Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nine Years Ago Today

Nine years ago today, I was getting into this dress....

Putting on this necklace....

Being cooled by the girl flower....

9 years ago today, my Daddy was walking me down the aisle....

And you were waiting....

9 years ago today, we said our vows...

You sang a song, we lit some candles, said our prayers, and shared our first Lord's Supper....

Then we kissed a lot!!!

9 years ago today, we walked out of the church as Mr. and Mrs.!

We danced a dance....

We acted silly...

We ran through bubbles....

We drove off into the sunset...

And lived happily ever after....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'll Just Wear A Bag Over My Head Next Time

WARNING: Reading this post could be very traumatic if you are a guy. Or a girl. Especially if you are my family member or a church member. Just sayin'. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Let's pretend for a moment that I am not a mother of 3 or a preacher's wife. Let's just pretend that I am a normal person who has to do things like say, buy underwear. Okay.

So, this is the thing. Despite the fact that I spent 16 years of my life performing in dance recitals where I was wearing very little clothing and despite the fact that I have birthed 3 children during which time entire shifts of nurses wandered through my room making lunch plans as I pushed a human being into the world, I am still extremely modest. Like, buying underwear embarrasses me. I have no idea why. Well, I say I have no idea why, but I think this weekend reminded me.

You see, mine and Josh's anniversary is coming up and I thought that I would buy, ahem, somthing new. I thought it would be safe. I went late at night. The store was basically empty. I chose my garments and rolled them up as much as I could to try and conceal them as I made my way to the checkout. No one else was in line. *Sigh of relief*.

I thought it would be just fine. This lady could just discreetly ring up my item, put it in a bag as soon as possible and tell me to have a nice day. Nothing to it. WRONG. She HOLDS IT UP to ask if I want the hanger. I tell her no. Then she says, "That's sexy." I giggled nervously while turning 85 shades of red. Again she asked if I wanted the hanger and I told her no again and she proceeds to spend 48 minutes taking it off the hanger while still holding it up in the air. I was convinced at this point the item would go straight to the bag and I could pay and get the heck out of there. No. While she was taking 20 minutes to scan the tag she again says, "That's sexy." I was finally able to speak and told her I was very sure it would not look very sexy on me. Which made me wonder why in the world I was standing there putting myself through all of this in the first place. *Sigh*

At this point I thought our little exchange was complete until the lady checking me out started telling me about what her significant other wanted her to wear. I started looking around for hidden cameras. I was sure I was on one of those candid camera shows. She then said, "I don't know what American men like." I was quick to assure her that I myself do not have experience with what an entire country of men prefer,either. I found myself replying, "I guess all men are different" and then mentally kicking myself. Really, was I having this conversation with a complete stranger at JCPenney? Seriously? FINALLY, the purchase was complete and I was headed on my merry way.

Please, tell me, does this happen to anybody else? Do you find yourself in such conversations while purchasing items of a sensitive nature? Finally, why do these things always happen to me?!?!?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Missions Monday

Today I feel so proud and excited I just have to share with you. I have been very blessed to be surrounded with friends, family and church members doing mission trips this summer. My aunt just got home from Brazil, one of our Montrose boys just got back from Nicaragua, and our friends Matt and Cortnee are in Kentucky doing mission work this week. My best friend, Karen, is gearing up for her annual trip to the Ukraine in the middle of July.

Josh and I feel such a strong call to minister and teach within the church God has placed us, but I have such admiration and respect for all of my fellow brothers and sisters who sacrifice their time, money and comfort to meet the physcial needs and share the Gospel all over the world.

Today I am especially excited for our good friends, Mark and Kim. Josh and I went to high school with Mark and Kim and were there from the beginning of their relationship. Really, all 4 of us had a front row view of the brand spankin' new relationships that were forming our senior year of high school. We spent lots of time together and eventually even got to be part of their wedding. In fact, I somehow ended up with more pictures from their wedding than I have of our wedding and the lives of our 3 children combined. :)  One day, I'm gonna drag out the scanner.

I'm excited for them because they have answered the call to be missionaries to Panama (the country, not the city down the road from us) and they will be leaving in July. The original plan was that they would leave next January but about a week ago I got a text from Kim saying they felt like it was supposed to be sooner. They were seeking prayer that God would work that out and....He did!

We just love this family so much and I have watched from afar the last few years as God has done amazing things in their lives. I know their ministry in Panama will be an overflow of what He is already doing. I ask that you will join us in praying for them. Their ministry, their family in the states that will miss them greatly, that their two precious babies, (who I think of as babies, but really, they aren't so much anymore) Camber (7) and Cooper (5) will adjust well and thrive in their new home, and that God will continue to meet all of their needs.

You can check out their blog and follow their journey at ://

Friday, June 25, 2010

Our Colorful Day

On Wednesday the kids and I were invited to join Audra and her gang and another friend for a day of painting. To say my children were excited would be the understatement of the century. Honestly, I should know better than to tell my kids about anything until we are out the door. Of course, that would leave my life so void of "Is it time to go yet? When are we going? Is it time now?"

After Audra's crew came in to check out the puppies (they are getting so big and Monkey opened his eyes today!) we loaded up. Sarah went with Audra and Jon Michael joined me and Eli. That was a fun drive. I'm so used to girls. In Mississippi Eli was constantly surrounded by girls. I enjoyed getting to hear a boy conversation. Eli told JM he wants to be an exterminator. They discussed their weight. Eli weighs 40 pounds and JM weighs 50. Eli told JM, "You must be working out." I love it. Girls would NEVER discuss their weight. As we drove through the air force base the boys were unable to contain their excitement over the jets flying overhead. The paper mill sparked their interest too, and they wanted to know what the smoke was. I did my best to explain and really wished Josh was there. He is very good at explaining things like that. I, however, am not. They decided the smoke is how clouds are made. It was a A-ha moment in their little lives and I didn't have the heart to explain that it was actually polluting our air. Oh well.

We piled into the pottery place and took in the sights. Every color paint imaginable. The bathroom. (I always have to find the bathroom. I'm seriously lilke an 80 year old woman.) We just thought this place was cool and then she showed us....the other room! That would be a room FULL of pottery. You could paint a bowl or an indian. A snowman or a spoon rest. Whatever your little heart desires. I was the last person out of the room. Those who know me will probably not be shocked to hear that it was a little hard for me to make a decision. :)

It was so much fun and really relaxing to paint our pieces. As relaxing as any activity can be that invovles, paint, breakable stuff and 6 kids under the age of 7.

Audra with her sweet kids.

Eli working on his car

This is the exact same face Josh makes when he is working on something. :)

Sarah and Jolenn working on the VERY pink fairy. I love that Sarah got her red lipstick right off the bat. She is a true Southern girl. :)

Best Buds!

There were a few other people who came in while we were working and the lady in charge got a little overwhelmed. She started making faces at me and I thought she was implying that we were getting on her nerves. I wish I had a video of the conversation we had with our eyes. You know what I'm talking about. She made a face, I made a face back. Normally, I just smile and nod when I am at a loss. In this case, I got so totally confused as to what the heck we were "talking" about that I finally just shrugged my shoulders and said, "Sorry?" As in, what in the world is going on? She took me in the next room over and confided that one of the guys who came in is always there and he drives her crazy. I'm telling you, complete strangers always feel the need to tell me their issues. Anyway, that guy was getting on my nerves too. He was painting a Santa statue blue and black. First, why was he painting a Santa in June??? Second, I'm sorry, but Santa is not supposed to be black and blue. I mean, I like to think of myself as someone who thinks "outside the box", but really, I can't handle a blue and black Santa. Which led me to consider, why is Santa red and white? I mean, if he's trying to be all sneaky, isn't red the WORST color he could pick? Was he trying to color coordinate with Rudolph? Because I could totally get that. Okay, so by the time my brain started questioning Santa's fashion choices we were two hours past lunch and I think my blood sugar may have been a little low.

Poor Audra was in the middle of a glazing crisis and the kids were DONE. With their masterpieces and the whole experience.

So, I offered to take them to eat while Audra  finished. At first I felt bad leaving her, but then I remembered that my greatest dream in life is for someone to takes my kids and let me be alone. :)

We headed for Chick-Fil-A where lots of chicken nuggets were eaten and silly pictures taken.

This is Photography by Jolenn. :)

This one too....

It was a great day and I look forward to going back. Not to ruin the surprise for anyone, but all of our family members are getting pottery and puppies for Christmas. :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This Is Who I Am

Against my better judgment, I found myself glued to the show "Intervention" last night. Despite determining I would never put myself through that experience again, I couldn't help it. I am drawn to dysfunctional people like a moth to a flame. It's because I am one.

The particular episode I was unable to drag myself away from documented the struggle of a girl (woman) who had struggled with bulimia for 4years. Sad. Tragic. I had to watch an hour and a half worth of "Golden Girls" after to get over it. The pleas and tears of her family. The dramatically shocking pictures of her physical decline. The heartbreaking loneliness that a TV screen couldn't contain. The utter hopelessness.

I have never struggled with an eating disorder or a drug problem. Only because I've never tried either. I say it all the time, but I have no doubt that if I had allowed myself to "try" any of those routes at weaker times in my life, I would be on that show. I guess that is why it is so hard for me to watch that show. I relate too much. This particular story struck a cord with me because as they began the girl's story her parents and siblings shared how she was a "sensitive" child. I was also a senstive child if there ever was one. Her Mom shared how she had commented one day about what a happy childhood she had. Her Mom then broke down questioning what had happened? I can so relate. When I went through my depression one of the toughest things was talking with counselors and them trying to get to the root of my issues. Growing up with a great family, lots of friends and being fairly successful in most of my endeavors didn't give them a lot to work with.

As the story progressed, I got it. It became perfectly clear what this girl's deal was. And it was most the heartbreaking part of the whole thing. She talked about some people being smart, or talented or pretty. She didn't feel like she was any of those things. So, she was good at watching what she ate. That became her "thing".

Have you ever been there? Desperate to have a "thing"? I know I struggled with that. I had such a great group of friends growing up, but I always felt like there was "the smart one", "the pretty one", "the funny one", "the athletic one". It goes on. I was never sure what my thing was. I can look back now and see that I depended heavily on the things I *did* versus who I *was* to determine my identity. If you want to know what was at the crux of my depression, I believe that it was graduating and leaving behind those *things* that I *did*. I had no idea who Emily was when I wasn't *doing*. I had no idea how to just be. How to feel valuable as a person without those things.

This is one of those times that I felt led to share because I feel like there might be someone who reads this that is dealing with that very thing right now. I hope that what God has done in my life gives you hope. I still don't think of myself as "the smart one" or "the pretty one" and Lord knows I am NOT the athletic one!!!!! So, what, you may be asking, changed? The *thing* that had to change was my heart. I had to learn to see myself as God sees me. As someone important enough to be bought with the blood of His Son. I just came across this verse tonight and it is rocking my world. Because these words that were spoken 1,950 years ago are the exact same ones I want to say to you. "Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed." Acts 4:10

Change that man to woman, and you have the story of my life. I accepted Jesus as a young child, but it wasn't until I reached a point in my life when I truly had nothing to offer that I learned, I hadn't ever had anything to offer! Not anything that made me one ounce better in the eyes of God. I am valuable because I'm His. End of story. No need to tap dance, win a nobel prize, or go to the Olympics. When we decide to follow Jesus we learn that our true worth comes because of the person God see when He looks at us-Jesus.

Oh, how I wish I could personally go hug that girl. Just wrap my arms around her and tell her the *thing* that could change her life. The *thing* that brings more meaning and hope and purpose to life than anything else. A relationship with the Heavenly Father. I have so many sweet blog readers who leave me the most encouraging and loving comments. Y'all will never know how much it means to me. I love to hear that you think I'm funny, or you can relate to what I'm going through, or you have wise words of advice. But nothing has impacted me as much as having people I've never even met in real life write, "I love your heart." That just blows me away. First, the fact that anybody besides my family reads my blog still blows my mind. Second, for you to say you love my heart means that you appreciate me for me, and not some talent or skill I have to offer. But most importantly, I pray that you love my heart because of what Jesus has made it. And is still making it. I know who I am. An imperfect person full of flaws, sins and insecurities. But I've also been able to glimpse what Jesus can do with an imperfect, flawed, insecure person. He is amazing.

 She was just a girl on TV, but it could have been me.  I can't help but cry out to God that one day the words of Acts 4:10 would be her own life verse.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Know I Was Prayed For

Whew! I survived my first Father's Day. I honestly think the anticipation and dread of it were much worse than the day itself. I have to say, I am so thankful for those of you who prayed for me yesterday. It means more than you will ever know.

I just want to praise my Heavenly Father for providing a peace that I know comes only from Him. Last week I was really struggling. It seemed that months of grief I thought I had already dealt with came crashing down on me. The truth is that for me, Father's Day was going to be the ultimate reminder of what is missing in my life. All holidays and birthdays will probably be difficult for awhile. But, Father's Day is the only day that seems to scream "YOU DON'T HAVE A DAD ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!" I was terrified I wouldn't make it through 2 minutes of church. But you know what? I did.

I shared that my heart's greatest longing was to just spend the day in bed. Or hanging out on the couch. But, the Spirit just wouldn't let me. Because as severe as my grief may have been, life is still going on and I feel a greater urgency than ever before to not miss a minute of it. I had filled the dining room table with Josh's presents the night before and got up that morning to fix some eggs, bacon and biscuits. I wanted to share some pics I got from that time. They crack me up.

Josh had to open his presents first so we could clear off the table, but I had all of the plates fixed and waiting. Kate literally threw herself across the table screaming "BACON! BACON!" I understand babygirl, sometimes bacon just makes you act a fool!

Josh had picked out a car model he wanted. He was actually at Hobby Lobby with me the day I bought it. I'm so glad. He pointed out the various knives, paint and glue he would also need. This is him warning the kids against messing with said objects. Don't you love Kate's look. She is SOOO paying attention, isn't she??? :)

After breakfast I sent everyone to get church clothes. This is what Kate came up with.....

I was a little nervous that I would become an emotional mess at church. Well, right as I came out of my Sunday School class one of my sweet girls from my VBS class was waiting at the door. One of our church members brings her occasionally and this was the first time she had been since VBS. She came looking for me! "Teacher! Teacher!" she called. My heart melted. When I got to the sanctuary three of the other little girls from my class were waiting and came to hug me as soon as they saw me. I went around the sanctuary making my usual Sunday morning rounds. When I returned to my seat the girls were motioning for me. They wanted me to sit with them in our pew we sat in during VBS opening assembly! This may not seem like a big deal to any of you, but it was chicken soup for my soul that morning. They will never know how much God used them.

We didn't have evening service so we had planned to head to Panama City to grab some lunch and go see Toy Story 3. I, of course, had to get a picture of Josh with the kids. Then we needed one of the two of us. Since Sarah got to take a picture, Eli needed to take one. It turned into an impromptu photo shoot at our front door and if I had dressed everybody and paid somebody big money and chosen a location nicer than our door, my kids would have never cooperated. Oh well. We had fun.

Josh took this one. Isn't it a keeper? I was falling and Kate was having a meltdown in the background. It's always good to have one to remember what was REALLY going down. :)

Before we left town, Josh wanted to stop by a fishing store to grab a shirt for his Dad that he hadn't had a chance to pick up yet. It's a store next to our Piggly Wiggly and I always assumed it was just for men. You know fishing stuff, boat stuff, camo stuff and stuff like that. I learned that they also have really cute swimsuits and sundresses and adorable jewelry. I got so excited. I don't think Josh is going to ever let me go to the Pig by myself again. The store also has this great pirate out front. So, we continued our photo shoot....

After we grabbed some lunch and stopped by to visit with Dandy (Josh's Dad) and T for a few minutes we made it to the movie theater.
Have you ever seen 3 kids look so cool in 3D glasses? I didn't think so...

As we were walking into the movie I ran into a boy (okay, he's a man now) that I have known forever. He was in the same 5th grade class with me and Josh. It's been at least 10 years since I've seen him and it was great to see him and his family. It also gave me a good Daddy memory. One time my Dad had come to eat lunch with me at school and George had been at the table with us. I didn't get a word in edge wise. They had talked about fishing the whole time. My Dad talked for weeks afterward about what a nice boy he was and how much fun they had talking. I was thankful for that memory.

The movie was SOO good. And so was the popcorn. And the chocolate covered almonds. And my kids. Wow, they have come such a long way! It's fun to watch movies with a toddler audience. At one point we heard a little voice from the back say, "That was funny!" Yep, it was funny. And sweet. And sappy. And a precious time for our family. (As I write that I am totally blocking out the moment when Kate lost her glasses and went wandering through the empty row in front of us. She then laid flat on her stomach in the aisle. And she had somehow ended up barefoot. Yep, I'm just blocking that right out.)

After a visit with my Mom and brother we made our way back home. The kids were wored out and went straight to bed after eating supper. I got to see a new episode of Drop Dead Diva (I heart that show!) while Josh worked on his new model. Man I'm glad he cleans up his own toys!!!!!!!

I am thankful for God's grace. I am thankful I didn't spend my day in the bed. I'm thankful for memories. The old ones and now, the new ones.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

You've Come a Long Way....

Josh, tonight as I reflect on Father's Day, you know that my heart is heavy missing my Daddy. There is so much I am thinking and feeling about that, but am not quite ready to express it yet. The truth is that I've been dreading this day for quite a few weeks and you know that this week has been less than smooth sailing for me. You continue to amaze me at the grace, gentleness and patience you show me. I planned in my heart and mind several weeks ago that I would like to just spend this day in the bed with as little human interaction as possible. But that would be wrong. One, because my Daddy still deserves to be celebrated even if he is not here with us physically. Two, we still have your Dad to celebrate. And three, and most importantly, I want to celebrate you! You deserve to be celebrated!

You have always excelled at everything you do (well, we'll keep working on the dancing thing :), but I know that fatherhood came early for you. I still believe wholeheartedly that you didn't really get that we were having a baby until Sarah Beth entered the world. And then, it was hours later before you held her. You were scared to death you would break her.

I still remember the day we brought her home from the hospital. It's so true what they say about how your view of the world totally changes. I have never been so aware of other cars on the road. I know that is the slowest you have ever driven. We walked into our perfectly clean, organized home and placed Sarah in the bassinette in our room. Your Uncle Jimmy was there working on the house and he peeked his head in to see us sitting on the bed staring at the bassinette. We must have been quite a sight. I have no doubt that "WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO NOW" was written across both of our foreheads. Life changing doesn't even come close to describing that moment.

Almost three years later Eli made his entrance into the world and you were a pro. You even changed his clothes just a few hours after he was born while I slept. I knew you couldn't wait to put him in clothes that had balls on them. :) I awoke to see you cradling him and it was the sweetest moment of my life.

Kate came into the world with all kinds of drama. I guess she didn't want to bore us since we had already done this twice before. Everything was different with her including her stay in the NICU. You got to see her before I did and made sure I got to see a pic. It became our routine to suit up in the scrubs, wash our hands and spend our visiting time with our precious baby. She had you wrapped around her teeny tiny finger in no time and I loved your tender heart even more as we prayed over Baby Cake and other babies whose fates were unknown while we were there. We were so blessed to bring our little trooper home.

In the last eight years you've gone from being scared to death to hold our baby to doing absolutely everything I do for them (and sometimes more!) I always knew you would be a great Daddy, but I didn't know how much I would enjoy observing your journey. I am so thankful that our babies have a Daddy who models so well the love of the Heavenly Father. Thank you for not only giving me the gift of motherhood, but also for being my partner all the way in the adventure of parenting. I love you and so do our babies!!!!

(You can read a blog I wrote about my Dad here.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

That's What I Get for Googling...

I would like to start this post by sharing pictures that having nothing to do with this post. If it were a separate post I would call it "Friday Night Without Lights". Which, technically wouldn't be true. We lost power earlier, but it eventually came back on. Unfortunately the cable and internet were slower in their return. Thought I would show what goes down in this house on a Friday night with no cable or internet....

Repeated performing of VBS songs

A little WWE.

And a little facemaking with the webcam. It was pretty exciting around here, I have to say.

Okay, if you can hold yourself  together after all that excitement, I'm going to get to the real point of this post. Anniversaries. I've got one coming up. It's actually June 30th, but we will be celebrating next weekend. So, I'm in search of the perfect gift. I have to tell  you that Josh and I do not have a great track record with our anniversary. We picked our wedding date so we could be on our honeymoon during the 4th of July, but then we didn't even get a honeymoon. Josh got his job as a breadman and that turned out to be his busiest time at work. Our first anniversary I was almost 9 months pregnant and miserable. Josh was working out of town and he was exhausted traveling back and forth to see me. I still remember using a gift card some sweet friends gave us to O'Charley's. We both just sat and stared at the wall. Most of our anniversaries after that are a blur. It seems like that always ended up being a time when we had too much going on to celebrate properly. Well, I am determined to change that. Next year will be our 10th anniversary and we are going on a cruise if we have to rob a bank or kidnap a nanny. (Could y'all maybe pray we don't have to do either of those. :)

But, for now, we are getting ready for the  number 9! I haven't once gone by the traditional gifts. You know, paper, cotton, rock, scissors, just kidding. :) Well, tonight I decided I would do my research and see what this year would hold. Turns out that year 9 is pottery or willow. Now, of course, I immediately thought Josh could get me a Willow Tree person because I love those! Then, I was like, oh yeah, I'm looking for HIS present. I kept scrolling down and found the perfect gift idea. A pottery class we take together! I have actually been trying to get ideas for Sarah's birthday and that was one of my thoughts. I can honestly say it hadn't crossed my mind for our anniversary. The truth is that Josh has mad art skills and he might even enjoy something like that. But I have to be honest with y' first thought when reading that was the scene from the movie Ghost and it has caused me to laugh out loud hysterically everytime I think of it. Perhaps I will just get him a new shirt. Really, that is what I get for googling....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Shoes

Yesterday, the kids and I headed out to the marina to greet Josh and his Dad after a long day of deep sea fishing. The oil is being forecasted to hit the beaches in Panama City this weekend, and our beaches won't be far behind. :(  Anyway, I was excited they got to get some fishing in and it was lots of fun to wait for them and wave at the boat coming in.

They had a very profitable day.

On our way out to the marina the kids and I had to swing by Target. In case you're wondering, yes, I do live at the store. Well, I went for shampoo and face wash (Kate enjoys emptying entire bottles of both of these causing me to have to buy them on a weekly basis). So, we ended up looking at shoes, because you know, the shoes are totally next to the face wash. :)  Eli found some he wanted and they were really cute and on clearance so we just had to get them.

On the way home after picking Josh up Eli told him that he had gotten new shoes. Josh wanted to see them, but they were in the very back. Eli started describing them. "They're like Pappy's shoes. You know the shoes Pappy always wore?"  Pappy was my Dad, and I cannot tell you how good it was for my heart to hear Eli say that. My Dad ALWAYS wore deck shoes. I thought it was so neat that Eli liked those shoes because they looked like Pappy's shoes. My heart is full.

While They Were Sleeping....

As I sit on the couch tonight watching reruns of one of my favorite shows, I am blissfully happy. After an extremely busy week and a half, tonight is the first time since, um, I can't remember, that I have NOTHING planned for tomorrow. I will be waiting for the air conditioner guy. That is it. And it is my excuse to not leave my house. Which is good because I need to do a 26 hour laundry marathon. And I am excited about hanging out at my house doing laundry. Who knew that day would come? 

Another reason I am so happy is that everybody in my house is sleeping. Don't get me wrong, I like the people in my house when they are awake too, but there is just something extra sweet when they are sleeping. Let me show you....

I hope you are all having sweet dreams. If you need me tomorrow, I'll be at home. Doing laundry. Or playing with puppies.

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety."

                                                                            ~Psalm 4:8