Thursday, June 26, 2008

Guess Where I'm Going This Weekend???

That's right, my girlfriends...I'm going to Lake Lure-Home of "this" film!

I'm not going to directly name the movie because let's face it...I'm still a little afraid of my mother! :)

But, if you were alive and pushing your teen years when this came out you will only need to see this picture to squeal a little bit in glee with me!

We live about 45 minutes from Chimney Rock State Park and Lake Lure. There you can find the cabins that "Baby" and her summer bo stayed in and the hotel. This is "Johnny's Cabin"

The Inn that is there provides a full menu of Baby items to choose from:

Baby's Burger $3.95 Kid-sized char-grilled patty served on a bun
Baby's Cheeseburger $3.95Kid-sized char-grilled patty with American cheese served on a bun

Of course, I made the mistake and checked the weather report and it's suppose to rain the whole weekend but then I had a ray of hope...that will only make the moment that I make Matt replay the lake scene with me MORE authentic!! I've been practicing my "run and jump" move all week! I'm actually very good at it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

...And the clock keeps ticking

I can't believe it.

It only took me a week out of school and off of work to digress back to my old sleep patterns.

I used to think that I suffered some form of insomnia because I would spend every night roaming the house until 2am but then I went back to work and discovered is was not, in fact, insomnia but...

Not Enough Work.

I thought I was going to die for like the first two months of school! My head would hit the pillow at around 7:30pm and I was out like a light! Go figure?

It was so great when I adjusted to the long hours and early rise schedule that I swore I would maintain through the summer to keep myself from the windfall of starting the vicious cycle all over again and here I am...totally staying up.

Such a lazy loser.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Own Mouth Mountain

This is humbling to admit.

Maybe I shouldn't. I know others wouldn't but blogs are perfect for "venting"...or maybe "confession".

God is taking me on a new journey. I find it very intimate how you can look back and see God rolling out the carpet for a walk that He wants to take you on and how He throws situation after situation into your path to carry you in one direction.

Frankly, I find myself at the bottom of a VERY LARGE mountain.

It wouldn't be the first time. I can remember many uphill climbs as God has released me from sin in the past. I've always dialogued the same way at the base of the hill...

"I cannot do this. This is the official stumper of my life. There is just no way that this will change..."

What's also always the same is that if I humble myself and utilize God's transforming power within me...I climb. I crest. I change.

You'd think I wouldn't doubt so much-but here I am at another mountain and it seems bigger than any other and I'm very concerned.

The Mouth Mountain

God has opened my eyes in some not so enjoyable ways to the truth that I have trouble with my tongue.

Maybe I've been in denial about it in the past...maybe I pushed away at something I didn't think was all that damaging...maybe I even valued what not being "carefully spoken" has brought me? I'm not sure...I just know that as I sit at my computer tonight, I am painfully aware that I have a problem.

I can recall a friend of mine saying to me in high school.."You know why I love you, Charity? Because you'll talk about what no one else will discuss!"

It's funny because I can vividly remember attaching onto that compliment and really finding worth in it. I worked at being the crazy, off the cuff, funny girl that would entertain with lavish stories or speak frankly about whatever was bothering me.

I love to give my opinions...even if I have no real knowledge to base them on and while judgement has gone from me in the past few years, I used to condemn like it was my full-time job.

My list could go on and on in an aggressive attempt to convince you of my mountainous mouth disease but that's not the point of this post. The point is..what am I doing about it?

First, massive amounts of repentance. God is breaking me down and glaring my problem in ways that seem unbearable. I feel sick about the people that I have hurt with my words or the ways that I have pulled ones that I love down instead of lifting them up.

I think of all the times that I missed the chance to really listen to someone sharing their heart with me because I was so desperate for them to take a breath so I could get my own thoughts out.

I realize for the first time that every substantial failure in my life started conversation. Every relationship lost, every self-serving moment given away with a few sentences made up of ungodly words. I never really got the utter destruction that words can cause:

Proverbs 11:9
An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

Proverbs 11:11
By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

Did you get that? Entire cities are overthrown by mouths...

Is it any wonder that marriages are torn apart by words or children no longer value the unique gift that they are from God by judgements from their parents? Ministries crumble because people speak carelessly or gossip. Wars and fights, Businesses and Careers-all lost because of someones little tongue.

I just...I never really comprehended that.

It makes you concerned to say anything at all.

Secondly, I'm studying. It's my summer goal to do an extensive research of what the Bible says about our speech and then to plead with God to purify my words. I know He is mighty to change and I'm believing that He will guide me in His ways.

My biggest question is how to change and still be able to be me? I imagine that to obey God's commands on speaking is to become totally silent! :) Maybe that's somewhat true but I know that God has given me my personality and sense of humor. I don't want to begin to practice His principles and have 20 people all whispering, "What's wrong with Charity-she's no fun anymore!"

I know that sounds stupid but I'm a conversationalist! I'm not sure how to manage this?

Matt keeps reminding me that when I begin to use my words for edification to others-that will only "enhance" my personality. That speaking God's way is what I was created to do and I will be most useful and enjoyable to those around me when that is fulfilled in me.

I don't know....I'm still scratching my head about that.

Anyway, this is just my transparent blog about my current struggle...who am I kidding? It's my life-long struggle.

I'll let you know how it goes. There are 615 verses in the Bible alone that speak about the "mouth". Not including any on "words" and "speech" or the "tongue". I apparently have alot of work ahead of me! If you read this blog and have a relationship with the Lord, please whisper a prayer for me right now that God will give me victory in this area.

It's a habit that only He can break-one step up at a time.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day

This year I actually get to spend some of Father's day with my dad. Yeah!

Both Matt and I have great fathers and we appreciate all they've done for us and continue to do.

Since we couldn't be with Matt's dad this year we sent him this picture:
We've gotten all of our vehicles in some form or another thanks to Matt's dad. He has been very generous to leave his car and take our's for repairs and of course, Matt inherited his truck from dad which was a real blessing. We'll miss him this year and will be thinking of him!

Mom and dad came for a visit the last few days and I was reminded again how grateful I am to have a dad who is so dedicated to my mom and is so fun to be with. Here we are at a restaurant together. I love you, Dad!
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

44 Verses, a Trophy and a Broken Heart

(Just for the record...I should totally be sleeping now. My mom is here and we nearly pulled an all-nighter talking last evening but I'm back in blog mode so here goes...)


Seriously, is there anything harder in life? I mean, the bad times are hard and let's face it...the good times even have their measure of difficult. Even if you're having a moment where you feel no frustration, you're suddenly hit with bouts of reality that these miniature people are like having your heart walk around with legs and arms! The potential for pain with parenting is possible leaning more to expected!

You know, I was never the popular one in school in regards to trophies and awards. Never the "best" at anything. I wanted to be. I can remember that pull at every awards ceremony or Spring formal. I wanted to be on top in regards to something.

I think over time I've accepted that I'm just one of millions of average people that will not be the winner. I'm cool with it. I've got my peeps that I love and to them, maybe I bring a little amusement to the table. That's enough for me...been there-dealt with that.

And then I have kids...

Is it any surprise that they are normal and just like I was?...wanting their named called in recognition. Wanting the prize.

The next to the last day of school was class awards day. I went to Sam's room for the presentation and when they began to hand out trophies for the verse memorization...I got my camera ready! Sam and I had been memorizing diligently all year and there was no doubt in my mind that he would get a trophy. I could tell that he held the same confidence. He had the biggest smile on his face and got on tip-toes to spring up to get his first ever trophy!

Sadly, the names were all called and to my shock...he was not one of them.

And if I was shocked...Sam was something way more.

To sit in a crowd and see that look of utter disappointment on his face was a killer. Sam is not one to EVER be emotional (almost to the point of concern for me). Things really slide off his back but when they didn't call his name and his face dropped, I saw him mouth to his friend, "But...But I said all my verses?"

If you could have bottled that feeling inside of me at that moment and let me sip a bit of it ten years ago, I have to be honest...I may not have decided to have children.

My heart broke for him. I know it's just a silly trophy but to was everything.

Apparently when I had the flu around Christmas, we missed 1 verse. Somehow the knowledge of that slipped through the cracks and we fell short.

Sam made it out of his classroom and safely away from his friends when he started to cry.

What could I say? It wasn't really his fault. It was just one of those life events that you have to accept and I recognize that it was...and this is hard to say...good for him to walk through it for greater disappointments and rejections to come.

I had a friend ask me if I planned on giving him a trophy myself and I said "no". First, it would never be as meaningful to him. Had my mom put me in a Spring Formal line-up and a crown on my head at home after my senior party, I would have rolled my eyes at her. Those moments that you win are great-they can't really be beat with a consolation! :)

And, you don't always win. Hard fact but true. It's so much better to learn to be a good loser because honestly, you lose ALOT more than you win, right?

If I had it my way I would bubble up my kids so they'd never feel pain or rejection or loss. I'd confine them to only happy days of picnics and bike rides and Christmas mornings. They would always be most popular and accepted and they'd never break a leg. They'd stand out in a crowd and never go unnoticed. Yep, that's what I'd do.

But that wouldn't be what God would do.

Doesn't he "let the bubble pop" in our lives and puts us out there to live with all the difficulty and hardship that we need so we can know that He is our safe home and there's a life waiting for us that is the ideal. I believe we only go as far as He will let us but regardless...He does let us go. He lets us learn through suffering. He never waists our pain.

Sam ended his night that awards day by telling me that he prayed to God and said, "You are the one in charge of trophies. If you choose to give me one then great! And if you don't-that will be okay too."

Sweet boy...if only he could really see the trophy that awaits him.

Meanwhile, the bubble has officially popped for Sambo and I'll always be sitting in the crowd to remind him that I'm his "safe home" and that together, we can look forward to heaven where we ALL win because of Christ's love.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I missed it...

My brother-in-law, sister and their kids came for a visit a couple of weeks ago and one of my favorite things to throw out in conversation is.."What is your favorite memory about..."

It's great to hear what moments people value in their life and to reflect on what I have loved myself. It's funny how the same set of people seem to surface in each memory that you have. It's a good way to recognize people that are working hard to invest into you and how much you love each other.

One of the most enjoyable things for me is to reminisce about high school. A lot of people have some pretty hard feelings about those days and would never want to go back but that's not my story.

I mean, don't get me wrong...being a teenager was hard and painful and I have as many "crying" memories as I do "laughing" ones but because my parents sacrificed to put me in a Christian school and my friends were ones that really wanted to do what was right (even though we DIDN'T all the time!)...I really feel blessed that mom and dad set me up for success.

(Quick rabbit trail..)

I'll never forget that. I'll always be thankful that they put me somewhere that I could be trained to do what is right. I know that that is not every parent's decision and I don't judge that...I just can speak from my own realm of experience. I got to be silly and innocent and trusting alot longer than some kids do these days.It was a level of protection that I wouldn't have known that I needed-but they did.

Because of that, Matt and I have given our lives to the belief that God is still working in/through Christian schools. We get paid squat and guess what..that matters "squat" to us now. The same hearts of children that are in public school are found in Christian school classrooms and sometimes they come EVEN harder. It's a mission field all on it's own but its one that we get to venture into WITH a Biblical perspective...totally legal and welcomed. We pay tuition for our boys each month and that has helped me to be sensitive to the sacrifice that many (including my parents) have made and are making.


I was walking last night and was scanning since our local Christian radio station drives me NUTS with playing the same songs over and over...seriously, they are driving me to other, less edifying stations!...and I heard a song that I had discovered a few months ago and forgot about.

Trace Adkins sings it and I love it..ahhh, so good and so true. It made me think of my friend, Steph, who spends her day in total sacrifice to her kids and her man and is tired...alot. We were laughing yesterday about another predicament she found herself in and I was internally like, "What the heck? How did she get here? I mean, it makes sense that I'm here. I've spent my life flying into the next thing but she..she's my high school buddy and we should be hanging out right now on a Friday...flirting with the latest cute boy!"

And even with all of that, I wanted to tell her over and over..don't wish this time away. They get big so fast and you'll miss being here. Really.

I know that is what my sister would say..with two kids in college and one starting to drive soon. My parents are the same. Matt's mom has said many times that she would do anything to get back her worse day of mothering back...just to have little ones again.

So...I missed it in high school. I rushed by and now I'd love to have some of those days back.

I missed it when it was just me and Matt. I spent my days worrying about how to have babies and get settled.

Oh, did I miss it with my baby boys. I practically gave those years away in a search for "something more"...more money, more attention, more quiet, more satisfaction.

I don't want to miss this time. With the latest Chapman tragedy on my brain and in my prayers, I'm more aware than ever that I don't get a guarantee about tomorrow and even if I do get to raise my children to adulthood, it goes so fast. I'll wish for these crazy days back.

So..this is for me and Steph and whoever is rushing through days...Let's not miss it this time.

"You're Gonna Miss This"
Trace Adkins

She was staring out the window of their SUV
Complaining, saying "I can't wait to turn 18"
She said "I'll make my own money, and I'll make my own rules"
Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school
Then she kissed her head and said "I was just like you"

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Before she knows it she's a brand new bride
In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her "It's a nice place"
She says "It'll do for now"
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says "Baby, just slow down"

Cause you're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Five years later there's a plumber workin' on the water heater
Dog's barkin', phone's ringin'
One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin'
And she keeps apologizin'
He says "They don't bother me.
I've got 2 babies of my own.
One's 36, one's 23.
Huh, it's hard to believe, but...

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this"


Honestly...I hate those "mom blogs" were everything seems perfect...perfect marriage, perfect house, perfect vacation, perfect waistline, perfect children..BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

Life is not perfect.

BUT, my children are terribly close! :)

Here they are...of their own accord, copying their favorite verses from the Bible on scrap paper on their second day of summer.

I was vacuuming the playroom when I found them like this!

So, for those of you that are frazzled with your kids..much like I was can hate my blog today!

...doesn't bother me a bit!

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Just for the record...they were copying Psalms 100. "Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth!" Good mom reminder...what am I shouting about the most? Ouch.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

"Hypocrite" (For my high school locker room friends..San, Steph and Amanda)

Ah...the title got you interested, huh? Sounds like I'm about to start an online war with insults and criticism!


Just thought I would let you guys know that last week at school, I went on a rampage about an infestation of fruit flies in my library which is located behind a wall of lockers.

Apparently, a 7th grader left a rotten banana in the bottom of his locker! He has, in fact, been guilty of leaving left-overs from his lunch in his locker this whole year!

I went raging through the halls, shooing fruit flies, yelling about how disgusting this activity is and that he should be punished until the result is a "clean locker" that doesn't smell. I mean, "Doesn't He Know That We ALL Have To Share This Space????"

It's official.

I am a total hypocrite, right?

Jo's Graduation...Or Maybe we ALL graduated a bit!

My first official Sunday facing the summer...

You know the phrase "A Sigh of Relief"?

I guess if you look at the history of my poor blog you would be able to tell that my life has been indescribably busy this year and the desire to relive it all over again in online fashion was just simply not enjoyable anymore.

Before I go into all of that, let me give you some pics of Jo's graduation and those who care for the details can catch back up with me below...

Jo with our administrator, Jill. This was an act of manipulation that will stay between her and I but she was a good sport to take a picture for me! :)Posted by Picasa

Waiting for the program!

Jo with his Kindergarten teacher and my good friend, Sarah.

Facing his playground...

Jo's friends signing their graduation caps!

Jo and his best friend, Christian. They've already exchanged digits and will get together this summer!

My sweet boy...How cute is he?

Well, I can't believe this school year is over. My sweet little boy..who is now a FIRST grader has graduated from kindergarten and frankly, I thought he was too little to even go there! Sam is a fourth grader now...FOURTH GRADER! He turns ten this summer and the idea that he will be double digits just blows my mind. I know moms always go on and on about how fast time speeds by but there's a reason they do...Where has the time gone?

I remember at the start of this year and truthfully believing that I would never adjust. I was a stay-at-home mom for nine years and honestly expected that I would always be! Going back to work was a shock to my system (still is in many ways) and yet I have to say, I've settled in. I got to still be apart of my kids and husband's daily lives while facing some challenges that I never would have been able to do had I not "flown the coop" of my little house.

Our library is up and running which may not impress many much but it started as a room stacked full of boxes and no furniture to a now..lovely nook where people can find a good book and have some quiet. It's also sparked my own love of reading and for the first time, I prefer it to almost any other form of entertainment! (almost!)
Matt bought me a hammock swing for my porch and I've taken to grabbing my new favorite book after dinner at night and reading in it until dark...or until I doze off to sleep.

*sigh* I love it.

I dreaded the idea that I would lose my friends that I have made here to my new job but I've found that I underestimate the love and loyalty of people and along with them have a new family of friends at work. I will miss a couple of them IMMENSELY this summer. They are different in that we work so many hours together they are more like sisters than friends. I already feel the void of not checking in with them every day.

Sam did awesome this year and never brought a book home for homework! I don't get it? He's his father's son, I guess. So smart and kind. I keep waiting for him to turn into that dreaded teenager but he's getting better with age it seems. We have a blast together and he's truly been a joy to raise so far. I've noticed some big changes in him since he's become a believer and he's responded to God's leading in ways that I could never have nurtured on my own. He got the "Obedience and self-control" award for his class and I was so proud of him! I'd love for someone to give ME that award, right?! Straight A's...all year!

Jo got the "unwavering friendship" award and while I was equally proud of him...can you imagine what we've got comin'? :) Sam kept telling everyone it was the "unraveling friendship" award! I repeatedly reminded him that that's the one I get! Jo is something else. Very funny..very artistic and musical. A big ole' show off. He can have you cracking up with a single look. If you ask him who is favorite musician is right now he'll proudly tell you "Mandesa!"

Matt ended the school year with a very moving speech in front of his students at the awards ceremony that...just like when you see a movie and you love the ending but you're okay to leave it at the credits...and then you watch another that you fall in love with the characters and it leaves you needing to know more about their lives-to see more of the story, a "sequel"-That is how he feels about school this year as compared to other years...He can't wait to come back and see more of their story. He's not content to leave it here.

Of course, all the emotional girls swooned and cried as I would have also with my friends had one of our teachers said that about us!

It has been literally amazing and comforting to see Matt be in a job that he loves and is valued of the most gratifying things in our marriage for me. The best dream you can fulfill is placing yourself in a sacrificial position so someone else can fulfill their dream! I'm begging Matt to get his masters in administration because I think he'd be an awesome principal! His fear of man has been taken from him and he's extremely sensible.

And I...well, I can't believe what all this year has brought me. There have been some very hard moments..times I wish I could take back and do over. I've lost touch with some friends along with the new ones I've made but with loss comes moments to gain wisdom....Like, prioritizing and investing into the "first" friends God gave you-Your Siblings! My sister Jeannie and I have become really close this year and I love that know matter what, we'll be there for each other. (We've had some great laughs this year..right, Jean? EVEN IF you didn't let me brush your hair!) My sis, Jules has moved back towards home and I'm looking forward to seeing her more often. Looks like every sibling will be on our vacation this summer..ALL FIVE! Watch out! :)

I've seen my weaknesses (as you will when you work in a building full of women!) and I've got a grocery list of things I never knew I needed to work on!

I just sold all my baby stuff in a garage sale and I guess it feels good to have made that decision or rather having God settle it For me! I don't have the house-full of children that I imagined for my life but I do have a school-full of kids that need love and care. I'm thinking of going back to college in the next few years as...I can humbly admit..a general studies major! I STILL am not sure what I want to be when I grow up but I know I want to finish my education.

I need to start with a class on how to work full-time AND keep my house clean! :)

So, this is the update of my family. I am planning on coming north for the month of August but until can find me in my hammock swing. I'm starting "The Alchemist" by Coelho and so there may be more snoozing than reading! :) I'll let you know!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

3rd grade to Chimney Rock

A couple of weeks ago, Matt and I took off of work to go with Sam's class to Chimney Rock. ("The Last of the Mohicans" was filmed there.) It's a mountain a good bit away from where we live and it was a lot of fun to see Sam with his little buddies.

In my opinion, this was really the only "fun" part of this trip! I really struggle with heights in my older age and so I had some trouble getting around. Making it worse, only three days before we went, a two year old pulled away from his mom on one of the trails and fell 200 feet to his death.

Yeah. Not fun.

Regardless, it was a sweet day and we made a lot of good memories with our school friends!

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(As usual, "Mom" is the one that is targeted to make fun of by scaring her!" Thanks, guys!)