Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Accurate Picture of Jesus

1 Peter 5:10 says that God is the "God of all grace". I know that as a believer, a follower of Jesus, I am suppose to emulate Him. My life is suppose to be an accurate picture of Jesus by showing that same grace to others. I don't just show that I am a believer by my words or by my church attendance. I show Jesus by my everyday life.

I often think about my behavior when I am with other people, you know, when I am outside of my home. As a minister's wife, I get that I am a representative of Christ. I am careful not to go to church mad, not to argue with Gene or belittle him in public (not that I do that in private), not to gossip with others, and not to be sarcastic in my conversations, which I must say, is difficult for me because sarcastic comments are constantly popping into my head. But how am I doing at home with those people closest to me? If I am honest, I need to work on this area.

What are my girls seeing every single day?

I think I do pretty good with them until about 4:30 in the afternoon. Up until that point, I am calm with them in my conversations, I discipline them consistently (for the most part) using scripture and modeling what the right choice would have been, I encourage them to be kind to each other, I model a quiet time for them, and try to consistently have a morning devotional with them, I pray with them before meal times, teaching them that all things come from God... You get the idea.

Then, around 4:30 the day gets a little more stressful. For some reason, both girls want my undivided attention while I am trying to cook supper and pick up around the house before Gene gets home at 5:30. Both girls are tired of each other and they start to "fight" with one another. Both girls are bored and start to pull out all kind of mess in every room of this house, while I am picking up in another room. At this point of the day, I am tired. I ready to be alone, to have some down time. I want to shut myself up in my bedroom and lay down to take a nap or read a magazine. I want to get on the computer and mindlessly read blogs or look at pictures on Facebook. I mean I have been with these two precious little gifts all day long and I ready for a break. While I am fighting these temptations and trying to balance everything else that needs to be done at this point in the day, I lose my cool. I raise my voice. I don't show grace. I don't show mercy. I say things like, "Just stop it!" "Leave each other alone!" "Reagan, go to your room and Gracen, here you go, get in your pack-n-play!" I am short. I am sarcastic. I am huffy-puffy. Not every day, but it certainly happens more often than I would like to admit.

Lately, I have been convicted about how this is showing that the Holy Spirit lives within me. How is this an accurate picure of Jesus and the grace that He constantly shows me? Does He get tired of me around 4:30 in the afternoon or does He consistently show unconditional love and grace? I think you know the answer to that question. I don't want to give my girls a distorted picture of God. My most important job is to disciple them, to model Jesus Christ, and to introduce them to the Savior of their souls.

Inside of these four walls that I call home, it is more than just my reactions to my girls....
Do I forgive Gene quickly or do I get angry, wanting my way, and then proceed stay angry for days? What picture of a marriage relationship am I displaying?
Do I display forgiveness with other people or am I done with them when they offend me and walk away from that relationship?
Do I talk negatively about people or heaven forbid the church?
Do I gossip on the phone?
Do I clam up and pout about things?
Do I share that I am worried about something, rather leaving that issue at the throne?
Do I watch things on TV that I wouldn't want them to watch?
Do I stress out and blow a gasket about every day life or do I display the peace of Jesus, showing that I trust that Jesus is in control of all things?

I want to be "adorned" with Christ so that every person, including my family, will see Jesus in me. This will only come through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit at work within me. For the last two mornings, I have been praying about this issue and I will continue to do so, not just in the morning, but praying through those irritations that I feel, especially around 4:30 in the afternoon. And if you think about me at 4:30 in the afternoon, say a prayer for me too.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Gene

Today is Gene's 38th birthday.

Happy, Happy Birthday Gene! I love you more every single day and I am so thankful to God for you!
I am not going to write a sappy note for the world to read but I thought I would share at least 10 things that I love about Gene. It is actually hard to limit it to 10 because there are dozens of things that I love about him, but here goes...
1. I love that he loves God.
2. I love that he loves God in such a way that it affects everything that he does and says. He is a man of integrity modeled for me every single day.
3. I love that he is such a loving and attentive husband and father. He makes us feel like he adores all 3 of us.
4. I love that he loves life and laughs all the time.
5. I love that he always sees the positive in all things.
6. I love that he has such a forgiving nature and will not fight with me when I get in a bad mood.
7. I love that he is like a woman and will shop all day long. He loves shopping for clothes and things for the house as much as I do.
8. I love that he is like the energizer bunny and will work all day around this house until everything inside and outside is perfect. He keeps a beautiful yard.
9. I love that he respects his extended family and expects me to do the same. When I get worked up about something that a relative says or does, he talks me back down.
10. I love that we love the same movies and free time activities. Spending the day with him is always doing something that I would love to do right by myself....but of course, being with him makes it that much better. ( For example, we love when the James Bond marathon comes on, usually in December....pop us some popcorn and we are happy all day.)
11. a bonus....I love him for loving me. Life is so much sweeter with him.
Happy Birthday Gene. I am looking forward to Longhorn and Starbucks tonight...2 of our favorite places.
I hope you have an awesome day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up

We have had an eventful weekend. It started with the college students from Gene's ministry coming over for a movie night. This meant that my day Friday was spent cleaning my entire house while "mothering" my 2 girls. That is never fun. I have been trying to break the cleaning into smaller tasks, doing a few rooms or a few things each day, but I had gotten behind with vacation. So Friday was a little stressful. As I was struggling to clean 2 toilets while keeping Gracen out of them, I had visions of Gene sitting in his quiet little office, relaxing at his desk with his feet propped up. It irritated me...just being honest. I know he has his own stress and works extremely hard to provide for our family, but sometimes the stress of doing things around children makes me desperately want to trade places with him and work outside of the home. I know I would miss them in an hour... well maybe two.

I did get everything cleaned that needed cleaning and managed to get myself ready and the girls ready....I assure you, that was no small feat. Then, before the college students arrived, we decided to rearrange the den furniture. Here is the new arrangement.

We decided to make almost a circle with the furniture so that the guest would be sitting facing one another and we made the TV the focal point. I know, I know...interior designers would say that your TV should NEVER be the focal point, but hey, we like it! The only problem with this arrangement is that my rug does not seem big enough now. This is a problem because larger rugs cost $300 and up, so I guess this one will have to do for right now. I may try this den rug under the dining room table and just see what I think. I'll let you know.
Here are some shots of the college students just hanging out at our house. We love them. They have been with us in our ministry for the five years that we have been at East Memorial. They honestly feel like family to us and my kids love them as much as we you will notice in the pictures.
Gracen just kept climbing all over Josh on the bean bag. It was pretty funny.

Here is Gene with the usual...and Gracen is still crawling all around.

In the above shot, Reagan is cuddled up in the chair with Madeline Faulk. She loved her time with Miss Madeline. and the remote. This makes him happy.

Here is Clay and Anslee playing with Gracen.

A close-up of Madeline and Reagan...with Sara off to the left. She is sporting her green headband and wristband...getting ready for youth camp. She will be leading the green team in recreation.

The girls hanging out with Ashlyn, Adam and Nick.
We had a fun night.
On Saturday, Gene did some yard work and I cleaned up the mess from Friday night. Then I just played with the girls most of the day since I didn't really play with them at all on Friday. Gene and I had a date night planned. We were going to Longhorn for dinner and then we were going to do a little shopping in honor of Gene's birthday which is tomorrow. We had a babysitter lined up and we were pretty excited. Around 4:00, I noticed that Gracen was really hot. I took her temp. and she had a fever of 102. Date night was immediately cancelled. I called Gracen's pediatrician's office and didn't actually get to speak with her doctor until around 5:00. Because of her history with kidney infections, he wanted me to collect a urine sample and meet him at the office at 6:30 p.m. Of course, Gracen missed her little bag two times, so we didn't actually get a sample to take the doctor until around 7:30. With our drive into Montgomery, we met him at the office at 8:00. He told me on the phone that if it was a real "dirty" sample, the infection could already be in her kidneys and we might be hospitalized for her to receive antibiotics by IV....gulp. I packed my suitcase and started praying.
Thankfully, the culture didn't look that bad to him. She did have a UTI and he sent us home with an antibiotic. He sent off the urine sample for a more accurate test and told us that those results would be back Monday. Those results could still land her in the hospital. More prayers went up.
On Sunday, she still had fever and was incredibly fussy. She also broke out in a rash from head to toe. The doctor said that it could be a reaction to the antibiotic and another one could be given or some children break out into a rash when their fever breaks. This had never happened to her before with the numerous other fevers that she has had...but OK. Needless to say, I stayed home from church. Boo!
The test results came back good. The doctor called it a mild infection in the kidneys. I thought that was great news. He told me not to worry if she does get a UTI because the preventative antibiotic she is on is NOT foolproof, just like taking cranberry everyday is not foolproof, but it certainly helps. We are still in prayer for her because any infection could take a turn. I am suppose to monitor her fever and behavior for the next several days.
On a positive note, Gene was suppose to go out of town on Sunday and return home on Friday, but because of Gracen's "unknown" condition, he did not go. I know he often has to travel and I am fine with that, but I would much rather him come home every night.
Well that is about it!
Until next time...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our Family Vacation

It has been a while since I have blogged. Our family was out of town last week for our annual vacation to Orange Beach, AL. We returned on Monday afternoon and it has taken me until now to catch up on house work, laundry, reading all the mail, running errands like buying groceries, etc. Not to mention it took a while to upload all the pics and then find time to sit down and write this entry.
This is basically a post of pictures....a lot of pictures....and, I am embarrassed to say that I probably have 100 more shots that I didn't add. What can I say, when it comes to my children and my family, every moment is photo worthy.

Here is the pool area outside our condo. Reagan LOVED this slide and the lazy river that went around the entire pool area. Actually we all loved that lazy river, even Gracen did really well in it.
Lazy River
My younger sister Lindsay and her daughter, Hayden....she was exhausted from all the fun in the sun.
Reagan, my niece Ariel, Gracen, and my mom
Gracen and me on our first morning to the pool. I was really "white"...I had not had time to roast yet.

Gene and Gracen

My Dad
First night out...Shrimp Basket...Gene, my nephew Dean, and my Dad

Gene and me

Miss Gracen

My mom, Reagan, and Ariel

Go carts...Reagan and Ariel

After the ride....does Reagan look a little scared?

My parents with Gracen...watching the go carts

Early morning...Dean, Ariel, and Reagan
My niece, Hayden

Hayden with her Daddy, Brian
Gracen and Dean

The babies in their pajamas...with Brian

Family shots at LuLu's restuarant Ariel and Reagan
Dean and GracenMom and Dad
My older sister Lori and her husband Scott (Ariel and Dean's mom and dad)

Brian, Lindsay, and Brian

Gracen in the sand
A new family favorite...a restaurant called The HangOut

Sand area at The HangOut
A few beach shots...we didn't see any oil

We had an absolute blast! If I could live at the beach, minus the hurricanes, I would. I can hardly wait to go back next year.
Thanks Mom and Dad for everything you do for us. You guys always sacrifice so we can enjoy. I love you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Home Improvements in Progress

I wanted to share a few quick pictures of what we have been doing around here. I wish I had taken before and after pictures, but of course I didn't. Many of you have been to our house so you know what it looked like before.

Here are a few shots of our den. We pulled all the carpet out and replaced it with hardwood. Gene painted our mantel and mounted our TV above it. We love it. The den looks so much larger with the hardwood and with the entertainment center gone. The candles on each side of the TV are from my bedroom. They aren't staying. I put them there to get an idea of what I might like on each side and forgot to remove them before the picture. We are leaning toward some tall pottery type vases on each side to add some color. We will see. Our next goal in the den is to hopefully build some white book shelves on each side of the mantel and have a custom mantel built into those shelves. We want it to be one flush wall unit, rather than looking like we stuck shelves on the side of a mantel. We have talked to Benny Burton, a talented builder from our church, to do the job. Gene also needs to add some shoe molding at the base of the mantel until a new unit is built.

We also need to update our throw pillows. I just have not had the time to go shopping for some of the finishing touches, like the pillows, accent rugs, and whatever we will put on each side of the TV.

Here is a shot looking into our foyer. We need an accent rug in front of the front door and we are updating the foyer table from my Dad's furniture line for Christmas. That new piece will really dress up the foyer. We are also updating the foyer light fixture and the den ceiling fan/light.... probably for our anniversary gift in Sept. We found a set we really like at Home Depot. Hopefully, they will still be there in Sept. I didn't take a picture of our dining room floor because it is full of junk that still has not found a home.

Here is Gene's little corner. He sits here every morning drinking his coffee and reading the Word. His chair needs a more colorful pillow as well.

This is a picture of the wall in our den. It is a terrible picture because of all the sun streaming in the windows, but I wanted to show the wall because this is the next project. Nicole Evans is coming to the house after we get back from the beach to look at all of our colors and then make some custom window treatments for all of the den windows, maybe the kitchen windows too. She does fabulous work and really should have been an interior designer. We are waiting on her before we buy the additional accent pieces and accessories. We may let her help with that as well. You can also see a very empty corner to the right of the windows. This is where our entertainment center used to be. We are looking for a comfy chair with some kind of cool print for this area. Nicole may can help us with that too. Then of course, we will need a little table over there, and hey, I may have a new quiet time spot.
Here is our bedroom. We love the way the floors turned out in here. We want a large area rug in here and a leather storage bench/seat at the foot of the bed. We would also love new bedroom furniture, but that's not going to happen....just saying.

I have a nice little reading spot in our bedroom I really enjoy it too.
Well, that is it for now. We will be doing a little bit each month, so I will keep you posted on the changes.
I am going to pack, then hair appointment at 1:00, home for more packing, swimming lessons for Reagan at 4:00, dinner at Gene's parent's house at 6:00, and then back home to finish packing. I am so ready to head to the beach. I can taste the seafood now. I should have lots of great pictures when I return.
Until next week...