Monday, August 27, 2007

Queen Esther's Beauty Treatment?

I haven't really made a list of some of the beauty treatments Esther had that year prior to her selection as queen. But I do know that some women enjoy being fussed over, made to feel special, or at least enjoy the relaxing calm that comes with spa treatments. Spa has the word AH! in it and that's what I find myself saying when I splurge with any sort of spa treatment. It doesn't happen often, maybe once or twice a year. Just often enough to make it special, so I will appreciate it. Indulged without coming to expect it.

For our 26th Wedding Anniversary gift, Russ gave me a half-day of spa and beauty at my salon. For that, I'm getting: a new hair cut, some color (I'm grayer than ever!), a spa pedicure (which I hear is more special than the regular pedicure), and a facial that also includes a neck and back massage. I wonder if I will feel like Queen Esther? Or at least like a calmer, more relaxed Kathy? I've only had one facial in my life and it was AMAZING so I can't wait for this treat!

All of this is my preparation (again to use the Esther analogy) for our upcoming consideration for ministry at Raymondville. More important is the spiritual preparation prior to their vote.

My prayer for this is, "Thy will be done, dear Lord."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Opportunity to Serve!

First Baptist Church in Raymondville, TX has interviewed us, and interviewed our references and decided my husband Russ is their #1 pick. YAY! We are so excited because this ministry opportunity has so many of the elements of what we are looking for in a ministry (small town in the South, multi-cultural, etc.).

So, we will be traveling by car for 3 days to get there, and will candidate in view of a pastoral call, on September 16th, 19th, 23rd. We will spend about 11 days there and travel back 3 days. So that will be a 17 Day Adventure! :o)

Also on the way there we hope to see a couple of our friends (Leno and Mary Yellott in Vidor, TX, and Dennis and Teresa Hankins in Galveston, TX).

The thing is, Hurricane Dean is headed to Raymondville right now. If it does hit, maybe God wants us to be there to help with the clean up. Who knows? Or maybe it won't hit, and God will tell us "just checking to see if you are willing to go ANYWHERE I send you!" (Yep-we are!)

Please pray about the is opportunity with us. You know how Jeremiah said he tried to suppress the Word inside him, and it burned and would not remain silent? That's how we are about ministry-we just HAVE to find a place to serve!

Thanks for praying with us-I'll keep you posted.

My New Web site!

Check out my new Web site at:

I almost feel like I need to give it a birth announcement!

Friday, August 17, 2007

SomeOne Cares!

Click on graphic to check out this site. Such a worthy cause. Please pass the word along about the LifeWay sponsored conference. Also, check out the movie while you are at this site. Warning: It will bring goosebumps and tears.

Someone Cares Conference

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Survey From a Friend

A friend sent me the questions-this should be fun!

1. *What time is it? - 3:38 pm
2. *Name: - Kathy Carlton Willis
3. *What are you most afraid of? - Disappointing God and others
4. *What type of car do you own? - 2002 White Olds Minivan
5. *Have you ever seen a ghost? - Nope-not my cup of tea.
6. *Where were you born? - Louisiana, MO
7. *Ever been to Alaska ? - No, but I'd love to go on an Alaskan cruise.
8. *Ever been toilet paper decorating in trees? - Yes, but not until I worked with teens (hangs head in shame.)
9. *Croutons or Bacon Bits? -Neither-sunflower seeds
10.* Favorite day of the week? - Sunday-the Lord's Day!
11. *Favorite restaurant? -
12. * Favorite Music? - It would be easier to name what I DON'T like!
13. *Favorite sport to watch?- whatever is on
14. *Favorite Drink(s): - Currently, it is a wild strawberry energy drink mix (sugar free) from Crystal Light.
15. *Favorite Ice cream: - Tin Roof Sundae
16. *Disney or Warner Brothers? - no preference
17. *Favorite fast food restaurant?* - Wendy's
18. *What color is your bedroom carpet?* - hardwood
19. *How many times you failed your driver's test?* - Never
20.* Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail? A client
21. *What do you do most often when you are bored?* - I don't think I know that word.
22. *Bedtime: - between 11 pm and 1 am
23. *Hobbies? - read, cook, indulge Jazzy, music, etc.
24. *Favorite TV show? - I enjoy several (Top Chef, House flipping shows, So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol, Amazing Race, CSI, NCIS, etc.)
25. *Ford or Chevy? - doesn't matter
26. *What are you listening to right now? - Top Chef on television
27. *What are your favorite colors? - right now I'm drawn to aqua and brown together
28. *How many tattoos do you have? - NONE
29. *Do you have any pets? - Two, Jazzy and Libby
30. *Which came first the chicken or the egg? - According to the Bible account of creation, that would be the chicken
31. *What would you like to accomplish before you die? - Figuring out how to be a woman of grace

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Family and Friends/Old and New Part Four

Monday of our trip proved Bill right-or at least, "so far, so good." Remember how he said when his congregation prays, stuff happens? Well...we got a call-not THE call, but it could lead to that!

But let me tell you about my day up to that point.

Sunday night Taishi asked me to wake him up to go with Russ on his morning walk. Well—I decided to tag along. Healthy for me both physically and mentally, right? Right! But that big hill isn't so great going straight down and even worse going straight up-in suffocating heat and humidity no less. But it was a great thrill to spend that extra time with Taishi and to see Russ interact with him (they love talking about sports AND music). And who wouldn't want to walk down for a spectacular view of the sun coming up over the Mississippi River? (My shin splints don't get to vote!)

Monday was the day we had set aside to go visit Bill and Elaine Rubemeyer (our across-the-alley neighbors during my growing-up years). On our way there, the cell phone rang and it was the head of the pastoral search committee in Raymondville, TX. Remember what Bill said Sunday about "stuff happens when our church prays"? Well, in less than 24 hours, we got that desired phone call! We've been invited to spend 11 days in Raymondville, TX for Russ to candidate in view of a call to pastor First Baptist Church. We are so very excited of the prospects! Our hearts desire to serve in this position, and especially in a multi-cultural/Hispanic small-town area. What a great opportunity this will be! Take a look at any map of Texas, put your finger in the tip, near the Mexico border and near the San Padre islands, and you'll see why we are excited about this mission field!

I'm guessing when we stepped out of our car to visit with Bill and Elaine (after receiving that phone call) that there was an extra spring in our step or perhaps we weren't touching the ground at all!

Then, kick it up a notch to the elation of seeing the Rubemeyers. I just couldn't hug Elaine enough! The only disappointment was that Patricia wasn't able to drop by to spend extra time with us.

Monday ended with sight-seeing of our old stomping grounds.

Tuesday we had to say goodbye to family. So hard to hug everyone goodbye, unsure of when our next visit will be. No one is assured of tomorrow. When we see Taishi again, he will probably be a teenager. Imagine THAT!

We drove to Pittsfield again, and Russ went with Bill to visit some of the folks at the Southern Baptist Convention association in Springfield, IL. Phylis and I browsed at our LEISURE at stores in Pittsfield and back in my hometown of Louisiana, MO. We dined at the Eagle's Nest, which was a cozy cafe where Green's variety store used to be when I was growing up. In fact, that was where my wedding cake topper was purchased 26 years ago almost to the DAY of when I dined there this week! I needed the girlfriend time with Phylis while Bill and Russ enjoyed their time together as well.

Then our time away came to an end, and we made our way home.

We were eager to see our Jazzy girl again. Laura Dillard was holding Jazzy and watching out the door window as we walked up. Jazzy looked VERY comfortable in Laura's arms. In fact, she was glad to see us, but seemed perfectly content to just "live" there. Glad to know the Dillards made her feel like family. They said she is very smart, like she knows what you are going to do before you even do it! And they said I should write a book about her time there, and title it, "When the City Dog Goes to the Country." One day, Laura didn't want to leave Jazzy in her crate for long, so she took Jazzy to our friend Jouella's home to spend time with her dog, Onyx. They loved her so much they even called someone else who used to have a Boston Terrier to come over and play with Jazzy. Jouella said Jazzy's so smart it's almost like she speaks English-and she is so agile that she looks like a gazelle when she plays! Sounds to me like Jazzy was treated like royalty-just like Aunt Verna Jean treated us while we stayed in Clarkville!

Family and Friends/Old and New Part Three

This past Sunday was a real treat for us. We traveled to Pittsfield, IL to serve at Calvary Baptist Church pastored by our friend Bill Herald. It was great to see Bill and Phylis again. I first met Phylis on a pastors' wives e-mail group 11 years ago. Each has been there for the other many times since that first e-mail exchange.

After Sunday School we walked into the sanctuary and were greeted by my schoolgirl friend, Patricia. Look back in the archives and you will see many memories from my childhood include Patricia (aka Patty and Purple). Oh—it was so good to see her, and her hubby, Don! They scooted over in a pew, and I suddenly felt like we were teenagers again.

After the kids performed their Vacation Bible School wrap-up program, I sang "I Will Listen," originally performed by Twila Paris. And then Russ preached a great sermon that spotlighted the value of children (to go along with the VBS program). The title was "Unnamed Masterpiece." At the close of the service Bill collected a love offering for us, (which was NOT expected, but very much appreciated). He sent us to the foyer doorway to allow the congregation to greet us, and called the deacon of the week up to close in prayer. The deacon suggested they have a special prayer service for us, for God to open and close doors for us as we pursue a new ministry (Russ would LOVE to pastor again). So, we walked back down to the front of the church, and all the deacons and wives, and Bill and Phylis gathered around us, laid hands on us, and prayed for us, that Russ will soon receive a call to pastor. It was such a surprise for a deacon to care that much for someone he had just met. He had no way to know just how special this would be for us.

Bill told us that when this congregation prays, they GET results. Not that they have a hotline to God or anything, but they pray in faith, trusting God for the outcome. The church also has a prayer chapel and individuals sign up to pray for an hour, using the prayer cards provided by the church to prompt them to recall the needs of the church and the members.

Family and Friends/Old and New Part Two

It was so good to see Aunt Virginia at my cousin's wedding. She has overcome some great trials these last 12 months. We lost Uncle Skillet (who treated her like a Princess for almost 60 years of marriage). She was diagnosed with breast cancer and endured surgery and treatment for that. And she moved out of a home she had lived in for at least 50 years. That's one strong woman!

We arrived early for the outdoor wedding of my cousin Kristy's daughter Nicole. Nicole was about 5 when my dad died-she was so special to him-like a grandchild really. I'm so glad Dad had Nicole and Matt to "love on" since he died before Wade married Kana and they had Taishi.

Kristy worked feverishly on all the last minute details of the wedding while the wedding party posed for pictures. Especially smile-inducing was the antics of Dean, Kristy's grandson. I had heard "brags" of this 2.5 year old, but figured the raves were skewed by a Great-grandmother's bias. Not so. He was all that and MORE. So photogenic and all boy. His face tattled on his thoughts—so animated!

The wedding ceremony celebrated the happy couple's friendship. Not so happy was the weather-with near 100 degrees and near 100% humidity. Rivulets of sweat trickled between my should blades, despite the wedding-fans that were distributed (like the old-fashioned paper funeral fans of days gone by). Iced bottled water also available during the wedding quenched the thirst but didn't put the "fire" out!

We drove to the country club for the reception. Each table was graced with miniature bottles of bubble-blowing liquid for guests to create an archway of bubbles through which the bride and groom entered. Each table also had silver bells to ring to encourage the bride and groom to kiss. Guests were equipped with disposable cameras, to record all the evening's activities.

It meant a lot to attend, to represent the well-wishes my father would have wanted for Nicole on her wedding day (as well as my own).

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Family and Friends/Old and New Part One

Last week we dropped off Jazzy (our not quite 2 year old Boston Terrier) at a friend's home so we could attempt a REAL getaway. Thanks, Dillards, for treating Jazzy like one of your own. You went way above and beyond the call of friendship duty! Jazzy acclimated immediately, and we were on our way.

We drove from Southwest Kentucky up to Clarksville, Missouri for a long weekend. When we arrived, my mom, and Aunt Verna Jean and Uncle Lewis burst out the door to greet us with welcoming hugs. What a reception! I had not seen my mom in 15 months, and my Aunt and Uncle in years. The family "reunion" had begun!

Then my brother Wade and his 11-year-old son Taishi returned from playing tennis. I had not seen them in 3 years (they live in Japan with my sister-in-law Kana). Quite a difference between an 8-year-old nephew and an 11-year-old! Taishi did an amazing job with English, considering it is his second language. Wade and Kana have certainly raised him right!

Aunt Verna had planned our menu for the entire time, and she spoiled us like royalty. Everyone needs a vacation like that from time to time!

On Saturday more family came in from out of town, prior to the wedding. My Aunt Deanna and Uncle Bob drove down from Waterloo, IA with my cousin Sonya. And my cousin Valinda drove my Aunt Virginia up for the ceremony and reception from St. Louis. What fun to see all my cousins in their 40s-many of us experiencing those midlife hot flashes!

Aunt Deanna and Sonya have both been e-mail buddies of mine for a couple of years, so I finally got to turn those virtual hugs into reality. YAY!