Saturday, October 20, 2012

Re-entry is so hard

Our team has almost been back a week from Nicaragua.  It doesn't really seem possible.  Seven whole days since I have left a gorgeous country.  A country I fell in love with many years ago.  I have been to Nicaragua at least seven times maybe eight- I have lost count.  What I am certain is each time re-entry into my culture becomes a little more difficult. 

I came back this time not feeling well- a silly double ear infection that airline flights didn't help.  I will be glad when I am feeling 100% physically.  However, that is really not what I am referring to when I mentioned re-entry.  What I am speaking about is trying to wrap my mind around all my eyes and heart took in during the week. 

I have pondered my time in this beautiful country and with precious friends (both new ones and old ones).  As I sit in my air conditioned house that has all the modern conveniences our culture offers and type on my laptop with the Internet that runs in my house, I can't help but be a little numb.  You see I've been pondering what I am going to eat for dinner- take out, a pizza from the freezer, soup from the pantry, a sandwich, leftovers from the fridge ..... really my options are unlimited.  To be honest though- I can't decide what to eat.  The phrase "being hungry" takes on a new meaning.  I don't know that I have ever truly felt "hungry".   As I sit here in Cleveland, Tennessee with the many blessings that surround me, I do so knowing that in a little place called Los Sanchez their are hungry people.  People that on good days drink a little coffee for breakfast (they grow it there) and hopefully the energy from about half a cup of coffee would keep them going until dinner.  Most days they will be blessed to eat rice and beans for dinner. 

The people of Los Sanchez are happy, content, thankful, blessed and so faithful.  Faithful to a Savior they love and trust.  Faithful to their Provider.

I continue to ponder and ask God to fill me with a happiness, contentedness, and faithfulness like my friends.  

May I never be the same- may I never forget!
Much Love!
Mrs. Tara

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My Heart is Happy When....

My heart is the happy when I am on mission for Him.  I set out this morning on a journey.  This journey is taking me back to a country that I love so very much.  A country I have missed over the past few years.   The country is NICARAGUA! 

I am leading a team from our church as we serve in the community of Los Sanchez.  Our team is blogging this week- Click HERE to read more about our team being On Mission for HIM. 

My husband and I been On Mission for Him in the country of Nicaragua quite a few times.  We have not been back for several years.  Our last trip here was for what we thought was to finalize adoption papers for two little girls we had met in Nicaragua in an orphanage.  However, it was not to be.  In our hearts they will always be "our" girls.  Due to these circumstances I have not been able to return here.  It was just too painful.  I always knew I would come back one day.  After all I fell head over heals in love with this country and it's people.  I want them to know Jesus and His love fully. 

Well today was the day.  The time had come - I was suppose to return.  I really thought I would be a basket case and have asked tons of people to pray for me specifically in this area.  Well guess what?  I am okay.  I know people are praying for me.  Now that doesn't mean you can stop praying.  Why?  Well tomorrow is another day and well, I am human.  I too often live in my old earthly, sinful flesh.... and to be honest sometimes I can wallow in it with the best of them.  I try my best to walk in His Spirit and claim the victory He has already won.  But since I have already been really honest with you and transparent (which is hard for me to do) can I tell you something else? Sometimes, gulp, gasp--- wallowing in my flesh is easier, sometimes it is what I want to do and I don't care what anyone says about it.  Then as the Holy Spirit so consistently does- He gently (or at times pretty aggressively) reminds me what His word says about my fleshy and sinful self. 

And most of the time (but sadly not all of the time) I repent to my Heavenly Father over my actions, attitudes, words and thoughts that have grieved Him so desperately.  And oh the freedom that comes when I make my relationship with Him right. 

So what does all of this have to do with my heart being happy and Nicaragua? 

My heart is happy because being here in Nicaragua this week is right where I am suppose to be.  I believe I am smack dab in the middle of His will for my life by returning to serve here. 

My heart is happy because of the prayers you are offering up for me and the strength I have in Him over this area of my life that normally- well, being completely honest again- makes me very emotional. 

Thank you for standing in the gap asking the Father to be all I need personally this week.  Thank you for praying this week will be all He wants it to be.  I can't wait to see all He does. 

Much Love!
Mrs. Tara

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Free Devotionals for Kids

I highly recommend this devotional for kids.  You can click HERE to be taken to their website.  You have many options of how to receive this FREE devotional - Facebook, mail, email, etc.  

The devotionals you will find include a devotion,  a Scripture passage, a story, a personal application and a verse to memorize. 

October Baby Winner!

Where the Green Grass Grows is the winner! 
You were randomly selected - Congrats! 
Please email me at waldropfamily(at)gmail(dot)com 
with your mailing address! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

October Baby- Give AWAY!

I forgive you!  Three simple words.  Yet at times they are both hard to say and hard to receive.  Too often I walk in my flesh and not in His spirit.  It is in the times I am in my flesh I struggle the most with these words.  I forget too often - He forgave me and continues to forgive me - everyday.  I forget I am a sinner saved by grace.  Not because there is anything about me that deserves grace.  He so freely lavishes grace on me.  He desires to lavish it on anyone who will call upon His name. 

I also forget that sin is sin to Him.  There is not one that is less of a sin than another.  Each one nailed Him to a cross.  Without that cross there would not be forgiveness and grace.  Even though the consequences are different for each sin, each sin is the same.  Sin grieves Him. 

Often times we act as if there is more severity to certain sins - I do.  You do.  Sadly, we, the church does. People end up wounded, offended and suffer in silence. Sadly some walk away completely. 

I knew when I saw October Baby at the theater I would one day own this movie.  It wasn't just because a guy from the high school I graduated from produced it.  It wasn't just because it was a Christian movie.  It was because of the powerful message of forgiveness.  It was because of the truth of the beauty of life- every life.  My sweet husband surprised me with the DVD last night.  As I watched the movie again I was overwhelmed by the message of forgiveness!

It was also impressed on my heart of the men and women who may watch this and allow their heart to heal.  I prayed that as the words "I forgive you" were shown they would be overcome with forgiveness and love.  Forgiveness and love from a loving God who is ready to wrap them up with His grace.  A Savior who wants to clothe them in His goodness.  A King who is ready to set them free!

I am prayed for me / us the church.  I prayed that we will be more like Him each day.  
If you haven't seen this movie- I encourage you to watch it! For families with elementary aged children, I encourage parents to watch this movie without children the first time.  As a parent, you know your child the best and will know if this is a movie they are ready for.  Some will be and I encourage you to allow them to watch this with you.  I do think you will need to be prepared to answer some questions.  Don't be afraid of questions they may ask.  Watching it first without your children will allow you to be prepared for things they may ask.  I believe movies like this provide parents great opportunities to have healthy conversations in a safe environment their children.

Because I believe so strongly in this movie.  I am giving away a copy of the DVD.  Leave a comment letting me know you would like to be entered in the contest.  The contest will end next Thursday at midnight (Thursday, September 30th, midnight est).  If you share this post, I will enter your name in the drawing twice.  Make sure to tell me in your comment where you shared the post!

Note - don't just quit watching when the credits begin to roll.  Watch Shari's testimony - you will be blessed!
And for those wondering who the producer is - it is the amazingly talented and Purple Pounder Alumni Cecil Stokes.  So super excited to see how God continues to use Him. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Free Subscription to Thriving Family

Thriving Family® Magazine   -
Thanks to Keeping the Kingdom First I found this freebie! This is an awesome magazine by Focus on The Family! I am excited to have snagged this! I don't know how long it will last so grab your copy today! This is a great resource for families, ministry leaders, teachers- well anyone who is passionate about impacting families!

Click Here to grab your free subscription!

I will be checking my mailbox for this one- I can't wait! 

Much Love! 
Mrs. Tara

Friday, August 10, 2012

Date Nights

This week one of my favorite groups gathered together after a short break.  We had a pinterest party.  We made some crafts inspired by pinterest.  One of those crafts were jars that could be a date night jar, family nights or whatever you wanted it to be.  Some ladies who home school did a field trip jar.  
The idea is you write on the craft sticks (with a sharpie marker) some ideas for your specific jar.  

Why make a jar?  Well have you ever had a conversation that goes something like this..........What do you want to do? 
The other person says, I don't care, what do you want to do? 

Well I have- many times.  Often times with my spouse.  I know there are times when I have to make decisions all day long and I don't want to make one more decision- even it is where are we going to eat dinner.   So enter in my date night jar and I don't have to have that conversation when deciding on a date destination.  

Some of my ideas were ............
What type of jar would you make?  What kind of things would you put in a date night jar?

On a side note if you are married and not going on dates with your spouse, why not?  Let me encourage you to make dating your spouse a priority.   I promise it is an investment worth making!

Much Love!
Mrs. Tara 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gabby Douglas = Incredible Role Model for Kids Today

 Although few knew her name before July 27, 2012, Gabby Douglas is now a household name for many.  I would also venture to say not just in the USA but across the world. Gabby won gold in the Individual All-Around and gold in Team Events.  She is also the first African-American lady to win the All-Around gold.  What an incredible accomplishment. 

She is already being called an American sweetheart, an icon and a celebrity.  She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today show, Time magazine, a cereal box and the front page of newspapers world wide.  She is an incredible young lady from all I have read.  I am not the only one searching to find out more about Gabby.  Google reports she was among their "hot searches" list last week - with over 500,00 hits on her name.  One article I read reports Gabby and her mother were among those who joined in the Google search.   One thing she found was those criticizing her hair- which she called "bizarre." 

Her coach says that when Mary Lou Retton became the first American to win the Gold in the All-Around gymnastics competition ever- gymnastics participation in the states doubled that next year.  He can't imagine what will happen this time.  I think little girls everywhere will want to be like Gabby and flock to gymnastic centers around the world.  And I say- Go girls Go!

Gabby has given the praise and thanks to Jesus.  She states it in interviews and tweets.  I looked it up myself after I began following her on twitter (  She tweets Bible verses, encouraging words, and other things 16 year old tweet about.  One of her latest tweets -
Thank you guys for everything! I am SO grateful God has truly blessed me! Remember to ALWAYS give him the glory for he is GREAT! <3 nbsp="nbsp" p="p">

I know we all have our faults and make mistakes- scripture tells us that (Romans 3:23) BUT she is one young lady who is trying her best to use the platform God has given her to praise Him.  It is my prayer that just as little girls will flock to be like her in the sport of gymnastics- they will also be inspired to follow after Him with all they do and say!  I am praying as she is advised on endorsements, speaking engagements and anything else tied to her name.  I am praying knowing she has the opportunity to share with many,  I am praying they will know the strong name of Jesus and His great love for them!
Way to go Gabby!

Congrats Gabby!    

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Olympics & Teachable Moments

It is that time of year again when we are all drawn to our televisions and computers.  We are drawn to root for our country!  I love watching the Olympics.  One of my favorite things to watch is the Opening Ceremonies.  This year it happened to fall on my birthday- what a way to celebrate.  Thank you London!
It is always interesting to hear what people think of the presentation.  This year (especially due to the increase of social media use) people definitely had an opinion.  You either really liked it or really disliked it.  My favorite part is always the Parade of Nations.  I love watching the athletes and all their excitement.  As we drove home from my parents the Lord impressed upon my mind that so many of these athletes (both from our country and the many others) may have never heard of the incredible love Jesus has for them.  What a neat opportunity we have to pray for the athletes who are playing in the 2012 Olympics. 
Did you know that there are people who specifically go to the Olympics to share the name of Jesus.  They pray for opportunities to share.  Some of them do purchase tickets for Olympic events and use that time to share as well.  However, most of their witnessing is done around the venues where the Olympic events are held.  Some never even actually seeing an Olympic competition.  They walk miles during their "trip" and share often.  They have opportunities to plant many seeds.  I have a friend in London now.  You can check out this site to learn more about this ministry and read testimonies from their sharing.  Read more HERE!

I want to challenge each person watching the Olympics to take a moment and pray for the athletes they are watching.  I am especially praying for those who are in countries where it is not legal to proclaim the name of Jesus.  I want to challenge those of you who are parents to please use this as a teachable moment with your child.  This is a great opportunity to share with them that we live in a country where we can worship freely because not everyone does.  This is an opportunity to teach them to pray for others especially to know who Jesus is and His incredible love for us.  Conversations like this also lead them to think about others and their needs- not their own.  It is our human nature to be self-centered.  As parents and leaders of children it is our responsibility to shape them.  We need to model for them the characteristics we want to show up in them.  I believe this is one small example of how we can. 

Help them make memories with forms like this from Thirty Handmade Days...........
You can download it Here from Mique's site.  It is intended for personal use only.  I want to ask you to take one more step when using this form.  Turn it over and have your children list the names of specific athletes they are praying will have the opportunity to hear about Jesus and accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior.  This will help encourage to pray for them by name or even a specific country.  Encourage them to pray for the missionaries who serve in those countries.  I am praying specifically for two countries- mainly because I will be on mission trips to these places in the near future -
 Nicaragua (October 2012) 

 Malta (Spring 2013)

Thankful to live in a free country but also praying for our own athletes!

Much Love!
Mrs. Tara

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Penguin Mania


Mania .....

If you haven't stopped by to see me lately........ you may come to the wrong office.  I've moved.  In the process of my responsibilities changing from preschool and elementary to just elementary...... I was asked to move offices.  The move makes me more centrally located to the elementary wing.  This also provided me the opportunity to change the "theme" for my office.  For years (just about 17 years) my office was decorated in Noah's Ark.  The many things I had acquired over the years were primarily from families I hold very dear to my heart.  For now they are packed up but will soon decorate the walls and shelves of my craft room at home.   I have been intrigued with penguins for a while now.  I had a few things already but slowly a few more "pretties" have shown up.  A big shout out to Jesse Wood for the painting that now graces my office wall and the buckets that hold some pretty essential items.  Can you tell what is in my buckets?  Why yes- that is dum dums in one bucket; pens, scissors, etc. in another and note cards in the bigger bucket.  Thanks so much Jesse!

I love penguins so much that sometimes I visit here and watch the penguins live at the Tennessee Aquarium.  Especially when they have new penguins.  I love watching them. 
Some of my new penguin friends are in the picture below.  One does flips, one is a puzzle and one is just really cute.  The main reason I wanted to show you this picture is because there is one thing I could not depart with from the Noah's Ark theme- my name plate.  Friends at my first church, Shively Baptist in Louisville, Kentucky gave me this and it had to stay.  Good thing it had the same shades of blue from my new office walls so my designer friend Jena would allow it to stay.  Does anyone (not from Louisville) know where it was made?
I even found one office supply that goes with my new theme......

Having trouble figuring this one out? 
Well here it is open---- a jump drive! I believe you can never have too many jump drives!  Well come by and see me- check out my new space in person.  I would love to see you!
Much Love!
Mrs. Tara

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Distinguished Young Woman

Last night I had the privilege of attending Tennessee's Distinguished Young Women of 2013's Flashback:  One Moment in Time.  Tonight they will crown the DYW for 2013.  This has been a new experience for me.  I attended the Bradley County event a few months ago.  Many young ladies I knew were competing for the local title.  A young lady I have had the privilege to know for the past 8 years won.  Miss Ashley Heald holds the title for our community.  She is competing against 19 other young ladies from across the state of Tennessee.  Last night she did quite well.  I am so very proud of her.  No matter what happens tonight - win or lose- Ashley is my DYW!

Ashley's heart has always been to follow after Jesus.  I can remember when she attended Kid's Evangelism Explosion.  She memorized her verses and the stories to aid her in sharing Jesus with her friends quickly.  She was able to assist me in helping others in this memorization.  The same was true in AWANA and her desire to commit God's word in her heart.  She feels God calling her to be a Children's Minister.  I know God is going to use her to impact many for His kingdom.  He is already doing that through her life and it has been exciting to watch. 

I am also so proud of our community.  This is the headquarters for this organization (on the state level), so we serve as the host for the state event.  Reading the paper all week on the activities the contestants have participated in has been amazing.  I realize this would not have been possible if so many organizations and businesses had not opened their door.

I look forward to attending tonight.  However, most of all I look forward to watching Ashley as she follows the path God has for her life.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Oh How He Loves Me

How do I know He loves me so? 

He died on a cross for my sins.  He paid the penalty for my debt.  A debt He did not owe.  All because He Loves Me, Oh how He loves me. 

I am thankful it did not end on the cross but three days later .................
The stone had been rolled away.  He overcame death and He is Alive! All because He loves me so!

I will never completely understand His love.  A love that that sent Him to the cross in my place so I might live forever.  He covered my sin and He has covered your sin- all because He loves us!

I am thankful...................
I am blessed....................
I am unworthy................
I am a sinner saved by His grace
ALL because He loves me so!

Much Love!
Mrs. Tara

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring To Do List

Spring at The Biltmore House

Today I have spent some time trying to catch up on reading blogs I have added to my Google Reader. I love this feature on my google account.  If you haven't tried it, it is awesome.  Google Reader keeps blogs you like to read all in one place and shows the new blog posts from each blog.  As you read the new blog posts it removes them from your reader.   

One blog I read today was Life as a Mom.  She wrote an incredible and challenging post on - Making a Big to Do Out of Spring!  She even shares ideas of things you can do AND a download of a cute form you write down things to do, places to go, movies to watch, books to read and people to see! You should check it out. 

After reading her post and being challenged by it- here are some of my "Making a Big to Do Out of Spring" ideas-

Things To Do
  1. Organize the Craft Room
  2. Clean Out my Closet
  3. Make a craft I have already pinned on pinterest
  4. Plant herbs.
Places To Go
  1. Birmingham Zoo
  2. Ocoee White Water Center with a picnic
  3. Birdwatching with my neighbor friend
Movies to Watch
  1. October Baby
  2. The Smurfs
  3. Love Comes Softly series
Books To Read
  1. Karen Kingsbury series - I need to start the series on the family again
People to See
  1. Mike's parents
  2. My grandmother
  3. Traci and Sheri

Okay- now that I've been inspired by Life as Mom- I pray you will be as well.  In my research earlier in the year on goals, I found when we write down goals and place them in a prominent place, we are more likely to follow through. 

I'd love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment about one thing you hope to do this Spring!

Much Love!
Mrs. Tara

Monday, March 26, 2012

Headbanz and Puppy dogs

I took a day off today.  I had fun playing with my elementary friend.  He came over and we played many things but I most enjoyed playing these two games ..................

This is a Cranium Puppy Pals Bingo- it is great for children who are learning colors, patterns and shapes.  Even though my young friend already knew these things, we still enjoyed playing.  I purchased this years ago at Target.  If you are interested you can purchase it here on Amazon!

The other game we played is one I received for Christmas (yes I ask for kids games for Christmas).  I love them.  This game is not only a lot of fun but can be hysterical too.  I have two versions of this game but today I played this version -

I also have a lot of fun with this version - well because I am a little obsessed with all things Disney....

I have a whole board on pinterest dedicated to this obsession - check that out here !

Well I enjoyed a day off today.  I have a little work to do- headed to the hospital to see one of my kiddos who had arm surgery!
Hope you have had a great day!  If you need some fun in your life - pull out a game for kids and play it- even if it is with all adults!

Much Love!
Mrs. Tara

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My ice cream is not melting

I read an article today in the Chattanooga Times Free Press by Holly Leber on Spring Cleaning 101.  I have read a lot of articles and even entire books on cleaning and organization.  However, a quote by Julie Bestry of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga stuck a chord with me.  She states, "When you bring groceries home, you put the ice cream away in the freezer immediately to keep from having a melted, sticky mess.  Do the same thing with everything you bring into the house." 

What great advice.  I am a work in progress when it comes to organization.  I love Bestry's advice but if she only knew that everything else already in my house needs to find a place for this to truly work.  Her example is so very true and has inspired me to work on finding everything it's own special place.  I am thankful I have at least applied this to my ice cream - I had hate for it to melt!  Gotta go - I have lots of work to do!~

Much Love!
Mrs. Tara

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Plethera of Pins

The latest social media craze is this amazing virtual bulletin board called Pinterest! If you are like me you have quickly become addicted.  As I begin to view all the incredible crafts, recipes, organization ideas, home improvement ideas and much more, I lose track of time.  Before I realize it, I have been sucked into this site with never ending but helpful information. 

However, I have discovered something about myself - I pin lots of stuff but have actually tried very few things.  How about you? Have you tried any of the things you've pinned?

A friend of mine, Jami, is a high school senior.  She recently hosted a pinterest party.  Each of her friends picked one of the recipes they had personally pinned and brought the ingredients to Jami's house.  They took turns making their recipes.  They hung out, cooked and ate their delicious food.  She shared it was so much fun.  So learning from my young but wise (and fun) friend, next month at our Mom's Nurturing Moms meeting I will ask our ladies that the snack they bring to share be something they have discovered on pinterest. I can't wait. 

Last month in MnM we made a craft our facilitator Jackie found on pinterest.  It was neat to actually make something quite a few of us had pinned ourselves.  You could make a memo board, menu board or a calendar - all out of a picture frame.  The idea is the picture frame glass makes it a dry erase board.  Here are pictures of my pinterest craft.........

I decided to do the calendar using paint chips.  The original idea was found here ! 
I made this to match my bedroom! So I guess I have at least made one thing I pinned on pinterest. 

I am so excited to use this new technology tool.  I find things on pinterest for personal use and to use in ministry.  It is a clever thing but unfortunately I must confess I am a pin-a-holic!

Much Love!
Mrs. Tara

Entryways into the Church

When you think of the entryways into the church, often you think it means the actual front doors.  It can mean the physical doors that someone walks into the church.  It is my belief that very few people today are coming in through those doors. 

Sound a little confusing?  Let me explain.  I believe that years ago people in need of a Savior did come into the church looking for a Savior. They came through those doors for a revival, special meeting or a regular church service. Often they came at the invitation of a friend.  However, today so many people are afraid of the church or have a hurt related to the church.  Today, I believe people are less likely to accept invites to a church service.  Statistics show us that attendance at revivals and special meetings are in decline. Our methods have had to change as we attempt to introduce people to Jesus.  I believe one major change in our methods is the entryway into the church today.  Today's entryway looks and feels very different than the past. 

Entryways today- in my opinion- are ministry events and programs.  These things are non-threatening and open to all - those inside and outside the church.  In the variety of ministries (entryways) it is a chance for those with hurts in need of healing or those who need to meet the Savior an opportunity to interact with the church (the people).  Hopefully and prayerfully that will be a positive and life changing experience. 

So what do I think the entryways of the church of today look like (or should look like)...............

family events, sporting leagues, craft classes, cooking classes, reading clubs, camping, day camps, supper clubs, quilting groups, support groups, bird watching, fitness, music lessons, swimming pool, parent's day out, photographers, computers,  senior activities

This list is limitless  - it can be anything- hobbies, interests, talents ................anything people will want to attend, learn more about, gather around, enjoy the fellowship, participate, make, etc.

I believe if I invited a friend who doesn't attend church to a cooking class or a church service- more times than not- they would be more likely to accept the invite to the class.  The hope is that over time and with much prayer, they would desire a personal relationship with Jesus.  Next time you sign up for a class, group, night out, etc. at church.....  Would you consider inviting a friend?

Is there something you really enjoy in your spare time or God has gifted you with a special skill or talent ? Have you considered praying and asking God if this could be an entryway in your church.......... but more importantly into His kingdom? 

Mrs. Tara

Friday, March 16, 2012

The prayers of a Child

I teach a class once a month for children who have recently accepted Jesus.  The class is to help make sure they understand their decision, prepare them for baptism and share with them the things they can do to grow in their relationship with Jesus.  I talk to each child individually at the end of the class.  I ask them several questions.  The last question I ask is, Who is someone that you are not sure if they know about Jesus?  I tell them I want to be praying they have the opportunity to share Jesus with them. 

In a recent class I had a little boy who told me to pray for his friend.  He had a very concerned look on his face and I was prepared to hear all the reasons why he thought his friend might not know Jesus.  Often children tell me the reasons why they think they need to know Jesus.  I've heard many responses in 17 years but never one like I heard this time.  His concerned look was explained by the words that came next................ Mrs. Tara please pray he will have enough AR points so he can go on the field trip.  I really want him to go but he needs more points. 

Don't you love it?  For those wondering what I did................. I told my young friend I would pray his friend would work hard on his reading so he too could go on the field trip.  Reading specialists everywhere should be cheering.  For at least one young friend your reward system is working.

I love the innocence of a child.  I love they are honest and real.  And yes I did encourage my young friend to be praying for an opportunity to share Jesus with a friend who may not know Him. 

Much love on this sunny day!

Mrs. Tara

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Better is One Day in His House

I attended a one day conference for women yesterday. We sang the song "Better is One day in His House". See the lyrics after this post.

The chorus speaks of it being better to be one day in His (Jesus) courts and house than thousands elsewhere. Have you ever pondered on that thought. I have sung that song lots of times but not given it a whole lot of thought. Yesterday, I felt the Lord said, "Tara do you really mean that?" I thought about what my "elsewhere" could be. Emotion flooded over my soul. You see my elsewhere would be to be a mom.

Let me back up for a moment. My emotions were a little raw on the inside. You see as the conference started, the leader made the comment about every lady in the room being a mom. My flesh wanted to scream this was not advertised as a conference for MOMS. I immediately knew this was going to be a hindrance for me, if I didn't ask God to help me put that comment aside. I know that the leader was not thinking about this aspect and did not mean for that to be offensive. I knew it was my issue. And to be honest and real with you, I know that even though I very often feel alone with this issue that I am not. So I began to pray for any others who might be in the room who also have the hurt of not being able to have children. I didn't come a little over 2 hours to begin the conference feeling alienated. I came to be drawn closer to the most high King. I prayed asking God to bind the enemy from allowing this to rob me of the ways I could learn and grow from His word at the conference.

So back to my "elsewhere". I kinda laughed to myself that the Lord posed this question in my heart after already being frustrated with the leader's comment. To be honest if I had not brought ladies from my church I would have been tempted to leave before it really started. But I know the Lord wanted an answer from me. A sincere and honest answer. Would I rather spend one day with Him than thousands elsewhere? I can think of lots of elsewheres- can't you? I actually stopped singing and for a moment, thought about it. As I pictured my hubby and I with children- both biological and adopted children- we had a houseful. It was a happy scene in my mind. I felt for a moment time froze as I took in every detail of this scene. Then as the chorus began again- I began to sing........... truly sing with great conviction that I would rather spend one day in the King of Kings and Lord or Lords court and house than a thousand days in any elsewhere I could imagine. What about you?

By the way- the Lord did speak to me through several of the speakers and allowed me to move past the opening comments about everyone being a mother. I also am not having a pity party- I promise. I also know as a Minister of Childhood Education, God has given me the opportunity to mother many children spiritually. I am so thankful. In case you read this and wonder- I am at a great place in my life knowing I am not a mom. I really am. I haven't always been in a great spot with this but today I am. The Lord used the leader who opened the conference (who has a great heart and most likely doesn't realize the impact of her comments) to get me in a great place to be challenged by deciding one day or a thousand!

Love you much!
Mrs. Tara

How lovely is Your dwelling place, Oh Lord Almighty
My soul longs and even faints for You
For here my heart is satisfied, within Your presence
I sing beneath the shadow of Your wings

Better is one day in Your courts
Better is one day in Your house
Better is one day in Your courts
Than thousands elsewhere

One thing I ask, and I would seek, to see Your beauty,
To find You in the place Your glory dwells
My heart and flesh cry out,
For You the living God
Your Spirit's water for my soul
I've tasted and I've seen,
Come once again to me.
I will draw near to You.
I will draw near to You

Saturday, February 25, 2012

One reason I love Cleveland, TN

When teenagers grow up in a small town they often can't wait to leave the small town USA behind and head to a bigger city.  Sometimes it is because of what all they think the bigger city has to offer- things they think their small town can not provide them.  In some areas this may be true.  But oh the things a small town can offer that many overlook.  I saw one of those things displayed this past week. 

I watched a small town come to pay respects to a 7 month old baby girl- some that didn't even know the family.  You see small town mean family.  It means you come together to help this grieving family in whatever ways you can.  I saw people wait hours to tell this family they were sorry for their loss, they are praying for them, and many more expressions of their kindness.  As amazed as I was at the many that came that night............nothing prepared me for what I saw on the day of her funeral. 

It wasn't the first time my eyes had beheld this scene since living here, but for some reason this past Wednesday it had a profound impact on me.  As I drove to the grave site, it wasn't the firefighters and firetrucks that were along the way- although it was touching.  The site I beheld that left me speechless was that every single car stopped and pulled off the rode.  Some may be thinking well for a few cars that is understandable.  It was not a few cars- it was many.  It was not a short distance either- it was miles.  Every single car, truck, semi- even a jogger, stopped to pay respect to this little girl and her family. 

I was trying so hard to hold it together- emotionally.  I mean after all I am suppose to right?  I had tried to limit my crying spells to my home - although every staff member at church was so sweet and sensitive as I too grieved this precious little buddy.  As the funeral processional approached the church- the tears flowed freely.  I was overcome with emotion that my little friend Delaney Claire would never run and play inside, I would never give her a lollipop or hear her say hello when she came to church.  The Lord gently and quietly whispered to me that she was seeing Jesus face to face and would run and play on streets of gold.  How thankful I am for His grace when my heart is so heavy and broken.  It is times like these I am thankful His grace is sufficient. 

Cleveland you may be growing and may not even be considered small town USA by some but please don't every change.  I love who you are and how you embrace everyone as family.  You are amazing!

Please don't stop praying for my little friend Delaney's family as they walk through very difficult days. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Yes I'm Obsessed!

Well, if you know me personally, chances are you also realize I am obsessed with a mouse.  Not just any mouse, but a mouse who lives in Florida.  Yes- I am talking about Mickey Mouse! 

This love started many years ago when my grandparents, parents, aunt (10 years older than me), uncle (7 years older than me) and my younger sister headed out for Fort Wilderness at Disney World.  It is a memory that is very vivid from my childhood.  I remember the camper, the boat ride/boat parade and my family.  It would be several years before I would return but the love of that place and the memories were stamped on my heart forever. 

Many have asked, "Don't you get tired of going?"  To be honest, no I don't.  I can't get enough.  I am also asked if I ride the rides.  Yes, I do.  But my favorite are the shows and the parades.  I love it when I can go with my husband.  However, as strange as many find it- I am okay to go by myself too.  Often I have a conference in Orlando and he can't always attend.  Last year I needed a vacation and he couldn't go- so guess what- he told me to go and I did.  I had a blast. 
Here is one of my favorite things to see......
(picture taken by my husband from the Contemporary Resort )

This past week while visiting Disney World, we drove past the entrance to Fort Wilderness.  I got all misty eyed and emotional.  I looked at my husband and asked how in the world did my grandparents and parents ever afford to take us to Disney?  I now realize what a gift my inaugural trip was financially.  It not only began a love for the place but for the one who created it too. 
If you can dream it, you can do it!
Walt Disney

Stay tuned..... I am working on a post of my observations / suggestions for visiting Disney with your children!