Friday, December 12, 2008


The advantage to being the sub who is ALSO the wife of the absent teacher:

Sub/Wife can call missing teacher/husband on the cell phone and put it on speaker phone so teacher can yell at the kids from 30 minutes away!

They love it...I love it...It's fun had by all! (except for Sambo who has to throw up a million times to make it happen! Poor baby!)

In case you wonder...Students are STILL trying to get away with stuff because they think the substitute teacher has no brains! Several times today I've been told a suspicious story and then whipped out my cell phone and said, "Well, let's see about that!"

Modern technology turns the table on deceptive pupils! Finally!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My "Mom" letter to Santa

I got a forward this morning from my sister-in-law that made me smile. I thought I'd post it for you! (Actually...I could almost hear my best friend's voice reading this out loud!) Isn't being a mom the best?!

Merry Christmas, friends!

Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year.

I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my own doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out -- over several Christmases. Since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles; and who knows when I'll find any more free time in the next 18 years, so now - -
*** Here are my Christmas wishes ***

* I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (-in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

* I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

* If you're hauling big-ticket items this year, I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

* On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, 'Yes, Mommy' to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

* I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, 'Don't eat in the living room' and 'Take your hands off your brother,' because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

* If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

*If you don't mind, I could also use a few miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely.

*It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing, and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his red crayon back. Have a safe trip Santa, and remember to leave your wet boots by the door, and come in and dry off, so you don't catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table, but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours always with love and appreciation,

A Mom

P.S. One more thing . . You can cancel all my requests, if you can keep my children 'young' enough to believe in Santa.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ruthless Mocking

This is for those nearest and dearest to us from the years 1992-1996. You'll get a kick out of this!

Yesterday we got an e-mail from our counselling pastor at church, saying that he has recommended me and Matt to teach the pre-marital counselling class at church.


Pre-marital counselling.

For people who are wanting to get married and needing Biblical education about whether or not to do it.

From us.

From a couple who managed to be engaged three times with two different engagement rings and almost eloping due to sheer embarrassment.

No final decision has been made by us but I'm sure after I endure the ruthless mocking from my family and three girlfriends, I will know what to do.

(I'm going to TAKE the class!)

Take the Heat

We got a phone call this afternoon from a friend of ours.

It wasn't good. It was familiar to us.

Later, he stopped by so we could love on him...listen and pray. The story and pain weren't uncommon to our kitchen table.

Well, the story was common. The pain-that kind of pain always seems to catch me unaware and leave a new bruise unlike any other.

As we were talking and sorting and advising (attempting through it all to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves"), the thought hit me. "It's all been leading up to this moment for him. The decisions that he makes right now will be the hardest of his life. The choices will matter the most."

I mentioned to him that no matter what, he will always look back on these months as his "refining". He will never be the same. One way or the other, everything changes.

He went on to tell me what he recently found out in regards to the whole "refining" thing. He had heard about the process that silversmiths go through to refine silver into pure silver over fire.

He explained that it's not like the silversmith throws the silver on the fire and then walks away to nap or get a cup of coffee. In fact, he has to stand right over metal as it heats from the fire and he can't take his eyes off of it. He waits for the perfect moment to remove it and if he waits one second too long- it's ruined.

I was stalled for a minute. Isn't that amazing?

To think that when God takes us to the fire to refine us...He's there every moment of it, never taking His eyes off of us. And blessings of all that perfect moment- Relief.

Pure Relief.

Sadly, many don't care to take the heat. They fall for the lie that running from God's intense working can produce the same beautiful results.

I know...I've been known to run.

The confusion is that as the heat gets hotter, the more "wrong" the situation seems!

I always seem to forget in the moment that in refining silver, the silversmith needs to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

Mal. 3:3a- "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver"

SO, if you're in the deepest heat right now and you're feeling desperately alone, remember: Our faithful silversmith is very near, eyes always on you and ready to produce supernatural results just in time and just at the right time!

(And if you're not...just wait and pray! Your time is coming!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Honest Account

"Well, I guess it's time to choose to get back into the swing of things."

This is what I said to myself two weeks ago after days and days of avoidance and hibernation.

That is what I do and I've found that I achieve it with excellence when I'm working through stages of grief and discouragement.

Until a week ago, I will admit that I had yet to utter a word in prayer about the loss of our baby. I had prayed. Prayers for the boys and the bills. Prayers for loved ones and the difficult situation at work. Surface prayers...

I just didn't know what to say.

I still believe to this day that I'm not angry with God. I wanted to be-trust me. I wanted to accuse Him and blame Him for what He allowed. I wanted to stand on my right to ignore Him simply because it felt like He'd let me down. I was even envious of people that could utter the words "I had faith but God failed me!"

The thing is that somewhere along the way, truth has invaded my heart. It's become belief for me.

I believe that God is faithful to His children. I believe that He is good all the time. I believe that He is the creator of all life thus He has every right to take it. I believe God gives us every good gift and that at no point is He a thief of something that would be right for us.

I believe He loves me with an everlasting love that is deeper and more rich than anything I could put into words.

I believe that while it is not the most glorifying to Him, He can handle my moments of indifference. He is big enough to hold onto one that wants to push away. That while it may seem that He is "across the room from me" instead of near me...He is near me.

I believe that this miscarriage is God's grace in my life to reveal my heart and draw me to Himself.

In reflection....

I can't tell you how surprised I was to have both pregnancy tests be positive this time. I was totally shocked! It truly was unplanned and unexpected with my fertility issues.

Every trip to the doctors office week after week and watching the development of our baby only seemed to bond our hearts more to this child.
It became increasingly hard to not imagine the "magical" ending that included another addition to our family. My heart became full in expectation of my arms being full. I spent nights looking at my swelling belly, willing it life and praying for its safety.

The day that I found out that the baby had died, I was heading to the doctor's office with my mother-in-law who was visiting for a week. What seemed like an out of the ordinary fun experience came to be truly providential.

They put me on the ultrasound table and as my mom-in-law and I looked at the large screen tv that they show you the baby on, my heart was slower to accept what my mind was quickly processing. I knew what to look for. This was my 7th ultrasound in 12 weeks.

"I can't believe it. When could this have happened and I didn't realize it?"

My mom (so much less of an in-law) came right to my side. Unlike the last baby that took me days to cry over, this one brought tears that I could not control. I was even a little embarrassed. I felt bad for the doctor who was consoling me. I noticed the nurses who all took the time to hug me in the hallway...they didn't know what to say. I was told that I would have to have surgery. I was too far along to miscarry on my own. I could lose my uterus.

I rushed the surgery because it is horrible beyond words to know that you are carrying a dead baby. They scheduled it for a few hours later and before I knew it, I was laying in a bed on the maternity ward, wishing the minutes away to when this part would be over. Again, the nurses were wonderful. From rubbing my arm to helping me understand that this was not my fault-they made all the difference. Matt made the calls and prayed for me. He was there for me while letting me turn away to be by myself.

They arranged to do an ultrasound before and after the procedure. We insisted upon this. I just couldn't accept it. I wondered if a mistake had been made. Maybe..just maybe they got it wrong and life was what I was expecting.

The days that followed were as surprising to me as the pregnancy and the loss.

First, I was overwhelmed by the love and compassion that I received from the people and children that I work with. By the time I miscarried, I was showing and nearly every student at our school was excited with me. My fellow peers sacrificed and were patient with my morning sickness and rejoiced over every doctor's appointment that brought a new picture of our little one. They are like family and they grieved themselves for our loss. My home was bombarded with calls and food and gifts and flowers and with them came notes of real personal sadness that I would never have expected.

Secondly, was the surprise of family members that reached out across the miles and relentlessly called and sent notes to let me know I was loved. Even when I pulled away they came running. My mom and sisters are my true friends. I've had meaningful conversations with sister-in-laws that have cried with me, understanding my pain from experience. This loss has brought a closeness that I believe was part of the purpose of my sweet baby that is in heaven now.

Lastly, I was surprised by the deep loss that I have felt and that has lingered. I find myself constantly comparing my response to this with the last baby I lost and how long it took me to get beyond it. I compare it with other women and how they handle miscarriages. I think that I should be better...feel less hurt, not still cry when it is mentioned. Then I remind myself that grief is grief. You cannot compare it or put a time line on it. You just have to walk through it. Grief never goes away, you just learn how to live with it in joy.

People have given us books on grief or "How to handle the loss of your child". They sit on my desk. I don't want to read them. I don't want to be "okay" with the loss of my babies but I know I must accept it. I must have faith that things are as they were planned to be long before even my own existence.

I'm surprised at the absence in my home. It feels like someone is not here who should be. My arms are empty and they shouldn't be. I'm suddenly barren without preparation.


I know that the key to healing is praise. It's thankfulness. It's choosing to live by faith that God knows the bigger picture and if I could see with His eyes, I would have ordained this for myself.

It's getting up and making your bed and putting a nice meal on the table in service to those you love.

It's sitting in the bathroom another morning, crying and forcing yourself to crack open the Bible and face what God has for you to learn. It's changing your gaze from His hands to provide you with something to His face-that will teach you something.

It's repenting.

It's putting a turkey in the oven when you don't feel like celebrating and playing "Silent Night" on the piano as you think about another baby...the one that came and took care of our greatest need.

And the hardest one for me...It's accepting that life is not what we thought. It's not the final act. It's not one to have roots in. It's not where we set our hearts. It's a vapor and it's temporary.

For now, honestly, that truth makes my day a little "gray" but I know that God hears my prayer for the return of joy in living. And I keep on praying for that...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good-bye for now...

My sweet friend, Monica, passed away yesterday morning. I just really can't find the words now but please read and watch her at my husband's

These last few weeks with losing my Grandmother and another baby to death and now accepting the reality of Monica's eternal healing instead of an earthly one, I have many questions. While always surrounded by lots people, the days can seem lonely and dark in ways I have not experienced before. I did, however, feel monumentally thankful and refreshed by the message that Monica graciously shared in her interview...just a typical mom, reminding us that life can take many turns and it's important to be grateful and express love and truth-right now, while we still can.

She will be greatly missed by so many that she blessed so much. She's still blessing me in my own grief.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

From the Husband

I am doing a short post for my wife.  

Yesterday she went to the doctor's office for her weekly appointment and when they went to do the ultrasound, they couldn't find the heartbeat.  We had to go in last night to the hospital for the D & C.  

She asked me to post something here so that you all would know and could pray for her.  We are hoping for a quick recovery.  We are also praying for the presence of the Spirit of God during this time.

Even when you know all of the right ways to think and to act, it doesn't alleviate the challenge or the heartache during those times.  Isn't it interesting that there can be joy in the midst of sorrow?

I have some thoughts over here.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Something good for something better....(Life after a miscarriage)

I'm not sure if you've had one of these kind of days like today but it was a day like many of mine before.

Sure, I was walking around doing my job...researching new library books and counting up PB&J sandwiches to make sure there was a proper lunch count. Smiling at co-workers and making small talk about the weekend. I looked very normal and that was the goal. With weeks of asking my peers to be patient with severe morning sickness, the last thing I wanted to do was to spill my struggling heart to innocent by-standers. I was the picture of "common".

Except I wasn't.

From the minute I got up and maybe a few hours last evening, I became plagued with fear. I desired to toss my beliefs and wallow a bit in the darkness that was enclosing my brain.

I was in an argument with God.

(I can hear my mom gasp right now..."WHAT? Did she actually say she was arguing with God??")

Yes, Momma. There is no point in lying. He was hearing my heart loud and clear.

I wish I could say differently but the truth is, it doesn't take much for me to fuss at God. It's my biggest area of needed change. I'm a perpetual 9 year-old Christian!

Today's argument went on a while. It was an area deep within myself that I have visited times before but quickly desire to close the door and forget about.

I've been waiting to talk about my pregnancy for various reasons. Honestly, it came so unexpected that it has taken me some time to accept it...if I have yet? Shortly after finding out, like clock-work, I was familiarly sick. In the past I've been able to camp on the couch for a few weeks to get through it but now I work full-time so much of my energy is spent at school and when I get home-I crash.

But mostly, my hesitation comes in the form of trepidation.

You see, three years ago as many of you remember, I miscarried. I was nine weeks along (as I am now) and it was such a shock after the blessing of seeing the baby and a healthy heartbeat a few weeks earlier. It was harder to work through than I anticipated but more surprisingly is the "aftermath" of trauma that I'm having in this pregnancy.

Because of the last failed pregnancy and my age when delivering (ancient "35"), I'm high risk. My doctor has followed this pregnancy..literally...moment by developmental moment. I've known since 4 weeks pregnant and I've had an ultrasound every week. I've seen everything from when there was nothing to really see to...bam! Baby and heartbeat. It has been amazing. But,

I can feel myself trying not to love it.

Of course, it's not working. Even more than the typical mom, I have a visual intimacy with this baby that most are not so blessed to get but really-it's not like they are any different than me! I can't think of a woman who has gotten pregnant that doesn't concern herself with the idea that she could miscarry in the first trimester. We all deal with the uncertainty of whether we will get to hold our babies. That's not up to us. If you try to maintain and control's like, well...trying to grasp water. It's just not possible.

Still, I argue with God for the outcome. I know the fear will subside when I give "back" the baby He's fashioned in my womb but...I don't want to! I want this one, Lord. He's made us to desire for children. It's a good thing-this plan I have in my mind.

I ask Him for help. I know He has graceful ways to open my fingers to what is His and I pray that He will teach me with patience. My heart is still jumbled from my last loss and I need Him to move give grace for understanding and mercy for my stubbornness.

So, I sneak down to the cafeteria for morning chapel. One of my favorite teachers, Mr. Heavner has already begun but I slip into a chair as he's telling a story about saving for something He really wanted as a teen. He mentioned sacrificing lots of good things like sleep and Saturdays to work for his prize. And then, He asked a question that I had never thought about.

You see, it's easy for Christians to commit to the idea that they are willing to give up something bad for something good. That's a no-brainer. We read the scriptures about what bad things can bring us versus good and with the exception of the "bad but good for a season" junk that trips some of us- we accept the knowledge that "good" is a better deal.

But...are we willing to give up something "good" for something "better"?

I mean, God calls us to that just as much.

Are we willing to give up the dreams, hopes, well thought out plans and ideas that we've created for the "better" that God has in store?

I stole the phrase from my good friend Lori but it's true...Whose story do you want written? Yours or His?

This is a tough crossroads to work through. It's easy when small things are on the line but when the "better" might be the loss of a child like the Chapman family or my sweet friend Jill who has lost two babies in a row to miscarriage and an awesome mother to cancer...the answer is harder to form.

I felt the Lord begin to gracefully open my mind to His constant love for me and His faithfulness to always do good. I was inching my way towards truth and then I was catapulted by a song I heard on the way home.

Stephen Curtis Chapman added a verse to his song "Yours" after the death of Maria. I had to pull the car into a parking lot as I let myself take in the fullness of what the words meant in light of the choice He and really...all of us have to make at some point.

"I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here
in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.

And it’s all Yours God, Yours God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky to the depths of the ocean floor
And it’s all Yours God, Yours God
Everything is Yours
All the greatness and power, the glory and splendor and majesty
Everything is Yours

At the end of the day:

This baby is God's.

By His grace and power in me, I will always choose to be willing to give up my something "good" for His something "better".

Mostly importantly, faith is believing that no matter how it looks or feels...if it comes from the hands of God- it is best.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Where in the world is Charity??

Sick...oh so very, shockingly sick.

After my last post, Devin should find this amusing...

Completely unplanned, completely without fertility drugs (wha-huh?), Completely terrifying and wonderful all put together...

"Life" takes a curve at our house.

More posts to come but you can find out our announcement here:

"Four" (Click)

Where my very un-sick husband says it all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Alrighty...I'm calling on my friends for their answer to my thirty-something question!

What is it exactly that takes a well established, full-time working mom that has had her turn with an infant or two(up all night, breastfeeding, colic, baby flu, poopie dipes, the dreaded vaccines, etc.) to suddenly face a day of longing for a new baby?

It will continue to baffle me that the moment I think I've arrived at that settled "I'm Done"- that darn yearning creeps back up to get me. It's so frustrating! Are there just some baby-lovin' moms that NEVER totally feel done?

Or is the fact that my oldest is too big too hold and now wears a size 12 and my youngest is reading and swimming and dying to call me "mother" that's just making me nostalgic?

I do love a little bubba..all smelly and soft and cooey.

*sigh* What's a mom to do?

Summer Treat

Here's my question...

If you lift weights for 35 minutes and then go directly to Dairy Queen for a vanilla cone- Does this in fact cancel out the workout?

You know what? Who the heck cares?!

Isn't loading up the wet kids from the pool on a warm night and running to Dairy Queen for ice cream as a family one of those delightful summer treats? I'm careful with the calories but I'll always throw caution to the wind for a cone with my boys!

Ah...summer goes by so fast.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Milo gets a Cast

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What do you NOT want to do on a Saturday night..when you and everyone else in the house is sick...when you are supposed to be in bed for church the next day...when you are poor Christian school teachers and are hoping for an extended vacation in two weeks??

Make an emergency trip to the all-night vet.

It's a freakin' fortune!

Milo lost a toe nail during a clipping and the result was two owners, one...grouchy from getting the cold passed around our house and the other frequently having to put his head between his legs so he wouldn't get sick from the blood, deciding that they needed some outside help.

I love my dog and I would NEVER let him bleed to death unnecessarily but I cannot describe the sheer anger and frustration as the cash left my bank account.

Anyway, he's better and we officially will never again clip his nails ourselves.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why Friendship?

I've been wanting to do this post for a while but just haven't gotten up the gumption. I'm under no illusion that people actual read these long, thoughtful blogs...they'd rather have the pics and quick updates but I mostly do them for me. I want to re-confirm what is tossing in my brain and put it on paper. Blogs are easier because you can just type!

My husband and I are so different when it comes to the need for friendship and its purpose.

He...He doesn't feel the need for many friendships. I know this is partly Biblical. Friendship in its intended purpose by God is to be entered into carefully. Matt puts alot into our relationship and the unique friendship that we have as husband and wife and it's very valuable to him. It's really enough for him, he would say. He's been hurt by friendship and he's very guarded about whom he chooses. I respect this.

Myself, on the other hand...friendship is very important. For a long time it was too important- there was no balance in it. I think at some point in my life it became a sign of personal value for me. The more friends, the more worth. I know differently now and I'm thankful that God has grown me to a mature understanding of what gives me purpose. I have hurt friends and that makes me very careful about the kind of friend I am now.

Moving here to the South was really great in many ways and yet unexpectedly difficult in others. This is a college town so people here are friends in a rare way that is developed when you school and live together. There are small groups here and there and I watch as a newbie how they relate to each other in such a familiar fashion. How they are reliable when heartache there's always a long ago memory to share and laugh about. I feel saddened sometimes at the collage of pictures they have together not because I begrudge what they have but because it is a reminder of something that I have lost.

You see, I used to have my own "group". Oh, there's been a few groups along the way but only one that has been there for years. That seems missing now. I love my friend, Steph because she is what I like to call the "eternal friend optimist". She believes that true friendship will always come back around in time.

It's not that I don't believe this but I have learned that sometimes friends need to disband for the greater good. Sometimes the pain is just too deep and even more, while forgivable...simply not fixable here on earth. I know that blows the whole high school theory that people are "friends forever". It wouldn't be the first hope blown to smithereens by the jolt into adulthood, right?

So, in the wake of the heartache that friendship can so often bring, I find myself asking the question, "Why friendship?" Why don't I just call the whole thing off like my husband and save myself all the trouble? Why put yourself out there on the grounds that can so easily swallow you up? Is it worth what it may cost you?

I believe the answer is in the chaos.

"It's not about you."

It's ironic because the very "friend scrooge" himself (My Husband) is the one that introduced me to a beautiful definition of the purpose of friendship by C.S. Lewis.

Lewis wrote a book called "The Four Loves". As Matt would put it, "Lewis had the ability to look into a situation and not just pull out a truth but pull out THE truth." He's so right.

Lewis was describing a friendship circle that he was involved in. He loved these men so much. Sadly, he lost one of them to death. He recalls his dismay as he realized that what he expected to happen with the loss of one of them...which was to actually become even closer to the others..he found the opposite to be true. Read his account here:

One of his friends, Charles, died.

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself, I am not large enough to call any person completely into activity. I want other lights than my own to show off the facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s reaction to a specifically Charles joke.

Far from having him to myself now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald. In this, friendship exhibits a glorious resemblance to heaven itself with the very multitude of the blessed, which no man can number, increase the fruition each has of God. For every soul in heaven seeing Him in her own way communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That is why the seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ to one another.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

He then went on to give an actual description of what the purpose of friendship is for. I WAS AMAZED AT THIS...Here's a small portion:

Friendship (philia, φιλια) is a strong bond existing between people who share a common interest or activity. Lewis explicitly says that his definition of friendship is narrower than mere companionship: friendship in his sense only exists if there is something for the friendship to be "about".

It is the least natural of loves, states Lewis; i.e., it is not biologically necessary to progeny like either affection (e.g., rearing a child), eros (e.g., creating a child), or charity (e.g., providing for a child). It has the least association with impulse or emotion.

In spite of these characteristics, it was the belief of the ancients (Lewis himself, too) that it was the most admirable of loves because it looked not at the beloved (like eros), but it looked towards that "about"--that thing because of which the relationship was formed.

This freed the participants in this friendship from self-consciousness. Because the more they were looking towards something beyond or above themselves, the more those who were looking towards that thing with them were welcomed with the same sincerity, which freed the relationship from jealousy.

And although the love may not be biologically necessary, it has, argued Lewis, civilization value. The thing beyond or above themselves may be of monumental importance to society. But without the benefit of friendship to blunt the loneliness of "being the only person who sees this", or the idea that two heads are better than one, many advances in society may never have been embarked upon.

Friendship is God-given to be "about" Him.

He gives it to us so that we are not the only eye-witnesses of His glory and majesty. I will see Him in ways that no one else will and you will enjoy that likewise. Through my husband's eyes and because of his life experiences, I will be able to view God in a light that I may not have visualized on my own. When focused on and centered around our God, friendship can be such a benefit to our lives..such an encouragment. An unusual treasure.

So, why does friendship go wrong?

Because we so often make it "about" a person or ourselves. Or, when what we are individually "about" doesn't match up.

We need each other. We are not islands to ourselves. We must reevaluate the relationships in our lives and what they are "about". If it is as God intends then there will be an open freedom to include anyone without jealousy or self-preservation. There is a safety in people who are about the things of God. We should welcome them into our lives.

Thankfully, God has answered my friendship question. I'm so happy to find that it IS important! No more beating myself up for desiring it but more than that, I want to be a person that is known to be sincerely "about" God. Making Him my ambition will additionally prepare me to be the friend that is needed to those around me.

It may not be the most popular Facebook...with a view of vacations and timeless memories. It's bigger than that. It's my own distinctive glimpse of God offered to someone who needs it.

That is friendship.

Quick Check-In

Alright, first...Thank you all so much for your comments in my last post. I did meet with a group of teen girls last Tuesday and it went really well. It felt a little strange to be talking to a room of teenagers and have them take notes over what I was saying! It can make you paranoid! I would have never made it as an official teacher!

I wish I had more to blog about but it's been a true summer "vacation" around my house. I am doing as little as possible to tidy the house and feed my men and then I hit my swing with my latest book or go for a long walk. I feel the day coming that it will be all over and it leaves me with that teensy bit of panic in the pit of my stomach that only presses me to r..e..l..a..x more!

Sam and Jo have been hangin' with me also and had a great time in swim lessons. I took Sam with me to the gym today to work out and it was one of those strange "mommy moments" when I watched him lift a little bit of weight on a machine. He's going to be ten in a couple of weeks and that blows my mind. I'm coming around to accepting that I'm no longer that mother of babies anymore but Sam is pushing it! Too big too fast. I watch my friends with their little ones and I get a bit sad but with every change in life, their is the birth of something new.

Like consistent sleep...and kids that can puke on their own!...and full fledged monopoly games...and embarrassing laughter...OH, there's the "they can clean the toilet for you" privilege!-That's a great one when you have boys!

So, August is coming and bringing lots to look forward to. My family reunion is around the corner and Sam's big double digits b-day...we're taking him to Chicago for two days to celebrate. Matt turns 36 this next month...THIRTY-SIX! I am SOOO making fun of him for that. I'm going home to see my best bud, Steph and we plan to party in a get-a-way location! And then...back to school and to work "full-time" for me.

EHHH. I'm going to go read and eat ice cream now. See ya!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Liar, Liar (If You're Reading This, I Need Your Help!)

I remember sitting in the dark bus next to one of my closest guy friends and making the decision to hold his hand. We weren't dating and my best girl friend who cared very much for him was sitting a few seats in front of us. I knew it would hurt her if I did it. It would be selfish and disloyal. I believed the lie that all was fair in love and war, right? Acting on your feelings was what you were expected to do when you were 16.

I was 12 and I was a student at our local public school. My parents were continually on me about dressing modestly but daily I would roll my jean skirt when I got to school so it would transform into a "mini". I went behind my dad's back and bought my first pair of "stretch" jeans. When he saw me in them, he forbade me to step out of the house with them. I threw them into my backpack and when I got to school, I changed into them. I did this a lot. I believed the lie that if you fudged on modesty it never really hurt anyone, right?

I had just gotten my license. My dad gave me strict instructions that I was only to drive around town and then back home. I called to ask if a friend of mine and myself could go out of town to her boyfriend's house. He said no. I called him later after a plan had been formed and told him that her parents were taking us. I then drove us there against my Dad's command. I believed the lie that I knew better than my authority and that the possibility of being caught in my deceit was unlikely if I was careful.

Cosmo, People, Redbook, Days of Our Lives, Horoscopes, Movies, V.C. Andrews, Dallas, "Big Hair Bands", etc... I believed the lie that I could fill my mind with humanism in the form of every entertainment possible and it would not shape my life beliefs and choices.

My Worth= boyfriend, updated clothes, hair, hair and more hair, size, friendships, talents
I've been ask by a lady in another church here in town to come and speak to a group of girls age 13-18 next Tuesday about some of the lies of Satan that I believed when I was their age.

Oh Boy.

I've been spending today trying to begin to correlate my list in my head so I can spend the next couple of days writing my outline but I'm afraid I'll miss some. I would love your help-even if it's anonymous! Most likely, my closest friends can avoid telling me there own and will just remember some that I'm missing about myself! :)

I guess my question is..If you had a daughter sitting in that room, what would you want her to hear?

There is so much about heart issues that I wish a 30-something woman would have spoken candidly about when I was a teen. I mean, I knew about fixing up the exterior to look like the good girl but it never reached my "idol factory"-my heart! It's a falsehood that you grow out of the lies that you embrace as a young girl. In fact, if not dealt with and without repentance, you totally carry them to adulthood. THAT is the truth!

Help me out! Your transparency in my comment section is for a good cause. Let's stomp out the lies!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Doomed to New

I had an interesting conversation with my 9 year old yesterday.

He's very "planet conscious"...trying to consider new ways to care for and conserve the earth that God has blessed us with.

Well, I'm not sure what drove him to exasperation yesterday but like so many of us that become weary in well doing, he exclaimed in his frustrated voice, "I guess we're just doomed! I mean we're using up our water and destroying the ozone layer-I don't even see the point in trying."

Of course, this was a perfect teaching moment as a mom and I didn't want to waste it. I explained to him that as Christians-we are promised to never be doomed! That God plans to preserve our souls forever and to give us a brand new earth to enjoy! The only people who are doomed are those that sadly decide to reject truth and not be right with God.

I felt for Sam. It does get discouraging to remember the big picture. The more things change and the further mankind moves away from what God intended, it's easy to begin to believe that things are doomed or even closer to my home, "people" are doomed..unable to change, unreachable, unforgivable.

Matt and I are very blessed and privileged through our church to be able to participate in the accountability and restoration of troubled marriages. We meet with couples asking God for a sincere spirit of humility as we are consistently reminded that it is not people that save's only God. Many times I'm burdened by the task. I feel inadequate, unable to communicate God's love without getting in the way.

But, most of the time...I'm just inspired.

I am constantly reminded week to week as I watch fallen people get back up by God's power to help them change that He is still working..still faithful to the faithless...still transforming the hopeless...still making things new. Just as He will do the amazing work of creating us a new earth to admire, He is still doing the intimate work of creating new marriages from broken ones to enjoy, restored families to share life with and new hopes for tomorrow.

We always think of God somehow "cleaning" things up, pulling something together from tattered pieces but that's just not good or "God" enough! He makes it brand new, better than before, more than you could have imagined.

It's always been His promise to us-we just forget it!

I can remember a day a few years ago when I felt completely hopeless in my life situation. I was driving to church (go figure) and I prayed the only prayer I could manage at that time..."God, give me something to hope in." I think everybody visits there at some point or another in their spiritual walk. You feel you have nothing to live for, no way to make things right, unable to "clean it up".

Later that day we went to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert and his first song was "All Things New". It was so amazing. I stood at my seat and wept through every note of it. I knew God was using it to minister to my broken heart. That day I turned and started walking in a different direction. I knew there was hope for me. I began to obey and He began to create...

So, as I sat across from my sweet, new friend this week as she cried out that she felt nothing hope, despair-I went back to that night in the stands of the Bi-Lo Center. I rejoiced within myself for me and for her. You see, He's still making everything new. She cannot be doomed in His family and care. He redeems, renews, restores.

I hope you get to partake in the supernatural hand of God to change you and someone in your life. One dose of it and you'll never be the same!

All Things New

You spoke and made the sunrise, to light up the very first day
You breathed across the water, and started the very first wave
It was You
You introduced Your glory, to every living creature on earth
And they started singing, the first song to ever be heard
They sang for You

You make all things new
You make all things new

Then the world was broken, fallen and battered and scarred
You took the hopeless, the life, wasted, ruined and marred
And made it new

You make all things new
You make all things new
You redeem and You transform
You renew and You restore
You make all things new
You make all things new
And forever we will watch and worship You

You turn winter into spring
You take every living thing
And You breathe Your breath of life into it over and over again

You made the sunrise, day after day after day
But there's a morning coming, when old things will all pass away
And everyone will see

You make all things new
You make all things new
Come redeem and come transform
Come renew and come restore
You make all things new
You make all things new
And forever we will watch and worship You

Now and forever You are making all things new
You're making all things new


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Five to go... really was ME.

Not the thyroid or retaining water or some other excuse I considered...with a little self-control along with alot more portion control, I've actually dropped the first five pounds I was trying to lose.

I will say that it was very hard over the holiday with parties and stuff. Yesterday we went and visited a friend's restaurant and of course, he wanted to treat us well. I did good with a big ole' salad that he made me but then he brought out several large pieces of cheesecake. Ouch.

So, I've been walking and running and lifting weights and I'm back to my old days of throwing out half of what's on my plate and it's all very familiar to me...I hate it. But, I come from genetics where we all struggle with this and it's a fact of life. I'll be 35 this year...oh brother...and I know that if I'm not careful and a good steward of my body, it will only get harder. This is for God and I have to remember that...especially when Matt reminds me that he doesn't like the "skinny girl" look! Can you believe that?

Oh well.

Below is a recipe that has saved me this weekend. My mom has lost 40 pounds this year on a sugar-free type diet and she made me this pie when she came to see me. It's very yummy! If you're looking for a healthier desert, you may want to try it! Made my way, it's 150 calories a slice! WOW!

Key Lime Pie (Or I call it "diet pie" but that's less appealing!)

1 box of sugar-free Lime jello (four serving size)
1/4 cup of boiling water
2 fat free key lime yogurts ( Use Yoplait's thick and creamy-100 calories)
1 (8 ounce) container of cool whip (light, sugar free, or fat free preferred)
1 reduced fat graham cracker crust

First, get all your ingredients opened and ready to dump into a bowl with your mixer. You don't want the jello to set up but it will if you aren't fast enough! Boil the water and mix into the jello until dissolved. Quickly add the two yogurts. Mix the jello and yogurt with the mixer until well blended. Add your whipped cream container and mix gently just until blended. Pour filling into your crust and refrigerate until chilled. You can serve topped with or without more cool whip.

This pie is totally interchangeable so you can do any flavor that you can find jello and yogurt that are the same such as strawberry, lemon, pineapple etc.

Trust me! It will take you 5 minutes to make it and it is a crowd pleaser!

Happy Dieting!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, America!

I'll admit it...

I had lost my zeal over the 4th of July. The last couple of years we have just hung out at home and today when I told Jo we were going to see fireworks he actually said, "What are fireworks?"

Can you believe that? Sad commentary considering the the 4th was the big deal to look forward to when I was growing up with the carnival in town and the fireworks at the park every year.

So, I went on a search for other people that didn't have family to spend the holiday with and I threw a party. So, So, Sooo much fun. We had a great time. I got to collide my worlds a bit with my friend Sarah and her family from school and our church friends, Matt and Lori.

After my house party, we loaded up and went to see fireworks in town. It was a great time as I saved a private stash of sparklers for my girls and we ohhhed and ahhhed over the awesome fireworks display. (Really...they were amazing!)

Here are some random pics from the evening!

Our original four! Matt and Lori were the first people that reached out to us in friendship when we moved here and were the ones that invited us to our church. It's funny that although time goes by so quickly, we now think of them as "old friends". We always have a great time when they are around!

Wow...yeah, Lori took the "do a crazy face" literally! Sorry Lori..I had to put it on here! it's just too weird!

Matt and baby LuLu

Great Big Brothers!

Here are the Matts passing along to the next generation the art of "home fireworks". In the south they are legal so we get to be up ALL night while the teenagers on our block set them off.

Smart Dad and Mom protecting baby Jenna from the unpredictable blasts!

Ok...I had to post this because when we uploaded them, Matt and I were transfixed on his gray hair! Oh My Word! My man is getting old!

The Party Scene...Off to the fireworks!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Weighty Issue

I'm sitting at my computer trying to catch my breath and soothe my aching legs from the walk that I just took when the dreaded word keeps floating around my brain...


Can I take the liberty to gripe just a bit about this issue? Isn't it something that plagues most women nearly all of their lives?

I say that but there is that rare breed of girl that seems to walk around unphased by the scale and perfectly content with the backside of her thighs. How does one become this woman? Can you truly change your perspective and convince yourself into the belief that we ARE more than our measurements?

I have to believe you can but if it's impossible then I'm doomed to days like today till the end of my time and I just can't deal with that.

I've always been an average sized women...not too big and not very small. My weight has always pretty much fallen right in the middle of what's normal for a person my height. (The major exception being months during and after pregnancy...whoa!) A few years ago "life" brought a pretty heavy amount of stress my way and I lost 40 pounds.

While I hated the constant stress...I loved being underweight for the first time in my life! If you haven't picked up a size zero in the store and didn't bother to try it on because you knew it would fit, you're missing one of the real joys in womanhood! Those genetically skinny girls don't know how great they got it! It was such a relief!

Now I freely admit, I looked terrible. No shape, gaunt face...I was the making of one of those less attractive contestants on America's Next Top Model! But, I could eat whatever I wanted and clothes in the smaller sizes are just so cute!

The ironic thing is that even at my smallest, my day was still controlled by the number on the scale. You know what they say about weighing yourself? "License to starve..license to eat!" With all the other chaos in my life, I could clearly see that my scale needed to go. I was verging into another life-dominating problem and I had all of those I could manage.

Four years later and I popped on the scale this of maybe five times in the past four years that I've weighed myself.


Eye opener.

My problem is that I'm unashamedly happy right now. Virtually no stress. Very relaxed and frankly, I'm my father's daughter! We like to eat. Diet pills aren't even a temptation for me because I barely ever eat because I'm hungry.

I love food. I love to cook. I love having dinner parties. I love going out to eat. I love the whole experience...the drink with ice and the endless options...the rolls, the meat...desert! I love the fellowship and fun.

I know...I'm destined, right? This weight thing will always be an issue.

My question is-Can you enjoy food like I do AND be a good weight? Does it have to be a trade off? I fear that if it does I'm in trouble. My sister said once that "Nothing tastes as good as feeling thin feels!" but I'm on the fence with that...

Mexican food tastes r..e..a..l..l..y good!

So, I went against my belief system about gyms being the den of wickedness and I joined the YMCA again. Mostly it's for the kids to enjoy their programs this summer and I'm only going to lift weights. I've got my full coverage work out clothes ready in an attempt to divert disgusting men.

I'm also dieting. YUCK! Right now I only have ten pounds to drop and I guess I can give this a fair shot before it gets any worse. I have a really bad attitude about it so I'll need some encouragement from my sister Julie to..."Think positive!"

My husband ate 6 bazillion pieces of ooey-gooey pizza tonight and washed it down with a couple of brownies. He's lost 11 pounds since June 8th.

I want to hit him with something hard while he's not looking when I think about that!

Media has ruined it for us, ladies. Remember the paintings of those curvaceous naked women that reflected the ideal Victorian woman? What happened to that?

These are the questions that plagued me today as I geared up for self-denial. My carrot sticks and broccoli heads did not bring the answers.

Maybe you guys know?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A weekend that was..well...pretty much- "On the Rocks"

Okay...honest truth?

...not our best family vacation ever.

Sorry to disappoint. If you're currently married and have children, you should on some level be able to sympathize with our outcome. Some trips are a complete home run while others fall short.

Surprising too because this one had all the seeming potential for a weekend of fun.

You know, depending on who you ask in our house, it probably was a lot of fun, but to the mom...not so much.

I'm not a huge fan of Chimney Rock due to my late in life struggle with vertigo. One dizzy moment on a cliff along with a frustrated husband and the mother of the house was crying.

I typed that right, my friends-crying. I barely cry ever. I started the trip at our first event within 30 minutes, blubbering in the car.

Totally embarrassing.

It was on the above trail that I also apparently strained my calf muscle(s), leaving me unable to get around until..well, I'm still propped up in bed healing. I will say that my less than graceful way of walking after the first day did encourage the boys in my party to randomly phone-video me going from the kitchen to the bed and laughing together at my expense.

*sigh* Just doin' my job part to keep morale up.

Then, the condo we stayed in left A LOT to be desired. It was clean but it was at the bottom of a group of rooms and with all the rain and the dark paneling, along with some pretty bad carpet, it left you feeling like you were staying in a "second cousin, twice removed, who lives by some big ole' creek's" basement apartment. It was sort of damp and moldy smelling. I mean, I was actually jealous of the RV people across the creek!

Granted, we didn't pay a lot for it and it was remarkably clean for its age but I hated being in it. When questioned by my hubby, I couldn't tell you exactly what was causing my extreme reaction of disdain.

Ever been like that? You don't know if you'd hate it as much some other time of the month?? Are you over-reacting and under-producing progesterone? I don't know.

We did have an incredible view, though. An amazing creek with big boulders ran through the back yard and it was so cool. The boys loved it and I had to work to get them all to stay off those darn rocks! Then I realized that I could take my new book and escape to some hiding place and read next to a waterfall. Seriously, what shocked me the most was that you could actually enjoy somewhere so beautiful and be all by yourself. Privacy is so hard to find these days. With a big mountain over-looking our was heaven.

For the rocks we probably will return. We've just got to talk the Smiths into tent-camping with us! What do you think, Lori? I'll bring plenty of hot dogs!!

Lake Lure. Well, let's just say that to my knowledge the last "move" that was done in this lake was by Patrick and Jennifer! I went all prepared to show off for you guys and we discovered that the lifeguards will not let you pick up or throw anyone in their presence or you will get in trouble! Can you believe that? We are two grown, consenting adults that have a good idea the trauma we could do to ourselves attempting an "in-water dance move" and they STILL blew their whistles at Matt! Total Bummer!

Completely sun-fried and limping, we came home early on Monday and decided once again..."There's no place like home".

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Me, Attempting to navigate without killing myself

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The back yard area of our rental

"Evening Shade"-where we stayed

One of three poisoness snakes that we encountered on this trip!
Below is Matt and Sam checking the above Copperhead out:
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A view of my special reading spot with my latest book.
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