Friday, January 29, 2010

Better Days & So Long Insecurity

Everything has been pretty quiet around the home front for the last few days...thank goodness. For a while there, I felt like a dark cloud was hovering over my house with Reagan's toxic hip joint and then Gracen mysterious high fever. Hopefully, the cloud is blowing over. Night time sleep has returned to normal, at least for the last three nights and Gracen is taking wonderful naps again. I function so much better when I have had a little rest at night and a little downtime during the day.

Wednesday was a very normal day. Reagan had preschool in the morning. I spent time with Gracen and cleaned a little during her first nap, then headed back to pick up Reagan. After picking her up, we all ate lunch, the girls napped, and then we headed to church. Unfortunately for me, I had to keep Gracen out of nursery because the antibiotic seems to be causing the "runs", if you know what I mean. I just didn't feel right about leaving her to blow out on some unsuspecting soul. This means I missed most of the service, again. I did get to stay in for the music portion and then Gracen made it clear it was time to go. Oh, well....maybe Sunday.

On Thursday, Gene was off and we were pretty lazy most of the day. I did do some cleaning because as every mother out there knows, I do not really have a "day off". If I do absolutely nothing one day, I will pay for it the next day. Things like dishes just have a way of building up. Gene and I had a date night scheduled for that evening and we packed up the girls and took them to my mom and dad's house around 4:30. Reagan was too excited. She absolutely loves going to her Gram and Pap's house. I think she would live there if I let her....and on some days, I might consider it! Ha!! Gracen is getting to be pretty fond of them too. I can leave them and completely relax because I know that they are in great hands. Gene and I went out to dinner. We ate at Chili's in the Eastchase shopping center. The food was really good and the company and conversation was even better. It was really nice to get away and just talk to each other. After dinner we went over to Old Navy and I got some pants....some much needed pants. Shopping and dinner out...what could be better....oh yes, StarBucks. The perfect ending. The night went by in a blink...the fastest night that I remember in a long time. I am looking to forward to Feb. 11th when we can get away again.

Today was a very nice day as well. Again, I took Reagan to preschool at 8:00 and picked her up at 11:30. Gracen and I spent the morning at home and she slept from 9:00 to 11:00. I cleaned and piddled a little. After picking up Reagan, we came home and had lunch. Ya know the usual stuff. Around 12:00 the doorbell rang and it was a delivery man. He brought a pallet full of Gene's second devotional printed by Lifeway Christian Stores. This one is called Unstoppable. There is a guy's version and a girl's version. It is $4.99 and should hit the stores by March. I could not be more proud of him.
Around 1:00, Kimberly Hunt volunteered to come over and watch my girls while I worked on some overdue projects. That was heavenly! I worked upstairs in my office until around 4:30. I came down to nurse Gracen and then threw a frozen pizza in the oven for all of us to eat for dinner. Kimberly stayed with us until around 6:45. Reagan had a blast and I really enjoyed the sweet company and conversation. Thank you Kimberly for driving out to the country to see us.

Changing the subject totally, Beth Moore has a brand new book coming out called So Long Insecurity. It is due to release this Tuesday, Feb. 2nd, and I couldn't be more excited. I love her in general but this is a topic I need to be addressed in my life. I have posted in the past that I struggle with the feeling of not measuring up. I think a lot of us do in one way or another. How constantly clever of Satan to make me feel inferior! Anyway, Beth Moore is going to be leading a book club discussion of sorts on her blog starting Feb. 11th and I am going to participate. I would love if some of you joined in as well. I will be posted a lot of my thoughts and feelings here on my blog as I go through the assigned reading for the week. If you are interested go to and read about this on the Jan. 29th entry. There is a link to her website on the right side of my is called the LPM Blog. Anyway, this will be a 9 week commitment and you will read about 2 chapters per week. After each assigned reading, Beth will throw out some discussion questions for us to chew on.

You can buy the book on Feb. 2nd. I ordered mine from for $14.99. Lifeway will have the book on sale for $17.99. On Feb. 9th, Beth will have a roll call where you basically sign up for the free discussion and on Feb. 11th, the reading assignments will begin.
I hope some of you will consider joining me. I cannot think of a more worthwhile way to spend 9 weeks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Much Better Tuesday

My Tuesday was much better than my Monday. I finally got a great night sleep. I went to bed around 9:00 and slept until close to 7:00, which is very unusual for me. I think it has been about three weeks since I have gotten a full night sleep due to one child or the other. I was very surprised that Gracen slept through the night, but I guess the antibiotic shot got in her system and helped her to feel better. Apparently she was tired as well. I woke up Tuesday morning feeling very rested, which is always a good thing. Both girls slept until 8:00, which is rare around my house. I was thrilled to be able to take a shower and spend some time in God's Word, trying to prepare myself for whatever the doctor might tell me about Gracen.

Gene's mom called and wanted to get Reagan around 10:30 and keep her until 3:30 or so. She picks up my nephew, Jacob, around lunch from preschool and they enjoy playing together. She thought I might want to focus on Gracen and rest when she rested. This was a huge help because I was really behind with laundry and house stuff since we had been out of town the weekend before. My next problem was that I really needed to go and buy groceries and was hesitant to drag Gracen to the grocery store. Well, my mom called and asked if I had anything I needed to do because she wanted to come and help with the girls. Since Reagan had already been taken care of, Mom came around 1:00 to watch Gracen and I went to buy groceries...childfree! I felt like God just opened the floodgates to meet some of my needs.

By 3:00 I still had not heard a word from the doctor's office. I called them and the nurse had no idea what I was talking about. Don't you just love that! Turns out my doctor was off and nobody knew that they were suppose to be calling me with any results. It took the nurse about 30 minutes to locate Gracen's chart and test results. The report showed that she does not have a urinary tract infection. That is a praise because that means that I do not have to take her to have all those test done next week.

On the other hand, what caused her high fever? That is a good question. For now, the doctor is calling it a bacterial infection of some kind and is treating it with a round of antibiotics.

Do I feel any better? Not really. I am the kind that wants a very clear, cut, and dry answer. The unknown leaves me feeling a little uneasy. I keep hearing the doctor's words that "there may be something brewing in there"...referring to her little body. I know children get sick and that it is just part of growing up, but I would still prefer a diagnosis.

Gracen has been on an antibiotic since Monday at lunch and she seems totally fine today. She is smiling, crawling all around, laughing, and napping well. She hasn't had fever since Monday. Hopefully she is on the mend.

Totally changing the subject. Gene brought home this book last night.

He stopped and purchased it on the way home and said that he really wanted us to go through this together. Interesting?
If you aren't familiar with the title, it is from the movie Fireproof and is a 40 Day Challenge for husbands and wives to understand and practice unconditional love. Each day consists of a discussion about some aspect of love and applying it to your marriage, a specific dare to do for your spouse, and journal space to log what you are learning and doing and how your spouse is responding. I am not sure what day we are starting this but I am excited about it.

Gene and I get along perfectly and compliment each other well. We don't argue or anything like that, but with 2 small children at home we feel like we are drifting a little bit. Does anyone out there know what I am talking about? All my time and energy goes to the kids, especially with a new baby, and with his crazy work schedule, he is only home 3 nights a week. Sometimes it is just tough to connect. We want to step back and prioritize a little bit and make sure that we keep God first and our marriage second.....then our girls....and then let everything else fall into place. I think it is pretty cool that I have a husband that wants to keep our marriage strong. I love him for that.

We have a date night scheduled tomorrow night, the first one in a couple of months and we are going to start going on a date every other Thursday, starting tomorrow night. (Kimberly and Jenna, you guys are going to be getting some calls. Who wants Feb. 11th? )

The month of February is the "love month" so I guess this is a fitting time to start this challenge together. Our monthly momMEtime meeting on Feb. 18th will also be about our relationship with our I am sure the marriage topic will show up a lot on my blog. It is going to be on my mind for sure.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up: 2 Days Late

We spent the weekend in Tuscaloosa visiting with my sister's family. We had a wonderful time together and it really made me wish that we lived in the same city so we could see each other more often. I have missed out on so much of their lives all because of my strong dislike of traveling. I also blame our busy schedules due to the fact that we both have ministers for husbands. It seems like every single weekend there is something to do or somewhere to go. Throw in the kid's schedules and it just gets more and more difficult to see each other.

On Friday night I was able to go and tour their church for the first time. It is a church plant called North River Church and it is growing by leaps and bounds. It is so exciting to see all that God is doing through them. We were also able to meet many people who are dedicated servants in their church, and it was very clear that they have a strong support system around them. God is going to do great things through that ministry for sure!

On Saturday we layed around the house until around noon. We had chicken fingers and fries from Willie T's that were yummy and then we headed to the Hands On Children's Museum... or at least I think that was the name of the place. At any rate, it was a two story hands-on museum for children with activity after activity for Reagan. She had an absolute blast and is still talking about her time with Aunt Lori. Gracen even got to play in a little critter corner for her age as well. We spent several hours in there and really had a great time. Gene went with Scott, my brother-n-law, to his first Alabama basketball game. He isn't a huge basketball fan, but really enjoyed it. He said you cannot help but get into the game because of the crowd and the environment in general. Scott showed him some of the campus, including the most recent National Championship trophy. He really liked that!

We didn't head home until around 9:30 or so, which put us getting home around midnight. The girls slept the entire way home and went back to sleep pretty quickly after we got home. Thank goodness because we did have to get on up early to go to church Sunday morning. It was quite difficult to get up and moving. Honestly, I would have loved to sleep in but it was Baby Dedication at our church and Gracen was being dedicated. She did wonderfully and looked so pretty. We came home for lunch and naps and the plan was to head back to church for DT at 4:45, but children have a way of changing the plans.

Unfortunately, Gracen woke up with a fever. She actually had felt hot to me off and on throughout the weekend, but I was hoping it was due to the two teeth that had come through her little gums and nothing more. By Sunday afternoon she felt really hot, so I got out my trusty little rectal thermometer and the reading was 103. I did it again and it said 102. I am not sure which was accurate, but either way, I gave her some Motrin and we stayed home. She was pretty fussy Sunday evening, and I had a really difficult time getting her to sleep.

On Monday morning she still felt hot and my mind kept going back to that urinary tract infection she had several months ago. After dropping Reagan off at preschool, I called the doctor and we headed to the office. This turned into another ordeal that reduced me to tears and a phone call to my Momma. Do you ever get to old to call your Momma? I don't think so. I actually called her before my husband....oops! After a urine test, blood work, chest x-rays, and a shot, I am still not sure what is wrong with her. I am waiting for the doctor to call me with some test results. If it is another urinary tract infection, then she will have to have some invasive tests next week to make sure there is no internal problems that might need correcting. The doctor will perform an ultrasound and a cath. dye test that I hear is horrible. If she does not have a urinary tract infections then her body if fighting some mysterious bacterial infection which makes me a little nervous. The doctor said, "Something might be brewing under the surface." Exact words every mother wants to hear.

Last night I cried on the phone with my older sister, my mom, and my mother-n-law. I just couldn't help thinking about all the what-ifs and dreading any future tests that Gracen might have to endure. I finally decided to snap out of it and get my Bible out. I read Psalm 91... one of my favorites and it quieted my soul.

I have included it below. If you are in a place that you are dealing with fear of the unknown maybe it will quiet your soul as well.

Psalm 91 (New Living Translation)
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. 9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! 14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

I will let you know about the test results. In the meantime, say a prayer for her.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

This and That

Reagan seems to be back to her normal self. She usually moves in one speed, which is fast. She moves fast, eats fast, jumps fast, and talks fast. You get the idea.

Now that Reagan is back to normal, Gracen is teething. She had two teeth come in together and she has been so fussy. On Tuesday night, she was awake from 11:00 pm to around 3:30. It was a very difficult night, which made for a very difficult day on Wednesday. When it was just me and Reagan, I could nap with her the day after a tough night like that. Not so, when you have two children. I still had to get up early and get Regan ready for preschool and the entire day moved full throttle. I made it to church and hit the sack as soon as I got back home. Thankfully, everyone slept all night long. I think Wednesday night was the first full night of sleep I have had in several weeks.

This morning I led our monthly momMEtime meeting at my church. We meet once a month on the third Thursday. Childcare is provided which gives us two hours of freedom. We really enjoy just hanging out with each other. We talk, laugh, encourage one another, eat, play board games, and basically just have a good time of fellowship. There are about 12 moms that come every single month. They are all regulars and if one is absent we all feel it. We had a great discussion about organization and I got a lot of ideas from all the other moms of how to better structure my day. I also always feel a little rejuvenated after having 2 hours of adult conversation.

I will be heading out of town on Friday so I probably won't blog again until Monday.

Until then,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Reagan

Today is Reagan's birthday. It is so hard to believe that she has been with us for four years. We didn't actually meet Reagan until February 6, 2006. She was already 18 days olds when we saw her for the first time at Lifeline Children Services in Birmingham. We found out about her arrival on January 25, and we knew that we had a baby girl. For legal reasons, we had to wait 2 weeks before we could meet her and bring her home. Those days were very difficult for me. I had wanted a baby for so long and to wait 2 more weeks was like a death sentence. I felt like I was missing so much of her little life. Reagan was with a foster mom, who I was talking with on the phone, and I was so scared that she would bond with her. That seems like a lifetime ago now....but yet, looking at pictures makes it seem like it was yesterday.

Here are just a few shots of that first meeting with Reagan.

When we first saw her, she was laying in a bassinet at the adoption agency in this little white outfit that I had picked out for her. Gene went over and immediately scooped her up. I looked over at the social worker and asked if that was OK and she laughed and said, "She is your baby."
I was dumbfounded.

This is a picture I took right after Gene picked her up for the first time. She fit perfectly.

This is me feeding her for the first time. I could hardly even "see" her for my tears.

Here we are together on the couch at Lifeline. It took a while for her to eat.

And here she is all ready to get into the car. I could hardly wait to bring her home. The nursery had been ready for over a year.

What a happy, happy day that was!!!!
1 Samuel 1:27 "For this child I have prayed...."

***Below is a short little birthday note to Reagan.

Happy Birthday Reagan!
I simply cannot believe that you are four years old. You have brought so much joy to our lives. You are so special and your Daddy and I love you so much. For eight years we wanted a baby to love, hold and care for. God gave us the greatest desire of our hearts when He gave us you, the most perfect baby to be a part of our family. Out of all the babies in the world, He hand picked you and delivered you to us. You made us a family. You made me a Mommy. This time four years ago, my mourning was over and my heart was so full of joy that I literally thought it would burst out of my chest.
You have taught me much over the last four years. You have brought me joy and tested my patience. I love so many things about you....
I love your curly, thick hair.
I love your bright blue eyes.
I love your perfect little smile.
I love your little dimple in your chin.
I love your personality.
I love your quick wit.
I love your loud laugh....your real laugh and your fake laugh.
I love your complete joy for life.
I love that you have no fear.
I love your amazing ability to remember all things.
I love your intelligence.
I love every single thing about you and wouldn't change a thing.
You completed me in so many ways, the perfect addition to my our lives. I pray for you everyday. My prayer for you above all things is that you come to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. You will find no lasting worth or satisfaction in this life apart from Him. We hope you see Jesus in us as we raise you by His strength and wisdom. I am still humbled that God chose me to be your mommy. We will love you always and support you in all things. I hope 2010 is a wonderful year for you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Update on Reagan

Well, praise the Lord, Reagan is going to live. She has something called toxic synovitis, a viral infection that usually settles in the hip joint. You can google it for more information. Believe me, I did when I got home. The doctor said it is just like a cold or a stomach bug and has to run its course. The onset is pretty quick, causing the child to limp, and becomes more severe, which almost prohibits walking altogether. It lasts about 4 to 5 days and taking an inflammatory medication like Motrin should lessen the pain.

The doctor did do blood work and Reagan did awesome. All of her counts were completely normal. What a relief!

I certainly gave God praise today and I have hugged Reagan a little more than I normally do.

Reagan wanted a fruit smoothie from Sonic as a treat for having to go to the doctor today and I was happy to oblige. I just enjoyed the time with her and wasn't quite so annoyed that she talked and talked and talked and talked and talked....If you know Reagan well, you know what I mean.

Tonight she is already walking so much better. She has a slight limp but she says that it is not really hurting anymore. I imagine the Motrin is helping though.

Thank you for praying for her today and for all the sweet comments sent through Facebook or emails.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

Before I begin my longest post ever due to all my pictures, I wanted to share what I heard on the news Friday about the donations received via the text of $10.00 to the Red Cross that I mentioned in my last post. The organization has already received in excess of 5 million dollars. Can you believe that? It seems like such a small, insignificant amount, but I guess $10.00 from every family in America would really add up to a substantial amount of money. Amazing!

Well, we have had a very interesting couple of days. Reagan's 4 year old birthday party was Saturday and all week long I have been picking up things, finalizing details, running errands, cleaning the house, making lists, crossing things off the lists, etc. You know all the crazy things that you do before any big event. Things were ticking along wonderfully until Reagan woke up Thursday morning with a limp. I thought this was a bit odd because she was fine when we got home from church on Wednesday evening and she was fine when she went to bed. I honestly thought she was faking. This is probably a horrible thing to think about your child, but she is a little dramatic and loves attention. My first thought was that she saw someone at church limping and she thought she she would try it out. She woke up at 7:00 and by lunch she had not walked anywhere without limping, she continually pointed to the same leg and the same spot, and the pain got progressively worse as the day went on. By dinner, she wouldn't walk anywhere and I had to carry her if she had to use the restroom. I made her stand on the hurt leg a few times that night and she would cry out in pain. By bedtime she was crying off and on so I put her in my bed to sleep with me. She slept for about 2 hours and then woke up around 10:30 crying uncontrollably. She was literally rolling left to right, writhing in pain, rubbing her hip. I spent a little over an hour trying to comfort her and then decided to wake Gene up, who went to sleep in Reagan's room. We decided to make a trip to the emergency room because at that point, I thought something in her hip or lower stomach might explode soon if we didn't do something fast. Gene and Reagan left at 12:30 a.m. and returned home at 4:00 a.m. I paced the house and prayed and tossed and turned from 12:30 until close to 2:00. I guess I fell asleep a little after 2:00 and woke up as soon as I heard my car coming down the driveway. I wasn't exactly in a deep sleep. I was so thankful to see them. The weird thing is that the doctor didn't find anything wrong with her and the x-ray came back clear. He did give her some medicine to relax her muscles and wrote her a prescription with the instructions to watch for fever and encourage her to rest, staying off her problem with a hyper 3 year old, but sure...... The doc said it could be something as simple as growing pains that can cause inflammation of the hip tissue or even cause fluid to build up around the hip joint. I was thinking something much more serious, but I will get to that in a minute.

Gene and Reagan both slept until lunch on Friday but I had to get up with Gracen at 6:45 and no, I didn't get a nap that day either. Gene went to work around 1:30 and my mom came to my house to help with the girls while I tried to clean my house for the party. You know with young kids, you cannot really clean ahead too far ahead of time. Thanks Mom! Reagan did rest most of the day and was limping Friday night, but not screaming out in pain. I was thankful because she was so excited about her party. I didn't want to cancel it and I didn't want her to have to just sit through it either. By Saturday, she was better, walking with a slight limp.

She had a wonderful party and a great time with all her friends.

Reagan wanted an Ariel party, so that is what she got. Here she is in her Ariel costume and Ariel tiara before any of her guests arrived. What a cutie! You can see the Ariel place settings behind her. It looked like Ariel threw-up on everything.

Here is a picture of her Ariel cake. It was made by Debbi Gordon and she did a fantastic job. It was chocolate (Reagan's favorite) with chocolate chips thrown in for extra calories. It was so moist and delicious. I am not really a birthday cake person and I have had 3 during the party, one after supper on Saturday night, and one after lunch on Sunday. Not good....I know.

We hired Ariel from "The Party Planner" to come for the birthday entertainment. She spent an hour with the children, telling her story and singing her songs from the movie. Reagan LOVED this! I thought she did a wonderful job interacting with all the kids and made Reagan feel very special.

Ariel gave all the children musical instruments and led them around the room in a little parade as they sang "Under the Sea." So fun!

Here are some of Reagan's little friends listening to Ariel tell her story.

Here is a group shot with Ariel...or at least those who wanted to get in the picture. We also took a picture of Ariel with each individual child that I will be sending to them as a thank you note.

Here is Reagan about to blow out her candles. Of course, my camera has a ridiculous delay so I missed her actually blowing them out, but I'll live.

Here is picture of Ariel and Reagan and Katie Rice after Ariel "becomes a human". Notice the change in clothes.
Here are a few shots of Reagan opening her presents. She received a lot of nice gifts from all her friends and from family members.

Here is my sis Lindsay with her hubby Brian and their daughter, Hayden, enjoying the festivities.

Gracen loved the balloons. She was so good during the entire sweet and easy going.

And of course she had to eat. Thank goodness for my parents. They took care of Gracen during the whole party so I could be with Reagan. My mom spilt baby food all over her shirt right after this picture. I should have taken a shot of that.

Here we are right after the party. My make-up is faded, my lipstick is gone, and Gene's eyes are a little red. Yes, we were tired. In our defense, Reagan wanted 4 little girls to stay after the party for a "play date". She wanted pizza for lunch and then wanted the girls to play dress-up, and end the day by watching the movie Barbie and the 3 Musketeers. We had to say yes to that, right? I mean it was her birthday. So the party started at 10:00 and this picture was at 3:30, after we had taken all the girls home. We deserve the "Parents of the Year" award after this day.

Back to Reagan's leg...I think she over did it at the party. She had a soft limp the entire day and by bedtime she was crying again. She woke up at 4:45 Sunday morning and was crying about it. She did go back to sleep and slept until 8:30....thank the Lord. When she woke up she was limping pretty bad and she did not want to walk anywhere. We stayed home from church....(oh, how I miss going to church EVERY SINGLE Sunday) and I have carried her everywhere she needed to go or she has crawled. Something is clearly wrong.

Monday morning I will be calling her pediatrician for a second opinion. My heart always fears the worst. I have had two people tell me stories of children discovering they had leukemia from unexplained pain in the legs. I know that is a worse-case scenario, but she has been limping since Thursday with no real explanation. This morning I was already looking up verses on fear, trying to calm my little heart.

Trials come don't they. I have heard it said that you are either in a trial, about to enter a trial, or just coming out of a trial. That is just the way life is. I know we live in a fallen, sinful world, but I don't want my trial to be through one of my children. As I say that, I know that I don't get to make that choice.

I would like to ask all my blog readers to pray....pray that this is absolutely nothing, pray that I will laugh about even suggesting the "L" word, pray that it is something as simple as growing pains.

Hopefully the doctor will see us tomorrow.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Remembering Haiti

Many of the blogs I read are calling their readers to give to the recovery efforts in Haiti. This country is one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and it experienced a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday of this week. There are over 3 million people in the nation of Haiti and many are waiting on food, clean drinking water, medicine, and other supplies. Some estimate the death toll to total close to 500,000 people when all is said and done. Can you imagine such despair? I cannot.

As I have watched pictures on the news of this unimaginable tragedy, I cannot help but wonder if America will experience anything like this in my lifetime. There are certainly tragic things that happen, but I have never experienced anything that took out my entire city, state or country. I cannot imagine the desperation of everything around me being destroyed, all means of communication being down, hunting for my friends and family members in massive rumble, and the hopeless feeling of not having food or water to drink. I am blessed and I have had to stop today and give God praise for the hand of protection that has been on my life thus far.

The blogs that I read are encouraging their readers to give a $10.00 donation to help the relief efforts in Haiti, and more if you can. There are many avenues where you can send your donation. Here are a few listed below.

*You can text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10.00 to the Red Cross. This amount will appear on your next phone bill.

*You can donate at any of the following websites.

I am challenging my readers to give a minimum of $10.00 today. It is a small amount really. As you give your donation, remember to give God praise for the things in your life today.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

First Trip to the Dentist

Apparently you are suppose to take your children to the dentist by the time they are 3 years old. Reagan will be 4 in about a week and today was her first dental appointment. When we checked in I asked the lady at the front desk if they were going to turn me in to DHR for neglecting my child's teeth. She laughed and reassured me that every day they see 13 year olds that are coming in for their first cleaning ever. That made me feel a lot better.

I haven't taken Reagan until now because I personally cannot stand going to the dentist. I get all nervous every single time I go in for my cleanings. I hate the smell of the dentist office, I hate laying on that chair with my mouth open for 45 minutes, and I absolutely hate trying to not to swallow while the hygienist does her thing. The closeness also makes me a little uncomfortable and I know that is weird.

I took Reagan to my dentist about two years ago because she fell and knocked one of her front teeth loose. The dentist had to take an x-ray and luckily the tooth was saved and we have had no problems with it. That visit was a nightmare though. She screamed and I had to hold her down so the dentist could examine her and take that x-ray. This is what I was expecting today, which is why I have avoided this appointment.

Anyway, Reagan did fabulous today. She was actually excited to go. I was waiting on her to freak out and she never did. I have been reading her the book The Berenstein Bears Go to the Dentist and I think it really helped prepare her. She didn't seem nervous in the least. The best news was that I didn't even have to go back with her. I have been worried about this appointment for no reason. I got to just chill out in the waiting room and smell that wonderful dentist smell. Yuck.

The hygienist called me back after about 20-25 minutes and said that Reagan was a wonderful patient, that she had beautiful clean teeth, and that she didn't have any cavities. I was thrilled to hear that. I had already told Gene that if we had to come back to fill a cavity, he was definitely coming with me or bringing her by himself. When I saw Reagan, she was sitting in that little dentist chair smiling from ear to ear, digging in her little goody bag that she received at the end of her visit. She immediately started telling me about all the gadgets and the water they shot into her mouth, etc. The hygienist started laughing and said the hardest part of her cleaning was getting her to stop talking so she could do her thing. That made me laugh. I guess I should have warned her that Reagan was a talker.

Changing the subject...Gracen started crawling today. I don't know if this is good news or bad news. She is about to be everywhere. She also fed herself cheerios today. She has been eating these as a little snack for a few weeks but I have had to pop them in her mouth. She has been able to pick them up for a couple of days now, but couldn't quite figure out how to get them in her mouth. Well, she got 4 in there today. It was a big day around here.

Well, I am off to finish watching American Idol with my honey.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's A Monday

Well, it is definitely Monday. Gene went out to eat with the college students last night and called me from Moe's because his truck wouldn't crank. No big deal...just call a wrecker and we will deal with this tomorrow, right. I wasn't really thinking that this would totally affect my "tomorrow".

This translated into me taking Gene to work this morning. Gene has to be at work 8:00 and Reagan has to be a preschool at 8:30. So I am thinking that we would leave here at 7:40 because it takes us 20 minutes to get to Gene's office. Now, I know what you thinking. I should really add in a little more time to cover any emergency that might occur on the highway, like a wreck, etc....but that is just not how I operate. I do not manage my time well in the morning. I always think I have plenty of time and then at the last minute I discover that I do my complete shock every single morning. I always leave my house at the very last minute. Gene on the other hand gives himself about 45 minutes to make the 20 minute drive to work. He usually leaves here around 7:15 each morning and I know this about him, but I am thinking that we will meet in the middle....say maybe 7:30...more my middle than his. Anyway, my idea didn't go over well, when he was ready to leave and I was still nursing Gracen and Reagan wasn't even dressed. Nice way to start the Monday. I was incredibly stressed out by the time we all got into the car. Yes, Gene was a little late to work, but on a positive note, Reagan was early for school. I guess Gene should be here each morning pushing us out the door....NOT!

I had some errands to run today in between dropping everyone off and picking everyone back office, groceries, and dropping off a bill I forgot to mail. This doesn't sound like a lot but remember Gracen was along for the ride and she got tired of the car quickly. Long story short, I feel like I ran wide open all day long. I didn't even sit down when I was at home. During Gracen's naps I cleaned and showered which took all the free time that I had. I headed back over to pick up Reagan at 2:00. When we got back home, she wanted to play outside alittle bit and chose to ride her scooter. Of course, she fell off and scraped her knee. She started crying and said that she was having the worst day ever. I was thinking, "I feel your pain girl!" She got up and had to hobble to the house. She turned around and said she needed a wheelchair. I assure you that she did not. This was just the drama I needed on a Monday. After a few hours at home, I had to go back over to Prattville to pick up Gene from work at 5:30 and then we had to go to a funeral home for the visitation for Mrs. Joyce Robertson.

Gene's Mom and Dad offered to keep the girls while we were at visitation. When we got home, we discovered that Reagan had been a little sassy and repeatedly stuck out her tongue at her Gran. So she got a good spanking and spend some time in her time-out chair, after she apologized for her actions.

And we got to pay $325.00 to fix Gene's truck. Smile.

Yes, it was Monday all day long.

I said yesterday that I was going to post our menu for the week, but that comment was made before I looked at our schedule. We will only be here as a family on Tuesday night so we will be having quick, kid friendly meals almost every night. Certainly not blog worthy.
I also said that I wanted to share a little of the teaching from church on Sunday but it is my bedtime so that will have to wait too.

I don't know that Tuesday will be any better. Reagan has a dentist appointment at 9:30. That should be fun. I'll let you know.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

This has been the coldest weekend that I can remember having in a long time. It has been in the teens at night and only in the twenties during the day. Needless to say, I have been inside my little house with my little family since Thursday. We literally stayed at home all day Friday. Normally I would have taken Reagan to preschool and ran a few errands before picking her up. School was cancelled though due to the "snow" that didn't happen. Honestly, Reagan and I were happy to have no where to go because Gene was off too. He had just gotten home from a week long trip so we were all catching up with each other. Thankfully, I had bought plenty of groceries at the beginning of the week, so I didn't have to get out in the cold.

Saturday brought more of the same. Just lazy time around the house. Gene and I did do a little cleaning while the girls were napping. We tackled the kind of cleaning that never gets done. The biggest job we completed was cleaning out the refrigerator and the freezer. I mean we took out every shelf and drawer and scrubbed everything. We cleaned on top and vacuumed the coils underneath and behind. I couldn't believe how nasty it was. The very idea that I was feeding my family out of that thing makes my skin crawl. Oh well! Later that night, every time Gene or I would open the doors of the frig or freezer, we would just stand there and look inside at amazement. I guess if you can't afford to buy a new "whatever your heart is desiring", try cleaning the old one. I definitely feel like I have a new refrigerator. We also cleaned some base boards, put new weather stripping around the doors and windows, dusted window seals, baseboards, etc. You get the idea. Nothing too exciting. I can't believe that I am even blogging about it.

We have had a good time watching Reagan and Gracen interacting with one another. Gracen LOVES Reagan. She just lights up when Reagan walks in the room, and Reagan enjoys her company as well. It is fun to watch them "play". Reagan loves to make her laugh and to help feed her cheerios. Gracen loves to climb all over Reagan and just laughs at her as Reagan sings and dances. They also bathe together at night and as soon as we turn that water on Gracen starts smiling and kicking her little legs all around. They play and splash and have a good 'ole time. Gene and I cannot help but laugh every time we bathe them. I wish I could video them and put a link for you to watch, but I guess I would be arrested for posting nude pics on the Internet...not a good idea right. Just take my word for it, it is too precious.

These cold days have been long and at times monotonous, but I wouldn't want to be any where else. I am totally ready for some warm weather though. These girls need to get outside.

On Sunday, we all bundled up and headed to church. We have Sunday School at 9:15 and worship at 10:30. Gracen did much better at church and I actually got to hear some good teaching. Both girls took long naps when we got home and then we headed back for DT and preschool choir at 4:45 and worship at 6:00.

On Monday, I will share some of the teaching that I received at church and maybe my menu for the week.
Till then, bundle up and stay warm.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Back to Normal

I am so thankful to have Gene at home. Things already feel much more normal. He arrived here around 2:45, which was several hours earlier than I expected him. The group decided to leave West Virginia really early this morning to make sure that they were back in time to see the National Championship game tonight. He visited with us for about 25 minutes and then headed to take a for me....but he needed to regain some energy to be ready to cheer on his team. I had chili and baked potatoes ready to go for the game. Sounded good on a cold night at home, but he says he is not really hungry and just wants popcorn for the game. Oh well!

I cannot believe how cold it is outside. It is kind of crazy for Alabama. My central heat is running continuously and I can just envision coins evaporating out of my pockets with it. I have been staying home, trying to keep Gracen out of this cold weather and I am feeling a little stir crazy. Being alone with the two girls since Monday has not helped either. I feel the need to bust out of this cage soon. Don't worry though...the extent of my wildness would be taking an extra long time to peruse each aisle at Wal'Mart. I really miss doing that. When you grocery shop with small children, you get exactly what you need and get out, praying the entire time that neither child has a "spell". I also really miss taking a shower without an audience, but that's another story for another day.

Short and sweet...but there isn't really that much going on with me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Missing Gene

I am officially ready for Gene to come home. He is in West Virginia on a ski trip with the college ministry at our church. He left early Monday morning and should be home in time to see the Alabama game on Thursday evening. My heart goes out to those who parent alone. It is difficult to do everything with absolutely no help and no encouragement from your spouse. Gene is a great dad. When he gets home at 5:30, we sit down and eat supper together and then he helps me with whatever I need. He always cleans up the kitchen and he spends time with both girls. He also helps with bath time and gets Reagan in the bed, going through her nighttime routine while I am getting Gracen to sleep. I definitely feel his absence and I am ready to see that cute face.

Apparently Reagan misses him too. Gene has been emailing me pictures of all the snow on the slopes and pictures of himself in the snow to show Reagan. I showed them to her today and when his face popped up on the screen, she reached up and rubbed the screen (on his cheek) and said, "I love you Daddy. Come home. I miss you Daddy." I thought I was going to cry right then. It was precious. Then an interesting conversation took place between Reagan and me.

Reagan: "I am going to marry Daddy when he gets home."
Me: "Why do you say that?"
Reagan: "Because I love him and I want him to stay with me. He is my prince."
Me: "Well, Daddy is already married."
Reagan: "To you." (with a look of irritation on her face)"Well, he is still my prince."
Me: "Daddy loves you very much, but he loves you in a different way than he loves mommy. He is my prince and you will meet your own prince one day."
Reagan: "No, Daddy is my prince and he loves me more because he has my picture by his bed."
Me: "Daddy loves Mommy with a special love because I am his wife."
Reagan: quiet for a few seconds, "Well, I am his daughter and he has more fun with me."
Me: "Why do you think that?"
Reagan: "Because you are too big for a daddy piggyback ride."

And with that, she ran out of the room. End of discussion. Because Gene gives her piggyback rides, he clearly must love her more. I am glad she is very secure in his love. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Meaning of "Stones of Remembrance"

Someone asked me recently why I changed the name of my blog from "My Life Today" to "Stones of Remembrance". Well, when I first started my blog I was just trying to figure everything to set up my Google account, setting up my home page, how to post daily entries, etc. I honestly just plugged in a quick title without giving it much thought. Over the past few months, I started thinking that the name of my blog should have a little depth to it because I want my blog to have a little depth. I certainly do want to share "my life today" with my family and my friends, but I also want to share my walk with God and His activity in my life.

So, as I thought about a blog title my mind went back to my all time favorite Bible study, Believing God by Beth Moore. I completed this study in 2003, right on the heels of completing Breaking Free, another fabulous Beth Moore study. I went through it again in 2004 and taught it to a group of ladies in 2005. In the study she taught a few powerful lessons on Joshua 3-4. This is the story of the Israelites crossing through the middle of the Jordan River, finally entering into their promised land. God gave the command for the priests, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, to enter the river first and then the Israelites would follow a half mile behind. As soon as the feet of the priests hit the water the flow of the water stopped. The river was cut off upstream and stood up like a wall. The middle of the riverbed became completely dry. The priests, holding the Ark of the Covenant (the presence of God), stood completely still while the entire nation of Israel passed by, crossing the Jordan River on dry ground. Amazing!

The Lord commanded Joshua to pick 12 men, one from each tribe of Israel, to pick up a stone from the middle of the Jordan riverbed, carry the stone out and pile them up at the place where they would camp that night (which was Gilgal). Those stones were used to build a memorial to God. Joshua gave an explanation to the people about those the verses below.

Joshua 4:21-24 (New Living Translation)
21 Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. 24 He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever."

Beth...yes, we are on a first name basis...had many rich lessons from these verses, but one particular point she made was that we all have a story...a story worth remembering...a story worth passing on. God has been with His children all along and will continue to be with His children...past, present, and future. We have been assigned the tremendous responsibility of building a heritage of faith into our children (the future generation), which includes sharing the faithfulness of God.

When I first completed this study I didn't have "physical" children, but Beth helped me to see that I did have "spiritual" children...those who I taught in Bible study, Sunday School, and DT, and those people I came in contact with everyday as I lived out my faith. Now that I do have physical children, this story takes on even more importance to me.

I want to remember the things that God is teaching me. Like Joshua and the Israelites, I need to pick up stones of remembrance along my path because God is constantly offering promises for me to stand on and hidden jewels of wisdom for me to cling to as I travel through my daily life. My goal is to continue this blog for many, many years and to print out a hard copy to keep. Hopefully my girls will read it one day and be able to trace my spiritual journey and be encouraged. Maybe the encouragement won't be limited to just my girls, but will reach others who happen by this small part of the world wide web.

Read 1 Peter 2:4-5 and be encouraged. We are living stones, living reminders to the world that Jesus was here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

I thought on Mondays I would either start writing a weekend wrap-up or a review of the lessons I learned at church the previous Sunday. Well, the choice was made for me today because Gracen would not quit crying yesterday when I tried to drop her off for nursery. I had to stay with her and didn't get to hear any teaching at church, which is a bummer for me... but just part of being a mom I guess. So here is what we did this past weekend.

Gene was off on Friday so we spent the day cleaning the house. He is wonderful around here. He likes things clean and organized so he always helps me when I get a little behind, which happens quite frequently now that I have two children. He is a perfectionist and really prefers things really clean. He is the type that is constantly wiping down mirrors and faucets and puts everything in its place as soon as he is finished with it. I am the type that cleans the mirrors and faucets when the toothpaste spots get so thick they start to block my view and I leave things out because I might use them again the week. It is really amazing that we haven't killed each other, but I guess really, we balance each other out a little bit. I keep him from being obsessively clean and he keeps me from living in filth...HA!

On Friday afternoon, we took Reagan to see the Princess and the Frog. We do not go to the movies very often because I think they are ridiculously expensive. I am not going to go just to have something to do. Something has to be playing that someone in my family really wants to see. Well, Reagan LOVES the Disney Princesses and every time the commercial for this movie would come on she would ask if we could go. She has only been to the movie theater one time and she was amazed at the big screen and the huge bucket of popcorn. I knew she would have a great time and boy did she. We went to the Rave and she practically ran through the parking lot. We bought our tickets...a whopping $23.00...and bought our snacks...another $17.00, but who's counting...add these amounts to our dinner that cost $20.00 and we had one little expensive outing. Anyway, we found our seats and her little face lit up when the movie started. She sat mesmerized for the entire 2 hours, except when she felt the need to dance with some of the songs. Luckily where we were sitting, she could dance without bothering anyone. She kept oohing and aahhin and saying, "That is a really big tv!" She ate every bite of her popcorn , every Skittle, and drank every drop of Sprite. When the movie was over she started clapping. People don't normally clap at the movie theater, so we felt a little weird, but we just had to clap with her. We really had a great time. Gracen was with my parents and I know she had a great time, too. Thanks Mom and Dad for keeping her. On a side note, the movie contained a lot of evil overtones with all the voo-doo it contained. At one point, the Shadow Man conjured up all these demons that he sent out over the city of New Orleans and it gave me the chills because I couldn't help to think about Satan and his demons... which is where voo-doo comes from. This scared Reagan and bothered us, but what can you expect from a secular company like Disney.

On Saturday, Gene and I had to go clean my sister's office. We do this once a month for some "mad money" for me. I guess we just made back everything we spent the night before...with a some extra to spare. We also went to Party City and made some final purchases for Reagan's birthday party coming up in a few weeks....there went the extra money to spare...oh well! When we got home, I left Gene with the Gracen and I went to Prattville with Reagan and my mother-n-law to buy some groceries and shop a little bit. That night, I made taco soup for supper and we settled in for the night.

On Sunday, we only had services in the morning, so we enjoyed a long day at home together. The family time was wonderful because Gene left early this morning headed to West Virginia on a ski trip with the college students. He will be back Thursday afternoon, hopefully in time to watch the Alabama game. It is going to be a long week here by myself. Maybe it will pass quickly. One positive note...I can let the toothpaste spots gather on the bathroom mirror until Thursday. Ha Ha!

Please pray for their safety as they travel and ski. I think they have a 10 hour drive ahead of them and they are going into a snow storm. Yesterday, West Virginia received like 8 inches of snow and it was zero degrees. Gene doesn't have enough fat on his bones for weather like that. Hopefully, he will survive it!

****Gracen is 8 months old today! Amazing!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

**Thank you to my friend Cassandra Hicks for making a header for my blog. Isn't the picture cool? I will explain the meaning behind the title "Stones of Remembrance" in an entry next week.

Happy New Year everyone!

It is the time of year to think about those New Year's Resolutions. When January rolls around I am always thinking about how I can be a better wife, a better mother, and a better person in general. All of these are connected to my christian walk and my relationship with God. As I strive to connect myself on a daily basis to my Savior, He empowers me to become better in all the areas that I listed above.

I found a great little list of resolutions in the January issue of Home Life magazine that I wanted to share. The list is short and sweet, but all of the ideas are so important for professing Christians.
1. Have a personal quiet time with God on a DAILY basis.
The time we spend with God in prayer and reading the Bible is foundational to becoming a better wife, a better mom, and a better person is general. The relationship I develop with Him gives me the strength and the power I need to fulfill all the roles that He has called me to. If I am too busy to find time to spend with God every single day then I am just too busy. If you feel too busy, then I encourage you to think through your schedule and see what needs to go. A great verse to read about the importance of reading your Bible everyday is the one I shared in my last post, Psalm 1:2-3

2. Commit to a local church and attend worship and Bible study groups regularly.All believers need the encouragement and the teaching that comes from being part of a great church. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near." My Bible tells me that to neglect Christian meetings is to give up the encouragement and help of others Christians. We gather together to share our faith and to strengthen one another in the Lord.

3. Commit to serving in your local church.
We are not saved to warm a pew. We are saved to serve in a way that will advance the kingdom of God. Serving brings great joy and and it brings a strong sense of significance. God has given each one of us gifts that we should be using to bring Him glory. If you call yourself a Christian, you should be serving somewhere in your church, even if it is something as small as keeping the nursery once a quarter. Our service is not just limited to our local church either, but it is certainly a great place to start. If you are not serving, start praying that God will show you where to get plugged in, or just jump in and see what you enjoy doing. The Bible says in Matthew 20:28 "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

These 3 suggestions are basic spiritual disciplines and I hope you will join me and integrate them into your life in the upcoming year. You will blessed, beyond measure, as I have been.

I am looking forward to the year 2010. God has been so good to me and to my family as a whole. We have experienced blessings that are too great to list. I am most thankful that I am entering this new year as a family of four. After 13 years of marriage God allowed me to get pregnant and I am still amazed by that fact. My cup is full with a wonderful husband, two amazing children, one adopted and one biological, a loving and supportive extended family, a great church family, and great friends.

Thank you God for each and every blessing.