Saturday Snap Shots

Hello, everybody! This week I wanted to share a few photos of our trip to Arkansas.

A view from the Mountain Tower in Hot Springs. I had never been there before!! The view was cloudy, and there were puffs of pollen constantly floating up from the pine trees. My sinuses thanked me for staying inside the enclosure!! 🙂
This is where Terry and I lived in Hot Springs…307 Richard Street. The house used to be a medium blue color, and the yard wasn’t so full of plant life. I think it’s too crowded looking, but maybe that’s just me.
Here’s Nana and the grandkids!! Oh yeah, and me too!

Lauren and Mitchell at the Mid-America Science Museum. The machine in the background was on display here when I was a youngster. It brought back memories.
This is a 500 lb. Quartz!
It was mined in Jessieville, Arkansas. This is the small town where my Mom used to be the Elementary Special Ed. teacher, and later the Elementary Principal. How neat!
This is little waterfall at the science museum. Arkansas does have lots of natural beauty.
The Sunday after we returned home, the church surprised Terry with this cake and a love offering for his 30th birthday! It was so thoughtful of them!

Here’s Terry cutting his cake. (I’m talking in the background…as usual!! :] )Laci was trying to write like Daddy and Leslie. I thought it was sweet.Here it really does look like she’s writing, but the pen isn’t out so she can’t really make marks. Didn’t seem to bother her though! *sigh* Children are such a joy!
I best get back to packing. See you Monday, everyone!

Lauren’s Prayers Are Answered!

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the day when I could make this important announcement. Terry has resigned as Pastor here at Northside Baptist Church and has accepted the pastorate of Grace Baptist Church in Hope, Arkansas. We are taking a church that not only has children, but teenagers as well! Lauren’s prayers have been answered! That’s right, God heard, and indeed answered, an eight year old girl’s prayers! What a mighty God we serve, and how wonderful He is to us!
We usually take our annual trip to Arkansas around the first part of May, but when Terry was asked to preach in view of a call in Hope on April 20th, we moved our vacation up a wee bit.We were not looking for a place to go. In fact, the Lord has really been blessing our work here – oh, not by giving us huge numbers or large offerings, but in baby steps. Here a little, there a little. We have been anticipating great things in 2008 – and trust me, a move was not one of them. Here are a few interesting things about all of this that really meant nothing until we received the call to Grace Baptist Church:
1. As stated before, we were not looking to leave. This was all done in God’s timing. An evangelist friend felt he should put our name in at this church, and it was of the Lord. They phoned Terry on April 2nd, and he drove to Hope to meet them on April 4th. They asked him to preach on April 20th. He preached there and we were called, unanimously, on April 27, 2008. That can only be the Lord!
2. We have had a real peace that God would bless our efforts to serve Him here, even when the battles were great. I’ve been using Hebrews 11:6 as my strength. It says: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Again, I was expecting the rewards to be given here in Burnet, but God had other plans.
3. We did not notice until after we were asked to go in view of a call that the stationary Terry had printed (at a costly amount) back in February did not have his name as Pastor on it! He did not do this intentionally, but I do not believe it was a coincidence. The church can continue to use this stationary after we are gone.
4. We are almost through with school for the year. This is a blessing! The children will not be uprooted from a school and friends because we home school…another benefit.
5. Terry had just discontinued our website ( in mid March! (Although, as of now, it may still be going.) He simply felt he should end it. Again, it was of the Lord.
6. I have been unable to decide what theme to go with for a Mother/Daughter banquet. The Lord seemed silent on this subject, so I had decided to not have one this year.
7. I had just discontinued my monthly ladies newsletter due to financial and time constraints.
None of the above seemed very extraordinary at the time, but now, it seems clear it was God guiding us all along the way.

We make our move on May 15th! Grace Baptist Church is full of loving people. We had a feeling of being at home from the moment we walked through the door. The thought of packing and moving doesn’t exactly thrill me, but at least I’ve got experience. :o) This will be my 8th move in 10 years of marriage. Yes, please pray for me.The church has a parsonage. I am unsure of the address as of this time, but I’ll be posting my new information soon.
I praise the Lord for the success He’s granted us here at Northside. We have not accrued any debt in the church’s name. We have not seen the church split over something minute. We have seen souls saved on soul winning, and one saved in church. We have conducted a successful VBS (with only a few workers) and saw 7 girls saved. We’ve held Bible Institute classes, and a Ladies Bible Study. We have started Super Church. We have taken on five new missionaries for a total of 14. We have done a lot of work on the church building and parsonage. We are thankful to be able to say that we are leaving it better than we found it.
It will not be easy to say goodbye. We are dreading it. Please pray for us, the people here, and for the church to find a pastor quickly.I suppose my “Life in the Hill Country” is about to come to a close. I’m thankful that my life hasn’t yet! :o) I am not sure if we will have Internet access in Hope. If so, I’ll be starting a new blog. If not, well, I guess this will be it for a while.
Thanks for staying with me, guys. I hope we can keep in touch. Until then, I’ll be keeping you posted on the joys of packing, moving and starting over…again!

Arkansas is Calling My Name

Yes, it’s that time of year again! The changing of the seasons is barely noticeable here in Texas. Things look browner in winter and greener in spring, but that’s about it. The weather is slowly getting warmer, and in winter it will slowly get cooler. With every changing season, I suppose I long for home! Not just the natural beauty of the natural state, but home. You know, seeing the smiling face of my Mom and enjoying the flood of happy memories that wrap their arms around me as I cross that threshold on 2811 Karen Street in Benton. My childhood greets me as I walk through the garage and remember coasting in on my bike and hopping off for a cold drink. And it just gets better as I enter the kitchen, the den, and of course, my room! It’s as though I never grew up. (Okay, no comments please about my not having grown up in reality!)
Terry also longs for good ol’ Arkansas. He loves fishing in the Saline River. He has decided this would be a good time of year to visit the River once again. We are all heading out on Saturday, April 19th, for home sweet home.
I can feel Arkansas, or home, calling my name. The Lord is graciously allowing me to answer!
Please pray for us as we travel. We’ve had another smaller bout with a stomach virus. I am praying we’ll all be 100% for the trip on Saturday. We’ll be coming home on Friday, April 25th. I’ll be posting that day for sure. A very special guy has a birthday that day!! I’ll give you a hint, he’s the one who’s wanting to go fishing in Arkansas. Yep, Terry will be the big 3-0 on Friday the 25th.
Thanks for your prayers and friendship.
See you tomorrow!!

My Home was a Haven

I remember my turbulent teen years like they were yesterday. If you didn’t go through some rough, emotional times as a teen then I’d like to shake your hand. I think most of us had a hard time being a teenager. The age between childhood and adulthood is difficult. As you near the “big” age of 18, the pressure just increases. “What will you do with the rest of your life?” Everyone seems to ask. If you do have an idea of what you want to do, chances are it won’t work out exactly as you have in mind. That’s life.
If I did anything right as a teen, it was having a good relationship with the Lord, and with my parents. Oh, I put them through a lot of late night talks and some tears, but we loved each other. I knew it, and I hope they knew it too. I had plans to marry a certain someone. He turned out to be a fake and a liar. I just want to say “Thank you Lord for not letting me get involved with that guy forever!” It was hard to let go of him, because I had those afore- mentioned plans. I did it though, because I knew the Lord didn’t want me to be with him, and I knew my parents didn’t.
After the break up, I just wanted to be away from everybody. All my close friends were either married or engaged. I didn’t fit in anywhere…anywhere except home.
Mom and Dad were always there. Steadfast in their Bibles (Dad would often read it aloud while Mom fixed her hair for work). Steadfast in their zeal for the Lord – they were genuine, faithful Christians. They were steadfast in their soul winning efforts. They both made telling the lost about the Lord a high priority. They were steadfast in their love for each other. Oh, they had a disagreement or two…who doesn’t? But I never feared my Dad and Mom getting a divorce. I knew they loved each other. They were steadfast in their love for me. When this guy was gone, they were there. When my friends moved away, they were there. When I eventually moved away, they were still there if I needed them. I got phone calls, letters, cards and most of all, I knew they were praying daily for me.
My home was a haven. When I broke up with that guy, I stopped going to Taco Bell after church. (Our local church hang out) I went home and enjoyed a Subway sandwich with Mom and Dad and all the love a girl could need. I hope and pray that my home is a haven for my family. I don’t want a home that is full of strife, or hatred. I want people to feel our love for each other the minute they walk in the door.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for making my home a haven.

There’s No Place Like Home….

First of all, thank you so much for praying for our heat to be fixed. It was repaired yesterday at about 10:30 and the minute that heat started blowing we rejoiced! Thank you to Bro. Scotty Bristow for coming over and repairing it for us. Also, my thumb is so much better! I can’t believe it is already doing so much better. I appreciate your prayers so much.

I had such a good time during my last trip to Arkansas for the Thanksgiving holiday.Here’s Janet Drive, the street on the side of our house. It was so lovely to see the falling leaves!! It’s something we don’t see down here in autumn. We have the Live Oak trees here and, oddly enough, they lose their leaves in the spring! I couldn’t resist snapping the photo below. It’s kind of relaxing, don’t ya think?

Here is my nephew, Andrew. He is holding, well, trying to hold Laci! Melanie’s boys loved her so much!
Here is David Allen, Melanie’s oldest boy with Laci.
The three Musketeers! L-R: David Allen, Mitchell and Andrew
Here I am with the three little ones. L-R: Leslie, Laci and Stephen
My Mom bought new pajamas for the grandkids. These five here spent the night at Mom’s house on pallets on the floor(For you Andy lovers out there, they called it “adventure sleeping”). Terry and I and the little girls stayed at a motel. Lauren was the only girl, so she didn’t get Spiderman PJ’s! She loved her penguin pajamas though! They all had a blast!
Here’s the whole gang: L-R: David Allen, Andrew, Stephen, Lauren, Mitchell and Leslie (who’s trying unsuccessfully to hide. She’s the shy one.)
A proud Aunt! Here I am with the cutest clan in the world! Okay, I’m a little prejudiced! :o)
Leslie was a busy girl during our trip. She was always trying to fold blankets, or help Mom fold towels. She also enjoyed coloring! Her baby doll Lucy is beside her. Lucy has seen better days, as you can see!
Stephen, Melanie’s youngest boy, just adored Laci! He kept asking her if they could have Laci for Christmas! He would come up to me and say “Valry, I love your baby!” and then give her and me some kisses! He’s a sweetie! He was such a good “babysitter”. He kept Laci happy so I could visit with my Mom and Melanie.
The kids had so much fun together. Uncle Walter took all the older ones to the park three times, and the weather was nice enough for them to play outside.
Here’s one of my three sweet nephews! I sure miss him, and the whole family.
David Allen and Mitchell had matching Spiderman pajamas, which, by the way, came in very handy those two nights the heat was off!

Lauren and Stephen enjoying the building blocks.

Valerie and Terry ~ still in love after all these years!

We had such a great holiday. Thank you, Mom, for treating us to such a great time. I made memories that, Lord willing, will last my lifetime.
We don’t have lots of money, or a fancy car. We don’t have designer clothes or a bass boat, but we are so rich. We have a loving family and a home that is truly a haven from the stress and turmoil of this world. We have a great home because we have Jesus! The song says: “With Christ in my vessel I can smile at the storm” and for a child of God that is so true! No matter what is happening in my town or around the world, I can smile at the storm because I have the giver of peace with me each and every moment. Even during the times of no heat, and painful burns, I have so much to be thankful for!

Feeling Homesick

For some reason, every autumn, my thoughts turn homeward. I guess because autumn in Arkansas is so very refreshing! The summers are long, hot and humid and life as a member of Victory Baptist Church was always a flurry of activity in the summer – teen camp (where I met my hubby!), bus ministry promotions, revival meetings, and a vacation if you could squeeze one in! It was go, go, go. Then school resumed and life took on a more regular pace. We have hot summers here in Texas – they last till October or November! But, unlike Arkansas, there’s not a distinct fall season. We have one, but it sort of blends in with winter, as we have mild winters. We do not have as many trees that change with the autumn season here either. Arkansas has beautiful colors! The crisp mornings in Arkansas, the beautiful leaves changing, the rhythm of school and church and soulwinning…oh how simple and wonderful those days were!
I guess what I miss most about Arkansas would be 2811 Karen Drive in Benton! My home! That was my safety net for all of life’s hardships. I knew when I crossed that threshold that I had a Mom and Dad who loved me and cared about my problems. My mom would let me chatter away while we (well, mostly she) prepared supper. She listened and then offered caring advice, usually from Proverbs, as she is the Proverbs Queen! Then, Mom would listen to the same news again as I told Dad about it at supper. We’d eat, talk, laugh, then we all went about our evening routine. Sometimes, Dad and I would take a bike ride together if the weather was good. Or, I would just do homework, Dad would watch a little TV and Mom would write lesson plans and grade papers – sometimes we all graded papers!
Yes, I sure do miss those days. At the time though, I was in such a rush to grow up, I didn’t really enjoy it to the fullest.
Now, some many years later, I look back with a heart of thankfulness on those wonderful, secure childhood days. I want to give my children the same wonderful memories that I have. I still long for Arkansas, but I know I can never recapture those days of yesteryear.I must look forward.

On July 29,2004 the Lord chose to take my Dad on home to be with Him. It was sudden. But, I knew exactly where he was, he was in our permanent home, Heaven. I recently had a dream where I discovered that my Dad wasn’t dead, he was in prison! How awful! But in my dream I was glad of this news because that meant I could go see him! When I awoke, I realized that I was the one “in prison”. Dad was truly free. I’m imprisoned in this flesh, in this wicked world, but Dad is free of the flesh, of sin and the world. You see, 2811 Karen Drive was just our temporary home. Today, friends, I miss Arkansas. But I long for Heaven even more. That will be my permanent home. That’s where my Dad is! That’s where my Savior is! Up there, I’ll never be homesick again. It will be wonderful! No pain, no tears, no fear, no locks on doors! Jesus is there, and there are streets of gold! And I don’t know for sure, but I bet they have gorgeous autumn colors there, too!