12.23.2012

CHRISTmas Calverette Style

December 23, 2012

This is how we do CHRISTmas y'all!








Wishing you and yours a Merry CHRISTmas and Blessed New Year.

"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

12.18.2012

Sucker!

December 18, 2012

Friends, the crafting bug has infected almost everyone at our house.
We have been busy all season making CHRISTmas decorations.
I think we have just enough time to whip up one or two more gems.

The kids and I slapped these together the other day.
They were super easy and very quick to make.
The kids LOVE them!


"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago)," Luke 1:68-70

12.17.2012

The Land of Misfits

December 17, 2012

Sometimes, as a mother, I sit back and second guess some of the decisions I've made.
Some are little ones, that won't have a lasting impact.

For example, when Aubree fell sick this week I thought it was a cold.
I wanted it to be a cold so bad!
I delayed bringing her to the doctor.
If I got the flu diagnosis then I would have to cancel her birthday party.
Yeah. Well, she probably suffered more than she would have had to
because I waited too long for her to be able to get Tamiflu.

Other things have the potential to be life affecting.
Those are the things that I beat myself up over.
Even when they are things that I've prayed about and have moved forward in obedience to God.
I ache. I pray more. I lament.

But, you know, I have to realize that if I have the faith I say I have,
If I truly believe with my whole heart,
Then I have to accept that this is all in God's plan.
Every difficult journey my kids walk through is ordered by God.

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way." Psalm 37:23

Even though I want to step in and fix what I perceive to be wrong,
I need to sit back and pray for God's will and peace to prevail.
It's just that when things look different in our lives than they do in the world,
I automatically have a tendency to think that things are going to turn out badly,
Or that I've somehow failed as a parent.
That, perhaps, my decisions, even though they were prayerfully made, are wrong.
And in the eyes of the world, they may be.
But, I don't serve this world.
I answer to God, the Creator of the world.

"'For I know the plans I have for you, ' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

So, let's encourage each other, fellow Christian parents.
We've got some of the most difficult jobs out there.
And let's face it, in all honestly, there is an army attacking us everywhere we turn,
Telling us that we are failing, that we're getting it wrong.
Teasing us with fears that we are hurting our children
if we don't do this, or let them do that.
There are images of what it's supposed to look like
every time we turn on the TV or log on to Facebook.
Heck, last night I was in the parking lot of Target
where a meth lab exploded in someone's car.
At TARGET! Fire trucks, police, and the HazMat team!

I don't know about you, but I've got one goal-
HEAVEN!
For me and my family.
I'm not going to let a lost world tell me how to get there for the sake of fitting in.

"Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." Philippians 3:17-21



12.12.2012

Heirlooms

December 12, 2012

CHRISTmas is fast approaching.
I'm sure you're all well aware-
 especially if you've tried to get any shopping done lately.
I love so many things about this time of year.
I love when it gets cold enough to wear a jacket.
I love seeing all the houses lit up with lights and festive displays.
I love parties and food.
And smiling, smiling's my favorite.  
{Sorry, I couldn't help it. Too many CHRISTmas movies, I guess.}

I hope that my kids are developing their own love for CHRISTmas.
I know that tradition has already become very important to them.
My {extended} family has changed a couple of things
 in the way we celebrate 
and my kids are outside this very minute 
staging a full blown protest, 
complete with signs and all! 
The po-po are out there trying to keep the peace. 
{Okay. Sorry, again. I don't know what's gotten into me today.}

I remember when I was a little girl.
Momma would put out her decorations
and put up a tree.
My sister and I always got to throw on the icicles.
Daddy let us go wild and crazy- the more the better.
Momma always preferred for us to do it neatly and organized.
Placing each one with purpose and intent.
Guess who won?

There was also this little house that she had.
It was probably made of Styrofoam.
It was decorated to look like winter time, complete with snow.
Santa was attached to a wire that shot out of the chimney 
that was intended to be invisible, I'm sure,
but back in the 70's we had to use our imagination a lot!
Anyway, when you pulled the string on the back
Music played and Santa flew around the house driving his sleigh.

I wish I had that house.
For some reason, that little house is attached to many of my 
CHRISTmas memories as a little girl.
And that got me thinking.
I want my kids to have an heirloom from CHRISTmas at home.
I wanted it to be simple.
Oh, and it must be musical.
I want them to remember their childhood CHRISTmases fondly
and I want them to have a physical reminder that they can pass on 
from one generation to the next, 
along with stories and memories of us!

Do you have any traditions or heirlooms?

"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." Galatians 4:4-5

12.09.2012

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like CHRISTmas

December 9, 2012

Are you counting down to CHRISTmas? 
Only 15 more days! 
Are you busy in preparations like so many others are right now? 
Or, are you one of the really organized bunch that's got the shopping complete and presents all wrapped?

I'm somewhere in the middle. 
We've been getting into the spirit. 
Enjoying our time. 
Watching CHRISTmas movies and making crafts. 
Planning outfits and parties. 
I love throwing parties. 
One day, I'll be able to throw parties 
and not have to worry about a budget. 
But not today. 
Oh well, it's just more exciting to make it AWESOME 
and not break the bank. 

I hope to pass on some of my enthusiasm to my kids one day. 
I'm already seeing signs that my genes are beginning to surface. 
{Yay!} 
They love to make crafts. 
And I couldn't be happier. 
My house is full of snowflakes and hand print reindeer. 

Speaking of crafting...
 {see what I did there? Genius.} 
I wanted to share with you another little project 
(courtesy of Pinterest) 
that I've had my heart set on for a while. 
I am too excited that Karli was more than eager to help me out. 
We used the same template as I did for my pillow. 
She made a total of three of these- 
one in pink, one in red, and another in gold. 
The pink one will find a permanent home in my new bedroom 
(once it's completed, hopefully VERY soon.)


I'd love to hear how you're celebrating the CHRISTmas season this year! 
Are you busy attending parties and events? 
Crafting? 
Baking? 
Shopping? 
What's your favorite part?


"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them." Luke 2:4-7

12.04.2012

Oh, Deer!

December 4, 2012

Today was LIBRARY day! We have not had one of those in so long I cannot remember.
It happened that Aubree and Brant both had lessons that required books from the library, so I thought it would be a nice {FREE} outing for us all.

Aubree usually does not go with us to the library. When I told her about our plans this morning, she informed me that she "cannot be quiet except when she is sleeping" and she reminded me that even then she "talks in her sleep". Hence the reason that Aubree usually does not go with us to the library.

She did manage to be quiet- for the most part. The biggest issue we had was that she wanted to take books off the shelves {without help} and just put them back all willy-nilly. That's every librarian's nightmare, isn't it? Oh well, I managed to keep her occupied for a little while with the computer there.

I really did not intend on checking out any books. It was supposed to be an afternoon spent at the library reading. But, 9 movies and several books found their way to my house. Cut me some slack though, 3 of the movies are Sight Word movies. This morning Aubree asked me to "please teach {her} to read" so I thought this would be a great first step.

After the library, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then we headed to the store to pick up crafting supplies.  I had every intention on making the most of our day off from school by giving my kids an incognito home economics lesson.

Once we got home though, my plans were quickly foiled by those movies that came home with us. You win some, you lose some.

I did, however, whip out my sewing machine and fabric scraps and whipped up a little project that I've had my heart set on for several weeks now.


It's certainly not perfect. But, I am happy with it. When you wing it, you kind of learn as you go by trial and error. IF I make another one, I will not put the deer's neck so far into the seam and I would make sure he's more off center than he is on this one. I really would like to make one for my new bedroom with a gray background and the deer out of some really pretty, girly, vintage, flowery, pink fabric.

I would like to teach Karli some basic sewing skills by having her make herself a pillow for her room with her initial instead of the deer head. Who knows, maybe I'll let the boys each do the same as well.

We've got a few more craft projects waiting in the wings. Stay tuned and I'll be sure to post pics as soon as they're complete!

Have you made any crafts this holiday season?
 I'd love to hear about them! 
Won't you share by leaving a comment with all the details?


"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple." Proverbs 31:17-22

12.03.2012

The Heart of the Matter

December 3, 2012

Ever find yourself the victim of a misunderstanding?
Have your intentions ever been interpreted incorrectly?
Have you wept because someone else was hurt or disappointed by something you did or said?
Have you been falsely accused of ill behavior?

We've all been there.
There's something that sounds so good in our heads, but something happens on the trip out of our mouths and we regurgitate a pile of nonsense all over the place.
Or someone doesn't appreciate our comedic genius.
We find ourselves standing toe to toe with someone that we don't see eye to eye with.
People assume to know what we're thinking or why we're doing certain things.

What do you do?
Do you beat yourself up?
Do you lash out in defense?
Do you shut down?

Depending on the circumstance, our response is going to differ.
Sometimes, a relationship is worth an explanation & an apology.
It's worth pursuing and mending.
Sometimes, you just have to take one for the team.
Sometimes you've got to grab hold of it with both hands not to lose it.
And other times it's best to just walk away.

As women, we can tend to let our hearts take over.
Okay. I'm talking about myself here.
Occasionally, I let my emotions get the better of me
And I find myself in a messy situation.
But, if we are to live out a life that God intends for us, we would be more like the woman in Proverbs 31:26.
"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."
That woman uses her head! She's not lead by her feelings.


That's not always easy.
But it should be a conscious decision we make.
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20




"The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them." Proverbs 11:3

"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness," 2Peter 1:5-6

12.01.2012

Battles

December 1, 2012

I look around me and I see so many people in a battle.
Some are struggling through divorce.
Others are in financial chains.
Many are in a fight for their very lives.
The fact is, at some time or another, 
we will all go through difficult seasons.

A few years ago,
 I was having a conversation with "a friend
who was being beaten up,
 it seemed,
 every where she turned.
As soon as she thought it could not get any worse, 
Life sucker punched her in the throat, again!
She cried out to me, saying, 
"I know God won't give me more than I can handle
but I don't know how much more I can take."
I have heard so many people say that in my lifetime.
At some point, I may have said it, too.
Even believed it maybe.
But, my perspective is different today.


I'm not sure that God won't give us more than we can handle.
I think that He will allow things to go so far until we have 
no other choice but to rely upon Him.
For everything.
To turn our whole lives over to Him in complete surrender.
And then, He will rescue us.


So, if you find yourself in one of life's battles, 
And it feels as though you cannot hang on much longer- don't.
Fall into the arms of Jesus!



"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1Peter 1:6-7 

"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5

"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22






11.27.2012

Give a Little

November 27, 2012

I remember several years ago, 
Freddie and I were not long married.
We did not have any kids yet 
and we both had professional careers.
{He still has a professional career. 
I just have a more important one now than I did before.}

Anyway, every morning on the drive in to work 
I listened to a popular morning radio show.
It was about this time of year 
and the station was doing a promotion 
where people would call in randomly with a "story" 
of someone who deserved to be blessed somehow.

Well, this particular morning a lady called in with a heart wrenching story 
about these two girls she passed each day at their bus stop as she left for work.
Apparently their mother had died 
and they were being raised by their father.
But, she could not help but notice
 that these girls had on the same clothes every day.
Can you imagine?

Freddie and I did not have a lot of money, 
but, this story touched my heart, 
so I carefully noted the girls' sizes 
and headed to the store that evening.
I bought them each a full outfit from head to toe.
I was so proud of what I had chosen for them.
I hoped that they would really like what I picked.

The next day when I went to drop off the clothes,
 I was informed that the radio station 
had received a huge response to this story.
So much so, 
that they had collected 
a U-Haul truck FULL of donations for these girls!

I wonder how those kids felt when they opened the door 
and saw an outpouring of love from their community.
I wonder how that dad felt 
to be blessed by so many strangers all doing a part
 to help him take care of his girls.
Did that day change that family?
Did it make them stronger in their faith, 
stronger as a family, as individuals?
Did it inspire them to be more, to be better?

I think about those children.
The ones I never laid eyes on.
The ones that touched my heart and moved me to action.
Did they graduate high school?
Have they gone to college?
I wonder if one of them was prom queen or class president?
I will probably never know.

What I do know, is that God can take any gift I give 
and use it to the glory of His Kingdom.
Somehow.
In ways great or minuscule.
It's not up to us just what He does with our giving.
But, we just need to know that He does use us.
We just have to be willing.

Maybe you cannot give financial or material gifts.
But we all have our own gifts of time and talent- 
diverse and usable.
Won't you seek out an opportunity to sow a seed?
You never know just what might grow.

"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35

"You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall no be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord you God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake." Deuteronomy 15:10

"Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him." Proverbs 14:31

"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." 1John 3:17-18



11.21.2012

Why I Hate Cats

November 21, 2012

He's going to be fine!
He does not have cancer.
The diagnosis is  toxoplasma lymphadenitis.
Basically, (in the words of the Waterboy's mother) it means that cats are the devil.

Relief does not begin to describe how I feel.
My faith was strong, and it still is.
I knew that my God could;
I just didn't know if he would.

I realize now, more than ever, that we are not in control.
We can go through the motions.
We can do everything right.
But, our lives sit in the palm of His hand.

I don't think it's an accident that this happened during this season of Thanksgiving.
I feel like I do a pretty good job of being ever mindful of all that I am blessed with.
I know just how much I have been given.
And my head knows that it can be snatched away in an instant.
But, my heart was faced with that realization these past few weeks.

You cannot go through an experience like this and not be changed somehow. 
Your perspective becomes just a little bit more clear.
It's like getting a new pair of eye glasses; 
You can see what was there all along, but now in bright vivid colors and crisp lines.

LIFE IS SHORT.
The older I get, the more I realize the truth in those words.
It's worth making the effort to squeeze out every drop we can from the time we do have.
It's best not to waste even one moment.

GOD IS GOOD.
Things could have had a different outcome.
We could have had to walk down a very difficult road.
But, He chose otherwise.

GOD IS STILL IN THE MIRACLE BUSINESS.
I believe beyond a doubt, after reading both pathology reports, that my son has been healed.
Period. 

IT'S NOT ALWAYS EASY TO FOLLOW GOD AND LIVE ACCORDING TO HIS WORD,
BUT THE ALTERNATIVE IS ALWAYS HARDER.

"Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for 'The righteous shall live by faith.'" Galatians 3:11

"but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls." Hebrews 10:38-39

"But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled." 1Peter 3:14






11.13.2012

THAT mother

November 13, 2012

I've been uncertain for two weeks. 
Not knowing for sure. 
Thinking it was one thing. 
Disappointed that it may not be as benign as I originally hoped. 
I wanted to be that crazy, lunatic mother. 
The one dragging her kid in to the doctor, demanding bloodwork, for a mosquito bite, or a cat scratch, or an infected cut. 

"I'm sure it's just an infection. The antibiotics should work." the doctor reassured.
Two different ones. Just to be certain.

Instead it grew.

"I'm confused," he admitted. "You need to see a surgeon."

Still not panicked. 
Concerned. Yes. 
But, still assuming that I was that mother. 
Being too careful while I imagined the nurses poked fun as I walked out of the office.

"We've got three options. We can wait three months and see what happens. We can put him to sleep and remove it. Or we can do a needle biopsy, and still need to remove it if the results are not clear."
The choice was easy. 
A mother cannot wait an eternity- and three months seemed like forever.
Removing it right away seemed a little too extreme, even for that mother.

So, he had an extremely painful needle biopsy.

I waited in that exam room for results fully expecting to hear confirmation of what I'd suspected all along.
I'm that mother.

When he walked in, I knew immediately that I was wrong.
Apparently, pathology cannot confirm nor deny certain "very worrisome" possibilities.
The report I hold in my hand scares me. 
Trying not to over-react or fall apart.
"Hang on to Hope. Everyone's just being extra careful," I tell myself.
His words shocked me, "It has to come out. When can you do it?"

And here we are.
Faced with the possibility that I still might be that mother. 
Hoping that I am.
But, knowing that God may have something in store for our lives that we do not wish for.

I'm scared and I've cried.
Not because I don't trust God.
I do.
 I have nothing else to hold on to- and I'm hanging on for life!
But I know that sometimes He asks us to go places we don't want to go.
Nonetheless, I trust that my Father loves me.
I trust that He wants for me the same things I want for my own children.
So where ever this road leads, I go with Him.
I'm just praying that we go down a less scary road than the one we might be faced with.

Please pray with me.

"In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. God's way is perfect. All the Lord's promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection." Psalm 18:29-30

11.07.2012

11.05.2012

Sharing

November 5, 2012

I hope you'll stop by my friend, Daphne's adorable blog! Take some time to poke around while you're there. And if you leave a comment on today's post you just may win a $20 Starbucks gift card {that you can share with me!}

http://www.bayoubelles.com/2012/11/todays-day.html

10.17.2012

A Bucket Full Of...

October 17, 2012

Today I am writing a very fun post over at Joli! I hope you'll take a few minutes to hop over there and check it out! PLEASE take a minute to leave a comment. I don't normally beg for comments, but today I will make an exception. But you have to go over there to find out why.




10.16.2012

All For Them

October 16, 2012

On a hot summer's day, a little over two years ago, I sat down at this computer and composed my very first blog entry. I was slightly nervous and excited! Even without any followers, my audience was very clear. This blog was birthed with the sole purpose of leaving a gift of myself for my children. I wanted them to have a clear insight to my heart and mind as I lived out my life's ambition of raising them. 

Many of you know that raising kids is not for sissies! It's tough. It will wear you down and beat you up like little else can. I just always want my kids to know, that though I may not have parented perfectly- my love for them is as pure and true as humanly possible. I want to leave a legacy that assures them that these difficult years- for them and me- were not taken lightly. I've given much thought and heart to raising and disciplining them. I have second-guessed myself more often than I care to admit. And I've beaten myself up when I've failed. But I have never, not for one second, loved them less, nor have I quit trying to become a better parent.

I know that many people read my blog. Several of you have told me that different posts have touched you, or helped you. It makes me feel good to hear just how many people look forward to the next post. (If you compare the number of "Followers" I have with most blogs out there, you wouldn't think that anyone reads my blog.) But, there are countless "lurkers" out there that have been blessed, even if only by one blog entry over the course of the past two years. That has been an added bonus that I am grateful for. {If you're not a "follower" and would like to become one, just simply click the button on the top of the right side bar.}

It's very easy to get thrown off course and allow my writing to be filtered for the "audience" that was never intended to be the main purpose of this blog in the first place. I have on several occasions, deleted a blog before it was published because of how it would be received by people other than my children. I have also been tempted to share things that do not pertain to or affect my children. And some of those things are okay- I want my kids to look back on these writings and be able to remember ME and my life. I want them to know that sometimes life gets messy, but hopefully, I can be an example of how to muddle through with dignity and morals and love- by the Grace of God. I am creating a photo album of sorts with words and stories from my heart. I want to paint mental pictures for them- hopefully ones where I am not having a bad hair day. One day, all they will have are things like this that they can hold on to. Hopefully, their great-grandchildren will be able to get to know me and love me through these blog entries even though they may never meet me in person.

What do I want them to walk away knowing for sure?
~Well, first and foremost, I love my kids. I wish there were a different word that I could use instead of love. It just doesn't seem to do justice to the feelings I have for them.
 ~I also like my children very much. Though I do not like when they fight with each other, or are disrespectful to others (including me). I want them to know that it is possible to hate the sin and not the sinner. I hope that I have ingrained  these words into their souls- "I will always love you more. I will never love you less. There is nothing that you could ever do that would make me stop loving you.
~I want them to know that their mother was in love with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! 
~I want them to know that giving of yourself feels better any day than taking from others.
~I want them to know from my example that we will all make mistakes. Being a Christian never means that you are perfect, or sinless. It just simply means that you are forgiven! It means that your tree will bear a special kind of fruit, different from the trees of the world. 
~I want them to know that God can and will rescue you from the pain of disappointment and hurt and loss and He will carry you to a better place than before.
~I want them to know what it looks like to live a life trusting in God for all things. 

They love for me to name the things about them that makes them special. And over the years the list of those things have changed, but my feelings of amazement & awe at just how favored I am for God to have chosen to share each of them with me have grown and multiplied.

Karli is more responsible than any other kid her age that I know. And she has always been that way. I have always been able to trust her. She is stubborn and smart. She is shy and loyal. She is a beautiful soul packaged within a beautiful body. Her strengths far outweigh her weaknesses and she is more than she believes she is. 

Drake is tenderhearted. He can be quite the thunderstorm of emotion, from one end of the spectrum to the other. He is strong willed, and he is smart enough to use it to his advantage when he so chooses. He has an impressive vocabulary for an adult, much less a kid his age. When he is interested in something, he will submerge himself in it and drown his brain learning all there is to learn. He is passionate. 

Brant is a lot like his daddy. He is a social butterfly of sorts. He is extremely compassionate for all others, human and animal. His heart is something more people should strive to have. This world would be a much better place. He is thoughtful, a hard worker, and like his brother and sisters, is a gorgeous kid!

Aubree is our baby. She's funny and smart. She can apply make-up better than some women I know. Like Drake did when he was little, she's been teaching herself to read and solve addition problems. She's never met a stranger, and I see so much of me in her. I love to watch her "mother" her babies. It's a riot to hear her role play with her toys using different voices for each one. I can't wait to see what she does with her life, but she has the potential to go far in the entertainment or fashion industry.  (If you've ever met her, even once, you know exactly what I'm talking about.)

Maybe I have inspired you to begin to create a legacy, a record for your children. Whether it be a scrapbook, diary, or a blog. With the technology of today, the options are almost endless.  Life can move along at such a fast pace sometimes that we can skip over some important things. I just hope we don't skip over saying things that someone desperately needed to hear. Even if you just crawl into bed for 10 minutes at night and snuggle with each child individually, if for nothing more that to stare at them and soak them in. Those will be fond memories one day when memories are all they have.

"Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children-" Deuteronomy 4:9

9.24.2012

Fall Apart

September 24, 2012

Bad days.
We all have them.
It seems that nothing goes right.
Our mood is less than pleasant.
We walk around holding a grudge all day because something is eating our lunch.

Or maybe, we're just sad. 
Our outlook is somber.
We might feel as though life has become to heavy and cumbersome.
We give way to worry and stress.

I'd like to consider myself a glass half full kind of girl.
I am usually pretty good about reminding myself that no matter what I am facing, 
there is someone, somewhere, facing something far worse than my mind could imagine.
I can usually trust that God has a plan- a better plan- for me.
I try to accept that getting my way might mean something tragic and painful,
Whereas God can choose to insert a little inconvenience into my life to save me from lots of suffering in the long run.



Nonetheless, we all succumb to bad days from time to time.
I find that it's easier to get down when I'm tired or overwhelmed.
That's when I let my heart wear raw and tender.

Driving home from dance class, after a very long day that proved to get the better of my heart,
Listening to the radio, I was reminded of something very important. 
God deserves my praise-not only when things are going well and I am being blessed to overflowing,
But He deserves it even when my heart aches and burns. 
When it's bleeding and raw. 
When worry tries to consume me and devour my trust.
He deserves my praise with each longing of my soul.

If I have praise on my lips, how can there be room for anything else?

"Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting." Psalm 147:1

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable." Psalm 145:3

9.19.2012

Joli Women's Ministry: Seasons

September 19, 2012

I writing at Joli today. I hope you'll take a few minutes to stop by and read and comment on today's blog post.

9.17.2012

Keep Your Face in the Book

September 17, 2012


Sometimes, I tell my children stories about living in the days before technology. 

I tell them about when we were kids and we actually played outside until the street lights came on. 

We rode bikes until we could drive. 

We used things we found in nature to make toys to play with, and stages to perform on, and houses to play in. We used our imaginations a lot!

I didn’t have a television in my bedroom until long after I was married.

I remember when phones were attached to the wall, and having one in your bedroom was a big deal! How many of you figured out how to eaves drop on your sister’s conversations without her knowing it? Mute button, BaBy! Oh, yeah. 


And do you remember leaving the house with NO PHONE? I’ll never know how my mother didn’t drive herself crazy not being able to get in touch with us at all times, especially when we were driving.

How many of you remember not knowing what a car seat was until you had children of your own?

And what about this…
I loved playing Asteroids.

Oh, yes. The Good Ole Days.

Things are so very different these days.

It’s not all bad, but it’s not all good either.

Take Facebook, for example. How many of us are addicted to it? I will be the first one to admit that I can justify why I can’t (or won’t) get off Facebook for an extended amount of time. 



Some of the reasons I list are valid. Facebook can be, and often is, used for good and not for evil. It can be used to reach people that we normally wouldn’t with the Love of God. I’ve actually had people tell me that they’ve un-friended me on Facebook because of my “God stuff”. Can anyone say conviction? I would normally take un-friending very personally, but, I know that it just means that I am being effective. (I also have countless others thank me for my “God stuff”.)

Facebook keeps us connected with friends and family members that we would normally be out of touch with because of distance and busy lives. I really enjoy scrolling through my news feed each day and being able to see all the wonderful things going on in people’s lives that I care about that I would not otherwise know about. It’s an easy way to reach several people at once when we want to deliver news, brag on our children, announce a party or event, or voice a prayer need or praise report.

Facebook is used to network. Many of you have liked Joli or Crossroads Church or a news station, etc on Facebook and you will get their latest updates right on your news feed to keep you up to date with anything important that may be happening. (If you haven’t, now would be a good time to do that.) Several of you have arrived on this blog and countless others via Facebook.

But, I have seen the ugly side of Facebook, too. 

We must be careful who our Facebook friends are . Are you guilty of accepting every single friend request you get? Remember that these people will see everything you post. Photos of your precious, beautiful children. Vacation pictures. Status updates. Check-ins at the last place you ate, or shopped, or visited. How many times do you announce that your home is unattended because your family is going to be out of town, or here or there? Make sure the people who are viewing your posts are trustworthy. Just as we get security systems for our homes, we need to use the security settings on Facebook to keep our lives private from everyone but our friends. You can even hide your posts from selected people on your friends list.

What about the people who fill your news feed with pessimism and vulgarity? Then there are those people (usually children, or those behaving like children) who use Facebook to hurt others through humiliation or jealousy? Sometimes, people just simply share entirely too much of their own lives. (Don’t be that person.) There comes a time when we need to learn to either hide posts from certain people or un-friend them. Guard your hearts! (Proverbs 4:23-26)

How many of you have seen children who are not 13 years old LIE about their age in order to have a Facebook account? Don’t get me started about how we teach our children that it’s okay to lie in order to get what we want. Rules are rules for a reason people! We don’t need to always know the whys of everything, but sometimes we just have to trust authority. Hello! Which leads me to my next observation.



Do you have children who are old enough and do have a Facebook account? Do you have their password? Do you monitor their news feed and friends list? What’s that? You don’t want them to think you don’t trust them? All I have to say about that is, “You cannot un-ring a bell.” If you work at it hard enough, I promise you that you can have a relationship with your child(ren) that will allow for parental involvement and supervision without your child feeling like (s)he is not trusted. 

We are raising our kids in a very different time than when we grew up. Our parents can say the same thing. And I can only imagine how things will be different when our children have children of their own. But, we just have to make sure that we not get lazy with technology. We cannot be guilty of using the endless resources, literally at our fingertips, as a substitute for what is really important. 

We must be careful not forget that Facebook is okay, as long as we keep our
 Face in the Book more.



“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fit’s the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32






9.14.2012

Feel Good Friday

September 14, 2012

In light of my recently "outed" Pinterest addiction, I've decided to dedicate today to sharing some words of encouragement with you found on Pinterest! My prayer is that you will be inspired to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17), and Love One Another (John 13:34-35)


Have a great weekend!

9.10.2012

Just Do Your Job

September 10, 2012

I sit today and I have no idea what words will spill from my fingertips onto the blank screen. I whisper a prayer for God to author a blog and this is what He gives me.

"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:9

It's ironic in a way. My friend, Angie, wrote a blog this morning over at Joli on Transition. I feel like she wrote that blog post just for me. My life has certainly gone through a transition (or two) of its own recently. And as you can read in Angie's post, it can be uncomfortable. It can feel like peace is light years away and your world is off balance and out of sorts. I'd like to add that the temptation and natural human urge through transition can also result in ungodly behavior if you're not extremely careful to seek God's heart constantly.

It's so easy to let your hurt, fear, anger, & bitterness bubble up and ooze out like infectious puss from a sore. Somehow, we've allowed ourselves to believe that in the game of life it's okay to repay hurt with hurt, ugliness with ugliness. We justify this with "An eye for an eye". But, we conveniently forget about "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:18 or "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," Matthew 5:43-44 {Jesus said that Himself, y'all! And He also said this->} "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35. "If anyone says, 'I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." 1John 4:20.

We as Christians have a difficult role to play sometimes. We must LOVE others when everything in our bodies goes against that. We must LOVE when we have been hurt deeply by those we have trusted with our hearts. We must LOVE. Period. We are called to LOVE- not to hurt, not to prove that we are right, not to prove that you are not better than me. We have to be Kingdom focused! Those foolish, prideful things will not matter in eternity.

Why should we love those who are often difficult to love? Quite simply... Jesus died for each and every one of us. We have all be unlovable at one point in time or another. He paid the price for all sin once and for all. He does not want to see anyone spend eternity in the fires of hell. It is our job as Christ followers to show the love of Jesus to everyone so that all can be saved.

I look back to the recent history of my current transitions. Have I loved? There are times where I can clearly say absolutely! I loved well. I am proud that I represent Jesus Christ. But, there were other times that I gave in to my selfish hurts. I let my anger and pride poke tiny, little holes. And we can fool ourselves into believing that tiny, little holes are not as bad as the big ones, but, your bucket will empty from tiny, little holes just like it will from a big one, it just might take a little longer. God does not want us empty; He wants to fill us with Him. So, yeah, there have been times that instead of being that real, live example of Christ, I failed. But, today is a reminder to go out and LOVE. Even when it's hard.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

"Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;" Hebrews 12:14-15


9.05.2012

PINK

September 4, 2012

There are so many exciting things going on in our lives right now!
We are keeping very busy- and loving every minute of it!

It was really nice to have a relaxing summer break.
But we are certainly welcoming the busyness of a new season.

I think that is one of the reasons why I love fall so much. 
It's the change.
The excitement.
The hustle and bustle of getting here, and going there.
The challenge of fitting it all in.
And, I'd be lying if I said that I was sad about maybe, sometimes NOT having time to cook supper.
Sue me.

Dance classes are starting soon.
Football is starting even sooner!
But, there is one other thing that is coming up that I am looking forward to, as well.


Our ladies group at church is hosting "A Night of Pink" in honor of  Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. It's going to be a night of fun where we will honor some special ladies, encourage one another, worship the Lord, and just, well, be AWESOME together! 
There is so much planned for this night, but, the thing I am most looking forward to is watching this girl
shake what her momma gave her!

This is a FREE event! {We all love FREE don't we?} You do not have to be a member of Crossroads Church to attend. You just have to be a lady female. Won't you grab a few of your best girlfriends, pile on as much pink as you possibly can, and join us for "A Night of Pink". {Prizes may or may not be involved.}

Aubree and I hope to see you there!

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." Proverbs 31:10

"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." Proverbs 31:17

"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20


8.28.2012

LOSS

August 28, 2012

Normally, my blog posts tend to be written about things that I have struggled through and have arrived at some sort of working resolve. But, lately, my life has been beaten with some things that I am having a hard time sorting through. I can't seem to nestle into a space of peace.

I feel as though I must state the obvious and say that I am incredibly blessed. I really mean that from the bottom of my heart. I have the most amazing husband and I stand in awe of my four children and all of their lovable, annoying, sweet, sassy, caring, and selfish ways. I truly feel like out of all the kids in the whole entire world, I got the four best ones. Life is good. I could make a list... a long list of everything I am grateful for. But, I feel that it would be incredibly misleading to not share the hard stuff here, too.

A few months ago, something happened where my best friend and I were caught up in a mess. Have you ever been in a mess before? It's not a fun place to be. And the thing about a mess is that it can be very messy. {Yes, I know. I am Captain Obvious today.} The details actually have become irrelevant at this point in time, but, the fact of the matter is, we were both incredibly hurt and disappointed in each other. We both had on blinders to our own perception of what happened. And although at some point we came together to try to salvage what was genuinely there and very real, things are not the same as they once were. Once trust is lost, it is very difficult to regain. And it's strange, because the love is still there. It's very hard for me to wrap my mind around it, and even harder for my heart. There have been lessons learned from this experience, but the damage is still evident. I am confident that God has both of us on His mind. I know He is still working. But, it's not a good place to be right now. I ache for what is seemingly lost. I am sorry for the hurt that has beaten up my heart and hers. And I'm not sure where this road will lead. All I know is that it's a sad walk.

LOSS.

My (husband's) aunt was diagnosed almost a year ago with stage IV stomach cancer. I cried when I heard the news. But then, hope began to build. She was apparently unafraid. Barely fazed. Ready to FIGHT! And fight she did. I've never met anyone like her. Not once did I hear her complain. Or whine. People would have been asking me if I wanted cheese to go with my whine if the shoe were on the other foot. Her faith never wavered. She would get chemo and two days later you would find her painting her bathroom. True story. But, she lost her battle a week ago Sunday. I was with her when she breathed her final breath. It was truly a gift. But, I had no idea how it would affect me. There is a stark and bitter realization that this life can be over in the blink of an eye. One final breath. And although I know that my eternity is secure, my ticket to heaven has been paid in full, the human part of me aches for what is left behind. Death is so real to me now in a way that it never was before. I have an ever present twinge of something that I will call fear, for lack of a better word. It's so hard to explain. I'm trying to sort out how to go on living my life all the while clinging with white knuckles to every second. I'm sad for the loss of what was, one year ago, a very able, seemingly healthy woman. I am sad for the extremely difficult journey that took her down a road that no one should ever have to go down. I am forever changed by what I saw the last few months of her life.

I have been hurt before by people. Intentionally and unintentionally. I've been disappointed and I've suffered varying degrees of loss. But, right now I just feel so tangled up in it. My faith in people has been rocked. Not in any one person, necessarily, but people in general. Perhaps I expect too much. There's not much that I am sure of these days. However, I am sure of my love and loyalty for my children and my husband. I am sure that one day I will breathe my final breath, just as we all will. I am sure that I want to make my life matter. I am sure that I don't want to give value to those things that do not benefit anyone. I am sure that forgiveness is more important than righteousness. I am sure that I serve a mighty, all-knowing, loving, and merciful God who "works all things together for my good, to give me a future and a hope". I am sure that I will spend eternity in heaven.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." Psalm 28:7





8.10.2012

Just Breathe

August 10, 2012

Sitting in the big recliner next to her hospital bed,
Watching her sleep.
Waiting for her next breath.
And the next.

My mind began to drift of times before.
When I was the one in the bed
and my husband sat beside me in the big recliner.
Watching me.
Waiting for the first breath.
And all the ones that would follow.

Two floors down babies are taking their first breath of life
At the same time that others are taking their last.
It seems that the distance between the two is never far enough.
A whirlwind of events seems to overpower time.
One day melts into the next.
Before you know it, you're back in the big recliner.

Do we pay enough attention to how we spend each breath
Between the first one and the last?
Do we waste our breaths on too many things that are not worthy?
Do we take for granted the pattern of the rise and fall of our chest?
Do we even notice it at all?
Do we give enough thought to what happens after our breath is gone?

Just as we all took that very first gulp of air,
We will all, one day, blow out our last.
Make sure the ones in between were not wasted away.
Spend that currency on what matters.
Invest in eternity.
Yours, and others'.
Because, in the end, you leave this world with
The same material possessions you entered with.
Live wisely and
Breathe Love.


{In honor of Aunt Nancy. Oh, how I love you.}

"then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." Genesis 2:7

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?'" John 11:25-26.

"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God." Psalm 42:1

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men," Colossians 3:23

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the HOly Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20






7.18.2012

GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway: Ordinary Inspirations for the everyday Wife, Mommy, & Homemaker: Win A Devotional Bible For Your Boy Or Girl!

While you're there, take some time to "snoop" around! I love her blog.

Ch.. Ch... Ch... Changes!

July 18, 2012

Isn't it funny how, 
just when you seem to be getting settled
into a comfortable rhythm in life, 
things change?

Change.
It's inevitable.
It can be so gradual, so tiny, 
that you hardly notice it happening at all.
Or it can knock your feet out from under you, 
so quickly and violently, 
until you don't even know which way is up anymore.

Sometimes it hurts.
Sometimes it's a welcomed relief.
But, it's the only way we can grow.

Our lives are a reflection of change. 
I see the evidence in my kids almost every day.

I see little Aubree changing in how she uses 
thoughts and experiences to come to different conclusions.
Her mind is growing and she's certainly not a baby anymore.
I can see change in Brant's physical appearance- 
Drake is beginning to be changed by the process of puberty.
Karli's life is affected by change in a different way right now.
Circumstances are changing her.
She's learning about how people have a way of disappointing us.
And, hopefully, learning that God never will!

The winds of change can bring devastation, 
but if you look for it,
the devastation can also clear the land to build something new and more beautiful than before.

The sermon in church this past Sunday compared life to a race.
In the race, in order to get to the finish line (aka Heaven),
we must sometimes
"throw off everything that hinders" 
{Hebrews 12:1}.

In life, change is going to force us
to surround ourselves with people who are going to encourage us.
Sometimes, it's going to cause us
to walk away from people and things
that are not necessarily bad, 
and we may even love these people,  
but somehow, these people or things have just become dead weight.
They have become things that are holding us back from God's calling for our lives.

There comes a time in life when you have to
make the hard decision to move on~
New Career. New Friends. New Goals. New Priorities.

Change...
It can be scary.
You can't always see where you're going, 
and the road can be dark and dangerous.
It can be painful.
Sometimes, you will suffer hurt
at the hands of those you've loved and trusted so dearly.
It can be lonely.
Sometimes, God calls us to walk part of the way alone
so that we can realize the strength within us
when we have a relationship with Him.

Change...
It can bring happiness that you didn't know was possible.
It can prove that you are more than the world thinks you are.
It can take you to a place you didn't even know you wanted to go.
In the end, if you walk in obedience to God,
Change is always for your benefit.


"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down a the the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2