Saturday, July 31, 2010

What's Up?

VBS-all week at my church this past week.  It was amazing...I worked registration and loved getting to visit with all my church peeps!

Rearranging furniture/toys and cleaning/organizing...AGAIN.  This time in Graham's and Drew's room.  We are selling their bunk beds because they now have NEW ones in their room!  Woohoo!

I finished another amazing book...The Yada Yada House of Hope series by Neta Jackson...Who Do I Lean On?

Slacked on blogging.  Sorry.  No inspiration/motivation.

Kept up with my favorite bloggy peeps!  I found a new favorite cooking blog...my friend and kindergarten teacher of 2 of my kiddos...Katie Ledbetter.  Her blog is From My Kitchen To Yours...click on my blogroll on the right and check out her yummy recipes!

Entertained my kids...and several others.  :)  And fed them all.

Went to the grocery store for much needed food!  With all my kids.  $240 later, our fridge and pantry are stocked!

Watched a LOT of HGTV.  Becoming addicted.

Did countless loads of laundry.  Including ALL the bed linens.  And then put it all up.  :)

Assisted my hubby in shaving his head bald.  Not really.  I just offered my opinion from time to time. 

Had dinner with friends last night.

Worked a day at the school.  :)

Had fun with my kids.  Hanging out, doing not much of anything, enjoying our last days of summer. 

Relished their creative energy. 

Bored you with my goings on. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

my favorite day of the week...

is Sunday!  I love our church family.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.  When I walk into church it feels like home.  I love the people, the kids, the preaching, the music.  Today was especially cool because we got to see our former music pastor, Kent Ferrin, his beautiful wife, Kathy and their kiddos, Abby and Will.  I've really missed them, and today when I saw them and hugged them it was hard to believe it had been 2 years since I'd last seen them.

Those 2 were the ones I looked up to the most while they were here.  I'm a choir girl, and Kent was my pastor.  Because I was with them the most.  Kent did such a great job at making us feel like a family.  We sang together, we had parties and cookouts and game nights together and we all just genuinely liked each other.  Not that we don't now, we do!  We just don't do as much as a group anymore.

It's okay, though.  I don't expect for things to always stay the same.  Times change.  People move on.  Change is inevitable.  Am I always okay with it?  Of course not.  Do I want things to stay just the way we are?  Sometimes.  But I shouldn't feel that way.  I know that the things of this life are only temporary.  And yes, I become very attached to things the way they are.  I am constantly working on that.

I started writing this about my favorite day of the week, and got sidetracked.  Whoops.  It was about church this morning.  The worship is always so good at our church.  I'm a music girl (I said I was a choir girl) and the music is what always makes me either really like a place...or really NOT like a place.  We've been to other churches, and none had the kind of music that I was used to.  And we're not just church peeps.  We are pentecostal peeps.

Do you know what that means?  We clap our hands, we raise our hands, we're never really still, people shout "Hallelujah!", we are generally loud people.  And the music?  There's only one volume setting: LOUD.  Just the way I like it.  I love to participate in the service.  I love to sing in the choir.  I love to lead worship on the praise team.  It's my favorite place to be...in the house of the Lord.

My kids feel the same way.  Just this morning after a great service, 2 of them came home wanting to write out Bible verses they're going to start memorizing.  Life verses, they called them.  They came home with these on a card.  The title is 10 For Life, and today they got the first 3.  The first one is Proverbs 3:5&6.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."

The 2nd one is John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."

The last one is 2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from Heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land."

I love that they got so much out of church this morning.  In this day and age, there are so many things that we as parents are up against.  Life with technology is nice at times, and scary at other times.  It's nice because we have everything at our fingertips, but it's scary because of the bad stuff that can be at their little fingertips.  Or mine, or my husband's.  I am constantly in prayer over my family, though, and I trust that God IS directing our paths, just as His word promises. 

This is why I love Bible study so much.  It keeps me fresh in His word and His promises.  I'm currently just starting Esther...It's Tough Being A Woman by Beth Moore.  I haven't started the homework yet, but from the one dvd session we've watched, I know it's going to be awesome.  With my awesome church peeps.  Of the women variety.  :)  Happy sigh here. 

What about you?  How do you stay fresh in God's word?  How do you tackle to task of raising your kids in this day and age?  Just curious.  Leave your thoughts...even if you've never commented before, now is a great time to start!  Love to all. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thoughts on School

It's been a really good week.  After this weekend, we are officially on countdown mode until school resumes.  This year I have very mixed emotions.  Part of me is really excited to be getting back into the swing of things.  I am excited about seeing all "my" school kids.  I've seen several over the summer, and I realize that I've missed them!  I'm also sad...because it'll be back to the real world.  I love spending the days with my boys all at my side, so I always dread sending them off.

However, they love school.  They love all of it.  The social aspect, the privileges they have that go along with being in a public school (like the amazingly updated technology they have at their fingertips), they love having so many friends to pick and choose from, they love the extra's (art, music, gym, library), and they love their teachers.  We've been blessed every single year with amazing, Christian women as teachers.  Isn't that a God thing?!

So with all this being said, you see why I have mixed emotions.  Especially because Graham is going to the middle school.  I have covered this child in prayer this summer.  He admitted to me yesterday that he is a little nervous.  When I asked why, he said it was because of how big the campus is.  I was able to reassure him that while it is big, all of 6th grade is in one building.  The only times he'll leave that building are if he needs to go to the office for something, for gym and for band.  The gym is just right across the bus lane and the band room is down the breezeway on the way to the office.

If you're the praying kind, will you help me pray for him?  I am praying that God will replace all of his fears with confidence, and that He will bring some amazing friends across his path this year.  He has been burned by some friends.  He has lots of acquaintances that could possibly turn into good friends, though.  That's what I'm praying will happen.  One of his friends held a 6th grade co-ed Bible study at his house over this summer, and Graham has gone to most of them.  I'm praying those will be the kids he sticks with.  He's also about to be going to some jr. high youth group functions at a local church near us.  I'm excited about him meeting even more good, quality kids. 

I am really praying that God will bless him with a best friend at school this year.  He has a best friend, Drew Coleman, but he needs one at school as well.  I pray that God will make Graham the kind of friend to others that he needs in his life.  I don't know why he struggles in this area.  My dad says it's because he's so good at so many things.  He's in the accelerated classes at school, he's a good musician, he's sociable, he's good at any sport he tries and he's the kid that teachers love.  He has a magnetic personality-if you're an adult.  Unfortunately, kids don't agree.  And please don't think I'm bragging...because if I could take all that away so that he would be the kid that every other kid loved, I'd do it.

But God is teaching me something through this.  He's teaching me that it's okay to be the one that stands out.  Not in a bad way, necessarily, but in just a different way.  Graham genuinely loves adults, and he told me over the summer that one of his favorite things about starting school is learning about his teachers.  He enjoys getting to know them, and he considers them not only his teachers, but someone that he can be friends with.  I think his 5th grade teacher this past year might have spoiled him in this department.  She brought her personal life into school and made each of her students a vital part.  He loved her, and he loved getting to know her.

I think that God has big plans in store for Graham this year.  I'm believing it, and I'm trusting Him to take care of him this year.  I think that He could possibly be setting Graham up to be able to minister to someone this year.  Because we all know that God uses the unlikely ones.  Look at David in the Bible.  All of his older, taller, stronger brothers were passed up, but God wanted HIM.  I'm claiming that for Graham in the sweet name of Jesus.

So, I didn't mean for this whole blog to be about Graham, but God has laid it on my heart.  Maybe so I can share it with all of you so you all can help me pray about this.  I covet your prayers in this area.  Especially now that I know that he's nervous.  Will you join me? What about you?  Is there anything that you have in your life that I can pray with you about?  If you don't want to share on here, email me at allboys@gmail.com.

I hope you all have a blessed weekend.  I'm spending the day with Mom again.  I have an unexpected day away from the kids.  Todd took them all to his friend's farm to do some car stuff.  And to probably ride some 4wheelers.  They were so excited as they left here this morning.

Well, have a blessed day.  Love to all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Mom

I've been spending a lot of time with my mom lately.  She is currently not working, and I've had the privilege of getting to spend quality time with her throughout this summer.  I've gotten out of the habit of being able to spend time with her in the past years, either because of her work during the week, or mine.  Except for our Saturday nights.

When Todd and I first got married, she started inviting us over for dinner on Saturday nights.  I had no idea that it would continue for nearly fourteen years now.  I don't even know that she intended us to do this for so long, but it's something that has continued, and it's something we all enjoy.  Of course it became more special once the kids were born.  Especially since my kids were the first "little ones" they'd been able to enjoy in a long time. 

Going to mom's house for dinner is like going home.  Even in her new home, it's like this feeling of "ahhhhhh".  Her and Bill (who am I kidding, mostly it's Bill who does the cooking for us!  Sorry, Mom, I can't lie!) cook the most amazing meals.  Steak, salmon, catfish, grilled chicken, pork chops, hamburgers & hot dogs, Italian spinach, grilled veggies, potato casseroles, banana pudding, chocolate chess pie...I could go on, but these are just a few of the things that we have when we go over there. 

I've always felt like I could just sit back and relax when I'm over there.  Mom has always just taken over with my kids during this time.  It's like her gift to me-the night off!  No hassles, no questions, no worries!  Even at one time or another when they were all little, when we all sat around the table to start eating dinner, there would  be a baby that would start crying.  I guess the smell of the food made him hungry, because it never failed.  Once we sat, the tears came.  Mom ALWAYS let me eat, and she would either eat with just one hand while she held the baby in her lap, or she would entertain him while I ate.  I love that about her.  She also started bathing them before we would leave.  This started when Graham was just days old, and has continued all the way to present time.  Although now they don't require supervision.  Because that would just be weird.  We usually carry clean pj's to her house so they can be all squeaky clean for church the next morning when we leave her house. 

So...back to now and why I'm writing this post.  A few weeks ago, I found on facebook that one of my dear friends from highschool and my college roommate, a sweet girl named Angel, lost her mom.  Her mom had been the picture of health until the past 6 months or so.  I think she had kidney problems, and that was what her mom died from.  And then I started thinking of all the people I know that are my age that have already lost their moms.  I felt this overwhelming thankfulness that I was still among the blessed to have the presence of my mom in my life.

And then I started thinking of the way my mom took care of her mom.  My precious Mammaw, Vera Mae Myles, lived the last twelve years of her life in a nursing home.  She'd lived with my aunt until she became so sick that Mammaw had to move in with us.  I was a junior in high school, I think.  We were able to care for her until it became dangerous for my Mammaw.  She had dementia and actually got out of our house one night.  My mom took amazing care of her.  She visited her almost every single day, she fed her, helped bathe her, took her her favorite treats, she would sing to her, or often she would just sit by her bedside, holding her hand and rubbing her face. 

She was the picture of love and devotion.  And again...I feel so thankful to have my mom in my life.  Sure, I've taken her for granted.  Did I mean to?  Of course not.  Life is busy, with family and work, but my mom is a rock for me.  We could go for days without seeing one another (although I prefer not to), but we always pick right back up.  Is our relationship perfect?  No.  Unfortunately I can be quite moody and subject the poor dear to my meltdowns.  I always try to apologize for those times, and she's always there to just quietly tell me, "It's okay, sweetie.  I love you."  I'm sure she gets frustrated with me, and I've gotten frustrated with her, but the bottom line is that she is my mom and regardless of what is going on or has taken place, she loves me.

Last week we spent almost an entire three days together.  She let me drive while we were together.  I loved the feeling of taking care of her.  I felt so protective of her while I escorted her around.  I even found myself ordering for the both of us when we were eating at a restaurant.  Not because I wanted to be in charge (because I am in charge of enough little bodies for this present moment!), but because I just wanted to take care of her.  I didn't want her to have to worry about one little thing. 

And do you know what she did to repay me?  She slaved in Jonah's and Noah's room the next day and almost painted herself silly.  I'm not writing this to make anyone jealous, or to brag about what my mom does for me, but because I want to HONOR her.  God has blessed me with a loving, kind and gentle mom.  His word tells us to honor our mother and our father.  I don't really know what "to honor your mother and your father" means, but I hope that in writing this, that I am doing just that. 

Mom has given me so much in my life.  She has taught me how to be a mom.  She is the one responsible for making me love to cook and love being a homemaker.  I love all the little domestic things that come with being a wife and mom.  I know, it's crazy, but I enjoy the cleaning, the laundry folding, the putting away of the laundry, even spending hours in my kids' rooms cleaning...I love all of it.  I especially love cooking one of their favorite meals.  I love when they ask me to make them something...even when the request sounds like, "Hey Mom, can you make Nana's chocolate gravy/cornbread/banana pudding?" 

I love my mom.  I love everything about her.  Even her hands that are so strong and capable.  They're aging a little bit now, but they are still gentle enough to rub my back when she hugs me.  I love her so much.  And I thank God for every moment He gives me with her.  If you are fortunate enough to have your mom in her life...why don't you tell her so today?  Because we never know what life has in store, and we never know when one moment may be our last. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

the things that make me cry

Charlotte's Web.  I took Jonah, Noah and their sweet little friend, Hannah to see that today at the Malco Kidzfest movie.  I almost made a spectacle of myself.  I absolutely LOVE Julia Roberts in that movie-she is so good as the voice of Charlotte.  And Kathy Bates, and even Oprah Winfrey, although I don't much care for her.  I wondered if I was the only one crying at the end?  Hmmmmm.

Toy Story 3.  Holy cow.  My dad, boys and I went to see that last Monday, and I thought I was going to have to get up.  R.I.D.I.C.U.L.O.U.S. I tell you.  I knew it would be a tear jerker, too, because Andy had grown up.  And that sentence brings me to....

Let Me Hold You Longer, by Karen Kingsbury.  If you are interested in looking into this book, click HERE.  Just do yourself a favor and go there and check it out...then come back to my blog.  I was thinking the other day...I don't remember the last time I held Graham and Drew.  It's true-what this book is about-you spend a lot of time recording your kids' firsts.  But what about all those lasts???  It makes me realize that I need to slow down and cherish those moments.  Who knows when it will be the last?

Prayer for my loved ones.  Any time one of my family or friends comes to me with a need, especially a serious, sometimes life-threatening one, while I'm praying I cry.  I always get overwhelmed by God's love for me, and the fact that He cares about all of our life's troubles.  This happened Sunday night at church, as we gathered in circles and prayed for one another.  I love that time. 

A friend's kindness and sensitivity.  That happened to me today as well, and it made me cry.  Maybe it was the fact that the floodgate had already been opened by Charlotte's Web...I don't know.  But it made me cry.

When other people cry in front of me.  I stole this line from Steel Magnolias (one of my all time favorite movies EVER):  "Nobody cries alone in my presence!"  I think it was Dolly Parton's character that said that to Julia Robert's character.  :)  As Julia looked at her new short hairstyle in the mirror after Dolly had cut it.

Saying goodbye to someone who lives far away.  I cried when we left Iceland for this very reason.  Who knows when we'll all see each other again?  I also cried as we said goodbye to the pastors of the church in Vestmannaeyjar. 

Well, I'm gonna go for now.  My neighbor and her nephews invited us over to swim.  So, that takes precedence.  Love to all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

my lovely monday

It really was lovely.  It involved cleaning and organizing, and you all know how I love that.  This time it was in Graham's and Drew's room.  I'm ashamed to say it's been almost a year since I have done that.  It's amazing what builds up in their closet...and organized though it may be, it was still quite the task. 


And no, this is not from today.  It's from when we first did their closets a year and a half ago.  It looks almost this good again, though.  It's amazing what all 2 boys collect.  Well, 4, but in today's case it was just 2 that I was dealing with.  I cleaned out their closet, their drawers, their entire room from top to bottom.  :)  Because sometimes, a mom just needs to do it, ya know what I'm sayin'??? 

Here are some of the odds and ends that I found while cleaning out their stuff:

odd little pieces of metal-guess which one would be the collector of that lovely item?  Drew.
a ridiculously huge collection of chapstick
a rainbow assortment of colored mardi gras beads
love letters from the first grade (Drew again)
old birthday cards, including one that sings, "You make me wanna SHOUT!"
all kinds of playing cards
hand written notes of a secret language (Mahaba=hello)
a yellow shotgun shell (guess which one again???)

Oh wait.  I think all of this stuff must have belonged to Drew!  Have I mentioned that he is quite the collector?  I ended up throwing a lot of it away...behind his back, of course...so we'll see how long it takes to get all messy again!  I know, I know.  I have really high expectations don't I?! 

And the stuff under their beds.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  What in the world?!?!  I guess this is just characteristic of boys, but what in the world do they have against putting things up?  Dirty socks, a couple of "lost" shirts, pencils, books, you name it, it was under there.

On another note, I traded kids tonight.  I exchanged 2 for 1.  Good for me, bad for my friend.  :(  I can't help that mine come in pairs!  So the little ones are upstairs with their sweet friend, working on going to sleep.  I'm about to head there myself.  If I can pull myself away from the marathon of Silent Library.  On MTV.  Yes, that would be the only thing I watch on that channel, but it is hilarious! 

Okay.  Love to all. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

what a weekend.

We had fun at my friend Amy's house Friday night.  We made our pizza for dinner, which Jonah and Noah LOVED.  And devoured.  And we even got to throw in some adult conversation into the mix.  It was sweet of her to invite us over...we had some meaningful talks about raising kids in today's world, education and which way works best for OUR family, church, you get the picture.  She was telling me about a really good book she just read that sparked these conversations, and to save my life, I cannot think of the title OR the author. 

I need to find out.  It's going to eat me alive, because it's a book I think I would like. 

We left her house and got home around 9:30, and all seemed well in my world.  I was getting Jonah and Noah off to bed when I realized something wasn't quite right with my house.  It was darker than I left it.  And I noticed the minute we walked in, that it wasn't as cool as it should have been.  Because it was 103 90 degrees outside.  I walked in the dining room where our thermostat is and it read 75 degrees.  Nice and cool, right? 

Wrong.  We keep the downstairs set to 72 degrees, because we're all a bunch of Eskimos.  Then I started noticing that while certain lights came on, some did not.  Bottom line: I realized that my house only had HALF electricity.  Seriously?  Yup. 

I called my favorite nice neighbor, Travis, and he came over to inspect my breaker box.  After flipping all the different switches, nothing happened.  Nothing came back on.  And it was a bunch of random stuff that was off.  Unfortunately, both air conditioning units were not working.  :(  I started to leave and spend the night with some of my family, but when I found out that a good friend (who happens also to have gone on the Iceland trip with us AND is a licensed electrician, thank You, Lord!) would come over first thing the next morning, we stayed. 

Jonah and Noah were comfy in bed and their ceiling fan worked.  I was not as fortunate.  So after sporadic sleep and hot flashes all throughout the night, I was thrilled to see Saturday dawn.  And when it did, I was so stinkin' hot that I couldn't even drink my morning coffee.  Y'all.  I could not drink my coffee.  That is serious.  Because you all know that I go bed early at night so I can wake up early to grab that first delicious cup. 

I was sitting here sweltering and playing on facebook when all of a sudden, I heard this zzzzzztttttt, and all the power came back on.  All of it, except for both a/c units.  And while the lights were on, they were barely on.  They were all really dim.  I called my sweet father in law, and he called and got MLGW to come out.  The man got here, a really nice man, I might add, and told me the problem was not their end, but in my box.  When he called me over to show me what the problem was so I could show my friend Darwin (the electrician), sparks started flying and a little fire started.  Seriously.  He was blowing on things and fanning it to put it out.  I almost wet myself. 

He turned to me and said, "Honey, I'm shuttin' ya down.  I don't feel safe leaving you here like this."  So he did.  And I about cried.  Fortunately my stepdad had come over to see if he could help and took Jonah and Noah to the grocery store, then home with him.  I gathered up my belongings and went to the neighbor's house, in search for air.  Because it was 82 degrees downstairs (and probably close to 90 upstairs), and you know me and my dislike of heat.  It makes me cranky, gives me migraines and makes me want to throw up.

Heaven forbid.

So I hung out with Travis and Katie and their sweet nephews until Darwin got here.  And praise the Lord, he was able to fix it and get us back up and running.  So when he left, I came back home and started on some laundry.  Because I was about to have to leave to pick up Todd and the older boys and we all KNOW what camp laundry smells like!  After that, I was relieved to be able to take a little siesta.  On the comfy couch with the air blowing all around me and my fan on high above me. 

Insert happy sigh here. 

I got the text to head to the church because they were almost home and left.  After all the vehicles were unloaded and parked again, we headed to my mom's for dinner.  A really, really, really yummy dinner of grilled chicken, grilled potatoes and squash, boiled okra, Italian spinach and garlic bread.  I was in Heaven, because I'd kind of forgotten to eat lunch that day.  I don't think I've ever inhaled a plate of food so fast! 

The boys swam and we talked and eventually headed back home.  To lots and lots and lots of laundry.  That will be what I am doing tomorrow!  And cleaning out closets and drawers.  Because I feel the need to.  I forgot to mention that not only did I not sleep well Friday night, I didn't sleep last night, either.  I think I must have gotten up every half hour.  I don't know what was wrong with me.  But if I didn't wake up, I heard a noise that woke me up.  Or the cats fighting.  Or Andy the WonderDog snoring. 

Or....

Or....

Or....

So I am sleepy.  And I'm about to get off this thing and take my book and hopefully drift off to the Land of Nod. 

So, I'm gonna go do that now.  Good night, all. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

a fast week

I can't believe a whole week has gone by!  It's going by with lightning speed and I really don't like it.  I wish I could freeze time...especially summer!  But it's life, and all we can do is enjoy every last drop, right?  So, speaking of that, I thought I would catch you up on what's been going on here in the Goodwinville.

FRIENDS!  That has been the theme of the week.  Starting with Saturday, when I spent the day with my mom and later on my friend Christa.  She came over, we ate at Chili's, walked around Home Depot, came here and watched a dumb movie. 

Monday we ate lunch at Cici's Pizza with my dad, saw Toy Story 3 and came back home for the evening.  Just as I was about to lay down and probably fall asleep (at 7pm, mind you), the doorbell rang.  Our friends David and Sunny dropped by to return a couple books, and ended up staying until 10:30!  I love nights like that...we talked and got all caught up (it's been ages since we've all been together), then sat around the kitchen table playing Chicken Foot in dominoes.  Fun times.

Tuesday we saw another movie-the Kids Fest thing at Malco for $2 a ticket-with Sunny and Andy, who is the same age as Jonah and Noah.  We saw Aliens in the Attic.  It was cute.  We swam later that day with our friend, Carol, or Mimi Carol, as all the boys call her.  Because she's a Mimi.  Jonah and Noah spent that night with Andy. 

Wednesday I (WE, as in my mom and me) got up, dropped the older boys off at church, went to her house and whipped up some cute little curtains for Jonah and Noah, came back to the Ville and bought some paint, picked up Jonah and Noah, then got ready for church.  WHEW.  And I need to insert here that I love my church family.  The group of women that I have the honor of being a part of are amazing people, and I am SO EXCITED to be starting a Bible study with them for the first time ever-Beth Moore's Esther study. 

Thursday my sweet Mom and I painted the little boys' room.  And painted, and painted, and painted, and painted.  It wasn't that bad, but if you know me, you know I do not love to paint.  But I sure do love the outcome!  We painted from 9 until 4:30, breaking only for lunch.  We washed out all our supplies, then revamped some things with spray paint and started moving things back in.  Well, this was after my sister Lisa and her husband Jim came over to hang the curtains.  And moved the beds back in place.  And put the drawers under the bed back in.  It was like Mom and me were so tired that we couldn't do anything anymore.  So I was thankful that they came to help.  :) 

We hung everything, had dinner (thank you, Bill!!!  He brought us take out from Yum's!), and got everything put just right.  And then we did the big reveal for Jonah and Noah when they got back home.  I also need to thank my sweet mom-in-law for keeping the boys while we did this!  Jonah and Noah were SHOCKED at their room.  I loved their eyes when they saw it.  It looks really cool, like a big boy's room.  They loved it.  They kept touching everything and saying thank you!

Wiley, my father-in-law, and his 3 wives (HA!  Phyllis, and her friends Sherry and Nita) had come over, our neighbors were here with their little nephews, my mom and Bill were here...it was a lot of people.  They all left and my friend Mandy came over.  And brought me the most delicious dessert from Carrabba's.  YUMMMM.

We talked until 12:40 a.m.  Seriously.  I could talk to that girl all night.  She's my best friend from middle school, and things have NEVER changed between us.  She lived here briefly, then moved back to her hometown in Georgia while I was in high school.  Her and her family (hubby and 2 sweet kids) moved back here two years ago, and our friendship picked right back up where it left off.  I love that girl, you will NEVER meet anyone nicer than her. 

So here I am at today.  I am meeting another sweet friend, Marcia, at the Germantown Community Center for some pool time.  :)  I'm spending tonight with another sweet friend, Amy, who invited Jonah, Noah and myself over for homemade pizza making.  I am rich in friends...not because I'm some great person, but because God knows that I need good girlfriends, ones that are strong and kind and loyal, and He answered my prayer for just that.  Women like this are few and far between.  I am blessed to have them in my life and I thank God every single day for them.  And for my family...because they're not just family, but so much more.

Love to all.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A DAY FOR MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

I am so stinkin' excited about tomorrow, I could cry.  Todd and all his boys are going on a canoe trip on the Buffalo River!  WAHOO!!

Guess what I get to do the whole day???

ANYTHING I WANT TO!  To steal a phrase from one of my favorite Travis Cottrell songs, "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!"

A whole day.  That sounds like heaven.  Unfortunately, I'm going to spend the earlier half of it trying on dresses.  :(  But after that, I can do whatever I want!  I have a friend coming over for a girl's night tomorrow night and I'm hoping to watch a chick flick!  And just catch up.  Ya know?  Especially since she's moving away in a short while.  :(

Alright, well, I'm off for now.  I am going to watch one of my instant queue movies from Netflix.  A girly one.  Since the hubs is out doing his sheriff department stuff.  And since the kiddos are in bed.  And since I need to get off of here before my eyes cross. 

Good night.  Love to all.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

this week's devotional theme...

...is avoiding the comparison trap.  How many of us compare ourselves to others?  To people we see on television, movie stars, other moms, friends...

You get the drift.  How crazy is that???  Why do we do that to ourselves?  Not only did God create all of us differently, He created us all in His glorious image!  And how wonderfully complex we all are. 

I loved this week's devotion theme.  I am going through (again) The One Year Women's Friendship Devotional.  By Cheri Heath Fuller and Sandra P. Aldrich.  Each week is given a theme, and throughout the week there are daily devotions with verses that support them.  I thought I would share a few of the verses.  That I love!!! 

Ephesians 2:10  We are God's masterpiece.  He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. 

I love that word 'masterpiece'.  I automatically think of an artist working on a piece that has taken days, months or years to create.  All the thought and care that the artist puts into it~that is how our God created us.  With much thought, care, or precision. 

1 Corinthians 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked harder than all of them-yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 

I love this one, too, but it's kind of confusing.  The easiest way that I can think to explain it, is that when we go through something difficult or trying, it is not OURSELVES who get through it.  If we are saved by God's grace (which we are when we pray the sinner's prayer, acknowledging that He is who He says He is-the one, true God, asking forgiveness of our sin, and asking Him into our hearts), then it is HIM who gets us through those times. And every other time, the good and the bad.

2 Corinthians 3:18  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 

I love that word:  TRANSFORMED.  God is not done with us-we should always be changing!  We are constant works in progress.  This reason alone is why I stay in Bible studies.  I like to do them on my own sometimes, as well as in a group, but I love nothing more than studying His word.  He is constantly changing me, working on me, improving me, TRANSFORMING me.  He is making me more and more like Him...the more I study His word, the more He teaches me.  Life is NEVER boring as a Christian, even though to some it might seem like it is.  He gives me new revelations almost every single day.

And last...

2 Corinthians 12: 9 and 10  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  10  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Without Him in my life, I am nothing.  N.O.T.H.I.N.G.  I cannot stress that enough.  All that I am right now, in this very moment, is what He has made me into.  A better person, an ever-improving wife, a sometimes good and fun mom.  He directs my steps ("The Lord directs the steps of the Godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives."  Psalm 37:23 New Living Translation).  He strengthens me ("I can do everything through Him who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13).  He guides me. 

My prayer for you today is to know Him.  To truly know Him and love Him.  And to tell everyone you come across what He has done in your life.  I've never shared my complete testimony on here, but I will if you ask.  Maybe not on here, but in person or over the phone.  I am not at all who I used to be, and I thank God everyday that He drew me back to Him.  Five years later and still going strong. 

Love to all. 

a quiet week

Isn't it funny, how when there's a holiday on Monday, you spend the rest of the week trying to figure out what day it is?  Even in the summer?  I have done that all week.  I can't believe today is Wednesday, already.  We've had the most lazy week.  I haven't been feeling good-my ear has been giving me fits, but I think today it's finally starting to feel better.  We haven't been swimming, either, which is just about unheard of.  I've been allowing time for our ears to heal.  Mine, Graham's and Jonah's. 

And then of course, there was yesterday morning when Jonah woke me up at 3a.m. to tell me he'd thrown up.  I had to clean it up, get him settled on the floor of our room, then spent the next 2 hours trying to go back to sleep.  I should have just gotten up to read.  When I finally did sleep, by the time I woke up, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.  :(

It was one of those mornings that when my feet hit the floor, they were running.  I had to do all that laundry that Jonah.....well, you get my drift.  In order to do all that laundry, I had to take care of all the laundry from the day before.  When I finished, I spent the rest of the day on the couch.  I caught up on my dvr shows since the kids were playing upstairs, and did absolutely nothing else.  I never even got out of my pajamas.  So uncharacteristic of me.  It was one of those blah days.  I'm honestly glad it's over.

Today we're going to be more productive.  Todd has a long workday today.  He has to drive several hours to get to one of his jobs.  Graham wanted to go with him-even though he knew how many hours would be spent in the car.  I'm pretty sure Todd was glad for the company, and I'm positive that Graham is loving the one on one time.  I'm thankful that Todd is able to do this-take the kids with him occasionally.  Jonah has already informed us that when Todd has a "normal" work day here in Memphis, that HE is going to go with Daddy that day.  Today would have been too hard for him, though.  I don't expect them home until 9:00 tonight. 

So while they're gone, the other boys and myself are going to swim with my sweet friend, Carol.  She called last night to invite us over again.  My boys LOVE going to her pool.  Can you say saltwater????  They love that they can open their eyes underwater without it burning.  Plus they love playing with her grandkids.  In fact, they're asking if they can come back and spend the night with us.  Connor is going into 4th grade, and Jordan is going into 2nd, like Jonah and Noah.  They all get along really well, and I promised that if I was feeling better, they could come back home with us. 

Last week I was telling Carol about one of my favorite authors-Karen Kingsbury-and found out that as much as she loves to read, she's never read any of her books.  So today, I'm going to bless her with Karen's books.  Because they are a blessing-not because I'm giving them to her and her daughter in law to read, but because the books are called Life Changing Fiction.  And they are.  So, sitting on the kitchen counter are 14 books.  Because the books are all in series, and there is a specific order they go in.  If you're interested, you can go to her website to find out about them yourself.  I'll even loan you mine-if you promise to take care of them and give them back.  I'm picky about my books, and unless I give them to someone forever, I usually do want them back.  Because I love to share them with everybody!  Not because I'm selfish with them, lol, although right now, it may seem that way. 

Anyway, to get to her website, click HERE.

The books I'm talking about are the Redemption series, the Firstborn series, the Sunrise series, and the Above the Line series.  I'm giving her the first 3 of the mentioned above series.  Above the Line is her newest, and I can't loan those yet because my mom and mom-in-love haven't read the last book.  If you're looking for some recommended reading, I highly recommend her.   :)  I know.  I'm a nerd.  A book nerd.  I love any and all books.  And as cool as the new Nooks and Kindles are, I love the actual FEEL of a book in my hands.  The feel, the smell, the pictures on the cover...insert happy sigh here. 

I also LOVE these authors:  Robin Jones Gunn (I've read every book she's written, including some that were written for young girls.  I actually bought them all one year and re-read all of them.  My favorite series she's written is the Sister Chicks Series.), and Neta Jackson (The Yada Yada Prayer Group books).  That's what I'm reading right now.  Neta Jackson's Who Do I Talk To, the 2nd book in the Yada Yada House of Hope series.  This series comes after all the Yada Yada Prayer Group books-of which there are 7. You can find all these authors on Christianbook.com

Okay.  Well, I'm done talking about my books.  I did that because I get asked all the time what I love to read, and that's it.  Plus, I have a new friend that is across the world and I thought she might like to know.  Because we seem to have lots in common.  AHEM, JO. Even though distance separates, God allows hearts to befriend across the miles.  :) 

So that's about it.  As I'm writing this, the boys are making forts out of their cars.  And Drew keeps talking about weird it is without Graham here.  Different, indeed.  But I'm thankful for the time he gets with Todd today.  And I'm thankful for this time that I have alone with Drew, Jonah and Noah.  If this is what our day is going to be like, then I'm excited.  I love peaceful mornings. 

In fact, I'm going to take advantage of this quiet right now, and go do my devotion and read some of God's word.  My most favored book of all.  :)  I hope all of you have a glorious day.  Love to all. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

my kids are growing up

Noah used to hate fireworks.  Even until last year.  He used to hate them so bad that we had to borrow Big Daddy's ear things he wears on the tractor.  I thought about this Saturday night as we sat directly under the Ville's annual firework show.  Heck, they scared the daylights out of ME because we were so close.  But him?  Nope.  He was fine.  Except for that one time when a spark landed really close to us, he jumped up and ran over beside us.  But other than that, he was fine.


See?  He's fine.  Even lighting them all by himself this year!  Drastic improvement over the last seven years.  I wondered this time last year if he would ever get over the fear of the fireworks.  He would always run inside when we shot them, and Nana would go inside with him and keep him company.  :(  I hate when they grow up.  Kinda.  I'm also kinda happy b/c of all their new-found independence.

I know.  I'm confused.

We had the best day yesterday.  I had the honor of helping lead worship yesterday morning at church (my favorite thing to do!), then Todd and I got to share in the Families on the Rock class about our trip to Iceland.  Talking about it brought back loads of good memories, and it got me excited about next year.  And whether or not it will be in God's will for us to go back.  :)  Because I REALLY hope that it is.  In His will, I mean. 

After church we came home to let Andy the WonderDog out and to change, then we headed to Nana's and Big Daddy's.  We ate the most delicious meal EVER.  They made 2 kinds of ribs, potato salad, slaw, baked beans, homemade angel biscuits, corn that my mom forgot to cook until later, homemade oreos and homemade banana icecream.

Sweet Mama, I get hungry just thinking about it.

It was so good that we had the exact same thing again last night...along with the corn that Mom forgot to cook, fresh butter beans and fresh boiled okra.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

It was sooooo good.  Ridiculously so.

We talked and laughed and napped and ate and ate and ate.  And the kids swam and shot fireworks.  With the 2 older kids that joined in.  Todd and Big Daddy.

It was one of those magical days that we will remember for a very long time to come.

I hope all of you had a wonderful, happy, blessed 4th.  I know we sure did.








Sunday, July 4, 2010

just for fun...some things I would like to do soon

paint Jonah's and Noah's room
get our playroom in (somewhat) order, as opposed to the disarray it's in currently
go back to Iceland
fix up our backyard and deck...too much HGTV is a bad thing
finish our living room-yes, it's painted, but the walls are naked.  I can't seem to get motivated.
get over whatever is wrong with my ear
watch more movies
get together with our friends more often-we've let this area slip, and I'm missing it
go somewhere as a family-anywhere
be with a girlfriend that is hurting right now...to be able to do better than just the phone conversation we had tonight
paint my kitchen cabinets (GASP!)
take everything out of my kitchen-off the counters and walls-and start all over (insert motivation here, please)

Okay, well, this one's short and sweet.  The hubs is asking for his computer now, so that's my cue to head upstairs to bed to read.  :)

Hope you all had a happy 4th of July.  We did.  It was amazingly relaxing, spending the entire day (almost) at my mom's house.  Eating the best food.  Doing what the boys love most-swimming and shooting off fireworks.  And eating.  Did I mention that?  Holy cow.  Big Daddy could open up his own restaurant with the ribs he cooked today.  Oh my GRAVY.  Heaven, I tell you.  Pure Heaven. 

Okay.  Good night.  Love to all.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

what do you love?

I am doing this because my kids, Drew especially, have the kind of personality that is obsessive.  What I mean by that is when he is "into" something, he is into it heart, mind and soul!  And that is all he thinks about, talks about and does.  Recently he's been into Alcatraz, Al Capone, WW1&2, all things military, cars, spy stuff, ninjas, karate, origami and now....

Baseball cards.  The kid has bought and bought and bought and now he has close to 400.  All acquired within the last 3 months.  He loves them so much that he's also gotten Graham, Jonah and Noah in on it, and now, everywhere I look, I see baseball cards.  Funny, huh?

So that got me to thinking...what is it that I love the MOST?  My most treasured possession is my Bible.  And not just one.  Many.  I have them everywhere.  At least 1 in every room in my house.  Not including bathrooms.  I love to hold it, to feel it, the smell of it, the wrinkled oft-turned pages, the marks, the highlights, the underlining...I love all of it.  I was sitting with my dad at the dinner table at church last week and noticed his Bible looks just like all mine.  Much loved.  Much used.  Treasured.  And my heart got all happy and warm inside. 

When we were in Iceland, for one of our devotions, we were talking about faithfulness.  Jeannie was giving this devotion and she started talking about her son in law's Bible.  Both of his parents died within a very short time, and his dad's Bible was one of the things that he had to remember him by.  And it wasn't a mint condition Bible.  It was a much loved, much used, TREASURED Bible.  And with tears in her eyes, she explained how he'd written in all the margins, and how alongside one verse he would write how God had worked in that situation, the date and the outcome. 

Isn't that cool? 

So all of this to say...not only what do you love, but what do you want to leave behind?  I hope to leave a legacy for my kids...I hope they can say that the one thing I loved the most wasn't a possession that I had, but a relationship that I had with my Lord and Savior. 

I guess I'm just in a reflective mood today.  And I had some moments of thankfulness with my kids as we poured over His written word together.  And studied it.  And began memorizing some of it. 

So, what do you love?

Church of the Small Things, by Melanie Shankle

Several weeks ago, I was picked to be on the launch team for Melanie Shankle's newest book, Church of the Small Things.  I have been a r...