Thursday, December 31, 2009
My favorite book store is Lifeway. I LOVE all the Bible studies and books written to help me in my Christian walk. I could stay in there for hours. I could literally spend about an hour in each section: The Women's Growth Section, The Bible study section, The Family section, The Children's Section, The Music Section, The Bible section, The Gift collection section....you get the idea. Well, for Christmas I told Gene that I wanted a new Bible, but I wanted to go to Lifeway with him and pick it out. This is going to sound crazy, but a Bible really needs to feel right to me. I love new Bibles, and I wanted to hold it and smell it and turn the pages. I don't like hard back bibles or paperback bibles. They don't feel right to me. I probably shouldn't be confessing all this! HA!
I wanted a slim New Living Translation Bible. I have many translations and many different types of Bibles, but I wanted one that I could just read....like a book. I have a great study Bible and a Life Application Bible, and a slim New American Standard version that I carry to church because that is what my pastor uses. But, I wanted a version that was very easy to understand, and as much as I like The Message version, I think it goes a little too far in its interpretation. The radio station Way FM uses the New Living Translation for their Word on the Way segment, and I always like the way the verses are worded.
I have been reading my new Bible since Christmas day and I love it. I look forward to waking up in the morning and sitting down with my new Bible and my cup of coffee and praying that God would show me something new...something to walk on during the day. I just love it. It is probably my favorite gift. I can definately feel the presence of God as I start each day with Him.
I want to encourage each of you to pull out the Bible and start reading it this year. Read it from cover to cover...maybe skipping Leviticus...and see it as a beautiful love letter that God has written to us, his children. If you need some encouragement, maybe you should go and and buy a beautiful new Bible that you will look forward to holding and reading each morning. Maybe, like me, you might benefit from a new version of the Bible, to shake things up a bit.
"But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither and they prosper in all they do."
Isn't that a great verse? I want to delight myself in God's Word. I want to meditate on it day and night. When I do that, God promises that I will be like a tree firmly planted and I will bear fruit in each season of my life. Just as a tree soaks up water and bears luscious fruit, I am called to soak up God's Word, producing actions and attitudes that honor God.
As this new year begins, join me in reading God's precious and holy Word every single day. Be a tree firmly planted this year and let your life bring God glory.
Monday, December 28, 2009
This first picture is of my sweet Granny who lives in Georgiana. We went to visit her on Wednesday, taking her a Christmas gift. She is my only living grandparent and honestly, we do not go to see her enough. She looked good and felt good. I didn't take many pictures but we got to visit with my Uncle Jeff, my Aunt Vivian and Uncle Royce, my cousin Daphne, my second cousins Riley Grace, Carson Anne, Ethan, and James....my parents were also there. We had a really good time just visiting with one another. It was great to see everyone and catch up. Now I really hate that I didn't take more pictures. Maybe next time.
On Christmas Eve, Reagan and I baked two Christmas desserts. This is the first year that she really helped me from start to finish. I even let her use the mixer by herself, and she did pretty well, only picking it up out of the bowl, slinging dough everywhere, one time. We made turtle gooey bars and Christmas cookies. I enjoyed the time with her and look forward to Gracen joining us in the years to come.
Here is a picture of Gene's mom and dad with the girls. We go to their house on Christmas Eve. We eat supper and have some desserts and then spend time opening presents.
When we get back home, we all get into our pajamas and snuggle around Gene as he reads the Christmas story and Twas the Night Before Christmas. We also have a family prayer time. We put cookies and milk out for Santa and head to bed.
Here is a picture of Reagan on Christmas morning. She absolutely loves to dress up. She is so girly and adores make-up and jewelry and anything Disney Princess. Santa brought her a vanity set for her room with plenty of make-up and jewelry. She went and put on her Ariel costume and had a ball sitting in front of her little mirror.Here is Gracen on Christmas morning. She is sitting among all the trash from the morning. She received several new toys, but of course, loved the bows and paper more than anything.
Gene's mom and dad live very close to us and they always come out on Christmas morning to see what the girls got. We had a good visit and I was able to get breakfast going because I had
Here is a picture of my older sister Lori and her husband Scott. They are church planters in Tuscaloosa. They started a contemporary church called North River Church that God is blessing by leaps and bounds. You can check out the church at www.northriveronline.com and I know they would love for you to visit if you are ever in the Tuscaloosa area. Just tell them Lesley sent you and you will get a front row seat.
Here is Lori with her firstborn, Ariel. Aren't they pretty? So hard to believe that she is 17 years old. Where does the time go?
Here is my younger sister, Lindsay with her hubby Brian and their little girl, Hayden....another pretty family. God has really blessed our clan.
Here is a sweet shot of my Gracen. She is laying on her stomach trying to crawl. Again, she is after all the wrapping paper and bows.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I had to get up by 5:30 to get ready for church and unfortunately, I never went back to sleep. Reagan, on the other hand, went right to sleep, but she tossed and turned. She hit me in the face a couple of times and talked out loud once or twice. Apparently Gene was not bothered by any of this or he chose to ignore it all....I am thinking he ignored everything. Between 3:30 and 4:30 I got up to use the bathroom, got a snack, checked on Gracen, and eventually laid back down in my bed. I started to dose off and then Gene's alarm clock went off at 5:00. I just went ahead and got up. Lovely way to start the day.
We all got ready and then we headed to Montgomery to my sister's church to see my niece, Hayden's, baby dedication. Brian and Lindsay had to take her up on the stage and they were really worried about her shrieking out or crying, things all parents worry about when you have to do something like this with your child. Anyway, little Miss Hayden did wonderfully. She was perfectly quiet, even when the pastor took her from her mother and held her for a few minutes. What I really loved was the jumbo screens on the left and right of the auditorium with Hayden's face larger than life. She has the most angelic face with big, bright, blue eyes and a beautiful smile. She looked precious. I cannot believe that I didn't take my camera.
Of course, even if I had remembered my camera I wouldn't have been able to take even one picture because I decided to keep my girls with me during the service, and it was I all could do to keep them entertained and quiet. Not a job I want to repeat again after getting up at 3:30 in the morning. Thank the Lord for my mom and dad who sat with me. My dad did a great job with Reagan and mom helped with both, but mostly she helped me with Gracen, who is usually very good, but apparently had ants in her pants this morning. She was all over the place. The experience made me very thankful for church nurseries...which I will utilize next time.
After the service, we all headed to my sister's house for lunch, in honor of Hayden's big day and my brother-n-law, Brian's, 30th birthday. The lunch was catered by Jim and Nick's Barbecue and it was real good. Lunch was topped off with a cookie cake....yum! All the kids were very well behaved at Lin's house, and I loved hanging out with everyone. It was a good day.
Oh, by the way, when we got home, Gracen took a long nap....Reagan did not. I was really hoping for a nap myself, but someone had to stay up with her. Guess who got to stay up with Reagan.... and guess who got a nap...... it was NOT the person who got up at 3:30 in the morning.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I knew Monday night that he would be home a few days and I thought that was great. I love getting to spend some extra time with my husband and when you are by yourself with two kids all day, the idea of adult conversation is exciting. Well, as you can imagine, he hasn't been very good company. I know he is sick and all, but is it necessary to sleep ALL day long and leave me alone with the girls. It has been exhausting trying to keep both of them quiet so he can rest. For some reason, I also feel like I am doing double work than I normally do too. What is up with that? I have certainly decided that I do not want three children...which is what I am currently dealing with. And I am ready for one of these children to become an adult again. Just saying.
I am really surprised that none of us have gotten what Gene has. Is bronchitis not contagious? I hope not. Of course, if I get sick, maybe I can lay around all day and watch some TV and sleep. At this moment, that sounds nice. I know I will regret saying that as soon as I come down with it. And the moment I get sick, Reagan and Gracen will come down with it too, and there will be no resting for me.
On top of dealing with, I mean caring for, Gene, Gracen has thrush. This is some sort of yeast infection in her mouth. Who knows where this came from! Well, I am nursing and she passed this into my chest. This has been so incredibly painful. The only way I know how to describe this is fire coming out of your nipples (sorry to any men who might read this). This is a feeling you NEVER want coming out of your nipples. I am in tears every time I nurse Gracen and I am spending the day alternating ice packs and the heating pad. Fun stuff. We are both on medication and hopefully this will be resolved very soon.
I guess our week hasn't been all that great but hopefully things will start looking up. Christmas is just around the corner and we have some fun family things to do before the big day. We are going to Zoo Lights as soon as Gene is a little better and we still haven't taken Reagan and Gracen to see Santa. We have the college coming to our house for a Christmas Party this Friday night. My sweet little neice, Hayden, is being dedicated at her church this coming Sunday morning, followed by lunch with the family. We are going to Georgiana, AL to see my Granny in a few days, and I have a few more Christmas gifts to buy and wrap. Gene and I are also trying to work in a date night and we want to take Reagan to see the Princess and the Frog. We have a lot to do in the coming days so I hope we all get to feeling better real soon.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Here is Reagan in her room with her own Christmas tree. I found it last year at Target for $7.00 the day after Christmas. I decided she needed her own tree because she kept bringing home all these paper ornaments and handmade treasures from Mother's Day Out to hang on our tree. Well, they didn't exactly go with our theme. This was the perfect solution without hurting her self esteem. She loves the tree and we leave the lights on in her room at night until she falls asleep. She really likes that.
We have been having a little craft time at least twice a week. This usually falls on Tuesday and Thursday because Reagan is at preschool on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 to 11:30. Here she is gluing sequins (ornaments) onto a Christmas tree she colored all by herself. She loves to glue. I think she really loves to get it all over her hands and then pick the glue off once it dries. Did anybody else do that as a child? I remember doing that all the time. I don't remember how old I was, but I clearly remember putting white Elmer's glue all over my hand just so I could pick it off. Weird memory, right?
Here is sweet little Gracen. We had just gotten home from church and I think she was just tickled pink to be home. Nursery isn't exactly her favorite place, probably because she is so attached to me. (God Love Her) She is wearing the cutest little Christmas outfit that I found at Kohl's. I just love it. I am sure it will show up in many more pictures because it is the only Christmas outfit she has. The cheap side of me simply cannot buy multiple outfits that she will only wear for one month.
Here she is sitting in her high chair ready to eat lunch. Look at that little face. Couldn't you just eat her up? On a side note, looking at this photo, I just realized that I am putting her hair bows in backwards. You don't want to see the metal alligator clip from the front...do you? Oh well, no one has corrected me. How are moms suppose to learn these sort of things? And yes, I realize this is my second daughter. I guess Reagan's bows were always backwards.
This past Saturday I took Reagan to a "Characters Christmas Breakfast". She absolutely loved it. The characters were mostly Disney's Princesses, which is the main reason I took her, but there were a few other random characters there like Spiderman, a pirate, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, and Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Honestly, she just sorted nodded at these other characters. They just weren't as important to her as the princesses.
Here she is with Ariel, the Little Mermaid. Ariel is her absolute favorite character. We have about 10 pictures with her and she just stared at her as she mingled through the crowd, visiting with each table. Too funny! I guess she knows that she is not REALLY Ariel. Actually, I don't think there is a REAL Ariel since she is a cartoon character. Ha! Ha! Meeting this Ariel was really neat because this is the girl who is coming to Reagan's birthday party in January. She will be performing for an hour, telling the Little Mermaid's story and singing a few of the songs from the movie, with costume changes. Too fun! Anyway, I told this girl that we had booked her for our party and ever time she saw Reagan she would say, "Oh, I am so excited about coming to your birthday. I'll see you in January." Reagan just smiled so big I thought her little face might blow up. I could tell she felt really important.
The next couple of pictures were taken this past Sunday night at church. Reagan is a part of the preschool choir and they sang two songs for the church body, "Away in a Manager" and "Go Tell It On the Mountain". This was her first time singing in front of such a large crowd and she did a really good job. She is the kind of child where you just really don't know what she is going to do, so I pretty glad that she just stood still and sang. It was a good night.
And here she is with the group on the stage. It is not a great picture and doesn't show the whole group but oh well.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The music truly put me in the spirit. The words of each song were so powerful and they caused me to reflect on the season and what it is that we are celebrating, the birth of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever stopped and really wondered why Jesus came to this earth? Why did God become Man?
Think back to the days of Adam and Eve. God created man because He wanted friendship and intimacy. The relationship was perfect until man sinned, choosing disobedience. Sin became an insurmountable barrier between the Creator and his creatures. The gulf between them grew and grew. His children knew they were lost and yearned to be made right again, but how....? God was so pure and they were so stained. How could they aspire to the perfection that would make them worthy once again?
The Father's heart broke for his children, his greatest joy. Even though they failed him time and time again, his affection for them was undiminished.
The Father yearned through the centuries and the rise and fall of civilizations, never ceasing to reach out to his prodigal family. He did this in every possible way...through the glories of his creation...through the immeasurable gifts that he gave them...through the words of his prophets and teachers...He cried out to them in ten thousand ways saying, "Come home! You are loved now and forever! Return to me."
So to reach his children, he composed a plan. God himself decided to make the journey. The king left his throne. Amazing. He decided to pour his Godhood into flesh and blood and visit the earth as a man himself. He would walk among them, a king in disguise, the Lord of the Universe in human scale, the Creator among his creatures.
The nature of God would be clear. People on earth would see what God was like. They would see his perfect love, faithfulness, and unbounded devotion even to those who were sick or small or dark hearted.
This was the beginning of a plan to reconcile God and humanity. The Lord of the Universe invaded this world entering through a doorway called Bethlehem.
(some thoughts taken from Why the Nativity by David Jeremiah)
I know I have used the word "Amazing" many times, but it is isn't it? Truly amazing that God loves us that much. The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is the story of a very holy and loving God in pursuit of his children. I am so thankful for that pursuit.
Be intentional this Christmas season to really think about the purpose of that precious baby being born on that first Christmas morning. Be thankful. Be joyful. Spread the good news.
John 1:14 "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Saturday, December 5, 2009
If you know me well, you know that I am a worrier. I really try not to be. I pray against it. I know the verses in the Bible that speak against it. My favorite verse is Philippians 4:6, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God." The word NOTHING in that verse means "no thing", nada, zilch, zero.....see, I get it. Anyway, I know the verses but for some reason I cannot let go of trying to think about everything and trying to anticipate the "what-ifs" that might come to be.
Christmas causes this weakness(you might call this sin, I call it weakness) in me to flair up. One of the things that I am worried about is what to get everyone. I am constantly thinking about what I am going to get everyone on my list. I like giving gifts, but I really like knowing that what I give someone will be liked and enjoyed. I have a list of what I "think" I am getting my loved ones, but have not bought most of it yet. This is not a money issue. I have the money tucked away this year to cover all of our Christmas expenses (Thank you Lord). The issue is that I am just not sure if what I have in my mind is the right gift. If I wait a little longer maybe I will hear "the person" mention another gift that they would rather have. I have written several different lists for Reagan and Gracen, as well as for my extended family. I grabbed my list and went shopping this past Friday and Saturday and hardly bought anything. I spent most of my time second guessing my choices. Oh me! To make matters worse, Reagan doesn't have anything BIG that she really wants and she keeps changing her mind daily about the little things. This is making me crazy. And Gracen could care less, and I cannot even make up my mind about what to get her. I know, I know, just buy something, right!
I worry about what traditions to start now. Reagan is about to be 4 years old and I really think she will remember what we do this year to celebrate the season. I want to be intentional about the activities that we participate in, even the fun things like zoo lights. We have never gone to zoo lights before. The main reason is because it is an outdoor activity and let's be honest, it is really cold outside in December. So, do I want to start this outing this year, knowing that she will expect it next year....when she really doesn't even know it exists yet? Speaking of outside activities, we have never taken to her the parade or the Christmas on the Coosa or the Live Nativity or the luminaries. All of these are outdoor activities in downtown Wetumpka. I loved going to these events as a child, but up until this point Reagan has been too young to sit out in the cold. Is it time to start going? Of course, now I have another little one who might not enjoy the cold too much, either. I know, I know, just go right!
I worry about Reagan (and Gracen in the future) fully understanding the real reason for the season. I don't want to spend more time on the secular aspect of Christmas than I do the spiritual side, but in all honesty, it seems inevitable. We spend time each day talking to her about baby Jesus and what the nativity is all about. She can tell you the story, but I want it to be more than just "a story" that she can spout out. I want it to get down into her little heart. I want her to understand that the coming of Jesus Christ is the central event of history, the most joyful and meaningful occasion that we can imagine. I want her to know that every aspect of this most holy birth was part of a breathtakingly beautiful plan to rescue and redeem his fallen children. As a parent, that is a tall order and one that causes me a little anxiety. I know, I know, just do the best I can, right!
I am also very indecisive! My mother just shouted, "Amen!" I heard you, Mom. Anyway, so maybe my issue here is not so much worry as indecisiveness. Or maybe a mixture of both, which is kind of a scary combination.
On a side note, I decided on my Christmas devotional. I am reading Why the Nativity? 25 Compelling Reasons We Celebrate the Birth of Jesus by David Jeremiah. I went to buy some books on Advent but couldn't justify spending the money when I already had several good titles here at home. If you gave me a suggestion of what to read, I wrote the title down in next year's calendar at the beginning of November so I can purchase it before the month of December arrives.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I am also trying to decide what direction to take for my quiet time. I just finished a Bible study for moms today. It was a refreshing read and encouraged me in my daily tasks of motherhood. For the month of December I want to pull out one of my Christmas devotionals and be reminded again of the real meaning of the season. Even though I have read them all several times, I see something new every year. I wouldn't mind buying Rick Warren's book about Christmas. Does any know if it is any good? Anyway, I am trying to decide which devotional to start. Hopefully, I will make up my mind soon and I will be able to share some insights with you.
Check back on Monday December 7th. Maybe by then I will be more focused and ready to put my thoughts on "paper".
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Here is my list, starting with the big things.
Jesus. My salvation. Gene, my best friend. Reagan. Gracen. My mom. My dad. All of my family...immediate and extended. My home. Food (you will notice that food comes up a lot on this list). Friends. My church family. Quiet mornings. Coffee and International Delight Coffee House Inspirations-Caramel Macchiato (creamer). A big coffee mug. Orbit Sweet Mint gum. New white socks. Flannel pajama pants. Colored gel pens. A new journal. A new leather Bible...I love that smell. Orange tic tacs. A new Parenting magazine in the mail. Date nights. Skittles and a sprite (yes, together) at the movie theater. James Bond movies. Jeremy Camp CD's. Chocolate. A child's laugh. Family movie night. Butterfingers. Seasons that change. Candle of the season....especially Pumpkin Spice. Fall...my favorite season. Chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven. Walks around my yard. The smell of grilled meat. Swinging on my back porch. Jeans and a big cozy sweatshirt. The smell of Cinnabon at Eastdale Mall. Praise and worship music. Target. Books. Breastfeeding-to burn calories. Key lime pie. The sunrise. Sunsets. The beach. The mountains. Rainy days. Rainbows. The smell of fresh cut grass. Strawberry fruit smoothies at Sonic. Chicken Ceasar Salad. Potato Soup at O'Charleys. Clean sheets and Gain Fabric Softner. Cheese Ravioli at Olive Garden. The feeling of clean teeth after a dentist visit. Shopping. The beauty salon.
I am sure that I could think of so many more things that just make me take a deep breath and smile. These are the things that just came to my mind easily.
I need to remember to give thanks to the One from whom all blessings flow.
Psalm 92:1-2 "It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night."
God is the creator of all things. He made every single thing that puts a smile on my face. If there are so many things that make me happy here on this earth, can you just imagine what heaven will feel like? It will be a place of infinite joy. In heaven there will be no more sadness, no more tears, no more death, and no more pain. We will just experience complete perfection with the ONE who is perfection. Our hearts will be happy all the time. I can only imagine. I know how content I feel when I sit outside on my back patio in my cozy sweatshirt, flannel pajama pants, and new white socks, drinking a steaming cup of coffee, while watching the sun come up. Multiply this feeling times 1000 and you get a small measure of how I might feel in heaven.
Thank you God for all the things that make my heart happy in this life and the life to come.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Gracen was very sweet, as she always is...well at least until the nurse started messing with her. She didn't like being measured or weighed. She weighed 15 lbs 3 oz, which is in the 45th percentile, and she measured 25 1/2 inches long, which is also in the 45th percentile, so she is right where she is suppose to be. She received 2 shots and only cried for a few minutes. We did not have to have a chest x-ray today. We are going to wait a little while on that....spread out the radiation exposure a little bit. I was relieved.
Here are a few current pictures of her.
She is sitting up all by herself now. We still have to stay close by because if she reaches too far to the left or the right she will fall over. She is learning to catch herself though. Here she is digging in the toy bucket. Too cute! Doesn't she look like such a big girl?
I am still breastfeeding her. She eats every 4 hours starting between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning. We have added some solid food to her diet. She eats cereal in the morning and I am about to add some fruit to this. She likes sweet potatoes and squash and will tolerate a few bites of carrots. We have given her sweet peas on two different occasions and she dry heaved both times. It was pretty funny.
She is a great sleeper. She started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old, sleeping from 8:30 to about 7:00. If she wakes up in the night, something is wrong. She also naps pretty good, usually taking 2 good naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, sleeping for 1-2 hours. Sometimes she will take an early evening catnap around 6:00, but I am trying to eliminate this.
So hard to believe that she has been here for over 6 months. She has brought so much joy to our lives. We love you Gracen.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Today was Reagan's Thanksgiving program at her preschool. She was dressed like a little Indian and sang 3 songs with her class. She was adorable when she walked out onto that stage. She immediately started scanning the audience and when she saw Gene and me and her two grandmothers, her little face lite up like a light bulb. She waved at all of us and blew us kisses. It was precious. I was so proud of her. I told my mom that moments like that make all the trials of motherhood worth it. My heart just swelled with love for that little girl.
Here she is on the stage with her class.
Late this afternoon I am going to buy groceries. I am making some desserts with Reagan since she is out of school for the rest of the week and I am making a hash brown casserole to take to my mom's on Thursday. I like to cook a little around the holidays. We usually do some special breakfasts with Gene off work too. Reagan has put in her requests for strawberry muffins and blueberry pancakes....not on the same morning, I don't think. Gene wants pigs in a blanket and french toast. We also usually make homemade waffles with a waffle maker that Gene gave me for Christmas. We eat pretty good around here when holidays roll around....no packaged granola bars for sure.
On Tuesday, Gracen has her 6 month well visit with Dr. Simon. She is actually 6 months and 3 weeks old because if you'll remember, we got off track when she was 2 months old, when my doctor went on a two week vacation. Anyway, this little outing will probably take all day. Gracen has to have shots of course, and then we have to go and have a chest x-ray done because the doctor saw a "suspicious" spot on her last x-ray. He said he wasn't worried at all....so I haven't worried at all...just wants to double check it. I'll let you know tomorrow how her visit goes, how much she has grown, etc. And pray that we don't pick up the swine flu that is going around. I really think baby well visits should be done in your home during flu season. I am not sure how the doctors would really work this out, but it would be nice wouldn't it? Or maybe they want you to bring in your well baby so they will get sick, which means you have to bring your sick baby back in to the office for another $30.00 co-pay. Hmmmm. Something to think about.
On Wednesday, Gene gets off at lunch and I am going to get a haircut and color, and maybe get my eyebrows waxed while I am there. I have to look somewhat presentable to see all the family. I love going to the salon. While I am there, I get to sit and actually read some magazines...in peace and quiet. It is very relaxing.
Wednesday night we will be having Thanksgiving dinner with Gene's side of the family. The food is always delicious. I can taste the green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, turkey with gravy, dressing, corn, rolls, English peas, sweet potato pie, and pecan pie now. It will also be great to visit with everyone. Gene has one brother who is married with two children. Reagan loves to play with them. We all live right here in Holtville, but only see each other on the holidays really. It will be nice to catch up with everybody.
On Thursday, we will do a special breakfast at home as we watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. We will be home most of the day and will head to my parent's house that afternoon for dinner. My two sisters will be there with their families and I can hardly wait to see all of them. I LOVE hanging out with all my family. We sit around and eat and talk...and eat and talk. The food there will be delicious too. I love my mom's sweet potato casserole. This year we have two new babies to pass around and enjoy. My Gracen was born in May and my younger sister gave birth to Hayden 3 weeks later. We have a lot to be thankful for this year.
On Friday, I will be hanging out all day with Gene. We are going to watch the Iron Bowl on television and order two greasy hamburgers from Dusty' Diner, our local "greasy spoon".
The weekend after Thanksgiving we usually decorate for Christmas, so we will see. With such a busy week and having two children now, that may have to wait until next weekend.
Well, that is my week in a nutshell. Check back late tomorrow afternoon for a report on Gracen's doctor visit. Her appointment is not until 11:00, so my blog update will be much later in the day.
Friday, November 20, 2009
On Wednesday, I went to help a friend with her new baby while Reagan was in school. I picked Reagan up at 11:30 and we came home and had lunch and nap time and then had to head to church. We got back home around 8:30.
On Thursday, I lead a monthly Mom's fellowship called momMEtime. We met from 9:30-11:30 and had a great time hanging out. I had to be there early to set up and then had to stay late to clean up. I made it home for lunch and was able to spend a little time with the girls and with Gene, who is off on Thursday, and then I headed to a baby shower that I was hosting for a friend that evening. I got back home around 8:15.
So, basically today I am a domestic goddess....changing sheets, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, washing clothes, folding clothes, emptying the dishwasher, making lunches, etc. You get the idea.
I just wanted to let everyone know that I am O.K......just running around like crazy.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This morning I was reading about thankfulness and the devotion started with this quote:
"Be thankful. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Thankfulness is much more dependent on attitude than circumstance. When you feel the lack of what you don't have, thank God for what you do have. At any time, there is more going right in the life of a committed Christian than there is going wrong. It's just that the wrong makes a lot more noise than the right." Jim Stevens
How true is that! I know that my wrongs, my problems, etc make a lot more noise for sure.
I am so blessed. But I'm also guilty of becoming so distracted by my blessings that I forget to thank the One from whose hands these things come. Do I see the loving husband I've been blessed with, or do I just grumble about his faults? Do I see the "conversationalist" of a child that I have been blessed with, or do I just grumble that she never shuts up? Do I see the precious gift of the new life we have been given, or do I just grumble about my lack of sleep and energy? Do I see the home I am blessed with, or do I just grumble about the constant chores to keep it clean? Do I see how blessed we are to have food whenever we want, or do I just grumble about having to go buy groceries each week?
I think you know the answer to most of those questions. Why is it so easy to grumble and complain, rather than offer thanks? Why do we so easily lose sight of all the gifts that we have been given, and focus on what we don't have or what we want to change instead?
I heard about one family that has started a Grumble Jar and every time someone in the family grumbles about anything they have to put $1.00 in the jar. All the money at the end of each month goes to an organization that helps needy families. What a great idea! I don't know that I will implement that yet....I don't carry that many bills in my wallet to deposit the money throughout the day....but I think it is a great idea. It would certainly make me realize all the negative comments that come out of my mouth during the day.
I do want to be more intentional with expressing my thankfulness. I also want to be more intentional with developing an attitude of thankfulness in Reagan. I can already see seeds of ungratefulness sprouting. So, at night during our devotion time we are going to start talking about what we are thankful for. (Mom, I know I just ended that sentence with a preposition and I am sorry.) While, this is a great activity to do with children, it is also something that we need to get into the habit of doing with God. He loves to hear our praises. I want to challenge each of you to limit your grumbling and complaining and to be more intentional of giving thanks and praise to God for everything in your life...the good and the bad.
I know you will be blessed.
Friday, November 13, 2009
After the museum, we went and had some icecream. We all got something different and then got to share. That was a good way to end the day.
Here are a few photos from our trip.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Well, as I started to wrap one of the boxes, she decided that she didn't want to help me. She wanted to do her own box. I told her that was fine and I would go and find her another shoebox, knowing I would have to "fix" it somehow before we took it to church. Well, she didn't want a plain shoebox. She wanted to find her own "special" box to wrap, so she went to her room to search for a box. She came back with a red picnic basket that her Aunt Lori gave to her. I thought this was really sweet because she loves that basket. (Don't worry Lori, we didn't give it away.)
Anyway, here are a few shots of Reagan wrapping her basket. It took her about 45 minutes.... no joke, which was fine with me. Anytime, I can find something for Reagan to do that requires her to sit still in one place is a gift in and of itself. How cute are these pics? She was a busy girl.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Let me give you some examples of what I deal with on a daily basis. We have lizards outside all around our house. I mean lots of lizards. I can probably count 20 on any given day. Gene says lizards are a good thing because they eat flies, spiders, and other little critters that I do not like. Point taken, but they still get on my nerves. I have a few that have taken up permanent residence around my backdoor and occasionally they will come inside with me when I am unloading groceries or something like that. You should see me chase these things around my kitchen back out the door.
We also have a high population of frogs, little green frogs. The number of frogs would gross you out, so I'll spare you the estimation, but just about every time I drive up in my garage, at night, a run over one. Fun stuff, right?
I now have this big, fuzzy caterpillar, that has claimed my back door rug as its home. It is as big as my thumb and red in color. I have picked it up and put it out in the grass, only to find it back on my rug the next morning. Do these things have brains?
We also have a lot of chipmunks and squirrels. Yesterday, I went out my front door and there were several chipmunks sitting out there having a conversation, and do you know that they didn't scurry away when I opened the door. They looked at me as if to say, "What?" It was raining, so I guess they preferred my dry porch to the wet bushes.
Well, about two weeks ago, I discovered that we have a mouse....a mouse.....yuck! We have been in our home for 10 years and I have never seen a mouse inside this house. I realize that I haven't exactly stayed on top of the cleaning as I did before Gracen's arrival, but come on, I didn't think it was that bad. Anyway, I was rocking Gracen in the wee hours of the night and it ran across her floor. Scared me to death! I screamed, woke up Gracen, and I was so mad, I could have strangled it with my bare hands. The next day we put traps out and waited. We bought the dome shaped traps with the hole in the side. You put cheese or peanut butter on the inside and they go in and the door closes behind them. Can you believe that mouse pooped all around that trap and ON TOP of it (I guess that is what he thought about that), but he never went inside it. Infuriating!!! So next, we moved on the glue traps and we caught it. I cleaned my house, including window sills and base boards and thought we were done with that. Well, last night, I was getting the vacuum cleaner out and another mouse was under it. Gene and I spent 20 minutes chasing that thing with bowls, trying to catch it. No such luck!
I hope this was just a boyfriend/girlfriend pair that moved in and not something more. I really hope there is not an entire family somewhere. Gives me the chills.
Now, every time I hear a noise over the girls' monitors, I envision mice eating their flesh and have to go check on them. I'm not getting much sleep.
Do mice feed on human flesh? Just asking.
Let me know if you have any suggestions for getting rid of these unwanted guests.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I know that I have given you a run down of my morning before, but here is a refresher. Right now, I am trying to get up by 5:00 a.m., but most mornings it is 5:15 and by Friday it is 5:30. I sit and have my quiet time until at least 6:00. I need this time and it is non-negotiable for me. At 6:00, I head to the shower, whether I have somewhere to go or not. I like to be ready for the day because I just never know what is going to happen or where I might have to go, like an unexpected doctor visit, etc. Anyway, by 6:45, I am making breakfast for Gene and myself and by 7:00, if not before, both girls are up.
Gracen wants to eat as soon as she gets up....go figure, and she is a SLOW eater. It still takes her a good 30-35 minutes to nurse. She is just her like her Momma I guess. I enjoy my food too. I am the kind that eats one M & M at a time. I suck on it and let it just dissolve in my mouth. I do this with every candy. I consume less calories this way.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, Gracen....Well, from all I have read, when you add solids to breastfeeding, you are suppose to nurse on one side, and then go to the highchair for solids, and then offer the other breast. This is taking an hour. I have to leave to take Reagan to preschool at 8:10 a.m. Yes, this is a problem because if you will back track over my morning, I still have not dressed or fed Reagan, brushed her teeth or her hair, prayed with her, loaded her stuff in the car.... nothing! I have decided that my life would be a lot easier if I just didn't have to feed Gracen, but that is probably not an option. Of course, if you have seen Gracen's chunky legs, she could certainly miss a meal or two.
Anyway, we were late to school on Monday. I am open to suggestions how other mothers are getting everything done before they leave the house at 8:00. Of course, I would like your suggestion to be in the form of a magic pill because I don't want to change my schedule. I am a creature of habit. I also do not want to get up any earlier. I mean 4:30 a.m. borders on ridiculous.
Like I said, Crazy, my mornings are just crazy!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
For example, when I start to worry about something, which happens frequently, I can quote #3- I have no fear or anxiety, I trust in the Lord with all my heart, along with the verse that goes with that statement....Psalm 112:7, "He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." Cool verse! I WANT my heart to be steadfast. I want to continually trust in God and keep my thoughts focused on Him.
If I start to experience a little burn-out serving in the ministry that God has called us to because I am not seeing results or fruit from our labor, it is real easy to just want to quit altogether, but ministry is a calling. I would be miserable if I didn't fulfill the roles that God has called me to. That brings me to statement #4- I am able to fulfill the calling that God has placed on my life. The verse that goes with it is 2 Peter 1:10, "Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you, for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble."
I think I could share an example about every one of the following statements, but I think you get the idea. I am going to write down these statements and put them in the front of my prayer journal, along with the corresponding verse. They make up my identity in Christ and I want to remember them. Why don't you write them down too and pray over them as you start each day.
1. I am fully forgiven and free from all shame and condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
2. I act in audacious faith to change the world in my generation. (II Thessalonians 1:11)
3. I have no fear or anxiety, I trust in the Lord with all my heart. (Psalm 112:7)
4. I am able to fulfill the calling God has placed on my life. (II Peter 1:10)
5. I am fully funded to do everything God has called me to do. (Jeremiah 32:27)
6. I have no insecurity because I see myself the way God sees me. (I John 3:1-3)
7. I am a faithful spouse and a godly parent, our family is blessed. (Hebrews 2:13)
8. I am completely whole physically, mentally, and emotionally. (I Thessalonians 5:23-24)
9. I am increasing in influence and favor for the kingdom of God. (Psalm 90:17)
10. I am enabled to walk in the sacrificial love of Christ. (II John 1:6)
11. I have the wisdom of the Lord concerning every decision I make. (Proverbs 2:6)
12. I am protected from all harm and evil in Jesus' name. (Psalm 91:14-16)
**A special thank you goes out to Kimberly Collier Hunt. She went on the ladies shopping trip this past weekend and came back with way too many clothes for my girls. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Kimberly. You have always loved on and spoiled us. We love and appreciate you. Gracen looked adorable today in the blue and brown outfit as we scooted around town running errands.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Why is it so easy to teach that lesson to Reagan but so hard to remember that lesson when it comes to silencing my own fears? I worry a lot. It is my weakness. I am a "what if" person. At least once a week, I'll start a conversation with Gene that starts with this phrase, "Yes, but, what if ____________ happens?" (You can fill in the blank with a thousand different scenarios.) The thing that stirs up the greatest fear is something happening to one of my children. I am still thinking about Gracen's little incident at the doctor's office a few weeks ago and the helplessness I felt. I was scared to death that there was something seriously wrong with her. I still worry that she will have reoccurring bladder infections which means she could have serious kidney problems. The next thing that comes to my mind is kidney failure. I am probably thinking about this needlessly. Why do I torture myself so?
Just as I tell Reagan not to fear, I need to remember that God has told me not to fear. One Bible commentary said that the phrase "Fear not", or the equivalent to it, is said 365 times in the Bible. Well, that means that we have a different verse to read every single day of the year. One of my favorites is Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isn't that a great verse?
I read somewhere that FEAR stands for False Expectations Appearing Real. The more I think on the what-if's in life, the more real they become, taking on larger than life proportions. I have to remember to take all of my fears, all of concerns to God and leave them at his feet. I cannot control my life or my children's lives by worrying about them and fearing the unknown. The reality is that each of my children belong to the Lord. He has assigned a certain number of days to each of them and nothing I can do or don't do will change that. Matthew 6:27 says, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Oh, if I could just process this truth, maybe I wouldn't be so mentally exhausted at the end of each day.
Dear Lord, please help me to make the right choice when fear threatens to invade my life. Help me not to react to fear, but to turn to You. Thank you Lord, for being the stronghold of my life.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The longer I talked to these two individuals the madder I became. Not really at them, more at myself for not being better prepared. My irritation started to show itself because I became a little snappy and defensive. I know....way to show the love of Jesus, right? I really just wanted them to leave so the discussion would be over and I would be out of the hot seat.
I am not really ever out of the hot seat though, am I? 1 Peter 3:15 says, "But in your heart, honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." According to this verse, I failed in two ways today. I was not prepared to accurately defend my faith and I certainly didn't do it with gentleness and respect.
My irritation sent me on an Internet search for information about JW's and what they believe. Gene told me about a web-site sponsored by the North American Mission Board that has a lot of great information about all the different cults, New Age practices, and world religions. The site is http://www.4truth.net/. For information on JW's click on "New Religions and Cults" on the left margin. Then click on Jehovah's Witness.
After visiting the web-site, I discovered some major doctrinal issues that we differ on. Here are five that you should be aware of if they come knocking on your door.
1. They do not believe that Jesus is God.
2. They believe that the Holy Spirit is a force.
3. They believe that most believers will live on a refurbished earth with Jesus, while God will remain in heaven with a smaller number. ( basically 2 classes of saved people)
4. They believe in soul sleep...that when you die you do not immediately go to be with Christ. You will remain in a sleep state until the second coming of Christ.
5. They do not believe in eternal punishment.
I discovered in my conversation that it is not enough to just to tell that their beliefs are wrong and then state my beliefs. They want proof of what I believe, scripture references that they can read for themselves.
I am thankful for this interaction today. It convicted me. It opened my eyes to the need to know more and the importance of hiding God's Word in my heart. I want to encourage you to think through what you believe and why you believe it. If you are a Christian, can you accurately share your testimony and defend your faith?
Monday, November 2, 2009
Well, I thought I would share a few pictures of our Halloween weekend. We had some great family time.
Here is a shot of the girls in their coordinating shirts. Gracen is thrilled to be in this picture.
She is a little more lively in this picture. I guess she didn't like sharing the spotlight with Reagan.
Reagan chose this costume for our annual Fall Festival at church. She absolutely loves Ariel the Mermaid. She was so proud of herself and just stared at herself in the mirror. She moved in slow motion around the den because she didn't want to mess herself up. Moving slowly is anti-Reagan behavior.
My Mom and Dad met us at the Fall Festival (thank the Lord) because Gene had to work a booth and I couldn't really play the games with Reagan and keep up with Gracen at the same time. Well, I guess I could have, but I didn't want to! Reagan was thrilled that her Gram and Pap were there. After a short while, she was walking around with them and I was holding Gracen.
As soon as Reagan saw the bouncers in the parking lot, she threw her princess behavior out the window. I spent an hour curling her hair and she knocked all her curls out in 5 minutes. She also got her socks all wet, which completely disturbed me.
Here is a shot of all 3 of us. Gracen is sort of in LaLa land. She just doesn't know how to look at the camera yet and say, "Cheese". I know some of you have noticed that Gracen is not in a costume. I simply chose not to dress her up. All the costumes I saw were so hot and cumbersome. I didn't think she would be comfortable and I didn't want to pay for something that she might keep on all of 10 minutes.
We truly had a great holiday weekend!