Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Just Call Me Martha Stewart. Or Bob Villa. Or Crazy...

In the past I have shared my fabulous cake making and decorating skills with you. I've also divulged my pest control secrets. I've even blessed you with my weight loss advice. So, I felt that it was time. Time to add home makeovers to my extensive list of "how to's" on this here blog. What can I say? I'm every woman.

I will start by showing you our playroom. Now, your first thought will probably be, 'Oh my gosh! I cannot believe she would show such a picture!' However, my first thought is that if you see what this room looks like now, ANYTHING I do will be an improvement. Don't you agree?

My cousin, Lauran, always posts blogs about the home projects she is working on and I so want to be her when I grow up. (Let's just pretend I'm not older than her.) She has the greatest ideas and does the cutest little collages to show them off. You can check out her blog at The Ellis Nest. But back to my room, I'm going to share my vision with you. The colors will be white, black and lime green. Yes, that red curtain, is going to GO! I have a bookcase that was my Dad's that I am in the process of spray painting lime green. I worked on it today but I'm going to have to buy some more paint. It makes me think of Kermit everytime I see it. I haven't decided if that is good or not. I will talk more about this room in another post and give you before and after shots. I hope. Please let there be after pictures!!!
Okay, the BIG project-the china cabinet. Recently my Mom asked me if I wanted my Grandma Strickland's china cabinet and I told her I would love to have it now that I have a little more room in my dining room. So, we picked it up today and began the work of stripping the old finish and sanding it down. Oh boy...

Overheard in the backyard of the pastorium:
Your friendly neighborhood preacher says,
"I'm glad I listened to my parents and got the high dollar stripper."
I hope these people learn how to take us. :)
It's very important that before starting any home project you take a pic of yourself in your work gear. Do I look like I know what I'm doing or what???

This china cabinet won't even be recognizable when we're done! And I really, really hope I mean that in a good way....

Stay tuned for after pics. Our families are coming to spend Easter day with us and these projects WILL be done!

*Playroom bookcase painted Lime Green.
*Dresser in playroom painted a fresh coat of white
*China Cabinet stained and new hardware in place
*Playroom chairs painted white and table painted white with chalkboard paint on surface.
*Kid's artwork framed and on playroom wall

To be continued....

Monday, March 29, 2010

Time Will Tell

Sometimes I feel like my heart has an owie. Life gets busy and provides a temporary band-aid, but then a moment hits and the band-aid gets ripped off. I predicted that my grieving would hit a new level after we moved, and I was right. It just doesn't seem right that I haven't seen my Dad yet. I can't imagine how confusing it is for little kids who lose a parent. I have literally cried every single time I've hit the red light at the end of the air force base headed to our house. Because it hits me then that I've been to Panama City and I didn't see my Dad. Of all things, K-Mart causes me problems. When we lived in Panama City we lived just a few blocks from K-Mart and I made frequent trips there. I would often see my Dad in there because he avoided the crowds at Wal-Mart like the plague. I would run into him picking up laundry detergent or his beloved Sprites. I've been in there several times now and one of the times I found myself wanting to go back to the aisle with the drinks just to look for him. And I had to remember he wouldn't be there.

So many people have told me that time will heal and while I know that time will definitely lessen the ache, I also have enough experience with heartache in this life to know that time doesn't heal. It's what I do with the time. It's the way that I cry out to the Father and let Him heal my heart.

"and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."
Isaiah 61:3

I recently came across this quote and it spoke to me. If you are in the same boat with me, we don't have to wait for time to heal us. The Healer is waiting on us...

"We all know people who have been made much meaner and more irritable and more intolerable to live with by suffering: it is not right to say that all suffering perfects. It only perfects one type of person...... the one who accepts the call of God in Christ Jesus." -Oswald Chambers

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Smile! I Think I'm on Candid Camera...

Welcome to "Speaking the Truth in Love and Laughter's: I Must Be on Candid Camera" edition. This edition will also include "Man, I Hope I'm NOT on Camera".


* I have now TWICE driven the wrong way down two different streets in Port St. Joe. THE WRONG WAY people!!! Praise the Lord no one else was driving on those streets (although I might have gotten a hint if I had seen other people driving at me) and there were no collisions. I would also like to say there were no witnesses, but of course I never get away with that. Cortnee risked her life by riding with me the first time it happened and the second time, well...there was a whole work crew of men watching. Fabulous. I'm sure they had great fun laughing about the tourist going the wrong way. They may have even called me a northerner. Gasp! Lord help us all if we ever move somwhere like Miami.


*Back when Matt and Cortnee were here we took them to lunch at a great little Mexican place downtown (I didn't drive). There was an older couple sitting in a booth across from us who kept looking at Kate and smiling. On their way out they stopped and told us she looks just like their grandaughter. The lady then proceeded to ask Josh "You haven't donated sperm anywhere have you?" After cleaning up the Diet Coke that spewed from my nose, all I could do was LAUGH OUT LOUD! Did a complete stranger really just ask my husband if he had donated sperm? I wish I could have thought of something witty and clever to respond with, but it's 2 weeks later and I still haven't figured out how to respond to that one! It was truly one of those moments that I kept waiting for someone to jump out and say "Smile! You're on Candid Camera". They didn't.

*Yesterday we went by my Mom's and she gave me....get ready for this. A goose egg. At first when she told me about it I had visions of delivering a goose and raising it in my backyard. She assured me she had already boiled it. In fact, she had burnt it! She forgot it was boiling and it actually burnt. She wanted the kids to have it though so they could paint it and she thought they could just paint over the burnt spot. I took the burnt goose egg and we carefully transported it home, where I proceeded to accidentally drop it on the counter and crack it. The kids were asking me about it today and if it was going to hatch. I began detailing the trauma of the egg and at the exact same time Josh and I both said, "His goose is cooked!" Well, now the burnt, cracked goose egg is sitting in my kitchen. Does anybody else have this dilemma? I didn't think so...


*This morning was a little rough. I was sick all last week and having trouble sleeping and my schedule (that has never been great to start with) got all messed up. By last night I was EXHAUSTED as was exhibited by the fact I was in bed at 10:00. I NEVER go to bed that early and Josh was truly in shock. I thought that meant I would get up this morning with bells on ready to start the day, but it just didn't happen. I was dragging. To make matters worse I am in desperate need of a haircut so my hair has gone straight into a ponytail everyday. Then, I couldn't find a thing to wear. Do you also have this problem? It seems to only happen to me on Sunday mornings. I had actually tried to prepare last night and lay my clothes out, but I realized this morning my skirt had a stain on it. So, it was back to square one and nothing was working right. I finally decided on a dress, but it is one of those with a slip dress that is attached. Do you know what I'm talking about? Difficulty level for getting this dress on: 8. Oh.My.Word. I must have tried 10 times to put the thing on and everytime I would miss an armhole or get the whole thing wrapped around my neck. I was frustrated to the point of verbal expression bringing Josh running down the hall breathless asking, "Are you okay?" No. I was not. I was way frustrated with my dress. By the time I got dressed this morning it looked like my cloest had thrown up on my bed. Then, Sarah's dress didn't fit. Apparently Kate's foot just went through a massive growth spurt and her dress shoes that she just wore last Sunday didn't fit. She ended up wearing tennis shoes with her dress. I also realized when I was fixing her hair this morning that she had POURED SPRITE in her hair. She got a ponytail too. As we walked to church I observed that we were looking like some serious riff raff and made myself feel better that everybody will have new clothes and shoes for Easter next Sunday.


*So, I got to church and got over caring what everybody looked like. We had a great time in Sunday School and before service started I made my rounds to speak to everybody. A man I hadn't met yet introduced himself and I immediately recognized his name. He is the associational director. That was fine until I walked away and heard him tell Josh that he wanted to get a family picture before he left! I made him promise he wouldn't take any pics of our feet and he agreed. :) We got another surprise today when Josh's grandma, Mammy and his Uncle Jimmy and Helena came today. We had no idea they were coming and it was great to see them. Of course, that also meant more pictures. Of all days, y'all. Of all days. :) By the way, if you belong to the Northwest Coast Baptist Association and you get some kind of newsletter or something with my family's picture on it, please pass the word that we don't always look like that....

MORAL OF THE STORY: Always dress like you will be in pictures, look for wrong way signs while driving, don't burn your goose eggs, and always be prepared to give an answer when someone asks if you've been helping repopulate the earth!!!!!

DISCLAIMER: The picture of the clothes on the bed is a reproduction. I actually cleaned off the bed and made it up when our surprise company came by. I then threw the clothes back on the bed while Josh was napping to provide a visual for you. In case you are wondering, it looked even worse this morning. In case you are also wondering, yes my husband does think I'm weird. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Seems Like Yesterday

Jenny and Dillon, 5 years ago today you said "I do!" It was such a fun, special day. I felt honored to be a part (and a BIG part :) of it. You are a beautiful couple and two of my favoritest people. I knew Dillon was meant to be my brother the minute he started singing karaoke. :) We love you both and Luke and Lyla too!! We pray that God blesses you with MANY more sweet years together!!
P.S. I had to add this picture because it is one of my all-time favorites. This is me and my Mama watching the Father/Daughter dance. I was 25 months pregnant and we were both bawlin' like babies. I'm so happy the photographer captured this moment. :)

Weddings on the Brain....

I've been thinking a lot about weddings lately and unfortunately I realized tonight it must have been a subconscious thing. I totally forgot today was my sister's wedding anniversary. I forget EVERY single year. I feel terrible about it. The weddings on my brain could also be due to the fact that I missed church Sunday night because I was sick and ended up watching a marathon of shows called Rich Bride/Poor Bride and Platinum Weddings. I know, if I was a good preacher's wife I would tell you that I spent that time in intensive Bible study. I should've. The thing is, we didn't have cable for the whole 3 years we were in Mississippi b/c we would have had to have a satellite and we decided to get one for the internet instead. Well, anyway, I did not miss TV at all while we were there, but as soon as I turn it on now I get totally sucked in. It's terrible.

When Josh and I took our "honeymoon" last year there was a night that I stayed up after he fell asleep and watched a show called "Intervention". Have you see this? It is the saddest, most depressing, saddest, and did I mention saddest? show I've ever seen. It's about families confronting their loved ones who have addictions, and I tell ya, only I could end up on my honeymoon staying up half the night bawling my eyes out watching this show.

Well, I've learned my lesson and I don't even start watching that show, but Sunday I did not know better and I allowed myself to get sucked into the excess, pouting, fit throwing and party throwing known as reality wedding shows. This is thing. I am so over weddings. Really, I loved my wedding and had a lot of fun planning it, but by the time the 9 months of planning were coming to a close, I would have been content to wear a garbage bag in a back alley as long as it meant I would get to leave as Mrs. Joshua Fidler. Seriously. There was a time when I worried that I would miss the planning portion of that event, but I didn't. Not once. It was not a bad experience at all, I was just over it, you know? So, I normally don't watch those shows, but I just happened to stumble across one and then you know what happened. 8 episodes later I was sitting in the recliner thanking God I don't have any weddings to plan in the near future and wanting to put some brides in the time-out chair. Really, shouldn't people have to at least have the emotional maturity of an 8 year old before they get married?

I won't get started on that soapbox, but all of this thinkin' about weddings did make me miss one thing. Not the dress, the cake or the flowers. Not even the gifts. I started missing that phase in the relationship. That excitement, that time when all Josh and I wanted out of life was just to be together. I was not lying when I said all that mattered to me was to be Mrs. Joshua Fidler. I was 20 years old the day I received that title, and 9 years later I am still exaclty where I want to be. With him. Of course, now being with him includes 3 kids, a dog, a church congregation, and assorted neighborhood children who stop by for supper. :) It's crazy to me that we thought getting married would give us more time together! As the villain from Scooby-Doo would say, "If it weren't for those meddling children and pesky jobs our plan would have worked!" Ha!

I guess what I'm getting at is that I miss the days when it was just all about us. Watching the brides plan their weddings and stress out about place settings and throw fits to get a $4,000 cake (btw, once she saw the cake at her reception she kept leaning against the 5 foot stand it was on and I just couldn't watch because I knew that if she had my luck that cake was going to end up either on the floor or on her) I wanted to tell them, "Just enjoy your fiance. Just be thankful for this person who loves you." One of the brides was given $125,000.00 worth of jewelry by her fiance for her wedding day and I thought, 'Should I feel jipped that I didn't get that?' I don't guess I should, because I don't. First of all, I can't keep up with $10 jewelry I get from Wal-Mart. Secondly, it wouldn't matter if it was 125 million dollars worth of jewelry, it wouldn't matter to me if it weren't from Josh. (Although if someone feels led to bless me with that jewelry, Josh and I would both appreciate it. :)

I couldn't think about my relationship with my groom, without thinking about my relationship with Jesus. Is that weird? I know it might be to some people, but it is actually the kind of relationship the Bible compares our relationship with God to. Hosea 2: 19 says, " I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord." Earlier in verse 16 we are told ,"And it shall be in that day,' says the Lord, 'That you will call Me 'My Husband', And no longer call Me 'My Master".

I didn't marry Josh because he gave me millions in jewels, and I also didn't marry him to serve as his slave. I married him because I didn't want to spend a day of life without him. In the same way I don't follow Jesus becasue He blesses me or gives me everything I want. And He didn't die for me so that I could be His slave. He died for me so that I wouldn't have to spend a day without Him. The reason I serve Josh and my Bridegroom is because there is lots of work to be done here on this earth. Sometimes, as a wife and in ministry, it is easy to feel like a servant. To do things out of obligation and necessity. My prayer is that I still do it because I love both of them like crazy and at the end of the day I just want to be with them. And the times we get to wear fancy clothes and eat cake are really sweet bonuses. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Terribly Terrific 2's

Katelyn Ann Fidler, you are 2 and these days you go by your full name a lot more often that you used to. The only way I know how to describe this time in life is "they were the best of times and the worst of times". Just kidding. These are definitely not the worst of times, but man, you wear me out!!!

Yesterday I walked (literally) into a kitchen covered in eggs. Broken ones. Ooey, gooey, cracked eggs on my floor. You took advantage of my preoccupation with the cleanup to climb on the counter and decorate it with blue marker. A marker I had placed on top of the refrigerator, and I don't even want to entertain thoughts of how you got it. This morning you greeted me by telling me you were "stinkin' wet" and we had no wipes because you had pulled them all out yesterday. While I was wetting some paper towels you decided to float your bath toys in the toilet. I had been awake for about 20 minutes and I was ready for a nap.

You love the freedom of our new, fenced yard, but you like to test your boundaries. I don't know why I'm surprised. I haven't given birth to a person yet that doesn't like to test their boundaries. You are sneaky, sneaky. Sarah was as busy as you when she was 2, but she was noisy. I ALWAYS heard Sarah and if I didn't, I knew something was up. You are quieter, so sometimes it takes me longer to realize when you have slipped off and gotten into something. 90% of the time if you go missing, you're in the kitchen. Breaking eggs, spilling tea, dropping bowls of cake frosting on the floor and splattering them all over the appliances. That was the case with my mandarin orange cake that has now been renamed "The Fell Down Cake". Your other favorite place to sneak off to is the bathroom. You LOVE to wash your hands. I was worried that after you smashed your finger you wouldn't want to wash them. No worries. You want to wash them ALL THE TIME!

I haven't been able to potty train you yet, but you've figured out how to put the TV on cartoon network and you just set the alarm on my new phone, something I don't even know how to do. :) Speaking of phones, you also stuck close to the guy who installed our house phone line asking him every few seconds, "Whachu doin???"

The thing about being a Mama is that you do all of the things which insure that I don't get to sit down for more than 6 minutes at a time (without reaping the consequences!!) and that my life is one of continual cleaning and hollerin' out the back door "KATELYN ANN FIDLER!!!!!!!!!", and yet I still adore you. Because while being 2 means lots of chaos, messes and stress, it also means the best little hugs and kisses. It means that when I pull your shirt over your head and say, "Where is Kate?" you laugh and say, "That's too funny." Oh how I will cry the day you get big and say, "Mom, you're a dork" because I know it will come. Today when I finally managed to get out of my pj's and into my uniform of jeans and t-shirt you said, "You pretty." It melted my heart and made me forgive you for squeezing half a tube of toothpaste into the sink. As Mamaw would say, you're a sack o' sugars and I could just eat you up!!

In six months you will be three and in it will be the first time in 8 years that I won't have a 2 year old or younger in my house. No diapers, no strollers, no baby car seats. No cribs, no toddler beds, no pacifiers. I'm sure those voids will be full of homework, ballgames, sleepovers and big kid toys. I'm hoping those years might even include some naps and the ability to watch a whole movie. :) But right now I'm just gonna soak up the hugs and kisses, the Kate Swahili, and holding your chubby little hand. By the way, you got out of bed last night and came and laid on the floor while me and Daddy watched TV. It was LATE and I told your Daddy that Sarah and Eli would have never gotten away with that. He smiled and agreed. Then he let you stay there. You have him totally wrapped around your chubby little finger...but you know that. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Ministry of Mac and Cheese

When I was little I wanted to be a lawyer, a writer, a bus driver, or a back-up dancer for Tina Turner. None of those panned out.

Well, as I got older and began to grow in my faith I had a new dream: to lead women's conferences and speak God's Word to thousands of women. Then I became a Mom and decided that instead I just needed to ATTEND like a thousand conferences and figure out what the heck I was doing.

Well, throughout all my years of dreams (diverse and a little crazy as they might be) there was one constant. I wanted to be a Mom. And not just any Mom. I wanted to be the Mom that all the neighborhood kids wanted to be at my house eating home baked cookies and playing in the backyard. Seems that one of my dreams may be coming true. Our new neighborhood is FULL of kids and they all have felt very welcome to frequent our backyard. In fact, we had my family over for supper the other night and while we sat at the table we watched as 4 or 5 kids we didn't know came in and out of the yard. There were also a couple I had already met. One in particular had shared a picnic lunch with my kids a few days earlier and I learned that he really likes macaroni and cheese. He was positively devastated when I ran out and I told Josh that we would have to keep the pantry stocked from then on. I haven't met his Mom and I'm not trying to pass judgement, but we were told by some of the church members before we came here that many of the kids in this neighborhood come for church on Wednesday night because it is the only hot meal they get other than at school. That makes me sad.

Well, today has been the laziest day I've had in awhile. I started feeling sick a couple of days ago and by today I was at the point of staying in my pj's and praying for my kids to entertain themselves. Josh got a movie for the kids and one for us and we were watching the kid's movie when there was a knock at the door. It was two of the neighborhood boys and Sarah was quick to tell them we were having pizza for supper and they were quick to say they could stay to eat with us. :) It was a frozen pizza in the oven and I wasn't sure if it would be enough for everybody so I threw on a huge pot of mac and cheese. It was a hit. One of the boys commented, "I wanna eat here every night!" For a second my heart did a dip and I thought, "Oh my gosh, they're like the neighborhood dog that Josh fed and then couldn't figure out why we couldn't get him to leave". Then I grinned. The idea that a frozen pizza and some mac and cheese could bring such happiness was a nice one.

As I sat at the table chewing my pizza God began to work in my heart. To show me that this is what He has asked of me right now. You see, with the move I had begun to ask Him to show me where He would have me to serve, what He would have me to do here. In our church and our community. Old dreams of writing and speaking and other things began to take center stage in my mind, but I knew God was telling me that this is my season in my home. Those kids didn't come because me and Josh are cool. They came because of my own children. The season of life when neighborhood boys stop by for mac and cheese is now and it is obvious that some adult attention is very needed in their lives. It is tempting to decide that I don't have time for them. I have my own kids. It is tempting to want to become involved in a more high profile kind of ministry. It's even more tempting to want to find someone else to pawn my own kids off on and sit on the couch and watch a CSI marathon. But right now it is overwhelming my heart that when I prayed for God to show me what to do, He brought opportunity to my door (literally) in two dirty, barefoot boys who like mac and cheese.

I don't know what God has asked of you, but I pray tonight that we wouldn't let the enemy convince us it's not as important as what someone else is doing. I pray that we will be sensitive to exactly where He would have us be and realize that He can do what He pleases, where He pleases, with whom He pleases. As my heart began to ponder bigger, greater things, I discovered that God can do great things in my kitchen. His love is wherever His people are and some times all it takes is a little mac and cheese.

Our Move in Pictures

I have been exhausted and feeling bad all day so it makes perfect sense that I would be up blogging at 12:44, right? Well, since I'm up pretending to understand the football language Josh is speaking to me I thought I would illustrate my last post with some pics. I hope it brings greater meaning into your life. :)
This is me on "loading the truck" day aka "Day of Misery" eating my last cheeseburger from Jerry's. So, so sad. My heart was breaking. My thighs will thank me though.

I had a bright spot in my day of misery when Santanna stopped by to visit. I love Miss Santanna. She practically raised my children for the months Josh and I were both working and Eli would still not be potty trained if it weren't for her. I tried desperately to recruit her to move with me and be my nanny, but apparently she wants to have a life or something. :)

Another bright spot was when Karen came. I thought she was just going to keep me company while I finished packing, but really she ended up doing most of the packing. This girl knows how to get 'er done!! This is another pic for our collection of moving day pics. :)

This is Daisy's boyfriends, Rebel. He was hanging out in the yard while we loaded up. Poor guy.

The Truck

I thought I was going to have to choose between taking Kate or our clothes, but thankfully we found a place for everyone and everything. :)

Once we were in our new home we had to christen it. Here is Kate with the first injury in our new home requiring the ER. We don't waste any time y'all. (BTW, her owie was on what Sarah used to call her "not nice finger.")

She was a trooper! She racked up with the goodies too!! Do you see the band-aid on her teddy bear? She insisted on that. :)

Kate, Sarah Beth and Eli on our first Sunday morning at Highland View Baptist Church. We moved into eastern time and started on daylight savings time. We were STRUGGLIN'!!! But we made it!
My sister came into town for her baby shower and we realized that this was the first time ever that my nephew Luke had been to my house. Not just my new house, but to my house at all! Of course that meant I had to have a picture. He looks thrilled, doesn't he? :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ridin' Dirty

The last time I wrote I was sitting in a folding chair in the middle of my empty living room, trying to motivate myself to clean the refrigerator. I now write from my new kitchen that is miraculously clean due to the fact that I’ve had no cable or internet access for over a week. J Don’t worry, we have not lacked entertainment in the least bit. We’ve had enough excitement to compete with any award winning reality show. I can honestly say that the last time I blogged from my Mississippi home I was a little concerned that life might become boring in our new Florida home. Why do I even think such things???

After I wrote my last blog I did go clean out the fridge. And mop the floors. Then I had to wait up for them to dry to get back to my mattress on the floor. I’m so brilliant. Well, by the time I got to bed it was about 3:00 and all of the hot water had been used on the 945 loads of laundry that had been going all day, so I didn’t even bathe. There, I said it. Not only did I not bathe, but I also slept in my filthy clothes I’d been working in all day. There I said that too. I slept for a few hours and then it was up and at ‘em. I was very disappointed with myself and how much was still left to do, but somewhere in the last few days of packing my brain had gone into total denial of all that was left. It also started pouring as we began to load up the last of our stuff which meant we were tracking mud back into the house and the recently cleaned floors. Yay. Two of our church members came by to see us off and we were soon loaded up and ready to go. Well, as ready as we were gonna be.

Sarah and Eli joined Josh in the moving truck and Kate and I squeezed into the only two corners of the Jeep not occupied with clothes. Before I got in Josh pointed out that we had someone else who had come by to see us off….Rebel. L Daisy’s boyfriend was hanging out in the backyard. I hope his heart heals quickly and he finds someone else who can make him happy.

After a stop for lunch at Burger King we were on our way. We had made it about 20 minutes outside of Laurel and I was going to town on my Whopper when something felt funny. I had the luggage carrier on top of the Jeep and it felt like something wasn’t right with it. I was just about to call Josh and ask him if he could see anything wrong when he pulled over in front of me. The carrier had come open and I had lost a garment bag! That must have been some kind of Whopper I was enjoying to not have noticed luggage flying through the air, dontcha think? Josh ended up taking the whole thing down and moving it and the luggage in it to the back of the moving truck. We had told the church secretary we would be there by a certain time, so Josh went on and I turned around to go hunt for my clothes. I drove almost back to Laurel and there was no sign of them anywhere. The only thing I can figure is that they landed in a deep ditch with stuff all grown up in it. So, if any of my Mississippi folks are driving on Hwy 15 South between Laurel and Richton and you happen to find a garment bag will you send it my way?
After that things were pretty uneventful. I eventually ended up passing Josh once we got into Florida because he had to stop for gas and it turned out it took a little bit of time to fill up a moving truck. I was about 30 minutes ahead of him when I made it to our exit at Defuniak Springs. I had never been so thankful to see that exit in all of my life. Did I mention I hadn’t been getting much sleep? Well, I had literally been on the exit for 2 seconds when I saw lights in my rearview mirror. Oh brother. I knew I wasn’t speeding because the cop had been following a truck with it’s flashers on and I had slowed down to go around them. Seems my slowing down allowed the officer to notice that my tag was expired. I was not aware of that by the way. He came up to the passenger window and took one look in the Jeep and asked, “You movin’?” I wanted to tell him I just couldn’t decide what to wear that morning, but I decided being a smart alec was probably not best in this situation. I told him I was and where we were moving from and to. It occurred to me that when he saw me and my dirty child in the backseat and all of our clothes piled up that we probably looked like a domestic violence case. I was thinking that when he asked to see my registration and as I reached into the glove box he asked what had happened to my hands. I have really dry skin and from all of the packing and cleaning my knuckles were totally cracked and bleeding. He said it looked like I had been in a fight. I laughed about it, but secretly feared I would soon be arrested for assault. At this point I still had no idea why he had pulled me over. I gave him my license and he started radioing information. I started to say something when I heard him report the weight that was on my license. I really wanted to point out that I am 20 pounds smaller than when I had that license made, but again, it didn’t seem the right time. He asked me if my husband was in the military. I dropped my head in shame and replied, “No. He’s a preacher.” And here was the preacher’s wife about to get arrested for assault, looking like a homeless person and worrying about her weight being broadcast on the police scanner.

For one of the above reasons, he showed mercy and didn’t give me a ticket, just told me to make sure and take care of it once we got to our new home. I was very appreciative. A ticket would have taken money out of the furniture shopping budget and that would have been tragic, truly tragic.

42 hours later (slight exaggeration) we made it to our new home. Several of the church people were waiting on our doorstep to help unload and they had sandwiches and brownies fixed. What a welcome sight! They had also stocked our pantry. How sweet! The truck got unloaded and Josh’s parent’s had gone by to pick up the sofa and loveseat we had found. We had furniture! I would tell you about the rest of that night but I truly have no memory of it. It seems like we did some unpacking, but it was not long before I BATHED and went to sleep.

The next day was one we had been SO excited about. We were going into Panama (yes, I’m from St. Joe now and I say Panama) to look for new furniture. It worked out so perfect that we got our tax refund just in time for the move. We had our moving truck for another day so Josh and the kids drove it around and Kate and I followed in the Jeep. We went to a bazillion stores and looked at furniture until I had memorized prices on all the latest furniture. Finally at 1:30 that afternoon Kate said, “Peez go eat.” We did go eat and then took the kids to my Mom’s once she was off work so we could go back to the bazillion stores and actually buy stuff. We went to Sam’s so Josh could get the TV he had found the best price on. As he rolled that thing out of the store I could tell it was the happiest day of his life. He assured me our wedding day and the births of our children were more exciting, but I knew that this day was right up there. J We had been to so many places looking for white bunk beds for the girls and could not find them anywhere. We of course found them at the last place we looked and they were on sale!

It was 10:00 by the time we got home that night (we’re on eastern time now) and we were again wore slap out. We once again had a moving truck to unload, but nobody was there to help. Just me. Now, I should probably not share this, but just in case you ever get the idea that Josh and I have a flawless relationship and make you sick with how smitten we are with each other, I just want you to know that on that night, we couldn’t have been any more on each other’s nerves. It should have been such a special time being able to get this new stuff for our new home, but seriously, we were sleep deprived and had to get a bedroom suite off of a moving truck. I haven’t shredded in over a month now (really y’all I quit bathing, did you really expect me to keep exercising?) so I was not at my strongest. As we stood on that truck and I attempted to lift my end of a dresser that was not lifting, I began to question everything in life. Did I go to the right college? Was this the wrong bedroom suite? Should I have gotten something different for lunch that day? Do you know what I mean? Do you ever reach the point of being that tired that just everything seems wrong? Okay, well that is where I was and Josh looked at me and said, “You can do this. You’re superwoman.” Any other day I might have found that sweet and empowering. That night I knew that translated, “Come on woman, I’m tired and I want to go to bed and you are no help at all.” Somehow, by the grace of God we got that furniture in our bedroom and it was in that moment I told Josh we can NEVER move again. We have real furniture now and it is HEAVY!!

The next morning we had to drive back to Panama (40 minutes, y’all didn’t see that coming did you?) to take the moving truck back. We ran by two more stores to pick up some things we needed and then headed back home. I was so excited to have the rest of the day to unpack and decorate. We had been home an hour (an hour people!!) when Kate slammed her finger in the screen door. She got it good. It was bleeding bad. Like Friday the 13th, gory movie bad. So, we loaded up and headed for the ER. We thought the hospital had a clinic in Mexico Beach, but it is closed now so we ended up back in P.C. at the hospital. Thankfully my Mom was able to keep Sarah and Eli. We stopped by a walk-in clinic but they sent us to the ER saying they would have a surgeon there and more people to hold her down. That did not comfort me AT ALL! I told Josh when she busted her head open they just glued it back together! They really did. Well, after waiting and waiting and waiting, we saw the dr. and she didn’t need stitches. They did an x-ray and it wasn’t broken. So, all of that and she got a band-aid. Oh yeah, and a teddy bear, sucker and two stickers. J It was neat for me though because I did my social work internship at that very hospital and used those teddy bears for a project I did. I would go in the rooms of kids who came to the ER and used a medical kit to let the kids take the bear’s temperature and blood pressure and stuff like that so they would know what to expect when the dr. came in. Several of the nurses did that while we were there and it was neat. Anyway, that took up most of that day. I told Josh I was pretty sure we were really going to like our house if we ever got to be at it. J
Our weekend was full as our friend’s Matt and Cortnee came from Montrose to bring Josh’s car. We had a lot of fun with them and they got to go to our first official church service with us on Sunday. From Sat.-Tues. we filled our days with seafood, church, bowling, drag racing, pool playing, downtown shopping and more eating. They left Wednesday morning and that afternoon my Mom and sister, Jenny came out to see us. Jenny is in town because I am giving her a baby shower this Saturday and I am SO excited! She was living in Alaska when she had my nephew, Luke, so I am thrilled to get to give her a shower this time. My Mamaw, Aunt Becky and cousin Hannah are also coming to town today. In fact, they may be getting to my Mom’s in the next hour. So, we will soon be heading back to Panama to pick up our nightstands we had to order (please pray with me that they are NOT as heavy as the dresser!), do some shower shopping and eat supper with them.

So, to wrap this up, we’ve met the police, been to the ER and oh yeah, Daisy found a way out of our fenced yard. Some things never change!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One For The Road

It's official, I hate moving. Well, my Daddy always told me it was wrong to hate. I was only allowed to strongly dislike. I STRONGLY, STRONGLY, STRONGLY dislike it. Somehow I had totally forgotten just how much until this day of misery arrived. Maybe it because it is the culmination of a week of semi-torturous sorting, packing, organizing, washing, painting, washing, washing, did I mention washing? I told my friends, who must truly love me (or be gluttons for punishment) who were gathered in my natural disaster of a bedroom tonight that moving was like giving birth. During the process you can't imagine that you would ever forget how horrible it is, but somehow you do and before you know it you are doing it again and brought to tears by your inability to find a place for a screwdriver, starch can and a hairbow. (Um, I'm just referring to moving there, not labor. :) It just becomes too much!

I know Josh has lost it. I kept asking him when I was packing clothes if he had something to wear tomorrow and he kept saying he didn't know. We gave him a hard time about not having any clothes to wear and he said he'd just go naked and asked us what we thought the new church members would think of that. We assured him that while preachers usually have what is known as a "honeymoon period" during the early days at a new church that we are pretty sure that is not what it means!!! Dear Lord, if nothing else goes right tomorrow, please help all of my family members to have clothes on. They don't even have to match or be clean. Amen.
We are planning to leave by 9:00 at the latest in the morning and I still have that random "where the heck should this go?" packing and cleaning to do. You are probably asking yourself why, then am I blogging? Because honestly at this point I will do ANYTHING to avoid cleaning out my fridge. Do ya hear me? ANYTHING. About an hour ago I got in the Jeep to head to Jerry's to raid the drink machine. Y'all, for a second I pretended I was actually leaving for Florida. I pretended y'all! Have you ever had moments where you realized, "I am actin' like a stinkin' 3 year old. I'm not even kidding. I have been some kind of whiny, tempermental and fussy. I've done everything short of doing the new Kate thing and clenching my fists and saying "I don't want to!" The truth is I do not think this packing and cleaning marathon will ever end. As soon as I see a light at the end of the tunnel the next thing I know there is a box springs blocking it. So, I am taking a minute to chug some Diet Coke and regain what is left of my composure. Ahem.
So, yesterday was our last day at Montrose Baptist Church. I actually did pretty good Sunday until after the service Sunday night. Two of our sweet girls who are sisters greeted me outside crying their eyes out. One is Sarah's BFF and I bent down to hug them and the 3 of us just bawled our eyes out. We were for sure doing the ugly cry. heart. I just can't explain the way I love these people. Especially several of the girls in the church who just captured my heart and became my own.
Okay, well I've gone from throwin' my little fit to sinking back into my sadness so I better move on. The real reason I am writing is to share my very last mouse blog. Can you believe it? Barring one of our furry residents joining me on the floor at the computer tonight, these last two stories I'm about to share were my last encounters with the Montrose mice. One of my sweet blog readers, Patty, shared on her blog that my mice stories were giving her nightmares. I am so sorry! Please, if they affect you in that way, you do NOT want to hear these. But, if you can take just one more, here goes....
So, a few days ago Sarah and Eli were getting there coats and shoes on to go outside and play. Sarah gasped and said, "It's a mouse!" I assumed it must be dead, but she said she didn't think so. I got up and walked across the room only to find this....

For the love of cheese, the mice are now cuddling with our stuffed animals!!! Apparently I have caused them such emotional damage that they need the comfort of a furry, stuffed animal. I thought it must have crawled up there and died because no matter how close I got or what I moved around it he did not move. So yes, I took a picture. I think some people have questioned my stories and think I just make a lot of this stuff up but I PROMISE I DON'T! Have you ever seen such a thing? Well, turns out it was not dead and did escape as soon as I got the dustpan out. He ran off and I couldn't find him. Well, later Eli saw it just hanging out next to the couch. It seems they get into the poison and start acting all goofy and drugged. I got the dustpan again and y'all will not believe what I did. For those of you who remember the first mouse story of me following Josh around the playroom with a broom in my hand and a towel on my head, I have come a long way! I put down a glue trap and only one of his feet stuck. I got the dustpan and tried to get him on there but the dustpan stuck to the trap! So, I picked up the dustpan, with the trap hanging off the side and the mouse hanging off 0f it. I ran outside and tried to throw it out the door. Well, the trap would not come off so I kept slinging it. Still the trap would not come off, but the mouse went flying into a tree!!!!!!!!!!! I killed the mouse with my own hands!!! (And a dustpan). I cannot even tell you how traumatic it was for me. I was sad for about 7 minutes. :(

Then, three days later I was headed down our hallway and there sat another mouse. Right in the middle of the hallway! Just sitting there. He was halfway between the laundry room and the girl's room and I had just cleaned their closet out. I'm thinking he was confused about all of the packing and changes and was sitting there going (as Kate would say), "What's in the world?" He must have been very drugged because no matter what he never moved. Okay, brace yourselves for what I did. It was the most appropriate ending to my mouse stories. But you won't believe it. I got a box and got that mouse into the box!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I caught a mouse for real!!!! I went running out to the storage shed where Josh was working to show off my feat. He looked at me sympathetically in a "I promise we will get you the help you need" kind of way. I was so excited. I couldn't get over the fact that I had done it. Well, after the trauma of personally killing that other mouse by way of tree force, I took the mouse out to the field and let it go. Okay honestly, I kind of flipped out and dumped him and he probably suffered a concussion if not instant death, but I felt like I had done the right thing.

So, those are my last mouse stories. Who knows what stories this next season will bring. Next time I write I will no longer be in my house in the country. It is still not sinking in. I hope you all will join me for the next chapter of my life, but until's one for the road!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Take Me Home Country Roads

When I was in high school there was a store in our mall that sold music boxes. It was one of my favorites stores to vist and admire the many styles they had to offer and check out the variety of songs they played. I wanted one. Josh and I were dating at the time and he knew of my love for the music box store so he got me my very own music box just in time to move it in to my dorm with me. It is one of my most treasured possessions. I don't have very many. Have I told y'all my kids break everything? But this music box, it is treasured and is one of those things I hope to hand down to my girls. Or maybe get it out on occasion to show my grandchildren and tell them the story of mine and Josh's courtin' days. Did I really just use the word "grandchildren"?Good grief. Well, back to the music box.

I just packed this music box tonight (in bubble wrap and in a special box that will say "Emily's Very Imprtant Stuff-DO NOT TOUCH. ONLY EMILY CAN TOUCH THIS BOX!!!!!!!!!") and it was the perfect ending to a very emotional, full circle kind of day. It is almost 1:00 am and I should really be heading to bed since tomorrow promises to be the day from packing and cleaning hades, but I just feel like if I don't take the time to document my thoughts and feelings I will soon be swept away with chores, responsibilities and other things that will block this special day from my mind.

As I've shared, I'm no rookie to the moving scene. I moved more times than I can remember as a child and this will make the 6th move in 8 years of marriage for Josh and myself. They say it never gets easier. Whoever they is. Or maybe they do say it gets better? I have no idea. It's way too late. What I'm trying to say, is that no matter how many times I move or how excited I may be about the move, it's always hard. Change is hard. Leaving Montrose will mean leaving what has been home for 3 years, leaving our church family, leaving my best friend who is like a sister and leaving the routine that we've called life for 3 and 1/2 years. Above all of that, we are leaving behind a season.

A couple of years ago God really began to speak to me about seasons and how important it is to realize that we go through certain seasons for periods of time. Nothing in life is forever. Sometimes that is good news. Sometimes it's harder to grapple with. But the beauty of recognizing the seasons is learning to make the most of them while you are in them. Having small children is just a season. That means my life won't always be crazy, messy and exhausting. It also means Iwon't always have the time with and the unconditional adoration of my little ones. I have to soak it up now and make the most of the time God has given me with them.

I bring up this issue of seasons because I want to express what this season of life in Montrose has been like for us. Well, for me. In August of 2006 Josh and I packed up our little family and moved into a house we had never seen in anticipation of God calling us to a church that we had no clue about. Sarah was 4 and Eli, 16 months. Us city dwellers moved into an almost 100 year old farmhouse with no cable and took up watching the cows walk to the next pasture over for our entertainment. After being in school full-time and a stay at home mom, I picked up my spiffy briefcase I got for graduation and started my first ever real job. With my diploma still in the mail and the ink still drying on my Social Worker's license I strutted into the hospice company and acted like I knew exactly what I was doing. Several people didn't want me to get my job and made it well known. I had a lot to prove. Josh went from working 60 hour weeks as a breadman to playing Mr. Mom and filling in at different churches on Sundays. We didn't have two pennies to rub together, but the excitement of the call God had placed on our life (and some well-timed cards and special gifts :) sustained us through the first several months.

During the summer before we moved Josh had filled in at a church called Montrose Baptist Church. We were smitten with the people and Eli and I enjoyed playing with the neighborhood dogs while Sarah went to her class and Josh prepared for his sermon. We always remember that they were about to start their Vacation Bible School and Josh stood at a small podium on the floor surrounded by igloos and inflatable penguins. :) In late November, that church called and asked Josh to be the full-time pastor. I missed out on the excitment of hearing that the church had voted us in. Sarah had gone to the bathroom and ended up stuck in the stall. I finally just told her to climb out under it, but by the time we made it back the announcement had been made. Leave it to me to be stuck in the bathroom. Story of my life.... :)

We couldn't wait to move into the parsonage! The week before Christmas our parents took the kids and Josh and I painted 7 rooms and a hallway. I was working everyday and we were making the 90 minute round trip every night to work on the house. I thought about that tonight as I was in the paint section at Wal-Mart. Another full-circle moment. I lived on Dove chocolate and Diet Cokes that week and we moved in just in time to celebrate Christmas in our new house.

Josh was ordained a week later. We found out Kate was in the works a few weeks after that. :) In just a few short months I had become professional social worker, preacher's wife and soon to be mom of 3. Thankfully, I was too sick to notice that I should probably be a little overwhelmed. Our church people loved on us and patiently endured the many growing pains that come with beginning a ministry from the ground up.

My work schedule became increasingly challenging. I was supposed to have between 25 and 35 patients, but due to continuous staff changes and a huge growth spurt that our company went through I ended up having close to 60 patients at one point. And it wasn't just having that many people to see every month, it was driving across creation to see them. It was carrying their burdens and their family's burdens as well. It was that much more paperwork. My caseload was at it's highest toward the end of my pregnancy. I was 7 months pregnant in July, working on overdrive with so many extra patients, and taught VBS every night for a week that month. That very same week Josh performed his first funeral, that of a newborn baby who had never left the hospital. I was in awe of how he handled the service and we both tried to minister to the family, but in my hormonal state I could never bring myself to look at the baby.

Less than a month later we were preparing for Sarah to start kindergarten. That was a job! The shopping and the clothes and the haircuts and oh my gosh, I had to sew a nap mat that turned out to be the most shameful piece of non-handiwork you've ever seen. I had started having a lot of contractions and was so worried I would miss her first day of school. Well, I made it to drop her off but by that night I ended up at the hospital being given medication to stop my labor. I went back to work and still remember the day I dropped Eli off at Mrs. Lavern's and headed to work. I ended up taking the longest route possible and by the time I made it to my first patient's house I was unbelievably relieved she wasn't home. I was hurting bad! She only lived a few minutes from the hospital so I decided to go get checked out. Sure enough, I was in labor a month early. They kept me and I started making phone calls. Josh was in Jackson for school and ended up running out of gas on the side of the interstate (don't ask) and so it felt like forever before he got there. I had to find people for the kids to stay with and they had to go in my disaster of a house to get the kid's clothes that probably weren't clean because I hadn't been able to fit in the laundry room since my second trimester. Anyway, I just won't ever forget that day.

But, I especially won't forget the next day. That is when Kate made her entrance into the world. I had Sarah and Eli both in 5 hours and I just could not believe I was in labor with my 3rd baby for over 24 hours. Turns out her birthday, August 28th, was also my one year anniversary with my company and the only way I would qualify for my family medical leave. She was such a good girl, hangin' in there for that. :) That day would turn into one of the most traumatic of my life. I experienced post partum hemmoraghe that could have been fatal and Kate had to be taken to the NICU for breathing problems. Our conditions were totally unrelated and unexpected as I had never experienced any problems in the past. I also found out later that my beloved cocker spaniel, Abby, died that day while we were at the hospital. I'm tellin' ya, I will NEVER forget that day!

The very next week after we were home from the hospital (I stayed for a week and Kate stayed a couple of days after I left) Josh's mom, T, came to help out after my parents had to go home. Just a few days into her stay we received the sad news that Josh's grandpa had lost his battle with lung cancer. We all packed up and headed to Panama City for the funeral, Josh's second to perform.

After all of that I ended up taking 8 weeks for my maternity leave. Will you believe me if I tell you I don't remember much of them? I went back to work armed with a breastpump instead of my spiffy briefcase and spent many sleep deprived days driving the country roads. I loved my job though. I truly believe it is one of the most rewarding I could have had. In June of the next year I felt God leading me to quit my job. I cannot even tell you how hard that was. Like I said, I loved my job (okay, there were parts I didn't love, but for the most part I really liked it) and there was no way we could make it financially without me working. I've heard women make snooty comments about women needing to learn how to live without certain luxuries so they can be at home with their children. While I am a supporter (obviously) of being at home with your kids I always felt frustrated by comments like that and wanted to tell them that as soon as we learned how to live without the luxuries of electricity and food I would quit my job! Despite my feeling that way, God would not leave me alone about my job. This time, like the time He asked us to move to Mississippi, He was asking me to step out on faith. Josh will tell you, this was a hard time for him. He wanted me to be faithful, but again, we just couldn't make things work on paper. We had a meeting at work one Monday morning after I had made up my mind not to quit. I was so upset I had to leave and go to the bathroom. After the meeting I went to the Jeep and got my Bible. I was praying and God led me to Numbers 20, Moses' Error at Kadesh. Iwish I could remember how I got there that day because I can assure you I don't usually turn to the book of Numbers for comfort. Anyway, I called Josh crying like a baby and asked him, "What was Moses' error?" We both knew the answer. Disobedience. Moses missed out on entering the promised land because of it. That settled it for me and I went inside that very minute and gave my notice. My boss kept asking me where I was going to work. She couldn't believe I was really just leaving without having another job lined up. Shoot, I couldn't believe it either!

Minutes after leaving her office one of our chaplains took me aside to find out why I was such a basketcase. He then informed me that one of our other offices, the one that is actually closest to our house had just had an opening come up for a chaplain. Josh went for an interview the next day and started the following week.

I am still in awe of the faithfulness God has shown us in the last few years. God has provided for us in too many ways to share here. He has gifted me with so many new relationships in this season and strengthened many I already had.That is not to say that there haven't also been many times when I've felt like God had left the building. I've recently shared how we went months not knowing what God's plan for us was. 4 months after I left my job I decided to homeschool Sarah Beth, and if that wasn't a move nobody saw coming (including me!) I don't know what is. Talk about more changes!

I've shared a lot more than I intended tonight and I know if you've read my blog for a while you know about a lot of these things. I guess today I am just trying to wrap my mind around it all. New jobs, new ministry, lost jobs (Josh ended up being laid off from that job for six months), broke down vehicles, health issues, family issues, loved ones lost. We rejoiced at having my sister move from Alaska to Georgia only to have Josh's sister leave for Italy. During this season Josh has worked full-time, gone to school full-time and pastored a church. We've lived in the parking lot of that church and I've homeschooled (or tried) and cared for 3 kids under the age of seven. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm impressed as all get out that we even SURVIVED this season. You know what I mean? I mean, when I was in counseling for my depression I learned that two of the triggers for me are 1. stress and 2. change. HA! I am absolutely praising God tonight that I've gotten out of bed everyday the last 3 years!!

The thing about it is, we haven't just survived these last few years, we have THRIVED. You couldn't tell it if you checked our bank account or saw the broke down cars we will soon be towing to Florida. There hasn't been any significant growth in numbers at the church. But the thing is, these have been some of the richest years of my life, y'all. Rich in experience, rich in relationships and rich in personal growth. Josh and I may have been married for 6 years and had 2 kids when we got here, but we were two clueless, naive kids if there ever were any. We will be leaving this town and this season as grown ups. More importantly, we will be leaving this season of ministry to go on to a new season of ministry.

Josh loves statistics. Personally, I just like beating the odds. Well, Josh found this statistic that says, 1,500 pastors leave the ministry permanently each month in America. (According to Shiloh Place Ministries (, which drew its information from Focus on the Family, Ministries Today, Charisma Magazine, TNT Ministries, and other respected groups). 1500 every MONTH!

I'm sure I could do a whole post on that subject and I know that there are many different reasons and situations behind that. But let me tell you why that statistic matters to me. I don't know about y'all, but as I think back on the trials my family has experienced during this season I start to get the idea that Satan may not have wanted us to hang in there. I'm not a betting woman, but I'm willing to bet that Satan would have preferred that Josh and I join those 1,500. Let's face it, ministry is hard. It's hard when everything in life is going great. Throw in a few family crises, financial instability, career changes and a 2 year old and man, ANY job seems better! I would absolutely be lying to you if I told you there has never been a single time in the last 3 and 1/2 years that I haven't thought (or said) "Could we please do something else? Please, pretty, pretty please?" As Lisa McKay says in her book "You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes And Other Great Advice From an Unlikely Preacher's Wife",

"It's not every woman who looks forward to low salaries and high
expectations. Of frequent moves and misunderstood children. Of criticism and
conflict. These are just a few stereotypical pitfalls that can understandably cause a woman to put the skids on any plans her man has for serving in vocational ministry."

Do I share all of this to ask you to feel sorry for me or to run screaming from any call God has placed on your life? Not for a second! I share all of this because, you know that music box I mentioned WAY back in the beginning of this post? Well, that music box just happens to play John Denver's "Take Me Home Country Roads". That didn't mean a thing in the world to Josh or I 11 years ago when he bought it. But tonight, I grin at the idea that our first season of ministry would be one that took us down more country roads than you can shake a stick at. I don't doubt for a second that God called us here and God sustained us here. And I'm praising the Father that we while may have spent some of this season driving around lost (figuratively and literally :) we are leaving as stronger drivers with clearer directions. I can't thank God enough for this season that has been SO incredibly difficult and yet so unbelievably rewarding. Thank you Father, for these country roads. They've blessed my socks off!!!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Have a Seat

So, one of the really exciting parts of this move for me is that we are using our tax refund to buy new furniture for our new house. It is desperately needed and Josh and I have had a lot of fun looking at stuff online and thankfully we have very similar tastes and like the same things. It works out good that we are not moving much of our furniture (believe me when I tell you most of it is falling apart to the point that it probably wouldn't make it throught the trip, or really the door), but that means we are going to have no living room furniture when we get there. I am excited about going shopping, but I know that it will really bother me if we have to go more than a day without setting up house. I'm an old pro at this and I like to get in and get settled! So, I've still been hoping to find something online that could be shipped by the time we get there. Not likely now, but I just have to show what I came across on tonight: Hamster furniture.


Here is what the product description had to say about it:

*Exciting living room ensemble includes a Sit-N-Snooze Sofa, Hide-N-See TV, Sip-N-Snack

Lamp, and Snack-N-Sit Rocker

*Makes watching your hamster, gerbil, or mouse great fun

Um, I added the emphasis on "mouse" so that you would catch that. Furniture for a mouse so you can have fun watching it!!!!!!!!!! There are people who want to watch mice? I can't tell you how relieved I am that I found this. I mean, really, I don't want the mice to feel left out of our furniture shopping experience. It's even on sale y'all. Really though, I don't think this particular set is right for our mice. Do they have this in a sectional??????

I'm Moving, Daddy

Guess what Dad? I'm moving. Again. To Port St. Joe! Can you believe that? I hadn't told you that it was even a possibility because I didn't want to get your hopes up in case it didn't work out. But it did work out and we will be living a block from the Gulf of Mexico. Don't you know the kids are going to love it this summer? Well, that is if I'm not to lazy to lug them and a bunch of stuff to the beach. You know me and my lazy self. I'm not sure what hurricane season will be like, but the pastorium and the church seem to have held up pretty well so far. Hurricane season won't be the same without you. :)

As I was packing up the kitchen at 2:00 this morning I thought about how much I wish I could call you and get a pep talk. You would tell me one of your hilarious moving stories and tell me to hang in there. You would probably remind me of the time you and Josh moved our 800 pound sectional and the washer/dryer UPSTAIRS to our first apartment. You would say again how grateful you were that Josh helped you move out of the house on Old Bicycle. We would laugh about the night we thought our bladders were going to burst and the three vehicles moving us were going to run out of gas before we made it to the house we had never seen in Enterprise. I would tease you about the fact that you and Mr. Bucky were too chicken to stay in the hotmess of a house we moved into. :)

I've wondered if God has told you about our move. If it does your heart good to know that we will be close to Mama and that Sarah has already planned dinner and movie dates with her. That Josh is planning to help Philip work on his brakes. Phil is doing an amazing job taking care of Mama and I know you are proud. I hope it does your heart good to know that we are all going to be there to give Jenny a baby shower soon. She's having a girl, Dad and her name is going to be Lyla Grace. Isn't that the sweetest, most southern name you've ever heard? I know your first words to Jenny would have been, "Alright! We're gonna have a little Jenny girl."

I also wonder if it does your heart good to know that you won't have to break your back moving furniture this time. It's okay, I too will appreciate the day I get to move into my Heavenly home and STAY THERE!!! I often have to remind myself that you have moved into your Heavenly home. Life has been so hectic and crazy that at times it's easy to think you are still in P.C. Like we just haven't had a chance to talk or the internet has been down. Sometimes I will stop for a second and think "My Dad is dead." It just doesn't seem real. I know it will when we move. The last time we were in Panama City (when the Saints won the Super Bowl!!!!) I realized that there isn't a square inch of that city that doesn't hold a memory of you. I sure was looking forward to renewing our Saturday morning breakfast ritual at Burger King. But I know you are enjoying a feast I can't imagine and I have to lay off of the fast food anyway. Can you imagine the things we will have to discuss when we are reunited at that table??

We miss you Daddy. Sarah Beth is practically grown and just the sweetest thing. She has come a long way since the terrible 2's and the night you had to intervene and save her from my wrath. Well, actually there were many of those times. She will probably never drink a Sprite without thinking about you. Eli is still addicted to Movie Gallery and still thinks every object is fit to be a ball or bat. He was lifting my handweights the other night and told me "I'm getting ready for Keeley." Ha! The girls here are still crazy about him and chase him down any chance they get. You really wouldn't believe Kate. She asks to call Pappy all the time. She saw your picture and said, "Pappy cute." She is just a mess. The last time we were with Jenny, Dillon and Luke she told Luke, "Don't take my chips baby!" You would have been proud. Nobody was gonna mess with her chips! :)

Well, I've got to get back to 8 million loads of laundry and packing. Do we have to do laundry in Heaven? Just curious....

I love you Daddy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Moving Memories

At some point soon I will be repainting the girl's bedroom before we move. It's inevitable. The walls look like I've been holding prisoners marking off their days on the wall. I'm not kidding. This won't be my first rodeo. I am totally considering opening a moving, painting and pest control business. It seems to be what God has been grooming me for these past few years. As I prepare for my latest painting adventure (that I am praying is not adventurous) I thought I would share a moving memory with you. Moving, like packing moving, not emotionally moving. Well, it probably will be....for me.

*Congratulations to those Montrosians who made it on this list. I have no idea what the list is for, but I'm offended I'm number 3 nonetheless. Oh well, maybe I'll be number one next year. Or maybe my daughter will FINALLY learn to stop writing on the wall. Let's hope so....

Crayons On The Wall

July 19, 2006

So, if anybody reads these blogs of mine you know I'm moving soon. 17 days according to my little counter thing on my profile which I am sooo glad I put there to just add a lttle extra stress as I watch it click off numbers faster than I can blink. And I look at it a lot because since we decided to move I'm on the computer more than I've been all other years of my life combined. Why? Because it's all I can do to feel in control. I check the online classifieds for jobs and houses like it's nobody's business. I check the MLS at least 15 times a day waiting for my dream house to arrive or to obsess over the one I have picked out for the week. I'm exhausted. I don't know if I've ever been so tired in all my life.

Since I've been so tired, I wanted to lay down the other day, but of course my bed was covered with boxes and piles of stuff we should've gotten rid of 5 years ago. So, I laid down on Sarah's bed. Of course I do have two kids under the age of 4 so I don't really get to close my eyes and sleep, I just lay there until I hear screaming or something breaking. As I was laying there I found myself staring at the wall which is now competely covered in wall art courtesy of Sarah Beth. She's "a artist like daddy" she tells me proudly. At first I felt totally annoyed that we are going to have to repaint her room before we move. Then I started thinking about how mad I would get everytime she would add a new drawing. (Yes, she's been artsy several times). Lots of spankings, time-outs and talking to's have happened over that artwork. Then, I started crying. My friend A.J. said that his first thought upon meeting was that I was emotional. I told him I'm a lot better now and I had gotten better, but lately I'm very emotional again.

Looking at her artwork I could see where she had gotten better. I could actually tell the difference between the initial scribbles and the later drawings with purpose. It made me realize how much Sarah has grown and changed since we moved into this house 3 years ago. She had just started walking and was still sleeping in her crib. This was the house where we took away her bottle and her pacifier. This is the house where she was potty trained. Lots of changes. Now, she just turned 4 and she gets on to me for talking with my mouth full. She also plans our social calendar and says, "Isn't that a great idea?" When she grows up she wants to be a doctor, a cowboy, and a ballerina. I think she has the energy to do it all.

Well, now that I've reminisced about all of Sarah's changes it still ticks me off that we have to repaint. But I'm also glad for the memories of crayons on the wall.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Let's Not Use the "P" Word

The truth hurts doesn't it? Sometimes there is just no laughter to go with it. It just hurts. You wanna know the truth? I'm human. That's a newsflash, huh? I'm assuming if you've read my blog at all you are very aware that in the Olympics of perfection, I didn't qualify. And if too much disclosure were an event I could probably win the gold. I promise that any time I share very personal, painful to hear things that they have been painful for me to share and it is only because the Spirit has nudged (or forced) me to. This is one of those times.

A few days ago I got a comment on my blog by a person I love dearly and think is a doll. She left one of the sweetest comments I've ever gotten. I was quickly swelling with pride and then I started to quiver with insecurity. She said, "We see you as perfect". I don't know who she meant by "we", but she herself lives many states away so I know that her vision is clouded by a few state lines. :) Her comment made me feel so special, but I went into a panic attack when I read the "P" word. Perfect. *Deep sigh*.

If you wonder how I can possibly stay so humble, when I told Josh about the comment he LAUGHED OUT LOUD! Seriously. The reason I even bring it up is because it almost feels like a ghost from my past. Believe me, right now I would rather be complaining about packing with a 2 year old in the house, writing 500 sappy letters to people I love in Montrose, or giving you some more songs to get stuck in your head. But, I've been feeling like God wanted me to stop in the midst of the moving chaos and share something with you. He wanted me to share that I'm not perfect. I was pretty sure we had covered that, but He seemed to want me to dwell on that a little bit.

When I say that the "P" word is a ghost from my past what I mean is that I spent many years in bondage to the desire for perfection. I've tried to figure out why. Still haven't. I thought it was just my personality, but honestly since God has worked in my heart on the whole perfectionism thing I'm not so sure about that. These days I'm usually just trying to achieve mediocre. I always thought of perfectionist as the people who had immaculate homes and cars and were always perfectly dressed without a hair out of place. THAT IS SO NOT ME! But I learned that my perfectionism was more of an inner thing that drove me to want to think, say, and do everything "right". When I was 13 I went through my rebellious phase and it was also that year that I returned to God. I became convinced that for people to believe that I made things right with God that I had to be, you guessed it, perfect. I thought no one would believe that I had changed if made any mistake at all. I thought God's reputation would be totally ruined if someone saw me be anything but Miss Christianity.

I really wasn't trying to be insincere or fake. I really fell in love with Jesus and wanted more than anything to please Him. My problem was that somehow I decided that pleasing Him meant that I should always please EVERYBODY else. Again, it was all me. I put the pressure on myself. I set my standards unbelievably high. Apparently I led people to think I was something I wasn't....perfect.

I wasn't going to say anything about that comment, even though I felt like I should. Then I got this e-mail from a high school friend:

"If anything I only regret to holding you during those times to a standard that no one including myself could attain and thus at times feeling that you failed my expectations at being perfect"

He went on to give an example of a time he saw me snap at my sister and couldn't believe I would do such a thing. Ow. I won't lie, it hurt. It hurt that I had messed up. It really hurt that not only had someone witnessed it, but REMEMBERED it 13 years later. It hurt the most that I was reminded that I'm not and never have been...perfect. But the thing is, it only hurt for a second. And then, I felt relieved. Relieved that God truly has done such a work in my life at setting me free from the "P" word. Let me tell you about it.

I've shared that I struggled with depression and it was very rooted in my desire for perfection. Did you know that life is hard? Well, it is. Turns out the older I got the less I knew. The more I tried to be perfect the less perfect I was. I experienced some tough times that left me feeling very vulnerable and it was during that time that my Dad spoke some of the most freeing words I'd ever heard. He said, "It is not your job to make everybody happy." Wow. Do you know that at the age of 17 that was news to me? I always thought it was my job to make everybody happy. The problem with realizing that it's not your job to make people happy is that well, it makes people unhappy. For a chronic people pleaser like myself it became torture to make decisions and do things that didn't make everybody happy.

It was during my depression that I developed a new kind of relationship with my Jesus. I don't really want to go into the details of my depression, but I'll just tell you it got ugly. My marriage survived because my husband is a saint. And he was working between 60-80 hours a week and didn't have to be around me much. I always thought I would be such an awesome mom, but I wasn't. I was the exact opposite of an awesome mom. I would occassionally have good days, but Josh recently told me that he could always tell when I was depressed by looking in my eyes. I knew what he meant. I used to look at myself in the mirror and feel like I didn't know who I was looking at. What does all of this have to do with the perfection thing? I couldn't even pretend to be perfect. I said hateful things. I gave looks that probably hurt more than the words. There were many times I questioned if I was really a Christian.

It was during those dark, lonely, hopeless days that I discovered a new hope. I know now that Jesus never left me but I surely tried to run away from Him. He never let go. He met me, laying in the fetal position on the floor and said, "This is who you are, but I know who you can be." I learned about GRACE and that a relationship with Him is a GIFT and not anything I could ever earn even if I was the president of the Christian club. :) It didn't have a thing in the world to do with how great Emily is and everything to do with how great He is! It wasn't about me. Never had been, never will be. I'm just a very imperfect child trying to please my Daddy. I want to be who He wants me to be, but He always loves me right where I am.

My very favorite verse has always been Romans 5:8 which says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us." And the verse that God used to teach me to let go of that people pleasing? (Or to work on it...) "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bonservant of Christ." Galatians 1:10 I've learned that I am a sinner saved by grace called to serve God and not men. And that was an important lesson because many things God asks us to do are NOT popular with anybody, much less everybody.

In my never ending people pleasing quest (see, still very much working on it) I pray that this is taken the way it is meant to be. It means so much to me that people think highly of me and consider me an example. It blows my mind, but still it is nice. But at the same time it breaks my heart a million times over to think of how imperfect I am and that it woud be a disappointment. I can assure you if you have put me on a pedastal I will fall off quicker than you could imagine. But if you want a friend to join you on the journey of following Jesus I am all over that! We can forget about the "P" word and just focus on the One who is perfect!

"For the law appoints as high priest men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever."
Hebrews 7:28