December 12, 2008

Bloglessness

Hey all... I have not been a faithful blogger of late. I apologize. But I don't promise that this one will be worth the wait either. I tend to blog whenever I have news, or have come through something and have some sort of revelation that I wish to share. Well, I have neither at the moment nor have I for quite some time... hence my bloglessness....

Bloglessness... hmmm... I like that....
I think I'll send that one in to Webster and see what they think. :^)

Well, the only news of sorts that I have is that I am working now, after years of being a stay-at-home mom. Its only part time, three days a week, but I love it! I'm working at Hosanna First Assembly, in the bookkeeping department, helping Madeleine Felps, the best person in the world to work for. Everyone should work for Madeleine if they get a chance... On second thought... you can forget that or else I'd have to quit my job... and that's not happening anytime soon, so sorry...just dream on! :). But its great to work in a Christian environment with people I truly love. I realize that thats not the norm for most people and I am extremely thankful. But it has made what time I have, more elusive. So... bloglessness.

Also, I am going through something I don't quite understand... Usually I blog when having come out on the other side of it, when I have revelation that I think people can relate to, or that I think might encourage someone. Or I blog for people who care for me and want to know where I've been. I tend to think no one wants to hear where I currently am when I don't know myself. So here's more excuses for bloglessness because I'm smack dab in the middle of something that I don't think I can quite express yet. I haven't gotten to the other end of it and have no words of wisdom, no victory yet to share... Yet I blog to you today not in reflection of the storm, but in the midst of it.

Suffice it to say, I've been hit with some difficult stuff, of similar nature, but from different directions, all in a short period of time. That usually indicates to me that something is up. I wonder- is this the devil? Is it God? Is it just me? I think the answer to that is- yes. It is all of the above. Now, the enemy being the opportunist that he is assaults me and stirs the pot regularly. My flesh has at times risen up in defense or sunk low in despair. But my God, always in control, never wastes anything. So I'm not sure what this is but I do believe that God is using this to shine a light into my heart and to reveal things still not healed, still not free... It just seems to be all at once. Every time I turn around- bam, there the pain is again- but from a totally different source.

And this pain, long ignored... can be ignored no more...

I've lived long enough to recognize that we humans, almost every time, will choose to live with pain rather than to face and deal with it's source.

Years ago I had two telling dreams that lately have come back to my mind.

In the first dream- I discovered a secret room in my house. I was so excited. It had been there all along and I hadn't known it. I found that it was full of valuable things of the type that I personally enjoy- beautiful antique furniture, rugs, vintage collectables, paintings. But as I gazed around this room of treasures in delight, I then was shocked to discover, lying on the bed was an Egyptian mummy in a casket. I was horrified. As a child, I'd read how when explorers discovered the tombs of the ancient Pharoahs, those who discovered the treasure were then cursed in some way for the rest of their life. Several died tragic deaths soon after. In my dream, I became afraid. The room that had previously seemed like a blessing now seemed to be a curse. I remember thinking "I don't want to deal with the mummy... It is too creepy. Plus it will be too heavy for me...". So I quickly backed out of the room, boarded it up and lived in my house like before, with an unclaimed treasure, and a fear, right behind the walls.

Later I had another dream exactly like it. A secret room discovered in my house. I was again delighted to find another treasure trove of antiques. But like before, something else was in the room. This time, instead of a mummy, there was a cage of rats. I remember thinking that I did not want to have to remove them. They were dirty and they frightened me. I thought, "If I leave them there and close the room up, they'll just die and I won't have to deal with removing them"... but I remember thinking- "yes, but then they will stink up the entire house".. But sadly I made the same decision to leave the treasure... and the rats, behind the wall. I closed them up and lived in my house as before. Knowing that behind my wall, was treasure... but also knowing that I'd have to deal with the rats to claim it.

I guess I reasoned both times, that the treasure wasn't worth the fear of dealing with the pain. Now I'm discovering, I'm not so sure.

I remember before I had my hysterectomy, I lived in constant pain for years in order to not face the pain of surgery. It's really amazing what you will learn to live with in order to avoid what it will take to "fix" that pain. For a long while, I coped pretty well. But my pain would not go away. It just got worse. It finally got so bad that I couldn't live with it anymore. I couldn't ignore it anymore. I couldn't adjust my limited life around it anymore. It had finally taken over to the point that my entire life's focus had become dealing with the pain. I finally had to get desperate and pain-ridden enough to make a decision, once and for all, to rid myself of the source of my pain. And that required surgery. But after my surgery, in a moment, the source of my pain was gone. Yes I had to endure more pain from the surgery. But it was pain with purpose. A clean wound that would heal during my season of recovery. But in the end, the source of my pain was gone. And I haven't hurt anymore since...

Had the pain not gotten so bad... I'd have not pursued surgery... I'd not have said- enough is enough. I want to be whole!

As much as we all hate pain... if we did not have it, we'd not know when there is a problem. It draws our attention to whatever is limiting and hindering our health, our life, our purpose. I want to be pain free... but not just for me. The devil probably would have sought to take us out years ago if he didn't think that our remaining in pain on this earth would affect those around us and take them down with us. I want to be painfree for lots of reasons, but not just for my own comfort. I want to fulfill His purpose in creating me to live on this planet at this chosen time. But most important, I don't want to negatively affect the purpose and fruitfulness of the following generations by not fulfilling my appointed purpose and not being whole enough to help them with theirs...

So that folks is where I am. I have a pain. It is familiar to me. I've learned to live around it. I've coped with it most of my life. But recently, I have been unable to ignore it. Situations have caused it to hurt worse. And I am coming to the conclusion that I don't think I want to live with this pain anymore. I want to be whole and free and fruitful. Should I chain myself to the prayer closet until God moves? I haven't gotten that desperate yet. But I am fast approaching it...

Hence my bloglessness of late...

But alas! I am blogless no more! :^)

God bless! Kayla

November 5, 2008

All-knowing God

Last night as the results of the election were unmistakeable, I asked the Lord, "why?". It really looked like our prayers had been for nothing. Then. I was reminded of the fact that it looked to the world like evil had triumphed when Jesus was crucified... I'm sure there was revelry in hell that day... but BOY was the devil in for a surprise! Jesus rose from the grave and because of His death, He was able to take the keys of death away from the enemy. Now he's a defeated foe destined for the lake of fire. That wouldn't have happened without the "defeat" of the cross. God's ways are higher and His wisdom deeper. He sees the whole picture, layer upon layer.... we see only in part. He has a plan and a divine purpose. He knows best. He can be trusted. He raises one up and brings another down... but all for eternity's purpose. Just look at the history of Israel.


Still, this is a wakeup call for the church in America. The lines have been drawn. But this may be the church's finest hour. "But where sin increased, grace increased all the more" As the Body of Christ we have to be proactive and involved. We have to stand against evil and not hope somebody else will do it. There is nobody else. That's our job. Now perhaps this will cause us to finally realize that. Let us arise Church and trust our God and be the salt and light He intended us to be. Let's not despair. Lets pray for our leaders as God commanded!... God is still on His throne and we are still His children. That hasn't changed.... Lets now arise, take our place and do our job.

The Lord led me to this scripture last night...Its long but well worth the read... God bless. Kayla

Psalm 37
1 Don't worry about the wicked
or envy those who do wrong.
2 For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart's desires.
5 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
7 Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don't worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes. 8 Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm.
9 For the wicked will be destroyed,
but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.
10 Soon the wicked will disappear.
Though you look for them, they will be gone.
11 The lowly will possess the land
and will live in peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the godly;
they snarl at them in defiance.
13 But the Lord just laughs,
for he sees their day of judgment coming.
14 The wicked draw their swords
and string their bows
to kill the poor and the oppressed,
to slaughter those who do right.
15 But their swords will stab their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
16 It is better to be godly and have little
than to be evil and rich.
17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered,
but the Lord takes care of the godly.
18 Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent,
and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.
19 They will not be disgraced in hard times;
even in famine they will have more than enough.
20 But the wicked will die.
The Lord's enemies are like flowers in a field—
they will disappear like smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and never repay,
but the godly are generous givers.
22 Those the Lord blesses will possess the land,
but those he curses will die.
23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
25 Once I was young, and now I am old.
Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
or their children begging for bread.
26 The godly always give generous loans to others,
and their children are a blessing.
27 Turn from evil and do good,
and you will live in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice,
and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever,
but the children of the wicked will die.
29 The godly will possess the land
and will live there forever.
30 The godly offer good counsel;
they teach right from wrong.
31 They have made God's law their own,
so they will never slip from his path.
32 The wicked wait in ambush for the godly,
looking for an excuse to kill them.
33 But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed
or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.
34 Put your hope in the Lord.
Travel steadily along his path.
He will honor you by giving you the land.
You will see the wicked destroyed.
35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people
flourishing like a tree in its native soil.
36 But when I looked again, they were gone!
Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
37 Look at those who are honest and good,
for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.
38 But the rebellious will be destroyed;
they have no future.
39 The Lord rescues the godly;
he is their fortress in times of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them,
rescuing them from the wicked.
He saves them,
and they find shelter in him

November 1, 2008

Help us God!

I am watching The Call live in California right now. I am deeply moved. They are crying out "Help us God! Save the babies. Save the children. God help! God help!" They are praying for America. Here is the prayer they have been praying for four years....

"Jesus I plead Your blood over my sins and the sins of my nation. God end abortion and send revival to America".

May this become the cry of the Church in America until the Lord answers that prayer. Please friends. Pray and vote. God is Sovereign... but He doesn't violate our will. Israel asked for a king and it wasn't God's desire for them to have one.... but despite His warnings of what would happen if they got what they asked for, they persisted, and He allowed them to have their heart's desire.

In my naivety, I assumed Christians knew the issues and where the candidates stand on the issues. I assumed that Christians would vote. I have been shocked at how many Christians are saying they are not voting because they don't like either candidate. Brothers and sisters, this is not about personality, it is not about the economy, it is not about the war. It is about LIFE! The next President has the authority to appoint Supreme Court judges. This more than anything else will determine the fate of abortion in America. Regardless of personality or color, how can we as Christians even consider a candidate who would not only call a living baby a "choice", but who would vote three times against the ban on late-term abortion. This is infanticide. Where late term babies are killed AFTER they are born alive, then discarded like garbage with the soiled linens in the hospital trash. There is a spirit of deception and confusion over the CHURCH to not see the horror of this. Where is the Church's outrage? Please pray for the spirit of deception to be lifted off of the Church and for God to loose "light and truth" over the Body of Christ in America so that the Church's eyes would be opened and that the fog of confusion would be dispelled with God's light.

God promises that "If my people, (that's us Church) who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Even if we have never had an abortion or supported it, may we repent before God for our nation. God is righteous and sovereign. He is in control This is not a time to be afraid, but a time to war. Things in heaven have to move before things on this earth will move. So often we get it backwards. What is bound in heaven will be bound on earth. What is loosed in heaven will be loosed on earth. Let us storm heaven Church. We have His ear. He moves at the sound of our voice. He said that "the prayers of a righteous man availeth much". You may not feel righteous, but if you are a blood bought child of God, the Bible declares that "you are the righteousness of God in Christ." So fellow saint, let us cry out to our Father to have mercy on us and this nation and let us go out on Tuesday and be counted as the Church of Jesus Christ in America. May God's church arise on November 4th. God bless you all.

September 15, 2008

Gustav Lessons


Stacey Neely sent me this. All of my fellow Gustav survivors will recognize and attest to the truths of this... I can laugh at this now... on my laptop...by my lamp... with my AC......ahhh!!! Thank you Lord! :^)


*No matter how many times you flick the switch, lights don't work without electricity.

*Vienna sausages only appear on the food pyramid during hurricane season.

*Lovebugs do NOT disappear in 90 mph wind.

*Disasters can cancel one LSU Football game, but there will be even more casualties if we have to cancel two.

*Cats (and dogs) are even more irritating without power.

*Most popular text message after Sept. 1: Do u hve pwr?

*Coffee, Spaghetti, biscuits and frozen pizza can be made on a grill. (Yep- gives pizza a lovely smoky flavor!)

*Crickets and cicadas can increase their volume to overcome the sound of 30 generators!

*He who has the biggest generator wins!

August 25, 2008

Lucca

Lucca and Zeke
Lucca "bringer of life"

Well, I've gone and done it.... I got a new dog. I said I would wait... I truly intended to... but I just couldn't help it...
Long story short- Last Saturday, Hannah and I were out shopping. She begged me to stop in Petland (or Petco, Petsmart... one of those). I reluctantly let her drag me in. We checked out all of the various pets and then were leaving when a young couple came in with the biggest, fluffliest, prettiest puppy I'd ever seen. I had to take a closer look... I should have known better... I found out that the puppy was a 6 month old female Akita. After talking to the couple a bit further I was informed that because of their apartment lease, they couldn't keep this beautiful creature. How much were they selling her for, (I had to ask).... She was free.... What was her name (I had to ask), it was Lucca. For some oddball reason I had intended on naming my next female dog LuLu. That did it. Lucca, LuLu... It seemed like a divine set-up. I tried to call Keith, he was working in the yard so I couldn't reach him... I hesitated for a moment then I made a monumental impulsive decision (unusual for me). I brought Lucca home with me, without Keith's knowledge. It hit me on the way home that we were leaving on vacation the following week. What was I thinking! When I got home I left Hannah and Lucca in the car to go assess how unhappy Keith was going to be. Then I had a stroke of genius. I approached him with a, "Honey, please don't kill me, " to which he exclaimed, 'What'd you do, wreck the car?" I happily informed him (to his relief), no I hadn't wrecked the car... but I HAD brought home a dog. I think he was so relieved about the car that he had mercy on me.
Since then we've had time to be glad about my impulsive decision. Lucca is the sweetest little (big) girl. She's obedient, she doesn't chew. She's housebroken.. (except for getting excited when she first sees you and wetting the floor... we're working on that one)... But she is a blessing. And she's beautiful... and she's BIG! Ya'll know how I LOVE big dogs. The bigger the better in my book. The children have been over the moon about Lucca. It's helped ease their pain over Zoe. (Although she will NEVER be replaced!)
So there you have it. The story of our newest family member. Also we looked up the name Lucca online and found out that it is Italian for "Bringer of Life". We'll take that. After the difficult season we've had, and with our moving into this new season, could this be a physical sign of a spiritual truth? That God is bringing us out of the old, comfort-zones and into something new and unexpected.... with a... suddenly!
And Zeke loves her too. Which is fortunate because Nutty is MIA. Lucca came just in time! God's time- not mine (or Keith's :^).


God bless. Kayla

August 2, 2008

Zeke's gone Nutty!


Since Zoe's sad departure from this life this past Monday, Zeke has seemed lost and lonely. Without Zoe at his side, he hasn't bothered getting up to greet us all by himself at the door when we return. He hasn't been as playful or happy. The day after Zoe's death, I was trying to think of something that would cheer him up. While shopping at Target I ventured into the pet aisle and I found my answer... I knew Zeke had to have him. He cost more than the dog toys I usually get, but this one was made by the American Kennel Club so I hoped it had to be strong (we'll find out!). This new answer to Zeke's lonely problem came home with us and Zeke was immediately smitten. We named him Nutty. Of course Nutty the squirrel in no way replaces Zeke's best friend Zoe, but it has given him and us a little joy in our lives this week... Nutty squeaks. Zeke doesn't quite know what to make of that. He squeezes Nutty's tail between his teeth and seems surprised that Nutty cries out. At first this seemed to confuse Zeke. It's hilarious because he starts whining when Nutty squeaks... Like he's worried about him yet he can't help crushing him between his teeth! Now Zeke carries Nutty everywhere. He even insisted on taking him outside with him the other day. I was worried that Nutty would end up in the yard as an unrecognizable bit of mud covered fur like his other former "friends". But when Zeke was done with his business outside, he came scratching on the back door, proudly carrying Nutty in his mouth. He brings him in the chair with him and sits with him between his paws. Yesterday he came into my room looking anxious... He looked around the room, out the back door, in my closet, whining.... It broke my heart. "Are you looking for Zoe?" I asked. He heard Zoe's name and perked up... but then... he stumbled on Nutty... Then his tail started wagging... and he was frisky and happy again. So for now, Nutty is easing some of Zeke's pain... And Zeke's hilarious 'relationship' with Nutty is easing some of ours. And today when I returned home, there was Zeke, all by himself, dancing at the door to greet me! Yay! We're making progress. Here's a photo of Zeke and his new pal- Nutty.

God bless. Kayla

July 29, 2008

Zoe

A happy Zoe.

Zoe and Zeke

Ten years ago, the kids and I moved back to Louisiana to be near family while Keith was deployed for a year to a small atoll in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia. It was a hard time for me and the children, who were missing their daddy. One fateful night we watched "Old Yellar"... a bad mistake if you have emotional children but it was to be one of the best decisions of my life. It made me want a yellar dog! After wiping my tears and grabbing the classifieds I saw an ad that said "yellow lab mix, free to good home" I promptly called. The next day, a most loyal friend entered our lives and forever changed us. We named her Zoe.

Her former owners had found her as a stray who had been hit by a car. They were moving to a new home that didn't allow dogs so they had to let her go. When they cried at releasing her to us, I knew then that we must have someone special on our hands. But not knowing yet if she would work out with my young children, I asked for a trial period with her. One morning a few days later, Max was in the yard playing... When I heard Zoe ferociously barking, I became concerned and rushed outside. I saw her hair standing up on end and she was barking at Max. I thought- this dog is vicious! She's Old Yellar at the END of the movie! I was about to rescue Max and send Zoe packing when Max said, "Mom, there's a snake!" Zoe was standing between Max and a 5 foot long water moccasin! As you can probably guess... She passed her trial. We kept her! And we never regretted it! Since that day, she patiently followed us wherever the Navy led us, eventually coming full circle to her birthplace in Louisiana when Keith retired.

Zoe was the sweetest, most loving, loyal dog you could ever meet. She was a beautiful yellow lab and retriever mix with the softest fur I've ever felt. And did she ever LOVE to be petted! Often laying her head in your lap to make sure you got the point. There was something especially comforting about burying your head in her fur and wrapping your arms around her wide frame. It was just plain "therapetic" to quote Barney Fife. She could fix those beautiful eyes on you and melt the coldest heart...

But this past Monday, July 28th, Zoe passed from this life, leaving our home and family with an empty place. We are all heartbroken and devasted.

Zoe loved everybody she met (except for the UPS man :^) and was a faithful protecter of our home. No wild animal was safe if they were unfortunate enough to venture into Zoe's domain....Possums, stray cats, snakes, coons... Years ago she had a legendary fight with an enormous raccoon. Needless to say... the raccoon lost.
She was full of personality. She is the only dog I ever saw who could actually smile. She usuallly did it when she had done something wrong. If we came home from church and Zoe was smiling, we knew she had gotten into the trash... It was her one vice. If one of us ever put on a baseball cap, Zoe would practically dance. In her mind, this meant she was going for a walk. Even after she got older and couldn't walk as far, the twins would thrill her soul by taking her down the sidewalk on her leash. She didn't ask for much and was easy to please.

Zeke (our German Shepherd) adored her. Zoe tolerated Zeke. He loved to wrestle with her. She usually won but that didn't stop him from trying. If Zeke heard Zoe go outside, he had to be with her. He is lost without her.
Zoe had been relatively healthy throughout her life. A couple of weeks before Haley's wedding I noticed that she seemed weak. She seemed to have trouble getting up and moving around. She was going on 13 years so we knew that she wouldn't be with us a whole lot longer. But I prayed she'd hang on until after the wedding. She seemed to get stronger and to be her old self for a while. Then Monday I noticed that her breathing was labored. I called Keith and he made her an appointment with the vet. She came and laid down in the hall, outside my bedroom door to be near all of us. Hannah and Joseph were concerned for her so Hannah went and got some anointing oil and put it on her head and was praying for her. Suddenly Zoe just looked up and laid her head down and then died. She was where she wanted to be- with the family she loved. She didn't have to be put down by a vet but she died in her favorite place, in her home, near her family. Keith immediately came home from work, so did Max and Haley and Josh rushed over... We all said our goodbyes. There were lots and lots of tears. We then took her out to Cathy and Bill's house in the country and wrapped her in her favorite blanket and buried her there. It was heartbreaking. But we know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose. I don't understand why this had to happen now, when so much is going on in our lives, but I do know that God is good and His ways are higher than our ways. I told the kids that she is waiting for us in our mansion in heaven. Probably getting hair all over the floor and terrorizing the possums... ;^).

Please pray for us, the children especially, they are inconsolable... They will be okay for a while, but then suddenly they will break down. We all do at times. It is very hard. The twins have had Zoe in their lives since they were two years old! We miss her terribly. There is a huge fluffy empty place in our home where Zoe used to be. We don't know how to function without her loving presence in our home. But we will learn.

Also pray for Zeke. He walks around looking for her and whining. She was his closest friend. She was a member of our family and a constant part of our lives for ten years. Our hearts are heavy but God is good.

We are thankful for many things. One being that Haley was still here when she passed on. Haley and Zoe had a special bond. For this to have happened after Haley was in St. Louis would have been very difficult for Haley to bear. Also we are thankful that she was at home with those she loved when she died. And we are thankful that she didn't suffer. Even up until the end, her eyes were peaceful.

Our hearts will heal, but we will NEVER forget our Zoe, aka- Zolene the Possum Queen, Zolanda, Zola Coyola, Zo-Zo or just plain Zo. She was almost human. Heck, she was BETTER than human. We humans could learn some things from dogs like Zoe. As Haley said so rightly, she loved Zoe more than many people she knew. Its because Zoe was ever patient, always loving, forgiving, protective, faithful, loyal, always there. Lord help us be more like that ourselves!

Please pray for us. For non-animal-loving people, it may seem hard to understand, but we are all truly grieving. I know that God will bring us through and it won't always hurt this bad, but until then, we'd appreciate your prayers. His grace IS sufficient!

God bless. Kayla

July 18, 2008

Wedding Pics


A portrait of the bride


Another portrait


Wedding Day: Getting ready

Kent Henry, Josh and Devon

Here comes the bride!

Josh's face as he sees Haley.

Josh sings to his bride!

Max singing "Amazed"

The wedding.

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Ortego!

Hannah and Joseph

Bride and groom's first dance

Bride and Dad's dance.

Then Daddy gets his groove on...

And Daddy-in-law jumps in!

The bride and groom

The wedding party

The bride and groom's parents

Cutting the cake!

Off they go!


Here's some pics of the wedding I wanted to share. Various friends of Haley's posted these on their Myspace. We haven't gotten the photographers photos yet so we were excited to see these... Read my blog below for a blow by blow (probably more than you want to know!:^) of the wedding.... God bless. Kayla

July 15, 2008

The WEDDING!

Joshua singing to his bride...
Warning: long blog ahead!
Whew.... I sit here typing and desperately needing a cup of coffee because I am still so tired. But I will try to gather my thoughts enough to somehow share my thoughts on "The Wedding". Okay, I convinced Hannah to make me a cup so I'm good... I have great kids.... sniff, sniff...

Weddings-some may ask... What's the big deal? Why spend so much time and money and ask for prayer for a ceremony that will last at the most, one hour? I suppose some are definitely overdone... but weddings ARE significant. The one I had the privilege of being heavily involved in this weekend was VERY significant. It is a milestone in the lives of the Johnson and Ortego families. Up there in importance with births and deaths. If you've ever studied covenant, you will see how alot of today's wedding traditions stem from the ancient covenant practices of the Bible. When someone "cut a covenant" with another, they became as one... I will protect you, you will protect me. They often exchanged a gift- a ring, a sword. They often took on each other's names. They became responsible for the other party. A drink from the same cup, a bite of the same food was shared... Covenant. It's what God cut with us beginning with Abraham and completed through the death of His Son on the cross. Except He alone can keep up His end of the bargain perfectly. His life for ours. And our lives belong to Him. He is responsible for us. He is faithful and trustworthy. And He has taught me this through this wedding process... Covenant has become real. Covenant is very significant, even today. And that is what I participated in this past weekend. The public celebration and authentification of a covenant made between a man and a woman- my precious daughter. Two lives becoming one, pledged to each other until death. I was so blessed to be intimately involved in every detail of this covenant celebration (although at times, I thought I might come out of this with a nervous tick as a souvenir...)

Anyway, until I became the "mother of the bride", I was fairly ignorant to the whole wedding process... Back last summer when they first got engaged, I was thinking, 'what's the big deal? We can pull this off without breaking a sweat'. Its amazing how easy things look in the dim future... As the future became the present, panic began to set in. So many details.... Details upon details. Details I never thought of before. Lists became my constant companion. I carried them everywhere. I say 'them', because I had many... Hannah's old math notebook contained most of them. Lists on receipts, Lists on lists.... Details woke me up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.... "Oh what if I hadn't thought of that! What could have happened?" (As if my future grandchildren would be in jeopardy if we forgot serving spoons or ice!) This has been my life for the last several months, but in concentrated doses the last few weeks. We honestly could have never pulled this off without Beverly Ortego, Josh's mom. Poor thing. Usually the mother of the groom gets a bit of a break... Yes, there's the rehearsal dinner, but other than that, she could have technically, ethically, morally sat back and watched me chase my tail with a clear conscience... But no, she jumped in there with me and many times bailed me out. I owe her a lot... If you ever need a kidney or anything Bev, I'm your man! (although I'm a woman... but you catch my drift). With her experience in wedding planning, I was in good hands.

I made some discoveries through this wedding journey... I realized that I am extremely detail oriented. That may be obvious to those who know me, but I guess it wasn't to me. The details nearly were the death of me,. But the details got covered (although often occuring to me at 2 am), they got written down on one of my infernal lists and in the end, they got checked off! (Which is the most satisfying feeling for a OCD like myself).... I discovered that my daughter is very decisive and a confident leader. She knows what she wants and she has her Dad's (cough) stubbornness to not budge on her stand. It was exasperating at times, but in the end, she planned the most beautiful wedding any of us could have forseen. She never waffled on decisions but was confident and sure. I came to admire her strength and to not see her just as my little girl, but as a young woman who is a true leader... I discovered the generosity of the Body of Christ. I can not tell you how many people were involved helping with this wedding. People who didn't know us that well, but who said- I'll just take care of that, don't worry about it. People prepared food, served it, cleaned up. Wow... I discovered the type of friends we have. The Cutrones missed the wedding because they were seeing to it that the Coleman's had all of the help they needed for the reception. The Doucets and Will stayed after everyone had left to help with clean up and delivery back to the church. Stacey and Kirk drove all of the way from Kansas City to be there to help. My oldest friend Carole drove four hours by herself and her two girls to make sure she was there for me. Nicole Brown giving of her time to keep us organized. Scott and Russell straightening up the sanctuary the next morning. Margie getting me a pedicure the week before :^). As Proverbs says- "Many hands make light work". Too many servants to mention here, and I thank them all! I cannot tell you how much that meant to us. People prayed for us. They took this wedding on as their personal prayer project and prayed us through it. My sister and Mom certainly did that. I am in awe of God's grace and mercy and love delivered through human hands. I will be forever grateful..

Now all of these months of planning were leading up to this one moment. The week before I was nervous and busy. I knew that this was Haley's dream. To marry the man of her dreams in a meaningful, God-glorifying, beautiful ceremony with a fun reception. My mother's heart wanted it to be just like that for her. So I started my prayer list early on- My prayers went something like this: "Lord, let the ceremony be special, meaningful, may it be anointed. May You be glorified. May people be touched. Let Haley forever remember it. Let it be beautiful Lord and really represent them and who they are. Cushion mine and Keith's emotions Lord and help us to hold it together and somehow enjoy and cherish the ceremony. Lord, let Kent please wear a suit... (does Kent Henry, Mr. Aloha Shirt, even own one Lord?) Please let the ceremony flow with no problems. Let the reception be fun and let us have enough food! " I guess I made God a list too... He didn't seem to mind. Because He answered every single concern I had (even Kent-who married them- in a suit!). He answered well beyond our imaginations. Again- God teaching us about His covenant faithfulness to us and convicting us of our unbelief , all the while building faith in us...

After the craziness of the week before, we woke up Saturday to a tangible peace. We were being prayed for! Most of the bridesmaids and I got our hair fixed at the beauty shop that morning. We laughed and talked. It was a good way to kill time instead of nervously waiting... When we got to the church, the AC upstairs was not working well. I felt like my makeup was running down my face, but Haley was radiant. We had a small panic when Hannah's dress which had gotten wrinkled in the car would not iron out or steam out. Nothing worked. It just stubbornly resisted all of our attempts. I prayed and finally calmed down... the wrinkles never fell out while we were upstairs, but when she was standing there with the other bridesmaids at the altar, I noticed- no wrinkles. God is good! He really takes care of the details. Another lesson in not panicking but trusting!

I had been concerned because some people didn't get their invitations and others were on vacation... I thought- "poor Haley. Our church is pretty big and I was concerned that it would look empty since (I thought) not may people were going to be there. I didn't want Haley to be discouraged as she walked down the aisle. HA! I think every single person who was invited who lived in the Baton Rouge area (except for a few) were there (and many who weren't showed up!). I was shocked! The middle three rows of the church were completely filled. Another unfounded worry.... Another conviction of -"when will you trust? Haven't I proved faithful in every thing up till now?"

All too soon it was time to come downstairs to begin the ceremony. The time arrived when Josh, his best man Devon, and Kent to go to the front... But ... where was Kent? We looked and looked... Still don't know where he was, but finally, he just appeared. Thank God! Then the ceremony began...The grandparents went down first... I was so proud of our parents. They were all so so excited... they also were pretty good looking to be the grandparents of the bride and groom! I was thrilled for them to meet our friends and church family. They felt very much at home. Then it was my turn. Keith escorted me to the unity candle. And I couldn't work the lighter. Keith' was whispering- "Push that button there... No, push it the other way! NOW pull the trigger. Goood".
Right before Keith escorted me down, he said, "pray for me. I'm feeling very emotional". I said, "Lets try real hard to keep it together for her sake. She might get upset if we're crying". Somehow, we did.

First my Hannah and Joseph walked the aisle. They were precious. I was so proud of them. All grown up. Hannah with her hair fixed and Joseph in his tux. Then the rest of the wedding party... They all looked wonderful. Then it was time- I was to cue the congregation when to stand by standing first. They closed the doors after the last bridesmaid went down. I held my breath and waited a moment and then I stood... so did everyone else..........And there she was. My beautiful daughter. I wish I could have looked two places at once because I desperately wanted to see Josh's face when he first saw her... But I had to look at my baby girl. Her daddy was fighting to hold it together. She was magnificent. Poised, beautiful, full of joy! I finally looked at Josh. He was grinning from ear to ear!

Kent gave a prophetic word about the ministry they'd be going into. Mary and Max sang and the anointing was strong. The father's spoke a blessing over them. Josh sang a song he'd written for Haley... I don't think there was a dry eye in the place. They said their vows and Haley's little voice put a lump in our throats... but we maintained. They went to the Lord's table together and had communion, signifying in a tangible way, the covenant they were making. The part I was the most concerned about losing it was the video that I knew would be played, with pictures of them growing up, during which my son Max was to sing an anointed song about the love of God. I mean- how could we NOT lose it? But miraculously, we did not. I just sat there and thought- "God, look what You've done!" Precious memories of our little girl, now another man's wife, flooded our minds. But gratitude and pure joy filled our hearts... Look how God answered! She was in God's will- what we'd always desired for her. Then they walked down the opposite aisle as man and wife to the song "Canon Rock".. As they descended the stairs, violins and an orchestra played sedately, only to slowly build and merge into a rocking electric guitar solo. A perfect song reflecting Haley and Josh. Wish I would have thought of something like that for our wedding 25 years ago! People's expressions were priceless! lol

The reception was PACKED! My first thought was faith-filled (not!)- "oh my gosh how will we feed all of these people?" But again, the Lord reminded me of His faithfulness throughout. So I let it go. And I believe they were all fed. We did run out of punch, but I hadn't had that on my prayer list. One detail I missed I guess... But I believe it was the most fun reception I'd ever been too. I wasn't able to visit with everyone there much to my regret because of the massive number of people. But it was a blast. I even hit the dance floor... something I said I wouldn't do... Aretha just drew me there like a magnet. Just could NOT' sit still for "R-E-S-P-E-C-T".... Haley said to me, "Whats the world coming to. My mom's in a conga line!" haha. It was a blast... Then it was over. They ran to the car under a cloud of bubbles and were gone...

Now the house is quiet, the busyness has ground to a screeching halt and life goes on... On without Haley's voice heard every day in our house. On with her place empty at the table. Her brothers and sister just sat in her room the other day and tried to soak up her presence somehow. We all miss her. I may fall apart when she leaves for St. Louis in three weeks, but for now, God's grace sustains me. I am just grateful. When your children are in God's will, even if it takes them far away, you can't be completely miserable. And He has shown Himself so faithful and true. It may seem like a silly little thing to some, but He knew how important this wedding being beautiful was to me. Because it was important to my Haley. He truly does care for the details...As concerned as I was for Haley, He was for us as well. That parent love- we both understand.... My faith has grown... and so has my heart. Thank you all for praying. Now as Kent charged us, let's pray for the marriage. They have a good foundation and heritage. God's hand is on them. I am excited to see what He will do in and through them. Just wish I didn't have to watch it from a distance... sniff... but it's going to be okay... I cannot tell you how many people who attended this wedding said that it was the absolute most God-honoring, beautiful wedding they'd ever attended. God is just so good isn't He?!

I'm sure I'm not done with this subject... but this is long enough as it is... More to come... Stay tuned if I haven't detailed you to death.. :^)

God bless,
Kayla

July 13, 2008

Praise God!

The wedding and reception were both perfect.... All of our prayers for it were answered- God was honored, the wedding was meaningful. God was there. The reception was fun. Haley was very satisfied by everything. She and Josh were happy... More on all of that later. But this morning, on The Advocate website I saw this headline below... This happened right down the street from The Woman's Club where the reception was held, probably 30 minutes after we, the last ones, left... So, 'fess up. Who did it! :^). Just kidding. But I must admit before I read the article and had only seen the headline that East Boulevard was involved, my first thought was- oh my goodness we burned the place down! Now, I know Keith and Jack's fancy footwork on the dancefloor was pretty hot, but come on....! :^) What do ya'll think? Maybe....
But all I can say is Thank God! They shut down Government Street during the fire. We'd probably have had to evacuate had it happened earlier in the evening. Wouldn't that have been awful?! I shudder to think! But God knew. He is good! He can be trusted! Wow! Praise God!



Fire destroys 2 buildings on Louisiana Ave.; damages 1 on East Blvd.
An off-duty East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputy driving south in Interstate I-110 spotted the start of a large fire Saturday night that totaled two homes on Louisiana Avenue, damaged another and injured one firefighter who was treated at the scene.
The sheriff’s deputy pulled off the Interstate and called firefighters at 10:21 p.m. to notify them of the blaze, Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesman Howard Ward said.
Firefighters arrived at 980 Louisiana Ave. after the fire had already spread to two other buildings and was endangering another.
A second alarm was called and about 50 firefighters were eventually on scene to battle the blaze, Ward said.
It took about 80 minutes before the fire was completely under control.
Two vacant homes at 974 and 980 Louisiana Ave. were flattened by the fire and an office occupied by real estate appraisers next door at 301 East Blvd. was heavily damaged in the fire.
Government Street was briefly closed while firefighters kept a 5-foot-wide hose stretched across the street to provide water for dousing the flames.
Fire investigators were on the scene trying to determine the cause of the blaze, but Ward said it could take more than one day to do so while they try to determine where the fire originated and what caused it.
One firefighter was injured and treated on scene from exposure to electrical wires.

July 10, 2008

In the home stretch

Hey all,
Just a quick blog to ask for your prayers. As most of you know, Haley's wedding is in two days! We are all very excited and very busy. My heart is full and it is also heavy... This is a bittersweet time for us. Our first born is leaving the nest. Not only to just move out of our home, but to marry and move to St. Louis.... We know that this is God's will and plan for Haley and Josh and we rejoice with them. But please keep me and Keith and Haley's three siblings in prayer during this time. Also keep the Ortegos and their three other children in your prayers as well. Please pray that as we treasure each moment, that our sadness at the ending of one season won't overwhelm our joy at the beginning a new season. I know many have already been praying for us and many have blessed us in many ways- with prayers, with time, with service, with provision. We thank you all from the depths of our hearts. God has truly given us some of the most awesome people in our lives. Its times like these that you really see what is in the heart of your brothers and sisters. And we have seen wonderful things. We thank you. I plan to give a full report next week if I am not in a puddle on the ground Monday morning... :^) God bless you all. Kayla

June 10, 2008

Our Awesome TODAY God!

This is adapted from an excerpt from Beth Moore's "Believing God". I turned it into a prayer and added some to it.

"Father, You are the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, David, Daniel, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John and Paul- and You are mine and my family's God. You are the same yesterday, today and forever. A God so holy, powerful and present that when You revealed yourself to Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah and John, they fell before You like dead men. (Daniel had to be revived and lay as sick for days afterwards, his body was so overwhelmed by Your powerful presence. You are truly awesome and frightening!) You are the magnificent One, full of splendor, beautiful beyond comprehension. You are The I Am That I AM through every generation (that means THIS ONE too!). Whoever You were, You still are! Whoever You were to these 'heroes' of the Bible, You are to me, to us! Help us to believe. Forgive our unbelief and increase our faith. Increase our knowledge of You. Help us to start taking You up on Your 'Godness'. When we have no idea what to believe You for in any given situation, may we believe You to be huge! Come Holy God and be Yourself! In our lives and in our circumstances. Come be God! Thank You for being our powerful God, yet for loving us so tenderly and personally. In Jesus name, Amen."

June 6, 2008

Bearing The Bearable...


Ever felt like you've been a target of the 'accuser of the brethren'? I have felt like I've had a big red target on my back today and the accuser has had me in his rifle's scope.

Usually if there's a question of blame, even if I was a million miles away from the incident, I will feel a twinge of guilt. If a policeman pulls up behind me in traffic, even if I'm below the speed limit, I start to get nervous and to feel guilty. So the enemy knows how to get me. As a child, I was very mischievous and mouthy and curious... I got into a lot of scrapes. I was truly often to 'blame'. But also, almost as often, I was not. However, it became a pattern in my life to be the scapegoat. As a 'mature' adult I've found that I carry that with me. I am hyper-sensitive to blame. Even in normal relational arguments that are bound to come, if blame is ever leveled at me (even if deserved), I usually cannot handle it. But God has been healing me of this and working in my heart... I'm not there yet but I am seeing improvement.

Today I was blamed for something that I was innocent of. Just to be able to say those words- "I was innocent" is a breakthrough for me. Where some people can never be wrong, (even when they are obviously so), I'm just the opposite. I almost jump up and volunteer to take the blame! But not today! God helped me. A distant relative got offended with me. She didn't "believe the best" of me as 1 Corinthians 13 says love does. This has been an unfortunate mainstay in my life. Not having people believe the best about me is a familiar event. I seem to invite it somehow. Not intentionally. I believe when there's a stronghold, there must be some sort of a spiritual flag we wave that invites further wounds and proofs of the lies built within. For example- a person who struggles with rejection seems to invite it and find themselves in situations of rejection... I feel that way with the accuser of the brethren. He knows my name. He has my address. He is my frequent unwanted guest. But today when he came knocking, he got a door slammed in his face. Today I did not take the blame. Today, my conscience was clear as I calmly explained the situation to my accuser (we battle not against flesh and blood and I know who was behind my relative's accusations). My explanation was rejected. She was not seeking understanding. She was seeking to blame and accuse because of her own wounded heart. Ever notice how wounded people will often project an old emotion on a new unrelated situation and form a false conclusion?  But today she was seeking to lay blame on me. But I did not bite the bait. Not today. Thankfully I was coming out of my quiet time in the presence of God when she called. He kept me focused and my words gracious yet uncompromising. I am thankful. I was not manipulated. Praise God.

Sometimes you don't know that God has done something in your life until you face a situation and you surprise yourself. I know that this battle isn't over. The battle isn't with a person, it is with the enemy of my soul. I love my relative and God gave me compassion. This one is very important to me. It grieves me to be misunderstood by her, but I also know that sometimes life isn't fair and we are blamed unjustly. Sometimes, you can have pure intentions and a clean heart and still be blamed. And sometimes there's not one thing you can do about it. This is where I'm learning to trust. To present my heart to God and to let Him take care of me and the situation. To not take matters in my own hands. To not try to 'fix' something that I did not cause. To not try to take the blame in order to get man's approval. To not let my past shame make me susceptible to manipulation and blame. For the first time in my life I can honestly say- I am being blamed, yet my conscience is clear. I pray for the relative to have illumination and to let God deal with her heart. I love her dearly, but I will not take what is not mine to carry. I have done that my entire life. God is teaching me to give it to Him.

One of my favorite verses:
Matt. 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

The cloak of shame/blame is heavy. It's like a lead vest put on us by the accuser of our souls. But thank God, we are not meant to wear it. We take on so much that's not ours to take on. I'm seeing that in so many areas of my life and relationships. We do have responsibility, but how much or our burnout and stress is caused by taking on burdens not meant for us to bear? Or for still carrying shame that's already under the blood... There's grace to bear what IS ours to bear. Jesus promises that His burden is not unbearable. Accusation, shame, blame, sin- these are unbearable.

Ever feel overwhelmed? Are you bearing something you're not intended by God to bear? I believe the scripture about taking up our cross and following Him means something different for each one of us. My "cross" and yours will both mean sacrifice, but it's application will be specific to me and to you... BUT it is bearable for me. My cross, my yoke may be unbearable for you. And yours may be unbearable for me. But our own yoke is custom fit for each of us. Let's ask God to show us what we are meant to bear and not bear what isn't ours. For people pleasers like me it may mean saying, "no" or learning to confront, or not bearing the blame of something that isn't mine to bear. Yours will be different, but whatever it is, it will be bearable, and we'll share the burden with the One who loves us more tenderly than the most loving human we know. He really can be trusted folks. "Oh taste and see that the Lord IS good!"

God bless. Kayla

May 11, 2008

My Random Ramblings....

Happy Mother's Day!
Just wanted to wish all of the Moms out there a Happy Mother's Day. Also, I am sorry I've not posted anything in a long time. It's a very busy season in our lives with Haley's impending wedding... So I probably won't be doing a lot of blogging until after July. However, stay tuned and I might surprise ya'll (and myself)...

But while I'm here- a quick update... I've been doing a Beth Moore Bible Study every Thursday morning called "Believing God" which is seriously changing my life. I didn't realize how little I believed. It's not a condemning revelation but an encouragment. I am beginning to believe God for things I never have dared to before. It's exciting and kind of scary!

We just returned from our hometown for Keith's mom's birthday and also for Mother's Day. We left there this morning so part of the day could be spent here in Baton Rouge at our home... It was overall a nice visit, but I felt emotional. Have been fighting the tears all weekend long and I'm not sure why. Probably a combination of: realizing this is my last Mother's Day with Haley, feeling sorry for myself having to spend most of Mother's Day on the road (yeah, I know, I'm a big baby), hormones, watching "Father of The Bride" (dumb move when you're hormonal and sentimental), trying to lose weight to fit into my mother-of-the-bride dress but really craving cake, and just feeling hit with all of the changes life brings and wanting things to stay the same. Sigh.

About that- Keith's parents just moved into a brand new house they built in a new subdivision. They've only been in it a few short weeks. There's only two houses inhabited in the subdivision right now and lots of construction and empty dirt lots. But their charming little house sits in the middle of the vacant construction site on an island of green with blooming landscaping. For as long as I can remember, they have lived in the same white house on the outskirts of our hometown, on a tree covered hill. The house was built over 30 years ago, so it's a bit dated and not with the most fluid floor plan (houses of that era were very compartmentalized; not open and airy like houses are built today). But it's been really hard for us to accept their move to town. I'm a country girl so I just can't understand why anyone would choose to leave the homey, privacy of a tree covered hill for an impersonal subdivision. But I think our reservations run deeper. Perhaps our unreasonably strong feelings are because of Keith's years in the Navy. There was something special about leaving a foreign duty station and heading to that particular rural address that represented to us that four letter word "home". We moved every three years. We knew when we arrived at a new duty station to hold everything loosely- don't get too attached or put your roots down too deep. Despite this, we made some lasting friendships and got plugged into some incredible churches during each short three year duty station. But we always knew at each place, that our time was short. Not everyone understands this lifestyle, but it was normal for us and our children for 20 years. It probably has a lot to do with why we are so close as a family. I'm thankful for it and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. But despite the many blessings of this life we led, I'm now realizing that we lacked something that most people take for granted- a permanent geographical location called... "home". We made the most of it and home became where we were, but when people asked- "where's home for you?" We never hesitated to point to that white house on Farmerville Highway as the place where we belonged.... When I first heard they were thinking of moving, something like panic hit me. I thought- what are they thinking? They can't do this to us! Selfish- I know.

Now that Keith is retired, we live only four hours away from our old hometown. Keith's parents and siblings live there and so does my Dad and stepmom. Keith has many great memories of our hometown. I don't have as many. It was, for me. during my regret-filled younger years, the geographical location of where I experienced my deepest wounds, worst bondages and furthermost strayings. God's done a lot in me, but often, this place has been a painful reminder of what was, and yet also a gratitude-filled reminder of what IS. (praise God!) Yet despite my frequent lack of warm fuzzies about our hometown, it's more often than not, the place we run to. I was actually surprised at my strong negative reaction to their moving from the white house. Why should I care? But I reasoned- Where would the kids play? It was grandchild paradise, with trees to climb, forts to build, and woods to explore... There were so many good memories of our children there. They too, had called it "home". What would they do now? But it's done. The white house is still in the family and it's been beautifully remodeled... but it's not home anymore. Plus our kids are getting older and are now more interested in Xbox than treehouses. So I suppose it makes some sort of sense. And the new house is beautiful- open and tastefully decorated. It sits on a small lot- no woods to explore or trees to climb, the house is smaller than the white house, yet it is laid out well so it doesn't seem crowded... But it is very nice. And most important- Grandmom and Grandad are there. They are so happy and proud of it. They are getting older and didn't want to have to keep up the older house and huge yard. I do understand that. We come only a few times a year and they live there every day. So they ought to know more than me, where they are better off living. But I admit, it just seems weird... However, life moves on. I guess I'm just not one of those who handles it's changes that well. But in this unstable life, it's just been nice while it lasted, to have had that one little place on earth where time seemed to stand still. But it'd be selfish for me to want sameness for my own temporal security, sentimentality and comfort and to deny them this joy. I guess I'll sort it out and move on as I always do. But bottom line- this leads me back to my Bible study on faith- where does my security lie? In a white house on a hill and all it represents? Does my security lie in people who change, leave or die? Or does it lie in my immoveable God who never changes or leaves? He is truly that one secure unchanging place to run to. There is no other.

I guess maybe normally it wouldn't be such a big deal except that so much in my life is about to change and I'm desperately clinging to all sense of sameness- My firstborn is about to leave our nest forever when she gets married in about 8 weeks. She can't wait and I completely understand this. It's right and the way life progresses. Seems like yesterday that I remember her crying in her room, worried that in so many years she'd be twenty and she never wanted to grow up. :^) Life comes at you fast, doesn't it? My sister keeps telling me 'Kayla, it hasn't hit you yet that she's getting married." She's right. Maybe these little emotional bursts I am having are like a smoldering volcano letting off little spurts of steam to relieve the pressure before it blows. Heavens I hope not! I don't want to blow! Especially during the wedding! (I can see you all at the wedding, staring at me worriedly whispering- Is she about to blow? Should we clear the church exits? :^) Heaven knows, this is taking enough planning and finances... I don't want to wig out on her special day (pray that I don't, please!!!!!!!!) I have no clue how I'll handle the big reveal... When I finally "get it" that... Haley's not here anymore... Stay tuned. Your guess is as good as mine when it will hit me and how I'll handle it! Keep me in prayer. I've never had to deal with this sort of thing before.... So I have no blueprint to follow. But I know change is part of the circle of life. I have got to stop desiring the wheel to halt and stay at a certain place. That's not normal or healthy. I have to afford her the same pleasure that I was given when I left home, became a wife, a mother, and an adult (still working on that last one).To deny her these joys would be wrong... and selfish. Hmmm. There that word is again! Selfish... There's more to this that I need to explore.

Okay, so this ended up not being the quick update I envisioned afterall! I guess I needed to vent. Perhaps this will help some of the steam escape and keep this volcano 'dormant' and not 'active'. Whatever works!

If anybody still checks this thing, I'm sure you were tired of seeing Oprah's blurry face from my last blog....Hope this helped wipe that image from your mind.

I'm not sure when I'll blog again... but since this was so "therapetic" (to quote Barney Fife) I may do this again soon.... Anyway, once more- Happy Mother's Day and let me hear from you... God bless. And thanks for listening! Kayla

February 22, 2008

Unmoveable



We're leaving in a couple of hours to go to our hometown to celebrate Keith's parents 50th wedding anniversary. This year, they made 50, we'll make 25 and Haley and Josh will get married. Kind of neat how it worked out that way...

I've been praying a certain way lately and I wanted to jot these things down before I go out of town this weekend...

What is the heart of the matter? So often I struggle with things... circumstances, people... and I feel the Lord is asking me... what is the true nature of my struggle? Is it really the person? Is it really the circumstance? Yes, people disappoint and circumstances may hit us square in the face and be truly tragic but I think what the Lord is getting at with me is, what is my response? A lot of times, the anger,the doubt, the fear or the frustration that rises up in me point to deeper issues in my heart. Like- do I really trust Him? Do I really believe that His ways are higher and better? Do I really beleive that He loves me? I am realizing that although the Lord does hear our cries for help and He delights in rescuing us from situations, He still is most interested in our heart... I beleive that's why He allows difficult situations in our lives... So often we think- if only this situation would resolve itself or this person would act right I'd be happy... Would we really? It's time to quit blaming and to start examining our own hearts where the real problem lies...

I've seen so much tragedy lately and I think- Lord, keep our eyes on eternity, on Your Kingdom and purpose and glory. May we live for eternity and not for the moment. I want to be rooted and grounded, trusting in Him... so no matter what comes my way, I won't be tossed to and fro by circumstances and people's opinions.. I don't want to be up one day and down another... I want to be unmoveable, steady, grounded, settled... in Him.

Jeremiah 17
5 This is what the LORD says: Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."


Matthew 13 says:
18"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:....22The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. (faith) He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

Ephesians 3 says
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

That's all for now. Ya'll have a blessed weekend. Kayla

January 29, 2008

Whose Measuring Stick?



Here's something simple that the Lord put on my heart the other day...

Whose measuring stick are you measuring yourself with?

Are we measuring ourself (and others) with the world's measuring stick, or with God's measuring stick, according to His word?

So often we tend to look at our lives and feel like failures... Or I suppose some people might look at their lives and feel like a success... But the question rolling around in my head is... What is God's definition of success? What is God's definition of failure?

Even as Christians, I believe we have too often adopted a worldly perspective and even have allowed it into the Church... You have the Christian "celebrities" who grace the covers of Christian magazines, some deservedly so, but what does God think? How does He view this? I am not going to pretend to have the inside track on this, but it does cause me to look at what (and who) I tend to admire and to question it...

I think when we get to heaven, we're going to be in for some surprises... I read this in the New Living Translation this morning....

In Matthew 19:30 Jesus says about the Kingdom of God...

"But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then , and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then."

When this life is history and eternity is now, how many big name ministers devoid of their bodyguards and entourage will be seated at the lowest place, while seated at the seat of honor will be the little old lady who sat in the back of the church, who received no fanfare when she entered the house of God, who prayed diligently for that big name minister and for the people of God and who served faithfully behind the scenes, where no one saw........but Him. Which of our works will be considered wood, hay and stubble and will be burned up... and what will be considered gold? I believe the wood, hay and stubble vs. the gold, silver and precious stones represent the heart's motive behind the works.

Again- the world's measuring stick vs. God's measuring stick...

But on the other side of this same coin- How does our heavenly Father view us? What does His word say? We may not have much of what the world values... money, prestige, fame- but are we known in heaven? And in hell?

When the seven sons of Sceva were casting out demons "in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches", the demons answered "Jesus, we know and Paul we know about, but who are you?!" and then promptly proceeded to jump on them and give them a good thrashing... (I always felt sorry for these poor dudes)... I digress....But Paul was known! In heaven AND in hell! Whoa! He was not a rich man, or a movie star, but he was great in God's sight! How are we viewed in heaven? I have to remind myself constantly... man's vote doesn't count in heaven... Only God's does! And guess what? He LOVES us and sent His Son to die for us. We are valuable enough to Him to warrant the precious blood of His Son!

As I was reading in Exodus for the hundredth time, the account of Moses being called, I saw something I'd never seen before... Moses obviously knew he was called... Although he'd been raised as a man of privilege in Pharaoh's own house, somehow he knew he was meant to deliver the children of Israel. But he went out on his own to try to help his fellow Israelites... When he saw one of the Hebrews being beaten by an Egyptian, he killed the Egyptian... The next day he saw two Hebrews fighting and he tried to correct his fellow Hebrews... but their response to him was, "Who do you think you are?" and they proceeded to tell him that they knew about him killing the Egyptian and then Pharoah found out and yada yada yada, he fled to Midian where he hid out for 40 years, watching another man's sheep... A far cry from the favored prince of Egypt! Very humbling. In the world's eyes he looked like a failure. In his own eyes he viewed himself as a failure because when the Lord called to him from the burning bush... guess what his response was? It was the same basic questioning of his value that was used on him years before by his unappreciative kinsmen- He said, "Who am I Lord to appear before Pharoah?" Later after the Lord finally convinced him to go to Pharoah and he reluctantly came before him to present his request, guess what Pharoah's initial response to him was? "Who do you think you are?" Moses' fellow Israelites, himself and Pharoah all measured him with one measuring stick... but God measured him with another...

"Who do you think you are Moses?" Wow. So it's not just us whom the enemy torments year after year with the same lies! We are in good company! But thank God we don't have to be limited and hindered by the enemy's lies about our worth and the true measurement of who we are!

Obviously God's measurement of Moses was different than man's... For later on it says that God thought of Moses as His friend and spoke to him face to face!

When Gideon was threshing wheat in the basement for fear of the Midianites, the angel of the Lord greeted him this way,“Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!.. Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”” To which Gideon replied,“how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” Again- the Lord obviously used a different stick...

God chose David, the youngest of his brothers, whom his father didn't bother to mention when asked by Samuel about his sons. God made the clear distinction that He measured differently than man...

And the Bible is full of such examples...

So how are we measuring our life and ourselves? Whose measuring stick are we using?

The Bible says for us to find out what pleases God. If we do, we will find it to be far different from what pleases the world... One look at the broken lives mocked in the entertainment section of the news, will show us the legacy of those pursuing the wrong system... A measurement system that may seem right for a while, but in the end will come up short in eternity!

I for one want to use the right measuring stick!

God bless! Kayla

January 27, 2008

Dreams...

I have been dreaming a lot lately. I don't tend to get 'words from the Lord' like my husband does, and I can count on one hand the number of visions I have had, but I am a dreamer... I dream a lot. Now some dreams are just plain silly, but on occasion I will dream something that gets my attention... or I will wake up with a phrase that I know didn't come from my brain. Very often my dreams are from the Lord... Anyway, I wanted to share a couple of these recent dreams with you. Would enjoy any feedback...

The first one was this past week: I dreamed that we were coming to church. We were on time, not early or late. Anyway, as we walked into the building, we could hardly move because there were so many people. People were everywhere! If I were to turn around to go out I couldn't have done it because of the crowds of people streaming in. Like at a football game or the stores the day after Thanksgiving.:^) People were even streaming in from the church across the street! Goodwood Boulevard was nearly blocked by the people (on foot) coming in... They were lined up. Of course when we got inside to go to "our pew", ;^), it was already taken. There were people with Bibles, papers and coats laid down to save seats. We were so surprised- like, "what is gonig on?" So since the church was so full, we went up in the balcony to sit. As we were up there, I thought about how George used to sit up there and I looked back at where he used to sit... and that was the end of the dream...

Then last night I dreamed about my nephew Billy (my sister Cathy's son). For those of you who don't know, Billy is autistic and almost completely non-verbal except for parroting what you say to him. I dreamed that our family and my sister's family were about to go somewhere- I think church... Billy began to get a bit fussy and my sister decided they didn't need to go wherever it was we were going. I asked her to give me a minute with Billy. I went in there and started talking to him. And he began to smile and to talk to me back. We just sat there and held hands and carried on a conversation. I wish I could remember what we talked about. Then we began to sing together. We were having a great time... He was very happy, very peaceful and normal. He wasn't "stimming" like he does, but was completely aware, looking me in the eye, talking to me (not parroting), and acting almost like a normal boy his age.... Then I left and went to wherever I was going and then that was all to that dream...

As I was waking up, this phrase kept going through my mind... "Supernatural Sabotage"! "Supernatural Sabotage!" I woke up wondering... is that a good thing or a bad thing? I kind of felt like a good thing. Like the Lord sabotaging the evil plans of the enemy. Since I didn't know, I prayed all morning for the Lord to sabotage the assignments of the enemy, and that the enemy would not be allowed to sabotage the plans and people of God... Anyway, I'm not sure if that had to do with Billy or not, but I prayed for him as well... Lord bring justice for Billy and his family!

I looked up the word "sabotage" in the thesaurus and one of the words that came up was "undermining"...
The Lord led me to this scripture that talked about false prophets in the Body of Christ. I thought about the "feel good Gospel" that is so prevalent these days in the western church... How so many are saying , "peace, peace" when God is calling us to repentance...

Ezekial 13: 10 " 'Because they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, "Where is the whitewash you covered it with?"
13 " 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it [
b] falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD. 15 So I will spend my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, "The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD." '

God raise up righteousness and expose wickedness... beginning in our own hearts!

Let's stay alert and aware. I prayed this morning that the Lord would alert the watchmen and call the intercessors to pray this through if it is a call from Him.

Here are some scriptures I found that go along with the thought of the enemy having evil plans for us and the Lord sabotaging them for His people's sake.

Ps.35:7-9
7 Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me,
8 may ruin overtake them by surprise— may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.
9 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation.


Ps. 57:6
6 They spread a net for my feet— I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path—but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah

Ps. 141: 9-19
9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.


Pr. 26: 24-28
24 A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit.
25 Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart.
26 His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.


Encouraging! But we need to be watchful and not unaware of the enemy's schemes! For our God is bigger... and He loves us!!!
God bless you all. Kayla

January 22, 2008

Majoring on the Majors!

I heard Jason Upton interviewed on God TV. Something he said has been sticking with me... He was asked something like, what advice would he give young Christians... (and I guess this would apply to "old" Christians too :^)... Now for those of you who are familiar with Jason Upton, you know that his music and worship style is anything but traditional... He is my alltime favorite worship leader. I guess because he is so real, and so unaffected by trends and the opinions of man. He just gets out there and worships his heart out and might be seen by the mainstream as "different". He definitely is what I'd call "deep". So much so that he's sometimes over my head... but his music always touches my heart and I believe it also touches the heart of God.... So when he was asked this question I was very curious how he'd answer... I figured it'd be something deep and mysterious... but actually what he said surprised me. He (basically) said that there are so many mysteries in the Bible that are meant to remain mysteries... and so often we cause divisions over these mysteries when we don't even know for sure what they mean... denominations are often formed because of them... But there are so many things that are NOT mysteries in the Bible. Things that Jesus was very clear about and are not the least bit mysterious. Things we are to obey and yet we often ignore... We need to go back to the Sermon on the Mount and learn how to live the Christian life and not get caught up in all these controversies... " I thought this was good advice! And this "old" Christian is going to take it!

It's weird but right around the time the Lord began to speak to me about this, I had a dream. In the dream someone in the church called the church and was complaining about some really insignificant thing and making a huge fuss about it. (I think it had to do with the Christian flag that was displayed in the sanctuary or a banner or something) and I said by the Spirit, "we need to quit majoring on the minors and start majoring on the majors". Nothing so eloquent that you'd frame it or make it into a refrigerator magnet but I think that in it's simple way, it is profound. And I am seeking to do just that.

Not that we ignore the mysteries in the Bible... Proverbs 25:2 says, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings." But I think all too often we spend more time searching out the mysteries and ignoring the obvious!

At the Onething conference I just attended at New Years, Mike Bickle taught on the Sermon on The Mount. He called it the "constitution of the Christian faith", the "core values of the Kingdom", the "litmus test to measure our success in this life". He said that our foundational calling is not ministry but to live out the Sermon on the Mount.

It's about our relationship with God and how that is lived out in our daily life. That is our "internal calling". Our "external calling" is our assignment while here on earth. We spend way too much time worrying about that and neglecting our "internal calling" to love God, to have a relationship with Him and to be a faithful disciple of Him. If we make this our main focus, we will fulfill our "external calling".

Our time on this earth is our internship for eternity. We will not be floating around on a cloud playing a harp. We will rule and reign with Christ. We will have assignments then. We need to not content ourselves just to "make it" to heaven but to live our life here on this earth for Him and HIs Kingdom's purpose. If we do, we will be rewarded in eternity. I know we are tempted to think that that sounds kind of selfish to think of eternal rewards. But the Lord talks about it in the Bible. He wanted us to know about it because it was important to Him, so it should be important to us as well...

It doesn't matter if others think we're successful or dedicated...they don't get a vote! It only matters what the Lord thinks. He's not going to judge us on the size of our ministry but on our relationship with Him, our heart of fascination with Him.

I for one was challenged with this. I admit that in the past I have sort of skimmed through the Gospels and although I could quote lots of Jesus's words since childhood, I didn't give them enough thought... but I am going back and re-examining them with new eyes... It's now like "Wow, Jesus actually said that!"

So I want to invite you to join me in re-rexamining Jesus's words, especially in the Sermon on the Mount. I don't want to just know it, I want to live it. That's a tall order, but the Lord doesn't instruct us without equipping us.

God bless... Kayla

January 7, 2008

Go LSU!

LSU- National Champs!!!!!





GO LSU!!!!!! There's some celebrating going on at my house tonight!!! Yay!!!!



video