Tuesday, January 19, 2016


I didn't really want to go to the pool this morning. I could have easily talked myself out of it with many justifiable reasons...it was 5 degrees and Britain had a two hour delay, which would give me right at a half hour to swim (even though I never swim for more than a half hour), I worked out yesterday, and I have several projects I need to accomplish today.
HOWEVER, I told Silvia that I'd be there. And that was my motivation. Silvia would be waiting for me.
Accountability. I need it. You need it.
Lately, I've invited a few of my friends into my bubble, my private world where I have thoughts and good intentions that so often go undone because I am not accountable to anyone, I've wanted to write more consistently and I've felt the Lord calling me to do it, and I have so many thoughts that He gives me, but with no one to hold me accountable, I am free to rationalize away my thoughts, to believe that no one wants to read them, that no one would be encouraged or challenged by what the Lord shares with me.
I got a text this morning from Sherry, which read, "ok, accountability partner... how far did you get?" She was referring to our conversation last night where we shared with each where we are in our daily Bible reading, our Bible study book and another book we're reading for a class.
Silvia was in the locker room when I got to the pool. We chatted for a few minutes about how neither of us wanted to come today. And how we were both so glad we did.

          My goal is that they will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love.                                                                         Colossians 2.2a

Sunday, January 10, 2016


It seems like every year I have the same resolutions, to study The Word, spend more time in prayer and keep up with my blog. And every year, I get the chance to start over again. So, here we go with a fitting message for the new year...

I was on my way to a women's leadership meeting Saturday morning when I drove by this house that grabbed my attention. I thought of the irony of the scene and I was thankful I had a few extra minutes because I turned around and went back to take a picture...

Do you see what I saw?
This picture thrills me because of what it represents in my life and perhaps in yours as well. The house is under construction. HOWEVER, they still decorated it for Christmas! It didn't matter that the house wasn't complete and in a more presentable state. They still decorated it and joined in The Celebration.

I want to join in the celebration of what God is doing in my life, even though I am so incomplete. My prayer is that this year I would not focus so much on presenting a perfect, polished temple of the Lord's, but that I would seek to have a pure heart that follows hard after Him and celebrates His grace in my life, and I, in turn, would celebrate the Amazing Grace in those who are walking this journey with me. Oh, won't you join me in this Celebration?

Psalm 24:3-5New International Version (NIV)
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior

Saturday, January 25, 2014


I've been reminded in many different ways recently of how we need each other. 
While finishing our total body sculpt class (which I affectionately call Killer Girl's Class), we were practicing some balance stands. A new girl next to me was having a hard time staying balanced so the girl next to her held out her hand to steady her friend. They continued to hold hands during the rest of the exercise and TOGETHER, they helped each other hold their positions.
There are lots of thoughts that come to my mind that I would like to write here on my blog as a way to encourage all of you. However, by the time it comes to actually sitting at the computer and writing them out, I can usually talk myself out of their value and worth in writing. In steps my niece, Alli, who also writes a blog. She motivates me to keep writing and TOGETHER, we can share what God is teaching us in our daily journeys.
I also enjoy going to Zumba, although many mornings it's rather easy to talk myself out of going. Then I remember a few of my friends who will be there, and Sherry's encouragement to me when she says, "We only have 15 more minutes!" or "Keep going; we can do this!" TOGETHER, we can do this.
The Lord designed us to do life TOGETHER. We need the motivation and encouragement of those who are walking the path as well. We need to know that others have walked before us and survived. TOGETHER, we can do this.
 Hebrews 10.24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Monday, September 9, 2013


It was Sunday morning and we had just been seated after a time of prayer. The music began leading us into our next song when a young man sitting in the front row stood immediately. Because I was several rows back, I didn't hear the conversation between this boy and our youth pastor, Josh, but I imagine it went something like this, "Hey Shawn, you don't have to stand up right now. It's ok to sit down." But Shawn remained standing with his arms lifted high. A few stanzas later, when it became apparent that Shawn had no intentions of sitting down, my heart was deeply warmed as I watched Josh stand up next to Shawn. For a few words, they both stood together, praising God and lifting hands, and by the next verse almost the entire congregation was standing.
Although Shawn has special needs, his spontaneity to stand unashamed and lift his hands in praise to his Saviour, spoke sweetly to those who were watching. Oh, to have a special need of unashamedly praising Him and letting those all around know that we are testifying to His goodness and grace in our lives.

Thank you, Shawn, for reminding us all of our special need to give God the glory that is due Him.
The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy. ~ Psalm 126.3

Friday, July 26, 2013


My mom and I were out the other day enjoying one of our favourite hobbies, thrift shopping. As we waited in line, the thunder started clapping outside and we knew it was a matter of a few minutes before the heavens opened up. Sure enough, it started pouring down before we got outside.
I overheard a lady about my age who was standing behind us in line. She was reminding her little granddaughter that they were walking and she didn't know what they were going to do now that it was raining. I turned and asked her if I could take them home. She told me they were visiting from Crestview and were planning to go to the water park. They had taken the bus to Niceville and were just going to spend the afternoon hanging out around town. She said it would be nice if I could take them to the water park and she could wait under a shelter until the rain stopped.
We managed to load her two big suitcases and 2 garbage bags of toys she'd bought into my little car and were on our way. I heard her whisper to the little girl, Rosie, "I know we don't know her but she seems nice and I don't think she's going to kidnap us."
On the short ride to the water park, Rosie asked lots of little girl questions. The first one I couldn't really hear, but I did hear Grandma respond by saying that they would have to wait for Grandpa to get paid; hopefully he would get paid in the next day or two. Then she asked Grandma if she could get a car like this one. And Grandma quickly replied, "Oh, Rosie, Grandma could never afford a car this nice."
I tried to pretend I didn't hear that comment. The one that made me shrink in my seat as God brought to mind the past few weeks of my complaining about my "nice car". The one that has almost 100,00 miles on it. The one that the spoiler on the back has paint that is peeling and that's embarrassing. And I don't really like the color. And I've always been resentful that it's not the car I really wanted, but it was the more affordable option at the time. It doesn't have a sunroof, which I miss every time I drive it. It's a stick shift, which is fine most of the time, but it's really inconvenient when trying to teach kids how to drive. Yes, the "nice car" that Grandma could never afford. Ouch.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Holes With A Purpose

Todays blog is dedicated to my precious niece, Allison, and her darling daughter, Ruby Lynn. Alli's husband, Drew, went ahead of Allison and Ruby to check out their mansion in the sky. While we will have to wait to get there to find out why The Lord took him sooner than we wanted, we trust that He has great plans for Drews' girls as they cling to their Hope in Him. And we're pretty sure Drew has already painted their mansion orange and blue.

Dear Allison,
I recently attended a conference where the main theme for the weekend was The Power of a Story. Several people shared powerful stories. A neuroscientist, Curt Thompson, led the weekend as he connected the brain activity that occurs when hearing others stories and telling ours.
One of the "storytellers", Marvel DeWitt, shared her family's journey through the months and years of grief and heartache following their 26 year old son's sudden death caused by a drunk driver.
As friends ministered to her with words of encouragement, some of them mentioned the hole in her life due to her son's absence. How would God fill this hole? Those of us who know that God is in the redemptive business readily assume that God would fill the void with something of great value and purpose.
Several years following her son's death, as she was still waiting for the hole in her heart to be filled, the Lord revealed to her that sometimes there are holes in our lives that remain for a purpose.
Before the accident, Marvel had been listening to a radio program where the speaker talked about wanting to be a sieve for the Lord. Someone who would sift out the good from the bad. She thought to herself that she would prefer to be a colander.  Someone who would allow thankfulness and love and joy and peace and the other fruit of the Spirit to flow freely from her life.
Holes can bring great beauty to our lives. Not only do they serve to allow the healing and freeing attributes and characteristics of Christ to splash out onto those we come in contact with, but they also provide a way for Light to shine through. Matthew 5.14 says, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." Holes can illuminate His light and cast out darkness.
My prayer for you is that in the days and years to come you will see a small glimpse of the beauty of your holes. Holes do not signify incompleteness. Rather, they are great deliverers of the goodness that God longs to pour out on others through your story.
Love you,

Aunt Chelie
                                                Alli and Ruby Lynn    
                                           (photograph "borrowed" from Keva Davis:)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Where Are You From?

It shouldn't be that difficult of a question.
I was in a store in South Walton County a few weeks ago when a friendly lady working there asked me where I was from. I hope she couldn't tell how confused I felt trying to answer that simple question. After a few seconds I replied, "I'm from Ft. Walton Beach". I thought the chances of her knowing where that was were much better than her knowing where Shalimar was. Shalimar is a small town close to Ft. Walton but if you're not familiar with the area, chances are, you won't know where Shalimar is. Even after my answer, though, I was still confused. While I currently live in Shalimar, I'm not really from here. I'm really from Valparaiso. Valparaiso is an even smaller town close by. It's the town I consider home as I lived there for 7 years, from 4th grade to 11th grade, the longest I've lived anywhere. My parents still live in Valparaiso and I love that tiny little town on Tom's Bayou.
My formative years were spent at First Baptist, Valparaiso, at Valp. Elementary, in the gullies playing capture the flag and crawling through drainage pipes. We could ride our bikes to Lincoln Park and swim the day away. Especially in the summer, we could often be found down at the Purcell's house on the bayou, catching crabs and jumping on the trampoline. We formed clubs where you had to know the secret codes to get in, and my next door neighbor, Tommie Lou, and I carved our names on a tree where we built our secret fort. (I didn't realize I had this picture of Tommie Lou on my laptop. She died when we were in college. I still miss her.)
Some days we would wander around town and find ourselves down at Stop N Save, enjoying a fountain drink at the counter. And if we had enough change, we might even pop into TG&Y and buy a candy bar.
First Baptist is where I learned of Jesus and saw His love in Bro Walker and so many others. To this day I remember lessons learned from my teachers, youth leaders, choir director and friends.
I lived a whole life during those 7 years and Valp will always remain my "home".
However, I'm not sure I'm technically "from there", either. I was actually born at Hill AFB, Utah. But, I only lived there for 6 weeks.
So... you may have a better understanding now why this question can seem so difficult.
Which brings me to another question. Does it really matter where we've come from?
While I do believe we need to remember where we've come from for the simple reminder of where God has brought us and so we can remind ourselves of His faithfulness, the real question must be asked, "Where are we headed?"
Reminds me of a popular song, one that my college roommate, Colleen, used to play on the guitar. (I can't remember her playing any other songs but this one)... This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through, if heaven's not my home, then Lord what will I do...
Forgetting what lies behind, I press on to win the prize for which Christ has called me heavenward. Ph. 3.14

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

One from the archives.... I've had a few more cups of tea since this was written, but the experience hasn't changed...

“The Tea Maker~ Steeped in His Word. Infused with His Love. Sweetened by His Spirit. Stirred from above.”

What an incredible gift. I was reading recently in Emilie Barnes’ book, If Teacups Could Talk, about a time she and her granddaughter had tea. Emilie thought about the fact that when her granddaughter had asked her for a tea party, what she was really asking for was time with her. Asking for tea was her way of saying, “I need to talk to you.”
I began to learn this lesson when I lived in England. Partly as a way to stay warm and mostly as a way to experience the culture, I embarked on my quest for a knowledge and appreciation of one of the finer things in life~ a good cup of tea.  My first taste of real tea was at a PWOC Tea in a “lovely” garden on the High Street in St. Ives. The tea was good, the scones and finger sandwiches a real treat, and the gardens so Britishly overgrown and beautiful. I fell in love.  I enjoyed tea with my dear British friend, Carol Thorndike. Lindsey and I shared many cups of tea whilst we solved the neighborhood problems in our little village of Brampton.
 The true meaning of tea became more evident during these times and I now more fully understand my neighbor in S. Carolina, who many years ago invited me to coffee at her house. As excited as I was to visit with her and get to know her, I was anxious as I did not drink coffee! I worried the whole week and on Friday morning sheepishly walked over to her house. She had a lovely, simple spread on a backyard table and guess what? She served lemonade! Her invitation was not for coffee; it was for my company.
A while back, I went to Norway to visit my wonderful friend and C.D., Kim. We rented a hytte (cabin) and literally sat by the fire and drank tea for almost the entire 24 hours we were there. We laughed, we cried, we processed and in the end, we were all the better and ready to attack life once again.
 In Tucson, Cynthia and I shared MANY cups of tea together. In other words, I needed to talk to her almost every week! We shared tea at Starbucks, TJ’s, along with my other dear friend Trish at the lovely Arizona Inn, and one time at a special tea ceremony at a quaint little tea shop called Seven Sisters.  We drank tea at my house and at hers. Her patio became a refuge for me; her company and words of wisdom became my vision of Hope. No doubt, the days we shared at her house were the most memorable. I remember like yesterday sitting at her bar watching her boil the water and set two tea cups on the tray. While watching her tend to the process was special in itself, the end result of just the two of us sipping tea and sharing was incredibly healing and so very special. Again, when I was in Ohio, Ronda and I frequented Starbucks in an attempt to share what God was doing and where He was leading each of us. Amazing to be able to share with these friends the gift of time and friendship.
My husband was deployed last year and I was one tired woman.  Tracy was my partner in ministry and even though we were both exhausted, she and I couldn’t wait for Wed. evenings when we would drop our girls off at AWANA and  sneak to Forza to share tea with each other. (Don’t tell Kendra that’s where we wereJ) We needed a refuge and we needed each other. Reminds me of the quote that says, “There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.”

I often imagine Mary and Elizabeth sharing tea together waiting for their baby boys to be born. Dreaming out loud together, yet never fully grasping how God would use their little boys in such big and mighty ways.
I got a FB message the other day that went like this…
Kathy writes “I bought two new teas today. Wondering if I have a neighbor who would like to share a cup with me this week.” I replied, “I’m a neighbor and would love to share a cup of tea with you. Wed at 11?”
I wasn’t fooled.  The “new tea” was just a ploy for the two of us to get together and catch up. She really wanted my company… and I wanted hers.

“Teapot is on, the cups are waiting, favourite chairs anticipating. No matter what I have to do. My friend, there’s always time for you.”

Dear Lord,  I never want to be too busy to share a cup of tea.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wherever He Leads

A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a women's conference at Word of Life Inn in upstate NY. I am normally a very geographically gifted person, however, maybe due to the excitement of spending the weekend with my dear friend and mentor, Cynthia, I didn't even look at a map to see where the Inn was located. I booked a flight into Albany and trusted the conference coordinator, Amy, to get us to our destination from there.
Throughout the weekend, we would ask ladies where they were from and they would say places like Vermont or Bangor, Maine, or Poughkeepsie. I was a little frustrated that I didn't exactly know where these areas were in relation to where I was. At one point I told Cynthia that we needed to go back to our room and find a map of where we were.
When I returned home and looked up Schroon Lake on a map, I was shocked. The whole time I was in NY, I had no idea where I really was. I thought we were up in the northwest part of the state. Come to find out, we had been straight north of the City, apx 4 hours. I felt so dumb.
I thought of other trips I'd been on and how secure I felt knowing where I was going.
God has been taking me on many trips lately. I'm learning to trust Him when I don't know where the road is leading or what's ahead on the journey.
I'm keeping my hand in His and walking the path He chooses. I'm asking Him which direction to walk and I'm finding security in knowing that He will lead me in the right direction, even if I don't know where I am.

This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.~ Jeremiah 6.16

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A new beginning

Sometimes we all need new beginnings, a fresh start, a renewal of the old. I've been quite a sporadic blogger since my humble beginnings in 2007. I was interested in writing out my thoughts and sharing those "aha moments" and thanks to my friend, Audra, her sister was so gracious to help me get started. After many years and many failed attempts at writing regularly, I've decided a new look and a fresh start might be just what I need.

I've had a difficult time naming my new blog. I thought about "Five Funny Kids" because I, indeed, own five funny kids and even though they're quickly growing into young adults, they continue to entertain me and provide enough stories for a book.

I decided I needed to include something about white sand because it's where I'm from (if an AF kid can claim a hometown as the place she lived for 7 years, which is the longest she's lived anywhere).
I love the white sandy beaches of North Florida; I am especially smitten with Seaside. My dad makes fun of me because of my love for Seaside. He always asks me why in the world I love it and what's so special about it? Well, just for starters, it's a tiny seaside town between here and Panama City. It was incorporated my junior year of high school and I "watched" it become a town. It has A-dorable beach cottages with pastel hues and white picket fences and big, wide porches. There are lots of cute little shops including antiques, art galleries, ice cream (and key lime pie dipped in chocolate and frozen on a stick!), and fabulous fashions. 
The middle of the town boasts a post office the size of my bedroom (or maybe smaller) and an outdoor ampitheater for relaxing summer concerts with flip flops and sundresses. The bands are good but the most entertaining aspect is watching the area in the front of the stage swarm with children running, dancing, tumbling and having such a great summer night on their vacation. Just a few reasons Seaside is so fab.

I also wanted to make known my love for all things tea. After living in England for 3 years, Mike and I became avid tea drinkers. Morning, afternoon and evening. Everywhere we live, we scour the town for a local tea room. So far, every area has provided at least one tea room that reminds us of The Flour Sac on The High Street in Brampton, the tiny village we called home in England. Egg salad sandwiches cut in triangles with watercress, flapjacks, and scones with cream and lemon curd. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin.
All that to let you in on the name of this new blog.
So, here's to a new beginning in the form of writing out my thoughts.