Thursday, July 30, 2009

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!

A couple of months ago Josh and I decided we would repaint our living room. We saw a Lowe's commercial where some people had wild kids running through the house until they got to the room they were painting a peaceful green. In that room the kids sat perfectly still in chairs quietly reading books. We wanted that color!! So, long story longer, we ran into one of our church members at the store when we were buying paint. Mr. Eddie is one of my favorite Montrosians. Mostly because for the last three years he has shared a pew with me and the Barnum and Bailey Circus and he has never once made me feel like we drive him crazy. He's a special man! He also cuts all of the grass in Montrose, including our yard, so that makes him Josh's BFF. Anyway, he was buying paint too and he mysteriously told us that what he was painting was a surprise and to be on the lookout.

Well, we expected maybe he was painting the outside of his house or one of the Sunday School rooms. After a week or so I totally forgot about it to be honest with you. We painted our living room green and we have yet to find our children peacefully reading. :( It does look pretty though. :) Well, one day Josh asked if I had noticed the fire hydrant in our front yard. I didn't even know we had a fire hydrant in our front yard! But I went to check it out and it had been painted a festive red and blue with a smiley face. That was the surprise!

Soon after that Josh came home saying that someone had written into the local paper complaining about the vandals who were messing up the fire hydrants! That was funny to us, but apparently it ticked off some of our church members because they wrote in saying that people needed to lighten up! It got even funnier when we found out Mr. Eddie was the one who had called in the first place and he was just trying to get people worked up. Do y'all believe me now when I tell you there is NOTHING going on in this town?!?! Well, soon Josh was in on the whole thing and truth came out. This was posted in the paper.

Last week, a caller called into Talk Back reporting on “graffiti” on Montrose fire hydrants. It has been reported that Elam and Daniel Davis, aka “the Fire Plug Boys,” were caught in the act of defacing (or is it smiley-facing) the town’s fire hydrants. They were released, however, as Montrose does not have a jail strong enough to hold these two. Local residents have reported that they appreciate the new look of the hydrants.

Isn't that cute? All of the fire hydrants in Montrose (25) look just like this.

Well, I thought that would be all of the breaking news I would have for you, but tonight has turned out to be the most news breaking night of our lives in Montrose! I headed out to the convenience store in Louin for some peanut M&Ms (because with my plan I refuse to buy any chocolate or good snacks to have in the house, so I just drive up to the store to get some instead. At least I walk to the car, right? :) As I was pulling out of the driveway a truck came FLYING by going like a 150 miles per hour and right behind them was a cop car with the lights and sirens!!!!! I couldn't believe I had left the house just in time to catch the excitement. Then, when I got to Louin there was another deputy heading this way. To top it off there was a drunk guy fighting people in the parking lot. It was like an episode of COPS y'all!! There was a barefooted lady, a man with a cane and half the people didn't have shirts on!

I sat in my jeep debating what to do. (After I got my M&Ms. Don't worry, nothing would have deterred me from that mission.) The hostage negotiator, I mean social worker in me started coming out. That is usually the kind of situation I would have gotten called into. Y'know so I could hold people's hands, sing Kum ba Ya and say "Can't we all just get along?" I suppressed the social worker in me and decided that the five or so guys beating him up seemed to have it under control. Whew! What a night! Josh and I were going to watch a movie but instead we're keeping an eye out the window. I just don't know if I feel safe here anymore. I might need to get my family out of this big city!! :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

A New Creature

As soon as I wrote that title I realized that anyone who has read my blogs for a while was probably thinking, 'what have they found in their house now??' Ha! But, I'm going to be a little more serious today. Just a little. :)

July 27th is one of the most important days of my life and honestly there is only one other person who I know always remembers it the same as me. You see, I consider today my spiritual birthday. Now, I asked Jesus into my heart when I was seven and was baptized and I believe that it was a genuine decision. But it wasn't until July 27, 1994 that God really got ahold of me and I fell in love with Him.

I was 13 that summer, close to 14 and my family had just moved back to Panama City from Orange Park, Fl. We returned to the church I had gone to when I was younger, but there was a new crowd in the youth group. They invited me to go to summer camp with them and it was a total prompting by God that I went because I was EXTREMELY shy back in those days. But I went and despite severe sleep deprivation and the fact that the lessons were about the rapture and the new earth and other stuff I don't think I will understand until I am at least 80, God spoke to me. As I said I was 13 and I had recently made some bad choices that I really regretted. I am actually thankful for them now because it was through those bad choices and my need for forgiveness that God really became real to me.

Even though I had grown up hearing my whole life how much God loved me and that Jesus had died for my sins, it didn't really ring true with me until I actually had sins that to me seemed so big. The Spirit worked on me so much and I fought it. By the time I actually went down the aisle everyone had left and I had to go find my group! I ended up with two of our leaders and my friend Brandi. We both made the decision that night to make things right with God and start living our lives the way He wanted us to. Mrs. Gina encouraged me to write in the cover of my Bible the decision I made so that I would never doubt again. I have always been as malodramatic as I am on this blog and I wrote a long paragraph about tears streaming down my face and feeling the love of all the Christians. :) I still have that Bible and it is literally falling apart. I have to keep it in its cover because the front cover has completely come off. I become sentimental on this day every year and take it down to look at. I think that it might be my most prized material possession.

You see, lots of kids go to church camps and they have a good time and then they go home and go back to life. That didn't happen for me. I became enthralled with God's Word and would spend hours reading it at night. Granted, I didn't understand a lot of it, but little by little God has continued to open my eyes and heart and help me to grasp what His Words mean. My brokeded Bible is full of quotes, notes, and prayer requests. It is almost like a time capsule to me. I used it all the way through high school. One verse that was life changing for me was 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" Don't you love the exclamation point? If I had written any of the Bible it would have been obnoxious with the overuse of exclamation points! I can't explain how much that verse meant to me. I am still overwhelmed by the reality that ANYONE, no matter what has happened in your past, is eligible to be a new creation in God's eyes. Unbelievable! And let me tell you, the 13 year old version of me would not have believed for a second that the 28 year old me would be a preacher's wife!!!! (Or have 3 kids or be married to Josh Fidler from Ms. Barfield's 5th grade class, but that is a whole other story.) I was just so grateful that God considered me worthy of His attention at all!

So, I just want to take time today to thank my Father for this birthday. And for the gifts He continues to give me everyday of my life. One of those is my friendship with Brandi. How incredibly loving of God to not only make me a new creation, but to also let me walk the path with someone starting at the exact same point? Brandi and I experienced everything under the sun together from church musicals, history homework, boy drama (oh, you just don't even wanna know!), Ramettes, being senior class officers together, and eating Taco Bell like it was going out of style! But, the greatest thing we have always shared is our spiritual connection. Our excitement about learning new verses such as one of our first favorites Romans 8:31. "If God is for us, who can be against us? "

We've spent countless hours praying together, writing encouraging notes, and sharing our
heartches. And God has also placed her in the role of a minister's wife. Her husband is minister to college students in Daytona, FL (and no, I am not the least bit jealous that they live right on the beach :) and he also leads worship. Just this past week he left to lead worship at a church camp and I thought back to our camp days and the way we would swoon over the worship leaders. Isn't that hilarious?? Brandi's husband is the worship leader! How did that happen?

These days we have SIX, yes I said SIX kids between us and so our bonding time is usually short and interuppted frequently. But we have been blessed with one of those friendships where we can go weeks or even months without talking and then pick right back up. I am often amazed at the way we deal with the same things and are able to still understand each other's lives so well.

Well, enough of my sentimental ramblings. I just couldn't let this day pass without sharing what God did for me 15 years ago today. Or without saying Happy Birthday Brandi!!! Next year is our Sweet 16!!

Check This Out!!

I just wanted to point you in the direction of a new online boutique opened by my very dear friend Kim. It is called Princess Pig Boutique and you can link to it at or check out my favorites. She has lots of super cute clothes, bows, and baby gear. She even has baby gift sets you can order that are truly unique. I am so proud of Kim and amazed by her talent. Check it out!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Holy Smokes This is Random!!!

As I write this my BFF Karen is on her way back from an almost two week absence from my life which totally explains the randomness of this post. You see, the beauty of my friendship with Karen in that every week we have a weekly phone conversation that enables me to discuss and work through the many extreme, random things that happen. We may discuss eschatlogoy or we may discuss Dancing With the Stars. We may ponder our meaning in life or vent about our hair. This bond comes from sharing a dorm room the size of a storage unit our freshman year of college. Although I completely scared the snot out of her the first time we met with my overly sanguine meet and greet, we quickly learned that God had truly placed us together. It was like The Parent Trap when the two opposites room together and discover their bond. In so many ways Karen and I are total opposites, but in most ways we pretty much think just alike. We also love a good, long, meaningful, analytical conversation like it is nobody's business. We drive other people crazy with our overanalyzing, but together, the world makes sense.

So, here I am. I've talked Josh's ear off the past two weeks and just this very moment he said, "Oh no, she's bloggin'". So yes, I just need to share the randomness that has been my life.

First, I will tell you about potty training Kate. Please, contain your excitement. :) Don't worry, I won't use words like "pee pee" or "poo", because there isn't any of that actually going on in the potty. Instead, somehow Kate has learned to associate the potty with getting a bath and so everytime we go to the bathroom she takes off her pull-up, sits on the potty for 2 seconds then gets up and starts throwing toys in the bath tub. This is my first time encountering this phenomenon during potty training and I am not sure how to handle it. I know that we cannot do a bath after every potty time!! Kate also now enjoys sitting on the bathroom floor, buck nekded playing with naked Barbie dolls and trying to put them in the potty. So fun! Last night she actually sat on the potty for more than 2 seconds and me and Josh were both hovering waiting for the magical moment. (If you are not a parent and do not understand this, go check out the price of diapers at Wal-Mart!!) I asked her, "Is it too much pressure?" She made the Kate face, cut her eyes at me and pushed the door closed!!! Don't worry, I am sure I will keep you updated on her progress. I had the realization not too long ago that with the exception of a few months before Eli was born, I have had someone in diapers for the last seven years! The potty training of my baby is such a monumental experience words cannot do it justice...

Other interesting things around this place were a bunny in our back yard and a plant growing in our bathroom sink. I am so not kidding. I looked down the drain and there was a tiny stem sticking up. For the record, it was the only real plant to grow around here. :) It has since been removed.

In other Kate news, she has learned quite a few new words. Some of these include-new shoes, oh man!, Wooow!, and as it turned out she learned a new one just last night. We were actually planning to go out and eat at our favorite bbq restaurant. I was so excited. I had been in the bathroom putting my face on and when I came out I noticed that my vanilla candle was smelling extra vanilla-y. As I walked into the living room Josh told me that Kate had just learned a new word, smoke. Apparently my mind was consumed with thoughts of bbq because I was not putting all of this together. Then Eli said, "Your candle caught on fire!" I looked at Josh. "What do you mean it caught on fire?" Yes, I am a bright one. He answered, "It was in flames. It caught on fire!" So there you go. That's what happens when I blog about how boring our life has become. I about burn the house down.

Okay, last thing. I have started a seven week plan leading up to my 10 year reunion. What is it you ask? Well, so far it has been to do a little walking then eating my weight in bbq and having a nutty buddy bar and a big glass of milk before bed. Don't worry, it will get better. I'm not sure how, but I will let you know when it does. :) I have set a personal goal and when I reach it I am getting some Lucky jeans. Now I have never worn Lucky jeans or even tried them on but I hear they are a dream come true. So y'all, hold me to my plan (whatever it is) and maybe donate some money to the Lucky jean fund. But yea, you may want to hang onto that money until the seven weeks are up. :0)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Take a Chill Pill

Oh dear. Leave it to me. Apparently after my last post I had some people anxiously awaiting a grand announcement from the Fidler household. I'm not sure what everyone was expecting, but I just feel terrible to have to let you know that the "exciting" breaking news is really just a cute prank in the town of Montrose, that truthfully will probably not be that interesting to y'all at all. Well, I guess maybe this encourages me that I have what it takes to write teasers for the news stations. :)

The truth is this may be the most non-exciting, non-news breaking summer of our lives. Pretty much every summer since we've been married we've been moving, having babies, graduating from college, or changing jobs. None of that now. In fact, I have become concerned that we might need someone to intervene and drag the Fidler 5 out of our lazy summer day routine. I am someone who LOVES to have lazy days of reading, movie watching, and just hanging out. However, even I have reached a point I never knew was possible for me. I'm kind of bored.

I so hate to say that because for so long I have dreamt of a slower pace with less stress. God has granted us that right now, but I almost don't know what to do with myself! The problem is, even if I WANT to enjoy laying around and hanging out, I always FEEL like I should be doing something else. Feeding the world, adopting orphans, cleaning my room. Y'know, stuff like that. We are just in a transition phase right now. Well, nothing is really transitioning other than our hearts. We are really unsure of the plans God has for us. Josh still hasn't found a job to replace his Hospice job and so we are waiting for a new job, a new direction, or for God to assure us that we can live on what He is providing right now. I was desperately hoping the phone would ring today with some exciting news I could pass along. It didn't. Kate did go pee pee in the potty once though!!!

I really would appreciate your prayers though. Josh did get a raise at the church and that was a huge blessing. The most difficult part is just feeling we might be on the verge of breaking news and then it not happening. Yesterday I really felt like God told me something I often have to tell my children. "Will you just take a chill pill?" Okay, so I'm sure God doesn't speak in those terms, but it is basically the idea that it is going to work out and I just need to enjoy the lazy summer days He has given us this summer. I pray that I can quit obsessing about what might be and soak up every minute I have to spend with Josh and our kids.

So sorry to disappoint. I'll just leave you with this. Stay Tuned!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You Heard It Here Folks...

I have a real newsbreaking story that is so newsbreaking I can't share it yet, because it hasn't even broke. But in the meantime I wanted to share this bit of news with you from the Jasper County newspaper The Impact. While the rest of the world is engrossed in 24 hour coverage of war, politics and Michael is what we're talking about in our neck of the woods.

“Yes, I would like to just say what is up with the dead bugs in the post office in Bay Springs? I mean, really, this can be taken care of with a mop and a broom. At least the postal workers could go through there and sweep daily. Thank you.”––Female

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Sitcom of my Life

WARNING: I am two months away from my 10 year high school reunion and my child just turned seven. I also threw away the last bottle (that belonged to Kate, not my 7 year old :) and I'm just gonna be honest...I am a sentimental fool right now. One of my friends who I've known since 7th grade called the other day and we started talking about high school memories. I can truly say that I have the worst memory known to mankind, but lately memories of senior year have come flooding back.

Pep rallies, ballgames, dances, um classes. (We found a way to squeeze those in sometimes. :) I found some notes written between my friends and myself and I have to tell you, the sheer number of boys whose names were written in code that I can't remember is overwhelming! If you are waiting for me to get to a serious point with all of this I'm not. Honestly, I've been feeling downright silly and giddy lately.

I'm also in total shock that I have a seven year old. I don't know why, but I'm really having a hard time wrapping my mind around it. I think that it is because for me, my life started at seven. I already told you I have a horrible memory. I have a few memories from when I was younger, but for the most part everything in life that I remember happened after seven. To tell you the truth, I think that I'm as amazed that I'm not still seven myself!! I promise I just turned seven! I was reminded of this when Sarah and her friend wanted to watch a movie that is all the rage with the teenagers right now. I, of course, told her absolutely not. I couldn't believe that she would even want to see it when there are still so many Strawberry Shortcake movies left in the series. :) Then, it hit me. I was seven when Dirty Dancing came out. I really wanted to see it. Why? Because everybody I knew wanted to see it! Duh! Well, my mom told me absolutely not, so I did what you would expect a good preacher's wife to do. I watched it at my friend's house when I spent the night. Sorry mama!! For the record, I was not the preacher's wife then.

So, as you can see I am just full of sentiment and emotions. I was also grateful that no one I know was out last night as I was driving around singing Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know?" at the top of my lungs. I had to laugh as I realized that is another seven year old memory and why the heck was I already worried about how I would know if boys were in love with me?

Anyway, all of this sentiment and memories has caused me to ponder my life's journey and consider life up to this point. I could get all mushy and go on and on about the unbelievable journey God has taken me on and the incredible ways that I've seen His grace and mercy. It would all be very true. But because I'm feeling so stinkin' silly I am going to tell you about my life in TV terms. You see, I had such dreams of being a leading lady (not on tv, but in my own life). You know, the one who is classy, sophisticated and has the world at her fingertips. Oh, and perfect hair, don't forget the hair. The woman who always says and does the right things and people's jaws drop as she walks by due to her sheer awesomeness. Like one of Charlie's Angels or something.

Well, in case you haven't gathered from reading my blog, I am not that gal. In fact, just this week I had the realization that my life has become a sitcom. Seriously, if you think writers make up the stuff on your favorites shows, I doubt it. I think they are probably just all parents. At one point this week I was getting on to my kids as I walked out of the bathroom and I just happened to look at myself in the mirror. I was still in my pajamas (dont' ask what time it was), my hair would have looked better if it had been in curlers, and I was waving a toilet brush to emphasize my point. Good gracious!! Just moments later I slipped on a skirt in Sarah's room and did a split. Back in my high school days I could have handled a split, but now! Holy cow, I'm surprised I'm up and walking today! Later when I finally got to the bathroom I was trying to clean ,Kate slipped in the 8 gallons of bath bubbles that had "mysteriously" ended up on the floor. We were dropping like flies. That's when it hit me. I'm not one of Charlie's Angels, I'm a Lucy!!

So there you have it. I have a seven year old and I've turned into Lucille Ball. I do still have two months until my reunion. I just need to achieve world peace, get a cool car, and become a millionaire. It could happen by September, right???

BTW, I asked the preacher (aka my husband) what he missed the most about our high school days. I expected him to say something about the fun times or having no responsibilities. Nah. He said what he missed most was seeing me in my pep rally outfit. :) Just so you know, the odds of me becoming a millionaire and solving world hunger are much greater than me getting back into that outfit!!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beautiful Feet

This is one of my favorite pictures from the wedding. Isn't that weird? Well, I am weird! This is me, Leah, and her other bridesmaid Amber showing off our matching toes. The other night while washing dishes I noticed the picture I have standing in our kitchen window. It was given to us not long after we answered God's call to move to Mississippi. It has two verses:

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim salvation and say...
Isaiah 52:7
"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel, serving where God has sent you."
based on Matthew 28:19
When I read those words I remembered that picture. While Leah and Amber do have very beautiful feet :), the real beauty is that they will be proclaiming the good news where God is sending them. Two days after the wedding Amber and her family packed up and moved to Mississippi to follow God's plan for them. (Seems like moving to Mississippi is the cool thing to do. :) Leah will soon follow her groom to Aviano, Italy. I know God has special plans for them and they will be in my prayers as they seek to find their place in their new homes and serve our Father in all the world!
While thinking about this I also realized that 4 of my blogging buddies have recently followed God in big steps of faith. I ask that you join me in praying for them. My friend Karen is serving the next two weeks in Ukraine assisting with eye exams and sharing the gospel. Philip is currently on a mission trip to Guyanna (I'm pretty sure I spelled that wrong) and the Middleton family will soon be moving to complete a year long internship on church planting. Amanda is a very special college student who came to help lead our youth's disciple now weekend. She is currently working with orphans in Uganda. I feel like it is such an honor to know so many who are serving our Lord and seeking His Will. It is so fun to pray with my kids for real people we really know who are serving in so many different ways.
As if all of that wasn't enough, the Friday of the wedding rehearsal I got a text message that said, "My little girl just asked Jesus into her heart at CiCi's!" I could not for the life of me figure out who it was from, but I rejoiced anyway. We were eating at a CiCi's when God told us to move to Mississippi. So if you're waiting for a Word from Him you might want to head out for some pizza. :) I later found out the text was from my friend Kim. Her daughter, Camber, had prayed to recieve Christ right there in the restaurant. I am so proud to not only have friends serving around the world and the country, but also friends who are being missionaries in their own homes and leading their own babies to Christ!
Okay. I just had to brag on everybody. I am surrounded by so many beautiful feet!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sweet Sarah B.

Sarah, the new big sisterSleeping Sarah Beth

Happy Birthday to my sweet Sarah B.!! That stands for Sarah Beth, but she has recently informed me that she wants to be called Sarah Elizabeth. :)

This is the perfect picture of Sarah. Barefoot and laughing!!

Well, Sarah Elizabeth, life has not been the same since you graced our lives SEVEN years ago. How are you seven?!?! Time sure flies when you're having fun and that is for sure what you have brought to our lives. You are the most social person I have ever known and to beat out your daddy and your Aunt Jenny in that department takes a lot! You love people, plans and parties. I will never as long as I live forget the night you invited Mr. Matt and Mrs. Cortnee to our house for supper after church. I had no clue. Our living room was covered in laundry and I had a pot of leftover vegetable soup on the stove. Luckily the laundry was clean and we made a run to Subway. You have really challenged my hospitality skills and you definitely keep me on my toes!!!!!! :)

You have so many qualities that I admire. You are bold, outgoing, and a leader. When I read about pioneer girls I think of you. I can see you building cabins, milking cows, and feeding chickens all while looking stylish. You love the bling bling! You have always had your own sense of style and you love a pair of heels and a pretty dress like it is nobody's business. I love the way you love people. You have a compassion and thoughtfulness that is so beyond your years. I also can always count on you to say what you are thinking or wondering. I left you with a neighbor for 30 minutes and by the time I got back you had discussed with her if she and her daughters had been baptized!!!! I would give anything to have your boldness and your openess. You are fearless. You love roller coasters. You love dancing and going out to eat (the things you got from me :).

You were meant to be a big sister. From the moment we brought Eli home you have shown the perfect balance of nurturing, bossing and hovering that is necessary to be a big sister. (I speak from experience here.) You adore Eli and Kate and you are such a big helper to me. Eli and Kate want to be just like you!

This time last year you wanted to be a ballerina, cowgirl, and a soccer player. Now, you want to be a doctor, dentist or veterinarian. You've already informed me that I can keep your kids. :) Whatever you do, God will use you mightily because you love Him so much and you have determination unlike any other person I've ever known.

You have provided more memories in the last seven years than I could ever recount. I think of you every time I wash dishes with my Dawn soap. It is the only kind I will use now after learning that it is absolutely the only thing that will get vaseline out of hair. That is a piece of knowledge you helped enlighten me on. :)

I love you so much Sarah Elizabeth and the truth is that I just keep liking you better the older you get. You are so much fun and you challenge me to be stronger, bolder, and to have more fun. I hope your birthday party is everything you've been planning everyday since your party last year!! :)

K-3 at Good Shepherd

First Day of Kindergarten

Beautiful Birthday Girl

The Good News

No, I didn't win the $10,000 at Burger King. I did win a croissanwich, an apple pie, and a whopper. Yes, I've been eating way too much fast food lately. The closest BK to us is 45 minutes away so anytime we go out of town we ravenously eat fast food like the world is coming to an end. What does that have to do with the good news? I have no idea, so I will move along.

Before I get to the good news I am going to give you another confession from the laundry room. This one isn't funny. It's downright painful. Even though I am a preacher's wife, sometimes my faith falters. It can be a small question of how a bill will get paid. Or, unfortunately, I can fall into an outright fit of doubts, tears, and questions. This happened recently and unfortunately at a public place. The mall to be exact. I found myself in a public bathroom crying my eyes out and asking God if He hates me. Yes. I really did ask Him that. I know that many of you will find that shocking. There was a time in my life that I would never dare ask or question anything about my faith. Who am I to ask such questions of a Heavenly Father who sent His only Son to die for me? Well, at the moment I was just a very weak, exhausted human who felt a little abandoned.

Please don't label me a heretic and stop reading. I promise I am getting to the good news. The reason I am even sharing this experience, which is not even close to my finest moment, is because I feel led to. I am pretty certain that even if you have never outright asked God if He hates you, you may have had some time in your life when you have questioned God's plan or His love for you. The more I talk to people the more I feel like this is the dirty little secret in Christian communities. We all stand up and say "God is good, all the time!!" So how can we possibly wonder if He is good? How do we make sense of those times when all signs point to the fact that He must not be good and He must not love us? I know that I have been so blessed and yet I ask this question. I am surrounded by people who have sick children, disabled parents, loved ones in war zones, and people who are struggling through financial crisis. How do we possibly reconcile that God loves us when so many are suffering?

Often people will talk about a man named Job in the Bible who lost everything, but maintained his belief and devotion to God. I have recently been reading a book titled "The Gospel of Ruth". It takes a look at Naomi, someone who is often overlooked in scripture. She also suffered many of the losses that Job did. On top of her losses, she was a woman, and in her culture a woman with no man to care for her was as low in the social caste as you could be. I realized reading this book that I often cast Naomi aside because it calls her bitter. Who wants anything to do with someone who is bitter? It's better to just move onto the story of Ruth and how God worked things out for her.

I am so thankful that I took this deeper look at Naomi because she teaches us about suffering. She also teaches us that God's love is continual and not only that, but He will still bless us and use us in spite of our weak faith. The truth is that Naomi had every right to be bitter. She lost her husband, her two sons and her home. Due to famine her family was forced to leave their homeland and her sons married foreign women who worshipped foreign gods that required child sacrifice. She had grown up hearing the amazing stories of Yaweh and how He had saved the Isrealites and provided for them. She had placed her faith in Him. At the point we begin reading Ruth we see that Naomi feels betrayed. She doesn't feel that the same God who took care of the Isrealites has taken care of her. She feels betrayed. Despite Naomi's pleas with Ruth to leave her and go back to her home Ruth refuses. Even after Naomi has made it clear that her God has abandoned her Ruth still insists that she will not only follow Naomi wherever she goes, but that she will follow her God as well.

The very next day after my breakdown at the mall Josh and I recieved a gift with a note. The note said "Jesus told me to give this to you. He said to tell you He loves you."

Can you believe that? I personally felt like I deserved a note that said "Jesus said to take a hike. You've become a selfish, spoiled rotten brat who is causing problems with all of your questions." In some ways isn't that what we've been taught? Who are we to question or cry or struggle? Aren't we supposed to put on a happy face and tell people how the Lord works everything out? I used to think so. But now I know that's not true.

Here is the GOOD NEWS! The good news is that God is strong enough to handle our fears, frustrations and doubts. He is who He is. Our emotions, good or bad, don't change Him. Our circumstances don't change Him. The even better news is that our circumstances that may seem like the very thing that will pull us away from Him can often be what He uses us to draw us closer to Him. In "The Gospel of Ruth" Carolyn Custis James says, "Somehow we've convinced ourselves that the more mature we become as Christians-and both Naomi and Job were seasoned believers-the thicker our spiritual skin will become. We'll be resilient in adversity. It's a sign of spiritual failure (so we tell ourselves) when suffering gets the better of us and our faith in God gets shaky. Such notions (which aren't supported by Scripture, certainly not the legacies of Naomi and Job) get in the way of our spiritual growth and block us from engaging the God who pursues us in our pain."

I don't know what is going on in your life today. What questions, fears or doubts you have. I just wanted to give you the gift I was given. Jesus told me to tell you He loves you.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Two Weeks I'll Never Forget...If I Can Remember Them!

Well, we left for Panama City and it was June. We came back and it was July 7th! Where in the world does the time go? Since I don't have the greatest memory it is a good thing that I do have a million and a half pictures! I'm only sharing half a million with you. :)

After a week full of dance rehearsals and Vacation Bible School, my parents arrived for the much anticipated dance recital. They also came bearing gifts! My parents and brother gave Josh and I a new microwave for our anniversary and brought me an early birthday present...a new camera!!! I am just spoiled rotten!

Sarah did beautifully at her dance recital and made me so proud! She really is a natural, her dance teacher told me so. :) I quickly realized seeing all the faces of the other audience members that not too many other people share my love of dance recitals. Oh well, me and Sarah had fun!

Do you remember the blog when I mentioned how much I've missed the aqua net days of dance recitals? Kate decided to help me make the most of this time. When we got home from the recital I was "powdering my nose" in the bathroom when Kate decided she would try out her potty. She sat on it for a while. Then, she stood up and pooped on the floor. I really had forgotten how much fun potty training is. :) I went to get the wipes and when I came back she was standing on the toilet seat peeing ON TOP of the seat and spraying hair spray EVERYWHERE!! Fun times were had by all....

Sarah with her trophy.

I just had to share this picture. She insisted on sitting on the gas tank. I think that officially makes us country folks now. You might be a redneck....

We finished our VBS the day of the dance recital and had our parent's night the next day. I had sooo much fun teaching this year. The lessons about Peter were great and the kids were so attentive and asked the best questions. I know what Jesus was talking about when he talked about child like faith, because kids really get it!
After the service we had a eatin' time (of course!) complete with all the chips, dip, sweets, and homemade ice cream you could eat. It was fabulous! I've finally accepted that weight loss living in Montrose is a lost cause. If God blesses us with caramel pies and homemade ice cream, who am I to turn away those blessings? :)
Once everyone had left Josh and his friend Matt went to rewire the sound system. My mom and I decided to take the kids and Daisy for a walk. (Because Daisy needed a walk, not because I had the energy to go for a walk!) We got halfway down the road and we saw the neighborhood dogs coming. Daisy started growling and I started pulling her leash. Before I knew what had happened she had gotten out of her collar and was running down the road after a pack of 4 or 5 dogs who were all twice her size. I took off in my skirt and wedge heeled sandals for a half a mile jog after her. Man I'm out of shape!! I thought I was never going to catch her. I finally did and thankfully my dad had brought the car to drive us back home. It had been a long day before that ever happened! As we pulled up and Josh and Matt came out I looked in the side mirror and realized I had put Kate's headband on when we left for the walk so I wouldn't lose it. I was looking so cute! :)

We left the next morning for Panama City and for what I termed "Wedding Week!!" Josh and I immediately abandoned my parents to go on a date to celebrate our anniversary. Oh yea, did I mention that we had our 8th anniversary in the midst of all of this? We went to eat at Red Robin and I had the best Chicken Tortilla soup ever. Then we went to a movie. We are very predictable. It was so nice though. We realized that except for our vacation a few months ago, we had not been on a date since last summer!!!
Then on Tuesday the festivities started. Well, I think they did. I honestly cannot remember what in the world we did on Tuesday. Okay, so on to Wednesday. We were in Panama City for Josh's sister's wedding and Leah and Brad had planned a day for the families to all meet. We went for a day of swimming at Frank Brown Park. They had the best kiddie pool and we had so much fun! Kate LOVED the water and would probably still be there if I would let her.

This is us before we went into the park. This was as far as my camera went. It got NOWHERE NEAR the water or me in a bathing suit. :)

Friday night was the big rehearsal and the Fidler 5 came complete with matching outfits. I promise it is genetic. My mom ALWAYS dressed us in matching outfits for special occassions and I just can't help myself!
The rehearsal went great and then we had a great supper at Black Angus. I think my kids used 25 packets of sweet 'n low and sugar a piece, but they had the time of their life eating at a fancy restaurant.

I wasn't going to put this picture on here because I didn't want to cause any jealousy, but....ha! The day of the wedding we all went to "get our hair did" and Josh's Uncle Jimmy was there to take pictures. He laughed hysterically every time he looked at me, so I thought if nothing else maybe I could provide a good laugh for you!!!

I don't want to steal any of Leah's thunder by posting pictures of her, but I just HAD to put at least one so you could see the beautiful bride and her handsome groom. And us. :)
The wedding was perfect and I was so proud of Josh. It was his first wedding to officiate and he did awesome! I will admit that I was a nervous wreck the whole time. Before it started I was so scared I was going to trip going up the steps. (I've stepped on my dress in every wedding I've been in, including my own.) Once I made it up the steps I was relieved and then I started worrying that the kids would get scared and not do their part. But they did their parts great! Eli yawned through most of the ceremony and Leah said that when they were on the kneeling bench they could hear Eli saying "Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Can I sit down now?" Once we were all in place, it hit me. Josh is preaching! So, then I had to pray the whole time he wouldn't mess up somebody's name. He didn't. Finally, I made it DOWN the steps without tripping and all was well in the world. Sarah got chocolate all over her dress, but it was AFTER the wedding so it was all good! :)

The "King of the Rings" and the Flower Girl

Me and my sharp dressed man. :)

All I asked for was a family picture of us all dressed up. Eli was thrilled, can't you tell?

The day before the wedding my sister had called and said that she and her husband Dillon were coming to P.C. to have my nephew Luke's 1st birthday party at one of the parks on base. My heart was so full I thought it might burst!!! Anyone who has family in the military knows what a rare and special treat it is to see all of your family in one weekend. It is even harder with us being in ministry because we hardly ever get weekends off. Anyway, I was way excited!!

Luke had a blast with his cake. To start with he mostly just liked playing in it. Finally, he realized he could eat it too. I was very glad I was the aunt and not the mama! He was some kind of a mess!!

Here is me with my gorgeous sister Jenny and the birthday boy. I was trying to take off my sunglasses, not strike a pose!
It is amazing how much life can happen in two weeks!!! Dance recitals, VBS, weddings, anniversaries, and 1st birthdays. How exciting that we got to share them all with our friends and families! Now...back to potty training. :)