Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankfulness- Big and Small

I have been making a little list this week of all the things that I am thankful for....the big things and the small things. The small things are just things that make me smile or things that I truly enjoy. As you read through my list, think about the little things that just do your heart good. If you have time, share a portion of your list with me in the comments section.

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. 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 Rae

Today was Gracen's 6 month check-up and thankfully we had a uneventful day. I must confess that I HATE going to the doctor. I get a little nauseous when I walk into a hospital or doctor's office. This is probably because I have a weak stomach and you just never know what you are going to see in places like that. The last time I went to Dr. Simon's office, an entire family walked in with bowls. You know what that means! I started praying immediately for God to keep their stomachs settled until I was out of the waiting room. Is that terrible? If just one of them threw up I would toss my cookies, plain and simple. But, if the entire family started throwing up, you might as well sedate me. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. Anyway, I try to be very calm anytime I have to take one of my kids to the doctor, because I do not want to freak them out or put my irrational fears on them in any way. I think I do a pretty good job considering I would rather take a bullet to the head than sit in the waiting room with all those germs, etc. Luckily today, the office was very quiet. There were only 2 other children in the office and neither of them had a bowl with them. My mom met me there, so I had some back up, which is always comforting, and we didn't have to wait too long. That is always a good thing.

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?

Here she is playing with Daddy. He is tickling her belly. She just laughs when he does this. It is adorable. Reagan, on the other hand, doesn't think this is too cute. She really prefers for all of Gene's attention to be on her.

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

Thanksgiving Week

It is so hard to believe that it is already time for Thanksgiving. As I woke up this morning, I had such a feeling of expectancy for the week ahead. It is going to be a busy week, but a good one nonetheless.

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 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 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 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

My Friday

I'm just letting everyone know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I think about my blog everyday, but I have not had much time to sit down and think about an entry. I have had a busy couple of days away from the house and now I am trying to catch up on cleaning and laundry. It is amazing how fast all the laundry builds up!

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


Man, I cannot believe that it is already time for Thanksgiving. It seems like the older I get the quicker the years fly by...or maybe it is just because I have small kids in my home and everyday is a complete blur. Probably a little bit of both. Well, anyway, this time of year makes me think about all the things in my life for which I am thankful. Maybe your mind goes in this direction too.

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

A Visit to the Museum

Thursday is like our Saturday because it is Gene's off day. We try to go do something as a family a couple of Thursdays a month. Reagan has been asking us if we could visit an art museum, only because she saw a cartoon episode of Olivia and Backyardigans where they visited one. Anyway, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is free, so we packed up the girls headed to town to bring some culture to our lives. Reagan had a great time running around and looking at everything. She also really enjoyed doing some of the hands-on activities in the children's section called ART WORKS. Gene and I decided that we liked being "uncultured" and do not plan on visiting any more art museums any time soon. It was just a collection of dusty old paintings hanging on the wall. Not really my idea of that as terrible as it sounds? Oh, well. It's true.

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.

P.S. Remember our critter problem. Well, we caught the second mouse. Praise the Lord! Those glue traps really work. Now, I just pray that those two mice didn't obey the Lord's command to be fruitful and multiply.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

Yesterday, I told Reagan that we had to sit down and wrap our shoe boxes for the annual Operation Christmas Child Shoebox campaign. If you aren't familiar with it, you just fill a wrapped shoebox with toys, candy, and hygiene items appropriate for either a boy or a girl of a chosen age range, and it is sent overseas to a needy child. We picked a girl, ages 3-5, because I thought Reagan could pick out some things that she would like to have to include in the box.
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.

Here is the finished basket. A true Reagan masterpiece. She was very proud of her creation. She went to room and filled the basket with shorts and t-shirts from one of her drawers because she said she didn't need her summer clothes anymore. Then she added some toys. I didn't take a picture of her overflowing basket and I realize this morning that I should have. It was funny.
Here is a shot of her basket (with some paper removed) next to the box that we actually took to church.
Later that afternoon, we went to the Dollar Tree and loaded 2 boxes to the brim. We had to do one for our church and one for her preschool. I would have spent $85.00 if I had purchased everything that Reagan grabbed to put in that box. She has a big heart, using Mommy's debit card. I also didn't think to take my camera to the store to document her selections. Of course, even if I had remembered the camera, I was carrying Gracen in a baby sling, pushing a cart, placing items in 2 boxes, and running after Reagan, I wouldn't have taken any pictures.
Just know that this was a great learning experience for Reagan. We talked a lot about "missions" and the need to reach out to others who are not as fortunate as we are. Hopefully, Reagan will remember activities like these and will learn not to be so self-absorbed. That is my prayer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


OK, I am a little embarrassed to share this blog entry, but it is definitely what is on my mind this morning. We have a critter problem and it is driving me insane. We live in Holtville, better known as "Slapout", in the middle of what used to be a cow pasture, so critters should not surprise me, but they still do.

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

Crazy Mornings

Whew! My mornings are crazy. As excited as I am that Gracen has started solids, the additional time required to sit with her and encourage her to swallow a few ounces of food is driving me nuts and making me late. The problem is that I am trying to accomplish this task with the same time constraints that I had before we started solids. This is clearly not working. I guess I am going to have to back everything up. This makes me a bitter woman....I'm just saying.

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

Speaking God's Word

I found the following list on a blog I like to read and I thought I would steal the list and share it with my blog readers. As Christian women we know that we have to walk by faith on a daily basis, and one of the major ways that we do this is by controlling our thoughts. It is so easy to get down and discouraged about things going on around us. I know I can easily give myself over to worry or fear, self condemnation and discontentment. When these negative emotions start to take over, we have "faith statements" that we can say to defeat faulty thinking.

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.

Faith Statements
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

Six Months Already

It is so hard to believe that Gracen is already 6 months old. I mean she has been here half a year. I have been breastfeeding exclusively and started "solids" on the day she turned 6 months. So I thought I would share a few photos of this experience.

We took her picture as soon as we placed her in her new space saver high chair. She was grinning like she knew something good was coming.

Here is one of her first bites. She made a few serious expressions but continued trying this new cuisine.

This is about halfway through the meal. She is reaching for the bowl and gulping down a bite. She has probably been hungry for months.

Reagan decided she wanted to get in a picture too. She also wanted to try Gracen's food, but I wouldn't let her. That probably would have made a good picture though, because she would have made a horrible face.

Here is picture of Gracen sitting up playing with toys on our den floor. She has been sitting up on her own for about a week. She is getting more and more steady each day.

This is just a cute picture of her laying on her changing table. She was in such a good mood, I just had to take a picture.

I love the stage that we are about to enter with Gracen. Each milestone is so much fun. I can hardly wait to see her crawl around, start pulling up, and then take off walking on her own. Her personality will also start to develop more and more, too. It is truly amazing to watch babies learn. They grasp so much in such a short amount of time.

Gracen, you have already added so much to our lives. Happy Half Birthday! We love you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Occasionally, Reagan struggles with fear. The fear comes in many different forms...monsters under the bed, sounds from her closet, a shadow in the corner, etc. The fear can totally overtake her little mind and make her scream out for Mommy. I go to her and immediately tell her that she is safe, that there is nothing to be afraid of. Each time this happens, I remind her that God is a very present help in times of trouble. I pray with her and remind her that God is always there, that He never leaves her side.

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

Jehovah's Witness

I had a little run in today with a Jehovah's Witness, two of them actually. I saw them approaching my front door, so I said a prayer that God would give me the words to say. I have always heard that JW's are very well-versed and extremely knowledgeable of the scriptures. I thought I was prepared to defend my faith. I wasn't. I couldn't remember scripture references and couldn't verbalize all the thoughts that were floating around in my head into sentences that made sense. For every coherent statement I made, they had an argument, an argument that didn't sound all that bad. I felt like I was having a public debate with judges sitting all around measuring the quality of our answers.

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 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

Halloween Weekend

To all my bloggy friends out there, I am so sorry that I haven't written anything since last Thursday. We have been so busy. Our weekends are always busy, and this past weekend was sandwiched between a very busy Friday and a very busy Monday. I know I will be unable to blog every day, but missing 4 days is borderline ridiculous...don't you agree?

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.

Here is Reagan with her friend Emma. Emma was dressed as Aurora, the Disney princess from Sleeping Beauty. They were too funny when they first saw each other. They literally checked each other out from head to toe. The conversation went like this...

Reagan: "I have an Ariel headband."

Emma: "Well, I have an Aurora tiara."

Reagan: "I have an Ariel pendant."

Emma: "I have a pendant too, an Aurora pendant."

Reagan: "I have a princess candy bucket."

Emma: "I have pretty shoes."

It was too funny. I laughed at them. At guess the comparison games starts early with females.

After the Fall Festival we had to trick or treat at my sister's house. Here she is with my precious neice, Hayden. Isn't she adorable in her Halloween dress? Hayden is 3 weeks younger than Gracen and they were facing each other, checking each other out as well. I love hanging out with the family. My mom and Dad came by too. We spent almost 2 hours just talking and watching the girls, but it felt like just a few minutes. Reagan got to trick or treat in their neighborhood. She went to 7 or 8 houses and had a blast.

We truly had a great holiday weekend!
On a side note, I had to take Gracen to the doctor on Monday to recheck her urine and make sure the antibiotic cleared up her kidney infection. It did! Her urine culture and all blood work came back clear. Praise the Lord.