Oh Baby, Baby!

I’ve only been in my new house for two weeks and already I must leave it.  I still have pictures to hang, furniture to paint and boxes to unpack, but these things will have to wait.  My baby girl, Isaaca Joy is having a baby.

I remember the day when I first realized that I was pregnant with her.  Bill was interviewing to be the school principal for Benny Hinn’s church in Orlando, Florida and we were staying at the Sheraton Inn in Maitland.  I felt a little queasy going down for breakfast that morning.  It was as if the elevator had jumbled up my stomach and confused my body.  I looked at the beautiful buffet spread before me and nothing looked enticing.  The coffee smelled wonderful but for some strange reason, I didn’t want any. Oh no!  Not want coffee?  That could only mean one thing!  I was pregnant.  Not wanting coffee was the same as taking a pregnancy test, for me.  It was my body’s first sign that a child was  “in the makin’.”

I sat down at the breakfast table and finally got the nerve up to tell Bill.  I sipped some water and leaned into to him as if I had a secret to share.

“I’m pregnant.”

“What?  You’re pregnant?”  He looked around the busy restaurant as if he was wondering if anyone had heard me say those two life changing two words; that if anyone heard them, it would make them true.   “How do you know?  How long have you known?”

“I just realized it.  I didn’t want coffee.  That’s a sure sign.  After four kids, I should know these things.”  A small smile worked it’s way up to my lips and I began shaking my head.   “Oh, my gosh! How in the world….  God help me!”

Bill just looked at me as my smile grew.  Anytime you pray for God’s help with a smile on your face you become God’s accomplice.    I could see his mind reasoning and processing the words we were speaking.  Life was once again changing.  We were moving to a new city and he was getting another job.  And now…another baby to add to our collection of madness.

“We’re going to the drug store after breakfast to buy a test and by this time tomorrow we’ll know for sure.  He started shaking his head too.  “We should have bought stock in the EPT Company, as many tests as you’ve taken.”

And then we laughed and I felt smug because I knew I was carrying a treasure inside of me and it was coming on the cusp of adventure.  Of a new season.  I felt like a pirate that had captured the chest of jewels,  precious gold and silver.  Our new season was also bringing forth new life.  Surely it was a sign that God’s hand was on us.

I imagined Bill and I walking around our new town, Orlando with God’s handprint stamped on our shoulders.  It was a pat on the back meaning, “You’ve done well.  I’m giving you a new assignment.”  It was the hand on the elbow, saying, “Here, let’s go this way.  Let Me steer you clear of that obstacle.”  It was a cupping of my chin.  “You can do this.  I would never give you a job that I didn’t think you were prepared for.”  It was His hand on my head, pronouncing the blessing, “I bless you my child.  Go and do the things I’ve put in your hands and mind to do”  If God’s hand was on us, we could conquer the world.  And somehow, this baby was the sign that we were in the right place, at the right time doing the exact thing we were supposed to be doing.

Isaaca Joy (her name meaning joy and laughter) was born before we finished out our first year in Orlando.  Her birth ushered in a ten year cycle for us in Florida.  Did you know that seasons or cycles, usually last for about ten years?


tiny dancer

Our time there was spent with Bill being a school principal at a rather large Christian school for three years.  We then “took it to the streets” and spent the next three years working with low income housing folks that needed unconditional love and acceptance.  The next three years were spent with the addicted homeless.  We fed them and opened our arms to them as we cultivated a “vineyard” in the middle of the red light section of Orlando.  The last year of that cycle we spent in Miami, Florida working with Hispanic Christians learning how to live as Americans.

We needed “joy and laughter” (Isaaca) to go with us as God led us by “His hand” in and out of each of these ministries.  What foresight God had to give us such an important gift as He lead us into  troubled areas of ministry.  Isaaca Joy!   “For the joy that was set before us…we endured…”

Now our Isaaca is having a baby girl.  She and Peter are about a week away from the big event and I wonder what message this child will bring from Heaven as they go into a new phase of their lives. They are pretty much sure that “Amelia Lynn” will be this wonder child’s name.  Her name will be of Latin and Old German descent, meaning industrious, striving or defender.  Does that mean that their new season will be a busy one as they “strive” to make their way in the world?  As they write music, produce songs from their studio and record music?  Will they need a defender as they go into the future?  Will they be defenders for those in need advocates in this season?


We will see as time unfolds, won’t we?  I know God’s hand will be upon Peter and Isaaca as they proceed into the unknown future.  But they won’t be afraid.  His hand will on their shoulders, showing them each turn in the road, each dip in the highway.

Meanwhile, I’m going to Nashville to wait for little “Millie” to be born.  She has quite a destiny to fulfill and  the whole world is waiting for her.


Here’s Bill and Izzy’s song… ENJOY!!






A Red Rose for Me, Please


rose arch

May is the month of roses.  Flower nurseries display them in colorful profusion on roadsides and sidewalks.  Magazine covers are graced with their heavenly beauty in every grocery store book section and brides look to their local florists to work rose magic into their bridal bouquets.  In May, botanical gardens are in their heyday with people paying money to visit their rose gardens and walk slowly through the graveled walkways, getting high off of the heady scent of heirloom rose blossoms.  Horses even run for them at the Kentucky Derby.  They are sought after, admired, planted, babied, cut and put in vases in houses around the world.  Roses are given in friendship, sympathy, thanksgiving, hope and love.  They make statements and may even contain mysterious messages to those who receive them.  May and roses.  Roses and May.  They go together like …champagne and celebrations, mommies and babies, daddies and mommies, birthday cakes and ice cream, steak and baked potatoes…

I remember my grandmother used to grow roses.  They grew in her humble garden against the fence in her back yard.  If I can recall correctly, there was a zigzag line of about a dozen roses bushes, interspersed with tomato and pepper plants.   She and Granddaddy maintained them meticulously, pruning them in the late fall, fertilizing them in the Springtime and spraying them with Sevin Dust every time they saw an enemy insect encroaching on their tender leaves.

By mid April, we could always see the buds forming on the stems, promising us a May show stopper. I always thought the song, “Though April Showers may come your way.  They bring the flowers that bloom in May,” was about my grandmother’s roses. I know, I was a sensitive kid that put songs with my reality, but I  noted every rain storm and every rain drop during April knowing, that in May, there would be beautiful roses.  April and rain.  May and roses….Red_rose

My Grandmother never let a rose stay on the stem to fade.  That would be wasting it’s beauty and fragrance.  After all, who is outside long enough to enjoy all of the rose’s phases?  No one!  She would cut them at the height of their young adulthood and bring them into the house, placing them in arrangements or giving them away to the sick, elderly or the person who was in need of  “cheering.”  I was on the receiving end of her rose generosity many times.

Actually, my grandmother was the first person who ever gave me flowers.  I remember being sick and she would bring me a little bouquet of roses wrapped at the bottom of the stems in a wet paper towel.  She would search through the cabinets and find a glass or little vase to put them in and place them by my bedside.  They smelled good and were so cheerful, I immediately felt better.

Sometimes, just because she had some roses that needed cutting, she would bring them over to our house and suddenly, we were all the better for having them.  They were beautiful statements,  gracing our table with a genteel finery that was rare for our young family.  The roses made us feel special, made the house smell heavenly and reminded us that we were apart of an elite flower lover’s society:  Grandmother Painter’s Rose Club.

The best part of the Rose Club was when Mother’s Day came around.  On Saturday afternoon, Grandmother would say, “Don’t forget.  Tomorrow’s Mother’s Day and we all have to wear our roses to church.  You wear a red rose if your mother is alive and a white rose if your mother is not living.  Don’t worry.  I’ll bring the roses and some straight pins for all of you before church.   We’ll put them on your lapels or collars.  We can’t forget the roses.”

And we didn’t.  Grandmother and Granddaddy would come a bit earlier to our house before Sunday School started.  She would have a large bouquet of red roses mixed with a few whites in a mason jar.  We  (all five of us children) would stand in line and wait for our red rose to be pinned on our dresses or suit coats.  I always thought the red rose stood for the red blood of my very much alive mother.  Grandmother and Granddaddy would always pin white roses on themselves and over the years, my mother had to switch from a red rose to a white one.  I remember when my Grandmother, Annis Sasser died, I thought to myself,  “Oh no, Momma’s going to have to wear a white rose on Mother’s Day!”  That was one of my first thoughts when I heard  the sad news of her death.

I recall going to church, my red rose prominently pinned on my chest and thinking how lucky I was to be wearing a red rose.  I would look around and see so many white roses on older people and I would think, “These people no longer have a mother. What is it like to not have a mother?”  The reds and the whites.  The living verses the dead.  Why did we have to see that  differentiation in church?  The “reds” felt sorry for the “whites.”  They “whites” really wanted to be “reds.”roses

As a child, it made me a bit sad.  I didn’t realize it was about honor.  We were just honoring our parents whether they were still with us in this world or already in heaven.  All I saw was red and white.

I love roses in May, but I can’t help but remember when we wore them to tell the world on Mother’s Day, whether or not our mom’s were alive.  I don’t practice this old tradition anymore, but every Mother’s Day, I look around for red roses, not white ones.  The whites are beautiful in their snowy beauty, but the red ones make me glad for every mother that ever lived.  I would never wear white roses.  Only red for me!  Long live Mothers, their memories and their unfailing love!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Here’s your song



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