Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just Liking Me- Part 2

Well, these thoughts are sort of a continuation of my last blog entry, so if you didn't read it, go back and do so, so you will know what I am talking about.

Yesterday, I set my mind to achieving all the areas that I feel like I am lacking...just to see if I would like myself better. I "baked" Reagan's breakfast, making Oatmeal Raisin bars, a recipe a got from Amy Kelley (thanks Amy). They were really good but Reagan didn't want them for breakfast. When I handed her the fresh from the oven bar, she looked at it a little funny, but took it anyway. She took one bite and said, "Yummy, but can I have my chocolate granola bar for breakfast?" So I handed her the "out of wrapper" breakfast, not one made with love. Of course the granola bar was organic....that makes it better right? Check.

I walked again and did some random exercises in the house, so I got to mark getting back into shape off of my list. Check.

I had a great quiet time yesterday morning, getting up early enough to read and study the Bible and pray. Check .

I worked on my DT lesson during the girls' nap time and encouraged a few with some comments on Facebook. This would fall under trying to expand my ministry. Check.

I sat down with Reagan and Gracen and read several books to them and then when Gracen went to sleep, Reagan and I had a art session. We painted pictures of flowers and pumpkins and then made torn paper pumpkins using glue. Reagan wanted to cut out some pieces of different colored construction paper and glue them into a collage of sorts. So, we cut and pasted....well-rounded Mom, right. Check, check.

I took a shower and tried to make myself look presentable, covering the "grooming my outside" issue. Check. Check. Check.

Did all these things make me feel better. Did I like myself more? Did I feel more complete as a person? Did I feel like a better mom? Not really. I was just really tired when I went to bed.

God is not going to allow my self worth to come from anything other than Him.

Satan loves it when I get into a complete funk, when I get down on my self, when I lose my joy. It is his daily goal to use my everyday experiences, both big and small, to cripple my true identity in Christ. If he can cripple my identity, then I become useless for the kingdom of Christ. Satan delights in my feelings of inadequacy and I do not want him to win. So today, I will continue to pray against the feelings that I am not good enough at anything. Today I will choose to be joyful about everything that is going on in my life, the good and the bad. Today, I will separate my shortcomings from my identity and let Jesus be the only measure of my worth.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just Liking Me

This blog entry has been rolling around in my head for a couple of weeks, so I thought it might be time to write it out. I am hoping that other women can relate to this one and I am not just totally off my rocker. My issue is 36 years old, I am still not really sure I like myself. I am constantly questioning myself, my talents, my abilities, my looks, my weight...well, you get the idea. I feel like I am always comparing myself to other women, especially other mothers. I look at qualities or abilities that other ladies have, and quite honestly, they just make me feel bad about myself. Let me give you some examples.

When I talk to someone who bakes a lot for their children, I feel bad each time I open a granola bar for Reagan's breakfast or the boxed pizza for supper. I certainly cook for my family but I don't "bake" 3 meals a day. As I speak to some serious "bakers", I feel like I don't measure up.

When I talk to someone who feeds their family ALL organic foods, I feel like I am poisoning my family when I do not. I have read about and believe in all organic foods, but the expense of going that route is too high on a one income budget.

When I see a mom with little ones who is in great shape, I think I have got to get back in shape, not that I was ever incredibly fit before pregnancy. So I start trying to work in exercise into my already hectic day. (This happened yesterday and I got out and walked.....all of 15 minutes...aren't you proud of me? Of course, I was carrying an additional 15 pounds in a baby sling, so I am sure that was really like walking 30 minutes, right?)

When I see a mom who is tan, has a beautiful complexion, cute haircut, WHITE and straight teeth, I start thinking that I have got to start taking better care of my body on the outside. Ya know, spend more time grooming myself, even though right now, a 10 minute shower is like an act of Congress.

When I talk to a mom who fills her day with wonderful arts and craft activities for her children, I start to look on-line for step-by-step activities that I might can do with Reagan. I certainly want her to be well-rounded and if that means cutting and pasting, let's go!

When I see a mom who is actively engaged in ministry, I start thinking I am not doing enough for the Lord. I start praying for a bigger ministry or for God to just help me get it together so I can be more involved at church, knowing that my main ministry is right here in my own home, meeting the needs of my husband and raising 2 girls who will LOVE the Lord.

This is not the end of my list, but surely you get the idea.

Why do I still struggle with this and when will it stop? Maybe when I turn 40, I will finally have complete confidence in myself and my abilities....or at the very least, figure out what my abilities are.

I know all the verses that speak of God's great love for me. I know that I am loved, accepted, blessed, chosen, forgiven, redeemed, adopted into God's family, and lavished with grace and mercy. But, knowing these things in my head and having them take hold of my heart are apparently two totally different things.

I love the verse my older sister shared in her blog not too long ago......
Zephaniah 3:17
"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save, He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you by His love, He will exult over you with loud singing."
Isn't that a beautiful verse? I pray every day that I will really start to process that truth, that God rejoices over me with gladness (really?), that God will quiet me with His love (my insecurities need to be silenced), that He will exult over me with loud singing (amazing).

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Perspective

I go back and forth between feeling totally blessed with my family and being able to stay home with my children, to feelings of complete frustration with the inability to get everything done, being everything to all people, and not being able to find a quiet moment for myself. Well, this weekend I was reading something by Lysa Terkeurst, the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, and it really gave me a new perspective, so I thought I would share it here.

Lysa went on a mission trip to Ecuador with a team from Compassion International and she got to spend time with a woman who lives in a shanty carved into a mountainside on the outskirts of Quito. She had to climb a handmade ladder that swayed and creaked as she ascended into a dark cavern the lady called home. The floors were dirt. The walls were rock. There were two rooms--a small kitchen and a bedroom. In the kitchen was a fire pit, a few shelves, and a small table. Off to one side were large broken down cardboard boxes used to repair holes in the ceiling and the walls. Off to the other side was a small cot where two of her 5 children slept. In the bedroom were 2 more cots, two chests, and a rough-hewn piece of furniture that served as a dresser. She and her husband slept in one of the cots; her other 3 children in a cot right next to them. These cots were meant for one person.

Lysa said she listened quietly as this woman told her about her life (through an interpreter). Every day she gets up at 4:30 a.m. to make breakfast over an open flame. Her husband leaves at 5:00 a.m. hoping to find work. Once he's gone, she wakes her children to get them ready for school. It is a BIG sacrifice to send her children to school, but she wants a better life for them, and sees education as a key component. She spends the better part of her day walking to and from the market. There is no way to refrigerate food so what little they have must be purchased each day. Once a week, she carries her family's clothes several miles to the village washing hole. After cleaning the clothes she must make the back-breaking return journey up the mountain, carrying the now-wet and heavy load.

When Lysa asked this woman how she could pray for her, she teared up. These were not tears asking for pity or even asking for a handout, but tears out of honest concern for her family. Her request was this: "Please pray for my husband to come to know Jesus and for him to have work. And pray for me to continue to have the strength I need to serve my family."

Lysa was amazed at this woman's request...and frankly I am too. I would have asked for God to make things easier, change my circumstances, rescue me from the pit, etc. Instead she prayed simply for God's provision in the midst of her circumstances with a kind and peaceful countenance.

Our frustrations here in America are a little different. Heaven forbid Starbucks doesn't make my coffee the right temperature. And, oh the crying shame of having such a long list of errands. I mean, what a pain to have to drive down the street, push a cart, go through the mental strain of meal planning on the fly, come home, unload all the stuff, and then figure out what to cook from my overflowing pantry and refrigerator. And let's not forget the never-ending sorting, stain management, washing, drying, folding, and putting away of laundry. Putting away all those clothes in dressers that have to be dusted in rooms that have to be organized with floors that have to be vacuumed--it's just exhausting sometimes.

I want to be thankful everyday. I don't want to go back and forth in my emotions. I want to realize how blessed I am to have running water and electricity, for the blessings of towels and sheets and clothing, for a car that will carry me wherever I want to go, for money to buy what my family needs, for a refrigerator to store it all in, for healthy kids, for the privilege to hear them call me Mommy, for a husband that has a job and loves me unconditionally. My thankfulness list could go on and on.

Some days I would rather grumble and complain, and probably, in just a matter of days, my blog will be another "Woe is Me" story. But for today, hearing about this stay-at-home mom from Ecuador has been good for me. It has helped put things in perspective. On my worst days, things really aren't that bad.

Lord, help me to appreciate everything that I have in my life and to remember that all things come from your hand. Help me to be a person who is thankful and a person who offers You praise on a daily basis, for the good and the bad.

Taken from Lysa Terkeurst's book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Bad Attitude

(Yes, I changed my blog background again. I cannot make up my mind.)

I just want to confess that yesterday I was in a really bad mood. I didn't fly off the handle at husband, yell at my kids, or knock a hole in the sheet rock or anything like that, but I really wasn't a happy girl. The smallest things were irritating me. Anybody been there? The week started with a sick child. Need I say more. I am thankful that Gracen is on the mend, but it has been a difficult and draining week, meeting the needs of my family, plus the needs of one clingy baby.

On Wednesday night, Gracen went to sleep at 10:00, two hours past her regular bedtime, and woke up at 12:20. "Ugh!" I thought to myself, when I heard her cries over the monitor. I gave her a few more minutes and thought, "Surely, she will just go back to sleep." She didn't. Not only did she not go back to sleep, she was wide awake until 4:30am. That is not a misprint. I thought I was going to die. I finally drifted off to sleep about 5:00am, after asking God to please let my children sleep until lunch. No such luck! Ask and you shall receive didn't work with that prayer. Reagan tapped me on the cheek at 7:00am, with a cheery, "Good morning, Momma." I really wanted to roll over and ask her what was so good about it. I kept my mouth shut though. It wasn't her fault I was up all night.

Gene is off on Thursday, but had a funeral to go to. A friend's grandmother had passed away so I decided that I needed to go as well. Remember, I didn't even want to get out of bed, much less get myself and two girls ready for a funeral. I also really needed to buy groceries....not fun on a full night's sleep. I was supposed to do this on Monday, the day I had to take Gracen to the doctor, so we were fighting over 3 pieces of bread to make lunch with. The day basically went downhill from here.

At about 4:00, I told Gene I was about to blow a gasket. My chest hurt from anxiety and Reagan's voice was really getting on my nerves. Gene decided it might be a good idea to get out of the house. I was thinking how nice it would be to go out to eat without the kids, but with no babysitters in sight, we loaded them up and headed to Logan's Roadhouse. I must say, we had a really good time. As soon as I started cracking those peanuts at the table, I felt my stress melting away. Dinner was good, and the conversation was even better. Reagan had never been in Logan's and loved it. She was really impressed with the loud music and the peanuts on the floor. Watching her joy made me joyful.

We have all had days we wish we could do over. I know that even in those days God wants my joy to be full. He wants me to focus on all the good things that I have in my life. He wants me to focus on Him. He wants me to come to Him and unload my burdens. Yesterday, it never occurred to me to stop and pray or to go and get my Bible out and let God speak to me. It never occurred to me to praise God, despite how I felt, knowing God inhabits the praises of His people.
Praise is the key that releases God's character back into even the ugliest of attitudes and darkest of situations. Where there is praise, God's presence can be felt and his presence brings the fruit of his, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). I needed all of those.

Satan delights in our anxiety, anger, and frustration, and would love to keep darkness drawn over our hearts and minds. He breeds within our dark ugliness all that is opposite of God's character...hate, despair, fear, impatience, rudeness, self-centeredness, self-reliance, harshness, and acting out of control. But as soon as we praise God, Satan flees. Praise pulls back the dark curtain and breathes fresh life into a weak and weary soul.

Logan's definitely made me feel better, but what I really needed was time with Jesus. So today, even though my to-do list is long and my energy is low, I will rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in God my Savior.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quick Update

I just wanted to let everyone know that Gracen is doing a lot better today. The doctor called us yesterday afternoon and she has a kidney infection. She started her antibiotic last night and today she seems like she feels a lot better. She is smiling and her eyes are bright again. She still doesn't have any fever so hopefully the medicine will knock this out. I pray that she doesn't have reoccurring infections. This will lead to more tests and no child should have to go through that.

I cannot help but think about all the children that are affected with cancer or some other life altering disease. Heartbreaking. As I think back to Monday and all that Gracen had to endure, I cannot imagine how horrendous it would be to have to go through that each week or each month for months or years at a time. As a mom, my heart would break during each and every treatment. Treatments you know are necessary, but treatments you wish you could skip all together. On Monday, I just wanted to scoop little Gracen off the table and run out of the office. I wanted to protect her from all the pain she was feeling. I would have taken her place in a second, no hesitations.

I am thanking God today for his provision and his grace and also renewing my commitment to pray for my children and their health each and every day. I don't just want to cry out to God when I need Him, but I also want to be in a continually state of praise and thanksgiving when things are going well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sick Little Angel

Well, as many of you know, Gracen has been sick for several days now. A fever developed Saturday morning and persisted through Monday. She threw up Sunday night and was really sleepy the entire weekend. We called the doctor on Monday morning and of course, they wanted to see her, for what I thought would be a routine visit. The nurse started the day with a heel prick to get some blood and from that sample, the doc discovered that her white blood cells were really high, too high for a 5 month old. This set off a whole series of tests that I was not prepared for in my mind or spirit. The doctor decided to do a urine test and more blood work. Getting blood from her little arms was a nightmare of epic proportions. It took 3 different nurses to hold her down as they went from arm to arm because her little veins continue to roll out from under the needle. She was screaming at the top of her lungs and I was literally ready to punch one of the nurses. (godly attitude right) After about 25 minutes, the nurses said I would need to take her to a hospital lab so "professionals" could get this blood. I quickly told them no, that I wanted pediatric nurses to do this, nurses who were used to working with infants. They said they would try one more time with me holding her, so I immediately starting praying and the nurse was successful on her last attempt. By this time, we had been in the office for over 2 hours and Gracen was hungry, ill, and drenched in sweat from her fever and crying. It took me about 35 minutes to get her to calm her down.

The nurses attached a bag to her under her diaper to catch urine and told me we were all going to break for lunch and resume later. "Excuse me....resume what?" Little did I know that they were sending us for chest x-rays, and then bringing us back to the office for a catheter, if she didn't tee tee enough in the bag, and possibly more blood work. Can anyone say, "Gene DeVaughn, you- better- get- down- here- quick- because- I- can't- handle- one- more- single- test." He came and luckily she did go enough in the bag, more blood work was not necessary, and Gene was able to hold her during the x-ray so she didn't seem to mind too much. Right before we headed home, Gracen was given an antibiotic shot that was very thick and the nurse said would hurt (great). We were told that if the shot didn't lower her fever and make her feel a lot better by the morning, she would need to be hospitalized to be given fluids and antibiotics by IV .

Well, so far so good. She woke up this morning cool as a cucumber and a little of her personality seems to be back. It is about 2:00 in the afternoon as I type this and she is still fever free. I hope this isn't the calm before the storm....(yes, this is my worry nature coming out). I know that many prayers were lifted up for her and I certainly believe in the power of prayer. This morning on Face Book I had 29 people saying that they had been praying for Gracen, some off and on through the night, as they were unable to sleep. Amazing that people love us enough to lift us up to God's throne.

The doctor said it was unusual for her white blood count to be so high and for such a small baby to have such an infection so she could have some kidney or bladder issues. We are still waiting on a few tests to come back so please continue to pray. We aren't sure yet if we are dealing with just a kidney infection or the signs of something more.

I was struck with such fear yesterday and it made me realize how important my relationship with God is and how important my quiet time is. God knows what is coming ahead of us and as we spend time in His word and in prayer, He prepares us to deal with each and every event. Even though the tears were rolling and I wanted my husband with me, I knew in my heart God was (and is) in control of this situation. He stands in my yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He knows things and sees things for which I need to be prepared. He will give me the exact instruction and comfort I need to handle all He sees coming my way.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Movie Night

On Friday night, Gene borrowed some equipment from the church and set up a huge "movie screen" on our back patio. We had the college students coming over for a fellowship and with the first cold snap, we thought it would be fun to snoodle up outside. I was certainly ready for some hot chocolate and s'mores. I was even ready to get into a cozy sweatshirt and pull the ole jacket out. (Don't you just love fall? ) We decided to watch the Little Mermaid with Reagan before the college students started arriving, and Reagan had a blast. She thought this was the absolute best thing since sliced bread. She sang all the songs and danced right there on the patio.

Ariel, larger than life...what could be better? I wish I had sound on my blog so you could hear her singing Ariel's song. So precious!

These are some shots of the college students once we started their movie. I wish I had taken some pictures of the line in front of one coffee pot or shots of everyone makes s'mores in front of the fire pit, but I didn't. Oh well.

Gracen even got to come outside for a while. She didn't know what to think about the large screen or the cold air. She had a very serious expression on her face the entire time. We couldn't get that child to smile for anything, and she fell asleep on the swing in her Daddy's arms a little while after this picture. Come to find out, she was sick. Saturday morning she woke up with fever. I am sure the cold air didn't exactly help what had already started in her system. But, I didn't know! I guess we will be in the doctor's office Monday morning. Hello, $30.00 copay... just to tell me to take some Tylenol, which I am already doing. I guess the $30.00 is for my peace of mind, small price to pay, really.

Reagan wanted to get in the picture too. I love just hanging out at home with the family and of course, friends. I wish every Friday night could be just as nice.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Today was our monthly fellowship at our church we affectionately call momMEtime. We meet on the third Thursday of every month from 9:30-11:30. We get to drop our kids off with babysitters and enjoy a devotion, food, and fellowship. We spend the last 45 minutes or so playing board games and it sure is fun to just hang out with others moms and laugh. It neat to see people's personality open up (or not) as they play games. Today we played Buzzword. This game makes you think and allows you to laugh at the same time...a great combination.

Today I led the devotion and the game time so I wasn't quite as relaxed as I headed to the meeting as I was last month, when the devotion time was led by someone else. I was definitely blessed though. We have a group of about 12 moms who come everyone single month. They are the "core" group, I guess you could say, and I look to forward to being with them and talking with them and listening to their stories of the crazy things that their kids do. If one is absent, we feel it. If one is sick or recovering from surgery, we help with their kids or take meals to the family. Theses women took care of me after I came home from the hospital with Gracen. My mom cooked several meals for me and then these women took over. I had meals for 2 solid weeks. I don't know what we would have done without them and my mother.

This group of moms reminds me that I am not alone on this journey called motherhood. It does seem lonely sometimes, doesn't it? That is funny to say really because I am never alone, not even in the bathroom. I always have one or two girls with me where ever I go. Every mother out there knows what I mean. Sometimes you just need a "sister friend" to talk to. I am thankful to God for each and every one of them.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up."

Life is designed for companionship, not isolation; for intimacy, not loneliness. Some days I think it would be much easier to just stay home, but I have to remember all the benefits that comes from being connected to a group of other Christian women. God designed us to connect with others and the time that I spend with them is always worth my effort.

I am already looking forward to next month.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our Tuesday

We had a wonderful day at the zoo yesterday. I took Reagan and Gracen and we met my Mom and Dad. It was so nice to stroll around in an unhurried sort of way. It was nice and cool outside and thankfully the rain held off. Reagan LOVES her Gram and Pap and she was still talking about spending the day with them when she woke up this morning. Great memories!
Our zoo trip was Gracen second time out and about, sitting up like a big girl in her stroller. Up until a week or so ago, I would just take her car seat out of the car and attach it to the top of her stroller and she would ride around in a laying position. Well, she just recently started leaning forward, trying her best to sit up when I put her in her car seat. I can't say that I blame her really. Babies spend a lot of time laying flat on their backs. I guess that would get old, of course, at the moment, that is exactly what I want to do. Gracen was so sweet the entire day. She loves to be outside and coupled with the fact that she was sitting up, made her one happy little girl.

Gracen is a little over 5 months old and just recently starting rolling over from back to stomach and from stomach to back. This is a fun little stage of development, except when she rolls over in her crib too close to the bumper pad and for some reason, cannot figure out how to get herself off of it. She is also reaching for people. Right now, I am her favorite person and she reaches for me whenever I am near. This just does my heart good. My parents and I had a good time yesterday letting her go back and forth between us, reaching for us. So sweet. I still cannot believe that she is here, much less that she is 5 months old. Crazy how fast time flies on by.

This Saturday we will be going to the Pumpkin Patch with Gene's mom and dad. I love this activity. It is just good clean family fun. I love hanging out and eating and just watching Reagan have a good ole time. Hopefully, the kids will be just as sweet Saturday as they were yesterday, and we will have a lot of cute pictures to post at the end of the day. Of course, I have little matching shirts for the girls to wear. Gracen will probably have a blow out in hers before we leave the house. Her poops have been a little explosive recently and they always get on her shirts. This has happened almost everyday over the last week or so. I can't for the life of me figure out why she waits until we are dressed and about ready to load the car before she cleans out her system....and why it won't all stay in the diaper. Oh well! This too shall pass, right? Reagan no longer blows out all over her clothes. Both girls would love that I am talking about their bowels for all to read.

I forgot to take my camera to the zoo yesterday. I think it is funny that I documented every single "first" thing that Reagan did with 100 pictures and for Gracen's first trip to the zoo there will not even be one single shot. Things definitely change with the second child. Gracen, if you read this blog in the future, please know that I love you just as much as Reagan, even though there are already 2000 more photos of her than you from birth to 5 months. I'll make it up to you one day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Our Weekend

I don't have anything of a spiritual nature to share, so I thought I would give you a run down of our last couple of days.

On Friday, Reagan had preschool in the morning and then she was invited to a birthday party at 12:00. It was a fun get together. I love watching Reagan interact with other little girls her age. It is so funny listening to their conversations and watching them role play and figure things out. I also greatly enjoy hanging out with other Christians moms, moms who love their children and who are desperately trying to model Christ in front of them, moms who, like me, struggle with organizing their homes, making menus, etc. Fortunately for me, these moms are a little older than me, with many more children than me, so I always leave them with a wealth of information. We were all there until about 4:00 because we truly enjoy each others company...the kids and adults.

On Friday night, Gene was actually home....a rare treat! As the college minister, he has to plan events for them on 3 Friday nights per month, so a Friday night together at home is so nice. We enjoyed some great family time.

On Saturday, I was a hostess for another wedding shower. (That is 3 Saturdays in a row if anybody is counting.) I had Gracen with me and we ran some errands while we were out. I also took a friend home after the shower and we sat and talked for a little while. Amazingly, we had another night at home. It was really nice.

Sundays are very hectic! As I have said before, we leave the house at 8:30 and head to Sunday School and then worship. Gene preached both morning services and did a fabulous job. After church I HAD to buy some groceries....(Lori, I know this is not a "Sabbath" activity, but my poor planning at the end of the previous week led to this event...LOL). We were home for a few hours and then we loaded up to head back to church. Gene and I both teach a class at 4:45 and then we have worship at 6:00. Gene and I had nursery Sunday night, but God was kind. We only had two babies and one was Gracen. Both of them were incredibly sweet. We got back home around 8:00.

I got the bright idea to get up in the middle of the night on Sunday to pump some breast milk so I would have a bottle to take with us on Monday. This was a bad idea. I set my alarm clock for 3:00am. The pumping took 10 minutes, but I couldn't go back to sleep. The last time I looked at the clock it was 4:45am. This is not worth pumping a bottle.

On Monday (today) Gene was off and it was raining. So we decided to load up the kids and head to the mall. Reagan loves going to the mall. She spent an hour in the arcade, then rode the merry-go-round and the escalator in Dillard's, and then threw too many pennies in the fountain. We should own stock in the mall by now due to all the pennies that have been thrown into that fountain. Gene and I were looking for some fall clothes for the girls. We quickly realized two things: first, it is very difficult to shop with the kids present, and second, it is going to be expensive to dress two girls. My poor daddy had to dress 3 girls...sorry DAD! Any way, we left the house around 10:30 and got back home around 4:00. We had a really nice day.

Tommorrow (Tuesday) I am taking the girls to the zoo with my Mom and Dad. Hopefully the rain will hold off .

Friday, October 9, 2009

Adoption vs. Biological

A few nights ago at church I was asked for the 4th or 5th time if "it" was different, if my love for my biological child was different from the love I feel for my adopted child. I can tell the people who have asked me that question have been a little hesitant to do so, but I know the question comes out of a sincere curiosity. If 4 or 5 people have asked me, I'm assuming others are wondering.

I have really thought about that question over the last 2 days. Do I feel differently about my daughters? Do I treat them differently? Have I done anything to make Reagan (my adopted child) feel like I love Gracen (my biological child) more? I hope and pray the answer is no to all of those questions. I admit that when I first got pregnant I was so concerned about this issue. During the whole pregnancy I kept thinking, "How in the world am I going to love Reagan to the same degree that I love Gracen, the baby I have waited 13 years for?" I think my fear was no different than the fear that any mother might feel when her second biological baby is on the way. She would have to wonder the same type of thing, asking herself, "How can I love a second baby as much as I love the first one?" The answer just do.

Of course, our situation is different. We don't have 2 biological children, so I haven't really answered the question, have I? Do I feel differently about Gracen than I do about Reagan? The answer is no. I love both of them unconditionally. They are both my daughters and I view both of them as gifts from God, gifts that came two different ways. Both ways are equally amazing to me.

Reagan was almost 3 years old when we found out we were pregnant. She was my entire world for 3 years. She was God's answer to my heart's desire for a baby. She was the answer to all my prayers. She is the child who made me a mother. We adopted her from Lifeline Children Services, an agency that places babies all over the United States, so she literally could have ended up anywhere. But God, in His sovereignty, placed her with us. That is mind boggling, isn't it? I remember seeing her for the very first time and the instant love I had for her was overwhelming. It literally took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. When you are called by God to adopt a child, He prepares your heart in advance to love that baby as your own, because that baby IS your own. The preparation that occurs in your heart is similar to the preparation that happens in your body when your pregnant. It is very difficult to put into words.

Gracen is equally amazing to me. I remember seeing her for the first time too and being overwhelmed with her. She too took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. The love that I felt for her was instantaneous as well. The only difference is that there is such a sense of accomplishment when I look at her because I (with God and Gene, of course) created her. She came from my body. For nine months, I felt her every little movement. At every ultrasound, I was blown away at what I saw. For the first few weeks of her little life, I studied her features, trying to see me and Gene in her. Of course, I didn't do that with Reagan. I am so thankful that I have experienced pregnancy and delivery, grateful for every single pain and pound.

So, certainly there are some differences in the way they came to be, but no differences in the way I view them or feel about them. I love them unconditionally and would sacrifice anything for both of them.

I just realized this morning that no one in my family, on either side, has asked me this question... Do I feel differently about my girls....Do I love one more than the other? I'm assuming they haven't asked because they don't need to? They know how much I love both of them. They see me with both of them and hopefully see equal treatment. They also love both of them just as deeply. Reagan was the answer to their prayers as well, the answer to their desire for another granddaughter, for a niece, for a cousin. She immediately became part of the family in every way. They are equally grateful for Gracen and for lack of a better way to say it, Gracen was icing on the cake. We are all grateful for the blessing of both girls and, I speak for all of them when I say, we wouldn't change a thing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Last night at church Bro. Tim talked about the need for revival in our country, in our churches, in our families, and in our personal lives. The lack of revival in these areas is directly related to our lack of prayer. He made the comment that according to recent surveys the average christian only prays 3 minutes a day and the average preacher only prays 10 minutes a day. Does that shock anyone else? Surely we pray more than that. Surely the average pastor prays more than that. Then I really thought about my last week. I have mentioned how busy we have been and I certainly haven't spent the time in prayer that I would like. I have prayed, but I haven't prayed over my lists or written in my prayer journal. I haven't timed my prayers (and I'm not going to), but maybe they have only been about 3 minutes in length, maybe a little more, but maybe a little less.

I say little popcorn prayers throughout the day when a need arises and I pray before eating, etc., but how much time does that really take. A prayer over a meal might take 10-15 seconds. A quick prayer for a friend....again just a few seconds. All of these "seconds" might add up to about 3 minutes! That is kind of scary to me.

As Christians we don't need to be legalistic about the length of time we spend in prayer. No where in the Bible does it say, "Thou shall spend 60 minutes a day in prayer or thou shall go to hell." But what does it say about my heart, about my love and devotion to God if I cannot find more than 3 minutes a day to talk to Him. It is real easy to say, "Well, I am in a tough season with little ones at home and I just can't find the time to pray." We all go through different seasons of life, and having little ones at home does complicate matters a bit. But if I can find time to blog, check my email, scroll through Facebook, or read a magazine, then surely I can find the time to pray.

Lord, forgive me when I put so many things before You. Empower me to carve out that time each day to really talk to you and to listen to what you want to say to me.

2 Chronicles 7:14
"And My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Well, as a mom of two children I am discovering that I absolutely cannot let myself get behind. After the busy weekend we had I am still trying to catch up with housework, church lessons, laundry, cleaning, etc. I have had a headache for the last two days and I know it is from stress. This is stress that I put on myself. I stress about things I want done around the house on a daily basis, simple things like making the beds. When the bed is made, the entire room seems to be in order...or at least it gives the impression of order. I like the impression of order, even when my spirit is completely crazy. When I walk into my bedroom and the bed is made it makes me feel like I at least accomplished something today.

I'll give you a random example of two things that have a day to be done. Every Sunday afternoon I sit down and make the menu for the week and then I make my grocery list and pull my coupons. I basically have everything ready to go for Monday morning and after dropping Reagan off at preschool, Gracen and I head to the grocery store. Every other Sunday, I sit down and write out all the bills for that pay period. Gene gets paid every two weeks and I mail off every bill that is due in the two weeks on Monday morning. Well, this past Sunday both activities needed to be done, but neither one of these activites were done. So, on Monday morning, I woke up to a complete feeling of stress. I had some bills that I knew needed to go out and I also had an empty pantry, but no menu plan and no grocery list. And of course, I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock. I woke up with just enough time to get ready and get the kids ready. Needless to say, Reagan was late to school for the first time, and I really hate that. I think it goes back to the impression of order. If I am late to school, Mrs. Marsha might start to think that I cannot get it together as a mom. I taught school for 9 years and when my students were tardy, some habitually, I remember thinking, "How hard is it to get your kids here on time? Get it together, lady." Well, on Monday morning, I was that lady and it was hard to get it together.

I am my own worst enemy. I am hard on myself. I very rarely just lay around and let things go. I know everyone deserves a break, a day off, but when does that time come when you are a mother and you are running a household? When I get really busy outside of my house or I just don't feel like doing anything, I suffer later because the hits just keep coming. The dishes continue to build up in the sink, my family continue to create piles of laundry, and they expect me to feed them 3 meals a day, every day......what's up with that?

I want a day off. I want to go to bed when I want to and I want to get up when I want to and I want everything to freeze at my house while I do nothing. Is that too much to ask? I know it is. I know that is not going to happen. But I just wanted to share my slight frustration. There, I feel better now. Back to the kitchen ...I have got some dishes to do.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another Busy Weekend

Wow! We have been so busy. A couple of you have noticed that I haven't blogged since last Wednesday and you have called me on it. I am so sorry. The last couple of days have been a complete blur....literally. Thursday is Gene's off day and we ran several errands, in and out all day long. Friday morning was my monthly breakfast/meeting with my fellow ministers' wives and it was my turn to cook something. This made for a fun morning. It is much more enjoyable when someone else is doing the cooking. I picked Reagan up from school at 11:30 and then ran a few more errands. That evening we had to be at a rehearsal and rehearsal dinner for a sweet friend of ours, Kimberly Collier. She has been with us in our ministry at East Memorial for the 5 years that we have been on staff...first in the youth ministry and then in the college ministry. She asked Reagan to be a flower girl in her wedding, and we were honored. We left the house at 5:15 and got back home close to 10:00. We had a wonderful time hanging out with so many people that truly love us like family. Reagan did a fabulous job at the rehearsal and we enjoyed a steak dinner at Suite B in Prattville. It was yummy.
Saturday was the wedding and we were off and running as soon as we woke up....bathing everyone, packing bags, packing lunch, getting clothes ironed, etc. We had to be at the church at 11:15 for pictures and the wedding was at 2:00. I was very concerned about how the girls would handle the day, especially Gracen, because I knew she wouldn't get a nap and I would probably have to hold her most of the day. Well, both girls could not have been better behaved. They were wonderful the entire day and I couldn't have been more proud. The set-up at the church was perfect for a "nursing" mother like myself. I had my own little nursing room with a privacy glass that allowed me to watch everything that was going on in the sanctuary, and the females of the wedding party got dressed in the nursery so I had a crib, etc. for Gracen. I worried for usual.

Reagan looked so pretty.

Here is Reagan with Kimberly, who looked absolutely stunning, by the way. Kimberly and Jenna Sanders (pictured below) have taken to Reagan since she was an infant. These two girls are very special to Gene and me. They are the only 2 people who have ever baby sat for us, outside of the family, and they constantly shower Reagan with attention and gifts. Reagan always feels very special when she is in their company, and she would much rather be with either one of them....instead of me. I am thankful to God for both of them.

Here is Jenna fixing Reagan's hair. She went right to work on her as soon as we got there. I always pull it up in a ponytail because I have no clue what to do with it. Jenna knew this and took over. Thank you, Jenna.

Here is a photo of the two of them after they both got dressed. They both looked so pretty.

Reagan had a co-flower girl named Shay Callahan and here they are as they started down the aisle. We put Shay in charge of Reagan Friday night and Saturday, and she did a fabulous job. Every time I saw one, I saw the other and they were usually holding hands. I need Shay everyday of my life.

Here is the wedding party, minus Gene. He was the minister who married them and he did a terrific job as well. He looked so handsome in his suit.

I had to include a photo of little Miss Gracen. She looked pretty cute too!

Here we are after the wedding. Cheesy smile on my face....I know. I was so relieved that it was over, without any major mishaps from either one of my children. You just never know what kids are going to do. From here we went and spent another 2 hours at the reception. The food was delicious and we talked to so many people. I was exhausted when I got home, but the day was so good.

As for the rest of my busy weekend, we hardly come up for air on Sunday. We are gone from the house from 8:30 to 12:30, coming home to eat lunch, take naps, and change clothes, and then we head back at 4:10 and get home around 8:30 or 9:00, depending on where we eat out for dinner.

On Monday, I had a major mess at my house and mounds of laundry that I am still climbing. I also had to buy groceries and start the hunt for some fall clothes. I had to send Reagan to preschool yesterday in shorts and a t-shirt in the 60 degree weather because I had no other options. Of course, she was fine because she gets so hot playing...but it still bothered me not to even have one pair of pants that fit her. She has grown a lot since last fall.

Anyway, I will try to get caught up on everything and hopefully my blog entries will be more regular.