thousands elsewhere...

"It's not that it's not grand enough... there's just something easy goin that I love about you and Tennessee..........
Part of me's in Tennessee, and deep down in my heart I miss my Smokey Mountain home, and I miss your lovin too,
and it's deep inside of me, and it's always gonna be,
cause this ain't Tennessee, and she ain't you...."

Wow! Garth captured my very heart when he sang those lyrics to me as I was driving home from an amazing three day visit to see my friends in East Tennessee and at WVR last weekend... Man, those kids are at the center of my heart and I feel so blessed that they are part of my life forever! Beautiful blue clear skies both days, an amazing full moon and a sky full of stars each night... That place is a vision of the power of God, and I pray that He takes me back there to live one day... That trip couldn't have come at a better time for me! I get so caught up in the discouragement I face daily at my jobs, and I tend to forget that God has the power to work in all situations and to change lives, and WVR is such a breath of fresh air and a reminder of what God does everyday!

I start to feel hopeless at ER, cause I don't see a lot of change in those kids lives... I see a lot of potential, but I also see A LOT of reluctancy on their parts to want to change, and that is the hardest part for me... My heart breaks every day, because I want them to succeed so badly, and, I mean really, it's been two and a half months, isn't that enough time to heal what 13+ years of trauma and emotional damage has done to these kids? Of course it's not... That is a completely ridiculous thought process..... Seeing my friends at WVR reminds me of what God can do in lives, it reminds me of what He's done in my life, and it restores my hope of what He is capable of doing in these ER kid's lives, in His own time frame... it took 22 years to get me where I am, and I definitely still have a long way to go!

A second thought I've had is that, while this isn't Tennessee, and none of these kids are those kids, Georgia is great, and these kids are fantastic... They put the biggest smile on my face every day, and I love them each so much... These middle schoolers are definitely some of the all time greatest people I know, they make me laugh so much and they are just each so precious to me.... I know that I am where the Lord wants me right now, and I believe that when you are following God and living in His will and not your own, He can and absolutely will use you to make an eternal difference in people's lives, as well as your own... At WVR on Tuesday morning, Brian and Maralee led us in worship, and as we stood singing "Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere" I praised God for revealing His will to me, and bringing me to Georgia and Eagle Ranch... I could spend thousands of days in Tennessee, outside of the Lord's will, but surrounded by those kids and my friends up there who I love so much, and I would probably be very happy.... but better is ONE day in His courts!

Well... I have 28 praises and prayer requests for y'all... one for each of these kids I hang out with every day.... I'm so thankful for them and so truly blessed, and my prayer is that they open their hearts and their eyes to who God is and what He can do in their lives.... And pray that we, as a staff, are used in a mighty way, and that these kids see the love of God in and through us....

And praise God for giving me the internet, a phone line, and transporation so I can can keep in touch and visit WVR often!

I am so grateful for each of you and that God has provided me with a means to keep in touch with all of you as well! Thanks for always reading my babbling novels about my redundant struggles, and the Lord's continual grace... You're all in my prayers and I love you all very much!

Anna Kathryn

"I thank my God everytime I remember you;
in all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy!"
Philippians 1:3&4

The best commentary I get these days are the one's that age me back to middle school.... They never cease to make my day....

"I feel comfortable talking to Miss Buffington, because it's like she's our age..."
-Amanda, 13

Talking to a 7th grader I hung out with while her parents were buying a car at the dealership... We're talking about visiting her church and youth group...
"Aww man! It's too bad you're not in middle school! Cause then you could come to our church service, and we get a live band!"

Cameron: "Miss Buffington looks like one of us today..."
Cody: "Yeah! Miss Buffington, you look like a pigtailed middle schooler!!"

"Awww, you look like a little school girl..."
-Ron, an adult...
hahaha, music to my ears....