Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  It was a sad day that I will never forget.  Same kind of sadness and shock as the OKC bombing.  I will never forget where I was and what circumstances were in my life the day it happened.  Even though they were different places, days and issues, one thing has been constant...God is in control. 

You hear it in the stories of WHO was there.  You hear it in the stories of the MIRACLES.  You see it in the stories of those who died with a PURPOSE.  God was and is in control of each and every one.

A sobering day, but a true reality.  We all have a day appointed that we will die.  No one can escape death.  Our Lord has planned not only our day of birth but our day of death BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.  It has been such a relief to grasp that reality that there is nothing I can do to escape or speed up death.  There are consequences for sin, but there is no changing the plan God has for your life.  Whew.  Talk about resting easy!  Now, if I wasn't sure of my salvation and my eternity with Christ, that would scare the life out of me.  He wants us to be secure in our salvation and have confidence in our eternal destination.  We are all appointed a day of death...question is, where will we spend E.T.E.R.N.I.T.Y.?  It blows my mind to even try to grasp 1000 years.  Eternity.  Forever.  Never ending.  My God comprehends it.  He created it.  He wants to be with ME for eternity.  ME.  Mandy Baker.  Little me who grew up thinking there was no purpose for my life.  HE showed me that there is a purpose.  HE showed me that there is an eternity.  And HE showed me that HE wants to spend it with ME.  John 10:28  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.Do you know Him?  Do you know where you will spend ETERNITY?  You can be 100% sure today!

9/11.  Over 3000 deaths in one day.  Bigger yet, over 200,000 gone in one day in the Indonesian tsunami.  Wow.  God knew each and every person.  Created them.  Made them in His image.  All in THEIR eternity.  Forever.  Never ending.  It is all of our destiny.  We were made to live forever.  It is sad to be without those we've lost, but those who knew Christ would never choose to return.  They are seeing JESUS!  I think about that often.  Those I know who have passed away...they are seeing the indescribable glory of JESUS.  I wish I had 5 minutes with any of them.  Just to hear what they are living now.  No hurts.  No physical restrictions.  No worries.  Eternal glory.  Thank you Lord for your perfect plan for our lives.  Thank you that you have prepared a place for us and this is NOT our home.  Thank you Lord that you've extended your invitation of grace and forgiveness to all.  I pray that anyone reading this post will search their hearts and be in a right relationship with you TODAY.  Our day for eternity could be tomorrow.  Let's not wait until then.

Hell is real.  Hell is not pretend.  Hell is eternity.  Do you know Him?  Jesus' call to us is simple.  We Americans have taken the gospel and watered it down to make it user friendly and played games at the foot of the cross.  It's time for our country to wake up.  He will return for His people.  There won't be time to play games then.  Today is the day.  John 3:36  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Monday, August 29, 2011

School, Softball and Service

Wow.  Off with a bang!

The girls are doing great in school and I can't believe that they are half way through the first nine weeks.  Faith is LOVING her teachers and I know the Lord hand picked them for her so that she can be challenged and feel secure at the same time.  Thank you God!!  Alex has great teachers as well.  She is loving the slightly slower pace of her new math class.  She is taking two high school courses this year...Spanish and Physical Science.  The Science class has been her toughest so far this year.  She also has asked her principal permission to start a girls Bible study this year and we are patiently awaiting the decision from the school board.  Her heart is to have a study that leads girls in mentoring and discipleship and something that will outlive her last year in middle school.  I am so happy to see both girls growing in the Lord this year. 

We are beginning a new softball season as well.  Their Daddy is having the time of his life with this.  It helps that they both have talent with it too.  :)  Alex loves her left center position and is an incredible batter.  Faith is starting her year being the real deal catcher.  I still laugh when I think about the first season she played and after she practiced that position she said it was so much fun being the UMPIRE.  I'll never forget that.  I almost didn't correct her!

I have been praying for God to open a door that we would be able to serve Him as a family.  I have for many years been in women's ministry and my job at the church is definitely ministry but I felt like I was always going in another direction from my family to do ministry.  The Lord has opened a door for us to join our Sunday School class in serving a local mobile home park on Wednesday nights.  We have church in their park and are loving it!  The girls have taken on leadership roles in helping with the kids and I hang out with the grown folks and do Bible study.  Alex has been assisting my friend Kristy in leading the kids.  She shared her testimony for the first time a couple of weeks ago and this week she will teach the lesson to the kids, Lord willing, on David and Goliath.  Faith's role is to be a friend to all and reach out to at least one kid each week.  Its just being Jesus with skin on when we are there.  Just being instead of worrying about the doing, like our Pastor has been preaching lately.  I so love it when the Holy Spirit matches up what He is doing in my heart to what is being taught on Sundays.  Total evidence that His Word is alive and powerful.  I have been praying for a hedge of protection be strong around our family as I know that we are in the enemy's territory with this ministry as well as the girls focusing on impacting their schools.  I know my God is completely faithful and will fight any battle for us.  *this is a reminder to me while I am typing this!!*

Looking forward to some cooler weather and my most favorite time of year coming up soon!  Still happy though to be in Georgia in the 90's instead of the 100+ temps that my poor Okie family has been struggling through all summer.  One week out there about did me in!!

One last thing...BOOMER.SOONER.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Lord

My blog has been a lot about the greatest gifts in my life, my family.  I feel compelled today to share my heart with you about the One who is above them all...My Lord.

When I think about how to describe the difference He has made in my life the past 7 years, I am truly speechless.  I lived a life growing up being taught about the side Methodist and one side Assemblies of God...can you get any more diverse?  The one aspect that I was taught that tied me up in knots was that you can never TRULY know if you will go to heaven.  If you die with unconfessed sin, that wiped away everything else and you would instantly go to an eternity in hell.  That always bothered me.  While I accepted Christ in the car with my mom sitting outside of my dad's house one night on the way home from church, I had a distorted view of God.  I knew that there was a clear difference in my life after I received Him, but I felt disconnected from Him in the way of chains of bondage that never allowed me to experience Him fully.  Those chains were placed around me by the enemy.  Due to those specific chains, it created many more links that were added on over the years that I carried dragged with me for a long time.  I loved Him and feared Him but it was an unhealthy fear.  I was fearful every day that I would not make the cut...He would catch me off guard and I would die with unconfessed sin.  There is NO freedom in that!
In September of 1999 we moved to Georgia.  We attended an Assemblies of God church since that is what we were used to...Tommy coming from a full Pentecostal church...that's another story...
Anyhow, we did not feel like that is the church we were to be a part of.  I will tell you one more aspect of the Assemblies of God church that did not sit well with me.  That was that you had to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.  Like I missed something the first time I was born again... If there ever was a girl who wanted that "evidence" of the Holy Spirit which to them was speaking in tongues, it was me.  I prayed with EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING because that meant that I did not have all of Him fully and therefore felt like something was wrong with me.  So, to pray with all you've got and not receive, I felt even more that something was wrong with this picture.
So, we started attending a large Baptist church here in Georgia and wasn't crazy about the idea of it being denomination that I had heard things about from my other church.  Then it happened...our Pastor preached a sermon on eternal security in Christ.  Holy Cow.  I I really like this church, but I can't go here!!  This is against everything that both Tommy and I had been taught!!  I instantly wanted to call others I knew and wanted to ask their opinion.  Then for the first time ever, I heard the Lord speak to my heart clearly saying...Why don't you ask me what I think??  Wow.  When you hear the voice of the Lord, there is NO mistaking.  (right Tommy??)  So, I began to do just that for the first time in my life.  I didn't go off of what someone had taught me...I took it straight to His Word.  This is the verse that did it for me and has become a very favorite of mine:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 8:38-39

Ok, so that with many other verses sealed it in my heart FROM GOD ALONE.  Not from the message that Pastor gave, but from the Holy Spirit quenching my heart to listen to Him and seek for answers on my own.  From that point on, it has opened the floodgates on my heart and created a yearning and desire to seek Him, know Him and serve Him with all I've got.  Do I still fail...uh, yes.  Do I still question...uh, yes.  But, I have total and complete confidence in MY LORD that He will never leave me nor forsake me and I take His Word seriously.  It has allowed Him to shine His light in areas of my life where there was bitterness, unforgiveness and emptiness that He wanted to deal with and allow complete healing.  I could stop right there.  His healing.  Nothing can do what He does for me.  No one can do what He does for me.  It allows me to be the woman He has called me to be.  I could never do it on my own.  The real girl in me is insecure, fearful, negative, withdrawn...on and on.  He has taken (and continues to) my mess and make something refreshing and new out of it all.  The story of my life is for a purpose and I want the good, bad and ugly to be used for HIS GLORY ALONE. 
So, that's what He did for me years ago and the journey has been rich since then.  He allows me and my family to go through twists and turns but there is always a purpose and He promises to walk us straight through the fire instead of laying down and becoming a crispy critter.  During those trying times, He is so evident and personal and it makes me emotional when I think about how incredibly intimate He is with each of us in our own way.
I am such a different girl than the one who moved here from Oklahoma.  Actually, visiting Oklahoma reminds me way too much of that old girl.  I almost feel like she should have another name. 
I wanted to share what He is to me RIGHT NOW, but I guess He had other thoughts when I began typing.  I guess I needed to start at the beginning.  When the time is right, I want to document what He is to me now.  This is not about a difference of theology or denominations.  I don't associate myself with being a Baptist.  I associate myself with the One and Only who knows MY name and who I look to and answer to completely.

I love you Lord.  I know that when I say that, you have said it to me first.  Help me to remember that always. Thank you for loving this broken and messed up girl for who I am.  Thank you for giving me Your all so that I can be called Your daughter.  I pray that somehow these words will impact even one life for Your Glory.  You are so worthy and I praise You for who You are.  Amen.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Updated family photo

Quick family pic taken by my neice...don't have someone to do this very often!

Happy 17th Birthday Brandon!!

Ok, so I think this is my 50th post for today....

I wanted to give a BIG Happy Birthday to my awesome nephew Brandon.  Brandon has a special place in our hearts as he was our "first" trial run adopted child.  He spent a lot of time with Uncle Tommy and Aunt Mandy when he was little...  (too little to remember) back when all we had were cats for our entertainment.  My greatest memory of Brandon is his obsession with Space Jam the movie and singing "I beweeve I can fwy"  He was so cute then and has turned into quite a handsome young man now.  Brandon, we hope you do amazingly well this year as a senior.  Don't sell yourself your absolute best...we know you can do it!!!

The Bakers  :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trip to Okiehoma

We took a trip to Oklahoma the week of the 4th of July to visit our family. 

We went to Frontier City with my brother, sister and Tommy's family...had a fun, hot day there but there were no lines so it really was good!  Had some of our crew get sick and throw up, but we kept on time to waste!  :)

We spent time with Tommy's family and with my Dad, Cathi and my brother in South OK.  The heat was ridiculously hot.  I mean skin scorching hot.  The real temp some days was 110...not counting the humidity and heat index.  Crazy!!

Here are some pics from our week...

We went to the Chickasaw Indian Museum in Ada, OK

The girls with their Uncle Andrew...just graduated from high school and on to college with a scholorship!!!  Proud of you!!

The girls with their Papa  :)

My brother serenading us outside...very talented and handsome young man!

The girls and I taking self pics

Hiking day...yes in the heat!  We had a great time as long as we kept moving.  Good to be out in nature and really soak in how God has created EVERYTHING and takes care of IT ALL!!

She looks like a pro hiker!  My dad made us hiking sticks  :)

See where she gets it from??

My honey is hott when he's hot!!!

After hiking, we found a quiet spot at the river to cool off

What a pretty girl!

So is this one!

Back to OKC, visiting Tommy's family.  Hailey, our neice.

Visiting my precious Grandma Shupe.  This woman is a true jewel in my life and I love her dearly!!

Tommy's crew   :)
Lynn, Kevin, my hubby, me, Sarah, Tommy's mom and Rosemarie

Faith and my great neice Kayanda...sweet girl!!

My nephew Josh had his 18th birthday and we also celebrated his swearing in to the Army.  We are very proud of you Josh and pray that you continue to seek after the Lord!

Tommy, Lynn, Sarah, Rose, and their mama

All the grandkids, plus one great granddaughter

Uncle Tommy and Josh

Summer 2011

I have been very blessed to have been given time off this summer to spend at home with the girls.  Through much prayer, the Lord told me very specifically to not commit to any ministry except the ministry of my girls and hubby.  I was OKayed :) to attend a retreat.  It was a real blessing to my heart personally.

The theme was daughters of the King...we were crowned when we entered and wore our crown during the entire retreat.  What an honor it is to begin to grasp who we are in Christ alone. 

I also learned how to snap and cook fresh green beans!  My friend Dawn explained how to do it and we bonded through food prep.  :) 

The rest of the summer has had lots of downtime...amen to that...and spending quality time investing in the girls personally and spiritually.  Alex loves doing Bible studies and reading devotion books.  I have also started working with Faith on her first Bible study called Lord, Teach Me To Pray by Kay Arthur.  GOOD STUFF!

Alex went to youth camp in Cocoa Beach for a week and had a great time as usual.  Faith and I took time away with my mom and went to Savannah for the first time.  It was sooo pretty and nice there but we picked a tough time to go...they broke the record high both days we were there.  We really want to go back when its cooler and continue to learn more about the history and do more shopping!!

Wish I had taken pics while we were there but I only took phone pics.  :(

Spring Break

For spring break this year, Tommy was away on business in South GA.  We decided to take advantage of the time off of school and go join him for a few days.  He had a house rented due to the extended period of time down there so it was a perfect getaway.  We had a great time!

This was right outside of the back pretty and relaxing!

Looking at the fish...

Faith with her backyard explorer gear on telling me how BIG the fish are.

A trip to a plantation home

So sweet

This picture cracks me up because Faith was a little freaked out by the horse because everytime she went to pet him, he turned his fact toward her.  I wanted a picture of the two of them with this horse, but she wouldn't take her eyes off of him!

We took a day trip to St George Island.  Nice beach town!

Max's first trip to the beach!  He wasn't a huge fan of the sand and salt water.  I took him for a walk and he ran up to the water and took a huge drink...only to hack it up for the next 30 minutes.  He's such a house dog!

Alex's 13th Birthday

Oh my goodness.  Our daughter is a TEENager. Still can't believe it.  We knew it was coming, but was in denial.  I feel so OLD! 

Our beautiful daughter turned 13 in April and wanted to celebrate with her good friends from school.  I am not a good party planner, but we both came up with the idea to do a spa party and sleepover.  It turned out great.  Alex has great friends.  They were such sweet girls and not only gave her sweet gifts, but great words of affirmation as to what an impact she has made on each of their lives.  Moments like that are priceless.

I was worried that the girls would think the punch fountain was cheesy but they loved it!  We had finger foods, deviled eggs(alex's request!) chocolate covered strawberries, mini desserts, and more chocolate!

Party favors that my friend made

Sweet girls and good times.  So happy that they included the LITTLE sister!!  :)

Group hug!

Happy Birthday Alex!

Spa time...loved seeing the girls do pedicures on THEIR friends first.  Such servant hearts!

Alex, I pray you continue on your journey through life with Jesus at your side.  Never ever loose sight of His face and seek His way in all you do.  You are an amazing, kind, compassionate and beautiful girl.  I am so blessed to be YOUR Mama!!  Keep shining for Jesus.


Softball continued to be a great season for both girls.  They both did their best and we have been very proud of them.  Alex was a first time player on the 12U team playing with girls who have had many years of experience.  She pushed through the tons of training and turned out to be a great ball player!  Faith played on a great team and really loved playing in the catcher's position.  Both girls also played left center.

Alex was asked to be on a summer travel team with her coach.  She has played very well but has worn us out!  Looking forward to rec ball again this fall!