Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I've Got Some Ocean Front Property in Arizona...

For those of you who read my blog that have never actually met me in person, I can be easily identified by the big stamp on my forehead that says "SUCKER". Just so you know.

Today was the most beautiful and breezy fall day and we enjoyed it by opening all of the windows in the living room, having a picnic on the trampoline, and playing host to the most random cast of characters this side of Paulding, MS.

I had just cleaned up from our picnic and laid Kate down for her nap. Eli and Sarah had finished all of their school work and were enjoying the weather outside. I put in a movie to play while I folded laundry and was eagerly antcipating my few quiet moments of the day. I should know better. No sooner had I picked up the first towel a red Monte Carlo with 3 guys in it pulled up in our driveway. Not to be profilin' but they did not look like the normal crew we have hanging around our neighborhood. However, when they honked the horn I obliged by gracing them with my presence because I knew exactly why they were here. Josh's Monte Carlo attracts men in a way that I only once dreamed of being able to. :) There was a time when it was the only car we had and I will tell you I have never had so many guys glance my way as when I was driving that car. Not that a married woman notices such things....and not that they were noticing me anyway! Anyway, Josh has had several people just drive up and offer to buy the Monte even though it is not for sale. It is a testament to my undying love and devotion for Josh (and the fact that the he still grieves over his camaro from high school) that it is still sitting in our yard collecting pollen and attracting strange men to my house. Just as I thought, they wanted to know about the car. I did my best to pretend like I knew what I was talking about even though I still do not speak car language despite Josh's best efforts to teach me. I finally just told them what time Josh would be home and that they would have to talk to him. They drove off and I have to tell you, I so started to call Josh so he could hear the engine in that car. And then I wondered, "When did I start being impressed by how cars sound??" Speaking of how it sounds here are some pics from our last hurrah in the Monte before it blew a piston or got clogged or something I don't know. As you can see, it was pretty loud. :)

I headed back inside and talked to my sister on the phone. No sooner had I hung up and again attempted the folding than a white van comes down the street and slows down in front of my house. Y'all, we live in the country and we know when people's cars don't belong here. Just sayin'. The van was loaded with people and apparently as it cruised past my house the "SUCKER" sign was glowing. Soon, a girl came to my back door and informed me they were selling Kirby vacuum cleaners....Never fear! I already own a Kirby vacuum cleaner!! (Mental note: Remember the "SUCKER" sign?) Surely this will send them on their way promptly and I can watch my movie. I even have the thing in right behind me (because I'm so domestic like that) and she can see it! No worries, they want to tell me about an upgrade. And, they get scholarship money or something like that. To top it all off they will shampoo my carpets and wouldn't you know I had just been thinking that I really needed to shampoo my carpet? It was like God personally sent that white van down the street just for my carpet cleaning needs. :)
At that point aliens took over my body and I agreed to let them come clean my carpet. I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's chances at a scholarship right? So 2 guys fly into my house set up a vacuum in warp speed time and one of the guys leaves saying he will be back. The kid left with me (and no, I do not know when I started referring to people in college as "kids" but I don't like it) started demonstrating all of the fabulous things the Kirby can do like detail cars, get fleas off the dog and blow up an air matress. Seriously! The thing is I was sitting there knowing that my Kirby could do all of those things too a.) if Icould find all of the attachments and b.) if I would get off my lazy tail and do them. So, if nothing else my excitement over my Kirby was reignited after all these years. Do you want to hear the story about how I got the vacuum? Okay.
It was about 5 years ago, I was still in school, Sarah was about 2 and I was pregnant with Eli. The salespeople came by and asked if they could come back and clean my carpet. I couldn't say no, but I did suggest to Josh that we not be home when they came back. Wrong, I know. Don't worry, I paid for it. Well, it was the end of the semester so we went to the school to sell back some of my books because it was almost Christmas and we were broke. Keep this in mind. We got home 2 HOURS after the time they were supposed to be there and they were still driving around our neighborhood!!!!! So, they came in, cleaned my carpet, showed me horrific filthiness that had come out of my carpet and said "Do you want your baby crawling around on that?" Of course, I was mortified. Honestly, when they told us the price I think I could have passed, but Josh was the one who caved. Here we had just sold back textbooks because we were so broke and now we were FINANCING a vacuum cleaner a week before Christmas. Oh don't worry, they took our old vacuum cleaner as a trade in. After like 4 years, that baby was paid in full! Merry Christmas to us!
Well, back to today and the little demonstration. The guy, who was super sweet, let me vacuum and shampoo my living room with his new, improved Kirby. Can I just tell you, I had already vacuumed the carpet and I was not really in the mood to be doing all of this during Kate's nap which is my semi-quiet time of the day. But I did it. Because I'm a-yep you guessed it-"SUCKER". The kids were of course all up in the middle of all of this. The kid was from the University of Alabama and I just happened to be wearing one of Josh's FSU shirts. Eli also whistled the FSU fight song the whole time I was vacuuming which I thought was pretty funny. After about 30 minutes we were done with the carpet, he had shown me how he could take a bazillion dollars off of the price and assured me the other kid could take even more off when he came back. So, we waited for him to come back. And waited. And waited. I felt myself forming a bond with the kid and that was bad. I become emotionally attached to people quickly and that is bad in a high stress sale situation. I did not want to decide I was responsible for the kid's college education as we are still paying for mine and have 3 kids to put through college. (I'm hoping Eli can get a whistling scholarship to FSU.)
An hour later, we were still waiting. The kid asked to see Daisy so we let her out and he bonded with her. She is such a guard dog. We had a strange man in our house and she jumped in his lap to have her belly rubbed. Good job Daisy. ;) Not too long after that the kids were going in and out and Daisy escaped. So, I was once again on a wild goose chase through the neighborhood while I had left my sleeping child in the house with a strange man and my other two kids were waiting in the yard. Fabulous. We made it back and the kid was still sitting on my loveseat playing games on his cell phone.
Two and a half hours later Josh came home. I cannot tell you how much I had prayed that he would be home soon. But then it hit me. I had really expected the kid and all of his stuff to be gone. I was planning to laugh with Josh about the Kirby people and getting the carpet cleaned. But no, I was sitting in the living room with the kid and with huge Kirby boxes blocking Josh's entrance to the room. Oh, if only I had grabbed the camera to get a picture of his face. I knew I would never hear the end of it. Truly I am the ONLY person who would let the Kirby people in twice!!!!
When all was said and done we found out that the other people who were supposed to come get the kid had a flat tire and he ended up spending 3 hours in my house. Three hours!! Then, we had to say no. And I felt bad. And the kid took like 850 hours to pack up his stuff because I know that he knew if he just waited a little longer I would break down. But, I didn't. Because 5 years later I have learned, if I am going to finance a has to have room for 2 car seats and 3 kids. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

Just a few months ago I had the opportunity to teach Vacation Bible School. For those of you who are unfamiliar with VBS it is a summer week packed with food, crafts, music and Bible study for the kids. It is designed for the kids, but I have to tell you, God had a message for me in it this past year.

I was the Bible study teacher and this summer's VBS focused on Jesus' disciple Peter and taught the kids about Jesus through the experiences of Peter. We talked about the day Jesus asked Peter to become His follower. We stepped into the water with Peter when he decided he could walk on water too. We followed him through the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, and yes, we even suffered through the moment that Peter denied his LORD.

I've always loved Peter. Josh and I did a study with the youth in Panama City called "Twelve Ordinary Men" by John McArthur that takes a look at the disciples. We just completed the same study with our discipleship training classes here and I enjoyed it all over again. I guess because I love studying personalities and that study really makes the disciples come to life. It brings out their personalities and the way God used their strengths and also had to refine their weaknesses. I think I liked Peter so much because despite a penchant for his mouth getting him into trouble, he was full of passion. It got him in trouble often, but the thing about Peter was that if he was going to do something he was going to do it all the way. I'm all about that. I can relate. I'm the same way. Some times it is bad because the whole "all or nothing" attitude can very often just become "nothing." Nevertheless, I admire the willing spirit that Peter had.

The event in Peter's life that got my attention in my VBS class full of kindergarten through 3rd graders was the day that Peter denied Jesus. I had heard that story a million times, but for some reason it hit me this summer. We often see the disciples as just that, just students or followers of Jesus. I guess studying Peter over the last couple of years revealed to me that he was so much more than that. He was Jesus' friend. The kind of friend who was so very close that he gave up his profession and life as he knew it to follow that friend. (Mark 1:17) The kind of friends who spent countless hours sharing, discussing and experiencing life together. The kind of friend who trusted Jesus to care about his family. (Mark 1:29-31) Jesus had been the kind of friend someone like Peter needed who could speak the truth in love, even when it hurt a little bit. (Mark 14:37) He had been the kind of friend who would make Peter feel so protective that he would cut off a man's ear if it meant protecting Jesus. (Mark 14:47) He was a friend Peter trusted so completely that he got out of a boat and stepped on water. (Matthew 14:29) Jesus wasn't your run of the mill golden statue that many of that time worshipped. He was not some far off mythical creature. Jesus was real and He had been Peter's friend and mentor.

I believe that the impact of what happened the day Peter denied Jesus is not felt unless we understand the relationship they shared. We may sit in church and yawn and nod our heads when the preacher preaches, but I'm tellin' ya, this story has hit me with such force. Just a few days ago I experienced a day that really had me down. I finally lost it and said out loud "I am disappointed in God." It hurts my heart to type those words right now. I don't really want to go into details about that, but I share it to share the moment that I had after that.

In the book of Mark the heading of this passage says Peter Denies Jesus, and Weeps. It breaks my heart to type those words too. Because I know he did. Even though he did it three times I know it ripped at his heart each time that his human self was so weak. That his desire for self-preservation took over in the heat of that moment. And even worse, he remembered Jesus' words "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." Mark 14:72

The part of this story that really got to me was that very shortly after those denials, Jesus died. I don't know about you, but one of my greatest fears is losing someone I love and having said or done something to hurt them without having the chance to make it right. Can you imagine the gut-wrenching heartache Peter must have felt that day? He didn't just lose his LORD, his teacher, and one of his closest friends. He lost Him and never had the chance to tell Him "I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you."

Well, before we all go through a box of tissue, here is the good part. With Jesus, there is always Good News. Are you wondering how God dealt with me when I told Him I felt disappointed? No, lightning didn't strike me. Instead I felt as though He said to me, "I've been waiting for you to tell me that." As in, He already knew that was how I felt just as He knew that Peter would deny Him three times. He was waiting for me to know that was what I was dealing with and be honest about it. I had the chance to ask for it to be made right.

Thankfully, Peter had that chance too. We are told that Jesus appeared to the disciples after his ressurrection. That was the time when poor doubting Thomas missed out and said he wouldn't believe it until he saw it. So, Jesus came again and showed Thomas the scars in His hands. But, the third time, it was Peter's time. The disciples had decided to deal with their emotions like most men and they went fishing. :) It was while they were on this boat not catching a stinkin' thing that Jesus appeared and told them to cast the net on the right side of the boat. They caught a ton of fish, but that was not the important part to Peter. As soon as Peter realized it was Jesus on the shore John 21:7 says "he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea." As Eli would say, "Now that's what I'm talkin' about!" Crazy, impulsive all or nothing Peter couldn't wait to get the boat back to shore. He just jumped out of the boat and swam! And do you know what Jesus did? Do you think He smacked Peter upside the head and said "Why did you deny me?" Do you think He ignored him as it is so easy to do to those we feel betrayed by? Nah. He made him breakfast. "Jesus said to them, 'Come and eat breakfast.' " (John 21:12)

To know that kind of love, that kind of forgiveness, and that kind of restoration. Only in Jesus.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This Blog Post is Brought To You Today By The Letter

Have you ever been miserably sick to the point that you can't sleep, but you have neither the energy or ability to do anything else? That is where I have been this week and it was as I lay in my bed staring at my disturbingly unorganized closet that this caught my eye....

Oh, my beautiful purse. Isn't it so cute? I got this purse 3 years ago after some of the ladies at the church gave me a gift card to Belk's for Christmas. I was so proud of this purse. It was the perfect neutral to go with everything and just the perfect size. So why, you may ask yourself, has this divine accessory been banned to the hook in the closet. I will show you why....

I still remember clearly the day I got to work and placed my purse on my desk. I set about shuffling through the bazillion pieces of paper on my desk and was returning a phone call when I saw name. Minus the i. EMLY. Sarah was 4 at the time and had just started to learn names. Up until this point she had been a graffiti vandal like you would not believe. I cannot even tell you how many times she had been in trouble for drawing on the walls. But, this was a first. No scribbles, no unrecognizable figures. She had written my name. I was proud! And then I was devastated! She wrote my name on my pretty leather purse! I mean as proud of it as I was, I was not exactly thrilled to have it labeled in this way.
So that brings me back to my sick day in the bed wondering why I have saved that purse when I know that there is no way I can get the ink out of it. I'm still in denial, y'all. I also had the thought lying in the bed that I was so thankful that she has since grown out of that phase. Why do I think such things?
Just hours later I had dragged my pitiful self into the living room and plopped down in the recliner, only to find this...

Seriously? I of course had to ask who had committed this crime even though I knew exactly who had done it. I called the little vandal out by name and four year old Eli did what all four year old siblings do. He blamed it on Kate! I don't know how to make my kids understand that once you start writing actual letters and numbers you cannot blame it on the baby!!!
And besides....Kate prefers to write on herself..

As Jeff Foxworthy's mama says "We just can't have nice things!!!"
So here is my question-I know other people who have little kids and also have very nice homes and cars. Here's what I need to know-Where do you keep your kids????????????

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This Is Your Preacher's Wife on Drugs...

I am tough y'all. Well, at least I USED to be tough. I grew up dancing and dancers are tough. You work through the pain. I once danced a recital with a pulled hamstring. It was ugly dancing, but I did it. I also went through an entire football season of 3 hour dance rehearsals in Florida's summer heat with asthma. (Turns out it was exercise induced and it cleared right up when I graduated and quit exercising. :) I danced en pointe until my toes bled. Then, one fateful weekend, it all changed...

I had to have all 4 of my wisdom teeth pulled. And they gave me drugs. Legal, of course, but good stuff nonetheless. I had never been the type to even take Tylenol for headaches. Remember? I was tough. But it all changed with the pulling of those teeth. It was my first summer at home after a year of college and I got to spend a day in the bed watching "Fame" and slurping down Frosty's from Wendy's. Ah, those were the days. I also got to take my medicine. Let me tell you, since I was a little kid I have struggled falling asleep. Now, once I am asleep I could sleep for 18 hours straight no problem. But, I just always have a hard time getting to sleep. Well, I took that medicine and it KNOCKED ME OUT! Josh came over to visit me and I decided to leave the bedroom and grace everyone with my presence. So much for that. He had been there maybe 5 minutes and I FELL ASLEEP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR IN A ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE!!

Well, medicine has continued to have that effect on me. When I had Sarah they gave me my epidural and they had to WAKE ME UP to deliver her. I am not kidding. Same with Eli. When I went into premature labor with Kate they gave me some Demoral and I fell asleep while the nurse was still putting it in the IV!! The only time this did not work was when I had Kate and my epidural did NOT work and I will spare you that story. I will tell you that experience gave Josh a whole new appreciation for childbirth as I had given him the impression it was easy work after having Sarah and Eli.

Why do I share my drug history here with you tonight? I don't know. Honestly, I'm on them right now and ask that you please not hold me responsible for anything said in this post. The truth is, last night was a first in my drug using history. I shared a few posts back that I have had problems with cysts on my ovary and that I was pretty sure one had burst about a month ago. Well, it had and now I learn that it caused an infection in the lining of my stomach. Fun stuff. So, I had taken some TylenolPM and, like all other drugs, that stuff usually knocks me out good. But for some reason it did not have that effect. I don't know what happened y'all!

First, I started trying to have deep conversations with Josh who was playing Texas Hold 'Em on MySpace. I was saying brilliant things like "I just want, you know, like, you know what I mean?" Yes, one of those conversations. Then, I went to brush my teeth and totally hurt myself! My toothbrush slipped and went up on my gums and made them start bleeding like crazy. For some reason that was funny to me. Josh walked in the bathroom to get something and I remembered that I was going to wet a rag for his eye. (Did I mention he had pink eye?) I gave it to him and he put it on his eye and I thought what a great photo opportunity that would be, his messed up eye and my bleeding mouth. When we got to the bedroom I realized I had attempted to change the sheets earlier, but had only managed to take the old sheet off not put the new one on. I'm assuming that is what Josh had gone into the bathroom closet looking for, but he forgot when I handed him the washcloth. Seriously, will somebody please sign up now to take care of us in our old age?? Anyway, I got the new sheet and started attempting to put it on. This is when the crazy drug effects came in. (At least I am hoping it was the drugs.) I started fanning the sheet in the air and it made me laugh HYSTERICALLY!!! I mean doubled over, crying tears kind of laughter. I just kept waving the sheet and laughing and Josh was not amused. I was pretty sure he was rolling his pink eye behind the wet rag, but the sight of him standing there trying to grab the sheet with one hand while holding the rag to his eye with the other cracked me up even more. I so wanted to go wake Kate up because she is somebody in this house who would appreciate how funny it is when sheets get waved in the air. She thinks it is HILARIOUS! Well, you know a mama is on drugs when she is even considering waking a sleeping baby. So...we eventually got the sheet on the bed and I calmed down enough to go to sleep.

The moral of this story: Just say NO to drugs. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We've Come a Long Way, Baby...

I mentioned that our old fridge had died. Yes, that fridge had kept it's last Diet Coke chilled. It has gone on to appliance heaven, or the back porch, however you want to look at it. So that means WE GOT A NEW FRIDGE!!!!!!!! We actually went and picked it out on our way out of town for our 10 year class reunion and when I told my friend Pao she said, "See what makes us happy now?" Yes. It does make me happy. I also realize that I may need to create a new blog devoted totally to appliances as I seem to talk about them A LOT. To explain my fascination with appliances you must understand that sometimes you just can't appreciate things fully until you have lived with the worst case scenario. Does that make sense? Let me explain.

You see, 3 years ago we moved to Mississippi and into a house that we had never seen until the night we pulled up in the moving van. For those of you who were reading my blog back in those days you know that I got a job that started sooner than I had anticipated and we had to have a house quick. I am going to share that actual blog from August of 2006 with you, but first I have to fill you in about the refrigerator in that house. I had actually forgotten about it until we got our new one and Josh remarked that we had come a long way. Isn't it funny how we block out traumatic memories? Well, the fridge in the house we moved into was an antique and I do not mean that in a good way at all. It was so bad that we could not use the freezer at all (our kids grandparents still talk about how pitiful it was when our children would visit them and beg for ice cream because "we can't have ice cream at our house" :) and it had such a bad smell that we had to double seal all of our food in gallon size plastic baggies. I am not even kidding. So, what I am telling you is that I say a prayer of thanksgiving everytime I get ice out of the ice maker. Here's the rest of the story....

This is from my blog on August 19, 2006. It was titled, "I'm a Little Bit Country, But Not So Much". I am finally getting around to posting a pic of our little farm house. I was very proud of my chair I painted on the porch and my Mums. Take note of the living room furniture on the porch. :) We were just relieved we finally got the stove moved...

Well, it's official. I'm a Mississippi girl again. Last Sat. we packed up the truck and headed out. It was me, Josh, Abby, and my two dads.My mom kept Sarah and Eli. We had a good trip.I prayed the whole way that Josh and Mr.Bucky wouldn't fall asleep at the wheel since they had both worked a full day already. Everybody was fine. However, for future reference for anyone traveling to Meridian from Florida, once you go through Citronelle there is NOWHERE to get gas, food, or go to the bathroom until you are right outside Meridian. So what did we do? We stopped in Citronelle for Josh and Mr. Bucky to change trucks, but we did not get gas or food. That means everyone was panicking about 20 miles outside of Meridian that all three of our vehicles would be running out of gas shortly. And of course it was late and if there were any service stations they had already closed.We were also grumpy because we were hungry. I found an exit that said there was a gas station and drove the longest three miles ever to find that it was an old closed down one. We finally did find a gas station and while I was inside Josh called Karen to let her know where we were because her family was supposed to be waiting at our exit to take us to our house. Yes, at this point I still did not even know my address.So when I came out Josh said that he had talked to Karen and that they were upset about how the house looked and that we could talk about other options when we got there. Other options?????????? It was 9:30 on a Sat. night. We didn't have other options!!!! I started wondering how many hotel rooms it would take for all of our stuff!

So, needless to say I stressed out the whole way to the house.When we got there the first thing I saw was the barn. I was afraid that it was the house, but luckily it was not. It was too dark to really be able to see the outside of the house, but I was very eager to see the inside.The owner of the house was there and he apologized for the shape the house was in. That was not a good sign. I grabbed Karen to go inside with me and be my moral support. She told me there was no bathtub. No bathtub!! Was there an outhouse? What she meant was that it only had a shower. We walked into the house and the first thing that hit me was the smell. That's always a bad thing. I knew the lady who lived there before had cats and I could definitely tell. The house was filthy. Now you need to know I am not an obsessive cleaner and I am not snotty about where I live. This house was just really bad. I seriously don't think it had been cleaned in several years. It was a little frustrating because I had just spent so much time cleaning our other house. Karen's dad told us we could think about finding another house. We had planned to unpack the truck the next day anyway.

Our dads left for the hotel and Josh and I decided to stay at the house. Karen's family had brought us food so we sat on pillows on top of a loveseat the previous renter had left. I know we must have been quite a sight. I couldn't put away the leftover food becuase Karen would not even allow me to open the refrigerator she said it smelled so bad. After we ate I was washing something in the sink and the faucet started shooting water in a hundred different directions. I could hear Josh stomping bugs in the bedroom. I had to laugh. It was either that or cry!

The next adventure was taking a shower. It brought back memories of college days in community bathroooms where I showered with my flip-flops on. I seriously would not walk anywhere in that house without my shoes on.We made it through the night and after the truck was unloaded on Sun. Josh and my two dads left. Josh had to finish his last week of work and he and the kids were going to stay with his parents. They made me call Karen before they left and see if I could go to her house so I wouldn't be alone. Dads never stop worrying do they?

Karen was going to church that night but I was really tired and hadn't unpacked any nice clothes so I decided to just drive around and look for houses. :) Johnny Cash's song about how Sunday makes you feel alone was playing in my head. It was pretty lonely. I'm the type of person who likes to have a lot of alone time just to think, but I realized that I am so not used to ever being alone anymore. I went back to the house to read and I was fine, I had Abby with me. After a couple of hours I had visitors. One of the other pastors in town and his wife stopped by to see if Josh could preach for him in a couple of weeks. That was good. It reminded me why I was there.

I was completely content to stay at the house by myself. I really didn't feel scared there at all. Then, I saw a spider. It wasn't just any spider mind you. It was the biggest spider I've ever seen. And it had stripes. I don't know what that means but it scared me. So I killed it, threw some clothes together and headed to Karen's. I know, I'm a scaredy cat.

Well, it didn't take long before I started seeing the potential in our new little home. It was actually much bigger than I expected. It only has two bedrooms, but they are both so big that it's pretty much the same size as our other house. So, what does a girl do when she has a whole week away from her family? I had planned to read and go out to eat with Karen. Instead, I decided to refloor our house. Yes, you heard me right.Karen and I ripped the floor out of the kitchen. It was not easy. I wish I had a video of us. With a hammer, crowbar, and razor we took that floor out. I know we must have looked hilarious. I have never been so sore in my life. Then, we ripped up the carpet in the living room. It weighed 8,000 pounds. I'm not exaggerating. Getting it out of the house took an act of God. We may die any day now from the amount of dirt, dust, and who knows what else was in that carpet. It was so nasty!! There were places under the carpet where dirt was packed onto the floor. I had to use the hammer to get it up. Vacuum cleaners, mops. Who needs those when you have a hammer? That's what I clean my floors with! :) The rooms were so much bigger than we realized. I bought floor tiles at Family Dollar and the lady working there was my first friend made in Meridian. She would laugh at us everytime we came through the door. You also have to realize that I now live in the country. It would take 30-45 minutes to get to the store. So that became our routine. Get floor tiles, get food, eat on the way home. Put down a floor. Next day, do it all over again. I felt like I was living in Groundhog Day!

Our next obstacle was the bathroom floor. Again, we had the hammer and the crowbar getting the tiles up. But this time, the floor was so sticky that we would get stuck and couldn't move, It was the funniest thing ever. And poor Abby would come in and get all four paws stuck. Then she would get pieces of the tiles we had cut stuck to her and go walking through the house with them. We wanted to paint the bathroom before we put the new floor down, but we couldn't because we couldn't move!So, we put down three floors and painted the bathroom in three days. Karen told me that Josh would never leave me alone again and she is probably right. I also put down a threshold and I am very proud of myself for that. It is not a silver thingy on the floor, it is a threshold.:)

I've met the cows, I've had boys on four wheelers pull up in my driveway, and I have an old stove on my porch. I think that qualifies me to say I live in the country. And it is growing on me.I've just gotten my papers for my licensing exam so I will be taking my exam next week and then starting to work. We've still got a lot to do, but a country girl can survive!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

And I Could Not Ask for More...

So, this was my birthday weekend and really, I could not have asked for more. I'll just have to show you. But, just so you know, I'm getting old and what I consider a great weekend has really changed a lot. :)

Above, you see Sarah. What is so amazing about this picture is 1. My kids spent a good part of the day entertaining themselves in the playroom and that always makes me happy. 2. Do you see the elevator she made for the dollhouse? My child is brilliant, y'all. Her mama would've just begged for the Barbie house with an elevator. (I may need to give this blog an R-rating for Ken doll nudity. My children are very anti-clothing.)
This may not look very pretty, but it was very yummy!!!! Bless Josh's heart, I decided I wanted Enchalidas for my birthday dinner. He did awesome even though it was his first time to make them. And seriously, is there anything that ISN'T good smothered in sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes?

Um, I'm getting old Sarah, but I think you might have those backwards....

Really, does it get any better than brownies and magic cookie? I think not.

These are some of the goodies I got. The basket in back was a gift from my sis-in-law that contained shampoo and conditioner, 2 pretty nail polishes, and other super girly stuff. Karen gave me that pretty striped box filled with a gift card to BAM, a pink leather bookmark that says "Never put away your dancing shoes", some Chai Latte and a mug full of Dove chocolate!!!!!!!!! And yea, so maybe I ate all of the chocolate on the way home from our lunch Friday. You wanna make somethin' of it?!?!? :)
You might not believe this, but I was feeling a little sick at my stomach on my b-day. I'm sure it couldn't have been from the obscene amount of food I had been eating. I was also a little achy. Will you know how old I am when I tell you the best part of my birthday was when we put the kids to bed, I took some TylenolPM and we put in a movie? I also made some of my Chai Latte and it was SUPERB!! I totally passed out on the couch at like 10:00. For the record, I haven't been asleep by 10:00 since.....I don't know, I may have been 10. Anyway, I got a full night of sleep and then a nap this afternoon and I actually woke up feeling refreshed! Best birthday present ever!!!

To top off my weekend, Eli donned this little ensemble when I told him it was time for church clothes. What a great laugh!

Then, since Eli was getting a picture, Kate decided to stand still for one too. Check out her pretty dress from Nana!
Speaking of pictures, Josh bought me a gorgeous new frame that had a note on it that said it is for a new family portrait!! You have no idea what a sacrificial gift that is from Josh. I'm pretty sure between the expense of pictures and the ordeal of actually getting a good picture that family portraits rate up there with root canals for Josh. In fact, other than Christmas pics we had made in the garden center at Wal-Mart on Kate's 1st Christmas, we have no professional family portraits with her!!

So, there you have it, my exciting birthday weekend. :) I kept trying to get a pretty pic of me in this cute shirt and necklace that my sister Jenny sent me, but it never happened.'s this one. I had planned to be 29 and holding, but we watched 13 Going on 30 the other night and I've decided that instead of holding I am anxiously awaiting being "30, flirty, and thriving!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

If Mexican Food Doesn't Make You Happy, I Don't Know What Will...

I’ve been in a funk y’all. Do you ever get that way? I decide that I stink at everything in life, life stinks, the garbage stinks, and everything just stinks. I don’t know why I’ve been that way either. This has been a really good week. We got an awesome new fridge, Josh got his job back with hospice, and I even got some serious cleaning done. On top of that I’ve been eating carbs like they’re going out of style. Still, I’ve just been in a funk. They are the worst when you have no idea why you’re in one. Maybe it is Post Reunion Stress Disorder. Perhaps I am just exhausted. Who knows?

I feel that the fog is lifting though and I will tell you why. Because I have friends and people who love me. I’ll tell you, I don’t know how Josh puts up with me for 2 seconds, but he does. And today I had an awesome lunch in the very back booth of La Pinata on a rainy day with a friend who is one of those friends who knows me and likes me anyway. (I know because that is what the card she gave me said. :) I think I have shared that laughter is my coping mechanism. When I feel like I can’t laugh that is when life stinks. Thankfully, I’ve laughed today. A lot.

I have a tendency to take myself too seriously and despite the fact that getting 3 kids dressed and to church on time is my greatest life achievement thus far I stress that I have not brought about world peace. I am thankful for people in my life who laugh with me (okay, and at me).

Nicole Johnson shares in “Fresh Brewed Life”-

“Laughing with friends is just like eating cake at a party. You can have a party without cake, but who would want to? Every friend I have in my life knows how to belly laugh and not take themselves, or me, too seriously. Laughter is like a tall, creamy, four-layered, beautiful cake that leans to one side. A cake that is meant to be cut and shared. Two forks and enjoyment beyond belief… Celebration indeed!”

My prayer for you this weekend and next week is that your days will be filled with more laughter than tears and that God will send you someone to laugh and eat cake with!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Little Perspective, Please

Josh told me that the refrigerator repairman will probably be coming out to make a housecall. I am relieved that our house is clean. Well, it is acceptable to have human beings enter in. The reason it is clean is because last night Josh called to let me know he was bringing people to this house in 30 minutes. I cannot even begin to tell you the thoughts I had or the names I called people as I jumped into action. Not only did I only have 30 minutes to whip this house into shape as I had been gone all day and not gotten a stinkin' thing accomplished here, but it was also bedtime and that is an event in itself around here. Adding to my super mood, our refrigerator is dying. It has gone from an annoying noise every few minutes that sounds like a cell phone vibrating to a constant noise that is driving me crazy and all of our food is going bad. So, in other words, Josh was bringing company to our house for supper and our house was trashed and we had no food to feed them. To top it off, Josh had the jeep getting the brakes fixed and so I didn't even have a way to run get something to eat and it wouldn't matter b/c around here there is nowhere to go that you could get there and back in 30 minutes. Are you feeling my frustration here??

Well, our friends decided it was too late last night and we have rescheduled. I will make a point to write in my calendar "clean the house, cook food, put on a smile and get in a better mood!!!" I really am ashamed at how I reacted last night. And I don't just mean that I totally put dirty dishes in the oven b/c the dishwasher was full and I could not find my dishsoap because Josh had left it outside after he washed the jeep. I am ashamed that I let myself get so upset and stressed out. I am ashamed that I stink so much at hospitality and that I don't have my house ready for guests at all times. I am ashamed that Eli asked me to pray with him before bed and by the time I got through throwing laundry in the washing machine, vacuuming the living room and bleaching the kitchen counters that he had already fallen asleep without me praying with him. :(

The good news is that the sun came out this morning, Eli still loves me, and the house is clean. (Um, will somebody remind me to get those dishes out of my oven?) Anyway, I was reminded this morning of a verse in Matthew chapter 6. Verse 34 says, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own troubles." Can I get a Amen? Each day surely does have enough of its own issues. As I have shared I am planning our high school class reunion and it is happening this weekend. Please do not ask why I thought it would be a good idea for me to do so. I am pretty much the worst event planner known to mankind. Well, I am having a hard time reaching the lady at the restaurant where we are having our dinner. (And by hard time reaching her I mean I haven't heard from her in over a week despite obsessive, stalker phone messages that I have left her.) The reality of the whole event has also hit me and the fact that I have never done this and oh my gosh how many things could wrong? Will people have fun? Are we doing too much? Not enough? Will this be the worst class reunion ever becasue if it is it will be all my fault!!!!! Okay, let's all breathe.....

Why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, for one I can't afford therapy right now. :) And two, I feel that there is a lesson to be learned here. You see, usually when I have times like this I try to think about the starving, homeless people around the world. The abused, unloved people. I try to put my circumstances in the light of the big picture. Of course, I know that dying refrigerators, messed up brakes, and class reunions do not even register on the scale of what many people would consider problems. Wow, I am blessed just to have a refrigerator, a vehicle and a group of people to reunite.

At the same time, I feel like God is also teaching me that the trials in my life are there because they are the ones I need. Because they are the trials that will grow me the most. The truth is, I can handle a crisis like you would not believe. I am the person you want with you in the ER or at the funeral home. Those are the moments when I am at my best. It's as if I was designed especially for crisis control. In fact, if I did not have a family to take care of I woud be convinced that I was meant to be a trauma counselor for the Red Cross. I don't say that bragging. I just have recognized that for some weird reason I am able to handle death, natural disasters, and all sorts of other events with total grace and clarity. On the other hand, ask me to keep my house clean and plan a meal for people and it sends me into orbit!!! Are you kidding me? I can get a call to comfort someone who is dying and that does not stress me out, but dirty clothes piled up behind the kid's beds throw me into screaming rages that probably scare our neighbors down the street into cleaning their rooms.

So, this is a time when I am learning. Learning that the little frustrations of life (especially when they all pile up on each other like the laundry in our hallway) are what force me to grow. When I am crying out "God, will it ever end??", He has a bigger plan. 2 Corinthians 4:17 assures us, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are unseen are eternal."

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing since you are human you are also facing trials and frustrations whether they be big or small. I will admit this: I failed my test last night BIG TIME. But God's mercies are new everyday and I'm taking advice from James today. James says,
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
James 1:2-4

I also want to share a story I just read. The truth is I'm borrowing it from a message Josh is sharing tonight at a memorial service for the Hospice company we both worked for. I know I'm a little biased, but my man is awesome. I would nominate him for President except for the fact that would make me the First Lady, and heaven help us all if I had to plan White House dinners!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, here is the story.

In Northern Chile, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, there is a narrow strip of land where the sun shines everyday. Clouds gather so seldom over this area, that nearby residents can proclaim with honesty, "It never rains there!" Morning after morning, the sun rises brilliantly over the mountains in the east. It looms high overhead, and then falls to paint a picturesque sunset. Storm clouds are often seen high up on the mountains, and thick fog banks hang their clouds far over the sea, but still the sun continues to shine her warm rays on this "favored " strip of earthly territory. In our minds, we might envision this strip to be an absolute earthly paradise, but it is far from that! It is a barren and desolate wilderness. There are no sparkling streams of water-and nothing grows there.

Often in our lives, we look for an existence free from the storms. We long for lives of total sunshine where tears do not fill our eyes. But like that sunny unfertile land in chile, lives without trials and storms are unproductive and unchallenging.

I hope this has encouraged you. I have learned that the repairman is not coming and we will in fact be having a memorial service for the refrigerator. It seems the way to keep people from stopping by our house it to clean it up. :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Peek in the Pick-Up

If you have read my blog much at all you know that car problems are like holidays at our house. They come regularly and usually cost way more than we anticipated. Well, Josh's beloved Monte Carlo bit the dust, I mean has been resting in the yard for quite a while now. Josh has assured me that it will one day be worth millions AFTER we barter a few of our children and some homemade pies to pay for the parts. Anyway, to remedy the car situation while his car "rests" and waits for us to hit the jackpot, we bought a truck from one of our church members for Josh to have to get around in. It has seen better days, y'all. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure it will still be running long after we have taken up residence in rocking chairs at the nursing home. It's just one of those kind of trucks.
So, right now the Jeep is awaiting it's annual brake repair, because in case you haven't noticed we just keep driving that thing to the ends of the earth and back. While it is "resting" I took the truck to Wal-Mart tonight. After that I stopped by Sonic to get Josh and myself a drink. After I placed my order I looked over at the seat beside me and LAUGHED OUT LOUD! I had to call Josh. Here is what I had to tell him: "Josh, I just had to call and give you a visual. I am sitting in the truck with a huge thing of toilet paper, some hair dye, and some pull-ups ." In case you don't find this funny I am including pics of the truck. Really, I am officially a country girl now. :)
As if that weren't enough you must know that there is a bumper sticker on the back that says "Mississippi Terrorist Hunting Permit". For real!! Isn't that awesome? All you terrorist out there better be scared of me! I will for sure beat you senseless with my purse!!
It might not be much to look at, but I have to tell you I am falling in love with this truck. It was pretty fun driving the country roads with the windows rolled down and the radio turned up. And did you see the moon tonight?? AMAZING!
p.s. I hope I don't cause any jealousy out there for anybody else who wishes they had this bumper sticker. I'm sorry, not everybody can be as cool as us....

It's Your Day

I have been a hot mess of sillines here lately, in case you couldn't tell from my last blog. And Josh is keeping the kids Monday so I can have a whole day for myself to listen to what I want on the radio, have uninterrupted thoughts, SHOP, and even probably pick what I want to eat. (Okay, the truth is that I am totally spoiled and Josh usually lets me do most of those things anyway). Still, there is something about planning for a day like that that has me so excited I am still up at 12:30. As I mentally mapped out my shopping plan and thought about the things I would think about (yes, I really did say that :), my thoughts turned to another day. The Lord's Day.

You see, as a Christian I believe that every moment of our lives is one that should be in tune with our Heavenly Father seeking His face and His direction. But lately I have really been convicted about how much I don't prepare for the Lord's Day. I mean besides preparing the massive "get us through service bag" which includes barbie dolls, cars, snacks and other random stuff. I'm talking about how much time I spend getting my heart and mind ready to focus on the Father. I don't know how many of you are like me and feel that Sunday is actually the busiest, craziest day of the week. That probably is a preacher's family thing. But I just wanted to offer up a prayer that this Lord's Day would truly be about Him.

Father, I come to you now, while my house is still and my heart is still. I know that in the chaos of getting my family physically ready for church that I often overlook why we are going, You. Please turn my eyes toward You and focus them there. Please rid me of the selfishness, frustration, and impatience that fill so many of our hectic mornings and fill me with Your Spirit. Fill me to overflowing with Your patience, Your kindness, Your gentleness. As I make my way to Your House please help me to take captive every thought that is not of You. Please replace my critical spirit with Your Spirit of Truth. Please place kindness and encouragement on my lips and make me sensitive to those around me. Open my heart and mind to Your Word and allow it to speak Life to me. Show me where I am needed and make me a willing worker. Please replace the dread and frustration I often feel sharing a church pew with my little ones with joy and wisdom that I would know how to teach them to love You and worship You. I pray that You will show me what You want this day to be. It is, after all, Your day. In Jesus name, Amen.

"God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us"
Psalm 67:1

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut...

As you all prepare for this long holiday weekend I thought I would offer you some advice. Personally I am planning to take advantage of the Labor Day sales this weekend and as I have mentioned before, my high school reunion is NEXT WEEKEND!!! Holy cow. Well anyway, rather than admit that the reason I have put off shopping until this weekend is that I was waiting until the last possible moment to suddently become a size 2, we will pretend that really it was just to take advantage of the aforementioned sales. While I was researching upcoming fashion trends to help in the choosing of an outfit, I found some great ideas I thought I would pass along to help you in your shopping this weekend. Because really, I am about as hip and trendy as they come. :)

This first ensemble is a dream come true for me. It has 3 things working in it's favor as far as I'm concerned. First, the color. I personally heart this color blue and not only would I appreciate it, but it would also have the comfort factor of reminding my children of the cookie monster. Second, you just have got to love that hood. I don't even have to say what a lifesaver that would be on rainy, frizzy hair days. And honestly, wouldn't that be the perfect "my kids are embarrassing the mess out of me in Wal-Mart" outfit? You just pull that hood shut over your face and no one even recognizes you! Finally, I am always a fan of clothes that are so short you can't sit down in them. They make really great preacher's wife dresses. You go for visits and have to tell the little old ladies "I'm sorry I can't stay, I have somewhere to be" which really translates "I cannot possibly sit down in this dress without a blanket to put over my lap." Yes, this is definitely a winner....

This next piece (pieces?) just screams Dances with Wolves meets the Supremes. (Do you see that gold jacket in the background?!?!?) I will talk more about the Dances with Wolves theme of the upcoming year when I get to the accessories. I just thought you should see this whole look together. You really can't beat a fur vest, especially for a class reunion in Florida in September...
By the way, I would not recommend wearing these shoes anywhere near a location you might be forced to run from the wolves. Just a thought.

I've saved my absolute favorite outfit for last. As if leggings coming back into style did not already set my heart aglow, now the trend is for them to have a print! I personally don't think I have owned anything so stylish since my purple and gold hammer pants in 5th grade. And again, I am all about the head and face coverings. Let's just forget about hair and makeup altogether and wear a Fat Albert ski mask. Awesomeness! How do you think this would look with bowling shoes?

Now we have reached the most important part of our fashion lesson. Accessories!! I chose this picture because of the necklace on the far left. Again, this is a great mom piece. Just think of all the stuff you could latch onto that joker! Pacifiers, diaper bags, camera cases....if neccessary I believe you could put your kid in overalls and just hook them on there if they get a little out of hand! What do you think?
Hair is our most important accessory and I just had to share this picture I found and say DON'T DO IT!!!! This picture brings back very bad middle school memories of a hair cut that took place to correct a haircut I tried to give myself. Just say NO!!
Don't worry though if you have already messed up your hair. There is a solution for covering up those bad hair days. Feathered headdresses!!!!!! Seriously, why had I not thought of this before?? Wouldn't this look great with the Dances with Wolves ensemble I showed you earlier? My personal goal this year is going to be to kill a turkey, clean it and cook it for Thanksgiving and then make a feathered hairpeice for the special day. Y'all hold me to it, k?

Do you ever see runway fashion and just think, 'I could never pull that off?' Well, this year there is a trend we can all handle. Ripped pantyhose and tights. I am so excited about this trend because pretty much every pair of hosery I own either looks like this now or it will the first time I try to put it on Sunday morning. If you do not currently own this trend never fear. I will send my kids and dog to your house this very Sunday morning to help you on your way. :)

Finally, let's talk shoes. They are a girl's best friend, right? Well, I will just pass the trends along to you and tell you that you might want a podiatrist as one of your best friends too. Just sayin'.

Just to wrap up this little Fashion 2009 extravanza, I thought I would also leave you with my latest weight loss tip. Now, I know you have all been faithfully eating reese's cups, cresent italiano and doing the 3-legged race. I really hope that has been working for you. :) However, my latest favorite thing is Planters Nut-rition Digestive Health Mix. It has become my crack, y'all. It has granola, pistacchios, almonds, cranberries and cherries. I am addicted. I really think it has helped with appetite control. Okay, so maybe I eat 8 servings in a day, but still I usually don't eat as much of anything else.
I hope that helps. And I hope you have better luck finding them at Wal-Mart than I did. I was there with all 3 of my kids one day and we were at a different Wal-Mart than usual. At the end of our shopping experience with a buggy full and everybody nice and whiny, I went on the hunt. Some Wal-Marts keep them with the popcorn and stuff and some have them with the candy. I couldn't find them anywhere! Finally in frustration I said out loud "WHERE DO THEY KEEP THE NUTS IN THIS PLACE?!?!?" From the looks people gave me I was pretty sure I knew their answer. Just remember what they say. You are what you eat! :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Puppy Love

My dog has a boyfriend. Seriously. His name is Rebel. Don't you love that? Are we southern or what? Daisy and Rebel. :) Around here we have what we call "neighborhood dogs" who just roam around. They are all boys. All of them! So as you can imagine, Daisy has become pretty popular. The thing is she is never out without one of us walking her on a leash. At least she is not supposed to be. While all of the boys are quite interested in Daisy, none of them show the devotion that Rebel does. He waits for her to come out, y'all!

Well, at first Daisy did not seem to share the affection but the past two days she has escaped to find him!! Yesterday I had to do a mile jog through the neighborhood in my pajamas to catch her. A girl could use the chance to put on appropriate undergarments before a jog if you know what I mean. I also made the incredibly wise decision to put on my flip flops instead of my running shoes and I was one hot, grumpy, out of breath mama when I finally caught her. Rebel walked the whole way home with us. I was fussing at them the whole time, but he stayed with us until we got to the house. Then he even waited outside!

Today Josh had the honor of the chase. Of course she only went to the church across the street. That's where the boy dogs hang out. Josh was so mad at those dogs. I don't know if I've ever seen him that way. He was going on and on about those dogs messing with Daisy and I was listening intently and agreeing. Then he said, "Those dogs want what all boy dogs want." HAHAHA!! I lost it at that point. I had an instant image of the boy dogs hiding out with magazines of girl dogs. Of the dogs slapping paws. It just cracked me up. I couldn't help it. Josh was still not amused. He is taking the task of protecting our Daisy's virtue and reputation very seriously. It instantly made me fear for the safety of any boys who like Sarah or Kate in the future. I've prayed for their future husbands since both of them were born. I think now I will start praying for those boy's protection!!!!!!!

And they call it puppy love..........
Here is Daisy loving on Josh. He is telling her that no matter how much she sucks up she still can't see Rebel. Oh yea, I really wanted a pic of Daisy and Rebel together, but Josh would not allow it!!!!