It's a strange way of life, living on a seminary campus. It's sort of like college dorm life, only with kids. It's closer than apartment dwelling, because here you are sort of f0rced to spend a lot of time with your "neighbors". Most of us homeschool, so our children are home all day, playing outside or in one another's homes. Our husbands all take classes together. We share nearly everything -- groceries, babysitting, laundry detergent. And Diet Coke.
It is a transitional place. People are always moving in and moving out....graduations, getting called by a church, going to the mission field....things are always changing.
Today, some friends of ours are heading back to the Czech Republic, where they are strategy coordinators for the Roma people. They furloughed here for 3 months and we had the wonderful opportunity to get to know them and their 4 children. They left behind their families and their possessions to follow God's call. They are a true embodiment of living, breathing faith.
With so much going on in this world, vying for our time, our attention, and our prayers, remember to lift up those that have sacrificed so much to live out God's plan. After all, it is not our plans that matter much in the grand scheme of things. God has a divine plan for this world, and each one of us has a part to play in it.


I forgot how much fun that game is. Tucker picked it up today at Wal Mart and we played like 3 games before he said he was done. I was ready to take him on again. (He won 2; I was ready to even the score!) I'm so overly tired of Candyland and Chutes and Ladders, and well, Junior Monopoly was invented by the Antichrist, I'm certain of it.
Poor Griffin lost his one and only game and proceeded to throw a complete tantrum over it. I told Paul that I think he is the sort that wants us to let him win. Unfortunately for him, he has a very competitive family, even parents, that probably won't indulge him. Around these here parts, you gotta EARN your win. Ha!
Which reminds me that I am still the South family Trivial Pursuit champion.
Just sayin'.

intentional conversations...

I lead a group of 6-11 year old GA's on Wednesday night at church. We've been studying Indonesia (where 88% of the population is Muslim) for the past month and the girls have been intrigued by the idea (not an idea, really - a fact) that the missionaries we've studied all have hidden identities. It is illegal in Indonesia to share Jesus. However, it is *not* illegal for them to answer questions about their faith -- they simply cannot initiate the conversation.
This got us to thinking of ways we can live our lives that would stir others to ask us about our faith, our lives, or just flat out ask us about Jesus. We decided that in order to lead lives like that, we would really need to guard our conduct and our conversations. Tucker just learned a verse for school this week -- "A child is known by his conduct, by whether his actions are pure and right" -- and it applies to me as an adult as well. When a watching world sees how I respond to a bad situation, or how I relate to the poor, the sick, and the hungry -- that is my testimony.
Lifestyle evangelism, intentional conversations...whatever you call it, it means the same thing. Living a life that points others to Christ.


I'm homesick. Not for the place where I grew up or the place I lived after college, but for the first place I considered "home."
The Outer Banks.
Reading Rick's blog always makes me homesick for Nag's Head Church.
Nag's Head was the first church we joined as a newlywed couple and where we discovered a true sense of God's call on our lives. We were warmly welcomed and accepted there. We grew in our faith through Rick's teaching of the Word, but also in my women's Bible study and Paul in his men's Bible study. We were surrounded by a group of people that loved Jesus and loved one another. It spoiled us!
When we think about the Outer Banks, we can't help but talk about our good friends (too many to name, really) but we always walk down the memory lane of restaurants too good to be duplicated anywhere else. Top of the list: The Full Moon. Owned by our dear friends Paul and Sharon, it is one of our favorite places to be.
Paul and I talk about the Outer Banks a lot. We have so many friends there. After Hurricane Katrina damaged our house, we had a group of men from "back home" come to help us install new flooring. They not only helped us, they asked who else they could help and did a lot of work for a single mom we knew. But that is a friend for you. They love you and care about not only you, but your community.
Maybe one day God will show us an extraordinary amount of love and grace and send us back to the coast.
We can dream, right?

Tucker's Baptism in pictures...

Getting into the water (which is nice and warm).

Paul asks Tucker if he has asked Jesus to come into his heart. Tucker readily replies "Yes!"

And so Paul immerses him, baptizing him as not only his son, but as his brother in Christ.

Walking out of the pool into newness of life!
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a huge day in the South family...

Today Paul baptized Tucker. Our church family was so enthusiastic for this day, and so were we. Tucker wasn't the slightest bit nervous. He opted to wear Spiderman swim trunks, a tee shirt, and flip flops for the event. He was the epitome of "cool."
We got there early and Tucker went to check out the rented baptismal. We were thrilled to learn that Chad had also rented a heater, so the water wasn't straight from the cold tap! I should probably explain about our church right now. It flooded (9 feet) during Hurricane Katrina and we are still in the rebuilding process. When we joined Edgewater last year, they had just moved into one building after meeting outside in a tent for over a year. We still are meeting in the fellowship hall, but progress is being made in the rest of the building, and we hope to be back in the sanctuary next year. For more information, check us out here.
First on the order of worship this morning was the entire congregation singing "Jesus Loves Me." Very sweet! Then we had 7 new babies dedicated. What an awesome privilege to lay hands on these new parents and babies and pray for God's direction, guidance, and protection. Then it was Tucker's turn. Up to the pool he went, accompanied by Paul and our good friends Daniel Bramlett (whose sweet wife Laura took these pictures) and Jeremy Evans.
Paul first read my blog entry about Tucker's inviting Christ into his heart (if you missed it, you can read it here). At that point Daniel lifted Tucker up and into the baptismal. Paul asked Tucker if he had indeed asked Jesus to come into his heart. Tucker responded with a self assured "yes!" and then he immersed him, baptizing him as not only his son, but also his brother in Christ. The congregation applauded heartily and Tucker was all smiles as Daniel helped him out of the pool.
Baptism is an act of obedience. What a wonderful testimony it is for a believer in Christ to make a public declaration that he is choosing to follow Jesus, no matter where He leads.

Lead me to the rock...

I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. --Psalm 61:2

Why is it that when I'm having a pretty darn good day Satan has to rear his ugly head?
This day started out great. I met with the director of Women's & Children's Services at one of the local hospitals about a job I'm interested in -- it went exceedingly well and I left there feeling very good, very encouraged, and actually excited about some things.
I went to pick up the boys from a homeschool Valentine party and had a great visit with another family -- and learned good news about our church. When I got home, I was in a fantastic mood. Paul and the kids and I went to the cafeteria for lunch (Thursday is red beans & rice day @ the seminary and Mrs. Alice makes the city's finest rb&r, according to many). While there, my day got even better as we ran into some of the staff from our home church, First Baptist Biloxi. It was such a nice and unexpected visit. It really cheered us up and encouraged us! (though it did leave us a little bit homesick).
So what happened? I came home and went outside so the kids could play on the playground. 5 other moms were out there. Within minutes, I felt my spirits sinking. I don't know if it's my own insecurities or the feeling that those who I thought were "friends" turned out to only be "acquaintances". Nonetheless, I came inside and checked one of my "mom boards" that I go to and was absolutely maddened by a thread about the politics of VBAC's. Some of the women on that board send my blood pressure skyrocketing often (Paul cannot for the life of him understand why I continue to invest time there -- he really does have a point!), but I am always drawn back. I make my comments and then edit the post so I don't come across in a way that would offend (because sometimes when I am mad I tend to be offensive - I admit it). Anyway, I was sitting here a minute ago on the verge of tears when I threw my hands in the air and asked God to just "lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
And then my sweet husband's words came back to me...."It is all about Jesus. This other stuff is just that -- stuff." And he is right. He's always right. (Don't tell him I said that!) It is about Jesus. Who my friends are or aren't, who opts to VBAC and why is none of my business! I need to focus on the redeeming grace and mercy of Christ, who loved me so much he didn't spare his life, but gave it up....
And so the rest of the stuff is fading into the background as I realize that Jesus is all that matters. He is all that has ever mattered. It is so not about me. And that is a good thing. A very good thing!
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for once again....I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.


Zechariah 2:3-5 describes God as a "wall of fire." In Psalm 125:2 God is describes as "surrounding his people." Psalm 34:7: God "encamps around those who fear him." And Psalm 139:5, one of my favorites: God "hems" me in -- before and behind.
In troubling and uncertain times, I need to know that. I need the security and the safety net that is God's sheltering arms.


"...that whosoever believes shall have eternal life..." - John 3:16

Six years, four months, and four days after he was born into this world, our oldest son, Tucker, made the most important decision he will ever make. He prayed to receive Christ into his heart. It was something that he had pondered for months. He would ask questions. He would share his thoughts with Paul and me. He knew, intellectually, the "ABC's" of becoming a Christian. But spiritually, he was not ready.
Then, on January 21, he came into my bedroom as I was getting out of the shower. "I'm ready to do this," he stated, matter of factly, while holding an Upwards basketball magazine. "Do what?" I asked, thinking he meant a puzzle. "Ask Jesus into my heart."
Fighting back tears and an overwhelming urge to scream "Hallelujah!", I asked, "Do you want to wait for Daddy to come home?"
"No, I want to do this now."
He knelt by my bed. I joined him there. I asked him if he wanted me to help him.
"No, mom, I can do this myself."
When did he get so big?
And then he began the most eloquent prayer I've ever heard. In his simple, childlike voice, he told Jesus that he knew he was a sinner that needed a Savior. He said he believed that Jesus took his place and died on the cross for his sins. He asked Jesus to forgive him, and asked Him to come into his life and to help him start living for Him. He concluded by telling Jesus that he loved Him, and even thanked Him for loving him first.
How did he know all this?
Yes, it's true, we've been teaching him those things his entire life. But I honestly wondered, between wrestling with his brother and sneaking ice cream sandwiches out of the kitchen, if it went in one ear and out the other.
I told him later that afternoon that his life would never be the same. He just grinned and said, "I know."
Very matter of fact. Very simple. But that is the way it is, isn't it? The greatest gift offered to us -- eternal life -- is so easily received.
As Tucker would say, "Cool."