Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

FACEBOOK GROUP COVER - IN CHALLENGESThere are no presents under our tree;
However, HIS PRESENCE fills our home.
Our lives are full of the gifts
He’s been giving us all year long.

I jotted down that little poem in a note app on my phone Christmas morning. I thought maybe there would be more to go with it. I’ve been praying about it since then and, as I sat down this morning to see if I was supposed to elaborate on it, I felt it was complete. I mean, it really does say it all.

For some who may not truly understand, though, I will try to explain just a tiny bit here in this post.

My heart was FULL on Christmas Day just remembering how God has blessed us throughout this past year. There were a lot of changes in our lives – happy changes, sad changes, just changes in general.

In January – wait, let me back up to last December 1st, because that is when Mom got her lung cancer diagnosis. Okay – then, in January, Frank was approved to go in Bullock Correctional Facility as the Assistant Chaplain.

February 20th – God sold our house in Atmore and let us know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, we were moving to Union Springs EARLIER rather than LATER. (We had been thinking we would move in the summer – AFTER I finished my commitment to my HIPPY job)

March 10th – We moved to a rental house in Union Springs – totally provided by God because, when our house sold in February, we had no idea where we were going to stay! I would leave on Sundays and go back to Atmore to stay with Mom at her house through Thursday each week, until my job with HIPPY ended May 11th.

March 17th – He showed us the house that would become our home – even though we had no idea how He was going to do it. He did – and it became officially our home May 11th!

May 6th – Mom was promoted to Heaven.

June 14th – Jessica found out her Dad had passed away, probably the night before, suddenly and very unexpected!

August 13th – MYA MARIE KITTS was born and Frank got to be in the delivery room! She has brought so much joy and love into all our lives these last 4½ months!

Soooooooo – you can see why my heart was so full on Christmas Day and why I mostly spent the day simply reflecting on all the wonderful gifts God has given us throughout the year. Like the peace He gave when He called Mom home – it happened pretty much just as she had always said she’d like for it to happen. Sure there are days I miss her really bad; but, I know where she is and that I’ll get to see her again, so I refuse to allow myself to get caught up in the sadness. I allow myself a good cry now and then, when it hits, but I do not allow it to linger on and on. Mom wouldn’t want me to do that.

It hurt watching my baby girl go through losing her Dad only a month after losing the only Granny she ever really knew. But, again, I am glad she also has the Peace our Father gives and I know she is doing okay. She is as great a mother as I always knew she would be, by the way! She is so wonderful with Mya – it just thrills my heart to watch her with her own baby girl!

I believe the gifts of PEACE in our losses and NEW LIFE in our family have probably been two of the most cherished gifts He has given us this year and my heart is, indeed, full!

Now, let’s enjoy the last few days of 2018 and see what wondrous things He will do in 2019!


christmas-every-day-i-wishAfter reading my devotions this morning, as I do every morning, I began to write in my prayer journal. I say it has turned into more of my “thanksgiving journal” than my prayer journal because, most days, I’m simply thanking Him for various things. Lately, most of my actual prayers are not written – for a few different reasons. This morning, however, turned out to be a little different. Oh, it started out the same – my usual “Good morning Father! Thank You for waking me this morning” then I wrote the words “Christmas Eve” and, after that, I really didn’t even know what I was writing until I finished and read back over it. I felt I should share it and I hope it will touch at least one person’s heart and/or life. I am going to simply share exactly what is written in my journal:

Christmas Eve – the day before we celebrate the day of Your earthly birth – when You chose to put aside Your glory and Your Heavenly home to come and dwell among us AS one of us! My mind is hard-pressed to even BEGIN to comprehend the depth of Your love for ME! There are no words and, even if there were, I don’t know that I would be able to get them down on paper. I feel so inadequate and extremely unqualified to even try – so I pray and I ask You to help me live my life in a way that portrays and conveys what there are no words for – a love with no explanation – a love that can not be explained – a love that only You can give! I want my life to be a life that points others to You and honors You in a way no words can and a life that brings glory to Your Name! Without You, I am nothing and worth nothing; but, WITH YOU, I am unstoppable!

Help me to share the TRUE gift of Christmas every minute of my life – every second You give me breath; for I can not even take a breath without You filling my lungs with air! Help me to remember every day I have is a rare and precious gift FROM You and how I choose to use it is my gift TO You. I want to always be able to give You a lovely gift at the end of every day and, without Your help, even that isn’t possible.

My heart is truly overflowing this morning as I look back over this past year and remember all the wonderful “gifts” You have given me:

  • time spent with family & friends
  • growing love from & for my husband
  • a daughter making her way back to You
  • FREEDOM from my fears

and so many more! With You in my life, I truly can have Christmas every day, as can anyone else!

Thank You for all You have spoken to my heart this morning and, for all I have asked this morning, I ask it in the Precious, Holy Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! I love You 🙂

The words that every female (I believe from birth right on up to old age) longs to hear – I LOVE YOU! Those three words seem to hold so much power over our lives. When we are little, we long to hear our Daddy say it to us and it can drastically change our lives depending on whether or not we hear it from him. If we don’t hear it from him, as we get older, it can cause us to go in search of it from anyone and everyone thinking, if we can just find the one that will say it to us, it will make us feel so much better. If we do hear it from our Daddy, it can help us to realize that we are valuable, we do have worth and we are special. That is why, for a little girl, it is so important to know her Daddy loves her. Whether he says it in words or in actions, a little girl needs to know and feel her Daddy loves and cares for her and that he is there to protect her. It will help her, as she gets older, to be better able to accept God’s love for her.

However, sometimes, even though we were blessed with having a Daddy we know loved and cared for us, other things happen still making it hard for us to believe anyone, especially God, could ever, truly love us. If you read My Story, you know why I had trouble with this. However, in reading My Testimony you get to see how wonderful it was when God revealed to me that He does indeed love me and I actually GOT it!

Since that time, I have come to realize He shows me in so many ways every day just how much He truly loves me, if only I take the time to pay attention and be aware. Some days it may be something as simple as my cats snuggling close and loving on me or seeing a beautiful sunrise in the sky or having a friend give a compliment that seems to make the day brighter. But then, every once in a while, He tells me in a really big, huge, GOD kind of way. A way that leaves absolutely NO misunderstanding that it is Him saying very loudly and clearly to me – I LOVE YOU!

In fact, this happened very recently and I wanted to share this on my blog last Monday but, to be honest, I was still in such awe and wonderment from it that I truly could not even put two words together. Even remembering and thinking about it as I’m trying to write this has me overcome once again with the enormity of His love for ME making it still hard to write, so please be patient as I try to tell you how it came about.

My sister is the music minister at her church about 35 miles away from  where I live but only about 10 miles from where I work. They are a very small church with a very small choir. A few months ago she was telling me about having the choir over to her house so they could select the Christmas Cantata they wanted to do at their church this year. Once they had selected their cantata, she asked if I would like to help them out. Since they were going to practice on Wednesday nights and our church doesn’t have service on Wednesday nights, and since they were going to have the cantata on a Sunday night and our church doesn’t have Sunday night service, I told her I would.

Then, I became a part of a new Life Group that was starting at my church. I wish I had time to tell you all the things that have happened to bring all this together in such a GOD way, but you will just have to trust me when I tell you I know, beyond the shadow of any doubt, God Himself ordained this group and He knew exactly who He wanted to be a part of it. Our group consists of six married couples, one lady (who is married but her husband can’t attend church due to disability) and two women who have recently been through divorce through no choosing of their own.

We meet on the second and fourth Sunday evenings each month. When we met on Nov. 27, I was planning to suggest that we have our next meeting at my sister’s church – in other words, I was going to invite them to come hear the cantata since it would be our night to get together. However, before I had a chance to do that, our group leader announced that for our next meeting we would be caroling and handing out the flyers to gather information from people that needed Christmas dinner delivered to them. After caroling, they would be going to fellowship at Don and Phyllis’ home. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed – but mostly because I couldn’t be there to help out and take part in the caroling. I told them I wouldn’t be able to help and told them why and I thought no more about it.

Little did I know what God had planted in their hearts and minds! I truly wish that someone could have taken a picture of my face when I saw it because I KNOW it was full of surprise! I was at my sister’s church and we were getting ready for the cantata to start. It was still a few minutes til time to begin and people were still coming in. I looked up and I know my chin must have almost hit the floor as my mouth opened wide in amazement! Every person in our Life Group was walking in the door!!! I guess it’s a good thing I was so surprised or I would have been crying my eyes out! Never in my life did I expect that to happen. Seems they all got together (behind my back) and decided to surprise me. They came up with a new plan to head straight for the cantata as soon as they finished caroling. They will never know how much it touched my heart to know they would drive that distance. Not one person stayed behind. They ALL came to show their love and support for me.

While I know they did this because we all truly love and care for each other in this group, I know it was also God’s way of showing me yet again how much HE truly loves me. I believe that is one of THE biggest “I love you”s that He has ever given me and I just had to share it.

What are some ways that God tells or shows you that He loves you? Do you take time to notice the small things He does to try and show you? Would you share it here in a comment? Maybe He told you in a special way, even as recently as today, that He loves you? I hope you will take a minute to share what He’s been doing in your life. I’d love to hear about it.

I think this is my most favorite speech of all time. The fact that it is done by a cartoon character makes no difference to me. I believe it is THE most important speech ever and I pray that you truly know the One that makes Christmas, Christmas. Now, take a minute out of your busy schedule, sit back, relax and breathe for a moment as you listen and are reminded what Christmas IS all about…….


I would like to tell you how I have felt for the last 25 years on the day after Christmas.

I guess I really had not thought much about this until yesterday when a friend posted on Facebook that the day after Christmas is so sad because it meant Christmas was over for another whole year! Twenty five years ago (Dec. 26, 1985) the day after Christmas became a very special day for me and someone that is very close to me. Why? Because that is the day we finally got to meet in person, face-to-face. I had loved this person for quite some time, had prayed for her even longer than that and she had been very close to me for quite a while, too. I nurtured her the best way I knew how, made sure the doctor cared for her and monitored her to be sure she was okay but I still couldn’t meet her – not yet. The time had to be just right. I was told I would probably get to meet her on Dec. 14 but it wasn’t to be. As time went on, I was beginning to wonder if we would even get to meet that year – but I knew God was in control of it all and I tried to be patient and wait on His timing.

As usual, His timing was perfect! Finally, at 2:03 a.m. on the day after Christmas in 1985 I got to meet my baby girl – Jessica Shawn Maree Kenney. She was just perfect – ten fingers, ten toes and some crazy PUNK hair! LOL  Yes, I’m serious. She had light brown hair and the prettiest little ‘punk’ streak of blonde! (Or was it the other way around?) Now, I have to go home and look at the pictures to remember! Hey, it HAS been twenty five years! LOL

All I know is, ever since that day, the day after Christmas has been a very special day for us. Some people would say, “Oh how awful! I bet you get birthday and Christmas presents all together. You get cheated.” But that was never the case. We always had a completely separate celebration for her birthday. True, because of the time of year, a lot of her friends (and even family) couldn’t always be there, but it didn’t matter. We always celebrated her birthday ON her birthday – complete with cake and presents wrapped in BIRTHDAY paper NOT Christmas paper – LOL

I have to say that a lot of days over the last twenty five years have been filled with tears for one reason or another but the joy that has filled the last twenty five years FAR outweighs the tears and makes it all worth it. She has grown in to a wonderful, young woman who loves the Lord and that is all that really matters. Maybe she doesn’t get every single thing right along the way – do any of us? I know I don’t!

So, I guess I have to disagree with you on this one, Mandy – the day after Christmas will forever be a wonderful day for me. How much sweeter can it get than celebrating my Savior’s birth one day and my baby girl’s the next?

If I don’t forget, I will try to post a “then” and “now” picture of her when I get home tonight.

I pray you all had a wonderful Christmas AND a wonderful day AFTER Christmas 🙂

There has been quite a twist to my story about Mary. I got a call this morning giving me some different news. It seems that Steve (the person who was going to bring Mary to me today) noticed something about her when he picked her up this morning. He said she didn’t appear to be pregnant to him. He was going to take her to the vet to have her evaluated and see if she is, indeed, pregnant. If not, he said he was going to have the vet give her all her shots and spay her while she was there.

The vet called him this afternoon to let him know that Mary is NOT pregnant. Therefore, she is getting her shots and having surgery tomorrow. I will be bringing Mary home on Friday.

So, all we have to do is find a good home for Mary – there will be no puppies.

I should have known something was going on when I found myself logged in to Facebook yesterday morning. I don’t usually log in. I just see everyone’s updates on my phone as text messages. However, that wasn’t to be yesterday. There I was, scrolling through my newsfeeds, reading updates, seeing links and pictures that had been posted and then I saw a friend’s update:

IMMEDIATE FOSTER NEEDED FOR A PREGNANT DASCHUND MIX DUMPED LAST NIGHT OUTSIDE IN THE COLD! BEGGING FOR A FOSTER IN SOUTH ALABAMA.. OTHERWISE SHE IS GOING TO BE EUTHANIZED!And I kept scrolling down the page. . . . .or at least I did for a minute or two. . . . .but I found myself drawn back to my friend’s post. Why am I reading this again? I don’t want a dog. I have cats. I don’t have to worry about my cats, if I want to go somewhere. I just go. They have a litter box they can use. But a dog? Nope, can’t do that with a dog. You have to be able to let them outside to use the bathroom. Not to mention THIS dog is PREGNANT!!! No, uh-uh – sorry, can’t help.

Nagging, nagging, nagging inside my head. This Mother Dog is gonna be put to sleep if someone doesn’t step up and offer to care for her, at least temporarily. But ME? Does it have to ME? And I felt in my heart, ever so slightly, the question, “Why not you?”

That is how I found myself on the phone, talking with the person that my friend had listed as the contact. I told him that I don’t live close to their area but that I would be willing to take in the dog, IF they absolutely, could not find anyone else to take her in. I told him I just couldn’t stand the thought of her (and her babies) being put to sleep. I gave him my phone number and he added me as a friend on facebook and the messages began to fly! By yesterday afternoon, I learned that I would, indeed, be given the task of caring for this dog on a foster basis.

So, my mind began to process this information and I thought, “I’ve got to get the word about her to my friends, too. I need to post something to see if I can pique some interest. But I’d like to give her a name.” That’s when I started thinking, since it’s December, what kind of Christmas name could I give her? I thought of the usual “Holly”, “Garland” and such but none of them were sounding right. Not to mention, after I thought about it, I didn’t really want to stick the poor dog with a Christmas name ALL year long, did I? Then it came to me, it’s December – she’s pregnant – she has no place to go – her name will be Mary!

I sent my friend a message to let her know that I would be taking care of Mary and I asked her if she wanted to know how I came up with that name. I told her, “Well, it IS December and she IS pregnant! LOL” This is what her reply to that was: “Mary is perfect, “no room at the inn.” You have become the inn keeper providing the manger!”I don’t know about becoming the ‘inn keeper’ but I do know that Hebrews 13:2 tells us, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” I don’t want to miss my chance on possibly entertaining an angel. “A dog as an angel?” you may be asking yourself. Well, I believe that God can send us angels in whatever form He chooses.

So now you know the story of MY Mary Christmas. If you think you might be interested in giving Mary a permanent home or one of her puppies after they arrive and are old enough, just leave a comment with your contact information and I will get it to the right people. I will post a picture of her later tonight (hopefully) but I am out of time for now.

Have a blessed day everyone 🙂

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