Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another day. . .

And another "school" year for Jovey. Not really. . . she attends a local church for Parent's Day Out twice a week in preparation for the real thing next year in the form of Kindergarten. She's getting to be sooo big and it's hard to believe that in November, we will be celebrating her 5th birthday! Where the time went, I'm not sure, but I am sure that with each new "beginning" (first day of school, first tooth lost, first school program), will come new and different blessings, challenges and of course, with Jovey, comedy!

Love you, Jovey Kay, and pray that God will continue to reveal Himself to you in ways that none of us could ever imagine!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

McWillis fam vacay, Myrtle Beach, SC 2009

We had an incredible time with the Willis fam (our best friends) on our second trip to Myrtle beach together in 3 years! The weather was awesome, the company was moreso and the time away was much needed by us all! Nicole and I have super similar routines in daily activities and running a household, so we all get along "swimmingly" for the week! Our kiddos are super sweet (most moments) and the adults are just glad to have days off of work and extra hands to help out with kiddos and cooking and just to chat with in general. Our boys enjoy talking Baseball, Shark Week and everything in between! I could ask for no better family to call our family friends, heavy on the "family" part of that equation after almost 8 years of hanging out together! Going with friends on vacay also means trusted babysitters for walks on the beach, date night and boogie boarding without interruption! Here are just a few of the pics from the week of fun in the sun!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Beyond Belief

Some of us have been referred to as a “Doubting Thomas” at least once during the course of our lives. No, this isn’t the name of a TV character, like “Curious George,” or an athlete like “Shoeless Joe” but instead, one of Jesus’ greatest friends and followers, or disciple! John 20: 19-29 paints a vivid picture of how belief in Christ not only provides joy but also, peace and responsibility!

It was just a few days after God had proven His love in the way that only He could, through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection three days later. Jesus’ disciples were hunkered down in a room, fearful of anyone who may connect them with Christ who just sent the world spinning on its axis, changing the course of that present day and the generations to follow! Jesus appeared to them, reminding them that He brings peace (and wasn’t an evil spirit as they may have assumed at first) as well as a mandate to share God’s love with the world! He breathed on them and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, which would direct them as they went out to fulfill Jesus calling on their lives. Of course, this must have been more than amazing, but Thomas, who must have been getting a Slurpy at the local quickie mart, was absent from this life changing moment. When told of the events of those moments, he refused to believe until he himself saw the scars in Jesus’ hands and sides. Probably rolling His eyes, Jesus obliged Thomas unbelief and came back a week later, directly addressing Thomas and asking him to put his hands in His side and to look at His hands. Jesus then said, “Stop being an unbeliever and believe!” John 20:27. Somehow, I don’t think Jesus just said this quietly and passively, but I believe that Jesus said it with authority and power! It was crucial that Thomas believe, or else, Jesus would not have come back in similar fashion to address the group of followers.

Later on, Jesus reminds us that “those who believe without seeing me will be truly blessed” and that is where we come in! We don’t have the opportunity to get the proof that Thomas demanded. He didn’t take what he heard from his trusted friends at face value. That was a time of such confusion and only when he could see for himself that Jesus was risen as He had said He would be, could Thomas fully embrace the calling to share the Gospel that had now been fulfilled!
Where are you? Do you claim faith in Christ, but just sit still, allowing those who have “true faith” to run with the ball of sharing Christ? Do you find joy in the mystery of believing in something that we cannot see? Do you embrace fully what it means to have faith in what we can only see through study of God’s Word, thus, becoming so intimately connected to God in prayer and life that we have no doubt that the spirit has in fact been breathed into us as well?

Embrace the joy from the belief in a Savior who lived as one of us! Claim the power that comes from the God who sent himself to develop a relationship with His people, knowing that we all yearn to be connected to beauty and positive energy that can only truly be found in the person of Christ and through His spirit. Be joyful in life and even more joyful in where God is leading your life, knowing that as our faith grows, so will God continue to pour out more of his power and His blessing as we serve Him and share the love of Christ with everyone we meet! Don’t be a doubting Thomas, waiting to begin serving after you have proof; serve with full assurance that Jesus has breathed on you the Spirit that only comes from God and has equipped you to share Him with the world!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Server of the Month

Joshua likes to make fun of me when I claim that I once was a server in a local restaurant in my hometown of Maysville. The truth be told, I only worked about 5 weeks, but though I didn’t work a long period of time, I was still required to serve people their food, “marry” ketchup bottles (that’s restaurant lingo for combining ketchup so they can be full bottles), roll silverware and be an overall cheerful greeter to all that came to dine! Was I a 5 star server like those sweet ladies who fill your sweet tea and keep you filled with yummy biscuits and apple butter at Cracker Barrel? Well, not quite! I never quite mastered carrying a huge tray on one hand, I didn’t always remember the little details that people would request, and I felt less than enthused as the customers poured out the numerous peanut shells on the floor that I had just swept 5 minutes before closing! I got the job done and my employers were pleased, but I’m sure if you asked them, they wouldn’t dub me, “Server of the Month!”

I am reminded that serving the Lord (which comes down to truly serving others over ourselves) should be quite different from my waitressing experience. I should work a bit harder to master some of the tricks of the trade, even when they are a bit challenging and require some practice and some extra time. Sharing the Gospel may not come easy, but with each day spent studying God’s Word, praying and living a Christ-centered life, next should come confidence to verbally share the Good News of Christ! I should be a person that is big on the details that make a difference! When people talk, I should listen and not just hear the words that leave their mouth. Only then will people see that I truly care about them and help reveal to them what may be blocking them from seeing Christ. I should see the messes that people make, both literally and figuratively, as opportunities to serve as Christ served, humbly taking the form of a slave and washing the feet of those that need to see that no matter how dirty they may be, I love them because God loves and made them and He has done the same for me, cleaning me up with each new day! This is true service; service without apologies, service without complaining, service without question and most importantly, service with joy!

"But servants who don't know what their master wants them to do will not be beaten so hard for doing wrong. If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better. Luke 12:48 (Contemporary English Version)

Do you serve as it is your joy or because you want to be the Server of the Month? Do you serve because you are expected to or do you serve because you find a source of pleasure in fulfilling what God has called you to do as His child in sharing and spreading Christ’s story with everyone!? When you serve, serve as though you know how God has served you! He sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for you, taking on the humble and lowly form of a man in order to reach a world that is lost! Live as though you not only serve, but you desire to find ways to serve even better, striving to glorify God in all that you do!

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Momma, I'm not gonna even let a boy step to me unless I know he loves Jesus with all his heart!"

-Jovey's thoughts in the van as we were listening to Toby Mac~! Thanks for truth in fun songs that both mommy and daddy and Jovey and Laney can enjoy! And Jovey, I pray that that will always be your mantra as you start looking toward the future!

Friday, July 03, 2009

How Do You Choose To Suffer?

My hubby has asked me to write the devos that will go along with his upcoming sermon series from Phillipians: Joy in Suffering, Joy in Serving, Joy in believing and Joy in the Lord. May we always find Joy in our relationship with Christ as we seek to draw nearer to Him and walk with Him daily!

How do you choose to suffer?

What does it mean to “suffer?” It is all a matter of who you ask. To the soldier in a foreign country, it may mean being without his family, a hot shower and a bed in which to sleep. To the wealthy, spoiled young actress, it may mean having a broken nail and having to wait two days before her routine manicure and spa pedicure! To the five year old child, it may mean having to eat oatmeal instead of a donut for breakfast. Suffering is all a matter of perception. People perceive anything that is out of the ordinary and that presents a bit of a challenge to move through suffering in their lives! Of course, the soldier is suffering much greater trials than the five year old who badly wanted a Krispy Kreme, but what we suffer isn’t the issue, it is how we suffer that sets us apart from the world and it’s trappings.

Paul was accustomed to suffering. First, he inflicted it upon the early Christians, by making spectacles of them and killing them. After he came to know Christ, or rather, Christ introduced himself to him on the road to Damascus, blinding him and changing the course of his life forever, he suffered ridicule, snake bites, imprisonment and ultimately death, all in the name of the man for which he used to kill! He tells us many times in his letters that we are to take hold of what Christ gives us, even the bad things that cause us to hurt and to suffer, as suffering allows us to have but a taste of how Christ endured the weight of the world for us! We are to exercise the hope we have in Christ Jesus because it is through suffering that we are made more like Him and only then, able to give Him glory and honor that He doesn’t require from us, but that he does desire from us! We are to view our lives, every part, the good, the bad and the ugly, as offerings to God. Wallowing in self pity and refusing to seek God as we trudge through the valleys, knowing the mountain top must be near, isn’t the answer. Instead, we are to keep our eyes ahead, focused on God and pressing hard to draw as near as we possibly can (see Phil. 3:12-14)!

This week, think of some ways you are suffering in your life and no matter how big or small those trials may be, consider what Paul says in Romans 5:3-5. Remember that God provides you with all you need to grow and the opportunity to experience a joy that only comes to those who are seeking to be more like Christ; a joy that is available only because Christ chose to suffer so we wouldn’t ever have to know an eternity apart from our loving Father. Don’t suffer like those who have no hope, but suffer as if there is something worth suffering for! “. . . but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sweet Laney Belle!

Wow! So, I was welcoming our second baby girl home just a little over 2 years ago. I was filled with so many emotions as I walked in the door to greet my parents and of course, Jovey Kay, with our new bundle that she would soon call "Baby Laney" and who within just a few months, would respond by saying, "Sissy! Sissy!" I remember thinking how very humbled I was to now have two young ones for which to love on and be responsible for teaching and guiding in life, and of course, most importantly, to point to Christ whenever possible! I had failed so often with Jovey, so how was I to add to that another little, precious, helpless baby? How could I divide my time and not feel guilty for leaving someone, including Joshua, out of the picture? How could I multi-task well enough to leave the house with more than one other person, on top of myself, to dress and especially, bundle up in the winter months that would quickly approach? How could I love both of my girls equally when I knew, from day one when they laid Laney on my chest, that they would be so very different? There was only one answer when the anxiety of reality of being a parent started to set in: God!

Only God could ease my fears and assure me that though there would be guilt, there would always be redemption and peace in it all. Only God could help clear my head enough to allow me to throw in a load of laundry, sing a song to calm a fussy Laney while making a bottle up and dancing with Jovey in the kitchen and then, playing I Spy with Jovey while cuddling with Laney Belle during an afternoon feeding. Only God could get my "non-morning person" rear out of bed in time to jump in the shower and get myself at least halfway together before getting the girls together for a morning out with friends. And of course, only God knew that as He created us all with a unique personality and even quirkiness, He also created us with the beautiful ability to love each other for things beautiful and things unfortunate when it was His plan to place people in our lives!

God gave me the gift of Laney Belle on June 5, 2007. She was small, beautiful, with dark hair, an easy disposition, an innate ability to sleep through most anything, perfect for having Jovey around who knows only one volume level: LOUD, and to us, the perfect addition to our already fun and loving family! Laney has now grown into a giggling, cuddling, tickling, bashful (when out in public) beautiful 2 year old. She throws fits if things don't go her way, she will randomly jump up from a snack in the living room to find me in the kitchen to give me "huggies and kissies" and she melts our hearts when she looks at us with her beautiful blue eyes that dance when she smiles! For these things and so many more things to come as she grows as God intends, I love my baby girl! She was and is the perfect punctuation to the McFarland story!

Monday, April 20, 2009


So, anyone who knows me and knows me well, knows that Mondays aren't. . . well, my favorite day of the week. Actually, it doesn't come even close to the excitement I feel most Fridays that the weekend has arrived and we at least get to see Joshua a bit more than through the week full of classes, meetings, obligations, work, church, etc. that come along with our life that is the McFarland's way at this moment in time! As I continue to learn and grow, however, I am reminded that no matter the name of the day or the preconceived opinions and thoughts that may accompany said name, that each day is a gift from God. It is something to be cherished, praised and lived as it were to be our last, as God has allowed us another day to enjoy the many blessings and the great joy He has offered through the very life, death, resurrection and blessings of His living and beautiful son, Jesus Christ! Each day holds new and different opportunities to make everything we do an act of worship and offering of praise to our God! I had a very wise, beautiful woman of God remind me that even the mundane chore of laundry can be an act of worship as you take the time to remember each person for which the laundry belongs in prayer and thought! So, on this gloomy, Monday, not as warm or sunny as it "should" be morning, I choose joy and to be alive in Christ!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our Little Reminders

What a beautiful time of year. The sun is shining a bit more, the temperatures are a bit more "play worthy" and life just seems a bit renewed after a long, cold, very snowy winter in the commonwealth known as Kentucky, where the grass is blue and the sports seemed to be a bit more "red" this year! But hey, there is a renewed since in life all around, even in the locker room of the UK Men's Basketball team! (sorry, had to get that little plug in there as UK looks to take back it's spot as a b-ball powerhouse, hopefully sooner than later!).

We are still embracing where God has called us as of now in life. Joshua is now full into his Master's of Theology program (gladly taking possession of his Bachelor's of Science Degree in Organizational Management on May 9th at Campbellsville University) and still teaching computer classes for area businesses and of course, most importantly, loving on people and sharing Christ with them each week as the pastor at Elk Creek Baptist in Spencer County! The girls continue to grow, as you can see below, and amaze us with new words (Laney is good to put about 3words together now and Jovey is using words as "definitely", "actually", and anything else that secures that she is indeed correct in her 4 year old wisdom (or assumptions)! ;-)

We stay busy, but we are so in love with God and know that this season of life that includes many long days, many times where the girls go a couple of days without seeing Daddy by the time he gets home and then leaves again before they wake, and running here and there to fulfill random obligations is a time of joy and a time of growth for us all as we look to our God to give us energy, discernment and knowledge of relying only on Him! We are excited to how God is moving in us (and boy, many days, He has to move a LOT to get our attention), as well as the people around us in the community of Elk Creek. The people there are beautiful, God fearing people who wish nothing more than to see people come into relationship with a loving and perfect Jesus Christ! We sit back; humbled, amazed, awed and blessed to be such a small part of God's great big plan! If we ever lose sight of what God can and will do, even if we don't jump on the particular flight, we just look into the faces below and see what a miracle we all are and are reminded that God sees us as beautiful, clean, smiling creations and desires nothing more than to spend time with us and then send us out to touch a hurting world with His message of love and hope!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


"Yes, when I'm grown up, I will definitely try new veggies, like broccoli and tomatoes(she's not a fan of either). . . I don't like tomatoes right now! They taste too. . . . grown-uppy!"

-Jovey explaining how her mind works in true Jovey fashion.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Don't forget the Lyrics!

"When I say TIRE, you say city~ TIRE (tire) CITY (city)~!"

-Jovey's rendition of Toby Mac's lyric, "When I say DIVERSE, you say city!"

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Just In Case. . .

My husband planned a super surprise party for my 30th b-day, and included our family, homecooked b-day dinner from way back when that my mom put together and brought to Louisville, oh so meaningful and fun gifts, and yes, even a more than yummy Reese's Cup Blizzard Cake from DQ! Does it get much better? He had taken the girls and I out the night before for a fun trip to the Apple store for me to pick out any color of a fun, new Nano to help me run and stay sane in times of my musical needs, along with a Nike chip, arm band and a pouch for my non-nike shoes. I thought that was enough, but wait, there's more!

For days when I don't feel like I am not very smart and have little ability to do anything other than wash clothes, put in hair bows and play Candyland. . . my parent's framed my college diploma which is just a piece of paper, but represents almost 5 years of hard work and perserverance through mental, emotional, physical and spiritual workouts that God used to helped mold me into who I am today as a wife, mommy, friend, daughter, aunt and sister!

For days when I don't feel very fit. . . my hubby made a shadow box of my first (and possibly only, who knows?) half marathon completed in a time of 2:16:25 (that's a 10:26 mile average). It was more than just a test of my body, but a true overhaul as I grew in my spirit and relationship with God and learned that everything always is rooted in how we view Him and that nothing is ever accomplished with true success until we realize that we can't do anything alone!

Oh, and for days when I don't feel very pretty. . . my mother-in-law got me a fun hot pink chi straigtening iron with rhinestone bling and all! I think I may turn 30 every year!

Tuesday is the Day. . .

So Tuesday, I will be 30. I will walk away from the 20's that everyone, including myself, so looks forward to embracing and I will say, "hello," to a new decade that will surely offer new challenges, new heartaches,but of course, new joys! I told Joshua that each decade is truly significant. My 20's were spent learning more and more about who my future husband would be and then committing to the relationship and growing in it at a young 22. Peer relationships were more shared with my husband and as friends had babies, so we too prayed and considered the same blessing in our lives. My babies were born and as I embark on this new decade, I have a 4 year old baby and an almost 2 year old baby. . . not really much baby to be had anymore, but still MY babies! I was a youth pastor's wife for much of my 20's and learned what that meant and how it was very different to be a pastor's spouse as opposed to how I spent my first 20 years as a pastor's kid! I kept friends from my past, but also embarked on new friendships, both of which are unique, diverse and deeper than ever thought imaginable when sharing a bowl of popcorn and watching, "Children of the Corn" at a friend's slumber party in the 7th grade.

Now, as I look toward the "thirty-somethings", I see new places to walk and grow. I see my girls, becoming young ladies and even, GASP, teenagers before I turn 40! I see myself as a pastor's wife, for whatever that will mean and bring as I still feel humbled to think that God has called our little family to serve His kingdom in great and awesome ways, inspite of our many frailities! I take hold of a new found thirst for Christ, sparked partly by a desire to run and be better physically after birthing babies, but quickly evolving into a desire to be better in all ways, which has then lead to a rewiring of who "Lela" has ever been as a child of God. I see the 30's as holding challenges that we will face, but how we will seek ways in which we will use our past mistakes even more to help guide us to where God desires us to be. I see friendships becoming even deeper and more necessary as support systems as my girls become the aforementioned young ladies, developing their own views on life and hopefully, choosing God as the root to how they see that life turning out for them and the future of where they will go!

All in all, I see God behind it all. I see how he has molded me from the very beginning to be right where I am. My faults, my gifts, my scars, my energy, my blessings, my curses, my joys, my hurts, my confidence, my insecurities, my soul mate, my children, my fluffy clouds, my cold, rainy storms; God is in it all! Turning a page into another decade is just another chapter to how God will continue to develop my character and who He has designed me to be! I look forward to daily receiving God's awesome grace, but I look even more forward in learning ways to then give grace to others that need it most, so that He may be glorified as I grow in His grace and in His knowledge always (2nd Peter 3:18)!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Running out of Options

I followed Jovey as she ran into her room last week and she just walked around, as if bothered, saying, "I'm just running out of options. . . I'm definitely running out of options!" When recounting this story to friends, they ask what options she was referring to and I sadly have to respond that I didn't even ask, since I was more taken aback by watching my daughter pace around as if she were a worried, little woman who had been walking this earth for at least a good 50 years with her worried look, her $.75 words and funny little pacing! She must have felt that she had been given more options, as she quickly found something to do to pass the time! I had to leave the room to giggle and just thank God for this little girl who has such an sweet, old soul!