Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas in MS


It's been a year of loss in our family. My Stepmom died in August & then my Grandmother in September. Both not expected, though I'm learning that death usually catches you off guard.
Even when we are as prepared as we can be, I think it can still take our breath away to have lost a person.
I know there's a lot more brewing in my head & in my heart about these things, but I'm not ready to let it out just yet.
We went to Mississippi to see my dad & to celebrate Ch
ristmas with him & our family there. It was awesome & it was lonely & it's strange learning to adjust with someone missing. Especially for one of my most favorite people in the whole wide world - my dad.
He threw a big party & bought out Toys R Us for the kids & there were screams of "THIS IS JUST WHAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED!!!"s throughout the house. And I'm pretty sure they meant it.
But more than the gifts, they just love that man. Their Granddaddy. He's good - so so good with them. He truly loves them & loves being with them.....& the
y know that.
And that means a lot to me.
I wish I could get the words out of me that want to come out. But they aren't quite forming real sentences yet. So to avoid the great risk of embarrassment, I'll try again later.
I'm off to catch up on some much needed sleep so that we can be ready for the next
2 days around here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Behold!

I love Christmas.
When I was pregnant with my eldest, her due date was January 1st. And my Christmas wish was that she would be with me in front of a fire, hot chocolate in hand, by Christmas day.
And she was.
She continues to show herself as a thoughtful child.
I waited with such anticipation for her.
This new person - the dream in my heart was about to be real.
And all during Advent, pastors & priests everywhere are trying to find new & creative ways to help the people muster up that same anticipation.
I think about it every time I read part of the Christmas story to my kids....I wonder if they will grow bored with the story. Because I certainly have in my life. I heard it so many times that I just quit listening.
And it breaks my heart.
We live in a fast moving culture & if it's not new, well, then it's old & we lose interest.

One of my kids totally gets it.
He actually said today, "Mom! I almost forgot! I thought for a minute how excited I was for the toys on Christmas, but then I thought ooooooh, wait! Christmas is not about the toys. Even if I got no toys, God still gave me the best present."

& it's become very contagious....this excitement for a Savior being born.
So we have been following his lead.
This child is loving the passage from Isaiah where he tells the people what a gift that is coming for them! And I am able to imagine how exciting that must have been.

Everything we could ever hope for is still the same!!!
And He was coming into the world!!!
And He is coming again.

'And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'

And that is all I need.
I pray that I will be filled with that sufficient gift this Christmas......and nothing more.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Blurry

For a couple of years we have noticed that my big girl has squinted.
It's been strange, though, because she sees some things clearly far away & close up & she passes all of her vision screenings at her pediatricians office. They came to the conclusion that she may have gotten into the habit of squinting because of her hair being in her eyes.
Her squinting was sort of random & she never struggled in the classroom.
So we didn't do anything. We sort of got used to it & were fine to listen to the advice of our doctor.
Until about a month ago when her teacher suggested we take her to see an eye doctor.
And she has something called amblyopia.
Which is kind of a fun word to say. But it was weird to hear when I was simply expecting a prescription.
And she needs glasses & she'll wear a patch for a little while every day to help her eye start working again.
And she's fine with all of it.
And we are too.
But it's strange to hear any sort of diagnosis from a doctor about your kid.
Something less than perfect.
But why in the world do we expect perfect?
We are blessed with so many resources to fix, or at least duct tape, our problems, that when the natural break down happens, we are shocked.
Maybe it's because there are so many cushions that do break our falls that it's hard to understand when the cushion is not there.
We were never promised perfect, but I sometimes think I am entitled to perfect.
The right guy for a lifetime. The right number of kids - healthy, please. The house in the location that keeps me comfortable. The money to maintain life as I enjoy it...and if I'm honest I would say I do a lot to keep all of that in balance.
And we were never promised all of that.
What's crazy is that the Dr telling us that she had this condition is not what gave her this condition.
It was already there.
We are thankful he told us so we could do something about it. Because it was the not doing something about it that brought us to this place anyway. If we had taken her in sooner & heard someone tell us that her eyes didn't work well, then we would have known what was true....and dealt with that before her eye stopped working.
But we continued to walk around a little blurry.
And it's easy to do that.
To walk around with a condition that can be fixed, but don't because we've gotten comfortable with where we are.

Our eye problem....it's minor compared to other things.
And it's never a great idea to compare those stories because they are all jam packed with opportunity. It's a big part of His story for her....but in the scheme of things....it's not really a real big deal.
Right after she got her glasses & started wearing her adorable little pirate patches, we went to church.
And Louie, our pastor man, spoke about the man born blind.
And it was like Jesus himself was introducing me to a friend.
I smiled & felt such peace.
It was a sweet reminder of a man whose life we never would have recognized....had Jesus had not encountered that man born blind.
He shines in the darkness.
And so I pray & she believes that God will meet us in these times of perceived imperfection. And He can.
And because she wants Him to, I know He will.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hi.

It's been a while. Not that anyone's listening....but I feel like it's appropriate to acknowledge that it has, in fact, been a while.
My computer crashed recently. I have lost the majority of my pictures while simultaneously working on photo books for the past 4 years. It's been a challenge.
Except that I have had this blog.
It's been amazing to go back & piece some things together. I'm amazed at the memories captured here. The little things that would have slipped my mind. That did slip my mind. I'm so thankful they have been documented.
Which is why I'm back.
There are lots of reasons for why I've been silent & one of those reasons was addressed at a conference I attended a few months ago. Something was said along the lines of learning to not care what people think. It's a simple concept. One I would have said I embraced....until I realized how hard it really is. It's too easy to let other people serve as your audience. The fear of criticism or offending...or of being approved of or applauded. Both are dangerous camps. Both can be good, but neither can serve as a compass.... & I have had to work through the 'why' of this little online spot where I vent.
But the journey that has been document has been important & it took time & the need of a reminder to see that. So I hope that I'm back because I have honestly missed it.
It's very therapeutic to get thoughts out knowing that someone might read them. There's an accountability & a thoughtfulness that goes into it that is different from a journal.
Anyway.....that's all for now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer 2011

Not sure how it happened but I have let my/our schedule spin completely out of control. I don't know if I had some margin in my life & thought it wise to fill up every waking moment on the calendar, or what....but it's been a tad crazy around here. I enjoy the lazy mornings where even at lunchtime we realize that we are still in our pajamas, popsicles for breakfast, spur of the moment walks around the neighborhood,....it's what summer is all about.
We haven't had that just yet.
We have instead had the schedule similar to a college football player....two a days is what they call it, I believe. I never played college football myself (brief pause for shock & awe)...but I had friends & know about things like this & it never sounded like fun. So how I managed to arrange this type of daily life for me & 3 small children is really hard to understand.
Don't get me wrong, all of the things we have been doing are actually really fun. I think I have fallen into the spiral of being afraid to 'miss out'. The list of really great & fun things to do is a long one.
And I don't wanna choose.
I want to do it all.

Swim team? Yes.
VBS? Absolutely.
Volunteer at VBS? Why not!?
Dinner with friends? Count me as a yes.
Afternoon swimming with friends? Of Course.
Let's throw in a doctor's appointment, a haircut, a swim lesson & a broken coffee maker situation.
All in the same week? Noooooo problem.
We are having the time of our lives, but the problem comes when we're all crying from complete exhaustion at the end of the day & when we try to recap the super fun memories....all I can say is, "Please stop talking! Lie down...I know you're still in your clothes just go to sleep you'll change in the morning. I'm turning the lights off......"
No. Fun.
So, we're slowing down.

And the other night we sat on the porch & made our list....the things we want to do this summer. And it pleased me so to hear suggestions such as "Movie night with popcorn!!! Let's go on a walk!! Swimming when it's dark outside!!!"
Yes.
Summer....we're a little late but we're coming & we can't wait.
We took a picture of our first thing checked off the list..... Family Slushie Day.
Check!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Calvin

I've been a bad blogger recently.....and there's a chance I won't be much better for a little while. I'm needing to speak my voice into this little flock under my feet for right now & not so much anywhere else. But this just needed to be shared.
Maybe the most impactful words of this story for me were, "the love from the people seeing me as a human saying, 'good mornin' sir, excuse me, sir'....." broke my heart. Tears started streaming down my face this morning when we heard Calvin's story. The words 'excuse me, sir'....meant that people actually treated him as a human.
I don't even know what to think about that......that anyone feels like they are not human.
It just breaks my heart.
But an incredible story of redemption. True redemption. Love is what the Gospel is all about. Love....and seeing people through God's lenses....all people......

Friday, April 8, 2011

perfume.

I love the story in the Bible about the woman who poured perfume on Jesus' feet.
I love that she broke all kinds of rules in that moment - in the eyes of the people around her.

The complete abandonment of her reputation - placing herself in a position of complete mockery....all because she knew she was completely loved by Jesus.

When I really understood that, my life was certainly changed....

But when I look at her. It's pretty incredible.

There are lots of incredible parts of that story....

Matthew writes that she poured a very expensive jar of perfume on His feet, John writes that she wiped it on His feet with her hair.

Her hair shouldn't have been down.
She shouldn't have been present at the gathering of men.
And what a waste of perfume?!

The people present ridiculed her.

People who had been touched by Jesus.

Lazarus, for goodness sake, who had just been raised from the dead!

We do that to one another all the time.......I think.

I'm learning that I don't know how to talk without italics?? Technology has done a good job of pointing that out to me.
Now, back to whatever I was talking about....

We judge another person's choices as godly or ungodly based on whatever argument we want to use.....but the truth is that the money belongs to the Creator of the Universe and it has never been about His need for our money.

Or our perfume.

But always out of an act of worship.

We know people who when their son was choosing where he wanted to attend high school he chose to be the diversity within a school that didn't have much diversity.
A very expensive private school.....to be the diversity.

I know of a church whose mission is to be there for people who may have been wounded by the church over the years...to reach a generation of people who have heard from Christians their whole life that they are not loved because of the choices they have made....I am for every penny that needs to build that church, because it breaks my heart that people would ever feel unloved by God.

One of the disciples that day reclining by the table with Jesus stated something that I have certainly said before, I am sure....."Why this waste? This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

Yikes.

We make money bigger than God sometimes.......and bigger than people.

Sometimes it takes a lot of money to love on certain types of people - sometimes it's expensive plane trips, or big buildings, or moving into a neighborhood you can't afford, or a school. Sometimes just trying to speak someone else's language costs lots of money.....when trying to reach a generation that is highly technological & media focused...sometimes it means spending money so they can hear.
So they can feel understood.

If it's out of complete love & response to the Father.....then it's perfume.

Perfume that well meaning people will call wasteful......

God called it beautiful.

A friend wrote a post recently about choosing to use money a certain way & I have had this post stored away for a while...waiting for the right day to put it out there.

It seemed right after reading their words.

We are people - individuals - created very specifically for different purposes. My prayer these days is that we would be united in the midst of our different purposes.
That we would spur one another along...not in our callings but in one anothers' callings.

My heart breaks all the time because I see people doing good things....really great things....and yet in the middle of it a judgement bounces off onto all the people around them.....guilt for not living life the way they are.

I have talked to more wounded people who feel ashamed for the "perfume" they are pouring out....because it looks a little different...maybe not as 'glamorous'.

I want so badly to have the heart of Mary......willing to give it all away, just to love Him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

apparently we're getting some order

We've been bogged down with crazy disorganization. And by the past tense use of "been" I actually mean that we "are" - it's not solved. But it was nice to see the kids join in the fun. That girl ismore of a delegator than a doer & I can respect that. But I love this sign. Glad to have it documented.
"The rule is put it back when you're done playing with it. Read the sign. It says."

Awesome.

Monday, March 21, 2011

the final celebration....

If you have ever known me well....you know that I like to stretch out the birthday celebrating.
A week.....a month....
and it should go without saying that by the end we are all ready to tear the crown off the head of the center of attention.
But we all have a turn & it's fun.
So this was the day that we wrapped it all up.
With some family & a buddy at the playground.
It was great & he was so happy to be celebrated again.

Please check out the sunglasses over the baseball hat...his doing. I bet i'll have a fast forward picture of this in about 14 years.
There's some peanut buttercream frosting (and while we're there...is it peanutbuttercream? peanutbutter cream? what is gramatically correct??) on that bad boy.....and it was fabulous.
I did give up sweets for Lent...but I made a conscious decision about a week ago to enjoy a cupcake on this particular day.
And it was yummy.

His uncle gave him a Buzz Lightyear belt. He's a fan.

OK.....next birthday coming up is Lee's......
and then it's mine all mine.

Happy Birthday Big man!!!

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

videos of the bowling



These videos pretty much just make me laugh.

I love the running start.

And the fact that he really almost kicked that sucker down the alley.....which would have broken a toe & put a damper on the birthday....glad he didn't.

Great great night.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

he is four

The day started just like this.
We woke that boy up with a chipper little song & a camera.
And at first he wasn't thrilled.
Until he remembered that today was the day that he turned 4!!!
And at breakfast he said...."when we bless the food, do you think you can sing happy birthday to me again??"


My boy was born on the 1st day of March madness 4 years ago. Lee & I had just had a lunch date to celebrate all the games....nerdy highlighters & brackets in hand. And a week early he decided to make his appearance in the middle of that night. After the games were over. But i sat in the hospital in very active labor.....bracket in hand.
And so basketball cookies were made.
And on the way to school he casually said, "Mom, will you pray for the day & maybe you could pray for my birthday??"
Precious.


Dinner at the favored spot.

His sister wrapped the present she bought for him & unbeknownst to me, she also wrapped 2 of his favorite books from our playroom :).
He was so excited.....about the books that already belong to him.
Which just makes me really happy.
And the Christmas wrapping paper.
It's just all so awesome.
This whole birthday - full of all kinds of awesome.
We had the baby go to the grandparents & we took the bigs bowling.
Videos to follow.

And then the frogs.
Bill & Sally.
He immediately & assuredly named them.
Bill. and Sally.
And that was that.
This boy.....I had 2 sisters growing up. Lots of drama. Crying....oh the crying...mostly by me. I still don't know how to fully communicate without the tears. And though I assumed that I would be the mother of all boys, marrying a boy with only brothers....I took biology....I knew things....I just assumed.....boys.
But when I met him for the first time....
I just never knew.
Having a son.
No. That's not it.

It is him.
It's this particular boy......oh how I love him.
His 'matter of fact' way about things.
His shrug of the shoulders, his 'sure', his shy way, the fact that I can always bank on the fact that he is behind my left thigh at all times, the way he cares for his sisters, the way he lays his clothes out each night, I love him.
I never knew how much I could ... and I just cannot believe that he is four!
That it was just 4 years ago that we met him......Happy birthday mister.
I'm so thankful for you. Just as you are.
I'm so excited to have front row seats during this time of your life.
I wouldn't miss it for the world.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

four

I wish I had time right this moment to recount this day of celebrating my big guy's fourth birthday. But we're pooped. Finally got everyone in bed at 10!!!
It was an awesome day/night....and I can't wait to tell you all about it.
Videos included!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not me.

“Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you” Oswald Chambers

A friend at small group tonight shared this quote with us.
I believe Francis Chan mentioned this particular quote in Crazy Love.
And when she said it, it stung.
Some of my biggest regrets are because of my ability to do just that. And with great intention! When A+B+a cup of sugar = awesome I try to make it 'the way' for everyone else.
Offering unsolicited advice & personal success stories whenever I found it 'helpful.'
Having kid #2 helped to bring on a little humility.
And #3....well, it's just a crap shoot as this point - I think it's clear that I am not possession of the answers :).

Don't get me wrong, I love few things more than I love being their mother & our prayer is that more children will come someday, but I am learning more & more about the baggage I bring with me.
Pride being stripped away.
Andy Stanley spoke recently about the 1st church & how angry Paul got at some of the followers of Jesus - at one of the new churches. They were former Pharisees, actually.
They had brought themselves into the church.
(Funny how we do that)
All their rule following...........it came with them.
They were trying to make brand new followers of Jesus jump through all the hoops.
1st do this & then this & clap your hands 6 times & keep these 313 rules & then you can be a part of our special little club.
It was just so in them to do that.
And so it seems that when I began my journey of learning to shape my life around this faith in God & His resurrected Son I brought myself in with me.
And it is so in me to think that others should be doing it the way that I am.
This part of me rears its ugly head from time to time.

Imperfect beings.

Desperately in need of a Savior.
And still....even knowing that.....trying to get it perfect.
And then setting the mark for others.
Forgetting that none of us hit that mark.
Doesn't matter how close to the mark you get - we still cannot hit it.
At least not by ourselves.
So small group friend :) - I needed that word tonight. I need those words tatooed on my hand Mr Oswald Chambers.
I pray that I will live my daily relationships trusting God to sit right where He belongs rather than me.
The theme for this year I think....
Not me.
Just Him.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

spring break

We'll call it spring break simply because I guess that's what it was officially called, but seriously, it's the 1st week of March & it's freezing cold. But nevertheless, we had 'spring break' & we took the opportunity to just get away from the chores & the 'to do' list & remember what it was like when we just enjoyed being around each other. And we celebrated a little mardi gras in the tamest sense of the celebration.
I don't miss a chance to eat a king cake.
We had a 'sale' - they didn't understand why the $4 & free on the same price tag didn't make sense. So I stormed out & bought nothing!



We got our awesome ice cream fix & made them turn the train on & we danced in the store with no music & we laughed & it was awesome.
We pulled out the hammock & oh my goodness......that alone saved hundreds in therapy.
And sidewalk art - they've gotten really good.
It was special. I'm the luckiest girl in the world. Blessed beyond belief.
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the artsy side of my boy

I just love everything about this.
Especially the part about him painting this for his momma :)

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

go jackets!

Caroline - thank you for this awesome uniform you gave that boy for Christmas. He loves it!!!! Wore it out all day today :). And Granddaddy for the football....also a huge hit around here. He is finding a way to escape the princess madness around this house :).

And it looks like he may be recruiting princesses for his team :).
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Those Cupcake Kids :)

Almost a year ago, I think it was Easter weekend, some kids got together & with the help of some very generous people were able to bring attention to a place where God's precious children were not being cared for properly. And the people responsible for caring for them simply needed some help.
And then again.....more friends spread out over Atlanta, surrounding neighborhoods & even as far as South Carolina....children spent allowances to buy supplies, helped their parents bake some cupcakes, made some great signs & spent their days being a voice for these kids very far away that didn't really have a voice.
There's a big cupcake kids sale coming up & you can be a part of it from wherever you are. In fact, there are a few states(and only just a few) not representing just yet so feel free to pass this along to all of the friends you know all over the world!
Here's what I know. My kids' eyes were opened to something & I couldn't have done that for them. They were invited to be a part. They said yes. And their prayers are lifted up almost daily for the kids spoken for on those days. Their hearts were pricked a little bit in the compassion department .... all because of some cupcakes.
So go check it out & make plans to be a cupcake kid!
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

teeth

My girl. The big one. Has lost 8 teeth.
EIGHT!
This last one was a doozy.
It was almost growing on top of another tooth & the dentist made it clear that it HAD to come out.
Quickly.
But it wasn't even wiggly.
It would not wiggle.
Long story about how we got it to come loose & I'll spare you the gorey details & they were gorey & accidental.
That tooth finally came loose. REALLY loose. Anyone who saw it can affirm. But it would not come out.
This is her attempting to bite into an apple to get it out.
Days & days went by. I couldn't believe it! It would easily get to a 90 degree angle. And still - no dice.

And then we finally finalllllllly got it out. And would you look at that thing? Is that root unusually long? I think so & this was her eighth tooth.....the other seven were not this long.
Anyway, 8 teeth missing.
4 grown in & no room for the other 4.
I'm betting we'll be seeing an orthodontist at some point in the near future.
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