Thursday, December 13, 2007

Season of Blessings

God has been giving By Design numerous opportunities to minister lately in arenas outside of the church walls. One of the latest ones was at the Gwinnett County Victims of Violent Crimes Vigil. This was the third year in a row that we have been asked to participate in the event. Here is the neat thing.... in a time when people are so quick to try and shut God out of all public buildings and ceremonies, the Gwinnett County District Attorney's office boldly allows us to come in and minister however we are lead with Christian songs proclaiming Jesus as Lord in the middle of the Justice Administration Building. Each year we pray about what God would have us to share in song with the families whose loved ones have been murdered. There are no protests, no negative words about the Christian emphasis only kind smiles from people who are hurting because of the senseless violence that has invaded their lives. At the end of each vigil, numerous people always come up to say thanks. There even have been a few that tell us that they look for us every year and can't wait to hear what we will sing. It truly is one of the highlights of our ministry each year.

Praise God for public officials who will not bend to the pressures of society to make everything "politically correct" but know that the Holy Spirit is the one true comforter and will allow Him to come and give peace in the midst of the storms. And, we continually thank God for allowing us to be His instruments.

Friday, November 30, 2007

God's A Blessin', Satan Is A Messin'

Whew! So many things have been happening this week. God had given By Design a few calls this past week for some really neat exposure. As many know, we have been praying that God would do things far beyond ourselves with this new CD project. And, He has continually knocked our socks off again and again. Well, the latest news to add is that many multi-media opportunities are coming our way that are just really neat. One came out of an old friend that Kelly and I ran into during our shopping trip the day after Thanksgiving. She is a freelance writer for The Baptist Press which is nationally sendicated much like the Associated Press. She would like to do an article on By Design. How cool is that?! Then there have also been a few contacts call for a TV spot and a radio interview. We have also been given the opportunity to be at Lifeway Christian Bookstore next Saturday afternoon to sing and promote the CD. It is as if God is just reaffirming that He has more in store for us. Go God!!!

With all of that said, Satan is on the prowl trying to throw a wrench in everything. He always gets me in the area of my family relationships. And, this time in no different. We have been at each other all day. As I was reflecting on everything earlier this evening, God spoke to me and just simply said, " Don't you see that I am at work here. That is why you all are at each other's throats. Satan is trying to worm in again and create discord. Don't let him in!!"

Girls, isn't that just like Satan?! He tries his best to rob us of what God has in store for us. And, so many times I get wrapped up in the whole process and take the bait losing the very best of the blessing that God had for me. Pray that this time I will stand strong in the knowledge of the Lord and rebuke him when he baits the hook again.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Blessed Times

Last Thursday evening, I went to a Sunday School ladies event at my friend Amanda's home. I was so glad to be able to go since it is rare that I get the opportunity. Most of the time, my plate is full with other commitments. I thought that I would go and have a good time, but little did I know how much I would be blessed. Another friend, Carol, was speaking about a verse that the Lord had her memorize from Acts 18:9 & 10. She went on to say that she realized after a while that the first part of that passage was meant for her. But, what she didn't know was that the last part was meant for me.

By Design was asked a few months ago to come and minister along side of Pat and Terry Powell with Street Wise Ministries down in Bowen Homes. Now, if you are not familiar with that area, it is one of the most violent project areas in metro Atlanta. After some emails earlier in the week regarding some shootings in the community, I was not feeling very safe about going down there. I mean, here I was a middle-aged white woman from the suburbs going into an area filled with guns and violence and gang activity on a daily basis. That's not what I would call a smart move unless you are taking a security detail with you. As Carol began quoting the verse that the Lord gave her a few weeks earlier, I knew that it was for me and tears started well up. The last part of what she quoted said, "do not be afraid for I have many people in this city. " Wow!!! Thank you Lord for that word!!!! It was if God Himself was sitting there in front of me saying, "Hey, I've got this, DeAnna. I am going before you. I am surrounding you on all sides. " And, you know what? He did!

Saturday, when we got to the community center where we were to minister, there was a hedge of protection already in place. Many people that I knew from Hebron and other churches were there to volunteer that day. Some were there as counselors, some as security detail, some were working with the children who had come with their moms. As I walked into the center, I felt no fear. My prayers and the prayers of others who were praying for my safety had been answered. What a sweet time of fellowship we had with the people there. The Lord was in the house that day!!! You could see Him in all four corners of the room. The smiles on the faces of the community members was such a blessing to see. They remembered By Design from the year before and were so excited to see us return. Once again, we received as big of a blessing as those we went to minister to. Girls, God is so good.

God continues to amaze me at how He shows Himself in ways that only He can. As Carol said on Thursday, when we simply say, "Lord use me" He will continually put opportunities in our paths to do just that. It is then up to us to be obedient or not. When faced with that challenge, what will your answer be?


As we enter into the Thanksgiving week, I have been thinking about everything that I have to be thankful for. The Lord has really blessed me beyond anything that I deserve. So, I thought that I would post a few things that stick out above the rest for me.

  • I'm thankful for a God who loves me in spite of myself
  • I'm thankful for a husband who loves me even on my worst days
  • I'm thankful for healthy children
  • I'm thankful for a full pantry
  • I'm thankful for friends who lift me up when I am down and rejoice with me in the good times
  • I'm thankful for the opportunities that God gives me to serve Him through song
  • I'm thankful for clean clothes and a warm bed at night
  • I'm thankful for a sturdy roof over my head
  • I'm thankful for children who love me unconditionally everyday
  • I'm thankful for Christian education

What are you thankful for? I challenge you to consciously think about it today. And, then thank God for His blessings on your life.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Do You Really See Me?

I just got finished reading a blog of a new friend. She really challenged me with what she said. Stephanie, you hit it right on the head for me today, girlfriend.

I see so many different people throughout the course of any given week - carpooling kids to and from school (when I look my ABSOLUTE best, LOL), the many different trips to Wal-mart and other stores, Sunday School, choir, church services, By Design ministry opportunities, etc. But, most of the time those people don't REALLY see ME. They see the DeAnna that I want them to see. The one that "has it altogether". The one that stands in front of a crowd and proclaims the name of Jesus in song. The one that doesn't have real problems to face.

Now, I love to get together and talk with other women about anything - or should I say anything on the surface. Kids, housework, jobs, hobbies, family life, etc. nothing too revealing. But, when it comes to sharing what my heart is burdened about that is totally different. I have always been very private and guarded about what I was feeling or struggling with. Even as a child I internalized my feelings - so much so that it came out in other less desirable forms. And, if the truth were known, it is simply because of a lack of trust and a fear of rejection. Can I really trust "them" with my innermost thoughts and burdens? Will "they" still like me if they saw all my warts? But, what God is showing me through several different sources is that He desires me to not only have that type of intimate relationship with Him, but also with other women. He is telling me that it really is okay for others to see that I am not all put together all the time - it's okay for others to see "the ugly" sometimes. Case is point - last week I sent out a prayer request to our Sunday School class about me having to go back to work as a teacher next year and how I have really struggled with that decision. God was so faithful to send encouraging responses through several people in our class. Normally, I would not have sent the request out, but, because I opened up, He showed up through encouragement from our class members. It brought tears to my eyes as I read each response that was sent. He is continually showing me that when I do let others in to see those sides of me (that really do exist in us all) that makes me the real deal, and it gives Him an opportunity to show Himself to me and to bless me in ways that I might not have received any other way.

So, I would ask each of you to pray for me as I struggle daily to "take off the mask" as our pastor put it a few weeks ago. What we see together might not always be pretty, but, hopefully, it will be real - warts and all.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Let the little children.........

Jesus himself knew what special little creatures children are. He even told us in His word that we must come as a child to Him. This morning, the kids and I were all on our way to school as like any other morning. The girls asked for me to play my CD for them to sing to. They fight over who will sing which solo. The first song, "Shout Your Fame" came on and Georgia decided that she would be Kelly this morning and Ginny would be Nancy. They started singing their respective solo parts and then got to the chorus. At that point, I looked in my rearview mirror to smile at them and got the most precious glimpse. Both girls had their hands raised praising our Lord just like they have seen me and the other members of By Design do countless times, "I will shout Your fame to all the earth, I will lift Your name on high, I will show the world your greatness, You are my God, Jesus, I will shout Your fame.........." At that moment tears started welling up inside of me and springing forth out of my eyes. At that very moment, God was reaffirming everything that I have worked so hard to instill in those two little girls. It was as if He was saying, "They are mine.... don't worry..... I've got this whole thing." What an answer to prayer!

You see, I have really been struggling about going back to work. The housing market is continuing to drop and that is not good when your hubby is an electrical contractor. I do have a peace about stepping up and helping financially again, but I have really struggled with what to do. At this time, teaching is the only answer that I have gotten any peace about. Faithful friends are already praying with me for THE answer. But, this morning was a blessing. Thank you. Lord, for showing me big things in the smallest of instances.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick of Treat, Please

What fun to be a kid. I can remember looking forward to Halloween with great anticipation. Of course the costumes that I wore as a child pale in comparison to those that I buy for my own children now. But, the concept is still the same. This year we had the privilege of having some great friends come and trick or treat with us. They have two boys that are around the same ages of our kids. Together, along with another neighbor, we all set out to see just how much candy we could collect in an hour. You should have seen all the little feet running as fast as they could to each house and squealing with delight after each piece of candy was dropped into their buckets. Oh, to be children and have the world by the tail. Their innocence and trust of the world has not been tarnished by years of "living" yet. With all the "yuck" that is out there it was nice to have the reminder of that fun and innocence. And, I think that the adults had just as much fun walking and talking together as the kids did. Great family fun!!!!

The Pumpkin Patch

A few weeks ago, our family set out on a Saturday to the pumpkin patch at Washington Farms. Now, I knew that they did field trips and had pumpkins this time of year, but I had NO idea how BIG of an operation this was. For those of you who may not have ever experienced this, my kids had a blast!!! We had a hayride, picked out our pumpkins, played on these huge homemade slides, saw and petted several farm animals, witnessed a pig race (yes, I said pig race) and, of course, got our fill of homemade jams and jellies.

You may be asking..... if you did this a few weeks ago, why are you just know publishing it? Well, that's easy because I am just now downloading the pictures from my camera to the computer. So, even though it is a little late..... I hope that you enjoy the pictures. If you have never been, make plans to go next year.

Monday, October 29, 2007

League Champions!!!!

Tonight, Marshall's team, the Jefferson White Sox, played their last game of the tournament and fall season taking the victory of League Champions for the 8 and under teams. The team was undefeated throughout the whole season both regular games and tournament. This was a huge deal for Marshall because this was the first season that he wanted to play ball. Most of the others on his team have played for several seasons already. So, for him to be able to be on a winning team that went all the way to the top his very first season was INCREDIBLE. All the boys played really hard all season long. And, the improvement in every team member from the beginning of the season until now is amazing. The coaching staff is very much to credit for the growth of each one of the boys. Out of all the teams in the league, ours was the only one that would come together after each game to praise the boys and encourage them to do better.

I am so proud of my ball player! The most rewarding thing for me throughout this whole season is that Marshall never complained about going to practice or having a game. It has not been a struggle at all to keep him engaged in the game. That is so HUGE for us. Finding motivators that continue to work is a challenge in our house. And, he says that he wants to play again in the spring.

Daddy's Off Playing....What Are We To Do?????

Okay, ladies. I am a single parent this week as my hubby is off playing in Illinois with six other men on a hunting trip. Can I just tell you that it is different than I thought that it would be. I thought that it would be like any other week with him working late to get jobs finished so that he could provide for our family....but no! Here is the reason why....... My husband typically works many hours away from the house each day so my kids are used to him getting home late or sometimes not at all before they have to go to bed. They are used to being just with mom most of the time. But, they have had a difficult time knowing that Daddy is not coming home at the end of the day. It's only Monday, and we have five more days to go. As for me........ I was really looking forward to relaxing abit, catching up on some reading, scrapbooking, watching what I want to watch on TV without the channel surfing king sitting there with me. Somehow, though, it's not as nice as I thought it might be. There is a level of security that Michael brings to the house that is just not here this week. We typically don't set our security system every night - although if someone broken into the house I would hear them WAY before Michael ever did. Without him here, I am setting it every night. My comfort level is not there. Somehow I miss the channel surfing disagreements that usually occur. Getting the kids to bed is not as easy because Daddy isn't there to say prayers with them. I guess what I am trying to drive to is sometimes takes looking at your life from a few steps away from the normal to realize how blessed you really are. So many times I take my life for granted. I get aggravated and bogged down with the daily grind - the kids, the hubby, carpooling, working from home, the phone ringing off the hook with sales calls,etc. and I forget to give thanks for what God has given me no matter how frustrating my life can be at times.

So, today when you can breathe for a moment, take time to thank our Heavenly Father for EVERY aspect of your life and what He has given you - warts and all. Tomorrow you might not have it all.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Golden Compass

The movie titled THE GOLDEN COMPASS will be released this December as a children's movie. Now, normally I would not think much about a new movie release, but this one really has me bothered to my core. You see, this movie was made by an atheist who is trying to persuade children and their unsuspecting parents into believing that God is not who He says that He is. The devil is so sly and cunning and will do anything he can to gain our hearts and souls to pull us away from our Heavenly Father. You know, it doesn't impact me as much when I hear about temptations that adults face - maybe I have just become desensitized to it, but when you starting messing with my kids---- that's a whole different ballgame. My "mama hen" feathers get ruffled and the claws come out to fight. Take a look at this link to and read further about this movie.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rewind, PLEASE!!

Today was one of those days when I really wish that life had a rewind button. Can anyone feel my pain?! I mean, every time I turned around, someone was doing or saying something that was completely off the charts for me. I woke up to the sound of my 3 year telling me that she needed to go potty. Well, normally she would be ready and willing to do this all on her own to prove her "being big", but not today. She proceeded to throw a tantrum - kicking and screaming and the whole nine yards all because mommy said, "go get on the potty and I will come help in a minute." That was certainly a "Good Lord, it's morning" rather than "Good Morning, Lord" moment. I finally managed to compose myself after "laying hands" on my 3 year old and walk out into the family room to greet my other two children who were quietly watching cartoons. It was then that my four year old calmly informed me that she had a hole in her brand new pants that I just bought last week. I wish that I could say that I lovingly scooped her up and said "that's okay, pumpkin, we will fix it", but I didn't. I could feel my face turning all shades of red and then purple and my temperature start to rise as I proceeded to talk to her in a very loud tone. Now I know it's hard for you all to believe, but I lost all composure, and it's not even breakfast yet.

Well, the rest of the day proceeded to be just as grand with a dead battery in my car, my husband's cell phone turned off so that I couldn't get in touch with him --- or anyone else for that matter to come to my rescue, children acting just like children do when mommy is at her wit's end, and the list goes on and on and on.

This evening when I finally had time to sit and think about today (after everyone was tucked safely into bed), I realized that I probably frustrate my Lord so many times in the very same way. None of the events of my day were intentionally meant to upset me, yet they still were sources of frustration and anger. How many times do I unintentionally do something in the course of my day that grieves the Holy Spirit and thus robs me of fellowship with my Father just as the frustrating acts of my children robbed us of sweet family fellowship today. Thank God I can go to Him and ask for forgiveness, crawl right up into Him loving arms and get a big ole hug and start the next day with a clean slate.

Thank you, Father, for being such a loving daddy.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Ive Been Tagged!!
Okay, Okay, Okay. I don't really know what all this tagging is really for as I am new to the world of blog... but, here it goes. Thanks, Amanda.

4 Jobs that I've had in my life
****K-Mart ( my very first one)
****Natalie's Hallmark ( I spent as much as I made)
****Teacher for 8 years
****Wife, Mom, Office Manager, Domestic Engineer - you name it I do it all now
4 TV Shows I like to watch
****Extreme Makeover Home Edition
****Any of the CSI series
****Boston Legal
4 Places I have vacationed
****the beach
****New England
****Blowing Rock, NC
4 Favorite Dishes
****Anything Italian
****7 Pepper Steak Salad
****Biscuits with lots of butter
****Pumpkin Pie
4 Websites I visit daily
****By Design
****My Blog
****Friends' blogs
****"I Am So You Don't Have To Be" online Bible Study
4 Places I'd Rather Be
****Anywhere in complete solitude for a week
****Somewhere exotic with my hubby - no kids attached
****Austria, Norway, Switzerland & Czech Republic - I've always wanted to see them
****A mountain cabin
4 Bloggers I am Tagging
****I don't know anyone else who has not already been tagged

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Moms for Modesty

Unfortunately, the original website for Moms for Modesty is being shut down due to the "Everyday Mommy" being led to pursue another path right now in her life. But, I wanted to post the original mission statement for Moms for Modesty. I thought that it was worth keeping in my blog since I am also compelled to preserve what society is trying so hard to take from our daughters. So, here is the missions statement. I hope that this will make as big of an impression on you as it did on me when I first read it.

**As a Mom for Modesty, I believe in common sense modesty for girls and young women.
**I believe in refraining from sexualizing our girls and young women.
**I believe that it is unwise and unfair to taunt boys and young men by permitting my daughters to dress in an immodest manner.
**I believe that true beauty comes from within, and I strive to teach my daughers this truth.
**I will loyally shop at retailers that provide girls' and young womens' clothing that is modest, afforable and stylish.
I hope that you will join me in standing up for our daughters and ourselves to impact the retail industry for the cause of Christ and let them know that we don't appreciate the demoralization and sexualization of little girls and women.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Jesus Bring the Rain

I was listening to the radio the other day (with no kids in the car mind you) which is a rarity. Usually we are driving down the road with music blaring to the By Design CD that my girls ask for EVERY time we hop into the car. But, at that particular rare time, I was listening to 104.7 The Fish Atlanta. A song came on the radio that really struck me call "Bring the Rain". As I listened to the words of the song, it hit me how many times I come to my Heavenly Father with all these requests for things that I think that I need for my everyday life - peaceful attitudes from the kids for the day; Lord, help me find whatever it is that I have misplaced that particular day; Lord, can you give me just a few extra minutes today to get everything done on my To-Do list, etc. But, what I really should be praying is just for Jesus to bring anything my way that will cause me to give glory to Him alone that day. He has my best in mind and only asks for one thing from me - to give Him glory in everything that I do. WOW!! Enough said. Thank you, Lord, for the reminder. Jesus, bring the rain.

" Bring me joy bring me peace
And the chance to be free
Anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus bring the rain"

Thursday, October 4, 2007


A friend of mine recently found out the she had cervical cancer. She was one of the very low percentages of women who had an abnormal pap smear come back with no real indication of anything other than she had the virus that can manifest into the cancer. At the present time, the only course of action for a woman who is carrying the virus is to watch it over the next ten years to make sure that it does not develop into cervical cancer. Thank God for her doctor who just didn't have a peace about doing nothing more than watching it. Had he only followed protocol, the outcome would have been extremely bad by the time a pap smear showed cancer suspicious cells. My friend was sharing with me tonight how she and her husband could see God's hand throughout this whole ordeal. Her husband had an opportunity to go on a hunting trip recently, but even after getting the okay from work he just didn't have a peace about leaving the family at this time. Talking together last Friday evening, they realized that if he had gone on the trip he would have heard his wife's devastating news on the phone with no way of getting home quickly. Instead, he was here to hold her hand, pray and cry with her.

My friend had surgery this past Monday morning. Her doctor told her that he would take a small portion out and send it off to pathology. Once the results came back, they would know exactly what to do next. When the doctor went in to get the lesion, it was bigger than he originally thought. He ended up taking a larger portion of the tissue. He told my friend's husband that it would have been very bad if he would have waited. Again, my friend knew that the Holy Spirit definitely had prodded the doctor not to wait but instead to treat her differently. The outpouring of friends and family with prayers, phone calls, meals, etc. has overwhelmed my friend. And, when the pathology report came back...... the doctor had gotten ALL of the cancer.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!! Praise Him for His faithfulness. Praise Him for His peace in the midst of the storm. Praise Him for His steadfast love. Even in the midst of adversity, God is there. Sometimes all we need to do is just to be still and know that He is God. "When the oceans rise and thunders roll, I will soar with You above the storm. Father, You are King over the flood. I will be still and know You are God."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Baseball slide show

Marshall is on a roll!!!

Wow!!! Marshall did a fantastic job in his baseball game last night. His team played another one that really gave them a run for their money. But, the White Sox ended up pulling through for another win. This makes his team undefeated with one game left in the regular season. Marshall personally had his best game of the season. He got two really good hits and was able to score one run. Mama and Daddy were so very proud of him. And, he was VERY proud of himself. What a blessing to be a part of a team that has great talent, great spirit, and great attitude!!!! The coaches always encourage the boys even when they strike out. The comments are so uplifting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We Love to Dance!!

Georgia and Virginia have started taking ballet lessons after preschool each week. They are so excited to get up every Wednesday to go to school. It is quite a long day for them, but they don't care. I help them get their backpacks loaded with their school folders, lunch boxes and ballet attire; then off they go. What a sight it is to see all the little girls "dancing" in their pink tu-tu's and tights. They absolutely LOVE it. I can't wait until the recital in May.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Marshall has decided to try baseball once more. After two years of T-ball early on, he decided that it was not for him. Being in the outfield in a game where the players can't hit hard enough yet to get it to you was not his idea of a fun time. But, thanks to a friend across the street who loves to play sports, Marshall has decided to try again. We are so proud of him. Last week he had a scrimage game where he hit two doubles. He was BEAMING from ear to ear when he was running the bases. It really gave him an extra boost of confidence.

Marshall's first game was Monday, September 10th. His team was victorious over the Jefferson Braves. He hit a double and two singles. Needless to say, he was very excited!!! The next night the team was victorious again over the Jefferson Mets. What a great start for the season!!!


Everyone is off to a great start for the school year. Marshall is now in second grade. Georgia is in K4 preschool where she attends 5 days a week, and Virginia is now in K3 where she attends 3 days a week. All three kids are at Bethlehem Christian Academy this year. The change in schools is a HUGE answer to prayer in so many different ways. The driving alone was a booger these past two years. And, the change in teaching environments and philosophy has really made a difference as well. Needless to say, we are all very excited to be there and can't wait to see what great things God has in store for us there. And, Marshall is very glad to have his sisters with him at the same school. They are right down the hallway from each other.