I'm FALL-ing for You

September 30, 2010

15 Reasons Why Fall is My Favorite Season

1. I love the welcome coolness after a long, too hot summer.

2. I love sitting around a fire at the camp.

3. I love making s'mores with my kids.

4. I love Christmas Shopping Season. (October 1st-December 25th) (It's as real as Hunting Season and twice as fun.)

5. I love the excuse to eat too much turkey and dressing, and even more dessert.

6. I love Black Friday.

7. I love making these with my kids

8. I love seeing my kids all dressed up in their camouflage to go hunting with their daddy.

9. I love the way I feel energized and inspired in anticipation of the holidays.

10. I love the opportunity to wear these

Here's a close up of my favorite shoes of all time

Where was I? Oh yeah.... 
11. I love warming up in front of the fireplace.

12. I love my winter pajamas.

13. Have I mentioned that I love Shopping Season?

14. I love opening the windows in my house.

15. I love driving with the a/c on and the windows down.

"There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1 


A Day in My Life.... and I'm So Glad It's Mine!

September 29, 2010

Today ended up being a really good day. 
~Brant did REALLY well in school! 
~The kids and I did a super fun project. We made a "scarecrow family".  
~I managed to keep my cool all day long without getting rude and bossy. 
~We had leftovers for dinner, so I did not have to cook. 
~My momma brought over some shrimp gumbo, so I don't have to cook tomorrow night either.
~ The laundry is not overflowing out of the baskets. 
~Dishes are done, counters are clean. 
~I watched a little tv and I am about to hop into the tub with my baby daughter. Then it's off to bed.
~My family is safe and sound, healthy and happy tonight. We are all together.

\o/ \o/ \o/ \o/

"How I rejoice in God my Savior! For he took a lowly servant girl, and now generation after generation will call me blessed. For he, the Mighty One, is holy, and he has done great things for me." Luke 1:47-49

"For we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son." Ephesians 1:6


Who's the Boss?

September 28, 2010

The other day at football practice, there were some kids who were yelling at each other. The coach looked at them and calmly said, "Don't yell at each other." That was it. He didn't get angry. He didn't raise his voice to show dominance. 

I wonder what would happen if I did that? Okay. So, I know that old habits die hard. That goes for me and the kids. But, if I can work really hard to keep my voice calm, and work less on proving my dominance and more on being consistent when they disobey, then maybe I will see miraculous changes!

Why do I feel like I have to "thump my chest" with them? Where is it written that "she who screams loudest wins"? I don't have to prove that I am the "boss". I don't know who I am trying to convince anyway. It is so pointless. And it is actually NOT working for me. I know that I do not want to be a raging lunatic all the time. And I certainly don't want to pass it down to my kids. I am going to give this "peaceful" thing a good ole fashioned try!

"I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his people, his faithful ones. But let them not return to their foolish ways." Psalm 85:8

"Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others." Psalm 34:14


Fight the Good Fight

September 27, 2010

Ah, the dreaded task of discipline. If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I struggle with this just like everyone else does. My kids fight with each other very, very often! They can be, and often are,  unkind and intolerant. I feel as though I am constantly refereeing and fussing, all to no avail.

There has got to be a secret formula to get your kids to obey. I have punished them by taking things away, and punished them by giving them extra chores. I have tried spanking them (which is my least favorite form of discipline) and I have tried time-outs and having them stand on their knees. Nothing has been an effective deterrent for this unacceptable behavior. Is it me? Is it them? Am I missing something?

And the thing is, just as ugly as they are to each other, they can demonstrate the same amount of love and caring toward each other. They can, at times, be the sweetest, considerate, most compassionate kids I have ever seen. They can be patient and kind to each other. It simply makes my heart melt like "butta"!

And now, to top it all off,  there are new issues that have begun to creep up on me as the kids get older. For example, Karli has convinced herself that I don't trust her. What would give her that idea, you ask? Well, I may or may not have taken a peek at her text messages on her phone (in front of her) a time or two. I feel totally justified to do so. As a matter of fact, I feel that it is my obligation to do so. I want her to know that at any moment I can and may check up on her to make sure that she is being honest with me and her daddy. But, I fear that this might be backfiring on me. She is becoming more reserved in what she shares with me. She is determined to keep "her business" to herself. Now, she is only eleven. She doesn't have her own "business". But, I am still trying to figure out the best way to handle this. I absolutely do trust her. She has not given me a reason not to. I try to give her as much space as she needs without totally disconnecting. But, I also want her to know that she is accountable to us and to God for all of her actions. I am not so concerned about what she is doing now, but I know that in the future this could change. 

I am confused, and as usual, I have no idea what the heck I am doing! I know that I want to be able to always trust her because she is always 100% honest with me. I also know that it is not very likely that this will happen. I was a teenager not too long ago and can remember that part of my life all too well. I want her to make the right decisions on her own. Again, I also know that there are hormonal and external factors that don't always make it easy to do so. 

I guess that I am going to have to do everything I can to keep the lines of communication open between us. If that means giving up on intruding into what she considers "her business", then so be it. I think. Maybe. We'll see. I'm gonna have to pray about it. Dear God, I cannot do this on my own! Amen.

"If you need wisdom- if you want to know what God wants you to do- ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking." James 1:5


Special Sunday Edition

September 26, 2010

I don't usually write a blog on Sunday unless it is a special occasion. The truth is, I am feeling guilty for not writing on Thursday and Friday. I was SO busy with school and dancing and football on Thursday that there just was nothing left of me at the end of the day. Friday, I took advantage of not having school or dancing or football and cleaned my pitifully neglected house and then I got in the boys' closet! Fall is just around the corner and it's time to see what we have and what we need. When you've got four kids to clothe each season you have to be prepared and have a strategy. Anyway, I was toast by the time I was done. 

We had a really nice weekend. Drake had a football game on Saturday. It is so exciting to see your child on the field doing something he loves to do! I am a very proud Momma! 

We also went to another new church today. I am really excited because I think that I have finally found a church where my whole family can be excited! It is a beautiful church that has obviously put a lot of thought into the needs of a family. There are classes and activities for every age group. The music is good and the preaching is better. 

For so long, I just did not go to church anywhere. But, I began to feel a longing to warm a pew somewhere, but not just anywhere. I do not want to sit in church for the sake of sitting in church. I am at a point in my life right now where I want to be fed and I want my kids to be fed.

I have had such a desire to learn as much as I can about the bible lately. I want to know what I know. I don't want to know what everyone tells me. I want to be able to have a conversation with someone about God and know what I am talking about. I want to live for God. I want to know what He expects of me and what He desires for me. I don't want to settle for being comfortable to be a good person. I want to be a good Christian. I want to be where God is. And, yes, you can and should talk {pray} to God anywhere and everywhere, but, when you meet Him in a church it is a very powerful and fulfilling experience.

"May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2Corinthians 13:13



September 22, 2010

Last night, I leaned over Aubree to move her from the crook of her daddy's back so he wouldn't fall out of the bed. In her sleep, she felt me and wrapped her arms tightly around my neck. She had no idea where I was bringing her, but she absolutely trusted me. There were no questions, no hesitation. She knows that I love her and that I will always protect her. Even though she cannot articulate it, she knows that I have her best interest at heart.

I think about how much God loves me. I think about how He wants the best~ an eternity in heaven along with earthly blessings~ for me. I think about how He has my best interest at heart. Do I always trust Him completely, even though I know He has desires for me only for good and not for evil (Jeremiah 29:11)? Do I wrap my arms around Him and trust that He will bring me to a better place? Do I surrender to Him without question or hesitation? I am embarrassed to say no. I often hold back. I hold back because I fear what others might think of me. I hold back because I am afraid of where He will carry me through to get to where He wants me to be. I hold back because I'm not sure I am ready to let go of the familiar life I have lived for something that challenges me to search myself to be what He wants me to be.

The thing is, when I stand before the judgement seat of God, my friends and acquaintances will not be there. I will stand alone. "But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10:33 I should not be worried about what others think of me. My eternity depends on it. I need to honor my heavenly Father. 

I say that I am afraid of where He will bring me- but, that's just it- He does not expect me to go anywhere alone. "Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close." Psalm 27:10 "That is why we can say with confidence, The Lord is my helper, so I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" Hebrews 13:6 

I don't want to step out of my old life into the unknown, but He says, "You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me." John 15:3-4

Lord, it's not easy to surrender and trust. I want to. I pray that You will help me. I ask that You remove my vanity and fear. I pray that you will ease my fears and instead fill me with peace and hope, excitement and encouragement. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

"Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord." Psalm 32:10

"Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper." Psalm 37:3

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6


Super Mom?

September 21, 2010

Has anyone ever said to you, "I don't know how you do it!"?  I get that statement all the time. It would appear that being a home schooling-stay-at-home mom to four kids is some super-human task for the likes of none less than SuperMom. I don't see it in the same perspective, I guess.

Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of times that I struggle. When I wake up to the kids bickering and whining I want to crawl back into bed. When I look around and realize that I don't have time to do the piles of laundry that have overtaken the hampers, (we have 3 of them) I could just cry. Sometimes, I have every intention to wet mop my floors, but, by the time everything else is done I just don't have it in me. I could not even begin to list the frustration I feel when I do everything I can to "train my children up in the way they should go" (see Proverbs 22:6) and they just ignore me and defy me over and over again. The list could go on and on. 

But, you know what? They are my kids. I love them. I really, really love them. It is my job to take care of them. It is my job to teach them. I don't have the option of not doing whatever needs to be done. It is plain as that. I cannot always rely on myself to get things done. I have to rely on God to give me what I need to get through my days. And sometimes, when night falls, I am not so proud of how I handled every situation. Sometimes, I have to apologize for some of my reactions. But, most of the time, God sees me through with very few casualties.

"How do I it?" I do it imperfectly, to the best of my ability, every single day~ by the grace of (Super)God.

"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it." Hebrews 4:16

"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble." Psalm 46:1

"Our help is from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth." Psalm 124:8

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10

"That is why I can say with confidence, The Lord is my helper, so I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" Hebrews 13:6


Sticks and Stones

September 20, 2010

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. 

To hear my kids say mean words to each other absolutely breaks my heart! We get into the van after church and the first thing I hear is one of my kids barking at the other. And, so it begins! I just do not understand how they have not figured out that it is not acceptable, or nice, or loving to talk to each other with rudeness and disrespect! They have to know that I will correct them. They have to know by now how much it upsets me for them to treat each other so mean. 

Maybe they can no longer hear the sound of my voice. Maybe when I open my mouth all they hear are the sounds of Charlie Brown's teacher. "Whamp whamp whamp whamp whamp whamp....." I am convinced it's true. 

How do I get them to change their ugly ways? Lord knows that they have so much love in their hearts for each other. I have seen it. But, they just cannot seem to get away from being selfish and intolerant. Am I a failure at teaching them how God wants us to treat each other? I have tried everything I can think of to explain to them how they should speak to each other. I have given them the alternatives to being ugly. I have shown them that they just get themselves into trouble needlessly when they scream at each other.

It is very draining for me. I get so tired refereeing all the time. And when I hear Aubree begin to speak with rudeness it just kills me. I know that she is learning it all from them! They have the potential to help me raise her in kindness, but, they choose the alternative all too often. She is learning how to behave from them. 

I am not going to quit correcting them. I am not going to give up on getting them to treat each other as humans. I will press on. Because it is what I am supposed to do. Because I love them. Because I know they love each other. Because eventually, they will get it, one way or another. I just have to figure it out. 

I must be very careful to keep track of my own behavior. I need to be certain at all time that I am not guilty of being unkind to others. And you know what? Sometimes, I get very short~ especially with my kids. Sometimes I am guilty of snapping at them when they do not deserve it. Sometimes I am less than patient and kind to them and in front of them. I have to be diligent in my efforts to be loving to everyone. I have to be an example to them, but, I am also commanded to do so as a child of God. 

As I write this, I can see that their behavior is probably pretty normal. They are practicing loving those who love them even when it is difficult. They are just not that good at it right now. But, I must be diligent with them, because as they grow, they will be faced with the challenge of being loving to those who do not love them. That is a whole different ball game. That is not an easy task, no matter who you are. 

"If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:46-48

"For you have been called to live in freedom- not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another." Galatians 5:13-15


A Mother's Brag

September 17, 2010

I am so proud of Drake. He is doing so well in football. By doing well, I mean, not quiting, or whining, or giving in to laziness. He is doing what is asked of him to the best of his ability without complaint. This is the same kid who declared that he "was dying" on the walk from Cafe du Monde to the Riverwalk in New Orleans 5 months ago. He begged us to carry him. He "just couldn't go one step more".

Drake is probably not the best football player on the team. But, he wants it so badly that he is willing to work harder than he ever has before. I am sure that he learning a lot about himself throughout this experience. I hope he can see that he can do anything if he puts his mind to it.

It is really wonderful to see my child participate in a group activity that he is so passionate about. It thrills me to see him digging deep inside to find what is required of him and putting it all out there for the team. I am one proud Momma!

Karli has also begun her 8th year of dancing. She is growing into a really beautiful dancer. She also works very hard.The classes are challenging and she always faces it head on, pushing herself to constantly grow. I am proud of her commitment. I don't have to worry about her. I know that in life she will do just fine! She is such a level headed girl with so much maturity that it amazes me. She makes me beam!

I love my kids! They complete me. Thank you, Lord, for sharing them with me.

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him." Psalm 127:3


Breakfast~ It's Not Just for the Stomach Anymore

September 16, 2010

Breakfast, they say, is the most important meal of the day. It's the meal you eat after a long night of "fasting", and it can set the pace for the rest of your day. It should be healthy, full of vitamins and minerals~ fuel for your body to face what the day has to offer. It is shown that eating a good breakfast gives you a boost of energy, heightens your attention span, and gives you an overall better sense of well being. Studies have shown that eating healthy breakfasts decreases the risk for chronic disease, increases longevity, and promotes general health. Are you guilty of not properly feeding your body in the morning? Do you do like I do and count a GIANT cup of coffee as all your body will need to start the day? (I believe in coffee, please, don't get me wrong!) But, our bodies deserve so much more. Not only should we focus on taking care of ourselves, but we should also be mindful to do these things as an example to our children.

If we are genuine about wanting to take care of ourselves, we shouldn't just feed our bodies cheerios, oatmeal, and eggs. We really need to feed our bodies with God's word~ spiritual food! Each day we face many trials, temptations, disappointments, and opportunities to show God's love to others. If we are running on fumes, then we don't have much to offer ourselves or the rest of the world. We should get into the habit of taking some time every morning to pray to God, seeking His direction, and then opening our bibles to seek His instruction. "Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105 “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.” Jeremiah 15:16 

It can be very difficult to get through some days. But, if we take care of our bodies and spirits, we will have the advantage over the struggles we are faced with. We just have to take time to "arm" ourselves with the proper tools so that we can be productive in life. 

I know that there are many nights, when I sit down at the end of a long day, I feel as though I have literally been in a fight. Sometimes, even though I am tired, I feel like I was well prepared and won the battle, but other times, I feel like I got whipped! Those days are probably the days when I didn't take the time to feed myself very well in the morning before setting out for my day. 

When Drake plays football, he has to wear protective gear to avoid getting seriously injured. We should also put on our "pads" before going out. You wouldn't go to work barefooted, would you? When you ride in your car, you put on your seatbelt in case you get into an accident. You strap your babies into car seats. When you go on roller coasters for fun, you make sure to use the safety restraints so that you don't get hurt. You put on a life jacket when you ride in a boat. So, why wouldn't you "dress yourself" in the things that God has given to protect you from the evils in life?  "Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere." Ephesians 6:13-18

I have a lot to do today. I am going to get dressed, feed my body, and be sure not to neglect my spirit! Won't you join me?


Preacher Mom

September 15, 2010

Do your kids argue all the time? Mine do! It's is such a daily drain for me. I feel like I am constantly "preaching" at them! If they would just listen to me things would be so peaceful here.

One of my biggest struggles is dealing with their "lack of desire to work". Granted, there are a lot of people living in my house. There is always something that needs to be done. But, if everyone does not pitch in to do their share, then things fall apart quickly. My kids are young, but, I don't believe that they are too young to contribute to the family. I want them to be good workers. I want them to experience the joy and pride in a job well done. Each person has an important job to do. Right now I know it's a bother and a hassle to them, but, eventually, I hope it will be confidence builder. Also, the bible has nothing good to say about laziness. "Hard work means prosperity; only fools idle away their time." Proverbs 12:11

I also deal with intolerance very, very often. Kids tend to believe that they are the most important thing in the world. It's hard for them to put themselves aside for the benefit of someone else. Teaching tolerance requires walking a fine line. I have to be careful while I teach them to consider others that I don't send a message that they are of no importance, or less importance. I don't want to crush their self esteem, but, I also don't want them to have an attitude of entitlement either. I want to make it clear to them that there is no one who is better than them, but, they are not better than anyone else, either. Tolerance and respect go hand in hand. One sort of creates the other, or at least each creates an attitude that is conducive to practicing the other. Taking respect one step further, I try to teach them that while they should do their best to ignore the idiosyncrasies of others, they should show respect by trying not to be annoying to others. "Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another." Galatians 5:26

I notice that when one of us loses our temper, it is like a domino effect. Everyone begins to raise the level of their voice and lower the level of their kindness. The key is trying to remove a "domino" before the whole set crashes down. I try to teach them that when things get escalated, they need to STOP! Take a few minutes to breathe and clear their minds of the conflict at hand before trying to resolve it. It takes practice. It takes consistency. But, it works! I try to stay in control and not let "the horse run away with the cart". It requires being patient, which is one of the most unnatural things for most of us. We all want what we want when we want it! But, patience often leads to peace. "It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self-control than to conquer a city." Proverbs 16:32

I have some really good kids. Sure, they have their moments. But don't we all? I have to apply the things that I teach them to myself every single day. I still don't get it right all of the time. But, what I have on my side is a forgiving Father, and another day. "Forgive the rebellious sins of my youth; look instead through the eyes of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord." Psalm 25:7 "Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!" Psalm 32:1-2


Like You're for Me- I'm For You

September 14, 2010

Friend- intimate associate; association of familiarity and companionship

How many friends do you have? I'm not talking about people you know, or are friendly with. I am talking about how many people do you know intimately who know you the same way? How many people just "get you"- they know what your intentions are. They know your struggles. They know your strengths. They know the skeletons in your closet and they love you anyway.

I, at different points in my life, have had many people who I thought were my friends. It turns out though, in reality, that the people who are willing to walk with you, and sometimes carry you, through the fire are far fewer than you would hope or believe. I have come to a point in my life where that reality is okay. I don't need to have a large quantity of friends. What I want is quality. I don't have the time or energy these days to play "friends". (Although I do have several acquaintances that I am friendly with. I care about these people, too. But, we're mutually just not on the same level as my esteemed "friends".) I just want to be able be me. I want to be understood. I want to be accepted as I am, warts and all. I want to know that the ones I call friend will do just as much for me as I would do for them. I want to be able to love without fear of not being loved in return. 

Friendships, I have learned, can look different. I have friends that I don't speak to very often, a few times a year maybe. But, when we do reconnect, we pick up just where we've left off. There is no judgement of why it's been so long since we last talked. There is a mutual respect for each other, knowing that our lives are different now and we don't fit in where we once did. I also am so blessed to say that I have a few friends who I know that I can count on to do whatever it is I need them to do whenever I need it, often times without even having to ask. Whether it be to listen to me, cry with me, encourage me, babysit for me, shop with me, visit with me, be honest with me. These friends also share their lives openly with me. I would do just as much for them as they do for me. It's just as much about the give as it is with the take. Always being the taker does not make you feel very good about yourself. When you can help someone else who needs you is when you really get blessed and uplifted. 

What kind of friend are you? Are you there only when it's convenient for you? Are you there only when you're bored? Do you think of your "friend" only when you need something? Are you there no matter what, no matter when, no matter why, no matter how? Do your friends know how much they mean to you? When was the last time you told them?

To my friends- I love you. I really, really love you! I will always be here for you, just like you are for me. Thank you. I hope and pray that I am as important in your life as you are in mine! If you need me, I'm here!

"There are 'friends' who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

"And here is how to measure it- the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends." John 15:13


Back to Being Me \o/

September 13, 2010

So begins a new week. I am looking forward to getting back to "normal". Whatever that may be.  Last week, I spent 28 straight hours at the hospital with my paternal grandmother, and then another 3 or 4 when my maternal grandmother also had surgery 3 days later. I had to leave my kids all that time and I was so lonesome for them! 

Freddie gave me such a sweet compliment. He said, "You are like our hub. When the hub is not there, nothing flows properly."  I know that people can step in and fill in the gaps for me. Life goes on, with or without me. But, it's really nice to know that people notice when you're not around to do what you do, and they miss you.

It made me feel really good to help with my grandmother when she had surgery. It's nice to know that you have something to offer that is valuable to others. I probably got as much out of it being on the giving end as she did being on the receiving end.  As important as I felt, it was nice to finally get back home to my family. I thrive when there is routine, and so do my kids. It's nice to know what to expect. Sure, we have the occasional unplanned trip to the doctor or grocery store. Then there are football games and dance classes. But, that just keeps us from going crazy.  

I posted a short while back about how I wondered how long it would take me being gone before my kids missed me. I'm not sure that they ached for me like I did for them, but, they missed me when I was gone for those two days. They did enjoy being with their grandmothers, who took care of them in my absence. But, when I got home they all ran up to me for hugs. Yay! Aubree, however, ached for me. She called me at the hospital to tell me that I needed to come home because she needed her best friend.  I told her that she needed to go to sleep and after she woke up I would come home.  Freddie said as soon as she opened her eyes in the morning she asked, "Where's Mommy?"

I love my little life. I am one blessed woman. I have people that I can count on when I need help, and the most beautiful family that loves me. I am grateful to God for all the big things and in the small things, too. I am can appreciate that I woke up this morning, that summer is almost over, that my family actually missed me when I was away, that we are healthy, that we are happy, that school went extremely well today, that my husband has a job, that my grandmother's are both doing very well, that I was born during a time that we have all these modern conveniences, that I can choose where to worship God, that I can raise my children with the beliefs that I hold dear to my heart.  I could go on and on and on. And, I think I might. I will keep a thankful heart all day today. I will be mindful to praise God throughout my day. (We have a doctor's appointment and a trip to Wal-Mart on the agenda for this afternoon, so I think this could get difficult. But, I will praise Him, nonetheless.) Who knows, maybe, if I do a good enough job, my thankful spirit will rub off on someone else who desperately needs to feel thankfulness!

"Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! His greatness is beyond discovery!" Psalm 145:3

"Let everything that lives sing praises to the Lord!" Psalm 150:6

"O Lord, you alone can heal me; you alone can save. My praises are for you alone!" Jeremiah 17:14


A Tribute

September 11, 2010

Do you remember where you were 9 years ago today? I was up early, as usual, with my 2 year old and 5 month old. I called my pastor's wife on the phone, like I usually did, and she told me that a plane had flown into one of the twin towers. At first, I thought it was a terrible accident, but, as I watched on television, I saw the second plane fly into the Trade Center, I knew it was no accident. I was shocked. I was afraid. I prayed. I knew that I had just watched history take place.

There were many thoughts flooding my mind, like everyone else's. I had no idea what this meant for us as a country. If we could be attacked on our own soil, would we have to fight for our lives? Would our lives change from the "normal" day to day to "survival" day to day? I thought about how this would impact the lives of my very little children.

Today, I say a prayer for those who lost their lives. I pray for wives, whose husbands will never return, for husbands who lost their wives, for sons and daughters and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters. I think of the people on the United flight, who surely must have known their death was upon them. I feel saddened at their fear, but, grateful for their courage. The lives of so many have been terribly altered. Forever. I pray for the men and women who stepped up and signed up for military service. Who gave their time, and their lives to defend this great country. I pray for their families who worried at home day in and day out. And I am grateful for the sacrifices made.

Please, take a few moments today to remember that day, and pray as your heart is led. Let's not forget what happened. "All gave some. Some gave all."


Happy Birthday, Momma!

September 9, 2010

Today is my momma's birthday. She was a young mother. I was born when she was only sixteen years old. She turns fifty-four today.

There are so many things that I want to say about my mom. She is kind and thoughtful. She always has an ear to listen. She has so much empathy and compassion for others. There is not one mean bone in her body. She has a servant's heart. But, the most amazing thing about her is that as a "Grammie", she ROCKS!

She has her grandchildren spoiled rotten. And it's not about giving them material things. She gives of herself. I admire how she takes the time to talk to them to try to explain things to them. When I am having a hard time with one of my kids, and they have the "Mom is the meanest person on earth" attitude, she always makes an effort to get down to their level and encourage them and try to get them to see things differently. She tries to do each one of my kids' chore for them every so often to show them that she loves them. She plays games with them. She is just a really good grandmother. She knows that there are rules for my kids, but, she enforces them with a gentle hand, and a tender heart.

I love my mom. I am grateful that she has never beaten me as a child. I appreciate the work ethic she instilled in me. I am blessed because she gave me a love of turning a house into a home. As I think back to the time when my sister and I were preschoolers, I can recall how good of a mommy she was to us. Those days were very happy for me.  Today, I look back on the things that I did not always like about her, and realize that she did the best she possibly could. And it wasn't so bad after all. 

I genuinely pray that God will bless her today, tomorrow, and forever. I thank her for everything that she does for me. I hope she knows that it does not go unnoticed nor unappreciated! And I wish her many happy birthdays to come!

"Listen, my child, to what your father teaches you. Don't neglect your mother's teaching. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and clothe you with honor." Proverbs 1:8-9


I Can See Clearly Now the "Wall" is Gone....

September 8, 2010

"He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly." 1Peter 2:23

I have been freed, as you might know if you read my previous blog. It has everything to do with forgiveness. How fitting it was when I opened my daily devotional today to discover the subject was just this very topic! (Okay, God. I get it.) If you will indulge me, I will elaborate on the topic. (Forgive me for not doing so in "Free at Last!!!!", but I was extremely tired, it was very late, and I had a short night and very early and long day ahead of me. Amen.)

Sometimes, were are overtly hurt or betrayed by people. We have been taught to forgive. No, we have been commanded to forgive. "Then Peter came to him and asked, 'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?' 'No!' Jesus replied, 'seventy times seven!'" Matthew 18:21-22

Forgiveness can be defined: to pardon or acquit of sins; acquittal; new lease on life.  Let's pay special attention to the new lease on life part. What do you think that implies? I can tell you exactly what it is saying from firsthand experience. It means that when you no longer hold anger and bitterness for "sins" committed against you by someone else by forgiving them, you are giving yourself a new lease on life. You are opening your heart and mind up to release things that have been causing you pain, worry, fear, anger. You are making room for healing, peace, love, happiness. You are making room and removing obstacles to go places where you could not drag the burden of grievances left unforgiven. People often hold on to others' transgressions against them because they are afraid by forgiving the offender, they are saying "What you did was okay." I am here to tell you that is not the case at all. When you forgive someone, you are simply "leaving it in the hands of God, who always judges fairly".

I have said that we are to forgive when we are overtly hurt by others, but, how about when the offense is covert, or when the "offender" is even unaware of his crime? This had been the case with me for YEARS!!!!!! I had been holding on to something that I felt was done to me that I did not deserve. I know in my head that the perpetrator was completely unaware of his failing. It was a flaw in this person that I held them accountable for because I wanted them to be different that what they are. I wanted to be offered something other than what he was willing or able to give. I felt as though my relationship with this person was being held back, or blocked, by a brick wall. I had the impression that the brick wall was built by the malefactor. I let hurt and fear build up in my life and affect some of my other relationships, really important relationships. I also felt sad that my connection with the "wall builder" would never go to a place where I had hoped it could be.

It finally got to the point where I knew that I wanted to be released from the prison I had been held captive in for so long. I wanted it mostly because of the way it had begun to invade other areas of my life. I hit my knees, I did a lot of soul searching, I was loved, encouraged, and prayed for by the best friend anyone could ever hope to have and when I finally decided to forgive these "invisible" sins, God met me exactly where I was to tell me that I, too, had been released.

And you know what I discovered? I found out that I was the one who built the wall, no one else helped. It was all me. But, God helped me to tear it down and the scene that unfolded on the other side of the wall was more than I ever hoped it would be. I still have to walk step by step to this newly discovered place. But, there is no longer an obstacle in my way, nor encumbering my view. I feel so good about where I am going with this person. I cannot believe that I let the wall stay up so long, or even be built in the first place. I was hurting myself, and probably others, too. I have found that the unaware recipient of my recent forgiveness, is, at least in my perspective, behaving more like I have always hoped for. 

So, if there is someone in your life that you need to forgive, whether it is something that has been outright and deliberately hurtful, or something they don't even know they've done or are doing, I encourage you to take the steps to forgiveness. God tells us that we must forgive in order to be forgiven. How can we ask for something that we are not willing to give?

"But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. But if you do not forgive , neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins." Mark 11:25-26