Thursday, June 30, 2011

When I Saw You Standing There

Josh, 10 years ago today you were standing in my church, at the altar I had prayed at so many times, waiting for me. Waiting to take my hand, to put a ring on my finger and to pledge your love for me. Waiting to vow to be mine forever and to kiss me in front of EVERYBODY! :)  It was my first favorite part of our wedding, to see your face when you saw me. To see you standing there, just for me.

I had no idea what the next 10 years would bring. I do know enough now to know that if I had known then what I know now, it would have been absolutely terrifying to hop in the little red rocket and drive off into the sunset. To say we were just kids with more dreams than plans would be the understatement of the century. But, I had the luxury of ignorance back in those days and it really was bliss. :) I learned early on that you were going to take care of me, no matter what it took.  Our wedding was just the beginning of many times you would stand for me.

Our first 5 years of marriage you stood in a warehouse at 3:00 in the morning loading bread on a breadtruck. You stood (okay ran) in grocery stores and gas stations and restaurants delivering bread. You stood in those places so I could finish school and take care of our babies.

You stood beside my hospital bed 3 times as 3 new little Fidlers entered the world. You stood and prayed with me when tough medical decisions had to be made and you stood by me and handed me peanut M&M's when the cravings came.

You stood beside me to take pics in my cap and gown. You promised my Daddy when you asked for my hand in marriage that I would finish college, and you kept that promise. You deserved to walk across that stage as much as I did!

You stood in the pulpit of our church and preached and we knew our lives would never be the same. You stand in the pulpit every Sunday now and you preach God's Word in a way that challenges and convicts  me.

You stood in the hospital on Christmas Eve and wrapped your arms around me on the hardest night of my life.

There have been so many important times that you stood. But there are even more times that are precious to me. I remember you standing over the ironing board ironing my clothes for my first day at my "big girl" job. You've stood in line at McDonald's demanding (as if you ever demand :) my barbecue sauce they forgot or making sure my drink is right. You've stood in line with me for countless movies, amusement rides and other entertainment. And you are still my favorite person to hang out with. You've stood in countless buildings waiting to pay bills or run other errands I hate to do. You've stood on a ballfield coaching our extremely talented son and you've stood waiting for me and the girls with flowers after a dance recital.

To me, Joshua Fidler, you stand for everything a man should be. Strong, brave, smart, loving, thoughtful, considerate, romantic, and fun. And tall, so I can wear high heels. :)

I am still thrilled that you chose me to stand with me!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Whatnot Wednessay: Say Yes to the Dress

* 10 years ago today, I was getting ready for my wedding rehearsal. I have very little memory of it, but I do have pictures. :)

Doesn't everybody have clowns at their wedding rehearsal?

I heart this picture.

BTW, I realized there are no pics of me and Josh together. Go figure. My biggest memory from that night was trying to steal some alone time but our ring bearer and flower girl wouldn't leave us alone. That was great practice for our real life. :)
* Today I got my hair did. I love my hair lady. She is quick, she is reasonable, and she makes me feel pretty. She actually gets on to me if I color my hair and tells me I don't need it. Hairstylist usually ALWAYS tell you to color your hair so they can make more money! She is magical. If I ever become a millionaire I will hire her  to style my hair everyday. :)

* I had a very low moment in mothering yesterday. I have got to go to the grocery store. I mean GOT TA GO.  I had made pizza rolls for the kids using crescent rolls, pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni. I couldn't eat them because of the cheese. I was just about to make a pb&j when I realized Kate had the last pieces of bread. You have to understand, there was no other food in this house I could eat. Y'all, I fought my 3 year old for the bread. It was totally a moment that I was extremely grateful there are not hidden cameras in my house. (Please tell me there are no hidden cameras!!!!!!!!) It wasn't pretty. Thankfully, I found one more piece of bread in the bag so I was able to make her half a "shamwich". Before you immediately get off the computer and call the authorities, Josh helped run his Dad's bread route yesterday and came home with more bread than 5 families could eat. So, we're good y'all. I promise not to fight my children for food anymore. I promise.

* Maybe my irrational behavior will be better understood if you know that I had also gone all day without a Diet Pepsi. Speaking of that, I seemed to have switched from Diet Coke to Diet Pepsi. I think I just needed some change in my life.

* I picked up my Jeep today!!!!!!!!!!! Woo-hoo! I've been without it for a week and my husband has been having to drive me around like Miss Daisy because I won't drive the church van or his car. Yes, those are my options. Actually, I can drive his car, I just have to physically stand up on the brakes to stop it. And, I can drive the church van, I just can't park it. Anyway, I am THRILLED to have my own ride back.

* Yesterday Josh picked up my wedding dress from my Mom's. It's been hanging out in her closet since the day after our wedding. I couldn't wait to get it out and put it on. Don't be impressed. I gained a lot of weight before our wedding, so it's not really a big deal I can fit in it. Anyway, Sarah said it is pretty. Kate said, "Yeah, kinda."  Then, Sarah asked if I was just trying it on or if I was going to wear it somewhere. I joked on my Facebook status that I might wear it to church or to Wal-Mart. Several of my friends thought that was a great idea. Can't you just see me in Wal-Mart in my wedding gown? I would tell the cashier, "Yes, I'm getting the expensive, extra soft toilet paper and the name brand peanut butter. It's a special occassion."

* Our doorbell has rung (rang? runged? ringed?) 15 times in the last two days. I'm not even exaggerating.

* So, after a quick pit stop during the writing of this I realized that it is no longer strange to me to see a book about war history on the side of the bathtub or pliers on the counter in the bathroom. I guess I've gotten use to living with a boy. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Too Much

I am desperate to break this blog drought I've been going through. I would say that I have nothing to write about, but the truth is that I actually have TOO much to blog about. Too much going on. Too much on my  mind. Too much on my heart. And most of it are things that I'm willing to bet wouldn't be the least bit interesting to an audience. Except my audience of One. My Heavenly Father who has played spectator to a Gladiator style battle going on inside of me. I say He's played spectator, but perhaps it is more like a referee, stepping in to weed out sinful thoughts and feelings, a coach directing me in how to think and speak or a cheerleader encouraging me to keep on keepin' on.

Deep down I feel like I am not allowed another season like this. How many of these seasons am I going to go through, anyway? Shouldn't I have learned all the important lessons of life and have it all together by now? I'm a preacher's wife for crying out loud. I am supposed to be like a pillar of strength and spirituality. Yeah. right.

And so, 30 years of life, 10 years of marriage (almost!), 3 kids, and 5 years of ministry later, these are the lessons I'm learning. Relearning?

* It is okay if people don't like me. (For some reason I feel like when I write my "I'm turning 75" blog, this will continue to be a lesson learned.)

* Loving people isn't always pretty. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes speaking the truth in love to them is the hardest thing you ever have to do.

* I can't be everything for everybody. Only God can. He gives us each our own gifts and strengths to minister with and He leads us to the people we are meant to minister to.

* Sometimes God's answers to our prayers look very different from what we are expecting, but they are exactly what we need.

*One of the most important things in our lives is learning who the people are that matter. The ones who will be there when no one else is. The ones who are worth the time and effort it takes to maintain a relationship.

* God didn't create me to be glorified, but to glorify Him. Even He didn't come to be served, but to serve.

* Be careful when you pray for more of a servant heart. The life courses in this lesson are unending!!!! :)

* There is only One I can turn to when life is too much. Only He has the answers and the power to change. Nothing is too much for Him!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Whatnot Wednesday: Dance Camp Edition

Some of you may remember that last year I began my new career as a dance teacher with 2 weeks of 8 hour days. Yes, dancing 8 hours a day. With girls who were ages 5 and up. I lost 10 pounds. And every ounce of dignity I had as I stood in front of mirrors in a leotard dancing to Justin Beiber. But, I survived and I happily cashed that paycheck. :)  This year it was decided that maybe that was a bit much last year and so our dance camps have been broken up by age group and are only going from 8-12. The only one I'm responsible for is the tiny tots camp and it is happening this week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. At first I was really excited that camp wouldn't be so involved. Then, as it approached, it hit me: What the heck was I going to do with kids ages 2-4 for FOUR hours????? That's a lot of dancing for that age, y'all. So, I armed myself with tons of obnoxious music, sidewalk chalk, a hula hoop and bubbles. And you know what? They've totally done better than the older girls!! They've amazed me. I'm having so much fun. So here are some random thoughts about this week:

* Never underestimate the power of animal crackers as a bribe.

* My son learned to do a cartwheel and watched a beauty pageant today. I may never be allowed to take him to work with me again.

* I stepped on Kate's barefoot with my tap shoe. :(   Is it sad that my first thought was, 'At least it's my kid' ?

* I am always one of the first people to get out when we play freeze dance.

* I could not go to sleep last night because I couldn't stop singing, "I love my teddy bear....".

* I had to fight extreme jealousy as I watched my middle school helpers eat mac and cheese and a pork chop biscuit for lunch. A PORK CHOP BISCUIT, y'all! I asked her where she got it from and she said her grandma got it for her at the Dixie Dandy. And I went back in time to a day when my Mamaw would feed me things like chicken and dumplins', potato salad and bread with NOTHING BUT BUTTER on it. And I could eat. And be skinny. And not feel guilty. It took everything in me to not stand up and do a soliloquy right then and there about enjoying your youth and eating what you want and getting a tan without worrying you will die from cancer. But I didn't. I refrained.

* I wish I had taken my camera so I could show you a pic of our audience. It consisted of 3 teddy bears, a monkey and a pink spotted dog.

* Last week I subbed for another teacher and taught her "World of Theatre" class. The kids played a game called  "Party". One person was the host and all the others came as guests with different emotions. It was the most entertaining thing I've seen in a while. As I sat there I concluded that I was either watching a future cast of SNL or future candidates for the loony bin. There's always such a thin line. :)

So what have you been up to this week? Hop on over to Everyday the Wonderful Happens and link up!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Grace for Grocery Shopping

Hello blogging buddies! I've had some of you express your concern that I might have fallen off the face of the earth, but.... I'm still here! No good excuses, just complete, total laziness. That's all.

The truth is that for the last few weeks, I've been struggling. Not in a deep, serious, life-threatening way. In a "I'm gonna lose it if I have to pick up one more toy" or a "Didn't I just feed these children" kind of way. In a "the air conditioner isn't working, I dropped and broke my most expensive bottle of make-up, and I've spent 29 hours a day with hyper children (who may or may not belong to me)" kind of way. And to top off my exhaustion and frustration I liked to end the days with a big helping of guilt as I thought about all the people in the world who have REAL problems. So, that's where I've been.

Today, my buddy Kate sent me a text as I was walking into Wal-Mart with all 3 of my offspring. I texted her back and asked her to pray for me as I was about to attempt a grocery trip. She responded with this prayer,
"Dear Lord, Please help Emily survive Wal-Mart with all her little kiddos. Please help her stay strong and not give into buying ALL the junk food that they pick up. :) Give her the strength to say no. Hee hee! Help her get all her shopping done and be out of there in less than 1738228 hours! I love you Jesus. Amen!'
AMEN! First, I love someone who would put hee hee in a prayer. :) Secondly, I wondered how a teenager with no kids would know exactly the right things to pray for. And 3rd, I realized that while I feel like such a loser that I would need prayer to make it through a shopping trip, it really did make me feel better. And I came to the conclusion that life sometimes gets difficult for me because I forget how much I need God's strength. I think that I need to save my prayers for the big things. But the truth is, I'm just not as strong as I would like to think I am. And while I would love to report that I am as awesome as people come and I not only do it all, but I do it all by MYSELF, it would be a big.fat.lie. I'm just terminally human and weak. As soon as I start depending on my own strength, I fall BIG. I am so needy of the grace and power God offers me. I have to agree with the psalmist when he said,

 " My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever."

Psalm 73:26

Just for the record, we made it out alive. At one point I thought we were going to have to turn right back around because every time I looked in the rearview mirror the kids had pulled a different snack out. It's a nine day wonder we made it home with any food left. But TWO Wal-Mart trips in one day????? We woulda had to ring up the church's prayer chain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Adventures in Baby-Sitting

People always say that being a grandparent is the best thing ever. That grandchildren are your reward for not killing your own kids, or something special like that. Anyway, I'm not planning to be a grandparent anytime soon, but I have to believe the next best thing is being an aunt. I was worried that I wouldn't think being an aunt was as fun since I already had my own kids. But honestly, I think it makes it more fun because I can REALLY appreciate the whole "spoil 'em and send 'em home" mentality. :)

Well, this last weekend I was in all my Auntie Em glory. Or "Aunt Femily" glory, as my nephew Luke has renamed me. I always think it's funny when grandparents and familly members try to decide what they will be called. Let's face it, kids come up with their own names. How do you think my kids ended up with a grandma called T?  Okay, back to my glory. My sister called a couple of weeks ago and asked if I was serious about my offer to keep her kids for the weekend so she and her hubby could have some grown up time. I assured her I wouldn't have offered if I didn't mean it, and so, Friday afternoon Luke and Lyla joined the circus known as our house. My sister and her hubby hadn't even been out to eat by themselves since Lyla (who just turned 1) was born, so it was due. I just wasn't sure how the babies would handle it, but let me tell you, they were fine! My girls had Lyla in the doll stroller before her parents could leave and Luke had headed to Eli's room to engage in some boy activities.

We had chicken nuggets, peas (because you have to have a veggie) and mandarin oranges for supper. It was a hit. Lyla wanted seconds. She just wanted them to throw on the floor, but hey, that's what 1 year olds do. :)  After that they got their bath and then I laid Lyla down. The other kids weren't quite ready. I had no idea how that would go. Luke didn't sleep at all when they came down a few weekends ago for the dance recital. I had braced myself for that possibility. Of course my kids ended up being the problem. I went back to check on them at one point and Sarah, who should've been the one I could count on, was walking out of Eli's room in a dress-up race car driver suit, complete with hat. I laid the smack down and 45 minutes later my kids were out. Luke came and peeked his head in the living room and I told him it was time to sleep. Next thing I knew he had laid down on his little cot and passed out. By the 9:30! Woo-hoo! My sister literally texted me 2 minutes later and I was sooo happy to be able to tell her, "They're all asleep!"

Like the doofus that I am I, I stayed up until midnight. Then we snuck in our room. It feels like it's been 20 years since we've had a baby sleeping in our room. About 3am she was awake. I realized she was wide awake. Like, not going back to sleep anytime soon. I took her to the living room and we rocked and watched Golden Girls. There's not much on TV at 3am. It brought back memories of when Sarah was a baby and never slept and I watched the same shows around the clock. Every now and then Lyla would look up at me and flash that baby smile and I determined that she will probably get away with a lot in life thanks to that smile. :)  I remembered how when I was pregnant with Sarah my good friend's Mom told me to cherish the middle of the night rockings because they would be over before I knew it. She was right. I really did try to cherish those moments, but I won't lie. In the midst of severe sleep deprivation and fussy babies, it wasn't always easy. But I soaked up getting another chance for a late night rocking.

She went back to sleep about 5:00 and I don't know what time the other kids got up. Or her. Sarah came and got her out of the pack n play. We had a little talk about that, which she totally ignored because I caught her doing the same thing the next day. My kids seemed to really take advantage of the distraction of two other kids in the house.  By mid morning, my Mom and brother came over and I still hadn't had a shower. Again, it brought back memories of those days when a shower was a luxury. That afternoon Josh took our kids to a birthday party while Lyla napped. Me, Mom, Phil and Luke watched some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Thomas the Train. Luke kept looking out the window for my kids and "Unk Josh". So sad. I totally just pretend he comes to see me. The rest of that day and night is a blur of laundry, food on the floor and Little People. I went back to Eli's room and Luke was having fun with the punching bag. He said, "Mom, watch!" I realized then that I think my poor nephew is really confused by how much my sister and I look alike. Bless his heart. I think that was also the day that I walked into the kitchen to find Kate with the milk carton and Luke with the eggs. Most of them broken. Kate was so proud to have somebody to tell on. Nevermind that she is the little instigator. When I found them like this, I decided it might be the safest place!!!
Sunday morning was also an adventure. Althought it went so much smoother than I expected. The kids were all asleep by 9:30 the night before and slept all night! I got me and 5 kids ready and we still got to church 10 minutes earlier than usual!!!! Yes, I'm bragging. I tell ya, it was a moment for me. I can remember when I just had Sarah and I think that child was 4 months old before I took her to church because I just could not get us up and ready. Then, I had the other 2 and well, y'all have read my blog. CRAZINESS! And now, I got 5 kids fed, dressed AND knew where their shoes were. If you don't believe in miracles, I'm telling you you should.
To top it off, I even had time to take pictures. Because that's what you do when you have 5 children dressed in church clothes. :)
Sarah and Kate with their real life babydoll, Lyla
Are they cute or what??

Boys have to stick together

I just feel like when I see this picture I could have my own TLC show. :)  Then I think of my friends who have 5 or more kids and do this EVERY SUNDAY and y'all are my heroes. For reals.

Jenny and Dillon were waiting in our driveway when we walked home from church. I know they missed their youngins. After some McDonalds (What? I got everybody ready, did you expect me to cook, too?) and an impromptu birthday party for Uncle Phil, it was time for everybody to head home. Luke said he didn't want to leave, which did my heart good. Then, Sarah and Eli said they did and I was snapped back to reality. Oh well. Can't win 'em all. :) I'll just look forward to our next adventure in baby-sitting!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Wet Whatnot Wednesday

* It must be summer. There were 9 kids in my house today. I thought there were six, counting my kids. Then, they started coming out of the playroom and I realized there were six, PLUS my kids. They're like gremlins. I would think they were eating fried chicken in my playroom, but I know all of the groceries are already gone..... :)

* Kate has created her own fun, summer concoction. I call it "Bath Toy Bubbly". I'm not sure what inspired it, but I find this in my kitchen often.....

* Josh made it back from Alabama! He went to help with disaster relief and he had an amazing trip and came back with some great stories. He totally surprised me last Thursday night. I was meeting a friend for dinner and he just showed up at the restaurant with our friend, Philip, who had been on the trip with him. I wasn't expecting him until late the next day, but bad weather ruined their work plans. Philip had even messaged me on FB the night before fishing for details about the dinner. I teased him asking if they were going to drive back for it and he said, "Ha...we wish".  He thought I had caught on and knew, but truly, I was clueless. I'm such a doofus. It was such a big surprise!  I was very proud of Josh and all the work he did. I was especially proud when he showed me some pics from the trip of a youth group attempting ballet and he told me he had to correct them and tell them they were doing their plies wrong. Who knew my husband had become a ballet expert?  :)

* I am keeping my niece and nephew this weekend and I am sooo excited! This will be their first time away from their parents, but I'm not worried. I'm counting on my kids keeping them entertained. I desperately want to be the cool, fun aunt and have the house everybody wants to hang out at. So, I will start brainwashing them early. :)

* We made a trip to the beach with my Mom and brother on Monday and it was WONDERFUL! I actually am not usually a beach person (I know, I know, it's such a waste since I literally live across the street from it), but I had so much fun Monday. It's been a long time since I was actually able to relax at the beach and not spend the whole time chasing a toddler. I spent more time just floating in the water than I have in forever and I honestly could have stayed in there all day. It made me want to watch Jaws. Weird, I know. It just doesn't feel like summer until I've watched Jaws. Kate LOVES the water and no matter how many times she got knocked down by the waves she would head straight back out.

This is as good as family pics get for us these days. We just positioned ourselves around Kate, who was obviously too busy for picture taking. :)

* I hate to admit this, but I am totally obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial. This trial obsession started for me back in the O.J. Simpson days. Then, they created Court TV. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Now, I am totally involved in this case and am concerned I may consume my whole summer with it. I may need an intervention soon.

* We start VBS next week and every Wed. before we rent a huge inflatable water slide for the kids to play on. Tonight, the bottom fell out. Literally. Of the sky, not the slide. It started storming! Our VBS coordinator came up with a game that didn't actually have an ending or a winner. Somebody asked me how long they were going to play it. I suggested they play it until they passed out from exhaustion!!

* Eli lost another tooth! We actually think he swallowed it because we cannot find it anywhere. I joked that it would come out, and now he is very curious about that, and I don't particularly want to explain it. Or even think about it.....

Well, that's all I've got for now. Hop on over to Everyday the Wonderful Happens and link up!