Thursday, July 31, 2008


Coming Soon. . . .

Pictures of Timo!!!! He looks really good. I'm totally amazed...since he's 13 he may not like us posting 'belly' pics. My daughter, Redonia is a graphics designer. She is working now to either create a sheet or something to hide the x-rated pic! lol Thanks Redonia for doing this for me while you are on vacation. Timo loves Redonia to design stuff for him. He'll love it when he wakes up!

Vicki is awake..uggghhhhh she has just called the hospital and Timothy's b/p is up again. They are working on the meds currently to correct it. BUT for some more GOOD NEWS, they nurse was bathing him and he started fighting!!!! YES Ok, I know we shouldn't cheer on our nephews to fight but this time I'm so proud that he is fighting. I hope he won the fight, too! Well, at this point we don't need him to get to worked up so the mean ole nurse (teasing) has sedated him a little more. Vicki said that she and Tremayne will go back to the hospital in 2 mor hours (7 am her time).

Hopefully the plan will remain that in a few hours they will endeavor to allow him to wake up. They may have to sedate him again depending on how his body reacts but at least this is a good strong first step medically.

Ok, I'm having a hard time writing this blog. I keep getting emails from Vicki and phone calls from friends cking on them! Vicki's last email said she just woke up Tremayne and he snickered because she interrupted a good dream. He dreamed he and Timo were riding 4 wheelers! Thank the Lord for good peaceful dreams!!!

Many have called, emailed, and etc asking how Lauren and Micah are doing. Following is a little statement from Lauren:

Tell everyone we're ok.
Worried, as is normal,
but doing much better now that it looks like he's gonna be ok.

Good News!

While the ENT was placing the tubes and turned Timo's head, Timothy became alert and began to fight disconnecting even his breathing tube. The Doctor said," Timothy" and he opened his eyes! The Doctor asked if he was in pain and he shook his head no! Praise the Lord!!!! Of course to replace the lines and etc they had to sedate him again. The Doctor said MAYBE tomorrow they can start taking him off of some of the meds that are keeping him sedated. Praise the Lord, again!!!

Vicki was about to go and tell him good night. Pray tonight the blood pressure and fever will be controlled. I know with the good report of Timothy being aware moments ago is going to help Vicki to leave him and rest this evening.

People, you are all great!!! I know God is hearing our cry.

Until next time, I love and appreciate each of you...
Timothy's FAVORITE Aunt (ha that's a family joke!)

Another Update

Timothy will be undergoing a minor surgical procedure in a few hours. This was planned for tomorrow but the doctor felt he should speed it up. The ENT has been contacted and has agreed to do so tonight.

Timothy will have tubes placed in his ears. Kristi, our younger sister, has just talked with Vicki and the doctors feel that by inserting the tubes it will allow some of the fluid to drain rather than go into the spinal column. This procedure will be done in the PICU rather than the operating room. Timothy will be sedated enough that all should go well.

Pray this works as planned and hopefully will be another important step in the healing process.

Please Continue to Pray

I have spoken with both Vicki and Carol Simoneaux. Currently the Abernathys and Groesbachs are with them. When I called they were in the chapel. As Carol answered I heard the sounds of a powerful prayer meeting.

Currently the blood pressure is not being controlled. According to Sis. Simoneaux they have controlled it as much as they are able with medicines. Timothy's fever is elevated more than it has been, too. The doctor thinks he may remain unconscious for a couple of more weeks. Earlier Vicki thinks he was trying to squeeze her hand. His eyelids are moving today as well.

Vicki was very careful to let me know that he is improved from the point they left Malawi but they haven't seen much if any improvements since. Sis. Simoneaux said Vicki was upset that she had left to sleep last night when she learned about the blood pressure problem.

Sis. Simoneaux said honestly today's focused prayer should be on Vicki and Tremayne. She said she has never seen them as weak as they are right now. They are really tired. Their Regional Director and our friend, Bro. Jerry Richardson, will be flying in to be with them at some point the next couple of days. Of course the Flowers have been so wonderful, too.

Vicki said, "Tracie, I just want to see him better." Our morning is her late afternoon. I realize she isn't as fresh as she was when she called upon her awaking this morning. Sis. Simoneaux said the doctors have said this will be an up and down thing for a little whle. They are optimistic in Timo's recover, however. The up and downs become discouraging.

Thanks for holding them in your prayers and thoughts!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vicki Called!!!

She sounds like my good 'ole Sis tonight. Well, hummm it's her morning and she has slept hard for 5 hours. I'm thinking I'll beat her and sleep 6 hours tonight. We are all feeling good, Mom included.

His blood pressure dropped really low in the night. The South African team started him on blood pressure meds yesterday. The nurse just backed that down and they currently have it controlled.

He's still on the mattress chill pad to reduce his temp. He's still on the ventilator. He's still unconscious. But he is STILL STABLE! Thank the Lord! He's still on go for a feeding tube today. This is important at his age to ensure he doesn't lose muscle density.

I took a few minutes and shared some of your posts to the blog. She was so touched by each of your kindness. I've had approximately 5000 hits to the blog since this morning. Every post is going to be printed for Timothy. Vicki realizes that many of us wish we were there with him. She is going to take pics and send for the blog. Of course sometimes pics look horrible so if they turn out too bad we have opted to not post them.

Vicki said the 4:00 AM thing was was @ 11:00 am in Malawi and that was when the doctors finally felt they had him stable enough to transport. Wow! Vicki and I both shed a tear or two just recounting the nightmare we faced then.

I didn't think I'd be posting again, tonight. Hopefully this is officially it for the night. Of course if we have a little bump in the road to recovery I'll be up praying and will post for each of you to join our efforts. Vicki and Tremayne love you all and thank you so much for helping carry this load. Lauren, Micah and Chelsea feel your prayers, too!

Awesome Victory

I can't wait to give Vicki and Tremayne the following victory report. It was at 4:00 AM CST today when Kent and I were overcome with an urgency. Of course I 'knew' things so just thought I was 'breaking down'. I screamed out to God in desperation for a while as Kent wept and cried. Then Mom called me and was screaming and crying on the phone she woke up out a deep sleep feeling urgent.

I have had a few people email some privately not even following the blog about a 4 AM experience and this certain feeling of a break thru. Tonight the following comment was posted to the blog. I hope Sandra is ok with me reposting without her permission.

Hello Sister Tracie, Sister Nona Freeman (92 year old retired missionary to Africa) prayed for Timo all night. Finally victory came at 4 AM. God let her know everything will bw alright. We love this family, Sandra Freeman

Bro. and Sis. Freeman have been important people in Tremayne and Vicki's life. I KNOW this is just a further confirmation. Earlier today my mother told me that she wished that I would get ahold of Sis. Freeman to pray. My reply was simply, "Mom you know she knows since she has been so involved with missions and especially Africa."

Ok I know this is just confirmation to this Aunt/Sister that my Timo is going to be fine. Vicki, Tremayne, and world my faith is strong! We will not give up! I feel we should begin rejoicing in the miracle of Timothy's healing. I know God is doing a perfect work.

Update for their 'night'

Vicki and Tremayne have left the floor for food and rest. Due to Timothy's condition and etc the Doctor wanted the hospital's lead nurse who was off today. Thankfully the nurse agreed to come in and will be a 'private' nurse for Timothy tonight. Vicki and Tremayne feel very confident that they are receiving wonderful care!

They are very tired. Please pray the are able to rest tonight. Remember they are 7 hours ahead of CST Zone. Unless something changes negatively I will not hear from them for a few hours. We aren't expecting anything but good!

Again, we are awed with the love and support shown to us through this blog, emails, and etc. Both the Thomas and Simoneaux families are grateful. Each of us have learned valuable lessons thru this ordeal, I am sure. Though we pray for our friends and family we will certainly be more careful to communicate when our aquaintances are in need. Many of you we don't even know but your love and prayers are felt. Each act of kindness is truly humbling to our families. To all our ministry friends, you are truly the best. God bless you all....

Dr's Report

What an overwhelming reponse to prayer! Prayer is definitely working.

Timothy is of course critical but is now stable. The Doctor informed Vicki and Tremayne that he thought they were losing Timothy in Malawi. Of course this is something that Vicki, Tremayne, and I felt. At this point this isn't an immediate fear. Thank the Lord Timo is stable. The Doctor said he does feel at this point he is not at a life threatening stage.

The swelling and the pressure are both normalized! Praise the Lord!!!!! This means the Neurosurgeon that was called on standby is not needed. He was given shots about every 15 minutes enroute to Joburg to decrease swelling. The shots worked...well we KNOW Prayer is working.

Vicki has been concerned about brain damage or lasting damage. The doctor is not prepared to give a prognosis nor estimate lasting results if any. Possibly the results can be estimated in 24 - 36 hours. The type of meningitis that Timothy has is the type the doctors were hoping it not to be. Vicki forgot exactly what they said the type was of course we know a baterial infection. We know with God regardless the type he is healed.

Timothy remains unresponsive beyond what he should be due to medications at this point. To quote Vicki, "Tracie, if you or Mother walked in right now and saw him you would think he is about to die BUT if you would have seen him this morning you would realize how much better he is." The doctor was careful to let them know this may not be a fast turn around. Of course this is what the doctors say. We've already had a fast turnaround. Vicki texted wanting to call her. Her words were good news and bad news. Then since typing the blog she's called again getting rid of much of the bad!!!

Carol Simoneaux, Tremayne's mom, arrived when I was on the phone. Vicki got special permission to go in to see Timothy. At this point the doctors have limited the visitation to Mom and Dad only. I know Vicki and Tremayne were glad to see Sis. Simoneaux.

They are MOST thankful for every comment left and communication otherwise. Vicki asked that we not stop praying. She said he is no way near well at this point but he is improved! To God be the Glory!!!!


Tremayne arrived moments ago @ the hospital with Vicki. Our special friend, Donna Flowers, missionary wife met Vicki and Timo at the hospital. Bro. David Flowers, met Tremayne at the airport and took him to the hospital.

Thank the Lord for our cell phones, I'm receiving regular texts and etc!

I did communicate the recent WNOP update on Timo. They are thankful that everyone will remain informed and be able to pray specifically for the needs at hand.

Currently, our focused prayer should be of course survival but beyond that Vicki and Tremayne have specifically asked that we pray the cranial pressure will normalize.

Just now another text came thru that the dr's are with him now and say he is stable. This is an improvment from this morning. Again, thanks for your prayers. Vicki and Tremayne will read each of your comments. If you post annoymously please be so kind to leave your name, city and state if possible.

Talked with Vicki

Vicki is in really good spirits! The medical staff had sandwiches and drinks onboard. Vicki ate a sandwich and had a Diet Coke. Then she slept for about 45 minutes. She really sounds refreshed.

They are in the ambulance headed across town to the hospital. Timothy will be in a medically induced coma state until the cranial pressure normalizes. This may take several days. After leaving the Malawi hospital the doctor did let her know they were disappointed in the level of medical care he received in Malawi. Of course he is on a full ventilator at this point.

Tremayne should be about to land and then will have to clear customs before any of us talks with him. I know his priority will be to contact Vicki rather than let us know he landed.

Timothy will be undergoing extensive testing. According to Vicki we may not know anything different medically until tomorrow. Of course we will be in MUCHO contact!

I told Vicki of the MANY phone calls, texts, emails, blog comments and etc. She is so thankful for each of you caring enough to keep checking. Again, what would any of us do without the prayers and support of our friends and family.

Landed - - -8:10 AM CST

I am giving her a few minutes and will call her!

Here he is......

Since I'm trying to survive the long 1 hr 40 min or so until I hear from Vicki again, I thought I'd share some pics of Timo the Simoneaux, the little Nerd, Timothy Carl, little buddy, little roid, and on and on the list of nick names goes.....

I wish I had a pic of his MANY flips and gymnastic stunts....he is a c-r-a-z-y child....he is very very sweet and loving. He gives greatttttt foot and shoulder massages. I think I'll fly him home once he recovers...he owes me one since I'm so wore out and stressed! lol

Hope you enjoy the pics

Lift off - God is Good

Vicki and Timo lifted off @ approx 6:02 am CST for JoBurg.

God is good ALL the time! Tremayne was struggling greatly with leaving Vicki and Timo behind in Malawi. Let me explain God's goodness. Tremayne cleared customs and etc. The airport is much different there than in the USA. Tremayne was actually outside waiting for his plane as the ambulance arrived @ the airport. He was able to board the plane with Timo and help get him situated for flight and etc. He said he is stablized at this point but remains in very critical condition. He is in a deeper medically induced comma breathing on the ventilator. He has many lines and tubes.

Tremayne should be departing momentarily. Vicki will text me upon arriving in Joburg. I may or maynot be able to talk with her until after they arrive at the hospital.


Ok, Tremayne has cleared customs and is standing outside waiting for his plane.

Vicki and Timo are arriving at the airport via ambulance. Tremayne should be able to see the plane or the ambulance that Vicki and Timo will be in.

Vicki sounds really calm at this point. She said she is just relieved that they are headed to Joburg.

Mom slept a few hrs. I'm at her house (she lives next door to me). She woke up very upset. We did call Vicki back so Mom and Vicki could talk a few minutes.


Vicki just called back crying. Tremayne has to leave the hospital NOW to make his flight. The doctor's just called him back to see Timo one last time before leaving. When Tremayne came out he crumpled against the wall, face burried crying. Tremayne has been so strong and I know this is very hard for him. Kent and I spent a few minutes praying before I could even post. My heart is breaking. She said please pray for Tremayne. Kent and I appreciate your prayers. We are up for the duration today and have all this to share with our family once they start getting up for their day. Vicki wanted me to let everyone sleep till morning.

And again

I've just hung up with Vicki again they are still @ the hospital. The Doctor was concerned that there was not a CT Scan of Timo's brain. Of course that technology is not available at the hospital he is at in Malawi. The cranial pressure is increasing which has caused some of the delays this morning. Vicki said to ask each of you to pray the following specifically: "No air bubbles on the brain, if so in flight the pressure elvates and the bubbles will get big and his condition will deteriorate rapidly." The Joburg team feels Timothy's condition is critical and feel like it is worse than they were expecting. Vicki and Tremayne feel very confident with thm. ALL tests will be repeated or etc upon arrival to the Garden City Hospital in Joburg.
Tremanye will arrive in Joburg @ 3 pm. Carol Simoneaux, Tremayne's Mom, will arrive in Joburg from Botswanna @ 5 pm. Missionary David Flowers will transport each of them to the hospital.
The flight should be a 1 hr 40 minute flight from Malawi to Joburg. Vicki is going to text me upon landing in Joburg.


Ok we've been texting etc.

2:10 AM CST Vicki Texted plane landed in Malawi

2:31 AM CST vicki texted Plane is here @ hospital

As of 5 minutes ago I hung up with cell call to Tremayne. The Joburg team is just packing their bag to begin the transport to the airport. The doctors have changed up some things. We had a horrible connection and both Tremayne and I had a hard time communicating. Tremayne was very emotional I could tell. Which did not help either of us communicate besides the static and international delays.

Timothy had to be ventilated and the doctors are VERY concerned about the cranial pressure he will receive in flught. PLEASE PLEASE it isn't time to let up on the prayers yet. I have not spoken back verbally with Vicki.

Tremayne did get a flight booked and leaves @ 1:30 Malawi time. He said he would have to leave for the airport in 1 hr to make his flight. It appears they will all be leaving close to the same time.

Tremayne is going to call or text me once they all reach the airport. Micah apparently has been unable to sleep. He just called me as well. Please keep us all in your prayers.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Update, Again

I just talked with Vicki. She has been in ICU with Timothy. He appears much more restful than when she left. He has rested thru the night. They did put him on oxygen after Vicki left last night. This was something that the Joburg team was requesting. I'm relieved! I have spent sometime reading online today and that is one of the 1st things that should be done after starting the antibiotic.

Vicki called the Medivac company and the person she spoke with said the plane has been fueled and cleared customs in Joburg. The person was watching the plane on the runway as she talked with Vicki. She said it was a Cessna plane and would make a faster trip than originally planned. Once it departs it will arrive in 1 hr 35 mintues. Wow! Of course then the ambulance ride to the hospital and etc to get my buddy.

Vicki said that yesterday one of his eyes was very swollen like 'bugged out'. She said this morning it doesn't appear swollen. She said his eyes look a little sunken but not bad. She said you know like it should with someone as sick as he is. She said he still is not responding but she feels he is going to be ok. She is so relieved knowing they will soon be in the air to Joburg.

Once the Joburg team arrives I'll get a call and will update again! She wants EVERYONE to know how thankful they are for the prayers, emails, calls, and etc. Our entire family feels the strength from each of you.

Gotta Love Today's Technology!

Vicki and I remember years ago when for things not as major as we are dealing with today caused such anquish because we couldn't communicate. Today, we've texted, used cell phones to call one another, and talked via skype!

I emailed Vicki a few minutes ago to let me know when she woke up. a sec I got an email back that she was up! I called and she is doing so much better. After we prayed she went to bed and slept for 1.5 hrs. She sounds really rested, too. Thank you, Jesus!

She and Tremayne were getting ready to go back to the hospital. She did call the nurse when she woke up and was simply told, "He's resting". Of course that didn't really satisfy her Motherly nature but atleast no bad news was shared. We didn't want to hear he was resting, however. We wanted to hear he is sitting up talking our ears off! That's what he will do once he 'wakes up'.

Vicki or Tremayne will text me once they get to the hospital. Then I'll call them on their cell phone for an update on Timo. Again, thanks for praying!

Prayers for Vicki

We've just hung up with Vicki. All my siblings and our families are at my Mom's along with Vicki's stateside children. Vicki texted that she couldn't sleep. Of course, I called Vicki and put her on speaker phone. We all had prayer meeting together.

She is tormented with fear tonight. Please keep praying for her.


Ok for a little while now I've been on the phone with Vicki and Tremayne. We have hit a problem....Following is an email Tremayne sent out to members of our family:

Thanks to all the family for the prayers and concern. We just came home from the hospital. The plane will not be able to come tonight...third world africa at its best. The airport wanted a bribe to stay open to receive the flight...MedAir and Aetna agreed to pay, but in the end it wasn't enough money and too much time had passed, so we have to wait until tomorrow. They don't allow you to stay at the hospital all night (africa again) so we have come home to rest a bit and prepare for tomrrow. We are told the air ambulance will be here first light in the morning and vicki will go with timo to joburg. I will follow on the soonest commercial flight.

Thanks again for the prayers and concern...everyone has been great...we have received calls and emails from all over the world...

Vicki is busy doing laundry and washing her hair. They are 7 hours ahead of CST. It's now midnight for them. Vicki said when she and Tremayne found Timo this morning he was apparently having a convulsion. He did have fever at that point. Tonight his neck is stiff. So the symptoms of the Meningitis are appearing. He is in a semi-unconscious state.

Medivac is schedule to arrive in Malawi at 8:40 am. A doctor and medic from Joburg will be met by ambulance and transported to the hospital. They will travel with Timo and Vicki to the airport to board the plane for Joburg. Upon arrival at the Joburg airport he will then be transported to the hospital. He is going to be at a hospital that has a very good Pediatric Neuro Intensive Care.

Vicki thought Trent would enjoy knowing that even though Timo is classified as a level 8 (I think she said..whatever that means!) unconscious state he is still tapping his foot. Timo has always been intrigued with Trent being a drummer & now is quite a little drummer himself! I know Angels are in the room with my baby. I'm thinking he's beating for the Angel Choir!!!!

Our day has seemed very very long. Thank you everyone for your comments, emails, and phone calls. They have been most comforting to our entire family. What would we do without God? Our family is going to get together tonight. I know God is going to comfort Micah and Lauren and the rest of us.


The plane will arrive @ the hospital in Malawi in the next couple hours. Then he has a 2 hr 10 minute flight to Joburg. Thank you Donna Flowers for staying in contact with me. Thank you for also pushing the flight thru on your end. I KNOW Vicki and Tremayne appreciates it.

Currently, Timo is still not communicating. I know Vicki and Tremayne will feel better when he is able to respond to them.

Thanks EVERYONE for your prayers! Keep Lauren and Micah in your prayers, too. They are Timo's siblings who live in the Houston area.

Timo Update

Sorry to be slow in getting this out. Some of you have probably heard from WNOP already. Timo does have bacterial meningitis. He is waiting to medivaced him to South Africa now. Timo is in "ICU". Of course the level of ICU in Malawi is not what we receive stateside. It would be more like a hospital here.

Vicki is RELATIVELY calm. I talked with her for about 25 minutes. She will text me if there are any changes or when the transport begins. At that point in time I will call her. Tremayne and Vicki are able to be with him in the unit.

At this point he does not have a high fever or maybe even an elevated temperature at all. He his dehydrated. Immediately upon arrival at the hospital the doctor supsected the meningitis and began the appropriate iv medication.

Timo is somewhat unresponsive. He is not able to focus his eyes nor has he verbally communicated. He has pulled out his iv and has fought the dr's somewhat. He has had 2 spinal punctures. Ouch!!!

I told Vicki that I began emailing prayer requests and posted a blog as soon as Mom called this morning. I assure you she is feeling our prayers. When I attempted to hang up her voice did break and she cried briefly. I know she feels very lonely so far from family. Thank each of you for your continued prayers for our family.

Again, I KNOW God is Timo's healer!

PS She just texted that Donna Flowers, missionary wife in South Africa just called her. Donna will meet them at the hospital. Additionally, FMD is working now with insurance to ensure the transport is expedited.

PSS Donna Flowers just called me! Boy, international communication is so much better with text, skype, and etc than when Vicki first went to Africa.


I was awakened just after 6:00 am to the screaming cry on the other end of the phone of my Mother. After I got her to calm so I could understand her this is what I learned my little nephew, Timothy "Timo" Simoneaux, is very sick and in the hospital. I'm assuming in Malawi. I couldn't understand Mother. I do know there is consideration currently in having a medical airlift to Johannesburg. Apparently there is a concern now of Meningitis. Vicki is enroute 'home' to get appropriate insurance papers for the airlift if needed. Tremayne is with Timo at the hospital.
I assured Mom Timo is not as bad as we may visualize or Vicki would not have left the bedside but rather would have sent Tremayne. I do know he must be VERY sick for consideration of airlift. Johannsasburg of course is in South Africa and I feel more than comfortable with him there. Thankfully, Tremayne's Mom, Carol Simoneuax, is currently in Africa and is either in South Africa or can meet them there.

Following is an excerpt of an email I received late last night from Vicki:

"On Saturday afternoon Timo started complaining of 'pressure' in his left ear. Sunday morning he felt bad so we decided to leave him at home while we went on to church. . . .After the 1st service I called and checked on him. He was crying and asked us to come get him. We picked him up and took him to the Trauma Center. He has an acute middle ear infection. Today he felt horrible! ... He is complaining of dizziness, etc. Tonight he has started vomiting. He is taking antibiotics, antibiotic ear drops, and pain medicine. If he is not better by tomorrow noon, we will take him to a doctor here. Please say a prayer!"

Timo is a 12 year old energetic kid! He loves Africa and being a MK. These type moments having family involved in Foreign Missions is rough. I ESPECIALLY know that this is hard on Grammy, my Mom. Although Vicki and Tremayne have been involved with foreign missions for 23 years a morning like this does not make it any easier for any of us. I do keep a current passport 'just in case'. Thankfully, I have never had to use it. Out of all these years I have never been to Africa. I'm a wonderful 'home missionary'! ha I will endeavor to keep you posted. I'm awaiting a cell number from my mother for Vicki now so I can call and get an updated report. The last details are not good but I do know that God is a healer regardless to the level of medical attention Timo may or may not be able to receive in Malawi. I do know that Timo loves God and has great faith in God. Keep my little buddy, my little nerd, as I fondly call him in your prayers. I love my Timo!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Harvest Continues. . .

Have you ever realized that a harvest calls for lots of work? Well let me tell you how today began. ShIrley Nunez drives her beautiful new Suburban every week along with the church van for our route. Today the Suburban was in the shop. We decided since one of the families we pick up was going to drive their car we could make it in the church van. When my brother-in-law, Mickey, tried to start the van it would not start. We decided to take a mini-van and our car. Kent tried one last time and the van started. Hallelujah!

As we pulled into the apartment complex you could feel opposition. Someone mysteriously changed the gate code and we no longer have access. We have to dial residents to let us in. Mickey went to the first house and there was major trouble. This is the family who was supposed to drive themselves. Long story short Mickey got the oldest son dressed and he rode the van. A lot of the kids are returning home and we had a few more than the past couple of weeks. KJ, Dshon, and Jamal’s Mom, Shonn, who I posted about a few weeks ago, came today for her first time!

I sat with Shonn this morning. She really enjoyed the service and during altar service I heard her speak with tongues. I was most excited! Tonight as I was praying before service I felt several kids tap me on the back at once. I looked up and there was KJ, Dshon, and Jamal. What a nice surprise! Mickey and Kristi took them to lunch and invited them tonight. The boys sat on the front pew with me. Shonn sat back with my sister, Kristi. As the choir sang a very upbeat song (I can’t remember what it was!) the boys began to worship. It wasn’t long until they were crying and had their hands lifted praising God. Dshon spoke in tongues very beautifully! Each of the boys began to leap for joy and praise God. Soon their Mom joined us. It was beautiful seeing each of them crying and worshipping God as a family.

We had several other visitors praying tonight, too! Our service never progressed past the choir. Calah did a remarkable job leading the choir not only in singing but worship. This has been two Sunday nights that she has taken the show from her father-in-law! Teasing, but honestly we are in a great time of harvest at CUPC.

After service, I invited the boys to James Coney Island. They enjoyed chili cheese dogs and ice cream cones! I’m not sure I’ve ever been to James Coney Island on a Sunday night but it is a night I will never forget. I endeavored to pass the word to several church families. Shonn enjoyed talking with the ladies. The boys are very well mannered and could not thank me enough for their fun time with some of their church friends.

Keep CUPC in your continued prayers. We have several people who are hungry for God. We have Bible Studies going and several BIG Outreach events scheduled the next couple of months. I hope to soon post about an upcoming event called Miracle in the Park. We expect hundreds to receive healings and salvation. . . Join us in praying for deliverance in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Ninth Fruit

Knowing something is wrong, but insisting on it anyway, is denying the fruit of the Spirit temperance to operate in our lives. While everyone is tempted to do wrong we must learn to not give in. Even Jesus was tempted. Practicing self-control (temperance) means learning to say no.

Self-control cannot be compartmentalized. A truly self-controlled person exhibits control in every area. For instance, we cannot be self-controlled in the use of the computer and not exhibit self control in another area. This does not mean if we fail in one area we fail in all areas. Rather the same spirit of temperance that kept us from giving in to one temptation or weakness can be used in other areas of weakness. Often a person out of control in one area of life is out of control in many areas. A disciplined life is one that endeavors to be temperate in all things.

Exhibiting self-control can be achieved by paying attention to all details in life. If a room is dirty, clean it, if a picture is crooked, straighten it. Soon the efforts of self discipline in one area affect other areas. We must be careful in obtaining self-control to not become controlling. Temperance involves self and not others. How absurd would it be to walk into someone’s home while endeavoring to straighten our own pictures and clean our homes and start doing so in other people’s homes? Likewise we cannot bring control into other people’s lives. Everyone must reach into themselves to achieve temperance. We can help others by our influence or example. True self-control allows us to love those who may not exhibit our level of control. The truest test of temperance is not in perfect settings or situations but rather in the presence of temptation or other’s failures. Remember temperate means finding the middle ground, showing moderation, avoiding excess, or offsetting an extreme.

People who exude a kind or quiet composure may not say much, yet have an air of calm deliberation. Their presence is comforting because they are temperate. In a world full of enticing indulgences, it is often necessary to find the middle ground. Temperance may seem boring on the surface, but it is the calm of a hurricane's eye. All around are swirling winds but in the center is a still calm point that brings everything into balance.

Temperance produces a spiritual beauty that overflows into the body. Intemperance hinders beauty. Intemperance cannot be found in kindness, generosity, or a gentle spirit. Moreover, empathy and an awareness of another’s suffering and needs are not noticed in lack of temperance. A love or desire of one’s self is the epitome of pride. Pride destroys every virtue including temperance. Pride begets disobedience and vainglory which is direct opposition to self-control.

Lord, help me to be more like You. Let me love the sinner yet not become a sinner. Allow me to use Your Spirit to avoid temptation to every enticing thing this world may offer. Help me to control every thought, attitude, and action. Help me control my spiritual desires and my physical desires and actions. I know that my spiritual life can never be separated from my physical life. I desire to manifest the fruit of Your Spirit including temperance in every area of my life.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Start of a Good Week

After working from 9:00 – 12:00 in the office yesterday we met friends for lunch in Beaumont. Quite a few ministers and wives met for a time of laughter and food. After lunch at Papadeaux’s several of us went to Rao’s Bakery and Coffee Café. After dessert we hit a few shopping highlights.

Kent is already gone to the office or I could list EVERYONE present. With my feeble mind I’ll list a few. Bro. and Sis. Dan Booth (Deridder, LA), Dan & Tiffany Christian (DeQuincy, LA), Bro. & Sis. Doug White (Silsbee), Ben White, Daryl Bennett, Gary & Linda Wheeler (Orange), Myron & Kim Smith (South TX Dist), Darren & Amy Shelton (South TX Dist), Bro. & Sis. Johnny Carrol (Kansas), Bro. & Sis. Davis (Sour Lake), Bro. & Sis. Perry, Bro. & Sis. John Bernardini, John & Rebecca Bernardini , Bro. & Sis. Warren (evangelist), Trent & Calah, and several other ministers came without their wives. Near the end of our meal Bro. and Sis. Bobby Edwards came in and thought they had missed an important It is always good to see friends from far and near.

After we were about 20 minutes out of town Kent received a phone call for us to u-turn. One of the ministers bought Trent a suit and tie. The minister said it was a belated wedding present. Of course, being the son of Kent Smith, Trent has a hard time receiving gifts. He is such an independent person. Trent was very grateful and I know the minister will be blessed for blessing Trent.

I don’t think anyone had a serious bone in them yesterday. The only serious conversations were reports of victory in regards to revival in our churches. You could definitely tell it was Monday and each of us needed a time to disconnect and refresh.

Today it’s off to the office to work…

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another Blessed Sunday

CUPC is certainly reaping a harvest! Today was another most incredible day. While our van route is in a bit of a summer slump due to many of our children spending time away with relatives we are still enjoying a harvest.

CUPC is home to a dynamic ABEKA school, Conroe Christian School. Unlike some UPC schools in the greater Houston area we welcome non-churched students. Since area pentecostal students attend CCS we are MOST careful to never encourage these students to be apart of CUPC, however, our teachers and staff are very sensitive to the spiritual needs of the unchurched families. This summer Redonia and Pat Haley, our summer teachers, have invited one of the families to church. Our staff was excited to have Esther and Jose visit last Sunday. This morning they were back and both received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It was awesome seeing both Pat and Redonia praying with Esther. This fine family was back in service tonight and brought family with them. Jose's Mom prayed tonight. One of Esther's cousins, Brenda, received the Holy Ghost, too. I enjoyed listening to Redonia help this sweet girl pray until she yielded from English to Spanish to speaking in tongues. Our vision is that every department MUST be participants in revival. Thank the Lord CCS has caught the vision!

Our music department has gone through some leadership changes the past couple of years. It seems the very heart of our church has been targeted by various storms. We were not surprised to see the music ministry a major part of the storm. Worship is such a key to deliverance in people's lives and Satan does everything he can to hinder. I can honestly say though storms have raged victory has prevailed. Some have stretched and stretched and many have had to be most flexible. Tonight Calah assumed a new role as choir director. What an outstanding job she did in promoting worship as she directed. I know Calah probably felt super stretched but she did a remarkable job! Calah comes from Royalwood UPC which is home to a dynamic music department under the direction of Jeanna Macey, pastor's wife. Calah was a very vital part of the praise team and choir. I know my friend, Jeanna, would be proud of Calah.

I can hardly wait for next weekend to witness another outpouring of the Spirit! Additionally, I can hardly wait to observe more people yield to the various talents and gifts that God has blessed them with. It is truly a blessing to be blessed to serve. Last week I ended my "Blessed Sunday" post with the title to the song "Serving God is Beautiful". I forgot that one of my California friends, Ronda Hurst, wrote this beautiful song. It is indeed beautiful to serve Him.

May each of you enjoy a blessed week. I know from time to time some of us go through a storm while others enjoy a rainbow. If, my friend, you are enduring a storm this week know it is just the water to promote the growth for your next harvest. Keep serving God! Blessings...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's Hot!!!

Ok girlfriends, it’s hot in Texas! I thought I’d share a couple of refreshing recipes. If you have a good one to share leave it in my comments. If you post anonymously please leave your name so I’ll know where the delicious recipe came from.

Cranberry Iced Tea
2 - Quarts Iced Tea ( I prefer using Lady Grey)
1 - Can (6 ounces) frozen cranberry concentrate, partially thawed
1 - Cup orange juice
1/4 - Cup sugar

In large pitcher, combine the cranberry and orange juice. Mix well. Then pour in the ice tea. Add the sugar and mix until sugar dissolves. Chill about 1 hour. Serve in ice-filled glasses.

Raspberry Lemonade
1 - can of frozen pink lemonade
1 - 32 oz bottle of raspberry soda (Wal-Mart has a great generic one)

Mix together and serve.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream
4 eggs, beaten
2-1/4 cups sugar
5 cups milk
4 cups whipping cream
4-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
2 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl, gradually add sugar to eggs, beating until stiff. Add milk, cream, vanilla and salt and mix well. Refrigerate. Melt butter and sauté pecans. Add brown sugar and stir until melted. Cool well. Add to ice cream mixture and freeze in ice cream freezer.

YIELD: 1 gallon

Grilled Peaches and Berries
Allow 1/2 peach per serving
large ripe peaches
brown sugar
lemon juice

Wash, peel and halve the peaches, removing pit. Place each half on a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fill peach halves generously with fresh or frozen blueberries. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons brown sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice on each. Wrap securely.

Cook on grill 18 to 20 minutes turning once. Serve right out of the foil. Can also be baked in the oven and served in stemmed glasses to dress up a meal. Bake in foil or glass dish for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until peaches are done.

Coconut Fruit Dip
1 Can Cream of Coconut
7 oz Marshmallow Cream
8 oz Cream Cheese

Mix together all ingredients. Stir well before serving. Great with fresh chilled fruit.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Early Morning Thoughts

This morning I began to think and pray about several 'situations'. In search of how I can help my thoughts travelled the following path:

According to pride is a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

It appears that pride is a weakness that will tempt from the very moment a person even in childhood begins to learn anything. Even spiritual knowledge makes people proud, and thereby negates their spirituality. The instant pride enters, a step backwards occurs. If pride is allowed to remain, learning will cease, and sin will quickly abound.

I have noticed that more and more persons have a big need for approval. I realize everyone to a degree seeks approval but I am referring to the BIG NEED. While I am not a licensed counselor I have been involved in helping people long enough to realize that people with the lowest self esteem often present themselves the haughtiest. Pride and self esteem seem to feed off one another. Another observation is that pride removes the spirit of love and brings in a spirit of competition.

Pride is the fault where a person looks at his own actions for validation, instead of just accepting that he is valuable, and having faith in that, alone. Pride is the "sin" where we don’t see ourselves where we really are, but instead try to value ourselves for something we are not.

While it is natural to be proud (feeling pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable) of the accomplishments of ourselves, our children, or etc we must be careful not to become prideful (Arrogant; disdainful).

Each of us face dilemma. A person controlled by pride struggles even harder to deal with the situations of life. The problem itself isn’t nearly as difficult to overcome as the pride of people knowing we face dilemma. The pride forces us to extreme circumstances and situations.

Overcoming pride can best be handled by living John 13. Find a way to be a servant to others.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall Proverbs 16:18

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blessed Sunday

How truly blessed I was to serve today! This morning I arrived at church earlier than my normal. I was expecting a blessed day. Upon arrival I noticed my nephew (in-law), Jason Langley, who moved to Conroe this week from Texarkana was sitting in the sanctuary. Jason knows we run a couple of vans (actually van & Suburban) and he came to go on the route! Wow! How great is that for a first Sunday at a new church? I knew this was only the beginning of the blessings for the day.

At the first stop one of the mom’s of a ‘regular’ met me. She was dressed for church. She awoke feeling the need for church. She had a phone book and wanted me to help her find a church that she had previously visited. She was calling for a ride. I don’t know what made me do it but I offered to let her ride our van and take her to the church. She was able to reach someone from the church to pick her up. She told me that her children said they were members of our church and did not want to go with her. She said next week she will probably just go with us and make it a family thing on Sundays. I was very excited.

A few months ago a lady REFUSED to allow her son to go to a Pentecostal church. For a few weeks her husband and children have been visiting. Last week Mom joined! Today she, her husband and two sons went in their vehicle to church. She was in the altar crying and praying this morning. Yes!!!!

As I went to the second building today a dear lady and her son was sitting outside on the stairs. I asked if the little boy could go to church with me. Mom asked if I was Baptist. I told her I was Pentecostal. Very sternly she replied, “No, he can’t go with you.” I did not let it frustrate me and stood there and talked a few minutes with her. I could tell she has needs. Long story short is her son went with me today and this week she is going to Bible Study. She wants us to dedicate her two sons to the Lord. One is about 6 and the other two months.

Tonight Jamie Seaton a recent graduate of TBC and his girlfriend, Courtney Boone ministered in our service. Courtney sang and played before Jamie preached. We were so pleased of the maturity we saw in both of these sweet young adults. Both Courtney and Jamie are friends of our children. Jamie did a wonderful job preaching. He conducted himself very well in the pulpit. Our congregation responded positively to his ministry.

A fabulous young man connected with our church was in service tonight. He received a renewal of the Spirit. It was so awesome to see and experience this miracle. I know his family is thankful. God is so good and faithful to each of us.

I’m thankful that not only did I go to church and perform my role of pastor’s wife but I was blessed as I went about my responsibilities. It is truly a blessing to serve the Lord. I’m reminded of a song that I love, “Serving God is Beautiful”.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I pray each of you enjoy a blessed day tomorrow in church! To all of my ministers wives girlfriends, I pray each of you are not only annointed to serve in your places of calling but that you are blessed as you serve. To all of you saints that read, I learned today that I have friends from all over the state reading - those of you that confessed @ the McClains anniversary today:), I pray each of you will be annointed in whatever you find yourself doing whether on the pew, a class, or another duty. I know with a focus on Jesus our Sunday can be better than ever! I would love to read blogs on Monday telling of great victories this weekend. To those of you who read blogs but don't blog I would love for you to post comments on Monday of terrific outpourings of the Spirit.

Nothing in life is more important that our time with HIM! I expect victories and miracles this weekend!

I love you all....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Calah
Happy birthday to you!!!!

I ABSOLUTELY love firsts.... Today was a SPECIAL first for me! I was able to buy a birthday card for the FIRST time that said for a 'DAUGHTER-IN-LAW'. Kent and I both simply love our new daughter. She brings lots of giggles to our family. She thinks Trent is so funny and giggles and giggles at his sillyness.

When we returned from our vacation last evening we were greeted by THREE children who at least acted like they missed us!!! I love shopping for my girls. They are fun. I get to buy purses and flip flops for 2 girls now. How special is that????

Calah, I know I'm a silly Mom-in-law! (Calah, giggles about all my little prizes and trinkets I get her!) I love buying cute gift bags. Every gift I give her she always notices the bag!!!! SCORE! ha

Today I bought her a $100 gift card to Kirklands. I told Kent that seemed too sterile so I bought lots of fun candy to add to the gift bag. (cotton candy, gummy bears, m&m's, and etc) Calah giggled when she saw all the little mess!

She and Trent gave us a scare when we were on vacation. They called to tell us they had us a surprise when we got home. I thought oh no what have they done? Almost everyone who goes to work @ CCS has a baby. Kent thought surely not after only a month..... I thought they had bought a dog or a new laptop. Well, when we got home we found out someone had given them a wonderful new Boxer that they both adore. That wasn't the surprise though. The silly kids came to our house and traded my guest bed mattresses for their's. Well our guest bed mattresses were VERY expensive given to us by someone who worked at an exclusive furniture store in Houston. Calah's are much older and etc. What could we do but laugh??? Guess before company comes we may need to buy new mattress! I LOVE that my kids KNOW that we don't care! Calah, take the mattresses we just aren't quite ready to be grandparents, yet. We'll be great grandparents to our new little grandpuppy though!!!

Again, Happy Birthday, Calah! I love you VERY much....

Monday, July 7, 2008

Enjoying the Road - Together

Third Report - 26th Anniversary Trip

Saturday night we struggled to find a decent room for a decent price. We lost the struggle! We stayed in a Courtyard by Marriot that was not priced decently nor was it decent! We decided to check out of the hotel and move to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Before leaving the hotel Sunday morning I decided to utilize the internet to find a better deal on a room. I found a last minute special for a BRAND NEW Red Carpet Inn in Ocean Springs. Pictures and a list of all amenities were included. Wow…too good to be true we thought but we reserved the room.

Sunday morning we packed up and spent some time in Gulf Shores. Kent was amazed at the beauty of the Alabama beaches and coastal towns. After leaving Gulf Shores we visited Dauphine Island and Bayou la Batre. My favorite seafood restaurant, Catalina’s was lost and not recovered from Katrina. This area has greatly suffered from the storm. We didn’t find any nice seafood places. We decided we had lost time due to a horrible wreck that had traffic stopped and we would miss church. We decided to keep driving to Mississippi in search of seafood.

Once we FINALLY reached the interstate we saw More Life UPC in Grand Bay, Alabama. Kent and I felt the need for church. We were too far from our hotel so went to a gas station, changed clothes, and went to church. We arrived a few minutes late. I tried to discretely look around for people I may remember from 30 years ago. People in the Gulf Coast Area change churches. If there were people I knew how would they look? Would anyone recognize me? Finally I spotted a familiar face of a man well into his 70's, a man that loved my Dad, Bro. Junior Hamilton. Soon his wife, Sis. Joyce, joined him. I noticed they kept looking across at me. Of course everyone in the church kept looking at us. Senior Pastor Louis Davis finally said, “I don’t know who this fine looking couple is that came in but sir will you stand and introduce yourself. You look familiar.” Kent stood stated his name and that he pastored a United Pentecostal Church in Conroe, Texas. We were passing by and saw your church and just wanted to drop in.” This meant nothing to people I may know and I was disappointed. The pastor explained this is the importance of being on the interstate and having the name visible. Then the Pastor asked, “Mam, would you stand up and say something?” I stood and stated that I was Tracie THOMAS Smith my Dad pastored the Theodore church and immediately people started whispering and smiling! Of course this didn’t help my feelings. I did not recognize any of them.
During altar service people began to reacquaint themselves with me. I meet grandchildren of those Dad pastored. People began to tell of the many wonderful things dad believed - holiness, outreach, bible studies, bus routes, trainging young people and etc. One lady with tears in her eyes said her daugher and son-in-law pastor a great church in Mississippi. Her daughter, Pam, feels many of the things she knows to do is because of Dad. Kent explained how I love outreach. One man, Olan Davis, patted me on the back and said "Tracie, I walked many streets and knocked many doors with your daddy." They explained there are many people in the area churches because of my Daddy. Another man came to me and asked if I recognized him. I remembered his voice but didn't recognize him. It was Warren, a man that Daddy won to the Lord. I well remember the hours Dad spent with Warren. Memories, memories, memories. Now I really miss Daddy.

We were late leaving the church, still hadn’t eaten anything except frozen custard and finally found a Sonic. We found the hotel and got checked in. Simply said the Red Carpet Inn is a long way down the totem pole from the Ritz Carlton! Horrible bed, pillows, narrow tub, furniture that looks like cardboard, stiff scratchy sheets and blankets but the room is clean! Well Kent and I laughed and laughed when we stepped into our room. What do you expect for $49 per night? Thankfully we only reserved one night. I have aches and pains from the bed. I woke up with a sore back and sore shoulders, too. Today we will explore the coast line and possibly finish exploring New Orleans. Who knows we may wind up in Branson or somewhere. We are just on the road having fun!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Second Report - 26th Anniversary Trip

We are still having fun! This morning we had breakfast at the hotel in New Orleans then headed to Jean Lafitte, Louisiana for an airboat swamp tour. We had so much fun. The flora and fauna was beautiful. Most of the pictures I took with the exception of the gators were taken while the boat was moving. Many were even taken at high rates of speed. I’m proud of my little camera!

Our guide actually ‘played’ with gators along the tour. We saw more than a dozen alligators. He captured two and brought them on board. Kent and I held them. Redonia, I held it just for you! Sissy, I know if you were with us you would have had so much fun. (I miss you!!!!) The guide fed the alligators marshmallows. He said the marshmallows float when thrown into the water and causes the gators to come up above water. We were reminded the alligators can’t see right in front of them but rather to the sides. After being in the hot sun for more than two hours we were ready for lunch. I spotted a Krispy Kreme! We grabbed fast food first and then went thru the drive thru for doughnuts!!! Yum…

After leaving Jean Lafitte we headed to Alabama. First stop was in Mobile to see the church dad pastored. We drove around the neighborhood I was reared. Memories flooded my mind. This was difficult for me. I was a young teenager when Dad was diagnosed with cancer. The church was at its prime as was our family. Since Dad’s resignation I have never been back to the church. I think all my siblings have. I was older and have some not so good memories. Kent forced me to deal with some of my feelings. He pulled up to the front doors of the old sanctuary and said it was here that you saw your Dad preach, you received the Holy Ghost, and here that you walked down the aisle as a young teenager from the bathroom to the altar with your skirt tucked in your panties! Hummmm did I just say that for the world to see? Well we laughed and he quickly drove away. What would I do without him? He always helps me.

After leaving Mobile we drove to Gulf Shores. Wow! This area is so commercialized now. It’s amazing what almost 30 years has done. We had dinner at Lambert’s Café – home of the throwed rolls. I ordered ham steak. It was served to me in a 14” frying pan! Tomorrow we are going to travel back to explore some of my heritage, Dauphine Island and Bayou La Batre. I’m sure we will eat some of the finest gulf seafood along the way.

I’ll post more later….

Jean Lafitte & etc

Friday, July 4, 2008

First Report - 26th Anniversary Trip

After a much later start than we anticipated we finally left Conroe for our first destination, The Ritz Carlton - Maison Orleans. Upon arrival our car was quickly unloaded by the bell man and we were promptly escorted to the main lobby check-in. There a private escort was called and we were identified as the Rev. and Mrs. Our escort asked if we were ready to go to the Maison Club. We were tired and affirmed we were ready. He explained the Maison was a private access hotel. On the elevator he asked if I liked the sites of the Ritz. Of course I did. It was elaborate with fresh flowers and scents of Gardenia candles burning. He smiled and explained the Maison was a much nicer hotel and I was in for a wonderful treat.

Amazing is what I thought as we entered our hotel! The parlor is filled with beverages and delectable food arrays throughout the day. Vibrant red roses and white lilies fill the crystal vases. Every room is scented with candles burning. As we entered our lavish suite I noticed a card with our name wishing us a Happy Anniversary! Nearby was a tray of fresh berries and fruit dip adorned with an orchid.

Allow me to copy from the website the room description:

· Double teaster (demi-canopied) bed with Egyptian cotton linens
· Bathrooms with soaking tubs and separate showers
· Luxurious European bath amenities
· Floor-to-ceiling windows
· Additional sitting area
· Louis XVI-style desk, quilted leather stool, drop-leaf table, and wing chair
· Fireplace with antique summer coverings
· High speed Internet access
· Computer and fax hook-ups through the service of your personal butler
· Complimentary CD/DVD library and surround sound in bedrooms and bathroom
· Venetian-style beverage armoire with customized food and beverage selections available upon request
· Private key access
· European continental breakfast and light refreshments throughout the day
· 24-hour Butler and room service
· Personalized concierge service

We soon strolled to the heart of the French Quarters for seafood platters of red fish, crawfish, oysters, and shrimp. After dinner we shared a small order of beignets and enjoyed sipping on café au lait from Café du Monde . Our room was stunning when we returned. Rose petals were scattered on the floor. Not only did we enjoy turn down service but beautiful fresh pink rose petals formed a heart on our bed. A beautiful long stem yellow rose was lying across the pillows. On a beautiful mahogany pedestal drop leaf table was chilled strawberry lemonade and a platter of chocolate covered strawberries and an assortment of home-style cookies. There were beautiful Waterford goblets for the lemonade. The bathroom was dimly lit with candles and a martini glass filled with gardenia scented bath salts.

This morning our day started with breakfast in the parlor which consisted of beautiful fruit arrays, cheese, various breads and pastries, breakfast canapés, yogurt, granola, an assortment of jams and jellies, and various breakfast beverages. We spent most of the day enjoying the French Quarter. This evening we will enjoy a dinner cruise on the Natchez Steamboat. The entertainment will be a jazz band and a spectacular fireworks show. Tomorrow we are going to enjoy an airboat swamp tour. After the swamp tour we will make our way towards the Alabama Gulf Coast. I plan to post pictures later tonight or tomorrow from our stay in New Orleans.

Kent and I are grateful for the sweet people from CUPC who gave us this incredible anniversary gift. I realize many of them have never enjoyed such a stay as we are enjoying. We truly are humbled by their kindness. While we have enjoyed the 4th of July many of them have worked at the Fireworks Warehouse to raise funds for The Spot, a new youth centre’.

Stay tuned for another report of our relaxing time away from home!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 3 - Our 26th Wedding Anniversary

Today Kent and I celebrate our 26th Wedding Anniversary. 28 years ago we had our first date. Sis. McClain was the instigator. Our family went to Houston to visit the McClain’s. Kent’s family came and visited, too. We went out one night then the following day my family returned to Alabama. I talked about Kent the entire way from Houston to Alabama. Finally my Dad grew frustrated and asked me to hush because he could tell I was falling in love. He said he didn’t want to share a grandbaby with Ronnie Smith. Of course our Dads were friends and my daddy was teasing. Of course we didn't have cell phones to call or text nor computers to email. I received lots of letters and cards. (I still have them!)

The following summer I moved to Texas to attend secular college. In November my Dad passed away. Kent and his family travelled from Aransas Pass to Birmingham, Alabama for Dad’s funeral. After the visitation Kent and I spent some time together. He was a strong shoulder for me to cry on. He invited me to ride back to Texas with him. Of course I did to save the plane fare. Well, kinda…really I liked the idea of spending time with him. A couple of weeks later he took me to the Christmas Banquet. A few days later I flew home to spend Christmas with my family. Of course we were expecting a very sad Christmas but Kent surprised us during the holidays and cheered things up!

After 4 dates, my handsome, charming, funny boyfriend told me he loved me. What an incredible Christmas present! The very next night he proposed. Of course I quickly responded that I would love to be his wife. I rode back to Houston with him and we quickly began planning our July 3, 1982 wedding.

Four years later we adopted our beautiful daughter, Redonia. Thirteen months later I gave birth to Trent. With the exception of 3 years we have been involved in fulltime ministry. We have had the privilege of assisting in Shepherd, Texas (Rev. Vandy Pope), evangelizing for a few months, and assisting in Pasadena, Texas (Rev. Wayne McClain). Seventeen and one half years ago we began the work that we knew we were ultimately called to do in Conroe. We have endeavored to never allow the demands of ministry to separate our love for one another.

Twenty six years later I can truthfully say I love the man I married even more. He is a man of faith, vision, and compassion. He is my very best friend. He came as a bright light in a dark time of my life. He still radiates my days. He is witty, a wonderful husband and a great father to my babies. He is not only a caring pastor to CUPC but a caring spiritual leader for our family.

Today I leave on a trip with my husband, my love. Though I will miss our children and church I will enjoy our time together. He still makes me smile! At our wedding he sang “Welcome to My World”. I’m glad that today he still welcomes me in his world.

Babe, I love you more than ever. Happy Anniversary to my best friend!!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Where I've been. . . .

RUSH, our youth group, is managing a huge Fireworks Warehouse. I've enjoyed selling fireworks for the past week. I enjoy selling!!!! I wish all you. my blogging friends, an exciting holiday weekend. Please be safe and enjoy Independence Day. Don't forget who really allows our freedom though! His death has liberated each of us.

Fireworks Animations provided by MUDTRAP.COM