We can’t live, TRULY LIVE ABUNDANTLY, as God intended us to live without unity. I’m reading in the Book of Acts and the early church grew because of unity:

“They all joined together constantly in prayer…” Acts 1:14

“…they proposed…they prayed…then they cast lots…” Acts 1:23-26

“…they were all together in one place.” Acts 2:1

“All the believers were together and had everything in common.” Acts 2:44

“Every day they continued to meet together…” Acts 2:46

“…they raised their voices together in prayer to God..” Acts 4:24

“All the believers were one in heart and mind.” Acts 4:32


“…And they were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31b

So what keeps us from REMAINING in unity? We have an enemy that “…comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” John 10:10a. How does he do that? He separates us by feeding us lies, that we believe, and therefore we focus on self not others. We walk through life carrying the weight of unforgiveness. Our love has conditions. We protect what is ours, even our own sin and shame.

BUT, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b. What does that even look like? Well for starters, even though we know “the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”, 1Peter 5:8b, we have a Lord whose “eyes range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9. When the bread of adversity comes upon us, it’s NOT just ours to bear alone. What happens to you, happens to me.

When there are broken relationships among believers, I believe it grieves the heart of God. I know personally, when there is conflict or brokenness in a relationship, especially with a believer, my spirit grieves and longs for restoration. This longing is rooted in my spirit. It’s not an emotional (soul) longing. It’s the Spirit of God communicating with my spirit and I am deeply troubled. We are going to have conflict in relationships, just as I’m sure the people in the early church in the Book of Acts did. However, I believe when we are focused on the Rule and Reign of Jesus Christ in our lives and that my life is NOT MY OWN, the Kingdom comes and His will is accomplished in and through us! He won’t leave us broken. He always restores!

We are STRONGER together…..Ecclesiastes 4:12

We are PRODUCTIVE together….1 Corinthians 3:9

We are PROTECTED together…..John 10:14-18

We are PROSPEROUS together….Acts 4:34

We are ONE together….. Acts 4:32 and John 15

follow me…

…” ‘and I will make you fishers of Men.’ AT ONCE, they left their nets and followed him.”

Matthew 4.19

The first disciples followed at once without any hesitation. This was the first time Jesus said follow me. He was going to show them who He was and how to live on mission.

Later in John 21:15-22, we read about Peter’s encounter with Jesus after His resurrection. After all they had been through together, even after Peter denied Jesus, Jesus was still pursuing Peter because He had a divine purpose for him. However, this time when Jesus said “Follow me!” there was a hesitancy in Peter’s response. There wasn’t an “at once”. Peter had a lot of questions, and Jesus addressed his fear and hesitation. This time Peter KNEW the cost of following Jesus. He was a changed man, but he was still relying on those changes instead of on Jesus.

The first “follow me” in Matthew was a physical following, literally, drop what you’re doing and come go with me. The second one in John is not so much a physical thing, but it addresses Peter’s spirit. The first was come watch me, the second was come after me and do what I did.

My spirit must be one with the Spirit of God to follow Him in this way. It’s a reckless abandonment of the body, mind, will and emotions because of a radical invasion of the spirit. This is what transforms us not just changes us.

I did a little research on the difference between change and transformation. To change is to do something different instead, and you can revert back to the previous state. To transform is a more thorough, dramatic change, and you will NEVER BE THE SAME again. Change fixes the past, but transformation creates the future, freeing us from the past. Change is all about what I want, and transformation is what HE wants. When you try and change something about yourself, the past is directing these actions. Conversely, when something is transformed, the future directs your actions.

So, to bring all this together is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. These two scenes in scripture are the perfect example of what Paul was talking about in Romans 12:2 NLT, ” Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” And that is exactly what Jesus did with Peter. He knew he couldn’t do this on his own, so, with the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter was transformed. If you take a peek at Acts 2:14-41, you will see a complete transformation in Peter, a new creation with a boldness, tenacity and vision to follow Jesus.

HOPE – Heaven Occupying this Place called Earth

Have you ever walked outside or even inside in the dark? I mean the kind of darkness where you are so disoriented and don’t feel confident you can find your way. And then you encounter the smallest, microscopic speck of light that completely illuminates your surroundings. You realize where you are. You can now see. The darkness seemed so vast, it caused a fear and a lack of hope. Yet it only took a small glimmer of light to break through and usher in Hope. In the beginning there was a vast darkness, yet the Spirit was there, hovering over the earth. The very first thing God spoke into the darkness was Himself, light. He spoke Himself into creation. He is light, and light reveals Himself in the midst of vast darkness. The first thing He wants us to “see” is that He is here. He is the source of the light breaking through the darkness.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Hope is not just a feeling or desire for something to happen….Hope is a person and He has a name, and His Name is Jesus. I read something interesting in the Wiley Online Library about hope. They were describing hope from 2 different perspectives. From a common perspective, hope is like a wish and its strength relies on the extent of the person’s desire. But biblical hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in the faithfulness of God. So good! It doesn’t depend on me. I can walk here on earth knowing that the God of Hope is occupying this place, and I have the assurance of that because of His faithfulness not mine.

….Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.

Hebrews 6:18b-19a NLT

As we all know, an anchor is a strong device attached to a ship and used to hold the ship in a certain place. Hope keeps me “attached” to the Father and keeps my soul (my mind, will, and emotions) focused on things above. As I seek Him and wait for His voice, I know that my “longing fulfilled will be a tree of life” Proverbs 13.12.

In Christ Alone

A wise young man once said on his facebook page “the more God shows His faithfulness, the shorter my prayers get”…. or something like that. Well, that resonated in my spirit….deep down in the place where my spirit is one with His Spirit. Simplicity seems to be a theme these past few months. So I’ll let my words be few.


While on this journey of simplicity, I picked a few flowers along the path….. and boy do they smell good!

First a gardenia…. the sweetest smelling….  There’s No sweeter Name than the Name of Jesus.

IMG_5132 2

Second the rose….in our culture it represents love….Let My Life Speak the Truth of His Love

IMG_5131 2

And third, the limelight hydrangea…..Jesus said I am the light of the world….Follow me

IMG_5130 2

For so long I have followed a process, a proven system, a step by step program that would surely draw me closer to being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. For so long I defined following Jesus by doing the things I read about in the bible, or asking the question, “What would Jesus do?” The Israelites had a cloud by day and fire by night. The disciples in the New Testament had Jesus in the flesh, telling them what to do next. Why can’t it be that simple for me? Here’s where I get excited. I have the greatest, most miraculous, most radical thing of all… JESUS CHRIST LIVES IN ME!!! Instead of my mind, will, and emotions determining what my body should do, my spirit is ONE with the SPIRIT of God in me. That’s where the new definition of following comes in. My spirit united with His Spirit leads, and my body and soul (mind, will, and emotions) must follow. I am now following the spirit that is within me. There is not a process, program, or formula for this. It is simply listening for Him to speak to my spirit, and my spirit leading the rest of me to join Him. It’s like a waltz, and Jesus is standing there saying, “May I have this dance?”


“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30


A Kingdom Purchase

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU AS ORPHANS; I WILL COME TO YOU.” John 14:15-18

A promise filled with Hope!

So what does this little guy…..



And this table have to do with this promise??


The sale of this table will contribute to his homecoming!!!

His name is Ike Eskridge.  He is currently living in an orphanage in China, but not for long.  You see, his forever family is waiting on their travel date to go bring him home, and the sale of this table will help them do that.

We started a silent auction for the 6 foot Trestle Farm Table at The Chapel Market last Saturday.  The bidding started at $450 and is now up to $625.  We will continue to take bids until 4pm Saturday November 1st at The Pike Road Arts and Crafts Fair.  The table will go home with the highest bidder, and all the money will go directly to this sweet family.

Meet The Eskridges…..


Dexter grew up with Martha Hunter in Camden, AL.  They went to school together from Kindergarten through 12th grade.  Martha Hunter also became a nurse and helped deliver 2 of our children.  We are so excited for her and her family, as we know the joy set before them!  We cannot wait to meet Ike and see the transformation God has in store for his life as his feet are planted in Acres of Hope.

My Awakening

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have seen videos of, participated in, or heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Some of the members of my family have taken the challenge…. except me.  The thought of pouring a bucket of iced water over my head is awful.  I don’t like to be cold. It makes my body ache.  Well, yesterday I received a challenge. No, not the ALS Challenge, but one that I am finding to be much more difficult.  I would much rather dump the ice water over my head….really I would.  So here’s where it all began.

My dear sister in Christ over at sent me an email requesting I read her latest blog titled “I am Obscene” , and after reading it, “pray and do with it as God leads”.  I was at work when I received the request, so I just glanced over it and all the pictures, put my phone back in my pocket and went about my day.  When I got off last night, I pulled my phone out and read it.  I was without words, hard to believe it, but it’s true.  I read it again when I got home and I didn’t know what to do with all that I had learned.  You see, I have been so incredibly ignorant to everything that has been going on in Iraq.  Heard about some stuff, saw some pics on facebook, heard about some videos, but MY life has been way to busy to stop and be informed about what was really happening over there.  I had no idea what ISIS was and as awful as this is going to sound, I could have cared less. So I sat in front of the computer not really knowing what to do.  I went to bed and was going to turn on the TV, but I just couldn’t.  I went to sleep, quiet easily, which is not usually the case, and slept very soundly.  I woke up, and as soon as I sat up in bed, I felt physically sick.  Quite frankly, I was disgusted with myself.  The reality of what IS going on broke me.  The grief overwhelmed me.  There I sat, asking God, what in the world do you want me to do with this.  The Holy Spirit began to speak, and I began to write.  I was reminded that we have over 900 followers on our Facebook page that see when I post a new blog…write He said.  I haven’t blogged in months.  I was hearing the enemy say “you better not go there, they will find you, they will find your children, that Facebook page and blog are for your business, you will offend people”….FEAR began to grip me.  Then the Holy Spirit nudged me to share this with a group of parents I was going to be meeting with this morning and pray.  This is the verse He gave me,

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-15

In the Old Testament “this place” was referring to the temple Solomon built.  We are living under the New Covenant and “this place” is us! We are the temple. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20  His eyes are open and His ears are attentive to the prayers offered in me! So, I shared and we prayed.  We prayed for forgiveness for our ignorance and our lack of concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We prayed for forgiveness for being so concerned about trivial things in our lives.  We cried, we pleaded with our Father, we sat quietly in His presence.

And now….I am writing to you… I am challenging you….. Get on one of your many electronic devices and google search what ISIS is, what there plan is.    They have had a plan for thousands of years.  They believe and have faith in their plan.  They have never waivered from their plan.  They are walking out their plan.  What is our plan? Are we tenacious about it? Have we forgotten it?  Do we believe in it…have faith in it?  Are we walking it out?  These brothers and sisters in Ninevah, yes I said Ninevah, are walking it out. This is happening to the great, great, great…. grandchildren of the people Jonah was sent to preach to.  They are standing, professing their belief is Jesus, knowing their children will be beheaded, the women will be raped and killed, and the men hung.  Watch some videos, as gruesome as they are. Look at the pictures.  Read the articles.  And yes, it will be hard….you will be overwhelmed…and hopefully broken.  Then, do with it as God leads.

This is the picture that I can’t get out of my head.  This little boy has an Arabic N on his shirt.  Look it up and see what it means.

I thought that writing this post and being vulnerable with those parents this morning was going to be so hard.  But as I remain in His presence, He is asking me to something much more difficult.  I am to pray for the men of ISIS.  As they lift their sword to the head of one of the least of these, I pray that the eyes of Jesus are looking back at them, that their deception is destroyed by the love of Jesus, and that the truth will set them free!


Chief meets Chestnut

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands..” 1 Thessalonians 4:11

The Master Carpenter, Dexter, at The Chapel Market

He is a quiet servant but outgoing and loves people.  He focuses on the business God has given him to tend to.  He has hardworking hands, cut up, calloused, strong, yet gentle.  This is Chief, who most of you know as Dexter.  He got the nickname “Chief Thor” at youth camp while leading a construction team consisting of teenage boys.  I guess he liked it because he wants his grand kids to call him Chief!

He is your carpenter at Acres of Hope, the creative mind and gifted hands behind all the treasures we build!  Come join us today as I walk you through the steps he takes transforming an old pile of chestnut that appears to be useless and dead and turns it into a beautiful treasure full of LIFE!


So, we received this pile of chestnut from a couple who live here part time and in North Carolina.  They needed another table for their Montgomery home that did not take up much space.   Their idea was to have a custom table that had drop leaves which could function as a sofa table, and when they have company it could become a farm table for dining.  When I first saw the pile of wood, I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out.  There you have it, secrets out, I’m not the creative genius behind Acres of Hope 🙂

chestnut10 I learned working with salvaged wood is very time consuming, and there is an art to it.  Old nails must be removed, each board must be cut to size, and then everything must go through the planer.  This sounds pretty simple, but I gave up on removing the nails after a few short minutes because it was way too hard! I’ll stick to staining, finishing, posting pictures and talking to you!

Chief then fashions the feet and trestle legs using a variety of tools I am not qualified to touch. Let’s not forget that back in November I shot myself with the nail gun 😦     Some stretchers and braces are then added, and voila, you have a trestle base!

He then takes some wide boards and joins them together, and as far as how he made them drop like that, well that explanation is above my pay grade.

We then sealed it with some Linseed oil and let that cure for a few days.  Now our favorite part of the process, delivery day!!!!!  Our clients were very pleased with how it turned out, and it fit the space perfectly!  Chief never ceases to amaze me with his ability to build these treasures! So I guess the moral of the story is, one man’s burn pile could be another man’s treasure!

A Southern Snowfall

I have done what I am sure many new bloggers have ….. NOT BEEN CONSISTENT!  Quite frankly, I went through a spell where I really didn’t think anyone cared what I had to say. But you know, I realized that I need to blog for me and not try to write what I think you might want to hear.  So, I am jumping back in full swing.  Lots going on at Acres of Hope, so let’s start with the biggest news of these past 2 months…

Our Homestead in the Snow

It only happens about every 4-5 years in our little town and it always shuts us down.  You guessed it, snow!  The children are all excited.  No school, roads closed, no milk or bread on the shelves in the local grocer, and endless trails of mud and water through the house.  Awwwwww…. a little piece of heaven!

The last time it snowed here was 4 years ago, and we remember it well.  It was the day we brought Maggie Mae home from China!  Beyond exhaustion from the 33 hours of travel, after 4 hours of sleep, everyone bundled up and headed out for some fun.  It only lasted half the day, but the kids had a blast!  This year, we got to enjoy it for 2 1/2 days!!!  So what do southerners do in the snow……..

Well you gas up the Polaris and the 4-wheeler and head to the shed to get the boogie boards you use at the beach, the wake skate and tube you use at the lake, grab some rope, hook em up and away they go!!!! No snowmen this year because the snow was too dry, but endless hours of being whipped around in the snow/mud was all they needed.

We took peaceful walks in the woods where we met up with this guy,  Ruby and Billy  stayed warm in their house all day, brewed lots of hot cocoa and smoke was continually rising from the chimney.  A few much needed days of rest on the homefront!

Anchor of Hope

hope candleHebrews 6:8b-10 “…we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.”

An anchor, something heavy attached to a vessel to keep it in place, and hope, a desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment.  These two combined are why Jesus came.  He is the heavy, mighty, strong anchor that God sent to earth so that His plan would be fulfilled, for man to be reconciled to God!  Christ lives in us, he attaches Himself to us, His vessel, and keeps us in the place where God wants us to be.  The waves crash, the wind blows and tries to steer us off the path, but our faith is convinced of what we hope for and certain of what it cannot see (Hebrews 11:1)  all because He came.

Our hope ushers us into the very presence of God where Jesus, our anchor, is waiting, watching, and interceding on our behalf.  Without Jesus there is no hope, nothing to long for or be confident in.  Without Him we are tossed by the waves, blown off course by the wind, and oppressed by the darkness of this world.  Our hope comes from a desperate place, deep in our soul, that is calling out to the light.

The words below are from the heart of our 16 year son, Parker.  This is what the Holy Spirit has revealed to him after the death of one of his best friends, Gray Godwin.

“We have hope in eternal life because of Jesus’ death and especially his resurrection. I don’t think a whole lot about the hope we have until something happens that makes me think about the future. The future is a very scary subject, in that it feels unknown and out of our control. With the death of my friend Gray this past week, I for one have definitely thought about his future and mine. Knowing that Gray loved God so much, reminds me that he is happier now than he has ever been. By his death, he has entered into the gates of heaven, and is living out what we are all hoping for, eternal life. Once I wrapped my mind around that concept, I was jealous that I was not in heaven yet. I wouldn’t say I was suicidal at all, but simply put, I was ready to get out of the corruptness of this world and be with Jesus. But that also made me think of how selfish it is to think like that. Though the world is corrupt, it doesn’t have the hope that I possess. Holding onto what I knew and not sharing the great news of Jesus Christ is not right. If keeping Jesus to myself was satisfying me, then my heart is not in the right place. My number one job as a Christian is to get closer to God, and grow in Him. So many people die, who are unlike Gray, in that they are fearful of what will happen to them before, during or after death. We need to bring those people hope so they are no longer anticipating or fearing death. The Word of Jesus Christ is that hope.”

IMG_1048Parker, Gray, Hudson, Hammond

A Sacrifice of Praise


“We are the light of the world. We are a city on a hill. We are the light of the world, and we gotta, we gotta, we gotta let our light shine.” – Kari Jobe

And that is exactly what Gray Godwin did wherever he was…. Let the light of Jesus shine through him!  Do you notice how everything around him is black and white, but he is in FULL COLOR.  This is how he lived his life here on earth and now how he spends eternity with Jesus. He stood out in a crowd. The character of our Most High God was sealed by the Holy Spirit in Gray.  Overcoming adversity and embracing life because of his firm foundation in Jesus is his testimony!

So for us who remain here on earth, what do we do?  A sweet friend shared with me that we put our right foot in front of our left, and eventually our heart will catch up.  I’m not sure if my heart will ever catch up, but I am reminded of what Jesus said to His disciples in His darkest hour,  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.  So, we will continue to pray.  And what about when we don’t know what to pray? The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:26 “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”  My heart and flesh cry out with groans, and my God can interpret that?  What an amazing God!

So I will pray… I will groan… and I will worship. Your Presence is Heaven to me Lord!  It is in Your Presence that heaven and earth collide, and we can join Gray in worshiping our King.  Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty! We bring you a Sacrifice of Praise. We surrender our mind, will, and emotions to you God and say, Spirit within us RISE UP!

The Lenses of Justice and Compassion

Safe in Mommy's ArmsBack in September my best friend went on a retreat for a few days.  Upon her return, she was not only refreshed, but it was like God had breathed on her.  As she was sharing one night, we got to talking about the specific way God designed each of us uniquely.  In discovering some of her gifts and the perspective she sees life from, there was a test involved.  The more we talked, the more discouraged I got.  You see, I so wanted to walk through her experience, but I am the worst test taker.  I wanted to know my personality traits, gifts, perspective, etc., but I knew if I tried to take that test it would be disastrous.  During test taking, I get locked up and feel like I am desperately searching for the right answers.  I just want someone else to tell me all these things about myself:)

Well, that’s exactly what happened.  A few days after we talked, I sat down and asked the Lord, out loud, to begin to show me the unique gifts He has given me.  As I was going through my day, the words Justice and Compassion kept coming to my mind.  The Holy Spirit was answering my question! I went home and looked them up, of course cause I’m the word nerd, and I had understanding almost immediately.  Compassion, in my own words, is relating to the emotions of others and being moved by that.   Jesus was moved by compassion in Matthew 9:36.  Justice is basically wanting things to be “right” and “fair”, and oh boy, is that me.  Now because I believe these are gifts from the Lord, I know He has a plan to use them in His Kingdom; however, I also know there can be a downside to both of these.  You see sometimes I “take on” the emotions of others, and that puts ME in a place of trying to fix things versus allowing the HOLY SPIRIT to lead me in my response.  Also, when things aren’t right or fair, especially with my children, mama bear can definitely come out, and this robs my joy.  Micah sums up how the Lord intends me to walk these out, “…And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8  So God is calling me to be an agent of justice and compassion,  but this requires deep, prayerful humility.

So in my discovery of this, and as I am receiving the breath of God in my own life, I understand now why I am passionate about orphans, the overlooked, missions etc.  These are the areas where I feel one with the heart of my Father in heaven.  When we were on our way to the airport to greet our best friends coming home with their daughter from Guatemala, I remember specifically asking the Lord, “what is this feeling welling up in me?”  His response, as I gazed at the stars from the car window, was “you feel My heart”.  It’s the most incredible feeling to be One with the Father.  As you see in the picture above, the Lord has graciously given us a child through adoption, and this picture was taken when I was experiencing that oneness once again.

Today, my heart continues to be drawn to the fatherless.  And yes, I am humbly praying about it every day.  Just because we have already adopted one child, doesn’t change the perspective I view life from.  However, what I am learning is, there are many ways for me to minister to orphans.  I don’t know God’s plan for more children in our home, but I do know that God designed me to see life through the Lenses of Justice and Compassion.  As I yield my heart to Him, He will make us One!

A Return to Family Dinners Part 2

So I left off last week with your menu planned, shopping done, and prep work done.  The table we were building was in the final stages, just awaiting staining and sealing.

As you begin your “plan”, I also said that the being flexible was key.  You see so many times we can get caught up in the plan and miss the journey.  For us in our business, if we get too busy we don’t enjoy the project or take the time to pray for the family who is receiving the treasure.  You don’t want family dinner time to be life threatening if your plan fails:) No “We will sit down together if it kills us” attitudes. I think for me, my desire is to connect with my family in as many ways as possible during the day.  Most of the time that is with individuals at various times throughout the day. So, dinner time is the time we can all be together.  Also dinner time can be a time when we work together.  Our kids have jobs at dinner time so mom is not exhausted by the time we all sit down.  Sometimes they even like to play “restaurant” and take orders and serve each other.  You’ve seen some pictures of our youngest daughter Maggie Mae “helping” daddy build stuff.  Well, when we finally delivered the 14ft Farm Table, he hired on 2 new helpers!

Delivery time was sweet! With much anticipation, we finally arrived Saturday evening at the Godwin’s new home to set up the table.  Due to its size, we had some assembling to do, and like I said, Dexter had some amazing help from those 2 princesses pictured above!  Dexter made the necessary adjustments and …….

14ft Farm Table

Here it is!!!! We are so excited and a bit in awe that the Lord enabled us to do this.  A large table like this will allow at least 16-18 people to gather around and fellowship.  It’s the only piece of furniture you will purchase that encourages spending quality time together focusing on each other and not the things of this world.  You see, without the Godwin family gathering around eating, playing games, making projects with the kids, etc., it is just wood fashioned together into a very large rectangle.  Their time spent at the table is what makes it special.  Someone commented on Facebook after seeing the table and said, “Would love to hear this table talk in 10 years.”  I would too!  So I guess I will leave you with this thought, what would your table say if it could talk?

A Return to Family Dinners Part 1

As Dexter and I were down in the shop building the other night, he shared with me some of his thoughts about building tables.  We got into a discussion about Family Dinners or the lack of families sitting down together eating dinner.  Has life gotten so busy and complicated that we can’t seem to find time to sit, be still, and fellowship with one another around the table?  The dinner table is the one place where our family has our most treasured conversations.  We get to find out about each others’ day, share what we feel the Lord is teaching us, talk about what’s coming up on our calendar, and quite frankly, just look at one another and give each other our full attention.  Now this is not always a “Hallmark” experience.  There are those times when some don’t want to talk, or want to talk about things that shouldn’t be discussed at the table.  And yes, with 5 kids, we ALWAYS end up with some kind of “potty talk”, as we call it.  It used to bother me when our conversations would digress, but now, I just have to laugh because they just can’t help it:) Somehow, some way they end up there!

So can you see why Dexter is motivated to want to handcraft tables for families. It’s the memories! As he is building them, he truly is thinking about all the food that will be eaten, the conversations that will be had, the games that will be played, and the projects that will be completed on them.  He thinks about how many generations will enjoy the table.  Most importantly, how many lives will be blessed around the table.  The 14ft. table we are building now makes us think about all the children, both biological and adopted, that will gather around it, and the Mom and Dad who are faithfully following the Lord as they raise them.

If you are yearning for this experience in your home, let’s look at some ways you can get started!  I’ll correlate it with what we did when we received an order for a 14ft table that we didn’t know how we were going to build! First you make a plan.  Look at your calendar for the week and plan your meals according to your schedule and how much prep time you have.  If you are not a planner, I promise, if you will just try this, you will save time and money and family dinners will be a legacy in your home! Then you make your shopping list, or for building the table, Dexter makes a cut list.

When you come home from the store, put together what you can for the meals ahead.  For instance, put marinade and chicken in a bag before you put it in the freezer, so all you have to do is thaw it!  You can also wash and cut up vegetables before you put them in the refrigerator to cut down on prep time when you need them.  When we have more than one table order, Dexter likes to cut and assemble all the legs at one time….

Now that your meals are planned, the shopping is done, and everything is put away, you can begin to enjoy it one meal at a time.  The key words are BE FLEXIBLE because….

blessed are the flexibleThis sits in my kitchen as a constant reminder that LIFE HAPPENS! It’s much easier to be flexible and move with the changes than swim upstream and fight the current!  Remember, the whole point is to have a time during the day when your family can get together!  More to come in a few days. I will share how you can add some special touches to the table and your dining environment! Also, the big reveal of the 14ft Farm Table!

Small Town, Big Events

Our cup overflows!  It’s been one year since we started Acres of Hope, and it has been an incredible journey.  This past month, by far, has exceeded our expectations, not only in orders received, but in building relationships with new friends.  We started out October a little discouraged to be honest.  We were all caught up  and had no pending orders.  Dexter used his time very wisely and began to get ready for the annual Pike Road Arts and Crafts Fair.  In keeping it real, I have to say, I was not as optimistic.

But with the encouragement of a few sweet friends, I picked up my bottom lip and was reminded  that this whole business is about God’s perfect plan, not mine and to trust Him.  So I headed to the shed to make myself useful.  My sweet, patient, husband taught me how to build boxes, knowing that he could have probably gotten it done a lot faster himself.  Sound familiar to you mommies out there with “little helpers” at home.  All was going well until…….

Nail Gun Injury

Yep, you guessed it, or maybe you didn’t 🙂  I shot my finger with the nail gun!  Remember a few weeks ago when I shared with you about Uncharted Woods.  Well, once again, I was traveling through them and didn’t realize that when a nail hits a knot, it changes direction.  The direction this one went in was the joint of my index finger.  I’m not even sure there is a word to describe how that felt, so I’m not even going to try.  Needless to say, I was not allowed in the shed for a few days!  BUT in my stillness, there was much activity going on in the heavenlies.  I received a Facebook message from Layla Palmer over at  inviting us to come and join some other incredibly gifted women at The Chapel Market in The Waters.

Excited about The Chapel MarketThis was my reaction to seeing the awesome space we were blessed with.  Yes I’m a goof ball, and yes I used to be a cheerleader, but at 46, my form is a little rusty!  We worked fast and furiously to complete as many projects as we could in 2 days.  We were welcomed by so many that did not know who we were.  We met people from all over the country and learned a lot about the blog world.  Thank the Lord, our friend Colby was visiting for the weekend. We could not have accomplished what we did without him, and you would not be reading this blog he created for us!  With only two weeks until the Pike Road Arts and Crafts Fair, we had a lot of work to do.

It was all hands on deck in the Watts’ house.  Let me just say, our children are amazingly flexible.  Sometimes dinner was on the table late, laundry got left in the washer, our 16 year had to be the taxi driver, but they never complained.  They understand that this business is what allows mom to stay at home and be available for them!  Dexter and I are in awe at the children the Lord has given us!

Pike Road Arts & Crafts 2013We made it! All set up and ready to bless many people with our hand crafted treasures!  It was a beautiful day in Pike Road, AL.  It was estimated over 12,000 people came out.  We sold our tables and most of our specialty items.  In addition, I have been quite busy this week taking custom orders from clients we met on Saturday!  Our hearts are overflowing with thankfulness for how God has provided for us once again.  He sees the big picture!

We thank Him for guiding us each step of the way.  Our prayer is that we will be  followers that “can be trusted with very little and in return trusted with much” Luke 16:10  We are a small business in a small town, but we serve a Big God!  “Who dares despise the day of small beginnings…” Zechariah 4:10.

Pull in a Little Closer

Watching the Pig Races
Watching the Pig Races

Who would have thought a simple day at The Pumpkin Patch would have so many teachable moments. Now if you are thinking I had teachable moments with my 5 year old daughter, Maggie Mae, think again:) It was me that was being taught. So many lessons the Lord has taught me in 3 short years from this  little girl, and oh how I am eternally grateful.

Living with someone who has been legally blind since birth has revealed to me so much about the other 4 senses. Close your eyes for a few minutes……… Listen for sounds close by and way off in the distance. Now take a deep breath. Is there something cooking, a fire burning, laundry washing, or just simple fresh fall air? Now walk around… be careful… and touch things. How do they feel?… soft, sticky, wet, cold….. Here’s the hard one. Let someone feed you some things with your eyes closed (find someone trustworthy;). How does the texture feel in your mouth? Is it sweet or sour, spicy or salty? All these senses are heightened when you are visually impaired.

Does not being able to see clearly stop Maggie Mae from living? Absolutely not! You know what she does? She just Pulls in a Little Closer . If you know Maggie Mae, you know she does not let her “weakness” dictate what she can or cannot do. Simply because, she has yielded her weakness to the Lord, and in her weakness, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is no longer a weakness, it’s just a different way of seeing life. So here’s where I learned more about this at the Pumpkin Patch.

You see the grand finale of the day was the Pig Races! Most of the children were sitting in the bleachers ready to watch the race. Maggie Mae was on the fence waiting in anticipation for the pigs to come. Now keep in mind, she probably has no idea what a pig is from our perspective. This is what happened when the race began……

Pigs came by

Look! She was in aw. She probably saw some shadows, but….. She felt the breeze go by, she heard them snort when they jumped the hay bails, she’s cheering along with the crowd and of course she smelled them. These were the things that I experienced too! For the first time, I “watched” the races from her perspective. All I had to do was Pull in a Little Closer.

When I can’t seem to find my way, I need to listen and my “ears will hear a voice behind me, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it”(Isaiah 30:21b).
When I’m weak, I need to rejoice for “The Lord is my strength and my song..” (Exodus 15:2).
And when I think I have it all figured out, and my plans fail me once again,  I must humbly ask God to see things from His perspective,  “Show my Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” (Psalm 25:4-5)

A Mommy date at the Pumpkin Patch

“We live by Faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Uncharted Woods

A path well traveled

A path well traveled

Beginning a journey with map in hand and a clear cut path is where I am most comfortable.

Uncharted Woods

Uncharted Woods

However, looking through the thicket with briars, stumps, fallen trees, and no path is where I stand.  It’s exciting, yet I’m a little apprehensive.  So instead of trying to make sure everything is perfect on this blog, I am choosing to forge ahead into Uncharted Woods.  It’s the unbeaten path, listening for the next step, a place of discovery.

Thank you for joining the journey with me.

Our Home

Our Home

First of all, our motto for our home is “People Live Here!”

It has been the most freeing 3 words I was ever taught in a bible study.  Our home is not a “shrine” to be worshipped and adored by others.  It is the place where we gather around the table and share stories about our day.  It’s the feeling my children get when they drive down the driveway and know they are finally home.

The Fragrance of Home

The Fragrance of Home

The Fragrance of Home

The Fragrance of Home

It’s the smell of candles burning, something baking in the oven or frying bacon for breakfast that draws them all to the kitchen.

A cozy bed with lots of blankets and pillows, or multiple Enos hanging up around the house as if we live in the jungle.

The boys in their Eno

The boys in their Eno

The crackling of the wood burning fireplace, and the occasional smell of smoke when we forget to open the flue.  A cowbell that hangs by the back door to call them in for supper, and if that doesn’t work mom just yells at the top of her lungs.  The multiple tree houses and shanties out in the woods built by boys being boys, which means an endless amount of dirt in the house.



The girls, taking pictures, making videos,  listening to music and having dance parties upstairs, but it’s so loud they sound like they are downstairs.

The sound of some power tool coming from the shed would be Dexter handcrafting the next custom farm table for a client.  Big dogs barking at anything that moves. Little dogs barking because the big ones are.  Kids jumping like Superman out of the tree house onto the Trampoline.  And the list goes on.

Hope in the darkness

Hope in the darkness

Yes, this is our home, and people really do embrace life here.  We don’t try to attain perfection, but our goal is to mature and discover, daily. Feelings get hurt, sharp tones are used when frustrated, dishes don’t end up in the dishwasher,  the lid does not get closed on the washing machine, etc.  But at the end of the day, we all know we are loved unconditionally by Jesus and one another.  There is nothing more important to us than that.

So take a little walk around our blog.  Get to know a little bit about Our Story, Our Family, Our Business, and coming soon, you can shop online with us!  I look forward to forging ahead into this blog world with you guys and share a little about our life, our business, and our everyday walk with The Lord.  Following Jesus in this world every day is a journey.  As we approach those Uncharted Woods, we can stand boldly before His throne with this prayer,

“Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” Psalm 25:4-5

A special thank you to my friend Tara over at Between You and Me for inspiring me, and to Colby at Triumph Fitness for helping me design and set up the site.