Sunday, February 28, 2010

Elvira

I think I have officially lost all useful, thoughtful, sense-making thoughts. See what I mean? What the heck does that mean? I am so tired, but it's been a crazy busy day and it takes me forever to wind down. So I'm blessing you with this post. :) It will have no flow or point. Just my thoughts I've been thinking. This could get scary....

*Have you ever had one of those days where everything you see or hear makes a song get stuck in your head? It started for me when I was changing clothes after church. I looked at myself in the mirror after I changed and realized I look like Elvira. I dyed (I mean colored. Sorry Leah :) my hair and it is REALLY black. It matches my eyebrows so I think it's actually the color it was before I started coloring it. But the way I wore my hair today totally made me look like Elvira. All I needed was a bump-it. And so you know where this is going. That caused me to go around singing "Elvira. Oom bopa oom bop." Then, I somehow ended up with Twist and Shout. Oh no. That was before church when I was getting Kate ready. She had a face full of mascara that I was trying to clean off of her face and for some reason singing "Twist and Shout" to her got her to stand still. Go figure. Anyway, by the time I got to Wal-Mart to get my food for the dinner at church tonight I was singing "The Electric Slide". I have no idea where that one came from.

*Josh twisted his ankle yesterday and I think he did it just to get out of packing. (JUST KIDDING!!) Then we had several other church members with health issues and I was starting to think I was gonna have to set up a first aid station in the sanctuary during Sunday School. I think everybody is on the mend now. But Josh was talking about our music minister being out this morning and Sarah suggested I lead the music. BAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!! First, I don't sing. I mean, I can, but I'm pretty sure only the neighborhood dogs appreciate it. Second, could you imagine me leading music today? "Please stand. We will be singing "Elvira" followed by the chorus of "Twist and Shout".

*I haven't shredded in 11 days and last night I got bbq from Cook's and ate the sampler plate. I'm talking eating ribs and licking my fingers. Tonight I had 4 desserts. I actually lost 3 pounds, but I'm pretty sure the peanut butter pie helped me find them again...I'm just confessing. Jillian is not going to be happy with me....Or maybe I should say my body is not going to be happy when we meet again....

*I spent all day Saturday washing clothes and packing them in tupperware containers. My kids spent all Saturday night and today taking them out....

*Tonight at church we had a concert with a bluegrass/gospel group. Can I have another confession. I am not exactly a huge fan of that style of music. Okay the truth is that at times I would prefer to be hit in the head with a skillet than listen to it. Again, I am the worst preacher's wife ever. Well, tonight as I came out of the bathroom after discipleship training I heard a banjo playing. And...it moved me. I went skipping down the hall pretending to fiddle (b/c I am a Fidler, y'know? :) only to skip right past the banjo player who I'm sure became instantly concerned about the state of the church he was in with grown women skipping in the halls. I was then joined by two of our ladies who danced with me. One of the ladies is getting ready to go on a cruise and it just didn't take much to make her happy today. The other is my friend Cortnee and she is as big a goofball as me. We decided they should take us on the road as their dancing girls. All gospel groups have dancing girls, right? BTW, the banjo playing instantly brought Dolly Parton's "He's Gonna Marry Me" into my head where it is still playing. What a day in music it has been for me.

*Speaking of this group, I was shocked by how young they were. I was really expecting older men. Is that profiling? Well, anyway, I couldn't believe it when the singer came out and I decided he is supposed to marry someone I know. I will shield the person's identity because I value our friendship and my life and I really hardly ever attempt to play matchmaker, but you know how you just have in your mind how people look? Well, he looks exactly like what I think this person's guy is supposed to look like. You know what I mean? As soon as Josh introduced them and came to sit down with me I leaned over and whispered, "Is he single? How old is he?" Josh, of course, laughed at me and rolled his eyes. He is no help in my matchmaking quest. Every semester that he goes to school I immediately quiz him when he gets home: "Are there any single guys? Are they cute?" He will always tell me if there are single guys, but he will never tell me if they are good looking. He is no.help.at.all. :) I kept telling Josh to go ask him if he has a girlfriend after the concert but he would not cooperate. I was too busy dumping plates of food all over the floor to converse with the musicians. Yes, I really did dump two plates. I'm so talented that I dumped one of them WHILE I was cleaning the other up. I'm special. :)

*I think I should add that I totally enjoyed the concert. It's a good thing too (since I will practically be related to this group when my friend marries into it :) because I told Josh we should get a CD for our music minister who was still sick and my friend, of course, so she can hear her future husband. Well, somehow Josh ended up buying SIX CD's. Guess you all know what you're getting for Christmas.... :)

*It totally just hit me that it must be a sign that I got "He's Gonna Marry Me" stuck in my head when I heard the banjo. Except not that he's gonna marry me, but my friend. Y'know? That has totally got to be it. (Or I've just watched Sweet Home Alabama waaayyy too much.)

*Okay, these were my unfiltered, weekend thoughts. Scary, huh? This is your preacher's wife on peanut butter pie. Hope you have a great week!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dear Montrose Mice

This is a blog I wrote in 2006. We had moved to Mississippi because we felt that God was going to lead us to a church, but that didn't happen right away. From August until the end of November, we were waiting on God to reveal the plan. This is the story of the night we found out Montrose was interested in calling Josh full-time...

I got to reading my old blogs and the whole process of God's call on us. I knew that when I was writing 5 months ago about being stressed that I didn't have a job that it wouldn't be long before I looked back and smiled at the way God worked things out.


The one thing we haven't seen worked out yet is finding the church God would have us to serve at. I know it seems crazy to people because that is the whole reason we moved here. But I haven't stressed out about it. God gave me a peace way back before we moved that it may be a while before He led us to a church. I've been okay with that. I've actually enjoyed having some down time before Josh becomes a full-time pastor. I know that once he does our lives will never be the same. I've also enjoyed getting to visit the other churches where Josh has had the chance to fill in. Thankfully they have all had nurseries!! But still, we've known that God was at work.
I have not been stressed out about the whole church situation, but other people are! All of my patients want to know what Josh does and when I tell them it really bothers them that he does not have a church yet. They immediately start naming off churches that they think are in need of a pastor. I've even been told about churches of other denominations that need pastors! :) So, I've stopped discussing it with my patients because they have enough to worry about. Then when we meet the people at the churches around here and they figure out Josh isn't working it totally freaks them out. I explain that I am working, we have a house to live in and food to eat.
Anyway, lately I've been thinking a lot about the fact that we are still not settled because we don't know how long we will be in this house. Once Josh is called to a church, we will be moving again. I'm amazed at how attached I've become to our little farm house. You tend to bond with a house when you've laid every tile on the floor! I've also heard stories about this house from people in the community who used to come here and play when they were little. The man who owns the house was actually born in it 80 years ago. I just love the history of this house. This weekend I started my next project, the porch. I love porches!!! I think I get that from my mama. But our porch currently has a couch and a loveseat and an old stove on it. I'm not kidding, we really do. But I've found someone who can use the couch and loveseat so soon it will be gone. That has motivated me to get to work. I painted our front door and an old wooden chair that was left by the previous renter. Josh bought me some mums and I'm so excited because everybody has mums on their porch here. It's the thing to do! :) Sarah painted a pumpkin to put on the rail. It really made it feel more homey.



That motivated me to paint our hallway which I've been meaning to paint ever since we first moved in. The walls were just dirty looking so I painted them white and now they feel new and clean. Josh had taken Sarah with him to vacuum out our jeep and I was in the middle of painting when I realized there was a car in our driveway. It was Bro. Allen, one of the chaplains I work with. He is also the interim pastor at the church Josh and I have really felt like we would be called to. So, Bro.Allen and his wife came in and I closed Abby in the kitchen so she wouldn't attack them. Bro. Allen was explaining that the church was talking about asking Josh to come back and preach a few services. While he was telling me this I realized Abby was in the room with the paint!!! While they were leaving the phone was ringing. I didn't get to it in time, but there was a message from one of the deacons for Josh to call him back. While I was listening to the message I looked and saw that there were white paw prints all over the kitchen and the living room!!!!!! I also must tell you that Jenny gave me a gift card to Pier 1 for my graduation in April and I had just used it to buy a new rug which is now also covered in white paw prints! So, Josh and Sarah came in at this moment. I told Josh the whole church deal while I scrubbed paint off the floor. Luckily it came off. I'll have to work on the rug some more. :( Then, the phone rang again and Sarah answered. I figured it was one of the grandparents, but then I heard her say, "He's going potty" and I realized it was probably that guy calling back for Josh! It was and luckily Josh finished "going potty" in time to talk. He told Josh that he does want him to come back and preach and that they really like us and they want us to live in the parsonage, but there are still some people that haven't heard him preach yet. So pray for us on Nov. 5th and Nov. 12th. That's when Josh is preaching.

And pray for me. And my rug. And my dog. And my little farm house. As I was scrubbing the floor tonight Sarah said, "You're like Cinderella, huh?" Oh yeah, I'm just like Cinderella!!!! :)


************************************************************************************

I remembered this story as I was spending some time on the computer yesterday and realized...I had a stalker. I really wanted to write something spiritual or thoughtful today, but y'all my mind has already gone into unsettled, we're moving, the house is turned upside down, nothing is normal mode and so I apologize. This is another mouse story. I think after my last mouse sighting and rereading that old blog I have had a revelation about the role of the mice in my life....


This is how it went down. I was sitting in the recliner on the laptop and I happened to look over at the corner where Josh has some big speaker thing and on top of it is our wireless router thing. At the exact moment I looked...a mouse climbed down from it. Me and the kids did our normal freak out thing and I started looking all over for it. Couldn't find it. I figured it had gone into the wall somehow. I sat back down and not 10 minutes later I looked over again. IT WAS WATCHING ME! Y'all, I am not kidding. It was sitting on top of the wireless router thing just watching me. We made eye contact. It ran away. I became convinced the mouse is stalking me. Mice don't sit out in the open on top of electronics taking in the scenery. They hide, they run, they die in places you can't find them, just smell them. Anyway, I became convinced this mouse was stalking me. I looked again and it was "hiding" behind the big speaker thing. (Josh has told me a million times what it is, but I can't for the life of me remember what it is .) It was just sitting there with it's back pressed up against the thing like I couldn't see it. I put out two traps on each side, but apparently they didn't work because in no time I saw the mouse on the other side of the room moseying into the kitchen. (For those of you who are not Southerners, moseying=strolling along.)



I learned in that moment that the thing that freaks me out about the mouse is how fast and stealthlike they are. I'm a stinkin' nervous, jumpy wreck after the constant flashes of their presence. So, the moseying mouse actually didn't bother me as bad. Weird, I know. I moved the traps and soon had a live catch. For real, the fact that I am now a professional mouse hunter is as shocking to me as I'm sure it is to many of you. I won't lie, I've only had one other live catch. I put a shoebox over it and made Josh take care of it. So, before I even had a chance to figure out how I would handle this sitchuwation (as Eli would say) Daisy decided to handle it.



Before I knew what was happening Daisy came running out of the kitchen trying to shake off the glue trap WITH A LIVE MOUSE ON IT!!!!!!! The mouse was flailing, Daisy was running in circles shaking her paw. I was screaming. Daisy kept coming after me for assistance, but I was running away from her and the kids were freaking out. I called Josh and got his voicemail. I said, "Josh. Josh. JOSH. JOSH!!! Will you call me back?" I'm sure he wishes I would just call to say I love you. But there is no time for Stevie Wonder moments in this house. I thought at one point Daisy had completely crushed the mouse under her paw and then I realized she had knocked it off on the ground. My stalker was now dead. Very dead. And probably thankful to be so after the trauma of the big dog flinging it across the room. I had the lovely job of cutting Daisy's fur out of the glue trap. Glamorous I tell you. My life is all glamour. Oh yeah, then I got to sweep up the mouse.



As I tossed him out the door I thought of my "Cinderella" status Sarah bestowed upon back in the day and wondered if I have messed up this whole mouse thing. Maybe they think I'm Cinderella. Maybe they were really here to help me and be my friend before this whole relationship turned ugly. I feel I owe them an apology....



Dear Montrose Mice,

I am so sorry that I have been such a disappointment to you in my role as princess of this church manse. I apologize that instead of humming a melodious tune I scream like a banchee. I regret that I have not properly dressed you in Barbie doll clothes and made little beds for you out of dollhouse furniture (even though you did once make yourself at home in the girl's dollhouse.) I hope you do not hold any ill feelings towards me for not protecting you from the neighborhood cats. I didn't mean to celebrate quite so much when they took up residence under our house. I regret that I have not made the most of this relationship. I would have loved for you to make me a ballgown. Perhaps that is why you were hanging out in my lingerie drawer. Making plans were you? Were you simply trying to help me in the kitchen when I baked you? I am SO sorry! In all fairness you have not done your part in cleaning up after yourselves. You are quite messy. However, I still hate that we have not become better friends. I have given you names. Just not any this Cinderella can say in public. :) Despite my new found repentance, I must request that you not accompany us to the new church manse. It will be a long, treacherous trip and I'm afraid many of you will not survive. Okay, seriously, I am afraid that too many of you WOULD survive. I just think it best that you stay here in your home. You are obviously very settled in. :) Please find it in your hearts to forgive Prince Charming and myself for the many tragic, cruel and unusual ways that so many of your friends and family have met their demise. It was never our intention.



Best Wishes (especially wishing to never see you again),
Cinderella

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Box Runneth Over

Over the last couple of months I've talked a lot about the heartaches, frustrations and stress in my life. I hope it hasn't been too discouraging. I just thought that I should also tell you about today, which for me, was such a great day. Actually, the last week has been a special time for me.

Saturday Karen and I spent the whole day eating, talking and cruising through our old stompin' ground at William Carey. Sunday was a sad day as Josh turned in his resignation, but it was also a happy time as we celebrated a new baby on the way for one of our church members. Monday was Sarah's last dance class. Josh kept Kate and Eli while I took her and since it is such a drive I used the class time to run some errands. I even got to go to the libraray by myself and actually READ what the books I was checking out were about. :) When I got in the jeep I realized there was a week's worth of mail in the passenger's seat. (Josh always picks it up on his way to work and then I hope to find it sometime later.) There was a card for me from a sweet friend. Then, I went to pick my baby girl up from dance and watched her have a blast being the "teacher's helper". Her dance teacher, Mrs. Dana, is so awesome and has been so good for Sarah. At one point I had a group of girls surround me and want to know why Sarah has to move. One even suggested that me and the kids stay here and just visit Josh on the weekends. :) It was another bittersweet time, but I am thankful for the experiences and friends Sarah had there.

Well, today has been an especially happy day. My friend, Amy, invited us to go bowling with a homeschool group she belongs to and we had such a blast. I think Sarah and Eli both have a future in professional bowling, I really do. Kate had fun too. I'm glad she is young enough to still think that arcade games are fun without putting any money in. :) It was fun to hang out with other moms who homeschool and to spend some time with Amy. Her husband had classes with Josh and we have only ever been together 3 times, but she is one of those people who I instantly felt like I had known my whole life. Me and my crew always have so much fun with she and her girls.

It was a beautiful day and we got home in time for Kate to take a nap and the big kids to play outside. Woo-hoo! I thought it couldn't get any better and then...I got a surprise.

This arrived on my doorstep...
I couldn't believe it. I immediately noticed the return address belonged to Lori Foreman. Do you know how I met Lori? Well, I haven't actually! Not in real life anyway. She is a childhood friend of Karen's and we met through this crazy fun world of blogging. I've felt like I've known her for years through Karen, and now through blogging I know we would be the best of friends if we got to spend any time together. Lori actually graduated with her masters in social work the same day I got my bachelor's degree. We walked across the same stage and both had Karen there cheering us on! Anyway, back to the box. There was a very sweet card telling me that she knows how hard the last year has been for me and that she wanted to bless me with some of her favorite things. How fun!

First, she even sent treats for the kids and they were SOOO excited!






The box was FULL of so many fun goodies. A bag of Starbuck's coffee, a CD of hymns, 2 DVD's (one was The Office and I am so excited! We don't have ANY TV channels so we survive on TV shows on DVD), a great water bottle for when I'm exercising :), a delicious smellilng candle, orange tic tacs, some really cute measuring spoons, a reusable shopping bag for Target (!), a totally cool little gadget that is full of scripture I can tote in my purse, some coasters for the cupholders in the jeep, a gift card to McDonald's, and the book Crazy Love which I've really been wanting to read. She also included some of her favorite recipes and the most treasured thing, a prayer she wrote just for me.
Here I am with all of my loot. :)


I just can't explain how much I have felt ministered to through the wonderful friends God has given me. I am overwhelmed by how sweet He has been to me to bless me with such wonderful people in my life. I know I haven't done a thing to deserve any of them just like I don't deserve anything else He has given me. I just praise Him!
Can I have a moment of confession? One of my biggest struggles in ministry has been that sometimes I don't feel like a person. Not that anybody makes me feel that way, but just that I should always be strong, always have it together, always be there for everybody else. The day that we went to Highland View for Josh to preach at the new church we will be at we drove through Mexico Beach. My family has spent many summer days there and as I gazed out at the beautiful water I could almost see my Dad coming onto the shore after riding the waves, the way we did so many times when I was little. I started crying. It was hard to think that I could possibly live so close to that beach and not get to spend summer days with my Daddy. That morning, I knew that Psalm 34:18 is true when it says, "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart". I felt just like He put His arm around me and whispered, "I still care about you Emily."
I just want to say that He has materialized much of that caring through the amazing people He has placed in my life who have shown me so much love and care. It may just be a card, a call, a prayer, or a box to you, but to me it is the arms of the Father hugging me. Thank you!





Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting Personal

If Josh had not turned in his resignation Sunday morning, he may have been asked to leave after the story I shared in Sunday School. Somehow I ended up discussing mice, alcohol and lingerie in a 15 minute time span during Sunday School. Josh will tell you, he can't take me anywhere...

Let me explain. It started when my teacher began trying to disuade one of our church members from pursuing a job in Australia. She's been doing her best to keep him here and she decided she should tell him that Australia has the most poisonous snakes anywhere. That led to a conversation about things we don't "do". Like, we don't "do" snakes, spiders, stuff like that. That's when my teacher announced that she doesn't "do" mice. Well, you know my mice stories are just like God's mercy, new and fresh every morning. Yes, I even had a new one since the last time I blogged.

I began to tell them about Saturday morning. I was so excited to have the whole day to spend with Karen for her birthday. I woke up early. Well, I opened my eyes. I don't really wake up well. It's a long, painful, uncoordinated process. I try to stay in bed as long as possible until I think my legs will be able to walk me out of bed and not into a wall. Anyway, I was laying on my side kind of awake, and I just happened to see a mouse slide from one of my drawers into another. Y'all they are so creepy. Their bodies are like those slinky dogs that just stretch out for miles. *Shudder*. I know that I was half asleep because I did not scream. FIRST. TIME. EVER. My first thought was that I needed to grab the drawer, run to the yard and dump it out. Then, I realized the dern thing had gone into my LINGERIE drawer. For the love of Pete. I had to share with my Sunday School class how close I had come to being in the yard in my pj's hurling my lingerie for all of Montrose to see. Could you imagine? I would have been the talk of the town for days. Really, these things are getting a little too personal, don't you think?

Well, everyone laughed about that and we moved on with the lesson. Then, we started talking about changing our thinking and how that changes our behavior. Baptist cannot talk about things like this without talking about drinking. It is just how we are. :) I shared that my decision not to drink was as much personal as it is spiritual. I have a very addictive personality. Y'all have heard me talk about my Diet Cokes, right? I have never had a sip of alcohol, but I don't doubt for a second that if I were to drink you would soon find me sipping a beer with my fiber bar for breakfast. It's just the way I'm programmed and I've had to learn that. I shared with my class that if I drank they would probably find me dancing in the street or something and they cracked up saying, "Did you see the preacher's wife dumping her lingerie in the yard? She's been drinking again!!"

So, thankfully I have a Sunday School teacher and classmates with a sense of humor. I will try this week to be fully dressed and keep my unmentionables in the bedroom where they belong. I will stick to my Diet Cokes and keep my dancing in the kitchen. :) It's the least I could do, right?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

We're moving. There. Exhale. The news is out. I feel infinitely relieved to get it out there and overwhelmingly conflicted now that it is reality. I will try to give you the short version of what has been going on behind the scenes here in the Fidler church manse.



Many people will probably be very surprised to learn that this all started last March. Yes, almost a year ago. It is hard to explain, but last March we began to feel that God was telling us our time at Montrose was coming to a close. It is so hard to explain sensing God's leadership, but it was just a sense that Josh and I had. It really did come out of nowhere. Things were going great at church, I had been homeschooling for a few months and taking Sarah out of private school had put us in a better place financially than we had been in years. Josh was coaching t-ball. We had just gotten back from an awesome vacation. It was one of those times in life you cherish. So, when God told us we would be leaving soon we didn't really get it. Josh started sending out his resume anyway and sent it to 5 different states. Less than a month later Josh was laid off from his Hospice job and I just knew. I knew that any day we would be getting a call from another church and we would be moving. There was no way we could make it on the church salary alone and I totally took Josh losing his Hospice job as a sign it was time to go. Wrong. Turns out we could live without that other job and did so for six months. A few churches would call every now and then, but we never felt like it was the right time to go or that it was the right church. We went through a mini wilderness experience trying to figure out what in the world we were supposed to do.



We had a very busy summer that culminated with our high school reunion. We had the reunion in Sept. and then a wedding scheduled in Oct. I kept telling myself that God was just giving us a chance to fulfill all of our obligations before He moved us. Well, at one point I told Josh I felt like we were not supposed to make any major plans past the month of October. Guess what happened at the end of October?Actually it was while we were out of town at that wedding. Josh got a phone call and he had his Hospice job back. I was so confused. I was grateful for the job, but I just could not figure out what God was trying to tell us. Did He want us to leave Montrose or not? By that point I was pretty much begging for a neon sign to drop from the sky with a google map on it. Oh, in case you're wondering...that did not happen. :)



Then, a church called. A church that was about an 1 1/2 north of Montrose, in an area that my friend had been telling me she thought I would really like. To top it all off-y'all are gonna get a kick out of this-the man that called Josh said that one of the ladies on the search committee had been reading my blog and had fallen in love with our family!! Can you believe that? Well, I just knew that was a sign. If someone from a church read my crazy blog and STILL liked us, that had to be for real, right? Well, THE SAME day, we got another phone call. From a church in Port St. Joe, Fl. which is about 40 minutes from where Josh and I grew up. At that point I had my heart set on the church with the faithful blog reader (what more can you ask for from your church members? :) and I just could not believe God would send us back to Florida. I mean, not that I didn't want to go back to Florida, I just had always expected that God would probably keep moving us further and further away from home. In fact, at one point we were contacted by a church in WYOMING! That is a whole other blog in itself. I had such visions of being my own Pioneer Woman. Okay, the pioneer woman who homeschools her children in a trailer, cooks hamburger helper and only leaves the trailer for the 3 days of the year that the weather is warm. But I digress...



Anyway, by this point I knew that we would be leaving Montrose, I just didn't know when or where we would be going. I began to pray that God would make it VERY clear which church we should be at. I don't know if I wrote a bad blog or what, but the one church eventually just stopped calling. The church in St. Joe started calling more and after Josh sent them a CD with one of his sermons on it, they asked him to schedule a time they could hear him preach in person. He didn't have any time left to be away from Montrose before Christmas so he was planning to preach for them in the beginning of January. So yes, all of this was in motion before I lost my Dad. I feel like people will think that we are just running back home because of that, but truly, this was all God. He had been working it out for months. In fact, my Dad didn't even know this was a possibility because I didn't want to get my parent's hopes up in case it didn't work out. But I had been so looking forward to being able to let him in on this secret and see his excitement about us moving closer to home.



The week after my Dad's funeral we went back to Panama City to spend some time with my Mom and Josh decided to go ahead and preach for the church. We felt such confirmation that it was where we were supposed to be and didn't want to put it off anymore. That was such a hard day. It was my first time back in church since my Dad had passed and I was trying to stay strong so I wouldn't look like a total wreck in front of the search committee. We had a wonderful lunch with the committee that day and eventually they called us and wanted Josh to preach at their church so the members could vote if they wanted Josh to come or not. That just happened to end up being the weekend of the SuperBowl, which I am eternally grateful for because it meant I got to be with my family to watch the game! We thought the church would vote that day but they didn't. We would have to wait another week. So, we found out last Sunday that they had voted to call Josh and it was official.



That brings me to today, the most difficult church day I have ever epxerienced. And this is coming from a girl who has spent every church day for the last 3 years in a pew with 3 kids! Today was the day Josh announced his resignation from the pulpit at the end of the service. I have to say that the last few months have been such a whirlwind of emotions for me that I really don't think the reality of our moving hit me until last night. I slept about a wink. My troubled sleep was interrupted at 6:30 this morning when Sarah and Eli came screaming down the hall "KATE IS MESSING WITH THE CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Oh. my. word. I was giving a baby shower this afternoon and I had picked up the cake from the bakery last night. I woke up horrified that I would make it to the kitchen in time to mop up the cake off of the floor. Thankfully, I rescued it in time and was up extra early to be extra nervous. I think I should be nervous more often. I loaded the dishwasher, did a load of laundry, fed everybody breakfast and got everybody dressed AN HOUR early! All was well until we were about to head out the door and I started gagging like I was going to throw up. For real. I don't know if I have ever been so sick from nerves in my life.

We did make it to church and survived Sunday School. Then, seconds before the service started (Josh had just walked up to the pulpit) Kate fell and busted her lip. I mean, bleeding like crazy and screaming. I grabbed her up and took off running in front of the whole congregation to get her to the bathroom. I cleaned her up and while I was wetting a towel to take with me she took off and headed straight up on the platform to Josh. Great. As if I weren't already a nervous wreck. Kate ended up sitting with Mr. Clyde and Mrs. Dianne and being okay because they give her candy. Finally the moment came. The invitation closed and Josh asked everyone to be seated. He had his resignation written so he could read it and I'm glad he did. I couldn't even look. I started crying right away. He started crying halfway through. By the time he finished and we made our way to the foyer to shake hands we were bawling like babies. I got so scared I was going to have to hold Josh up at one point and I haven't shredded in a few days and I didn't know if I could do it. :) I couldn't believe all of the people who were crying as much as us. One of our men hugged me and he was crying more than me and Josh put together. He told me that I would be a good preacher's wife where we were going and that I had been his preacher's wife through the bad times. I can't tell you how good it was to hear that. To hear that they wouldn't just miss Josh, but they might even miss me too.

Our friends Matt and Cortnee stayed back waiting for us to wrap up the cryfest and I told them I was just overwhelmed by how much harder it had been than I had expected. I said, "I didn't know how people would react. I knew they would either be sad, angry or happy, and no matter how they reacted it would hurt!" It made me think of the day I found out I was pregnant with Sarah. I had been 21 for 3 months and married for 6 months. I couldn't have been any more naive and clueless about motherhood. I should have been thinking about what it would take to raise a child, but really all I could think was, 'There is a baby inside of me and no matter how it comes out it is going to hurt.' Isn't it scary that that was the only reaction I was capable of? Well, that really was how today felt. It was just going to hurt no matter what. I won't lie. I'm glad it's over. Breaking up is hard to do...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Friend For All Seasons

In high school I was very blessed to have a great group of close girlfriends. We trudged through dating, algebra, and driver's ed together. We acted like silly gooses as much as possible and laughed until it hurt. We prayed together and encouraged each other in our walks of faith. Like I said, I was very blessed. Despite that incredible blessing I never had a "best" friend. I never felt cheated when my friends paired off with their own BFF's because I was just grateful to have all of them. But the summer before college I decided I wanted my own BFF. So, I prayed for one. Specifically that my college roomate would become my best friend. I love to remember how fresh my faith was then. I had no qualms about requesting that God would give me a best friend or about specifying to Him that I would prefer she be my roomate. It never occured me to not to trust God with that request. I'm glad I made it because God did, in fact, answer that prayer.

I still remember the day I found out my roomate's name-Karen Napp. Somehow I found out early before most people and the day that I spotted Karen Napp's name tag at freshman orientation I practically assaulted her in my attempt to greet her with excitement. She looked at me like I had a third eye and never said a word. NOT A WORD. Emily's attempt at gaining BFF in college-FAIL!!!!!

Thankfully I later learned she was just incredibly shy and overwhelmed by me (can you imagine? :) and she couldn't figure out how I already knew we were roomates since no one else had been privy to that info. After a phone conversation we would learn that she had a mini-fridge and I had a microwave. God had ordained our appliances to be exactly what we needed so surely He would also ordain this friendship. :)

He did! We became the best of friends. We watched Golden Girls and ate spaghettios like they were going out of style. We stayed up til all hours of the night discussing everything from western civ. to how to get our fingernails to grow. We became inseparable even including a time we accompanied a friend to the coast for a blind date because we were worried the guy might be a serial killer. Wasn't that great thinking on our part, giving the potential serial killer a 3 for 1 special? :) Thankfully, he turned out to not be a killer, but I'm pretty sure our attendance on that date did kill any future relationship possibilities.

Well, I would decide to change my major and leave that school. Many friendships wouldn't survive a move like that but ours did. Tomorrow, my best friend will celebrate her 30th birthday and all I can say is, how the heck am I old enough to have a best friend who is 30?????? JUST KIDDING!

Karen, you truly have been the best friend I prayed for. I can't think of a major life event that has happened in the last 10 (almost 11!) years that you have not seen me through. And boy have there been some life events! You helped me pack the little red rocket when I decided to leave Carey, and even though I was abandoning you , you assured me I was doing the right thing. You were with me the night before my wedding at Wal-Mart buying hemmoroid (sp?) cream because someone told us it would get rid of the bags under our eyes. You helped me unpack a bazillion and a half boxes in mine and Josh's first apartment. You were in the car with me when I totaled it and had the nervous breakdown of a lifetime. You took a week of your life to come help me teach 2nd grade Vacation Bible School. You helped me refloor a house. You were by my side when the nurse told me Kate was having trouble breathing and had to be taken to the NICU. You were still there minutes later when the nurse checked on me and I was having my own complications. You were still there hours later when my parents got to the hospital and you had to give them the news of everything that had happened. When I felt like God was leading me to quit my job you were the one who said, "You know you will make the right decision" even though at that point I really didn't know that. You were the one I called and said, "The doctor just disconnected the life support. We don't know how long it will take...". You have cried with me, prayed with me, and listened for HOURS to me whine, complain, gripe, say ugly things, and all other manner of venting.

Even more than all of the heartache we've shared, we've shared so much joy as well. I've learned that sometimes it is harder to find people to rejoice with you than to be sad with you. It takes a special friend to be TRULY as excited for you as you have been for me. It was such a blessing to have you spend the week before my wedding with me playing my personal assistant. You never once acted put out or jealous. You were as happy for me as if it were your own wedding. That is a gift. I love that we can laugh together and in a way that makes people in restaurants look at us funny. We share more inside jokes than we will probably be able to remember in a few years. You keep me informed on world events and up to date on all of the good books I need to read. I'm smarter because I'm friends with you. Well, okay, at least I'm more informed. :) You are the most thoughtful person and I can always count on a card at just the right time or the perfect gift. You are classy and sassy. You seek God in a way that makes me want to seek Him more. You are my best friend.

You have really been a friend to me for all seasons. I look forward to the seasons to come. We are so going to be 30, flirty and thriving. (Well, I can't be too flirty, being a married preacher's wife and all, but you know what I mean. :) I pray that this new season will bring you a fresh Word, a clear direction and a good amount of fun. :)

Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path". How I pray that our Father will fill you with direction, purpose and contentment on the path that light shines on. I know we are both anxious to see the whole path completely lit. But, I'm pretty sure if God had shown the floodgate on what life would hold for us these past ten years we would probably still be hiding under our dorm room beds in Bass Hall, scared to death to come out. You, of course, would lay out a clean sheet and be holding your lysol. :) So, I pray that we will just trust our Father to lead us one night light step at a time. He has big plans for you. I know it.

I love you Karen, my BFF! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thinking Happy Thoughts on Thursday

I almost titled this "What a Wednesday!" Thankfully, I realized it is not Wed. before I published it and you all said, "What a doofus!". But yeah, what a Wednesday! And a Tuesday! And a Monday! It's just been one of those weeks. Not so much a "I have tons of funny stories to tell" kind of week, but more of a "hanging out in pj's, eating pb&j sandwiches, hoping my kids don't beat the snot out of each other, wishing it was my birthday so I could ask for hormone cream" kind of week.


That said, I thought I should give you some updates. First, I feel horrible. Physically. Well, I felt horrible yesterday. Today I just feel blah. I also feel horrible because I have to confess to you that I went back to level 1 on the Shred. Oh, the shame. I just had to y'all. I have felt so weak and I figured it was better to do level 1 than no Shred at all (and that was totally my other option). So, I've done the Shred 22 days and I've lost six pounds. I'm supposed to lose 20 in 30 days. I have 8 days to bust it y'all. But just so you know, I'm taking my friend, Karen, out for her birthday this weekend and despite many hours of trying to come up with creative ideas of fun stuff for us to do, I think we will probably take a road trip and just eat at as many places as we can find. It's what we like to do. :) Please pray for my willpower and that I do not undo 22 days of the Shred, okay?


Secondly, Josh completely emptied the two cabinets in our kitchen that I have affectionately named "The Mousepad" except for some traps and my ziplock bags. I haven't seen another one. No more rice and cake icing for those boogers! I wish I could say that meant no more boogers at all, but that would just be too easy.


You see, for those of you who are not as well versed in rodent control as I myself am, once you put out poison they get thirsty. To quote a favorite children's book, "If you give a mouse some D-con, they will get thirsty. If they get thirsty, they will need water. They will start hanging out in your bathroom looking for water." Oh yeah. I will not start a debate about if it is worse to have mice in your kitchen or your bathroom. Personally, I could do without either. I will say, the bathroom is smaller. Let me tell you, I was in there the other night clipping my toenails. I had one foot up on the toilet seat and lo and behold a mouse came SHOOTING out of the bathtub and ran under my leg supporting me. Praise God it continued to support me and I did not collapse into the tub.


Then, last night I went to get a bath. Josh had already been in the bathroom for, let's just say, awhile :) so I felt secure that the bathroom was mouse free. I will warn you, this story may be more graphic than you are prepared for, but I don't think you will get the full effect unless you understand my predicament. I was completely undressed except for my "step ins" as my Mimi used to call them when once again, a mouse went shooting across the very small space of our bathroom. When it happened the other night the mouse had run straight into the linen closet. This particular night, the mouse freaked out as much as I did. Here I stood, more than half-neked, screaming at the top of my lungs. The mouse? He couldn't figure out what to do. He ran to one side, then the other, then back to the other side. I mean at least 15 times he just ran back and forth. I just kept screaming. I finally screamed "JJJJJOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!" I then shut up long enough to hear him say, "I can't get in, it's locked!" Oh yeah. So, in my less than dignified state I timidly leapt to the door and unlocked it. As soon as I did the mouse went in the closet. There I stood, in all my glory, with no mouse. Josh gave me the "You have got to get it together" look and then Kate started crying. I don't know what woke her up. :) Does anybody else wonder why the mice only come out around me???????????????????????


All of that said, I thought you would get a kick out of this card the kids at church gave us. They don't even know about our "situation" and were just giving out cards randomly to the adults at church. When this was the card I received I started laughing hysterically and waving it in the air to show Josh. I'm glad I'm married to the preacher or I may have gotten kicked out of church for acting up in the back pew....


So, that has been my week, so far. Shredding, screaming, shopping (I'll tell you about that later) and separating (my kids have been ALL UP on each other's nerves and my own this week).
Today I am headed out to get ready for birthdays and baby showers. Wonder if anybody wants a pet mouse.............

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

God is Good?


I hope that you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day. I thought I would share with you what my hubby gave me. This year I received some pistachios and this book to the left, Beth Moore's "So Long, Insecurity you've been a bad friend to us". Now, before you start judging my husband harshly for not getting me flowers, chocolates, or jewelry let me make it clear that I specifically asked for this. He did good not getting me chocolate because he knows how hard I've been trying to be good. He is also aware that 90% of my jewelry is tangled together in a ball courtesy of our two year old. And, all of our flower vases are currently available waiting to catch mice in. :)

So, this is not equal to the time he gave me another Beth Moore book "Get Out of That Pit". For Mother's Day. Bless his heart. He knows I love Beth Moore and figured anything written by her would be enjoyed but I must say, that gift had me a little peeved. I had for sure spent some time in a pit and had attempted to drag him down with me with both hands, but I thought those days were past us. The fact that he would grant my request this time after the heck I gave him last time reveals his undying love and desire to please me. I'm glad he wasn't too insecure. :)

With all of that said, chances are good you will hear me quoting from this book a good bit in coming days. I read it in 2 days. I would have finished it Saturday (we did Valentine's early) if I could have sent Sarah to the grocery store for me. I will tell you, this is not typical Beth Moore, if you are accustomed to her very detailed, intensive Bible studies. She says this is the closest she will ever come to writing her autobiography and it is more of her testimony to her own struggles with insecurities and the things God has taught her in dealing with them. She addresses all of the obvious insecurities we face from the pressure to be skinny, sexy and beautiful to the insecurities we feel about not being educated enough, popular enough, rich enough and all of those struggles we face. I say that assuming me and Mrs. Moore are not the only ones who face these insecurities. Am I right?

Well, I am planning to post more about those insecurities in the future, but today I am feeling led to share something that she shared that has really impacted my heart over the weekend. You see, while she addresses the many causes of insecurity, she gets down to the heart of the matter in that we must learn to find our security in our Heavenly Father. And this goes to issues deeper than our size or circle of friends. It has to do with learning to be secure in our Father in the scariest moments of life.

Psalm 112:7-8 says, "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes."

Did you catch that first part? "No fear of bad news". Do any of you fear bad news? Do you get that sick feeling in your stomach when the phone rings at a certain time in the morning? Someone says, "I have to tell you something" and you assume it is the worst possible news? Me too.

I'm gonna jump ship for a minute and head in a different direction. I hope you can stay with me until it all works together. You know kind of like we're told in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who are the called according to His purpose." Has anyone ever shared that verse with you at a time when it was the last thing you wanted to hear? Kind of like having your heart broken and being told "You can do so much better, there are more fish in the sea." Losing a loved one and being told, "You know they are in a better place." Not being able to get pregnant and hearing, "God knows best." All well-meaning of course, but when your heart is shattered sometimes they just don't cut it.

Something we often hear is "God is good! All the time!" I believe that. I really do. I won't say I've never had my moments of not feeling that He is. I won't say that I've never questioned why certain things happen if He is good. I'm only human too. I am going to be completely honest here and tell you that I have even had time when it has downright annoyed the snot out of me to hear people say it. There. Now I've certified myself as the worst preacher's wife ever. The reason it has annoyed me is that in a time of grief and hardship I noticed that the only time I heard people say it was when life was good. Circumstances were good. Relationships were good. I guess Facebook gives us our most sincere look into the minds of others. When was the last time you saw someone post an update that said "I lost my job. God is good!" "My dog died. God is good!" "My husband just left me. God is good!" Yeah, me neither.

I'm not saying it is bad to praise God when He gives you the job you were seeking or blesses you in other ways. Of course we should! I'm just saying sometimes we forget that He is good, even when we are not. Even when life is not. Even when we've prayed our hearts out and feel like He hasn't worked out a single thing the way we asked Him too. I'm also not encouraging people to be totally fake and go around smiling and saying, "My life is falling apart, but God is good! Praise God everything is going wrong!" There is nothing that gets under my skin like insincerity and fakeness. God doesn't need us to be His PR firm making sure people think that being a Christian means you are always happy. NOT!!!!

So here is what I am trying to say, albeit very uneloquently. God is good. All the time. That is where our security lies. That is why we don't have to fear bad news. Here is what Mrs. Moore says,


"I don't think the psalmist meant that the person described had a lifetime guarantee from God that he would never get any bad news. Hard things happen to all of us, and they often come in the form of "news". It's part of pumping blood on this fretful planet. The psalmist meant just what he said. She doesn't live in fear of bad news. Why is she free from such self-torment? Stay with me here, because this connection is crucial: she is free because she knows that "in the end [she] will look in triumph on [her] foes." Translation? God will work all things-no matter how difficult or devastating-out to her advantage. Her enemy will not triumph over her. It may hurt in the beginning, but it's going to be beautiful "in the end."


I hope some of this is making sense, because it has been doing big things in my heart. To sum all of this up, we don't have to fear the bad news, not because it will never come, but because when it does come, God is still good and will give us the strength, peace and purpose that we need to survive it. We can sit around all day and wonder why bad things have to happen. As far as I know that hasn't stopped one bad thing from happening yet. We can spend the precious hours of our life worrying about things that haven't happened yet, but could happen. I haven't been able to worry things out of NOT happening either. The fact is, bad news will come. The phone will ring with news that will change life forever. The doctor will give you a sympathetic look and life will never be the same. We will have empty rooms in our houses either missing people who have left them or waiting on people who have yet to come. We are all different and all of our situations are different, but one thing is the same. Life is hard. God is good. We can spend our time blaming Him for things that have happened or we can grab hold of Him and let Him carry us through those times. We can shut down or lash out. Or we can allow Him to use the ugliest events in our lives to produce the most beautiful fruit in them.


I wish I could write all of this "in theory". As in, fortunately I haven't experienced anything bad in life. I always loved all of the "theories" we learned in school. I remember my first time walking into a falling down, flea infested house occupied by an 86 year old woman who had no family and was on the verge of not knowing who she was. I wondered if the people who wrote those "theories" had experienced much real life. I write this as someone who has experienced much real life. I have to tell you, there was a time, even before I lost my dad, that I had a conversation with God about this subject. It went something like this: God, don't you think that Josh and I would be more effective in ministry if we weren't always so preoccupied with our own issues? In other words, could you make life a little easier for us so we would have more time to help others?


I didn't get a visual appearance of God that day, but I'm sure if I had, He would have been rolling His eyes and slapping Himself in the head saying, Oh, you just don't get it!! Because I do get it now. I get that if God put me in a little glass house separated from everyone and immune to life's hardships I might have more time for other people, but I wouldn't have an ounce of compassion for them.


I pray that today would bring us one step closer to being able to say, "[Her] heart is secure, [she] will have no fear". There is not a person, place or thing on this earth we can put our complete security in. But we have a Heavenly Father who offers complete security. Because He is good!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Once Upon A Time...











Once upon a time there was a little boy and a little girl who both just happened to be in Ms. Barfield's 5th grade class at Parker Elementary. Although, they never spoke to each other (because, let's face it, boys have cooties in 5th grade) the little boy fell in love with the little girl. (At least he still sticks to that story.)

The next year the girl moved away and the little boy started middle school. Their paths would cross again, though briefly when the little girl moved back and they went to the same school for 3 months. Then the little girl moved to another school again. Seemed God had plans for her to get used to moving a lot. :) They still never spoke.

They would once again share a classroom, although now they were a big boy and a big girl. 10th graders to be exact. They sat two people away from each other in history and then again in chemistry. The only time they talked in that class was when the girl was incapable of drawing a straight line and the boy had to do it for her. The girl was in the process of being hurt by another boy and on the verge of swearing off guys forever and becoming the first ever Baptist Nun.
Finally, in 11th grade the two would finally speak. In a McDonald's after a football game. The girl had always known all good things come from McDonald's. :) The next day at school the boys friend spilled the beans that he had a crush and the girl asked the boy to be her escort for an event called Azalea Trail. This is an event the boy now describes as "the time when girls wear big dresses and stand in front of big, fancy houses no one can afford and wave at people".



It was history in the making although they did not know it at the time. Really, who wouldn't fall in love in those clothes? :)


The boy and girl were just "friends" for quite a while until the girl's 18th birthday when the boy took her for a walk on the beach. And they walked, and walked, and walked. Then the boy asked her out in his car. :) The day ended with a surprise birthday party for the girl that was so surprising that the girl had on no make-up and horrible hair and lots of pictures to prove it. :)



The boy and girl would spend every possible moment together their senior year of high school and wear lots of fancy clothes.
















After graduation the girl would go to college 5 hours away from the boy and they would spend enough money on phone cards that they could have built a brand new home. Then, they would attend their friend's Mark and Kim's wedding and decide it was so fun that they wanted one too. :)










They had a beautiful wedding and really liked the kissing part. :)
Just this last year the boy and girl went to their 10 year high school reunion and the girl decided the boy is still her favorite classmate of all time.




Joshua Stuart Fidler, I just can't remember life before you. The truth is I don't want to. We've been blessed beyond measure with so many wonderful friends, amazing family, and awesome opportunities to serve the God we love. We have 3 little people who call us Mommy and Daddy and one of those little people is only 3 grades away from the age we were when we met! I can't say that after our wedding we lived happily ever after fairy tale style, but I can say we've lived happily ever after Fidler style! Sometimes I wish so much that I could go back and be the mysterious, sweet, SKINNY girl that you fell in love with. But, over the years you've seen me 8 shades of hormonal and 30 pounds overweight. I know there isn't an ounce of mystery left in me, but lately I have come to appreciate that you do know so much about me AND YOU LOVE ME ANYWAY! Like the other night when you genuinely looked me in the eye and told me you had waited all day to see me. And there I sat, in an oversized sweatshirt, yoga pants and no make-up. But you didn't even act the least bit disappointed. I am thankful for the freedom to be me. I am thankful that you can read my mind (sometimes!) and that you never act the least bit bored with me, even though I am terribly boring. I share this on here instead of in a private card, one because they do not make cards big enough for my ramblings :) and 2. because I know so many girls who have given up on guys and love or are on the verge of it. I want them to know that God still writes good love stories, even if they don't play out like a Hollywood script.
The other day you were telling a story about going on one of those rides that flips you upside down over and over again and how your Dad made you get out so you wouldn't get sick. Our life together has been a lot like one of those rides. There have been times life has flipped us on our heads or made us so sick we couldn't see straight. There have been times I'm sure one of us, if not both have cried out "PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP!!" But for the most part, we've just been along for the ride and have loved the exhiliration of it all. Much like those little 5th graders would have said, I say "Let's do it agian!" 11 Valentine's Days together and I would still pick you to go on this ride with. I love you Scooter Fidler!!!




Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Would Like to Thank the Academy and All of Those Who Voted....


Melody at Life is a Bowl of Wedgies awarded me this "Making Lemonade out of Lemons" award and I am SO honored! I've never won a blog award and I would just like to thank God, my soul mate Josh and my children who allow me to share unending stories of the humiliation and trauma that is known as life with me. I would like to thank my Mom, T and Dandy and several other family members who read faithfully. I would like to thank the mice, brokeded appliances and vehicles and Jillian Michaels for supplying undending stories for this fascinating blog. And I thank YOU, whoever you are dear soul that may have found my blog by googling "neked possums".
Okay, enough of that. I really do want to thank Melody so much. She is a fellow PW (preacher's wife) with a great sense of humor and some very deep thoughts, too. I really enjoy her blog and her words of wisdom. You should check out her blog!
The rules are that now I need to nominate other girlfriends who I feel deserve this same honor.
Alright girls, if you haven’t won this award yet and should you choose to accept it, these are the instructions:

- Put the Lemonade logo on your blog or within your post.
- Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude or gratitude.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

I've decided to just nominate one of my blog friends who also happens to be a real life friend. She has had a year of making lemonade out of the lemons life has handed her. Make sure to check out her blog and leave her some love and encouragement! Thanks Amber for serving our Father, even in the sour times!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Of Mice and Minute Rice

*This post is not for the faint of heart. Just warning you.


It's that time of year again. Time for hot chocolate, big coats, and...mice. Oh yes. Were you not aware of this? You didn't know that mice don't like cold weather, but they really like heated parsonages? I didn't know this either until a few years ago when we moved into our church manse and suddenly discovered when the cold weather struck that we were ,in fact, running a bed and breakfast for Montrose's rodent population.


For those of you who are new to my blog I will catch you up to speed. When I first started blogging about our "situation" I had about 3 people reading my blog regularly. Funny thing happened, my readership practically doubled to six people when I started talking about the mice. It was when my blog really started hopping. :) This is how it happened- it began with a chase through the playroom with a broom and turned into Sarah catching a mouse with HER HANDS and bathing it. She then placed it under a lamp to dry. Despite the tragic drowning of that mouse, we figure that is when word got out around Montrose that we were running a full service spa. We subsequently baked one, smushed one, dismembered one and I screamed so loud I gave one a heart attack. No lie.


Well, we thought we had this "situation" under control. We paid big money and ordered these fancy plug in things that guaranteed us no rodents, bears or big foots would come within a million miles of our house. We rested peacefully in this security until just a few weeks ago when, it turns out, the dern things only work during the seasons when we weren't having problems anyway!!! You see where this is going? You know what I am about to tell you? Brace yourself people....THEY'RE BAAAACKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!


It started when I found two in the same week, dead in my flower vases. I keep them under the sink and I just happened to notice that while they were not holding any beautiful, fresh flowers, they were currently occupied by MICE! Dead ones, thankfully. Poor little fellas fell in and couldn't get back out. A trillion dollars spent on mouse traps and they prefer my crystal vases. As I shared this with my friend Karen, she remarked that I probably had never intended them for that use when I received them as wedding gifts. Uh, no. We also marveled at how far I have come in my dealings with the rodent population when I told her about my examination of the mice and that one of the mice was really chunky. I don't mean that mean y'all. I'm a chunky girl. I was just observing that these mice must be living it up in my kitchen!!!


A couple of weeks ago I experienced a mouse sighting that I may never recover from as long as I live. I was having a really bad day and I went to my room to lay in the bed and cry. I'm just bein' honest. Well, I pulled up the pillow....shudder, scream, freak out, SCREAM, SCREAM LOUDER! Yes, A MOUSE IN OUR BED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you know how many times Josh had assured me in the past that they could not get into our bed????? Needless to say, I got over my need to cry in the bed. In fact, I was over my need to SLEEP in the bed for a while. Our bed is now booby trapped with mouse traps. Very decorative and romantic. :)


So, we continued to see evidence of the critters, but no actual sightings for a while. I haven't caught anymore in my vases. Well, yesterday I went to get a ziplock bag out of the cabinet and I saw something move! I screamed. (This is what I do. I scream.) I looked back thinking it would have run away, but it hadn't. Okay, brace yourself again....IT. WAS. IN. THE. BAG. OF. RICE. I could totally throw up right now writing that. Now, I know better y'all. I know better than to leave a bag of rice in the cabinet. City girl Emily did not know that, but country girl Emily has learned that. It had just been so long since we had any problems that I let my guard down. Back to the rice bag....It just sat there. I looked it in it's creepy little eye and the stupid thing thought it was hiding. I tried to call Josh. He didn't answer. I came up with a plan. I grabbed a plastic box out of the playroom and a spatula. Oh yeah, I was going to do this. By the time I went to scoop the rice bag and the mouse into the box, it lept out to the back of the cabinet! I thought he would sneak out, but he didn't! HE CAME LEAPING BACK OUT AT ME!!!!!!!!!!! I was screaming, the kids were screaming. He finally just ran away. I decided I was going to skip the cardio part of the Shred because my heart was getting enough pumping for the next two weeks. Josh called back. I answered with, "OH.MY.GOSH!! OH.MY.GOSH! THERE WAS A MOUSE IN THE RICE AND I WAS GOING TO SCOOP IT WITH A SPATULA AND IT JUMPED AT ME AND NOW IT'S GONE!!!!!!!!" I can't believe that man still comes home, y'all.


He does and today he was home for a snow day. He personally got to witness another lunchtime mousecapade. Obviously not learning my lesson, I once again went to get a ziplock bag and 2, TWO, mice leisurely walked to the other side of the cabinet. Like, they're just at home now. I'm pretty sure I heard one tell the other, "Oh, that's just the screaming lady. She won't hurt us. She just screams." Well, they had another thing coming because the screaming lady's husband was home and when I start screaming, well, it gets on his nerves. So he came to investigate and they were still there. He went and got some traps and while he was gone, one of the mice got trapped under one of my cookbooks! Seriously. Josh caught him on a trap and then invaded the kitchen with his gun. I have a picture but he would never speak to me again if I put it on here and Valentine's Day is coming and I really want my present, so I will abstain.


Josh is currently cleaning the kitchen as my weak heart cannot handle any more mouse sightings for the day. I am sharing this story because I am pretty sure your life has been incomplete without my mouse stories for so long. Just to recap, here are all of the ways to kill a mouse:


*drowning

*baking

*microwaving (oh you don't even want to know)

*heart attack

*smushing

*dismemberment

*gluttony?? (Josh just found 2 dead in the high cabinet over the stove and a chewed up, empty container of cake icing. You don't know how bad I wish I was kidding.)


*cookbook avalanche





*Please do not report us to PETA. This little guy brought this on himself. Just sayin'....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Cloud By Day and a Curly Haired Little Girl


I wasn't sure if I should share this post because, well, I am aware that it will make me sound like I just drove in on the crazy bus. I also have been trying to process it for myself and have been scared to pieces that I would write something unscriptural. That is my greatest fear in life. For real. Even more than snakes, I fear leading others astray.

With all of that said, what I want to tell you about is how the presence of God has manifested itself to me lately and when I sat down to do my Bible study today's lesson was called...drumroll please...Cover by Cloud & Led By Fire. It was a look at the way God manifested Himself to the Isrealites, which was a cloud by day and fire by night. (Exodus 13:21-22). I learned a fancy new word: THEOPHANY and it is defined as- A theological term used to describe a God-appearance when God assumes a form and supernaturally shows Himself within the natural realm. Did that leave anybody else with a confused, not so Biblely scholarly, head scratchin' "Say Wha?" Well, basically all it means is that in Old Testament times God often took on the form of natural elements (like the burning bush to speak to Moses) to make His presence known to His people.

The questioned is asked, "Do you believe God desires to reveal Himself to modern-day believers?" What do you think? My overwhelming response was YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ABSOLUTELY!!

Thankfully, Ms. Shirer agreed. She is the edumcated one and she said, "God still chooses to display Himself to people today when, for reasons we'll never know, He orchestrates nature or circumstances to dramatically show His presence. Although manifesting Himself directly is no longer God's way of relating to His people as it was during the wilderness wanderings, His desire has not changed. He still wants to make Himself fully known to us and does so by working through what He has created. He can and will encourage us in our journey by allowing, when He sees fit, His children to have visible evidence of His working on our behalf."

Why am I busting out the theology and Bible study today? Well, because I have recently experienced these manifestations in my own life, and it's just not something you can not talk about. John 14:16-17 tells us, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot recieve, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." These verses show us that while God isn't working through the clouds or speaking by fire anymore, we have an even greater, more direct relationship with Him. Through Jesus, He is IN us! Since the coming of Jesus He chooses to manifest His presence in our own lives and for us to experience Him with our own senses.

So, now I have tried to set this up scripturally so you don't think I've become a "new age baptist" as I recently heard someone put it. I know that anything not on our order of worship gets us all worked up. :) So, this is what happened. Josh is the only person I've shared this with because he already knows I'm a loon and nothing I say surprises him. Here goes. I think I have shared that I have been having trouble going to sleep since my Dad passed away. Thankfully, after I wrote the last blog about his passing, I stopped being haunted at night by our time in the hospital. It was as if typing those words on the page pulled the images out of my head. Well, this last Saturday night we were back in Panama City and I was sleeping in my brother's bed, the same bed I had cried myself to sleep in the day my Dad died. I've dreamt of my Dad EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since he's been gone. But in the last few weeks, they haven't been nightmares of what happened. He has just been there. He never talks but he is just always there. Well, that night I don't remember if I had a dream about him, but I did have another dream.

At first, I was driving up and down the coastline along the beach at sunset. It was the most beautiful scene, but even more than the scenery, I had the most amazing peace I have ever felt. It is absolutely unexplainable. I've never experienced anything like it in my waking hours. After that, I was walking on the side of the road in the country and I realized I was walking between my Mimi's house and my Mamaw's house. My great-grandmother lived just down the street from my Mamaw and I often went between their houses when I was little. I was about six in my dream. The sun was so bright and warm. Again, it wasn't the scenery that was important, it was how I felt. I felt free. I felt unburdened. I felt six again, the way life felt before tragedy, responsibilty, and grown-up stuff had entered. I can honestly say I can't remember the last time I felt that way, and again, I can't make myself feel that way now if I tried. There was something about those dreams.

I woke up thankful for the peaceful sleep I had gotten, especially as that particular day was going to be a tough one. But, I didn't think much about it again. Until we were on our way home the next day. I always do my thinking when I am driving. Since I am homebound most of the time, I don't do much thinking anymore. :) Anyway, as I thought about those dreams it occured to me that those feelings I experienced must be what Heaven feels like. The peace. The freedom. The lack of stress, burdens, and worry. My Uncle Reg had just talked with me the week before about the moment my Dad left this world. I wasn't there, I was doing Christmas with the kids. But my Uncle Reg told me he was holding my Dad's feet and at the moment my Dad took his last breath, he felt almost euphoric. He said a peace just came over him. When he told me that it gave me chills and helped me understand something I have been wondering about. You see, in the midst of my grieving, the anger, sadness, denial, all of that, I have also had moments when I have felt so excited I could almost jump up and down. I didn't understand that until he told me he experienced that and I got it. I believe that God has given us tiny, microscopic feelings of what Heaven holds.

I may have lost you the minute I started talking about dreams or maybe in my first sentence. If you're still hanging in there, I have to share what that revelation led me to think about. My baby Kate. She was a big surprise for us. A BIG SURPRISE!! I found out I was pregnant with her the week after Josh was ordained in the ministry and 2 weeks after we had moved into the parsonage. I had only been at my new job for 6 months. I'm not going to lie, it took me awhile to adjust. Please don't get me wrong. I was thrilled to be pregnant, but it knocked me for a loop as I came to grips with the reality of our situation. My company didn't offer maternity leave and I wouldn't be there long enough to have enough time saved up for the paid leave that I would need. I was very overwhelmed with my caseload at work that was way above what it should be and was adjusting to my new role as a preacher's wife. I often found myself feeling guilty that I wasn't able to enjoy my pregnancy the way I had with my other two. Before when I had been pregnant EVERYTHING revolved around those babies for me. This time, with two small children and a huge amount of other responsibilities, I just didn't feel as excited. Then, I had a dream one night. About a curly haired little 2 year old. I got so excited. I thought it was just wishful thinking on my part, but now that I have that 2 year old curly haired little girl, I really believe God was giving me a little glimpse at what was in store.

As I soaked in the knowledge of what God has revealed to me, I realized that there is a part of God I often overlook. God the Creator. God the Comforter. You see, when I thought about that dream I had while pregnant with Kate I became overwhelmed with tears. It occurred to me that God created Katelyn Ann Fidler and knew about her long before me. And He was excited about her! Have you ever thought of God being excited about the people and things He has created? I don't think I ever had until that moment. It was like He was SO excited about her, he just had to give me a little glimpse. He couldn't keep her to Himself.

Once again, I think that as He has drawn near to me in my grief and suffering, He was too excited about His place called Heaven. He knows my heart. He knows it hurts and misses my Daddy. He knows that my pain may last as long as I walk on this earth. But He just had give me a glimpse at what my Daddy is experiencing and I will, too, one day.


I know that some people don't like talking about stuff like this. It makes them nervous to take God out of the neat little box we put Him in. We get scared God's reputation will be ruined if the crazy folks start telling stories like this. I say, God is waiting for people to take Him out of the box and expect Him to move and work. He does. Even in the lives of us crazy people!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In Case You Haven't Heard, The Saints Won the Superbowl :)

This last weekend I experienced the first SuperBowl game I ever actually cared about. I mean other than half-time. The Saints, whom my Dad had been THE most loyal fan of since the 60's made it to the Super Bowl! So, we had a party... I paid $16.00 for those Saints cups and drove over an hour to pick them up at a downtown shop that caused me to parallel park in a minivan, thus causing my husband and two random guys in a pick-up to laugh at me. And oh yeah, they weren't in yet. Thankfully one of our friends who works with Josh actually lives where the store is at and was able to pick them up and bring them to Josh's office. I don't do a dern thing without drama y'all. Not a thing...
No party is complete without crowns. You didn't know this? According to my seven year old event planner, even Super Bowl Parties MUST have crowns.

This is my nephew Luke. He is the cutest kid to come along since my 3 and the happiest kid I've ever known. He had tons of fun running around shouting "TOUCHDOWN!!!" all night. According to him the Saints were up by about 36 touchdowns in the 3rd quarter. :)



I've never been much of a football fan and I realized this last weekend that it is a good thing. I am OBNOXIOUS!!! I took a picture of the TV y'all!!! But look, it was the most awesome play of the whole night and I caught it!!! I for real jumped up and started screaming WHO DAT!! WHO DAT!! I scared my children, but they will recover after some therapy... I didn't actually see most of the game as I spent the majority of my time eating, taking pictures, eating, and going to the kitchen to get more food. (I did so good the whole weekend, but I BLEW IT on Sunday. I acted like I had just gotten home from the LOST island and hadn't eaten for about 8 weeks.) Anyway, I think the boys were glad I didn't actually pay attention much because when I did I was screaming that the players had "fouled" each other or asking if they were dribbling. I think they appreciated the chips and dip that kept my mouth occupied most of the night. :)



Kate and Luke enjoyed the refreshments too. They are so funny. Anytime we've been together these last few times they get their sippy cups, stand in the middle of the room and have a chug off. CRACKS ME UP!!!! I think Kate won this one.





Here is my beautiful Mama. She is wearing a shirt that my super sweet cousin, Sara, sent her from Natchez, MS. My sister and I knew it was coming but she didn't. She asked me to get her a shirt so I had to play along and get her one!




My event planner Sarah. In addition to crowns, she made signs.


That girl can sure eat some chicken wings!!! Seems party planning works up an appetite!


Here I am with my brother Philip and sister Jenny. Aren't they gorgeous? I always tell people I got the brains. :)

We had lots of fun. It was also a bittersweet night as my Daddy was VERY missed. I take so much comfort knowing he is with the REAL saints!!

Before I go I also wanted to let you know I got a much needed haircut while we were there.


BEFORE



AFTER
What do you think?? :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Until I Can Think of Something Deep and Life Changing...

Just thought I would let y'all let know that Kate and I made it through 2 WHOLE church services Sunday. UNBELIEVABLE! MIRACULOUS! I'm still amazed. I praise the makers of Laffy Taffy and a purse. As you can see, Kate had an Easter bucket loaded up and ready to go, but I talked her into a purse. She filled it with dolls and other assorted items and it kept her entertained for the FIRST TIME EVER through the ENTIRE service. Not a single scream or fit and only one time laying on her stomach under the pew. I let her do it because she was quiet and did not attempt an escape. Judge me if you want. She did talk a little loud when her little imagination created conversations between her little people, so we had to work on whispering. We will continue working on that one. :) I just thought this was a monumental moment that needed to be documented.

I also wanted some advice from y'all. As you can see, Darth Vader has moved in with us and he, of course, wants a Star Wars themed room. We've been discussing redecorating the kid's rooms and I was wanting a train themed room as Eli, I mean Darth Vader, currently has a wrought iron headboard with a train on it. I am not crazy at all about the whole space thing. What do I do? Do I suck it up and embrace this 4 year old wish or keep working on the campaign to convince Eli he wants a train room? Any thoughts? Suggestions?

Finally, I wanted to let y'all know I started a new Bible study this week. It is Priscilla Shirer's "One in a Million". I had to take this pic because as I sat down at the table to start it on Monday Kate said, "Mommy's Bible. Mommy's milk." Yes, darlin' that is Mommy's Bible and Mommy's "milk". Ha! The sustenace which sustains me like manna from Heaven! It is a Diet Pepsi this week instead of a Diet Coke b/c I forgot to pick up the Diet Cokes in the back of the store and Pepsi had a display on the way to the checkout. One word y'all: L.A.Z.Y. Oh well, I am not picky as long as it keeps that caffeine flowing through my veins!

Speaking of manna from Heaven, this study looks at when God led the Isrealites out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land and focuses on the things we need to break free from to experience a greater relationship with God. I'm only on Day 3 but am looking forward to the days to come. The study is not as detailed as some I have done in the past, and that is really a good thing for me right now being in a season where my Bible study time is often spent answering math questions and cleaning up toothpaste off the playroom floor. If you are in the season I am in and feel like you can't even attempt Bible study I think this is a great one to try. Later, when my brain is working, I will try to share spiritual things I've learned from it. :)

BTW, this is so bad of me, but I cannot do this study without getting the "One in a Million" song from the movie Miss Congeniality stuck in my head. Do you know what I'm talking about? The part where they are dancing in the pageant. It's right after that where she falls flat on her face and gets her head thing all tangled up. For some odd reason, that song seems to fit me and this study perfectly. Just when I am strutting my stuff spiritually I have a habit of falling flat on my face too....

We are packing up to head back to Panama City this weekend to visit our families. I'm so excited my sister and nephew (and hopefully my brother-in-law) will be coming too and we will get to watch the Super Bowl together! I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate everyone's prayers and sweet words of encouragement. I continue to covet those prayers as we go through this time of grieving and great change. Do any of you have weekend plans you are excited about? Anybody having Super Bowl parties?

P.S. I've done 15 days of the Shred and today it paid off. Daisy escaped and I chased her down and NOT in the jeep!!! Woo-hoo! :)