Saturday, October 30, 2010

At The End of The Day

Well, leave it to me to procrastinate. I almost ran out of time for this post. My next post will be to tell you what this week has been like and you will forgive me.

Anyway, we started working on the playroom this week and it reminded me of how much I love that kind of work. Can y'all believe that? Dragging out carpet. Painting. Sweeping. All of it. Well, for a little while. The part I love the most is when there is a very obvious "after". That's why painting gets me so excited. A fresh coat of paint can make such a difference. Well, as I was pulling up old nail thingies (technical term for ya there) that held down the old carpet, I had a thought. This will show you how random my thoughts are. I was reminded that October is Pastor Appreciation Month. As I thought about that and thought about the work we were doing I felt like I needed to write to encourage all of my pastor friend's and preacher wife friends. In fact, y'all make up a big part of my blog readership. And working on the playroom reminded me of why ministry jobs can be so tough. You don't always get to see the "after". Even if you do it may take years or decades as opposed to minutes or hours. Being called to help grow people spiritually can be very lacking in physical, put in a display case kind of rewards. Of course we all know that the rewards are much greater. But man, some days it is rough not to see the fruit of your labor right then.

Tonight I just want to tell you~

At the end of the day it has made a difference that you've poured your heart, soul and mind into studying God's Word to bring to His people, even if it seems they don't listen or care. God's Word never returns void.

Isaiah 55:11

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void,

But it shall accomplish what I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

At the end of the day it matters that you sacrificed your time to be with someone who was hurting.

Galatians 6:2

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

At the end of the day it matters that you've remained faithful when others have walked away.
1 Peter 4:10

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

At the end of the matter.

Thank you for the times you put others needs ahead of your own. Thank you for the dreams, careers and plans you've changed to be obedient to God's call on your life. Thank you for doing the jobs nobody else wants to do and being available when others aren't. Thank you for sharing your heart and your life in ways that most people are not expected to. Thank you for your spirit of hospitality, even in the times when you may be the new guy. And thanks for being the new guy a lot. Thank you for your willingness to follow wherever He leads, even if it is far from family, friends and all things familiar. Thank you for putting on a smile and greeting everyone on Sunday morning, even the Sunday mornings you'd like to just sit in a corner and cry or not get out of bed at all. Thank you for accepting that this is not a job, this is a life. Thank you for allowing it to consume every minute of your life, every decision you make. Thank you for being you. My prayer for all of my preacher friends and their wives tonight is that God would reveal your gifts, talents and strengths to you and that He would show you how best to use them. I pray that you will not feel expected to be somebody you are not. That you would feel just fine being you, filled with Jesus.

I would like to say a special thank you to our "pastor" Bro. Randy Kuhn and his wife, Mrs. Kathy. They have been a special part of our lives since before we were married, but last Christmas Eve they displayed what a true minister of the gospel looks like. They spent their Christmas Eve at the hospital with my family as we watched my Daddy leave us. I would also like to thank their PK (preacher's kid :) Rebekah, who gave up her special night with her parents so they could be with my family. There are no words to speak appreciation for their act of love and compassion. At the end of the day, it mattered to me.

I would also like to thank my new pastor, my hubby. I would like to thank him first of all for putting up with the preacher's wife. She can be a pill. :) I want to thank him for showing obedience to God in all he does. I want to thank him for setting an example for me of what a true Christian should be. I want to thank him for his faithfulness through trials (most of them very personal family trials) that would have had many pastors headed out the door. I want to thank him for being the exact same person at home that he is in the pulpit. I want to thank him for being a pastor that my Daddy respected. Josh, when you stood behind my Daddy's casket to preach his funeral, I knew that it is exactly what he would have wanted. And it is because you proved yourself over and over as a faithful follower of Jesus. In the way that you "courted" me (as my Daddy would've said) to the way you've taken care of me and the kids to the way you handle every situation with patience and love and joy.  You make me so proud and one month is not enough to appreciate you.

This month is almost over, but I thought I would link to my blogging buddies who serve as pastors or preacher wives and if you feel led I would love for you to leave them some words of encouragement. I know it would mean the world to them!

Melody @
Patty @
Rachael @    Church Planting
Jana @
Philip @
Ross @  Church Planting
Amy @
Deborah @  (I love this lady. She does children's ministry at a Methodist church and does Mom's Morning Out once a week. She is a blessing!)
Kim @ (She and her husband have surrendered to missionary work and are overseas now)
Cindi @  Church Planting
Melanie @
Josh @

There are so many more, but these are the ones I have the links for handy. Christian bookstores are full of cards and gifts for pastor appreciation, but I really believe the greatest gift you can give those who serve in full-time ministry is the gift of your encouraging and loving words. I sure do love and respect all of you who serve our Father in the diverse and amazing ways that you do!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm Not Stressed, Are You Stressed? Who's Stressed?

So, tonight we had a family meeting during supper. I informed my children that tomorrow was going to be extremely stressful. Their response: "What is stressful?' Laugh. Out. Loud. They don't even know what the word means. Oh, to be young again! :)  Eli later said, "Stressful means cleaning up."  Yes, this is what my children have learned from me.

Why am I stressed, you ask? Well, because I am not Martha Stewart. Have we covered this before? All holidays bring with them an intense amount of stress for me because I have Southern Living dreams and the hospitality skills of Scooby Doo. That doesn't even make any sense, but I'm too tired to think of a better comparison. What I'm saying is that as I enviously browse the pages of the Ladies Home Journal or check out the beautiful fall photos other friends post on their blogs, I know that not only will I have nothing even close that is worth showing off, but I will most likely forget my camera or run the batteries dead right at the moment it is needed anyway.

Right now I am dreaming of a beautifully decorated table with the perfect fall accents, an awe inspiring front porch displaying my amazingingly carved pumpkin, and a kitchen full of fall treats lined up and waiting in festive bowls and cute treat bags. I have visions of family costumes and the BEST decorated trunks for Trunk or Treat. I'm anticipating my sister's visit and even more family on Sunday and envisioning new, fresh linens on all of the beds and a 5 course meal that begins with a tasty shecrab soup (I've been wanting to try that ever since I went to Savannah).

What is really going down in this house: My kitchen is still covered in dirty dishes from supper tonight and lined with bags of ingredients for treats I haven't made yet. What space is not covered in groceries and dishes is being occupied with Dollar Tree bags full of stuff I'm hoping to throw together for my trunk or treat decor before I run out the door to teach 2 dance classes, leave early to get back and dress everybody to head to our fall festival where I am hoping to bring a butterscotch marble cake for the cake walk. I should be baking it right now, but I'm blogging and watching Biggest Loser.  Josh and I are preparing to repaint and refloor the playroom in the next couple of days, so I will be dividing my time between channeling Bob Villa and being a Chipette. Yes, my daughter decided that she and Kate and I needed to be the Chipettes and who am I to argue with her? I wanted Eli to be Alvin. He wanted to be Darth Vadar. Somehow he is now going to be a knight. And I wanted Josh's trunk to be a dungeon, but instead it will be decorated with FSU decor. There is no rhyme and reason people.

That's what I'm really writing about. Because before heading to bed tonight Sarah told Josh, "Tomorrow is going to be the best day ever." He reminded me that I could dress them in cardboard boxes and let them throw balls at each other's heads and they would think it was totally fun. And at the end of the day, I want to be fun. I want my kids to remember being excited and creative and involved. I am always tempted at times like these to totally take over and enforce my rules, my plans, my dress code, my idea of the picture perfect event. I won't lie, I would love for people to see pictures of my house or family and think, 'Wow, I want what she has.'  But you know what? I LOVE what I have. Three kids with more individuality and personality than the world is ready for. Three kids who are creative and know exactly what they want (even if I think it is totally tacky). Three kids who don't know what stressful means. And a hubby who wraps his arms around me in the kitchen and reminds me of what's important.

So, if it's all the same to you, I'm gonna kick up my feet and enjoy my Febreeze pumpkin spice candle. I'll bake my cake later. And I'll probably eat the other 11 oz. of chocolate chips it doesn't call for. And tomorrow I'm going to dress up like a Chipette and decorate my car with fall decorations from the Dollar Tree. And I'm going to have fun!  :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

On This Sunday Night

On this Sunday night-

*I'm listening to my hubby laugh at a movie and thinking his laugh is one of my favorite sounds
*I'm missing my Daddy
*I'm thinking anyone who doesn't think Halloween is evil never had to take 3 kids shopping for costumes
*I'm stuffed because I've eaten more food in the last few days than I've eaten in the last few months. What is up with that?
*I'm encouraging my 3 year old to get in bed and reassuring her as she asks, "Jesus likes me, right?"
*I'm thinking I must not realize how much I end sentences by asking, "right?"
*I feel loved.
*I feel anxious and excited about the week to come
*I have a list a mile long of things I need to do
*I'm looking forward to baby-sitting an 18 month old tomorrow so I have an excuse to put them all off another day  :)
*I'm discouraged and encouraged all at the same time
*I'm wondering why I'm sharing all of this. Maybe you are too....

What are you up to on this Sunday night?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's Goin' On

A recap of my week as told in various stories, quotes from honest children, and thoughtful thoughts I've been thinking:

SUNDAY: After "keeping" the nursery (which translates "keeping the children from tearing the room down") we headed home to finish off leftover bar-b-que sandwiches from our turning 30 party and get ready for a birthday party. One of my little dancers was turning 4 and of course we needed to be at her special "Princess Dance Party". Most of the guests there were girls from my classes and they had a ball dressing up in dance costumes and putting on a fashion show for the Moms.  I was able to see the fruit of my labor as they twirled and bowed and made sure I watched everything they did. It was somewhat confusing for them that I was dressed and had my hair down. I've decided from the way the girls react that I could totally go undercover for the CIA and all I would have to do is put my hair in a bun. I look that different. :) BTW, by dressed, I mean not in a leotard. Just thought I should clarify that statement. :) Kate refused to pose for any of the cute group pictures, but sure enough when the birthday girl's Mom posted pics on FB there we were in the mirror, me leaning over trying to grab Kate. It's a classic. Real life photography, that's for sure.

That night was our special church service on the beach. We sang some choruses and shared the Lord's Supper right there on the beach. Several of our members shared testimonies of how God has spoken to them through His creation. The weather was perfect and it was a beautiful service. Kate planted herself next to our church secretary and before I knew it she was down in the sand, and I mean DOWN IN THE SAND, as in laying on her stomach. I decided that's why they didn't need nurseries when Jesus spoke to the multitudes. I imagine in those days when He was teaching outside the kids probably just pulled up the grass or played in the sand. It worked well. :)

My Mom and brother came and my Mom got some great pictures.
Nana and her babies.
We couldn't believe she got this pic of all 3 of them.
Kate told me she "tripped". That's her story and she's sticking to it. When she saw this picture she told me she needed to wash her hair. Because we always head to the beach to wash our hair, right? I love that my Mom was taking pictures instead of keeping her out of the water. It was totally pay back. When we were little and would go for walks on the beach me and my sister, Jenny, would always "accidentally" fall in.

It reallly was an awesome service and several of our members mentioned wanting to do it again before it gets too cold.

TUESDAY: (Nothing much happened on Monday) The kids were out of school for fall break so I loaded up to take them to the park. I plopped myself in one of the swings to read my "Murder, She Wrote" book and the kids took off for the playground. Anyone who remembers that Eli had a pirate party at that park may like to know that my kids still find hidden coins in the sand there. :) At one point Eli came up to me and asked if he could run laps around the soccer field. Seriously? Sometimes I don't know where that child came from. He loves to run AND  wake up early. I'm tempted at times to think he was switched at birth. Except for our shared love of cherries.  And the fact that he is a complete miniature version of my husband. I'm pretty sure we're safe. :) After heading to Mr. Cheap Butts for some drinks and chips we had a very nutritious lunch. Then, it was time to head to Panama to deliver another puppy. Yes, folks, we are down to 1 puppy!

I was a little apprehensive about this delivery as we had quite the experience with our last delivery. I debated blogging about it because, well, it was pretty disgusting. You see, when we delivered Monkey (the day before I left on my girl's weekend) the person also asked us to bring Brownie just in case they decided they wanted her, too. On our almost 3 hour round trip we took what I like to call the "Tour de Panama City Car Washes". Oh.My.Word. Let me back up and tell you how that trip started. As we were walking out the door I asked Josh, "Should we grab some towels?" In a very fateful moment he answered, "Nah, it'll be fine." Now, I am one who believes in respecting my husband and following his direction. HOWEVER, I have never regretted a decision so much in my life!!!!!!!! Let's just say that our trip can be described in three words: 1. Poop  2. Puke  3. Drool.   And repeat. It was tragic. Then, the lady didn't want Brownie, so we had to travel back with her. She was so scared. She drooled straight through my jeans. After a stop at Chick-Fil-A (I still to this day have no idea how we had any appetite whatsoever) she puked on Kate's pant leg. My poor child. Needless to say, when we loaded up Brownie for this trip I TOOK LOTS OF TOWELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And.....we didn't need them. She didn't get sick once. My favorite moment of the trip was when the guy who was meeting us called and said, "Is this the lady with the dog?"  My new identity. The lady with the dog. :) If I teach you anything on this blog, let it be this-DON'T TRAVEL WITH DOGS WITHOUT TOWELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One puppy down, we headed to my Mom's to hang out with her and Phil. We went to Wingo's for supper and they have the BEST sour cream and chive fries ever. We delivered a puppy. I didn't cook supper. My Mom entertained the kids for a few hours. I considered it a very successful day. :)

WEDNESDAY: We loaded up the family to visit the courthouse. Don't worry, we just had to get a paper notarized and Josh had to turn in his paperwork to be certified to do pre-marital counseling in Florida. As we went in Sarah asked, "Haven't we been to a courthouse with Mommy?"  Oh dear. I had almost forgotten about that. It's a long story, but to sum it up, I got a ticket in Mississippi because my tag was expired and I got the one judge that wouldn't let me just take in my paperwork showing it had been renewed. I had to actually go before him. Josh couldn't get out of school or work or whatever he had going on so I took my 3 children ages 6,4 and 1 at the time, to the courthouse. It was actually my very first day of homeschooling and I thought it was the perfect civics lesson. NOT! Y'all, I got kicked out of the courtroom. I had no idea that there would actually be a DUI case being tried that we would have to sit through. Kate started squirming and whining in her stroller and the prosecutor politely asked me to wait outside. I'd never been so relieved in my life. I didn't know I had the option to wait outside. I thought they might arrest me and my kids if I left the room. Needless to say, when Sarah mentioned that visit it brought back some traumatic memories! For anyone keeping a running tally my children have had me kicked out of a wedding, a hospital and a courtroom.

THURSDAY: Today started with me heading to a dr.'s appointment. The card said it was on the 22nd. So, of course I went on the 21st. :)  I later found out it was actually supposed to be yesterday. Go figure. This was also an exciting day of grocery shopping and petite ballet. We've started looking at dance costumes for ou end of the year recital and I'm so excited I can't stand it. How fun is it that I get to pick my girl's costumes? Tonight we had a nice shower for one of our church members who is getting married soon. I so enjoyed visiting with our ladies and eating some yummy food. I just had to tell you about my necklace that got lots of attention. You may have seen it in this picture.
Okay, that is a terrible picture of me, but I wanted you to see the necklace. Pretty big, yes? Well, as I was about to head out the door I asked Josh the very important question, "Are these pants too tights?" as I turned for him to check. Before he could respond Sarah walked in and said, "That's a big....."  Well, you know what I'm thinking as I am turned for my backside to be examined in these pants. She finished, "necklace". Whew! What a relief. They say the bigger the hair, the closer to God. I say, the bigger the necklace, the less focus on other parts!!!!!!!! My jewelry will just get bigger from here on out!
Hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy every minute of it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Where Else Would I Go?

In Sunday School we read a verse that just struck something in me. It was one of those times when I treasured the fact that God's Word that touched lives 2,000 years ago still speaks the same Word to me. Jesus was talking with His disciples and many of His followers were beginning to have a tough time with His teaching. They were deciding that following Jesus wasn't exactly what they thought it would be and it just wasn't working out.  He turned to His 12 and asked, "Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67) We aren't privy to what all of them were thinking. Perhaps one was thinking, 'It sure was easier to just be a fisherman.' Another may have considered what he was missing out on back at home. One may have even struggled with a miniscule doubt in this person they were following. If everybody else was leaving......

We don't know any of that. What we do know is how Peter responded. And I am amazed that I could utter the exact same words today that the rock the church was built on answered with. "But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Over the last month or so I have been in an almost blissful state of being. God has filled my heart with such a peace and a purpose I hadn't felt in a long time. But not so many months ago I found myself in the position of many of the followers in this story. God was teaching me lessons in the "hands on" "real life experience" kind of way and I was over it.  I, too, found myself agreeing with the multitude in the book of John. "Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” (John 6:60). EXACTLY! That is what I was thinking. You want me to love people who have done me and my family wrong? You want me to trust You when You didn't answer my prayers to heal my Dad? I thought you said not to worry about anything because You would take care of us? Seriously, you want me to help that person when You know they got themselves in that situation?

I feel like I can admit these doubts, struggles and often times even feelings of betrayal, because at the end of the day I had to ask the same question as Peter.  It's tempting to think that life would be much easier if I wasn't a follower of Jesus. But at the end of the day I have to ask the same question. Where would I go?  I, a person who has been blessed beyond measure with a loving, caring family, who is rich in relationships and while not rich materially, very well taken care of, realizes that this world has nothing to offer me. Nothing even comes close to what Jesus has offered me.  HOPE. PEACE. TRUTH. ETERNAL SALVATION.
Jesus, sometimes it is scary to follow You. But You are the only One who truly knows the Way. Sometimes my heart is burdened with things I would never consider if I didn't follow You. But You offer to carry my burdens. You don't always answer my prayers or work things out the way I would like. But You fill me with peace and joy that only comes from You in those times. I don't always have the answers or do the right things. That is why You hung on the cross for me. The world laughs and ridicules those of us who follow what we cannot see. Or maybe I should say what they can't see. Because when the taunting and temptations of this world began to pull at me and entice me to leave You, I know exactly where I need to stay. Where else would I go? "You have the words of eternal life."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Party Like It's 1999

I haven't decided yet if blogging is a help or a hinderance to my social life. Obviously I've met some terrific people through blogging. I've been able to better maintain long distance friendships. I've quite possibly even stayed a tad bit socially relevant by stalking other's blogs and finding out the latest trends. :) And yet, just this weekend it occurred to me that perhaps I should be thankful that I have any friends left at all. You see, I was at a party and one of our hosts for the night commented, "Emily will go home and write a long post about this." And it hit me that it takes a brave person to be my friend, knowing that at any given moment your creative acting out of "foot fungus" or "shake and bake" during a game of charades could end up on my blog. So, I salute those of you who have the courage to partake in social gatherings with me. You are brave, brave people. :)

This particular social gathering I am referring to tonight was actually a birthday party. But not just any birthday party. A joint birthday party of sorts. Back around my birthday my friend, Philip, suggested that since several of us from high school would be turning 30 this year we should celebrate together. I don't know about y'all, but I personally am up for any excuse to dress up and eat cake. :) Our friends, Heather and Nate, who were also high school sweethearts like Josh and myself, offered to host the party in their home and invited a few more people, who just happened to be friends of ours from our home church, Rob and Jessica. It is such a small world. They just happened to be playing host to Josh G.(who is married to my real life friend and blogging buddy, Amber) who was visiting from Mississippi. The world got smaller. :)  It was like the FB box of mutual friends came to life in Nate and Heather's living room.

We ended up taking our kids and that made the night quite interesting. Nate and Heather spent a good deal of time printing off coloring pages and digging out DVDs to keep them entertained. Luckily, college football was keeping everyone else entertained. This was my 2nd weekend in a row to be with a hardcore Bama fan and I just couldn't take it if they lost again. I would get a complex. We also had a hardcore Ole Miss fan and that made things interesting. It was especially fun discussing their new mascot, the "Rebel Black Bear". Is it the Rebel Black Bear? Or just a black bear? I can't remember. Oh well. We all just shared a lot of relief that it wasn't the Hotty Toddy guy. For someone who is not a football fan I have spent a great deal of time talking about football the last couple of weekends. :) 

The night wasn't all about football though. Our host and hostess introduced us to a game (that I'm pretty sure Nate made up as we went along :) that involved all of us writing down words on 3 pieces of paper. It could be any person, place or thing. That proved very difficult for us all. Apparently we all need strict guidelines and boundaries. Writing "anything" was just way too vague for us. Eventually we got the idea (I think) and started the game. It had 3 rounds. The first round you could say anything to explain your card except for the words written down. The second round you had to act it out, charades style. Finally, in the 3rd round, you only got a one word clue. I have to admit that this game gave a lot of insight into everyone's minds and how they think. We ended up with some very interesting things to explain and act out. Like my preacher husband who put "transubstantiation" as one of  his words. Throw that in with some foot fungus, Charlie the Unicorn, Town House Crackers, Soulja Boy and several movie quotes that I couldn't remember right now if my life depended on it, and that was our game. Perhaps these friendships will last because my camera battery died. :)

We had a great time and my kids did surprisingly well. It is always nice when you feel like you can take them out in public. The party was a fun flashback to our senior year of high school, 1999. Well, except for the whole Nate and Heather own a home and me and Josh have 3 kids and we had to get home before we all turned into pumpkins because Josh and Philip are both pastors now and would be working their busiest day of the week that next day.  And oh yeah, we are all 30. But y'know, other than that it was totally just like high school. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This will be one of those post that is probably of no consequence to anyone but me. I just feel like it will be fun to remember this day a year from now. And we all know the only things I remember are the things I write down. :)

You have to know that Wednesdays are my crazy days. C.R.A.Z.Y. I run pick up the kids from school and run back to the house to drop Eli off before Sarah and I head to the dance studio. I start teaching dance classes at 3:00 and go until 6:30. Sarah and I then fly to the house and I take a 4 1/2 minute shower and rush off to church. It is usually 8:30 or so by the time we are done visiting and rounding up children and we still have not had supper so we head to McDonald's or Burger King where the employees there probably think bad thoughts about a mother ordering supper for her children at a quarter til nine on a school night. The kids always have lots to talk about on these late Wednesday nights because I haven't had much time to hear about their school day or church. Sarah also has to fill her daddy in on dance. I just want everybody to go to bed so I can sit in the recliner and stare at the wall. So, that is where I am now. Winding down and sipping enough caffeine to at least get me through one more load of laundry and into the bed.

In case I haven't told y'all enough, I love my job. Really I do. I had no idea how much I would fall in love with my little dancers. I feel like they all belong to me and I just live for their hugs and to hear their sweet little voices. I have to tell you though, there are days when I feel like I earn every penny I make and today was one of those days. I had a new student and as is often the case she was hesitant to join in the activity. Her Mom hunkered down in the back of the classroom to calm her. I also had one of my Saturday girls making up the class that was cancelled while I was out of town. I cannot explain how one different person or one small change in our dance schedule totally changes the dynamic of a class, but it does. Today we had a case of "Breakdown Ballerinas" and "Disappearing Divas". I am not kidding, everytime I turned around girls were missing. It got to the point where they would all just take off and run out of the room everytime I turned my back to change the music. While we were doing plies I had 2 girls actually dancing with me. Two more escaped and one was literally being dragged across the floor by my assisant crying. (It was her sister, btw. In my class we only holler at and drag people we are related to. Like Kate. And this poor student. :) During tap one of my girls who is always a total angel put her foot down and refused to move to the side of the barre I told her to. I mean flat out refused. All I could think was that this was just the most fabulous day for a new mom to check out our class. :)

I survived   finished that class and it was time for ballet with my 6-8 year olds. It went very well and that was a relief. It was during that class though when one of my students pointed out I was not wearing make-up. I confirmed that I wasn't. She said she could tell because I looked asleep. You just gotta love the honesty of kids. But the truth is, I'm still recovering from my trip and after that first hour and a half class, I didnt' know if all the make-up in the world would help me!! Thankfully my make-up free face didn't seem to tragically scar anyone. Emotional scarring would come later, in jazz class. You see, we are performing "Thriller" at our town's upcoming festival, and yes, I do know it is crazy for a preacher's wife to be teaching "Thriller". What can I say? Well, we have a boy who is dressing up in a wolfman costume for the beginning of the song. He came tonight to learn what he was doing and came in full mask and hairy hands. All was fine for the first time we danced until one of the girls came crying her eyes out. I feared she had been trampled when the girls made their way back to the corner to start the dance. No. She was terrified of the mask. TERRIFIED. Like, she had to leave and right this very minute I am concerned she is having nightmares and may never step foot in the dance studio again. I can just hear her telling her therapist, "This preacher's wife was teaching me "Thriller" and there was this mask, and all this hair and oh, it's just too painful to talk about!" Will you please join me in praying that I have not traumatized this child for life? Thanks.

So, we get to church tonight and I am teaching Eli's class. We are having a lesson on prayer and how God prefers that our prayers be for Him and not just for others to hear. Very spiritual stuff. This is the feedback I get: First, one of the boys informs me my house is haunted. They've heard a piano playing and seen shadows before we moved in. (What is with me and the haunted houses lately?????) Second, another boy informs me, "My Nana watches Dr. Phil and there was this guy and all he eats is pizza."  It is at this point that I realize I have imparted exactly zero spiritual knowledge to these children so we head to the fellowship hall to eat some pizza. We may all be on Dr. Phil soon.

So, I was just thinking what a blessing I have been to this community. Edumacatin' these children in such a fabulous way. I guess you can say one thing about my teaching-these children will never be the same!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ghosts, Games and a Girl's Weekend

I left you with the news that I was headed out of town for a girl's weekend. My first one in.....well, ever. I went to a couple of women's conferences when Sarah was a toddler, but going out of town just for the fun of it? This was a first. My friend Karen and I started discussing it months ago. We decided that turning 30 was worthy of more than just a dinner. We needed a weekend. Soon, Karen included Lori and I was thrilled. You see, Lori was a childhood friend of Karen's and from the time I met Karen I've been hearing about Lori and her family and friends. I heard childhood stories and Karen kept me updated about Lori's beautiful Christmas wedding and then shared with me about the birth of her precious little boy, Jack. I even got to meet Lori's Mom when I graduated college because Lori graduated that very same day, though we still managed to never meet in person.

Well, Lori just happened to find my blog and I am not kidding, she was the only reader I had for quite a while. I was still blogging on MySpace, but as far as this one, you can go back and look at my first several blogs and see that Lori was the only one who commented. I probably would have given up on this one altogether if not for her. The more we blogged together the more I realized we had in common. I am still just amazed at the relationships God has provided me through this crazy online world. Anyway, I had just been out of my mind excited not only about the trip, but the opportunity to FINALLY meet her in real life.

Then, I got kind of nervous. The plan was to meet at Lori's house to spend the night before we headed out for our final destination. I found myself asking if I would get to meet her cousin's baby and then realized how absurd that I would want to meet someone I had only heard mentioned in blogs!! What if we met in real life and couldn't even carry on a conversation? What if her little boy was terrified of me and I traumatized him or something?

Well, Thursday afternoon I packed up and headed her way.

You will see me holding in my hand a map. A map that was WORTHLESS!! I didn't recognize a single road it mentioned the whole way. Thankfully, I've made that trip many times and the only problem I have is when I actually get into the town. This time was no different. Lori had told me to look for a Piggly Wiggly and that is the kind of directions I can follow. However, since I didn't go by the map, I came into town from the opposite direction and ended up driving around for about an hour in the town in the wrong direction. I am pretty sure the whole town heard me singing the Hallelujah chorus when my eyes spotted the Pig.

I was greeted at the door by a little blonde haired fella named Jack. He yelled to the rest of the occupants in the house, "It's Mrs. Emily!" Two seconds in and he had already melted my heart. :) I got to see Lori's beautiful house, visit with her Mom, meet her cousin, Carrie and her husband, AND hold that sweet baby, Ella, I had read so much about on the blog. I didn't get a picture though, can you believe that? I have to admit I was a sorry photographer on this trip. I was enjoying the moment too much to take too many pictures. Never fear, I've stolen Karen and Lori's. :) Back to that night, after all the company left we stayed up way too late talking about everything under the sun. A good conversation is one of those things that fills my heart  and it was overflowing that night. Obviously Lori and I hit it off and I really knew we were kindred spirits when she decided to eat a piece of pizza and have a Diet Coke about 2:00 that morning. It is rare I meet people who keep my kind of schedule. :)

After a few hours sleep we got up and headed out for Savannah, Ga. Karen had chosen the location and planned most of the trip. It was nice to just be along for the ride! After a 7 hour trip (that was filled with adult conversation and a stop at Zaxby's) we finally turned onto Tattnall Street where our cozy cottage resided.

It was absolutely charming and smack dab in the middle of where the events of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil took place. Lori got this great picture of Karen in our upstairs loft.

This is the living room where we spent our time conversing, reading, planning our days activities, looking out the window to see what was going on (I'll tell you more about that later) and watching some of the Bama game and the Auburn game (more about that later, also.)

After excitedly touring our home for the weekend and browsing the visitor's pamphlets we headed out for some supper. We went to a little pub style restaraunt just a couple of blocks over and had some delicious sandwiches, burgers and fries. When Lori posted this picture and I noticed our to go cups I realized that our  next girl's weekend may include Karen taking us to Diet Coke Anonymous. Lori said she was fine with that as long as we got another girl's weekend!
That night back at our house we kept hearing noises. Like gunshots. Now, I hear things all the time and Josh thinks I'm crazy. I was both relieved and scared that Lori and Karen were hearing the same noises. We also had a van with blue lights stop in front of our house and then just disappear. For those of you who do not know, Savannah is known as one of the most haunted cities in America. I don't personally believe in ghosts. At least not in the way that people die and come back and haunt you. But.....I later found out that Savannah has one of the highest murder rates in the country. Glad I found that out AFTER our girl's only trip!!!!!

We again stayed up late talking and by the time we headed to bed, I was scared. Our house was old and made all kinds of noises and I kept telling myself it was the dryer I was hearing, except oh yeah, we weren't running the dryer!!!!! Lori and Karen said they slept great both nights and I assured them it was because I was up praying the evil spirits out of our house. :)

The plan for the next morning was to head first, to a coffee shop and then to the famous Forsythe Park. Luckily, we had found a coffee shop in the park on the map. Of course, finding it in real life proved to be more difficult. We left no doubt we were tourist as we walked countless miles following Lori and her GPS, who I named Tomeka. Yes, we walked with the GPS. We were desperate, y'all. It was a beautiful morning and I loved that we were able to walk through the city. We saw some beautiful sights.
We came upon The Book store. If you are not familiar with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, it is a true crime drama that happened in Savannah and tells the story of many colorful characters from the city. Some of them are very colorful, if you know what I mean. Well, Karen and Lori had both read the book, but I was a slacker and hadn't. So, I was on a mission to get that book and finish it. Like, that day.

I was especially upset with myself that I hadn't already read the book when there was a whole room I couldn't go in because they had the book on tape playing and I instantly knew when I walked in that it was about to give something big away. Karen immediately shooed me out of the room. I also found a Murder, She Wrote book there based in Savannah, and being the total dork that I am was thrilled. I am pretty sure I am the only Murder, She Wrote fan under the age of 73, but whatever. The lady at the cash register proudly told me she was mentioned in the acknowledgements because she had shared the stores very own ghost story with the author. It had to do with hearing water running in the walls and later having a plumber discover there was an old shower in one of the walls. They concluded they either had a ghost or some big rats. I didn't share my mouse stories with her or my knowledge that they are capable of things we don't even want to think about. I just smiled and nodded.

After some more sightseeing that included the infamous Mercer House where the main story of the book takes place, we made the journey to take a trolley ride. We stopped on our way and got some pizza for lunch. Then, while waiting for the trolley I started the book. Our trolley ride was fun and informative. Our driver scared the mess out of me, but even more than I was scared of his driving I was scared to be one of the people who walked in front of him that caused him to ring his bell unmercifully. We got off the trolley and headed for the River Walk. We checked out several little shops, but I think we were all pretty worn out by that point. I had chosen cuteness over comfort in my shoes that morning and I was paying the price. Just for the record, all those heels I packed? Didn't wear one pair. :)

Not only were we tired, but the Bama game had started. Lori had told us many times how blessed we should feel that she was leaving her house the day of a Bama game. Apparently it didn't bode well for the team. She was getting FB updates and they were stressing her out. I was trying to finish that stinkin' book and there was nowhere to sit down while we waited for our shuttle. Karen was burning up and somebody had a crying baby waiting there with us. Despite my two phone calls, we all waited for over 30 minutes, even though they promised someone would come by every 15 minutes. When we arrived at our house I have never been so happy to take off a pair of shoes in my life. I was upstairs refreshing my make-up when I heard a scream. I deducted that either Lori had fallen down the stairs or a serial killer had entered the premises. No. She was watching the Bama game. :) She had come home and changed into her Bama clothes and that seemed to help them some. We had decided to leave for Tybee Island at 6:00. Lori was glued to the TV and I had my head in the book. Poor Karen was probably wondering why she hadn't invited normal people for this weekend. :)

We loaded up and headed to visit the lighthouse despite the fact that the game was still on.
It was during this time that we got the devastating news that Bama had lost. I know there are many fans blaming Karen and I for dragging Lori away, but I would like it noted that she did have on her jeans with the holes in the knees and apparently this is very imporant.

After they lost she actually changed in the car which meant I got to drive her Land Rover. Speaking of which, I would really like one so feel free to donate to the "Emily Land Rover" fund. :)  Tomeka led us through the island and to the Mexican restaurant we had chosen.  Karen and I must have a meal at a Mexican restaurant, it is just our thing. It was worth it, too.

Back at the house I made it my mission to finish the book so we could watch the movie. Karen and Lori found books from the house's bookcase and I thought what wild people we were, on vacation on Saturday night, reading. :)  I really wanted to watch the movie with them so around 1:00 am when I still hadn't finished the book I told them we could just watch it anyway. The movie turned out to be so not good, but that is usually the case with movies based on books. That put us going to bed about 3:30 and me laying in bed once again praying. After I got home I noticed that the house attached to ours had a skylight and I was SO relieved ours didn't or I would have spent the whole night staring at it. I promise I am not normally such a scaredy cat, but really, if you've read that book, watched that movie and you just happen to be blocks from where it all took place, it is a little spooky!!!!

Before I became too scared to go outside we got some pics in our enclosed garden.

During these pics Lori taught me how to use the timer on my camera and that was very exciting. I know Josh will be thrilled. :)

The next morning I was relieved that we were all still alive and we loaded up to head home. We set out on a search for a new coffee shop, but it proved elusive. We eventually ended up at a Cracker Barrell where Lori was offered many condolences, as she was wearing her Bama shirt. We said our goodbyes to Savannah and talked pretty much non-stop for the 7 hour trip.  It was sad to say good-bye and I was even sadder when  I tried to take some backroads Lori had just showed us and I ended up so totally lost. I was wishing I had Tomeka with me. Instead I had to call Josh who had just finished church service and before I knew it the whole church was looking at maps trying to figure out where I was. Once I finally made a complete circle I ended up where I was supposed to be and the rest of the trip was easy. 13 hours later I was home and even though I predicted I would be glad to see my laundry room, I wasn't so much. But my hubby and those sweet babies??? I missed them much.

Our weekend was the perfect combination of eating, conversing, laughing, sightseeing, getting lost and making memories. I feel blessed beyond measure to have experienced it and thank God for my sweet hubby holding down the fort so I could be free for fun. I am also thankful for a best friend who made sure I took this trip no matter how many times I tried to convince myself there were other things I needed to do with my time and money. And I'm thankful for my new "in real life" friend who might possibly be my twin who I was separated from at birth.  We are tyring to figure out where we should go next!!!!!! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Just For The Weekend....

Just for the weekend, I'm going to pack pretty clothes and high heels and wear them. Just for the weekend, I won't worry if someone will wipe their snotty nose on them.

Just for the weekend, I will drive a freshly vacuumed, immaculately clean vehicle that is not covered in french fries, broken crayons or fast food toys. I will choose what is on the radio and I will sing with it. Loud.

Just for the weekend, I will eat meals that do not require me to a. grocery shop, b. cook them, or c. clean up after them. I won't even have to share my food.

Just for the weekend, I won't do laundry one time. NOT ONE TIME!

Just for the weekend, I will be on an adventure for the sake of adventure, and I will enjoy it with friends. We will laugh and talk and maybe even cry. We will explore and make memories and act like tourists.

Just for the weekend, I will hang out with my best friend who knew me before I was any of the things that define me now: wife, mother, preacher's wife. I will just be Emily. I will finally meet a blogging buddy for the first time in real life, and hope that she finds me as interesting in person. :)

Just for the weekend, I will have fun! I will see new things and go new places.

Then, it will be over and I will be oh so ready to return to my normal life with my babies, my hubby and my laundry room. But for now.....I am so ready for this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stay tuned for details of my trip and lots of pics!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Today Was A Great Day, Huh?

Sarah is still in her "writing it all out" phase, but she has gone from the calendar to a notebook. She showed this to me tonight and I had to agree. It was a great day! After dealing with some non-life threatening, but very frustrating health issues for the last few months, I have been so excited to get some relief over the last couple of weeks. I excitedly told Josh tonight, "It feels so good to not feel bad!" It has just been awesome to have energy and be able to keep up with my housework and feel like I even have time and energy to play a little. After taking Sarah to dance class Josh and I had an impromptu kickball game in the church parking lot with Eli and Kate. It was so funny. I had no idea where the bases were and once I figured it out and made it to third base Kate just ran straight to me. Then she yelled, "I need my purse!!" She's my girl. :) The weather was just absolutely gorgeous and we decided to head to the park. It has been awhile since we've gone and it wsa so nice to sit on the swing with Josh and chat while the kids played. And not sweat like a man. I love summer, but I've really been over the whole sweating like a man thing, y'know?

Here are some pics of our fun at the park.

After Sarah got home we had some red beans and rice and cornbread. And it was good and felt perfect for fall weather! I am already anticipating lots of taco soup and chili on the menu in the weeks to come. Then it was time to head to a middle school football game. Josh's youth minister growing up is now a football coach and had let Josh know that they would be playing in our town tonight. Despite the fact that it didn't start until 7:00 and that is what time little Fidler children start turning into pumpkins around here, we decided to go. As I've often shared, I'm not much of a football fan. I am CLUELESS about most of what is going on and I don't consider it a real football game unless there is a band. So, I did what I do when I get bored. I took pictures. I keep thinking that  maybe if I get obnoxious enough Josh will cave and get me a data plan on my phone so I can FB or blog instead of embarrassing him with the camera. But I doubt it. :)

Me and my precious Sarah B. I spent the night sharing my vast knowledge of football with her. Like doing spirit fingers during kickoff, clapping when injured players walk off the field and screaming when the other people on your side scream. One of my favorite things is when people start cheering for certain people and I can join in. Like tonight we cheered for JJ. I don't have a clue who JJ is, but man we yelled for him!

Sarah spent her night trying to bribe me to get her some nachos even though Josh had laid down the law about the concession stand before the game. I had to agree that a game with no band or concession stand was pretty much torture, but I had to set a good example and follow the rules too. Eli LOVED the game and actually watched what was going on. I guess because he's a boy.

Kate just wanted to be wherever Eli was. Even if it meant pretending to watch the game.

                                    Eventually she could no longer fake her interest. This is what ensued....

 It looked really fun and at one point I was bored enough to join her, but I could just imagine men in white coats standing over me saying, "Don't worry, these pills will make you feel all better". So, I abstained.

By the end of the night Kate ended up in my lap and our friend's team started scoring. It was actually pretty exciting. But everytime we would cheer Kate would smile really big and ask, "Is it over?"  She is SO my child!!!

We had to leave before the game ended, but I left feeling all pumped. I'm ready to go to a high school game now. Our school colors here are purple and gold. And purple is sooooo my color. :) 

Today was a great day!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Missing Montrose Day

Okay, so I just blogged and I planned to combine these two, but decided to break it up. It is the weekend and I don't want you bogged down in long blogs. You know, because these posts are totally War and Peace, or something epic like that. NOT! :)

Today feels a little sentimental for me. Today is Montrose Day. I don't know if any of you live in towns where you still have a day, but if you do you are blessed. Let me tell you about Montrose Day. It's a day when the whole community of Montrose shuts down and gathers at the city hall for bake sales, face painting, ball tournaments, shopping, food, and fireworks. The day ends with a concert and it is just so much fun. You have to understand that Montrose is pretty much a street. I mean, there are more roads and woods, but the city hall, firehouse, convenience store and churches are all right there on the same street. It used to be our street. I can't explain how fun it was to wake up in our sleepy community to music blaring and car engines roaring. They always had the car show in  our church parking lot. One year I woke up to the sounds of  "Let's Get It On" playing outside my window. Not something you expect living in the parsonage, but hey, it was Montrose Day!

One year we rented golf carts and had the most fun riding up and down from our house to the festivities. Josh would always be up super early to start the day off with prayer at the flagpole. He would drool over cars in the car show, the kids would play and I would enjoy checking out the different booths full of jewelry, purses, and fun stuff like that. Mostly I just enjoyed the life it brought to our quiet little neck of the woods. And of course I enjoyed some Marvin Gaye. :)  Usually after buying a hamburger plate and eating we would head back to the house and catch a nap. By the time we would get up it would be time to head back down for some supper, a concert and the fireworks. I loved it, y'all. This is the time of year when the weather is just right for sitting in some lawn chairs, eating some bar-b-q and listening to some country music. The night ended with fireworks and we usually headed home to pig out on whatever sweets we had bought from the sweet shop. My heart is missing Montrose Day today and so I thought I would share some pics from last year. I can't believe these were from a year ago!

                                                     The kids with a car from the car show.

                            This is one of my all time favorite pics. The kids spent hours on this thing.

                              We didn't get a golf cart last year, but that didn't stop Kate from climbing all up in somebody else's to take a break. :)

                                                 I cannot believe that was Kate a year ago!                                                                  
                                                         Girl was lovin' her some catfish!

                                     Nothing like watching the community gather for some fun and dancing! Last year we were all treated to a slow dance to a country version of Prince's "Purple Rain" by an intoxicated couple. Only time I felt like I needed to cover my kid's eyes at Montrose Day, but they were busy playing anyway. :)
                               Finally, I just have to share my favorite picture. I think it might be on the cover of Jeff Foxworthy's next book. In case you are wondering, those are glow sticks on my head. Also, I still have not figured out why my feet are purple in this picture.

Well, those are some of my favorite Montrose Day memories. I know it is time to start making new yearly traditions here. How about you? What are some of your favorite fall traditions that you look forward to?

Saying Goodbye to the Puppies

Well, the time finally came folks. Time to say good bye to the puppies. Well, at least 2 of them. We'll take what we can get, people! I told y'all we were getting some new pics and apparently we were finally able to capture them in all of their puppy cuteness. After posting the pics on Craigslist we had several people interested. The first to go was Miss Brown. Josh bathed her and got her a little collar and she got to spend some quality alone time with us. We were shocked she was the first to go because she and Brownie (the two brindles) always got the least attention. She was the calmest one though. While the other six would attack me in an attempt to be fed sooner, she would patiently just sit and wait. Guess she was rewarded for being so good with a new home. :) The family that got her seemed really sweet and they had a couple of kids and one on the way. And another dog at home. God bless them! She is a better woman than me! I could tell that Miss Brown will be well cared for.

The next up was Ida, and it about killed me y'all. My favorite puppy has changed several times through this process, but recently it had been Ida. Just let me show you.

You love her don't you? She is such a mini version of Daisy and she stuck close to her, too. The night we brought her in for her bath and new collar she just fit right in with us. She played with the kids. She licked Kate's face as I was changing her at bedtime. I scooped up Ida and put on my pouty face for Josh and kept mouthing, "I want to keep her." He responded by quoting prices we had been given for immunizations and sterilization. After the kids were in bed Ida curled up right under Josh's feet in the living room. For some reason the guy coming to get her was coming to our house and that really freaked me out. We met the other people somewhere else. But Josh had given this guy our address and yes, I know, go ahead and lecture us. Anway, as Josh went to the door I was on the couch asking, "Does he look mean? Does he look like he's going to kill us?"  Thankfully, he did not. He was a young guy who brought his girlfriend and SURPRISED her with a puppy! She had no idea that's what they were coming for. It was actually pretty neat to be a part of such a sweet moment. Later I started worrying about if they break up and Ida becomes involved in a bitter custody battle. But I decided I have to just let it go. They seem super sweet and I've still got 5 other puppies to worry about!

That number will actually go down again today. We are taking Pokey and Monkey to meet a lady. She wanted to see them both and we have our fingers crossed she will WANT them both! I also just got another e-mail of somebody wanting one. I think he may end up getting Brownie. I'm just praying Animal Control doesn't get the rest. We had a note on our door from them the other day saying they were sorry they missed us. We still haven't figured out what was up, but several neighborhood dogs have been hanging around our fence (I think they are baby daddies) and we think they may have assumed one of them was ours that got out. I have no idea why they would think that! Our dogs NEVER get out of the fence! *Dripping with sarcasm*. It actually had been awhile since Daisy had made an escape but when I got home from taking the kids to school yesterday I looked out back and she and two of the puppies were missing. I quickly found Pokey and  got her in. During that process the other puppies would crawl through the hole then get back inside fast. It was like they wanted to be bad, but they weren't really brave enough.

It was a long morning hunting down Daisy and LD and I gave Daisy a stern lecture about the fact that this is how all of this started in the first place. Of course she isn't the one who is going to have to replace flooring so maybe she doesn't get it.

Oh, the ups and downs of life with puppies.