Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who Is a God Like You?

I feel like I shouldn't admit this, being a preacher's wife and all, but there are times when I do not read my Bible the way I should. And what I mean by that is that I have weeks where I look at my turquoise, soft leather Bible sitting on the counter as I pass between doing dishes, accompanying 3 year olds to the bathroom, back to fix glasses of juice and back to fold laundry and back to fix the next meal. Get my drift? Seeing as how this last week was a record doozy in terms of my attitude I decided Friday morning that the 'tude I'd been sportin' needed to come to an end. And I have been a believer long enough to know that the only power I possess is the power I get from His Spirit and His Word.

I have always struggled with mornings and especially trying to be productive before 10am. But, it has become my routine to fix a bowl of oatmeal and some tea every morning and on this particular day as I sat at the table I spotted my lonely, abandoned Bible. It called to me. Reminded me that it held words that would give me wisdom, peace, direction, healing. I began to hear a small whisper telling me to read Micah. My thought? Seriously? Micah? Micah is one of the books of the prophets and focuses a great deal on God's wrath. I knew I had had a bad week and deserved God's wrath, but I found myself wanting to read anything else. And yet, I just couldn't. I was supposed to read Micah.

As I expected I read about God's people who had turned away from Him to worship other idols. His people who had forgotten who there God was. I know that I have never worshiped an idol in the way that people in those days worshipped wooden carvings or other gods. But I do know that there are plenty of things that I put ahead of my relationship with God. I began to get a lump in my throat as my heart became convicted of the many ways I had failed in the last week, not to mention the last month or year of my life. Is it hard for any of you to be human? Personally, it causes me some problems. Selfishness, pride, unforgiveness, laziness, impatience......the list could go on, but I don't know the word count for blogger.

Anyway, as my heart became tender and struggled through these things I moved into the last chapter of Micah and God rocked my world. I found these verses:

"Who is a God like you,

who pardons sin and forgives the transgression

of the remnant of his inheritance?

You do not stay angry forever

but delight to show mercy.

 You will again have compassion on us;

you will tread our sins underfoot

and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea."
Micah 7:18-19

Who is a God like you? Oh my gracious! I left my Bible on the table all day open to those words. So often we find ourselves asking "How can God allow so much pain and suffering?" or "Where is God?" But the truth is, who is a God like Him? In the times of the Old Testament people worshipped gods that required crazy sacrifices and who were cruel characters that often played pranks on the people. Their gods were selfish and cared nothing about mortals. Can you imagine learning of the One, True God? A God who DELIGHTS in mercy?! A God who has compassion and hurls our sins into the depths of the sea!!

So many times it is easy to become overwhelmed and consumed by our everyday lives. Whether we are experiencing severe trials or just the routine of day to day life, it is easy to lose focus. To take our eyes off of the gift we have in a God who shows compassion and delights in mercy. A God who is patient. A God who sees our struggles with the sins of this human body and life and waits to trample them underfoot and hurl them into the sea. What a God we serve!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sportin' a Tude

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”     Charles Swindoll

My attitude stunk this last week. Just thought I would get that out there. I've gone back and forth all week about blogging about it, but I've decided to just move on. It's time for me to suck it up, get it together and move on. Praise God His mercies are new everyday! And Praise God His strength is made perfect in my weakness! To top it off, I just don't feel like blogging. That is so weird for me. But a nice break for y'all. :)  Since I became a stay at home mom I don't think I've gone more than a week without blogging with the exception of our move. So, just so I don't totally lose all memory of this week, I will list some of the highs and lows of this roller coaster week.

* Eli has started T-ball practice. He's already had two practices this week! Josh came home from the first one saying that he was probably biased, but Eli was the best. Me and the girls stopped by practice tonight after leaving the dance studio and I have to agree, he's the best. Of course, I'm not biased either. :) Eli is so excited he can't stand it. Josh's parents bought him a new glove and some batting gloves and he is one cool dude. His buddy from church is on his team and they are going to have so much fun.

*Saturday I went to a bridal shower and was holding a friend's baby. While her Mom went to fix  her plate I had several people come tell me how much my baby looked like me.   It was so funny because nobody ever told me that about my own babies. :)

* Dance costumes have started coming in and I am totally like an 8 year old again. I may be more excited than the girls. I've decided that little girls in dance costumes make me happy. My costume hasn't come in yet, but I anticipate my happiness subsiding when I try mine on. :)

* My kiddos have been sick this week and we've spent a lot of time together. That has had up sides and down sides. The down side is that to me there is no worse feeling in the world than not knowing how to make your kids feel better. I always find myself saying lots of prayers for parents with seriously ill children. I just can't imagine. And let''s face it, kids just get ill when they are sick. And I felt bad and I was ill. There were some rough moments. But then, there are the moments when they are extra cuddly and just want to snuggle and watch movies. Right now Kate is completely infatuated with her big sister and constantly is saying, "Sawah! Sawah!" Does my heart good.

* I have found myself watching a lot of "Clean House" and "Toddlers and Tiaras" to make myself feel better about my house and my parenting skills. Just sayin'.

* The biggest thing this week has been big diet changes. Don't ask why I picked this week to to start a new diet, but I did. I shared here a health struggle I've been having and after doing some reading I've decided to give up dairy for 10 days. Just to see. Some research has shown that giving up dairy has made a difference in their symptoms and I am DESPERATE for anything to work. Y'all know this girlfriend is desperate if I'm giving up cheese and sour cream, y'all! You don't understand. I am the Queen of Cheeseburgers. I could write an entire cookbook of recipes using sour cream. This is a really big deal for me, but so far I've made it 3 days and I'm still standing. The truth is that I've eaten more vegetables in the last 3 days than maybe the last 3 years (or decades) of my life. And it feels good. Do you know what I ate for lunch? A spinach salad with kidney beans. I know it sounds so disgusting, but it really wasn't. I've also tried 3 new recipes and Josh has liked them all! SCORE! You should try them!
Easy Turkey Stir-Fry - We had this tonight and LOVED it! I didn't use the ginger or the crushed pepper and I served it over brown rice. This one does have a lot of sodium so I used reduced sodium soy sauce and chicken broth.
Chicken with Artichoke Hearts and Tomato- I also served this over brown rice, but later ate it over wheat pasta and I liked it better that way. Who knew I like artichoke hearts?
Shrimp Scampi-I served this shrimp over the whole wheat pasta and I won't lie, I wish it had been covered in some cheese. :)  But it was good anyway.

* I was peed on at 4:30 this morning in my bed. Maybe I should specify that Kate did it, not Josh. :) I have to say it is quite an effective wake-up call. It's a glamorous life I lead.

* I also had a really good cry today (not about the peeing incident, although that might have been appropriate) and I came to the conclusion that sometimes a good cry is as good for you as a spinach salad.

So, be honest with me. What has had you sportin' a tude or crying your eyes out this week? What has made you laugh? What have you been eating? Have you discovered something new you love? I've been cooped up with sick kids. Be my social outlet here and talk to me! :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Even If

I love Thursdays. For several reasons. First being that I survived Wednesday. Wednesdays are just crazy at our house and I always feel like I can relax once they are over. Second, it's Mom's Morning Out. Woo-hoo! Last week Kate refused to stay when I dropped her off. Totally threw me off because that was a new thing for her. She got sick a day or two later so I figured she just wasn't feeling good. Today, she started to pull the same thing, but I was eventually able to sneak off and my friend, Deborah, who runs the joint told me she didn't cry once. She even had a picture for proof.
So, with my few hours of free time I headed to our little downtown. I love our downtown. We just have the neatest stores and restaurants. Josh and I are celebrating V-day tomorrow (we've always done things on our own timetable :) so I was searching for his gift as well as a couple of other gifts. Right as I was picking his gift off the shelf he called. He was headed out to run some errands so I asked if he wanted to meet me for brunch. We've been talking for months about taking advantage of MMO and going for a morning date. We met at a little bookstore that also has a cafe in it. We enjoyed breakfast sandwiches and each other's company. To top off the morning, the weather is AMAZING. It feels like spring. I am a happy girl.

I'm not trying to incite any jealousy or ill feelings if you are still snowed in somewhere or are stuck in an office or haven't had a break from your kids in 45 days. Trust me, with the exception of being snowed in I've been there done that. I just share about my special morning because lately it has been on my heart to write about relationships, especially marriage. I always try to be honest and open about what is really going on in my life, not just how I would like it to appear. But, the truth is that it is not always fair to the people I love for me to share everything in our lives and my marriage is the place I feel the greatest need to protect. Early on in my marriage I decided that any issues Josh and I had needed to be shared only in my prayers. I realized that if I called my parents or my best friend every time I got frustrated over something then it would most likely lead to making Josh look bad, worrying other people, and even dragging them into a husband bashing party. I know that I did not want every frustration Josh had with me aired with whoever was around to listen.

With that said, I recently realized that it might be shocking to people to know that Josh and I have ever had issues or problems. And the truth is, for the most part we haven't. Nothing major that would require counseling or even anything that has lasted longer than a few days. Just your normal, we live together, have 3 small children, pastor a church, have cars that are always broke down, he leaves his socks in the middle of the living room, I have mood swings that make Attila the Hun seem loving, kind of stuff. What I'm saying is that we aren't always gazing lovingly into each other's eyes with hearts floating over our heads. That's what I'm saying. And I think it needs to be said. Because in our society I feel like we see two kinds of relationships. The ones that stink and make us wonder who thought putting men and women together was a good idea in the first place, and the ones that seem so blissfully perfect that they appear totally unattainable.

I thought I would share what I have learned about having a blissfully happy, but not all the time kind of relationship. And in a way I feel silly. I know there are people who have clothes that are older than mine and Josh's marriage. And yet, as I look at other people our age I feel like coming up on 10 years of marriage is a pretty miraculous feat in this day and time.

First, I will tell you some things that we have had that have worked against us:
-We were high school sweethearts. Statistics are not in our favor. Josh was only 19 when we got married.
-I was still in college.
-We had babies right away.
-I  struggled with clinical depression for over half of our marriage. If you have never experienced depression or living with someone who has it you can only imagine what that is like. If you have experienced it you know my husband deserves to be nominated for sainthood.
-We are in ministry. The statistics aren't good on that either.
-Our income was cut in more than half when we made the decision to go into ministry.

These are just some of the challenges we've faced and they don't hardly cover the more specific challenges we've encountered together. I share them because I feel like there is something about me and Josh that people look at us and think that things are easy for us. Just so you know, they're not. :) We are definitely blessed in many ways, but when I tell you that we have the marriage we do because we've worked for it, I mean it. I would love to say that our marriage works because we are both perfect human beings but lightening would strike even as I said it. There is still the hopeless romantic in me that believes that Josh and I are just meant to be together. I'm one of those people who really believes in soul mates. (That's my personal, overly romantic opinion. I can't prove it.) But I've learned that even if you are truly meant to be with someone it doesn't mean that it will always be easy. It just means it will always be worth it. Something that is so hard for me is realizing just how much Josh does know me. It is scary. Isn't it scary for people to really know you? The you that runs out of energy to be extra nice and smiley. The you that hasn't brushed your teeth or put on your make-up. The you that struggles and questions and doubts. At times I have felt desperate to go back to the dating days when he only knew certain things about me. The things I let people know. It seems impossible that someone could know EVERYTHING and still love me.

A few weeks ago I was cleaning out the Jeep and oh my word, there should be a law against how messy a vehicle can be. I would be in prison. Anyway, I came in toting an armful of clothes I had gathered from the back of the Jeep. I'm not talking kid's jackets. I'm talking my husband's clothes. Jeans. Tennis shoes. HIS SUIT JACKET! Seriously? I began to be concerned my husband must be walking around naked at times. How did all of these clothes end up in the car???? The truth is that I had just spent an hour scraping gum out of the door handles and I was at my breaking point. I walked in with the clothes and headed to the laundry room, but not without giving Josh THE LOOK.  He said he was sorry and asked if I still loved him. Because you know, after all of those things we've been through together, this was totally the worst thing. :) He then said, "Even if I'm a slob?" And the thing is, I do love him. Even if he is a slob. Just like he loves me even if my moods swing faster than a baseball bat. Even if I neurotically change the radio station after every song. Even if I make him watch What Not To Wear everyday. And we both love each other even if life throws punches at us.

I was one of those girls who had a list of what I was looking for in my man. I think everyone should have one to remind them of the things that are most important to them. Like my top two of being a Christian and being taller than me. :)  But the reality is that love isn't about finding someone who meets the requirements on a list. It's about finding the person that you can't help but love EVEN IF things aren't perfect.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Way to a Man's Heart

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and if that is true, I better be all up in Josh's heart. :) I spent Valentine's Day in the kitchen. Really. I didn't realize that until I was looking through some pictures. But the walllpaper doesn't lie, and most of our festivities happened in the kitchen. I'll show you.

Sunday  night we had a Valentine's Party at church so I spent pretty much my whole afternoon baking cupcakes, making "pink" dip,  and fixing ham and cheese croissants. It was actually really fun. Josh had to make a hospital visit, and Sarah and Eli were over at the church for an activity and Kate was supposed to be laying down. For the most part I had the kitchen to myself and I never realized how peaceful cooking is when you don't have people all up in your business. :)  The kids did make it home in time to decorate the cupcakes and that was fun. I was teaching discipleship training that night so I left Josh and the kids to transport all of the food. I so enjoy teaching and I won't lie, after teaching 4 year olds to 2nd graders on Wednesday nights, teaching adults is sooooo easy. :)  But I love those kids on Wednesday nights and speaking of them, we made this  banner last week.
Each heart has a part of 1 Corinthians 13 on it. The first heart says, "Love is" and the rest say, "Patient", "Kind", so on and so forth. This was a last minute idea that I had and I was soooo thankful one of our sweet ladies brought these hearts in. They are the foam kind with the cutouts as opposed to my idea of pink construction paper that the kids would cut out themselves and glue or tape to the ribbon. We would still be there, y'all.

Anyway, we had a great time that night. It was all finger foods and I could seriously live off of chips and dip and chicken salad sandwiches. And the desserts were to die for! However, they weren't all finger food. There were some pies. But let me tell you, we ate them too! That reminded me of a time many, many moons ago not long after Josh surrendered to preach. Josh wasn't preaching yet, we were still just members of a church. But I made the mistake of making key lime pies because the recipe I had would make two. I took one for a finger food event and one to give to a family that was moving. Well, the kitchen lady informed me my pie was not finger food and would not serve it! Then, the family told me they wouldn't be able to travel with theirs. I was ready to tell everybody where they could put those pies! I know, that is so not preacher's wife like at all. I promise I didn't actually say that. Out loud. Oh well, we had a lot of pie to eat. And I now ONLY take finger foods to finger food events. Live and learn. :)

After the eating the kids played some hopscotch and I love this picture because I caught a genuine Kate smile, which is very tricky these days.

I got this pic of my girls before the party and it was equally miraculous. And in the kitchen of course. :)
I told y'all that I have somehow become a morning person and I have also reached the conclusion that breakfast is my new love language. I love making breakfast. Who knew?
I was so dern proud of those heart shaped pancakes. Y'all have to understand, it took me about 5 years of marriage to learn how to make any kind of pancakes! I won't lie, I totally became Paula Deen. Those things were made in enough butter to squeeze a whale through a straw. I also had to spray the cookie cutter with butter spray to get them out. These will definitely have to be a once a year thing. :) Those little stuffed animals I got for the kids were really struggling. Their heads are too big for their bodies and they did not want to sit up. I could relate. I was a litte tired. When I got back from taking the kids to school Josh was doing the dishes. I tell ya, if the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, then the way to my heart is by doing the dishes! Especially on this morning. Between yesterday afternoon and breakfast I had literally used every pot and pan in my kitchen!

We had a low key day. Josh and I are planning to celebrate on Friday. The kids had a big day at school. They had a "Glow Dance" during P.E. where the kids played Just Dance on the Wii. It had been the talk of this house all last week. I had learned that Sarah had been asked to go by two boys! She said they ended up not having to have partners (Praise the Lord!), but she did eat lunch with one of the boys and his Mom. Already meeting the parents! I am so not ready for this. Eli told us Sunday that he still hadn't picked a Valentine. He told us he would just wait and pick fast so he didn't have to think about it. Then, when I asked him about it yesterday he told me the name of a girl and said he asked her because she was the only girl close enough to talk to. We are definitely going to have to have some talks before it is time for him choose a wife!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
All in all it was a great day. For supper Josh grilled pork chops and I made loaded potatoes, sweet peas and corn muffins. A new episode of Castle came on. I'm tellin' ya, the excitement around here could do you in!

It was exactly what I wanted though and I realized last night that 19 years ago Josh and I shared our first Valentine's Day together in Ms. Barfield's fifth grade class. We didn't speak to each other or anything, but we were in the same room together. :)

                                       Me and my Valentine. Yep, we're in the kitchen. :)

I hope that you all had a great Valentine's Day and felt very loved!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I remember my first willful act of disobedience. I was 3 or 4 and I wanted a piece of cheese.  Leave it to me to let food get me in trouble. :)  I wanted some block cheese and even though my Mom told me that she would cut some for me in just a minute, I couldn't wait. Geez, with the patience I have now I can only imagine what I was like as a 4 year old! Anyway, I took it upon myself to cut that cheese all by myself and took a big ol' chunk of my thumb with it, too. Not only did I majorly cut my thumb, I had to go get a tetanus shot as well. I still bear the scar on my left thumb from that experience. I am tellin' ya, when I get in trouble, I do it big.

The first ticket I ever got happened on my way home during Christmas break my first year of college. Most people get a warning. A slap on the wrist. Not me. They took my license. For real, y'all. My Christmas money that year paid the town budget for New Augusta, Ms. I won't lie, I still have ill feelings towards that town. All 2.3 miles of it.

What I am getting at is that I have suffered some consequences in my day. Some people seem to get away with everything. Do youknow those people? Even as I say that I know that I have been the recipient of far more grace and mercy in my life than I deserve. And yet, I still have scars. Physical scars. Emotional scars. Spiritual scars. I bet you have some too. Whether self-inflicted or the result of someone else's sin in your life, we all bear scars.  Sometimes the enemy has a way of using those scars to remind us of dark places. To maybe even treat them more like scabs than scars and rip them open revealing fresh pain. To make us think we haven't experienced healing at all. And sometimes our Heavenly Father reminds us of our scars to gently jog our memory of the healing He has done in our life. We may always have the scars as reminders in this life, but the pain they inflicted can no longer hurt us.

I know this is a very strange night before Valentine's Day post, but for some reason I just felt like I needed to share what God spoke to me today. This past week I've been reminded of some of my emotional and spiritual scars. In the same way that we often find ourselves comparing physical scars and injuries with others, I've found myself listing my scars in my head. Feeling overwhelmed by them. Being tempted to be defeated by them.

Then, Josh shared this verse this morning, "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."  Isaiah 49:16

And my heart that was so overwhelmed by my scars suddenly became overwhelmed by the scars that my Savior bears. When Jesus was nailed to the cross He would forever bear the scars that His love for me cost. And His scars cover my scars.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

You Are All Winners In My Heart

Tonight is the night! Time to announce our giveaway winner! But first, I would just like to say that I think you are all winners. Really. I love you all. But, I only have one gift code to offer. Bummer. BUT, Sarah and I made cookies tonight and I just want you to know that I would totally give you one if you were here. Consider yourself loved.

I made these with my blog readers in mind, and I love y'all so much I'm going to eat them all and spare you the calories. That is sacrificial love, y'all.

Okay, on to what you are waiting for. Y'all shared some amazing dream vacations and I loved hearing about them all. I will gladly join you when you get to go! I would love to travel around the world with y'all. Or even just the coutnry. Let's plan that sometime, okay?

Drumroll please......

And the winner is......

In case you can't see that....

Yay! Congratulations to Melody at Life is a Bowl of Wedgies! This is a great example of how God blesses those who bless others. Melody did almost the same giveaway at her blog this week, and look! Now she wins! I would also like to point out that Josh and I both realized that on both of my giveaways the first person to comment was chosen as the winner. Something to think about for future reference. :)
Thanks to all of you who played! Can't wait to do another one!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Herding of the Cats

I have never been so glad to see a Friday in my life! It is ridiculously sad how much I look forward to having nothing to do. It is equally ridiculous what I now consider "doing nothing". :) Anyway, we have just been some busy bees and I am really looking forward to a night of frozen pizza (well, I will heat it up in the oven) and a movie date on the couch with my hubby. We've had a super busy week. Last Friday my sister came into town with my niece and nephew. We drove over to my Mom's to have supper with them and afterwards Josh brouht the kids home and I went grocery shopping. It came a monsoon y'all. I am not kidding. It was almost 11:00 before I got home and Josh was already passed out. There was a man walking down the street and it really creeped me out. Would that creep you out or do I just watch too many scary shows? I mean, is 11:00 at night when it's pouring down rain the best time for a walk? Anyway, I've never unloaded groceries so fast in my life!

The next morning I took the kids to register Eli for t-ball. I thought I was never going to get all of them ready. I used to work with one of my friends in the church nursery and she always said that trying to get kids to do things when you want them to is like trying to herd cats. Truer words have never been spoken. We made it to the place and got him signed up. I was feeling accomplished that we had that done. I put the keys in the car and.....nothing. Again. Didn't we just go through this? At this point I realized my phone was on the charger. At home. Not only did I not have my phone but y'all know I don't have any numbers memorized. As I was panicking, I saw a person I know walking into the building. And by "know" her, I mean her daughter came to dance camp and our VBS and she works in the pharmacy at CVS. So, I "know" her on a wave and say hi basis. Well, from now on she probably won't wave or speak to me. She will probably turn and run the other direction. Because I jumped out of the Jeep and followed her inside. I explained that I was broke down, my phone was at home and my hubby was working 45 minutes away. She let me borrow her phone and thankfully there was a phone book in the building. And thankully I know people who listed their phone numbers in the phone book. I was able to get a ride for me and the kids home, but not before lookin' like a fool. I will be known as the Flake of the little league. Oh my gosh, what if they put that on my t-shirt? THE FLAKE.  I will NEVER leave home without my phone!

My  family came over later and we had a good visit with them. The last time I saw my nephew he was going through a phase where he wouldn't hardly acknowledge my existence. This time he made a point to come over and snuggle with me. Melt my heart. My niece, Lyla, is a girl on the go and looks EXACTLY like my sister did at that age. It's amazing. She is such a happy baby.

Sunday we had a new couple in Sunday School. I was excited about that, but not so much about our lesson. We were studying Hosea. For those not familiar with it, it is the story of a prophet that God told to marry a prostitute. It's actually a beautiful story of redemption and unconditional love, but you really have to invest some time in studying it. For a first time Sunday School lesson I can only borrow my firstborn's word: Awkward.

Sunday night I ended up calling my BFF Karen, as I was having an issue that needed BFF advice. We usually don't talk on nights before we have to get up early because we like to talk a lot, but I was in a desperate state of mind. It may also be known as sleep deprivation. Does anybody else start questioning everything in their life when they are tired, or is it just me? I tell ya, sometimes you think the world is coming to end but really you just need a nap. Or a BFF. Either way, I stayed up until close to 1 am talking to her. At 2 am I was awakened by what I was sure was someone breaking into our house. All the lights were coming on. Doors were slamming. Drawers were slung open. I was in a daze. Josh came in and told me he couldn't find his keys. Yep, he was getting ready to leave for work at 2 in the morning. We herded the cats, I mean children, into the car and made the 45 minute drive to Panama City. We dropped Josh off and headed back home for a couple of hours of sleep before school. My kids were wide awake on the trip. I do not know where they get that from. It takes me 4 hours to wake up, it takes them 4 seconds. Eli was asking how to spell words and what time it was in Italy. I was trying to calculate how many hours until bedtime later that night It was going to be a long day...

That afternoon I had dance and we had a new girl show up. Her parents wanted to watch and try out the class. My family came too and it turned into a mini circus, but it was so much fun! Again, a lot like herding cats, but fun nonetheless! I just can't explain how happy I was to have my niece and nephew in dance class with me. (I also had my own youngins, including Kate who was supposed to be dancing, but was doing anything but.)

We always have a parade at the end of tap and I was worried it would be too loud for Lyla, but she loved it! She just took in the sights (and sounds!).

Is that not the cutest thing you have ever seen? She is so going to be a ballerina! :)

Luke got in on the tumbling part and had a blast. My sister was so embarrassed because he had a hard time waiting for his turn. I kept telling her I have another class with 3 two year olds and I am used to it all! His daddy says he hopes he got this out of his system. I say at least I didn't have him doing ballet! :)

This here may be one of my all time favorite pictures. Can you see Luke over there propped up, checking out the girls? Like Eli, one day he will love visiting me at the dance studio. :)

After class I made lasagna and we had a great visit. Josh brought a cheesecake home from Winn-Dixie and it made all of the sleep deprivation and cat herding bearable.

The week continued to be crazy and busy and I will spare you the details. I do want to show you the cute boxes the kids made last night for their Valentine's.
Kate made one too, but she hasn't been feeling too good so she opted out of this picture. Oh yeah, did I tell you I have a sick youngin too? I had just taken my melatonin last night (that stuff is the best!) and was headed to bed when she woke up crying. I went in and she was screaming "I want a book!" In her sleep, y'all. She was sound asleep and hollerin' for me to give her a book. So, it was another long night.

I've had several blog ideas floating in my head, but for now this will have to do until I'm thinking straight again. The kids are wore out, too. Sarah missed her first day of school on Tuesday. I think it was just exhaustion. She got to experience her first time waiting in the pick-up line. She asked, "How long does it take to put a kid in a car?"  Oh, sweet child,  you have no idea. It's like herding cats.......

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dream Vacation Giveaway!

Picture courtesy of Google Image

Okay, I will go ahead and tell you this title is a little misleading. Okay, a lot misleading. I don't have a dream vacation to give away. But, I have the next best thing! A $30 gift code for CNS Stores! This is a very cool thing because their website offers everything you could think of.

So, I've been trying to figure out what I would have you comment on to enter the giveaway, and it came to me today at the gas station. (If I'm not at the grocery store you can find me at the gas station.) Anyway, guess what I saw there? A RV! Not just any RV, but a rented RV. Have I ever told y'all that one day I would love to travel across the country in an RV with my family? I know that is totally one of those, sounds fun, but we'd probably only make it 5 miles down the road kind of ideas. And yet, I dream. The truth is that it is February, cold and rainy and dreary and I would love a vacation anywhere. How 'bout y'all? At this point I would just be happy for a warm, sunny day that I could sit outside and watch the kids play on a swing set! I guess we will all just have to dream for a little bit.

To enter the giveaway I want to hear about your dream vacation. It may be a family vaca memory, or something you have planned soon, or something that only exists in your dreams. Whatever it is, I want to hear about it! This giveaway applies only in the U.S. and Canada and will go until Friday night. Saturday we will randomly pick a winner (and by we, I mean my kids picking  a name out of a hat. You may remember from this post that we are very fair. :) Once the winner is chosen I will e-mail you the gift code. Easy as that!

Alright. Start planning and sharing your dream vacation!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Be Mine?

Something miraculous has happened this week. I've become a morning person. Anyone who knows me well knows that when I call this miraculous, I mean it! I am usually so spoiled because Josh always takes the morning shift and gets the kids to school. Well, this week he is running a bread route and has to be gone long before wake-up time around here. So, I have embraced this experience. My goal was just to be able to drag myself out of bed in time to throw on some jeans and a sweatshirt (a friend shared a story with me this weekend about the time she took the kids to school in her pj's and had a flat tire and I immediately decided that would so happen to me. So, I decided I better get somewhat dressed.) However, I've actually been able to do more than drag myself out of bed. I've made breakfast. I've made beds and done laundry. I've really enjoyed my mornings this week. Who'd a thunk it?

I think sharing breakfast with the kids has been the best part. We always sit down for supper together. We have a lot of bad habits in this family, but I am proud of the fact that we always sit down for supper together and share our day. But, there is something different about starting the day together as opposed to ending it. Evening meals are often accompanied with exhaustion, whining, or stress about things that still need to get done before bedtime. Breakfast has been a fresh start. Well, yesterday Sarah performed her big sister duty by telling one of Eli's secrets. I just love that my kids have secrets together. Anyway, she informed me that Eli knew who his Valentine was going to be.  Say what? Eli and I both had the same expression. He was shocked that his sister would sell him out. I was shocked that my 5 year old son had chosen a Valentine. Sarah proceeded to tell me who it was and I was not shocked. It's one of my ballerinas and when school first started Eli would tell me everyday that she chased him around the playground. He said she could never catch him so eventually she started having her friends chase him. I wish I had thought of that in kindergarten, I could have had more boyfriends. :) As I grappled with the idea of my baby boy choosing a Valentine he then asked, "What is a Valentine anyway?"  *Sigh of relief*  I explained that usually you bought something for someone that you liked. Sarah said, "Well that's awkward. There is more than one person that likes me."  Mercy. Lord help us. Lord, protect those young boys from the wrath of my husband. Amen.

All of this has happened much sooner than I anticipated. My son is such a lady's man. One little girl tried to hug him at the grocery store one day. He resisted so the next time he saw her she opted for a high five. He is often the talk of our stretching circle for my kindergarten girls in ballet. Two of the girls really like him and both of their Moms are due to have babies on his birthday. Isn't that funny? That makes me think of my first crush. I was in first grade and it was a boy named Philip. My Mom had just had my brother Philip and I assumed that would totally win his heart. I had a brother with the same name. Didn't he think that was cool? Not so much. That was just the beginning of my long, painful process of looking for love in all the wrong places. :) Sarah's word "awkward" is really the right word to describe my love life. In second grade I fell for a different boy and he chose my best friend over me. I had to sit on the bus with them. Awkward. Josh still swears up and down that I was his first crush when we were in fifth grade together. I give him a hard time about him not telling me and saving me a lot of heartache in the years between 5th grade and our senior year of high school. That's a lot of years of awkwardness, y'all!!

Having that conversation with my kids brought back sweet and fun  memories of school parties and innocent crushes. But as I think about Valentine's Day it also brings up memories of feeling unloved or rejected. My Mama did her best. She always sent balloons or flowers to me at school on Valentine's Day. I have the best Mama. But you know, you just reach that point where the idea of Valentine's Day is that you are hoping someone will choose you. Someone besides your Mama. :)  I am blessed that Joshua Stuart Fidler chose me. That boy had no idea what he was getting into. But, many years later I can say that more than being chosen, I am blessed that I get to love him. You see, I finally realized that for a long time in my life, I wasn't looking for love. I was looking for someone to pick me. To say that I was okay. To make me feel special. Anytime I suffer through "The Bachelor" (my favorite show "Castle" comes on right after it) I can't help but think about how those people are so not looking for love. They are looking to be picked. To win. To feel validated and like they were chosen over the other girls. That's what I think. I know that is what the 17 year old me wanted. But now, the 30 year old me can see that relationships aren't just about being picked, or "winning" out over other girls. To place my self-worth or value in another person's opinion of me is very dangerous. People's opinions change. Feelings change. Flowers die. Candy melts. Wow, I should write greeting cards. :)

What I'm saying is that this time of year always reminds me that we all have a need to be loved. To be chosen. Just remember that you have been chosen already, by someone whose feelings and opinion of you never changes.
“Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth."   Acts 22:14

God has not only chosen us, but it is only the love that He places in our hearts that allows us to truly and fully love others. It is my prayer that this month as the world focuses on the kind of "love" that exhibits itself through stuffed animals, jewelry and candy (and I'm not against any of these things at all :) that everyone would know the love God has for them. He's chosen you! No playground chases necessary......... :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Real Quick

Okay, I know I am as bad as my preacher husband and y'all don't believe I can be "real quick", but I'm gonna try. I don't really have time to blog right now, but it is the first and I am determined to keep my commitment with my verses. I won't lie, I'm still working on my last one. "Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else," (Galatians 6:4) I'm still working on it and I know that the reason I'm still working on it is because I have not devoted enough time to it. God confirmed my suspicions that I have gotten really distracted lately by all kinds of things that have kept me away from Him, when this verse literally lept out at me in Sunday School. So, it is my new verse. And my new prayer.

"Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word."

Psalm 119:37

I would love to come up with all kinds of excuses for why I don't make the most of my time, but marathons of Dateline on ID are the best I can do. Shameful. So, this is my prayer. That God would turn my eyes from things (shows, conversations, habits, whatever) that don't contribute anything to my life or my relationship with Him.

Okay, I'm off to throw some 5 cheese bread in the oven and feed my peoples. Do you have a special verse speaking to you right now?