Friday, June 26, 2015

Expecting a Miracle

My baby's having a baby! Or two.
Many of you who follow my shenanigans on Facebook (if you don't, now's the time to start!) already know about the miracle my family is expecting this very minute.

It has to do with my daughter and best friend, Cricket.

The same Cricket who married her high school sweetheart and bought the house next door to us.

The same Cricket who, since the age of 3, when anyone asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, answered : a mommy.

The very same Cricket who, after giving birth to my precious grandbuddy Blaine four years ago, was told by multiple infertility specialists that she would never again conceive.

And then Papa God stepped in.

Cricket is now expecting twins from different mothers. Woohoo! The miracle of life. Times two.

While you try to wrap your head around that concept, let me clarify: They are having a little boy and adopting a little girl within a week of each other.

Yep. Right after they filled out reams of paperwork, went through the home inspections, and took all the adoption classes, Cricket found out she was pregnant. Miracle #1!

But then she got sicker and sicker. In the midst of her long struggle with HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum), including IV's, a pump inserted into her abdomen, chronic nausea, hospitalizations, and receiving total nutrition through a tube, Papa God provided an unexpected opportunity to adopt. And the babies were due nearly at the same time. Miracle #2!

As you might imagine, with only a few weeks left to go, we are all ecstatic and more than eager to cuddle the little screamers. The cribs are ready. The diapers are assembled. But there's a problem. Adoptions are shockingly expensive (can you say $20k?) and the hospital bills are starting to roll in.

So dear friends, my baby needs Miracle #3. We would all greatly appreciate your prayer support and if you feel led, your financial support as well. Papa God is in the miracle business, and He often uses the hands and feet of the people who are called by His name to accomplish His purposes.

We've been blessed to have a volunteer-led, nonprofit partner with us in this endeavor. The Promise Love Foundation turns over every penny of donations to the families they help with adoption (and donations are tax deductible). Here is Cricket's story along with more details about how to give on the Promise Love Foundation website:

Thank you so very much for lifting my family up in prayer during this exciting but stressful time.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Unexpected Mountaintop Cathedral

First Soprano
Warning: You're probably not going to believe this really happened but I'm here to tell you that it really did.

Yep. Hand me that stack of Bibles and swear me in.

So I was hangin' out in our remote Smoky Mt. cabin early one morning last week, long before anyone else had risen. The sun had just slivered through the misty tree boughs and I'd cranked open the windows to breathe in the crisp morning air.

Now I love to play mountain music up there. Probably because it's in the mountains. You know the type of music I mean ... dulcimer, banjo, mandolin, string bass - fast paced and free. Good ole foot stompin' stuff. 

So I plugged in a CD called Hymns of the Smokies. It wasn't long before the upbeat rhythms had me juking and jiving praise along to old time hymns of our forefathers like "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus." I was having a great little solitary worship time, singing along and getting my bad self down on the dance floor, er, I mean living room plank floor.

And then the choir arrived.

I mean to tell you, as soon as the first notes of "Shall We Gather at the River" rang out, birds started gathering at the window by the CD player. I kid you not. All kinds of birds. They perched on branches of the trees and shrubs just outside the cabin, and even on the windowsill itself, singing along with that worship music at the top of their little birdie lungs.

They sang. I sang. We all sang and praised our Papa God together. It was enough to swell your heart to the size of an eggplant.

I have no idea why they were attracted to that particular song, but as soon as it ended, all but one flew away. One stalwart little soul hung around for part of "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" and then he, too, took off for whatever it is mountain birds do in the mornings (besides church).

It just tingles the toes of my soul to imagine that Papa's little creatures might actually do just that. Do church. In their own way, in their own language, in their own venues, far away from human eyes and ears. Doesn't the Bible say that all of creation will praise His name?

"The heavens will praise Thy wonders, O Lord, Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones" (Psalm 89:5, NASB).
"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord" (Psalm 150:6, NASB).
"Praise the Lord from the earth ... mountains and all hills ... beasts and all cattle; creeping things and winged fowl" (Psalm 148:7-10, NASB).

And for my praise to have momentarily intersected with their praise will always be one of the greatest thrills of my life.

I just hope bear church is on another mountain.

(If you're interested in doing a mini-study of creation worshiping Papa God in song, also see Psalm 5:3, Psalm 5:11, Psalm 8:7-9, Psalm 9:2,11 and all of Psalm 148.)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Simple Pleasures

One of life's simple pleasures
Navigating the winding road leading up the mountain to our cabin, I tuned my car radio to the only station it could pick up in these twisty-turvy Smokies. Country.

Now I've got nothing against country music. In fact, it's the only thing I listened to every single morning for 18 years growing up. Mama would have the radio blaring country  music as she flapped our jacks and poached our eggs, so I knew all about Lucille leaving 4 hungry children and a crop in the field ... and the day Billy Joe McGallister jumped off the Tallahachee bridge (sorry about any spelling errors).

Anyhow, as I gripped the wheel to focus on the narrow, twisting mountain road, the gal on the radio warbled on and on about wanting to do something crazy. About chucking her simple life and trading it all for a wild night on the town drinking and carousing with her friends. What fun, she said. Living a little, she called it.

And then I recalled the only two invitations I'd received during the five days I'd been in town - both involved bars and music and drinking.

Um. How do I say this nicely?

No. No thanks. No way.

I don't consider myself a prude; I like to have fun as much as the next dude. But perhaps my idea of fun is tempered a bit because of exposure to what alcohol can do to a person and ultimately to a family. It ain't pretty. It ain't fun. And it ain't living, even a little.

Give me the simple pleasures. That's fun for me. Walking in the early morning woods, chasing fireflies at sundown, feeling the tickle of a pony nuzzling my palm, cuddling with someone warm and fuzzy, good conversation with friends over a quiet dinner table, enjoying great music, dancing my brains out, reading a book I can't put down, making chocolate crack and eating the whole pan (this stuff is to die for; the recipe will be in my cookbook coming out this fall).

These are just a few of my personal pleasures. Simple but not shallow. High on life but not intoxicated.

So what's your idea of a good time, BBFF? What simple pleasures of life do you enjoy? 

*BBFF = Best Blog Friend Forever