24th Apr2014

In Defense of My Faith

by Daenel

In Defense of My Faith Banner {Living Outside the Stacks}

A few years ago, I wrote a post about religious civility and the lack of respect that some people show towards people of faith, specifically towards Christians. The post was a reaction to some of the things that a few of my friends and acquaintances had posted over Easter weekend.

I honestly hadn’t planned to address the issue again but after seeing the same recycled “jokes” this past weekend, I realized two things:

  • The Bible says if I deny Jesus here on earth, He’ll deny me in Heaven {Matthew 10:33}
  • The comments and jokes are hurtful and rude, and instead of letting it fester, I need to get it out of my system

I know that much of the animosity towards Christians stems from the vitriolic actions of a few. But understand this: my love for Christ isn’t based on the condemnation of others but on the free {and sacrificial} gift of His love for me {John 3:16 and John 15:13}.

When I was in the Army and we went through sexual harassment training, one of the speakers said something that stuck with me: “Nothing is wrong until you say it’s wrong.” Meaning the initial responsibility for protecting my body, my heart, my spirit begins with me. People may not know they’re being offensive until it’s pointed out. So I’m pointing it out: calling my Lord and Savior out of His name is offensive and hurtful.

I know that we may not share the same religious beliefs and you may not understand why I believe what I do, but that doesn’t give you the right to be mean or dismissive. I may not agree with your beliefs but you’ll never hear me say anything that would grieve your heart.

Writing this post may cause me to lose some friends and I’m OK with that. Just know that I care for you and I always will. I’ll miss you and will always respect you. And, yes, I’ll even pray for you, because that’s what friends do {1 Thessalonians 5:11}.

But, ultimately, this is about my relationship with Christ and I never want to be in a position where He can say “Depart from me, I never knew you…” {Matthew 7:23}. I love my Lord and Savior and it is His approval that I desire.

Daenel T

20th Sep2013

Happy Birthday to Twin A and B {Repost for their 18th Birthday}

by Daenel

Happy Birthday to My Babies {Living Outside the Stacks}

I gave birth to Twin A and Twin B 18 years ago today.  But, really, their story began nine days earlier…..

On 11 September 1995, the hubs and I showed up at the hospital for a routine OB visit.  The baby was due in nine days and, almost overnight it seemed, I had put on about 15 or 20 lbs and my pregnancy gait had shifted into full on waddle.  Furthermore, the baby was bouncing all over the place. Don’t babies normally slow down the closer you get to the due date?

Anyway, the hubs and the two~year~old sat in the waiting room while the doctor pulled out the measuring tape and measured my belly.  “Hmmm,” he flipped through my chart, “where’s your ultrasound?”  I noted the apprehension in his voice and replied, “I only have the confirmation ultrasound but they haven’t done one since then.  Why?”  He looked at me over his paperwork, “Well, you’re measuring a little large.  How about if we get you in for an ultrasound?”

I rolled off the table {at that point, that’s all I could do}, got dressed and told the hubs that we were headed downstairs to get an ultrasound.

Insert cold belly jelly here

I looked at the ultrasound and started to panic.  My baby was going to be a freak!  There on the screen were two baby heads, one pointed up and one pointed down.  I asked the tech what I was looking at and she replied that I’d have to wait for the doctor, in the mean time, she was going to get my husband.  This did not sound good.

The doctor and the hubs both walked into the room at about the same time, the hubs looked at the screen and started backing away as the doctor announced “TWINS!”  What?  You have got to be friggin kidding me?  Nine days before they’re due and now you’re telling us that we’re having twins? But wait, it gets better…

The doctor went on to explain that the hospital at Fort Polk, Louisiana didn’t deliver twins {especially high risk twins ~ who knew what condition my little monkey babies were going to be in when they arrived?} so we’d have to drive to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas to have them.

The next day, we drove the two~year~old to Mississippi to my parents’ house and then drove down to Texas.  With me having contractions the whole way.  If you think pot holes are a pain in the butt on a regular day, try hitting them when you’re in labor.

We arrived at BAMC, just in time for them to decide that it would be too much to have the babies right then, so they stopped my labor.  Yes.  They stopped it.  I could have cried. I did cry. Then they started doing ultrasounds and stress tests to see how the babies were doing.  The entire time, we could only hear one heartbeat.  Finally, the doctors decided that I needed an amniocentesis but they didn’t really want to do it because they didn’t want to put the babies in any harm with a double stick {anesthesia and the hollow needle}.  I told them to do it without the anesthesia. What was I thinking and why didn’t my husband slap me straight?  PAIN!!!!! Worse. Than. Child Birth.

The amnio showed that the babies were developed enough to survive outside of the womb.  So on my original due date ~ 20 September 1995 ~ the doctors induced labor.  At this time, I would like to stop and thank my anesthesiologist because I felt absolutely nothing! I have a picture of him and his wife in the twin’s baby books, that’s how much they mean to me.

Jazmine Danielle was born at 11:40 AM and followed ten minutes later by Brandon Anthony.  Their birth was witnessed by the hubs, the seven doctors and nurses  who worked on me, six doctors and nurses for the babies, as well as fifteen to seventeen residents who watched from the observation platform.  I know this because we met one of the residents in the elevator when I was being discharged.  He proudly stated in the elevator before a group of onlookers, “Hey, I saw you have your twins!”  Yuck!

Eighteen years ago today, I was surprised and doubly blessed with two beautiful babies who have grown up to provide me with love, laughter and a healthy dose of humility.  I love you guys and it has been an honor and a privilege to be your mother.

Now start packing your bags, ’cause this is your last year!

17th Jun2013

Coffee Talk {In the Cafe}

by Daenel

Coffee Talk {Living Outside the Stacks}

Hi, and welcome to Coffee Talk. In case you’re new here, this is where I share some of the great and not~so~great stuff that I find on the web. Topics range from news stories that leave me scratchin’ my head to DIYs that I think are absolutely clever.  And there may be a recipe thrown in here or there just for fun.

1. I heard on the radio that sales of George Orwell’s 1984 have skyrocketed since news of the domestic surveillance program broke. Don’t get me started on that… On second thought, let’s discuss that. The government should not have the open ended ability to spy on the American citizenry without cause. I do not believe that you have to give up privacy in the name of security.

I know people say that I put it all out there by being on Google, blogging, using Facebook, Instagram, etc but there’s a biiiig difference. I know what I’m releasing onto the web and I’ve agreed to the terms of the release. I know that those entities are collecting my data and I know that they’re using it for ad revenue, stalking, and creating better products.

However, I did not enter into such an agreement with the government. A government that is supposed to be run by “we, the people.”

That being said, I’m not surprised by these revelations because the government has always had the {ca}ability to spy on its people. The problem is, they’re spying on the wrong folks. Just saying…

On a related note, if you want to know how this story ends, just read your Bible, folks, it’s all in there…

2. Do you have a life insurance policy? When was the last time it was updated? Since your divorce and remarriage? Do you have the names of all of your children on it? The reason I’m asking is because the Virginia Supreme Court recently awarded the ex~wife of a Virginia man the money from his life insurance policy despite the fact that the man had remarried. gasp The widow sued but lost because the man had failed to update his policy and the ex~wife was listed as the beneficiary. Yep, the court decided that the written policy expressed the deceased wishes. Say what now? Y’all better check those documents. And if you don’t have a life insurance policy, get on that right away. Trust me, I like the hub’s ex~wife but I’ll be derned if I’d be happy if she got the money from his life insurance policy. Take care of your families, people.

3. And, last but not least, I shared this video on Facebook last week but it’s worth sharing here too. Be prepared with tissue…

What had you scratchin’ your head this past week?

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31st Mar2013

He is Risen {In the Church}

by Daenel

He is Risen {Living Outside the Stacks}

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Today I’m happy to proclaim that my redeemer lives. And because He lives, I have the gift of eternal life. This gift can be yours too.  To receive it, all you have to do is confess with your mouth and believe with your heart that Jesus is Lord, then you are saved {Romans 10:9~10}.

29th Mar2013

No Greater Love {In the Church}

by Daenel

No Greater Love {Living Outside the Stacks}

The hubs likes to say “love is not a feeling, it’s an action”; it demands the individual to do something that requires sacrifice on his or her part. Jesus set the example for love when he gave his life for us way back on calvary. John 15:13 says: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.” Even in our sinful state, Jesus loved us enough to call us “friend” and take the punishment for our sins.

And this was not just any death, this was a most brutal death. He was whipped, spit upon, beat up, battered, bloodied and then nailed to a cross. His death was as gruesome, ugly, and nasty as the sins we commit. But, here’s the good part, out of something so awful, came something so beautiful: the gift of eternal life. To receive it, all you have to do is confess with your mouth and believe with your heart that Jesus is Lord, then you are saved {Romans 10:9~10}.

07th Jan2013

Happy Birthday, Miss 16 {In the Family Room}

by Daenel

Happy Birthday, Miss 16 {Living Outside the Stacks}

Dear Miss 16,

Girl, you have been a source of joy and laughter since the day you surprised us at the doctor’s office. Nothing like going to the doctor’s for a tubal ligation and finding out that you’re pregnant… We should have known then that we were going to be in for a ride.

I remember when you used to crawl up in my lap, curl your fingers around my blouse and go to sleep. I’d sit there for hours, stroking your hair and wishing you’d get up so I could get something anything done. Then one day it all stopped.

You stopped sitting in my lap, you stopped being my sweet little girl who swore she could fly because she was dressed as an angel and had wings. Do you remember that? Running around the yard flapping your arms and yelling, “I can fly, Mommy! I can fly, Mommy!”  

You’re now a beautiful young lady with a quick wit and a snarky tongue. A while back you asked me “Besides me, which of your other kids did you want?” The truth is, I didn’t want any of you little buggers but now that I have you, I couldn’t imagine life without you. I love you all. Peering at you over my glasses. Every single one of you.

Thank you for 16 years of laughter.

Happy Birthday, Miss 16! I really do like you!


PS There will be no blowing out of the candles on the cake; you know how I feel about that!


02nd Dec2012

Love {Advent Bible Study}

by Daenel

The focus of this week’s Advent study is LOVE. Love means to have a strong affection for anther arising out of kinship or personal ties. It also means to have an unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.

Love ~ Advent Bible Study {Living Outside the Stacks}


1 John 4:7 {KJV}

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.


When I first looked up “Love” in the Webster’s Dictionary, the first entry was for maternal love, the second for romantic love and a bit further down, the love God has for mankind. This struck me as wrong. I know the dictionary isn’t a religious book but the first act of love ever demonstrated was when God sent His son to die for us {John 3:16, John 15:13).

God’s love is sacrificial, benevolent and unwarranted, this is how our love for one another should be.


This week, we’re challenged to demonstrate our love for one another through random acts of kindness. I love this. For the last week, we’ve had a mitten tree at work for collecting articles of clothing such as gloves, hats and scarves for those in need. So I decided to crochet scarves to go on the tree. To me, nothing says love more than something handmade. And while, I may not ever meet the person who gets one of my scarves, I’ll know that somewhere out there, someone is keeping warm with God’s love through my hands.


Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the example that you gave us of perfect love. Thank you for giving us the greatest gift of all, eternal life through your son, Jesus Christ. I ask that on this week, you help me to find ways to demonstrate your love to anyone who crosses my path. Let them see you in me. And, Lord, bless each person who receives something from the mitten tree. Keep them strong and healthy. Reveal your love to them.



This month, I will be participating in the Advent Study, Keeping Our Hearts Focused on Jesus, hosted by the ladies at Good Morning Girls. Good Morning Girls are a group of Christian women who email, Facebook, Twitter and text message each other to keep them accountable for their quiet times. You can even catch them on Instagram, just follow the hashtag #goodmorninggirls.

Having quiet time in the Word is a great way to begin or end the day. It gives you time to focus on God and His will for your life as well as to renew and refresh your strength. I encourage you to take a few minutes out of your day and spend some time just reading and thinking about the Lord.

If you’re joining in, please leave a comment below so I can pray with you.

10th Nov2012

The Wedding {Photography}

by Daenel

A few weeks ago, the hubs and I attended the wedding of a couple from our church. While there, they asked if I could take a couple of pictures for them. Naturally, I said yes and silently thanked God for having me grab my camera on the way out the door.

This is the first time I’ve ever taken wedding pictures but I’m happy with the way they came out. But, more importantly, so are the newly weds.

The Wedding {Living Outside the Stacks}

 Adjusting the Veil

Candid shot of the bride having her veil adjusted by one of her bridesmaids.

The Wedding {Living Outside the Stacks}

The Beautiful Bride

A candid shot of the bride looking in the mirror.

The Wedding {Living Outside the Stacks}

Congratulations to the Happy Couple

Thank you for letting me be a part of your special day,

12th Oct2011

Word Filled Wednesday: The Greatest is Love

by Daenel

Word Filled Wednesday: The Greatest is Love

I’m linking up with Internet Cafe Devotions (click here to learn more about ICD) for Word Filled Wednesday (click here to see this week’s edition).  WFW is a way for participants to share the message of God’s love creatively using a photograph or graphic image combined with a Bible verse.

For more information about Word Filled Wednesday, go here.

27th Jan2011

Loose Threads and Other Random Thoughts

by Daenel

Loose ThreadsHey, I’ve been sorta busy with Twitter lately, I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life Project this week so my life has been consumed by all things library.  If you’d like to find out what librarians do, you can read my post or view my pictures on Flickr or read through my Tweets.  Anyway, here are some random thoughts that have been floating around inside my head…

  • Yesterday one of the library patrons told me about a woman who bought a little over $200 worth of groceries for $8 using coupons and a store card.  What?!  That sorta money saving thing is like Big Foot, people know about it and some believe it exists but no one’s ever seen it with their own two eyes.  Do you use coupons?  What’s the trick? ‘Cause I never see coupons for anything my family uses.  But it’s my mission to get the hang of that couponing thing ~ I have 4 teenagers and a husband at home.  THEY EAT A LOT!
  • My son sent me a picture of a box that he made in his wood shop class for a girl that he likes.  I hope she appreciates it.  The box is beautiful.  I’m so proud of my boy but I’m also sad that he’s growing up.  I’m trying real hard not to be that mom but I really wanna go down to the school, corner Miss Missy and tell her she better not break my son’s heart.
  • I’m so tired of the cold.  We have been stuck between -9° and -11° for the past week.  Today it hit 30° and it was like a heatwave.  Students were walking around in fleece hoodies and sweatshirts….  There’s something wrong with that.
  • I learned my lesson about trying to be romantic with the husband today.  Because we work opposite schedules, I don’t really get to see him until the weekends, so I usually call him on my way to work just to chat for a few minutes.  Anyway, today I decided to serenade him with that Stevie Wonder classic “I Just Called to Say I Love You”.  So he answers the phone and I immediately start singing, he mumbles something and quickly hangs up.  I’m stunned.  How dare he ruin my romantic overtures?  About 30 minutes later he calls me and tells me that he was in the middle of a meeting and everyone heard me singing. Niiiice.

12th May2010

Women of Faith Wednesday: Girl, You are Loved

by Daenel

Today’s Women of Faith Wednesday question is “If you could go back in time and tell your teenage self one thing, what would you say?”  Hmmm….there are so many things that my teenaged self needed to hear.

Psalms 37:4 (NIV) says:  “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Had I found the truth of that verse, I would have saved myself so much heartbreak and rejection.  The biggest desire of my teenaged heart was to be truly and completely loved and valued.  Not the boyfriend~girlfriend kind of love but that love that comes from having a family that instills in you a sense of value and self~worth.  You know, the kind of love that gives you the confidence to face the world head on, knowing that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to do.  So, if I could go back in time and talk to my teenaged self, I’d say: “You are loved.”

Now it’s your turn to tell me, what would you like to tell your teenaged self?

If you’d like to participate in Women of Faith Wednesday, simply write a post answering this week’s question and then link your post below. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants.

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this post. This post is my entry into the Women of Faith blog hop, which is offering a book to a random winner.

23rd Mar2010

Book Review: True Colors by Kristin Hannah

by Daenel

I’ve just finished reading True Colors by Kristin Hannah and all I can say is, I wish there were more…  I’ve been a fan of  Hannah’s since I read her book, Firefly Lane, a few years back because her books always leave me thinking and challenging myself to do more.

Set on a picturesque horse farm in Washington State, True Colors follows the lives of the Grey sisters who were devastated by their mother’s death while they were still young as they navigate through the haze of their father’s distant affections.

Winona, the oldest, is overweight and most starved for her father’s attention.  She’s an over~achieving lawyer who has never really felt at home on her family’s horse ranch.

The middle sister, Aurora, is the peacekeeper in the family.  While trying to keep everyone else happy, she neglects her own needs to the detriment of her marriage.

Vivi Ann, the youngest sister, is the star of the family.  Everything comes easily to her but then she loses it all in a matter of moments.

This book is part love story, part crime novel and full on family drama.  The sisters’ relationship is torn apart when Vivi Ann’s husband is accused of murder and Wynona refuses to help in his defense out of her own selfish reasons.  For years, Wynona watches as her sister wastes away thinking of the man and the love that she has lost until one day she thinks she may be wrong about his guilt or innocence.

One of the things that appealed to me about this book was the relationship between the sisters.  I have two sisters and we, like the Greys, have had our ups and downs, so I was able to identify with the characters and their need to support each other (and to also be right).  Hannah did a wonderful job of showing how superficial forgiveness can leave gaping holes in relationships.  While the women seem to be getting along on the surface, there’s so much tension flowing under the surface that it’s almost palpable.

The thing I liked least about the story was that Aurora’s story seemed to be neglected or, at the very least, an afterthought.  Her story definitely could have been more fully developed.  For example, her marriage falls apart but there really isn’t any discussion about how this affects her or her children or what becomes of her husband ~ do they share custody, did he leave town, what happened?

One of the biggest lessons I learned from reading this novel is how quickly an innocent person can be convicted based on eyewitness testimony, prejudice and faulty DNA testing.  In fact, this novel directly relates to the Innocence Project, an organization that is dedicated to exonerating wrongully convicted people through the use of DNA testing.  Although I’m aware of some of the injustices of the criminal courts, I never realized how easy it is for someone to get caught up in the system.  This project has definitely made me rethink my views on capital punishment.

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  I simply happen to be a Kristin Hannah fan.

14th Oct2009

Love is More than Skin Deep

by Daenel

Kids ask the most interesting questions. My daughter came home from school today and asked me if it’s possible for two white parents to have a black baby? I answered yes. Genetics are a crap shoot, you never know who or what your child will look like (that is part of the fun, isn’t it?).

Then I saw this post by Execumama Online.

The movie tells the story of Sandra Laing, a black child born to white parents in the 1950s during the apartheid era in South Africa. Raised as white by her loving parents, Sandra is eventually kicked out of white society and must learn to find her way in South African society. The film follows her journey from rejection to acceptance. It stars Sam Neill, Alice Krige and Sophie Okonedo.

Yes, I’ll be taking my daughter to see this. It looks like a tear jerker of a movie that definitely deserves more attention than it’s getting. I haven’t seen a trailer for this movie on television at all, but danged if we’re not being inundated with stupid vampire ads. Please take a chance on this movie, it definitely looks like a must-see! Release date is set for 30 October.

I was not asked by anyone to plug this movie, I just think it looks like a movie that’s worth the price of admission.

30th Sep2009

Wordless Wednesday: My Dad and His Daughters

by Daenel

My father passed away a year ago this month…

I love and miss you, Dad!

Click here or here to see more Wordless Wednesday posts or to add your own

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