his heart and has been given medication to get the fluid off him. His heart beat is about 110 beats per minute and it needs to be below 100 beats per minute. It is slowly going down. Friday it was at 138 beats per minute, so we know that is an answer to prayer.

The doctor told us last night that although Doug has come a long way and is alive, he still has a long way to go. The doctor also told us he will never live the same type of life he used to (it was not uncommon for Doug to work 18 hours a day during harvesting and planting season). The doctor also said they are beginning to ween Doug off the medications that he is currently on which are helping his heart. If he does not get better or gets worse during this time, he will be put on a heart transplant list. As you can imagine, this was very upsetting especially since we have seen Doug make drastic improvements over the last couple of days.

From all indications, this heart surgeon is not optimist. He isn't the encouraging type. I'm sure he deals with death and dire situations on a daily basis. However, we don't believe he's ever seen such a case so full of hope, faith and prayer. So at this time, we have all decided to pray for Doug's heart to get back to working as a "normal" heart would, for Doug's heart to work perfectly although he is being taken off the meds so the next surgery can be performed, and for Doug to live an even better life than before!

So many things are taking place there which I hope to share with you in days to come. My parents are not wallowing in their sadness but are ministering to other families in the waiting room; Doug's wife, Avril (who is from Honduras), interpreted for a Mexican who's dad had surgery yesterday and didn't understand what the doctors were saying; and we prayed over a lady who was in ICU next to my brother; Doug also mentioned what it was like when he died in the helicopter. And the list goes on. God is at work in the lives of people around us and we still believe.

"May God, the source of hope, fill me with all joy and peace by means of my faith in Him, so that my hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Weekend Update

I don't normally blog on the weekends, but so many of you have sent emails asking how my brother Doug is doing. Let me tell you, your prayers have been answered! If you've been reading my blog, you know that Doug was put on a heart pumping machine to work his heart for him so his heart could rest. Friday the doctors were hoping to have his heart up to working at 50%. However, Friday night it seems my brother's heart no longer needed the machine and began working at 100%! The doctors told my parents they did not expect Doug to live through the helicopter flight to Oxford; and 9 out of 10 patients they see with his condition don't live for more than a few hours. The doctors and nurses are dumbfounded as to his quick recovery so far and can't seem to explain it. We can. We know it is all due to prayer. Although his heart is beating on its own, it is still very weak or "bruised" as the nurse put it. It will take some time to get back the strength it once had. In the meantime, he will remain in ICU until the defibrillator surgery, which we anticipate to be this coming week. They brought him out of the sleep-induced coma for a few hours today. He is in pain, but mostly due to being in the same position and not being able to move with the equipment hooked up to him. I hope to make another trip to Oxford on Sunday. My sisters and their families are there to keep my parents and Doug's wife company, along with their children.

Our prayers now turn to praise as we are so thankful to have him with us. Now we will keep praying for his continued improvement so the next surgery can take place and he can begin his full recovery.

Weekend Update

I don't normally blog on the weekends, but so many of you have sent emails and asked how my brother is doing. Let me tell you, God is listening to your prayers! Friday the doctors were hoping to have is heart back to working at 50% capacity. However, Friday night the doctors were amazed. It seems Doug's heart started working at 100%, so the doctors removed him from the heart pump machine at 11pm and he's been going on his own since. The doctors told my parents they did not expect him to live through the helicopter flight to Oxford; and 9 out of 10 of the patients they see in his condition die within hours. Needless to say, the medical staff hasn't been able to explain this one, but we have---prayer. Doug is still in pain due to being in the same position for the last couple of days and not moving due to the equipment he is hooked up to. They have allowed him to come out of the sleep-induced coma for a couple of hours at a time. He is now able to tolerate juice, which is an improvement. However, they plan to keep him in ICU as they are closely monitoring him.

Now our prayers are prayers of praise and thanksgiving that we have him. We are continuing to pray for his body to recover so the surgery to insert the defibrillator will be early this coming week.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Updated Prayer Request

First of all, thank you to all of you who emailed me or posted comments on this blog. Your support and prayers mean the world to me and my family.

My daddy said it right yesterday when he said "One phone call can change your life." Seeing my brother in a sleep-induced coma was difficult. Many tears were shed over him yesterday. The ICU waiting room was humming with people from my hometown and my home church. People I had not seen in years drove an hour or so to come support my family and lend their prayers. At 3pm, I asked the ICU nurse if we could bring those in the waiting room in Doug's room and pray over him. Surprisingly, she agreed to let us. About 11 people surrounded his bed, touched him and prayed outloud over him. God was in that room. We know it and we felt it. We believe he will be restored.

Now for the update. He is on a heart pump which is beating his heart and is giving his own heart some rest. My brother has what the doctors called 'significant heart damage'. They inserted two stints yesterday after he had the second heart attack. The doctor gave us 2 choices: let him chance having another episode and die; or implant a heart defibrillator to kick his heart back to life if he should have any type of heart arrhythmia. As a family, we chose the latter. As the doctor reminded us, he is 47 years old, he is strong and healthy--he has more time to live. With any surgery, there are complications and we accept that. We will go on faith those complications will not come to him.

The next item on the agenda today is to gradually reduce his dependence on the heart pump machine. The doctor will reduce it to 50% today and see if Doug's heart can work on it's own without arresting. If all goes well, they will take him off the heart pump machine completely Saturday, with surgery to follow early next week.

Meantime, I am back to work today believing the best for him today and will return to the hospital this weekend and next week.

I believe your prayers for Doug will allow his heart to work on its own so the surgery can go forward. God is listening.

"I live by faith. Not by sight." I Corinthians 5:7

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Prayers for My Brother

My brother has had a second heart attack and he is now in surgery for a heart cath. The doctors are hoping to find out if there is another blood clot, its location and his next step. I'm heading to Oxford to be with my family. Please lift him up in your prayers today.
I received a call this morning at 6am that my big brother had a heart attack. My niece rushed him to the ER in my hometown (Marks) and they quickly flew him to Oxford by helicopter where he is being evaluated right now. Please pray for my brother by name today. His name is Doug Wiggs. He is 47 years old.

"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise," Jeremiah 17:14

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It's An Easy Thing For The Lord

I've struggled with seeing results from some particular prayers I've been praying for the last year or so. It seems God is dragging His heels on answering them. I'm not seeing any answers come about and have even wondered "why does this seem so hard to get an answer out of God?" Although I don't have the answers, I've been persistent about praying for those situations. Then yesterday, I saw something I had never seen before.

I was studying the life of Elisha the prophet and his dealings with the Moabites. He was speaking to the king of Israel (who was about to fight the Moabites) and told the king that God would give the Moabites over to him. Elisha told the king to make the valley full of ditches; there would be no rain or wind but the ditches would fill up with water so the king and his people could supply drinking water to their cattle and other animals as they marched toward Moab. I'm sure the king was puzzled as to where the water would come from. In 2 Kings 3:18, Elisha tells him "This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord." Elisha was basically saying God was going to provide them all water even though there was no rain in the forecast! Then the Bible goes on to say that the next morning, water starting filling up the ditches and the land was filled with water---mind you, no rain fell.

So, I've had to remind myself that although I've been fervently praying about several personal issues and haven't seen my answers yet, it is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord and He will provide the "water" in due time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

When I was a child, I carried a silk blanket around most of the time. I guess I've passed that tradition down to baby Will because he has a small piece of silk he loves, especially when he gets sleepy. This piece of silk started out as a square foot sized, baby blue ruffled piece of material. I bought another one that looks similar, just in case we were to ever lose the first one but Will doesn't care too much for it. I have given him both before and just like an animal marks its territory, Will sniffs the blanket for his scent. And, he always chooses his silk piece of material. He knows the difference. He pulls it up to his face and caresses it. It gives Will comfort and consolation. Well, it may be about time to "lose" that silk. It is shredded in 3 separate places and looks more like a dish rag these days. Even Will's Sunday School teacher was joking that he was willing to take up a love offering to get Will a new blanket. Trust me, Will would know the difference!

I began thinking we must be like that shredded piece of silk to God sometimes. We look battered, worn and torn. We could easily be "replaced", but God chooses us. He knows the difference between us and each of us has a special place in His heart. Psalm 119:50 says "For you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: your promise preserves my life." Even though we may feel torn apart, ragged and beaten down, God comforts us and consoles us. His Word revives us and gives us life.

One more thing, Will's blanket isn't all torn and frayed because he mistreats it. It is that way because the child has literally loved it to pieces and his feelings for it are very obvious when you hand it to him and see his reaction. So I guess you could say that being worn, torn, ragged, frayed and battered is a sign that God loves us.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Cell Phone vs. The Bible

I'm not the most astute tech guru, but I have to have my cell phone. It is the life line to my children, my family, work and my friends who just want to talk. It is one thing I don't leave home without. My sweet aunt in California sent me this email on carrying the cell phone vs. carrying the Bible:

I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several time a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?

Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill. And no dropped calls!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Some Things Don't Make Sense

Some things just don't make sense. One night this week, we decided to have spaghetti. When it came time to fix Gracie's plate, she said she "didn't want the spaghetti on top of the noodles". "Why don't you want the sauce on top of your spaghetti noodles?" I asked. "Because it makes me nervous," she said. I know I had a perplexed look of my face because that didn't make any sense to me at all!

I was reading in Genesis about Abraham and Isaac. You remember the story..Isaac was the son Abraham and Sarah had waited for so long. When he was a boy, God told Abraham to take Isaac to the top of a mountain and sacrifice him. Although the Bible doesn't tell us this, I'm sure Abraham thought to himself "God, that doesn't make any sense!" But the Bible says Abraham did exactly what God told him to do. Notice in Genesis 22:4, Abraham had faith God would spare his child. "On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, 'Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you'" (italic emphasis mine). I don't think Abraham believed he was lying to his servants. I think Abraham spoke his faith out loud and believed God would make something that didn't make much sense into something that made perfect sense. Sure enough, God stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and provided a ram instead.

When God leads us down a road that doesn't make sense, we need to speak our faith. Remind yourself that God will provide a way out. It may take time but He is in the process of fixing the situation. Now THAT makes sense.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Putting the 4th of July Into Perspective

Yesterday was the 4th of July and many had the day off. I didn't (we don't get many holidays off in the tv business). I watched on our newscasts the different neighborhood parades, the various speeches and the fireworks displays. It was obviously a fun day for many.

On the flip side, I heard the latest statistics on the casualties in the war in Iraq and so forth. I admit, I don't always agree with the decisions made in Washington, D.C. or in my own county, for that matter. But God did not put me in those leadership positions as He has others. Although we are free to bicker and complain, we are also free to pray for our leaders. In the book of Titus, Paul is reminding his good friend Titus how important it is to respect and pray for authority figures. Titus was helping to lead a troubled church on the small island of Crete. Paul tells him in Titus 3:1-2 "Remind the people to be subject to rules and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility toward all men."

Leading our cities, county, state and country is the elected officials' responsibility. Praying they make the right decisions is ours.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

God's Timing

I discovered on our cruise how thankful I am to live on land! Although I enjoyed my trip, seeing nothing but open seas can be rather intimidating. One morning as I was being a deck junkie, I looked straight ahead at all of the water we were floating on and I immediately thought of Noah. I wondered how it must have felt to be locked up on a massive boat with every kind of stinky animal for over 4 months, never seeing land. The Bible says the water rose 20 feet higher than the tallest mountain and the water covered the earth. You can imagine how restless Noah must've gotten. After 40 days, Noah sent out one of his doves to find dry land, but the dove came back. He waited another 7 days and sent the dove out again. This time, the dove brought back an olive leaf signifying the water was receeding. After another 7 days, Noah sent the dove out again. She didn't return, which meant she had found a place to set her feet.

How many times have we waited for an answer from God and He wasn't answering fast enough for us? I know I have some situations in my life that it seems like He is dragging His feet on! And as trivial as it may sound, waiting on God's timing gets the best result. Psalm 37:7 says "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Do not fret..."

I also love the verse in Genesis 8:1 in talking about Noah's adventures on the flooded earth, "And God remembered Noah." Do you think God had forgotten He had sent Noah out on the water? No! In the Old Testament to remember means to pay attention to. Although God may seem to take longer than we want in sending answers to our prayers, He remembers us and is paying attention to our needs. And in time, we will get answers and resolution on our trials just as the dove brought the leaf back to Noah.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Always On Camera

I've just returned from a fabulous week long cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico aboard the Carnival ship "Fantasy". If it were not for missing my children, I would've found a way to become a permanent fixture to the boat. I learned many things while I was away--one being, you never really 'get away'.

For instance, I was looking forward to not wearing makeup all week, just being 'natural' self, not being recognized, stared at or pointed at. That didn't last long. While in line at the embarkation terminal, I was spotted by several WLBT viewers. It continued every day of the cruise. Some wanted to know the weather forecast (I was on vacation. I didn't CARE what the weather forecast was!), some wanted pictures, others wanted autographs. I realized very quickly that I would not be able to take a break from who I am or what I do. Don't get me wrong--I don't mean for this to sound like I'm complaining. After all, these people have made a choice to watch WLBT and I am so grateful for having the opportunity to work for a television station that surrounds itself with believers. But sometimes, I just want to be unnoticed and blend in with everyone else. Then God taught me a lesson...

As Christians, we are always on camera for others to see. Our co-workers, friends, neighbors, people in line at Walmart, even family members are always watching what we do and what we say. They may not watch to catch us make a mistake, but they are keeping a close eye on our actions, reactions and words. Titus 2:7 says "In everything set an example by doing what is good. In your teaching, show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say." That's a big responsibility, but one we take on when we become a Christian.

Being watched isn't always easy, but think of the testimony you give others when you live your life in such a way that you turn people on to Christ and not turn them away from His goodness.