Monday, January 31, 2011

Sister Fidler's Old School Weekend

First of all, I would like to ask you all to say "Sister Fidler" 5 times really fast.

Okay, so this past weekend  was such a sweet, refreshing, eventful weekend. We took the kids to spend the night with my Mom on Friday and then had supper at Coram's. It had been a budget kind of week around here, so we were trying to decide between Chick-Fil-A and Taco Bell when all of a sudden I had a mad craving for some Heavenly Hash. We had to have Coram's. It's amazing how much you appreciate the little things. Like being able to complete sentences and not having to get up one time during supper. At the table across from us was a Mom in her military uniform with two small kids. A man came over to tell her that he picked up her bill and to thank her for her service to our country. I cried. In Coram's. But I did it discreetly. After the Mom left another family came and while Josh went to the bathroom the lady asked if I knew a good beautician. I am still trying to decide if that was a compliment as in she thought I looked like I had a good beautician, or if she was trying to imply that perhaps I should find one before I left the house again. :)  Either way, don't you just love little diners where you can eat grape jelly on buttered toast at 8:00 at night and be all up in everybody's business? I do. When we are old and retired I fully plan on us taking a road trip cross country and stopping at every roadside diner. Josh doesn't know that yet, but he will....

Speaking of retiring, the reason the kids were staying with my Mom was because on Saturday some of our church had planned a trip to Tallahasse to visit one of the couples who have moved to an assisted living facility there. They had been lifelong members at our church and they are sorely missed. They left not too long after Josh and I got here, but their absence is still felt. I told y'all the church van messed up, right? Well, Josh and one of our church members spent an enormous part of their week replacing the water pump. I spent an enormous amount of time cleaning out our Jeep in case we needed to take it, and let me tell you what, it wasn't pretty. Seriously, we could star in "Hoarders on Wheels". (I don't think that's really a show, but give TLC a few months :) Anyway, thankfully the van was fixed and seven of us set off Saturday morning for a road trip. I sat in the back with 3 of our ladies and I just had the best time listening to their stories and hearing tours as we went through towns where they had grown up or had family members.  All was well in the world. Then, we got on the interstate. The van started shaking violently. I didn't give it much thought as we have had other vehicles that ride like that. :)  The other ladies started freaking out and minutes later.....THE TIRE BLEW! Oh my word! Josh was slowing down but trying not to slam on the brakes as we were on the interstate and so he wouldn't lock anything up. I was so glad I wasn't driving. I would have slammed on those breaks and either flipped the thing or caused an 80 car pile-up. We pulled over and I instantly had flashbacks to my last trip to Tallahassee. Josh informed us that part of the tread had just come off. He and our music minister went into pit crew mode and quickly had it changed. Pa-raise the Lord!
Our church members were so amazed at how fast Josh was able to do this and I just could not properly explain to them how much experience he has with things like this. :)

It literally took about 5 minutes and we were back on the road. The facility is very close to the neighborhood Josh and I lived in our first year of marriage and it was a neat trip down memory lane. Mr. Clynton and Mrs. Wayra were so surprised and excited to see everybody. Us girls went upstairs with Mrs. Wayra and she showed us their apartment. It was covered in artwork and I found out later that she and Mr. Clynton had taken a painting class together years ago and it was their artwork. I thought that was so neat! After that we all had lunch together in a little sunroom. We teased Mrs. Wayra about how spoiled she was not having to cook or clean and having a beauty shop right there. It really was a very nice place. I encouraged Josh to go ahead and reserve us a room! We really just had the best time visiting with everybody.

I just love old people. I know I've told y'all that. I love their history and their stories. I love their perspective on life. I've been considering writing some posts about relationships leading up to Valentine's Day, and I have to say that I think something that is great for strengthening your relationships (ALL of them, not just romantic ones) is visiting older people. I can't tell you how many of the days that I worked with Hospice that I spent with widows telling me stories about their husbands and their lives when they were younger. It gave me such a different perspective on the frustrations and annoyances of life. I found myself going from being frustrated in the laundry room over balled up sock and set in stains, to just thanking God that I had my husband there to mess up clothes. Mr. Clynton and Mrs. Wayra kept telling us that they are at a nice place, but it's just not home. I know it has been a tough transition for them, but to be honest, I pray that I will get old the way that they have. That Josh and I will live long enough with good enough health to spend our days together. Our society really worships youth and and I feel like there is such a divide between the older and younger generations. If a young couple came to me for advice, I would tell them to spend time with older couples. For several reasons.
1. If nothing else, I always feel like seeing those who are unable to do things they once could always makes me more grateful for the place I am at in life and challenges me to use what health, talents and abilities I have NOW.
2. There is just so much to learn. Whether you learn that you want a relationship like an older couple you know, or you DON'T want what their relationship is like, you are still learning things they've done or not done. Like hearing that this couple we visited took an art class together. That is something I hope Josh and I will always strive for is enjoying doing things together.
3. They prove it can be done. You  know to watch TV or hear people talk you would think that staying married is like trying to walk on water. Impossible! But, it's not. I LOVE to talk with couples who have not only stayed married (Mr. Clynton and Mrs. Wayra have been married over 60 years), but who you can tell are GLAD they stay married. You know they had to work at it, but they did. They invested in their marriage and it paid off. Let's face it, at the end of our lives, the people we've nurtured our relationships with are what will matter.

Okay, I will get off of that soapbox. :)  We finished up our weekend with a joint singing service with another church in our community. When I walked in the door someone came up to shake my hand. As I went to introduce myself they said, "You're Sister Fidler". One of our church members nearby said, "That's Mrs. Emily."  Yeah, I don't usually go by Sister Fidler, but I don't know, it could grow on me. :) It was a great service. The church was a different denomination and I have to tell you, they really know how to worship! It was just a great time to get to know new people and to feel united in our call to reach out to our community. One of our high school girls sang and Y'ALL, that girl can sing! I am so going to videotape her and put it on Youtube. I'm going to be her Randy Jackson. Okay, I'm probably more like Paula. Whatever. Girls gonna be famous!

Well, it was a weekend of diners, assisted living facilities and singings. Josh and I have fully embraced the older generations. I even found this when I uploaded pics off my camera tonight.

Josh had taken a picture of one of the birds in our yard. Next thing you know we'll be eating supper at 4:00 in the afternoon and Josh will be sitting on one of the benches at the mall waiting for me.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What To Do When the World is Coming To An End

So, maybe just a week or so ago I was beginning to think that my blogging days were over. My life had settled into such a peaceful, ordinary routine. It seemed pretty void of much of the craziness that made up my early blogging days. Without mice, car trouble or a 2 year old, I was beginning to have an identity crisis. I mean, WHO AM I? We have a schedule. I cook six nights of the week now. My kids have clean socks for school everyday. My life had become virtually unrecognizable. Then......the Jeep died. You know what is so funny? One of my friends commented that she was just thinking I hadn't written about car trouble in a while! LOL. What can I say, it was due. :)

Just a little update, Josh took the starter BACK to AutoZone and had it tested again and it WAS messed up. So he was right. He got a new one, put it in and we were back in business. Praise.The.Lord.

I was feeling bad over the weeked and only entered the world long enough to grocery shop on Sat. I had to. When I woke up that morning my kids were eating vanilla wafers and marshmallows for breakfast. I know I was feeling bad because I totally went to Wal-Mart and only got groceries. I didn't even pick up a new mascara or some new Febreeze. I mean, I was on a mission. So were the other 80 billion people there. I sent Josh a text saying, "Everybody and they Mamaw is here", meaning, "I hope to be home before Kate graduates from high school". It just so happened that a couple from our church got behind me in line and I enjoyed having the chance to talk with them during the 4 hour wait in line. I cannot tell you how thankful I was that I was not buying anything embarrassing. Apparently the cashier knew the person in front of me and hadn't seen them in 45 years or so and was catching up on every last minute. Finally, I was outta there.

Monday was pretty uneventful. I do believe, however, that this was the day my daughter told me her life was over. I gotta say, that child knows how to get my attention. I inquired about this declaration and she informed me that she has three friends at school and they were all upset about the others. I tell ya, if that isn't dramatic and life ending, I don't know what is. :)

Drama seems to be the theme this week. I told y'all in my last blog that our water was out. WE ARE STILL ON A BOIL NOTICE!! At first there was a power outage at the treatment plant and then today a water line busted. This caused us to be completely out of water for a few hours. The great thing was that it would come and go. It would mostly go at very convenient times like when I had just loaded the washer or when I had just gone to the bathroom. Nice. But, despite my children's fears, we have not died.

In other exciting news all of the children are sick with strep throat and a stomach virus. Not my kids! Hallelujah! But at the dance studio we have been walking around with hand sanitizer before and after the classes. Between the icky water and talk of the stomach bug I am considering bathing in Lysol tonight.

To add to that drama we had the dramatic event of the week. One of my 5 year old ballerinas fell and scraped her knee AND tore her tights on the way in today. I could hear her screaming as soon as she walked through the door and we were about 10 minutes late getting started. This was a situation that needed to be dealt with very delicately. With a band-aid. And allowing her to cry through the first 10 minutes of class. I felt bad for her, but she has what it takes to be a dancer. She pressed on despite the pain. I was tempted to say, "There's no crying in ballet!"  But then I thought, just wait until she puts on pointe shoes! Then you cry through the whole class!

Sarah has an hour long class after mine so I ran some errands. I picked a birthday gift and ran by the Pig to buy LOTS of bottled water. I got home just in time to see Josh under the church van (the water pump went out on it. I know, I know, I sat in it and now......) and Kate wandering around with Daisy. She had opened the gate and let her out. I went to chase Daisy and thankfully Josh got her. By the time I got back to unload the Jeep, Kate had opened the birthday present! I took Kate inside and unloaded my groceries (do y'all notice how much grocery shopping I do? I think I'm going to go put that as one of my activities on FB).  I ran back to get Sarah and by the time I got home Kate had on no pants and had spilled an entire bag of chips on the floor. As I was sitting down to type a FB status that said this has not been my week, I asked Kate why her pants were off. Because she had an accident. I asked her where she had an accident. She pointed to my feet. Right where I was sitting. Fabulous. The night continued with her falling off a stool and climbing on the kitchen counter to eat half a jar of dill pickles. Apparently she had just given me a few peaceful months to recover from the 2's before she went into the 3's full force. Or maybe she was concerned about my identity crisis. It's true, I don't know what to do without little people getting into everything and eating all of our food. What will I do y'all? What will I blog about then? I just can't imagine what it will be like to, I don't know, have to have a hobby or something to do.

It's just been a week y'all. My suggestion for weeks like this: hand sanitizer, muscle relaxers, bottled water and cool-whip. Crying works, but laughing does too!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Most Used Word in Our House This Week.....

Is panties. As in, "Kate, where are your panties?"  "Why are there panties on the kitchen counter?" "I'm going to wash the 85th load of Minnie Mouse panties." And finally, "KATE, put on your panties!!!"  I imagine the only real difference between a 3 year old potty training and a resident of a nudist colony is the level of celebration that goes on when a person goes wee. I must admit, I myself find it more exciting to use the bathroom now that I have a person there to high five me and squeal, "You go!" Despite the level of nekedness in this house, I am still thrilled to announce that Kate is FINALLY potty trained! I honestly didn't know if this day would ever come. I won't lie, I've realized that I haven't been in much of a hurry to encourage any further development for Kate. She's my baby, y'all. Sarah was potty trained as soon as she could stand up. Not really, but it felt like it. Eli was a little bit later. And now, finally Kate. Let's face it, if I had any more kids they'd be packing pull-ups to take to their dorm room. I had a slight emotional breakdown the other day as I realized  I will have no reason to visit the baby section regularly. Josh, on the other hand, did a little happy dance and began calculating how many packs of pull-ups equal his dream boat. :)

I wanted to show you a recent pic of Kate and this is the best I can do. Photographing her has become a challenge that requires the skill of the CIA and FBI combined. What I'm saying is, she ain't havin' it!

This is Kate on the way to dance. She is such a mess. Did I tell you that one of my dance Mom's told me that her daughter makes them pretend like they are me and Kate? Isn't that hilarious? I asked her if the way they pretended to be us was for her to go around hollerin', "KATE! Get over here!"  "Kate, show me your ballet arms!"  "KATE! Come back in here right now!"  Yep, cuz that's how dance is going for us right now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the baby of my brood. I am smitten with her. Y'all just please pray she is not completely rotten. She totally gets away with things my other two would never dream of. I like to think that I have just become a much more patient mother, but to tell the truth I think her curls and dimples just do me in.

In other dance news, costumes have officially been ordered. Sarah and I are performing a duet in the recital and I am a little giddy about it. When I was growing up I always loved to watch my teachers dance with their daughters and it is literally a little dream come true to get to do this with Sarah. I had all of my costumes picked out for my classes a month ago, but I literally just picked out mine and Sarah's yesterday.  I had no choice, they were being ordered today! As you can imagine, my excitement is a little bit tempered by two things. First, it has been a LONG time since I have performed for an audience. At least I will have a cute kid that everyone will be watching. And two, I HAVE TO WEAR A DANCE COSTUME!! In my baby ballet class yesterday we did our usual stretch where we pretended to fly to their houses. For some reason everybody was on a food kick. Instead of playing with toys they wanted to eat. We pretended to eat sandwiches and ice cream and cookies. I was thinking how pretend eating is all I'm going to be able to do until May!

Of course, I'm kidding. While I'm at dance I always decide I will eat only vegetables or live on soup or something crazy like that. Then, I get home and the pantry calls my name. This is thing. I have to feed my people. And I don't think it's fair to slave over a meal for them and then eat a rice cake. Know what I mean? I've just taken to pretending that walking down the hall carrying massive loads of laundry and drinking a bottle of water at night equal a 3 hour workout and cancel out any eating I'm doing. So far, this hasn't worked according to the scale, but psychologically, I feel better.

Speaking of food, I am feeling pretty proud of myself. We have officically done without eating out to the point that our kids feel totally deprived. "We never go get supper anymore!" What a tragedy. Pretty much all the years we've been married Josh and I have set goals to eat at home more for health and financial reasons. But, it just never seems to happen. Finally, we've had several weeks of success. This week (yes, I know it is only Tues. Baby steps, y'all) I owe our success to blogging. Seriously, how did women ever know how to do anything before google and blogging? Last night I made Pioneer Woman's enchiladas and tonight I made Suzy Home Maker's roasted chicken. They tasted like real food, y'all. And I made them. From scratch. I finally learned what in the world you use Thyme, Rosemary, and Sage for!  For the first time, my spice rack was used for something other than decorative purposes! So exciting. Between the saved money on fast food and pull-ups, we're movin' on up!

Please don't fret that I am becoming too overconfident these days. I was so proud that I had dinner ready and on the table by 6:00. Well, during our meal we received a phone call that the water treatment plant had a power outage and we weren't supposed to use the water. Our neighbors had gotten the news and wanted to pass it along. So, we're not exactly sure at what point that went into effect. Suddenly, everything on the table was in question. Everyone stopped to stare at their plates. You just never know. If you think about it would you just stop and say a little prayer for my family tonight? I mean, water issues or not, my family has had to eat a lot of my cooking lately. And this might not seem like a big deal, but my kids are freaking out. "What happens if you don't have food and water?" "Will we die?"  Good to know the melodrama gene got passed on good and strong. :) Josh even said the school may be closed tomorrow if the problem is not fixed. It's high drama around here. But really, I think everyone overlooked the important issue here. How will this affect the fountain machines at Mr. Cheap Butts? I'll be able to get my Diet Coke, right???????

Hey, I just realized I can't do laundry! Woo-hoo! Oh.....wait......we're potty training......IT'S THE APOCOLYPSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sometimes Other People Say It Better

Today in dance I had a student return. She hadn't been since before Christmas. She was anxious and just wanted to hide out in the corner. She finally told my assistant, "My feet are scared, they haven't danced in a long time."  Don't ya love it? Three year olds just have a way of saying things. I just love words and the way that they can be written or spoken to encourage, challenge, inspire, uplift, or bring laughter. Just wanted to share some things that have been speaking to me. Making me think. Making me pray. Making me laugh.

"God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving." [The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn, Page 73]

  We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.”   ~Dwight L. Moody

Winston Churchill's definition of success:
Moving from failure to failure
without any loss of enthusiasm

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting.
It has been found difficult; and left untried."  --G. K. Chesterton
Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.”
                                                                                     – Phillips Brooks

"Know when to tune out, if you listen to too much advice you may wind up making other peoples mistakes. "

                                                                                - Ann Landers

"That it will never come again Is what makes life so sweet."

                                                         -Emily Dickinson

"If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it."
                                      -Erma Bombeck
That's my quote, for sure!  How 'bout you? Do you have any favorite quote, verses, lyrics or words of wisdom you'd like to share?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Big Enough

I was once told that my vulnerability is what keeps people reading my blog. I still haven't decided if that is a good thing or a bad thing. As I've said many times, I didn't start this whole blog thing with the intention of people reading it. That just kind of happened. And I don't suppose I aimed at being super honest and vulnerable. I guess that just happened, too. The truth is that, in real life, I find it very hard to be vulnerable. I like to be strong, independent, and private. I prefer to be the one others come to with their problems. So in a way, blogging has introduced me to a new side of myself. The side of me that, for some unknown reason, feels comfortable sharing intensely personal and private things with large numbers of people, some who I've never even met. Lately this has become more of an issue for me. For me, this blog has journaled my life over the last several years. Everything from pregnancy to new jobs, family events to vacations, funny stories to my deepest heartache. And yet even in the depths of vulnerability and sincerity that I strive for, of course there are things I don't share. Can't share. Won't share. Aren't my place to share. You may not believe this, as much as I have shared, but I do believe in TMI. That said, this blog tonight might be TMI.

You see, I have often alluded to some health issues I've been having, but I've been leery of actually discussing them. For several reasons. First, I LOATHE feeling pitied and I know that is a natural response most people have. Second, I have only had an official diagnosis for a few months. Third, IT'S NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL. Seriously. It's not. But that is exactly what inspired this blog tonight. You see, I've been going to dr.'s for eight years now. Yep, that is right. From the time I had Sarah I have had one issue after another. I've seen specialists. I've had tests and procedures. I've had surgery. I've taken a steady stream of antibiotics. I've had dr.'s treat me like I'm crazy. I've had dr.'s decide I might possibly have a million other things that I don't have. Finally, after 8 years, I've been diagnosed with endometriosis. I will spare y'all the details (it is a girl thing), but finally having a diagnosis has brought both relief and fear. The thing about it is that it is not a serious, life threatening problem, but it is a chronic one with no cure. So, on one hand it has brought some peace that when I'm in pain I have a name for it, and I'm not dying (as I have often convinced myself), but on the other hand, a part of me wonders what this will mean for the future.

I am soooo blessed that I managed to not be affected by the most devastating symptom which is infertility. I cannot tell you how much I praise God for that. I would be tempted to say that this is something that just came up after Kate, but I know my symptoms and that this is something I have dealt with for many years. I have no idea why God chose to be so good to me and spare me that pain, but I will sing His praises all of my days! I've also wondered if that played a role in dr.'s not considering that it could be my problem.

Anyway, even as I'm typing this I am unsure if sharing it is the right thing. The thing is, that this has become such a part of my life that it seems impossible to not share.  Through the years I have struggled with feeling bad and many different symptoms, but over the last year it has begun to affect me to the point that I almost can't function for a week or sometimes more every month. I really struggle with being tired all of the time and have just recently realized the affect that pain has on your body. Not only do I struggle with going to sleep because I'm in pain, but just the exhaustion of my body being in pain. During those times I kind of have a brain fog. In fact, you could probably go back to my blog archives and see certain times when I haven't blogged as much each month. I can't explain it. I just kind of shut down mentally. I feel like that has really affected me socially because sometimes I just feel so out of it. I try to avoid people for fear that I won't be able to follow a conversation or just because I'm too tired to talk.

I promise I do not write this for your pity. I will go soon for a consultation to schedule a procedure that two of my friends have had and had awesome results with. I write this to share some lessons I've learned. I always say that I feel like if there is a trial I am facing it is so I can encourage someone else in their trial. So, tonight I write this for anyone else who is facing a chronic situation, whether it is medical or something else. God is big enough.

A few nights ago I had to cancel something fun we were going to do with the kids because I felt so bad and just had to go to bed. I found myself praying and getting really honest with God. I told Him that I was lonely. That surprised the heck out of me. I cannot begin to tell you how richly blessed I am in friends. I am not in anyway rich financially, but when it comes to family and friends, I am Bill Gate's kind of rich. So, I was truly shocked to realize that deep in my heart, I felt lonely. Only about this. Because it is just one of those things that I feel like people can't really understand as much as they offer their love, support and prayers. I don't have any obvious physical signs that show I'm sick. I can be fine one day and miserable the next. My way of dealing is just to isolate. Well, the very next morning a dear friend of mine who I hadn't talked to in almost a year called me. She had heard about this struggle and had the same procedure that I am planning to have. It was such a relief just to be able to talk to someone who had been there and really understood. I felt like God led her to call me just to let me know I'm not alone.

That led me to understand something even greater about the amazing God I serve. Not only did I have a friend to lean on, but I was reminded that God is big enough. You see, I have hesitated in asking for prayer with this because I think of people I know who are struggling with REAL, serious, life-threatening medical issues. I feel silly. This has really affected my life, but in the big scheme of things it isn't that big of a deal. But that's when I realized how differently I handle things than the God of the universe handles them. When I did my internship in the ER I learned quickly that injuries and illnesses are prioritized. You better bet somebody with chest pain is going in before someone with abdominal pain. And I realize that in some ways that is how I approach life. I have limited time and attention. I have to prioritize the people and needs in my life. But you know what? God doesn't. He is bigger than that. And the same God who cares about starving orphans and solidiers in combat is capable of caring about the health of a stay at home Mom. It is easy to think that God has too much going on to care about such non-issues. But I was reminded of one of my favorite stories and it took on a whole new meaning for me.

40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,[c] but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Luke 8:40-47

I've always loved that story and have applied it to many other areas in my life. The idea of just touching the hem of His garment. But now, it's not just the healing or the woman's faith, it is the woman's story. Hard to think that thousands of years ago there was a woman dealing with "girl stuff" and "no one could heal her". She was desperate. In those days ceremonial law dicatated that women were "unclean" when they were bleeding and thus were isolated during that time. Twelve years for this woman. As this old favorite story became new to me, something stood out to me. The fact that she was dealing with more than a medical issue. She was outcast and she was lonely. And in a crowd of people who were equally desperate to see Jesus and may have even had much worse situations and problems, she caught His attention and she felt His healing. And she left in peace.

I have no idea what situation you are facing, whether it is medical, financial, relational, spiritual, or a multitude of hardships. But I do know that no matter how trivial or big it is that God is big enough to bring healing. A fasle gospel of "health, wealth, and happiness" has become big in churches today and it always scares me. It scares me that we would put our hope in those things. Mostly because I know that all 3 of those are temporary and fleeting. But we can put our faith in a God who is always there, even when health, wealth or happiness seem far out of reach.

I would love to join you in praying over a situation in your life that you are trusting God to be big enough. If you don't feel like sharing here, please feel free to e-mail me at

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You Do The Hokie Pokie and You Hope the Jeep Will Start.....

The good news is that Kate made a road trip without having an accident. The bad news is I just reached behind a couch pillow looking for Josh's phone and picked up a 4 day old baked potato. Actually, that's not the really bad news. That's the random, totally happened as I was writing this, totally the perfect ending to this day bad news. The really bad news is that my Jeep is spending the night alone in the school parking lot. Deader than a dern doornail.

You see, usually Josh picks the kids up in the afternoon so I have time to get ready for my dance classes. Not today. Josh came, determined it was the starter, piled us all in his Monte Carlo and we headed home for me to change. He then gave me the option of taking the monte or the church van to dance. I vetoed the van as I don't have much experience with vehicles of that size and imagined myself taking out a city block trying to turn. So, I ended up in the monte. Ugh......I really don't want to sound ungrateful. I know I should be thankful we have another vehicle. But you have to understand. The door handle on the driver side is broken, so you have to climb through the passenger side. Then, you crank it up and wake up people 2 states over from their naps. Josh loves that particular feature. I admit it still gives me the little fuzzy feelings in my tummy when I hear the car coming down the street, just like when were dating in college. But, being IN the car....well, I don't know if it was my headache I've had for 5 days now or the frustration already growing in me, but I wasn't feeling anything fuzzy. Then, I realized there is something horribly wrong with the power steering. As in, there is none. I honestly became concerned I would not be able to turn. I almost had to stand up as I put all of my strength into it. I also have to practically stand up on the brakes to stop the car. Today, I fully understood why it is called a muscle car. And I also realized that I just don't have the muscle. Josh also enjoys being stopped at red lights and admiring looks other guys give his car. Well, I wasn't in the mood for that either. I made it to the dance studio without taking out any other cars. Oh yeah, did I mention that after you scoot over to the passenger side to get out you have to roll down the window and open the door from the OUTSIDE?  Will you believe me if I tell you I was exhausted before I even got to class?

Thankfully we had a really calm, easy day at dance. When class ended Josh was there. He had gone to get the starter out of the Jeep and he was going to follow me home. Well, all that meant was that he got to witness me being unable to turn the steering wheel as I backed out of the parking spot. I had to do a 45 point turn to finally get the car going the direction it needed to. I wouldn't look at Josh because I knew he was laughing at me and I would have fo sho given him the stank eye. I drove home, crawled to the passenger seat, rolled down the window, opened the door, rolled the window back up and got in the church van with Josh and the kids to head to Auto Zone. Twenty minutes into our trip and we were at a dead stop. Traffic backed up for miles. The air force base was launching drones. I have no idea what that means, but that's what Josh told me. We eventually made our way to Auto Zone where I hung out with bored youngins while Josh took the starter in. He came back carrying.....our starter. As Eli would say, "What the what?" He said that the guy hooked it up to the machine thingy and it was still good. So we made a 45 minute trip for nothing.

Never one to pass up a chance to not have to cook we decided to get some supper while we were there. We have done so good about not eating out as much, but tonight I was definitely grateful to eat anything I didn't have to cook (or serve or heat up or clean up or put away get the picture). Kate was in pj's (long story) and Josh was covered in grease. I went in the bathroom and took off my leotard that was under my clothes and ended up carrying it around. We were quite a crew. We ended up at Arby's and had a special family time that seemed to make up for the rest of the stinkiness of the day. I may have told y'all that when I was in high school I was the president of a club my friends and I started called SAC (Singles Anonymous Club). Anyway, it ended up being ironic that we would have our meetings at Arby's and Josh and his friends would always be there. Who knew the president of SAC's future husband was enjoying some curly fries just a few booths over? It was almost surreal to look across the restaurant at the table our 3 kids were saving for us. They would wave and smile and Eli would give me a thumbs up. We actually had a very nice time together and I was amazed how one place could hold so many memories. Across the street was the laundromat we took a brand new baby Eli to when our washer went out. And a Pizza Hut where we spent many Sunday nights after church. And Winn-Dixie. Yep, THAT Winn-Dixie. :)
Anyway, it was just a fun family supper and we decided we had  really needed a night together like that.

Feeling a little more upbeat we headed back to fix the Jeep. And by we, I mean Josh. We stopped at Dollar General for some things and Josh ran in. I was again in the church van with children who were bored to the point of doing the hokie pokie while sitting down and singing "If Your Happy and You Know It". I wasn't exactly happy at this point, but I was deliriously tired enough to sing along. Anyone observing me sitting in the front seat of the church van tonight probably came to the conclusion that I was a special needs case being taken to a treatment center by the preacher.

It was very dark, cold and late by the time we made it back to the Jeep. Josh crawled under the Jeep on the wet ground. Of course I had parked in a spot where a big rain puddle had gathered. Josh hooked the starter back up. Still didn't work. He did something to the battery. Still didn't start. I finally felt what it must be like to be one of our children as he told me 55 times "Okay, try it one more time." Nothing.

So, we headed home. I'm still wearing my ballet tights under my jeans and my hair in a bun. I've told Kate to go to bed approximately 34 times. Josh will soon be getting on the computer to research relays and flywheels and all manner of things I don't understand. I'm going to finish my Diet Pepsi, take some aspirin and get a bath. Then, beofre getting in bed I may do some push- ups.  Right now my transportation options are the muscle car or pushing the jeep. Either way, I'm going to need some upper body strength.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Recently I was conversing with someone and we ended up talking about people who always have to one up you. Do you know those people? You tell them how bad your day was and they tell you how much worse theirs was. You share some exciting news and they have something more exciting. You are proud of an accomplishment and they have already accomplished the same thing and then some. While having this conversation I became paranoid that maybe I am one of those people. Even as my paranoia crept in it made me laugh hysterically. Like, for real, what would I brag about? Thinking about impressing people or being impressed caused me to draw the conclusion that it doesn't take much to one up me and my crew or to impress us.

Several years ago Sarah was riding in the car with T (her grandma) and a couple of her sophisticated, city kids cousins. At that point we were still in Ms. without TV (not just cable, but NO TV) and we actually lined up at the kitchen window to watch the cows change pastures for our entertainment. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Well, one of the cousins started bragging about her new Ipod and how most kids her age didn't have Ipods and the whole deal. Unfortunately the impressiveness of this material possession was totally lost on my child who immediately asked in her countrified southern drawl, "T, what's a Ipod?"  Bless her socially isolated, technologically outdated little heart. She didn't know to be impressed. :)

Eli proved to be equally as cultured and sophisticated as Sarah. Several months back we were out to eat with some family friends when their daughter started telling my kids about all of the fancy food she liked to eat. Not to be outdone, Eli added to the conversation. He informed us, "You know what's good on bread? Peanut butter and jelly."  True son, very true. I can only hope that all mothers out there are broadening the food horizon for their children the way that I have.

After I wrote this blog about Sarah I started worrying that it might have come across smug, like I think I'm the mother of the year or something. Well, if it makes you feel any better, just a day after that special experience I looked out in the playroom to see this....

That would be my daughter. Dancing. On a table. Also known as table dancing. You might think this would cause me to panic. I mean, I teach dance, but not THAT kind of dancing. It's okay. Sarah did the same thing when she was this age. In the nursery. At church. Can't you just hear me the next time someone is bragging about their 3 year old that reads and speaks four languages? Well, let me tell you what. My Kate, she dances on tables and she is *almost* potty trained. Wink.

There was once a time I felt like I could impress people with how young I was. Because I had Sarah so young it would always surprise people that I was as young as I was. Well, my dance classes have now stolen that glory from me as well. They make me feel I teach Sarah's jazz class and I have chosen the song "What a Feeling" for their recital dance. You know the one from "Flashdance"?  Oh my gosh. If that song doesn't make you want to get up and put on some leg warmers and do some leaps I don't know what will. I've been really excited about it. The first night I played the song for the girls they weren't too sure about it. It starts out slow and they were saying, "This isn't a jazz song!" But, then- wait for it, wait for it.....WHAT A FEELING/IS BELIEVING! Oh yeah, you totally want to twirl across the room, don't you? Well, at that point one of the girls looked at me with complete awe in her eyes and said, "This is awesome". Yes. Yes it is. :)  They were all saying they had never heard it (what a tragedy) and I explained that it actually came out when I was close to their age. Yes, it is that old. Well, tonight there were two new girls and when I played the song one of the girls told them, "It's from the 1900's". WHAT?!?!  I corrected her that it is from the 1980's. Then I realized it's all the same to them. I'm just old.

Another exciting moment happened this week. I was going through a bag Sarah brought home from my Mom's and found a dress she had given Sarah to play in. It was a blast from the past. When I was little my parents would go to my Dad's Christmas party every year and my Mama would always get a new semi-formal. I loved seeing them all dressed up. Well, here was one of those very dresses. I found myself looking at the tag and was shocked to see that it is the size I wear. My Mom has always been super tiny. I couldn't resist. I had to try it on. Apparently sizes have changed over the years. I was able to squeeze my big ol' booty (haven't had time to get the reduction yet) into the dress, but oh boy it was more like a shirt on me. Still, I couldn't help feeling a little bit proud that I could even get it zipped. I have to show y'all this picture of my gorgeous Mama and handsome Daddy.
I would have taken a picture of me in the dress to show you, but, well, being arrested for indecent exposure just doen't look good for a preacher's wife. Let's just say the dress doesn't quite fit me exactly the way it should. Speaking of indecent exposure, Kate has added photographer to her resume this week. Sarah got a new camera for Christmas and thankfully we can't figure out how to upload the pictures. I say thankfully because the other day I was changing clothes and turned around just in time to see Kate capturing the moment with Sarah's camera. Scandalous. Those weren't my first X-rated pictures either. When I had Sarah we asked one of the nurses to take a pic of Josh cutting the umbilical cord. Well, seems she got more in the picture than we planned if you know what I mean. That was before the days of digital cameras. I didn't find out about these pictures until AFTER they were delivered. At Winn-Dixie. Where Josh had worked for several years and knew every person, including the photo person. I don't know how these things happen to me. You know those people who have amazing birth pictures minutes after delivery with a full face of make-up and a professional hair do?  Yeah, I don't have those. I have the ones where my face looks like I just swallowed the Pillsbury dough boy and my hair looks like I slept in a bush. Personally, I'm just thankful for the ones that only show my face........

Well, I must say, it's hard not to brag when you have a life like mine. :) So what about you? What impresses you? What does NOT impress you?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nothing Compares

Well, it is the 15th and the day that I appointed to choose a new memory verse. For those of you who are joining in memorizing verses I hope that you have had success with your first one. I chose Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in all situations, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God." Yay! I just wrote that from  memory! Okay, I totally checked it to make sure, but still, I wrote it! Please don't think I'm bragging. Anyone who has spent 5 minutes with me knows what a miraculous feat this is. Last night I reached across the table for a condiment and had to ask what I was reaching for. Seriously. I totally blog so that I will have any memory of my life whatsoever. I really need to take those vitamins that help with your memory. I just can't remember what they're called.....or to take them.....

So, anyway, tonight is the night I share my new verse. I actually shared it last night. It was one of those verses that just screamed, "YOU NEED TO LEARN ME, REMEMBER ME AND LIVE ME!!" Here it is:

"Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,"  (Galatians 6:4)

Let me tell you why this speaks to me right now. I'm a huge comparerer (that is so not a word, but do you know what I mean?) I constantly compare myself to other people. I'm not as pretty as this person or as crafty as that one and I'm not as good a Mom as this person and on and on and you get the picture.  Unfortunately, it doesn't stop at the superficial, but overlaps in my spiritual life. If only I was as disciplined as this person or as giving or whatever. I find myself longing for the gifts and talents others have.

This was an especially big deal for me in Mississippi. At our church there (which was my first experience as a preacher's wife) we had a church member who just happened to also be one of the former pastor's wives. In fact, they had served there for over 20 years. Mrs. Pugh was her name and I adored her. Pugh is pronounced "Pew" and isn't that the perfect preacher wife name? But gosh darnit, I could never be her. She is in her 80's now and probably still has more energy and motivation than me. As a young PW she raised 8 (yes, I said 8!) children and they all went in church. No nursery. And she planted beuatiful rose bushes in the yard of the pastorium. And she sings in the choir. And she was super involved in the community. I already had quite a complex because I don't sing or play the piano or have any of the other skills or talents preacher's wives are supposed to have. I  mean, I dance y'all. Not exactly Baptist preacher wife material. Mrs. Pugh was nothing but sweetness to me and such an encourager. I can't tell you how many Sundays she would wrap her understanding arms around me and tell me how she remembered the days of getting youngins ready for church while the hubby is already off at church. It was such a gift to have her there to share her wisdom and compassion. And yet, as always, I found myself constantly feeling "less than". The thing is, I have the ability to feel that way without anybody ever helping me. Isn't that special?

Finally, there was a day I was driving the county roads and whining to God about how I wasn't Mrs. Pugh and He interrupted me. He told me that if the church needed another Mrs. Pugh, He would have made me another Mrs. Pugh. It dawned on me that many of the skills and talents Mrs. Pugh has better served her generation, but there were gifts and talents He gave me that were better suited for my generation. It was that gentle reminder that, oh yeah, He is in control and knows what He's doing.

I don't know if any of you struggle with being a "comparerer", but I'm tired of it. I mean, literally tired. I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to be other people. I've recently realized how much time I've missed out on real growth in my personal strengths and gifts because I've been working so hard to have other people's.  Basically, God has had to have a heart to heart with me about the fact that any skills, talents, gifts, abilities, temperament, personality, whatever I have were given for HIS GLORY, not mine. That may mean that there are jobs He gives me that warrant no special attention or recognition while someone else may get that attention and recognition. It means that certain things God asks of me may be harder or easier than what He asks of someone else. It is not important that I keep a running tally of what so and so has done and what I'm doing or think I should be doing. It is important that every day I am seeking what God asks of ME and that I am being faithful and obedient to that call. I am eager to no longer live in the bondage of constantly comparing myself to others. Instead of  reaching, stretching, and jumping to keep up with what everybody else is doing, I just want to stand tall knowing I've stayed focused on what I've been asked to do. And to realize that nothing compares with His greatness!

So, what is your verse? You don't have to write a War and Peace epic like me to explain it, but please share!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Not Me

Last night I was driving home from the grocery store. That's another random fact you can know about me. I like to go grocery shopping late at night after everybody is in bed. I'm anti-social that way. Anyway, I made a turn and my eyes immediately spotted a police officer. My first thought- 'Oh crud.' I don't know why. I wasn't even doing anything wrong. At the exact same moment I thought that a car sped by cutting somebody off. My thought then was, 'Ooooh! Ooooh! Did you see that? Look what he did!"  My next thought was, 'Hello Emily from 2nd grade, when did you join the party?'  Nevermind that I've been driving with an expired license for 5 months (please don't turn me in. Do you know it takes an act of congress to renew your license?) Anyway, isn't it amazing how quickly we can find somebody else's faults and point them out? Whether the 2nd grade tattletale comes out or we "politely" share a prayer request about that person in that bad situation, bless their hearts (In case you don't know, saying "bless their hearts" after talking bad about somebody makes it ok. Or so that's what we think.) there is something so appealing about focusing on other people.

Kids are the experts in this area. In fact, not only can they find the fault in others or place the blame on brothers and sisters, they can pass the buck onto nothingness. Let me explain. Last year my kids were on a kick that everytime I would ask, "WHO DUMPED THE CRACKERS ALL OVER THE FLOOR AND STEPPED ON THEM???" they would answer, "NOT ME!".   "WHO PAINTED THE BEDSPREAD WITH NAIL POLISH????"  "NOT ME!!"  For the record, the "NOT ME" would be repeated 3 times. It got so bad that my Mom actually made a Christmas stocking with NOT ME written on it. We're planning to claim him on our taxes. It's been a big joke around here, but I have to be honest tonight. Lately, I've found myself doing some soul searching and have come to the conclusion that I am as guilty as my kids at claiming "NOT ME!"

It doesn't always come out as that. Sometimes it's more like "At least I'm not that bad" or "I don't do that."  Nevermind the 50 other sins in my life that are equally as grievous to God. This has been a hard lesson for me. We are told that the Lord disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12) and I can't lie, I have felt like a 5 year old sent to my room to think about it. It is often easy to pretend that I am better than I am. I am a preacher's wife for pete's sake. But at the end of the day, I'm just a sinner saved by grace. And man does it seem like I need that grace more and more!  I remember days of feeling proud of myself for going to church, not just on Sunday, but on Wednesday night, too. There are so many areas that were once struggles for me as a Christian that seem like nothing now. But I've always heard that the closer you draw to God the more you begin to see yourself for who you really are. I don't mean that to sound arrogant, like I am just so tight with God. But I have had 17 years of growing and learning and what I'm saying is that He doesn't let me off as easy anymore. He has this way of seeing all of the things that others can't. The selfishness, self-absorption, pride, laziness.....maybe I'll just stop there. Like I said, it's been rough. Because He always loves me right where I am, but He loves me in a way that He can't let me stay there. It's a beautiful kind of love, but it's not an easy one.

There was a day not long after I lost my Dad when I was in the trenches of grieving. It was bad. It hurt bad. It was the first time in my life that I felt like I truly understood the word "grieve". I thought about Ephesians 4:30, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." It goes on to say, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. "  Those are the things that grieve God. That verse washed over me fresh as I grieved and wondered, "Is this how I make God feel?"

I will tell you right now that I believe in security of the believer. I believe that if you confess your sins and repent of them and profess Jesus as your Lord and Savior that you are secure in your salvation and you will spend eternity in Heaven. I know there are many who have different ideas and opinions and I know there are those who use that security to continue to sin in their life. We will all sin because we are human and fallen, but what changes when we accept the grace that comes from God is that it will break our hearts to break His heart. We can point the finger elsewhere and claim, "Not me!" all we want, but we will not have peace until we make peace with Him.

This is the lesson I'm learning:  "Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,"  (Galatians 6:4)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If You Could Describe Me in One Word, I'm Sure It Would Be Style :)

Please, hold your applause.....and your laughter! I know, it is pretty funny I would be awarded a stylish blogger award. Don't worry, I've never met my awarder in real life, so this is not referring to my personal style. Actually, I have no idea what "style" this is referring to, but I've had serious blogger block so I thought it would be fun to play along. Thank you Rachael at Girlfriends With a Purpose for thinking of me! I am so happy that Rachael has come back to the world of blogging. She is a preacher's wife with 3 small children and she inspires me. I'm pretty sure she accomplishes more in 4 minutes than I do in 4 days! And she is cute and hip while she does it all!

So, here are the rules:

1. Make a post + Link back to the person who awarded you this award

2. Share 7 things about yourself

3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers so we can share the love

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve been tagged.

Seven Random Things: (Yes, I am aware that there is not much I haven't shared with y'all. This could be tough.....)

1. In high school my nickname was Skeezit. You see, I had these crazy hairs that stuck out whenever I wore my hair up (which was ALL of the time) and I met a girl who told me they were called skeezits. I can't explain them, so I will have to show you a picture that will a. maybe give you nightmares and b. make you think that I look totally awesome in every picture I show you of myself from here on out.

Doesn't that look like someone who deserves a style award?? Okay, I would just like to point out that this is what I looked like when Josh fell in love with me. I can't explain it either. Second, when I pulled up this picture Kate said, "Who is that girl?" I told her it was me and she got all giddy and said, "You were new!"  LOL. Yes, this is before I got old and decrepid. Thanks for reminding me Kate!!

2. I have a thing for royal weddings. We were watching something the other night about Prince Andrew and Fergie (the duchess, not the black eyed pea) and I said something about being 6 when they got married. I was just guessing at how old I was, but then they showed the year and sure enough, I was 6! How did I remember that? I don't remember what kind of birthday party I had, but I remember Prince Andrew and Fergie's anniversary. Go figure! I was equally obsessed with Princess Diana and even had her paper doll with all of her famous outfits. Am I the only one who played with paper dolls?

3. I'm a *little* competitive. I always say that I'm not, but since we've gotten the Wii it seems to have really resurfaced. Okay, so maybe by competitive I mean trash talker. I don't know what comes over me y'all. I don't like to lose. Is that bad? And if I do lose, you're going to hear about it! (For the record, Eli totally inherited this gene. It  is genetic, Eli proves it. That boy can trash talk like.....well, like his Mama. :)

4. I am an infomercial, as seen on TV, new product junkie. I got a Yoshi blade before Thanksgiving and I think my family became concerned I had formed an unhealthy attachment to it. I especially love cleaning products. You should have seen me when Magic Erasers first came out. I went all over our house dragging Josh to show him how the crayons came off the wall. I still heart Magic Erasers. Febreeze with Gain and Pledge with Lavender Febreeze are my new faves. My sister got the Shark steam mop for Christmas and I'm totally jealous. I think my Mom is concerned we were both kidnapped and brainwashed by aliens as we had no interest in cleaning products whatsoever when we lived with her. :)

5. I've never flown on an airplane. Pretty sure I'm the only person left on the planet that hasn't. I'm not scared either, just haven't had the chance. Hopefully soon!

6. I love to be at home. I am pretty outgoing and I really like to go and do, but most of the time I'm totally content to just hang out and read or watch movies. Lately, I've even enjoyed having time to just do housework. It's been relaxing. Again, my Mom is probably on her way over now to check if I have a fever. :)

7. I am way super sensitive to smells. This first presented in my early pregnancy with Sarah. I walked into a grocery store with Josh and said, "Do you smell that popcorn?" And it wasn't at a place that popped popcorn. I mean, I could smell it in the package! This is both a gift and a curse. I spend a lot of time saying "What's that smell?" (Eli got this from me, too) and trying to make things smell good. Candles, air fresheners, perfumes, you name it, I'm a little obssessed with them! My favorite perfumes are Heavenly and Rapture from Victoria Secret. Very appropriate for the preacher's wife, don't you think? :)

Okay, now that I've proven I'm as boring and uninteresting as we all thought, I will tag my fellow bloggers!

1. Ms. Terri at Southern Words and Ways (Ms. Terri was my boss and is a true Southern Belle. You should check out her blog!)

2. Melody at Life is A Bowl of Wedgies (I adore this blog and blogger!)

3. Patty at Welcome to Pattyville (Love Patty's sweet heart and she is the place to go for book reviews!)

4. Amber at The Journey of a Mother's Heart (You will fall in love with her and her sweet family!)

5. Lauran at The Ellis Nest (Lauran is my cousin and the MOST deserving of any kind of style award. She has it all! Fashion, interior design, everything. She's one of those people who makes camo look stylish!)

6. Lori at The Foremans (Lori is my recently discovered long lost twin. We are soul sistas and she may not take this as a compliment, but we have similar styles. When we went on our girl's weekend I asked her if my new flats were ugly and she pulled out the exact same pair in a different color! She gives me hope that sometimes I'm on the right track. :)

7. Sarah at The List-An Adventurer's Guide to Life (Sarah is just fabulous in every way. At our 10 year reunion we couldn't quit gushing over how beautiful she is!)

8. Ann at Wow This Is Harder Than I Thought (I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to share life with this sweet girl through our blogs. She is an amazing wife and Mom and has the cutest family!)

9. Deborah at Deborah's Distractions (This lady is neck deep in wedding planning and is probably too busy to do this, but she totally rocks! I am inspired by her energy and creativity!)

10. Karen at Reflective Reasonings (My bestie. I would love to see if she comes up with stuff I don't know about her. :)

11. Cindy at Musings From a Minister's Wife (Cindy is one of my real life friends and I love her heart for God and other people!)

12. Pao Ying at Pocket of Fulll Life (I have been friends with Pao since 3rd grade and she still amazes me. She is one of the most interesting people I know and has such a passion for life!)

13. Kim at Just Call Me Suzie Homemaker (Kim just started this blog and it is so great. She is so talented!)

14. Marla at The Watson Gang (Marla is also my cousin and even though we didn't grow up close to each other, I have learned from FB that some things are truly genetic. Like loving naps and not being a fan of Christmas music. I would love to see her random things!)

15. Amy at Hallelujahers, Homeschool, and Hay Barrells (Amy is a real life friend who shares the roles of preacher wife and mother to young children. We also share a penchant for getting behind chicken trucks and hay barrells. :)
Wow, can't belive I had 15 people to tag. :) I hope you will all play along. I look forward to learning more about you. And if you weren't tagged, you can tell me random things about you in the comments!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Believe That Children Are Our Future

I had a moment today that has my heart swelled up about 15 times bigger than normal and I can't stop thanking God. Today was my day in the nursery at church and my "big" kids always end up hanging out in there with me. We ended up being the only ones today and I was kicking myself for not being brave enough to just take them in service. But I was trying to give it a little time in case somebody came in late and by then, there was no way to make a quiet, inconspicious entrance. So, animal crackers and coloring books it was. But I soon felt like it was a divine appointment. My firstborn pulled up a chair and sat at a table next to me with her Sunday School book. Her teacher asked her to teach the lesson next week and she is taking the task very seriously. She even asked for my Bible to read the Scriptures listed. I looked over and saw my child looking like this....
Oh my. I don't know if you can understand what this does to my heart. I've watched this little girl take her first steps, ride her bike without training wheels and dance like a little pro, but nothing has meant more to me than this moment. My greatest prayer for my babies has always been that not only would they come to know Jesus as their Savior, but that they would genuinely love Him and desire His Word. I know that growing up as preacher's kids has the potential to make everything about church, or to hurt my kids as so often happens in churches, or the worst for me is the thought that it would just be mundane and routine. I want desperately for them to have a passion for serving God because He is real to them, not just an obligation or a guilt trip. All of that is to say, today was a dream in the making for me. A moment when my child was excited about the opportunity to teach and serious about the task.

I won't lie, when our children's teacher started talking about the kids teaching I wasn't totally on board. I mean, what are they going to learn from kids their own age? But, after today, I'm on board. I get it. What a way to get the kids truly involved and teach them how to be leaders. I don't want to get on a soapbox here, but as a pastor's wife I know that one of the most difficult things in our churches right now is finding people who will step up and be leaders and teachers. And I feel like it's because in a lot of ways we have failed to teach people how to lead and teach.  Jesus told us to make disciples, but often we just beg and plead to get people to church, but fail to do the hard, long work of making disciples. Of teaching and living and setting an example. It's my passion as a believer and I know that I fall very short. But the opportunity God has given me with my children has not been lost on me. The fact that I have a believer in my 8 year old who I can daily teach by example and study is a huge responsibility and blessing. Just in the last week or so I have really noticed how she watches me. How in her dance classes that I teach she watches me in the mirror to step exactly as I do. In the kitchen she has learned to wash the dishes and wipe down the table and counters just like I do. Tonight she helped me fold the clothes. She often treats her brother and sister more like her children, like I do. And I know that with that comes the fact that she also picks up on my frustrations and the times I lose my temper and the many, many other ways that I fail. I pray that I am quick to ask forgiveness and talk with her about how I could have done things differently. I know these days are precious and fleeting. This age of influence won't last forever. Now is my chance to invest and influence. I pray I make the most of them.

There are so many days that are full of never ending laundry, trying to get smushed bread out of the carpet (I've got to go work on that), and non-stop fussing between siblings. It easy to overlook the fact that our kids are more than a phase to survive, pictures for our frames or dolls to play dress up with. They are gifts from God that have been entrusted to us to teach, shape and mold into people He will be proud to call His own. It's a big job. Thankfully, we have a big God to teach, shape and mold us!

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”

Deuteronomy 4:9-10

Thursday, January 6, 2011


re·group verb \(ˌ)rē-ˈgrüp\

1. :
to reorganize (as after a setback) for renewed activity.
In Sarah's homework tonight she had to do some "regrouping". Do y'all know what I'm talking about? Moving the bigger number to the top to subtract the smaller number? Yes, I know, my mathematical expertise is phenomenal. :) Well, it just struck a chord with me about something I was already thinking about and I thought I would share.
We all know the most difficult part of moving, right? Yes. Finding a new hairstylist. Ladies, I know you know what I'm talking about. You can't trust your hair with just anyone. It's a pretty big deal. Well, I have found a lady here who I adore and totally trust with my hair. She is the next door over from the dance studio and is sweet enough to let me stick my head in and holler, "Can I come after dance?" And she always says yes. All of that was a very long, unecessarily detailed way to tell you about this conversation that came up at the beauty shop today. (Does anybody still call it the beauty shop?) We were talking about someone being young and unmarried and needing to follow their dreams and work on their career now. I shared that I myelf was married with two kids (ages 3 and an infant to be exact) when I got my college degree. My hair stylist asked me if I ever speak to young girls and at first I was confused. What did she mean? Like to discourage them from getting married and having babies? Then I realized she meant speaking to groups to encourage them that they could still accomplish their goals. Because I think too much, that got me to thinking the whole time she was taming my mane.
I started thinking about what I would say to a group of young girls if I had the chance. And the truth is that I don't feel like I could honestly ever stand in front of a group and say "You should go to school full-time while you have 2 babies and a husband and tons of other responsibilities." But I also know I could NEVER say, "Once you get married you'll never go back to school" which is something I heard quite a bit. I think what I would share with them is some of the things I've learned. The first thing being, God's plans are not our plans.
I've often shared that I am not a very good planner and I really feel like that goes back to my early college days. I had tried so hard to be the responsible, work hard, make good grades, have my life figured out at 18 girl. I came up with a plan and prayed God would bless it. God had other plans. I was not like so many other girls I met at college who were desperate to be married. You know the ones I'm talking about? They had their weddings planned and their children named and all they needed was a husband. Of course, I wanted to be married someday. I just honestlly never expected it to happen as early in life as it did. I had planned to find a college sweetheart that I would bring home to meet the family and we would marry the week after college graduation. I had no clue I would leave behind a high school sweetheart and spend the first year and a half of college totally lovesick without him. I wasn't one of those girls. But I was. Josh proposed to me in September of my sophomore year of college. We married that June. Just months before our wedding I was accepted into the very challenging Communication Disorders program at FSU in Tallahassee.  Anyway, Josh immediately started looking for a job in Tallahassee. He found one and we moved into our shoebox apartment. I started school and he worked  12-18 hour days delivering bread. We didn't have a honeymoon. Our first year together was spent apart more than together due to his work schedule and my school schedule. We did see each other enough to find out 5 months after our wedding that we would be welcoming a new family member in July of the next year! The thing about that news was that we had just had THE TALK. You know, the one where we discussed how I would finish my masters and he would go back to school and we would do this and do that and THEN like 15 years later, we would be ready for kids. :) THE PLAN. I just always smile when new brides to be tell me their "plan".
Josh was 20 and I was 21. To say we were young and clueless would be the understatement of the year. I often wondered if the nurses were scared to let us take Sarah home from the hospital. We were scared. Most people our ages were partying and sleeping til noon. They were "finding themselves". I had decided to take the year off of school. It was actually one of my male professors who talked with me and encouraged me to do that. He told me that I would have plenty of time for school, but that I would never get that first year of my baby's life back. Quite possibly the wisest words ever spoken to me. It was during that year that my Papaw was put on Hospice and I made the decision to go into social work. My 3rd major, for anyone keeping count. :)  That first year of Sarah's was the most difficult I had experienced (at that point in life), but I know that I am who I am because of it. I learned that life doesn't revolve around me, and personally I think that is one of life's lessons that is better learned sooner than later. I learned that it is possible to love other people more than yourself. I learned that when you vow for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and for richer or poorer, you better mean the worse, sick and poor part!
I did go back to school after Sarah turned one. I finished my AA and went on to get my bachelor's in social work. I also had Eli during that time. It was a sleep deprived, live on caffeine, eat out a lot time of life but we made it. And come to think of it, most of that hasn't changed. :) But like I said earlier, I could never say that is God's plan for everyone. I had tremendous family support and a husband who worked his hiney off so that I didn't also have to work another job while going to school and raising babies. We also took out student loans that we will be paying back from our nursing home beds.
It was so hard. I'm not going to lie. And at the same time, I don't know that it would have been any different getting married at this age now. We might not have the same struggles, but I am sure we would have struggles. Because life is hard and doesn't always go according to the plan. That's why we have to regroup. If I had a  visual of the paths Josh and I had drawn in our hearts for our lives and the actual paths God has led us down it would look like a hot mess of zig zags and criss crosses. We've often met ourselves coming and going. We've run from God's plan. We've run toward His plan. We've whined about the plan. We've sat and cried not knowing His plan. But the good news is, we learned very early on that we are called to seek HIS plan rather than our own.
There was a time when I felt very defined by the fact that I got married before I finished college and had babies so young. I felt like people looked down on that or were disappointed in me. It took many years for a conversation my best friend and I had in our college dorm room to sink in. She told me, "The people who matter will love you no matter what you do, and the people who don't, don't matter."  (Okay, I may have not quoted that perfectly, but it has been about 11 years since I had conversations in dorm rooms :) Again, very wise words. As I sat in the chair at the beauty shop today I announced that I wouldn't change a single thing, and I meant it with every fiber in my being.
Several weeks ago I sat in my dr's office and she told me, "It is a good thing you had your babies young." She went on to tell me that if I had waited until now to start a family, I most likely wouldn't be able to. I hadn't planned to share that on here, but after my conversation today, I really felt like I should. Because maybe you are reading this and thinking that you have messed up God's plan for you. Or you don't know His plan. Or you are frustrated with His plan for you. And there have been times I have felt all of those things. But the day she spoke those words to me I knew that God had been in charge of the plan all along. He had laughed as he listened to two young, crazy in love kids plan out their life with things they thought were important. And He overruled their plan and gave them what was really important. We had to regroup. Prioritize. Put the bigs things on top. "For renewed activity".  I love that part of the definition. Whatever setback or change of plans you might be experiencing, when God calls you to regroup, it will be because of a greater plan He has set in motion. It may not be easy, fun, or something to brag about. But it will bring you closer to Him. Because He is the biggest thing.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Top Reasons I Won't Win Mother of the Year

* I went to the grocery store and didn't buy a single sweet treat my kids like because I know that after they go to bed I would eat it all.

* Eli got out his backpack today to get it ready for school tomorrow and it still had papers from his last day two weeks ago. It also had really cute Christmas ornaments that obvioulsy did not get hung on the tree this year.

* My child left church tonight with no pants on. I am so serious. Josh hurt his back yesterday, so today before I left for work at 2:30 I went ahead and dressed Kate and put her socks and shoes on for church so Josh wouldn't have to bend over to do it. Well, 6 hours later it seems that her Pull-Up just wasn't up to snuff. Thankfully, there were extra Pull-Ups in the nursery. My potty training efforts=FAIL. Josh's ability to remember the backpack with Pull-Ups=FAIL. The fact our church members haven't called DCF on us=MIRACLE.

* We have gotten a tad bit off schedule during the holiday break. I'll just admit it. Last week, we did NOTHING. It was the greatest week of my life. Seriously. Anyway, we started back to dance on Monday and went to a birthday supper last night and tonight was dance and church, and tomorrow we start back to school. So, the routine is kicking back in. I realized just how much we had gotten off of the routine when I noticed a dirt ring around Eli's neck. I ushered my children to the bathroom and asked, "When was the last time y'all had a bath?" Eli's answer, "I just walked through the rain, does that count?"  What can I say? With a mother like me it the best they can hope for.....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Will You Join Me?

I have grown up, so to speak, doing Beth Moore Bible studies and enjoy reading her blog. Something her ministry is doing is asking blog readers to memorize two Bible verses a month. On the 1st and the 15th. She has a small spiral notebook she keeps the verses in to have handy at all times. Well, I attempted last time and I think I made it to two verses, period. Pretty sorry. I admit I am a bit shy and overwhelmed by the huge number of bloggers who share on her blog, so I thought maybe some of you would want to do this here with me? If not, I'm totally used to rejection, it's okay. :)

All I'm going to do is post my verses on the 1st and the 15th. There won't be specific verses to memorize. Every person chooses whatever verse they feel is speaking to them at that time. I will post my verse and maybe share a little bit about why it is important to me or what it is saying to me or something like that. Then, if you like, you can comment with your verse. And, I promise I won't, like hunt you down and tie you to a chair and make you spout off verses or anything like that. I just thought this would be something that would hold me accountable and give me a chance to know more about y'all and how to pray for you more specifically.  And seriously, it's 20 minutes shy of the midnight mark and I've been planning to blog this for over a week. I need all the accountability I can get!!

So, here goes. I'm kind of cheating because I'm choosing  a very familiar verse for me, but I realized I know the first part, but kind of mumble through the rest of it. As I've shared I can really struggle with letting my thoughts get the best of me, and I want desperately to have a year that I turn EVERYTHING over to God and truly trust Him. Here goes:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Philippians 4:6

I am praying this will become the constant attitude of my heart this year and that I can memorize the verses. And I'm starting with this one so I won't have anxiety over memorizing verses. :) I will learn it the way I just posted it from the NIV, because that is the original translation I learned it in many, many years ago.  You can share the translation you are using just in case someone else wants to look it up, too.

Hope you all have had an awesome start to the New Year! I look forward to the journey we are beginning and hope y'all will stay on as my traveling buddies!

P.S. Please forgive me if none of this made a bit of sense. I think I stayed up too late last night. And that's saying a lot for me. :)