Wednesday, 30 August 2017

He Makes A Way: My WayMaker

Well the lazy days of summer are behind us now. Cool weather attempts to move in. We've enjoyed a galaxy phenomenon with the solar eclipse and now we are dealing with fired missiles. But sometimes it is pertinent that we reflect on all that's going on in our own nests.

It has been a whirlwind summer. Two graduates: one college, one high school, a big move, career and life changes for two children, travel and transition. As a mother, I suppose, the biggest tug on my heart strings has been sending off my first born daughter and now my first born son.

We've known for a while that Lawren along with her husband Brandon were relocating to Philly for full time missions. I've watched this child, since the age of 15, when we first visited Poland,  press in to the call of obedience to serve God wholeheartedly through missions. So, as hard as it was to say good bye, I knew the two of them were in better hands than I could ever provide.

However, the turn of events in our lives the past ten days still have my heart and mind reeling. For at least the last four years, it's been a given mindset that John Jay, my first born son, would play college basketball. Choices were made to encourage this and sacrifices took place to ensure opportunities were available as his skill set  developed.

When late spring, graduation, and then mid summer rolled around and nothing transpired as far as an opportunity for college sports, a new mindset was needed. Yet, in the stillness of my spirit, I sensed, "This isn't finished." So, I was not totally shocked when very late on a recent Sunday night....the night before classes started at the local junior college where John was enrolled...he came to me with this story:

"I talked to my old travel ball coach tonight. We caught up on all that's happened and he asked me if I still wanted to play college ball? I repled, 'yes'. He made some calls and twenty minutes later a college coach called me." There are a few more details on emphatic word useage, flailing arms, and excitement beyond comprehension...but that's not really the point of this..Still, use your imagination. There was some happy dancing even though at this point nothing was guaranteed.

John started classes the next day where he was enrolled. However, within four days, mountains were moved for John to transfer to Huntingdon College in Montgomery to play on their basketball team.

It is simply a miracle, something only God can do,

 for colleges to make things happen and for John to move so quickly. We delivered him Sunday night to campus. I might add it was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. Entrusting John to someone other than myself for meals, housing, a new way of life. And it all happened so fast. There really wasn't time for the  heart to catch up to the mind.

God gave me a word for 2017 "WAY MAKER" from Isaiah 43. Since God brought me a husband last year, it was with anticipation I looked for how in the world He would top that gift. And, although, He makes a way everyday with my health, my job, ministry, etc...I was looking for a RED SEA parting in my own life. And here it is with John's drastic turn of events in one week. Here's exactly what He promises to you and me as believers:

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
20 
The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,



What way do you need for Him to make for you? Will you trust Him? Will you wait with anticipation


There's probably so much more that I could write about but really all I wanted to do was take the opportunity to shout out to my Savior online for the whole world to see His faithfulness and lovingkindness toward His children. And furthermore, to acknowledge that our Heavenly Father sees our labor as moms to prepare our children, recognize their gifts, and provide an environment at home that allows them to flourish.

Our homes are meant to be places where taking ownership of your life and pursuing your dreams are witnessed over the course of our lives. As our children see us embracing life, hardships, obstacles, and pain, they develop spiritual muscle to do the same. They recognize the hard work it takes to realize your dreams and at some point take ownership of their own lives to do the same.

Also, another reason for sharing is for any reader to realize God's timing is perfect. While we may fret, ring our hands, throw up our hands, or give up completely, His love never fails. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. And time is NOTHING to Him because He is always fully present at every moment and has always existed. So while we may fret about deadlines, scholarships, etc. God does not. Yet, all the while He is orchestrating something beautiful for our lives as we trust Him with everything. He's waiting until the EXACT MOMENT WHEN FAITH IS MARRIED WITH ACTION to orchestrate a grand design to glorify Himself.

Will you trust Him today with your heart, your children, and your lives. Wait expectantly for Him to show up in unbelievable ways. Then share with others the miracles that are taking place.

Love, Pam

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The Send Off Store

It really started as a normal Friday..."Whew, it's Friday..oh double whew...it's Fiesta Friday, so Cirinia's cooking today".  We eased through breakfast and starting slinging pots and pans in preparation for not only Friday's lunch, a delicious taco salad, but also, the beginnings of the enchiladas for Saturday night's concert.

Yes, we are still dreaming about the new kitchen...as this is all going on in what used to serve as a tanning bed room if that gives you any idea of the size of our kitchen. A sweet volunteer once said about our kitchen, "There isn't enough room to cuss a cat in here:)"

Anyway, right before the lunch crowd  began rolling in, something interesting began to take place. A new customer...I'd seen her twice, came in. The first time, about a week ago, she didn't have enough money on her food stamp card to make the purchase she wanted of chicken salad or pimento cheese to go. I never thought I'd see her again but oh no. She came back on Friday and loaded up paying cash. She said I'm moving to Texas and wanted to take some with me. Her father had recently passed from this area so she was moving on and had a place waiting for her. Somehow the fact that my food became her care package for the trip blessed my heart.

THEN....a regular customer came in to pick up his call in sausage biscuit. Yes, we had moved into lunch but when you love someone you give them what they want if at all possible. I could tell when he showed up all anxious in the kitchen...or that closet..to find me he didn't want to wait. I ushered him back up front where his biscuit was waiting and then began the normal pleasantries, "HEY! How are you. You don't seem yourself. Is everything ok?" I have his phone number memorized, as he only lives a stone's throw from the store. And he usually exits with something along these lines, "If you need anything sis, you know my  number." He proceeded to confide in me that he felt all 'nervousy' as he was about to depart for his daughter's home about an hour or so away. I reassured him of the blessing he would be and reminded him that our heavenly father was the "blessed controller of all circumstances." With that kind of controller we had no need to fret. I watched his anxious shoulders relax, a smile appeared, and it was at that moment I realized I was the SEND OFF PERSON FOR THE SECOND TIME THAT DAY! I wished him well and celebrated that my friend seemed to be leaving better than he came.

AND IT HAPPENED AGAIN AND AGAIN: Next, new customers, a party of three, let me know as they paid that they were headed to Ava Maria Grotto in Cullman. The man's mother in law was visiting and they were taking her to see the Grotto. I recommended they find there way into the chapel...as it's open to the public. So, I was sending off the three for a day trip to Cullman.

Following, I had the traditional mom and daughter duo who come in to enjoy lunch before taking off to their annual Rock the South weekend venture. Lord knows my prices beat the event's food prices. This made year number three for me to send the two off to enjoy some mother daughter time as well as some awesome country music.




For the first time ever, I was the meet up place for  the local high school Brewer boys JV and Varsity basketball team as they headed to New Hope for a summer play date. A few of the guys ate lunch before taking off and three of the players returned late afternoon for a food fill up of fried bologna and grilled pimento cheese with jalapenos. I LOVE TO SEE BOYS EAT AND ENJOY THEIR FOOD!

After all the day's events, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I got to be the "SEND OFF STORE FOR MY PEOPLE".

In reality, this probably takes place alot of days as people are always going from one place to another. I think the reason it hit home this past Friday is because I'm sending off my oldest daughter this fall along with my son in law to Philadelphia as full time missionaries. Last night was our first of many fundraiser events this summer to raise funds for their work in Philadelphia. As we prepared on Friday for Saturday's concert, it all hit home that we were a "Send off Store". Last night was such a treat as new people came as well as faithful supporters of our business and family ventures. More than anything it was a time of gathering and  celebrating what we all deemed most important: the call to live the Christ life in our individual lives.

There are not adequate words to share my  heart of gratitude for the many who made the effort to attend, give, encourage, and celebrate the call on Lawren and Brandon's lives to give up their secular jobs here and go to be the hands and feet of Christ in areas of Philly where the gospel remains to be fully experienced.











It's been a full weekend and I have a full heart.

With heart felt thanks to a loving God who surprises me at every turn and faithful customers who are now friends, I am blessed that you let me be your sending agency. It is a privilege I don't take lightly.

All my best,

Pam

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Rest of the Pre Wedding Story





Today's news won't wait another day. I've waited for months to pen the perfect story, one that would inspire others to keep hoping, believing, and living into their dreams. But this morning yields a new understanding of the verse, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out!" What do I want to cry out? I'M GETTING MARRIED. I've spent the last nine months pondering and treasuring all that was transpiring in my heart. Today I give you the big news! Soon, hopefully, I can share more from the heart. But know you got the scoop here first! #myheartisshouting #fromtherooftops #luke19:40#luke2:19 #turningpamturney #storyoftheday #shesgettinghitched#godisfaithful ##dreamsdocometrue

The above post appeared on social media this past week. The response has been overwhelming. Thank you for all the heartfelt wishes for my upcoming marriage. And now, for the rest of the story..

I will marry my best friend and confidant on November 12. The journey to get here has been marked with abuse, pain, and loneliness. Honestly, I had resolved, that most likely a man would not be part of my single mom life until after my children were out of school. I am glad I was wrong. I am glad my heart was open. 

I wasn't looking for a husband and Marty wasn't seeking a bride the first day he walked into my little country store Graves Grocery. He was looking for a biscuit. Country ham to be exact. The biscuit, and maybe the friendly atmosphere, brought him back. And he kept coming back. And he stayed for long periods of time. It didn't take a rocket scientist to determine he was lingering on purpose. After many weeks, he finally invited me to dinner....again and again. And now we are here.

For the last decade I've been a single mom to five children. Lawren, 24, has been married to Brandon for two years and they are seeking full time Christian missions. Mary Catherine, 22, will graduate in the Spring from UNA as a Division II National Champion Softball player. John, 18 year old senior, Hannah ,16 year old sophomore, and Thomas, 14 year old freshmen all attend the local high school and are actively involved in sports, friends, video games, and life. I wanted you to know a little about them because Marty is getting all of us.

ISN'T IT AN ABSOLUTE MIRACLE THAT A MAN WANTS TO MARRY A WOMAN WITH FIVE KIDS?


Our recent beach trip with a few extra..because more is merrier.


God is still in the miracle making business. Don't ever stop believing, hoping, or dreaming. He truly does give us the desires of our heart as we trust in Him, delight in Him, and commit our ways to Him. (Psalm 37) What miracle do you need today? Will you trust Him for it?

These past nine months of getting to know one another has been a journey of faith that I never expected. I've never known a man like Marty, one so solid in his faith...like a steady ship that sails steadfastly through the waters, eyes fixed on the prize of heaven, as he goes about life day by day. It's been a steadfastness or security that has handled the tumultuous emotions of a broken woman, failed marriage, now small business owner, and headstrong, maybe even stubborn woman.

Occasionally I was asked by well intended friends, "what are you looking for in a man?" That answer was quick and easy. I'm looking for a man sold out to Jesus so he doesn't look to me to fulfill all his needs. I'm looking for someone to enjoy the journey of life with." Marty asked me early on in our relationship, "what do you see in me?" It was easy to respond. "I see Jesus and that makes you the most attractive person in the world to me."


Turning Pam Turney...November 12, 2016

I now know why Ruth has always been my favorite bible story. For years I kept going back to it for so many reasons. First, Ruth's commitment to her mother in law Naomi, after all the men in their life died, was unwavering. It became a picture for me of our commitment to God. Secondly, I didn't want to become bitter, like Naomi, from a failed marriage. Finally, I wanted to believe that, like Ruth, God would, in His divine supernatural way, place me exactly where I needed to be, at the right time, for His man to see me, be interested, and pursue me. I tried singles groups. It was miserable. I tried online dating. It was scary and a time waster. Finally, I relented to waiting...waiting on God to move. And when he did, I chose not to give into fear. I took Him at His word and slowly learned to take Marty at his word.

One of the greatest lessons in life I have learned is that God is always working. As we faithfully go about the tasks He has before us each day, caring for those He's entrusted to us, and serving Him wholeheartedly, He is watching. 

"For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." 2 Chronicles 16:9


We don't have to seek out love. He will bring it to us. It will be beyond your wildest dreams and more than you could ever imagine. Those aren't my promises. They are God's. (Ephesians 3:20) I love the story of David. He waited over 20 years to become King of Israel after being given the position as a teen. We see many stories of waiting in scripture....Noah, Moses, and David are just a few. I have found it is in the waiting that God is shaping our hearts, renewing our minds, and strengthening our faith to ready us for all He has for us.

Psalm 78:70-72 speak about God removing David from his day to day job to bless him with more.

He also chose David His servant
And took him from the sheepfolds
From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart
And guided them with his skillful hands

I see this story played out in my own life. As a single mom, day after day, I decide to do the right thing to work and care for my children. I take seriously the commands to train a child up in the way he should go...to disciple my children...to live out the gospel in my home. God has blessed my meager fish and loaves and afforded me the privilege of running a small business in my community. He has grown the business over the past three years. And NOW He has brought me a Boaz, a man to join my story of redemption by loving and caring and committing himself to me.

It will take the rest of my  life to wrap my head around this. But I plan to savor every moment of it.

Whatever you are waiting for, as a believer, know that your heavenly father is watching. He sees the desires of your heart because He gave them to you. Keep trusting, keep believing, and keep waiting. 

GREATER IS COMING.

The wait has been so worth it.

No longer waiting,
Pam



I wasn't looking for a husband and Marty wasn't seeking a bride the first day he walked into my little country store Graves Grocery. He was looking for a biscuit. The best I recall it was country ham to be exact. The biscuit, and maybe the friendly atmosphere, brought him back. And he kept coming back. And he stayed for long periods of time. It didn't take a rocket scientist to determine he was lingering on purpose. After many weeks, he finally invited me to dinner....again and again. And now we are here. You will have to read more of the story online from my blog found at www.gravesgrocery.com

I wasn't looking for a husband and Marty wasn't seeking a bride the first day he walked into my little country store Graves Grocery. He was looking for a biscuit. The best I recall it was country ham to be exact. The biscuit, and maybe the friendly atmosphere, brought him back. And he kept coming back. And he stayed for long periods of time. It didn't take a rocket scientist to determine he was lingering on purpose. After many weeks, he finally invited me to dinner....again and again. And now we are here. You will have to read more of the story online from my blog found at www.gravesgrocery.com



I wasn't looking for a husband and Marty wasn't seeking a bride the first day he walked into my little country store Graves Grocery. He was looking for a biscuit. The best I recall it was country ham to be exact. The biscuit, and maybe the friendly atmosphere, brought him back. And he kept coming back. And he stayed for long periods of time. It didn't take a rocket scientist to determine he was lingering on purpose. After many weeks, he finally invited me to dinner....again and again. And now we are here. You will have to read more of the story online from my blog found at www.gravesgrocery.com

Monday, 20 June 2016

Story of the Day, June 20, 2016


Today was definitely Monday. And although I COULD find a high point it would be a stretch. I guess my high point was I got to eat leftover smoked chicken cooked by "Two Cooking Dads" for Saturday's concert. It was just as good as Saturday. But, boy, was today tough. Began with me arriving early to clean up the concert mess from Saturday only to realize I was locked out of my own store:). Yes, it's Monday. So what I REALLY want to share is how amazing Friday was. My morning started with my sweet young single mom friend @melanieyepma showing up with her 3 kiddos ALL WEARING THE CUTEST HATS! They were headed west on vacation to visit family AND THEY CHOSE TO EAT WITH ME. I'm the lucky girl. I gave them exactly what they wanted, candy for the road, demanded a picture, and prayed for safe travels while standing in a circle in my New York (one butt kitchen) to which her oldest responded, "praying again? This is the third time!" I quickly reminded her that we could never pray enough. What a great lesson for us all and how I needed it today. They got on their way and lo and behold the dashing damsel @tampaxoxo Andrea Conway showed up ...first time ever. An absolute best friend in middle school! She was visiting her folks in Huntsville and drove out for coffee and conversation. She reminded me of fun times growing up that had been overshadowed in my mind by darkness. Thank you! Sometimes another's perception is all that's needed to shift perspective of a situation. I'll never really understand why they come but oh how grateful I am they do. Sometimes it feels like I'm living the dream like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams when he said, "if you build it, they will come." So I'm holding onto Friday's stories Of the day and singing Annie. "The sun'll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow will be a brighter, better day:) ‪#‎storyoftheday‬ ‪#‎myfieldofdreams‬ ‪#‎friendsforever‬






Saturday, 4 June 2016

Story of the Day , Friday, June 3, 2016

It's the weekend! Yay! And tonight's our first concert of the summer. The next three Saturday nights will be fun filled events from 6-8 at the store. But I wanted to wrap up our week with my logger friend Jason Moon. I met Jason when I opened the store three years ago. I watched him pull that big ole log truck right into the lot, pull himself down, and come inside for a Mountain Dew and a pack of Marlboro Lights. He had a winsome smile and legs that went on forever. My granddaddy would have called him "a long talk drink of water:)" Over the years I got to know Jason. I would ask questions about his life and family. You can learn a lot with a few short questions when you've made people feel safe enough to open up. Sometimes Jason's route takes him a different direction from the store and I might go months without a visit. I knew his wife was battling breast cancer so I thought of him often and prayed for his family when I did. Recently he returned from a long absence to report to me he buried his wife two weeks ago. Men can have such a direct way of communicating that pierces your heart but I new underneath there were layers of grief from a life built together. I've spent the last month making sure I asked different questions like, "you look terrible, are you eating? Or I forgot to pray for your family on Mother's Day but I wanted you to know you were only heart." I've fed Jason a couple of times and Thomas even bought his breakfast once he knew of his loss. I've also made sure I hug Jason....physical touch makes a person feel alive when they are hurting and alone. Jesus touched people during his earthly ministry. Who can you touch today to encourage...a smile, a kind word, a prayer, a hug...it makes all the difference in the world to know someone cares. ‪#‎storyoftheday‬ ‪#‎lovemyloggers‬‪#‎griefhurts‬

Story of the Day....Thursday, June 2, 2016

Probably the hardest part of my job is losing friends who became customers as well. Yesterday after work I attended the estate sale for Ms. Bonnie, who lived a atone's throw from the store. She passed away last fall. Her son Barry Kay played music at the store the previous spring. And I had the opportunity to meet her daughter during our flood victim relief collection when she brought a big bag of donations up to the store. But nothing prepared me to walk into the home of my friend who passed...to see her relics, her style of decor, her kitchen where she cooked. It was an emotional experience. I made my choices carefully to have her keepsakes her in the store and at home. I led a ministry at the local Methodist church for three years. Ms. Bonnie volunteered every chance she could. It reminded me of the importance of leaving a lasting legacy. Every time I think of Ms. Bonnie I am reminded of her servant heart, her kind spirit, and her devotion to God. What are you doing to leave s lasting legacy for your family and your community. ‪#‎leavealegacy‬ ‪#‎storyoftheday‬

Saturday, 14 May 2016

What Happens When We Hope

My Mary and her teammates board a plane at 6am in the morning for the Division II Softball National Championship Tournament to be held in Denver.




Getting to this place hasn't been especially easy, particularly for Mary. After two years of playing for a nearby community college, breaking records, coaching, and loving life, she transferred to UNA after a year hiatus from ball. The year between playing seasons proved to be quite challenging. There were relationship hurts, job disappointments, and those challenging years when your friends are marrying, moving, etc.  Yet, the year brought growth as opportunities opened up for Mary to come on board at UNA to return to her passion of ball. After the fall pre-season games, the holidays, and her first semester, Mary was the player posting the following at the beginning of the season:


Today is the day it begins. Today is the day we begin our fight for a conference title and a national championship ring. If one of us fails we all fail. If one of us succeeds we all succeed. The beauty of a having such an incredible team is that each individual has a different skill that will fill the flaws of another individual. We are a team of strength, confidence, talent, and hard work. We will do whatever it takes to overcome our opponents. I love this family.
LETS FREAKING GO. 💜💛🦁💛💜





I believe this post was only a couple of days before Mary broke her hand while moving a sofa down a flight of steps helping a friend to move. As a mom, might I say the next 8 weeks were LONG AND HARD. The injury Mary sustained kept her from returning to the game this year; although, she eventually resumed work outs and practices. There were lots of texts, conversations, prayers, etc. And over the course of the season, I watched something beautiful take place.

Mary's own fan base:)


Mary's teammates and roommates!
Mary's role changed for the team. She became for them what she's been for me and our family. A strong support. My daughter has taught me more about hope the past 18 months than I've ever known. She's taken the hard places of this season of life and found hope to press on believing good was in store for all.





"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isa 40:31

When we are walking in difficulties, when the pain is great and the circumstances aren't changing, we can rest in the peaceful contentment of Christ...I shared with Mary I can only imagine what God has been preparing her for these past 18 months because there has been disappointment after disappointment.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow faint or weary and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary" Isa 40:28-30 I've seen this verse come to life in Mary as He strengthened her.

How are you instilling hope in the lives of your own children? Are you hopeful? You cannot share what you do not have. Life can be so so challenging. Would you ask God today to show you how He is your hope in this world for a life of peace and joy in spite of your present circumstances?

You can watch Mary and the rest of the UNA Lions as they take on  Arkansas Tuesday 5pm cst. It will be live streamed on the UNA website.

Go LIONS!