Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Worst You

I haven't been myself lately. At least not the self that I am okay being. You see, there is a me that not too many people actually know. Most people know about this me because I have shared stories, but very few people have actually witnessed it.

My first summer after college I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It's a really long story and it was a really long depression. Six years to be exact. I started out sleeping more, isolating myself socially. Then, I started gaining weight. Then I started having angry outbursts. Then, I started having thoughts that scared the mess out of me. I don't really want to talk about it. But, that is why I'm talking about it.

Just a couple of weeks ago I thought about how that time in my life seems like a dream (or nightmare) and how it didn't feel like it had even happened to me. God healed my depression after a six year battle and that was six years ago. I actually felt led to write my story and I did last spring. The whole thing. I shared it with my family which may have been the most difficult thing I've ever done. Even though they all knew about the depression there were lots of things I had never told anyone. Well, for a while I thought that maybe I should try to have it published or let other people read it. Then, that feeling just went away. Which is good because my computer with my story died. So, I decided that I didn't want to tell that story anymore. I wanted to go on with life and act like it had never happened.

No sooner had I decided that depression was no longer my story to tell, it happened. It came back. Please don't panic. I promise I am okay. The fact that I am writing this tells you I'm in a much better place than even just a few days ago. But, I became unbelievably moody, started withdrawing, started having irrational thoughts. I started asking God why. Not a thing had happened in life to trigger it. I've even been having good hair days y'all. :) The more I questioned the more I realized how ready I had been just days ago to forget that part of my life. To pretend that it never happened just because the memory was not so clear. And it was as if God said, "Lest you forget..." I realized that I needed to be reminded of just how far God has brought me. As much as I would like to pretend that depression has never played a role in my life, it has. In a big way.

I'm not gonna lie. I would rather not be telling you about this. I know it will make people who love me worry. I know this is not cute, funny, or fun to read. But there was a time when I felt such a calling to reach out to others who were also experiencing depression. I have said so many times that it is something that you just cannot understand unless you have experienced it. I let myself forget what that was like. I wanted to run as far away from the memories as possible. I could have totally picked up with a cute story about my kids or tell you funny things that happened at church. But this blog is called "Speaking the Truth in Love and Laughter" and so even when there hasn't been much laughter I feel like I owe you the truth. I feel like it would be very misleading to pretend that everything in my life has been peachy when it hasn't.

I do want to tell you a story that came to be from my first bout of depression. It was actually almost two years before I was officially diagnosed, but I was at a point that I was feeling much the same way I have felt this past week. Not like me. I was 18 and had lost my six year old cousin to a very tragic accident. That was the same summer that Josh had started asking me out. I say started because I did turn him down twice before I said yes. He always makes me sound so mean when he tells the story, but I was totally trying to give him an out. I knew I had issues and I was trying to spare him. I'll never forget the day we officially started "going out". It was my 18th birthday and Josh had taken me to the beach. I knew he was going to ask me out because we had planned it a month earlier. (Don't ask, it was all part of my issues. :) Anyway, we walked up and down the beach and talked for what felt like forever. And forever and ever Amen. And he still did not ask me out!

Finally, when we were in the car headed back to my house he asked. Even though I had been waiting for the question I still felt that I should try and talk him out of his fateful decision to pursue someone as messed up as me. You see, I had always been an extremely happy, outgoing, easygoing person. That was Emily. That was the Emily people liked. That was the Emily I wanted to be. When my cousin died it was really my first experience with grief. I didn't like that I wasn't always happy and that I didn't always feel up to entertaining the masses. I assumed no one else would like that Emily either. I explained to Josh how I felt like he was getting the worst me. And do you know what he said? He said, "Well I know if I can love the worst you that I can love the best you." Have I told you this story? Probably, because it is the best story of my life.

I say it is the best story of my life because not only did I get that moment in a camaro with my high school sweetheart on my 18th birthday, but because God spoke those same words to my heart. Unfortunately, Josh would end up going through much worse times with me and seeing versions of Emily I would prefer to not have had to experience myself. But the boy who spoke those beautiful words to me made God's Word come to life for me.

Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us."

I don't know if you have someone in your life who has proven that they love the worst you. I pray that you do. I have learned that it is a rare and precious thing to have those people in your life. The ones who hear you say ugly things and don't bring them back up as blackmail. The ones who can handle what you really think. The ones who are okay to let you cry and understand that life is messy and isn't always a party.

I just want to encourage you that even if you think you are at your worst right now, there is Someone who loves you right there. It still blows my mind. It is still hard for me to accept. I still want desperately to become good enough to earn that love. But I can't. I don't have to. He loves the worst you and can't wait to love the best you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Makin' A List.........

Let's just pretend that I am really famous and popular and people care what my favorite gift ideas for the holidays are. Let's just pretend. :)

I have spent today in my pj's doing some online shopping and can I just say that I think online shopping is the greatest thing since sweet potato casserole! I know some people just love the atmosphere and experience of getting up at the crack of dawn in really cold weather to fight the crowds and kill their feet, but I am not one of them. So here I sit. I obviously cannot share any gift ideas for the grown ups as the grown ups I shop for read my blog. :) But I am really excited about a couple of things for my kids and just wanted to share in case you are seeking some inspiration.

First, I have to tell you that I felt really challenged this year to not go crazy with the shopping. 1. My kids already have a ton of stuff. They just do. 2. I really want them to enjoy gifts, but also learn to be as excited about giving them as getting them. 3. I have become an experienced enough parent to know what my kids will actually use or play with or what I will be stepping on in the middle of the night that gets tossed aside and broken. With that said, these are my favorite gift ideas.

Illustory is a book where your child can write and illustrate their own story. You then send it back to the company and they will make it into a hardback book. Is that not the coolest thing ever??? Am I just the biggest dork ever??? My friend Karen assures me that not everyone actually LIKES to write the way that I do, but lately Sarah has been writing her own stories and taping pieces of paper together. I LOVE IT! Couldn't make this Mama happpier. I think this could be a neat idea for anyone who would like to create a short story for their loved ones. AND, it is on sale right now. I found this one at Target for $19.99. You can only get it online, but today it is on sale for $14.99. With tax and shipping you come out at $21.99.

Okay, my second exciting gift idea is for active children who like to draw on EVERYTHING. I mean everything, y'all. I keep telling myself it is a sign of a brilliant child who will one day become a famous (and rich) artist and will replace all of the things in his poor mother's trashy looking house with the colored walls and furniture. :) Eli has been telling me for months that he wants a skateboard. All the older boys around here have them, but I wasn't sure Eli was ready for one. Josh assured me Eli is the age he was when he got one. So, I started checking out skateboards and look what I found!! The design your own skateboard will allow Eli to have something else to decorate besides my furniture and then he will have a skateboard! The only negative I read in the reviews of this product is that it is smaller than a normal skateboard. That is actually a bonus to me because I think it will be a better fit for Eli's size right now.

So, these are a couple of the gifts I am really excited about. Will I hate myself and wonder what the heck I was thinking when we actually begin working on this book and skateboard? Very likely. Will it be worth it if my kids are as excited about them as I am right now? Definitely!

How about you? Do you have any gift ideas you are really excited about?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


After a record month of blogging (btw, did you know that November is National Blogging Month? Now you do!) I have hit a dry spell, a writer's block, a complete loss of motivation. Whatever you want to call it. But alas, I am tired of my latest blog being a post about my hormones. :)

As Thanksgiving approaches I thought it would seem very ungrateful of me to not share the many, many things I am thankful for. Such as, I am thankful that we are going to Mamaw's tomorrow and my only time in the kitchen will be making a cake. Is that bad?

Seriously though, this year of 2009 has been one that has been full of super highs and devastating lows. Thinking back I realize that you can never really term a year "good" or "bad". There are just too many ups AND downs for it to be one or the other. Some of the lows have included my Mamaw losing her house and everything she owns to a fire, Josh losing his job last March, and some health problems experienced by family members.

But this year also saw the beginning of the Fidler Academy of Higher Learning as I began homeschooling. Josh and I finally got to take our honeymoon and it was worth the wait! My sister and her family moved back to the south from Alaska and we are looking forward to a new addition to the family. Um, to THEIR family. :) Which makes it even more exciting for me that I will soon have a baby to rock and cuddle and play with and yet I will have no financial or sleep deprivation responsibilities whatsoever! Josh's sister got married and we added Brad to the family. He quickly moved them off to Italy and I am living vicariously through their pictures. Perhaps the most exciting news for me in 2009 was that my firstborn asked Jesus into her heart and was baptized. See, I knew I needed to write this out because really, there was nothing that could have happened this year that could take the joy away from that event!

The day in, day out routine of life can sure drain the joy and peace from us. As the holidays approach I know that it is easy for anxiety to take over as plans and expenses become overwhelming. The thing that I am MOST thankful for (apart from my salvation, my amazing husband, wonderful children, loving family and awesome friends) is the way that God has used the last year of my life to speak through everyday life. I consider myself homeschooled. God has taken me on an intense spiritual journey by route of the mundane, ordinary and routine. He has used heartbreak and questioning to bring me to a greater trust in Him and He has peppered my life with just the right amount of exciting and happy events to get me through the grind of everyday life. He has met me right where I was whether it be in the laundry room, a hospital room sitting with a loved one, or at Wal-Mart.

Tomorrow my husband will have the day off from his job that he was rehired to just a little over a month ago. Just at the exact same time his unemployment was running out. And we will travel to Mamaw's to share Thanksgiving in her new home full of new things. I am so appreciative of that job and those new things for Mamaw, but I pray that more than anything my heart will remember to be thankful not just for those things, but for the God who provided them and the lessons learned in the days of waiting and seeking.

"It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
And to sing praises to Your name,
O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night."
Psalm 92:1

What are you thankful for this year?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's All Over But The Cryin'

*WARNING: If you are a boy you probably don't want to read this. In fact, nobody will probably want to read this, but it's my blog and it's Saturday night and I am assuming everyone else has a life and probably won't read this anyway. So there. Consider yourself warned.

There comes a time in every girl's life when it is necessary to face yourself in the rear view mirror at Sonic and say "Girl, get a grip!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Today was such a day for me. Now, I have shared countless chaotic days from my life that would probably leave many in tears or hysterics. And yet, I have been able to face those days with strength and even laugh about them. But something happens every month and I am overtaken by a monster that sends my body and brain through a tailspin of emotions so fierce that I have yet to find the appropriate cover to take. Josh has adopted the "duck and cover" method. He is extra sweet, brings me peanut M&M's as his special offering and allows me to sleep as much as our schedules will allow as this is the safest, calmest route for everyone in our home. I, however, am stuck with myself.

If you are a boy and have no idea what I am talking about, remember I warned you. If you are a girl and have no idea what I am talking about consider yourself blessed among women. You see, what I am talking about here is hormones. Probably not the most appropriate topic for the preacher's wife's blog, but here I am discussing it anyway. You see, I always heard people talk about how the hormones make you crazy when you are a teenager but I really never experienced that. I was pretty balanced. I even had good skin. Get ready for this-I was even voted SWEETEST one year in high school!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe that? Now, that I am almost 30 my skin is breaking out and I am pretty sure Josh would like to nominate me for "MOST LIKELY TO BITE YOUR HEAD OFF". I have full on sweets cravings that make my pregnancy cravings seem like nothing. What is going on y'all??

I actually had a conversation with my parents about my irritability. I just had to check with them. I didn't remember being so irritable when I was younger. They agreed I was not an irritable person. My dad also reminded me that I liked to be alone a lot and do my own thing. So, pretty much we established that I'm only grumpy when I have to be around other people and can't get my own way. :)

I was talking with a friend who shared that every other month is different because your ovaries alternate. I had never thought about that. So, I got out my calendar and sure enough I realized that every other month is worse for me. Like this past week my whole body hurt so bad that I had to call Josh to come home so I could take medicine that would just knock me out. Is that normal? Probably not. Once the pain fades I then turn into Cruella Deville and decide that everything in life is horrible. No joke. One day I am totally happy and content with life and then the monster comes and I am convinced I am miserable with everything in my life.

Like I said, today was the day. The day I knew it had gotten way out of hand. I went by Sonic for my Diet Cherry Coke and do you know what the guy said? "I'm sorry, we're out of Diet Coke." Now, normal, non-possessed Emily would have immediately said "I will have a Diet Dr. Pepper then please." But not crazy, hormonal Emily. I wiped away a tear, y'all. For real. And that was my moment. The moment I knew that it is really time to get a grip. Or some chocolate....

Lessons learned today folks:

*The preacher's wife gets PMS too.
* Pray extra for the preacher.
* You might want to mark off the 19th of all the odd months in your calendars as days to avoid me like the plague.
* Peanut M&M's and TylenolPM make all things better.
* I'm a lot more spiritual when I don't have to be around people. :)
* This too shall pass!
*DON'T EVER BE OUT OF DIET COKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On the Job Training

When I sat down at the computer this morning, the first thing I saw was this. It showed that social work ranked as the number one most stressful job that doesn't pay well. I know how to pick 'em, huh? :) Of course, I am not currently working as a social worker, just paying off loans for my piece of paper that says I am qualified to do such work. Right here I want to give a shout out to my blogging buddy Lori. We have a mutual friend and actually graduated from FSU together even though we never met. She got her master's degree in social work the same day I got my bachelor's. She has worked many years now as a social worker and I have SO MUCH RESPECT for the work she does. I know it is a God given calling and that many lives have been touched by the work she does.

The reason I'm talking about this is because of the post traumatic stress attack I experienced just reading the article. JUST KIDDING! (Kind of.) The truth is that the time I spent in social work, both interning in a woman's halfway house and the ER and officially working for hospice, were some of the most rewarding times of my life. But what I really started thinking about was how much on the job training took place. I know this is the case in most jobs. I literally graduated one week, got my MS. license the next Friday and started my job the following Monday. I mean I had two years and two internships worth of knowledge. I read pages of protocol books and took a bazillion and a half little quizzes that assured the company I knew what I was doing from how to properly wear my name badge to how to handle a suicidal patient. But let's face it, there are some things books just can't prepare you for.

I stink at math. I mean really, I do. But one thing I understand is the idea of the variable. And the variable in social work is always: people. People are different. Every last one of them. The way they handle situations, the way they react to problems, the way they interact with other people. It was so easy in class to write case studies when I could decide how I would handle a situation based on a character that didn't have feelings, opinions or issues. I could write: "Mr. A. accepted the option offered and is forever grateful for my presence in his life and is planning to name his first child after me." In real life my notes read more like: "Patient finally accepted option F when I threatened to call the state. He hates me and his family called me on my cell phone while I was dying with the flu to convince me of what a horrible person I am and that I in fact know nothing." I left my job still not fully sure of how to document "This person just gives me the heeby jeebies" in a way that sounded professional.

As I began reliving these wonderful memories I came to the realization that what made my job so challenging was not so much the issues faced as the constant feeling of inadequacy. The never ending feeling that I wasn't completely sure I was doing the "right" thing. That is the tough part of on the job training.

I am sure you have gathered through reading my blog that I am not Martha Stewart Super Mom by any stretch of the imagination. I guess what I have learned after 7 years of motherhood is, I don't really know what I'm doing. There, I said it. As if you had not already gathered that. I don't know everything. I'm not sure how I feel about vaccinations. I gave them to my children and prayed fervently for God to protect them. I know that a diet of organic fruits and vegetables is best for my children, but I cannot for the life of me figure out to get them to be satisfied with that. I experience guilt from the amount of time they spend playing video games, and yet I let them do it because I am pretty much with all 3 of them 24/7 and sometimes I need a break. I don't even know how to keep all of the socks in this house together.

I am hard on myself. It's just my nature, my personality whatever you want to say. I've always been that way. I want to be the best, do things the best. And yet, I always seem to fall painfully short of that goal. So now, I am giving myself a break. And maybe you will give yourself a break too, if you struggle with this. Let's face, on the job training is hard and it is pretty much all we get as moms. I started baby-sitting when I was eleven and have read all kinds of books on motherhood. It's a lot like college. Nice theories. Application is a whole other story. I often admit that I have gone from saying "My child will never act like that" to praying "LORD, please don't let my child act like that because I know there is a good chance they will."

Sometimes I think, "LORD, wouldn't it have made more sense for me to know what the heck I am supposed to be doing BEFORE I became a mom? A social worker? A preacher's wife? I mean, it might have helped for me to know how to be a grown up. " But then, I am reminded of the very way Jesus taught when He was here on this earth. There were time He took His disciples into remote locations to intensely teach them spiritual things. But most often He took them straight into reality and said, "Here, let me show you how this will be done." He didn't just teach that they were to love others as themselves, even those they had been taught not to even acknowledge. He showed them when He went out of His way to meet a Samaritan woman. (John 4). He didn't just teach them to trust that God would provide for them He showed them when he told them to gather a few loaves of bread and some fish to feed the 5,000. (John 6) They felt inadequate. They were stressed out. They had to gain some on the job training. Even at the Last Supper, they still didn't get it. (John 13) I wonder if Jesus felt the same way staff meeting use to feel. Did He ever want to say, "I don't know how else to break this down for you. I don't know how many more times I can explain these things." Of course He didn't. He knew they still had a lot of on the job training to go.

I had a favorite song as a teenager that said "Life is hard, but God is good." I won't lie, as I have gotten older and experienced more life, that song seems simplistic and cliche. But you know what? It is still true. Life is hard. We don't know all of the answers. We don't ace every test. But as believers we have this assurance:

"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God."

2 Corinthians 3:5

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Miss Communication

It seemed like Sarah came from the womb talking. I am not even kidding. I really cannot remember a time she wasn't talking. Eli went from baby babbling to big kid talking overnight. He really did. He was so quiet and then one day he just started talking like he had been doing it his whole life. I do remember Sarah learning to talk. She was about 7 or 8 months when she learned her first phrase- "Who dat?" You can imagine that my dad, a lifelong Saints fan, was thrilled. :) It was funny because I was trying to teach her who people were by pointing at pictures and instead of learning their names she learned, "Who dat?"

Kate has been a little slower in the talking process, but I have to admit I have enjoyed every baby step of talking progress she makes. There is just nothing like the sweet baby voice that says, "Thank you." Or that grabs your hand, puts it on bare baby feet and says "Piggies". It about sends me over the moon to hear her lovingly call for her brother and sister. "SARSA!!" "EYI!!" And of course, she helps me with "DAZEEE". She points and tells her "Sit! Sit!"

She has also learned a lot from her siblings and her parents. Things such as "I wanna watch dis" or "Wanna do dis." Or to repeat my favorite question when I happen upon a mess created by my children, "What happeen?" She is also able to let me know what she wants. Like "peekles" and cheese. I promise that is all my child eats. She tells me to turn up the TV "Up this" and when she is uncomfortable in her clothes "Off this". And working on her manners she always says "Peez" and "Shoo me" (Excuse me).

She still speaks her Swahili, as my dad calls it. I am often glad I CAN'T understand what she is saying! :) My favorite word is still "Mama"!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Missing Glove, A Neked Possum and a Playdate

I don't even know where to start. I just don't. I'm still shakin' my head about this day.

This has been a much anticipated day as I had scheduled Eli's first playdate with a boy. You see, we have NO little boys around here and I have prayed desperately for him to have his own friend (not one he has to share with Sarah or makes him dress up and who never invites him over for sleepovers). Well, duh, it finally hit me that a couple Josh and I have come to know through some of our associational church stuff has 5 boys!!! I also concluded that one of them had to be close to Eli's age. I checked and sure enough, Zippy is 5. Don't you love that name? Kate says "Sippy" and I just think it's so cute I'm considering renaming one of my children.

Anyway, Eli thought this playdate was a fair reason to cancel school as he finds a reason to want to cancel school pretty much everyday. He was not happy that we did have school and for the next 5 or so hours he and Sarah became the whiniest two people I have ever heard in my life. ARGHHHH!! I cannot handle whining. It does something to my nerves, y'all. Well, eventually it was time for Sarah to go to dance and Eli to have his playdate. (PRAISE THE LORD!!) Sarah hitched a ride to dance and I went to pick up Zippy. I wasn't sure that he would be willing to come on a playdate with total, complete strangers, but I told him we were going to the park. Parks and candy will make you any kids best friend just in case you didn't know.

We squeezed a 3rd booster seat into the backseat (and I mean squeezed) and headed off to the park. We were disappointed that the one we wanted to go to was closed, but we just headed to another one. It was SO fun listening to the boys talk in the back. Eli told him how old he, Sarah and Kate are. Zippy said how old he is. Eli talked about how boring dance is for him. I had been really nervous that Eli would be super shy, but he wasn't! They had a blast playing at the park even though we don't really have a good park. I've named it the "ER Waiting to Happen" Park because it's all of the old, metal stuff that just screams "Broken bones!!!!" Kate even got in on the fun. She loves the merry go round. It was while I was helping Kate climb one of the dangerous metal jungle gym things that I saw something that immediately caught my eye. A black hand. I just knew it. It looked just like a black hand laying in the grass. I tried to tell myself it was a bird or a piece of trash. I cautiously walked over and do you know, it was a black glove. OJ's other glove is at a park in Louin, Ms.

After the park we headed back to the house so the boys could play trucks and ball and all of that boy stuff. Just moments after we got in the door I got a phone call from a friend I hadn't talked to in a while. We had a lot of catching up to do. Well, sure enough the battery in my phone started to die (I know, those of you who ever talk to me on the phone are probably rolling your eyes out of frustration because my stinkin' battery dies EVERY TIME I am on it!!!) Well, our charger for the house is broken (have I ever told you that everything we have is broken?) So, I had to go sit in the jeep. You have to understand, I had to. I had to finish this conversation. Eli came to tell me that Kate had pulled the whole roll of toilet paper off the roll. While he was sharing this with me Daisy escaped. While the boys took off after Daisy, Kate came wandering outside with no pull-up on screaming "DAISY!! DAISY!!" I ended my phone conversation and ushered everyone (including Daisy) back inside.

After a few more minutes of playing and some ham sandwiches it was time to take Zippy home. Eli gave Zippy one of his stuffed lions. Not THE stuffed lion, but a lion nonetheless. Stuffed lions and toaster streudels are Eli's love language. He made a friend. :)

I tried to give myself plenty of time to get Zippy home because I didn't know where his house was. You see where this is going don't you? I knew when I was depending on a five year old to tell me where I was that I was in trouble. I also realized when it was the time I was supposed to be picking Sarah up and I was in the middle of nowhere that maybe I should call Zippy's mom. I dialed the number and when a lady answered I immediately said, "Hey, I'm lost." I knew when teh lady on the phone said "Excuse me?" in a sweet Paula Deen voice that I had not dialed the right number. So, I responded, "I'm sorry, I'm lost and I have the wrong number." She was nice enough to offer help, but my phone lost signal. I made my way back to town to pick up Sarah 15 minutes late. I know her teacher thinks I am the worst mom ever. This is the second time I've been late. Just a couple of weeks ago the battery in the jeep died and Eli and I pushing Kate in the stroller and carrying two booster seats walked a mile up the road to borrow a van. Oh, I forgot to tell you about that?

Well, I finally picked up Sarah and when I did I couldn't find the piece of paper with the phone numbers on it. I asked Zippy if he knew his phone number. He didn't. I made a mental note to attach such information to my children in case they ever ended up with a friend whose mama is as crazy as me. I finally found the number and assured Zippy's mom that I was really bringing him home tonight.

After dropping him off the floodgates opened and I thought we were going to have find an ark. Speaking of the ark, I saw an animal that probably scared the other animals on the ark. It was a gray, completely furless possum. Have you ever seen such a thing?

After a stop by Sonic we made it home. The kids went to bed early. I sat down to write this and one of our church members came over to see if I could help him read some numbers on a broken urinal that needs to be fixed at the church. I can say that was another first for me, standing in the men's bathroom with a flashlight writing down numbers.

I don't suppose I will ever forget Eli's first playdate. Who knew that two boys would be the calmest part of the day?????

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Scent of the Worship Service is Smelly Feet

This is my list of apologies to all of those church members whose trial by fire is unfortunately sitting near me and my circus of children during worship service. I'm sorry. So sorry.

* I apologize to the person sitting right in front of me and Kate. I know that Kate insisted on putting her feet on your back and trust me, we had a come to Jesus meeting about it.

* I apologize that Sarah Beth is the noisiest colorer known to mankind.

*I apologize if you heard me getting on to Sarah during prayer for being the noisiest colerer ever.

* I apologize if you have been unfortunate enough to glance up and see my backside bent over peeling Kate off of the floor.

*I apologize if I distracted you by banging my index finger into the pew showing Eli exactly where he needed to place his backside. I extra apologize if Kate distracted you even more when she had to imitate me.

*I apologize to the deacon I almost tackled trying to get to the bathroom. I really should have gone before class.

*I apologize for not being able to shush Kate when she began pointing at the stainglass window and talking about Jesus' nose.

*I apologize to anyone who may have stepped on a stray fruit snack that fell from our pew.

*I extra repentantly apologize to those who were seated close enough to get a whiff of Eli's feet when he disobediently took his shoes off. We all paid for that sin!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I feel better. I've shared my apologies. Now, those of you who don't have to sit near us in church service-GO SAY A PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just Give It Away

I decided when I was in college that I needed to write a musical based on my life. There just always seemed to be the perfect song that would fill the musical backdrop of the story of my life. Of course, in a musical of my life there would definitely be a troupe of dancers dancing out scenes rather than acting them. I can hardly watch High School Musical without a surge of bitterness that I did not attend a high school where everyone wore coordinating outfits and burst into song and dance at basketball games and in the cafeteria. Seriously, was that too much to ask for?

Well, that bitterness is what I am thinking about today. And toys. And George Strait. I don't know, y'all, if you can figure my brain out please let me know. Anyway, I have experienced a lack of motivation this week that should be illegal for a homeschooling mom of 3. At one point I was concerned Josh might call my parents for a conference and tell them "She has lots of potential, she just isn't applying herself." He hasn't, but I woke up today determined that I would find me some motivation. I decided to tackle the playroom. Mercy. I don't know what else to say.

I already have two huge bags full of just garbage to throw out and another bag full of stuff to give away. I noticed a pattern as I began to clean, and that is a lot of baskets and storage containers. You see that is always my plan of attack. When I get serious about cleaning I decide I need to buy lots of containers to store things in. Which would be awesome if my kids would ever catch on to the idea of putting all the Barbie stuff in it's designated box and the cars in their box, and so on and so forth. But they don't. They prefer strategically leaving trails of random toys....well everywhere.

My children seem to have become aware that they just have too. much. stuff. Yesterday, Sarah made 24 (for real) signs to put around our neighborhood that say "Toys for sale." This brings to mind the time that Sarah, Eli and their friend Jacey came up with the idea of selling flowers on the side of the road. Not a bad idea considering we live across the street from the cemetery. However, we do not exactly live in the most population dense place if you know what I am saying. In fact, the kids ended up selling some flowers to one of our church members and they were flowers that he planted!!!!!!!Well, I have been trying to decide if I want to have a yard sale sometime soon. I guess the kids are just giving their super unmotivated mom a little push. However, after about 20 minutes in the playroom sorting and tossing I came to the conclusion that I just want it gone! I don't want to sort it, price it, tote it, advertise it and try to sell it. I just want it gone!

That brings me back to bitterness and George Strait. This morning God got on to me bright and early. I mean didn't even let me get a Diet Coke first. I started thinking about my attitude about some things and how if so and so had to go through this or if so and so had experienced that they would have the same attitude I do. WHEW!! Let me tell you, my Father was not happy about it. He made it known that the little attitude I was sportin' is called bitterness and that it does not belong in a child of His.

Cleaning that playroom I thought about all those storage containers and how I have my own storage containers in my heart. I tuck away hurts, frustrations, and disappointments. I think I've dealt with them until something comes into my life and stirs it all up the same way 3 kids trash a playroom in a matter of minutes. Like the playroom floor my thoughts and actions get cluttered and I can't see through all of the junk that should have been thrown out a long time ago.

George Strait came on the radio today singing "Give It Away". Just give it away. As he says, "There ain't nothin' in this house worth fightin' over". There isn't an ounce of bitterness I'm justified in hanging on to. It is definitely not worth hanging onto. In the same way that my kids can't appreciate the new things they get because they get tossed in with all of the junk, I can't experience the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control my Father gives when my heart is too crowded with past hurts and bitterness.

Time to make room. Time to give some toys away. Time to give some hurts to the Healer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Laundry Room and The Lions' Den

I could share many confessions from my laundry room. Many fits thrown, many tears cried, many frustrations expressed. There is nothing special about this room other than I spend a disproportionate amount of my life there. (And it is right smack dab in the middle of the house making it kind of sound proof.)

But today I want to share a moment that happened in the laundry room that opened my eyes and filled my heart with thankfulness. We had been studying the story of Daniel in the Lions' Den (Daniel Chapter 6) with the kids and Eli had taken a special interest in the story. He has a stuffed lion he got for his first Easter and yes, he STILL takes that lion everywhere and sleeps with him. I've often said that I will probably be sleeping with that lion when Eli grows up and leaves me, but I don't know y'all. I think he will probably take it with him. :) Anyway, Eli had asked lots of questions about the story and we had discussed how Daniel was thrown in the lions' den because the only charge the rulers could find against him was praying to his God. Everyone usually focuses on the miraculous way that Daniel was delivered from the lions' den. Eli had a different focus.

He came to me as I was loading the washer and asked, "Did Daniel get thrown in the lions' den because he prayed everyday?" I answered, "Yes." Without skipping a beat he followed up with "Like we pray everyday?" And then it hit me. My precious baby boy had connected the dots in the story to his own life and feared that praying everyday might cause him the same fate. I was so thankful to be able to assure him that we live in a free country where we are free to pray whenever we like and as often as we like.

Today, I want to thank those who have served and are still serving in our military protecting our freedom. I am especially thankful for the religious freedom to read my Bible, pray to my God, and most importantly to teach these things not only to my own children, but to a church full of believers. My baby boy can pray without fear because of you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hurricane Season

Hurricane Ida has been the buzz around my circle of people seeing as how most of my people are in Florida. I've heard news of school closings, road closings, and even learned that my favorite meteorologist has left town. I've been wondering if we here at the Fidler Academy of Higher Learning should maybe take a day or two off just to sympathize with our beloved Floridians. :)

You see, growing up in Florida hurricane season is just like football season or Thanksgiving or Christmas. You just know it is coming. My family has been so blessed that in the 21 years (OH MY GOSH I have gotten old!!!) of Florida living, none of us have ever experienced any major home damage, physical injuries or even loss of electricity for extended periods of time. In fact, today I began reminiscing about hurricane season and it even made me smile.

The first hurricane I really remember well was Hurricane Opal in 1995. My dad was a nursing home administrator and just like the captain of a ship he had to be on board in case the whole thing sunk. So, we all packed up and headed for the nursing home. We had a candlelit dinner in the cafeteria and even had someone who played the piano to entertain us as we ate. I believe we were standing outside watching the storm as it hit Panama City. We spent the night in my dad's office. It was actually really fun!

Another hurricane (that I can't even remember the name of) threatened one day while I was in high school. We were let out early. I obviously was not a parent yet (or even a thinking person) because my friends and I took advantage of being let out of school early and loaded up in the car and headed out to have lunch. Without calling to tell our parents. Oops....

My all time favorite hurricane story has to be that of Hurricane Ivan. I was six weeks pregnant with Eli and honestly just hearing the name "Ivan" makes me want to puke. Sorry if that is TMI, but anyone who has ever been six weeks pregnant knows what I am talking about. I was sick and EXHAUSTED. I laid my pregnant self on the couch and informed Josh that I would not be leaving that couch unless Ivan himself came and carried me away. Josh started putting masking tape on the windows (seriously, does that make anybody else feel better?) and I....laid on the couch and did nothing. A few minutes after Josh started taping the windows my mom called and said that she had just heard a report that a tornado was going down the street behind us. I don't do tornadoes y'all! So, I miraculously found the strength and energy to peel myself away from the couch and informed Josh that NOW we would be leaving. Because, y'know, when the tornadoes are out is really the best time to evacuate. (This statement is not backed by FEMA or any person with a lick of sense.)

So, we gathered our 2 year old and our belongings and hit the road. I made a huge mess pulling out pictures and other valuables that I think I put on the bed in case of flooding. Praise the LORD it did not flood, because, wow, I was an idiot. Anyway, I am also now having guilt because I think we left our cocker spaniel, Abby, by herself. Okay, back to the story.

We made it to my parent's house which they had been wise enough to board up. We spent an eternity listening to weather reports. My not yet, but soon to be brother in law Dillon was boarded up in a house with our family. He did not run away after that experience, so I decided he must be serious. :) I would tell you what we did, but I have no clue. I quickly made it to my parent's couch and settled my lazy self there. The next morning I learned that everyone else had been up all night dealing with tornado warnings. I had slept like a baby. I am assuming someone took care of Sarah Beth because she was there the next morning. It was the morning after that I will really never forget. There are six words: NO AIR CONDITIONER AND VIENNA SAUSAGES. We were boarded up in a hot house, Sarah Beth ate a hurricane season's worth of vienna sausages and then people took turns spinning her in my dad's office chair to entertain her. Oh. My. Gosh. I had only wanted to puke for the last 24 hours. Sarah actually did. Fun times, y'all, fun times.

That little adventure finally came to an end when we learned that there was one Sonic open in town. Food! Real food! We got real food, Josh and I headed home where we had electricity and a dog and huge mess waiting for us. The end. :)

These stories, for some unknown reason, have stayed with me. Much like the times in my life when I have gone through spiritual and emotional storms. At the time, these storms were inconvenient, uncomfortable, and at times threatening. The same is true of the personal storms we encounter. But today, as we approach Thanksgiving and reflect on the things we are thankful for, I can honestly say I am thankful for the storms in my life. I am thankful for the lessons learned. I am thankful for the knowledge gained. I am thankful to be able to see some humor and to also realize that they weren't as bad as I had remembered. I am thankful that hurricane season is a season. Sometimes it feels like storms will take over and you will never see the sun again, but you will. It is just a season.

In the same way we know every year that hurricane season will come, we can rest assured that personal storms will loom on the horizon. For some reason we forget that and seem to go into shock as if they snuck up like a flash flood. But God's Word tells us "Dear friends, when the fiery ordeal arises among you to test you, don't be surprised by it, as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah rejoice, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory." 1 Peter 4:12-13.

No one is surprised when hurricanes come during hurricane season. We don't ever know the strength, the direction or even the time of the storm, but we know they are coming. Likewise, we know as believers, and honestly just as humans, that we will face storms. God says rejoice in it! The storms teach us, prepare us, and make us oh so thankful for the sunny times. Not only that, but they bond us together. Like my family boarded up eating vienna sausages. :)

For more weather info. check out my friend Amber's new blog.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Now We're Cookin'!!

There are so many things to learn as a new preacher's wife. Being on call 24/7, living in the parking lot of the church, having people you have never met call you Bro. Josh's wife when you pick up movies from Movie Gallery. But for me, the greatest challenge came in the form of a casserole dish. You see, at our church, we like to eat. A lot. At least every 4th Sunday. We also have a church full of women who could give Rachel Ray a run for her money. They are award winning pie bakers and $100 cake making experts. (I'm not kidding, somebody paid a $100 for one of our lady's cakes at an auction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you know how many boxes of oreo pie filling you can buy for that?!?!) But that is the point...their stuff does NOT comes from boxes. My stuff does...

My specialty is a pasta dish you may also know as "Suddenly Pasta". One of our dear girls went on and on about how much she likes it one time that I took it. So, it became one of my usual contributions. Even I can make "Suddenly Pasta". Well, I thought I could. There was one Sunday I stayed home sick, but sent my food by Josh. (Don't worry, I was not contagious.) He brought me a plate that night complete with some of my "Suddenly Pasta". It was...plain. It was at that moment I looked in my kitchen and saw the seasoning packet sitting on the counter. Truly I had sent boxed food to an eating event and it was only half done!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, the last couple of months I have tried to spread my cooking wings. Last month I was out of town and had forgotten about it so I created what I called the "what is left in the fridge" casserole. Several people just raved about it and wanted the recipe. I wish I had my camera with me to capture the looks of amazement on people's faces when they found out I was the one who brought it.

Well today we had our Harvest Sunday complete with dinner after the morning service. It is always a big deal and we were expecting a bigger crowd so I fixed 3 casseroles and a bread pudding. I had never made a bread pudding, mind you, but it seemed like something our ladies would do. Y'all, those ladies just went on and on about how good it was. I felt like I had arrived. I was inching my way into the inner circle of Betty Crockerdom. I also had a couple of people ask for the recipe for one of my casseroles. It was a proud moment.

Never fear, God does not allow pride to dwell long in my soul. One of the boys came and sat across the table from me and heard me bragging to Josh about what all of the ladies had said. He said, "Yea, they are all saying "She can cook now!"" LOL. I could just see all of the ladies gathered in the kitchen cautiously testing a food product brought in by the box cooking, city girl preacher's wife. They must have thought the fact that I brought real food was as miraculous as Jesus walking on water!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you LORD, for little miracles. :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Get So Emotional

I have been so emotional this week. Not in a bad way. Just in an emotional way. It has reminded me of pregnancy days when country songs and department store commercials made me cry. I don't know what is going on. I could blame it on the obscene amount of chocolate I've eaten this past week, but really, I think my heart is just full. So full of just every kind of emotion. Last night on Facebook I asked people to write on my status the story of how we met and I have to tell you that even that made me slightly emotional. I am just overwhelmed by the people God has placed in my life. Some have played major roles, some stepped in for a season and for some maybe only moments. But I continually stand amazed at how God orchestrates friendships and puts the right people just where you need them just at the time you need them.

Thank you Father, for knowing just what I need. A friend to offer the right word of encouragement or laugh with me over that silly moment. Thank you for that person who makes me so mad because they see me for who I am and call me on it. I'm thankful for people who don't accept the phoniness. Thank you for the ones who have hurt me, through them You have taught me about forgiveness and unconditional love. Thank you for the ones who have set an example and made me want to be more like You. Thank you for the ones who bring back memories of innocence and fun. Thank you for the ones who have hunkered down and weathered the storms. Thank you Father, for knowing that we are stronger when we have someone on our side.

"Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, on e will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together,
they will keep warm;
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered
by another, two can
withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Call Me Crazy

I have suspected for quite a while that I am loony as a toon. Well, my suspicions were confirmed just this last week. In case you are wondering what goes on in our home on a daily basis let me share our basic routine:

After breakfast and watching a movie (it takes me a long time to wake up, y'all) we work on Sarah's school stuff and Eli draws 8 million pictures and asks me 50 bazillion times if they look lions. I assure him they do. Sometimes Kate plays quietly in the playroom. Sometimes she raids the refrigerator. Sometimes she sneaks off to the bathroom and uses every. single. toothbrush. And somedays she just flat out screams. Fun times.

Then, we eat lunch. (Usually it's fishsticks. :) I then begin the exciting 1 hour event called putting Kate down for a nap. This is also usually the time Sarah and Eli go outside to play. Just about the time I get Kate laid down for real, the other two decide to come back inside. But they must make 45 trips in and out for reasons I have yet to understand and grasp. Besides the fact that the going in and out is just plain annoying and let's the bought air out, this is also prime escape time for Daisy the dog.

Well, sure enough this routine played out last week. Except I hadn't laid Kate down yet and I did not actually see Daisy escape. Eli went out the door and I didn't see her in any of her usual spots so I SIGHED LOUDLY, put Kate's shoes on her and decided that I was not in the mood for a jog through the neighborhood. We were taking the jeep. So I loaded Kate up and as we drove around the neighborhood she was in the back seat yelling "DAISY! DAISY!" There is a crew of men who park at the Presbyterian church to eat lunch and they were observing my stalking through the neighborhood and I realized that for this to be such an isolated area, there are ALWAYS witnesses to my insanity. These men have also witnessed many other Daisy chases and Mama fits about kids with no shoes on. Really, if they park there for peace and quiet you would think they would get a clue by now.

We checked out all of Daisy's usual runaway spots and she was nowhere to be found. When I went by the house with 4 of the neighborhood dogs laying around I knew she hadn't been there. At a loss I drove back to the house and as I pulled up guess who was sitting on the arm of the couch looking out the window at me????

Yep. It was Daisy.

Now I know I have lost it. Y'all please say a prayer. I have a meeting tonight with our music minister. He has asked me to head up the drama for the Christmas Cantata. Turns out some preacher told him I have experience in that area. I suppose he forgot to mention that my area of expertise is ACTIN' A FOOL!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Scavenger Hunt!!

This is a fun get to know each other scavenger hunt that Lisa at The Preacher's Wife is sponsoring to help ministry wives get to know each other. I really think she's just trying to get all us preacher's wives in trouble confessin' stuff on the internet. But oh yea, I already do that all the time. :)

The Treasures

1. First Name.

Emily. I also go by MAMA!!!!!!, Em, and Bro. Josh's wife :)

2. State and Country of Residence.

We live in the great Montrose, MS. I can give that info. on the internet b/c you couldn't find it on Google Maps to save your life. :)

3. Husband’s Ministry Title.

My husband is the senior pastor (and actually the only staff member) of our church.

4. Length of time in Current Ministry Location. {IMPORTANT: There are several of you who may not be in a current ‘official’ pastorate/ministry, etc. That makes you no less a minister’s wife! You play along, girlfriends, and let us pray for you!}

We have currently been here 3 years this month. Wow! Where does time go??

5. Children? If yes, give gender and ages.

I have two girls ages 7 and 2 and one boy stuck smack dab in the middle. He is 4.

6. Number of unique homes in which you’ve lived during your marriage.

We have lived in 5 homes during our 8 years of marriage and the sad thing is that 3 of those moves were before we were even in ministry!! Guess God was preparing us. :) Our most interesting house experience happened a few months before we were called to our current church. If you want you can read about that little adventure here.

7. Cook Sunday lunch or eat out?

ONE day I plan to have a feast prepared on Sundays to invite a house full of people over. Right now, if I have my act together I sometimes will have a roast in the crockpot. But most Sundays, we head to Wendy's and pray that at least one child falls asleep on the way home. :)

8. Typically on time for Sunday School or not?

I am usually always on time for Sunday School, but we also have opening assembly and I won't lie, there have been days they have to ring the church bell extra loud for the residents of the parsonage.

9. Favorite TV Show.

We don't have cable and we lost our one channel after the digital conversion thingy. :( But, LOST was my must see. I used to stay so confused watching it, can you imagine how lost I am now??

10. Something you watch/like/do that you would never tell the church people. (Except now you just did…lol)

Well this is a small town and we live in the parking lot of the church so we don't have too many secrets. :) I guess the music I listen to is probably what would surprise most people. My ringtone for Josh is "Can't Get Enough of Your Love". We were in Wal-Mart one night and I ran into our church organist. My phone started ringing and she asked, "Is that Barry White?" :) I also enjoy line dancing while I clean the kitchen. But that is now common knowledge. :)

11. Most annoying church-related pet peeve.

I may get in trouble for this, but my biggest pet peeve is the looks people give. We don't have a nursery and I have my 3 kids and usually a few extras sitting with me. Apparently we attract some attention sometimes. I try to keep the peace, I really do. In fact my 2 year old now shushes me when I threaten to drag my 4 year old to the bathroom. :)

12. One thing you need to throw away but can’t bring yourself to do it.

This purse....

13. The one food you can not live without.

Cheesesticks from Sonic and Diet Coke. I'm such a health nut. And yes, Diet Coke is a food group for me.

14. Parsonage or have your own home?

Parsonage. I just read someone else's answers and they shared that they killed 22 mice in 1 week when they moved into their parsonage. Y'all, I don't know what it is. You always hear about church mice, but never parsonage mice. But they are there. In fact, we've decided to claim our mice as dependents on our tax return. You can check out our mousecapades here, here, and oh dear, here.

15. Freak when the doorbell rings or always ready for a visitor?

I so wish that I greeted people with homemade cookies and lemonade, but honestly it is like the running of the bulls trying to throw toys in the playroom and make a path for people to get in!! You will also usually hear us screaming "Somebody grab Daisy!! (Our dog)"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fish Sticks and Fantasies

If my personality could be summed in the lyrics of a song it would have to be John (Cougar?) Mellancamp's "another boring romantic, that's me" That's from his hit song "Small Town" for those of you who have not devoted all of your brain space to songs from the 80's like I have. I am the most helplessly, hopelessly daydreaming, romanticizing fool around. I've never been one for all the drama people like to stir up. Not the gossipy, all up in people's business kind. I crave the good drama. The unique, the interesting, the exciting. It's why I like to blog and tell stories. Life is more fun when you can inject those certain adjectives and verbs that make everyday occurrences sound so much more interesting.

Sometimes I adore this part of my personality. Especially since we don't have cable. :) I'm glad I was blessed with an overactive imagination and outlandish dreams. But, often I long for a more practical, logical, businesslike self. I desperately want to be one of those "every woman" types who has an amazing career, sews her kid's clothes, volunteers on the PTA, plans meals by the month and basically just gets things done. You know what I mean? I'm just not that way. I start cleaning and find an old note and it takes me down memory lane and my mind drifts to old times. I try to plan meals at least by the week, but I am so flaky and often can't even stick with my plan. I basically have the attention span of a 2 year old.

The truth is that many of life's endeavors have escaped completion on my part because once I became involved in them I realized.......they are not glamorous. Do you know what I mean? I feel like this is a lesson God has been trying to teach me for a very long time. Starting in 4th grade I was on the Student Council and from that point on I participated in I cannot tell you how many clubs and organizations. All of which offered hopes and dreams of popularity and success and mostly just left me working in the pencil store or spending huge amounts of time working and planning events that I never got to actually enjoy. This came full circle for me planning my class reunion which turned into the most stressful weekend of my life to date. I'm just a slow learner y'all.

What I'm getting at is that life is just not as glamorous as I would like it to be. Is it just me? It's like getting married so you can spend more time together and then having those pesky things like work and household chores that take up so much of your time. Motherhood is my biggest case in point. Have you ever noticed that on TV and in the movies people have very little contact with their children? I mean, they read the kids a bedtime story or they go watch their kids in a school play, but there is always the magic person who comes and takes them away in time for the parents to enjoy a nice dinner or go to a party. Have you also observed this phenomenon? What a shock it was for me when I realized, my kids are with me ALL OF THE TIME! And unlike the nicely dressed soap opera children who play with one toy, my children have 8 million toys that they strew all over the house along with other random things they are not supposed to play with. And, there is no maid coming to pick up after them. Oh yea, that's me. :)

Life in general has a way of not being what we thought it would be. Don't get me wrong. I adore my children. I am married to the man of my dreams. I have been blessed in more ways than I could ever speak of. I also serve a God who has done amazing things in my life and who continues to show His love and grace everyday. Still, life is routine. It is dishes and laundry and fish sticks for lunch. That had really started bothering this overly romanticized drama queen. Especially because I have experienced such out of this world times of worship and service. But I have come to realize that while there are times when we are allowed glimpses at the incredible, unspeakable power of God, most times are the day in day out cycle of life.

We often revel in the stories of the early church in the book of Acts and the miraculous works of Jesus. It is easy to pretend that everyday was that way and it should be the same for us. The truth is that what we often don't see is the good, old fashioned work that went into building a church and its disciples. The SERVICE. I emphasize that word because y'all, I stink at it. I have been so grumpy for the last few weeks and I will tell you what God has revealed to me. I'm tired of serving. I'm tired of poopy diapers, dirty dishes and putting the same stinkin' shoes in the closet for the 95th time everyday. There, I said it. I'm admitting to you what I had to admit to God. I was hoping for something a little more glamorous. I'm not sure what. Maybe Josh and I could become those TV preachers with big hair and gold furniture. :)

The truth is that it is easy to want the awesome marriage, but not so easy to work at it. It is natural to desire well-behaved, intelligent and thoughtful children, but not so natural to raise them. If you are in ministry it is only human to long for a growing church where God's Spirit is evident. The whole ministering to people in their worst times is a whole other story. Just when I was getting too big for my britches, my friend Philip posted this. Just when I was letting myself think that surely there had to be other plans for me, he had to write that often the Will of God is not at all as glamorous as we anticipated. Imagine that. It's not about me...

"If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

John 13:14-17

Monday, November 2, 2009


A few days ago I was cleaning the kitchen and Eli asked me, "How come no robbers ever come to our house?" The part of this question that got me was that he seemed genuinely disappointed that no robbers had been to our house. He had been watching Dennis the Menace's cool attack on some robbers and I guess he wanted the same opportunity. I had to laugh and assure him it was a good thing that we haven't had any robbers stop by. I also had to laugh at the idea that we own anything that people would be willing to risk their freedom and safety to break in and steal. Remember, we can't have nice things.

I thought about it some more and felt like God began showing me the things in my home that are of real value. And they are things that can't be stolen. At least not by robbers. Our health, our joy, our love. I felt very secure in those things and then the more I thought about them the more I realized there is an even greater enemy who wants to steal those precious things. And there is only one true Source of security. John 10:10 tells us, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

There are so many things I have tried to place my security in. My family, my reputation, my friends, my material possessions. Regardless of how good any of those are, they all have failed. I've lost loved ones, just as we all will. I've moved and left behind the security of familiar places and faces. Friendships change. My material possessions-again, I have 3 kids. I've totally given up on having anything valuable for the next, oh 35 years. :) I've learned that my only true security is in Jesus Christ and the promise He gave me that I "may have life and have it more abundantly." I know that this promise is one that will be kept, as I have accepted His offer for eternal life. I also know that the abundant life He promised will have it's challenges here on this earth.

Sometimes it hits me that I am the preacher's wife and there are people who assume I have it all together. Just for the record, I don't. To be completely honest, I don't know that I have ever struggled as much spiritually as I have since becoming the preacher's wife. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it is an extremely important role. At times I don't take it as seriously as I should and God does not let me get away with it for long. When you ask Him to show you who you really are and the changes that need to take place in your life, be ready!

I am uncovering those things that rob me. Not of crystal vases or our awesome DVD collection. :) Those things that rob me of love, joy, peace, purpose, and faithfulness. Here is what I am learning.

1. Doubt-The enemy loves nothing more than to sneak in and plant doubts. Tiny doubts. Nothing big that would make you think it's totally crazy. Little doubts. "Does God really care about this? About me?" "Is serving Him really worth it?"

2. Comparison-There is no way to feel secure when you constantly compare yourself to other people. I speak from great experience here. There is no way to feel joy or peace when you are constantly striving to be someone you are not created to be. You definitely cannot fulfill your purpose if you are striving to be someone else instead of striving to be who God wants you to be.

3. Discontentment-This is a tricky one. There are times we should be discontent. With ourselves, with certain situations and circumstances. If there are changes that can be made, maybe it means you are supposed to make them. But, there are always those things in our lives that do not offer an alternative route. There are places, physically and spiritually, that God doesn't want you to find your way out of. There is a time of growing that can only happen in that space you are trying to wiggle out of. (BTW, I am pretty sure that my heavenly nickname is Wiggle Worm.)

4. Fear- I know so many church leaders who use fear as a motivator and it makes me LIVID! Let's face it, it is easier to scare people than to give God time to work on their hearts and change them right? I am not a fan of fear, but I am a participator in it's practice. Some fear is natural. Much of it is taught. Children don't know to be afraid of strangers until we teach them to be. Like discontentment, we have to learn to put fear in it's place. I used to think the only thing I was afraid of was snakes. I went to a Beth Moore conference and she had us make a list of things we feared. I ended up spending days on that list. I realized there was so much fear inside of me. Fear of failure, fear of disappointing others, fear of not being good enough. I could go on and on. Has fear robbed you of any of the blessings God has put in your life?

5. Busyness-I have always been busy. As far back as I can remember I liked to be going. I was in dance, girl scouts, played ball. I don't know how my Mama kept her head on straight getting me to all of those places all of the time. I stayed busy until I got into college. Then, I stopped. Like for real, did nothing other than what was absolutely required of me. That was because I was depressed and a lot of that had to do with years of busyness. You see, I think it is good to be involved and to be active. It's definitely not good to drop out of life. But I had to learn balance. It was one thing to be busy as a little girl who wanted to do what her friends were doing. It became something else when being busy was a way to not deal with real life. It is hard in our world today to not be busy. I can always tell when I've gotten too busy because I start feeling robbed. My peace and joy turn into exhaustion and frustration. Instead of feeling self-controlled I feel out of control. I usually don't even realize I've been too busy until life settles down and I'm alone crying about something that happened two weeks or two years ago. Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God." This is God's way of saying "Don't panic! I'm still God, I'm still in control." When we can't be still because it is too hard or painful to think, we've been robbed of knowing God is still in control.

There is no security in this world. None. There is war, death, kidnappings, financial ruins, and political unrest all around us. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but we can't hold hands and sing Kum Ba Ya and get out of this mess. Some people find it hard to believe in a God who would allow these things to exist. I am the opposite. If all of these things are happening, I can't make it without knowing there is a God! This is security:

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And your right hand shall hold me." Psalm 139:7-10

Sunday, November 1, 2009

We're Ready For Our Close Up!

One of my birthday presents this year was a promise from Josh that we would get family portraits. I was beside myself with that promise, as having pictures made ranks up there with dental work and paying taxes as far as Josh is concerned. As if I weren't excited enough, I also learned that one of my high school dance team buddies is starting her own photography business and she agreed to take our pics while we were in Panama City for a wedding. I even got to choose the location! There would be no torturous four wall confinement!

I decided I wanted the pictures taken at the park on Beach Drive where Josh proposed to me. When I think about that night sitting on that bench watching the sunset I can 100% guarantee you I did not anticipate that we would be returning 8 years later with 3 kids! But how exciting to take them to that special place where it all began!

Tori told me that the best time for pictures was sunrise or 5:00 in the evening. We had wedding stuff going on both nights that we were there so I had to go with sunrise. For the record, I also had to ask what time sunrise is because I am not a sunrise kind of gal. In fact, I prefer to have no human contact until after 10:00 in the morning. Of course, I have 3 kids so that never happens. Anyway, we sucked it up and set out for sunrise. (Or a little bit after. :) Kate decided she did NOT want to get up and even after I dressed her she disappeared back to bed and put the blanket over her head. She is so my child.

It was middle October and I had carefully chosen coordinating fall outfits complete with sweaters. Because I am obviously delusional and thought that it would actually be fall in October in Florida. Alas, it was not to be. It was 150 degrees and muggy. There just aren't enough hair products in the state of Florida for my hair, but again we pressed on. Kate was not in the mood for picture taking and Sarah and Eli were more interested in running around and climbing the fence. Tori is perhaps the most patient human being on the planet. She even waited while we did a wardrobe change before heading across the street to the beach. Yes, a wardrobe change in the jeep. Years of dance have really paid off in my ability to change clothes at any place in a very discreet and modest way. :)

Kate immediately sat herself down in her white dress in the water. I just knew Tori wanted to throw us all in and be done with it, but she continued snapping away and saying it was fine. She told us when we left that she was getting a new computer and that it would be a few weeks before she would have any pics to show us. I did good waiting. I really did. Then, she sent me a sneak peek and it did me in. I started stalking her blog hourly (okay minutely) waiting for the update. I was checking it tonight when Josh left and I promised I would only check it 50 more times. :)

Well, here it is....... Our sneak peek! Check it out:

Well Isn't That Humerus...

I haven't blogged in almost a week and you may have been concerned that I was grounded from the computer after my day of showing my hiney. Or, you may not have even noticed at all. :) The truth is that I woke up Tuesday morning determined to have a better day. I mean, I prayed big time before I even rolled myself out of the bed. It was a good thing. When I came to the living room Eli had picked up the laptop by the screen and completely torn it off. Seriously. I was tempted to go into one of my screaming fits, but I controlled myself. I spent the whole week without a computer, and honestly, I think I really needed to do that.

I saved my screaming fit for Wednesday when we packed up to head to town. I had the kids all loaded up and ran back in the house to grab something I forgot and accidentally let Daisy out. I learned the only thing harder than chasing a dog in flip flops is chasing one in high heeled boots. I so almost bit the dust in our gravel driveway. I was also screaming like a madwoman the whole time I was chasing her. I finally caught her at the Methodist church and realized there was a man working outside who had witnessed the whole spectacle. He was probably thinking he was glad he was working with the Methodist and not the crazy Baptist preacher's wife. I wouldn't blame him.

At the beginning of October Eli had started asking me if skeletons are real. I told you there are days when homeschooling makes me want to run away from home. Well, this was one of those times when I love homeschooling. I decided we would spend the month of October learning about the body. I'm not big on all of the halloween stuff, so I thought this would be a good way to work with the curiosity it sparked in my kids. Kids are so naturally curious and eager to learn. Even though we still have to do all the basic reading and math stuff, I really enjoy being able to take the things my kids show interest in and teach those things. I checked out several books from the library including one of the Magic School Bus books. Do you remember those? I also couldn't wait to have a chance to head to town and get this book.You can't tell by looking at it, but the body is actually a plastic model and different layers of the body are revealed as you turn the page. I don't know when I am going to learn that taking 3 kids to any store will never constitute a fun day out, but we survived.

Other than that, it has been a pretty calm, normal week. Lots of schooling, cleaning, and thinking. Josh brought our computer that he has in his office to the house to work on sermons. Because you know, it is so much more peaceful in our home. :) I am hoping to upload some pics from the very fun hayride we had at the church last night, but right now this computer is not cooperating with that endeavor. I cannot even begin to tell you the technical difficulties we encounter. But we press on. :)

Just thought I would update everyone on the excitement that is our life. Yes, I did just write a post sharing my excitement over a science book. This week we are beginning to learn about a new state every week. I'll keep you posted! :)