I had the best time with my friends last night at my birthday party. We ate and played with the babies and had a really good time just being with each other. (more to come on that and with pictures) However, last night when I got home, I was beside myself with sadness. I dont understand how I can be perfectly happy and feeling so blessed one minute and then crying and sad the next. I miss my dad. I didnt think my birthday without him would be such a big deal. I cried a lot. I called my friend Tina who was kind enough to talk to me in my histerics. I went to sleep, thanks to ambien, and I woke up for church, not feeling much better. I got ready and realized once again that I was so blessed to have the father that I did. I was blessed to have 26 years with him. I was determined on my way to church that God was trying to teach me something and I was going to learn.
A lot of people gave me birthday cards today which was a blessing. One person in particular handed me a card, which I thought was a birthday card. Much to my surprise it was a thank you card. I wont mention the family's name incase they don't want me to. However, they said they were blessed by me leaving my sheets behind in Mexico (work sheets that I took to sleep on) and they wanted to help me get some new ones. There was a Target gift card enclosed. I couldnt believe how gracious my God was being to me when I was wallowing in my sadness just 15 hours before. I guess that's why we are called to Trust Him in everything. Thank you so much to the family who truly blessed me today. It was definitely an answer to prayers and a burden lifted. My God does provide. He is good in the good and in the bad. I will continue to Praise Him even in the storms!!!


I never realized how sad I would be when my roommate moved out. Ofcourse it is already an emotional weekend, but I am just overcome with sadness. She has been a good friend and definitely a big comfort since April. We havent done a lot of things together lately because she was spending a lot of time with her boyfriend. Our schedules were also very different...ofcourse I dont know how many people are late to rise and late to go to bed like me anyways. I guess that's why I didnt think it would bother me so much. I think the last time I had a roommate, when I was 20, I was glad to see her go because we didnt get along at all. I just am sad. I'm sad that my house looks empty. Even if we didnt hang out together every night, I guess I just got used to the fact of knowing she was there. I'm sad that it's a new chapter in my life that once again, I had no control over, no say in and no idea what will come next. I wish her the best. I hope we continue to be friends and hang out. I'm just a little sad to see her go. An underlying fear is everyone else has someone to take care of them... a husband, a boyfriend, a dad. I'm just needing a little Heavenly intervention. If God wants me to be alone, I will accept that. I just know the desire of my heart is to be married and have children and that certainly doesnt equal being alone. oh well, i'm gonna smile and pray and wait to see what God's gonna do.


Yay!!! Praise the Lord! Camera America called and said my camera came in today. Right before my birthday weekend was to begin. Coincidence? I think not! God is good!! Post more later. Love to you all


Me and mom in the back seat of Chris's truck ready to ride to Savannah.

Ok so yes I was glad to have a camera so I could take funny pics like this. Chris missed a turn so we did a u-turn. A.K.A. our bogging fun. When we stopped to grab some lunch, I had to take a pic. We actually ran into some of the officers from Valdosta at our stop which was cool. Lt Courson said everytime he walks by dad's office door, he misses him. I had to do all I could to not cry.

the view from our room at The Westin on the river. It was very beautiful.

the pool and the river. It was such a warm beautiful day, I had a little pool envy!

Mom wanted to go furniture shopping while we were in Savannah. Lets just say we all worked up an appetite walking around the store and testing the furiture.

Two of Dad's really good friends...Elaine and Trudy. I have loved getting to know them.
Chris' friend and his soon to be wife, Brooke came to eat with us. I really enjoyed getting to know her. She's so pretty but also totally sweet!

Our group went to dinner at Bonefish Grill in Savannah. Yummy!!! We had such a good time eating and chatting.

The theme of the conference this year. It was the 20th anniversary so the theme was yesterday, today, and tomorrow. They did a slide show with old and new pics of the conference. It was great to see older pics of dad. There are a lot of other pics from the award and proclamation that we received for dad. However, since I was on stage we will all have to wait to see them.

When we got back to Valdosta, we went to see the progress on Chris and Heather's house. These are just a couple of pics of the foundation and some of the framing. It's neat to see the process.

There's some nice houses in their culdesac too.


We survived the day on Saturday. That's all I really wanna say about that. Other than, thanks so much for all the prayers...I definitely felt them.

Chris, Heather, Mom and I leave tom am for Savannah for the TAC Association conference where dad will be honored. I pray it will be a good bonding time for us. It will also be so great to meet all those who respected dad.

Thanks to my friend Allison for loaning me her camera so you will have plenty of pics when I get back. Love to all!


I was watching a show the other night and one of the judges made this comment:
It's like taking a laxative and a sleeping pill in the same night. It doesnt make sense!
I laughed so hard out loud! I mean if you really think about someone doing that, you'd be laughing right now too. Ok just thought yall might enjoy a bit of humor. Love Love!


Thanks to Whitney for reminding me about this. I havent posted about this book yet because it is a slow read for me. The Shack by William P Young is a good book. I am not quite halfway through it. I originally had 7 people from completely different friend groups to tell me to read this book.
The back cover reads "Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years laterin the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.
Against his better judgement, he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Macks world forever.
In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakablepain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him.

A few quotes from the book that have touched me so far are: In one day, he had spent a years worth of emotions, and now he felt numb, adrift in a suddenly meaningless world that felt like it would be forever gray.
The Great Sadness tightened around him and he almost welcomed the smothering sensation. This pain he knew. He was familiar with it, almost like a friend.
Love always leaves a significant mark.

It is a good book so far. I just shed a lot of tears in the beginning, but it's getting better. Stay tuned for this too.


okay so Monday night, I went to the grocery store with my mom. We were talking about my living situation and her current living situation. It's not safe for her there any more. The neighborhood has changed. There's also something undeniable about the fact that no one messed with my parents house when my dad was there. The black unmarked car and the occasional patrol car kept criminals away! (Thanks to all the police who keep us safe each and every day!) Anyways, mom and I are talking and she says something about moving in with me until Chris and Heather get their house built and she can move into Greystone. Apparently, Chris and mom had already discussed her living with me. Ofcourse my first response was, "we would kill each other". Then I started thinking it would help me out for a little while and it would allow my mom to be and feel safe again. Maybe it will even strengthen our relationship. (On a side note, I have to say I'm sorry to my mom and to all who have heard me talk disrespectfully to my mom. Just because we are different doesnt mean I should be mean. I'm sorry. I love you so much and want our relationship to show that. I hope we can both move on from the past.) Sooooo there it is. I am praying that if it's God's will, He will work everything out. It might take us forever to go through the 31 years of stuff in the Iola house, but stay tuned.

Tuesday night I went to dinner with my friend Miranda. I ate sushi and it made me happy. I think it grossed her out, but I just love it! We had a good time chatting and catching up. She was astounded when I told her I hadnt seen the movie, Facing the Giants. We had to watch it. She prepared me for some tears. If you for some reason are odd like me and havent seen the movie, I strongly urge you to go rent it or better yet go buy it, you will want to watch it over and over. The movie has God all over it. I cried so many happy tears of thankfulness for my salvation and the grace He chooses to give us when we do not deserve it! It pumped me up, too. I can't wait to watch it again so I can write down some awesome things to share. We were even watching the credits listening to the last song and I saw one of the characters names is Bill Butler. I cried a little more. Anyways, it's a really good movie! Thanks Miranda for the great meal and your fabulous friendship.

Wednesday night I went to choir practice. Yes, that's right. I am back singing in the choir. I love to sing. I believe God gave me a voice to sing. My dad always told me how he liked seeing me in the choir. Somehow, I felt like he saw me singing in church Sunday. Anyways, the first Wednesday practice, I cried. The second Wednesday I was fine. So I didnt even think about crying when I went last night. Until we started to sing I wont have to cross Jordan alone. Do you need the words, cause I might cry typing them...I wont have to cross Jordan alone Jesus died all my sins to atone When the darkness I see He'll be waiting for me I wont have to cross Jordan alone. Then there's a part that says He'll hold my hand He'll hold my hand as over death's river I go and safe I'll be in beautiful Heaven I know. So I wasnt crying out of sadness. I was crying at the thought of my Heavenly Father ushering my earthly father into Heaven. I mean can you even imagine?
After choir practice, I met my mom and my dad's 2 good friends in law enforcement at Applebees. Elaine lives in Rome, GA and Trudy lives in Zebulon, GA. They take a road trip to Ormond Beach before the TAC conference each year. They were so gracious to stop and eat with us. I love hearing them talk with so much love and respect for my dad. They are so nice and a pure hoot to be around. They are very smart. I can imagine my dad had great respect for them. They shared so many common ideals for the things that needed to be done for the good of the system and the people. I am looking forward to spending more time with them in Savannah.

Tonight I went to dinner with my friend Lisa. We had so much fun chatting and catching up. I laughed so much. It was some much needed girl time and I loved it. Thanks Lisa! You are so great. I'm not liking that it's so "not safe" for kids and teachers to go to school tom, but I have to work! Oh well. I hope you all have had a blessed week. Please dont forget to pray for us sat as we go to pick out dad's headstone. I love you all!


My cousin Kate told me about this song so I thought I would share it with you all.


Thanks to my cousin Whitney who was my shrink on Saturday. I tried to be positive while I was on the phone with her b/c I knew she was having a rough time herself having just moved from CO to Oregon with her husband to go to law school. I just told her I was taking it one day at a time. It's my new standard statement when people ask me How I'm Doing. (Once again, thanks to those who read my blog). If I could afford to see a therapist, they would probably tell me the same thing Whitney did. She said, don't let anyone make you think you are being abnormal. That was what I needed to hear. Especially from her. I keep feeling like I should be stronger after all I am blessed and there are a lot of people worse off. When in reality, I just have hormonal days. I just have days where I cry. I had 4 clients today and unknown to them, I cried during all of the sessions. I was praying for them and my mind wondered to the hospital and the funeral and what its going to be like going to get a headstone and going to Savannah to hear him be honored at the TAC conference. I keep thinking about not having him here for my birthday. (selfish I know) I mean wouldnt you cry if you were 26 and you lost your father. The father that you are so much alike. The father who was your support, protector, love, dose of reality and ofcourse so much more. If all your friends were married and starting families. If your whole world was turned upside down...wouldnt you cry?
On the positive side...I am not worrying about finding a roommate. It's a really big deal! I just know God has a plan for it all. Whether it's just a test to see how much I trust Him or maybe I need to be on my own. I'm not sure. I just know that I have plenty of other things to think about. I wish the best for my roommate, Stacey. She has been a great friend to me.
On another note, mom and I kept the girls on Sat and Sun. She more so than me. They were such little messes. They are talking so much and are so much fun. It's neat trying to figure out what they are saying. I will say Ella Grace showed me how smart she is. Most of you know my siter in law and I have the same silver explorers. Her's is newer and cleaner than mine. Well, we went to eat Sunday lunch at my aunt's house and mom parked Heather's car right beside mine. When we went to leave I accidentally walked up to my car instead of Heather's. Ella Grace said, " Heather's car". (ok so she still doesnt pronounce my name correctly, but it's precious everytime the girls hollar my name.) I said oh, you are right. You are so smart! I would post pics but my camera is still being held captive at Cannon where it's being fixed. I used one time use cameras at my friend Kasey's wedding after mine broke. I got the pics back and out of 3 cameras, I only got 20 good pictures. That's sad! I hope I get my camera back before my birthday.
I gues that's all for now...I'm tired and I need to ice my forearms before I go to bed. Yes, I usually tell people my hands dont bother me, but you can only ignore your body for so long.
oh yes and I love the Olympics...the sheer sport and talent of the atheletes! My favs are ofcourse Michael Phelps and swimming, beach volleyball and May-Treanor & Walsh and girls gymnastics Shaun and Nastia! GO USA!


Glad I took a pic of my pretty flowers since they were smashed by the wind and rain storm the other day. oh well, par for the course. I hate that in all the uncertainty of life I know two things for certain... God is my Lord, and my dad is no longer with me. It's like I get slapped in the face with the latter daily. Everytime I feel as though there is some kind of closure, there's another hurdle to face.
I have some really great friends who have dealt with my tears so much. I have some great friends who will support me and say Heather it's only been 4 months. When I "feel" like others are saying it's been 4 months! Oh God, I miss my dad so much. There's a football game this Friday and I can hear my dad getting all the police officers together to work security for the game. I can hear him telling us what all the hooligans did at the game and how he enjoyed throwing them out of the games. I can see him sitting at the dining room table after a game, after EVERYONE left the stadium, he would go to Burger King or McDonalds and get dinner. I loved being in high school and going to out of town games and having my dad there. I ALWAYS felt safe. I was always proud to have my dad around...ok so maybe not at the middle school dances or high school prom, but you get the picture. I wish Capt Beauford all the best as he seeks to fill some hefty shoes.
I was taking my stuff out of the entertainment center that belongs to my soon to be ex roommate. I found a book I knew I had but forgot about. It's called If Only I knew. Can you imagine what it's about. Ive had it for a couple of years. Its a pretty book. The caption with the title is "Gentle reminders to help you treasure the people in your life". Well, I attempted to read it last night and sobbed. I guess I am telling you this because I want everyone to love their family and friends every second they can. My advice that I always give to friends getting married is never go to bed angry. ( I know Im not married, but I learned it from my pastor.) Here's a couple of pages from the book to help you understand.
If Only I knew I would not hear your voice again, I would cherish every word...every inflection of your voice...with all my heart. If only I knew this was our last hug, I would hold you tight and hope to never let you go. If only I knew I had the chance top pray with you one more time, I would take your hands and welcome God's presence to surround us. If only I knew that even when everything in my life seems to go wrong and comes crumbling down around me, even when my heart is broken, God has promised to always be with me. If only I knew tomorrow was not coming, i would ask you to please forgive me of any wrongs I may have done to you. If only I knew that grief and heartache could be so deep and devastating, I would have been there more often for others.
I hate that there are other people who have had to deal with the same pain I face. I hate the grief. I hate what it does to me. I had a client who I called a friend who passed away suddenly around last Thanksgiving. I read one of his daughter's blogs tonight. She talked about all the same things I feel and have felt and will probably feel. The main ones being a loss of our "rock" and the ability for new people in your life to ever know how great our dad was. It's probably what triggered this post. I am human. I cant be sally sunshine all the time. (yes i know i havent truly been sally sunshine in a while) I just really miss my dad. I know he didnt have all the answers and I know he couldnt have solved all my problems or kept me safe 100% of the time or even loved me completely unconditionally all of the time. I know my Heavenly Father can do all those things. But Commander Bill Butler was my dad. I wont ever stop missing him or thinking about him.


He allowed my flowers to grow!! The first time I ever planted flowers. Even though I have consistently had to pull up weeds.
Thanks to the beautiful flowers in my life...especially the ones that helped me yesterday, Sabrina and Emily and Heath.


I have no fancy words, I 'm not going to defend my Christianity or evewn defend my tears. I am just coming to you my faithful readers to ask for prayer. I know that Satan is trying to get me to be ill with God. I know that he is attacking me because I am seeking even more so to live for Christ. I just need some help. Not only was Sunday the 4 month mark, but we are finally going to go pick out his headstone. My mom officially bought my brother's house, he and Heather are in the process of building them one and we all are going to have to deal with selling of the house on Iola. I had a little breakdown last week thinking about my future. Most of you know that my business partner and her husband will be leaving in about a year for him to go to school. I knew that when I became a partner with her. I didnt know that after opening a business at 24 how successful it would be and that my dad would pass away and i would not be married. No I dont count on a man for financial stability, but its hard being self-employed and single. So I said last week that I would trust God to provide me with a new business partner or to somehow work it all out in His will, not mine. I know He can provide. I told myself I was not going to waste the breath God gave me worrying about it. I didnt know last week that my roommate was going to tell me this week that's she's moving out. So if I dont get another roommate or find another business partner within a year I will be carrying rent on an office and a mortgage by myself. Yes, I know God can provide. Yes, I know that I could be in a lot worse situations. I am just a little stressed out that everything is happening on top of one another. I just needed to cry out to someone other than myself for a moment.


I interrupt this regularly scheduled display of the trip to Mexico to share about this week. I know you have all been waiting on me to whine a little. (that was sarcasm if you didnt catch it, me and my dad were great at it) Satan has been attacking me all week. Now duh, I know this is because I just got back from my trip and I am seeking to live for the Lord even more. Thanks to Whitney for her comment. The pain is gone. Halleluiah! Wait for it...I'm still sad. I still miss him, but it is getting a little better to bear. I talked with my grandmother this week who is so wise and godly. She asked me if I was doing any better and I said yes but started to cry. (I'm also a sucker for her sweet voice) I said, I just miss him. She said, Oh Heather, we are always gonna miss him. So I'm gonna continue to allow myself to be sad when I need to and miss him always, but I am going to continue living my life for both my father and my Heavenly Father. Tom. will be 4 months since he passed away. Please pray for me and my family.


Barbara and Shanna checked out kids for Sala this morning. This little boy was just sooo cute!
After we worked in the am everything was pretty much shutting down allowing the visitors to get ready to leave. We got to take a van and go to a market in the park. They had all kinds of stuff you could buy. Allison tried on this really cute shirt, but found a cuter one after doing some digging.
This was a lady who was making a belt out of coke tabs and thread. We had seen the belts at the mission's gift shop so it was neat to figure out how they were made.
Shanna, Barbara and Holly doing some shopping
It looks like a flea market
My new friends Becky and Mike
They had a going away party for a family that had been at the mission for 2 years. We got to eat grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner!!

Tim Reaves, a baker at Publix worked in the Nut House all week. Mrs. Dorothy was so excited to have professional help for the week. Tim did a great job on the cake. This is what was on one side of it.

These boys were trying to play tricks on us and Dr Mark had fun playing with them.
This little girl was so sweet. She came up and plopped herself down in Robbie's lap. Then she played musical laps and thus the next couple of pics.
Oh, this is the kids waiting for the cake to be cut.

She stayed with Bro. Jerome the longest amount of time. He was singing Jesus loves me to her in this pic.


A few waiting for Sala after breakfast. I had to get up early this day and go help in the kitchen setting tables and then cleaning afterwards. You only had 15 min to eat a meal(not really sure why) so there was sufficient time to hang out before Sala at 8am.

Sharon enjoyed the fact that she could use her phone and had a good rate plan!
For my cousin Hannah who I know will say how pretty I look in this picture to be on a mission trip...just remember it was only 8am! Me and Barbara in Sala on the back row!
Dr Mark Eanes and his wife Jo
We had different musical people each day to lead us in worship. They were practicing before Sala so I took a chance to grab their photo.

This boy was looking around to see if he liked his new glasses and if they worked for him. Mrs. Barbara gave out tons of glasses during the week. FYI-if anyone has childrens glasses, they are in need.
Jeffrey was working on the sterilizer machine right outside of the O. R. God has really blessed him with the ability to fix things.
Dr Lance Haluka took a break from working to make a funny face for my picture, he's a laugh and a half.

After a long day of work we headed off to the Baja Restaurant for some authentic Mexican food. It was so great!

one of the tables of our big group of 32
ok so they have glass bottles of coke and it tasted so good! I meant to take a picture of the Diet Coke bottle for Patsy and Mexico, it's called Coke Light.


ok so I worked in the morning and in the afternoon I went on "child Evangelism". you get in a group of 9-11 and go with a teacher a surrounding neighborhood. Leydi was our teacher. Basically its like having vacation bible school with a bible lesson a song or two and at the end the kids get a glass of milk and a spoon of peanut butter. We literally rode up and down these awful bumpy poverished roads with Leydi calling out to the kids to go to the church. The kids know to go to the church and wait for her to get their. After 5 roads we arrive at the church to 54 children waiting for their spiritual and physical nourishment. It was a gut check!
the church where the kids came to have their Bible lesson with no air and only windows for lighting.

kids taking care of their siblings.
ok so they did bring the teacher some flowers!

these girls really had fun with me trying to tell them to smile so I could take their picture considering that my Spanish stinks! oh yeah and my right hand was covered in peanut butter so it was quite interesting trying to focus the camera
they were so happy
I wanted to give these kids the biggest scoop of peanut butter I could. When I saw the crappy plastic dirty spoons and cups they had, it broke my heart. My friend Miranda told me they probably got those from the dump. The dump! Just so they can have a scoop of peanut butter and a cup of milk!!!
The line of boys and girls at the back of the van rather, understandingly, impatiently waiting for their nutrition.
Allison and I after the Bible lesson. The kids brought in beautiful flowers for the teacher. Allison went back to the back of the room to help keep some kids quiet and they brought her the flowers instead of the teacher. "little is much, when God is in it"

But for the grace of God...
i dont have to say anything, do I?
cardboards for fences
the most stable of the houses I saw while out in the neighborhood

Charla, the founder of the mission, came to our nightly meeting to talk to us about how God gave her the vision to start the mission. She has even written a book about it.