Monday, November 21, 2011


     As the national day of Thanksgiving approaches, I think it causes us to look more closely at who we are, where we've been and where we're going. It's not about the stuff we have although we have been supplied with things so far above what any of us could have imagined, so much more than our daily needs.
     I pray that we've taken the opportunity this year to grow into more of the kind of person that the Lord would have us be. We're not promised tomorrow, you know, so we need to be doing our best to wisely use the time that we know we have.
    So, here are some things that I have become more keenly aware of recently, some things that I have come to greatly appreciate.

O Lord, I thank thee...
- for not only surviving but thriving to the "empty nest" phase with the love of my youth and for his willingness to lead our family by example. Actions speak so much louder than words. He's a keeper, for sure.
- for my oldest who has kept on despite history and the odds.
- for those young men and women at KSR who continue to rise to the occasion as they're given opportunity. You're growing and you amaze me!
- for those not-so-young men and women at KSR who continue to work toward the goal even though their bodies are frail and weary at times. You encourage me to want to do better.
- for new found friends and old faithfuls.
- for being patient with me.
- for a young man's willingness to meet us on a stormy nite at an Interstate exit with a 5 gallon can of gasoline. I have no doubt that you were truly a God-send.
- for my children who understand what loving family is all about. You went far above and beyond...
- for increasing my trust and helping me understand, really understand that You are faithful.
- for my family in Christ who has exemplified love. Where would we have been without you?
- for my child who has walked a path that few her age will ever walk with grace and a stronger dependence on You. With Your guidance, she continues to put one foot in front of the other.
- for the passing of time, because it helps.
- to have known a sweet, smiling, gentle, young man named Marcus. What a joy!
- for loving me so much.

My cup runs over Lord.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Table

We have this table in our kitchen that is probably close to 20 years old.  It's an oak table with a leaf in the center. The table will easily seat 6 and can seat up to 10 or so when extra folding chairs are placed around it. Our oak table has served countless meals to our family with high chairs pulled to its side. As the years passed, booster seats were added to the chairs so the kids could reach their plates. As the kids grew, many a class project or homework assignment was done around that oak table.  Our table has offered its' service as a resting place for foods like pizza or hot ham and cheese sandwiches that the teens would snack on after singing praises to our God on the first Sunday nites of the month for the last 10 years.  That oak table has also hosted many a conversation, some serious and some not-so-serious for many, many years. It has even been the place where events of long ago have been revealed by some of our kids. They would typically begin with something like, "Did I ever tell you about the time...".

A couple of weeks ago, I took the leaf out of that oak table. Tim and I no longer have the need to have the larger table in our kitchen anymore with just the two of us at home now. I actually took the leaf out a few days before Mikayla, our youngest, left for college.  She didn't like it.  It was not okay to her for that large oval table to now be a small, round table.

But it wasn't the size of the table really that mattered.  It's what the table represents - that table that has been a part of our home for as long as our children can remember. I would be telling less than the truth if I said it didn't sadden me just a bit to see its shape change from oval to round. It seems that taking the leaf out gave the whole situation a sense of finality.  Tim and I really are in the "empty nest" phase of our life. That's so hard to believe!

It's such a strange feeling with mixed emotions.  On the one hand, I'm so thankful that my children are growing and learning and leaving. I wouldn't want it any other way, really. I'm grateful for the kind of human beings that they are working on becoming -"remembering their Creator in the days of their youth". I'm grateful of the fact that I do believe they have come to understand that walking with God doesn't make the difficulties of life go away but it does make them bearable and that sometimes, here on earth, it's just not going to get any better than that ...bearable. I hope realizing that puts a longing in them for a place so much better.

On the other hand, the house is quieter, the closets are more empty, the table is smaller. All of that kind of leaves a void but I'm working to fill that void with useful, good things. I would never want to waste this time of my life resenting the fact that my children are no longer at the physical place where they grew up. The place where they really are and will always be is a place that can't be seen with the eyes but only felt with the heart.

For now, the extra leaf for the table is in a cool, comfortable resting place waiting for the time when it's pulled out again and put to work. Who knows?  Maybe even decorating cookies or coloring with grand kids?  I'm looking forward to that time when I can expand it again to it's rightful size!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Blossoms by Bev...

Miss Alisha Gayle Grant,
escorted by her grandfather,
Mr. Stan Dvorak
 A young lady that we've been fortunate to know her entire life married last week.  We watched her grow from a little girl with a loud laugh to a young woman whose desire is to serve the Lord. This "second mom" was so thrilled to be able to witness the union of Alisha Grant and Tyler Loveless last Thursday at Stonebridge Farm in Cullman. Everything about the evening was beautiful...the bride and her attendants, the venue, the reception...everything. And of course, the guys have never been more handsome.

I had the opportunity and was given the honor of putting together the flowers for the entire wedding party. I was very pleased with how they turned out but more importantly, the bride was pleased.  I've posted a few of the photos from that wedding.

Love you Alisha and Tyler!

Bridal Bouquet - View 1

Bridal Bouquet - View 2

Mr. and Mrs. Tyler Loveless

The Groomsmen wore yellow boutonnieres.

The bridesmaids carried yellow bouquets.

Groom's Boutonniere

Alisha's Attendants

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The South...

I found a coffee mug recently that had a definition of "the south". I had to have it.  It reads...


The place where...
1. Tea is sweet and accents are sweeter.
2. Summer starts in April.
3. Macaroni and Cheese is a vegetable.
4. Pecan Pie is a staple.
5. Ya'll is the only proper noun.
6. Chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy.
7. Everything is Darlin'.
8. Someones heart is always being blessed.

Although some of it's a little bit strange to others, most of these definitions really are what make up the beauty of the south.  It's not just a place, an area of our country, it's a way of life. Sure, you can move away  but once it's in your blood, it never leaves you. I was just thinkin' and added a few more definitions to those above.

My south is the place...

9. where fields as far as the eye can see are covered with "southern snow" in the fall

10. where it's hard to let go of stuff that belonged to grandma or grandpa. It is just stuff but it's also a part of who you are.

11. where you break a sweat in the summertime just walking to the mailbox.

12. where vegetables from the garden like fresh green beans, fresh corn, okra, turnip greens, squash and sliced tomatoes make regular appearances on the table.

13. where eating is very much a social thing. A true southerner wouldn't think of inviting someone over without offering them a meal or at least dessert and coffee.

14. where jams and jellies, pickles and relishes are of the homemade variety.

15. where people know how to hug you...real, hard, genuine hugs...the kind of hugs that you feel all the way down to your bones, the kind of hugs that let you know somebody else really does care.

16. where people pull together when it really matters.

17. where I've been honored to spend most of life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blessings in a Whirlwind

Blessings in a Whirlwind... Some things I've been thinking about.
by Bev Smith

I've been thinking a lot lately about blessings. What do we typically think of when we think of God blessing us? I think it's safe to say that we usually think of God sending His blessings when positive things happen in our lives such as the birth of a child, financial success, healthy family members, a new job coming through, safety from a storm, etc. I know from experience that it's easy to praise God when things are going well in our lives. But when our lives take a path that we never envisioned and we're forced to deal with events, situations that we would never have imagined or dreamed, we might begin to wonder how the same God is with us? Why do we have so much more difficulty finding blessings and praising God in those times? That, I believe, is what will define us as children of God. Trust in God is at the very root of what makes us His children. And although it can be difficult to do, we have to be able to see through those truly heartbreaking times and know that God is faithful. We can come out of what may be a tragedy with our trust in the Lord strengthened but we have to determine to do that.

The last month has been a difficult one for my family as well as many others. If you're not from Alabama and reading this, our state had a devastating line of tornadoes on April 27, 2011 killing 238 people in the state. A violent F-4 tornado swept a 1/2 mile wide, 5.9 mile long path across the city of Tuscaloosa. On that night, many, many families' lives were forever changed. Ours was not exempt. In Tuscaloosa, Marcus Smith, my daughter, Katie's, boyfriend of over 2 years was killed. Katie and Marcus met at church during their freshman year at the University of Alabama. They loved each other deeply and were planning a future together.

I know intellectually from the scriptures several things. I know that God's children are not immune to "time and chance" (Eccl. 9:11) and that God sends the rain on the just and unjust. (Matt. 5:45) I also know that it is possible for God to change His will in regard to events on earth if He so chooses. Two examples of this were when King Hezekiah's life was extended by 15 years after he prayed to God (2 Kings 20:1-11, Isa. 38:1-5) and when God stopped the rain for 3 years and 6 months when Elijah prayed to Him. (James 5:16-18).

While I know these things, I don't pretend to be able to explain all of the whys - why God allows some things to happen and chooses to intervene in others. The older I get, it seems the less I understand at times. But I'm not convinced that it's "the whys" that even matter. What matters is that I trust.

Even though the fervent prayers for many days of so many Christians did not bring us what we desperately desired - for Marcus to be found safe and alive, I know that the Lord used those same prayers to shed a glimmer of light when those days were the darkest that Marcus' family, Katie, and my family had ever seen. Those same prayers gave a father, a mother, and a brother the strength they needed to find him. Those same prayers held up our arms when we could not hold them up on our own. The prayers helped us feel the love of the family of Christ by knowing that so many were with us in spirit. Those blessings didn't come in the physical sense though, something we could touch, but they surely found their way to our hearts. And to a child of God, that is a blessing that cannot be measured.

The days ahead will be mixed...some more difficult than others but I know that our God and Father who is over all will bring us through.  I don't know how He'll do it, but I know, without a doubt that He will. He is faithful.

So when you speak with the Father, if you would continue to remember the family of Marcus Smith and our family, "that He would bring us up out of a horrible pit and put a new song in our mouths", we would be forever grateful.

"1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
3 He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD."

Psalms 40:1-3

On Sunday, May 22, 2011, another violent tornado hit the city of Joplin, MO.  According to news reports,  over 120 people have lost their lives and  approximately 30% of the city has been destroyed.  My heart hurts for them. Hold on...God is faithful.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It Depends Whose Hands It's In!

I don't remember where I saw this, I've had it a while, but I felt that it carried a valuable message. Enjoy the short read.

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Roger Clemen's hands is worth $475 million
It depends whose hands it's in

A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Andre Agassi's hands is worth millions.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A rod in my hands will keep away an angry dog,
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A slingshot in my hands is a kid's toy.
A slingshot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it's in.

Two fish and five loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and five loaves of break in Jesus' hands will feed thousands.
It depends whose hands it's in.

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it's in.

As you see now, it truley does depend on whose hands it's in.
While something in our life may seem insurmountable,
When we put it on God's shoulders, in His hands,
It becomes much lighter and much less of a burden.

So, put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams,
your families and your relationships in God's hands,
and then trust.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Forever and a day...

January, 8, 2011

Twenty-eight years ago today, that sweet man that I'm honored to call my husband, you know him as Tim, picked me, picked ME to be his helper, his confidant, his love, his partner, his encourager, his friend, his wife -  for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better for know how it goes. How fortunate I was!

Those of us who are married said those vows to each other. We voiced those words out loud so that our family and friends could hear them, but I'm not sure we really thought about the ramifications of what we were saying...the nitty gritty of it.  For richer or poorer...really? What about losing our house and car because we've lost our jobs. Are we willing to do what it takes to pull together?  What about when a spouse acquires an illness that requires round the clock care. Those kind of circumstances takes not only a financial toll on the marriage but a mental toll also. What about when appearances change somewhat as we age, when the stresses of life take it's toll on the physical body.  Are we willing to stay in those circumstances?   "Life"  can be hard on marriages. It can pull couples apart if you allow it.

When my kids were small and the message I needed them to hear was very important, I would sometimes hold their little face between the palms of my two hands and physically turn their face toward mine so they would be forced to both look and listen to me when I was talking to them.  So to my children physically and to many others whose voices have echoed off my walls in their "growing up years",  listen to me (as I hold your faces in my hands).  You must decide early on that when you marry you will pull together not only in the good times but probably more importantly, in the difficult times.   That's a conscience choice that you must make!  Life happens.  Bad things happen and the world is not on your side when it comes to having a thriving, loving marriage. It will do it's best to pull you apart but you can choose to hold on tight to each other as you weather the storms so that nothing...nothing will come between you. If you don't make that determination, the wind will blow your relationship as far apart as it can be blown.

I've seen way too many marriages that have not survived, marriages of those that I always thought would have stood the test of time. It makes me so grateful for the patient love of the one who chose me and thankful for his refusing to sleep on the couch early on in our marriage.

Contrary to what we might think, couples don't grow apart overnight; it happens gradually. We get busy with life and forget the important things.  We stop nurturing the one and the relationship that should be the most important person and thing on earth to us. We run at a rapid speed in so many different directions and allow only minimal time for each other if any.  Then, we wake up one morning 20 years down the road and wonder why we have nothing in common.  It's not rocket science. Take the time to let that one know how much you cherish them. Do it often. Do it now. There should not be any room left for an ounce of doubt.

I'm thankful to God that both Tim and I were in the same place at the same time many years ago and that he not only pursued my heart but captured it.