Thirty Four Years

steve-deborahSteve and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary a few days ago.  It’s funny to me how it seems like a long time ago and then it seems like yesterday that we were married and starting this great journey of life together.  I don’t feel old, but when I look at the photos, we look so young.

What happened to those two young people? Marriage happened.

Two wonderful years in Starkville, Mississippi, and then life took some unexpected twists and turns and we ended up in Manila, Philippines, helping to plant a new church. And then the babies came, and oh, the joy that they were to us. And the church grew, and we planted more churches, and they continued to grow.  And the boys grew and there was school and baseball and basketball and then tennis to fill our days and our years and our lives with such joy and busyness and wonder and excitement and so many great memories.  And then college came, and one by one, they ventured back to the USA to study, and so we all just traveled more so we could keep up with each other and see each other and keep up with work and life.  And then, William met Rachel,  and Jonathan met Moriah, and we had two weddings in less than a year.  And then a few years ago we welcomed Josephine Kate into our lives and family. And just one month ago we added another new member to our family -William III.

And here we are, thirty four years later, with a profound sense of gratitude for God’s faithfulness and goodness to us in our marriage and our family and with the work that He has given us to do.  There have been many bumps and curves and difficult times on our journey but through it all, God has been faithful, and life and marriage are sweeter today than the day we said “I do.” We look forward to these next years together and thank God that His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is great.

Birth and Life and God’s Wonderful Gifts

I am so pleased to announce the birth of our second grandchild.  He arrived three weeks early on Saturday, July 23.  He is now two weeks old and we are enjoying him so much.

He eats and sleeps and is growing before our very eyes.  Some days I want time to stand still and let him be a newborn for a little longer, and then other days I wonder and imagine and look forward to watching the amazing life God has planned for him unfold.  And every day that I hold him, or see a new picture arrive on the screen of my phone, I simply marvel at how God has once again created a new little person that is different from every other one on earth. I am reminded once again of Psalm 139:13-16:

“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them.
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”

Isn’t God just amazing?  His creativity and His gifts never end.

I stand in awe of God and this gift He has given William’s parents and our entire family.  We are so very grateful.

Introducing William Stephen Murrell III

Introducing William Stephen Murrell III

The happy parents

The happy parents

The happy family

The happy family

Pops and our babies. We love them so!

Pops and our babies. We love them so!

Welcoming Baby William home from the hospital

Welcoming baby William home from the hospital

Summer Breezes and Sunny Days

It’s summertime here in Nashville.  Makes me think of the lyrics of the old Seals and Crofts song “Summer Breeze.”

“Summer breeze makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”

I don’t know about jasmine in my mind, but I do love summer breezes. This song brings up lots of great summer memories for me;  long, carefree days at the beach, eating watermelons right from the watermelon patch, riding bikes until dark in the neighborhood with friends, enjoying long days when the boys were young without the constraints of a school schedule, traveling to visit friends and family, summer afternoon thunder storms, drinking iced tea and sitting on the front porch.  The list could go on and on.  It’s so much fun to remember and makes me so very grateful for God’s goodness in our lives.

And it begs the question, what memories will I make this summer?  Will I just busily go through my to do list each day with all my projects for the house, and ministry and our travel schedule, or will I take the time to make sweet memories with family and friends in the midst of our busyness? Great memories are made on vacations and trips and planned events, but some of our best memories happen on the most ordinary of days at home or in the  park or on the porch or by the grill.  May we recognize these moments for the gifts that they are and remember and cherish them.

I need to go get the porch ready and make the iced tea and call my friends. What about you? Praying you have a breezy summer filled with sweet days and a grateful heart as you make memories with those you love.


Image from Ashley Phipp’s lovely website, Simply Designing

Friends and Family

It’s baby time around here.  Grandbaby number two will be here sooner than expected.  His birthday has been moved up to July 23 and we are all excited to meet him.  We had a shower for his mother last Tuesday evening.  It was a lovely summery affair.  We found the cutest invitations with a whale so that became our theme.  Pretty shades of blues to welcome our newest member of the family and shower his parents with clothes and blankets and gifts galore.

Our friends were so generous and kind and we all enjoyed being together for an unrushed evening of celebration for this precious gift from God. Thanks to my co-hosts Sandy Houston and Moriah Murrell.  I love doing parties with you both.  And thanks to all graced us with your presence.  Most of all thanks to God, the Giver of life, for His goodness in our lives.  We are so very grateful.