Friday, October 30, 2009

Strong Storms Possible

Thursday was a long, but fulfilling day. It was the annual Halloween blood drive that Marshall Ramsey and myself do together. I met people who donated for the first time and were a bit nervous; I met those who give faithfully every few months; and I met people who actually knew someone who needed blood. When I walked around the room, signed t-shirts and visited with everyone, I was reminded why I do this. No, I'm not required to "head up" this day, nor am I forced to spend most of the day at Mississippi Blood Services. But giving voice to a cause to keep our Mississippi hospitals stocked with the 'gift of life' is utterly important.

I'm told it takes 200 units of blood..every service the needs of the hospitals. All it takes is one bus crash, one train crash, or some other tragedy to wipe out the hospital supply. So our goal was to reach 200 units yesterday and we had 208 people donate! Thanks to you, our viewers, and to Marshall for making it such an important day for those who will need blood in the next few days!

It is expected to be wet today with the slight possibility of severe weather. Please take a look at this graphic from the National Weather Service and pick out your county.

I'll be at WLBT this afternoon and through the night, so keep us tuned. Plus, have your weather radio on throughout the duration as this cold front moves east.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thursday Halloween Blood Drive

This Thursday, I'll be hosting the annual Halloween Blood Drive at Mississippi Blood Services on Lakeland Drive along with my good friend, Clarion Ledger editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey. We always make it a point to have a good time when we get together and this blood drive won't be any different. Each blood donor receives Marshall's signature design made especially for this blood drive.

This year, Mississippi Blood Services is celebrating its 30th anniversary. They've been keeping Mississippi hospitals supplied with blood, plasma and platelets since 1979. So, we decided to go back to the 70s for this commercial. Might I add...since the movie "Saturday Night Fever" was a bit before my time, I had to be coached by the production crew on how to do all of this jive stuff!

Here is the t-shirt design for this year's donors from Marshall. Leave it to him to be creative!

If you're in the Jackson area this Thursday, please drop by and "do the hustle" with me!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Winks From God

I was on the coast earlier this week speaking at a conference. I enjoyed getting away for a few days, but even more so, I had a chance to see God at work.

Before my speech Wednesday morning, I found my spot at the head table and spoke to people who stopped by on their way to sit down. One lady approached the table and introduced herself. I smiled, greeted her and asked how the conference had been for her. "It's been okay," she said with an unsure look on her face. "Okay?" I shot back. "You've been on the beautiful gulf coast for the last few days with fabulous weather and you said your time here has been just 'okay'?" She nodded yes. "What's going on?" I pressed her for more. She proceeded to tell me that her 16 year old daughter was killed in a car accident almost one year ago. "Knowing the one year anniversary is coming up has gotten me down," she told me. "To add to that, my son was killed two years ago, before my daughter. And now I'm raising his daughter." Boy, talk about someone who has been hit hard! My heart went out to her. I stood there and talked with her a few more minutes and listened as she told me more. She said she had a wonderful church and pastor who have supported her over these last few months, but it was still hard trying to explain to her granddaughter that not only was her father not coming back, but neither was her aunt. I promised to for pray for her, but the Holy Spirit nudged me that something else was going to happen for her. I hesitated before I opened my mouth and then told her, "I have a feeling God is going to wink at you today." She looked puzzled so I went further. "I just think God is going to show you today that He is thinking of you." She smiled and walked to her table to eat breakfast.

After I spoke to the group, a series of door prizes were given out. I was asked to draw for each winner, so I made sure I mixed the tickets up real good (nothing like a little pressure). The grand prize of the conference was a big screen, top-of-the-line television set. You could almost see every man in the ball room frothing at the mouth for that prize. I put my hand in the box to pull out a name and handed it to the lady at the microphone. "And the winner is....."

The lady I had just spoken to an hour earlier stood up with tears in her eyes and her hand over her mouth. She couldn't believe it! She had just won that big screen television. Out of all the conference attendees, I had somehow picked her name.

When the conference dismissed, I took pictures with those who asked and looked over to see her waiting in line. When she got to me, I simply said, "Honey, if that wasn't a sign that the Lord has not forgotten you, I don't know what is!"

Coincidence maybe? I don't think so. If you didn't know her story, you would probably pass her off as being lucky Wednesday.

Psalm 34:8 says, "O taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him." Proverbs 10:22 says, "The blessing of the Lord makes me rich and He adds no sorrow with it."

A big, flat screen tv wouldn't bring back the pain and hurt of losing not just one child, but both of her children. But no matter what we are going through, we sometimes subscribe to the belief that God has somehow forgotten us. When in all reality, He hasn't forgotten us at all and He uses little "winks" along the way to make sure we know that. I bet if you and I opened up our eyes today, we would see some of those!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Faith Includes Some Fear!

I'll be away for the next few days in Biloxi speaking at a conference. I'm looking forward to seeing the Gulf from my hotel room. I love to scan the waters for dolphins playing close to shore and seeing the lights of the shrimp boats at night.

Every time I go to the coast, I think about Peter's walk on the water. You know that story pretty well, I'm sure and it's one of my favorites because it includes a weather event. But it's not just a picture of one of Jesus' miracles, but is a perfect example of belief in action and risky faith.

One blustery night the disciples were sailing the Sea of Galilee through a storm. Suddenly a strange figure appeared walking on the waves and the men were sure it was a ghost! But Jesus told them in Matthew 14:27, "It is I; do not be afraid." At that point, Peter gets an idea. He said to Jesus in verse 28-29, "Lord, it if is You, command me to come to You on the water. So Jesus said, 'Come'. And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus."

What a risky step, literally! Interesting, isn't it, that everyone else in the boat stayed put? They had all spent months and years with Jesus, seen the same miracles and they even listened to the same teachings. But only Peter took a risk of faith, and only Peter experienced a miracle. In spite of Peter's heart-pounding fear, Peter stepped out in proactive dependence upon God alone, believing that his faith would bridge the gap between the boat and Jesus. And when Jesus bridged that gap with a miracle, everyone else in the boat "worshipped Jesus saying, 'Truly You are the Son of God".

I don't doubt that Peter was probably walking on water with a little bit of fear inside. Who in their right mind would try such a thing? Many times, our usage of faith does include a certain amount of fear. We are human and I suspect our fear doesn't catch God by surprise!

But if you and I want a life where God works through us in supernatural ways whenever He chooses, we must take action. We must exercise our faith. Why? Because there is a direct connection between what we initiate with faith and how God responds with His supernatural power.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm Back!

I've been away for a few days, but I've been busy! Last Saturday, I spoke to the ladies at Parkway Baptist Church in Natchez at their womens conference. Over 250 women were there from various churches across the area and they were fired up to hear from the Lord! I thoroughly enjoyed my three hours with each and every one of them. Thanks, ladies!

Earlier this week, I traveled to Dothan, Alabama for a photo shoot with Clay Spann. We were shooting the front cover for my book which will be released in April 2010 by Dogwood Press. Clay is multi-talented--not only is he a hair and makeup artist, but he is also the photographer. Here are a few of the behind the scenes look at our photo shoot:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Barbie is away for a few days but will return this Friday!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday's Stormy Weather

This afternoon is expected to be wet and possibly stormy. With gusty winds already across the area, some storms could contain small hail, damaging winds, heavy rain and an isolated tornado. Please have your NOAA weather radio on if you will be away from the television. Otherwise, I'll be on WLBT throughout the afternoon and evening covering it for you.

Here is the NWS' latest graphic depiction of today's forecast.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Being Obedient

Over the weekend, two of my children and I were in a friend's wedding. I sang and Gracie & Will were the flower girl and ring bearer. While on the way to the rehearsal Friday night, I discussed with the children what they would be doing and how we were going to practice it all. "Well, daddy told me I was to be a decoration at the wedding," Gracie chimed in from the back seat. I asked her to explain. "Daddy said I wasn't the star of the wedding," she said. "That I was a decoration instead." I agreed with dad's assessment of the situation and told her their parts were already pre-determined. "You'll have a certain place to stand with Will. But the star of the day is the one getting married," I told her. Then I told Gracie all she had to do was to follow the directions of the wedding coordinator and do what she tells her to do. "So when do I get to be the star of the wedding?" she asked. "When you get married!" I told her.

Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." It is so hard to wait on God sometimes. We get frustrated and want to "fix" things ourselves when it seems like He is asleep. But some things have been pre-arranged for you and me. God is able to make plans ahead of time and have things in the right place at the right time. He knows what year you will get there, and He knows exactly what you'll need when you get there. Whatever your need is, God will have it waiting for you.

Once you obey God, then you will see His provision in whatever trial or circumstance you are facing. And once you obey God and follow the path He has for you, you will find He has pre-arranged things for you just like He did for Abraham when he obeyed God in heading to Mt. Moriah to sacrifice his son Isaac. Genesis 22:13 says, "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering instead of his son."

When Abraham made the choice to obey God, failure was not an option. Failure is man-made not God-made. If we will have patience to follow His direction, He will provide.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Reason God Made Us

Gracie asked me last week, "Why did God make us needing to be saved?" Good question. Gracie's question was rather deep for a six-year-old and my career speciality isn't theology. So I thought about that one before I answered it.

Over the summer, I read a book entitled "Same Kind of Different As Me". Last weekend, I read the sequel to that book called "What Difference Do It Make?" (That isn't a typo--it's the actual title and once you read the books, you'll understand). Both of these opened my eyes to a world I've never known. Between those books and the portions I took away from "The Shack", I was able to come up with an answer for Gracie.

I think God saved us so heaven could get on the inside of us and change the world around us. God saved us so we could bring change to our children, our neighborhood, and our towns. God saved us so He could move on the inside of you and me. He saved us so we wouldn't be a victim of sin, bad habits and deception. God saved us for Christ to be formed in you and me. He set us free from sin's dominion so when we die, we won't wonder why we lived.