Saturday, April 18, 2015

a weekend away

I love my husband.  I love my kids.  But sometimes, a mom just needs a little bit of refreshing and some time away.  I refuse to feel guilty about admitting this to you, because I know I am not alone in this sentiment.  I have learned that if I don't take the time to make sure I am being fed spiritually, then I am of no good to anyone.  It's also why I always like to be doing Bible study.

This weekend our church had its annual women's conference.  We had a familiar guest speaker this year, a special lady and wonderful speaker named Jean Stockdale.  Jean has taught Bible study to ladies for twenty six years now, and she writes and records them for women all over the world.  Needless to say, this weekend was exactly what I needed.

I love spending time with like minded women, and there is something so powerful about coming together as women of God to worship and study His word.  I wouldn't have been anywhere else this weekend, even if my life depended on it.  God knew who needed to be there, and He had us there for a reason.  I feel bad for the ladies in our church who missed out on a wonderful weekend.

I had the privilege of helping lead worship at this for the second year.  There are times when I miss singing in a choir, so it was an honor to sing for Jesus this weekend.  I sang with five other really sweet and talented ladies who love the Lord.

Jean spoke out of Ephesians both days, and I can't wait to read back over my notes and the book she had made for us to look at while she taught.  I always get so much out of these types of things, and this weekend was no different.  One thing that she said last night that stuck out to me was that now is no longer the time for us to be just casual Christians.  The days are getting more and more evil, and it is time for us to stand firm and to stand out.  No more pleasing of men and no more hiding away His truth.

We laughed and we cried together this weekend.  This precious woman of God and our women's director, Mrs. Barbee, are two of the most Godly and humble women I've ever heard speak.  It was such an honor to sit under the teaching and to glean wisdom from all that Jean had to say.

If you ever get the chance to attend a women's conference, I urge you to try it!  Time in the word is time that is well spent.

Love to all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

life lately

I am not very good at blogging lately.  Life has been weird and not quite normal, and it seems I can't get my stuff together enough each day to do multiple things.  That, and I've been busy.

I thought I would share what we've been up to these past few days, since almost half the week is already gone.

Saturday was one of those amazing days that are very rare~the kind of day that finds me sitting in my chair, doing nothing but watching Netflix all day.  My current obsession is Call The Midwife.

I am seriously bummed that I am on season three.  Season four is currently airing on the BBC, and you can bet that I have it set to record.  :)

I finally left the laptop on Saturday afternoon to get dressed.  My friends Scottie and Abbey and I went to see our girls off to prom.

These girls have my heart.  Don't they look beautiful?  It was an honor to be able to see them all dressed up and to take pictures with them.  There were two more girls that we went to see and take pictures with, but my pictures didn't turn out.

When all of the girls left, we decided to go grab a bite to eat and headed to Panera.

We decided that next year, we are SO going to prom.

And these ladies...I have to just stop here for a moment.  I love them so much!  And age is just a number, as far as friendships go.  In this picture, the twenties, thirties and forties are represented.  And another of my closest friends is in her fifties, so seriously~age is just a number.  I thank God for these women in my life!

After dinner, I came home and Drew and Graham invited some friends over to watch a movie. It was fun having all of them over!  I love a full house.  It makes my heart so happy, and I feel like their friends are just an extension of our family.

Sunday was church and community group.  Drew didn't feel good, so he stayed home while Graham and I went without him.

Yesterday was normal until last night, when I laid wide awake until three in the morning.  I read my book, I watched Call The Midwife on Netflix, I started a new devotion then I finally took three Benadryl to force sleep upon me.  It worked.

The devotion is from my Bible app.  It's She Reads Truth, Hymns Part I.

Today has been a nice day~school work, a nap for me, (no sleep last night, remember?) and after dinner, all the boys went out to play basketball.

They're all taking showers and then they're watching the next movie in a series they've been watching since Sunday.  And that means I will get to go upstairs and watch my favorite show.  :)  And hopefully get some really good sleep afterward.

That's been what we've been up to.  Love to all.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's Friday again!  Happy day to you!  This week has been a big ole blur, and I'll tell you why.  But first, I am linking up with Momfessionals for this blog post.

One of my favorite moments from the week was Resurrection Sunday.  I love this day so much!  Normally I love the church service that goes with this day, but while I know it was good, I couldn't concentrate because I was too  busy trying not to claw myself to death.  My crazy skin reaction had me going nuts.

I love my five boys so much.  The first and most important one was taking the picture.  :)  I love that we dyed eggs at my mom's house the night before.  It was fun making a memory there and dyeing eggs with my sister.  That's one of our favorite past times.

Another favorite moment was when the rearranging of the room took place.  In moving most of their furniture, their room got a good deep cleaning.

That was on Monday.  Toddley called me that afternoon and asked what I thought about making a quick, one night trip to Franklin to attend his sister-in-law's surprise 40th birthday dinner.  We knew about it and were not planning to go at first, but at the persistence of his brother Tim, we decided to go.  So, on Tuesday morning, we all threw some clothes into some bags, took Crash to the vet to be boarded, loaded up the 'burban and took off.  It worked out well, us going, because Toddley had a job to do in Gallatin, which is about 40 minutes north of Nashville.  The plan was to get to Franklin, check in, let the boys swim and then we would leave for dinner.  This was an adults only party, so the boys went to grab some dinner for them and brought it back to the hotel.  We let Graham drive.  After they ate, they swam some more and then hung out in the lobby until we came back to get them.  Then we went to Tim's and Tracy's house for a little while.  Our youngest nephews were in bed, but they did get to see and play with Nathan, their cousin who is the same age as them.  And their youngest, Zeke, ended up waking up and playing too.  Here are some pictures from our quick trip.

Jonah requested the highest floor of the hotel, and it was six stories.  So guess what floor we were on?  You got it.

While they swam, I read.

This one is Todd's dinner.  He ordered cedar plank grilled salmon and assumed it was just grilled on the plank, but no!  They brought the whole thing out and his meal was a foot and a half long.  We ate dinner at Amerigo.

This last one is Drew with Hank, their dog that they love.  Even though he looks nothing like Crash, his personality is very similar to his.  It looks like he's smiling in this picture.

It was a quick and fun trip, and Tracy was very surprised to see all of us at the restaurant.

Yesterday was our homeschool group day, but Jonah woke up sick in the middle of the night, so we stayed home.  I will admit that though I missed my friends, it was LOVELY getting to stay home and just relax.  I was tired because I didn't sleep at all the night we were at the hotel.

I don't know if Jonah had a 24 hour stomach bug, or if it was just a really bad sinus headache that made him sick, but whatever it was is gone!  He woke up feeling wonderful this morning (his words) and asked me if I minded if he vacuumed the downstairs.  As if.  In this picture above, Jonah slept for three hours.  You know he is ill if he naps during the day.  This kid has sleeping issues and hardly ever sleeps.  Graham drove himself and Drew to school while we were home.  It's hard for them to catch up when they miss, so they needed to be there.

Todd had a maintenance night at the sheriff's department last night, so we ordered pizza and rented a movie from Redbox.  We watched Annie.  While part of me loved it, I was sad that it was so different from the original.  And for some crazy reason, I cried several times during the movie.  Call it me being sentimental or hormonal, but I did.  Graham laughed at me while I kept wiping the tears that were pouring out of my eyes.

Sometimes I cry at really dumb things.  Just a little tidbit about me.

So that was our crazy, whirlwind week.  I am glad today is Friday!  I hope you have a great weekend.  Love to all.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

post number one thousand seven hundred and one

Did you read the title?  That is a huge amount of blog posts.  Does that make me a chatty Kathy?  Even if it does, that's okay.  I pray over this blog all the time, that I never write anything to glorify myself, but that I make much of God.  I picked this year as another year to memorize Scripture with a bunch of women online, and the first two I picked are two that I pray over my whole life~whether if I'm home with my family, or on this blog or social media.  I'll write them below.

2 Corinthians 10:17 and 18:  But, "Let the one who boasts, boast about the Lord."  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.  

There are a few of you who have been faithfully reading this thing for as long as I've been writing.  I think that's been a little over seven years now, which blows my mind.  I started this blog as a way to keep track of our life, and one of my very first posts was at a time in my life when I was completely overwhelmed and was reaching out to someone else in desperation.

How far the Lord has brought me.

The bunch of online women memorizing Scripture that I mentioned?  There are several of us who have been reading Beth Moore's personal blog for a very long time.  I believe that started at about the same time that I started this blog.  There are several of us who are real life friends now!  Well.  If you consider a Facebook friend a real life friend.  We are sisters in Christ, who have prayed over each other for years now.  It's really neat seeing how that happens, and it's one thing about social media that I love.  (There are also tons of things about it that I hate, but I prefer to focus on the good.)  And I do consider them real life friends, by the way.  If I ever make my way to their corner of Texas, I will meet them.

They were some of my first encouragers on this blog.

Don't you think there is something so powerful about your girlfriends?  (If you're a guy reading this, then just ignore the next little bit.)

I want everyone to have the kind of friends that I have!  I know that family is important, too, but your family HAS to love you.  Your friends choose to love you, and mine do not judge me at all!  I can be real with them, and they've all seen me at my best, at my ugliest and at my worse.  They've seen me laugh, they've held me up as I've cried, and they have listened to hours' worth of conversations.  Where do I find these friends, you wonder?

At church.

I know church is a touchy subject for some of you.  You've been burned by "church" people.  You think we're hypocritical.  (We are not all that way, I promise!)  You think we're judgmental.  You can't find "your place".  (Been there, done that.)

But don't give up on finding a church family.  I do believe that church is not just a building you go to once a week to get filled up, then leave for the next six days.  Church is us~a body of believers.  We should be the church whether we're in a building or outside of a building.  But having a place to corporately worship together multiple times each week?  There is no replacement for this, in my book.  I do consider us being able to attend a church a privilege and a freedom that we should enjoy.  I don't believe we'll always have that freedom, because I do believe we're in the last days.  (Come quickly, Lord Jesus!)  I love my church family so much.  They have continually been the hands and feet of Jesus.  Our pastor provides us with Godly wisdom each week that is applicable to our daily lives.  He equips us with what we need to be able to disciple our own family.  Whether you're a part of a large church, a small church or a home church, it is important to find a body of believers to belong to.  (A home church might sound strange to some of you, but I have several friends who belong to one of these.  I think it's cool!  It's usually just a few families who meet weekly to worship, pray and someone shares a message.  The people who meet in homes are the church body to each other, and they do life together each and every day~much like those of us who belong to other churches do!)

I have found my best friends in church throughout my life.  I'm not saying to make that THE reason you go, but it is definitely one of the top privileges of being someone who regularly attends.  I love being around like-minded believers.  Everyone probably does.  Do you ever feel they're the only ones who "get you"?  Surely I'm not alone in this.

In order to do all this that I have mentioned, you must be active in serving.  I love being fed by my pastor each week, but I also take joy in being able to feed into others.  How?  For me, it looks like being a leader with the youth.  I help lead eleventh grade girls Bible fellowship class each week.  I help lead community group for them each week.  I am around for activities and lately, I've been involved in the Wednesday night worship.  I am someone who is around all the time, and, hopefully, someone who is readily available.  I may not consider myself a "teacher" (that is NOT AT ALL my spiritual gift), but I do "teach" them by the way I live my life.

The reason for going to church is important~as believers, we need to be fed each and every week.  After that, our job is to go out and BE the church to others.  We do this by sharing about Him to people who are unbelievers, to serve others, to share His love and by discipling those in our lives.  For me, that means that I am to disciple my kids.  And any others the Lord puts into my life.

If there is even one person reading this that this speaks to, then I pray that it encourages you.  I also pray that it challenges you to be on the lookout for a church family, if you don't already have one.  I have been in four churches my whole life~the one I was born into, one that I was active in during my teenage years, one that we went to after we married and had kids and the one I belong to now.  I certainly don't consider myself a church hopper, but due to life and the way it ebbs and flows, we have had to move around a little and find a home according to the needs in our family.  The church we are at now is one we've been at for five years now, and they are my people.  I finally know more people than I don't (well, maybe not) and we have settled in.  As always, if you would like to hear more about where we go, feel free to comment with your email address and I will talk to you more about this.  

Thank you for reading my blog.  :)  Know that I pray over you.  Love to all.

Monday, April 6, 2015

our weekend~Easter edition

We had a really great weekend.  Saturday we went into an area of Memphis called Binghampton to hand out goodie bags with the story of the gospel in them.  It was a glorious day to be out and about, and I am so proud of our teenagers!  They are not fearful at all and have this boldness about them that I wish I possessed.  

This was the group that I was with walking down the road.  We met up at a community center before and after, then we headed back home.  

Todd went to our church to prepare for the service the next day, and shortly after he left, the boys and I went to my mom's house to dye eggs and to eat our celebratory dinner.  

When we came back home, the boys wanted to go back to our church to help, so I dropped them off and came home alone.  

I might have eaten several pieces of my all time favorite candy.  Some bunny who loves me gave me these.  :)

I love these little beauties!  They're coconut cups from Dinstuhl's candy.  

There goes trying to be good!

I couldn't sleep at all Saturday night because I was having a reaction to something on my skin.  So I was up by four forty-five and got to watch the sun make its appearance.

We went to church in our brightly colored clothes and sat through the first service.  

I love this picture of them!  I told them to squeeze in, and they squished Jonah and Noah.  We were all laughing hysterically.  Hence, Drew's face.

During the second service, we sat out in the lobby and I made them pose for pictures.

Todd took this of the boys and me after church.  For lunch we went to La Hacienda with my friend Scottie and her kids.  Then we all came home and Drew and I napped while the others went outside.  Todd played basketball with the boys and I sat and tried not to claw myself to death.  

I was going to go to the doctor today, but whatever it was is gone.  Thank the good Lord for that.  I was miserable the majority of yesterday.

I hope you had a great weekend!  Love to all.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday edition of Friday Favorites & and a birthday post

I'm linking up with Momfessionals for this post.

Good Friday.  It's always a somber day for me, as I read the story leading up to Jesus being arrested, charged, crucified and buried.  This morning I read out of the book of John.

I pray that you took some time to read the word of God, to pray and reflect on the significance of this day.

I have a lot of favorites from this week, even though I've been strangely absent on the blog.  :)  I just wasn't feeling it this week.  It's rare, I know.

It's been a great week!  One of my favorite moments from the week was my bible study homework.  We are wrapping up our study of 2 Timothy, and as I finished one of the last lessons, I found myself so sad to say goodbye to Paul.  At the end of 2 Timothy, Paul is at the end of his life.  He knew he was about to die.  I get so attached to the people I study in bible studies.  The tone of his letter took on such a different tone in this book.  Here's a picture of what some of my notes looked like.

I love to use my colored pens in my bible study homework.  :)

We'll finish 2 Timothy next week and start on Titus.  I cannot wait!  We're doing a summer study, too, and I am so glad.  I hate saying goodbye to these sweet ladies God has given me for two whole months each summer.  The title of the one we'll do over the summer is Living In The Spirit.  It's another (shorter) precept study by Kay Arthur.

Another favorite moment from this week was on Wednesday night at church.  John  had the youth gather around him on the stage as he taught.

It was really sweet.

Also, at church that night, Drew was twinning with the youth pastor's wife.  I had to take a picture.

Mint green has made a comeback.

Thursday night, I met with some really sweet friends that I will remain friends with for the rest of my life.

We have been having girls night out together for years and years and years.  Tammy is on the right and Rene is in the middle.  We haven't been out in forever, though, so it was so good to see them!  I see Rene more often, just because she lives in Collierville.  I love them so much!  Several years ago, Tammy was given tickets to go see Celtic Women at the Orpheum, and it was very last minute, but that was one of my favorite moments I've ever spent with them.

Today is a favorite from this week, because it is Drew's birthday!  This crazy kid of mine.  I adore him.

He loves kids and hugs and he loves to serve others.  He was really excited about today because we were doing a ministry project in the Binghampton area of Memphis.

We were going to have an easter egg hunt with some kids in this area, but we had to cancel because of the weather.  So instead, we met for lunch at Panda Express, then we went to church to stuff goodie bags for the kids.  We're taking them to the kids in the morning, as we go door to door.

While we were at the church, Drew got a couple of birthday presents.

A sparkly turtle tattoo and a princess balloon!  So funny.  I love his friends~they all are so sweet to him.

I got to hang out with this sweet lady!

Sweet Abbey.  I adore her.

Our day ended with Drew's favorite dinner and some friends.

We started off watching High School Musical but ended the night with Sharknado.  And before we started the movie, I painted all of the girls' fingernails.  :)  It was a great week and an even better night.

Love to all!

P.s.  The writing of this post took me thirteen hours.

Monday, March 30, 2015

the weekend & the things that Cinderella taught me

Wow!  After I wrote the blog post about my Today Show blog post, so many of you voted.  Thank you so much!  I am humbled by all your sweet words, and I appreciate the support, both on that post and on this blog.  I'm thankful for all of you who take the time to read it, and I pray that my words are always honoring to my Savior.

This was an amazing weekend.  I am so bummed that I did not take even one picture of our Friday night.  I guess we were having too much fun to stop and take the time.  I had over my dad and my dad~in~love, for a birthday dinner to celebrate them both.  My dad turned eighty-four yesterday and Wiley turned seventy-two on Thursday.  We had a yummy dinner, and we just sat and talked for hours, while the kids all played outside.  It was lovely.

On Saturday morning, my mom and my sister Trish picked me up, and we went to the Spring Market at the Agricenter.  It was fun!  That's usually not my kind of thing, but I had a great time with them.  I just wanted to be with them~I didn't care what we did, as long as we spent time together.  While I was gone, Todd took the boys to a drag car race out at the race track in Millington.  They froze the whole day!  It actually snowed here Saturday.  At five thirty, I met one of my dearest friends at McAllister's, and with her and our ninth and tenth grade community group girls, we all went to see Cinderella.

The movie was AMAZING.  I cannot say that enough.  I saw so many spiritual pictures throughout the movie, so maybe that's why I loved it so much.  I cried from the beginning until the end.  It was beautiful, and I had forgotten so much of the movie, having not seen it since I was a young girl.

It was my most favorite movie growing up.  I have always been a sucker for romance!  

Throughout the entire movie, I caught hints of Scripture.  When Ella's mom died when she was a young girl, her parting message to Ella was, "Be kind.  Have courage."  That reminded me of Joshua 1:7, which says, "Be strong and very courageous...".  I know that in that passage the Lord was instructing Joshua to take the land He had promised to him, but I couldn't help but be reminded of the scripture when I heard the line in Cinderella.  

Another beautiful picture I got in this movie was seeing how Prince Charming pursued Ella.  My friends~do you have any idea how much the Lord pursues us?  He does!  I couldn't help but think of Him over and over as I saw Prince Charming pursue Ella.  After he met her in the forest, he was never the same, much like WE are never the same after meeting our Lord and Savior and starting a relationship with Him.

In the part of the movie when Ella's fairy Godmother comes and transforms her into a beautiful princess, I couldn't help but be reminded of how we are transformed as we renew our minds in the word of God.  He literally transforms us into something beautiful!  Even if you don't feel that way on the outside, I promise that you are.  And to Him, what is most beautiful is our heart, because we know that He doesn't look at outward appearance, but our hearts (1 Samuel 6:7).  

The last thing I got from the movie was at the end when the glass slipper was being tried on by all the maidens in the land.  In the times when the Bible was written, did you know that a shoe (a sandal) was often exchanged as a deal for land, or as a betrothal?  You know who that reminds me of?  Boaz.  Talk about a real life Prince Charming!  He loved and cared for Ruth~he was her kinsman redeemer.  The Hebrew term means, "a male relative who delivers or rescues".  And Boaz and Ruth have a happy ending, just like this movie~Ruth was the grandmother or the great-grandmother to David, son of Jesse, and out of the lineage of David, guess Who came?  Jesus.  

In the movie, the slipper fit Ella perfectly and thus began the start of the rest of their lives together, much like when we meet our Lord and Savior.  When we begin a relationship with Him, that is when the rest of our life starts.  

Y'all.  This movie blew me away.  But the whole time, all this was running through my head, so do you see why I loved it so?  I came home and wrote all this down in my journal, then I read in Ruth.  

I will be buying the movie when it comes out.  And I will watch it over and over again with anyone who will watch it with me.  

Thanks for going along with me here.  I pray your day is wonderful and that you see the goodness of my Jesus.  Love to all.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

going out of my comfort zone

This little blog has been quite the comfort zone for me the past several years.  I have been given a few opportunities lately, though, and I feel like the Lord is stretching me to do things I have never done before.

So, I took a giant leap of faith and joined The Today Show's parenting team.  That sounds all fancy, but it's really just a bunch of different contributors that offer advice and such to the readers.

If you would like to read about that, you can find it here.

After you read my post, would you consider voting on it?  It's under the title.

Thanks!  Have a great weekend!  Love to all.