Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's A Girl!!!!

It is with OVERWHELMING pride, a thankful heart, and DEEP love I share with you that, Darcy had a baby girl today!!!! Her name: Noelle Josephine Rhodes. That has to be the most elegant, beautiful names I have ever heard!!! She weighed 7 pounds 1 ounce (the largest of Rhodes babies as of yet....) Mother and daughter are doing well. Daddy (Dave) sounds good too.

I can't tell you how many days I have sat and prayed for this day to come. This isn't just a "ray of sunshine" but this birth illuminates my heart. I am so happy, so full of joy, so thankful that God has blessed me with yet ANOTHER amazingly wonderful niece!!!

I'll share a picture as soon as I get one. Please share this many of you have prayed for them and this baby since November....and though this grand and glorious new life has arrived, the precious one lost will forever keep his place in my heart!! It's a girl!!!!

In His Grip!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Catch Up With The Cole Family.... it's been a few days since I've sent an update. To say that we are busy, is an understatement and overstatement in every way. The understatement part: the task of organizing a garage sale with my three little "helpers", going through the house and packing things we won't need until we are in another home, stuff that we need to take to my mother-in-law's while we are in this period of transition, ordering boxes, reserving a moving truck (praying that the cost for the three days we have it, will be enough. None of our families are able to come from Oklahoma on the 18th or 19th to help load, if anyone in the area feels the insane desire to load a moving truck, come along!! lol)

The not so busy part, is the job market. There just isn't anything out there that Daren has found as of yet. It seems to have an impact on him more every day that goes without a "connection" or "lead". This is even more difficult than the moving, for me (I know, it's not about me, but Daren. This affects me as well though) I have no control over the job market and what's out there for him. I can't do anything, but pray....and pray I do! People have suggested that he go into independent consulting, and while that is a great would cost money to start up a business....and that is money we don't have right now. Besides, insurance for a family of 5 would be more than we could afford on our own.

Last weekend was great! My best friend came down from Oklahoma (Melissa). It was good to have a break in the routine we find our life in right now. We made the ultimate mistake as parents....we took our kids to Chuckie Cheese (or however you spell it) at 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon. I can't believe the number of people that were there!! Ashley wanted to run around on her own free will, so one of us was chasing her from flashy light to flashy light. Megan was content to be held, but wanted to be carried to those things that "caught" her eye...and when she starts to lean while you are holding better have strong arms and back. Kory was a little overwhelmed I think...he didn't want to play any of the games or ride anything...he just wanted to put coins in the machine and move on to the next one. We left about 2 hours later and I think that all three adults are having some sort of mental repercussions from it! (I'll try to post pictures later so you can "see" the insanity!!!)

Well, I hope to get some more info posted later today, tonight, or for now, I had best go! Love to everyone who has kept us in your prayers....They mean the world to us!!!

In His Grip!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

That Friend....

Ya know that friend....the one that knows everything about you...the one who can take your nasty mood swings and cry with you...the one who keeps standing by you year after year after year? Ah!!!! My "Bestest" Friend is almost here from Oklahoma!!! I am excited to say the least. The last few days have been really, really difficult for me & I can't seem to get myself out of the sadness that weighs my heart down right now...She has a way of gently (and not so gently at times when I REALLY need it) helping me get back to thinking more positive...seeing that the glass is half full and not half empty....getting out of the "funk" that we all can slip into from time to time. She's tolerated me for 18 years. She's gone out of her way so many times to "help" me SEE that choices I was making were wrong. She's never been afraid to tell me how it is...She's just the best. She was there for every tear and every triumph...every loss and every victory. When you have a friend who has stood by you for 18 years, never once turning her back on you... well, you know she's someone special!!!

That's her...That's Melissa, Missy, and when Kory couldn't pronounce his "M's"... she was "Pissy".....she is the best!!! She loves my kids like they are her own... as I do Gabbi, her daughter. Her parents in St. Louis...they treat me like I'm one of their daughters...and her sisters, Jackie & Stephanie...they can make me laugh til my sides hurt. Friends....the best!!

Hope In Grief - 2nd service "White Building"

This video is from K2 the Church in Salt Lake City. It is from the Sunday following the tragic accident in the nursery there that took the life of my 15 month old nephew, Major. I am posting this, not only to remind myself of God's presence in our grief, but to share this with The Tunnell family as Kellie journey's through the grief and loss of her husband Mark after 5 months of batteling an illness. My heart aches for Kellie and her three children that are left to travel this journey....and if this can give you just one small nugget of Hope and peace that God is in this valley with you it makes posting this so more than worth the pain it reminds me of that we as a family still bear.....I promise He is with you ever step of the way! .....All my love! !

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

***To Listen to Any Video I Post****

If you want to play and listen to any of the videos that you see posted on my website without the other music playing, scroll down to the bottom of the blog and hit the pause button on the playlist. This will allow you to hear the video...alone...not jumbled with another case you didn't know! :0)

Big Daddy Weave: Every Time I Breathe

Big Daddy Weave - Every Time I Breathe Lyrics

I am sure all of heaven's heard me cry
As I tell You all the reasons why
This life is just too hard

But day by day
Without fail
I'm finding everything I need
And everything that You are
To me

Every time I breathe You seem a little bit closer
I never want to leave
I want to stay in Your warm embrace
Oh basking in the glory shining from Your face
And every time I get another glimpse of Your heart
I realize it's true
That You are so marvelous God
And I am so in love with You

Now how could I after knowing One so great
Respond to You in any way
That's less than all I have to give
But by Your grace I want to love You not with what
I say
But everyday
In a way that my life is lived

Every time I breathe You seem a little bit closer
I never want to leave
I want to stay in Your warm embrace
Oh basking in the glory shining from Your face
And every time I get another glimpse of Your heart
I realize it's true
That You are so marvelous God
And I am so in love with You

Wrapped in Your mercy I want to live and never leave
I am held by how humble
Yet overwhelmed by Your majesty
Captured by grace and now I'm finding
I am free
You are marvelous God
And knowing You is everything

A Day of Testing....

Is it my faith that is being tested? Refined by God to endure life on this earth and become more holy? it the enemy and his grand attack that continues to bombard this life? How do you know which is which, and what is what?

In my heart of feels like everything everywhere is being torn apart. Not just in our family, but in so many of individuals in the body of Christ. Some days, all I have for God is broken's maybe not what I am "feeling" in my heart, but what I "know" to be true in my head. Is the God I share with others that are hurting or enduring a valley not good enough for my own valley? Have I lessened His greatness by the weak feeling and vulnerability I feel present?

So, I'll keep praising, no matter how hard it may be and I'll keep my faith in Him ~ for when this battle is over the cross will be the one thing that we can all be sure of..The Cross...

Please pray a hedge of protection around our family right now, during this season of uncertainty and doubt. Please pray that we will see not with earthly eyes that prove to be so bleak, but with Spiritual eyes that look beyond and see what His ways are... I guess fear is attempting to rear it's ugly head again...that's a weakness I have that I have to constantly fight with the Good Fight or it consumes everything and a life lived in fear is not a life lived for Christ...because perfect love cast out all fear...Oh God, my Father...forgive me. I just need You to touch my heart and to show me Your way...protect my family, every mind, every hand, every eye...And for those who also suffer in pain and grief, God, hold them in the palm of Your hand, wrap them in the shelter of Your wings, and may they there, find rest in You! God, I lay before You the Tunnel family and the loss of Kellie's husband. Give her eyes to see You in this and may she live today in the peace that Mark is with You enjoying the very things that the angels showed him during his final days. May she invite You into her grief and even in the darkest of days see the glimmer of Light that shines for all of us. This is her journey, may You provide for her a network of the people that she needs, when she needs them, and give them YOUR words to speak...and at every stage. Protect her three sweet children that they may have Your peace as well and grow up in the legacy of the faith that Mark left behind for them. Love them Lord....please love them! I love You matter how hard today matter how sad and dark times get...I love You! I will choose You...

Always in Your Grip!!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Casting Crowns - Does Anybody Hear Her

I heard this song today on K-Love Christian Radio station. I know I've heard this song before, but today, I HEARD this song. It stopped me in my tracks and the noise from the every day life seemed to fade away. Some times, you can wonder if anyone hears you...does anyone see..(as the song goes) the pain or burden in your heart that follows you every day. I know that it is a terrible feeling to go to church with such grave pain in your heart and give it your best effort to try and hold it together and "look happy" like everyone else does. You try to sing, but all that comes are tears. Rarely, if ever, does anybody "see" those tears that you cry and all it would take, sometimes, is some one's hand on your shoulder or arm around your neck, to show that they care. There are so many people that carry pain around in their hearts every day for innumerable reasons, I hurt every day. I'm not ashamed of that. I have come, however, to a place that I know there is no pain too great for God to heal. No choice that you could make that would make Him turn His back on you. That's the reason for the Cross! The very blood that He shed the day they nailed Him to that Cross, as people made insults, called Him names, spat upon Him....that blood, that He shed on that day, is for all of us. It's God's love that gave His Son so that we could find hope, peace, and faith in our every day lives. This life is not meant to be lived alone, it's meant to be lived with The One Faithful & True Friend...The One who will love you, no matter what. As you read the words to this song, know that God loves you....He will never leave you or forsake you...

She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction
She is trying
But the canyon's ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She's another two years older
And she's three more steps behind

Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
Lord does anybody even know she's going down today?
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?

She is yearning
For shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
And in walks her prince charming
And he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason
And she gives herself away


If judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her

If judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her

In His Grip!

Update on Daren's Interview Last Week

Ah!!! If only you knew how many times I've tried to get to a computer to post an update on Daren's job interview last week.

I just want to share with you what I know...not much. I know it went well. He spent over 3 hours with this company and then went to lunch with them on Wednesday. He felt good about it and enjoyed getting to meet everyone in the company. We don't have any word yet as to a decision... but hopefully, we'll hear something soon. I'll let you know as soon as I do.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support!!! We came back to Tyler on Wednesday afternoon....arriving on our front porch at 1:30 a.m. Long day!!! We are now trying to organize for the move. Daren is still using his 8 to 5 time to look for a job. Packing and moving is really hard when you have three little one's who want to continually take the things you've just packed, out....I feel like I'm chasing myself. :0)

Here are our plans for moving as we know them today:

Melissa (my best friend) is coming down from Norman to help me April 24-36
My mother-in-law is coming April 27th for a few days (if she's recovered from the illness that we left her with)
Garage Sale/Moving Sale is Thursday April 30th through Saturday May 2nd (pray for good weather and my sanity)
My mom (Joyce) is coming that next week for a few days to help (The week of May 4th)
We pick up the moving truck on Monday April 18th and start to pack it
Drive it to Norman on Tuesday May 19th
Unpack our things into two storage units and into my mother-in-law's house for our stay during the "job hunt" (she has been so gracious to allow us to do this...HUGE help financially that we don't have to pay rent!!)

So, it's going to be busy the next month or so. I thank you for prayers in advance! I'll keep you updated more often than I have and would love to hear from you as you have time!!

In His Grip!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Daren Has an Interview....

Hello faithful family and friends! My prayer warriors...those of you that have traveled this journey with us, I come to you today for prayer. Daren has an interview TODAY at 1:30 p.m. (Central Time). I am requesting your prayers not only at 1:30 but throughout this morning as he prepares that the peace of God will fill his heart and mind and that he will have a confidence from Christ as he goes into this first interview. I'll be sure to post later and update on how it went. Again, thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers, support, and love!
In His Grip!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Short Update!

Hello to all!! Just a short, very short update on the family. Kids and I spent four days in OKC at my parents house while my brother and his wife were there with their girls (Marin, Somer, and Lillian). The kids had a blast and I for one enjoyed them myself! We did lots of crafts and playing in the backyard! I miss them already.

The kids and I drove Thursday over to Norman to my mother-in-law's house where Daren was and still is. He is still looking for a job and has one lead that produced an interview for this coming Monday at 1:30 p.m. Please pray for him that this might lead to something permanent here in the Norman area.

All three kids are now sick with a viral infection....stuffy noses, runny noses, hacking coughs, and fevers. I came down with it yesterday and Daren got it this morning. So, we are a family of five that is sick and worn out. The enemy is consistent in firing those darts that try to divide us. Daren and I have not been communicating as well as we should for a number of reasons so, my friends, I ask for special prayer in that area and that we will find a way to stay united as a couple and safety in the Lord's arms. I refuse to give the devil victory in this or any other area of our life....but he is relentless...but our God is far better and has far more endurance to protect us as long as we stay in His presence and in His word. His word needs to be active and living in our hearts, minds, and spirits or the attack of the enemy will defeat us. We thank you again for your prayers, love, and support.

I will post more later tonight if I can or tomorrow. We love all of you so much!!!!!

In His Grip!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Breathe....

I breathe in, I breathe out,
Full of hope and fighting the doubt.
A heart full of faith in God above,
Oh fill me now with Your Outrageous Love!
I breathe in, I breathe out
Touch my soul and carry me out
To a place of peace in Your arms I can rest
As I regain my strength to face the next step.
I breathe in, I breathe out
I lift my head ~ my eyes worn out.
Tears fell not in vain ~ You've carried them all
As I knelt before You, giving You my all.
I breathe in, I breathe out
My heart feels heavy and worn out.
The enemy calls and I hear the footsteps,
Of The One who will save me with not an ounce of regret.
I breathe in, I breathe out,
My faith so strong that there's no room for doubt.
That every trial, be it large or so small
You are faithful to always answer my call.
By: Kristi Cole
April 4, 2009
Ah my faithful family and friends! This is already a long road and we've just started. I think it's the additional "activity" in our house that makes the uncertainty of this all the more realistic (as if that makes sense). Megan came down with some virus that had her throwing up and running a fever over 103 for about 36 hours...and well...Kory woke up this morning with the same thing. We were supposed to leave in the morning to see my brother and his family in OKC...but I dare not take a sick kid and expose Darcy who is due in a few weeks or any of their kids to whatever this is. I jumped in the car today to run an errand...battery was dead. Earlier I was cleaning out the car and had the radio on and I guess that was enough to drain the battery. Daren couldn't find jumper cables so had to call over to the neighbors for help.
Ya'll have NO idea how important it is for me to see my brother, Darcy, and the kids! I haven't seen them since November and the thought of possibly missing this chance breaks my heart!! I need family during this uncertain time and being here in Tyler, I feel pretty isolated from all of them. So....if you happen upon this post...please, please pray that Kory is well tomorrow and that God's protection will be on Ashley and she won't get this as well. Keep me in your prayers too...just that my eyes will continue to focus on the Lord and that I won't get lost in circumstance.....Blessings to all!!
In His Grip!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hope or Hopelessness?

I sat on the couch tonight with a blank, emotionless expression on my face as story, after story, after story was reported on the evening news of more lay-offs announced & more expected, companies shutting their doors, more unexplained deaths, scandals at every level, pedophiles.... and that was just our LOCAL NEWS!!

Every day some statistical number increases & we all know that a great majority of statistics are kept of those things in which are negative, sad, losses, deaths, etc...loss in every aspect of the word. I can't help but wonder about the timing of all these continual increase in numbers. I can't help but wonder if this isn't exactly how satan would have us look at life...especially during the "Easter Season"....the time where we annually celebrate the Death AND Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the very One who came to give us Life Everlasting? What better way would satan celebrate his "victory" than to see the body of Christ, and a nation as a whole, sit in a pew on Easter Sunday, "Praising God" with empty hope? Emotionless. Preaching about salvation, hearing & wanting to believe, praising God without actually BELIEVING AND HAVING FAITH in Him?!?!?

I can tell you one thing that I know for sure right now (it's easier to keep track of that which I know and am certain of now than all the questions and uncertainty in which we find our family...but these certainties...these sureties, I wouldn't trade for all the answers to the unknown!) I WILL stand in church every Sunday & especially on Easter, PRAISING GOD! Trusting Him! Believing in Him! I will trust in my God whose love is never ending...He won't lay you off, won't close you down. His love is the same as it was yesterday...before this turn of events. It will be the same tomorrow, and as long as I know that and keep that into perspective there is nothing that can separate me from Him.

You God!
You are ALL WE NEED!

If I could just jump off this page and shake you to understanding and to wake up to The Call ~ I would! And for those of you who "get what I am saying" ~ wouldn't it be so intensely amazing to stand together and PRAISE GOD RIGHT NOW??? To stand in the gap for those who have been shaken in these times???

Most of you have NO idea (yet) of where I have gone in this life. The wars that have raged, both in my walking outside of God's will and the one's that He has allowed to come into my life while seeking Him with all my heart! Things at times have been so terrible! Pain so intense, both emotionally and physically, that the mere fact that I can sit here today and share about how great our God is ~ well, that's God! I can promise you with every fiber of my being that He does love you ~ even when life hurts so much you can't feel it! His forgiveness will bring you to a place of intimacy with Him that will carry you when you feel so undeserving! He will be your Constant Friend ~ the only one still "there for you" in the middle of the night when you wake up with fear of what the next day will bring!! He will still be there day after day after day with arms wide open beckoning you to keep coming to Him in your grief or pain for comfort ~ well after all the "well meaning and true" have returned to the normalcy of their own lives, and you are still left in the valley!! There may even be days when His silence is deafening...DON'T STOP LISTENING THOUGH!! He will speak and I believe that during the waiting season for those revelations to questions, He is preparing you for the overwhelming answer that will knock you to your knees in awe at His personal and perfect response to you! If He can love me.....He CAN AND DOES LOVE YOU!!! There isn't a thing you've done that the Blood of Christ won't cover!!

I am FAR from perfect....that is why right now, I am going to Him. I need Him! I need His grace and mercy for the sin that is still in my life! This is just as much a journey for me as it is for you! I have to continually align myself and my life with Him! (Good phrasing Ms. Yaw!!) I love all of you....known or unknown....HE WILL NEVER LET GO OF YOU!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Standing in Faith....

I woke up this morning hoping last night was a dream,
But soon reality hit ~ you know what I mean?
The certainty of events as they continue to unfold,
Of a future yet to be told.
We've seen it on the news & read it in the paper,
Homes lost ~ jobs gone ~ in what seems like a vapor.
Praying and hoping that we would be spared,
But it happened last night & we weren't prepared.
So, now in our life, another storm front has moved in,
We will stand in faith with God as this journey begins.
For there are two ways in which we could choose
To face this huge mountain that doesn't look soon to move.
Not for a second, satan, you will NOT take,
The faith of our family in the midst of this quake.
For with God on our side and His power, grace, & love,
We'll look back on this day & thank God above.
That not for a second, did He loose us in sight,
But every second, every moment sent strength for the fight.
We'll praise Him again, IN another storm to endure,
For He is our certainty ~ the One we know for sure!

So, as you have read in the poem above...our family has felt the brunt of an economy bottoming out. Daren came home last night with the news that he was let go, effective immediately. I sent out a few emails last night sharing what happened and asking for prayer and posted a short blog requesting the same. I just want to thank all of you for heeding the call and standing in the gap. The peace was ever so present throughout the night.

We have NO clue what tomorrow holds...but I can tell you one thing for sure, we know God is in control. There are so many things today to be thankful for...we have no mortgage (we rent....month to month at that ~Praise God!!) and we have no credit card debt either. Only medical debt from the pregnancy with the girls and the aftermath that followed and we only have one car payment. It could truly be worse. So, as we look to God for direction, I just wanted to continue to seek your prayers. Daren has a great number of contacts IN the fishing industry and we are praying that something will lead to another field that is more secure. We know though that all security in life, only comes by faith and the definition of faith is believing in that which you can't see. SO.....we will keep you posted as the days unfold. It's seasons like this that I thank God even more for allowing me to "work" through life by writing. I pray that a door will open in the future to publish some of this for the only reason to help someone else by the trials we have endured.

Much love to everyone and thank you again for prayers. Please feel free to email us directly at: