Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A taste of Australia...

Meet Flat Stanleyette.

About a month ago, I wrote a post about all my "growing up years," all the places I had been, etc... I admit, my husband and kids are just a little bit jealous, because I've seen other parts of the world. Especially my daughter. Kayla loves studying facts about other countries. She loves things that look exotic. She thinks all people, their languages and cultures are beautiful and fascinating. I can see her one day exploring the world...

Anyway, about two months ago she came home with a little bit of homework for her art class. She had to list five addresses of people in either different states or countries. Well, that is where a little bit of my background came to her aide. She has an uncle in Texas. She has grandparents in Kentucky. However, she wanted something different. We called my mom. We were given the address of one of my mom's good friends while overseas, someone she still stays in contact with. The exciting part for Kayla was that the lady lived in Australia.

After taking the addresses back to school, the art teacher explained the assignment. They were going to make a "Flat Stanley" and pick one address off their list to send it to. Can you guess who my daughter sent hers to??? Anyway, she wrote a letter to go with her Flat Stanley, asking the recipient to describe where they live and what Flat Stanley saw while visiting and then mail the Flat Stanley back.

Two days ago, Kayla received a manila envelope with her Flat Stanley. Also in the package was a book on Australia, each page had a written note of what Flat Stanleyette had seen while sightseeing in the town of Perth. There were also some Australia stickers and a nice little note from my mom's friend.

I have to say it brought back memories for me. This lady had a son, who was " my mate" (a friend) during my teenage years. I always wanted to visit his beautiful country. I loved to hear him talk...I have always loved the accent! I think it is great that my young daughter, who has such a love for all things foreign (outside the good 'ol USA) benefited from something out of my past...

Needless to say, Kayla was very excited about the outcome of this assignment! I kind of was too! She said; "Mom, I would love to visit Australia! It is beautiful!" I would have to agree...maybe one day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Christmas countdown...

I'm sitting here as I type wondering if it is truly possible to have "peace" at Christmas time. Now I know that that is what the true meaning of Christmas is really about, but it seems once the thanksgiving feast is over, we all hit the ground, decorating, celebrating. This week alone my family has five parties to go to. I find myself running every other day to the store for the "perfect"ornament to exchange or some more ribbon or tape to wrap one more gift or looking for cookie ingredients and brownie mixes on aisle five at the store...BUSY!

Tonight I found out that a friend of mine has been diagnosed with cancer. This is not her first time down this road... it really does put life in perspective. I love to shop and buy the perfect gift. I love to celebrate the season with friends and family. As I've already written in an earlier post, I love Christmas lights and snowmen. Yet, although I will continue to do and enjoy these things, I find it important to take a moment and "stop and smell the poinsettias." We need to try hard not to get so caught up in the celebrating that we forget to celebrate.

I encourage you, as I'm trying to, to remember your blessings. I think only then will one truly have a "peaceful" Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Taking a moment to catch up...

Wow! I guess it has been a little while since I last wrote anything. Life certainly has been busy! So, I thought I would dedicate this post to "catching" everyone up on the latest...

Well the holidays have come and I love it! It is certainly my favorite time of the year! I love seeing my family. I love what Thanksgiving and Christmas stand for. I love the Christmas carols, the Christmas decorations, the Christmas shopping, etc... I love it all! So even though life has been on the crazy side lately, I've enjoyed "almost" every minute of it.

Our family had a wonderful thanksgiving. It was my side of the family's year to spend "Thanksgiving Day" together, so we all met at my sisters house. Although she was a tad nervous about having the celebration chaos at her house for the first time, it turned out great! We cooked and set a table that would have made Martha Stewart proud. :) It tasted good too!

Food aside, it was a wonderful few days of spending time with family. Games were played, movies were watched and Christmas card pictures were taken (or at least we attempted to take them!). The kids played soccer, built a fort and hit balls in their monster batting cage in the back yard. The "girls" went Christmas shopping on Friday, while the "boys" did a little roller skating, deer hunting and skunk hunting. Yes, I really did say "SKUNK" hunting. You had to be there...

I returned from the vacation holiday with a mission... I needed to put up my MANY Christmas trees. I emphasized the "many" because that is what my sister seems to think I have... I have to admit, I do have more than one tree, but since it seems over the top in comparison to my sister and others who only have one"hodge podgy" tree, I feel the need to explain my trees... Last year I bought a new Christmas tree. It was my first new tree since Kayla was born 12 years ago. Wait, I'm not saying I haven't bought any other trees, it is just that the rest of them have been 4 feet or shorter. So, when I bought my new tree last year, I decided not to get rid of the other tree. What I ended up doing is making the new tree my Chrismon tree, meaning that all the ornaments represent the names of Christ and who he is. My old tree remained the "hodge podge" tree with the Santas, snowmen, Hallmark decorations and homemade gifts from the kids. I really loved my two trees and what they represented. As for all the other trees, well each of my children have always had a small tree in their rooms, I think there is usually a very small tree in the kitchen, something I got at a party one time and I might have another one or two of those miniature trees hanging around. I have to say, as the boxes are piled this very minute in the living room, that I love Christmas lights and I love my house all lit up like Christmas. I'm afraid I haven't completed the decor yet, so pictures will have to come later.

We had our first Christmas party last night. I'm sure it was the first of many. We also watched the Christmas parade. It ended up being a fun night.

Well, I guess I had better get back to my holiday decorating and cleaning. It is my turn to host the holiday festivities for my family...

Friday, November 21, 2008

A little of this and a little of that...

I don't have anything real significant to say or a really great story to tell, so for my family that keeps up with us through my blog, here are a few tidbits of what went on in our lives this past week...

Jordan went hunting two days after school with Kevin. He is really into hunting right now as long as his fearful nature (which he inherited fro his mom) doesn't get the better of him. He overheard the "old" men talking about bears and bobcats around the campfire one night and Kevin has had a very hard time convincing him that there haven't been any "lions, tigers and bears" around camp for a very long time...I did say it was the "old" men scaring my baby, didn't I? Anyway, it hasn't kept him from going, but you can tell he thinks about it when he goes!

Jordan also had "book fair" this week. I always tremble when I send money with him to the book fair. He is not my reader. He reads well, but doesn't enjoy it one bit! For example, Kayla has asked for some books for Christmas, a series she is reading. Jordan? No way is he going to "ask" for a book unless it is a special event like the book fair. I was happy. He actually came home with 2 books among the posters, pencils and bookmarks. there is hope...

today was Grandparent's day at Jordan's school. Kevin's parents went and ate lunch with him. Grandpa told Kevin later that he thought maybe Jordan didn't really want him there, because he wouldn't introduce them. I asked Jorboy about it, to which he replied: "I didn't want to get in front of the class and do it! My friend Clint didn't do it either!" Oh well! Truth is I know he wanted them to come because he invited them himself, so he probably was just a little embarrassed! Boys!

Kevin had to drive the Senior adults to a really nice restaurant in the next town, last night. He invited Kayla to go with him, since he hasn't been able to spend much time with her lately. It was their daddy-daughter date and the senior adults ate the idea up. Kevin certainly earned brownie points last night!

Kayla had her flute test today. She has been very nervous about it all week. The test was to decide what "chair" she would be. She hasn't found out the results yet, but is a very happy camper that it is over. She said she wasn't the best or the worst, so hopefully that means it will all turn out OK.

Kevin was acknowledged with a little bonus at work for all his hard work this year, helping with the music, while our church searches for a music minister. It was a nice gift and it made Kevin feel good to be appreciated. He has also been excited for the Monticello football team. He is the team chaplain and meets with them every week, prays with them, shoots video during games and shows highlights, etc... Well, our team is doing very well. Hopefully they can keep on winning. Kevin says if they stay on top of their game, that they are good enough to go to state. He would love for them to and for them to win, because as chaplain he would get a championship ring too! Boys!

I'm happy because they finally separated the babies from the walkers at work. I thought I was going to have a mild heart attack daily from nerves, keeping walking babies from falling on, throwing things or hurting the newborn babies. It has been a lot easier since the change.

I have also been able to help my sis out this week and have fun while doing it. Just call me the official salesperson for NOLA MAE. It has been fun! And yes, Amber, your pendants are cute!

As for the weekend...hopefully a win at the football game tonight and hunting tomorrow for the boys, a birthday party for Kayla and a lot of house cleaning for me. I will say that my husband was really sweet today and washed a lot of my laundry for me this afternoon. Wow! Another night of brownie points for him!

Well, I will wrap this up. It is my goal to show you a picture of a new and improved office sometime soon... I better get my own whip a crackin'.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Picture Madness!

Every fall it happens...I TRY to make an attempt to take pictures of my kids for Christmas cards. The problem comes when my kids decide they have better things to do with their time than to "cheese" at the camera. The impromptu photo shoot usually ends with someone mad,(ME!) someone frustrated, (ME!) and someone wanting to pull their hair out! (ME!!!) I understood when my kids were two, four and even six, but at the ages of "10" and "12," you would think they would know how to be still and smile for ten minutes!!! Evidently not! Our first attempt started before Sunday School this morning and ended in a shouting match. The neighbors probably thought we needed to go to church, the way we were shouting at each other. The before church fight ended when I made them both feel lousy for treating their mom that way and a promise that they would smile for me after church was over... Well, I have to say they didn't fuss about taking the pictures, no they just decided that this time they would act stupid and thought everything was hilarious. What's a mom to do? I did get a few, very FEW decent shots, so this mom will hopefully have another moment to be able to torment her kids and get a few more. In the meantime, if that photo opportunity doesn't happen, I need a little help... Please let me know which picture is your favorite, just in case I have to use one of these. However, I am hoping there will be some picture moments ahead with the holiday coming up.
Photo #1
(what do you think of Jordan's "Zack and Cody" hair? I think he needs a trim!)

Photo #2
(I don't know why this picture is showing up fuzzy. It isn't on my camera.)

Photo #3

(Oh, they do love each other! Sniff, sniff, tear. :) )

(Note to my sister: did you see what Kayla was wearing around her neck? She liked it a lot!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's not fair!!!

If you read my last post, you would have read where my daughter has a crisis and thinks life "is not fair!" Tonight as I am typing this, I couldn't agree with her more. Tomorrow and Friday are teacher workshop days, which means no school for my kids...they get a four day weekend! And of course my husband has decided to only work half the day tomorrow. He said something about spending "quality time" with his son on the deer stand. :)

Now you can ask me what I am doing tomorrow...I have to work. Yes, you heard right. I have to get up at 5:30a.m. and be at work by seven. I haven't heard one "I'm sorry" from any of my family. No offers to clean house while they are off. No "we will handle dinner, Mom." No sympathy...

If I'm honest, I have to say I'm jealous. I think I will pout a little and steal my child's favorite phrase: "It's not fair!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It all started about a cell phone...

I have a 12 year old girl. If you are reading this right now and have ever had kids and have been through the "tween" years, then I know you have stopped reading and you are on your knees praying for me at this moment...thank you. If you are not there yet, with your kids, then you need to stop and pray for yourself and the years to come. You will need it!!!

My husband is a youth minister. I was an 18 year old when I met him and he is going on 20 years of ministry. I am as prepared as I can be, for those crazy teenage years, HOWEVER, I don't think you can ever be prepared for the hormones that come with it! Ouch! There are days when I have this little girl full of hugs and laughter, then there are days when the same little girl is busting at the seams, mad at the world and then there are days like today...your heart breaks.

It all started about a cell phone. I had to drop my kids off at their grandma's, early Monday morning, because my husband was hunting and I had to go to work and I needed someone to take them to school. I wasn't even to work, before my cell phone rings. It is Kayla. She is a sobbing mess. All I can hear between tears is "it's not fair!" Which if you are a parent, well you know you hear that phrase a couple of zillion times a week. Finally, I was able to decipher the problem in between the sobs; it was simple... my niece got a cell phone. Upon entering the house that morning, Kayla was given the news that her cousin, who is the same age as her, had a new cell phone. Heaven help me!

Have you ever wanted something so bad, that it consumed you? It didn't matter that you really didn't need it, have the money for it, etc... YOU JUST WANTED IT! Well, my daughter, like every other tween kid in the nation, thinks she needs a cell phone. Truthfully, my husband and I haven't really discussed when she might have her wish fulfilled, but it was certainly not Monday morning! I still can't even understand why she even needs one at her age, well that is until today...

I came home today and was greeted once again with an explosion of emotions concerning her cousin getting a cell phone. After several brutal rounds, I won most, but she got her jabs in, I finally got to the real issue. She truly believes that a cell phone will help her make friends, help her fit in better. My heart broke as she cried. It almost made me want to run out and buy her a phone...I said "ALMOST."

The thing is, she has many friends that are in that popular group at school, yet she doesn't feel a part. they invite her to parties, they've come over to our house and they are all sweet to her, yet, she is still left feeling like an outsider. Instead of talking, kids now spend most of their time downloading ring tones, taking pictures with their phones or playing games. If you don't have a phone, well, you are out of the loop.

Just the other day, a girl from church, told Kayla a secret and said she felt Kayla was a good friend and listener. However, try telling a 12 year old that that is a more important quality to have, than the latest gadget. Try telling your daughter that it is more important to be respectful of others, to be kind and a good friend yourself, than to be able to say you have a cell phone. Try get the picture?

I'm not sure when my daughter will get her first phone. (What ever happen to just having a phone in your room??? ) It could be next week, next year or three years from now. Truth is it really doesn't matter. I know how this it will be a car or dating or makeup or...
I was a kid once. I have known what it felt like to be on the outside looking in. As a parent, I wish I could make everyone like her or include her. As someone who has been there once upon a time, I want to say "What doesn't kill you, will make you stronger." The way I see things now, is if you have to have the latest material things for people to like you, then that is not saying much about who you are as an individual.

Kayla is very loving. She is kind. She would like to change the world if she could. She is a keeper of secrets. She is a good friend. She is still adjusting from losing a lot of good friends when we moved last year. She is still trying to find her place...but wait aren't we all? Do we ever really outgrow this stage? I find myself wanting to decorate a certain way, dress a certain way, own the latest gadget... Why? Who am I trying to impress?

It is a hard lesson to learn. It is hard at my age, much less 12. Jealousy is a hard emotion to deal with. I certainly haven't mastered it! How can I expect my young daughter to comprehend it? All we can do is live one day at a time. My prayer is that my daughter will be a reflection of Christ, not the phone she may one day carry. My prayer is that I set the example for her and not let the material things of this world decide who I am as an individual.

It may have started out about a cell phone, but it ended up being a reminder to this mom, that I needed to get on my hands and knees and start praying more. The teenage years are tough and it just gets harder on kids today, with every year that goes by.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What happens at the deer camp stays at the deer camp!

Ah... I finally got a morning to sleep in, that is if you call 9:00a.m. "sleeping in." I guess when you have kids, the words "sleeping in" don't exist, unless it is a school day. Last night my youngest child slept with me. His dad spent the night at the deer camp and he wasn't happy that he couldn't and when daddy isn't home, he turns into this "little Mama's boy, " wanting to sleep in my room. I guess I will enjoy those "Mommy moments" while I can, for he is certainly growing up...

In fact, it is ironic, because he was just bragging about how "big" he was and all he can do at the deer camp, and then he turns into this slobbery mess of emotions, "can I PLEASE sleep in your room Mom..." So of course I let him, which meant I didn't get to sleep as late as I wanted! Oh the sacrifices, we parents make! :)

Truth is I find myself doing all kinds of crazy things during this time of the year, just to make my husband and son happy. Last night for example; I found myself driving to the deer camp at 7:30p.m. to pick up my son. He and my husband came to a compromise and I was the "key" in making it happen. My son got to go on the junior hunt last weekend and killed his first deer, so his dad and grandpa really just wanted to hunt alone today. It seems fair, the first day of deer season, to not have to keep up with your 10 year old son and grandson and Kevin plans on taking him hunting later. Problem with this scenario, is that Jordan wasn't happy! He has been bit by the hunting bug and now I have TWO hunting fanatics living in my home! So when his dad told him he wasn't hunting this weekend... well that is where the slobbery mess came in. Finally a compromise was reached... his dad would take him after school, to hang out with the men at the camp until bedtime, IF I would come pick him up. Funny how it is easier for me to go pick him up than his dad bringing him home... two words HUNTING SEASON!

It is funny how those two words change a man's demeanor. His schedule changes, his attitude towards money and time changes and even his parenting style changes. I say this last phrase very carefully, for I don't want you to get the wrong impression. My husband is a fantastic dad. He spends time with his kids, takes them places and shuffles them to and from school everyday. Since I've gone back to work and his job hours are more flexible, he has done a lot of "mommy tasks" for me and I truly appreciate him for it. However, there are those moments when I want to shout; "Have you lost your mind!"

Imagine my face when I first heard that my son was riding the big four wheelers alone. Imagine my heart, when he told me that he and dad raced... oh, I know you are now getting the picture. Of course, when his grandpa got him a gun last year for Christmas, my face was not beaming like Kevin's was and I still have to distract myself to not worry about my baby holding a gun. But, I knew what I was getting into when I married my husband. I knew that if I ever had a little boy, that this day would come.

I have a friend whose husband doesn't hunt, who won't let her child ride anything without a helmet and who thinks our family is crazy for wanting to hunt and then eating it later. I can't say that I blame her too much. I'm not a "deer camp" girl. I don't hunt or fish, I don't enjoy riding the four wheelers and wished they would all wear helmets and I'm not a big eater of "wild game." What I do love is my husband and his family and if my son wants to grow up to be "just like Dad," well I can think of many worse things in the world. So, what I ended up telling my friend is; "What happens at the deer camp, stays at the deer camp." It is easier on my heart that way!

Of course, my son still hasn't learned what not to tell me yet... like the fact that he rode too fast on the four wheeler last night and... be still my heart. It is called trust in my husband and his family and lots of prayer. Yes, my friends, it is hunting season. It seems my prayer life increases during this time every year!:)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A little of this and a little of that...

No real big news or deep thoughts found here tonight, just killing time while I wait for the last load of clothes to finish washing, so I can put them in the dryer and go to bed. for some reason my family needs socks tomorrow, and unfortunately for me, there doesn't seem to be a clean pair to be found! So while I wait, you are stuck with these random thoughts...

Wow! the election is finally over. All that work, all the ads on TV, all the gossip about who will win and why, all of it really all over? Can we call for a reelection? :) I don't think everyone got the right memo on who to vote for!!! Actually, in truth, I'm glad it is over. I get so frustrated every time an election comes around. I'm not a confrontation; person, so I get tired of all the debating, the angry words and finger pointing commercials. It plum wears me out to think about it all. I'm not big on who won (mainly because I still don't know who he really is) but I am glad the race is finished.

Fireproof. A very sweet movie. My family went to see it the other night and I loved it. Is it going to win any awards? No. But like Facing the Giants, the story is real and you find yourself caught up in it, forge ting that the acting could be better. Kirk Cameron does a great job in it too.
The book "The Love Dare" is good too.

I just got finished putting the rubber bands around my two shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. It was fun buying the little toys and crayons, thinking of a little child opening the box and getting a few Christmas surprises. My only problem is that we have to do it so early, before the Christmas season starts. It would help my kids get more in the spirit of the gifts if it was closer to the holiday.

My daycare class finger painted today. I know you are probably thinking; "I thought she had the infant class?" I do. We made hand print turkeys. We made the body brown and then painted each baby finger, a different color, one at a time. I then drew legs, a beak and added a wiggly eye. They turned out so adorable. I wish I had one at home to post. they were cute, all the little baby hands...

Well, I hear nothing, which means my washer is finished. I am tired, so I'm going to close this little chat and go to bed. Hopefully next time, I'll have something important to say... or then again maybe not!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Amazing Race... Amazing Life...

It is Sunday night. My family loves to watch the Amazing Race. I was the first one to get hooked. I guess it takes me back to my childhood a little as I watch people race around the world; catching planes, getting lost in a foreign countries and enduring the heat... It reminds me of friends I use to have in school, places I use to visit and dreams I once had. Tonight they were in India and I smiled when my son was in awe of the fact that I had been there.

Yes, I had seen first hand the cows in the street, felt the unbearable heat and knew what it felt like to be swarmed by crowds of people. Yes, I have seen elephants like that. Yes, I have ridden in one of those little "golf cart looking things." Yes, I've been lost in a foreign country... my son is always full of questions.

The truth is, I've had a very adventurous life. The sad part is, that I led it without realizing how awesome it was. I read my dad's blog tonight, where he talked about transitions, for he and my mom are about to make another one. He was telling how many times he moved and how many houses he had lived in and it got me thinking. This is what I discovered.

Before I got married...
I lived in 13 different houses.
I've lived in 4 different states.
I've lived in 3 different countries (including the USA).
I've visited 28 states (including Hawaii and I've been to Washington D.C.)
I've visited 12 different countries and 3 different continents.
You can add 4 more countries to the list if just being in the airport counts!
I went to 4 different elementary schools, took three different correspondence courses, went
to two International Schools, one American high school and a Baptist college. In 9th
grade I lived in a boarding house, in a totally different country than my parents for a
I've lived in an apartment, a guest house, a duplex, a motel, a dorm room, a bungalow and
with Grandma. :)
I've walked in muddy flood waters and on sandy beaches.
I've been on a bus, train, plane, car, taxi, rickshaw, tuk-tuk, bicycle, elephant... and who
knows what else!
I've seen the Eiffel Tower, the London Bridge, the Swiss Alps and the Taj Mahal.

My lists could go on and on. I have so many experiences, so many memories... My only regret is I didn't enjoy some of the adventures while I was on them. I remember wanting to be in America, just doing "American " things, but now I look at my daughter who DREAMS of going somewhere and wonder "What was I thinking?" What is that old saying about always wanting what you don't have and never appreciating what you got?

Truth is, my families' adventures were not always easy. We did have many transitions, too many, too close together at times. It is hard to change schools and friends every year! But there were many good experiences too. The ability to experience the world, having friends from other cultures, seeing new places and doing unusual things... I led a blessed life.

I guess the key to all of this is, that no matter where you are, be thankful, because when you look back you will appreciate the journey you took, because it made you who you are at that moment. Thanks Mom and Dad for giving me a childhood full of adventure. It is one thing my daughter is in awe of...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A stuffy nose, a new "home," a button buck, ten candles, a hayride and a gift from God...What a day!!!

My day started early, about 5:30a.m.. I couldn't breath! After dragging myself out of bed to blow my nose for the 100th time, I realized my "menfolk" were still sleeping. I was soon told that they weren't getting up until 6:00a.m.! I went back to bed...slept until about 7:30, when I decided that unless I took my medicine, I wasn't going to feel any relief by just blowing my nose! This time I stayed up. In case you haven't figured out, I'm kind of sick. My husband says I'm sick in the head, and the truth is he is not far off base. I have a severe sinus infection. I've been to the doctor and right now I have plenty of pills to take. My pill box would rival my Nanny's old pill box, right now! So say a little prayer for me, hopefully I'm on the mend.

As for the guys, well they had gone hunting. It was the big junior hunt today. My son has been talking about it all week. This is the day that dads can take their young sons hunting and the "kids" can shoot what they see. Jordan had new camo overalls and a new shirt and of course his new gun he got last Christmas... he thought he was ready. I guess maybe he was, for he actually killed something. He had to call me and tell me all about it. He thought it was a doe, and that he had missed it, but he didn't. It turned out to be a small button buck. I know he wanted it to be a "big one" real bad, but considering it was his first deer to shoot all by himself, he did pretty good.

I also had a phone call this morning. My parents are retiring this year and are moving "back home." they had found them a new house. They were excited and I was excited for them. So, I guess in a way I have a new home, back home. Having moved my whole life, when people ask where my hometown is, I've always said the name of the place where my grandparents lived. Now my parents are moving back there, so now I'll actually have a "home" in my "hometown." :) I'm happy for you Mom and Dad!

At 1:00 today, we had a party. This time there was 10 candles on the cake. I made another cookie cake and had a few party favors, but other than that it was the easiest party ever. It was at the bowling alley. We had six boys there and Kayla. They bowled, played pool and ate cookie cake. We also lost a few quarters to the games, but overall they had a great time. I think Jordan was happy with his party!

Oh, the day was not over. I would have loved to fit in a nap, but it was not to be. We had a Sunday School party scheduled and I had to go to the store for dip making items and then had to toss me together something to take to the bonfire/hayride S.S. party. Fun! It turned out to be a good time. I doped myself up before I got there, stayed clear of the fire and the hay, talked and watched my kids run around with their friends. It is a blessing to be able to get together with good Christian people and just fellowship.

Did I also tell you I balanced my checkbook today? YUCK! I was getting frustrated too! I had forgotten I hadn't paid a bill, so I had a little less money to "play with" than I thought. It is so frustrating when you have to juggle things. Especially when your kids are as old as mine and have to have money for different things. (I know it is only going to get worse, the older they get!) Anyway, I just let my frustration out before God this morning in the shower (we do a lot of talking in there. It is about the only time I'm left alone if I'm lucky!) and you will not believe what happened not an hour later... I was given money to help pay for Jordan's party, by my mother-in-law. She just "wanted to," she said. It was the exact amount I needed for the bill! God is amazing!

So... today has been busy. I guess it is a good thing that I get an extra hour to sleep tonight! I think I need it. Goodnight!

Oh, I will share pictures of some of the events of the day later... too tired right now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Pumpkin day short of a Jack o' Lantern

Yes! We have another birthday in our little family. October is a busy month for us! Of course it makes it easy on my dear husband, since he only has to remember one month, October, as being a very special month for us. It doesn't hurt that "hunting season" starts in this month too!

Today is my baby boy's birthday! He would cringe right now and turn red if he saw the word "baby," but I don't care. He is my precious little one, a true gift from God. I still remember when I found out I was pregnant... shock! I already had a one year old, had miscarried another and now I thought God was playing a cruel joke on me. I was scared to even tell anyone for a while. I had my feelings unintentionally hurt during my last, very short, too short pregnancy, that I was afraid to even rejoice over this new little one. Then when I realized it was going to be alright, that God had blessed me with a new little one to love, I started to pray for strength. I knew I would need it, because I already had a spirited, adventurous, stubborn little girl, who I was totally in love with...but it almost scared me some nights thinking of two strong little personalities, so close in age.

Then he was born. Apart from nursing issues and definitely some potty training issues later, my son was precious! He was this smiling, friendly, even tempered little man. And I adored him! He loved people and people loved him. He was tenderhearted, sensitive and very loving.

It still makes me smile to remember how he would follow his sister around, learning and copying everything she did, even taking the "blame" for so much, because he didn't want her to cry...

Oh, how times have changed. They do grow up, don't they? Yet, even though we have had to work through some "frustration" issues and he now fights with his sister on a daily basis, I still think God has great plans for this little man of mine.

Today is Jordan's 10Th birthday. He had a very good day too. His dad was a "Watch Dog Dad" all day; that is where a dad volunteers and helps and hangs out at school. Jordan told me later that everyone thought his dad was "cool." He was so proud. It was also the honor's assembly and Jordan finally got a ribbon for having straight "A's." And then there was extreme elation on his face when he opened his gift; new hunting bibs, the PlayStation 2 game (hunting) he wanted and a shirt with a deer on it. If you can't tell, my little boy has hunting on the brain. He is all geared up to go hunting this weekend on the junior hunt with his dad. Is it alright to actually pray that he kills a deer?

Anyway, today, I am a very proud mother. Is my son perfect? No. But, underneath all the childish things and stages he goes through, I see great potential. I am in awe at the thought of what he might grow up to be. Thank you, Lord for Jordan.

In case you are wondering about my title...he was actually born two days late. I was hoping for a birthday gift, yet afraid he would be born on Halloween. Instead he came on the 30Th. I always said he was my "pumpkin boy, one day short of a Jack O' Lantern." And there you have it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pondering 38 years...of LB's!!!

The birthday "girl"...
with Kayla

with Jordan.

It is my birthday today. I'm 38. Wow! Time really does fly by, doesn't it? My son asked me if I was excited that it was my birthday, I just smiled. Truth is the older I get, the less I really want to celebrate. Oh, don't worry, I'm not one of those people who gets depressed with each birthday, I have way too many other things going on to worry about that. And I do love a good birthday hug, card or gift. :) But somehow, once you pass a certain year, it's not that big a deal. That is until you reach your 90's like my Aunt Fay, then everyone is just praying you'll make 100!

Why is it that we only really celebrate birthdays when we are kids or when loved ones are old and we are afraid it will be their last. The truth is that none of us know how long we have in this world. In fact I come from a family where both the very young and the very old have passed away, before we were ready for them to go. So it seems that each day should be a celebration. Each breathe should be a praise.

I'm so guilty of zooming through life, forgetting to stop and "smell the roses," waiting until "tomorrow" to get things done, when TODAY should be where my focus is... I shouldn't wait until my birthday comes around to ponder where my 38 years have gone and what I have accomplished during that time. I should be excited about today and find the joy (no matter how small it seems sometimes) in just living.

Being the sentimental fool that I am, I found a box of old letters, while cleaning my office. (Don't worry, Sis, I'm still working on it!!!) In the box was an old note from my best friend at college. in the note she was encouraging me, talking about "LB's." You see, that was our code for "little blessings." We use to pump each other up, encouraging one another to look for the "little blessings" in each day. How could I have forgotten?

Well, the day is only half over, and it has already been full of "LB's." It makes me actually look forward to what is to come.

I pray that you have a good day too! Take a moment and add up your own little blessings. You don't have to wait for your birthday, to ponder how blessed you are, no matter your circumstances!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Freezer "clean out"...

Now normally when you hear the words "freezer clean out," you probably think about eating leftovers in the school cafeteria. Oh, do I wish it was that simple! My story starts when Kevin came to my work place yesterday. "I have good news and bad news, what do you want to hear first?" Like usual, afraid of the bad, I took the good news first. He was able to replace my flat screen TV at the store, after it started doing crazy things with the picture. I'm happy, because that was certainly good news. The TV wasn't that old. :)

However, after the good news, came the bad and definitely the ugly... The deep freeze somehow got unplugged and we had one "stinky" ice box. Here is the comical part, unless Kevin found someone else, I was going to have to clean it!!! You see, the men in my husband's family may be big, strong guys, but there is one thing they can't handle very well... funky smells! If you want to see Kevin throw up, hand him a bucket of rotten meat. I remember, even though he changed them, that dirty diapers use to make him gag once upon a time too. So here I was wondering how on earth I was going to get this done?!

The answer came in the form of a doctor friend from church. Kevin rode to the football game with him last night and they got to talking. The friend took pity on my husband (or should I say me?) and said he would come over today and help. Smells don't bother me. I don't know if it was from years of living in a third world country, years of changing dirty diapers and cleaning up throw up or just strong genes, but it takes a lot to make me gag. However, I knew I wasn't strong enough to make this all happen... moving the freezer, cleaning it out, etc... In the end, our friend and my son cleaned the freezer out. (he must take after his mommy!)

so I am very thankful to say that my freezer is now cleaned out. It still has a little stench, but it just hopefully needs some time to air out. Overall we got some good "ribbing" done at Kev's expense. My favorite moment was when he came in the house with two orange "ear plugs" stuffed up his nose!!! I asked if I could get a picture, but he wouldn't let me. You will just have to visualize it! But I'm still cracking up thinking about it!

Oh, life is never boring around our house...

Friday, October 24, 2008

My office...

OK. So, when we moved last October, I was rather excited that I had a room for my office, library and scrapbook stuff. I had "sort of" a room at the last house I lived in, but I had to share it with the laundry area, the dog and storage. All of that stuff didn't leave much room for my "organized" office. I can hear my family laughing at the words "organized" and "Mich's office" being in the same sentence!!! I admit, I may be the most organized person when it comes to planning events and church activities, but usually my space at home stays a total mess!

I promised myself when we moved, that I would change all that. However, the plan hasn't been totally carried out. I may not share my space with the ironing board or dog crate anymore, but millions of boxes fill my area. It started with us putting all the unpacked boxes in my room and then soon became the "if you don't know where something goes or you are too lazy to put something up, let's just throw it all in Mom's room!" I will admit that I tend to be just as bad as my family. When company is coming over, it is so easy to throw everything in the extra room and shut the doors. And it has worked for us for a year now...

But let me tell you, this Mama is tired of the mess!!! I've been thinking about it all day. I'm going in tonight and if I don't come out, it means I was buried alive among the junk. It may not all get done tonight, but I am determined to at least create a path. So wish me luck! If you are a family member or friend who has seen my room, well you might want to say a little prayer for me too!

Oh, by the way, I am a little mortified by the picture I posted, but hopefully I will have an "after" picture real soon. It is a must, for my sanity depends on it!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Ponytail "Pick me up"...

I had a horrible headache yesterday, so I was not in the computer mood, so I'm just now getting around to telling you something that happened to me on Monday. Not earth shattering news, of course, but just a funny little tidbit.

It all started Sunday, when I decided to let my hair go the curly route. Ya see, my hair is not super straight or full of beautiful curls, it is somewhere in the middle, which means I can never just get out of bed and comb it. I either have to help the natural curls along with a curling iron or blow dry my hair straight. Well, I had the Monday morning blues... nothing went right in my getting ready for work. I over slept. I didn't have time for a shower. I didn't have time to even iron my scrubs. (My husband thinks this is a funny waste of time, since they are wrinkled by the end of the day anyway!) Of course, this isn't always a problem, since usually my hair has already been blow dried straight the day before. However, I had gone the curly route on Sunday, and let's just say when I woke up Monday morning, it was slightly on the SCARY side! I remember looking in the mirror and declaring to myself that it was definitely a ponytail day.

Now, the truth is, I don't wear a ponytail very often, anymore. Usually when I do, it is because of dirty hair or because it was a bad hair day. Since I have already established why I had the ponytail, I will now tell you how I felt. Yucky! I felt like everyone was looking at my hair all day, wondering when was the last time I took a bath!

The worst part is that after work, I had to go to Monday night Bible study with the youth girls. I came home in dread. I looked once again in the mirror with disgust. Here I was tired, dirty hair in a ponytail, fixing to hang out with a bunch of teenage girls. They are going to take one look at me and turn the other way. It is sad, for here I am an adult woman, trying to still impress a bunch of girls! What is wrong with that picture?! I finally gave up, put on my oldest sweatshirt and jeans and headed out the door. If I was going scruffy, I might as well go all the way!

Truth is, God meets us when we need a little boost. He sends a little angel our way with a "pick me up" when we desperately need one. In my case it was about 40 young angels!!! You see, I was feeling low about myself, yet when I walked into the youth area where there were about forty something young girls hanging out, I was greeted with smiles and hugs. The crazy part is about 20 of them, no lie, asked me about my hair. They "liked" my hair in a ponytail. In fact, every time I turned around, someone was asking me about my ponytail. Funny, huh? I haven't received that much attention on a Sunday morning when I think I look my best!

Now I know I didn't look wonderful, for my hair really was dirty and I had stains on my sweatshirt. However, I learned a valuable lesson that night... it didn't matter! God sent his little angels with words of unnecessary praise to help boost my spirit and send me a hug.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The "Perfect" Pumpkin!

The day started with a few grumbles, including a few of my own, for it was Saturday and we had to get up and be at the church by 9:00a.m.. We were signed up to go with the kids at church, to the Pumpkin Patch. When I first asked the kids if they wanted to go, everyone said "yes." However, we lived life since signing up, and well... Kayla was told it was for little kids and boring and Jordan was a little mad at his dad because he was hunting with friends and not taking him. And I really just wanted a "relaxing" day... Truth was, I had never been to the Pumpkin Patch and wanted to check it out, as well as spend some time with my kids. So, even though I had thoughts of cancelling and the kids wanted to bail on me, we went. And you know what? We had fun! Not "Disney World" kind of fun or "this is the greatest day ever" kind of fun, but rather " just a "relaxing, I love being here with you" kind of fun. There was a hayride, farm animals, tire swings, hay mountains, good food and of course a pumpkin patch. They even ended up having a few friends there. My favorite part of the whole trip was watching my kids pick out their pumpkins. Jordan went for the biggest one he could find, then found a smaller one that he could carry. Kayla, however, walked through the patch rather slowly. A friend asked me what she was doing. I knew what she was doing. She was looking for the "perfect" pumpkin. Sure enough, here she came, toting her pumpkin. It was almost perfect. It had one very small dent, but other than that it was a perfect shape, size and color. She was so proud! She of course has big plans for her pumpkin, soon to be "jack." In the end, it was a fun day! (Oh! And Jordan did get to go hunting with his dad this afternoon and they shot a 6 point. He had to call and tell me about it.) And the weather was beautiful! Happy Fall!

Jordan's Pumpkin!

Kayla's Pumpkin!

The "Perfect" Pumpkin!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Walmart, fried okra and a few trips down memory lane...

After work tonight, I had to go to Walmart. Ugh! I remember as a child thinking it was the greatest place on earth, then when I grew up and it started taking "my own money," well somehow it isn't as fun. Dad, it just isn't as easy for me to write a check as I thought it was for you, when I was a child! :) It is great when you find that "perfect" deal, but rather frustrating when you go in for "3" items and come out with $100.00 worth of groceries! What is up with that anyway?!!!

Today I was in there for 2 hours!!! My husband was ready to send in a search party to look for me... I probably needed it too. You see, our store just "remodeled." That basically means that nothing is where it use to be, or even where you think it might be. They changed everything in this store and I do mean everything! I find myself going down the same aisle 3 times because all of a sudden the rice and pasta isn't on the same row anymore and tuna is on the same aisle as the soup... The sodas are now clear in the back of the store, while the bread decided to be up front and... well you get the picture.

Anyway, we do have a new deli. I was passing by it today and saw the variety of different foods; lunch meats, cheeses and a rotisserie chicken, when my eyes landed on one of my favorite foods. Fried okra! Yes, I will say it again... I love the stuff. Next to fresh garden tomatoes, okra is a favorite. Of course it has to be fried. I stopped to get some, but realized how long the line was and knew I was already late getting home, so sadly I passed it by... for today, anyway.

The thing about okra, is that it always brings along a "bowl" full of memories when I eat it. There are those snapshot moments that hit me every time I take a bite. My Granny and Grandpa's garden on the farm, going to the buffet for Sunday dinner with my family or eating on my Aunt Fay's back porch (she really did make the best okra in her cooking days!). Just thinking of all those sweet moments makes me crave some even more. Even going to the Walmart deli has its own set of memories. During the months before my Nanny died, we would all take turns going and staying with her. My sister and I could have lived off the chicken nuggets and fried okra from the Walmart deli!

As I sit here typing this, I'm smiling, thinking of all the crazy expressions everyone is wearing while reading this post, wondering why in the world I'm blogging about a veggie! Truth is that it is more about the memories the vegetable holds than the food itself. Have you ever stopped and thought about how certain things, often insignificant things, can trigger big memories?

Grocery shopping... 2 hours.
Slow line... frustrating.
A cart full of food... 120.00.
Spotting the okra in the Walmart deli... priceless!

I smiled all the way to the car and then called my sister...

I pray, during your busy, sometimes frustrating day, that something will "pop" out at you and trigger a smile...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's in a name?

As I've already shared, I work in a daycare. I love rocking the babies. There is something so soothing about that baby smell, a mixture of baby products, a little spit up and their mommy's perfume. I love it! I certainly get my "baby fix" on a daily basis these days and in large doses too! As I'm rocking, I have plenty of time to think and often I find myself curious as to the background of some of the names that go with the babies I hold. Are they family names? Do they have a special significance or story with them or were they simply picked out of a baby book because they sounded good?

I know, because I've been told many times, that my name came after a lot of thought, making sure that nothing cruel or funny could be made out of my name its self or my initials. You see my aunt had initials that spelled the word "JAB" and my dad has never forgotten how cruel some kids could be. In the end they stuck me with the name MICHELE. (Yes, it is spelled with one "L".) Do I like it? I wouldn't say it is my favorite name in the world, but I've grown fond of it in the sense that I can't see myself named anything else. Honestly, who hasn't at one time or another wished they had a different name? As I have told my daughter (who doesn't like her own name) when you are a parent, that is your gift in life... the ability to name your child anything you want!

While my dad, was always worried about spellings and initials, my mom was one of those mothers who didn't believe in nicknames. She always told me if she had wanted me to be called by a nickname, she would have just named me that! Yet again, who hasn't gone through childhood or their teenage years without one? Over the years, I've had many... "'chele," "Mish" and the one I still sometimes go by "Mich" are just a few.

What I think is funny and the who;e reason I wrote this, is that no matter how hard my dad tried to come up with a name that couldn't be made fun of and my mom insisted on no nicknames, you can't help the fact that God created children with great imaginations and stages in their speech development. Sometimes kids can be cruel, however sometimes they can be extremely funny too!

One of my favorite called names was given to me by a very special child. The first time he said it, I died laughing, but then it stuck, and I even used it for a while, until he and his brothers outgrew it! My sweet, adorable, creative nephew started calling me Auntie "Chelf," once upon a time and I thought it was precious. Although, he wouldn't think about calling me that today, after all he is a big 3rd grader now, I still smile when I remember...

Which brings me to today... I was walking out of the baby room at the daycare and the Preschoolers were eating lunch. This little, cute as a button, three year old stopped me; "Are you Mrs. chelf?" I was smiling the rest of the day! Oh Dad, you tried, but 38 years ago did you ever think the kids would call your baby girl a "shelf?" You just have to laugh!

What's in a name? Memories...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ten painted pumpkins, 7 silly hats, a bomb and a cookie cake!

Our ten little painted pumpkins...
Ten silly girls and Kevin, who is the "BOMB!"

The cake that didn't crumble...

OK. So you are probably asking yourself... "What in the world is she talking about?" Well tonight we finally got around to having Kayla's birthday party. After a little drama this morning (Kayla was afraid nobody would come!) and a little drama in the kitchen (my first cookie cake decided to crumble!) we had us a little party. And boy did we party!!! My husband deserves the dad of the year award for this one. He was the man among ten preteen girls. (Jordan was spending the night at a friend's house.) And of course they loved him!!! I keep telling Kayla that the kids think her dad is "cool," but to her, he is still just dad.
Our big activity of the night was painting pumpkins. I found these cute ceramic banks and they loved being creative. Then "Bro. Kev" was the judge. It was cute, for one of the girls wrote; "Bro. Kevin is the bomb!" on her pumpkin, hoping to "bribe" the judge. He asked her later if he could keep it to put in his office and I gave her the sample pumpkin I had painted to take home.

We also had a silly hat contest. I wasn't sure when we planned this that the girls would get into it... but let me tell you something... they loved it! There were some pretty crazy hats too! Again, Kevin was the judge.

We also had a Guitar Hero competition. Kayla smoked everyone, but of course we wouldn't let her take home any prizes, since she had plenty of gifts to open. I think the best mistake I ever made was during my Christmas shopping last year, when I ended up with two Guitar hero guitars. Kids love to compete against each other and we definitely use both guitars!

As for the food... well they may have been girls, but they can certainly eat! And my cookie cake turned out the second time around. Baking is not my specialty!!! But in the end, I did alright!

Kayla ended up having a great time! Only five friends couldn't come and one of them brought her gifts this morning. I have to say, juggling a job and trying to do for my kids, like I use to has been hard, but the smile on Kayla's face tonight made it all worth the effort. The party was a success and I even had one girl ask me when the next one would be... Christmas? We shall see...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Work day...

As I sit here I'm trying to find the strength to get out of my chair and do what I need to do today! Since going back to work, I've been having to shuffling the chores and responsibilities that I use to be able to do when I wanted. This past week was so busy, that I have a list of "ten" things I have to get done today or I will end up insane, without electricity or naked if I don't! Pretty sad, huh?

My list goes something like this...

1. Clean my bathroom. Mr. Mold and his friend Mr. Mildew have taken up residence.

2. Pay my bills. I'm a little behind this month, I pray I still have water and electricity at the end of the week!

3. Wash clothes... a never ending task, but at this point we are on the verge of desperation. I don't think our family would be very good prospects for a nudist colony either!!! :)

4. Kayla's birthday party invitations... the party is next Saturday!

5. Sorting through the summer and winter clothes... I hate doing this every year!

6. Dusting... I've forgotten what color the furniture actually is in my living room!

7. Sunday School lesson for tomorrow.

8. The kitchen. There are dirty dishes in the sink, a dishwasher to unload and I can't tell you the last time the floor was mopped! (Good thing my kitchen floor is brown! At least I hope that is what color it is suppose to be!!!:) )

9. Party favors for Monday night Bible Study. This is a fun project I do every week!

10. My office. If you have ever been to my house, I don't need to explain. However, I will say this... it could get me a spot on one of those shows on HGTV where they help you clean up and get organized. Yes, it is that bad!

Of course the list could go on, but I won't bore you with the details. Just say a little prayer for me as I "muddle" through. Chris Tomlin and I will be good buddies today! (I listen to music when I clean, to keep me upbeat!) Hopefully, I can light a fire under my daughter and get her to help some too!

My husband and son are at the "deer" camp having their own "clean up" day. Funny, huh? I still think this hunting thing is such a phenomenon when it comes to the male species. It turns them into different creatures... they get up early, they clean, they work, they "skin" and "gut" things when they cringe at a dirty diaper and they go a whole day without sitting in front of the TV or PlayStation!

So as you can see, no lazy weekend for this family! I think I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!

Hope you enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Little Girl... is 12!!!

(This picture was taken Mother's Day 1998.)

Today, I almost wanted to cry. I have never had a problem with my own age. I was alright when I turned 30, 35 and I'm fine with turning 38 at the end of the month. However, when I think of my kids and the milestones they go through, I feel a little... truthfully, I not really sure what I feel. Excited, sad, frustrated and maybe even a little depressed. There is excitement for my children and all their potential with each day that passes. There is extreme sadness that they will never be "little" again. There is a frustration with knowing that they need me a little less with each year that passes and I'm depressed over the fact that sooner than I want, they will leave me to follow their own life's calling.

Today is my baby girl's 12Th birthday. Enough said. We are fixing to enter a new territory, a new frontier and it literally has me shaking in my crocs. My little tomboy of yesteryear's is turning into a young "lady." Although she still loves the deer camp and climbing trees, she has started caring if her clothes match. Wanting jewelry and "smell good" shampoo are her new vices. Only yesterday she was asking me about straightening her hair! What happen to just putting your hair in a ponytail?!

Although I'm sad over the changes she is making... I'm enjoying them too. We now can enjoy shopping together. We have fun conversations about other things than the Disney Channel and we even share shoes!!! She even comes up to the daycare where I work to play with the babies and help her dear mom after school, twice a week. And last but certainly not least, she is learning to cook (blueberry muffins are her specialty!) and she knows how to wash clothes(Yeah!).

Anyway, there is a song by Tim McGraw that kind of says what I feel sometimes... I changed a couple of the words, so that it would be from my perspective as a mom.

My Little Girl

Gotta hold on easy as I let you go

Gonna tell you how much I love you though you think you already know

I remember I thought you looked like an angel wrapped in pink so soft and warm

You've had me wrapped around your finger since the day you were born

Beautiful baby from the outside in

Chase your dreams but always know the road that will lead you home again

Go on, take on this whole world but to me you know you will always be

My little girl.

When you were in trouble that crooked little smile would melt this heart of stone

Now look at you, I've turned around and you've almost grown

Sometimes when you're asleep I whisper I love you in the moonlight at your door

As I walk away I hear you say "Mommy, love you more!"

Beautiful baby from the outside in... you will always be my little girl.

Happy Birthday, Kayla! Mommy loves you. (more than all the stars in the sky...)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A picture of my brave defender...

( Sorry, when I was posting, my computer started acting a little crazy and now has lines on it that I can't get off. Hope you can read it alright.)

My son, the brave defender...

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It has been hard for me this year, because of Bible study at church and late work hours, I don't get to see all the games. This is difficult, for I never use to miss one game, unless my kids were playing at the same time on different teams! What is even rougher, is that my daughter refuses to go and watch a game. She is on strike from stepping foot on the soccer field, since she couldn't play this year, the first time since she was five, because it conflicts with her dance class!

However, last Saturday, I found myself once again at the soccer field. Although I had to wake up early on a Saturday morning, I found myself excited about watching Jordan play. The excitement was short lived. It was a makeup game, and we usually play our games on Monday and Tuesday nights. Trouble came when we only had 6 players show up. The team we were playing had a WHOLE team show up. To top it off, Jordan was the only older player on the team there and he and this pretty little blond girl were the only ones that even knew what they were doing. (Believe me, this is NOT a bias opinion!!!) The other two star players were gone! We pretty much knew we were dead before the game even started!!!

The coaches decided to play 5 players, which gave us one "resting." Big whoop! It is a big field and when the other team can switch out players every 5 minutes, well of course they had the advantage! Did that stop my son? No! In fact, even though they lost that day, by 6 goals, I walked away proud and a little amazed.

Picture this... A little blond girl, cute as a button, with a lot of talent, but pushed around by the big boys. A little black girl that falls down every five steps, don't know what her problem was! A "big" boy whose parents probably signed him up for soccer, because usually it is a very forgiving sport, for the nonathletic. A little black boy, who has potential and speed, but is scared of the ball and the other kids and a little girl that has enough energy and fearlessness for everyone, but no talent! And then you have my son... He is a strong kicker, has played since he was four, has lost a little of his speed as he has gotten older, but hangs in there with great determination and ... Trouble is, he is a defender and is good at it. If you know anything about soccer, you know the defender helps guard the goal and manages to kick the ball halfway down the field to his teammate. Problem was this particular morning, he was a defender, without a forward, Which meant he literally had to do it all! He only got one break the whole game! He would guard and defend, kick, run after his own ball, only for them to come back and score. He asked if the coach wanted him to be goalie for a while, to which he was told, "No, I need you on that field!"

My heart broke when he cried on the way home. He had accidentally did a goalie move, using his hands while guarding the goal, giving them a free kick and their 6Th goal. "Jordan, baby, why are you crying?" "Mom, I gave them that last point!"

Funny huh? He had already lost the game. They would have scored that point, whether he had touched the ball or not (nonathletic boy was in the goal! Why she didn't put Jordan in for the kick, I just don't know!). But here was my son, sad, because he felt he had let his team down. I asked him how he thought he had let them all down... His answer was simple: "I didn't do my job!"

Truth is he did do his job and so much more. He just couldn't accomplish by himself what a whole team is suppose to do. I have no doubt, if our regular goalie was there and our two speedy forwards were not missing, we would have had a whole different kind of game.

It really got me to thinking... God gave us all special gifts and talents. We were all put on this earth with a special "job" to do. Problem is so many of us don't show up for the game, the same "defenders" are playing more than their positions and wearing themselves out. And yes, at the end of the day, there is a little bit of guilt when the mission isn't accomplished. If we all worked with as much heart and determination as my brave little son did Saturday, there wouldn't be anything, that we as Christians couldn't accomplish for our Christ!

Did I also mention that my son suffers from allergies like his mom? I was scared he would have a big asthma attack right in the middle of the game, but he kept running and with a speed that was unusual for him... I asked him about it later: "I didn't think about it, Mom. I just knew it was up to me to keep running..."

Here are some verses that come to mind:

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah40:29-31

"Therefore since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

I pray that you find a little encouragement from my young soccer player to persevere through your day, no matter if it seems the players are stacked against you.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

God moments...

My husband has a secretary who says she has seen a ghost. I know that some of you when you read that statement want to laugh in disbelief, while others acknowledge that it could be true. Truth is, I really don't know what I think. She honestly believes she saw one, who am I to tell her she didn't?

I see these shows on TV all the time where people have powers and premonitions or are able to see into other worlds and talk to the dead. I don't really believe in all of that or if it does exist, I don't believe it is of Christ. However, "seeing the future" has come to actually mean something to me. Am I saying that I can see into the future? No. What I am saying is that I believe that my Lord talks to me, and when I actually listen, sometimes he does allow me to know when something is going to happen.

After all, I believe in the Bible, a great book that shows my Lord speaking through a burning bush, in dreams and through angels. I believe that he is the same God today, and could decide to communicate in those same ways if he wanted to. I think our problem is this; we don't always stop and listen. Our world is full of too many distractions, that we don't always "notice" the presence of God when he comes talking.

What I do know is that throughout my life, I've had "encounters," moments when I felt I was being warned or encouraged to pray. Moments that couldn't have come from anywhere else but God. Sometimes it is a nervous feeling, sometimes it is a dream and often it is like a whisper in my ear, telling me to pray.

My first "God moment" happened when I was in the eighth grade. My family was living overseas in the country of Bangladesh, where my parents were missionaries. One night I woke up from a dream crying. I still remember the dream as if it was yesterday, it was so real. I was riding in a car with my Granny and my older cousin Lynnette, when all of a sudden the road disappeared underneath us. We all started falling. My Granny was crying, calling out for my cousin. My cousin had disappeared and I felt lost and alone. I remember waking up wondering why I had such a traumatic dream. The next morning, I was called into my parent's office, to find my mother crying. They had received a telegram; my cousin had died in a car accident. That dream foreshadowed the next few years and my relationship with my Granny. She had a really hard time recovering from my cousin's death and I was the one who suffered from her grief. Although, my Granny and I would become close again, before she died, I truly believe to this day that God was warning me that my next few years with her were going to be rocky. Now when I wake up from a dream, such as that one, I pray for guidance.

My God moments don't always come in dreams. For example, when I was a student at college, I started feeling real nervous one day. You can ask my husband, I was really starting to freak out, worried that something was wrong. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't relax. I kept calling home, which made it worse, because no one would answer (and this was before we all had cell phones!). All I could do was pray. My mom finally called me the next day (I could have shot them!). My sister had been in a car accident. The funny thing is, I started "freaking out" before the accident happened. God was telling me to pray.

Sometimes, God just blesses me with special moments. This month was my dear, sweet Nanny's birthday. She went home to be with the Lord, last year, after a lot of pain and suffering. The Lord allowed me to see her at her most peaceful moment. I was at her house, with many other family members. We knew it wouldn't be long, for she was ready to go and was off all her meds. I had been asleep on the love seat in the living room, when I felt like someone was waking me up. However, when I woke up and rubbed my eyes, noon was there. I looked around and everyone was dozing in their chairs, my mom and dad were asleep in the bedroom. I walked into her room, where my cousin was taking care of her, and sat down in the chair at a the end of her bed. As I watched her, I prayed. she longed for peace. Actually it was the most peaceful I had heard her breathing in a long time. And then it stopped. I had just experienced my Nanny going to be with her Lord. That was precious... I still thank God, to this day, for waking me up.

These are just a few examples of moments when I know God was talking to me. I have to wonder how many others there have been, that I have missed, because I wasn't listening. Every once in a while, I feel the need to call someone, hold someone a little tighter or tell someone that I love them. When I get those feelings, I listen. Just the other day, I felt the need to pray for my daughter, turns out it was an incident with a mean girl that brought tears to her eyes that day, and she really needed that mommy hug when I got home. I was glad I had listened.

So, do I believe in ghosts? Not really. However, I do believe in God. And I guess we had better keep our ears and eyes open, because He will find a way to communicate with us, when He needs us to listen.

*** I need to add this footnote. I wrote this post yesterday. I saved it, instead of sharing it because I was confused as to why I had written it in the first place. I now know why. This afternoon a nineteen year old boy in our town was killed in a terrible car accident. Although he did not belong to our youth group, he did go to the church that I work at. He must have been an incredible young man, for hundreds of kids showed up at the hospital. They moved them to his home church and started calling in the student ministers, like my husband, from around town to come in and counsel and pray. Although our boy's Bible study was cancelled for tonight, we still had the girl's Bible study. As I was sitting in my small group, listening to these young hearts vent over what had just taken place, I heard one of them explain how she had felt something was going to happen all weekend, had heard a voice telling her to pray. I smiled. She had had a "God moment." And I had the day before, been a little inspired to write my own thoughts down, so I could support her with hers. Wow! Isn't our God incredible?

Hope for the Sunday morning blues...

Here I am doing something very unusual... I'm on the computer on a Sunday morning. Usually I would be "snapping" at my kids to get out to the car by now, trying to frantically make it early to Sunday School, since I teach. However, I took the day off today. Recovering from a twenty four hour stomach bug, this morning I'm left feeling much better, but very weak. Yet, since I spent the day in bed, yesterday, my body is saying no more. It is a frustrating feeling; no energy to accomplish anything, yet tired of being tired.

I do have to say I feel better. It is funny how when you are in the middle of being sick, you have such a hopeless feeling, like it will never end! Of course when you do feel better, you live off of Sprite, saltine crackers and chicken noodle soup! I can't even make myself eat chicken noodle soup at any other time... my body tells me I have to be sick for it to smell appealing. Funny, huh?

So here I am, I guess trying to have a small connection to the world after being cooped up all weekend. My in laws just picked up my kids for church and my husband will be back from his retreat this afternoon, which leaves me alone in an empty house. Normally that would make me smile, for I've always been a person who enjoyed some alone time. However, right now, I just have the blues. I feel like a kid missing out on going to the party. Rather I'm a mom, with no energy what's so ever, looking around at a very dirty house that didn't get cleaned this weekend!
What is sad is that my whole weekend was shot, tomorrow I have to go back to work, it just doesn't seem fair!

However, I am always gently reminded that I am not alone. There is a greater "strength" always there for the asking. As I'm typing this I just happen to look up at my calendar by my desk. On it is a verse. Of course as I read it, I know it's not an accident. I'm always amazed at the thought that, God knows everything! He knows what I'm going to do before I do it. He knew when this calendar was printed that I would need a special verse of encouragement to read today. He knew I would need a little "hope" for the Sunday morning blues...

"The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. "
Exodus 15:2

I pray you have a wonderful Sunday. May God show you his presence, no matter where you are or what you are doing this morning.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My husband is to blame... he left me!

Before anyone freaks out over my post's title, I will put everyone at ease with a simple "our relationship is fine." I'm the one that blogged a list of things I adore about my man, just a few days ago. However, there is one thing I don't like... it is the fact that every time he leaves for a trip, something BAD happens!!! What is up with that? I'm wondering if he has a secret pact with God, to teach me strength or how to depend on the Lord while he is gone...

You might think I'm exaggerating, but the simple truth is, that when my husband is gone for more than a day or two from home, I have something crazy to deal with, out of the blue! There was the time my air conditioner broke down, that was a very miserable time. There was the time that my kids got sick, that was really not fair! Or how about the little things like, the rodents or BIG spiders that like to come out and play, when the "Big Cat" is away! Of course the weather usually like to creep up and do something fun too, like send a little flooding or a few tornadoes my way! Anyway, all I'm saying is that I look forward to a quiet weekend, just to be interrupted by something I'd rather not have to deal with or take care of!!!

So, I said all of that to say that my husband went out of town on a youth retreat, for the weekend. I wanted to go, but as I've already explained, it is allergy season for me and going with him and the youth group to a camp in the middle of the woods, would not have been a smart choice for me. One campfire alone would have done me in!

After the initial frustration of not going, I planned my weekend. I rented some movies for the kids and I, and mentally made a list of the chores we all needed to accomplish; laundry, laundry laundry! That all set, I went to bed at a decent hour with plans to totally sleep in. Well, I did sleep in, longer than I had planned, for I was up half the night. "Why?" Well, the "husband left town" bug hit again! I got sick! I woke up at around 3:00a.m. making a mad dash to the toilet. It was bad! Without being too graphic, let's just say I sat there on the shiny throne for a long while with a bucket in my lap! I wasn't feeling very royal either!

I slept until 11:00 this morning after finally being able to go back to bed, however as I type this I still feel under the weather... I will leave you with that today. Don't worry too much, for I already knew there was a virus going around, and according to everyone else, I should be fine by tonight. I just had to share my curiosity at the "timing" of it all...

Say a little prayer for me, after all my husband wont be back til tomorrow. A lot more could happen in 24 hours!:)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


OK. It is that time again. That wonderful time of the year when the weather starts changing, leaves start turning colors and people have decided that it is safe to "burn" things in their backyards. I don't like it...

Don't get me wrong, I think the fall colors are beautiful, (My family is from the Ozark Mountains... I know what beauty in the Fall is!) and I love the cooling down of the weather, when you can choose to wear long sleeves or short sleeves. My kids and I even have birthdays in the fall. Trouble is, Fall doesn't like me!!!

It starts with headaches, progresses to a cough and red eyes and eventually becomes a full blown infection... It is called Allergy Season! I am one of those people who can go for a long time without any trouble and then "BOOM!" something shows up in the air and I'm a goner...

A month ago we had a pretty big storm, which left it's damage with me. The next day I had a severe cough. I finally went to the clinic (you know I felt bad if I went to the doctor!) and came out be told what I already knew... I have allergies! So now I'm a "sniffling, sneezing, can't rest, have a cough, itching all over" individual on drugs! That means I'm living in a "fog" of medication. Great fun!

It is moments like this that I have to ask; "Eve, why did you have to eat the stinkin' APPLE???" God's beauty is made to be enjoyed, not resented! Red is suppose to be a pretty color of leaves in the fall, not blotchy hives on my skin! Running is suppose to be a sport of exercise, not something my nose likes to do while trying to breath!

I will survive. This is not my first rodeo with allergies. I've swelled up, hived up, runned out, coughed out and sneezed through this season before. It is just that every year I have a dream... a dream of being able to sit in the grass, hay, etc... without itching. A dream to be able to enjoy the woods or a good campfire without my eyes burning and my nose running. A dream to enjoy God's creation during the beautiful fall season...

Oh well, there is one silver lining to having allergies... I get out of the yard work! :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For my husband...

I commented on something I blogged the other day and my husband said he had read it. I was a little surprised in that I didn't know he ever read what I wrote. He admitted to getting on every once in a while to "check up" on what I tell the world about our little family. Then he said in his teasing way that it really didn't matter, since i never wrote about HIM!

I don't think that is totally true. Honestly, maybe I haven't written a WHOLE blog about him, and most of the time I'm telling a story about my kids or what I'm doing, but he is there...

Anyway, I decided to dedicate a WHOLE post to him. I'm going to call it "TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY HUSBAND." Of course this probably wont make him happy either, for he will just say I wrote it because of what he said, but I'm going to write it anyway! So here it goes...

Ten Things I Love About My Husband!

1. His Heart. It is big. It is full of compassion and a love for people.

2. His hugs. He is my KevyBear. He gives the best hugs in the world!

3. His love for his children. He is a proud daddy that enjoys spending time with his kids.

4. His goofiness. He has his crazy moments when he just wants to laugh.

5. His ability to laugh at himself. That is something I do not have, I worry too much about what others think, while he has the ability to take an embarrassing situation and turn it around.

6. His love for his family. He has such a respect and honor for his parents. He is a great example for our kids.

7. He cries... He is able to show his emotions in public. He wears his heart on this sleeve.

8. His voice. A precious, beautiful gift from God. I love to hear him sing!

9. His love for Christ. He teaches it. He shares it. He lives it.

10. He loves me. He loves me "through the good and the bad, in sickness and in health..."

I'm a lucky girl. Nineteen years ago, I met a ministry student at college. We became good friends. He would change my life. You see, I didn't want to marry someone in the ministry. I was tired of the "fishbowl" life I had grown up with. However, God had other plans for me. He sent cupid and his arrow my way and the rest is history! :) I'm not your typical minister's wife by traditional standards, yet I'm thankful to be where I am today. I have a loving husband, who is a great father and a man who has devoted his life to serving Christ. He has been blessed with some pretty special gifts and a very fruitful ministry... I'm glad I've been along for the ride.

So, Kev, if you read this, " I love ya!" Thank you for all you do for us. I know there is an extra big jewel in your crown for putting up with me ( and my indecisive family) all these years!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Proud Mom...

Today was ordinary. My alarm clock went off at 5:00a.m., I kept hitting the snooze until about 5:30a.m. and spent the next hour grudgingly getting ready before waking up the "fam" at 6:30. I do what little I can to help them before I'm out the door and at work by 7:00a.m. I pray every morning they have socks that match, that they brushed their teeth, that their papers are signed and they get to school on time! So far so good. My husband has done a great job of "handling it" since I've gone back to work. In fact it makes me happy that they now know that they have two parents that can get the day to day, ordinary stuff done. I'm really proud of them all! They have even been getting to school early this year!

I know I've already tooted my family's horn, but actually the real reason I'm writing this little note tonight is to say this: "I AM A VERY PROUD MOM!"

I must explain, for I love my kids all the time, no matter what they do, how they do it or what they say... But as a mom, we love getting these little "love notes" from God, that let us know our kids are doing alright. As parents we need those little inspirations to keep us going and on track in this journey called PARENTHOOD.

Today I got one of those little messages. I came home from my ordinary day to discover that my husband had handled parent/teacher conferences (I love him!) and much to my delight I discovered that BOTH of my kids have ALL A's on their progress reports! YEAH!

Bigger news is bound to be heard somewhere in the world tonight, but you wouldn't know it from my smile. After a year of adjusting to a new home and friends, struggling with 3rd grade teachers and disrespectful classmates and graduating to middle school life, my kids are doing alright! I'm so thankful and very PROUD!

Maybe today wasn't so ordinary after all...

Monday, September 15, 2008

God reaching down...

First of all I would like to say that my brother in law and his family are doing OK. He called me last night to let me know that they are still not back home (they live outside Houston) but that they have talked to neighbors that say their house is still standing, with little damage and that the electricity in their neighborhood was back on yesterday. Praise the the Lord! Thanks for your prayers...

That being said, I've been giving "storms" a lot of thought lately. My family could tell you why. I HATE them. As a kid they scared me to death!!! All the little memories of crawling in the bathtub with my mom as a child, waiting out the tornadoes blowing by. Or all the sleepless nights due to streaky lightening and loud booming thunder. Why am I so afraid of them? I do have some theories, but that's another story, for another day. Truth is I'm better now, I guess that comes with being a mom. However, I will not lie... I watch the computer and TV like a hawk, when I know a storm is coming my way!

So, you can imagine this hurricane stuff has kind of bothered me just a little. It is probably a good thing I have been so busy, so that I didn't have time to dwell on the matter more. I'm just thankful my family is alright and that we didn't get as much of the "aftermath" of the hurricanes as they thought my little corner of the world would get! I love it when the weatherman is wrong! (About the bad weather!)

I was reading my dad's blog today: He was talking about the storms that have come our way and the control our Heavenly Father has on our lives. He mentioned the verse in Mark 4, that tells about Jesus calming the storm... That simple little story has always been a favorite of mine. To this storm fearing girl, Jesus having the power to calm a rainy war with the simple words of "be still!" has always left me in awe of his power.

That being said I was reminded of an "event" that happened to me, several years ago. My daughter was about five at the time. She was not feeling well, so I made an appointment to take her to the doctor. However, her doctor at the time was thirty minutes from our house. I was not too happy about this, because the weatherman had already called for bad weather for our area for that evening. But I prayed and put my "mama britches' on and said "I can do this!" We made it to the clinic fine, saw the doctor and got the medicine we needed. When we came out of the clinic the sky was still a beautiful blue... I got adventurous! I was more than halfway to the "big" town we go to to shop, and thought "I'll just run to town real quick and buy a few things, since we are this close."

NOT a good decision!!! When I came out of the super Walmart, dark clouds were everywhere! I was a nervous wreck and I had to drive the forty five minute drive home!!! (you see, I hydroplaned with my little one in the car one time, and since then hated driving in the rain.) We were headed out of town, when my little girl asked from the back seat, "Mommy, why are you crying?" I hadn't even realized that I was so nervous, that I had tears running down my face. I calmly told her that mommy was just a little scared. To which she responded; "I'll pray for you Mommy! That's what you do for me when I'm scared!" I can still hear her little prayer...

"Jesus, help my Mommy to not be scared. It's raining and we want to go HOME to Daddy. Can you stop the rain PLEASE!"

I remember smiling at the simplistic prayer. I remember thinking, "Oh baby, if only it were that simple." As we came around the mountains going home the rain started to let up, when all of a sudden there was an ecstatic Kayla in the backseat.

"Mommy, look! God heard me! He answered my prayer and is reaching down!"

I looked over and realized the dark clouds were all behind me and over to the side of us was the sun, glistening in the rain. It literally looked like the heavens were reaching down through the clouds. I wept. God HAD answered my little girl's prayer that day, while showing this Mommy that FAITH is simple. God is in control and what seems too hard or scary or out of our control can be calmed be a few simple words from the Heavenly Father!

I doubt my daughter remembers that moment, but believe me, this mom will never forget it. I learned something that day about a "child like" faith, while learning to put the steering wheel in the Lord's hands.

A tree fell on the house down the street from me, two weeks ago. In the house next door lives an elderly man, who goes to my church. I asked him if he was OK or if he was worried about the other trees around, falling on his house. He said his children wanted him to move, but he figured, that there is nowhere on this earth that is 100% safe and he might as well die from a tree falling on his house, as of anything... I pondered his words and realized his faith. God had control of this man's life... it was that simple.

So as we review the damage of past storms in our lives, and prepare for what lies ahead, I pray that we (including me) remember to simply ask God, with the faith of a child, to help us drive home...