Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good Tuesday Morning

I am barely awake enough to be able to type out this post.  For some crazy reason, my eyelids want to shut.  I even went to bed (to read) at ten and put the book down by 10:30 because I kept nodding off.  That doesn't seem late, right?  Apparently the magic numbers for me are 9:30 and 10:00.  In order to be up by 5:30.  Although, that number keeps getting closer to 5:45.

It's almost a habit, though.  How many days in a row do you have to do something before it becomes "habit"?  Twenty-one?  Well, whatever the number, I should be getting awfully close. 

We've already been in school for sixteen days.  Today is seventeen.  It's hard to believe.  Things are going very smoothly in our house.  Praise God for that!  We've all gotten adjusted to bedtimes, and waking up times, and breakfast at the kitchen table (this is a HUGE deal in my house), morning devotion, homework routines...I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  Jonah has homework every night.  At least one sheet of math, sometimes 2 sheets of math and 1 of language arts (English is what we used to call it).  Noah has one night of homework per week, and Drew has homework Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights.  Graham is the only one who I never know about.  I think that depending on what they do in class that day, they sometimes have "free" time, and if they do, that's when he does his homework.  Otherwise, he sometimes has a couple of nights per week.

So far middle school is a breeze.  He's had no issues with transition, and he loves every single part of it.  He loves riding the bus to and from school, and he loves all his teachers.  Especially his homeroom and social studies teacher, Mr. Zoska.  We (Todd and I) liked him, too, at parent night.  I love that there is so much independence in middle school.  He has 5 minutes between classes, and he gets to decide what he is going to do during that time (i.e., locker, restroom). 

We've been so busy these past three weeks.  We now have soccer practice for Jonah and Noah one night a week, on Tuesday's.  I have Bible study on Monday nights, and of course, church is always on Wednesday nights.  That leaves one night (during the school week) at home.  And last week, even that night was busy.  That was the night we went to the Redbird's game.  I've had to get creative with homework times.  We're trying to enjoy every little last drop of warm weather with the kids.  Luckily, it only takes each boy 10-15 minutes to do homework each night.  And they all do it at the same time, so it's really not a big deal. 

Things are also going really good with my job.  I'm very thankful to have one.  I love my coworkers, too, which is always a plus.  My days fly by.  Lunch starts with 3rd grade at 11:15 and kindergarten comes next, at 11:30.  I'm in there by myself (unless I have a parent volunteer) until about 11:45.  After kindergarten, it's 4th grade, then 5th grade, 2nd grade, then 1st grade comes last this year, starting at 1:00.  I love this schedule...because having kindergarten and first grade kids back to back is difficult.  The first graders still require lots of help from us, so I love having them so far apart.  When I'm done with lunch at 1:30 (keep in mind, my job is from 11-2 Monday through Friday), if the mail has come, I distribute all of it.  We have teacher's boxes in the lounge that most of it goes to.  I run errands if I need to and sometimes if nothing is going on, I sit in the front office and help out a little in there.  For about 10 minutes, then I get to leave. 

I love it.  It's the perfect amount of time for me in order for me to keep on top of all my wife/mom duties.  And I still have an hour and a half to myself until Graham comes home.  I leave at 3:30 to go through the car rider line, and sometimes Graham comes with me, and sometimes he stays home.  Usually, he likes to stay.  Unless he's had a bad day, which he's only had one. 

I'm very content right now.  I have a very fixed schedule everyday, and I enjoy it.  I do occasionally nix all my morning activities and go have breakfast with a friend, like I did last Thursday.  I'm always open to that.  It's just that most people do lunch, instead.  I had a hard time with that at first, but now I love it.  I am very blessed to do something I love.  Even if people don't understand why I love it so much (to them it's loud and chaotic and just horrible), I feel like God has put me there for a season.  It allows me to play "mom" to kids that just need a little love.  And of course, there's the added benefit of seeing my own kiddos.  I wouldn't trade my job for anything in the world. 

Well, most days, anyway.  :) 

Alright, well, I need to go wake up the remaining three.  Have a blessed day.

Monday, August 30, 2010

#693

Lots and lots of fun things going on in my mind tonight.  Want to join??? 

1.  I am so thankful that God has answered a huge prayer request regarding Jonah's class and a "special" friend.  God is good.  All the time.  (Even when He doesn't answer our prayers...or at least the way we want Him to.)

2.  I am in love with the book of Esther.  Cannot, simply CANNOT get enough of this Beth Moore Bible study.  I don't even want to call her Esther anymore.  I'm thinking about calling her Hadassah, her Jewish name, because in this week's homework, she had her God-given DEFINING moment.  Praise You, Lord. 

3.  I am excited about a new friend I have.  :)  But my hubby might be more excited.  She's a new girlfriend for me, but a new football watching friend for him.  Her and her sweet boy are coming over Saturday night to watch the first Alabama game of the season.  Roll Tide.  Her name is Jessica, she's as country as they come (she's from MoBEEL, as she pronounces it), and she will blow you out of this world with her voice.  And she's adorable.  And amazingly nice.  And really good at making me laugh hysterically in choir at the most inappropriate times. 

4.  I am excited about an upcoming all girls weekend in Nashville!!!  For my amazing girl, Christa.  It's her bachelorette party and I cannot wait!  And we're only one month away from her wedding!  And saying goodbye.  :(  That last part makes me sad.

5.  I have a new favorite OPI color.  If you're on facebook, go to my status and you'll see the name.  I can't wait to do my toes!!

6.  I am totally, wholly, amazingly in love with my Jesus.  The more I know Him, the more I love Him.  I cannot get enough of Him in this newest Bible study I'm doing.  I am loving the fact that I am learning how even when His hand cannot be seen in my life, that His hand is ALL OVER MY LIFE

7.  I have something going on almost EVERY night this week.  It's a very busy time of year (heck, who am I kidding???  When is it ever NOT busy in my life???)  Tonight was Bible study, tomorrow night I'm eating out with my dad and my sister Trish for her birthday, Wednesday is church, Thursday we will be home, Friday we have friends coming over, Saturday we have friends coming over, Sunday is church, Sunday night we're going to a friend's house, and then...back to Monday.  Holy cow.  I need a bed.  Or lots of caffeine. 

8.  I am reading an awesome book, and I can't wait to go to bed to bury myself in it again.  And it makes me literally LOL while I'm in bed. 

9.  I get excited over going to bed every night so I can wake up to my (or my hubby's) amazing coffee.

10.  I have written 693 blog posts, as of 9:41 p.m. Monday night, August 30th, 2010.  Who knew I had so much to say? 

That's all I've got.  Love to all. 

For Unbelievers

God is a gracious God.  I know that you, too, probably have many that you love that are not saved.  I feel sorry for the ones who don't know God's love!  It's more than a little perplexing to me, too.  All I know is that when I feel like I can't get through to someone, I pray that they will see Jesus in me.  I am unabashed in my faith.  I will not shove it down someone's throat, but people who know me, know that He is my everything.

I made a comment just recently on how to handle difficult people.  "Jesus helps me through it."  And it's so true.  He is so very gracious to us, to allow us to bring all of our needs and cares to Him. 

I came across an old favorite verse of mine in Hebrews this morning and thought I'd share. 

Hebrews 4:16  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

It says we are to come boldly!  Without reservation!  He is there to help us when we need it most.  Just think on that for a while. 

Happy Monday, and love to all. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Song Full Weekend

I sang my little heart out this weekend.  As of 1:30 p.m. today, I was very tired of singing, and didn't even listen to my beloved KLove on the way home.  My church choir recorded a cd this weekend.  We were there from 6:30 last night until almost 10:30, and today we were back at 9:30 a.m. and finished by almost 1:30 p.m.  Lots of hours for just ten songs, but man did we sing. 

I loved every second of it.  Well, maybe not every second.  Like when my right ankle swelled up really badly and started shooting pain up the back of my leg.  I didn't love that so much.  Or when my knee started hurting on the same leg.  Or when people kept humming when we were supposed to be absolutely DEAD silent. 

There were some frustrating moments, I guess you could say.  But the bottom line is, God met us in the middle of our singing.  This cd is all for His glory, and I believe He gave us the strength we needed to persevere through the recording.  It was worth all that.  All the hours, all the frustration. 

And guess what?  We get to sing again tomorrow morning.  I'm so excited about church, I can hardly stand it.  I cannot wait to get in our seats in the choir loft and help lead worship.  It is my favorite thing to do.  I love singing for His glory.  Not because I'm exceptionally good, but because this is one of the gifts He's given to me.  What a waste it would be for me not to use it to the best of my ability. 

There are so many reasons why I love being a choir girl, but my favorite part is the leading of worship.  I believe we set the tone for the service...when we worship, it invites other people to enter in with us.  And it's not about sounding perfect, or having the youngest, prettiest, thinnest, best dressed people on the stage-it's about meeting with God and giving Him the praise due Him.  Sometimes we get a little lost on the way, and we lose focus as to why we do what we do.  He is at the heart of our worship, though, and if we remember that, then He will meet us there. 

In the morning we're singing one of my favorite songs: Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone.  Cory Riggs sings the solo in the song, and it's very powerful each and every time.  I've loved this song since it first came out three years ago.  I can't wait for tomorrow.  You all know how much I love Sunday's.  If you want a place to worship and don't have a church home, I'd love to invite you to my church.  Memphis First Assembly of God on Walnut Grove Road.  Service starts at 10:45.  I hope to see you there.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Traumatized?

That whole previous post about why I hate Thursdays must have traumatized me for a full 7 days.  Wow.  I had no idea I had all that pent up inside me. 

Do you ever feel like a black cloud is hanging over you?  I do.  Need an example?  In the past 3 weeks, I have done all of the following:

1.  Broken my toe.  I was making Drew's bed on a Sunday morning, August 8th, to be exact, and kicked his bed frame.  I broke my 4th toe.  The one to the right of the Little Piggy Toe.  I couldn't wear "real" shoes for a full 2 weeks.  Now, my ankles are rejoicing, because I am back in my tendonitis-correcting tennis shoes. 

2.  Cut my arm in 2 different (but VERY close) places.  It's all Todd's fault, so just ask him how I did it.  :)  Hee hee, love you, Honey.  But the 2nd cut was so bad, that had I gone to the emergency room, they would have have put at least 2 or 3 stitches in.  Being where it is and all, I opted out of going to the hospital.  Because now, thanks to a certain little something on Graham's leg, now I am paranoid about contacting staph infection.

3.  I almost fell head first into our recycling bin.  I was bringing in groceries on Monday afternoon, and as I walked up our 3 steps in the garage, when I leaned over to shut the garage door, I felt myself falling and was powerless to stop it.  Until my voice of reason kicked in and I had the thought to let the BAGS in my hand  fall instead of me.  And they did.  Thankfully, there was no glass in either of the 14 bags I was carrying. 

4.  I tripped over my invisible big black dog a few nights ago and just about sat on him.  I scared the poor thing so badly that he jumped up, stepping all over my feet and toes (with the pretty OPI polish that I had just put on them), causing some scratches that bled. 

Do you see my dilemma?  I feel like I have one of those cartoon type clouds following me around.  I'm almost scared of what is going to happen next.  And lest you think I am this way all the time, I assure you that I am not.  I haven't been this clumsy, since...well, since high school.  See previous post now. 

I've taken to praying for my safety.  Seriously.  I'm praying that I am extra aware of my surroundings, and that I keep my eyes open.  I don't just pray for myself, by the way, this also includes my whole family, since we're always together.  Like in the car.  Driving.  Around other people that can't drive very well.  Ahem, Memphis drivers.  Because we're a cool city like that. 

Well.  That's all I've got.  Hope you all have a lovely, blessed, SAFE day!  Love to all. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why I Hate Thursdays

You all know I have an aversion to Thursday, right?  Well, lately I've been wondering why.  Here's what I've come up with: my dislike for this day of the week stems all the way back to 7th grade.  I was happy in my school from kindergarten through 6th grade.  My dad decided it would be a good idea for me to go ECS starting in 7th grade.  Which, just let me insert here, I am glad he made this choice for me now, looking back.  Knowing what I know now, and all that.  But at the time, I was one VERY unhappy camper. 

I was twelve years old and going into a new school where all the kids had known each other since pre-kindergarten, for heaven's sake!  And here I come, a shy girl (at first) with crazy frizzy/curly hair (yes, I've had issues with it my entire life), who knows NOT ONE SOUL.  See the unhappiness?

So I'm at a new school, dubbed the "new girl", thrown into a whole new world.  One that included CHAPEL.  Now, don't get me wrong; I had been raised in church my whole life.  So it's not that I was against going to a "church" type service, chapel was just something that I didn't enjoy.  Because boring people would come and speak.  And we had to sing.  And I was sitting in the front row. 

Well, guess what day of the week chapel was on?  You got it.  Thursday.  It sucked being a 7th grader at ECS.  Well, at least a 7th grader that was new to private school.  I thought everyone was snobby.  And most were.  There was a very small handful of people that were nice to me, one of which was a girl named Halle.  And another gamed Allison.  Allison also happened to be my first friend on the school bus on my first day of kindergarten at Mt. Pisgah.  There were also four more: Amanda, Stacie, Tara and Tabitha.  I'll never forget that day.  Anyway...back to my story, and why I hate Thursdays. 

The girls were MEAN, I am not going to lie here.  All the meanness made me self conscience of the way I looked.  Credit that to the crazy frizzy/curly hair, what have you, but you see my dilemma.  So, we had chapel on Thursday, and I was in the front row. 

I eventually got a little used to it.  And started to hate chapel a little less.  A LITTLE, I said.  Doesn't mean I loved it, just that the thought of it didn't make me want to hurl anymore.  Until one day.  The day that changed the rest of my life, I'll forever think.

I remember the day like it was yesterday.  I had on the cutest little purple pleated skirt (hello, it was like 1989 or something) and a matching striped sweater that looked adorable on me.  I loved it, and I loved the way I looked when I wore it.  And it was one of the few skirts I owned...because, yes, I was a total tomboy and HATED to shop and hated to wear anything halfway feminine.  I hated to shop so much, in fact, that my sweet mom started doing the shopping and bringing the stuff she thought I'd like home.  I'd try it on, and if I liked it, I would keep it.  If I didn't like it, she would return it.  I know.  I was a spoiled rotten brat, and she was a very gracious mom. 

Anyway.  We're walking into chapel, and I needed to hit up the little girl's room before I made the trek down to my seat.  In front of God and everybody.  Keep this in mind.  I did my business, washed my hands, and walked out.  And alllllllllllllllllllll the way down to the very front row. 

And then I heard laughter coming from behind me.  From a "friend" (Tabitha) who was walking behind me.  I turned around to see what she was laughing at, and when I jerked around really fast, I felt a lot of cold air on my legs.  On the BACK of my legs.  On a part that should have been covered by my cute little purple pleated skirt, but wasn't, because it had gotten tucked into my tights and STAYED THERE, for crying out loud. 

Tabitha had walked out behind me, and to this day I don't know if she saw it or not, but for whatever reason, she did not tell me that the blasted skirt was tucked into my panties.  Tights.  Whatever.  I don't know if I ever believed her or not, but this was always what she told me.  I don't think anyone else ever saw it happen, looking back, but back then that was one embarrassing situation.  Still would be, in fact!  We laughed and laughed and laughed about this for the rest of my  6 year career at ECS.  I don't think I'll ever forget it.  And I so wish I could find Tabitha now, all these years later, and laugh about it with her. 

This girl was one of my closest friends at school.  She also saw every dumb thing I ever did.  For instance, the skirt and panty issue.  She also saw me slip on a banana peel in the cafeteria once.  Hello, is this cartoon world, or what?!  I slipped on the peel (who KNEW they were so stinkin' slick?!) threw my hamburger up in the air and juggled a few things to keep from falling, and was SO HORRIFIED at how stupid I must have looked, that I didn't even stop to pick up my burger.  I was pretty proud of myself, though, because Tabitha and I sat at the same lunch table, and I was so excited that she didn't see me do this one dumb thing, for once.  UNTIL a girl (a sweet, girl, I might add) named Amber picked up my dropped hamburger and graciously brought it to me, saying, "Here, Jennifer, you dropped this when you slid on that banana peel." 

Tabitha spewed Coke out of her nose.  And I almost peed on myself, I was laughing so hard. 

She saw me take a flying leap off of some new steps down by the cafeteria on a rainy day, she saw me fall in mud, she saw my boot laces stick together one day in algebra as I was walking down the aisle unable to move my feet for fear of breaking my nose, she saw me crawl out from under a bathroom stall one day, because, who the HECK knew I was claustrophobic in locked bathroom stalls????  She saw me wig out in a cave (again, small, trapped spaces and me do not get along), she witnessed all 6 years of my bad crazy frizzy/curly hair days, she saw me through my first car, my first wreck, and my first driver's ed course when I called my instructor, the illustrious Coach Powers "gay". 

She sat in d-hall with me a time or four, too.  She was NOT one of those "fair weather friends".  She was an awesome gal who was a true friend...one I would LOVE to talk to now.  So if any of my ECS and facebook friends are reading this and know how to find Tabitha (used to be) Middleton, I would love to know how to contact her. 

So, I hope you all had a great laugh at my expense.  I know I have.  I just thought you all would find interesting the reasons why I Hate Thursdays. 

Oh, and just for my peace of mind, I didn't hate ECS forever.  By the time I was halfway through my 7th grade year, I'd fallen in love with it.  The school, the teachers, and the friends I made.  I came to know and love almost everybody there (almost, I said) and made some of the best friends I've ever had.  And by the time senior year came along, we were all like one big, happy family. 

Well, most of the time, anyway.  ;)  More about THAT on another day, though. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a cute story and maybe some other thoughts

This morning as the 3 younger boys were about to be getting out of my car to head into school, I looked back and noticed Noah had chocolate milk around his mouth.  Imagine that.  Noah having a dirty mouth.  Anyway, I told him to wipe his mouth and he did, but he missed the spot.  So Jonah, being a great older twin brother, said, "Noah, I'll get it."  And proceeded to lick his finger and clean Noah's mouth. 

That just cracked me up.  They didn't think it was at all weird or "gross", as Drew muttered when he saw what Jonah was doing.  They're just cool like that.  Twins, I mean.  It still amazes me to see their bond.  And as much as I don't understand it, I appreciate the people they're with when they have meltdowns. 

Like their teachers, for instance.  The first 2 or 3 days of school, Noah had a rough morning.  He has an amazing teacher whom he loves, so it wasn't that.  It was rough because he missed Jonah.  And he'd end up crying.  One day he went as far to ask his teacher, "Can I just go and stay with Jonah in his class?"  Isn't that pitiful?  Thank the Lord, they both have very COMPASSIONATE teachers who let them see each other when the need arises.  And yes, we prayed that they would have compassionate teachers.  God is good, and saw to it that this prayer was answered. 

After the 3rd day of school, I'm proud to say that Noah stopped the crying.  I'm sure it was rough on him, after all, they had just spent an entire 8 weeks together, totally inseparable.  And then to have their twin ripped away from them, well, it breaks my heart.  I wish they could be together...but that's a whole 'nother blog!  I won't go there this morning. 

I love Wednesday.  Hump day!  We're halfway done with our week, and I am always thankful for that!  I live for weekends.  During the school year, anyway.  In the summer time, I live for every DAY that I get to spend with my family.  I'm especially excited for this weekend, because we're spending time with Todd's parents.  They celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary on August 9th, and Mimi requested that the Nashville Goodwin's come in town for the weekend so we could spend an entire weekend together.  I think we're going to spend some time downtown doing fun stuff that Tim, Tracy, Nathan and Joseph wouldn't normally do with us while they're here. 

My kids LOVE being with their Nashville cousins.  And it's been way too long since we've seen them all.  I'm very excited for this quality time that we all get together.  Another fun thing is my friend's shower happening Saturday night.  I'm torn between going or not going because of our family time.  I really don't know what I'm going to do yet, but I'm hoping to figure it all out before Friday.

Well, as much as I love writing this to you all, I must go.  I need to eat lunch, and then I am going to go love on all "my kiddos".  Love to all, and have a blessed day!   

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Makes Me Happy

is Bible study!  I love doing Bible studies.  It's seriously one of my hobbies...right up there with leading worship on the praise team, writing and hanging out with my amazing husband and kids.  :)  Here's what I know: I am a much nicer person and a MUCH better wife and mom, when I am in the middle of a Bible study. 

Wanna know why?

Because I'm committing time to God!  He wants us to WANT to be with Him.  Not because we feel like we have to, but because we WANT to.  Who wants to be with someone that only wants to be with them because of their sense of obligation??  Not me.

I pray, everyday almost, that God will give me the desire to want to constantly grow in grace and in knowledge of Him.  (2 Peter 3:18 "But in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.")

I pray that I am never just "content" with where I am in life.  I pray that I am always striving, pushing, desiring to know Him more, and to be more and more like Him every single day! 

And you know what?  He answers those prayers.  Because I cannot get enough of Him in this Bible study.  I mentioned before that I am restraining myself from doing all the homework in one sitting.  I am making myself go at the pace recommended so it will have time to saturate me. 

BUT OH MY GOODNESS, IS IT EVER GOOD!!!

I'm participating in the Esther Bible study by Beth Moore, in case you didn't know that.  Today's homework was titled, A Raging Passion For Honor.  It was from Esther 3:1-4.  And it's about Mordecai and how he refuses DAY AFTER DAY to bow to Haman.  She implies that this might mean that Mordecai simply didn't just dislike Haman, but that he sensed evil in him.  And that no matter how tough it got for him because of his refusal to obey the king's law, it would be even worse for him to cave in and just do it anyway. 

Oh my.  Does this strike a chord with anyone but me??  How many times do we do that??  I know I have countless times...just caved in because I was tired of the fight.  Or because I had a moment of weakness. We should always stand our ground.  Not in our strength, necessarily, but in God's strength.

So, like Mordecai did with his refusal to honor Haman, God's word tells us to set our minds on God.  ("Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.")

Is it hard?  Yes.  Is it impossible?  Not with God!  Sometimes we need to almost block out all else so that we can keep our minds and thoughts on where they're supposed to be.  Trust me when I say that yes, we are going to be normal and have a bad day and fly off the handle.  But when we're aware of what we're doing...when we're aware that God can and will help us with this, it's so much easier to live in a way that pleases and glorifies Him. 

Because, that is our main goal in life.  To glorify Him in all that we do, to honor Him in all that we do, and to win the lost over so they can spend their eternities in Heaven with you and with me.  If we don't do that, then our life on earth is pointless.  I get caught up in the way people view me.  Do you?  I don't want to come across as something I'm not.  I want to live my life in a way that I am the same all the time. 

So for me, that means being careful of how I react to the world around me.  Have I messed up?  Yup.  Will I mess up again?  Lots and lots more times, I assure you.  Am I forgiven for those times?  Mercifully.  I love that His mercies are new for us every morning.  (Lamentations 3:22, 23  "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.")

Well.  I kind of went way off the subject matter a lot.  I hope you were able to (somewhat) follow along.  I was saying that Bible study makes me happy.  It makes me a better person, and a stronger woman of God.  I have lots of little eyes (not only my 4 kids, but almost 900 other little ones) that follow me around everyday.  Not to mention I have 4 of the most amazing boys on this planet to bring up the right way. 

I pray that they will be able to always see me as a living example.  To God be the glory. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Amazing Big Daddy

The things I love the most about him:

~He adores my kids...even when they're not quite at their most loveable. 
~He takes awesome care of my mom...and cooks almost every meal they eat.
~He is great at wearing whatever shirt you buy for him-even when it's a vintage superhero one that Noah picked out for Father's day.
~He loves to play with the boys.
~He teaches them how to cook.  (So someday they can cook for their mama.:)
~He gives the most incredible hugs.
~He is quick to love, but quick to jump on one of the boys if the need arises.
~He cooks us dinner almost every Saturday night.
~He'll cut my steak if I ask him nicely.  ;)
~He never has anything better to do than entertain the boys.  Well, at least they think that.
~He never lets us leave without an "I love you", a hug, and "RAWWWWWRRRRRRRRRRR" as he shuts the door.  Because that started when Graham and Drew were 2 and 3.  And it NEVER gets old.  ;)
~He always has our favorite foods and our favorite drinks readily available when we're here.
~He never asks what they want...he just automatically cooks it.  He knows whatever he cooks, they'll eat.
~He makes s'mores with them when it's 95 degrees with a 112 heat index.
~He lets them have s'mores AND milkshakes, all on the same night.  ;)
~He stays outside for hours while the boys help him burn stuff from the afternoon grass cutting.

These are just a few things...but I love everything about him.  He's a great guy.  In case you didn't know that. 

I am O.V.E.R. the Heat

We had a back2school splash at our church last night.  For the 5th and 6th graders.  My husband, kids and I all went.  When we got to the church, Todd was already there washing off the grill that they were going to be grilling the hot dogs on.  And he was already soaking wet.  He stayed out there forever washing the thing off, then he and another of the dads, Brad, started grilling the hot dogs.  In the 119 heat index heat. 

Bleh. 

It was hotter than haiti.  It's been a whole year since I've sweat that much.  Since our trip to Disney World.  I don't care to do it again for a whole other year, too.  I cannot take it.  I felt so gross and sticky and just nasty.  We were all fighting over the showers when we got home. 

But all of the hot, sticky feelings and all the sweat were worth it.  The kids had SO MUCH FUN.  Ashley Beers (the awesome jr. high pastor) is incredible.  The kids all love her.  She loves kids of all ages, but her heart is with this age group.  The jr. high school group.  We love her.  And would do ANYTHING at all to help her out at these gatherings.  Like grill out and sweat to death when it feels like 119 degrees outside. 

We stayed and helped her clean up after, as well.  Because she would have done it by herself if two of us families hadn't stayed.  I told her when she does another one next month that we'll do the same again.  I have always felt like that it's only right to volunteer wherever your kids are.  If it's the nursery, then that's where you should be.  If it's the kids' area, then volunteer there.  If it's youth, then...well, you get my drift.  Right?  I get a little frustrated with people who never volunteer.  If we would all do our part, then we wouldn't have to do it as often. 

Right?

I visited a church once where the nursery area asked that each mom and dad work one shift in the nursery area.  So many people did this that your shift only came once every 2 or 3 months.  That's not bad, at all.  But some people don't see it that way and are never willing to do their share. 

Okay.  I'm done.  I keep on going off on these little random subjects...like about the teachers with the kindergarten kids...I don't know where they're coming from!

Enough, though.  We came home last night and got all of us showered, and when I finished drying my hair, I went to bed.  At 9:30.  Wanna know what time I woke up this morning?  9:15.  It was glorious.  I guess that "tiredness" that I talked about the other day on facebook, finally hit me.  And now I'm sitting here doing this.  Drew had his friend Nate spend last night with us.  Graham took his friend, Matt, with us as well, but he couldn't spend the night. 

They all got their own breakfast this morning, too, all praise to God!  I love having independent kids.  It's not that I don't do things for them, because I do.  Nothing brings me greater joy than being their mom and cooking their favorite dinners, or surprising them with clean rooms and closets when they come home from school.  (Which I did yesterday.  Not that it's clean right now because of all the boys we had here yesterday, but it was at one point!)  But I love that when I'm not offering breakfast, they just take it upon themselves to get it for themselves.

Jonah came downstairs and asked me if he could have cheese toast for breakfast.  I told him he could, and was about to get up to go make it, when he said, "I've got it, Mom.  Is it okay if I use a knife to cut the crust off?"  To which I answered yes, as long as it was a butter knife. 

See what I mean?  I didn't even have to ask him to do it!  He just did it.  And they're all like that.  Now the others ones won't necessarily want to cook theirs, but I try to keep "easy" stuff (like yogurt, granola bars, yo-go's) on hand so they can grab something quickly. 

We don't have much going on today.  We're going to hang around here until we go to my mom's for dinner.  We're going to do each other's hair.   And we're going to eat an awesome dinner, whatever that may be.  Because it won't be cooked by ME!!

Well, I'm going to go strip sheets off the beds.  I've sat around being lazy long enough.  Love to all!

Friday, August 13, 2010

hallelujah, we've survived the first week!

I was really worried about getting up on time all this week.  I prayed for God's strength to help me out, and He totally came through for me.  Not only did I wake up on time, I woke up early most mornings.  Praise God for the little things in life, right?

I really love mornings.  I love not feeling rushed, which is why I was up early.  I love taking a shower when they're all asleep, and I love the quiet that comes with the darkness that is still outside.  I thought I would give you a glimpse into my morning routine this week.  I don't know how I came up with it, but it just happened, and everything just flowed.  All week long.

*First off, I've been going to bed between 9-9:30 all week, except for last night, when I went at 10:15.  I read for at least 15 minutes and I start nodding off.
*I wake up at 5:30 and shower.
*I come downstairs and immediately start packing lunches.  This takes a good 15 minutes.
*I start making Graham's breakfast at 6-6:15.
*I wake him up at 6:20.
*Three mornings this week, he showered and dressed before coming downstairs.  The other 2 he had showered the night before.
*He eats breakfast, and while he eats, we talk and have devotion, then we pray.
*He goes back upstairs to brush his teeth (and sometimes dress if hasn't showered yet).
*He comes back down, we make sure his backpack is packed, and that he has his band stuff and lunch, and he puts his shoes on.
*He walks out the front door at 7:10 to walk down the street to the bus stop with his friend, Kari.
*I have 20 minutes of more quiet (time to blog!  Or do facebook) before I wake up the rest of the bunch at 7:30.
*They all come down (Drew always dresses first) and have breakfast.  While they eat, we talk and I make sure everything they need is laid out so they can finish packing their backpacks.
*They get dressed and have time left over until we leave at 8:40.  When they go upstairs at 8:00, that's when I go up and finish dressing for the day.
*When we're on the road by the school going VERY SLOOOOW in the car line, either Drew reads the devotion or I do, then we talk about it and pray.  The last thing they hear every single morning is God's word.  I treasure this time alone with them in the mornings, and this routine has become my  favorite part of our morning.

This week after I drop them off, I've been coming home, having my quiet time (devotion stuff), then I've been doing my Esther homework.  I didn't mention before that when I go upstairs at 8:00, I take up a load of laundry to fold and put away.  Or at least put it in the right room, then they put it away either right then or before bedtime.  Sometimes I do it for them, if I'm feeling extra generous.  I pretty much have to do Noah's shirts, unless I want them wadded up, which I do NOT

They pretty much take care of their own stuff, though.  They clean their rooms and make their beds, or at least neaten them up.  They put up all their laundry (I do Noah's shirts, and I hang anything for all of them that needs to be hung), they clean off the bathroom counter every time they're in there, they take their own trash out, they help take care of all of our animals, they take out the kitchen trash occasionally, and they help me with other stuff downstairs.  We teach them that chores are an everyday part of life that we all HAVE to do every single day. 

Because, really, with 4 of them running around here, it would be never ending for me.  So when we all work together, it only takes about a half hour to get all this accomplished.  At this point in their lives, they do not receive a regular allowance.  Sometimes they do help me do extra stuff, though.  It's not a regular thing yet.  When they do chores, they do things like dust all the furniture upstairs and down, they windex all the mirrors and glass doors, they clean all the little black smudges (hand and finger prints) from around all the doors (pantry, laundry, back door), they might swiffer mop the hardwood downstairs, they empty all the trash cans, and they are responsible for the recycling bin and big garbage can on trash day.

This does not occur every week.  When it does occur, and they do these things and sometimes some other stuff, they get $5 each.  We don't MAKE them do it, it's totally optional.  At least right now.  And I don't make them clean their bathrooms.  I do that.  Because it's gross, and why would I make them do that?  I can barely stand to do it myself.  Someday I will start teaching them to do laundry.  Graham and Drew already know how to run the washer and the dryer. 

I don't know why I've gone off and written all this...I just thought I would give you a glimpse of the way my house runs.  I've been told, "I don't see how you do it."  Well, now you do.  I have awesome kids who are great at lending a helping hand.  I've made them pick up their stuff since before they even walked.  We used to sing the clean up song by Barney while they did it. There has never been a question as to who does what.  Maybe because I'm a neat freak, and I love order and organization.

Not that ALL my house is that way, but a good portion of it is. 

So you see why I've started the habit (hopefully!) of waking up so early.  Well.  I have to go get dressed.  I'm running 6 minutes behind schedule.  ;)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

anonymous?

Someone "Anonymous" has commented on a couple of my posts recently.  Who are you?  And why do you want to be "Anonymous"?  And if you are "Anonymous" and up to no good...then stay away from my blog, please.  Or at least comment in a way I can understand.  It came across as jibber jabber. 

However, if I am wrong and you just don't want to set up a blogger profile, then I'm sorry.  You asked me something in one of your comments, and I didn't get what you were asking. 

So, thank you. 

It's Thursday (my LEAST favorite day of the week!), and I can see the light at the end of my tunnel, otherwise known as the first week of school.  I may not be this happy NEXT Thursday, because kindergarten starts for real next week.  Lord, You know what Your word says in Colossians 3:12?  Will You please remind me of those things next week? 

Because, heaven help them, they are a clueless bunch.  Well, not really.  Not all of them are clueless, but a lot of them today sure were!  Whew.  I don't even want to start thinking about that yet.  But wouldn't it make sense for the kindergarten teachers to sit with their classes at lunch AT LEAST their first full week of school? 

It would to me, and as soon as they ask my opinion, I'll offer it. 

Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen. 

Instead, all the kindergarten kids come in on Monday and after going through the lunch line, they get left to us...only 6 of us for 120 (give or take some) kids.  And the 120 kids mentioned are only kindergarten kids.  There will also be another 120 (give or take a few) kids in there that are in the 3rd grade.  Good thing the 3rd graders are pretty independent.  See the dilemma? 

Oh, well. 

We'll survive.  Maybe.  Barely.  But we'll do it.  Maybe?

Yesterday was a very rough day for my Graham.  The worst kid in all of 5th grade from last year is stuck in Graham's homeroom and band class.  And he bullied Graham a little yesterday. 

If you're my friend on facebook, that's why I wanted to go all Bon Qui Qui yesterday.  Which, if you did see that and don't now, it's because I deleted it.  Because, really, I put it to be funny, but it wasn't funny.  And it started getting a little mean towards the end of the comments.  And working in the environment I work in...well, you just can't be too careful. 

We had an awesome devotion this morning (Graham and I), we prayed about the situation, and we prayed for the kid doing this and I am trusting God that today was a better day.  We also prayed for a friend of Graham's who's getting picked on.  It's too early to be starting all this.  We just want it handled...no special treatment, we just want to make sure it's handled effectively. 

Because we are SO not going down this road. 

Ok.  The end.  New subject.

Onto something new now...my Esther Bible study is amazing.  Rocking my socks off.  I am actually having to keep myself from doing all the homework in one day.  I could very easily do JUST that.  It's amazing.  And it's not too late to join us if you're interested.  If you want to do that and need information, comment on here, facebook (if you're on there) or email me. 

Well, I need to run and go do some stuff.  We're having our annual back to school party tonight.  (Thank you, Kelly Riley, for that idea!)  We're having it at...

da da da dum....


INCREDIBLE PIZZA!  Wahoo!!!

We got an awesome coupon in the mail...all you can eat...unlimited games...all you can eat...and I know me some boys that LOVE some all you can eat. 

So we're gonna have fun.  In the meantime...y'all be blessed.  Love to all.

COME JOIN US!!!

To my friends and family who are local to me:

Tomorrow night Memphis First Assembly of God is hosting a Back2School SPLASH!

For who?  All 5th and 6th graders
When?  Tomorrow night Friday, August 13
What time?  From 6-8:30
What will they be doing?  Water games!!
How much?  Only $2!!!

There will also be live music and a cook out, grilled by yours truly and Marcia Coleman.  And maybe somebody else. 

Pastor Ashley Beers will be giving a pre-teen message JUST IN TIME for back to school! 

I hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

it's funny how God speaks

I had a mini (major?) meltdown on Monday.  I won't go into specifics, but I just did.  My coworkers all experienced it, and they helped me through it.  One, in particular, gave me very wise advice. 

In the meantime,I always do a morning devotion with my kids in the car.  I love and cherish this time each morning.  We do the devotion, read a Bible verse and discuss it, then we pray.  And then they get out of my safe car and go into the worldly world.  I love this time.

Yesterdays devotion spoke straight to me.  It was all about making friends with the unfriendly.  Or the un-loveable.  And how the Lord requires this of us.  His word says we are to love because He first loved us.  (1 John 4:19)

And I think: Thank You, Lord.  For teaching me through these little morning devotions.  Here I am thinking they're so beneficial to the kids and about to pat myself on the back, and I think these words.  Who ever would have thought that I would also reap from it?

Isn't that just like God?  To speak in unexpected ways?  To teach us in divine moments of time like I had with them yesterday morning? 

He did it again this morning.  Maybe as a reminder?  Check out today's verse from our devotion: 

Colossians 3:12  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Okay, God.  I get it.  I get it. 

Lesson for the day dully noted and tucked away in the recesses of my memory.  Is He teaching you something today?  Look for Him in the unexpected times. 

Love to all.

Oh, and I went back and apologized for my meltdown yesterday.  I had a major moment of weakness, and while I was thankful that my sweet friends were there to listen, I felt foolish.  Imagine THAT

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

my newest Bible study

...that I love!!! 


It's amazing so far.  I have loved every single second of the 5 nights of homework.  And, once again, I strongly recommend it. 

If you're interested, you can join me!  We're having the study on Tuesday nights (and Wednesday) nights at my church Memphis First Assembly of God, at 6:30.  You can go to Lifeway and purchase your book if you want to join us.  It's not too late.  Tonight is Session 2.  And I'm bummed that I have to miss it.  School parent night and all that. 

Gotta run!  My little CES peeps are waitin' on me!!!  Love to all!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

uMmMm...call it whatever you want.

I am telling you, the title gets me.  I can never come up with catchy ones.

So, I'm pretty sure it's hot enough to fry an egg on the road.  In a couple of minutes, my kids will let me know if that's true or not.  I'll let you know.  I might or might not get a picture.  Jonah's in charge of the photo taking.  We'll see.

I was trying to come up with a cute hotter than ______ analogy, but other than the 4 letter word that starts with "H", I couldn't think of one.

I did see on my brother in law's status on FaceBook yesterday one that I liked.  He said that when he pulled up the weather report for Nashville (Memphis?) that all it said was : Hell.  I thought that was funny.

Even the pool water is too hot.  We swam with my sweet friend Carol, or "Mimi Carol" as the boys call her.  We swam this morning to avoid the later afternoon heat and possible thunderstorms.  Then we came home and had lunch.  Then I did laundry, had a shower and went to vote.

Exciting day, huh?

I know. 

My kids are excited about tonight.  Nana and Big Daddy are taking the boys to a special back to school dinner at Osaka.  They LOVE watching the chefs cook at the table.  And I am going to.....

........not cook.  While my friend Christa comes over and we watch The Bachelorette together.  :)

I'm excited.

Love to all. 

Oh, and though the egg did smoke a little, it didn't fry.  At least not while they were outside watching it.


See?

Fun times at our house.  :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

God Smiled On Me Today

I know.  But He did.  I am not kidding.  Y'all know that I love my Jesus.  I love my kids.  I love being involved in my kids' lives at school.  I prayed and prayed and prayed about teachers for this year...and it was like I had a direct line to Him, because lo and behold, I got exactly who I wanted them to have.  :) 

Seriously. 

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning-5:30 a.m.-to get dressed for work today. I had to be there no later than 7:30. I volunteered to work at registration when my principal (a.k.a. Boss Lady) called me last week.  I also worked one day last week.  Anyway, I was dressed and ready by 5:45.  So what did I do with the rest of my time, you wonder?

Any takers?

If you know me at all (and you should b/c it's been forever I've been writing on this blog), you know I watch the Bachelor.  And the Bachelorette.  And you know (if you watch ABC) that last night was the season finale.  And since the hubs didn't want to watch it with me, I watched it this morning. 

And can I just stop here and say that I am glad I don't have to listen to Ali's voice anymore?  And Christa, if you're reading this...I'll still watch it with you Thursday night.  I'm sorry.  I couldn't help myself.  I feel like I cheated on you or something.  CA-RAZY.  I know. 

Anyway, wow I got sidetracked, I registered my kids for school today.  And already got calls from all their teachers, praise You Jesus!  I hate waiting till Friday, have I ever said that before?  :)  Drew got the fabulous Donna Pittman (Graham had her last year, I LOVE it when that happens), Jonah got the beautiful Tammy Townsend, and Noah got the amazing Marian Richards.  I am so happy, my heart could burst.  I can't wait for Monday now. 

Oh wait.  Nevermind.  I still have to buy (and label) all their school supplies.  So scratch that.  Maybe I'm not so excited now. 

Nah.  Who am I kidding?  I'm excited.  Especially after I got some sweet hugs from some sweet kids. 

I won't know about Graham's teachers and team until later this week.  Not that it matters who he gets, because I don't know any of them from Adam.  I feel like I'm throwing him out to the sharks, poor kid. 

Speaking of Graham, can you all help me pray for him?  He has a staph infection under his skin on his leg.  He is in serious pain...and I can't stand to see him hurt so bad.  Todd took him to the dr. this morning, and he prescribed a really strong antibiotic and he told us to do hot compresses of epsom salt.  He can hardly walk, it hurts so bad.  If you have any tips on how to deal with this, I welcome them.

Until then...my head hurts so bad I can hardly see straight.  I already took Tylenol, I'm sending Drew down with my glasses.  Yowza.  Thank you Memphis weather.  And whatever front is moving through. 

So, y'all have a great night...and don't melt away from all this heat.  Love to all.

Monday, August 2, 2010

????

I can't think of a title.  Oh well.  Question marks work, right??

It's been an amazing weekend and day.  We spent Saturday with family, and Sunday at church, then with friends.  The kind of friends who don't mind when you make your ridiculously-crazy-looking-face-because you're-laughing-so-hard-you're-crying-face.  You know.  Those friends. 

Taco night.  It deserves its own spot on the kitchen calendar.  Especially when some guy walks in wearing an itty-bitty-teeny-weeny-yellow-wannabe-bikini shirt.  That looks like it could fit a 6 year old girl.  But, instead, is stretched across a 20 something male chest.  It was NOT a pretty sight. 

But I sure did have fun laughing my head off with my friend Marcia.  I think we might have embarrassed our husbands.  And I was worried that Todd would embarrass me.  Hmph.  I guess not.

Today I did the usual house stuff, and then we went to Jerry's Sno Cones with some church friends.  In the 538 degree heat.  Because, at the time, it sounded like a good idea.  I'm just jokin', it was fun.



See?  Left to right is Marcia, Christie, moi and Becky.  :)  Fun times. 

After we left Jerry's, we made a much needed visit to the wonderful, most amazing chiropractor ever...Jason Coleman.  My back is hurting rejoicing now because of it.  And so is Graham's, Drew's, Jonah's and Noah's.  :)  Because it's been sweet forever since we've seen him.  Like before my Iceland trip, forever.

I rearranged Graham's and Drew's room today, which is probably why it's hurting so bad.  But their room sure does look cute!

We ate dinner...a quick one that I just threw together...then all the boys went outside to help their dad with yardwork.  And Graham cut most of the backyard.  He did really good, too!  Then they all went and jumped in Travis and Katie's pool to cool off.  (Did I mention that our neighbors rock??  Because they do.  And I love them.)  

While I cleaned inside, then took a nice, long, cold shower.  Because it's 538 degrees outside.  Did I mention that?  But it was nice because it was quiet.  No little voices saying, "Mommy?  When you gonna be done?"

Ahhhhh.  It's the little things, peeps, it's the little things.  They make my heart so happy.  Well.  Gotta run.  I have to be at work tomorrow morning at 7:30.  Yikes!  I guess that means I'm going to bed in an hour or so.  Love to all!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals  (and friends) for this post. This time last week, I was waking up in ...