March 29, 2009

Oh, dear friends.....

I have been so moved by writing this letter to Colleen - even after all these years. The tears have flowed freely as I have typed responses and read comments. Y'all have been so sweet to encourage me and Colleen.

Patricia, I do understand what you were saying in your comment and unfortunately, I took the opposite path and did not fully trust God with my girls. Larissa can attest to this because yes, I did freak out recently when our youngest was not at her school where she was supposed to be!

I know that God allows all things for a purpose and reason but this is one situation that I simply cannot wrap my human mind around. As I'm sure you can tell from the letter, Colleen and I have not kept in touch over the years. We are now Facebook friends and hopefully, we can keep more in touch in the future. I'm sure that God has worked wonderful truths in Colleen's life and in the lives of her other children that I simply do not know about.

I know that many view our personal struggle in our marriage as an easy way out...."Why don't you just divorce him?" and they do not understand the larger truths that God has worked into my heart and life by choosing to honor my marriage vows, "For better or worse, till death do us part." I'm sure Colleen can testify to this as well.

I want to close because I feel I have said enough, maybe even too much.

Thank you to each of you for joining me on this particular walk. Thank you for reading and learning about a very special young lady, Morgan Chauntel Nick. Thank you for your prayer support for this family.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....like friends God uses to draw us close to Him

God's girl, Pamela

March 25, 2009

An Open Letter to Colleen Nick



If you want to join us on a walk down memory lane, please visit Lynnette's blog to join in the fun!

Now, to share my letter to a friend.

Dear Colleen,

I've taken too long to write this letter and for that, please accept my apology. You played a very important role in my life 18 yrs ago and for that, I will always be grateful! Now, you are never far from my mind as I cannot even imagine the pain you walk in each day.

I was a very young Mom and still learning the ropes of being a wife when we met in February '91 in Grovetown, Georgia. John had befriended dear hubs while in training at Ft. Gordon and within a matter of weeks, DD1 and I had made the unexpected move from Dallas to Georgia. Just like God, He gave me the neighbor that I needed for that season in my life - YOU!

I remember about a week after we met, you asked if I was a Christian. Our conversation ultimately led to me attending church with you. I was raised in a Christian home, attended and graduated from a Christian school - where I met my groom - but had grown apart from the Lord in our two years of marriage. I was already feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit to draw close to Him, and introduce my precious daughter to His love; you happened to be the catalyst for putting my life back on His track.

Your friendship was exactly what I needed in the coming months, as my Mom endured a difficult medical trial that brought me back to Texas for a month. You cried with me when I sat outside after dinner with Mom and Dad, where Mom had gone to put the ice cubes in the glasses but when we sat down, there were no ice cubes in the glasses...they were all stacked neatly on top of the ice tray in the freezer still!

You were the one to first cut DD1's hair, those really long strands that continued to fall in her face. You taught me the value of play as the three of y'all, dear hubs, you and John, ran around the trailers squirting one another with water out of syrup bottles...or whatever you could find handy to hold water!!!



Then, as soon as you came into my life, you moved on...to Kansas. I never forgot you, or the fact that you were the main reason I was back serving our Lord and Savior. I also never forgot Morgan. Her beautiful blonde hair, her precious smile and the adorable way that she asked you for mie-rk....her special way of saying milk!

Life moved on....I talked to you from our next duty station, Ft. Bragg, shortly after Logan was born, if I remember correctly. Then, we lost contact with each other. But, I never forgot you, or Morgan.

What do I remember about that September day? That dear hubs was in the field, had only left a couple of days earlier and was due out for at least 30 days, and the girls and I had gone to do some shopping at Wal-Mart in El Paso. DD1 had just started Kindergarten and Bunny would be two in a few weeks.

It was September, 1995. I'm walking out of Wal-Mart, DD1 walking in front of the buggy and Bunny sat in the buggy seat. I knew that Wal-Mart posted pictures of missing children but it was something that I only rarely noticed. As I pushed the buggy past the board that day, though, I noticed and I stopped immediately!!!

The smile was unmistakeable, the name sent chills through every part of me...Morgan Chauntel Nick. I had always loved her middle name, never realizing it would be there one day for all the world to see.


For the sake of time, I want to mention that you can read all of Morgan's story at this website. She was taken from a baseball game in June 1995, and the story has not ended.

Oh, my friend. I've held my babies tighter and made sure to keep them in sight...they can testify to this and it has NOT made them happy! I simply cannot imagine the pain that your heart feels each day as you awake to this reality. I cannot fathom how you have raised two precious children in the midst of your pain...I think I would hole away until the world righted itself!

You have been so brave, to introduce legislation and speak to so many high up in business and politics. Your love for Morgan has been channeled into helping other families in similar situations. You have never let go of hope!

Thank you, for being willing to speak into my life that February day...DD1 is now a leader in her school and youth group. People know where she stands in accordance with her faith. Bunny is growing in Christ...the teenage years have not been easy for her but she is learning more each day about walking with her Savior.

DD1 gave her heart to the Lord in 1999 and Bunny this past January. Our marriage has seen struggles, but with the grace of God, we have survived and thrived. This is only one of the crowns that you can lay at the feet of Jesus when that day comes. Because of your testimony, we are a family of Christ followers!

Your sister in Christ,

Pamela

March 18, 2009

"It's only one date, Dad"



These were my words 23 yrs ago tomorrow! I was trying my best to get my Daddy to let me go to the Sports Banquet with a young man from school...but not from our church. And therein lies the rub!

Here's the Story:

GCA's home church, Lavon Drive Bapt.

We were a little more than two months from high school graduation. We had turned in our term papers, knew who our top two graduates were, had all of our money for our senior trip to Grand Canyon, AZ. We were ready to blow the joint!

Until,

On Wednesday morn, March 19, 1986, I walked into my homeroom in which my teacher was a friend of the family. Miss H called me up to her desk and my best friend came up with me...for moral support, of course! Miss H told my BF that she needed to speak with me alone. UH OH! This could not be good, could it? I was sure I had done everything right, I am a people pleaser after all!

Once my BF had walked away, Miss H asked me if I had plans on going to the annual Sports Banquet in April. My answer, 'No'...short, sweet and to the point. I had never gone to the banquet, why would I want to go this year??

She then proceeded to tell me that a boy in the school, not in our class, wanted to ask me to go with him to the Sports Banquet. Okay, curiosity is peaked but who in this little school would want to go to the Banquet with me?

And then, she said his name!

Um, NO!!!! Not happening!

The rest of the conversation went something like this:

Miss H, "Why not?"

Me, "Well, I'm not going to the banquet, I don't care who asks me."

Miss H, "You know, I have yet to grade your term paper?"

Me, "Is this a bribe?"

Miss H, "No, not at all!"

Me, "Okay, fine, I'll ask my Dad and I'm pretty sure he will say no!"

I started going to GCA in the seventh grade. About my freshman year I made the statement that I would never date a guy from GCA....I went to church with many of them and knew them way too well!!! And here we were, two months away from graduation and I'm seriously considering asking my Dad if I can go to the banquet with the 'nerd of the school'...yes, the whole school, y'all!!!

I wrote a note to this young man, telling him that I would need to talk it over with my Dad but I would ask if I could attend the banquet with him. I had Word Processing 7th period and I knew he had Computer Science 6th period. I also knew that his computer was right behind the one that I sat at. Oh, perfect!

All through my 6th period class, choir, I had butterflies! What was I doing even considering this??? I just knew that EVERYONE would laugh at me for going out with him...especially to a school sponsored banquet! This guy never said more than two words to ANYONE and then they had something to do with computers!

The one thing I will never forget was the smile on this kid's face when I handed him my note! It truly lit up the room and I don't remember ever having seen him smile in the whole 6 yrs I had been at GCA! As you have probably figured out, I soon fell absolutely in love with that smile...and the young man behind it!

Back to my story....I went home that night and before my Dad could ever even get home, my suitor was calling me! I told him my Dad was not yet home and he would need to call back later. But, he wanted to TALK...more than the customary two words!

I started thinking maybe he wasn't as 'weird' as we all thought he was. By the time my Dad got home, I was okay with asking if I could go to the banquet with him. Sure enough, though, my Dad made a point of the fact that he went to a church with different beliefs than ours. Christians, yes, but more along the lines of charismatic.

And at some point during this conversation, in my best little girl, "Daddy, PLEASE" voice, I said, "But, Dad, it's only one date!" And this is where my Daddy gave in!

By the time I graduated from high school, we were a couple! By the next September, when he began his senior year at GCA, we knew we wanted to eventually get married!

Y'all know the rest of the story.....although, there are a lot of chapters left to be written by the hand of God! And I hope you will share this journey with us!

Be sure to drop by Lynnette's blog for more awesome memories and maybe even post one of your own.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

God's girl, Pamela

March 13, 2009

I Saw Something Awesome




As we headed into court on Wednesday morn, I could not help but notice the elderly woman just ahead of us. You could tell from her actions that she was maybe more nervous than most of us to be there - unfortunately, she had no one with her for moral support. Her movements were slow; as she was placing her letter on the table, the way that we 'signed in', two people between us got impatient and put their letters down without waiting for her. My Momma would have smacked me to know I had even thought of that...so I didn't. I waited patiently.

She sat at the end of our row and listened very closely as the DA gave his spiel on the different ways tickets could be handled at this pre-trial date. When they offered the paper to fill out for a payment plan, she pored over it and made sure to put something on every line...even getting out her little address book for phone numbers.

We sat through several people telling the DA their story, you could hear most of what people were saying to him because the courtroom is a confined space. Most notable was the first case - a teenage girl that was speeding and stopped by a county officer and given a ticket. Her ticket was dismissed, however, because the officer was in the wrong county!!!

Then, when they called the name of the elderly woman, she once again began her slow move. I will have to say, we had several warm days at the beginning of the week but on Wednesday, the court day, it turned cold and rainy so any one's body would be moving slower than normal!!! She made sure to grab her papers - the one used for your payment plan - her umbrella and her purse. She seemed burden, though, even without all of that!

When she approached the DA, I think tears had probably already started forming. Her offense was the same as mine, an expired inspection sticker, but she had not been able to renew her inspection within the allotted 20 days. The DA was a very personable man and she gained his pity if nothing else. She explained to him that her car would not pass inspection because she needed new tires but could not afford a whole set of new tires. As she was pleading her case, two ladies on the row in front of us were laughing...the more sorrowful her tale, the harder they laughed. I was embarrassed to even be sitting that close to them.

At one point, the elderly woman halfway turned to those of us in the pews and said, "One day, you will be old, too." That should have been humbling but these two ladies continued to laugh so much...kind of like my sissy and I have done at a funeral! A gentleman in the row ahead of these ladies was fed up with their laughter, though; he turned to them and simply said, "You know she is crying?"

The atmosphere changed very quickly, like lightning! The laughing stopped, even though just moments before it seemed they could not stop laughing for anything.

Then, I saw the most amazing thing....one of the ladies took out her checkbook. We could all hear the DA telling the elderly lady that her fine would only be $15 but the court fees she would have to pay would be at least $100. And in a flash, one of the laughing ladies was writing a check....to pay the court fees for the elderly lady!!!

My dear hubs walked out of the courtroom with a heavy heart....he would like to have had a way to buy the lady new tires so she could get her car inspected. However, I think God moved on those He had called out for that day! The elderly lady was so surprised by the generosity of the young lady that it brought fresh tears.

I know that God is always at work around us and sometimes He chooses us to be His vessel, but on this day, He chose a stranger to pay a burden that needed to be lifted. Have you seen His hand move lately?

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

God's girl, Pamela

March 11, 2009

My 1st Court Date

Update at end of post....

What a way to start a memory post, huh? If you would like to share a memory, or just read other's memories, pop over to Lynnette's blog to join in the fun!



I know I've been away for a couple of weeks but life has just really been...well, life! I did start a post earlier in the week but when I looked back over it, the post did not qualify for BYKOTA! So, I'm back for the moment with an embarrassing memory.

Those of you that have followed my blog for a while may remember our financial struggles during last summer. God has been faithful and somehow provision has come...even when we don't see it. We are still behind on several bills but there is beginning to be some light at the end of this tunnel and with God's grace, we will make it through.

Well, one of the consequences of running out of money was that the inspection on my mini-van expired in August - the same month that Miss PD's Mom lost her job thereby causing me to lose my job. The same week that I began babysitting her again in November, I was pulled over by a constable who couldn't help but notice my expired inspection sticker as he drove past me.

Now, the hard part is that this is only like the 3rd time I have been stopped by a policeman in the 22 yrs I have been driving! The first time was for going just a bit over the speed limit (5 mph) and that was in the first five years of having my license. The second was about 7 yrs ago on my way to school, when a policeman pulled me over for not fully coming to a stop at the 4-way stop in our neighborhood.

Those first two times, I was quickly on my way with a warning to slow down and a warning to make sure I completely stopped.

The third time, though, was not the charm....this time he issued me a ticket! Since we've not had the money just lying around to pay the darned thing, a court date was set for today...this morning at 8:30 CST. We are praying that we will be able to at least start a payment plan, if not get the price of the ticket lowered.

So, if you are reading this on Wednesday morn, would you please say a prayer for me and for the judge. I want it to be fair, I really do but my first ticket in 22 yrs of driving???

I know that one day, this memory will probably make us laugh...but it is not right now! My stomach is an absolute bundle of nerves, and that is okay because even Jesus had a moment of fear as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and He cares about my fears, too.

"Lord, not my will but Yours be done"

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

God's girl, Pamela

God is so good...ALL THE TIME!!! As I said, this was my first court date and come to find it was only a pre-trial hearing. I didn't even have to mumble 3 words to the DA because I laid the inspection receipt, dated the same day of the ticket, on the table in front of him. I was only charged 1/10 of what the fine would have been if I had so desperately wanted to avoid this date that I went ahead and paid the ticket!!! 10% - as in a tithe!!!! Ain't our God so good???? He knows our financial situation so well that He stretched our faith - and nerves! - and took care of 90% of the ticket!!!
I know this is the same that any other person would go through but it just feels so good to give the glory back to my Savior because He orchestrated every move to this point. Someone in my family has learned a lesson in humility, someone has learned a lesson in submitting to a husband (a-hemm!!!) and we have both learned to lean on God even more!!!!
God is SO good, thank Him for the blessings of life!!!

March 6, 2009

Serving and Hospitality

Several years ago, we decided as a couple to open up our home by inviting people in for Sunday lunch. It didn't work like we wanted it to. Our girls were still small and I was working outside the home at that point. What does that have to do with it? Well, I am a messy and I was not comfortable with that part of me enough to say, "Please come to see me and my family and be blessed, just don't look at the house." This is a very difficult area for me....I desire to be accepted and have felt like I needed to be perfect to get there! Including a spotless house.

We did have several families over, it just became the same families, the ones that I knew were okay if they found a toy under the table, or something else very out of place. However, I did notice that several families mentioned that their children were so comfortable in my home - maybe because they could play without someone picking up behind them?

So, now we are part of a different church, a much larger church! My girls are much bigger and understand a bit more of what I am asking - starting around the age of 8, they began to ask why the house HAD to be CLEAN to invite someone over! And even though I still work, it is from home so housework doesn't get put to last on the list!

We are ready to open up our home....starting last Sunday! We had a family come over that the husband works with the youth home group our girls are in on Wednesday nights. They have two younger girls and we had fun, except for their youngest who was bored! I tried to get my girls to bring out some old toys...like the marble track, but that didn't go over well. But, my sweet came to the rescue and put in Wall-E for them!

For tonight, I have invited my sister and niece over for some Friday night pizza and a movie fun! And, we've invited a young couple over for Sunday lunch....no younger kids for mine to entertain! I am really looking forward to it.

My girls and I sat down the other night and wrote out a list of who all we want to have over and it is over a dozen families! I am excited! I love being hospitable...even though I stink at it! I enjoy being able to bless folks with a good meal...not healthy, but good!

So, this morning, I am reading in Luke and I come across a verse that really speaks to this part of me....but I will be honest, I am probably taking it totally out of context!

Luke 16:9 TLB I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven.

For me, I would rather touch people's lives right here in my own backyard, if you will, than to just be happy sending off money to some organization and hoping they do what is right with my money. Now, I agree we need to support missions and charitable organizations but for me, this speaks to also using our money in our hometown to make friends. I don't make friends when I send in a check to a faceless organization.

I really like making friends! I also like making friends from different parts of the world and hope that by writing this blog I am doing just that. I know I can count a friend in Michigan and one in Japan and a precious young lady in Lindale and I hope that I can count you as well. However, I'm not gonna spend much money on y'all....the best friendships are free!

I guess the whole point of what I am trying to say is that I desire to be a blessing, and using the home that God has given us to do just that. So, if you ever plan to be in the North Texas area, drop me a line and if you wanna see me and not my house, please stop by and say Hi! We can share God's love over a big ole glass of sweet iced tea!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

God's girl, Pamela