Sunday, January 31, 2010

At the end of the day...

"We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:3

I was sitting quietly in church this morning, listening to the preacher and my mind kept rolling this verse around. Bro. Don had plenty else to say, yet this verse caught my attention and grabbed at me.
When others see me, what do they see?
Am I only playing Christian, or is it real?
Am I only a Sunday Christian?
Do I possess the faith, hope and love, that can only come from Christ?
This isn't about popularity. It is not about being put on a pedestal. Or about receiving recognition or praise. This isn't about how many comments are left on a blog or "Amens" from the choir section.
This is simply about me, working on ME, with the help of the Lord. I want to be different, need to be "not of this world" different." I desire to live in such a way that SHOUTS, "Hey everyone! Mich has found the key to life, I want what she has!!!"
My goal as a Christian should be to be known as one who has the faith, hope and love the Bible so richly talks about. The characteristics Christ so perfectly lived out.
At the end of the day, this work in progress, wants to be known by my faith, hope and love...
Thank you for your continued prayers for the mother-in-law. She leaned over today at church and said she appreciated it all. She goes Friday for the test, so we will know more then...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"But I don't like being sick..."

Yesterday, due to the bad weather "we were suppose to have" the schools around here got out at 1:00. Which means, I got off work early too. Excited about my extra 31/2 hours I had just been granted, I first made a stop at the grocery store. We were out of everything, including milk and bread, so in case a big ice storm made it our way, I needed to be prepared. Cold rain and all, I had my bags in the trunk of the car and was headed home by 2:00.

Unloaded, changed into some "kick around in clothes" sat in my big comfy chair for just a minute to read a new magazine purchased, and next thing I know, it is two hours later. I had just taken a big 'ol nap. Hmm... I didn't remember being that tired. But whatever, a nap probably did me some good and now I would be ready to tackle some projects around the house...

No such luck. For all of a sudden I felt like I needed "another" nap. And then I was freezing, although I already had a long sleeved shirt, with a sweatshirt and sweatpants on and I had already turned the heat up... Then my stomach started to hurt and cramp and then...well let's just say that the potty and the trash can next to the potty became my best friends throughout the night. I was one sick gal!

I knew it was coming one of these days. With all the sick babies that had coughed in my face, snotted on my shirt, leaked on my pants and threw up "ALL OVER ME," I was bound to finally catch a little something. And catch it I did! Yuck!

As my sweet hubby, was tucking me into bed last night, covering me up with one more blanket, I was such a wuss and cried "I DON"T LIKE BEING SICK!" To which my hubby chuckled, "Mich, nobody likes being sick."

There you have it, the phrase of the day. There are plenty of things, we all don't want to do or go through, but unfortunately that is LIFE. Oh well, Here is hoping, I am on the mend, for I'm feeling much, much better, hoping I will be up for my hair appointment later in the day. (Priorities, people!!!) Here is hoping that this sickness has ran it's course and I'm done with it, until the next tummy bug makes it's way through town... "Bug, bug, go away, don't come again another day!!!! PLEASE!!!"

Hopefully and prayerfully, I will not have to play nurse to the rest of my family, in the next few days either...

Oh, and Mr. Weatherman, I think you were wrong again, for us anyway. Mom, Dad, you OK up there in your parts? I think you got all our snow...again.

That being said I have a prayer request that is near and dear to my heart. My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor. She has been going back faithfully, the last few years for her check ups and they have been fine. However, this last one, they discovered a mass in the opposite breast than last time. We are not sure what it is or what it means yet, but it is always a scary time. She goes this Friday for a biopsy, after that we will learn more. Please keep her in your prayers. She is keeping this situation in the Lord's hands, but it is still not easy to wait and wonder.

She is a reader of my blog and even likes reading your comments. If you would like to leave her a message, feel free. We appreciate your prayers.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It goes in my "I don't get it!!!" file and a little something for my Aunt Jo

Today was just not my day. I think with the weather changing once again, people getting sick around me, and the busyness of our schedules...well my family is just plum tired. A few of us had some meltdowns last night as a result. I won't name names, but one hot mama (wink) and her little man, weren't having a good night. However, after a good night's sleep and a few tests under our belt, we were all much happier campers today...

Well, at least I thought I was until 1:00p.m.

What happened at 1:00p.m., you ask?

Thanks for asking, friend! Let me just tell you...

I work at a childcare facility, which means I have to have the dreaded TB test done every year. No big deal, right? Well, for me it was a big deal. You see, I HATE NEEDLES! My family can testify, I was the kid that screamed and gave a merry chase around the room, every time the needles came out. I have gotten better through the years, with the help of a few pregnancies and motherhood, but I still dread them with a passion. Anyway, I thought I was Mrs. Big Britches, because I went and had the test on Tuesday and it went so smooth, I even forgot to tell my hubby I had it done. I know Mom and Dad, you are so proud. I didn't cry, run or pass out... I may finally be growing up!!!

Move forward to today. Like with any TB test, you know you have to go back in a few days to have it read. I was told that I was suppose to come between 1:00 -1:30 p.m. I was running a little behind, for I wasn't able to leave work at 1:00, but I made it and signed in on the sheet at 1:15 p.m.

Let me repeat that... 1:15 p.m.

In case you didn't read that right, I will type it one more time... 1:15 p.m.

What time was I told to be there, again? Between 1:00 and 1:30, I was still good, or so I thought. You see, I'm a people watcher, so I pretty much could tell you who came in, who went back, who left, what they were wearing and how many kids they had. So, after I had been sitting for about 15 minutes and they call the girl that came in after me, back... I started to squirm a little. (I HATE that, when it happens.) When I had been there about 30 minutes and they called back another girl, again who came after me, I felt a little agitated. (Hello! Anybody remember, I'm still here? Little TB reading. Takes five minutes tops!) I did something I don't usually do... I went up to the desk and asked "how long?" (My sister would be so proud of me!)

Of course I was nice. (The woman behind the desk looked a little frazzled. I'm not a meany!)But you have to understand, I left work to go. I was losing time on the job, maybe money too. I had been sitting there for a while and...

The nurse only had to look at my arm and check a box. (I sat back down.)

40 minutes later, and another person back, I'm HOT. I could feel my skin blotching in irritation. I don't lose it often. I usually am a pretty patient person. But today, as I mumbled a prayer for sanity under my breath, I once more trudged up to the counter and politely explained my situation.

I was told that I didn't have an appointment. (HUH???)

I was told that the TB readings were between 1:00 and 1:30. (WHAT???)

I was told that there was only ONE nurse and I would have to wait my turn. (Lord, help me!)

And with the good Lord's help I politely said:

Excuse me, but I signed in at 1:15. (I wanted to say I signed in before the skinny blond in the purple jacket and the cute black girl with the gold shoes, but I held my tongue.)

Excuse me, but I was told to come back today between 1:00 - 1:30. (Isn't that sorta like an appointment. Besides they don't make appointments for the TB tests...)

Excuse me, I'm only here for a TB reading that takes less than 5 minutes.

Excuse me, but I have been WAITING FOR ALMOST AN HOUR!!!

They realized they had messed up. They realized they were in the wrong. They realized I had a valid complaint...I could see the panic in their eyes, yet there was nothing they could do. The nurse was back with a patient, and as I was already told... "WE ONLY HAVE ONE NURSE WORKING TODAY!"

One of the ladies asked me when I got off work and told me to come back at 4:00. It was the best she could do, unless I had time to wait for another 20 -40 minutes.

There were no apologies. I left frustrated at the human race in general and the "I don't care!" attitude many people seem to be carrying around these days. I guess what frustrated me the most, is that there was time for five "office" people to stand around and gab, probably why they had problems telling the times on the sign in sheets and there seems to be only one nurse, who everyone there needs to see, working. Something wrong with that picture. Maybe the Health Dept. need less office people and more , let's say...NURSES!!! OR at least someone who can read a TB test, in less than an hours time!!!


I went back at 4:00.

It took 3 minutes. I know, because I timed it. (Eight if you count the five minutes I waited to go back.)

Let me repeat that for you... 3 MINUTES!!!

So Mich, how did you spend your day today? Well friend, I spent a portion of it at the Health Dept., in the waiting room. I could tell you which girls in town are after birth control, moms that need WIC and babies in need of a good immunization or two. All ages, all races, all economic backgrounds. We were all there, spending our afternoon "waiting." I spent a total of an hour and 18 minutes.



Of course I came straight home and blogged about it! So,who really had the last laugh??? :)


On another note, just because I was in need of a good laugh today, I have another little photo for your viewing enjoyment. On my last post, I posted my pictures from high school and college. It was too much fun, looking back and remembering. Your comments were all so sweet. I wish every one of you was riding on my shoulder through school, I could have used all the encouragement and compliments back then. And to all of you, who said you wore glasses, I do too. I've had them since third grade. I am practically blind. I just either took the glasses off for the picture or I had contacts in.

Anyway, my Aunt Jo, that is Jim-Dad's sister for those, who know him, left me a comment about a certain set of glamour shots my sister and I took once upon a day. Well, sis, it is your lucky day, for I couldn't find them...or yours anyway. I am not so lucky, for my daughter has a copy of mine in her bedroom. (Who knows why? She says she just likes it. I think this particular copy belonged to her dad, the one that he carried in his wallet for a while. You will notice a little wear and tear.) So, I decided to bite the bullet and share a good laugh with my friends today. Talk about the hair...

So here it is, the result of my hour of glamour. Don't laugh too hard! :)

Oh, and if you would like to see my sis (The Rascal Raiser) all made up, leave her a shout out and she may just be willing to find her glamorous pose to post. (In the mean time I will be looking for my copy. :) )

Blessings and prayers, my friends. Let us do the HAPPY DANCE, for tomorrow is indeed FRIDAY!!! Can I get a BIG "AMEN?!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Giggle Down Memory Lane... It Was All About the Hair!!!

As I mentioned the other day, I was going through some old pictures. I couldn't help giggling as I ran across different pictures of myself, from birth to motherhood. Good stuff. So I have put to the side many of my favorites to use here on the blog, when there just doesn't seem to be much else happening in our little world around here.

Today's gallery? Ninth grade through my fourth year of college. What makes these pictures so special? Well it certainly isn't my smile. My hubby says I have the "exact same smile in every professional picture" I have ever taken. Looking through these, he might have a point. It isn't about the clothes, for they are all head shots, but I do remember some of the outfits...down to the shoes. The late eighties and early nineties had some fun fashion, that is for sure.

No, if you haven't guessed already, it was all about the hair and my need to use at least a can of hairspray every three to four days. They even use to call me "cotton candy" in high school. Yep, those were the days!

I am actually getting my hair done this Saturday. Can't wait. I always feel just a little bit perkier after a cut and color. Maybe the energy comes from covering the grey strands that insist on showing up every morning. Anyway, since I'm debating on the cut I would like for my new do, and I just found these lovely photos from the time capsule, I thought I would make this a little more fun and ask your opinion...

If I had the hair, that I use to have, and could go back to one of my old styles, when I was much younger, fifty pounds thinner and wrinkle free, which one do you like the best? I've always had my favorite. I can't wait to read your comments...

Picture #1 - 9th grade. Picture #2 - 10th grade. (That is me of course in the blue sweater. For some reason I can't ever find a 10th grade picture of me. I'm not sure if I wasn't there for picture day or what. Isn't my little sis too cute? )

Picture #3 - 11th grade. I always thought I looked different in this picture, than all the rest. Not sure why... Have you ever had a picture that you didn't think looked like you? This is mine. But it is me. Picture #4 - My Senior picture. I remember being so nervous taking this picture. There were two guys from school there getting their picture taken at the same time, laughing at me and the photographer. You know how guys like to pick on the girls, anyway, it made me all blotchy and red and the photographer had to touch up the picture on my neck and chest, A LOT. When he was done, it looked like I had a little too much sun.
Picture #5 - Freshman year of college.

Picture #6 - Sophomore year of college.
Picture #7 - junior year of college. (This was the year I cut my hair. I had kept complaining about my long hair bothering me, so Kevin dared me to cut it. I did and cried buckets. It took me a good month before I got use to fixing it and felt comfortable in the new do. Funny thing is, I think this is my mom's favorite picture...

Picture # 8 - last year of college.
I could go on with the hairstyle pictures, for they go on and on and on. Different lengths, colors and many different styles. But I will stop here for now, but believe me part two will be coming soon.
Thanks for giggling down memory lane with me. I love looking at old pictures and remembering when...

Monday, January 25, 2010

He's Got the Look...

OK, so I am at work today. I'm in my classroom, rocking the most precious baby you ever laid eyes on (except my own, of course!!!) when I hear Ol' Red (the hubby's ride and yes it is that loud!!!) pull up outside. While I'm sitting there, waiting for him to come in, I'm imaging all the WONDERFUL reasons he could possibly have to stop by the workplace at this odd hour.


He was out and about and thought of me, so he swung through Sonic and picked me up a Cherry Limeade? (Love that idea! And he has done it before.) The Publisher Clearing House people found him at work and we have won a prize that would pay our bills for a lifetime? (even better idea! Of course that is probably a definite "no" since I haven't entered or bought a magazine from them in years...) He just swung by just "to say I love you." (Now that would be sweet, but...) Or maybe he got a haircut today. He is all about me noticing the new trims... Oh, I hope nothing bad has happened...

Hubby walks through the door...

I brace myself for the...

Oh no. He has the LOOK.

Yeah, it is definitely the LOOK.

You know, the LOOK, that says, I am fixin' to tell you something and you are probably not going to like it, but you will have to deal with it because I have already decided I am doing it... LOOK. Ever seen that one?

Oh yeah...

As he precedes to tell me his "plans," I just have to smile. This spontaneous, fly by the seat of your pants, just get up and go and do ability, leaves me totally amazed, flabbergasted and speechless... and just plum JEALOUS, every time. I think time would stand still in shock, if I just walked in one day and told the hubby and kids that I was going on a trip...that day. Confusion would mount if I walked in and said, "Honey, I know you don't have plans, so let me tell you what I'm doing..." (Although I do admit that the older my kids get, the easier this would be for me to do, but I had preschoolers once. I've certainly paid my dues. My hubby is a minister, his time is hardly ever his own.)

Now, before you think I'm mad at the hubster, I AM NOT. This is not meant to be a hubby bashing post. I totally love the guy. I totally get the guy. I totally understand the guy. He can't help it. He is just a guy.

Guys have been trained to go and do and worry later. Girls are trained to smother a situation to death in worry. A guy will say "it will work out." A girl says "I'm going to have it all planned so I know it will work out." Little boys are brought up in the world knowing "Mom" will take care of things. Little girls are brought up learning "how" to take care of things.

So, when the hubby comes in and says "I'm going to...," I just smile. I just make it happen. I just roll with the punches and simply try my hardest to look at the bright side. Sixteen and a half years of marriage has taught me well. So, while things might not always seem fair... and never will be, you can at least train the hubby to have the LOOK. That LOOK that says "YES, I am doing what I want, but I will at least worry about your feelings, and if you don't want me to go, please say so, but I know you won't...," LOOK. (My husband knows me too well. Gotta love him!)

Hmm... this is where you say "I love you" and that tonight will be alright... this is where you decide if you make a fuss or not. But, wait a minute! Do I really want to make a stink about it? I'm just thinking...

Wait Mich, what is that on your face?!!! At least let him get out of the room before you start to smile. Stop it right now! He can't see the smile or... Mich, don't get too excited or you might scare the baby, you are rocking. Hold it! Patience please...

As 'Ol Red can be heard driving off, I flip to the brighter side of things, barely able to control the excitement mounting...

YES!!! I get the remote tonight. (Bachelor and Castle, free of flipping channels, here I come!!!)

YES!!! Big Daddy is not eating, so I think the stove gets a much needed break and so does this mama. Don't want to wear the poor thing and me out. (Snicker. Snicker.) Taco Bell, anyone?

YES!!! There is one luscious strawberry Popsicle (They have real strawberries in them, people!!!) left and it is MINE!

YES!!! I can be on the computer and not feel a bit guilty....

Yeah Kev, I guess if I really don't have a choice (wink), I will TRY to survive the evening...

Now ladies, don't be too jealous of my ability to have control of the remote, tonight, for you know your time will come, it always does. (But isn't it funny what we consider a simple pleasure in the "bright" side of things?) I guess all is fair in love and war...OOPS! What I meant to say was "love and marriage."

Have a good one!

Oh, and Honey, if you read this, you know I would much rather have you home than having control of the remote, sitting in the big comfy chair, eating my Popsicle. Really!!! :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Walk...

Today I walked.

Today I made a statement with my presence.

Today I set an example for my daughter.

Today I was obedient.

Today I hopefully made a difference.

Today I prayed.

Today I walked with purpose.

Today I walked... for Him.

The pregnancy center in our little town is sponsored by our church. The director put together a "prayer walk" for "life." What a wonderful ministry to sponsor and be a part of.

As we walked along, I kept thinking how beautiful the day was...big fluffy clouds, cool breeze... me in a crowd of people set on one goal. We all wanted to make a difference for Christ.

I have to be honest. I really didn't want to go, at first. The thought of walking through town, after Sunday lunch at the Mexican restaurant, missing my traditional Sunday past time (a nap), didn't sound too inviting. But then, sometimes we have to do things we don't always want to do. We have to set the example for our kids that sacrifices have to be made, big and small, when you believe in something. As I proceeded to walk, my heart changed. The nap was forgotten and I was excited to be a part of something so much bigger than myself.

I may step on some toes here, but I'm sorry, I'M NOT SORRY. You see, I believe in a Creator, God, who knew me before I was even born. I am a mother who looks in the faces of her children and says; "How can you not believe there is not a God?!!! How can you not want this?!!!" I look at the beautiful individuals this world holds, and know that there is no way that they came into being "just because." Each one of us came into being because God spoke.

This isn't about political parties. This isn't about a popularity contest. This isn't even about your freedom to choose. This is about the beauty of life. This is about offering hope to the desperate. Grace to the hurting. And care to those in need.

It was our first year to do this, so the group was not as large as it could have been. But the faith represented was HUGE. As minister after minister, from different denominations read scripture and prayed at the closing ceremony, I was thankful for the opportunity I had today, to do something little, that could possibly make a big difference.

It might have started as a simple walk... but it became a journey of the heart.

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,

before you were born I set you apart."

Jeremiah 1:5

My Kayla...
Hope you have a beautiful week, remembering that you were created by God, for His glory!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Birthday Blessings...

Today is a special day. It is a day when I remember how blessed I really am. How God chose me to be such a lucky gal, I shall never comprehend. For you see, He gave me one of the most beautiful women I know, inside and out, to be my "Mommy."

When I think of love... I am reminded of her hugs.

When I think of patience... I am reminded of her gentle touch.

When I think of sacrifice... I am reminded of her journey.

When I think of being a mom... I am led by her example.

When I think of being a Godly woman... I simply think "Mom."

I thank God every day for her presence in my life.

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

I Love you very much!

Mommy and me during the early days...

And now.


January is one of those "birthday" months for my family. Besides being my mother's birthday, the 21st was my mother-in-law's birthday and the 25th will be my brother-in-law's birthday. They are both very special people and I am blessed to call them family. Thought you might like to see an oldie but goodie of my hubby's family. Here Kevin with his parents and his older brother David.
Don't you just LOVE the old pictures?!!!
Happy Birthday, Grandma and David!
Happy weekend, friends!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Up to My Elbow in Suds of Worship???

I was reading a book the other day, feeling a little guilty because there was a mountain to climb of laundry and a sink full of "UGH" to wash up, and here I was READING. And, I have to be honest, it wasn't the Bible either. Yet, I have to believe I was doing what I needed to be doing at that exact moment in time, for I literally felt God speaking to me.

There I was reading along, enjoying a few minutes to myself, when a paragraph of words seemed to dance their way of the page and into my heart. It was like the light bulb in my "mommy heart" went "ding ding" and I finally "got it." God, had my face in His hands and with His Daddy voice said; "Look at me Mich, and listen."

Several posts back, I talked about having the "blahs" and being so excited about going to worship. Nothing wrong with that, right? Worship is why we are created. I love it and I crave it. Nothing makes me feel better than a little praise and worship time with my Lord. Yet, my problem is my perspective.

So many times I limit my worship time, to that hour every Sunday that I am with my church family. I then feel guilt, because of busy schedules at my lack of worship time during the week. Oh, I catch my 15 minutes of devotionals there, prayers in the car here, conversations with the Lord in the shower, etc... but, it often leaves me feeling rushed, guilty, and unfulfilled. Why?

My perspective.

Somewhere along the line, I got the idea that I had to "carve" out some time for the Lord, to worship. Instead of being something I looked forward to, it became just one more thing on my busy calendar to try to accomplish. It became a burden for me to worship, except on Sunday mornings, when I felt I was given permission by the world to let down my guard and praise the Lord. I started looking forward to Sundays, which is great, but then the rest of the week I felt "Blah!!!"

Then I read these beautiful words... "HE wants our songs that we sing on Sundays, but He wants us to live out those words every other day of the week... real worship is a God-attitude of the heart."

HELLO!!! This whole time as a wife and mother I felt like I had to put God on a schedule. I didn't mean too. It just happened. I mean, I had to cook dinner, vacuum the floors, potty train, drive the kids to school, bake a birthday cake, buy groceries, pay bills, go to ball games, help with homework, go back to work, etc..etc..etc... didn't I?

Yes, to be a good mom and wife, we do have plenty of responsibilities. Living up to Proverbs 31 can take a lot of work. Yet, I have been missing something for a lot of years. The "meaning" of worship. True worship isn't just a song we sing, it is in the life we live. We were created to worship our creator and we were created for a purpose. If our purpose is to be a loving wife and mother, in this lifetime and we do that job to the best of our ability, then isn't that a form of worship?

I believe "YES."

"Every mom faces the challenge of keeping a God-perspective in everything she does. However, when we are able to let God define us, mold us, and transform us we'll never see what we do everyday as a mom in the same way. "

In other words, I have been looking at my chores everyday with a horrible attitude, never seeing the opportunities before me...serving my family. I just looked at the glass as being half empty, instead of a half a glass of possibilities. I thought I had to put God, in a little block of time on my planner, so it would be full of "quality," but it ended up mostly being just a "quantity" of empty minutes.

I have said before and I will say it again... I had lost my perspective.

Does that mean that all of a sudden I will "love" housework and that climbing Mt. Laundry is my new favorite past time? No. But hopefully a new perspective will change my attitude a little. That doing my "chores" will not always leave me overwhelmed, tired and frustrated. And hopefully, the devotion time I do set aside will not be filled with guilt and tears, because of feelings of failure as a mom.

Because I want to try, with the Lord's help, to see every little piece of motherhood and marriage as a way to serve and worship the Lord. The good, the bad and even the ugly.

"When we do laundry with the right attitude, it's worship. When we prepare meals for our family with a right heart posture, it's worship. when we drive ten miles out of our way to take our husband his cell phone that he accidentally left at home and we do it with a heart of grace and forgiveness, it's worship.

Jesus lived a life of worship. His heart had a God-filter on it and HE saw the world through God's eyes. May we, as moms, worship God with our hearts and our lives everyday."

Well, friends, I don't know about you, but I have a load of laundry to put on and a few dishes to wash. I think I will turn the music up loud, and make a "joyful" noise... want to join me?

***A few days ago I received a lovely surprise in the mail. It was a package from my dear bloggy friend Kat, from Heart 2 Heart. It was a book called "Real Moms... Real Jesus," written by Jill Savage. All the quotes from today's post are from that book.
Thanks Kat! I needed this little "kick in the rear" to get out of the "blahs" of motherhood. ***

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You know you are a "Redneck Mom" when...

For Christmas, my family went to north Arkansas to hang out with my parents and my sister and her family. Jordan, of course, wanted to show off his "trophies" from the youth hunt this past fall. A few days ago, I realized they were still in the back window of my car, from traveling. I asked my hubby if that meant I had become a true "redneck mom." The fact that I still haven't found the time to clean out the car and I really could care less, probably answers my question for me...

All in the life of a family from south Arkansas.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I feel I should explain...

I posted tonight a couple of pictures of me as a baby and talked about needing a nap. I then called the post "too tired for words." I just wanted everyone to know I really am OK. I said it more to go with my picture. But I would ask for prayer...

I work in the newborn room at a Christian daycare/preschool. I love holding and rocking "my" babies. However, RSV is running rampant though the school. It has already been a tough week. It is horrible watching the little ones getting sick.

So we would appreciate the prayers in our little corner of the world. I'm afraid the winter illnesses have decided to come out and play. RSV and the flu are starting to make their way though town...again.


Oh, and if you didn't read my earlier post, you might want to check out the pictures. They might even make you giggle a little.

Too Tired For Words...

I've been sorting through some old pictures. I have found priceless photos that I will share with you when I get a chance to scan them all in. In the meantime, I thought I would leave you with these little treasures...

This is my first baby picture, well except for the one taken at the hospital.

This must have been take number 20...

I know exactly how "baby me" feels.

Bring on the nap! Is it Saturday,yet?!!!

Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, January 18, 2010

There Will Be a Day...

I'm really not sure what I think as far as everything that is happening in this world today. The devastation of Haiti is horrific and my heart goes out to all the families that have lost loved ones and are left with nothing.I know there are many points of view floating around, people wanting to be able to "explain" the "why" in the situation. We as humans are really good at that...we like to pass blame. We always seem to need a reason as to why the bad things happen in this world.

My answer...because our world is broken. Whether we meet our maker in a natural disaster with a million others, from a sick bed with prayers surrounding us, or on the interstate in a five car pile up...we will all have our day. Pointing fingers, putting on the "better than you" suit or having a "I'm above all that" mentality will get us nowhere. None of us are promised five more minutes on this earth...none of us.

That being said, the only thing I do know for sure is; I have a Heavenly Father who loves me. I think what happened in Haiti, broke His heart. Could He have stopped it? Yes. Why didn't He? I don't know. There are plenty of times I "don't understand," yet I chose to still believe. There have been plenty of moments, when I have just had to lift my hands up in surrender and trust in the plans of the Almighty. That maybe His glory can shine brighter after the tragedy and pain, then during the storm...

Situations like what has been happening around our world the past few years, natural disasters, war, lots of pain and loss... they do chip away at my heart. They do create feelings of helplessness. They do bring on the tears. Yet, they also pour rains of thankfulness my way, everyday. They remind me of how blessed I am, to have what I have, but to also know where I'm going when my day comes. These situations encourage, inspire and motivate us, as Christians to reach out more, love more, give more, share more, because we really do not know what tomorrow will bring.

We can watch the problems of the world from our television screen and feel tremendous guilt over the little frustrations we have felt at work, the pain we suffered over hurt words or the "blahs" we may have on occasion. Nothing like a natural disaster to put our thoughts and attitudes in order...for a little while anyway. Lets face it, we are all human. We are all self centered. We all live in our own little world. We hoot and holler about little things, living in our little "funks," pointing fingers and putting EVERYTHING before God.

And then someone will fly a plane into one of our buildings, an earthquake or hurricane will hit or a loved one will die and all of a sudden we are left helpless, wanting to know "why." I want to know why 911 had to happen. I want to know why the earthquakes and hurricanes have to wipe out millions. I want to know why my brother died as a baby. I want to know why I had to lose three grandparents in a years time. I want to know why people in my day to day life have to be so cruel. I want to know why we have bullies, liers and gossips. I want to know...


Because we live in a world that is not perfect. It isn't the beautiful garden our creator originally planned. It is full of sin, of hurt, of pain. That is why we all eventually have to make a choice. We can choose to point fingers, wallow in self pity, or be angry...OR we can choose to still believe in the promises of the Savior.

I admit, I have my days. I can be a very moody person and get down over the most insignificant of details. I get my feelings hurt easily. I get overwhelmed easily. I have little pieces of anger and hurt feelings that are buried deep and I have a hard time letting go. Fear can be my constant companion, if I let it. There are days when I simply have to throw my hands in the air, surrender and say "Lord, I don't get it! I'm not strong enough. Life is too hard! But I want to keep my faith."

So glad that I serve a God, who knows me, loves me and meets me where I need Him most. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. Shoot! I don't know what will happen in the next five minutes. I don't even know how I will react.

But I do know one thing...

God is faithful.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Where I am at today...

It is Sunday morning and I am fixin' (good southern gal word) to go get ready for church. I'm excited, for I NEED worship today. Ever feel that way? Ever feel like life is so busy, that when you are at home, there is too distractions, that going to church brings the "peace" you need after a busy week?

I'm there.

This weekend was filled with cleaning, bill paying and hauling kids all over town. And I'm still not finished... depressing, huh?

I went to the grocery store yesterday and spent "way to much" on "healthy" food, because I know it is time to get back on track with my weight loss and eating right. The holidays are officially over, there is no excuse there. Why does it cost double to eat healthy? No wonder our world is full of big people, nobody can afford the "good for you" stuff!

Kayla went to a sleepover on Friday night, a birthday party for a friend. Three hours of sleep total. Then I had to wake her up Saturday afternoon from a good nap, to go to another birthday party. She was the busy bee this weekend. The second party was for two friends and it was a dance. Instead of gifts, the two girls wanted you to make a donation to "Make a Wish..." foundation. Kayla said they raised over 800 dollars last night. Way to go!

Jordan played his first ballgame with our Upward Basketball program at church. I thought he played great, but he is going to have to toughen up a little. His team lost (even though they didn't take score...but they are kids and they "know"), and he didn't like that one bit. But that is all about learning to play sports. You have good day and bad days, you lose some and you win some. It is a great learning experience.

My Christmas tree is still up. Hopefully, I will have the time to tackle it tomorrow. It is like everything... packing to go on a trip, decorating for a party or event, cooking... it is never fun cleaning up afterwards. But then that is life...

It has been raining all weekend. Wet and cold around here. I don't mind the rain if I can sleep in and curl up with a good book, but who has time for that?! I especially HATE loading the groceries in the rain...not fun at all.

If I seem kind of "blah," I guess I am a little. Which is why, I need to get off here and get ready for church. Maybe a little praise and worship will get me out of my "funk" and put a little pep in my step. Bring it on Lord! Whatcha got for me today?!!! For I know whatever it is, is way more important than me worrying whether my Christmas tree is still up and the dirty dishes in the sink...

Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you have a beautiful day!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Are YOU embarrassed to call me "FRIEND," yet?!!!

If that title doesn't grab your attention, I don't know what will...

I have a problem. For 11 years I was able to stay at home with my kids. I occasionally, worked in my home, taking care of other children, but for the most part, I was a devoted mom. I was able to go to every school program and class party. I was the one who would go and get them a snow cone or shake after a hard day at school. I was AVAILABLE.

Going back to work after umpteen years of freedom to go and do what I wanted, well it has been a very hard adjustment for me. I have come to terms with the fact that this is where I am at this stage in my life. God and I have had plenty of conversations over the subject, and HE has certainly been faithful in dishing out the strength, when needed. I also have a wonderful "hands on" dad for a hubby, who takes up the slack for me, with all the school activities. Yes, I am blessed.

No, the problem is I didn't do a very good job of preparing myself or my family for the adjustment of mom working outside of the home for the last year and a half. In fact, I am in constant awe of all the single moms and those whose husbands work away, for I absolutely don't know how you all do it. In fact how does any of my "mom" friends do it? Because I sure haven't discovered the secret...

How do you keep your house even "sorta clean?" I mean, I get home by 4:00-4:30 everyday, yet after I run around delivering kids to sporting events and piano lessons, take a few minutes to "rest" after a hard day, I'm still not getting in bed before ten and my house is still a wreck!

How do you keep the laundry "ready for wear?" I mean a day doesn't go by that Jordan doesn't ask me at 9:00p.m. to wash his jeans or favorite shirt. We are constantly looking for matching socks, because I really do believe there is a sock eating monster in my dryer, who only will eat one sock of a pair. He likes variety.

How do you keep the dishes caught up? When your son will never drink out of the same glass twice? Or your daughter forgets to rinse out her cereal bowl? I keep buying spoons, because I think my kid's version of "clean up" is to just throw everything away! Either that or there is a monster in my dishwasher too, who loves SPOONS!!!

How do you keep the family pet, from not leaving you "gifts" on your rug, when of course the wood floor is just a foot away? I mean we are gone all day, and she is getting on the older side of life, BUT still... well, I'll just leave that one there.

How do you have a nutritious dinner, with the whole family around the table, when your hubby and kid's schedules are so darn crazy? How do you even have time to cook a meal, that can't be cooked in the microwave, anyway? What is the secret?

I could go on and on in my quest to be the next June Cleaver, Martha Stewart or Betty Crocker, but that will get me no where, I am afraid. I am who I am and my family is what it is. However, if you have a few handy hints to help me survive the world of being a busy, working mom, that would be great too.

In the mean time, please don't be embarrassed to call me friend. I mean if you were to visit, at this moment in time, there would be a sink full of dishes, clothes stacked in the hall to be washed, a "junk room" that probably just needs to be burned down, an empty refrigerator and a grocery list to be made and a stack of bills that need to be paid. Yep! Hello weekend!

Oh, but I almost forgot, the most embarrassing detail of them all... I have a few Christmas trees and decorations that need to come down. Still my friend?

Guess what I'm spending my three day weekend doing?

Here is hoping you have a relaxing weekend. Say a prayer for me! I'm hoping to have a free moment or two amidst my cleaning spree...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Grades Are In...

I work with a lot of young moms. Mothers of preschoolers and babies who have yet to experience the anxiety that comes with GRADES!!! So they don't understand my enthusiasm for a great report card. It just plum makes me giddy with pride.

I have to be honest here and tell the truth. I know. I know. I've been "real" the last few posts talking about my past dating adventures, sibling rivalry and motherhood and you learned that I am far from perfect, so brace yourself once again. Oh, how the truth hurts...I'm just going to come out and say it; "I WAS NOT A STRAIGHT "A" STUDENT!!!"

Whew! That hurt a little. In fact if I am totally honest, I will go on to say that I had a tutor my junior year...


Anyone still reading? I know I've let you all down. I know you envisioned me as this spunky, smart, blond with all the answers...wait do the words "blond" and "smart" even work in the same sentence?

Anyway, the truth is, I am a deep thinker, I can worry the mess out of any problem you have, and maybe even come up with a solution. I love to read and write and could literally "B.S." (Excuse my language!) my way through any essay question you sent my way. However, I had two problems in school, (well 3, if you count fear of public speaking) I can't take tests and I can't do math. How I graduated and made it through four years of college, I will never know.

Then I met my hubby. He is a pretty smart guy. However, when it came to he books, he had to work real hard on the reading and spelling. They do say opposites attract, right? I remember the college days, when he helped me struggle through a math equation and I helped him write his papers. Yep! The good 'ol days before we were helping the kiddos with their homework. I'm kind of embarrassed when I say I have had to "google" how to do a 5th grade math problem...they don't send home books anymore.

That being said, I am constantly amazed at my kids. Their personal drive to do their best "blows me away" (to coin a phrase from Jim-Dad). I hardly ever have to get on to them for grades or tell them to do their homework. Truth be told, they are down right smart! Their dad and I look at them, and then at each other and then "shrug." Who knows if it will last. They both might hit high school, and stop caring. But for now, I am going to bask in the glow of what I consider some darn good report cards...

Drum roll please...

Jordan - 5th grade

Spelling 100
Language Arts 97
Reading 91
Mathematics 92
Science 92

Woo! Hoo! That's my boy!

Kayla - 7th grade

Science 93
Gymnastics 91
Advanced English 100
Band 98
Math 97
Social Studies 92
Keyboarding 100

How does one get 100% in advanced English? I'm pretty proud, can you tell?!

So, I hope you can forgive me for the bragging. It makes this mom's heart smile, to know her children are doing well. We can never know what tomorrow will hold, but for today, this mom's bumper sticker can read; "Mom of TWO Honor Roll students!!!"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The "Ex" Girlfriend...

Very few people in this world, marry their first "love." I know it happens, you will hear of a couple who go on their first date and are "hooked" for life, living "happily ever after" since high school. But even in that group of people is an even smaller group of people who have only dated one person in their whole life and married them and is still with that person after umpteen years. No, it just doesn't happen that often.

With a world surrounding us, of casual relationships, live in loves and child, finding the "love of your life" with one date, just doesn't happen anymore. Too bad. For I have always admired those few couples I have met, that said the only person they have ever kissed was their spouse. That the only person they ever wrote a love letter to, was their spouse. That the only person they ever had any kind of sexual relationship with, was their spouse. How special would that be? As I look around at this great big world of broken hearts, untrustworthy individuals, fatherless children and diseases running rampant...I think that would be pretty darn special. Like a gift.

Well, my hubby was not my first boyfriend. He wasn't my first kiss or date, etc... He wasn't the first boy to make my heart melt, or the first guy to buy my a dozen roses. He wasn't the first young man to take me down to the lake for a drive (which is where most dates ended up, in our college town. Just being real and honest here.) He wasn't even my "ideal" of a guy, back in the days when us girls would write out our list of who we were going to marry, how many children we would have, and what those children's names would be. Sorry Kev, but you just don't look like my John Stamos posters.

No, Kevin may have not been my "first" love, but I thank God everyday that he is the man God chose for me. Remember people, God really knows what we need more than we do. I needed this teddy bear of a man, who loves me no matter what, who will stick by me even in the hard times, who has a forgiving heart, who loves unconditionally, who puts God first and who totally just "gets" me. Whew! I just plain love the guy!

I was telling someone just the other day, that it is almost funny how serious we all took life when we were younger. The world would end with a broken heart, a rumor spread or a bad hair day. I look back at some of the choices I made in dates and "thank the Lord" that I didn't end up with one of them. I think I only had one past boyfriend, that even believed what I did spiritually. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!! Was it desperation for a date, a little rebellion against the parents, or just that need we all have deep down to be liked? Whatever, it was, I was in over my head, and only by the grace of God did I survive it all, with my heart in tact.

That being said, except for a box of memories, my past is pretty much in the past. After all, it has been 20 years since I even dated anyone but my hubby. As I said before, only one of those guys I dated, was even worth remembering. But, I still keep a few memories just because, they are a part of my childhood, my youth, my growing up days. They are a poster of memories of "what not to do" when my own daughter starts the dating frenzy. (Lord, help me!) Truth is, the likelihood of me even running into most of them is slim...remember, I graduated from an International School in another country, and then there are a few others from college, but they didn't run in the same circles as the hubby, so...

All is good, right?

Well, like I said, I wasn't my hubby's first gal either. In fact he dated one girl for quite a long time in high school and one year in college. They broke up when he felt called into the ministry, for she wasn't where he was in her spiritual walk, in fact church wasn't a big priority for her family at the time. So, he transferred to a Christian university, which is where we met, became good friends and eventually dated.

I remember when he first told me about her. I was looking through his wallet and there were several pictures of her. He didn't try to hide them, wasn't embarrassed that I saw them there. He was honest. You could tell, she meant a lot to him and it broke his heart when she didn't believe the same things he did. He kept the pictures there for a long time, as a reminder to pray for her. I had always heard nice things about her. I had seen plenty of pictures of her. I even knew what house was hers growing up, but it never really bothered me. After all, the way I figured it, he left her to follow a different path, a path that I happened to be a part of.

Move forward a few years. Kevin had taken a group of senior adults to a Gaither Vocal Band concert in another town. When he came home, he told me I would never guess who he saw. He was right, I never would have guessed. It was his old girlfriend. She went up to him and said, "Kevin, I bet you never would expect to see me at a concert like this (meaning Christian.)" That moment, believe it or not, was the first time I felt a little funny about the whole situation. Maybe it was the mood I was in, maybe I was feeling ugly and at my wits end, taking care of two young children all day, maybe I wasn't feeling good enough at this minister's wife business... but for whatever reason, that night I had a few questions for the Lord. Those "what ifs" just kept popping up. What if she had been at a different stage in her relationship with the Lord...

God, quickly shut that book and allowed me to move on.

Move forward. We moved back to Kevin's hometown a few years ago. Now, if I am being totally honest, it isn't always easy to move back to the place where your spouse grew up. Thankfully, my husband was a well liked guy, not too many bad memories floating around with his name stamped on them. But, if I'm honest, it did cross my mind as to where the "ex" might be these days. I have often wondered what it would feel like if we just happened to run into her at Wally World.

Move back to a few days ago. I was on facebook. I was writing something a on friend from church's wall, when I look down and there she was. I couldn't help myself, I went to her profile and read what little I could read about her, without being her friend. And then I did the unbelievable... I wrote her a note and asked her to be our friend. (my hubby and I share a profile.) She accepted in 4 seconds. And then I sat there, nervous, as to what she might write me back.

She was sweet. She told me about her beautiful family. I saw the pictures and she has three little boys. She is very happy. She found her special "love" in life too. And then I realized, that this life we are living is so much bigger than us. God has a plan, and among the broken hearts and busted dreams of what we think we need and want in life, there is a well thought out story, already proof read and signed by the Heavenly Father.

No, my hubby and I might not have fallen in love when we were sixteen, with one glance and lived happily ever after. We may have made some wrong choices, while growing up. But it is so nice to know that we have a Father who has been watching over us, throughout all the curves and U-turns in our journey. I believe our past can only make our future stronger when we realize where we have been and we know where we are headed.

Truth. I think I might even like the ex girlfriend. She sounds like a lot of fun. Who knows...we are fb friends now and she only lives a small town away.

For those who haven't seen it before, thought you might enjoy seeing a picture of Kevin and I in 1990. We had been dating a year. Cute, huh?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sibling Rivalry (A BIG lesson learned by ME.)

As many of you know, I have a sister. A spunky, free spirit, adorable woman named Amber. We have a great relationship. In fact I count her among my best of friends. We are as close as sisters can You see, once upon a time our relationship was nothing but turbulent at best. Oh, don't get me wrong, I loved her, I just couldn't stand her very much at times.

She has spent her whole life wanting to be my age, until now. Amber is 6 and a half years younger than me. So what that means, is I was always in another stage of life than her. She was born when I was in elementary school, When I was in junior high, she finally started school, and by the time I hit college she made it to junior high. Get the picture? In other words, after the cute baby stage, she became a "brat" in my existence. Always wanting and fussing to do what I was doing, or go where I was going. She always thought I was the "favorite" because I could always do more. I always thought she was the favorite because she could always do more earlier. Of course now she is having the last laugh, because I would love to be almost seven years younger...

Anyway, my post is really not about my sister. We get along great, love spending time together and can't imagine life without the other in it, even in blog land. Love ya, Amb! This post isn't about my wonderful parents, who, bless their hearts did the best they could with us, which since we both turned out alright, I say they managed OK at the parenting thing. Love you Jim-Dad and Mommy! No, this post is about my own children and the lessons God teaches me everyday through them...

My kids are exactly two years apart, both were born in the month of October. There wasn't over six years spreading them apart. Which I don't think is a bad thing, it just comes with a whole new set of problems that I never had modeled for me as a child. My mom always had an excuse for my sister as to why she couldn't do what I was doing or why she treated me differently...her age. I don't have the same luxury. There might be a few issues that would work with, but for the most part, they are right there together. Age can't be a factor for them. Sometimes I can use the gender reason, but even in today's world with girls wanting to prove how tough they are and boys are being allowed to enjoy a few more activities outside of the sports arena, even that because a tough reason to use.

So, my problem comes mainly on a day to day basis. When my son looks at me and says; "Mom, you like Kayla better than me." Or Kayla exclaims; "Jordan gets away with everything!" Sound familiar? Then there are the knock down, drag out fights (luckily they are few and far between, but when they do happen, someone always gets hurt!), in which Kayla can still take down her brother, but just barely... Then there is the constant "Jordan stop!" and "Kayla, you are so mean!" Does anyone else out there have to suffer though this "noise" over and over again. And we wonder why us moms go and have our hair colored every few months...

I realized how much they are watching what we do, the other day. They are at constant rivalry for our praise and affection. What an incredible burden for us parents, to make each child feel like he or she is the favorite. Sometimes I do the other day. My last post was about my daughter the artist. As I have said before, she loves to draw. I asked her if I could scan her pictures and show my bloggy friends her work. (If you want to see her art, you can go back one post. I'm pretty proud.) What I didn't realize is that my son was watching and listening. You see, he loves to draw too and by me making a big deal about her work, he felt left out. He came to me later and asked if I thought he was a good artist too.

Humbling for a mom for sure. I do think he is a good artist. He loves to draw animals and has even won some art contests at his school. There is a bench at his school now, in their learning garden, that he painted. I'm pretty proud of him. But he didn't read what I wrote in my post, or why I chose Kayla's was all about passion and God's masterpieces. He loves to draw, but not like his sister. But then, it really wasn't about the drawings, in his eyes, it was about being showered with affirming words of love. It was never my intent to leave him out or make him feel unworthy of my praise.

Since then I have been thinking a lot about this parenting stuff and juggling the whole parenting act. I love and adore my children, both of them. However, they both have two very different personalities. I talk to them differently, I discipline them differently, I enjoy different things with both of them. Yet, I love them equally. I really do not have a favorite. I know it may seem to my son that I enjoy being with my daughter more, but that is natural because we share a love for all the "girl stuff." Yet, I couldn't imagine my life without my cuddly, little bear.

As I was thinking and praying for my children, I realized on such a grander scale how AWESOME the Heavenly Father really is. I mean, He loves each one of us. There are no favorites. Yet, like all siblings, we tend to look over at our brothers and sisters and cry "No fair!" How come you are blessing him that way, and why are you disciplining her like that, Lord. Why does it seem that when my friend prays, you ALWAYS listen. How come I have moments when I can't even feel you there. Sometimes, like children, we wish we were treated all the very same way...yet, do we really want that? As I said before, we are all created different, we all serve a different purpose in this world, we all are beautiful masterpieces with the signature of the Lord Almighty stamped in the corner of our hearts.

A great chapter to read is 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Great verses. My favorite out of this chapter is found in verse 22; "...some of the parts that seem the weakest and least important are really the most necessary..." and verse 27; " Now all of you together are Christ's body and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it."

In other words WE ARE ALL JUST PLUM SPECIAL AND NEEDED IN THIS WORLD!!! How is that for building one's self esteem?! So, as I look over at my brother and sister, in Christ, I need to take the "rose colored glasses" off and look at them for who they are. Creations of the Lord God, struggling to "find themselves" and live for Christ in this cruel and sinful world. What I might handle with ease, someone else may struggle with and so on... It is easy to compare and complain, when we can't see behind all the closed doors of everyone's heart. But Praise the Lord, He can. He doesn't have favorites, He just has extreme love. Enough love, that He died for each one of us. Doesn't get any better than that, my friends.

So, as I'm looking at my children, each one beautiful in their own way, I realize the task before me: to be an example of the greatest parent of them all, making each of them feel beautiful and special in their own way. And when the squabbling occurs, I need to have the patience of the Lord, as hard as that can be, and realize they are just trying to find their own way in this great big world, craving a little love and attention.

To end this post, I would like to say "thanks" for going on this journey with me. Everyday, the Lord teaches me something new about myself. And as I struggle to make it real in my own life, I pray I can encourage someone else along the way. This blog has become my diary of sorts, and there is freedom in writing down the thoughts and feelings of my heart, when sometimes words can not be spoken aloud.

To close this post today, I would like to add a few more drawings. I know you might be a little tired of the artwork bragging, but you see, I have a little boy, who needs to know that is Mommy is very proud of him too. He is so very special to my heart and I am so thankful for him. So here are a few of his favorites...and mine.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Artist

As I look around at the various things my kids have left lying around, my eyes are drawn to the art box and sketch pad that belong to my daughter. Yes, she had asked for a keyboard for Christmas, for music is one of her passions. However, she also asked for art supplies; colors, pastels, charcoals, name it, she wanted it. If you haven't already figured it out, art is another passion of hers. She loves to draw. Her sketch pad goes almost everywhere with her. She reminds me of someone I once knew...

I've always loved art and beautiful things. Arts and crafts at school was always my favorite time. Loved to color, paint, name it. My dad is a wonderful artist, so I guess I have a little of his creative gene running through my veins. In other words I can draw a little, come up with all kinds of cutesy crafts and bulletin boards, decorate a room with ease and scrapbook a whole album of memories in just a few days with the help of my sister...

When I was in high school, I joined the art club in 9th grade and hid there. When all my friends were in Drama and choir, I made the sets and set up the stage behind the scenes. I loved it. In fact I told everyone that I was going to be an art major and go into some kind of design one day...

Hmm...hello college. Hello reality. I might have a little creativeness in my pinkie finger, but my first year of college was hard, with students that had a whole hand of artistic talent. One girl in my classes could sit and draw your portrait on the spot, beautiful pieces of art. It was a humbling experience for me. I soon realized I was in over my head and changed majors. Truth is, if I had had a little more guidance, I might have stuck with it and became an elementary art teacher or something of that sort, for not everyone is called to be a portrait painter, but that is all water under the bridge.

Where am I going with all of this? As I turn the pages of the sketch book before me, I realize something very special. It may have started with stick people and crayons, and led to manga art and cartoons, but I think my little girl has been given a gift. The gift of expressing herself with a pencil and paper. Who knows what she will do with it. She may doodle her little cartoonish subjects forever, or she may go on to do great things with her craft. Who knows what God has in store for her. I just know it makes her mommy giddy every time I see a new drawing.

I have to stop and ask if that is how God feels with me. It gives me the warm fuzzes to think that God might get giddy over something beautiful I might do! It also puts this parenting thing in a whole new light. I might not have gone on to be a famous designer or had a masterpiece placed in a museum, but I am humbled to think that I was used to create two of Gods most beautiful masterpieces yet...we call them "Kayla" and "Jordan." I'm sorry, but that beats a degree in art any day!

The other day I was reading a book by Joyce Meyers. In it was a very small little quote that grabbed me. "God will never help you be anyone but YOU." Wow! I think so many times we "wish" we were someone else, somewhere else, looking like something else. The truth is that each one of us was created by the master artist himself, for a beautiful purpose. Only He didn't just draw us in a sketch pad. He put us straight on canvas, to be hung for the world to see. Somehow, when I see it from the "artist's perspective," I do feel giddy.

So, as everyone has already probably broken at least one of their New Year's resolutions, I am just going to simply try harder to meet God where I me. Yes, there are some things I need to change, spiritually, mentally, physically, but there are also so many special things about me too, that often get overlooked by the feelings of inadequacy, failure and just plain wishing I was someone else, living someone elses life at moments. (Just being real. Like I still think it is unfair that Heidi Klum looks like she does after how many children???) When I look back at the many choices I have made through life, there are many things I would do different, just because I did let fear stand in my way. So, if I have to make a resolution of any kind, I am going to say that I am going to try harder to be happy with just being me. Well, let me rephrase that...I want to be better at being the "me" that God planned me to be.

Normally I would end on that little note, but since I am one proud mommy, I will show you a few of the many drawings that happen to be in THIS book. (She has several of them laying around.)

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Family Christmas Album

Well, I decided to wrap this trip down Christmas memory lane up. So I thought I would share my favorite pictures of the holiday season. There is no rhyme or reason to the order, just that when I look at them, they make me smile.

Here is my sweet mommy. She has to be one of the most patient people I know. There were eleven of us camped out at her house over the holidays, plus my dog. I love her to pieces!!!

My sister Amber and Kayla both got new scarves for Christmas, so of course they had to show them off. Aren't they too cute?! Crazy girls that they are...

Amb and I had to also show off our matching new "furry" shoes. Mom gave them to us and I LOVE THEM! Talk about comfortable...

I tried to get a cute picture of the grandparents and grand kids...out of about eight takes, this was one of the best... The three boys on the right unfortunately can't seem to sit still or smile for five seconds.

I finally gave up and ended up with this. Much better...
These pictures are ALL TATE, my five year old nephew. He is a mess, but we adore this little guy. I laugh at these pictures. They may not be funny to you, but when I remember him "mouthing" off to his dad and then his dad "hanging him up by his toes..." It was a fun moment that ended up in a dog pile of kids.

Then there was the visit to see my 99 year old great aunt Fay. She is so cute. Of course she has
her good and her bad days, but shoot she is 99 years old!!! If anyone deserves a "cranky" day, it's her. Sometimes she remembers who I am and sometimes she doesn't, but she ALWAYS knows who my mom is.
On this particular day it was just my mom and I who went for a visit and we found her in the cafeteria at the nursing home. The lady brought her her burger and asked if she wanted mustard on it and ketchup for her fries and the proceeded to get it all ready for her. My Aunt Fay asks her to cut the sandwich in four pieces. When the lady was done, Aunt Fay looked up at us and said "Now you can have a bite too." Isn't she cute?!

Of course Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without stockings, a beautiful tree, the reading of the Christmas story, lots of smiles, a few naps and of course pancakes for breakfast...

Thanks for hanging in there with me as I posted a few family pictures. It really was a great time, being with family. I am a very blessed gal!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

We Had A White Christmas!!!

Here's the thing, people, I live in Arkansas. Which means the weather could do anything around these parts. One year, we might never see a drop of snow, the next few years we will have ice storms galore. And for some reason, for the past several years our biggest snow/ice has happened in February or March. So, was I planning on seeing a white Christmas?


I knew the weatherman had said we might have a few flakes, but I've stopped listening to them long ago. I sometimes picture God having fun with our poor weather people. It is like He is saying "You just think you know what is going to happen..."
That being said, a little snow did come my way...

When we woke up, Christmas morning, the ground was all white and fluffy. It wasn't very deep, but it was just enough to create a beautiful white Christmas morning and let the kids enjoy a few snowballs.

Jordan with my three nephews.
Kayla with my nephew Tate.
Jordan. Tate making snow angels...
Kevin with my brother-in-law Kirk.
Kayla and our dog Baby girl.

The back door, when the snowball fight ended.

It was a beautiful, very cold, fun day!
Thanks for being patient as I continue to share my Christmas memories...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Gingershack...

Did I tell you about our gingerbread house?
You will have to forgive me, for I had about a week during the holidays in which I didn't post a thing. I finally got my pictures uploaded, so now I am going to spend the next few days playing catch up.

I thought I would start with the "gingerbread house." My mom and I were at the store Christmas Eve and they had those gingerbread kits on sale, so we picked up one. I knew Kayla had been wanting to put one together anyway.

I honestly think there should be a warning label on the box that says "Can cause stress. Impossible to make it exactly like picture on box. Especially if you are working with a thirteen year old who is eating all the icing as she goes and the artistic talents of your five year old nephew." I think we ended up more with a gingerbread shack, but we had fun...

Here we started all smiles...

This is how we ended up before we were finished...

Here is Kayla actually putting the icing on the house...

Here is what Kayla spent most of her house building time doing...

Hmm... wonder where she gets it from?

My five year old nephew Tate took his part in the decorating very seriously...

For some reason the roof kept wanting to slide. Probably could have used more icing Kayla!!!

Ta Da! Here was our masterpiece! Tate was in charge of decorating the front and the back, too cute, huh?

Here's our shack... there may be a few cracks in the roof and a couple of lopsided walls, but it was made with lots of love and a bunch of sticky fingers.
Gotta love those holiday memories...