Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Just some thoughts

I am stunned by the fact that Josiah will be turning three years old on January 7th and even more stunned that Ava Beth will be one year old December 22nd. It seems that I have blinked and she has gone from newborn to baby to a chunky little girl in no time! Yes, it makes me want another baby! But, we are going to wait longer than we did the last time. Having two this close in age has been crazy! So worth it though! God has supernaturally given me more energy than I could possibly imagine. I am truly amazed at mothers of twins, even more so by mother's of triplets! WOW! Everyone kept telling me, "After you have two, you will change your mind about wanting a third!" I hated that comment! People now tell me I am "Crazy" for wanting another child. I hate that comment even more!! These two precious children bring me joy beyond measure and there is one thing in my life that I am certain I am good at, being a Mom! That's right, I am a good Mom! Actually, I'm an awesome Mom! I have my days when I want to scream and run away to Target all by myself but I always want to come back and I always adore my greeting from Josiah when I walk in the door. "Mommy, you are home! Mommy's home!!" Then it's followed by him hanging on me saying, "Mommy, I wanna hold you." NOTHING is better than hearing those words! Hearing those words brings confirmation that I am good at what I do. God called me to this life and He has given me the skills I need in order to do it and do it well. When they are teenagers, I TRUST He will give me even more skills!

I have never been a good finisher. Starting something is easy, but finishing is always a challenge for me. God constantly creates roads for me to travel in order to teach me the gift of being steadfast. But two things in life remind me daily about being steadfast, being a wife and being a mom. I can't quit, I don't want to quit. Those are the only things I know that I will finish strong because God created me for it. I can be me and they will still be there. I can be silly and they will laugh. I can be good at something and they will be proud. I can be angry and they will forgive. I can love and they will love me back. I can be Amanda, the real Amanda, and they will always believe in me no matter what.

Jeremy, Josiah and Ava Beth, what a family I have!! I am so blessed to have them and I am so thankful for the safe place they give me. So why would anyone think I am crazy for wanting to add to that?? Who wouldn't?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

MiMi's Shoes

If you were to walk inside my closet and then inside my mom's closet, you may think we are a little weird. We have the same shoes, the same purses, the same velour jogging suits, the same shirts, the same jewelry, the same everything! What can I say? We shop together! She is a young mom too, so she dresses cool! Of course I am going to copy her! So because of this, it has become necessary for us to call each other to find out what the other is wearing. This keeps us from showing up at the same event wearing the same thing! Sometimes, it can't be helped! But come on, does anyone really notice how many things we have that are exactly alike? Well...yes.

Just this evening I was getting the kids ready to go out to dinner when my son walked up to me, looked at my shoes and said, "Mommy is wearing MiMi's shoes!!"

Oh how often I wish I could truly wear "MiMi's Shoes". To walk in her shoes would be such a gift. I have watched her walk through so much in her life. She has conquered things I have yet to conquer. She has walked through doors I have yet to find. She has closed doors I have been unable to close. She has experienced victory over things I struggle with every single day. She has walked with Jesus for so many years and I have seen her be transformed all because she was willing to take the steps. If only I could walk in her shoes and take the steps she has taken. Oh, but I will.

So, yes Josiah. I am wearing "MiMi's shoes" today.

Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
I love you Mom!

Where is Oprah when you need her?

So tired, so busy, so out of words to blog. Looking for rest, looking for a fill up, looking for some energy in all areas of life! Oh how I wish Oprah would show up at my door to surprise me with a limo that would drive me to the Four Seasons hotel for a day at the Spa. There I would receive a pedicure, manicure and two hour massage! My hair looks great already so I don't need that (thanks Mom for being such an amazing hair stylist!) anytime soon! While being pampered at the Four Seasons I would also be served strawberries and champagne! Then the amazing day would not be over yet! My husband would be waiting in the limo for me and we would then go to dinner at PF Changs, my favorite!

I feel better just day dreaming! Oh where is Oprah when you need her?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Recipe Blog coming soon!

Just wanted to let you know that I am going to start a recipe blog! Sometimes I get stuck in a menu rut and I feel as if I am making the same things over and over again. So, I try to be creative in as many ways possible. Thanks to the Food Network, friends that are great cooks and recipe books, I have come across delicious entrees for the Hayes home. Coming soon, I will have my very own recipe blog to share with all of you that are looking for something different, something easy or something delicous to add to your cooking repertoire! I will let you know as soon as it is up! It may not be until the first of the year. For now, I must get back to baking! Twenty three cheeseballs and six Rum Cakes are finished! Now, I have nine pies, six large pumpkin loaves and six small pumpkin loaves to go! (More on that later!) Then I will cook for my own Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Betty Sue & Barbara Jean

Almost four months ago, we moved forty miles away. The house we sold, I will always cherish. We lived across the street from my best friend! We built across the street from each other on purpose and it was so much fun. There were times I could be sitting on the toilet, realize we were out of toilet paper, call Rebecca to borrow a roll and have it within thirty seconds! She would run it across the street and Jeremy would meet her at the door. Voila! I have toilet paper! Sometimes I would try on an outfit to see if it looked good. If I was not sure, I would call Rebecca and asked her to walk outside and I would do the same. "Does this look okay?" And it seemed that our families always shared ketchup! Every time we needed ketchup, we called to borrow from the Taylor's. Then when they needed it, they called us to borrow their ketchup back! Not only did we share anything and everything with each other but we shared something even better, laughter! Lots of laughter!! I remember one night we had a laser light and we sat in our front window pointing it into their living room. Still I crack up thinking about Greg, her husband and Daniel, her son getting up to watch that light! Oh and one night the guys were having a bible study at her sister's house who also lived on our street, and we heard it getting heated. So we sneaked up and listened through the window! I was laughing so hard, I almost peed my pants. Trips to Wal Mart, to Sonic or to Little Elm's small town grocery store (KEYS, yuck!), it was so much fun! Oh and let's not forget Childbirth and Doctor Neal! Betty Sue and Barbara Jean they called us. I miss Betty Sue right now more than ever! Tomorrow I will be baking my butt of for the Holidays and I won't have Betty Sue to take a break with. I am just now realizing as the holidays are here how much my heart misses her.

I am so thankful to have you for my best friend. You have loved me like no friend ever has. I miss not being able to look out the window to see if you're there. I know my life seems like I have moved on but I think of you every single day. Josiah misses his Aunt Rae Rae! Sooooo,who will get their Christmas lights up first this year? I'm still gonna try to beat you Betty Sue! I bet I can nag my husband to get it done more than you can! WOW, we were so blessed to have each other directly across the street. I love you so much Betty Sue (Rebecca)!

Barbara Jean
" Song Long U Tong!!

P.S. I really miss our Christmas singing in the car. No one can harmonize like us! We are queens of lounge singing and we sound GOOD!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Go Back

The next few days and nights, I will be busier than I have ever been. This business that I have created for myself is flourishing and growing like I never imagined. I am so busy that I cannot take on one more customer for the next week. This is only Thanksgiving so I am wondering how I will handle a Holiday like Christmas. One thing that keeps me going, one thing that keeps me energized late at night and in the early morning is the desire that God placed inside of me to do this. He is the one that birthed this whole idea! He is the one that showed me how I can be creative, have fun and still make a profit for my family. There have been many times this week when I have doubted, worried a little and wondered if I heard God right. But I go back to the beginning of this process when I KNEW this was what I was supposed to be doing. Not always do I hear God so clearly but I heard Him when I prayed about this business. Not in an audible voice, no. But, I heard Him very clearly and I have been learning throughout my entire Christian walk how to know when I am truly hearing from God. At times, it is a step of faith and one may not always know when to move forward, you just have to trust. Then there are those times when you know that you know that you know that God has spoken. I KNEW that Jeremy Hayes was going to be my husband. I knew that we were supposed to buy the house we are living in now. I knew to call a friend the other day because God brought her to my mind during prayer. Not everything is a jump out at you kind of thing. But a lot of times, it is! As I have been working late at night and getting up early in the morning to continue and taking care of my kids, the home and my husband, I have wondered "Am I doing the right thing?" Then, I hear God's voice . I hear what He told me the night he showed me what He wanted me to pursue. "Things will be tough. You will be tired. You will have days when you want to give up and quit. But, don't. The pay off will be much greater than you ever imagined and this business will bless many. Do not let feelings change your mind. Depend on Me for strength. Depend on Me every single day. When you doubt whether or not you heard from Me, go back to what you know is true."

I remember where I was, what I was doing, the time of day, everything! I remember when God spoke to me. So, I go back! When I am tired, when I am stressed, when I am overwhelmed, when I feel like giving up, I GO BACK to what He said. Some of you today are struggling in your marriage. Some of you have situations in life that are bringing about a spirit of defeat. You probably think it would be easier to give up and not finish. How will you ever experience the joy of a victory? How will you ever experience what Jesus has waiting for you at the end of the trial? Keep going, keep running, keep believing, keep relying on Him for strength. Go back to what you know to be true. Don't give up!!

(Someone needed this today! I had no idea what I was going to write about but somewhere maybe in the United States, maybe in China, I don't know where but someone needed this. I know I did!)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Just Like You!

Ava Beth


Yesterday many of my family members saw Ava Beth for the first time. "Ava Beth looks just like you!" Over and over again I heard those words. I also went to lunch with my Grandparents and I continued to hear throughout our meal how much we look alike. From our eyes to our lips, "Mandi, you looked just like that when you were a baby." Then last night we were surrounded by childhood friends of my mom and they got to see me for the first time. "Mandi, you look just like your mother." We all gathered together due to a death in the family. It's always sad to loose a loved one but always sweet to see those I miss so much. I was so proud to have my children with me and so proud to be beside my mother. It just made me realize what an amazing heritage I have that has been passed down from so many Godly women in my family. I pray that Ava Beth will always be so thankful for the women in her life. I know I am.

Mom you are beautiful and I am so proud to be your daughter!
I am happy to look "just like you"!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm the Map!

If there's a place you gotta go, I'm the one you need to know, I'm the map. I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map. If there's a place you gotta get, I can get ya there I bet, I'm the map. I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm tha map, I 'm the mop, I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map, I'M THE MAP!

There is nothing worse than having a song stuck in your head at midnight while you are trying to go to sleep! No matter how hard I tried, I could still hear the little voice of Dora, "Who do we ask for help when we don't know which way to go?" And then it starts, the song, I'm The Map!!

Today, I am not sure which way to go. I have a side business that I need to make a lot of purchases for today. As I looked at the my list after midnight last night (remember I couldn't sleep thanks to Dora!), I was overwhelmed. Do I go to Sams? Do I go to Wal Mart? Do I go to all of the grocery stores to buy whatever is on sale? How can I make the best of my time without getting a ten and half month old and two and a half year old out of the car a million times. Where is the smartest place to buy everything I need and still make a profit from my business? I want to be smart and watch for bargains and get the best deal but I also need the best deal for time management too.

So this morning as simple and silly as it sounds, I heard Dora again! "Who do we ask for help when we don't know which way to go? The map! The map!"

James 1:5 If you need wisdom- if you want to know what God wants you to do- ask him, and he will gladly tell you.

Lord, please guide and direct me today. Help me to make good use of my time. I pray that you will give me wisdom in all that I do and please, please help my children to come into alignment with you. May they have sweet and calm spirits. Please help me to have a good day and make good decisions for my business. Thank you for placing this idea in my heart and giving me the tools to carry it out. I pray that I can make a profit to bless my family! And thank you so much for the cool weather!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Warm Delights

Slice and bake, just add water, pre-made pies or Hamburger Helper does not sit well with me. I don't mind eating one of your slice and bake cookies or tasting some of your Hamburger helper but I have a hard time using those simple fixings in my own kitchen! Call me crazy, but it's just a personal thing. Whether it's cookies or a frozen Lasagna, I just can't do it. I don't think bad of those that do, but for some reason I just can't bring myself to do it but this weekend, I gave it a try! I love to cook, I love to bake, I love to create in the kitchen. So if Jeremy, my husband, wants something sweet, I bake something. I have learned simple things to throw together to satisfy His sweet tooth. He brags a lot on my cooking so I feel if I use something pre-made, I am cheating him. Plus I love doing it so I just figure those easy deserts are for those that hate to be in the kitchen. But, I gave a quick fix desert a try and much to my surprise Jeremy liked it and so did I.

Betty Crocker has just come up with something new called, Warm Delights. I went by Target on Saturday night with a friend and when we walked in there was a display of this new product. My friend said, "Have you tried these? They are so easy and surprisingly so good!" The price was great so I thought, what the heck! Well, these darling little bowls of Molten Chocolate Cake were delicious! Warm, smooth, and yummy!! The only thing I had to do was add water!! Guess what? Jeremy was pleased too! So, these yummy treats are on my grocery list. I got to thinking about how easy it would be fore Jeremy to pop one of these in the microwave when I am not home or when I have not had time to bake him something sweet. It may not be something I spent an hour preparing in the kitchen but at least I have a back up plan when my schedule has gotten the best of me!

Last week was busy for me and this week will only be worse. There are many things on my calendar and I found out this morning that I have officially run out of the "Go Get 'em" mentality. I am tired, very tired. So, this morning I slept until the kids woke up. Usually I get up early and spend time reading God's word. It helps me prepare for the day and gets me on track in so many areas. But today, that did not happen. My day has been stressful, yucky and my my mind has been focusing on too many negative things. If only I would have gotten up when I should have and spent time praying and listening to God. Then I thought of something, Warm Delights.

No, I did not sit down and spend an hour reading and praying. No, I did not get my thoughts focused before going about my many tasks for the day. All day long I have been asking God to help me get back on track. As I was cutting out coupons from the Sunday paper, I found one for Warm Delights. It's quick, easy, delicious and affordable so I clipped the coupon for my next trip to the grocery store. When I am unable to spend time in the kitchen, I can always use this for a quick desert. I don't have to spend an hour every single time I need a desert craving satisfied.

Sitting down and focusing all of my attention on God this morning did not happen. But through out the day I have had Warm Delights with Him. From songs in the car, to praying as I pick up toys or fix lunch for the kids, He has been there. Most of the day I have been beating myself up for not getting up when I should have but I am so thankful that He is always there. He always makes time for me, even when I don't for him. There will be days that are smooth as silk followed by days like today and that is okay. I always have my Warm Delights and I don't have to feel guilty.

Thank you Lord for your sweet Holy Spirit that reminds me of how much I am loved. It is so refreshing to know that I don't have to be perfect. You are always there, waiting for me to come just as I am. Wow, I am overwhelmed by your grace. Thank you Jesus for loving me so much. Thank you for speaking to me in the most incredible yet simple ways.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Blood of Jesus! Come on Christians!

Wouldn't it be nice if Church was truly a safe place for ALL? I can't even begin to imagine what a true worship service would be like if it was filled with homosexuals, alcoholics, drug addicts, men who cheat on their wives, women who cheat on their husbands, men addicted to pornography or any other group of people with lifestyles that repulse! Can you see them? Can you imagine them flooding the alter crying out for Jesus to save them? Can you you see them crying out and lifting their hands in worship? Can you see them worshiping Jesus?

No, you can't! You are too busy hanging out with "Christians"!

Yesterday morning I found out that I live in a cul-de-sac where there are THREE homosexuals. That's right, three homes just a few yards away from me. My kids are growing up in a neighborhood that we love that also has homosexuals.

I hope they like pumpkin bread, because they will be getting some from my family for Thanksgiving. I hope they like Christmas cookies, because they will be getting some of those too. Who knows, maybe I will invite them over for dinner. Yes, they will see my George Bush bumper sticker on the back of my Expedition and think I am too hard core to give them the time of day but may they see the heart of Jesus in my family! For maybe I can prove them wrong. Maybe I can show them that I am more than a Christian! I am someone just like them saved by the blood of Jesus!

So come on Christians, what does the BLOOD of Jesus truly cover? Just your sin?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday I'm In Love

For the past month or so I have been waking up every morning when my husband does. Organizing the day before the kids wake up is the only way I have sanity. While Jeremy gets ready for work, we sometimes talk about the day ahead of us and it has been such a great time of the day for us. Even if it is only thirty minutes, it is so worth it! Making the commitment to spend time with the Lord every single morning has truly made a remarkable change in my attitude and I have experienced some amazing breakthroughs along the way. Change has truly been taking place in my life like never before. I actually like the woman I am becoming. As my 30th birthday rapidly approaches, I continue to seek Christ with all that I am and strive to be all that He wants me to be. For those couple of hours of silence in the morning, I can spend time reading His word, praying or writing something that the Holy Spirit gives me to give to all of you. Blogging has actually brought about healing to me in a lot of ways. Amazing, isn't it? Since this change has been taking place in my spirit, in my mind, in my heart and in my attitude, I have often wondered if anyone has noticed. I know I am changing, I know I have done better in many different areas of my life and I know that I feel better about who Amanda Hayes is. But, what about others? Does Jeremy see that my attitude has changed? Does he see that I am not fretting about so many different things? Does he see that our home has order now? I don't know about you but it really helps when other people see change taking place and they tell you about it. Pats on the back, atta-boys, high fives, anything that makes me feel special, I am all for it!! If no one else notices a difference, is there really a difference taking place?

This morning at 6:30am, my sweet husband, cuddled up next to me and said, "Babe, I am so proud of you." "For what?" I said. "You are doing such a good job taking care of us and the house looks amazing. I can just tell that you are trying so hard right now. I think it is awesome that you are getting up early in the morning. I can see the difference in you. I am so proud."
Okay, that's what I needed! Thank you Lord for allowing Jeremy to see and feel the difference in his wife. Thank you.

Words of encouragement and words of someone that is proud is always best when it come from my husband. His words are like honey. His words are better than anyone's! So, today is Friday , my favorite day of the week and I'm in love all over again! The Cure sings a song that says it best, "It's Friday, I'm in love!"

I love you Jeremy Wilson Hayes. I prayed for someone like you for a long time. It is so nice to wake up next to you every single day. You are truly my best friend. Remember what you said when we were dating? "I have to tell you something but I am scared to." I am so glad you told me you loved me! I love you too! Tomorrow is pancake breakfast with the kids! I can't wait! It is a dream come true to create wonderful traditions with our children. Thanks for creating an environment for me to be all that God wants me to be. Aren't you glad we moved out of Little Elm? God is so faithful!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Red Cup

Tonight I had to drive about thirty miles to do a jewelry show. It was my hour to be alone so I wanted to enjoy the break from changing diapers all day! So I listened to some Christmas music, stopped at the Starbucks around the corner and ordered a delicious, extra hot, Pumpkin Spice Latte! The drive was peaceful, the music was joyous, and the Latte was divine. As The Red Cup was passed through the window by the happy Starbucks employee, I felt refreshed. Never in a million years did I believe I could turn into a Starbucks junkie, but I think I am on the verge.

Okay so everyone's asleep and I am so thankful for TiVo. For now I can watch Paula Deen's Southern Thanksgiving without anyone screaming "MOMMY!"

Kelly Ann, my treat on Saturday! It will be a great treat for us to sip as we walk the aisles of Hobby Lobby WITHOUT our kids OR Husbands!!

A New Season

As I looked out the window this morning, I noticed my front and back yard covered in crisp, beautiful leaves. Finally, the season has changed. Sometimes it takes way too long for those leaves to fall when you live in Texas. This colorful and windy change brings excitement to my spirit for I know that it is a new season. Brand new things are coming my way.

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)
18"But forget all that--it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers for them in the desert!


It's a new season, it's a new day
A fresh anointing is flowing my way
It's a season of power and prosperity
It's a new season coming to me

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

He Knew!

Last night after everyone was in bed, I decided to get up for some orange juice. When I went to open the refrigerator , I saw a magnet on the door that I had never seen before. "A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future and accepts you today the way you are." I knew right away who it was from and how it got there without me knowing!

Junior High and High School tend to be full of drama when it comes to teenage girls and their issues with each other! They love each other, they hate each other. Best friends one day, worst enemies the next! One makes class council one year, the other makes it the next year. One has a boyfriend all the time, one wishes they had a boyfriend all the time. Thinking back to that time in my life makes me so glad that I am no longer a teenage girl. Mom, how about you? Do you still wish I was a teenager? HA! Teenage girls are the worst and if your friendship can make it through the teenage years, it can make it through anything. Kelly McNeil was a friend from junior high and high school and church. Not only did we attend the same schools but we were also in the same youth group from church which means we were together all the time. We had one class together, Choir. She was an alto, I was a soprano. We sat across the room from each other and when things weren't going well in our relationship, our eyes would constantly roll when making eye contact with each other. It was intense! Then, the next day things would be fine and we would laugh at each other or do things to get each other's attention. Many days we went to lunch together until one of us got mad and then it was off. Wednesdays were not good days for us to hate each other because we had youth on Wednesday nights and our youth pastor could always tell when one of us were not getting along. Oh, the games I played as a girl! Kelly was sooooo smart and sooooooo pretty and had soooooooo many boyfriends. Is that why she upset me so much back then? What do you think? When I think back to that relationship I am truly amazed because God gave both of us such an incredible and actually mature way of getting over things. Once we made up, it was done. We always. He knew!

He knew that in the year 2005 that Kelly and Amanda would be in their late twenties and need each other. He also knew that there would be two little boys only two months apart that needed each other. Kelly's son ,Trey and my son, Josiah. Over the past ten years, Kelly and I have seen each other a couple of times but even that was seven years ago. Not too long ago, our ten year reunion came up. I was unable to go because we were moving but I saw Kelly's name on an email and decided to send her a message. Many emails exchanged and good times shared and finally a few weeks ago, we got together. She lives only fifteen minutes away! Josiah and Trey had an instant connection. Almost every single morning Josiah wakes up saying, "I want Trey to come over. I want to ride in Trey's mommy's car. I want to go to Trey's house!" Trey, Trey, Trey, Trey, Trey! Josiah told my mom yesterday that Trey was his best friend. I also understand that in Trey's home it is "Josiah this and Josiah that". God knew that not only did I need a friend, but Josiah needed one too. He knew!

A few weeks ago I begin to pray specifically for a friend that I could be myself with. A friend that I did not have to spend forever getting to know. A friend that was Godly, encouraging and a friend that had kids, more specifically someone that had a boy Josiah's age. Never in a million years would I have known it would be one of my best friends that I grew up with, but He knew.
So yesterday Kelly Ann called me and asked if I was going to be home because she wanted to drop something off at my house. Her and Trey came by and my mom was here so that was fun for my mom to get to see Kelly. My precious friend brought a gift that I needed and told me that this was letting me know that she believed in what I was doing and praying for it. (I am chasing after a dream right now and as God works out the details, I will share with you what it is but not yet!) But Kelly knows what it is and blessed me with a wonderful gift and even more goodies. She plays The Grocery Game and had some wonderful bargains and shared the wealth with me. Little did I know that she placed that magnet on my refrigerator while she was here yesterday but He knew!

I needed someone close by. I needed someone to go to Target and Hobby Lobby with. I needed someone to scrape change with and go eat off the ninety-nine cent menu at Wendy's with. I needed someone that doesn't get so stressed out like me when the kids are acting crazy. She is calm and I needed that. I needed someone to accept me when I am ugly and she has, she will and she did. In junior high, in high school and here we are now. I never knew that Kelly Ann would be here fifteen years later. I never knew our sons would become friends. I never knew that she would be such a breath of fresh air and my incredible answer to prayer. I never knew.
But...He knew.

"A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future and accepts you today the way you are."

Thank you Kelly Ann!

Monday, November 07, 2005


By now you know how much I love Christmas! The anticipation of the season is so exciting! When the first Christmas commercials begin to air (especially Target's commercials) it brings a smile to my face. Even tonight we saw a Christmas commercial on TV and Josiah, my almost three year old, screamed, "Christmas Tree Mommy!! I see a Christmas Tree!!" I guess it is the simple things of the season that excite me for what is to come. The week before Thanksgiving or the week of, you will begin to see Christmas tree lots. Grocery stores will make room in the parking lot inside of a tent or in a space near the doors. Some stores will clear out their garden area and fill that space with trees. Just the other day I was driving by a popular nursery and noticed they were clearing out an entire section of the store to make room for trees! Some that drive by would never notice but it made me excited about Christmas and the beautiful time of year it brings. So when you are out and about, pay attention and you will begin to see that many are making room for trees! Clearing out the old and bringing in the new!

Over the past six months it seems that God has been making room in our lives. How can new things come when old things are taking full occupancy? He has cleared out many things and made room for blessings in many different ways. Yesterday I spoke with a dear friend and listen to her talk about all that God was doing in her life. As I listened to her talk, I began to realize that God was clearing the way for great blessings to come her way. Often we do not understand what God is trying to do. The only thing we can do is follow His leading and have faith that He is going to bless our obedience. For me personally, this process is a painful one. Six months ago, we began that process and along the way my entire life changed. But I am amazed at what God has done. God has brought my family to a new land. Not only do we have a new physical address but we have a new spiritual address. So much change has brought so much growth. I know now that we never would have experienced these blessings without God making room for the blessings. We could not comprehend what the Lord was trying to do back in May of this year but thank God we followed! Our lives, our schedules, were filled with junk and it has been cleared out completely, totally! A new beginning, a new home, a new life. I am so grateful for the closeness I have with Jesus today. My home is beautiful, it is bigger, it is closer to family, it is closer to Jeremy's job. This home has brought me closer to Jesus, it truly has. If you walk into my home, you will see scriptures posted in various places. This home is living and breathing on God's precious word and our home is truly centered on Him. We have our ups and downs and things are not always perfect but our source is rich and our source is being used. No longer do I smell stagnation, I smell life. God made room!

Jake, Minnie, Jacob and Kale, thank you for praying over this home. Thank you for the seeds you planted. Not only did you take care of this home from the inside and out, not only did you invest money and time making it beautiful but God invested in you. You made room for Him! I know that my home is built on solid ground, your growth that you experienced, your relationship that formed with Christ while you were here, can be felt. Thank you Minnie for the scriptures that are all over my home. I can't help but to feel that you left this home because God was blessing you with a new chapter like he was for us. Now we have stepped into the blessings God gave you. God was making room for all of us! If it wasn't for this house, I never would have met you! You are precious Minnie and God is using you in a big way!

Monday, Monday

The Mamas & The Papas sing one of my favorite songs. I really enjoy the tight harmony in that song and the words are so appreciated. "Monday, Monday, can't trust that day.... ". Well, it's Monday morning and for some reason I have the absolute worst time trying to get settled into my Mondays. I have gotten to be one of those that hate Mondays. Like the song says, every other day is fine except for Monday. "Every other day, every other day Every other day of the week is fine, yeah But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes A-you can find me cryin' all of the time." So, I need your help! Today, on this Monday, I am struggling with a funk. Isn't life full of them?!!

Currently I have a lot on my plate. Exciting things, dreaded things, fun things, boring things. This morning I got up early to spend some time reading my bible and I chose to read Ecclesiastes. Ha! Have you ever read Ecclesiastes? Well, when you are feeling discouraged with tasks at hand, I am not sure it is a good one to read but obviously the Lord wanted me to read it this morning so I have to believe there was a purpose. Beginning in chapter one you pretty much feel and read that life is meaningless. Read it! Chapters one through seven take you down a road of wondering what on earth we are doing working so hard to have the things we have when it all will be gone someday anyway. Eventually the book of Ecclesiastes gets you on the right track but you have to be patient and keep reading. Finally I saw what the Lord was wanting me to read in chapter seven ,verse eight. "Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out." It is amazing how the Holy Spirit directs our time with Him. I knew that when my husband's alarm went off this morning that I had to get up to. This morning I knew I needed to hear from God and I have. I never would have chosen Ecclesiastes to read so He chose it for me. I am not sure I can be a strong finisher but I can at least try.

Two commitments are knocking on my door. One I feel is an obligation, one I feel is a lot of fun. But I know in a few weeks I will probably be tired of doing both because that is how I am. ( I hate that about me! I want to change that about me!) One I am excited about and look forward to. The other I feel is an obligation that I am bound to and can't get out of . Both, I committed to doing. Both have positive and both have negative. It seems that I am a great starter in life, but not so much in finishing. When things get boring, I want to quit. When things get hard, I want to bail. What a huge flaw to overcome! On one hand I can count the books I have read and finished. Why do I do this? Well, the Lord will show me because I am asking! I am praying hard and trying to press through so I am asking my readers to pray for me too. May God use this journey to bring me closer to Him!

Thank you Lord for giving me a Husband that is so steadfast. I can't imagine having the same job for twelve years! Jeremy is truly amazing and oh how I wish I could be more like him!

Sunday, November 06, 2005


For some reason, Sunday nights tend to bring me down a little. Especially tonight! It seems like the past six months have been filled with many lessons from the Lord. It is so heavy on my heart right now and I know God is wanting me to press through. It all started with us leaving a church that we truly felt was our home. God began to show us things in our spiritual journey that He wanted us to change and those things could not be changed without us closing that chapter in our lives so we were obedient and left the church. Many things went into our decision but more than anything it was God's wisdom that He gave to us through His word, His Holy Spirit and through someone very Godly who gave us counsel. It was hard but it was a huge relief. As Christians I think we can make our church our God and we loose sight of what church is truly supposed to be about. Today I think back to a year ago and what was going on in my life. For the first time in my life, I felt truly loved, truly accepted and truly needed. Those three things everyone longs to feel, I do believe. A year ago I had just been given a baby shower by a group of girls from church. It was an incredible day honoring me and my daughter. If you would have told me then that all of those I was surrounded by would no longer be a part of my life today, I would have thought you were insane. But, it is true. When big, life changing events happen in your life, you want to be surrounded by those that will always be there. You want to be able to look back at pictures of those events and see faces of friends that are still beside you today. Sadly, it does not always turn out that way. Think about it. How many of you would go back and change who you chose to be in your wedding? I would. Seasons bring about many changes in our lives and when a season ends, often friendships do too. For six months I have hurt. For six months, I have been angry. For six months, I have been confused. For six months, I have been closed off to the idea of making new friends. Not only did we leave a church but we put our house on the market, it sold in three weeks and we moved about forty miles away. Obviously God was ready for us to relocate! There is not one bit of doubt that we are where we are supposed to be. I know that we were obedient to what the Holy Spirit showed us He wanted us to do. Many argue over whether or not people truly "hear" from God but I can tell you that we heard from God like never before. He has brought confirmation after confirmation and blessed us with His power in our lives like we never inagined. I continue you to struggle with my feelings and I grieve over the way things were handled. There was a day when I always had someone to go to the mall with and I no longer have that. As a stay at home mom, I need other women and I have not had that in quite a while. But I have not sought it out and I am beginning to feel like I am almost ready to seek friendships again. This season of change has been one of spiritual, relational and geographical. At times it has been more than I could bare so I have just held onto Jesus and gotten to know Him even more that I did when I lived in Little Elm. That little town was a chapter I will never forget but one I am truly ready to close once and for all.

Thank you Lord for your constant love, I feel it. I pray that you will continue to heal my heart and please give me wisdom in choosing friends. Help me not to hold on too tight or give away my heart too soon. May you be the center of my life and not people. I pray that I can be an answer to someone's prayer. I pray that you will use me to show someone how much they are truly loved, truly accepted and truly needed. Teach me to have true friendships and nothing but. I am truly seeking you out Lord, I need you so much. Thank you for not giving up on me. I love you.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Every year around this time I do something a little crazy. Actually, it is normal for me but others would think it is a little much. My husband has finally gotten used to it but still thinks I am just a little bit over zealous. What is it you ask? Today, I will start listening to Christmas music!! Yes, I know that Thanksgiving has not come yet but in the Hayes home we start before Turkey day. On Thanksgiving Day, my home will already be decorated for Christmas. This year I am decorating on November 19th! I always like to get it done before Christmas so I can truly enjoy all the days leading up to Christmas with my beautiful tree and other decorations. Decorating this year will be extra special since we are in a new and bigger house than we were last year. That means more lights for the outside too! Oh and we have a full size tree too! Just the other day I asked Jeremy when we were going to get the lights put up on the house and he about fell over. Don't worry I don't turn them on until Thanksgiving! I am not that crazy! But, the whole anticipation and days of planning bring about so much joy in my life. The day I decorate my house for Christmas is truly my most favorite day of the year!

My heart longs for tradition and I love being the one to start new ones. Josiah, Ava Beth and any babies to come (yes, I want another baby!) will grow up hearing Mommy sing Christmas carols early in November, see Daddy putting lights on the house before anyone else on the street does and they will know what a special season Christmas is to our family. Josiah is already learning about some of the special things I have planned for him and he is excited. We decorated our fridge on one side with fall leaves and pumpkins that we made out of construction paper and he knows that we will decorate it for Christmas next. Ava Beth will learn in just a few years that her and I will always bake Christmas cookies and candy together for our neighbors every single year. These are the times that I adore being a Mom. I often hear people say that you should love what you do and I can honestly say that I love what I do. This is what I was made to do. Thank you Lord for making my dreams come true.

Less than EIGHT WEEKS until Christmas! That means that A Charlie Brown Christmas will be on in less than a month! I still don't have it on DVD but this year I will or I always have Tivo! Everyone knows how much I LOVE Charlie Brown. "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" Charlie Brown

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Main Ingredients

In 1996 I was nineteen years old trying to find out who I was and what I was becoming. Many of my friends from High School were off at College living the dorm room life and experiencing what most people that age experience. I did not go away to school, I decided to go to a near by junior college only to quit after a few classes. School was not something I felt motivated to do so I didn't! About a year later I tried again at an actual University only to quit after a few short weeks. It seems that my only dream in life at that point was to be a wife and a mother. So I spent a lot of time praying that God would begin to shape and mold me into the capable wife. Actually, I prayed it almost every single day. Living on my own was something I did pretty quick after High School. Working was something I had to do so I held many different jobs for a few years at a time and would get bored and do something else. Never did I feel quite content. As crazy as it may sound, I wanted to cook, I wanted to clean, I wanted to take care of a home that was my own and I wanted to be married with kids. It was during those years of being single that I learned to cook. God placed many different women in my life that showed me the basics of cooking and baking. If you have the "main ingredients" on hand at all times, you can always throw something together for an unexpected guest. So, my kitchen is always stocked with nine rudimentary things for mixing up something sweet! Vanilla, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, butter, salt, flower, baking soda and chocolate chips! Mix all of those together and you get some tasty chocolate chip cookies! And every guest not only needs something sweet to eat but something sweet to drink so my refrigerator always has a pitcher of sweet tea that I continually stock (Jeremy adores my sweet tea so I always have some made). As my desire to be a wife and mother grew stronger, as my cooking became tastier and my homemaking began to take form, my desire to be a true lady of virtue became a longing like none other.

Keeping my home in order is quite the chore. Having two kids a little less than two years a part makes for a very busy, messy and noisy house. A few months ago I begin to study this passage in Proverbs again. As I did, the Lord begin to teach me new things and the verses began to speak to me in ways they never had before. Not only does my home need to be in order by cleaning, organizing, scheduling, cooking and disciplining, it needs to be in order spiritually. Since I am the heart of this home and the affairs of this home are to be managed by me (Proverbs 31:27), I must make sure that I have all the "main ingredients" for being a Godly woman. If I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies but I did not have eggs, my cookies would not taste very good. Chocolate Chip cookies without the chocolate chips would not be chocolate chip cookies, would they? Just as my kitchen shelves should always hold nine key ingredients, so should my daily life. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control(Galatians 5:22-23). As I study the passage in Proverbs, God continually shows me the fruits of the spirit being displayed by this beautiful woman. The more I study her, the more I see my role at home and what an honor, privilege and blessing it is. Oh and the sweet tea? Well, the Holy Spirit has become such a sweet reminder in my daily life of how my home should taste to others.

So, I ask you my friend, do you have all the ingredients needed? Or are the "main ingredients" missing? At times I get low on sugar, so I make a note when I see it getting low. That way I never run out. Quite often I run low on self control so I ask the Lord to give me the strength and self discipline to refill. How about you? It may be time to check your shelf and see what's missing.

Proverbs 31:10-31