Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Wauchula Adventure

Oh what a night. It's 1:55 am and I'm just getting home and to bed. Cathy and I had the most memorable night ever.

We left my house at 4:30 pm for Wauchula which should have only taken us and hour and 45 minutes. Well, four hours later we arrived. I'm not kidding. Seriously.

We got Mapquest directions. NEVER AGAIN!

We followed them exactly but one important part was left out. We ended up near Kissimmee. (Stop laughing!) We drove for almost 4 hours straight aside from getting gas THREE (count 'em three) times. I am not kidding. I just prayed that my honorarium (if I actually arrived and got one) would cover the cost of my gas! (It did.)

So there Cathy and I sat after driving through some serious country, in front of a DUDE RANCH. Yes, a dude ranch. I called Larry and said, "honey, we are not in the right place. Please look this up on the internet and tell me where we are. He googled it and said, "ooohhhh babe, you are really far away..." I freaked. Service was supposed to start in 30 minutes and he said I was at least an hour away. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME IN 21 YEARS OF MINISTRY!!! I have never missed a meeting, nor been late. I was horrified.

We tried to call the pastor's wife and the church but got no answer. Larry didn't know how to tell me to get turned around to get there. We just started for the opposite direction that we had been coming and kept calling the church and finally got an answer. They gave us directions but it still took another hour and a half to get there! Service started at 7 pm, but we didn't arrive til' 8:30 pm. By the time we got there, they had done praise and worship, had their food and fellowship time, announcements, and they had introduced me (without me being there!) I walked in at 8:35, after having been on the road 4 hours, and got up and preached. (After profusely apologizing.) They laughed so hard when I told them where we had ended up. Amazingly not one person had left during all this time! They had stayed and were very hungry for what the Lord had for them and said, "we know God has something amazing for us with all that you went through to get here." They were right!

Service went awesome and they were such a wonderful group of ladies. God moved around the altar and women were really touched.

They gave Cathy and I amazing directions home that we only had to make two turns to get there although it took just a little longer than and hour and a half. We were both starving but we were out in the boondocks with NOTHING around, and certainly no food place late at night. We stopped to get gas at a place and got a sandwich out of the fridge there, sat at a little table in there and ate it before getting back on the road. And then we drove home, the majority of time on a dark country road with no lights, no houses, no companies, no NOTHING but flat road and darkness (and rain too...) We both remarked, "can you believe we have been to so many places like this in Florida? Who knew there were so many?" I mean places where you drive for miles and there is not so much as a gas station or anything in sight. Usually we see cows or something like that but tonight there weren't even any animals, I mean there was NOTHING, sometimes for 20-30 miles!

On the way home Cathy talked to Tom to tell him about our adventure and he said, "Do you realize you guys were driving so long you could have gone to Georgia? Or even the Keys? Well now that you put it THAT way I feel even more embarrassed about getting lost for 4 hours on what should have been a 1 and 1/2 hour trip! But it's all good. We had a great time in God and they said, "well Pastor Deanna, NEXT TIME you'll know how to get here!" The pastor's wife (Debbie Lecocq) said, "Next time you come, I'm giving you the grand tour!" I was pretty impressed that after being late, they actually want there to be a next time!

I can't wait to go back sometime...they are a terrific group of people.

I walked in the door at 1:15 am and heard Savanna say, "Momma, come in my room". She had been laying there for a few hours and didn't sleep real well, and heard me come in. "Come sit with me and hug me..." she said. (If Teeb didn't also need me, I'd have just snuggled up in her bed and gone to sleep...)

And now my friends, my contacts are out, my teeth are brushed, and I'm...off to bed with good memories of our Wauchula (or should I say the Kissimmee/Dude ranch?) adventure.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What's happenin' today!

We kept Savanna home from school today. Checking her a few times in the middle of the night we could see she still had a fever. Larry and I both stayed here with her today and worked from home while taking care of her and then Lar took her to the doctors as soon as we could get her an appointment. She has a virus and just has to keep Motrin and fluids going for a few days and she'll be fine. I am relieved that she doesn't have strep throat as that has been going around. (At left is a pic of her when she's well, typing on the computer after school one day.)

I got a ton of initiatives done today as I always do when I work from home. I would say probably 2/3 of my written work for this week, as I really pounded away at it this morning. It's kind of a relief to start the week this way as I have to start working on messages for my Africa preaching trip and I'm way behind and would you believe the trip is just a little over a month away? I know, I know, I can hardly believe it!

I'm preaching in Wachula tonight and Cathy is going with me. It's about an hour and a half away and the service will probably end around 9 pm but we will stay afterwards for the fellowship they are having. I never, never just "preach and run." I think it's important to stay with people as long as I possibly can. Once we get on the road I'd say we'll probably get home about midnight but Larry will be here holding down the fort as usual. (And Tom at Cathy's house...) I'm looking forward to a great night. I know the Lord has something very special in store for the women of "Florida's First Assembly"!

Ta ta for now but I'll probably be back to blog when I get home because I have such a hard time winding down after a service. I'm just too stoked! And besides that I'm still basking in the awesome day we had yesterday. Go God!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Absolutely amazing day ~
Breaking through the darkness

If you've been praying for me these past few months...thank you again. You'll never know how much it means. Slowly, the darkness has been dissipating. Today was a major stride forward. What an awesome day we had at church!

Right up front in the beginning portion of the service, four people accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord! Worship was off the chain! God is up to a lot of stuff right now -- good stuff -- and we are taking some major steps forward.

I'm starting to look forward to waking up in the mornings again. Some of you know this is really a significant change for me in these past few months. I just ask you to continue to keep us in your prayers. Everything isn't solved yet, but we're on our way.

This is also a really busy week for me and I covet your prayers just for that. Monday night I'm preaching in Wachula. It'll be a real late night by the time I get home. (I'm coming back home the same night.) Tuesday in addition to my regular work I'm teaching some piano lessons and then that night Larry and I do "America's Prayer Meeting". I'll get home around 4 am, maybe a bit later. Wednesday night I've got Fusion service. Thursday I leave for fall breakaway in Orlando and get home Saturday night. Sunday is church. Somewhere in between there I'll breathe.

In the midst of all that, Savanna is sick. It never fails that my kids get sick when I'm under a pressure filled week like this. Cathy noticed at the end of leadership meeting Savanna was warm and looked lethargic. I took her temp at it was 102. I immediately got her into a cool shower and gave her Motrin. Not sure what's wrong with her yet but well find out tomorrow. It's a good thing, such a good thing that Larry and I are total partners in this thing or I'd be up a creek! We'll juggle things back and forth to take care of the babe until she's better and do what needs to be done. Between the both of us we keep the bases covered at home and church.

Larry has been doing well training for his upcoming 5 K race. He has been running nightly. He wants it to be easier to this week he's eaten mostly salads trying to drop some more weight to make running not as strenuous. I'm proud of him.

Time to sleep...I'm so tired but it's such a good tired. The last thing that happened tonight was our leadership meeting and it was a great one! Someone wanted to bless our leadership tonight by providing steaks for our dinner meeting. They were huge thick cut delmonico steaks that we did on the grill. I pulled all the china out and we had a nice dinner. Most everyone was here except for one two who had vacation and an emergency. We had a full house. I had to use a few sets of china. Great meeting in re-capping our victories this past month, solidifying plans for the Friend's Day and then talking about the Mark Batterson's Manifesto from In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Great discussion. I love our leaders! They are like family.

Tomorrow is another day but I'm going to sleep well tonight, basking in the memory of this great day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

...and some days I think I'm a little crazy?

glumbert - Laughing AbWorkout

Click above and prepare to laugh your head off...

Friday, September 26, 2008

We're co-hosting again!

Hey friends, I have a few extra days in advance to tell you this time, that Larry and I are getting ready to co-host America's Prayer meeting once again. This time it will be this coming Tuesday night at midnight (or early Wednesday morning should I say -- we start at midnight and to to 3 am on Wednesday morning, EST.)

Usually Larry guest hosts by himself. But a few weeks ago he invited me to co-host with him, with the blessing of the general manager at the station. Well...the next day after we did the show, the GM called Larry and said, "I just need to let you know the feedback we got at the station was incredible!" He said they got many phone calls and emails just raving over the fact that a husband-wife team co-hosted!! People just loved it. (Just another illustration for me to use in my teachings that partnership ministry is "where it's at!") So yesterday the GM called Larry to let him know they needed a guest host again and he said, "Brother, I love you and we love it when you host the show by yourself, but after what happened last time we really want you to bring your wife with you again!" So, we're doing it! We had a blast last time, because it's what we do best and we enjoy it so much. The GM told Larry that they were "amazed at how we flow together." Well, we've had 21 years of wonderful practice.

If you want to tune in and you live in Tampa, it's probably channel 3 if you have Direct TV, or on local TV on channel 3 or 22. And, as I've said before, the show is now worldwide show, on SkyAngel and also for anyone who has Direct TV. If all else fails, just get on your computer HERE and watch it. Anyone, anywhere can watch it if you have a computer and internet. Simply scroll all the way down and look to the right where it says, "Live Webcast". Click there and you can watch from your computer. You can also call in if you want! There's a toll free number. I will warn you, tons of calls come in from everywhere so it's not guaranteed that they take your call as one that goes on the air, however everyone does get prayed for by ministers who are also there answering phone calls.

The show airs live EST from 12 midnight - 3 am. So for those of you on the west coast that would be 9 pm-midnight.

Last time my key word to let you blog friends know I was thinking of you was "covenant." I said it three times during the broadcast. This time my key word to say, "I love you bloggers" will be......"BLESSING". Get ready for a BLESSING as you tune in to pray with me and the Teeb. :-)

Relief for your grocery bill in Tampa Bay

Well folks, some great relief for our food spending has come to Tampa Bay, and I for one am thrilled! I want to tell you about it if you don't already know, and encourage those of you who live in other places to google and see if there's a store near you. ALDI'S has just come to Tampa this week!!!

We used to have ALDI's when we lived in Ohio and I loved it. I am definitely an ALDI fan. Yesterday was the grand opening at the store in Tampa we went after work last night and did an incredible amount of shopping for at least half of what we would have paid anywhere else and I am not kidding.

Now before any of you say, "I can't do all my shopping there..." Well, neither can I, but I do get a great majority of things there and just fill in the gaps with a few things at another store.

Some of you who have never heard of it may be saying, "what is ALDI'S?" It's an incredibly low-priced grocery store. I'm getting ready to use actual statistical figures about ALDI, not just my own guestimations, so you can get an idea: 95% of their products are their own store brand. They have 90 percent of the foods people buy most, and at prices up to 40 percent below those of conventional supermarkets, analysts say. Aldi has 1,300 to 1,400 items. Other grocery stores tend to sell about 45,000 items, when myriad brands and product sizes are taken into account. But at ALDI's, for instance, you will not have 10 brands of salsa to choose from -- you will simply be offered ALDI'S brand.

Every family has their "name brands" that they don't want to do without and we are no exception. For instance, my husband doesn't like anything but Heinz ketchup, so we never use anything but that. I like Hellman's mayonnaise, especially to make my chicken and shrimp salads and I never use anything else. I use Dove soap, period. But if you're like us, you only have a very few things like this that you "must have" in name brand. I am okay with 95% of my things being store brand. ALDI is FABULOUS for stocking up on things like flour, sugar, butter, (all your baking products), milk, bread, juice, vegetables, and a great many other things. Even if you do not want to get your veggies and meat and such there I really encourage you to check it out for your baking products, and everyday things such as bread and milk and butter. It will save you an incredible amount of money.

If you want to read more about the opening here in Tampa Bay and a little more of what ALDI'S is about, click here.

In case you are wondering, I am not one of those "secret shoppers" nor do I get kickbacks for reviewing ANYTHING here on my blog. I am simply a person that, when finding something valuable, likes to tell my friends. And especially in this time of a difficult economy, I want to help those I love in any way I can. Let me just say my kids were freaking out with joy when I came home after work last night with a huge amount of groceries, with many of their "favorites" that they haven't had in a long time simply because I was not going to pay the price for them right now in this economy. They were screaming over the soft pretzels when they pulled them out of the grocery bag. It's probably been a year since I bought them! Savanna was freaking over her lunchables! (A few name brand things they do sell are Pringles, two kinds of luncheables, and a few varieties of Campbells soups.)

FYI, you do need to take your own grocery bags or pay 10 cents a bag. You also need to bag your own groceries, and carts are 25 cents a piece, and you get your quarter back when you return the cart to the store in the front instead of leaving it in the parking lot. All these things are what keeps their cost low.

Enjoy the savings, my friends!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The hand of God is upon me...

Hardly had time to Twitter...

or blog today...

Just slammed with work. We are trying out a new printer and this means TONS of free printing opportunities so therefore we are going a little bonkers with creating right now and I've been doing that as well as a lot of other wrap ups today.

It has been an insanely busy day but it was a GOOD DAY and for that I'm ever grateful.

Don't ever, ever, ever underestimate the joy of a GOOD DAY!

Tomorrow's fun Friday so I'll be back with more blogging tomorrow. Looking forward to a day off with the Teeb. We need it.

Last but not least as I sign off tonight let me say that I sense the hand of God in some things that are happening right now. I'm sensing some very good things. Not at the breakthrough stage yet but let me tell you we are so on the verge, I can TASTE IT!

Recently a new girl who has been a real blessing to me, Melinda, gave me this photo. It's a real photo of a cloud formation that looks like the "hands of God".

I really do believe He has the whole world in His hands, and that includes everything that concerns me, and you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


And on the heels of this post where I talked about meals we wonder why we don't make more often, I'd like to talk now about the things you WISH you could eat every day but know you can't, at least unless you want to be as wide as your dining room table or fall over from a heart attack!

Here's my Top 10 list of things I can sparingly eat but would eat all the time if no health or weight consequences were involved:

1) Hamburgers with gravy
2) Pork chops with gravy - especially my mother in law's, they're AMAZING.
3) Biscuits with gravy
4) Are you seeing a theme here? I'll try to get beyond the gravy stuff, and let's just suffice it to say ANYTHING with GRAVY...
5) Donuts - especially Dunkin Donuts yeast donut with chocolate frosting...mmmm
6) Coke Slurpees
7) Anything dripping with cheese - all varieties of cheese
8) Any kind of pie but fav's are: cherry, banana cream, blueberry
9) Potato chips with dip
10) Cheesecake and Chocolate - that one's a tie.

There are many more but those are my top 10 for starters...how about you?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oh what a beautiful morning,
oh what a beautiful day...

We had a wonderful morning today! It started out with us meeting Greg & Kerry Todd for breakfast at First Watch. (They are pictured here with their children, Adryana and Arjay, and they have another child on the way!) The thing I love most in ministry is spending time with people, just bonding in relationship. As anybody who reads my blog for more than five minutes knows, I have a ton of administrative and written work to do, but getting out and being with people is what I do love most.

This morning we met them and shared a delicious meal and talked about all kinds of things, with the high point being Greg's coaching Larry. Greg is a physical therapist who owns and operates his own clinic, Renewal Rehabilitation, where he works with professional atheletes and just regular people as well, doing physical therapy and rehabiliation. And in addition, he is a serious runner who participates in many races throughout the year. I mean, sometimes he runs 18 miles or more a day. Pretty amazing. His blog that highlights his running accomplishments is here and many of you may have already checked it out on my blogroll. Anyway... my husband is beginning training to run a race and hopefully eventually a marathon or a triathalon. He and Greg are going to run the upcoming Gasparilla race together which is a 5K. Larry began running today! He used to be captain of his track team in high school so this is something he's done before and loves to do, he just needs to get back in shape and Greg is going to guide him.

It was nice just talking with Kerry and having "face to face" time. As she works a lot with the pre-school kids at church, she is often not in the sanctuary and even when she is, we just don't connect a lot because after church I'm greeting the first time guests. We catch up on each other's blogs, but it was so nice to talk in person!!

After breakfast we went over to Greg's rehab center and took a tour. It's really awesome. We are really thankful for the Todd's, in personal relationship with us, and as members of our church...they are an amazing couple who are raising an amazing family.

I had a lot of written work today when our breakfast meeting was over. I finished my Wednesday night message and power point presentation, my Sunday teaching and a bunch of other stuff. Getting two teachings done in one day is quite a bit of work as I put a lot into them. But...it's what I love to do most. So to me, it's not work -- it's LIFE!

When I got home tonight I gave Savanna a piano lesson (she's doing great!). By the way, I am giving a limited amount of beginner piano lessons right now, in case you live in the Tampa Bay area and happen to have interest. I specialize in teaching beginners, and also how to play for church and give an incredibly discounted rate. If you are interested, check with me quickly because I'm only doing a few hours a week.

I went for a bike ride after Savanna's lesson. What a beautiful night. The whole time I was riding I was praying scriptures that are close to my heart while I saw the most beautiful sunset.

My life has it's challenges right now, but I thank God for every single blessing that is also in my life or coming my way. I'm climbing the mountain but soon I'm going to stand on it!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Continuing the uphill climb

It's been an extremely busy day today, knocking out a lot of work. I mean piles of it. And at the end of that all I have to say is that I'm continuing to persevere.

"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did." ~ Newt Gingrich

Of course the Bible says it best, much better than a Gingrich quote...

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." James 1:2-4 (The Message)

I am still working through trials. A few months have gone by now and some have asked if my trial has lifted...and the answer is no. But I'm a much better person for it. Remembering that just like Ezekiel, God's goal above all is to make us more like Him...to make us better. A friend saw me a few weeks ago and said, "You look so happy! There must have been a breakthrough in your circumstances!" I said, "No, just a breakthrough in me...I'm changing and it makes everything better although not easy by any stretch." I'm just determined to become more like the Lord in what I'm going through although some days I just want to throw my hands up (for other reasons than praise and worship, lol)

I'm getting there...persevering daily. Thank you for your continued care & prayer.

Now I'm off to clean the kitchen one last time before bed and make school lunch for Savanna to take tomorrow. A woman's work is never done...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Celebrities who think they
should run the country *sigh*

This is THE funniest thing I have seen in a long time! I was ROFL when Larry showed me this. You are going to absolutely love it, no matter who you are voting for. I get so sick of it when celebrities (whether Republican or Democrat or Independent) try to act like they are some kind of authority (more so than any of the rest of us) on what should happen with our country! **sigh**

Barbra Streisand (who this video is about) said she would move out of the country if George Bush got re-elected. What I want to know is, why is she still here? Several people I know personally would have even helped her pack the moving truck.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friends you can totally let it all hang out
(or fly up) with...lol

Yep, I'm posting twice today. :-) And it's the weekend to boot!

I am missing several of my ministry friends right now like crazy. It's been a lonely day for me because of that. I'm with my family and I've been cleaning and cooking. I haven't been "alone" all day yet I long for sisters in ministry. I'm getting ready to go to a dinner party in just a few minutes, and I'm sure it will be pleasant. But I do long to be across the table with a cup of coffee from Tara, Melissa, and some other of you friends who are reading this, and just talk until we can't talk anymore about things we can't talk to anyone else about. It's just been one of those kinda days, ya know? And I've been making church related calls all day long while I've done work around the house and I'm just sick of the phone although all my conversations have been pleasant enough and just checking on things and people here and there. If you are in ministry, you know what I mean, I don't have to explain this to you.

I found this quote today and wanted those of you I'm missing til' it hurts to read it:

“Somewhere there is someone that dreams of your smile, and finds in your presence that life is worthwhile, so when you are lonely remember it’s true, someone somewhere is thinking of you.”

I know I can call you (and I do) but there's nothing like being face to face.

Until we meet again... I love you so much, my friends.

Why don't we have this more often?

Do you ever sit down to dinner with your family and while eating, say something like, "why don't we have this particular meal more often?"

That has happened to me quite a bit and I thought I'd ask my blog readers if it happens to you too.

I’m talking about things you eat at home, not going out to eat. And I’m talking about things your whole family likes. It’s totally understandable why you don’t make something all the time or more often if your family doesn’t like it. Here’s some things we eat on occasion and usually while we are eating and everyone’s raving about it, I’m thinking, “why don’t I fix this more often?”

1) Turkey and dressing - every Thanksgiving I say, “why don’t I make this more?” No, not the entire sha-bang – that would kind of minimize Thanksgiving if we had the whole meal during the year at another time but I am talking just cooking a turkey. I never cook a turkey except on Thanksgiving. And I always wonder, “why?” because we all love turkey.

2) Ham – ditto with Christmas and Easter. Of course I don’t want to replicate Christmas or Easter dinner during the year (it would probably put me in the hospital with exhaustion!) but our ham recipe is absolutely heavenly too. So why don’t we eat it more?

3) Barbeque – We’re c-r-a-z-y about BBQ. We have it when we go out and one of our fav places is Sonny’s or a local jaunt that’s fabulous called Hungry Harry’s, but I rarely make it at home and I always tell myself I am going to make it more in all it’s various forms but I usually don’t.

4) Chili dogs with cheese – One day Cathy (my assistant) mentioned to me that her family eats this all the time for dinner and it’s one of their favorite quick and easy things to fix. It's so simple - you just boil hotdogs, open up a can of hormel chili (I use the kind without beans when we do them this way) and put some shredded cheddar on top. It takes less than 10 minutes to make this. I realized all my family loves it too so I did make it the week she mentioned it to rave reviews, but haven’t made it since.

5) Breakfast for dinner – all of my family loves breakfast of every kind – eggs, toast, pancakes, waffles, biscuits and gravy, you name it we love it. And we’ll order it at night at Perkins or Cracker Barrel. But we never think about it at home.

These are just a few…there are more but I just can’t remember them right now. What are some things your family loves but you just never think to make at home?

Friday, September 19, 2008


"I don't want to do this...but I have to..." How many times have you heard a friend say that and groan? How many times have you said it?

Many times I talk through things here on my blog to work it out within myself. Yeah, it's cheaper than counseling. (GRIN)

With that said, I'm not making statements with this post, I'm asking questions. Because I really don't know.

I've been giving some thought to something...just how free can a person be? One time I was complaining about something and a friend said to me, "Deanna Shrodes! What are you complaining about? You don't HAVE to do anything! All you HAVE to do is live, die, and pay taxes!" That sounds nice but I don't believe it to be true.

I've always said -- you can be as free as you want to be. Do you know how many sermons I've preached where I've said that??! *sigh* But I have to confess there are times I wonder whether I should go back and make a retraction on that and tell people I preached something I'm now not so sure about. There are some areas I really struggle with. I know we are not free to do "whatever we want to do" carte blanche in life. We must follow laws and if there were none, life would be chaos. But aside from legal things, just how free can we be?

I have a pastor friend who became what he calls "totally free" one day. He and his wife were pastoring a very difficult church and they were unhappy. One day he woke up and had a revelation and said, "I can be free....I don't have to do this." That morning with their wife's agreement, they put their house on the market. Then they proceeded to sell everything with the exception of their car within about a month. Upon doing that they resigned. Everyone was shocked. "Where will you go? What will you do? Is this really mature or even normal?" These were all things they heard and ignored. They put their kids in the car and drove away and told the children they were going on a "great adventure." They moved across the country, and started a whole new life. This new life meant that they made half the money they used to make, but being that they got rid of everything they had few bills and were a lot happier. They did go back into pastoring a few years later, but said that they would never be anything but free again and would do the same thing again in a heartbeat if they felt they needed to. This couple's mantra in life is that as long as you are willing to downsize, sell and surrender everything, anything is possible. It sounds like a dream...but I wrestle with exactly what that means. Is it really that simple? They make it sound like it is but I'm not sure.

I have a hard time deciphering what is required by God or man at times. This is because there are many human beings who think they ARE God in a sense. They believe their expectations ARE what God wants. And my struggle in in knowing what to hold myself to, and what to leave behind and be free.

This includes questions such as:

Am I free to not answer the phone or the door if it's not an emergency? (Obviously I realize that pastors should always answer their phones or doors if they are working or during emergencies.)

Am I free to decline invitations of things I really don't want to attend? (unless required by my job.)

Am I free to go where I want to on vacation? (provided I have the $ of course)

Are my husband and I free to spend what extra money we might have left after paying bills on whatever we want? (I know, there's not much of that left for any of us Americans right now, but I mean...after the economy gets better...)

If I really don't want to sit somewhere, do I have to?

If I really don't want to have a conversation because it's negative, am I free not to?

Am I free to have any kind of car I want as long as I can afford it?

Am I free to sleep all day on my day off until my kids get home and I have "Mom" responsibilities ?

If I am invited by friends for a dinner party and accept the invite but then find out later that they have invited someone who is out to do nothing but tear down my family, am I free to reconsider and decline the invitation?

Am I free to not get dressed on my day off if I don't want to? (Obviously I do wear clothes in front of the kids. You might find this one kind of funny, but honestly there have been days off where I don't get dressed and if somebody calls or comes over and I say, "I can't come out right now, I'm not dressed", they get a little incredulous and say, "what??!! It's 3 o'clock! Is that really appropriate?" as if I should be ashamed or something.)

Am I really free to walk away from conversations I don't have the energy for at the time?

Am I free to walk away from a relationship if it's toxic?

Am I free to give one person a birthday gift but not another?

Am I free to accept some invitations to lunch or dinner but not others?

Am I free to go to a home interiors, pampered chef or tupperware parties and not buy anything? The hostess always says, "please just come even if you aren't going to purchase...I just want you to be there..." but do they really mean it? Can I really go and eat a plate of veggies with dip and drink red punch while I talk and watch demonstrations, but not buy a thing?

Am I free to not give out my cell phone number when people ask for it point blank?

Am I free to ignore text messages and IM's? (I hate both of those forms of communication.)

Am I free to not clap when the rest of the audience does if I think whatever just happened wasn't really that good?

Am I free to not buy candy bars from kids who come up to me and ask me to buy them for their school or sports team?

Am I free to not answer if people ask how much I paid for something?

Am I free to hang up if I don't like the way a conversation is going?

Am I free to not answer when someone asks how much money I make?

Am I free to not answer someone if they ask how much I paid for an outfit?

Am I free to spend my birthday any way I want to? (Of course I mean aside from sinful behavior...I'm not talking about going out and getting drunk. What I mean is, if you want to go rollerskating but everybody else wants you to go to Applebees, are you free to? )

Are you free to... _____________________________?

That is the question. Again it comes down to -- what are man's expectations and what are God's? The two are not the same...but many times become complicated and intertwined way more than I would like. It's confusing. I know we technically "physically" can do all of the above, but can we really, without ramifications? And if we have automatic ramifications to all this, are we really ever free? We could do all the above but we might be labeled uncaring, cheap, materialistic, unGodly, or a litany of other things and maybe even face more than the consequence of people just thinking those things. Some of the questions are not black and white and clear cut, they are all situational. I realize that.

Yes, I know that according to scripture everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. But exactly how does that translate into all the above scenarios and ones like them? Some say, "just be spirit led". Okay, is that really all there is to it? We are free from sin because of the blood of Jesus. We can also be free of our past, our emotional pain, even our physical pain. But there's more to life than that. We all have these scenarios in life and all I know is this... I love people to pieces. Really I do! But there are times that I take way too many calls I don't want to take, go to far too many events I don't want to go to, and listen to a bunch of stuff I'm not really sure God expects me to. And all the while I wonder, "how free am I...really?"

How free are you?

**those in the ministry please feel free to answer anonymously to give me an honest answer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New address

It's time for a change, my friends!

Stat counter reveals a ton of things to a blogger, and one of those things is how people find you in the first place. After noticing on my stat counter that a ton of regular readers who read my blog every day "google" or use other search engines with my name each and every time to find it, I thought it was a bit ridiculous for you to have to do that. It's clear why you can't remember the address... (http://www.lifetimeintimateportraitds.blogspot.com/ -- what was I thinking when I did that?!) So, I decided to simplify for your sakes and anyone else who wants to very easily find me. Yes, it's time we become more user friendly around here.

You won't have to google me anymore to find my main blog.

From now on the address of this blog is simply: http://www.deannashrodes.com/.

You can still find it here at this old address for a few days but thereafter it will automatically be re-directed to the new address. Right now my other blogs (Equal Time and Psalms of a Woman After God's Own Heart) will all have the same address that you can get to from this page on the sidebar.

I'm all about making things easier...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Wherever we go, whatever we do,we're gonna go through it together.
We may not go far, but sure as a star, wherever we are, it's together.
Wherever I go I know he goes.Wherever I go I know she goes.
No fits, no fights, no feuds and no egos, amigos, together!
Through thick and through thin, all out or all in
And whether it's win, place or show.
With you for me and me for you, we'll muddle through whatever we do.
Together, wherever we go.

Jule Styne & Stephen Sondheim

The lyrics above are from the song "Together Wherever We Go". It's from the musical Gypsy, and I sang it in high school way back in the day. :-) Good times.

One thing that has always been really important to me in my closest friendships is loyalty. Those who are my covenant friends can tell you I'm fiercely loyal to the core. Recently several situations have occurred that have tested the strength of those relationships and I'm happy to say they've come out strong with flying colors! Not only have the relationships proved true, and risen to the occasion in strength, but I believe God has even brought new ministry about as a result. One of my closest covenant friends, Pastor Tara Sloan, and I have even decided to write a book about it!

In I Samuel 18 we see perhaps the greatest biblical example of covenant relationship. Verses 1 & 3 say: "Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself...And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. "

These men were the greatest bff's who ever lived, but Tara and I are trying to become a close second. :-) What Jonathan and David experienced was a kindred spirit relationship on steriods. (lol) They were cut of of the same cloth ~ two peas in a pod ~ or "eating out of the same box of Cheerios" as I like to call it. When the Bible speaks of their relationship one meaning of the Hebrew words "one in spirit" means, "their hearts were tied together." Does that sound absolutely beautiful OR WHAT?

Understand that God makes covenants because He himself is a covenant. Covenants are not just agreements or contracts, but they are a work of the Holy Ghost in bringing people together for the purposes of God.

I am very much looking forward to Tara and I delving into the writing of our book on a deeper level, however for now I just want to ask all my blogging friends to please lift her up in prayer. She's going through one of the greatest tests of her life ~ one that she doesn't deserve, one that Craig doesn't deserve, one their precious girls don't deserve. But just as with Job, "when they are tested, they shall come forth as gold."

The Sloans are among the most integral and anointed ministers I know. I believe they are one of the greatest prophetic voices in the church today. The enemy is very threatened by them. The trial by fire that they are under is nothing but an attack but it is about to catapult them into the greatest season of their ministry that they've ever known! God is about to release them into the new "spacious" place...the large place He has for them beyond their comprehension! Right now however they are in the midst of paying the price for that next level God is about to lead them into. Keep in mind the first half of the word breakthrough is break, and the first half of the word testimony is test! Unfortunately we have to go through breaks and tests to get to the victory! The Sloans are on schedule for it. Victory is in store because the Word promises that to the upright. Let me tell you, those of you who know the Sloans can testify that they are among God's choicest servants.

They can use prayer at this time in a great way. Please uplift them daily in your prayers until the breakthrough manifests. Many of you in my network have received a personal e-mail from me with more details. If you are in that group and for some reason the e-mail escaped you, send me an email and I'll get it to you asap. I want to thank you for personally, specifically and strategically interceding. But for ANYONE reading this today, whether you know them or not, would you please right now, lift up my dear friends, the Sloans? Thank you for joining me in fasting and prayer as we defeat the enemy and pray the Sloans right into the spacious place God has for them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Me and Madea

I opened this up last night before going to sleep and absolutely cracked up! Larry says, "what's going on?" I said, "Tara just compared me to Madea. I can't wait to open up this article and see what she says!" She wrote all about it today on TRW.

She was absolutely 100% correct. I've got the high heels and earrings off and could care less how much the mascara runs. For my covenant friends, I stand ready to throw down at a moment's notice. As one of my favorite songs says...

Keep smiling, keep shining
knowing you can always count on me...for sure...
that's what friends are for...
Through good times, and bad times...
I'll be on your side forever more...
ohhhh that's what friends are for...

Monday, September 15, 2008

My top priority in this election

Who are the people who take the "Gallup poll"?

When you see that Fox News or CNN has taken a poll, who are those people?

ME! MY FAMILY! Yes, we are among them.

Seriously, a few months ago we got a call asking us to be a Gallup poll family. That means that they call us to ask us various things and we are part of the statistics on their polls.

We're busy and I don't need another thing to do or another phone call to take but Larry thought it was pretty cool and said, "hey, that's a great opportunity, let's do it!" So we did.

This past week on "Fun Friday" I got the kids off to school and went back to sleep for a few hours and the phone rang and Larry passed it to me. With his sleep mask still on, he passed it over to me mumbling something about..."here, it's a poll about the election..."

Disclaimer here: Keep reading, I'm not going to talk about who I am or am not voting for. (I never talk here on the blog about that -- only about issues or happenings with both or all candidates.)

The pollsters wanted to know what the biggest issue was for me in the election. They had pared a list down and it only included five or six things, none of which would be considered, "hot button" issues for Christians such as abortion, gay marriage, etc. There were only about five things and I don't remember the entire list except that the economy, immigration and national security were on the list.

It was an easy answer for me.

Most people probably think, "the economy! Surely you're as ticked off as we are about how much it costs to fill your gas tank, and what a few grocery items cost vs. what they used to, and your mortage insurance and yada yada yada. Yes, yes, yes, I am sick of all that. So sick of it. It's affecting EVERYBODY I know, bar none. Larry and I have close friends who are even losing their homes, going bankrupt, and more. It's a serious matter of prayer for me daily. It's not just "someone out there" that it's happening to, but people I dearly love. Our expenses personally (mortgage, insurance and the like) have gone through the roof, however I'm not complaining because I see what is happening to some of my friends and I realize I'm incredibly blessed. One thing I am realizing is that if a person went bankrupt in the past or foreclosed on their home, barring something very unusual it was always their fault -- usually mismanagement. Now, in this time we are living in, it's the first time where you really can lose it all financially through no fault of your own. I am learning that as I see some dear friends who have not mismanaged but just had unexpected things happen to them. Anyway, believe it or not, that's not my biggest issue in this election. As bothered as I am about this economy it pales in comparison to my biggest concern which is national security.

Nothing is 100% safe and secure - I realize that. We are living in the end times - I realize that too. I'm not naive that an attack can happen on anyone's watch. However, it's no debate that some former presidents have placed national security at a higher priority than others.

Back on that fateful day, 9/11/01, we were not Democrats, nor Republicans, but we were all simply Americans. On that day, there was an explosion of Patriotism we hadn't experienced in many decades, and a voracious drive among all Americans to defeat the evildoers who had harmed our people. I didn't hear one single person in all of America on radio, TV or who I knew personally disagree that this is what should be done. There was a 100% unity that we needed to voraciously defeat terrorists.

Now, seven years later the enthusiasm for that has waned and many have forgotten just how horrible that day was. I hear people (many of them celebrities who definitely are not authorities on foreign affairs) talk about "negotiating" with terrorists, "meeting with" them, trying to "understand them." The truth is, such people cannot be negotiated with, met with or understood. They are evil and must be defeated, plain and simple.

As bad as our economy is, why is national security a bigger issue to me? Because quite honestly we can live with gas being $4 a gallon even though it's really hard. But many will not live through a terrorist attack. And if we want our economy to really crumble, another attack is all it would take. Doesn't anyone remember how the economy took a nosedive when 9/11 happened? I have many friends who were almost immediately put out of a job. Do you know how many people I've sat with over coffee and heard this, "Well, I was laid off back when 9/11 happened..."

Terrorism also affects our economy. Uncertain times when it comes to national security also creates uncertainty in the economy. We can't afford another terrorist attack.

Nothing is foolproof and I realize an attack could occur on either McCain or Obama's watch, or anyone's watch. Realize, an attack took place on Bush's watch, but many people also blamed Clinton because supposedly a bunch of memos had come to his desk in earlier months and years warning him of this but he didn't do anything about it. Others say that it doesn't matter how many memos came across Bush or Clinton's desk - nobody could have predicted 9/11 or what would have happened. That's possible. I don't know the answer. (I'm also not an expert on foreign affairs or who was to blame, if anyone. Obviously I think we could agree, the terrorists were 100% to blame for what happened. What we're not sure of is, could any of it have been avoided?)

All I know is this...what is most important to me in this election is national security. And all the reasons I shared are why. Before ten years ago I didn't think much about national security. Before we were attacked on our own soil, I didn't understand the danger. But like many or most Americans, I had a rude awakening. And I'm a mother.

Seven years ago we lived an hour outside of Washington D.C. The night of the attack, I remember getting Savanna out of her crib and putting her in bed with me. I kept her there for a while. I held all my children closer. I drove them to school for a while and didn't let them walk. I watched for planes in the sky and started praying when I saw them. The most important thing to me in the world was making sure my family members were close, and safe. I remember calling my sister (who also lives an hour outside of D.C.) and crying together on the phone as she freaked out and left work to go pick up my niece and nephew from school, and hold them safe in her arms -- and keep them home for a while.

Will our new president care about protecting our families? Will they take no chances when it comes to this? Will they be ready in a second to do whatever it takes to save American lives? Will they have their finger on the button and use it at a moment's notice if they need to?

All these years later, it's still as much a priority to me. I've never forgotten the terror of that day. I will never forget watching on TV live on CNN as the plane hit the Pentagon and hearing them say, "our country is at war" and the next thing I knew I was stretched out on the floor in front of the TV crying out loud in prayer. My children's safety is still of absolute utmost importance to me. I'm still holding them close although I have started letting Savanna sleep on her own again (lol) but I'm praying to God that whoever gets in the White House will also care about holding their children close and keeping them -- and all of us -- as safe from these evildoers as possible.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Good day in the house

Had a real good day in the house today. I expected it after my Holy Ghost throwdown prayer meeting I had (just me and Him) yesterday. I chronicled it yesterday in one of my psalms to God in my other (new) blog yesterday. I came with expectation. He met it. He's good that way.

This was our second week of "The Blessed Life" Wow, wow, wow is all I can say. Amazing. Totally amazing. I can't say enough about this series. If you are a pastor reading this, trust me on this one, YOU NEED TO DO THIS. ASAP. If you want more info on this, contact me. I can't say enough about it -- it will revitalize your church as you know it!

Had some great visitors today, among them the Southeastern student, Melinda, who I met at Unstoppable. She is an absolutely incredible singer -- and was at Unstoppable as part of the worship team. She expressed interest in being part of our church and I thought it might not actually work as far as being involved with living in Lakeland, but then she informed me...she lives in Tampa! And she's commuting. She is starting school there a bit older than most of the kids...she's 25 and just starting there and has a condo here. HOW PERFECT! I was automatically impressed by the fact that two weeks ago she told me she could not attend last Sunday with a prior engagement but that she'd be there today. I've gotten used to the fact with college students that most of the time if they tell you the sun is shining, get your umbrella out. (lol) In other words, if you have absolutely no expectations of them, well then...you'll never be disappointed. :-) [Translation: that's how you cope, to take that mindset.] Well, much to my delight she walked in this morning, thrilled to be there! We invited her to go to lunch this afternoon and then she came to our house for newcomers. Yay!

I have been believing God for miracles these past few months and I'm starting to sense a few unfolding.

The Lord prompted me tonight to study covenant prayer again. I have a book on my shelf at the office I have to re-read again tomorrow. There's something in there God wants me to see for this time period that I haven't seen yet...can't wait to uncover it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Meme about me and my kids
From Cassandra

Cassandra over at Tripping Around the Sun tagged me to do this meme. Haven't done one in a while...here we go:

First: post a picture of you and your kids.

Here are two photos - I don't have a picture of me with all three, just one of me with the boys, and then one with Savanna. Guess we need to take one of us all together now that you mention it... geez, what kind of mother am I? (lol)

Second: Answer the questions.

1. How many children do you have? Three ~ Dustin, Jordan and Savanna

2. What are their ages? Dustin - 18, Jordan - 17, Savanna - 11

3. What time of day do you start your day? 6:00 A.M.

4. What do you eat for breakfast? Depends what day it is and if I'm on point with WW or not! If I'm not on point it could be a PB & J but if I am on point usually a 1/2 bagel, or my special WW egg sandwich.

5. Do they watch TV? Yes, more than I would like but it's not one of the main things I make a huge deal over. I am much more of an easy going Mom than most.

6. What are their favorite activities? They all differ in what they enjoy however a few things they all enjoy are music and reading.

7. Do you get a break during the day from them? Yes I do. They are all in school and my boys are 17 and 18 so they work a lot themselves and we are just in a different stage of life now from when they were babies. For many years though, no, it seemed I never got a break.

8. How do you end your day? Reading. Or spending time with Larry. Usually both.

9. What is your best parenting advice or tip? Love your children. You will make a lot of mistakes - every parent does. But if you really, really genuinely love them and you show it, and they know it -- love covers a multitude of sins and mistakes.

Third: Tag 5 people.

Tagging: Tara, Cathy, Kerry, Michele, Danella

Friday, September 12, 2008

My new blog

As if I needed a new one! I know what some of you are thinking, "Deanna Shrodes, you need another blog like you need a hole in the head!"

Alright, stop the chastisement. Remember, "there is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus..." (lol)

Seriously, why am I starting yet another blog? Well, first let me say I am not sure I'll post in it every single day. Keep in mind, none of my other blogs are everyday ones. But here's the reason behind it:

My first blog had a psalm like quality, in that it was the personal cry of my heart day to day. Good or bad, it was first person to the extreme, between God and me, but available for public viewing. Over time as I switched to blogger and started this blog you are reading now, my daily blog evolved to focus on ministry, work, family happenings, social issues and many other things. It lost the intimacy factor that I missed so much, yet I didn't want to do away with my new style of blogging either since writing about all of the things I write about here are important to me. Evidently others thought deem it worthy of reading too, so I'm not going to change the focus of lifetime intimate portrait.

Although I do have a private journal reserved for the most intimate of communication, I did want to get back to having a public blog simply for writing my own heart cries to God. This is basically what the Psalms are -- David's intense and intimate communications with God, with the whole world listening in. We are so blessed by the Psalms because we realize...we're not alone. Somebody who was known as the "person after God's own heart" went back and forth between saying, "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me," to asking God to "break off the teeth of the enemy." Ever had days like that? I have. Plenty of them. Life is a rollercoaster ride. David blogged it and now we know we aren't alone or crazy. Psalms are intimate heart cries, yet there is value in others peeking in on the depth of that kind of writing because it gives them hope that others in life have the same ups and downs they do...and through it all, God is faithful.

So I'd also like to invite you to venture over to this blog, "Psalms of a Woman After God's Own Heart." Warning: it's an extremely transparent blog. If you have your head in the sand that pastors or their wives ever have questions, doubts, fears, depression or that they get really, really angry at times...you may not want to read it. But for those who dare to read...come on in.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

If you care about equality

Many of you who read this blog know that I also co-write another blog with my friend, Pastor Tara Sloan, called Equal Time. That particular blog is dedicated exclusively to issues of biblical equality. We do not post there everyday, but if we have something to say on the subject, that's generally where it goes (though we sometimes can't help posting something on this topic on our personal blogs, as it's so much a part of our DNA.)

Some of you might not know the blog exists, and we've just updated the look of the blog and posted some new things so I thought I'd give it a shout out. Also pass the word along to those friends you have who care about this issue and might want to read as well as come on over and comment about it. Find the blog here.

Did you hear me?

Hey friends! I said "Covenant" in the first couple sentences! Hope you were listening, but actually I slid the word in there four times. :-)

Just wanted you to know I was really thinking of you who are my regular readers and friends.

Larry and I got home at approximately 5 am. I was wide awake when we were done the show at 3 am because I had so much strong coffee during the show. lol Seriously. We were starving when we got done and did something we haven't done in a long time...years, in fact...we went out to an all night place for breakfast. Fun! We used to do that all the time before the kids were born, and we've done it once or twice since they've been born, but it brings back great memories of when we used to burn the midnight oil working at the church office and sometimes we'd look up and realize, "hey, it's 3 am" and we'd go somewhere for breakfast. That was in the first two years of our marriage before Dustin was born and we were youth pastoring.

No sooner did I got to sleep this morning (5 am) did I have to get Jordan up for school at 6, and then I have to get Savanna up at 7 am. It was a hard morning, but worth it. I had so much fun being with Larry and I love it when we work that closely together. So many times over the years in the church we have gotten busy on our own projects (because circumstances in the church have necessitated it) and at times we are in different areas of the building or in separate meetings for a majority of the time. I miss the times when we work together and flow together and we both just love every opportunity when we can partner together up close and personal.

I went to sleep at 7:20 after getting Savanna off to school til' about 11:20 and I'm working now. Larry went in to the office this morning but since I was done everything I have to do at the office on site and can work remotely today, I chose to do so. Computers have revolutionized the working world, praise God!

Last night our "code word" was covenant. Speaking of that, my greatest covenant friend is Tara Sloan. Many of you know that, and we are even writing a book on that subject. She has been there for me these past months as I have been going through some dark times. I cannot get into the details yet (I'm sure she will during days or a few weeks to come on her blog) but I want to ask all of you who are in relationship with her to please bombard heaven for her at this time. Something major has happened in her family's life and they need a miracle. The Sloan's are among the most integral and Godly people I know. I trust them with my life. They have been there for me in the ups and downs of life for over 10 years now. It's my joy, my honor to stand with them at this time and always. Details are not necessary right now - just join me in fasting and prayer for a breakthrough. My heart is burdened for her so much and I got the opportunity to talk to her this morning for a while and although it was good, I wanted to hop on a plane. She's told me so many times when I've been discouraged how she's just felt like she was going to burst and longed to fly to me and personally encourage me face to face. That's what I long to do for her today but can't. But I ask all of you to join with me...send the prayers up to heaven on behalf of my covenant friend.

And Tara, I know you are reading this because you read every single blessed thing that I write! So I'll just say this...as Craig has reminded me of so many times, now I remind you, "DON'T DOUBT IN THE DARKNESS WHAT GOD HAS SAID IN THE LIGHT!" I love you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Larry and I co-hosting America's Prayer Meeting Live Tonight!

This is kind of last minute but I wanted to tell all of you who are my personal friends (not just lurkers, but hey, you lurkers can watch too...be my guest) that Larry and I are going to co-host America's Prayer Meeting tonight on CTN. Due to today's amazing technology, all of you have the ability to tune in, no matter where you are, and watch a few minutes and see our smiling faces if you want to. (Although I'm sure you won't stay up the entire show - it's three hours long, Lord help us!)

The show is not only nationwide, it's worldwide. Larry hosts at times when Bro. Dortch (Richard - the regular host) is out. Tonight he had to make a trip to the Phillipines, so they called and asked Larry to fill in and he wants me to host with him.

So if you want to tune in to see the hottest pastor in all of America host a prayer meeting along with his adoring wife, tune in! How to? In Tampa it's on Direct TV, usually channel 3 or 22...it's also on SkyAngel (worldwide) and I believe Direct TV now in most of the USA if not all...and if all else fails, just get on your computer HERE and watch it. Anyone, anywhere can watch it if you have a computer and internet. Simply scroll all the way down and look to the right where it says, "Live Webcast". Click there and you can watch from your computer. You can also call in if you want! There's a toll free number. I will warn you, tons of calls come in from everywhere so it's not guaranteed that they take your call as one that goes on the air, however everyone does get prayed for by ministers who are also there answering phone calls. It's on EST from 12 midnight - 3 am. So for those of you on the west coast that would be 9 pm-midnight (yep, prime time on the west coast!)
I know some of you tune in to watch my babe when he hosts but now you can see us together...won't that be "speeecial?" (as the church lady would say from SNL! lol!)

I'm tired but looking forward to ministering alongside my husband as a team because that's what we enjoy most. I'm still re-cooping from Unstoppable, and today has been a busy day at work, then I'm preaching tonight (excited about my message - it's called, "Fused for Encouragement") Then Teeb and I will head home from church tonight, freshen up, change clothes, and leave for the studio. I know it makes for a crazy-busy day/night and a tiring day at work tomorrow (we won't roll in til at least 4 am) but you know...these are the fun parts of ministry. Heck, it could be worse! How blessed we are. Somebody somewhere tonight is dealing with a church split, a business meeting going awry, contentious church members, and all kinds of craziness (I've been there, done that in the past!) but despite some stress I've been under lately of another kind...here are the BLESSINGS! I got up having one of my "dark mornings" (not as bad as before with the depression but I still have them and am working through it) and then as the day went on things got better. But alongside the "dark days" (even if you aren't dealing with depression, you still have them) come the blessed moments. Today I have been blessed to get a lot done at the office, I get to do my favorite thing tonight (bring God's Word) and then pray for people all over the world with my husband tonight for three hours. These are the parts of ministry I do love and you know, we have to relish them when they come and soak them in for all they are worth, because some days, it's really hard out there. We must SOAK IN THE BLESSINGS WHEN WE EXPERIENCE THEM!!!

I love you all...and tell you what...Larry has a little "code word" he says on the air to let me know he's thinking of me. Sometimes it's something crazy like last time I think the word was "Bahamas" and it has nothing to do with the show but somehow he fits the word in to what he's saying creatively, and when I hear it, it means, "I love you, Deanna and I'm thinking of you right now". Other times the word is easier to fit in like "fellowship" or discipleship" but it lets me know he's thinking of me. So...I'm going to pick a code word that means, "I love you my bloggy friends and you mean so much"..........and it will be..........COVENANT. :-)

Every time I say COVENANT, I'm thinking of you and shooting a prayer out to you from me, in Tampa, Florida. (((hugs)))

Another one? Yes!

And here is yet another re-cap of the Unstoppable Conference weekend from LaDonna Jones, who pastors in North Port, FL with her husband, Keith.

People keep writing about it and as long as they do, I'll keep posting their testimonies and insights.

I agree with LaDonna, the weekend was just what God ordered!

Mmm...yup. Still missing everyone.