Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just Bein' Real

I just put my kids to bed. It is 7:15. It is 45 minutes before their normal bedtime, but I just couldn't take another second. Have you ever been there? I've been feeling crummy all week due to a bladder infection and over the weekend we had to make an overnight trip to my mamaw's to attend my mom's cousins funeral. It was nice to get to see my family (my mom and brother even came from P.C.) and my mamaw's new trailer (her house burned down a few months back). However, I made a very fateful decision on that trip. I decided it would be too much trouble to pack up the playpen and that Kate could just sleep with us. WORST DECISION EVER! It came close to tying with my decision to get my bangs permed in 1988, but maybe due to the passing of time, I decided the playpen definitely took the cake.

There has been much controversy over the topic of "The Family Bed", that is the idea of children sleeping with there parents. I am not going to go into the research or issues or anything like that, I'm just going to tell you, it don't work in this family! First of all, I don't sleep well with others. I never have. It doesn't matter what size the bed is, I like to be laying diagonally across it. I have strong moral and spiritual reasons that Josh will be the only man I ever share a bed with, but mostly it is because I've invested a lot of time in adjusting to sharing a bed with him. :) Seriously, I wouldn't even sleep with stuffed animals when I was little because they would always end up smushed or on the floor and I didn't feel it was fair to them. Needless to say, this turned out to be a rough night. Josh had his fan plugged in at the end of the bed so he was turned with his feet on the pillow so the fan could blow on his face. He had also laid on top of the comforter so that it could not be pulled up over my head which is how I sleep so the fan doesn't blow in my face. :) Kate climbed to the headboard and started jumping on the bed. I pulled her down. Kate got down off of the bed and I put her back. Kate climbed on top of Josh and he moved her. Kate lay sideways in between us because there was *plenty* of room to do so. I was highly debating driving the three hours home to get the playpen (sleep deprivation makes us desperate doesn't it?) when she finally curled up next to me and passed out. I couldn't move or adjust the covers, but oh well. I could sleep.

The next day after the funeral my aunt called one of her friends to see if it would be okay to bring the kids to see his miniature ponies. You cannot imagine the excitement this brought my children, especially Sarah who LOVES horses. We packed up and headed down the street. I have to stop here and tell you that I have really been trying to pay more attention to my appearance. By that I mean I have tried to cut back the jeans and tees days to just a couple of days a week. I just have been trying harder to at least appear presentable, y'know what I mean? Well, needless to say, I was not really dressed appropriately for a trip to the barn. I had on my wedge heeled sandals and my trouser jeans (which are very long) and it had been raining earlier and anyway, the only way I can explain what my feet felt when they hit the ground is "mushy". Ewww!! As soon as we pulled up we saw the biggest dog I have ever seen. He was bigger than the ponies! I am not even kidding. I immediately said, "This looks like the dog from The Neverending Story!" I didn't have my camera with me so I will have to get my mom to send me a picture. It was really ridiculous how mesmerized by that dog I was. To show his love for me he sneezed on me and can I just tell you that big dogs have big snot? I know, this is so gross. But my cute trouser jeans were now covered in snot. Luckily I am a mom and this is a normal occurance. :) We enjoyed seeing the ponies and meeting a donkey named Willie Earl.

Soon it was time to pack up and head back to our metropolis, but first Mamaw let us know that she had a pile of bricks from her house that burned down if we wanted to take some. I decided I would get some for the kids to paint and we could use them to make a flower bed. We went to the backyard where they were piled and I have to tell you, fear struck. They were all piled up against a tree, but all I could think was that for sure there had to be a snake in there. I would say I have an irrational fear of snakes, but with the number I have seen (dead on the road) lately, I feel my fear is very rational. I sucked it up and started digging through the bricks. I still had on my wedge heeled sandals and no sooner than I had picked up the third brick, something slithered across my bare toe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did what any cool, calm and collected girl would do. I screamed! Everybody freaked out and came running. We all looked down and it was an.........
earthworm. Hey, don't judge me! It was a LONG earthworm. I promise you would have screamed too!

After all of that excitement life has been pretty calm. Calm in the way life is calm when you have three kids and live in the parking lot of the church. :) Today has been long. My kids having been pushing every button I have, spilling every drink I fix, and pretty much just bouncing off of walls. I've spent a lot of time on other women's blogs and I have found them so educational and challenging. They talk about meal plans and festive decorations and date nights with their husbands. I feel like they offer really good, practical, useful advice. It got me to thinking about my blog and how I truly have none of that to offer. I started thinking maybe I should just quit this blogging thing altogether if it really isn't building anybody up. But then, I realized that as much as I enjoy those other blogs they often leave me feeling intimidated and way out of their league. While I learn so much and aspire to grow in so many areas of my life, I felt like maybe some of you might feel like I do. That maybe sometimes you too need to know that other people are covered in dog snot and have 20 month olds who climb out of their playpen and sneek into the bathroom to climb on the sink and wash their pacifier. :) Maybe you too have more questions than you have answers most days. Maybe you are just worn out somedays. Me too. Just bein' real...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Overheard this week...

I must say that this last week had to be the fastest week in the history of my life. After Eli's party we had homecoming across the street at the Methodist church. I cooked a corn casserole and made my first bowl of Pink Delight, a recipe I got from one of our church ladies that is super easy and super delicious. We heard a history lesson on Montrose, specifically the Choctaw Indians who had been living here (you know that was interesting to me since I have recently become fascinated by Indians), the kids were all given disposable cameras during the children's message so they could take pictures to remember this time and place in their life (a cool idea, although they also became great projectile objects for the younger kids to throw and drop on the wooden pews and floor), and heard a message on "Home" a subject I plan to devote an entire blog to one day. After it was over we had an excellent meal and Eli even sat at the other end of the table with some men from the community that we don't even know that well. He said they conversed about the dessert. Two of our church members shared a story with us that has prompted the title of this blog.

Just for some background, if you ever hear me talk about Jerry's on here I am referring to the gas station at the end of the street. They serve awesome hamburgers and also keep me stocked with diet cokes when I realize at 10:00 at night that I need one and my only option is the coke machine outside. (Yes, I really do need to be set free from the Diet Coke.) Anyway, when I say that Jerry's is all there is to Montrose, I am NOT exaggerating. So, our church members started telling us that they happened to drive by Jerry's and there were oodles of cars lined up in the parking lot and on both sides of the highway. Of course this kind of activity in our neck of the woods garners a lot of attention. Turns out, some guy had told people he was going to cross the street buck nekded (Eli's word). Sure enough, he did. And our church members (who luckily, were both men) witnessed this new making event. Is there no shame? Seriously, all I could say was that I have tried to tell them we need a movie theatre, bowling alley or SOMETHING!!!

Sunday night started our revival services and Josh's friend Bobby and his family were coming to eat with us. We had by some miracle managed to keep the house clean after Eli's party. We were really rushed trying to eat before service started, but I had so much fun talking with Bobby's wife. I don't have many opportunities to hang out with other preacher's wives, especially ones close to my age with kids the same age as mine. We also shared a similar sense of humor and that is a big deal to me, because as you can probably tell from my blogs my sense of humor is pretty much my coping mechanism in life!!! I ended up keeping the nursery that night. It was just Kate and Eli and Bobby and Amy's little girl Lydia. She just turned 1 and she seemed so tiny compared to Kate. We hadn't been in the nursery 5 minutes before Kate flipped over one of the plastic chairs and accidentally scratched Lydia's face. Then, Lydia threw her bottle on the hard floor and buted the plastic around the top. I was pretty sure they would never trust me with their child again.

I plan on writing a more serious blog about our revival, but I have to tell you the other excitement of this week. Our garden has produced crops! By "our" garden I mean the one that I have watched grow from the window in my air-conditioned kitchen. :) The farmer (that's what I'll call him) kept telling me he was going to teach me to scracth for taters. If that sounds like a foreign language to you it means pick potatoes. He took me out and showed me how to search for the cracks in the dirt and reach in and get the potatoes. It's like hunting for Easter eggs! He never actually let me do it, he didn't want me to get dirty. :) Sarah just couldn't stand it and had to come with me. That child was meant to live on a farm. She LOVES that kind of stuff. Bless her heart, she was born to two extremely citified people and I can barely keep a plant inside the house alive. Tonight I made squash casserole and soon I will be making potato salad with fresh, new potatoes! Speaking of the farmer, Eli told us yesterday, "The farmer has some teeth in a cup in his car." LOL!!!!!!!!!!

I will end this by telling you that we have eaten more food this past week than any person should ever eat. I've recently had a couple of people ask me how I have lost weight and I had thought about posting a blog about that, but after this last week....let's just say it got ugly. I had really been wanting to order a workout video I had heard so much about called "30 Day Shred". It's by the Biggest Loser trainer Jillian. I have to tell you, she scares me! So, I went with another video called "Dance it Off". So far, Josh and I have watched it and Sarah has done one of the 10 minute segments. I got tired watching it and some of the moves are most definitely NOT appropriate for the preacher's wife. We shall see.

Well, I better go. If you need me and can't find me don't worry. I'll either be scratchin' taters or dancing them off!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Life Lessons

Can I be honest with you? I am going through a rough season right now. Not a bad season, or a sad season. I've had those. But what I'm talking about here, is a season of learning. Do you also find learning rough? I don't know about you, but as much as I love to know new things I don't find the learning part very appealing. At points it seems fun and challenging. But then, it just gets hard. I feel like Sarah working on her worksheets as she asks me, "I already know this. Why do I have to keep doing the same thing over and over?"

I want to share with you the lesson I'm having to work on. I don't know if you are in the same boat. Maybe you have already mastered this one and if so God bless you! This is the lesson of selfless service. I wish so much that I was one of those people who can work and give and do for others and be totally content to serve no matter how appreciated (or unappreciated) they are. I know it is so easy for me to look at other people around me and start the pity parties of why am I the only one? Or doesn't anybody care? It's so humiliating to even admit. But as hard as I was trying to have a pity party recently God was working even harder on my heart. I wanted to just wallow in my self-pity and tell God the problems with everybody else. He wouldn't let me. Instead His Word kept playing through my mind like a CD set on replay.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

~Philippians 2:3-4

I pray that these verses might encourage you this week. If you too are a follower of Christ then you know that this is the battle we fight. Everything in our human nature tells us to be ambitious, to put ourselves ahead of others. Trust me, the instruction of these verses does not come naturally to me. But because I am a Christ follower I desperately want them to.

I challenge you as I am challenging myself this week. What can we do to make life easier for others? How can we serve those around us? My goal is when I start feeling sorry for myself to pray and ask God to show me someone who could really use my prayers or words of encouragement. When I start feeling too busy I want to use that to think of what I would want someone to do to help me out and then offer that assistance to someone else.

As a Christian sometimes it is so easy to take for granted the blessings we recieve. It is easy to hoard the love that God has shown us. The truth is that those blessings and that love grow in us when we share them with others. How I pray that this week the Father would keep teaching me this hard lesson. I pray that I would follow God's leading in the same way Sarah follows me from the kitchen watching me cook to the bedroom watching me put on my jewelry. That I can learn from the best example, the one Christ set.

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God

something to be grasped,

but made himself nothing,

taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

and became obedient to death-

even death on a cross!"

~Philippians 2:5-8

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Drumroll please....

Well today was the day. Eli's first birthday party since he was 1. I haven't had a party for him since we've moved to Mississippi because we haven't had any kids his age to invite. But this year we decided to have a party. Despite inviting his whole tball team we still ended up with 5 girls and Eli! One day he will really appreciate that. :) We had a lot of fun decorating and getting ready. Here you see Eli stuffing the pinata. He really is having fun, he just wasn't in a picture mood at this moment. Speaking of pictures, my camera died 2 minutes after our first guest arrived and I didn't get it working again until a couple of hours ago. So, this is all I got!

This is the playroom all decked out with the totally cool solar system. Yes, Sarah is running away. By the time I got my camera to take the picture everyone was running to find something else to do.

Eli also had fun helping daddy blow up the planets. While I was getting ready Josh came and told me that he had just hung the moon. :)
Doesn't Eli look excited? Here is the "kidney cake" as I affectionately call it. I don't know if you can tell, but the "wings" at the bottom looked just like kidneys, especially before I put the candy on because even after using all of the red coloring the icing was still pink. I was the most excited about the twizzlers at the bottom, but being the genius that I am I put it on a red board so you can barely see them!! Poor Eli. People kept telling me that all that mattered was that the cake was made with a mother's love. See what happens when your mama loves ya??? The kids actually really liked it and as much as it looks nothing like it is supposed to, I decided I will enjoy making ugly cakes until my kids catch on and demand I not humiliate them with my incompetence.

This may be my favorite picture of all time!!!

Me and the birthday boy!

Friday, May 15, 2009

There'll Be Days Like This....

Days like today are why I have a blog. If it weren't for the fact that I knew at the end of the day I could tell my story and pretend like someone cares, I would probably just drown myself in cake frosting and diet coke. Okay, so I have done that, but I will get to that part later.

The day began about 5 or 6 when Kate wandered into our room with a book. Beauty and the Beast to be exact. This wandering into our room is a new thing as she sleeps in her playpen and has just recently learned to climb out. I have her toddler bed set up but have been worried about her getting up and wandering around the house while we're asleep. Guess that doesn't matter now! Anyway, she cuddled up with me and looked at her book. It was a sweet moment. How I wish I could enjoy moments at 5 o'clock in the morning more. :) She also entertained me greatly when I was changing her pull-up and she handed me her doll instead. She's a mess!

Today was designated housecleaning and cake making day. Yes, everyone here was as thrilled as you are imagining. Actually, my kids seemed extra eager to help clean I guess because of the excitement of Eli's party tommorrow. We adorned ourselves in our rattiest, housecleaning attire and got to it. It was a family affair and I must say it makes my life much easier when it is that way. I had a ton of stuff I had put in the hallway waiting to go to storage. Josh packed up Sarah and they headed to our storage unit in Newton. I noticed he had taken his truck and this was of particular interest to me because his battery had died in his truck and he had to take the one out of the jeep to get the truck to start. Not too long after he left my friend Kim called. We are planning our high school's ten year reunion and we needed to have a little pow wow about what to do if nobody decides to come. I'm trying really hard not to stress out about it, but it is quite an undertaking and all of us who are working on it live in different states and each have a million things going on. Anyway, as we hung up I got a text message of Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." My first thought was that it was sweet of that person to send it to me. Looking back I should have known it was a message from God preparing me.

Two seconds later Josh called. I figured he was going to tell me he was on his way home or ask if I needed anything from town. But he wasn't. He and Sarah were broke down at the storage place. This was quite a situation as I was at home with a jeep with no battery in it. One of our church members was working across the street at the cemetary. Another was in the field in our backyard working in the garden. They both had trucks. And I had two kids with car seats and needed to pick up two more people. Not good. Mr. R.B.'s truck also had a trailer hooked up and I cannot begin to tell you the visions of destruction that crossed my mind. I just can't even fathom how much damage I could do trying turn that trailer into a parking lot. I talked to Mr. Clyde and he said we could use his car that was at his house. He said I could take him home and get the car and then he remembered I had the kids. Finally, Mr. R.B. took him to his house and he brought us his car. A Mercedes Benz I might add. Hey, if you're going to have a day like this it doesn't hurt to get to drive a luxury car!!! I loaded up the car seats in the Benz and headed to rescue our fellow family members. Luckily I was only halfway down the street when I remembered I had forgotten the jumper cables. So we turned around. Eventually we made it to Newton.

Josh had me backing up and turning around trying to get in the right position and I realized in that moment why I cannot have a luxury vehicle. We were at a very busy place with lots of traffic and as I was backing up I prayed "Lord, please protect the car. Oh yea, and my kids too." We weren't able to get the truck jumped off so Josh just got in the car with us. We had to go by the Pig to get the cake mix for Eli's cake and we decided to make the most of it and pick up some barbecue from our favorite restaurant next to the Pig. I was going to run in the store and Josh was going to place our order, but we could not get the key out of the car to save our lives so I just ran in the store. I hadn't been in there 2 minutes when Josh and the kids came. So we all went to wait on our order. Can I just tell you we were all still in our rattiest, housecleaning clothes and we were looking ROUGH! Kate didn't even have shoes on. I had to laugh about us driving around in the Benz looking like we just come in from the farm.

We made it home just in time to scarf down our food and get ready for tball. Josh put the battery back in the jeep and it worked so we know something else is going on with his truck. (If you read my blogs often you know that we are really lucky with cars:) I got to drive the Benz all by myself to take it back. I so would have gotten a picture if I hadn't been looking like death warmed over all day. After another exciting tball adventure I came home to make the cake. Y'all, just in case you are wondering, I have not magically turned into Martha Stewart overnight, despite my extreme overconfidence that I could recreate the birthday cake that I would give you the link to, but I don't want you to ever see what it is really supposed to look like.

I will show you pictures after the party, but now I will just leave you with this info. I have nicknamed this cake the kidney cake, I don't ever want to see hot tamale candy again, and I am covered, literally, head to toe in colored frosting. All day long I had that song "Mama said there'd be days like this, there'll be days like this my mama said." You know that song? Well, by the time I got done with the cake, the new song was "From a Distance" by Bette Midler. No one will actually be allowed within 10 feet of the cake as it definitely looks better from a distance!! All I know is that I got to end this day licking frosting out of the can. Guess it could be worse!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thank God for Little Boys

I've heard that March is the month of madness, but I must say in our house, May seems to bring the madness. Today I enjoyed lunch and a Wal-Mart trip with my friend Karen as I prepared for the insanity that is to become our lives for the next week. Tonight we had tball pictures at 6:00 and a concert at the church at 7:00. Tommorrow night is a tball game and Saturday is Eli's birthday party. (Yes, we are just now having it. Don't worry, regardless of the outcome I plan to have pictures of the cake.:) Sunday is homecoming at the Methodist church so I will be cooking for the lunch there and then Sunday night we start our revival and we will be hosting our evangelist and his family in our home Sunday night. So....I'm going to be spending a lot of time cleaning and cooking the next few days!! Then we will have revival every night next week. I'm really looking forward to it as one of Josh's friends from school is preaching it. I got to hear him when I went to school with Josh and I'm anxious to hear him again. I guess I tell you all of that to say...please pray for me! I may be running in circles for a few days!

I also wanted to tell you about tball pictures. I am telling you, those kids just crack me up. By the time I got home from the store and served supper we were running a little late. (Imagine that. :) We all ran around like crazy getting ready. I had laid Eli's uniform out earlier so it would be ready to go. He got dressed while I pinned Kate down and got her dressed. We realized we couldn't find Eli's hat so I grabbed an extra adult hat we have. Then halfway there I looked back at him and realized there was something all over the front of his shirt. I was so confused. I hadn't remembered washing it, but after 80 loads you start to forget what all you have washed. It had been folded up in his drawer. Then it hit me. He had put his dirty uniform in his drawer! You really have to be careful when you tell your kids to clean up their rooms! So...on picture night my child had on a dirty uniform and a hat that was too big! Not too long after we got there another mom showed up lamenting the fact that she had thought red snow cones would be a good idea on the way. Her little boy was covered in red. I was sharing our story and the assistant coach laughed and said they didn't have time to dry their son's uniform so he was wearing a wet uniform and he had also misplaced his hat and was wearing an adult one! Somebody said, "They're boys, they aren't supposed to be clean." I gotta say those little fellas were pretty cute no matter what. Dirty uniforms, big hats, snowcones and all!

Thank God for little boys!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cooking by Picture

I had a hallelujah moment tonight. I found a recipe here and I actually had all of the ingredients I needed! I couldn't believe it. And not only did I have all of the ingredients, but the recipe was actually shown step by step with pictures. How awesome is that? I remember when I first got married someone telling me that if you could read you could cook. So, I took that very literally. I did not fix anything unless I had the recipe right in front of me and had every ingredient measured to the perfect proportion. Thankfully, I have grown in my cooking skills and I now have my own recipes that I use a "little of this" and a "lot of that". I don't always need the recipe to spell it out for me. But I gotta say, it was nice to cook by picture tonight. Kind of like painting by numbers. (I stink at that by the way:)

As I was thinking about my excitement over this recipe (really, when did recipes become exciting to me?), I began to ponder some things I've been dealing with. Don't you wish sometimes that life came with a picture book detailing every step you should take? Of course now we live in a time when we do have books for just about everything imaginable. And luckily they have a whole series designated to teaching us dummies how to do everything from turn on a computer to how to speak Swahili. :)

As I've shared, Josh and I are at a waiting point. A seeking point. Not sure is a difficult location to hang out at. I know that on some level we all struggle with the questions "What am I supposed to do?" "Where do I go?" "What is the plan?" Apparently God has not chosen to give us the details of this specific plan right now, but 2 Thessalonians 3:5 says, "Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ." No matter what earthly, geographic location God may lead us to, He is always directing our hearts to grow in love and patience and to know His love and patience. He may not be giving us step by step directions for our life right now, but the picture is clear to me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

If you give a kid a blanket....

With all of my kids birthdays happening in May, July, and August it is that time. The time people start asking me "What do they need?" I always have to laugh, because seriously, is there anything they NEED? Of course, there are tons of things they want and I have to admit that even after cleaning up the playroom for the 800th time and threatening to throw everything they own away, I still find things I want them to have as well. So, just in case you are wondering what my children play you go. We have spent a small fortune on toys, not to mention the gifts from two sets of grandparents, aunts, an uncle and two great grandmas. We also have church members who consider our kids their kids. But...this is what entertains them. A blanket tent.

You may think I am silly, but it thrills me to see my kids do things like this. I think one of the greatest gifts of childhood is imagination. The other day my kids came out dressed to the nines. Sarah had on a fancy play dress and Eli had on his "preacher jacket". Daisy had been outfitted with a bow around her neck. They were playing "dog show" and getting ready to have Daisy "judged". I love it!

We are coming up on our last week of homeschooling for this year and I haven't shared as much about it as I had planned to. So, I thought I would share some of the things I have learned and experienced.

First, I will be totally honest in telling you that I started homeschooling for financial reasons. Straight up, that was my reason. We had been sending Sarah to a private school and we knew that while we scraping by sending her that once Eli started there would be no way we could do it. While it started out as a way to save money, God has turned it into such a blessing and a conviction in my heart. The words of Deuteronomy 6:5-7 have become very real to me. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them dilligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." I feel so blessed that I get to spend so much time with my kids to teach them the things that Josh and I value so much. I know (because I have been there) that there are times when moms have to work and don't get this opportunity so I really cherish it!

I will also be honest in saying that it is not easy! Some days are so awesome. I feel just like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. It's a beautiful time. Chores get done, schoolwork not only gets done but we actually have fun learning. We go to the library and to the park. I prepare healthy, well balanced meals. We share meaninful conversations. I usually get 1 day like that a week. Yes, I said 1!! A lot of days are chaos. Sarah doesn't want to do her work. Eli wants Sarah to play instead of doing her work. Kate is playing with my breakables in the curio cabinet or going through the garbage. I feel like the biggest failure known to man.

Why do I share that? Because even with days like that I have found homeschooling to be so rewarding. I have heard so many people say they just couldn't do it and believe me I was one of them!! If you had told me when Sarah started school in August that I would be homeschooling by Jan. I would have looked at you like you had 2 heads. I can't believe how much my ideas have changed. I got the catalog for the curriculum I plan to use next year and I was so excited you would have thought it was a catalog to plan a summer long European vacation! I am planning to use the Sonlight curriculum next year as it promises to be very literature based and focuses on teaching a love for reading and learning. Those are my main goals for teaching my kids. That is another awesome thing about homeschooling to me. I don't have the pressures of standardized testing that public school teachers do so I feel like we can take as much or as little time as we need for Sarah to really learn and enjoy it. This year we used the Abeka curriculum because that is what her school was using and we had already paid for the curriculum so we just finished the year with the books she already had. We've enjoyed it, but I'm excited about trying something new. I am by no means an expert on homeschooling or choosing curriculum, but maybe I will be in a few years. :)
My main reason for writing this is just to share the excitement God has given me about being a part of my children's education. Even if you don't homeschool, teaching our kids is one of the greatest responsibilities and blessings we have. I have learned that learning is about so much more than schedules, workbooks and tests. Children naturally learn to love. The day of the blanket tent two of Sarah's worksheets went undone. That used to really stress me out. As a public school product I feel the need to have documented proof of what my child is learning. But you know what? We did them the next day. There will be lots of time for worksheets, tests and stress. For now, she's six. Here's to blankets and dog shows!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Before You Came

Before you came, I didn't know,
that vacuums soothe colic,
and cheerios are a food group.

Before you came, I didn't know,
that electric cars can get stuck in your hair,
or how to get gum out of carpet.

Before you came, I didn't know,
that you can laugh and cry at the same time,
and that disasters can sometimes be funny.

Before you came, I didn't know,
I could look at one person for such a long time,
or that a camera could take so many pictures.

Before you came, I didn't know,
lights make scary things go away,
and my kisses can make all boo boos better.

Before you came, I didn't know,
that fancy things and lifelong dreams,
would seem mundane when compared with you.

Happy Mother's Day!!



Saturday, May 9, 2009

Heavy on my heart...

It is WAY late and I have had a night full of tball, Relay for Life, barbecue sandwiches, nachos, and Hawaiian Punch slushies. I may be a *little* biased, but I do believe I gave birth to three extremely talented children. My mother in law said it is okay to be prideful if you're a mom. She can't prove it in scripture, she just says it is so. :) Eli was a rock star at tball and Sarah shone at her little dance recital at Relay for Life. Kate drank 3 capri suns, ate two bags of chips and a cookie. She cheered the tball team on. She's just too stinkin' cute! (BTW please don't report me for overdosing my child on sugar and junk. I promise it was only a special occasion tonight.)

Despite the fun and the excitement of our week I have had some things that have been heavy on my heart that I felt I needed to share.Josh has finals coming up on Monday and I have the feeling I may not be seeing the computer for awhile! I'll warn you...this may get long. I've had a lot on my mind!

Thursday, May 7, was the National Day of Prayer. It's a day set aside for governement officials, pastors, church leaders, and really everyone to join together in prayer. I have had so many areas in my life that I have been dealing with that I thought I would share them with you and ask that if you feel led you might join me in praying for these specific things. If you would like to share, I would also love to hear and help you pray about the things that are heavy on your heart.

* Church leadership
As most of you know I am a pastor's wife and so obviously the topic of church leadership is one close to my heart. A burden I have had lately has been to pray that Josh would grow in boldness, wisdom, and courage. I feel that as our country becomes more and more hostile to Christian beliefs that not only Josh, but all of our church leaders will need the courage and boldness to proclaim the gospel purely and without apology. I pray that our leaders would seek the same boldness the apostles sought when they prayed, "Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.' And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:30-31)
I have also felt burdened to pray for our leaders that their hearts and minds will stay focused or return to focus on the work that God has called them to do. I know that it is easy to slip away from a calling, to be lured into an area that offers greater success, financial gain, or more recognition. I sincerely pray that God will strengthen those He has called to remain faithful to the calling of making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe ALL things that Jesus has commanded. (Matthew 28:19-20).
Finally, I pray for our church leaders to have hearts that are broken by the condition of the world and the condition of so many people. I pray that ministry would not be about numbers or financial statements or church politics. I pray that pastors would do as it says in the book of Joel chapter 2 verse 17, "Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar". I pray that not just church leaders but all Christians would truly weep over and care about people and seek God's mercy on their behalf.
I do not share any of these prayer requests in a way that is meant to tear someone down. I truly have felt led to pray these things because I know the weight of the responsibility our leaders carry and I also know the spiritual battle that is warring in their lives. The enemy knows that if he can attack our leaders and lead them astray or bring them down, we will all go with them. I know that I need to be more consistent in my prayer life and lifting these leaders up in my prayers.

* My Own Issues
There have been several issues that I have been working through and I value your insights and prayers. First, as I struggle with these things I realize that I do not know as much as I thought I did. :) Shocking to you all I am sure! As much as I wish that I had all of the answers and could live a perfect example of Christ for you all, I know I fall very short. I had actually quit blogging about spiritual issues as much because I have recently become petrified that I might say something that is wrong or unbiblical or just that I'm not as sure as I thought I was. Nothing would be worse to me than to mislead someone in scripture. So, please always feel free to correct me or question me if you feel that I write something that is not in line with
God's Word or that maybe just needs some clarification.
With that said, the first issue I am praying about is my role as a woman in the church, in ministry in general, and in my home. This is such a controversial subject, especially in our very feminist, gender neutral culture. There is so much that could be said on this subject, but what I am specifically praying over are the words in Titus 2. This chapter uses words like "chaste", "discreet", "homemakers", "good" and, are you ready for this one? "Obedient to their own husbands". *Collective gasp*. Yes, girls you read the right. I'm for real, that is what it says. In case you are reading this and do not know me, you may immediately decide that I have a 4th grade education, have never cut my hair, have 25 children, and speak only when spoken too. Of course, those of you who know me know that is definitely not true! Unfortunately, I am afraid that this is one area where the church has fallen to the sway of culture. Even "church people" seem to find it offensive that God's Word would say such a thing. God has impressed on my heart the need to pray that I would learn how important these qualities are. The verses in Titus 2 go on to say that we should be all of these things, "that the word of God may not be blasphemed." This is serious stuff here. I believe that these verses mean that when we are the opposite of these characteristics it not only causes problems in our homes, it actually mocks God and brings shame to Him. There is such a push now to have a ministry, go on a mission trip, write a book, save the world. God may very well be calling you to do one of those things. But I believe as women we miss the most important calling, which is to be a woman of God. To teach other women through our lives what it means to love our husbands and our children and to serve others. So, I am praying a great deal about this. In the society we live in with so many broken and dysfunctional homes I realize what an awesome opportunity and responsibilty it is to be a wife and a mom. Titus 2 implies that women are teachers of excellent things. How I pray that I will take this role as seriously as it really is. That I will make it my top priority above selfish ambitions or societal expectations. No~it is not politically correct, but it is my prayer.

Next, is giving God my all. It is tempting at times to think that since I packed up and left my hometown and my family and later gave up my career all in the effort to follow God that I am good in this respect. I've done my best, given my all. the end of the day I know it is just not true. Actually, I'm not even talking about the big stuff here. I'm talking about the everyday, run of the mill, seems to have no significance stuff. Here is where God got me. Proverbs 31:13 is talking about The Virtuous Wife and says she "willingly works with her hands". Did you catch that willingly part? That "willingly" word has been working on me hard. Do you ever find yourself throwing dishes in the dishwasher while you grumble under your breath about how you're the only one who does anything? Yea, me too. I have to tell you that this one little verse has been such a challenge to me. I've started praying now that I can do as Ephesians 6:7 tells us and "serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men." I believe that life takes on a whole new meaning when we begin to think about everything we do as an act of service to Jesus our King. It goes so against our human nature to want to serve others above ourselves or to devote our time to tasks that seem trivial. But, I have become convinced that if we want to see a change in our country, schools, and all of those other places we pray for, we have to want a change in us. We have to want to represent our Savior in a way that is pleasing to Him and shows the world that we are different. This quote from "Writer to Writer" by Bodie and Brock Thoene speaks volumes to me. "Christians cannot afford to be satisfied with anything second-rate. For too long we have made allowances for less than superior quality, comforting ourselves with the thought that if something was 'done in a good cause,' then a less stringent measure of performance could be applied. For this reason a world of unbelievers, who we say we want to attract to Jesus, have come to associate Christianity with mediocrity." OUCH!! As the people here like to say, that stepped all over my toes! Lord, please help me offer more than mediocrity in my life! I struggle so much in this area and would really appreciate your prayers!
Finally, (I know if you are still reading you never thought this moment would come) speaking of a change in us that is my greatest prayer right now. A few months back I read a book by Jerry B. Jenkins titled "Riven". It is a fiction novel and I won't say too much about it if you want to read it, but I will just say that for some reason that book sparked a desire in my heart for revival. Now, don't get me wrong, we are good Baptists and we have revival services planned starting May 17, but I'm talking about a real, true revival. I often hear people say that this country needs revival or our church needs revival. I agree. But, when I started praying earnestly for revival do you know what started happening? God started revealing things to me. I wish I could say they were super awesome spiritual visions. It wasn't. He started revealing my sin. Sins that I didn't even know I had. Things in my life I never really thought were "that bad". Trust me, even though it is late and I am rambling, I'm not about to have confession here on the blogger. I just write this to say that I have been struggling. Struggling in God's Word. Struggling to see who God is calling me to be. Struggling to understand how to be "in the world, but not of it". I would love to hear your ideas on this. All I know is that God is showing me that to move forward in my walk with Him I have to continually be willing to leave behind the baggage of this world. It is hard. We are so immersed in ungodly culture that at times it is difficult to have any idea what a life on this earth completely surrendered to God even looks like. But man I really pray for that life!! Deuteronomy 7:6 reminds us "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth." Will you join me in praying that we will truly become a holy people? Not holier than thou. Not self-righteous, judgemental, or legalistic. But holy as the Lord is holy. What does that mean? I know for me it means I need to work on being okay with being different. If I am truly living my life the way that God commands me to there will be people who do not understand, people who do not like it and people who will persecute it. That is when revival will come!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Driving Miss Daisy

I am crazy. I know you are aware of this. It just felt like the appropriate way to start this. Josh and I have been continuing to pray for God's plan and direction during this time that he is without a job. I have especially prayed that God would give me wisdom in our spending and help me to be frugal with the things we need and content with the things we have. God has blessed us so much and continues to provide.

With that said, in all of my frugality and wisdom and stuff, I decided we need another dog. Makes great sense right? We really need something else to feed and care for. Well, I can't explain the desire that began in me the other night. I started looking at dogs for adoption in our area online and that was all she wrote. It was a longing. It was an ache in me that needed to be filled. Yes, we've already established I am crazy. For those who might not know our dog Abby died the same day Kate was born in 2007. It was a traumatic day all around. I got Abby about a month after Josh and I got married and she was just like a child to me. In fact, I know for a fact I spent more time with her than I did with any human being in the six years we had her. It was tough to lose her.

So, where this new longing came from I'm not sure. We had talked a lot about getting another dog, but I kept saying I wanted to wait until Kate was older. For some reason, I changed my mind. I found one I really wanted and in the time I went to do a load of laundry and prayed that God would close the door if it wasn't time for us to have another dog, they took him off of the website. So...since that door was closed I did what you would expect. I started looking for another dog! I found one named Leo and I just became obsessed with him. That was on Sat. night. Monday I went to school with Josh and he had even talked about trying to get him then, but his class went too late. I usually try so hard to not get my hopes up about things, but I have to tell you I REALLY wanted Leo! The next morning I finally got to talk to his foster mom and she told me that he would not be good with kids. I was crushed. Heartbroken. I cried. Like a baby. Like a little kid who can't get the toy they want. It was ugly.

I expected Josh to say, "Get it together woman!" But he didn't. Like a good dad he assured me that after we took the kids to the zoo in Jackson we would go to the animal shelter and see if there was another dog we wanted. That consoled me. Yes, I am ridiculous! :)

I prayed all day that we would find the right dog. I know that probably sounds so crazy to some of you but I believe that we are to pray about all things. Especially matters of the heart and this was definitely a matter of the heart for me. I knew if we took the kids it would involve their hearts too.

We got to the animal shelter that afternoon and there were three dogs. Just three. That didn't leave me feeling very hopeful. We liked one puppy but I could tell he is going to get HUGE and we really wanted a dog we could keep in the house. Then, we saw her. After seeing the other two dogs jumping up and down and barking, she was just sitting there like a little lady. Josh found out that she is a year old so she is full grown and is the perfect size. They let her out and she began begging for our attention. She let the kids love all over her. She tried to follow a man to his office and when he told her to go back she obeyed. She obeyed! I have to tell you, it wouldn't have mattered if she was the worst dog ever, after she came up to me she was going home with us!

We had made it a surprise for the kids, but I had told them we might not be able to get anything that day. They just couldn't believe we actually got to bring a dog home with us. They were ecstatic! On the way we started trying to find a name. If I were a good mom I would have let my kids pick, but Sarah has always picked out the strangest names for her dolls and stuff. I've often worried over my future grandchildren! Anyway, we decided we would choose as a family. We started going down the alphabet. It was fun. It's been a long time since I got to name a dog. Abby was already named when we got her. We finally decided on Daisy.

We stopped at a Wal-Mart on the way home. Josh ran in to get some food, bowls, and a brush. I just couldn't get over how calm Daisy was. I drove around the parking lot while Josh shopped and just happened to be at the front door when he came out. I would have given a million dollars to have had my camera ready. He came out with a pink dog bed! I am not kidding y'all! I wish you could have seen him carrying that pink bed out of Wal-Mart!!

If all of this seems way too perfect and sane for my family never fear. It is an hour and fifteen minute drive from Jackson to our house. Plus, we had the Wal-Mart stop. So, after Josh had bought the collar and leash we were going to stop at a rest stop and let Daisy take a pit stop. Of course, I was so distracted I just drove past the rest area. Sarah was holding Daisy and started saying she thought Daisy needed to go the bathroom b/c she was trying to get down. We had just pulled off of our exit when Sarah said oh so calmly, "Daisy just went to the bathroom". Bless her heart! Daisy did not just tinkle either! Poor Sarah!! She was so great though. She handled it so much better than her mother would have!

We cleaned everybody up and survived that little incident and everything has been awesome since! Sarah took her for 10 walks when we got home. I'm not even exaggerating. She has not had one accident in the house, she is leash trained, she doesn't beg for food, and she does awesome with not only our kids, but all of the kids at church. (Yes, my kids took her to church!) She even lays down in her pink bed when the kids go to bed! We are all officially in love with Daisy!

My Little Man

Eli, you turned 4 yesterday and we had so much fun I didn't even have time to do this. I can't believe you are already 4, but I have to say that I am equally in love with the 4 year old you as I was smitten with the newborn you! I always knew I would have an Eli. Don't ask me how, I just knew. I found out I was pregnant with you the week after I started my social work program at FSU. Bless your heart, you had to go to college before you even got here! And then...I made you go a few weeks after you got here too because I couldn't stand to leave you!!
I knew I was going to marry your daddy when I saw him playing with one of the little boys at church. It thrilled me beyond words to see him with you and the instant bond that you had. I should have known you would be all boy when I started craving lemon lime gatorade during my pregnancy. I also should have known you would be born on Cinco de Mayo since I craved Taco Bell to the point that Sarah would cry "No Taco Bell" when we drove past one. :)

You are too sweet for words. You love baseball, football, golf, basketball...okay any kind of ball. You also like playing with cars, riding your bike, playing in the dirt, playing video games (that's a new one), and watching movies. You are also working really hard on writing your whole name so you can get a library card like Sarah. You have a cool and awesome smile and while you are sometimes shy and timid it does not take long for you to be up in the middle of the action.
You adore your sisters. You follow Sarah around like the sun rises and sets with her. I pray you will always be so close. And now, Kate follows you like the sun rises and sets with you. I love to watch y'all hug!
You are also famous for saying things that crack us up! You recently told Aunt Leah that sometimes your parents say smart things but not very much! Thanks buddy!

I can't wait to see the man that God turns my little man into. But for the will always be little man to me! I love you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELI!!