Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

I am happy to report that I survived the weekend. I was concerned about taking care of the girls with a sprained ankle and Gene being out of town. My mom came on Friday morning and stayed at my house most of the day. I sat in a nice cozy chair with my foot propped up and my computer in my lap. My older sister, Lori, and her family were coming to my parent's house Friday evening, so we headed there around 3:00 in the afternoon. Once I was settled in there, my mom went to buy groceries and my Dad took over watching my girls. We all had a nice night together...talking, riding the golf cart, eating a meal that I did not have to cook, and visiting with my niece and nephew, Ariel and Dean.

On Saturday morning, Gracen and I were back at my house. Reagan stayed at my parent's house to play with Ariel and Dean. Gene's mother came out and got Gracen about 45 minutes after Gracen woke up and kept her until 12:00. I then fed her and put her down for her nap. She slept until 3:00, so I basically sat on my hiney, with my leg propped up, all day long. I must confess it was really nice. I didn't feel the pressure to get the house clean or the pressure to move through a daily to-do list. I didn't chase kids all day. I just sat. I enjoyed a lot of Bible reading time on Saturday and spent some guilt free time on the computer and watching TV. I jokingly told Gene Saturday night that I should have sprained my ankle much sooner because sometimes I get tired of the constant going and doing that comes with having small children, coupled with our schedule. I haven't been sick since early in my pregnancy with Gracen so it has been almost 2 years since I was able to just lay down and S-L-O-W down. My spirit needed the break so I can honestly say I am thankful for the sprain.

On Saturday afternoon, we had a family birthday party to attend for my niece, Hayden. It was her one year old party and we were all looking forward to getting together to celebrate this little cutie's first year of life. I thought I would just share some pictures of the gathering.... without much commentary. Enjoy!

Here is the birthday girl. She looked adorable in her little birthday outfit. She had a cute bow in her hair, but like Gracen, she won't leave it in her hair.

It was a great party. Hayden was in a wonderful mood, and it was so fun to watch her dig into her cake and "open" all her gifts. There were a lot of children there, so it was also fun to watch all of them interact with each other. The food was good and the fellowship was even better. Great family time!
Gene came home Saturday night, and I was so happy to see him. He went on a white water rafting trip with the college students, which is a little dangerous. I prayed for him most of the day Saturday until I knew he was off the river. So glad to have him back home.
On Sunday, we went to church. We had a morning worship service at 10:00 and then had a potluck lunch following the service, with no evening services that night. Bro. Glenn preached a powerful message on making the choice between being cultural or being Christian. It definitely is a choice because you cannot have both. It was a much needed reminder that Christians should look different than the lost world around us. The foundation for the sermon was Jeremiah 10 and it starts out with this verse, "Learn not the way of the nations...." This is a thought that I have been chewing on in my own personal quiet I want my life to be built on strong convictions, how I want to model Jesus Christ to my family and others that I come into contact with, and I want to look different from a "lost" person in my thoughts, words, and actions. The sermon gave me a lot to think about and I encourage you to read the chapter. It is a good one.
Lunch was delicious and we headed home around 1:00. It was a rainy, nasty day, so we all laid down and took naps. What could be better than that? When the kids got up, we watched TV and let Reagan play games on the laptop. We had pizza for supper and then the sun came out and we spent some time on our back patio.
It was a nice weekend...sprained ankle and all.
Until next time...

Friday, May 28, 2010

A New Predicament

Well, last night I sprained my ankle. You won't believe how I did it. I was actually typing Thursday's blog entry. Reagan was at Gail's house playing with Abby and Jacob, her cousins, and Gracen was asleep. I sat down at 4:00 to write my blog and I sat on my left foot for a solid hour....ya know, one leg up and one leg down. I sit like that all the time.

The phone rang about 5:00 and I jumped up to get it. Apparently, my foot, the one I was sitting on, was totally asleep, which you would think I would have realized. When I stepped down and place all my weight on that foot, it completely rolled over. I fell flat down and my flip-flop flew up in the air, which would have been a great "Funniest Videos" moment. My ankle immediately started to throb and I couldn't move it at all. I just knew it was broken. Gene was in the shower so I literally laid on the floor for close to 10 minutes. When I knew he was out and dressed I hollered for him and he was pretty surprised to find me laying on the floor. Ray, my father-in-law walked in about that time too so I was quite the spectacle. By this point my ankle was swelling so they helped me to get a chair and we put ice on it.

By about 6:30, Gene and I decided, coupled with my mom's advice, that I needed to go to Pri-Med because my ankle was really swollen and still throbbing. For all I knew, it could have been broken. When we arrived at Pri-Med and I told the nurse what happened, he just looked at me like I was crazy. He said, "You did this while typing on your computer. Girl, you need to make up a more exciting story than that. You need to tell people you were jumped by 4 men in a dark alley." So when the x-ray tech. came in and asked what happened, I told her I was jumped by 4 men in a dark alley. You should have seen her face. We all laughed and then I told her the truth. She too agreed that the first story was more exciting. Who knew that the computer could be dangerous.

Thankfully, the x-rays showed a bad sprain, no broken bones, no fracture. I was told to stay off of it as much as possible for several days and to elevate it and ice it throughout the day. I was given a boot to wear and it really made a difference. I couldn't walk at all without it, but I can hobble around with it.

Talk about an inconvenient situation while trying to keep up with two little ones! And of course Gene left this morning to go out of town. He will be back Saturday night and until then, I am getting lots of help from my mom and Gene's mom. This makes me so thankful that I have such a great family and that they live so close by. (Lori, I really don't know how you survived without family close by you, especially when Ariel and Dean were little.)

Another day in my life...

Until next time...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

2 Peter 1:5-8

I still have 2 Peter rolling around in my mind. I am still listening to the same 2 or 3 sermons and I swear I hear something different every time I listen to it. Is that possible or I'm just weird?

I hope this doesn't come out as random thoughts that don't make much sense. There is so much that I have heard and I just want to share some of the highlights.

Let me remind you of the verses...

2 Peter 1:5-8

"For this reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

And remember I am sharing things I heard from the sermon...not trying to plagiarize!

The verse starts out with the phrase "for this reason"... Well, what reason....for the "reason" you have to go back to verse 3 which says that as Christians we have absolutely everything we need because of HIS divine power that resides within us. I think too often I forget that. I get scared about issues that come up, I worry way too much, I try to fix things, and I over analyze things. I just need to slow my mind down and remember that God is with me all the time and I have everything I need at all times.

These verses talk about character qualities that I should pursue. Actually the Bible says that I should make EVERY EFFORT to pursue these qualities so I will not be ineffective or unfruitful in my Christian walk. That thought led me to this I working really hard, making every effort, being diligent in my character development and letting God change me from the inside out? Some days I am, some days I'm not. I work hard at a lot of things, but the most important thing that I can pursue is being a godly person and getting to know my Savior. That will affect everything else...the kind of wife I will be, the kind of marriage Gene and I will have, the kind of mother I will be, the kind of woman I will be, and the kind of friend I will be. Character is pretty important, don't you think?

Think about what you pursue with all of your heart. If you are a believer, is it God? Is it letting Him mold you and change you from the inside out? We have the promise of the Holy Spirit living inside of us and because we "are partakers of the divine nature" we can be different. We can each become a man or woman after God's own heart. That excites me! I get to change. I get to become a better person. It isn't that I "have to" change, but I honestly want to change. I have some strongholds in my life. Worry is a big one for me and I want to lay it down. I want to trust God more and live His way.

What about you? Do you think things like this....
Do I HAVE to forgive that person?
Do I HAVE to submit to my husband?
Do I HAVE to apologize to my child for losing my temper?
Do I HAVE to quit drinking?
Do I HAVE to stop smoking?
Do I HAVE to stay with my spouse?
Do I HAVE to lay down this addiction?
Won't I still get into heaven?

Or, do you think Praise God I GET TO forgive that person. I GET TO submit to my husband. I GET TO apologize to my child....etc, etc. I "get to" because of the divine nature within me and because I am making every effort to become a stronger woman of God. Of course, I will fall off course again and so will you. That's because we live in a fallen world and none of us are perfect. But, I want to make sure that I don't quit because I blow it from time to time. Because of the grace of God and His forgiveness I can became even stronger in spite of my mistakes.

Think back to the character qualities listed....I get to be a faithful, virtuous, knowledgeable, self-controlled, steadfast, godly person who genuinely loves other people because I can...all because of the power that is at work within me. I love that!

In my next entry, I am going to talk about each character quality and how they should be shown in my life. Convicting stuff!

On a side note, I took Gracen to her 1 year well visit today and she received a clean bill of health. She is 22 lbs. and 29 inches long, placing her in the 50th percentile. Her urine sample was perfectly clear so that means that so far the preventive antibiotic is working. She only recieved one shot and only cried for a minute or two. She stopped as soon as I handed her a cookie. She may look like Gene, but she has my sweet tooth. The cookie made her smile.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Few Summer Photos

This is just a post of pictures really. These are just random shots around our house, enjoying each other, and the beautiful weather. We really like being home and we really like being outside. We live in our yard during the summer.

Here is Gene and Gracen walking on our front walkway. What a precious shot of them. Gracen is on the move and now that she has this walking thing figured out, she wants to walk constantly. We circle the house repeatedly. This gets a little monotonous, but I guess it's good exercise.

Gracen finally made it up the walkway and now she is trying to figure out these stairs. She would climb up and down these 3 steps for hours if we let her.

Here is Reagan sitting on the steps. Like I said, we are just hanging out.
Reagan's favorite tree.
The rest of the pictures are around the blow-up pool in the backyard. Reagan lives in her swimsuit all day long. Actually she wears about 3 or 4 different swimsuits everyday.
Here she is playing with her cousin Jacob. They are the same age and really enjoy playing together.

Popsicle break

Gracen joined the fun after her morning nap. I don't let her "swim" with guests here because there is just too much splashing going on for her to really enjoy it or for me to feel comfortable letting her in.
Constantly walking
Here is Reagan on a different day. She turned Gracen's pool into her own little boat.

Different day...playing with a water gun.

Taking a break for the camera. And the pool clearly needs some air.
Gracen wasn't too sure about the water and never really got in the pool. Even with me sitting in there with her, she was trying to climb out. She really likes to take a bath though...go figure.
Aunt Lindsay gave Gracen this monogrammed swimsuit for her birthday. Isn't it adorable?

Playing with Reagan's CD player.....we like to listen to music while we are outside sunning.
Can anyone say, "Where is our hairbrush?" Wow!
First time this summer in a big pool. Her eyes are as blue as that water.

That's all for now. Just wanted to share some of what we have been doing around here.
Tomorrow I hope to share some more from the book of 2 Peter. I have been reading it over and over again. Good stuff.
Until then....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

I know I said that my next post would contain pictures of the girls, but I need to do my wrap-up first. You will have to check back tomorrow for cute photos.

Our weekend started with Friday night, as most weekends do. We had plans to attend East Memorial's graduation. Gene worked from 8:00 to 5:00 and I was going to meet him for dinner/date night and then we were going to the ceremony together. Gene's mom, Gail, was going to keep Gracen and Reagan went to my parent's house to spend the night.
Reagan's spend the night trip had nothing to do with graduation. Mom called at the beginning of the week and wanted Reagan, but it did work out perfectly for our schedule. Anyway...
All of our plans for Friday night got messed up because Gail could not keep Gracen and I didn't find this out until around 4:45 Friday afternoon,. She keeps my niece and nephew during the week and well, my niece started throwing up in the wee hours of Friday morning. She had to keep her out of school on Friday. Abby was at Gail's house all day laying on the couch and laying on the bed in the guest bedroom. I have a throw-up phobia....I mean who really likes to throw-up, much less clean up after sick I decided to keep Gracen home with me on Friday night and away from the germs. Gail was planning on keeping her anyway, but I just didn't want Gracen to catch a stomach virus just so I could enjoy a dinner out and a graduation ceremony. I was very sad to miss both, but I made the right decision because Gail was sick on Sunday.
My mom offered to come back and get Gracen, but Reagan would have been SO DISAPPOINTED. She loves one-on-one time with her Gram and Pap. Gracen just gets in Reagan's way and slows her down. So Gracen and I had a quiet evening at home.
On Saturday, Gene spent the day in the yard. I took Gracen to the mall and bought a bathing suit for myself and purchased some good quality sandals for Gracen. She has a tendency to curl her right foot when she is walking at times, so I thought a good shoe, not the usual Target kind, might help. We walked around the mall for a couple of hours just looking at everything and of course enjoying a snack. Gracen loves her stroller and was fantastic! Then we headed to my parent's house to get Reagan. I was so ready to see her. Funny how you can miss a child in just one night who can absolutely drive you nuts in 5 minutes. I guess that's love! We visited with them for about an hour and then I headed home.
Gene had chair set-up at 5:00 at the church, but was back home by 6:00. We made breakfast burritos for supper and then Reagan begged us to have a family movie night. I bought Alice in Wonderland earlier in the week, but told her we had to save it for family time. She has been asking every day to watch it. We bathed the girls, blew up the air mattress and settled in for an old classic. Reagan LOVED it,Gene fell asleep, and I was surprised at how much I remember from my childhood. It was a good night.

On Sunday, we had a great day of worship. Bro. Tim spoke in the morning service and Bro. Jeremy spoke in the evening service. Both of them did a great job and brought convicting messages.
I do have a few pictures to share. If you'll remember, we didn't get any pictures of all of us in our Easter clothes because we were in the emergency room with Gracen right after church on Easter Sunday...and came home 5 days later. I was running late before church...surprise, surprise, I just assumed that I would take pics later. Anyway, on Sunday, I decided we would wear our Easter duds and I was able to get a few cute pictures. The pictures aren't very "Easter" looking without the Easter baskets and all. But, oh well...

Gene didn't get the memo so he was not wearing his Easter attire. I will have to dress the girls in their pretty dresses again and let Gene be apart of the picture next time.

Friday, May 21, 2010

2 Peter 1:3-4 continue on with 2 Peter, verses 3-4 says, "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desires."

When I read verse 3, do I really believe that I have everything that I need to live a godly life? I can live my life with the constant peace and joy that I talked about in my last entry. I can rise above every sin that tries to pull me down. I can live in constant communion with my Heavenly Father. I don't have to get completely overwhelmed and frustrated in my mothering abilities. I don't have to get stressed out. I don't have to argue with my 4 year old or my husband. I don't have to live with insecurity. I don't have to live in a state of worry or fear about what the future holds. I have absolutely everything that I need because of His divine power that is constantly at work within me. I don't have to live this Christian life alone. I don't have to wonder if I will sink or swim. He will never leave me or forsake me.

Again in verse 3, Peter uses the word "knowledge", referring to that intimate relationship with Jesus Christ..... "I have everything I need through the knowlege of Him..." The word know in Scripture reflects the very personal intimacy between a husband and a wife. Intimacy with God should be that personal. I have to spend that one-on-one time with Him or our relationshop will not flourish. It is never enough to just know ABOUT God, because even the devil himself knows about God. Matthew 7:21-23 says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord did we not prophecy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never KNEW you, depart from me, you workers of lawlessness." Those verses make me shutter and I wouldn't ever want God to say those words to me. I want to love God...the person...not just His benefits. If I truly love Him, I will spend time with Him through prayer and Bible reading, and I will become more and more intimate with Him as time passes, more mature in my Christian walk.

As I seek Him and truly get to know Him, God freely gives.
2 Corinthians 9:8 says, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." Another wonderful promise. I was called and chosen by God to do great things for His glory, and He will not leave me hanging. I have all all all times. Now, if I can just remind myself of that as I go through each and every day because each and every day brings stressful situations, doesn't it?

2 Peter 1:4 mentions the "great and precious promises of God". It is so easy to let the words of the Bible become second nature. Sometimes while listening to sermons, I catch myself thinking, "Not this story again. I know this story. I have heard it taught a thousand times." That's wrong because even in those most familar stories God can show me something new. I should pray and ask God to open my eyes every time I open the Word of God so that it never loses its excitement. I should always view it as "great and precious".

2 Peter 1:4 also talks about our ability as Christians to rise above sin. I am a "partaker of the divine nature" which means that because He lives within me and gives me everything I need, I can "escape the corruption that is in this world because of sinful desires". Francis Chan said that sin is like a whirlpool or a vortex. It literally sucks you in and then takes you down. He gave the example of alchohol and how it is a dangerous thing that too many people dabble with saying it is their "freedom in Christ". You drink a little, and want a little more, you drink more and then want more and more and more, until eventually it becomes an addiction. Not everyone who drinks will become an alchoholic, but it could be you so it is best to stay away. The same thing with smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, looking at pornography on the Internet, experimenting with drugs, flirting with someone when you are married,...well you get the idea. It can easily be a downward spiral. But, praise God, because of the divine nature that is within me, I can always rise above that I get to KNOW him more and more.

2 Peter has been a powerful book to read. I want to encourage you to read Chapter 1....maybe over and over again until it sinks in. I know I want it to sink in. I want to be changed when I read scripture.

Well, I am rambling and I still have verses 5-11 to cover in the coming days. I will take a break from it in my next post and share some pictures of the girls playing in the pool and just haning out in the yard, and of course on Monday I will share the events from the weekend.

Until next time....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

God's Amazing Word

Man, I have been loving my time in God's Word in the early morning before the girls wake up. I start the day with a cup of coffee and my Bible and then I head out to walk before Gene leaves for work. I have been listening to some fabulous preaching on my ipod, actually the same 3 or 4 sermons for about 2 weeks now by Francis Chan, preacher of Cornerstone out of California. he is the author of the book Crazy Love, in case any one is interested. The sermons I am listening to are old. They are from 2009, but I as was looking for sermons to download on my ipod, those titles interested me. He is basically walking through 2 Peter and like I said, I have listened to the same sermons for several weeks, and these focus on 2 Peter 1:1-11.

God's Word is so rich and I am amazed how something I have read a thousand times can be so new. I have been so convicted by these passages because they talk about growing in your knowledge of God and, they deal with character issues and basically how certain traits can prove your faith in Christ.

Read these verses for yourself....

1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord

3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,

6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,

7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I hope you actually read those verses and didn't just scan over them. They are pretty powerful and I have written them down on an index card to help me memorize them.

The pastor I am listening to, Francis Chan, has really helped me to see some new things in these verses and I would love to share some things he pointed out over the next couple of days.

In verse 1 you can tell that this is written to believers because it says that "To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of God.." That in and of itself is amazing to me. I have been made righteous in the sight of God because of my faith in Him. I have right standing with Him and my faith is equal to that of Peter, the one who walked on water Peter. I don't know if you are like me and you read scripture and think that you are nothing like Peter, or Paul, or Esther, or Ruth. They are Bible characters and they must have had something special, right? According to that verse, that kind of faith comes from the righteousness of God and I have that!

Another verse that says a similar thing is 2 Corinthians 5:21 which says, "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, I became righteous and I received the very same faith that the heroes of the Bible have. Crazy thought, really. Blows my mind to think about it like that.

Verse 2 of 2 Peter 1 says, "May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God..." Was your life oozing with grace and peace this week? I live with a perfect example of grace and peace. Her name is Reagan. I watch her little life and it is amazing to me how she is just joyful all the time. She just loves life. She loves to laugh, to smile, to tell jokes, and to sing. Even when something bad happens...although "bad" for a 4 year old is usually not really all the bad...she says, "Mommy, we should pray about that," or "Mommy, God will fix it, right?" I love that about her. I love her constant joy and her constant peace that everything is going to work out O.K. I know that when God looks down at me, as a Father looks at His child, and He wants to see the same constants in my life, the same joy and the same peace.

Wouldn't you all love grace and peace to be multiplied in your life? From verse 2, did you catch how that happens? That kind of attitude comes from the knowledge of God. Knowledge of God only comes through intimacy with Him. Intimacy only comes through spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer on a daily basis. The more time I spend with Him, even though it is hard some days, the more I will know Him, and the more I will display joy, peace, and grace.

I want to remember that and to really get it. I don't want my peace to be tied to other things. I don't want it to be tied to my financial situation, my health, the health of my children, my relationships, the kind of car I drive, or the size of my house. I want it to come from my knowledge of God and my relationship with Him and the fact that my name is written in the book of life and that no matter what happens on this earth, I am going to be O.K. because I am His.

This sermon reminded me of another verse that I love...

Psalm 27:4 "One thing have I asked of the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple."

I certainly want to live in God's presence and by His purpose and for His glory. To do those things I have to actively seek Him.

Well, I am going to leave you there because this is getting really long. I will pick up with verse 3 next time.

Until then...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

We had another busy weekend, as usual. It is very rare for us to have a Friday night and a Saturday and Saturday night at home, but that is O.K. We certainly feel like everything that we do is worth wild.

We did have a quiet Friday night. Gene was home so we decided to have a family movie night. Reagan, in honor of being out of school, got to pick the meal and the movie. What I am saying...she always picks the movie. Anyway, she picked spaghetti and Princess and the Frog. We ate supper and then spent an hour enjoying the beautiful weather outside before bathing the girls and settling in for the movie. We got out the air mattress, tons of pillows, blankets, and of course, the popcorn and Sprite. We really had a fabulous time together and the Princess and the Frog is entertaining all the way through. I am not wild about the voo doo throughout the movie, and I was really worried that it would give her nightmares, but thankfully, it didn't. Gracen is even getting into these movie nights. She doesn't really sit still, but pretty much stays on the mattress. She crawls from the top of the mattress to the bottom and then will crawl off the mattress and climb back on to it, wearing herself out. She also spent half of the movie crawling on top of the three of us. Reagan likes this attention at first, but once she gets into the movie, she is done with the interruptions. The only downside is that Gracen makes enjoying the bowl of popcorn a little difficult because we cannot just sit it in between all of us on the floor. She follows the bowl wherever we put it and wants to dig all in it. I keep telling her that one day she will get to enjoy popcorn and Sprite too.

On Saturday morning, we headed to AUM to see Jenna Sanders graduate from college. What an honor to be a part of her special day. Jenna was in the youth group at East Memorial while Gene was the youth minister, and of course, she is in our college ministry now. She has been close to our family for almost 6 years. She simply adores Reagan and spends a lot of time with her, babysitting her and hanging out with her at different church functions. We all love Jenna. If you know Jenna, you can't help but love her. She loves the Lord and it shows in every single thing she does. She faithfully attends church and studies the Word in group Bible studies and on her own. She is one of those people who displays the fruit of the Holy Spirit in her life. I am just so proud of her and the decisions that she consistently makes. It is amazing to witness. I wish I had been that strong in my Christian walk during my college years. Of course, I wouldn't have met Gene had I been as strong as Jenna, LOL! At least something good came out of that season. She is leaving for the summer to serve at a Christian camp teaching and leading teenagers, and is hoping to get a year long internship beginning in the fall at a church in Tennessee. For Reagan's sake, I would love to pray against that internship, but I don't think that would be very godly on my part. We will all miss her! You can visit her blog by clicking on Jenna's Journeys on the right side of my this blog page.

My mom kept Gracen during the graduation, (thank the Lord and thank you Mom), and Reagan went with us. She wanted to be there to cheer for Jenna. She loved seeing Jenna on the stage, but quickly tired of this as we sat through 400 graduates. Crazy! Jenna, you are worth it!

After picking up Gracen, we went and had lunch together and got home around 1:45. Reagan had a swimming birthday party to go to at 2:00 for another family friend, Sam Hicks. We were late of course, but Reagan had a blast swimming....well, at least until she almost drowned. She jumped into the deep in on a boogie board, without her armbands, and the board came out from under her. She panicked and started slapping the water and started to sink. David, Sam's dad jumped in and pulled her out.(Thank you David Hicks, from the bottom of my heart!) He was sitting beside the deep end being the life guard. She swallowed a lot of water and had a nasty coughing spell, but was fine. She sat out for a few minutes and really didn't go back into the deep end again. We took swimming lessons last year, but clearly we need more lessons. That was a scary situation. As I laid in the bed that night, I could see her struggling in that water, and I hope to never relive that again.

We got back home around 4:20 and Gene had to be at church at 5:00 for chair set-up. He is on a 3 month rotation and May is his month. He was back home by 6:30 and we ate supper, got the girls ready for bed and they both went to bed pretty earlier. Reagan was actually asking to go to bed, which is unheard of around here.

On Sunday morning, Gracen woke up around 4:45 a.m. and was up for the day. She was pretty cranky, and quite frankly, I was a little cranky too at that time of the morning. My first thought was, "Oh, no! It's another UTI." I took her temperature...4 times. It was normal every time. As the morning progressed she kept gnawing on things and developed a clear runny nose, which can happen with teething, so I think that was what was going on. She does have some teeth breaking through. She was ready for a nap at 8:00 and we usually leave for church at 8:30. I knew I couldn't put her in the nursery so I stayed home with both girls. She slept about 2 hours and was in a better mood when she woke up. We all ate lunch together and then Reagan and I headed over to Prattville to buy groceries. She loves going places with me by herself, even if it is just to Wal-Mart. We all went to church Sunday night and afterwards, ate out at Moe's with the college students. We didn't get home until around 9:00, but both girls went to sleep immediately and slept until after 7:00 this morning, so it all worked out.

Changing subjects...
I have had some amazing quiet times over the last couple of weeks and would like to share some of what I am learning from 2 Peter chapter 1 tomorrow...or Wednesday...or whenever I blog again. Read the chapter for yourself. It is worth the read!

Until then....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reagan's K-3 Graduation

Today was a big day for Reagan. She "graduated" from the K-3 program at Coosada Baptist Church. This has been a wonderful program, teaching Reagan many social, educational, moral, and spiritual skills. I think it has done her a world of good and for the most part she enjoyed going every day. Reagan is a fast learner and easily picked up every single skill and every verse that she was suppose to learn. I'll brag a moment....her teacher, Mrs. Marsha, said that she didn't even need an end of the year conference because Reagan had mastered every skill. I know it is just K-3, but that felt pretty good to hear. I am thankful that she enjoys school, so far, and learns so quickly, especially considering that her birth mother was doing drugs when she was conceived and for the first couple of months of the pregnancy. God certainly had His hand of protection on her while she was in the womb.

I wanted to share a few pictures from our day.

Here is Reagan as she first entered the sanctuary, hugging her teacher Mrs. Marsha. Reagan just adored her and will miss her this summer.

Here is Reagan leading the audience in the pledge. I didn't even know she was chosen for this honor until she stepped up on to the stage. She did a great job.

Here is a close up shot of Reagan with two classmates, Isabella and Corrian. Reagan and Isabella became fast friends.

Here is Reagan singing away, with hand motions of course.

Here she is marching and singing. The program had an American theme, in case you wondering about the flags and all the red, white, and blue.

Here is a shot of the whole class.
Here is Mrs. Marsha presenting Reagan with her "diploma". Reagan is smiling big. She knows this means summer is here.

And I love this picture. She is holding up her diploma as if to say, "Yes! I made it." She was so proud. This reminded me of the night she earned her Cubbie vest at church. She simply does not hide her joy. I hope she keeps that trait in this cruel world that we live in.

Reagan had some family that attended the program...her daddy, me, Gracen, Gram (my mom), and Gran (Gene's mom). Reagan smiled big when she saw us and waved at all of us. After the program, I gave Reagan a "graduation" gift just to let her know how proud we are of her and then she got to pick a restaurant for lunch. She picked Chick-Fil-A. We all went and had a great time eating lunch and watching Reagan play on the indoor playground.
It was a good day!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

The big event of the weekend was Gracen's first birthday party, followed by Mother's Day on Sunday. I'll start with the party, but beware there are lots of pictures ahead.

Here is the sweet birthday girl just as the guests started to arrive. We had a small party with family.....Me, Gene, Reagan, my parents, Gene's parents, my sister Lindsay, her husband Brian, and their little girl Hayden, and my niece and nephew, Abby and Jacob. My older sister, Lori, lives in Tuscaloosa and couldn't come due to a prior commitment. (Thank you for the Target gift card Lori. Gracen will be getting some new pajamas very soon.)

Here is Gracen's pretty birthday cake, made by Debbi Gordon, one of our church secretaries. I just loved it. It matched her plates and colors perfectly.Here is Gracen's"smash" cake. It was pretty cute too.

Here is Lindsay and her family.For the party we decided to have a cookout with hamburgers and hot dogs, baked bean casserole, chips, dip, and of course, cake and ice cream. We set up tables outside in our carport and this would have been really nice except for all the wind, which kept messing up all my decorations. I know, I know....It could have been much worse...rain, lightning, hail, tornadoes.....It could have also been less windy. Just saying.

Here is Gracen when I put first put her into her highchair. I think she really enjoyed eating outside.

Here are the kids eating their meals. Jacob had his mouth full. I guess he liked his hot dog.

My Dad and two favorite men!After dinner, I placed Gracen's smash cake on her high chair and we all gathered around her to sing Happy Birthday. You can see she is already checking out this weird new "toy" and I was envisioning a mess of epic proportions. Reagan was jealous that Gracen got such a big slice of cake. LOL!

Here we go...It took Gracen several minutes to destroy the cake and I was a little disappointed because she wouldn't really eat any of it. She tasted a bite or two, but that was about it. I really thought she would need a bath at this point. Oh well!

Instead of eating it, she started throwing it on the floor, so I thought she was probably done.

Here are a few family shots with Gracen and the smashed up cake.
Here is sweet little Hayden making her "mean" face. She makes this face for almost every picture. Too cute!

Next, it was time to go back inside and open presents. As I placed all the gifts on the floor, Gracen decided to stand on top of them. Climbing onto things is a new skill she is learning.

More climbing...

And, more climbing...

In this picture, Gene and I were apparently enjoying ourselves....and notice Deigo in the background. I think my television stays on Nick Jr.

Here is a shot of all the kids playing with the toys. I think Reagan and Jacob enjoyed the new toys for the one year old more than Gracen did. Abby was a big help, playing with all the little ones.

A sweet smile toward the end of the celebration.

Here is Gracen walking around clutching some of her new things. This is another new behavior. Wherever she is, she likes to have something in her hand, whether she is in the bathtub, in her car seat, or walking around, inside or outside, she will grab a random object and hold it with a death grip.

We really had a fabulous time. I had been looking forward to this celebration of Gracen's first year for months, and everything went perfectly..except for the wind while I was trying to decorate my tables. I think we all had a really nice time just hanging out with one another and watching all the kids play and interact with each other.

After the party, Lindsay and I both gave my mom her Mother's Day present because we knew we would not see her the next day. Here is mom opening her gift from us, some new Yellow Box flip flops.

And of course, Reagan insisted that she try them on.

I love you Mom and I hope you enjoyed your day...and your flip flops!
On Mother's Day, Reagan brought me a gift as soon as she woke up. She made me close my eyes and then brought me a gift bag with some new pajamas. I just love new pajamas and wish I had a different pair for every single night of the week. Reagan gave me a huge hug and told me she loved me. She also handed me two cards that she made for me and a potted plant she made at preschool. Those items were probably more precious than the pj's because they were made with love. By this point, I had tears in my eyes.
We headed to church and Bro. Glenn preached an inspiring message on the number one thing that every mother wants for their children, and that is for them to go to heaven. He preached on Revelation 21:4 which says, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
Of course this verse is speaking of eternal life in heaven, and what mother doesn't want those things for her children. I know I want Reagan and Gracen to live in heaven with Jesus, to be in a place of eternal bliss, to no longer have tears, to no longer deal with death, to no longer mourn, to longer cry, to no longer experience any pain, to live in complete peace forever. I wish I could provide those things for my children in this life, but that is not reality.
Pointing my children to Jesus so they will ask Him into their hearts doesn't just happen. I have a huge responsibility to live a life that models Jesus Christ, to model a daily quiet time, to teach them the scriptures, to pray for them, to teach them to pray, to take them to church, and teach them those life lessons along the way. No small order! I can be a "good" mom in a lot of ways, but if I fail in this calling of pointing them to Jesus Christ, then I fail. Humbling thought, isn't it?
After church, we came home to let the girls nap and then we took Gene's parents out to eat because we did not have church Sunday evening. We were actually taking Gene's mom out to eat and Gene's Dad invited himself. I know that sounds weird, but Gene's Dad NEVER eats out. I can count on one hand in almost 15 years of marriage that he has eaten out with the family. He has some really strange idiosyncrasies that I do not have time to cover here. Anyway, we were all excited that he wanted to join us and we had a great time.
The older I get, the more I appreciate the time I spend with my family, so it was a really good weekend all the way around.
Until next time,