Friday, May 28, 2010

Whatchya Talkin' bout Willis?

Gary Coleman died today and I loved to watch him on Different Strokes. He reminds me so much of JJ from Choctaw County.

I hope he knew Jesus......

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On the Line

Go Greyhound and Leave the Driving to US!
I received a message on my cell phone this morning from Bullen. "LaLa, I am back on the line if you want to call me." I laughed to hear his voice. He is so funny. What he meant was " My cell phone is charged and I am on the bus headed home to Alabama." He is making a 27 hour bus ride from Lebanon PA.

Longway to Meridian

I left Birmingham around 5:30 am, making my way to Meridian MS to pick up BBolden. We drove back to Birmingham to apply for section 8 housing at the renovated Mark's Village. With us we had a 3 month old and a 3 year old, one facing forward and one facing backward. As we head down the highway, I find out all kinds of information about her family, children, significant other, friends, personality, temper, coping skills, etc. Time flew by as we had so much to talk about and of course, I was asking all kinds of questions. BBolden was raised very different from me and I am trying to understand what life must be like for someone who has very limited reading and writing skills. I am trying to understand why someone who has no job or way to provide for herself has seven children. I am trying show the love of Christ to someone who has no hope and is very defensive towards life and others. I think we talked about 3 or more law suits during our driving time. Do I think she wants something for nothing? I really don't know. I know that she loves her children and is raising them just as she was raised. I know that she favors a couple of her children over the others. I know that she is very clean and keeps the clean apartment. I know she was made by GOD for His purpose and we are called to love others regardless of their situation or personal habits.

We arrived around lunchtime to Mark's Village, filled out 15+ pages of information and then she had an interview with the housing authority. Afterwards, we were able to see one of the apartments. It was very small and this giant (i mean very very big) heater was in the middle of the floor in the family room and the other rooms were tiny. I could tell by the look on her face, that she didn't like it. I didn't like it either! I knew she wasn't sure how she was going to tell me this, especially since I have now driven over 5 hours, with 5 more to go. Mark's Village was in much worse condition than where she is currently (Eastern Gardens - Meridian MS).

We headed back to Meridian around 1:45 pm and storms were brewing. Both children decided they didn't want to be in their car seats any longer (i don't blame, them neither). The baby fell asleep quickly, the 3 yr old, not so much. He began by asking nicely to be unlocked, that turned to yelling, then crying, then screaming and crying at the same time, then vomiting. For 1 1/2 hours, he did not STOP! Throughout the day, when BBolden wanted to get the 3yr olds attention or make him stop doing something, she would tell him a bug was going to get him. She finally admitted to me that he didn't like bugs and this was only way to get him to obey her.

We arrive in Meridian around 4pm and the car was met with 4 happy boys with lots of energy. I found out that it was JJ's birthday. I took him to the dollar tree and let him pick out three items. He chose a neon necklace, a brush, and a jump rope. I took him to Taco Bell for a Mango Freeze. While he and I were sitting at the table - He responded " This is the rightest place ever to come" This precious child was all smiles.

Thank you Lord for allowing me to love on Ms. B and her children. They are precious in Your sight.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Changing Spaces

Hundreds of Brook Hills members sacrifice big for sake of Kingdom

By Grace Thornton - The Alabama Baptist
May 20, 2010

Your church only thought it squirmed when your pastor preached on tithing.

Imagine this!

It’s Sunday morning, and your pastor opens the Word and begins preaching from Numbers 13–14, encouraging the congregation to faithfulness, not fearfulness, when it comes to following God’s leadership to take the land.

Then he gets specific.

He mentions a community roughly 15 miles away, a part of town you don’t really want your wife or daughter driving through in the daytime, much less at night.

And then he asks you to pray about taking your family and moving there.

What would you do?

When David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, posed that question to his congregation March 7, you could’ve heard a pin drop in the room.

But that just made it all the better for Chuck and Margaret Clarke — and roughly 40 other families and singles — to hear the call just that much more clearly.

Forty households. All looking toward putting “For Sale” signs in the yard and surfing real estate ads in neighborhoods nothing like their own.

“People might be surprised at that response to a sermon, but it wasn’t an isolated message,” Chuck Clarke said. “For three years, David has been preaching what it means to be a follower of Christ, so now when the opportunities come, people are ready to take them.”

And God makes it happen once you do, he explained. The Clarkes got a cash offer on their condo nearly immediately after surrendering to the idea of uprooting. They quickly found themselves prepping with their three children for a move to inner-city Birmingham.

And it wasn’t long after moving that they found themselves already a mainstay in the neighborhood.

In the afternoons, Anna Katherine Clarke, 13, invites groups of neighborhood kids up onto the sprawling porch of the Clarkes’ new home, and her mother offers them a spread of drinks.

“You want to just go in and get yourself a snack while you wait on your parents to get home?” Margaret Clarke asks two little girls.

Another crawls into her lap and starts munching on a pretzel stick — she’s already made herself at home.

“We just wanted to be a place of refuge in the neighborhood, and [the house] is already fulfilling what we wanted,” Margaret Clarke said. “We want people to come and feel loved and welcome and safe.”

Do the Clarkes themselves feel safe?

“We heard gunshots yesterday morning, two houses down. That’s all around us,” she said. “But God has woven such a beautiful tapestry of His grace in leading us here that we know if anything happens to us, it’s going to be OK.”

They are the first to move there from Brook Hills, but others will be joining them soon, including Ben DeLoach, the church’s associate local disciple-making minister, and his family.

Though the influx is significant, it’s not going in loud and proud under the Brook Hills banner — it’s just a few families moving in to live life and show Christ to the neighbors. They will be joining some people from other churches who are already doing the same thing.

“People ask, ‘What are you going to do there?’” DeLoach said. “I tell them we are going to love God and love people.”

The inner-city move is one more outgrowth of a challenge to take Christ’s commands literally that Platt has been preaching since at least fall of 2008. He preached the Radical series in November of that year, messages aimed at taking a long, honest look at what Christ really said about being His disciple.

Referencing the story of the rich young ruler, as well as the call of the 12 disciples, Platt notes that Jesus called His followers to abandon everything for the sake of His glory in the world.

“What if I were the potential disciple being told to drop my nets? What if you were the man whom Jesus told to not even say goodbye to his family? What if we were told to hate our families and give up everything we had in order to follow Jesus?” Platt asked. “This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love Him in a way that makes our closest relationships look like hate. And it is entirely possible that He will tell us to sell everything we have and sell it to the poor.”

In fall of 2009, the church began work on a drastically different budget for 2010 — hundreds of thousands less spent on the church itself, and hundreds of thousands more sent to help further the gospel and fight poverty locally and around the world.

And at the end of 2009, Brook Hills voted to send more than $500,000 in tucked-away surplus money to fund 21 of Compassion International’s Child Survival Programs in India.

Continuing to fund them became one component of this year’s Radical Experiment that the congregation committed to in January — an emphasis Platt calls “one year to a life turned upside down”:

1. To pray for the entire world (using resources such as “Operation World,” a book and website that lists a different people group to pray for each day of the year)

2. To read through the entire Word (together as a church)

3. To commit our lives to multiplying community (through small groups)

4. To sacrifice our money for a specific purpose (to meet needs locally and globally, specifically in India)

5. To give our time in another context (by going on missions trips)

“Ultimately Jesus is a reward worth risking everything to know, experience and enjoy. But claims such as these remain theories until they are tested. That is the reason for the experiment,” Platt wrote in his new book, “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream,” which came out earlier this month.

Brook Hills members would be quick to tell you — it’s an experiment that’s changing their lives.

One went home after the sermon on the rich young ruler, emptied all his clothes on the bed, collected bags of food and other items and drove into the projects and gave it all away.

Nearly 100 families completed training and are being certified to take care of foster children after a sermon based on James 1:27 last fall that challenged the congregation to not let a single child in Shelby County go without a home for the night.

Still more families are signed up to go through the training soon.

And dozens like the Clarkes are selling their homes and possessions and moving overseas or into other ministry contexts, such as inner-city Birmingham.

“How do you deal with the hard sayings of Christ?” Chuck Clarke asked. “We decided it was time to act, and our joy in Christ has only been maximized through it. So it’s to our benefit, too.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fork in the ROAD

What in the world is a fork in the ROAD? Well, it is a place we come to in our life where we must decide to go one way or another. God always has the perfect path, but do we always follow His path? Sometimes we go through doors that are open and we shouldn't and sometimes God closes the door before we can walk through. Sometimes we think we are going in the right direction, only to find out later that it wasn't correct at all. When sin is involved - we always know the turn in the opposite direction and RUN to the other side of the fork. The answer is not always easy. There are so many forks in the road facing my family today. My mind thinking about each one and calling on God, thinking about another, calling on God. I know I am not suppose to worry, but Just Saying - There is a Fork in the ROAD.

Here are our forks, if anyone would like to pray with us for wisdom.

1. My junior in college is waiting on acceptance into ATEP. If yes, the he will proceed to be an Athletic Trainer, if no, a new profession must be chosen.

2. My oldest son is at a point in a relationship - Marriage or DONE.

3. My Sudanese boys must make greater-than 80 in their one summer class to remain in America for their education. If their grade is less-than 80 - no degree from USA.

4. My husband is between a rock and a hard place in his current job. Change in management, economy, and responsibilities - a decision has to be made on which fork do we take.

5. My JBG has just finished his freshman year. He made a wrong choice which took him on part of the fork he didn't intend to travel. Now his life decisions are in front of him. Army or School with no job, money, car or home.

MAX LUCADO-When God Whispers Your Name

Each Day. . .

It's quiet. It's early. My coffee is hot. The day is coming.

In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.

For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is now that I must make a choice.

Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose. And so I choose.


No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.


I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical. . . the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.


I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.


I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.


I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.


Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.


Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a. demand, may it be only of myself


I am a spiritual being. . . . After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-comrol. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. In fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Poky Little Puppy

One of the original 12 Little Golden Books, The Poky Little Puppy has sold nearly 15 million copies since 1942, making it one of the most popular children’s books of all time. I love this book.
Nite Nite poky puppy is a phrase I still use after 40 years.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Christian Sister

A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not shouting 'I'm clean livin,' I'm whispering 'I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride. 
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong. 
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say.. 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success. 
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect, 
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain... 
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than Thou, 
I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!

by Maya Angelou

Sunday, May 16, 2010

But Dust

The Sermon I think this Mom will never forget.... this particular Sunday sermon...

"Dear Lord," the minister began, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. "Without you, we are but dust." He would have continued but at that moment the very obedient daughter (who was listening!) leaned over and asked very audibly in her shrill little girl voice, "Mommy, what is butt dust?"

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Sudanese are off of probation! 2.34 GPA. Thank you Jesus for Your mercy and wisdom.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays.

His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Eve, his wife was taking their children to service in the farm community in which they lived.

They were to talk about Jesus' birth. She asked him to come, but he refused.

"That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man?

That's ridiculous!"

So she and the children left, and he stayed home.

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump.

Something had hit the window.
He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet.

When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window.

In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm.

So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away.

He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.

Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.

"Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed.

"Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?"

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.

Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese.

He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn -- and one-by-one, the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!" Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese--blind, lost, perishing.

God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us.

As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought.
Suddenly he understood why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished with the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I wish for YOU

Faith is not believing that God can, It is knowing that He will.

"I wish for you...
Comfort on difficult days,
Rainbows to follow the clouds,
Laughter to kiss your lips,
Sunsets to warm your heart
Gentle hugs when spirits sag,
Friendships to brighten your being,
Beauty for your eyes to see,
Confidence for when you doubt,
Faith so that you can believe,

Courage to know yourself,
Patience to accept the truth,
And love to complete your life.
God Bless you!
I asked the Lord to bless you
To guide you and protect you
As you go along your way....
His love is always with you
His promises are true
No matter what the tribulation
You know He will see us through
So when the road you're traveling on
Seems difficult at best
Give your problems to the Lord
And God will do the rest.

Monday, May 10, 2010



When in sorrow.....................................................John 14

When men fail you.............................................Psalms 27

When you have sinned.......................................Psalms 51

When you worry.....................................Matthew 6:19-34

When you are in danger.....................................Psalms 91

When God seems far away...............................Psalms 139

When your faith needs stirring........................Hebrews 11

When you are lonely and fearful........................Psalms 23

When you grow bitter and critical.............I Corinthians 13

When you feel down and out..........................Romans 8:31

When you want peace and rest..............Matthew 11:25-30

When the world seems bigger than God..............Psalms 90

When you want Christian assurance...........Romans 8:1-30

When you leave home for labor or travel..........Psalms 121

When your prayers grow narrow or selfish..........Psalms 67

When you want courage for a task.........................Joshua 1

When you think of investments and return.............Mark 10

If you are depressed...........................................Psalms 27

If your pocketbook is empty................................Psalms 37

If you are losing confidence in people........I Corinthians 13

If people seem unkind.............................................John 15

If discouraged about your work.........................Psalms 126

If self pride/greatness takes hold!.......................Psalms 19

If you want to be fruitful..........................................John 15

For understanding of Christianity.......II Corinthians 5:15-19

For a great invention/opportunity...........................Isaiah 55

For how to get along with fellow men..................Romans 12

For Paul's secret to happiness................Colossians 3:12-17

For dealing with fear..........................................Psalms 34:7

For security......................................................Psalms 121:3

For assurance.......................................................Mark 8:35

For reassurance.............................................Psalms 145:18

Feed your FAITH, and DOUBT will starve to death!

Pass it on and on!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

M Day 2010

I love being a mother and I love my boys with all of my heart! This year I have also adopted two additional boys from Sudan whom I love so dearly and love being their mom here in the USA. I am so excited about being a new mom to a boy from Ethiopia who lost his mother when he was four. He will be arriving in a couple of months.

Mothers are everything for us when we are small...our lives revolve around her. For everything that we need we call mother. To protect us from all perceivable dangers we want her around us. To take us out we hold her arms. To kiss away our wounds we run to her. And for a warm hug and love we look for her. She is the one who will be awake all night when we are sick. Praying to God to make us well and be ever ready to bear the pain that we may be experiencing. Mothers are the ones who would forever complain that we are not eating enough or not eating right. They would cook all sorts of things so that we be strong and healthy. Mothers infact, worry more for our examinations than we must. They would take pains to complete our school projects leaving all other works behind while we play around with friends or just while away time watching movies.
They are constantly keeping up with our schedules and making sure wash all of our parts.

Heavenly Father,
We thank You for our mothers to whom You have entrusted the care of every precious human life from its very beginning in the womb. You have given to woman the capacity of participating with You in the creation of new life. Grant that every woman may come to understand the full meaning of that blessing, which gives her an unlimited capacity for selfless love for every child she may be privileged to bear, and for all Your children. To mothers You have given the great privilege and responsibility of being a child's first teacher and spiritual guide. Help mothers to grow daily in knowledge and understanding of Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and grant them the wisdom to impart this knowledge faithfully to their children, and to all who depend upon them.

We ask Your blessing on all those to whom You have entrusted motherhood. May Your Holy Spirit constantly inspire and strengthen them. May all mothers receive Your Grace abundantly in this earthly life, and may they look forward to eternal joy in Your presence in the life to come. We ask this through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.


Saturday, May 8, 2010


Time in America is one of our enemies. Time in America is not like time in any other country. We live by the clock in America and because of this we lose so much in making relationships and resting our minds and bodies. God made the Sabbath a day of rest, but in America we do not rest - we run from can to can't ever single day of the week. We don't ever just sit down and share or visit with one another, whether that be our children, family or friends.

You can spend your time
You can waste your time
You can invest your time

It's Your Choice

Friday, May 7, 2010


Louis Giglio talks about Laminin. God designed us in His infinite knowledge of all things. How awesome that our protein cell is in the shape of a Cross. But even if we had never discovered this cell - God's Word still tells us He made each and every one of us for His Glory.

Romans 1:20 makes it clear that we can know God through what He has made. God certainly designed the laminin protein and gave it a structure that allows it to perform the function He designated for it. In fact, early research on the structure and function of laminin said this: “Globular and rodlike domains are arranged in an extended four-armed, cruciform shape..."

The supremacy of Christ that is talked about in Colossians 1:15–20 is probably one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture. Paul begins talking about Christ as Creator and moves to Christ as Redeemer. These are truths not because they appeal to our unaided reasoning, but because they are revealed in God’s Word.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hand-made Pottery

I purchased one of these and I love IT!

Lisa Bunting Howard is a Birmingham native and self-taught artist. A social worker by training, Lisa recently took a break from the field to explore her need for artistic expression.

She fell in love with the uniqueness and imperfections of hand built pottery.

"Each piece is a joy to create and I love seeing my fingerprints in the clay-- occasionally my dog's paw print, a leaf-- anything that might land on the piece while drying outside my garage studio. The entire hand built process helped me become less of a perfectionist and a more spontaneous person."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Alabama Dweller

Our Sudanese sons are always asked - How did you get to Alabama? Bullens answer "I visited here in 2006 during my first visit to the United States of America. Four Corner's ministry is located in Anniston, Alabama and they offered to support us to come to college in America." After one year in Wadley, Alabama - in the woods of Alabama - ThreeSixty Ministry is supporting our school in Birmingham, Alabama. I love ALABAMA and I am an ALABAMA DWELLER".

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spend your DASH?

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth and spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth...
And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own; The cars...the house...the cash,
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard...Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left, that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what's true and real,
And always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile..
Remembering that this special dash may last only a little while.

So, when your eulogy's being read with your life's actions to rehash...
Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

R A D I C A L Experiment

Turn your house upside down and READ "Radical" by David Platt. We attended secret church tonight at The Church at Brook Hills and studied what God's Word says about possessions and passions. It was a very intense fast study for 7 hours that will take some time to process. This is a MUST read!

about this book - from random house


It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for Him. They would abandon everything for the Gospel. They would take up their crosses daily....

But who do you know who lives like that? DO YOU?

In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the Gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being His disciple-- then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tell the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.
Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.