Lilypie 2nd Birthday Ticker

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Petra Lending Group

As you may or may not know, Holly and I have recently launched a lending group with several partners. As a team, we are excited about our growth and potential in the marketplace. In the midst of EVERYTHING that goes in to launching a business, I am still focused on originating property loans. So, in an effort to keep diapers on Jake, I am asking for your help! Please refer business to me if you can! Our lending group handles home mortgages, commercial loans and refinances. I appreciate a good word when the opportunity comes about! Most importantly, I ask for your prayers as we serve Him in this industry. Below is my contact info:
Thanks, Friends!

Jason O'Quinn
Petra Lending Group
Business Development Manger
Office: 214-432-0443
Cell: 469-222-4353

Friday, March 24, 2006

My car is for sale! Make an offer...

It worked!

It finally worked! Blogger has been acting crazy lately!

Here is a recent picture of Emma and Clara. I'm told this is just outside the guest house they are staying in. The huge tree in the background is a mango tree, probably the only green thing there for such a dry time. Anyway, I'm glad I can finally put this up on my blog so you can see two of the faces you are praying for. Blessings.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...

Hey Friends,
Well, I'm a bit frustrated that I can't get some pictures added to my post. Blogger has some picture issues. Anyway,I wanted you to see a recent picture of my nieces in Guinea. It's very cute, but you'll just have to wait. Here is a fairly recent e-mail that I received from my sister about their new life in Guinea. Please continue to keep them and this ministry in your prayers.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hello all! We are so glad to get to Guinea. It has been a long road of training and preparations, and we are almost having a hard time believing that we are really here. But we are! It is right and good for our family – we know that we are in God’s will for our lives. He is blessing us with peace and joy, with community, and His nearness and love. We are so glad to serve a King that is 100% trustworthy, and who cares for us so deeply.

So, what have our first 10 days been like? The words, “really great, really different and really hot” come to mind! Our teammates here have taken great care of us from the minute we stepped off the plane in Conakry. They have fed us, showed us around town, helped us enroll Emma in French school, taught us about the culture here, taken us house hunting, begun training us in our new jobs, listened to us, played with our kids, answered questions, prayed for us and have been caring friends to us. We are glad to be joining a team like this. We pray that we can be a help and encouragement to the translation teams all around Guinea, as we begin our work and lives here.

“Toto, I don’t think that we are in Kansas anymore.”

Life in a third world city is really different. Some of the city roads are paved, but most are not. Sometimes there is electricity and running water, but not all the time. Some of the people here have jobs, get enough to eat and have medical care, but many, many do not. We look around and can easily see evidence of the evil one in the disorder and poverty that seems to rule life here.

Still, we see awesome evidence of God’s presence and Jesus’ love. The creation here is beautiful – the trees and flowers declare His majesty. The joy and smiles from people who greet us remind us that there is more to life and happiness than having lots of money. The desire of many people to have and to read the Bible in their own language – to know more about God and His love for them – encourages us and shows us that His is at work here. Please pray for this country to turn to God, for His Spirit to be poured out here.

It’s dry season. The sky is full of whitish dust from the Sahara, and it hasn’t rained in months. The temperature is about 87 each day. We got on the plane in Paris, where it was very cold, wearing our winter jackets. We got off the plane in Guinea wearing sandals, skirts and short sleeves. We are adjusting to the heat, and our sweat glands are getting a work out! The girls have loved getting to play outdoors many hours each day, and we have gone swimming a couple of times, too.

We are living in the PBT guest house while we look for a place to rent. We have seen many different houses, but so far have not found the right one. Sometimes we like the house, but it does not have any water (including no well water), or the house is fine, but there are security issues, like the walls around the house are not high enough (security is an issue in the big city here, just as it is in the US). Please continue to pray for the right house for our family. We trust God.

We are going through orientation with PBT here. This includes learning how to get around town, where to shop and how to prepare food (one must bleach the vegetables and fruit before eating them), to learning about our jobs and roles with the team, to cultural issues. (If I, M’Liss, took a plate of food to one of the guards here on the office grounds – in my mind thinking it was just a nice thing to do – the man would likely think I was interested in marrying him!) We are glad that we are doing well communicating in French. This week Clint will really begin to learn the ins and outs of his job as branch administrator. I will soon be taking over the job of guest house manager.

Emma has done really well at her new French school. It is run by the French and is just like her school in Tours, France – with a bit of an African touch! Because many of the things are similar, she has adjusted easily. She also knows some of the kids from the mission community who also attend school there. She is making new friends, and during one of her special classes learned how to play African drums and dance an African dance. Please pray that she well continue to make this adjustment well.

Clara and Emma spend a lot of time chasing the many lizards here near the guest house. They play outside as much as possible. Clara got a bit of a heat rash the first week we were here, but has adjusted to the heat. Emma lost her first tooth yesterday, and was very excited.

So, that is the news of our first couple of weeks here. They have actually been better than we imagined they would be! Thank you for your continued prayers for us and the people of Guinea. Stay in touch!
Love, M’Liss, Clint, Emma and Clara

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Why is it whenever I go into my local home improvement store I attract everyone but a store employee to me? Today I schedule a leisurely trip to Lowe's to purchase a small decorative shelf for Jake's room. I arrive and make the two mile pilgrimage from the store entrance to the back left quadrant in search of the perfect shelf for my boy. Before me lies an isle with seemingly endless choices for me to peruse. The hallelujah chorus rings in my ear. It's a rainy Sunday morning at 10:00am and I figure I have the store to myself. I begin to shop.

Then it happens. Mind you, there are a total of 10 people in a 500,000 square foot warehouse and someone else just happens to be looking for the same shelf I am. Over my shoulder, standing in my blind spot, is a 70 year old man staring at the back of cranium frustrated at my very existence. "Excuse me," he says, as he reaches around me to pick up his new found treasure. Thirty seconds later his wife arrives and she herself seems to need to be in the same space I was occupying. I'm annoyed, but I press on with my shopping until another gentleman comes around the corner and starts eyeing the contemporary shelving units directly beside me. He slowly slides over into my personal space making sure that the more traditional decorative shelf wouldn't suit his needs better. "Excuse me," he says, and abruptly displaces me from my position. Five minutes ago I had 2,000 square feet of unoccupied isle all to myself. And now, it's as if the President has issued a national alert to the shortage of decorative shelving.

Because of the crowd on isle 12, I ended up on isle13 and I never bought a shelf for Jake. I did, however, remember we needed some trash bags for the kitchen. Conveniently located on isle 13, I grabbed some and headed home.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


It's absolutely amazing to me the many changes that take place physically during pregnancy. I feel absolutely enormous, so I confess it's a bit hard to post pictures of myself when you may have not seen me recently and I look this huge. However, my large size is a blessed reminder each and every day of the gift that will soon come to greet us. Jacob is already so precious to Jason and me, and we eagerly anticipate his arrival in the next month.

Here are some pictures I would like to share:

This was at Jacob's shower on February 18th with my wonderful group of hostess'.

Back Row: Liz McGregor, M'Liss Stringer, Me, Melissa Marts, Carolyn Tapie, Emily Turner

Front Row: Gwenda Futch, Robyn Knight, Karen Yarbrough

Me and my little mother Lois Billingsley. Notice the picture of us on the table? That was 29 years ago!

Luckily we did not have to go very far with the gifts since the shower was at my next door neighbors house! Here is Jason and our friend Sarah, along with our two nieces Emma and Emily lugging the travel system.

Jason putting together Jacob's crib. This room has changed a lot since the picture was taken. We painted the walls a pretty pale yellow and are using a lot of blue and green to accent the room. It's still not completely done, so I'll post a picture when the room looks better.

Last Saturday night we went out for a nice dinner with my parents to celebrate my dad's 62nd birthday. Jason took this picture of me before we left the house. I'm 34 weeks here! Whoa mama! I just hit 35 weeks today.

There should be more fun news to come as we are getting closer and closer to Jacob's arrival. I see the doctor once a week starting tomorrow, so I should have some more fun and exciting Jacob updates for you all.

By the way...My sister and her family are now at their new home in Guinea. Emma has already started her private school that she goes to with some of the other missionary kids. It should be very exciting for her since she is so outgoing, and there are kids from around the globe that attend this school. I plan to blog about them soon, so stay tuned.


Monday, March 13, 2006


You must check out this website for Eternal Threads. This is amazing!

My mother-in-law was in town yesterday and I commented on the lovely purse she was carrying. She told me it was an Eternal Threads purse, which I had no clue what or who they were. You can read about it more on the website, but Eternal Threads helps women of southern India in over 120 villages with a source of income. Their skills used to make these gorgeous bags and purses bring hope to the faces you see on the website. Be sure to check out the slideshow, and the products. What a great charity to get involved with as well!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

REAL SIMPLE: life made easier

If you don't know this about me already, you're going to know now! I enjoy a clean home! In fact a friend of mine e-mailed me the other day, and commented that she had bleached her sink the other night and she thought of me when she was scrubbing it.

While challenges have presented themselves to me and my ever protruding tummy, I have had to find ways to "make life easier". Bending down to clean the shower or tub in my house has become much too difficult at this stage of pregnancy. So, today I was in my neighborhood Target buying some Dreft detergent for the first time, and I choose to walk down more than one aisle which is very easy to do in this store.

It was then that I came across the Real Simple Tub and Tile Cleaner! It looked like an incredibly great and practical tool for me, and it beat having to buy one of those Clorox wands that forces you to buy a disposable sponge each time you clean. My impulse got the best of me, and I purchased the tub and tile tool! Tonight I took a chance on this new little gadget of mine, and I am very pleased with it. Not only does it clean the tile, but it comes with a grout brush you can pull out of the top. Brilliant!

So, let me encourage you to think real simple and make life easier! I did, and it was worth it! Does anyone else have something they love that makes life easier? Tell me about it!

Also, if you are not a subscriber to the
REAL SIMPLE magazine I can't encourage you enough to check it out. It has a lot of practical advice and some really fun articles. The website is really helpful and you can find all of thier products on the site.

Monday, March 06, 2006


By now I’ve probably been tagged for this at least 10 times and have not indulged. Well, here you go!

Four Jobs I have had in my life:
My first four…
1. Mazzio’s Pizza: Taking orders/ cashier
2. Delivery truck driver for Mister Koffee Service (yes, I worked for my dad)
3. International Division at ACU: assistant to incoming ESL students
4. Surprises Gift Shop: Sales Clerk

Four Movies I would watch over and over.
1. About A Boy
2. The God Father I and II
3. Oceans 11 (Does a cast get any better than that?)
4. The Sound of Music

Four places I have lived
1. Endicott, New York
2. Springfield, Missouri
3. Abilene, Texas
4. Lubbock, Texas

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. American Idol
2. Good Morning America
3. Design To Sell
4. Paula’s Home Cooking

Four Places I have been on vacation:
Here are my most recent…
1. France
2. Taos, New Mexico
3. Denver, Colorado
4. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Web sites I visit daily:
1. Google
2. Most of my friend’s blogs
3. Foxnews
4. The Branch: Mainly to find people’s phone numbers or e-mail address’

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Right now it’s all about apples…I crave them prepared any way!
2. Mashed potatoes
3. The Health Nut pancakes with blueberries from Benedicts
4. Marble Slab Double Dark Chocolate and Peanut butter ice-cream mixed together in a cup… no mix in required!

Four Places I would rather be right now
1. Relaxing at some ritzy day spa having all the amazing beauty treatments offered except bikini waxing and colon cleansing.
2. Dinner with Jason at one of our favorite restaurants
3. NYC taking in all the cool shows
4. My hospital room with my darling son Jacob