Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Guaranteed Smile

Megan Hope.... You are the laughter that reaches the depths of our hearts. Your giggles come from the tips of your toes. You are happiness (most of the time) that springs through the day and chatters with sissy as you both fall asleep each night! Thank you for being our reminder to walk in joy!!!!! You make me smile!!!
Love you little one...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Baby...

I found this picture today and it took me back to that very day. It was his baby dedication at church, followed by a lunch out with Nana and Papa to Chedders. He had just turned one and was as charming as any little guy could be. His joy contagious.....His smile infectious....His heart inspiring.

I can recall so many special moments from those days. We'd spend hours on the floor playing or sitting together reading books, or curled up o the couch napping. It truly was a precious time and I can see now the reason people kept telling me to enjoy these moments....because for me, they went by too fast.

I'm sure none of this matters to most of you...but he is a special little guy to me and I just wanted to tell him how much mommy loves him and how precious he is! He's been such a trooper over the past two years as I was pregnant with the twins, in and out of the hospitals in Tyler and Dallas. He didn't understand why mommy just couldn't play on the floor or why when he went to bed some days, I was gone when he woke up, back in the hospital. Then when the girls came home, the adjustment was difficult. For months it seemed, Mommy was gone, and then when she does come home the first time, she brings one baby, then she leaves again and he wakes up to another baby. I'll never forget the look on his face as he walked out of his room into the living room and saw the girls laying on the floor. He cried "Noooooooo" and refused to look at them. Slowly, he's realized that they have grown into his friends, his sisters, his partners in crime.

People always say he won't remember those days....and maybe he won't, but I just want to record for him what I felt in my heart for him and what I continue to feel. I know it wasn't easy to have to share mommy with one sibling, let alone two. "Our Time" changed from him and I, to the four of us and I know that was hard for you to grasp buddy. I tried my best to still find time to spend with you, but I know I fell short many days, tired from the consistent needs your sisters had.

Buddy, for all the times I wasn't the mommy I should have been and for all the days ahead that I know I will fall short again....never forget in your heart how much love I have for you. You were my first born child...and I can remember the moment they placed you into my arms. A bond formed at that second and it will endure til my last breath, and beyond. You are so outgoing, welcoming strangers into every activity we do. You form friendships fast because your heart is tender to those around you. You've learned to protect your sisters when they wonder off into dangerous territory or into something that you know hurt you before. You make sure that we all know how much you love us on a daily basis. You are just precious to me and I love you more than words can say.

I'll Love You Forever!

P.S. Here are a "few" of my favorite pictures.. I'd post more of them, but it's almost midnight..I love you you so much!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Forgiveness Required

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary: Definition of Forgiveness and Forgive:

Forgiveness: Noun; 1)the act of forgiving; state of being forgiven. 2) Disposition or willingness to forgive.

Forgive: verb; 1) to grant pardon for or remission of an offense, debt, etc...absolve 2) to give up all claim of an account 3) to cease to feel resentment against 4) to renounce anger or resentment against.

Over the past few days, forgiveness, or the act there of, has passed in front of my eyes a number of times. One of my daily devotional books spoke about the gracious forgiveness that God bestows upon those who repent and turn from their sins. I began reading "The Reagan Diaries" and in the forward of this book, the editor Douglas Brinkley, recalls different entries into President Reagan's diaries. One in particular paragraph hit my heart and brought to light just how humble of a man he was and how certain it was that the Lord was at the center of his life. Brinkley writes:

"Like his marriage to Nancy, his strong relationship with God was of paramount importance in Reagan's life. Consistently, he thanks God for allowing him to be physically fit and for sparing his life from Hinckley's bullet spray, after which he recalls lying on a bed in the emergency room: 'I focused on that tiled ceiling and prayed. But I realized I couldn't ask for God's help while at the same time I felt hatred for the mixed-up young man who had shot me. Isn't that the meaning of the lost sheep? We are all God's children & therefore equally beloved by him. I began to pray for his soul and that he would find his way back to the fold.'

Then, last night I was talking with my friend Marilyn who is currently reading Stormie Omartian's book: The Power of Praying Through the Bible. She proceeded to share with me about the study for that day. It was on forgiveness. She went on to share what touched her heart about this chapter. Now, I can't recall word for word what she said, but I can recall the point that she was making about forgiveness. She said that forgiveness was not condoning or accepting hatred or mean behavior as "right behavior"by the actions of a person (or group of people) that hurt you, but that it was a choice in your heart to forgive the character in that person that produced the pain or hurt in your life. She went on to say that the seed of choosing not to forgive, if left unattended to, can grow deep roots in your life and affect not only relationships with other people but our relationship with God.

As I left her house (just across the street) I felt a movement in my heart to revisit areas that I was holding on to and relationships within the family that continually cause pain and riddicule. These people, who are called to be family, have crushed a part of my heart that I don't know how to forgive. The words they said about my family when my little nephew passed away, goes beyond tacky, immature, hateful, and shallow. I have struggled for years with these people prior to this incident. But, this was the final straw....I could take no more of the painful words. Over the years I have apologized to "keep the peace" during family gatherings. I have turned my head when they would gossip or say things. Last summer I did everything I could do to reconcile these relationships, but they were unreasonable. As I drove home from Major's funeral last November, with gut wrenching pain in my heart, the silence became more than I could handle. I didn't want to talk to anyone because that just made it worse. So, I tossed a CD into the slot and began to listen to a Beth Moore book about getting out of life's pits. She said something to the effect that if there is a relationship that is keeping you down in the pit that satan wants to keep you in (we are ineffective if we are held down and not walking in True Light), forgive them and end the relationship. These relationships held me captive for a long time and were a great source of tension between Daren and I in the previous 17 years. Since I have come to terms with ending the relationships and have been working through maintaining the mindset of forgiveness, I feel a release that is full of peace.

I think I misunderstood what forgiveness is in the eyes of God. I think that at times I thought forgiveness was taking upon the mindset that the pain someone caused was pardoned or excused behavior. This is not what God is asking of us. He is the judge, he will keep those who choose to hurt others accountable to Him on the day of judgment. Just as He forgives each of us for our sins, we still will have to give an account for that which is unconfessed when we get to heaven. During this time of learning and studying the forgiveness God has given to me, I realized that I was the one who was keeping myself in captivity by not accepting His gift of forgiveness in my own life. I felt that His forgiveness was for everyone but me. I had repented, but never walked fully in peace knowing that he remembers no more.

We serve a merciful God that forgives His children. Psalm 103:11-12 talks about God's forgiveness and the removal of our transgressions. "For as high as the heavens are from the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he moved our transgressions from us." He has taken those sins and removed them, now it's up to us to forgive ourselves or we run a high risk of getting stuck in a pit of growing condemnation that eventually leads to fear and shame. If, again, we don't forgive bitter roots will begin to flourish and take over our minds. Roots so deep and intertwined that they can place a strangle on our hearts and relationship with God. It can block us from having full fellowship with Him.

I think, at times, it can take awhile for our heart (your feelings) to line up with what our head knows. (This again, is one of my greatest struggles). When I am unable to move on from a "wrong" that has been done to me, I've learned that it will become far worse over time than the original act. When you ponder upon the negative, day and night for days, months, or even years as I have takes a lot longer to dig those roots up than it would have been if I would have originally chosen to offer this pain, this hurt, to God so that He could remove it from the secret places in my heart that I have held on to for some unknown reason.

If we harbor "injustices" inflicted upon us, we will become imprisoned by someone else's sin! We will be allowing someone elses actions to block a portion of our fellowship and worship with God.We will be so limited in our worship, in our prayer, and in our effectiveness for the Kingdom of God. . Matthew 6:14-15 states in clear understandable words; "For if you forgive men, when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men of their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." In John MacArthur Study Bible (NKJ) he explains in the study notes regarding this scripture, the following to clarify any misunderstanding of God's word "Forgiveness in this latter sense is what God threatens to withhold from Christians who refuse to forgive others." I can only speak for myself here, but there is no way I want to be denied the forgiveness of God for any sin I've committed in the past or any sin I may commit in the future. Forgiving others would seem completely unobtainable if it wasn't for the love of God. The very One who has chosen to forgive us through our repentance. We can hold tight to His loving power that will remove us from these terrible events that have captured us in bondage. With His strength, we can do anything (See Philippians 4:13....though the previous verses in this chapter are well worth reading as well.) I fully believe in my heart that, putting a stop to a relationship that is damaging is okay and backed by scripture IF YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO FORGIVE THEM!

So, as I end this blog, my heart is convicted, my spirit is challenged, and my path is illuminated by the word of God. This blog is more for myself than for anyone else. But, if it touches your heart then PRAISE GOD!! Writing for me has always been a way to process my thoughts and feelings when life gets crazy or my heart is burdened. Writing songs, poems, and "musing's" like this, have allowed me to enter into the presence of the One who has forgiven me by grace, promised eternal life, and walks daily by my side, carrying me at times when I am too weary to walk. God helps me process my pain or uncertainty through these avenues and I am thankful to Him for well as the times that I praise and honor His Majesty.

This is also for my three children. I want them to be able to look back when I am gone and hopefully capture a glimpse of my heart and my faith. One that isn't perfect, one that has been captive to the enemy, and walked in the wilderness. I want them to also see my journey back from the wilderness to the loving arms of God and rebuilding my relationship with Him. My prayer for them is that they will not encounter a season of walking outside the will of God. It's so much easier, so much more fulfilling to walk daily with Him. I pray a hedge of protection for them every day...for today and for tomorrow and for all that is ahead for them.

Last, but not least, I want to address the amazing book of Ronald Reagan's presidency, told in his own words through his journal of daily events. The Reagan Diaries are full of many reflections of this great presidents faith in God and his love for this country. His passion and true heart are displayed in every entry to his journals over the 8 years in which our country was blessed to have him as Commander in Chief. There were some entries on various Sunday's where he and Mrs. Reagan would slip out of the White House to attend church, each time he would say 'it felt so good to be there'. I am intrigued by this man and his wife, the love that they shared so deeply for each other, and the kindness that went above and beyond to touch lives of those who hurt, or have disabilities, or had a different point of view. He became a friend to so many. I am anxious to dive deeper into his diary to learn more about his solid faith in Jesus Christ and how, when under adversity, he stood for the convictions in his heart and for the God who saved him. And in the theme of this post, how he forgave a man that attempted to take his life.

And thank you Marilyn for sharing your heart last night and for talking with me. You really touched my heart. Much love to you!!

Well, if you aren't asleep as of now, you are a trooper. I do not claim to be a perfectionist on forgiveness or on the word of God. These are just my thoughts and what truth I have found in His Word. I know there are areas that I still have to work on....and I will continue to offer these people and these situations up to God...for without Him, I can do nothing!!

Here are a few more scriptures that guide us to forgive:

Colossians 3:12-14 (but the entire 3rd Chapter is worth reading)

1 John 1:5-9 (confessing our sin)

Luke 17:3-4 (continually walk in forgiveness)

Matthew 18:21-35 (instruction about forgiveness)

Mark 11:25-26 (necessity of forgiveness)

Matthew 6:14-15 (God's forgiveness depends on our forgiveness of others)

Psalm 103:1-5 (focus of forgiveness in vs. 3)

So, I am far from where I need to be, but tonight before I fall asleep, I will fall on my knees. I will ask God for his help to forgive the hurtful words that caused pain that remains in my heart and I will pray for those individuals to come to know God. It's no longer about "who started it?" but it's about "who can end it?". My dad has always taught me in times of conflict to do all that I can to rise above the situation and not get stuck in it or contribute to the turn the other cheek. At times I would think "is he crazy? turn my cheek when someone deliberately has set out to hurt me...doesn't God want me to defend myself???" And the reply to that is, God is my defender. He will make right that in which others make wrong. My dad has a lot of wisdom and I admire his relationship with God. I've kept so many of his letters to me that inspire my spiritual walk with the Lord. I love you Daddy!
Goodnight my friends....

In His Grip!

A Long Overdue Update.....

Ah....It's been a long week. I've, again, meant to take some time to write and update everyone on the status of our new journey here in The Promise Land, Oklahoma. :0) (When I wrote last about the snake issue, my dear friend Debe replied with "you shouldn't have left Heaven for the promise land...we don't have snakes down here"...she is my fun loving Longhorn rival, that in time, will see the light and the error of her ways and convert to the Sooner Nation. Ha ha!)

Everyone is well. The children are settling in and we are trying to re establish the routine we had constructed prior to our move. Grandma's house is an adventure to these small inquisitive minds, which leaves me tracing their footsteps all day and fixing or putting back together those item in which they have "discovered". They never seem to get into the same thing together as a team, which of course would make my life easier...but why would they want to do that. Is it bad mothering to admit that some days I just want to crawl into bed and stay there?

The girls are fastly approaching the terrible two's...or trying two's...terrific two's...whatever you want to call it. They are discovering their wills and Ashley seems to encompass in her little body the "no fear" mentality. She keeps me nervous as she climbs over furniture, banisters, and anything else that has a minimum of a 3 foot drop onto a hard surface. I just pray for her protection every day. Megan is full of snorty giggles that keep you laughing even when you want to cry. She has a joy that reaches to the tips of her tiny toes. Her mobility and speed has greatly picked up in the past few weeks, which for her and keeping up with the other two is a good thing. She likes to run away from you when you say (or scream with intensity) for her to stop. She sheepishly peers over her shoulder with a smile and then runs some more. My mission with her is to make the reality and importance of my "instruction" and "guidance" something that she will listen to.

Kory is getting ready to start a mother's day out program at a fantastic church about 2 miles from the house. They have a wonderful children's program and I think the mental activity as well as physical activity with children his own age will inspire his thinking and he will blossom in many areas. He needs some friends that are his age, so I am looking forward to that starting soon.

Daren is still on the quest for a job. Things are slow in almost every market, which I am sure everyone realizes. I have faith though, that God will open that perfect door for Daren in His perfect time. I know Daren feels some frustration from the lack of opportunities out there to start a new chapter in life for his career.

I, am fine. I have done "something" to my back that has left me struggling through the day when it comes to physical activity. It radiates up into my neck as well which has produced a tingling sensation down my left arm and three of my fingers are numb. GOOD TIMES!!! So excited to yet have another problem in which to work on. Why? Why do these things keep happening? I did go to a chiropractor, which goes against anything and everything that I have learned over the years in my career in orthopedics. I should have listen to my gut and not gone... when he "re aligned" my back by placing both of his hands on the small of my back and forcing every pound of his body weight into "cracking" was a terrible pain. Still bewildered at what had just happened, I wasn't thinking clearly when he asked me to place my head in his hands and then with no notice as to what he was about to do, ripped my neck to the left and I was certain my head had detached from my body. Um, yeah....that won't be happening again. I'm going on Friday to see one of the ortho docs I used to work for....

Anyway, that is just a few of the happenings in the Cole family since my last post of the slithering little (or large) suckers that have invaded our home. We've only managed to kill one, but "mother bear here" is on the look out constantly and is ready to jump into full action....

Love to all of you...Thank you for your continued prayers and support. It's a priceless gift that you have given to us!!! Thank you!!!

In His Grip!

P.S. I've tried for 30 minutes to upload pictures to go along with this story...but we are having trouble with the wireless internet out here in the look for them later today....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Snakes!!! TWICE!! this one even left me feeling breathless, nauseated, sweating, and weak in the knees. If you know us, The Cole family, you'll almost shake your head in disbelief at this story, or you might just say, "That sounds right for you guys".

Yesterday, Daren and I were on the back deck at his mother's taking a break from what seems to be a never ending moving event. It was a beautiful day outside...temperature in the mid 70's.... light breeze....sunshine abundant. It was a perfect day. The kids had just gone down for a nap and we had a few hours of reprieve where we could actually unpack more than one box at a time without "assistance" from 30 other little fingers helping us.

Daren's mom was around the side of the deck that runs along the back of her house and around the pool. There is a stone walkway from the backyard around the side of the house to the driveway. She was working in her flowerbeds and all of a sudden we here her shout (which she never does) "DAREN!!" It wasn't a scream of terror or anything, but we could tell that she needed him right away. I looked at Daren and said jokingly "It's a snake." Sure enough, when he got around to where she was, there it was. About 4 feet from the side garage door, right by the air conditioning unit. She had a hoe in her hand, handed it to Daren and he held it down mid body. I, on the other hand, with my intense displeasure with snakes (and basically anything other than a butterfly, dragonfly, or ladybug) kept more than my distance and in my silence my mind ran back to the 5 to 7 times that morning that the kids, Gayle, Daren, or myself had walked that stone walkway. Here is a picture of the snake...(not THE snake...I didn't think that would be appropriate blog etiquette)

Now, Daren was holding down the snake with the hoe and Gayle went to look for the machete. She returned, and Daren got ready for what would seem to be a quick execution. It was not. The blade was dull and after about 5 whacks with the knife, it appeared to be lifeless. Daren assured me that it was, so I moved in for a closer view and to "make sure" the beast had no life left in him. (If you have a very sensitive stomach, you might want to skip to the next paragraph). As I approached the scene of the crime, I noticed his tail was still moving. I told Daren that to me, any movement left in that thing was proof enough for me that he was still alive. After minutes of trying to convince me that it wasn't, I pleaded my case (using the children's safety as my basis for argument) and insisted that the thing be cut in two before they were to be done. 6 whacks later, he was in two pieces and I was "happy"...well, as happy as a mother can be about the close proximity in which the snake was found. But, he was dead, and I felt much better about it.
THEN...later that day, after dinner, we were outside with the kids playing in the yard. They decided they wanted to go on a wagon we loaded all three up and took them on a ride towards the east side of her property where her garden is. The garden runs from her railroad tie fence to about 20 feet from the lake that resides behind the house. Kory wanted out to take a look at what she was growing. He then took Daren's hand and decided that he wanted to walk closer to the lake where a stone bench sat under the shade of the pecan trees. This bench is about 10 - 12 feet from the water. Kory sat down and Daren stood next to him. It was a kodak moment and as I pulled my phone out to take a picture, I asked Daren to turn around and look at me. When he did, his eyes grew large, and something came out of his mouth that lead me to believe that whatever it was, it wasn't good. My mothering instincts kicked in again, and I ran to rescue my child from whatever it was....the closer I got, I could see a very long, thick, black snake stretched out full length just a few feet from my precious boy. Daren grabbed him by the arm (I think I might have yelled "Get him out of there NOW!!" but, I'm not sure...I know I have been known to over react at times, but seriously...this was no joke).

I immediately ran with Kory and Ashley in my arms towards the house and yelled at Daren to pick Megan up (she was much closer to the house already so I figured she was safest and that daddy could rescue her). Daren and Gayle returned to the barn to get their weapons again and begin the hunt back to the bench to hunt for this thing. I stood inside from the back windows and watched as they headed down to the lake and bench. I turned cartoons on for the kids and then proceeded to go back outside and stand on the second level of the deck so that I could "supervise" what they were doing and offer guidance. (Mind you, I'm not a girl who has lived in the country...far from, what do I know about snakes? Nothing really other than I hate them immensely....sorry PETA people....I mean no disrespect, but that's just the way it is). When they returned to the location of it's sighting, it was gone. Daren said that it was a good 6 foot long and thought that they could find it in the grass, so they started sifting through the taller grass that is on the edge of the lake. I had him take my phone so that he could take a picture. I knew that one snake story would be hard to believe so I wanted a picture of this one to help tell this story.

My phone is set to vibrate twice and then it starts to play a song. Well, Daren had put my phone in the lower pocket of his cargo shorts so that he could use the hoe and some sort of grabber thing that you see in commercials for older adults who have trouble reaching high objects, and the machete. Daren slowly trodded the area but never looked back. So, in all my snake hunting wisdom, I told him to look back every now and then so that it would sneak up on him. As he turned around, my phone began to vibrate in his pocket near his knee and he claimed that it sounded like a hiss. Well, let me just say, I've never seen a man jump as high as he did nor scream like he did. His mom was yelling, "It's the phone" and then, well, MY phone ended up being sailed across the yard with a few descriptive words to follow. It was hilarious. I mean truly funny. (Daren is never one to be a reactor, so this was way out of character for him) He was spared this event with just three small scratches on his leg from the bench as he jumped and his ankle ran up the side of it. I told him he was lucky to not have dropped the machete on it...well, he said he'd rather tell that story than the jumping because of fear story. I see NO shame in having fear of snakes, but he seems to think otherwise.

So, for the long of it....the second of our two snakes still remains MIA. I have reset boundaries as to how far out from the house the kids can go, and have told Daren to take whatever means necessary to find the beast and take care of it. This is the picture that Daren found that most closely resembles this snake:

I guess with all the rain they have had in Oklahoma over the past month and the rise in the lake level, it has pushed these ugly beings from their original homes...Goody for me!! Melissa told me last night that they had to run a 4 year old up to Children's two shifts ago (she is a paramedic here in Norman) due to a snake bit. Again....GOODY FOR ME!! So, as I put the babies down last night and Kory as well...I prayed for protection over them in this specific area. Seriously... I don't know what else to do....I am sure we will all emerge from this even unscathed and with all our appendages...but nonetheless...I don't like snakes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We Made It ~

We've made it "home"~we pulled into Norman Sunday evening~got up early today to unload the moving truck (which to me, seemed much larger because the pile never seemed to get smaller... it was crazy) ~ returned the truck tonight and now, for some reason, I'm sitting here with my eyes crossed trying to write. We are all exhausted. Wiped out. We've been running non~stop for days and it's taking it's toll. Please pray for strength for all of us and for the little one's who just aren't sure what's going on. Kory cried today and said he wanted to go home (he was deliriously tired) to sleep in Kory's bed (as he calls it) ~ His bed will be set up in the morning and his "room" made to accommodate his sense of familiarity!!! Lol.... Ah! Then I think about setting up two more cribs, desks, computers, boxes upon boxes of stuff....I need to go to bed. So much still to do. Thank you for your prayers and love!! Ya'll are the best!!

In His Grip!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


The reality became apparently clear, without debate, about 3:00 this afternoon.... "Moving" wasn't going to happen today. Though our day has been longer than has contained these little blessings!! We're planning on heading out tomorrow. I'd say in the morning...but for those of you who have followed this journey...that is subject to change. I can still hear the voices of the little one's (Megan and Ashley) as they giggle their way to's truly the sweetest sound. Kory went out a few hours ago. I guess his "tank" ran out of fuel...He has such a big heart...Enjoy!!

A Few "Moving" Thoughts...

Ah...this is where I think it gets the most difficult and reality sets in on the road ahead of us. We've been so blessed over the past few weeks with the number of people that have come to help. Yesterday, Katelyn & Barbara, took all three kids to the zoo so that we could start loading the truck! That was so helpful and we got a pretty good dent in the pile, but still a lot to go.

We were going to try and leave today, but it doesn't look like we'll make it. Mom and Dad left earlier with both cars loaded and a trailer full of all the outdoor furniture and toys. I can't thank them enough for all the physically difficult work that they helped us accomplish! Couldn't have done it without you!!

So, as excited as I am about going back to Oklahoma, a part of my heart is really sad for the friendships God has blessed me with over my time here in Tyler. I may not have had a ton of friends...but the one's that I had were the best friends any gal could ask for. Every one of them have such a solid faith and relationship with God. Gently over the years, they have helped one broken, tired, empty girl find her footing again in her walk with the Lord. They have not just been sweet and kind, but have pushed and challenged me when I needed to move on. I am overwhelmed at leaving these precious people behind, but I am encouraged to find my place in Norman and pass these gifts along to someone else that God brings into my life.

Well, for now, I must go! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported and prayed for us during this time. I firmly believe it's what has carried me through and will continue to. Please keep in touch either through this blog by leaving a comment or by sending me an email at:

With Gratitude and Love!!

In His Grip!!

P.S. Thinking of the Freeman family today and have been praying for you. I know this is your darkest day by far. That small speck of light that you see at the end, is God. May His grace sustain you, may His mercy be all around you, & may His Light illuminate the days to come with hope that can only be found in Him. We are here for you, with love and prayers, and though we don't know you personally, we are all family in the body of Christ....and we extend our hearts!

Friday, May 15, 2009

iIt's Been A Long Day....

please pray for has been long hard days & I think we are all stressed, stretched, & there is so much left to do. .My parents leave in the please pray for Daren & I as we attempt to get the last of the big things loaded. Please also pray for Kory as he is really nervous & keeps saying he is scared. It breaks my heart. :o( thank you so much & I will write more to all.
In His Grip!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just Found....

As I was getting ready to shut the computer down, I had a second thought to check some of the blogs that I follow for updates, and I am so glad on one hand that I did, but so sad to have come across to the story of Kayleigh Freeman, who at 11 months old was taken home to be with Our Father in heaven. My heart deeply feels the pain that this family is going through.

After praying over this, I just felt lead in my heart to share this link with you and ask you as well to come and join me in covering this family during their greatest hour of need. Trust me, they need our prayers, they need our love, they need the Body of Christ...He is the way that they WILL journey through this to a place of peace that will come in time.

Oh Lord, wrap this family in the shelter of Your wings. Hold them so tightly to Your chest that when the journey gets long and the noise of this world gets loud, they will hear Your heartbeat and feel Your calm. God, I wish we didn't know what they were feeling, but we do. You have chosen Kayleigh to be with You and though this side of heaven, we may never know the full spectrum of Your great and perfect will .... may Your name continue to be praised.... "You give and take heart will choose to say...BLESSED BE YOUR NAME!" ..... "Though there is pain in the offering....BLESSED BE YOUR NAME!!"
In Jesus Name,

In His Grip!

Thank You For Loving Me

It was an amazing night for that I will never forget! I love the people of Tyler. Those I have come to know and love through fellowship has been amazing. There are a few people, however, that were (and remain) a vital part of our survival as a family over the past four years. Tonight, my dear friend Peggy got together some of the "Key Players" in my life for a dinner out.

These ladies to me are God's life savors that He sent in just the perfect moment for the perfect reason. Willing vessels that He used to draw me ever closer to the One who had carried each of them in their own valley. Ladies that took time out of their own lives and time away from their families to invest in a girl who was in desperate need of a spiritual makeover. Now, I want to do each of them justice, for each of them are unique in the way in which God used them (and continues to use them) during this crazy journey here in Tyler. These ladies mean so much to me that I could hardly do justice in words to describe how much I love and appreciate each of them.

Over the next few weeks, I pray to share with you about each of these friendships ~ their importance to me ~ what they taught me ~ and how our Great and Mighty God "planted" each person in my life at just the right time for just the right reason. Now, as my time here in Tyler swiftly approaches its end, and I step back and look at the years....I am taken to my knees, to the feet of the One who blessed me with these friends, and praise Him for all that He has done in my life through them. It's a beautifully orchestrated song...that when looked at note by note, you see their individuality, their spiritual gift~ but when you step back and you see where I was four years ago and where I am now and the course in which God is taking'll hear the most beautiful symphony and you'll see the delicate hands of these ladies who have shaped my life forever. You'll see these hearts of love and compassion that LITERALLY carried me through so many deep valley's. You'll see wisdom in God's word and how they gently held my hand as I slowly began to see His grace and mercy in my life. Most of you maybe know part of my testimony...but these ladies know it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly....and have loved me just the same. Truly loved me!! That is such a humbling feeling and I hardly feel worthy of it, but tonight, I will praise God for each of them and lift them up in prayers that will never cease.

Debe, Mary, Peggy, Ruby, Lillian, Erin, and Barbara (who wasn't able to come...but thankfully I'll see her tomorrow) I love you. You each have inspired me in my walk with God. When the Holy Spirit prompted you to call or write or come and did. You each have a servants heart and a love for our King that I can draw wisdom and strength from. Your hand print will forever be etched into my heart and has become a vital part of who God is lovingly and patiently growing me into. I know our friendships are not the kind to fade away, but relationships that will grow through the years and I am excited about that. I'm just gonna miss the hugs and the laughter that we always seem to find. You are a beautiful group of ladies that I feel honored to call my friends! May God bless each of you exceedingly and abundantly!! You are the best!

In His Grip!! :0)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Countdown to Moving Day ~ Getting Closer!

Ah! It seems like just yesterday I was writing to share about our move...and yet some days it feels like it's been forever! The garage over. (Thank you Grandma Gayle for all of your help!!! You made pulling that off MUCH easier than it could have been!!!) It was somewhat of a success, but compared to others that we've had here, it was a little slower. You can really tell how the economy has had an effect on East Texas since the first of the year. So~we'll box up that which is left (and worth trying to sell again) and have another garage sale in Norman when we get there! If I have it in me.... :0)

Nana Joyce is coming tomorrow!! Yeah!! She is the pro at packing. She has managed a great number of moves during my dad's career in the Air Force, so, she's got a pretty good idea on how to get it done and get it done well! It means the world to me that she is coming!!! (Thank you mom!!) Papa John (my dad) is going to come down Thursday night after work with a trailer. (Thank you dad for helping as well...I know this isn't the first time you've done this!) We'll load the trailer with all the outdoor furniture and swingsets etc.. and the moving truck on Friday (praying weather will cooperate)... finish up the last few things on Saturday....and head back to the promise land in Oklahoma where we will call home for the weeks that follow.

So, what was going to be NEXT Monday to move, has become this Friday, which seems crazy in a way but in another way, it's the best option for us so that we have unloading help over the weekend in Norman. There are so many people here in Tyler that have called or written in the past few weeks and I just wanted to send a note out to tell you that I haven't forgotten about you and that I PROMISE to do all I can in the next few days to write you back or at least give you a call. My cell phone and email will remain the same for the time, don't hesitate to call. If I'm not up to my eyes in packing tape, I'll be sure to answer!! Ah! There are so many of you that I want to see before our time here is many of you I want to thank for the vital role you have played in the lives of the Cole's in the past 4 years! We would not have survived had it not been for your prayers, love, and support that went beyond anything I could have ever thought existed!! I love each of you so much and I just pray in my heart that you know that!!

There is no new news on the job front for Daren, but will keep you posted on future possibilities...thank you for your continued prayers in that area as well. Please also pray for the kids during this transition.....I worry about taking them from the only place they have known as home and a place so familiar to them that they can wonder in the dark and still find the side of my bed when the need arises for a little extra cuddling. Please pray for my peace as well...that during all of this, I not loose sight of the One who provides for all my needs...the One who has carried us all the days before...the One who will sustain me today, as He has yesterday. I need Him now, just as much as I have before. I know He is in control and I just pray that I see His, I look for His hand, His presence in the days ahead. Thank you to everyone for lifting us up!

Aug. 2008 ~ And we thought that was a crazy time in life!! :0)....

In His Grip~

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just a Short Note...

Sigh.....It's been a long day, and as I sit here tonight to write this, it's 11:26 p.m. We JUST finished putting everything out for the garage sale that starts tomorrow. I'm tired. Daren's tired. My mother-in-law ( who has been MORE than fantastic to stay and help with the kids so we could do this) is, I'm sure, tired. Those three kids can keep you running 100 mph in 3 different directions from the moment you hear the pitter patter of their tiny feet, until the last is tucked back into bed, snuggled with prayers, sweet dreams, and lots of kisses. (and a few books or so...)

My dear friend (and mentor...well, one of them) took me to lunch on Monday to Jonnie Carino's. (or however you spell it...all I know is that it was gooooood!) We had the best time catching up on life and our walks with God. It's been a long time since I've been able to do that...go out with someone for lunch and actually talk. I wanted to write this note for a few reasons and didn't feel I could allow one more day to pass without.....

#1) Thanking this precious friend!! Peggy, you have always dazzled me with the heart of compassion and heart of Truth that you carry with you. From our first MOPS meeting, all the times you came over to visit and share your heart with me while I was still finding my "footing" in this difficult but extremely rewarding and humbling job of motherhood, to the numerous visits in the hospital when I was pregnant with the twins, to the amazingly beautiful baby shower that you hosted at your house, to helping me after they were born. I honestly don't know how to thank you in words, so I wanted to let you know that I am going to give the gift to you, that will bless (prayerfully) many people for years to come. I am going to share with people about this amazing God we serve...I desire so deeply in my heart to extend that friendship you have shown me to others who find themselves in uncharted waters or difficult seasons of life. You have given me a gift (as has Barbara Bobo....and I will write about her amazing character as a woman after God's Own Heart....soon) of learning more about my relationship with God. You were patient with me when at times I seemed to take one step forward, all to take two steps backwards. You've cried endless tears with me and have given me a safe place in which to share my life with. I love you so dearly and the thought of moving away from you makes my heart sad, but I know I am taking a gift with me, that your kindness and generosity has shown me, that will last a lifetime. You are an INCREDIBLE WOMAN OF GOD!!!! Again, I love you so much!!

#2) While Peggy and I were at lunch, she gave me a list of some of the BSF principles from 2008~2009...not just a partial list, but an entire list that she not only typed for me from her studies as a group leader, but she took the time to look at all 115 (yes! that is one hundred fifteen) and write beside them the scripture in which I could find these promises. I have been over these pieces of paper probably 8 to 10 times since Monday when we went to lunch and something new hits me every time I read it. These are God's promises of WHO HE IS TO US... who He is to me, you, and every believer in the body of Christ! You gave me these principles and they shall always stay locked in my mind and in my heart, for I know that there are times that we walk in the valley and I'll surely need reminding of these things. As our family still grieves over Major's passing, I saw some promises of God's character in these principles that I know God has placed before me for a reason. Your heart, again, amazes only hope is that one day, I can be as good of a friend to someone else, as you have been to me!

#3) Here are just a few of the principles that in the past few days have stood out as I've read them over and over: (1) #56; The awe inspiring God mercifully chooses to reveal Himself to those who seek Him. (Ex 34:1-28) (2) #96; On the road to receiving God's promises, you often encounter difficulty and opposition, BUT God is faithful to His word. (Num 20:14-22) and last, but not least (3) #100; God's victory over sin and death, comes DELIBERATELY LOOKING IN FAITH TO JESUS (emphasis on #100 mine... ) (Num 21:4-9)

These my dear friends, are just a few of the great things about Peggy and the wonderful and perfect friend she has been to me since we met in the summer of 2006! If you're here and don't know her, you need to. If you don't live here, well, I am pretty sure that God has planted other amazing women all around you who are just waiting to reach out to you in the deepest of valley's and yet celebrate with you your greatest victories...just step out in faith. Go to that one MOPS meeting or BSF meeting ~ God will unfailingly bring, in HIS perfect timing, someone who is perfectly suited to walk with you hand in hand...just like Peggy, I promise!!

Little Ashley at the time had been put back in the hospital just a few days prior to the shower, thus the reason for the picture on my arm...I didn't want her to think we were celebrating without her. (ah yeah, the frizzy hair and dark circles...that's 36 hours in the hospital listening yet again to those all too familiar beeping monitors and nurse checks every 3-4 hours. I think she got to come home the next day....)

In His Grip!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Casting Call....

The Pretender


Little "M"

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I Love You Little Buddy!

There has been such new joy in the past few days,
But there remains a sadness inside, needless to say.
Though months go by as they always will,
Your memories live on & my heart grows still.

I don't ever think the pain will go away,
We do our best to breathe and survive each day.
Today is so tough, for 6 months ago,
You were taken from us, and the pain still grows.

The questions are so many and the answers seem so few,
The silence seems so loud...God, where are You?
There isn't one thing that remotely seems fair,
As to "why" this happened and "were You even there"?

To happen anywhere, is unspeakable to bear,
But in The House of The Lord? It hardly seems fair?
This is the place where our faith should step in,
And we find endless joy as precious Noelle's life begins.

So, God up in heaven, will You bring us to a place,
Where we can find peace and rest, and feel Your grace?

We know this side of heaven, we would not understand,
The answer You'd give us, so please help us to stand.
Be patient Oh God as we journey in grief,
Help us Dear Lord with our unbelief.

Oh the day that your daddy called me & the love I could hear,
As he shared with great joy, that his sweet boy was here.
Your mommy and I shared stories of our days
As she sat by your side and with soft whispers she'd say,
We love you dear little one and may you always know,
Our love will be with you wherever you go.

I love you sweet Major, and that will NEVER change,
It's the thought that you're gone I want to rearrange.
I see your eyes so blue, and your heart so tender,
I promise you little buddy ~ You, I will always remember!

Loving you....always and forever!
Aunt Kristi

Written with Love and Tears...

Kristi Cole

May 2, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

~ Noelle Josephine Rhodes ~

Noelle Josephine Rhodes

April 30, 2009

Our hearts have grown, yet again,

As this precious little life begins.

Ten perfect fingers, and ten tiny toes,

Two beautiful big eyes, and the cutest little nose.

Noelle Josephine Rhodes is her precious name,

And into this world quietly she came.

7 pounds and 1 ounce is what she weighs,

And we introduce her to you, with JOY today!!

by: Kristi Cole

Precious Noelle! What a gift we've been given by your birth today! I love you sweet girl, more than you know! I refer to your sisters as "my girls" when I talk to your mommy and daddy, and what a blessing it is that I can "claim" you as well! We are going to have so much fun together... painting, hide & seek, colors, toe painting....your sissy's can fill you in on the rest. I just wanted to welcome you with a hug that stretches across the miles and tell you I LOVE YOU!!!

Aunt Kristi