Saturday, December 31, 2005

I needed new friends

Back in March of this year I attended a Women's retreat that I did not want to go to. Honestly, the only reason I was going was because I had to. I was asked to sing and said yes, so I had to! The weekend was a rough one for me for many reasons but one being that I did not care to connect with the Lord and especially did not want to connect with other women. But that weekend, there were two blonde girls sitting on the front row that kept my attention. They looked to be about my age and for some reason without even talking to them, I felt like they were like me. The whole weekend I noticed how they laughed, giggled, whispered, and had fun just being there. At one point I remember thinking, "I want to be friends with people like that." It wasn't that I did not have friends at that point, it was just something about those two girls that stuck with me. I was in a funk and they gave me hope without them even knowing it. Their laughs, their faces, their spirit, they stuck with me.

As I have said many times before, this move to the new house, was rough. I am sure you can tell by the blog comments that I have some awesome friends in my life that encourage me and build me up. Well, most of the ones you see that comment on my blog live about forty miles away. I know it's not that far but when you quit going to the same church and you move, your friendships can't operate at the same level that they were. Which explains the loneliness I have felt since moving here. Looking for a church has been dreadful to say the least so when you can't find a church, it's hard to find friends. I have needed to find those girls that I saw back in March at that retreat I went to. Their laughs, their faces, their spirit, they stuck with me. So as I prayed to find friends, God continued to give me a vision of those two girls sitting on the front row at the retreat. I never thought anything about it. I just thought since I was praying asking for friends that God gave me a picture to think about while praying. The picture? Those two girls! Every single time I prayed about God sending me new friends, the two girls came to my mind. Once again, their laughs, their faces, their spirit, they stuck with me. So, I kept praying, "God send me friends like that!"

If you ever wonder whether God really cares about the details in your life, don't wonder. He does! Finally, after living here for five months, we have a church home. With our new home, came a new church. With our new church, came new friends. Those kind of friends that I prayed for. Not only were they what I prayed for but they were the ones that came to my mind while praying. The two blonde girls on the front row! Their laughs, their faces, their spirit, they stuck with me and now they are stuck with me. God kept giving me that vision when I prayed for friends on purpose. That way, I knew they were in my life on purpose. So that retreat that I did not want to go to, well I now go to church with all of those ladies I was not interested in meeting. Never in a million years would I have guessed that someday I would go to that church. At the time, I lived on the other side of the world but now I am twelve miles away. Funny how God works? No, that's what He does. He orchestrates every single detail of our lives. Your laugh, your face, your spirit, they stick with Him and He longs to bless every detail of your life. He cares about everything you do, He takes you to every place you go and He has given you every friend you have.

Thank you Lord for my new friends. I have needed them!

Two blogs worth checking out!

Great reading! Yes, I say that because they are my friends but I love how God is using them right now. These ladies spend time with God every single morning and encourage me to wake up to Jesus too. These girls not only get up and talk with God but they run too! Guess, what girls? I got a treadmill last night!!! I am so so excited to start running again during nap times (thanks Carrie for the example for me to follow)! It's time to get fit spiritually and physically! I do have a 30th Birthday coming up to get ready for! Jeremy won't tell me where He is taking me for our trip but I am sure I will need to be fit for a bathing suit!

Anyway, as I use this blog for jibber jabber this morning, here are some blogs that I go to for insipration and for spiritual challenge.

Look Forward
And this is what I think...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Do they really know? Continued

Tonight was spent in the kitchen baking for a delivery I have tomorrow for Sugar & Spice. My last one of the year! As I spent the evening in the kitchen I got to listen to my husband's mp3 player while I baked. It sure made my time in the kitchen more exciting. Plus I got to listen to all the songs I downloaded, so it was nice singing along to my favorite songs. Since music runs so deep through my veins, God uses it a lot to speak to me. Tonight, He took me down a path I wasn't ready to take which leads me to sharing it with you.

Kelly Clarkson is probably my favorite female artist right now. Her voice is one of the most amazing I have ever heard. Plus I feel a connection with her because we both had the same choir teacher in school, Mr. Glenn. I know if we ever met, we could share stories of Mr. Glenn yelling at the class! Different schools, different districts, different years, but the same Mr. Glenn. Kelly sings a song that I like to sing over and over again. The words take me back to a time in my life that I don't like to think about or talk about. It was time that bruised my heart so badly that I am still recovering today. With all the pain that it brought me, I am learning now as I approach thirty years of age, that it is a time in my life that must be dealt with. So as I listened to that song over and over again tonight, I went back to the eleven year old girl that I was and sang, "I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly I'll do what it takes til' I touch the sky . And I'll make a wish. Take a chance. Make a change. And breakaway."

When I was eleven years old, my Mom left my Dad. My brother and I lived with her until I talked my Mom into letting me live with my Dad. I was so worried about him because he would tell me that he was going to committ suicide if he did not have me with him. Never would I let my mom know he was saying those things to me! For if she knew, she would never let me leave so I just made her life a living hell until she let me leave. I just knew that if I were with my Dad that he would be okay. I could take care of him and make sure he did not commit suicide. At eleven years old I did not realize that he was manipulating me. So, I moved in and took care of Him. A couple of weeks after I moved into his one bedroom, nasty apartment, the electricity was cut off. It was winter so it got very cold at night. He had no way of paying the bill because he had lost all of his accounts with his job. He had drained my grandmother dry of money so no one could bail him out. For three months, no electricity. Not once did I tell my mom. Each night he would leave to go to a friends house. I was left alone in a cold and dark apartment with no electricity. I did not even have light to do my homework. It hurts so bad to think about this but I remember crying myself to sleep every single night. Finally in the middle of the night, he would come home so drunk that he could not walk. I would tell him to sit down, I would pull of his boots and then that was it! He passed out every single night! I never had lunch money, never had a ride to school or a ride home. I actually failed my grade because I was never at school.

Last week I was at Best Buy buying my husband's Christmas present. When I walked in, I saw a girl that I went to school with in the sixth grade. She knew me back then during that horrible time in my life. As soon our eyes met, I knew she remembered me. Of course I acted like I didn't see her and walked around the corner. My heart was pounding and my stomach began to feel sick. This girl knew who I was. She knew what I came from. I remember when I was eleven she made fun of me because I did not have real "Keds", I had fake ones. I tried to take a blue sharpie and draw a square on the back of my shoes so they would look real, at least they would from a far distance. She also made fun of my makeup. I had just begun trying to wear makeup but I did not live with my Mom and I wasn't real sure how to wear it. Often, I wore too much because I just didn't know. I can still hear her voice now, "Amanda Livingston wears her makeup like Indian paint!" Not only did I not know how to wear it but I did not have electricity in the mornings to use a light and see what I was doing. Also, I loved to dance when I was a little girl so one day I heard this particular girl talking about her dance classes. I wanted so bad for those girls to like me that I lied and told them I took dance. Then there was always the talk of girls going to each other's homes to have slumber parties. Not me, I didn't really have a home. So, each night while my Dad was out getting hammered, I would pray. No TV, no radio, nothing! The only thing I could do was pray. It was those years that I began to feel how amazing the comfort of Jesus is. Every single night, I would cry out and ask God to make me a normal girl. "God, I just want to be normal. Help me be happy someday."

Seeing this girl in Best Buy brought up so much emotion. Until now, I haven't shared with anyone about seeing her that day. There was an urge deep within me to let her see me. "See! Look at me! I'm normal! Look at my kids! Look how gorgeous they are! I have a house! I have nice clothes. I have an SUV to tote my kids around! I am the All American Mom! Look at how good I have turned out! And some days I even think I am pretty darn cute! I may not be wearing Keds but I am wearing the cool and hip stuff now! Oh and look at my makeup, I think it looks awesome!" Now, I know that those thoughts may sound vein, but that was the eleven year old coming out in me. The thirty year old wanted to move on and forget I ever saw her but I now think God put us there at the same time on purpose. Whether this girl from my past remembered me or not, God used her to remind me that I am a normal girl now. Finally, I was able to

You may be one to cast judgment on others. You may make fun of them, talk about them or think bad thoughts about them. I know I have. But, what if you really knew what was inside of them? What if you knew where they had walked? What if you knew how they felt every night when their head hit the pillow? Maybe you think of them as being rude, unfriendly or unsociable. You may think bad of them because they don't smile at you or talk to you when they pass you in the hall at work or in the foyer at church. But what if it had nothing to do with you? Do you know their pain? Do you know what's in their heart? What about you? You have a story. You have pain. You have bruises on your heart. Do they really know you?

Father, I am overwhelmed by your sweet presence in my home tonight. I feel you doing so much in me right now. I know that you have called me to ministry and I know that all of the things on my timeline have happened for that very purpose, to minister. As you prepare me for that ministry, help me to love your people. The ones that don't smile, the ones that don;t affirm, the ones that don't accept me, help me to love them. And please help me to smile, affirm and accept. I want others to see Christ when they see me. Help me to heal so I can truly have the marriage I was intended to have.

Mom, I love you. I am so glad you married my other Dad, James. We are so blessed to have him and I am so thankful that you are married to someone that loves you how you are supposed to be loved. I am so sorry you ever went through the things you did but I am so glad you got the courage to take us out of that life. You are my hero.

Looking Forward: A Senseless Tragedy

Looking Forward: A Senseless Tragedy

This really broke my heart and has had me thinking all afternoon about how quickly our lives can change. I just can't imagine what she is going through. Please pray for God to consume her with His peace.

Do they really know?

A few weeks ago I was delivering some baked good for my business and a few of my customers were talking about me when I walked up. They did not know I heard them but I did. It was nothing bad, it was all good. They were referring to me in such an amazing manner and spoke of me like I had such a glorious life. I did not let them know I heard what they said, but I thought to myself, "If they only knew my cost. If they only knew the price I have paid for this anointing on my life." They may not know it is an anointing but I do. God has brought me through so much pain and changed me from the inside out. Those women don't know my story. They don't know my pain. They don't know my past. The only thing they know is what they see now. And God is still not finished with me yet!

Sometimes I like to imagine what people think about me when I am not around. What do they say? Who do they really think I am? They see the outside package but do they really know what is on the inside.

How many times have I made a judgment on someone before I really got to know them? Christians are the worst when it comes to this! I used to be a very judgmental person until I realized all that God delivered me from. Now, I know I am nothing without Him.

To be continued

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Restore My Life

Today my computer was having issues. I tried everything to get it fixed but nothing I did worked. I uninstalled, reinstalled, restarted, screamed and I even cried (it was a moment of frustration like I have not had in quite a while). The last thing I did was a SYSTEM RESTORE. I couldn't believe it! It actually worked! I just restored my computer to an earlier date, a date I knew my computer worked perfectly fine. After doing that, it was perfect all over again! It was that easy! So tonight I have been dreaming of restoring my life to an earlier time.

As 2006 awaits, I think of many things in my life even before 2005 that I would love to relive. How magical it would be to restore my life to earlier times for just a moment.

10. The day I got off the bus from morning Kindergarten. I was five years old and prayed to receive Christ that day. I would love to soak that all in again. Wow!
9. My Christmas at five years old when I got my Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader jacket! The excitement was explosive. I was truly the happiest little girl in the world.
8. My very first solo in church, "I wish I were a Butterfly." God was shaping a performer back then and I remember loving the stage at six years old. It has never left me! Singing is the most incredible gift and I feel so blessed that God chose me to have it. For I get to be ME when I sing!

7. The night my Papa took me with him to go get ice-cream for the family but we came back with nothing because he really just wanted to leave so he could smoke a cigarette. My Grannymaw was so mad. I wish he were still here to know my babies and my husband.
6. The day my Pawpaw took me to buy a new dress. It was white with blue polkadots. I wish he were still here to know my babies and know my husband.
5. The day I went to visit my Mammaw Ritter in the hospital few days before she died. She said, "You have your Mother's hands." I wish she were still here to know my babies and my husband. I think about her every single day.
4. The day I met Jeremy. He was sitting behind me in church and invited me to a bible study for singles. That day, I knew He was the one.
3. The moment I walked down the aisle at my Wedding to the song Agnus Dei. The Holy Spirit was so present and it was the most amazing Wedding I could ever hope for.
2. The day Josiah was born, January 7th 2003 in Grapevine, Texas. With His arrival came the arrival of a whole new woman. I am so thankful for everything He has brought me, especially for the change. He has taken care of so many issues in my life! You have to grow up when you have babies and I think I have.
1. The day Ava Beth was born, December 22nd 2004 in Grapevine, Texas. My mom was in the room along with Jeremy when she was born. It was an amazing moment to have my Mom in there as that little princess came into the world. I come from a long line of Godly women and that day I felt like my mom was there to give that gift to Ava Beth. This little girl has quite a heritage.

God continues to bless me and show me that I have everything I have always dreamt of. I feel like I am finally becoming what I was always meant to be, a fearless woman. For I am happy! As I go back to those memorable moments in my life, I am so thankful. Sometimes I long to go back but I know today I am exactly where I am supposed to be. He has truly restored my life.

Thank you Jesus for all you have done for me. Thank you for helping me break the bondage I have been in for so long called fear. I am finally beginning to feel safe in being happy. For the first time in my life, I am finally beginning to understand your love and realize how much you long to bless me. I know fear does not come from you! I really know it! Thank you Jesus! Thank you for restoring my life.

(Friends, family, you know this is a huge breakthrough for me! Fear has held me captive way too long!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

My kids in the Paper!!

Well, Josiah's new H2 Hummer has made news in The Fort Worth Star Telegram! Friends and family called exclaiming, "The kids are in the paper! Your kids are in The Fort Worth Star Telegram! Have you seen it?!"

In the Mid-Cities, the picture was on the front page of the Northeast section and it was big and in color. The paper in other parts of the metroplex had it in the same section but it was black and white. Color, black and white, who cares! My babies made the paper! We never dreamt in a million years as we were outside playing that a journalist would drive up our cul-de-sac and put our kids in the paper! And Grammy (Jeremy's Mom) made the paper too!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
May God bless you on this Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy 1st Birthday Ava Beth!

I can't believe you will be one year old tomorrow! A year ago tonight, I was miserable and up all night long. Contractions were coming like crazy so the next morning on December 22nd, a friend drove me to Baylor Grapevine in the sleet and snow and eight hours later, you were here! The nurse said I was not in full blown labor but Dr. Neal thought I would be soon so instead of sending me home in the snow, He kept me and induced labor. Daddy showed up in his UPS uniform but Mommy was prepared so he had clothes to change into. The day was incredible and the labor and delivery were both great! I would do it all over again, but not yet! (No Mom, I am not pregnant again! Not yet!) I love to dream about the days my babies were born. I like to envision the people, the nurses, the room and remember how amazing it was the day they came into my life. Those two days supersede anything and everything. There is nothing like it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Daddy's arms

For the next week, Ava Beth has to have two breathing treatments a day. She has a cold that almost always turns into a rattling, wheezy sound so it's necessary. All through the weekend, Daddy took care of her so Mommy could work on stuff for her Birthday party. Apparently a strong bond was formed between Father and Daughter! He sat down with her in the glider and gave her all of her treatments this past weekend. I did not do a single one. Before he did the first one I told him that she would wiggle, squirm, cry and do everything possible to get out of his lap. So the first time He sat down with her, I waited around the corner because I knew he would yell for my help. I waited and I waited. I heard the machine so I knew He had to be giving her the treatment but I never heard her cry. From around the corner where I was standing, she did not appear to be putting up a fight. So I walked over to the playroom where they were sitting and looked in. Jeremy just smiled and said, "Sissy likes being in Daddy's arms."

Yesterday Ava Beth woke up sounding pretty yucky so immediately I went for the chair to give her a treatment. Usually I get stressed out about it because of her fight but I wasn't worried at all. All weekend she did just fine and never put up a fight once. As soon as the machine came on, she fought it. She squirmed, she wiggled, she did everything she could do get out of my lap. Then I remembered my Husband and His smile. "Sissy likes being in Daddy's arms."

Our pain in life is hard to endure. Some of us have endured emotional pain such as abuse, rejection, or abandonment. Others have endured pain due to health. Whatever it is, pain is pain. I think about all the different people that I know read this blog and then I think about all the people that I don't know who read this blog. All of you have endured. All of you have a story. All of you have things in your life that have brought you to this day. I have found that through my pain that the best place to be is in my Father's arms. He knows where I have been. He knows where I am going. He longs for me to sit in His lap and be still. He longs to bless me. He longs to make my wildest dreams come true.

Today, I feel so strongly that many of you need a place to sit. You need a place to be still. There is no better place to be than "Daddy's arms."

Thank you Father, my precious Heavenly Father, for loving me the way you do. I am so thankful that I know what a personable God you are. With so many things on my schedule for the week, I know I need you. I commit to throwing myself into your arms and being still.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Take a walk outside

A little while ago, I walked outside with Josiah to see the moon. He loves looking at the moon so we went out on the back patio to see if we could find it. As we were standing outside I noticed how pretty our Christmas tree looked through the window. Looking through the windows, I could see the decorations, the tv, toys on the floor, the kids' jackets and my husband and baby girl. At that moment as I was standing on the outside looking at the inside, I felt the Holy Spirit trying to get my attention. It was another "God Stop". In my spirit I felt like God was standing next to me whispering in my ear, "Do you remember that night when you were single living alone and you cried out asking for a husband? All those nights you were so lonely and you longed for someone to take care of you? Well, there He is. Do you remember when you and Jeremy got married and while you were building your first house you asked me to bless you with a family? Well, look at that little boy staring at the moon and that little girl crawling all over her Daddy. Do you remember those horrible things you experienced as a little girl and you asked me to give you a normal life? Well, look around you. Everything you wanted is all around you."

It's so easy to forget about all the things God has done for us. Sometimes you may need to walk outside and take a look on the inside. Jesus will never let you down. He will be faithful to complete what He started in you. Don't give up on your heart's desire. For He is the one that put it there!


Remember one of my previous blogs Going Public? Well, the time is now! This week is going to be interesting! I have a few more presents to buy and some baking to do for the neighbors and baking for Sugar & Spice. This Friday I will be delivering a $900 order to my Mom's salon where everyone that placed an order with me will be there to pick up. So, with Ava Beth needing breathing treatments every day this week, attending a family Christmas on Wednesday night and my husband working unbelievable hours this week, I will be relying on God for EVERYTHING!

There is no way I can get this done without HIM! Tomorrow I will begin the baking and I will not be done until Thursday night HOPEFULLY by midnight. If you need prayer about something, comment on my blog because I will for sure be doing a lot of praying over the next few days. As I spend time baking for others, I pray God can multiply my time, keep my children healthy and give them loving and peaceful spirits for the babysitter!! Friday at noon, I will be done until my order for New Years Eve and it is a small order. I am thankful that God has given me hands to do His work while making a profit at the same time.

So, here is something for you to do! PRAY FOR AMANDA HAYES THIS WEEK. Hopefully, I will have some blogs up this week to entertain all of you. I have a special guest blogger this week and I think you will really enjoy what she has to say! Merry Christmas to all of you! May you truly dwell in the house fo the Lord forever and ever. The Christmas cards have all been sent so here is one for all of you!

Merry Christmas
With Love
Jeremy, Amanda,
Josiah & Ava Beth Hayes

One day at a time

Just the other day I was standing in the foyer at Church talking with my Dad. It was one of those conversations that He may never think of again but one for me that is forever in my mind and in my heart. I like to refer to these kinds of moments as "God Stops". Many of you have been a part of Beth Moore Bible Studies and read about her God Stop references. Well, the conversation that day with my Dad was a one of those kind of stops that I know God planned whether we knew it or not. As I have said before, the past six months have been challenging to say the least. I don't adjust well to change. In fact, when we moved I started going through some Christian counseling for some help and if I want my Insurance company to pay for my sessions, I had to be diagnosed! As soon as my sessions began I figured she may diagnose me with Anxiety this or Anxiety that. So one day when I got up to leave from my session with the cousnelor, she handed me a piece of paper to file with my insurance. In the diagnosis blank it said, ADJUSTMENT DISORDER. So my assumption about myself was right, I hate change!

So that day at Church as I talked to my Dad about all the change I was hating, he said something very simple to me. "Mandi, you have to take it one day at a time. Take it for what it is and nothing more. People will always be in and out of your life but you will always have your family." Many more things were said that have helped me in this particular season of change I am in but those three sentences above have come back to me over an over again.

Just yesterday we celebrated Ava Beth's one year birthday with a party! Last night as I looked at all of the pictures of the big day I could not believe how different our life has become in the past year. Not only have we had another baby but we have moved from the house we built when first got married, left our church and left our friends that had become our family. The pictures of AB's party are filled with friends and family but also with new people that we did not even know last year. Each person new has brought something to me that I didn't have before and each person that I have lost is still with me today. I so desperately want to hold on to the past and at times I long for the days back in Little Elm, Texas. But, each day God reminds me that I am in a new chapter and I need to accept it. Now we are closer to family not only in proximity but in our relationships. The friends I have in Little Elm, I miss but I know that it is impossible for it to be the same. I now have to nurture new relationships, take it one day at a time and take it for what it is and nothing more. People will always be in and out of my life but I will always have my family. So DAD, I am getting better at this so thank you for your words of wisdom. I am taking your advice and I feel some walls coming down. It's a little at a time but I feel it slowly happening.

To my friends old and new, thank you for helping shape who I am today. I don't know what tomorrow holds, so I am taking you for what you are today! To my family, thank you for always loving me and always forgiving me no matter what. I don't know what tomorrow holds but I know that your love will always be there.

With that said, my Sister is having a spinal tap done today and I am going with her and my brother-in-law to spend the day with them at the hospital. This is what family does and I am so glad I live close to all of you now. We sure need each other. God moving us back to the mid-cities was one I did not understand but I am beginning to. One thing I know for sure, I need my family!

Friday, December 16, 2005


There are days when I feel like God is walking next to me all day long. I feel Him, I hear Him, I see Him. Other days, I feel like He is no where to be found. Obviously I know the He is always next to me, whether I feel it or not.

TODAY? I so need to feel it! I have deliveries to make today for my baking business, a party tonight, a party tomorrow night, a house to clean, cake and cupcakes to make and my daughter's one year birthday party on Sunday. And guess what? Both of my kids are sick!

Motherhood is one heck of a ride, I must say! Today, I will take it one step at a time. That's all I can do! Honestly, I want to lock myself in the bathroom and stay there for a while. But, stuff to do and kids to take care of. The parties, stuff, the business, all of it does not matter. So today I will get done what I have to get done and take care of my babies. That's what is most important. I hate missing out on stuff though! UGH!

Okay, off to be a nurturing Mommy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Where's my tracking number?

Hats off to the wonderful UPS man in my life! He works his butt of delivering packages and when he comes to my door, I get excited! Yes, it's true. I am in love with the UPS man! He has dark hair, dark eyes, olive skin and a smile that would melt any woman answering the door to receive a package! But, watch out women! This UPS man is mine! As I say a million times a day to my kids, "No touch!" So those of you that don't know me, probably think I sound like a desperate housewife but I'm not. It's just the UPS man I am in love with happens to be my Husband!

So over the last few weeks I have been ordering stuff online from Gap, Old Navy and Shutterfly. All of the things I have purchased are being shipped UPS. I love getting my email from each company letting me know my package has been shipped. These emails hold a very important bit of information, the tracking number. Once I have my tracking number I can go to the UPS Tracking website and see the status of my package. It tells me the date and time it was picked up and the date and time it will be delivered. There is just comfort I find in receiving the tracking number. For I know my package is on it's way and I anxiously await!

How awesome would it be if the Lord emailed us a tracking number?! I think it would go something like this. "Father, I am really wanting to be pregnant. Please bless us with a child." (I use this example because I know of three people right now wanting to have a baby.
It's not me folks!) Moments later, once your prayer request has been placed, your inbox chimes with a new email.

From: God
To: my child
Cc: Jesus
Bc: Holy Spirit
Subject: Prayer to be pregnant

My precious child here is your tracking number for your request. It has been processed and your baby is on it's way. To check the progress of the arrival date, please keep checking this site, www.answerisonitsway and type in your tracking number.
Tracking # baby2006

Okay, so it may seem silly to use this analogy but someone will like it! Anyway, as I struggle with some of the same things over and over again, I think how awesome it would be if I knew when I would truly change. Some of my prayers are prayers that I have repeated over and over again. You may be praying to find a husband, to find a wife, to have a baby, to sell your home, to find a new job. Whatever it is, I know that God is working out every single detail right now to answer that prayer. It will happen! It may not be delivered by the UPS man but it is on it's way!

(Thank you Jeremy for being such a hard worker. You are the most stable and hard working person I have ever known. I am ready to have you back! But, I know that the Christmas season makes my UPS man very busy. After twelve years of it, I don't know how you keep going! I love you and you are the best looking UPS man I have ever seen!)

Hello in there!

Opening the mailbox, Charlie Brown looks inside and yells, "Hello in there.. Rats! Nobody sent me a Christmas card today. I almost wish there weren't a Holiday season. I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a Holiday season to emphasize it?" Oh Charlie Brown, I so know how you think. I am just like you!

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved Charlie Brown. Instead of Strawberry shortcake sheets for my bed, I had Charlie Brown sheets! He was a kid after my own heart. For some reason I was cursed with a "nobody likes me" mindset as a kid and I have had to fight my whole life to not feel that way. It's an awful feeling and draining to others. It seems no matter where I go, I always fight that feeling. It's a battle for me and probably will be my whole life. Each year as I get older, a little more of this mentality is chipped away and I start to feel better about who I am. A lot of people are shocked that I deal with this issue because I am usually the loudest person in the room.

I love to make people laugh and I don't usually meet a stranger.
But, deep down I am always afraid to love because I usually love with all of my heart and get hurt.

All of us have a battle that we fight. Maybe it's your mind that you fight. I know that's my battle. Maybe it's an insecurity, jealousy, anger, depression. Whatever it is, we all have something that we deal with. Today, I am learning to thank God for those things I struggle with the most. It is those things that bring us to our knees. For those ugly things in my life have kept me so dependent on HIM.

Shutterfly finally got my Christmas Cards delivered, so your mailbox will not be empty very much longer!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

One day changes everything

Once again I got up early this morning to have alone time, read and spend some time with the Lord. But, Josiah decided to get up early as well. He crawled up in my lap and said, "I'm Mommy's boy." Wow, those were great words to hear. Even after a day of tantrums, timeouts and spankings, he still thinks I am the greatest Mom in the world. One day like this changes everything!

My kids bless me more and more each day and they are the ones that make me love my job better and better! I would not trade this life for anything! Being a Mom is the greatest gift God could ever give me. Take all of the colic days, sick days, fit throwing days and grumpy days combined. Add one peaceful, well- behaved day and the rest are forgotten. One day changes everything!

It's amazing that we serve a God that feels the exact same way about us. He longs for us to sit in His lap and He longs to forget about all of our tantrums. One day with Him changes everything!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Tis the Season to be Jolly!

Okay, I don't usually like to take up my blogging time to talk about child rearing but today was a day like I have never had in my entire life. No, really! My son, who will be three years old on January 7th, decided to take terrible twos into full swing today. I guess he figured, " I only have a few more weeks of this so I better sock it to my Mamma while I have the chance!" Now before I start this blog I must preface something. DO NOT COMMENT WITH ADVICE. Feel free to comment with condolences and amens but no advice, none! Do you understand? Okay! This is my blog and if I wanted advice I would go to a counselor and after today, I just might!

Josiah, who everyone says, "He is so cute. He is so smart. He is so funny" acted like a totally new person today. He spent the night with one set of grandparents on Friday night and another set last night so much to my mother's chagrin, this may have something to do with it. In fact, while loading the car this morning to go shopping with my Mom and the kids, Josiah decides to throw a rod like I have never seen before in my life. "Josiah, you will not go to MiMi's if this is how you are going to come home acting!" Well, as I spoke those words loudly (almost yelling) my mom got a yucky look on her face. I was not trying to hurt her feelings but I was mad! Then my Mom looks at me and says, "That's not very nice to say, Mandi. It's not my fault." Okay so I am sorry Mom but I have to come up with some reason my child is acting like one of those "other horrible acting kids"that you see in the grocery store! You know those kids that SCREAM and act like a little devil and you hear the moms counting, "Sally, I'm gonna count to three and if you don't quit crying, I will spank you! One. Two. Three. Sally, I'm counting. One. Two. Three." HA! Don't worry about it you CRAZY MOM in the grocery store, I will spank Sally for you!!! UGH! Yes, I am stupid enough to think, "My child better not ever do that or I will...". HA! Well, isn't it funny when your kid DOES act like that?!

So, my parenting has begun. Oh we have rules and we spank and we do timeout but today was a new beginning for discipline. YES, we spank! (Remember no advice!) James Dobson gave me permission so we spank with a spoon. Some don't agree with the spoon either but remember it's my blog and don't forget the rule I set at the beginning of this post. "What has happened to my child?", I thought as we ordered our food from Sonic. The nice lady that brought our food heard me say his name and she said, "What a nice name. Where did you get that?" Without hesitation I said, "It's from the Bible and he aint actin' like his name is from the Bible today!"

Well, I have been pretty darn blessed with incredible children. They sleep all through the night and did very early on. The both take three hour naps at the same time. My son says, "Yes mam, Yes sir, etc." He says thank you. He counts, he sings, he reads letters and numbers, he is amazing! However, today he began to show a new personality and today I began a whole new parenting world! I am frustrated. I am shocked. I am in full gear parenting mode and boy does this sister need some prayers. I have read the Baby Wise, Toddler Wise and now I need Pre-School Wise along with Tequila Wise! (That was a joke people!)

Oprah better show up at my door with a day at the spa real soon!

I have a friend that would have been laughing at me all day. She knows what this is like and she always made me laugh when I would get so frustrated. I thought of her many times today and our weekly shopping trips. Miles have seperated us, but memories are alive and in full swing today!

You Did That On Purpose

When I am in the kitchen cooking, my Husband will often come in to wash his hands before eating. When he does, he almost always flings water my way before drying his hands with a towel. Annoyed and irritated I turn to look at him and he says, "Babe, it was an accident!" The first time He did it, I thought it was an accident but after five years, I know he did it on purpose! I think it's time for Him to come up with a new way to "get me" so I will believe it truly was an accident!

This morning as I woke up to spend time with God, I asked Him to show me some things. When I opened my Bible I turned to Jeremiah and found this scripture. "Ask me and I will tell you some remarkable secrets about what is going to happen here." Jeremiah 33:3 How fitting is that?! I ask God to show me something and He shows me! He even tells me through a scripture that He will show me if I ask and I did! So, I thought I would share with you something awesome that the Holy Spirit revealed to me this morning. Straight from Him!

God, our Heavenly Father, our Lord and Savior, does things on PURPOSE! He doesn't just accidentally do things. There are no accidents with God. His ways are perfect! It's no accident that you ran into that person at the Grocery store in the frozen foods. It's no accident that you went to church and heard a message that you needed to hear. It's no accident that you are living in the place where you live. It's no accident that you are pregnant! It's no accident that you are working in the office you work in with the people that you do! Nothing in your life is an accident!

As I struggle in my own life and ask God questions like, "Is this where we are supposed to be?" He takes the time to answer and show me this morning all the things that He has done in my life on purpose! The past six months have been challenging in more ways than one and for some reason I tend to question my choices when things don't go as smooth as expected. "God, are we living where we are supposed to or are we just where we have ended up?" When I say living, I don't just mean a geographic location. I mean every single thing that encompasses "living". But God shows me specifically this morning, that everything in our lives is on purpose. The places we have gone, the places we are going, the people in our lives, the people out of our lives, it is all on purpose. I don't always understand but I take comfort that the God that made the Heavens and the Earth, orchestrates every detail of my life. It's nice to hear from God and really know I have heard from Him! I know this morning that He has answered my question by showing me that everything in my life right now is on purpose! He put me in this house on purpose! He put these people in my life on purpose! Now that I know that, I can find some rest and go with it! If He does things on purpose, don't I have to trust Him?

Lord, you know where I have been. You know where I am going. Help me to trust instead of be afraid. Help me to believe that you have a purpose for my life, my family, my marriage, my ministry. There is too much I am holding on to and I need to let go in order to experience the next chapter. Help me to embrace the new things in my life. I love you Lord, Jesus and thank you for answering my question. You are such a personable God!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Jesus Take The Wheel

One of my favorite American Idols, Carrie Underwood, has made news with her hit single Jesus Take The Wheel. The media is having a fit and they are not quite sure what to do with the lyrics. I have seen articles recently comparing her song to the WWJD bracelets. The name JESUS sure gets people all shook up, doesn't it?
Jesus take the wheel,
Take it from my hands,
'Cause I can't do this on my own:
I'm letting go. So give me one more chance,
To save me from this road I'm on:
Jesus take the wheel.
Good message and so fitting for my last post.

Are you prepared?

When you have lived in Texas your whole life like me and you hear the weather man say, "Looks like the Metroplex will get at least a couple inches of snow", you get excited!! Telling a Texan that they are going to get snow is like telling a child they are going to get candy. If you don't give the child candy, there will be consequences to pay. Well, what about the snow? All day I told my son that we would build a snowman. Ice had been coming down all day so surely snow was to follow. For sure snow was coming! The weather man, the weather lady, NOAA, they ALL said SNOW was coming! Finally on the ten o'clock news last night after all the drama, Troy Dungan and Pete Delkus on Channel 8 news in Dallas, back down from their prediction. "Well, it looks like the worst part is over and the snow is headed east." All day these two guys were tag teaming the weather. Live reporters on the highways talking about the weather! One channel even had continuous coverage regarding the Winter Weather. Continuous coverage over winter weather! Come on! I told you to never tell Texans it's going to snow. We go crazy!

Last Saturday I was out doing some Christmas shopping and I was sweating. It was 84 degrees! I think I was sweating more out of anger. I don't like it to be warm in December! Today, the current temperature is 30 degrees and dropping. So the weather guys and gals in Texas really have no clue what to say anymore. I don't think I am going to pay any attention to them anymore. If you are a weather person in Texas, I truly believe you should get paid more than any of the others in other states. You have got your work cut out for you! 84 degrees during the day and 40 degrees by night. It happens all the time. Never trust a Texas Weather man's five day forecast! Never!

Don't you wish you had a five day forecast you could truly rely on for your LIFE? If you knew what was coming tomorrow, you could be totally prepared. I was prepared for snow. I had the kid's fleece hats and mittens out, the warmest jackets possible and I even told my husband to stop by and get some fire wood on his way home two nights ago. Oh and what about those pipes? We got the pipes covered and made sure we were ready for the winter storm. So if you knew you were going to get fired, if you knew your wife was going to leave you, if you knew cancer would strike, if you knew a relative was going to die, wouldn't you be prepared?

It sometimes scares me how quickly our lives can change. Today is a gift and tomorrow is a dream. So as I thought about this weather that struck (without the snow), I thought about how prepared we were for what was to come. In life we unfortunately do not have an accurate five day forecast. Instead, we have Jesus. There are some of you out there that will read this that may not have a relationship with Him and your five day forecast may have joy ahead or it may have tragedy. No one knows. But how awesome it is to be prepared!!

Almost twenty-five years ago, at five years old, I prayed something like this. My life has never been the same. For I know that I am prepared.

Jesus, I ask you to come and live inside of my heart.
I believe that you died on the cross for my sins and
that you have forgiven me.
I want to make you the Lord of my life.
I love you Jesus. I will serve you all the days of my life.

Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Trying for the perfect Christmas card!

Ava Beth wasn't smiling!
WHAT are they looking at?

"Josiah, be still!"

And then His eyes were closed!

Tonight was rough! I was so excited to bathe the kids, put them in their Christmas pajamas and take a cute picture for our Christmas card. All day I had thought about the perfect card and how I needed to wrap Christmas presents to put under the tree. A beautiful tree with presents and the kids in their adorable Christmas jammies, what a perfect Christmas card! Right? Okay so I did not get presents wrapped but no big deal. I got Josiah and Ava Beth in there cute pajamas and tried to get the perfect shot before Ava Beth tried to get away and before Josiah's almost three year old attention span gave in. Ava Beth wanted to grab the camera and Josiah kept saying "Okay Mommy, all done with pictures! Let's get some M&M's!" Oh Yes! I bribed him! "Josiah, please let me take some pictures. You hold Sissy and when we are done, you can have some M&M's." Needless to say, it was nuts around here! Some of you will be receiving a Christmas card from us and I think you will like it! Thank goodness the picture does not have a sound card or you would hear me saying, "Josiah sit down. Josiah hold Ava Beth. Josiah, STOP! UGH!!!" Needless to say, none of the pictures above made the card so I will have to wait to show you the one that did after I know everyone got their card in the mail. I can't spoil the surprise!

Another reminder that Christmas is not about pretty Christmas cards or wrapped gifts. It's about sharing the love of Jesus, remembering His birth and what He has done for all of us. May Josiah and Ava Beth know that it's truly about Jesus and not the pretty picture.

Thank you Lord for your sweet Holy Spirit that gently nudges me when I need to shift my focus. For I know that it is all about YOU and not ME!

Christmas Pajamas

Starting traditions with my children has been one of the greatest healing balms in my life. As I make memories with them, I somehow let go of bad ones that I have experienced. The home that my children are growing up in is far from anything like the home I was living in at their age. So God has given me the ability to be creative with my children by creating traditions with them that will last a lifetime. While doing so, a part of me is healed every single time.

I do it at Christmas with Pajamas! For Josiah's first Christmas, I decided that we would all have Christmas pajamas. For Mommy and Daddy it may be something as simple as a Christmas t-shirt and flannel pants. But, for Josiah it was a pajama set! I must say that the cutest baby ever is one in pajamas! So every year I go to Old Navy way in advance in order to get the first picking for Christmas pajamas. Apparently many moms have made Christmas Pajamas a high priority in the lives of their children because this year, the ones I wanted for Josiah were all out in his size! Even were out of the 4T size I needed! So the gracious customer service lady that I found to call through the website found me the pair and size I needed! The Lewisville store had twenty in a size 4T so they shipped me a pair UPS and they came this morning!! Now both of my babies have their Christmas Pj's!

Let the healing begin!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What does your t-shirt say?

Many of you have probably seen the latest commercial for 24 Hour Fitness. Men and women of all ages running on treadmills, riding stationary bikes, lifting weights or doing sit-ups. It's a commercial that will make you want to get your lazy butt off the couch and do something. The best thing about this commercial is the point they are trying to get across. It shows each person that is working out wearing a t-shirt that has a personal statement on the front. One lady who is riding a bike has my personal favorite, "To lose baby weight"! Amen to that! Other t-shirts read "Ten year reunion", "Turning 30", "To be a princess", "To turn heads". Each one working out who wears the shirt has a reason to be at the gym and this commercial does an excellent job marketing just that! What a way to show that we are all real people who want to be healthy, want to loose weight or want to stay in shape for our own personal reasons. Can you imagine what it would be like walking into a Gym where every single person wore a t-shirt with their own personal mission plastered across the front of their body? Hey, why not?

Just as a Gym is full of people that need a change in their lifestyle or a daily workout to keep what they already have, so is the church! People who need a drastic lifestyle change or people that need the constant fellowship to keep them going, the church is full of both. What if we all wore t-shirts to church that told everyone else why we were really there? Some would read, "To learn more about the Bible", "To have Christian friends", "To get saved". If we were all really honest, other t-shirts might say, "To not be addicted to pornography", "To not be addicted to alcohol", "To not GOSSIP", "To not be judgmental", "To learn to love others", "To not lie", "To have a better marriage", "To be a better parent." The list of possible t-shirts goes on and on and on.

What about you? What does your t-shirt say?

I am wearing mine. "To not care about the approval of others." My t-shirt has something on the back too. "To truly like who I am". On the right sleeve, "To control my anger towards my husband." On the left sleeve, "To raise my children to love Jesus".

I gotta a bunch folks!

Monday, December 05, 2005


If the TV is not turned to Dora The Explorer, it is usually on The FoodNetwork Channel. Sometimes I actually get control of the TV and if I do, it's on a cooking show. It's a nice background noise to have while cleaning house, folding laundry or cooking supper. This channel is filled with Culinary Kings and Queens that rule a particular cuisine and share their very own recipes with you and me. One of my favorites, who is known for his French Cuisine, high energy and bursts of "BAM" is Emeril Lagasse. While adding this or adding that to his entree, He yells "BAM!" Hearing that will make anyone want to go whip up something in the kitchen! He's the Chef with personality, that's for sure! "BAM!"

Life is not always full of "Bams" as much as I would like it to be. When I was single I would pray about a future husband. For five years I wondered when on earth I would meet the person I was supposed to be with. Finally, one day "Bam!" Meeting my husband was something that I prayed about for a long time and when God thought I was ready, "Bam" I met Him. It's the same with praying to have a baby, praying for God to sell your home or praying that God will heal you or someone you know. It seems as if it will never happen and then instantly God answers your prayer. Those "Bam"moments in our spiritual walk are so sweet and precious. They are the moments that I remember when I am praying about something I am not sure about. They remind me when I think God has forgotten about me that He can do anything at anytime. BAM, married! Bam, pregnant! Bam, house sold! Bam, Doctor says test came back negative! Bam, you are healed! That's all it takes!

I have needed a "Bam" for the past four months. I look forward to sharing it with all of you as God continues to heal my heart. But I know tonight that the healing has begun! Thank you Lord for those prayers that you answer so specifically. I am learning what a detailed oriented God you are. You are so perfect in all of your ways. Wow!

Santa, Jesus & the Hummer, Sunday School

Well, my Mom and I did some more Christmas shopping today and Josiah wanted to talk to Santa. So even though we saw Santa yesterday on a Motorcycle, we thought we would see him again! I am so happy that my kids love Santa and don't cry! Josiah has never cried. Three years in a row! Ava Beth loves Santa too! It sure helps when you are taking pictures!

Josiah thinks Santa drives a Hummer and now He thinks that Santa drives a motorcycle too! He tells me that "Jesus drives a White Hummer". Where does He come up with this stuff? In that case, He thinks that Santa and Jesus are pretty darn cool! He asked for a Yellow Hummer (the kind that is battery operated and he can drive) and I winked at Santa and said between my teeth, "Black Hummer." "How about a Black Hummer Josiah?" Santa said (Uncle Phillip). "Okay. Mommy, Ho Ho is bring a Black Hummer for Josiah!!!"

A sigh of relief for me and Daddy! We bought the BLACK HUMMER for him to drive! I think I am more excited than him. It has two seats, even has a radio with pre-set stations. Thank goodness it comes with seatbelts so Sissy can ride along.

Uncle Phillip is Santa on his Harley for a Wise County toy Drive. Sissy didn't know he was a family member. She just knew it was 40 degrees and Santa was warm! A real beard and real belly! I think he is the perfect Santa! Too little for a Barbie Jeep so she is getting clothes and learning toys and baby doll that any girl would love, A Cabbage Patch Baby!! She even has a pacifier just like Ava Beth!

All day I have been praying as I have been out and about that God would help me to teach Josiah that Christmas is all about Christ. He came home from my mom's this morning singing "Go Tell It on the mountain!" The best part is when he shouts, "Jesus Christ is BORN!" He also wants to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and so I told him we would make a Birthday cake for Jesus. He has even began praying at Dinner. He loves to pray so we have let him pray at dinner lately. "Bless food in Jesus name. AMEN!!!" Best prayer I have ever heard! So with Santa, presents and all the fun that comes with Christmas, we are really trying to teach Him what Christ means to our Family.

Where does Jesus live Josiah? "He lives in Josiah's heart!"
What did Jesus do Josiah? "Jesus walk on water."
Tell me about Jonah Josiah? "Ooooh, Jonah is in the WHALE! And Jesus drives a white Hummer!"
Tell me about Josiah in the Bible? "Josiah is a KING! That's right!" (funny how he affirms himself with that's right!)
Come on Josiah, it's time to go to church! "No church. I wanna go to Sunday School with Ms. Tina!" (He talks about Ms. Tina, the Children's Pastor, like he sees her every single day. She played trucks and Hummers with him one time and now he adores her!)

Job Well Done

Dieu! qu'il la fait bon regarder
Dieu, qu'il la fait bon regarder
La gracieuse, bonne et belle!
Pour les grans biens qui sont en elle,
Chascun est prest de la louer
Qui se pourroit d'elle lasser?
Tousjours sa beaute renouvelle
Dieu, qu'il la fait bon regarder,
La Gracieuse, bonne et belle!
Par deca ne dela la mer,
Ne scay dame, ne damoiselle
Qui soit en tous biens parfais telle;
C'est un songe d'y penser.
Dieu, qu'il la fait bon regarder!

(Lord, how fair you have made this good and gracious lady! Everyone is eager to praise her. Who could grow tired of her when her beauty is always fresh? I know no one in the wide world to compare with her; it is a dream to imagine so.)

Who would have known that Amanda Hayes can speak french?? Well, I can't. I can SING in French. Most of us have been a part of something that has made us proud. Something that will forever be a part of who we are. I have been singing my entire life. Music brings me so much joy and I cannot imagine my life without it. In Junior High and High School, Music became something that I knew I wanted to do forever. The words in French above are to a song that my High School Choir sang at many competitions. From UIL competitions all the way to Atlanta, GA for a competition. Our choir was amazing and our teacher was known throughout Texas for her directing. I was honored to be learning from her. I can close my eyes and still see her face and see her hands directing us. When we sang this song above for UIL, I will never forget her face. We did a breath taking job. Words cannot describe how beautiful our voices sounded and singing something that was composed by Claude DeBussy was a challenge. His music had to be sung as if your voice were dancing. After the song was finished,the choir was totally still and looked directly at Ms. Douglas for permission to breathe and then it happened. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and smiled like I had never seen. We knew. We knew that we had done an amazing job. She was proud, she was pleased and we recieved a PERFECT score that day. That day impacted my life more than Ms. Douglas will ever know. I still have a recording of that song and I listen to it quite often. It reminds me of a job well done.

So as I strive to be an excellent wife and mother each day, I wonder if I am doing a very good job. This is my job. This is my calling. This is everything God created me to do. Sometimes I have to close my eyes and see Him standing with His eyes closed, smiling. Or even better, I sometimes imagine hearing His actual voice, "Good Job Mandi. Job well done."

To think someday that as His children, those words will actually be heard.

I love you Lord, Jesus. I am so thankful that I have known you since I was five years old. You speak to me in the most incredible ways. Please help me to show my children what it is like to be in love with Jesus. I long to make you proud.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

You just never know who is reading!

Whenever I write my blog, I know that I will have a few people take the time to read it. Some will even take the time to post a comment. But, how many people really read it?

This morning, I learned of two readers of my blog that I did not know I had. You never know who reads your blogs. What a responsibility I have!

My mom invited one of her precious friends, Candi and her daughter to come to a Christmas Tea. So I got to sit with them and visit about our lives and many other things. While talking, Candi told me that she read my blog. "I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blogs. I really enjoy reading all the things you write." Well, that made my day! I know how much my mom thinks of Candi and how talented Candi is (she paints beautiful things in homes, in churches, everywhere), so to think that she takes time to read my blog was very flattering. So Candi, you have no idea how much your words meant to me this morning. Thank you.

Since my Mom reads my blogs and sometimes comments, she obviously thinks a lot about what I write. So much that she not only forwards them to Candi and many of her other friends but she has been forwarding my entries to her friend and Pastor's wife, Gina. This morning Gina walked up to me, hugged me and said, "Mandi, I just want to tell you that your blogs are so inspirational to me. You are so transparent and I love reading all that God gives you. You are such a talented writer. I have your blog on my favorites so I check it every day to see if you have a new post. They really encourage me. Oh and I am anxiously awaiting the recipe blog you are going to start!" Say what? You mean she is encouraged by ME? God uses ME to speak to her? This incredible church's Pastor's wife reads MY blog every single day and is BLESSED by what I write??????????? WOW! She also looks forward to getting my recipes? Okay, this is a woman that everyone speaks so highly of. A woman that has FOUR kids! A woman that has the most sweetest spirit? The woman my own mother looks up to? The woman that is the wife of a Pastor that has a successful, growing, wonderful church? Say what? Gina, today God used you to love me like you wouldn't believe. I sometimes wonder what on earth this almost thirty year old woman is doing. I wonder what I am becoming and how on earth I can be better at being a mom and wife and you tell me you are encouraged by ME! Thank you Gina. I consider it an honor that God uses me to speak anything into your life. I pray that God will continue to use me. Thank you.

You just never know who may read your blog folks! I pray that my words will be a healing balm to many. What a responsibility I have to share the love of Jesus with READERS around the world!

Another "Women's Event"???

I just got home from a Christmas Tea with my Mother. Her church hosted a Christmas Tea for the women in the church and for their guests. "Tidings of Joy" they called it and I must say that it truly held up to it's name. I have been to so many different women's events at many different churches. A lot of times they are all the same and you pretty much know what to expect. Honestly, I was going because I could get out of the house without the kids, dress up and feel pretty for a while and my Mom asked me to go and help decorate her table she hosted. All week I have looked at this event as something on my calendar that I had to do because I had committed to doing it. Never did I expect to truly enjoy myself so much. The room was gorgeous and every table had been decorated for Christmas in the most beautiful ways. Many women brought their finest dishes and glassware to use for their table. The center pieces were exquisite, the food was delicious, the coffee and tea was warm and satisfying. Everything was a delight in appearance. No surprises there! Usually at all Women's Ministry events, women put on their best face, their best outfit, carry their best purse, use their best dishes and greet with their best smile. As women, we all know how important we make this sometimes. It's tiring, it's often fake and it's so not about who we are as women. But this morning as I drank my coffee and ate my quiche, I felt something different.

Despite the fine dishes, the fine decorations and the fine women, there was a fine sincerity. From teenagers to mothers to grandmothers, the women were laughing, hugging and celebrating two hours they had away from home. It was nice. It was peaceful. It was refreshing and I was surprisingly amazed at how much I enjoyed something I thought would be just another "Women's event"!

It's always good to laugh. Not just chuckle or giggle but LAUGH! The kind of laughing that might make you wet yourself! The kind of laugh that comes from the belly and might make you cry! Well, I laughed this morning too. There was a skit that my own Mother was in. In fact, she had the starring role. I never knew she was so funny! I never knew she was THAT comfortable in front of people! I never knew she could drink Vanilla straight out of the bottle! (you had to be there to understand that one!)

It's always good to hear from the Lord. Not just hear him a little or think you heard Him. Not just kind of hear from Him but REALLY HEAR FROM THE LORD! Well, I heard from the Lord this morning too. Now I have to admit a negative thought to you first. When it comes to "Women's events" I sometimes worry about the speaker choice. What can a speaker say that I have not already heard? We have heard sad stories, we have heard miracle stories, we have heard salvation stories so what can she say that I have not already heard? Ahhhhhhhh. The speaker was a breath of fresh. She actually said something that was so timely, so perfect, so anointed, so incredibly fitted for my life right this very moment.

Being encouraged when you don't expect it, sure takes your breath away. Forgive me Lord for dreading it. I was blessed with "Tidings of Joy!"

Mom, Candi and Morgan, you made it even better!
Laughing has helped me today and made me appreciate how far I have come and God helped me tear down a little bit more of my wall. It felt good to be social again!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Going Public

Recently I have had a few people ask, "Where in the world have you been? I have not heard from you! I have not gotten an email from you! You quit blogging for a week! What is up with you?" Well, anyone that knows me, knows that I am usually an open book. But, much to my surprise I have been able to keep a lid on something that I have been busy doing. Some of you know but not everyone. I wanted to have a trial run and see if what God showed me to do was something I could really do and do well. I have said before in many blogs that I am not good at finishing a project. Boredom sets in, I loose interest or change my mind and I decide to quit. If I don't tell anyone, no one will know. I had to make sure before I told! After much prayer, after friends and family encouraging me and telling me how good I would be at doing this, I decided to go for it. So my first gig would be Thanksgiving and it was an amazing success! It was grueling, it was challenging, it was difficult, it was fun, it was joyous, it was YUMMY and it was a blessing! I owe it all to Paula, my very own KitchenAid Mixer!!!! Yee haw! I got one! Thank you so much Jeremy! After reading my blog back in October about wanting a KitchenAid Mixer, he went out and bought me one! It was yet another confirmation of what God was birthing inside of me and that was to BAKE!!!

So, here it is folks!

Sugar & Spice
Creative Baking
by Amanda
Thanksgiving was a huge success! I went to my Mom's Salon where there are Hair Stylists that don't have time to bake and their clients who have the money to not bake and order stuff instead! Each stylist has their own suite so I decorated a cart, filled it with my baked goods and pushed it around allowing everyone to sample. Orders were placed on that day for Thanksgiving! I delivered on two different days and made a profit of almost $500.00!! I was busy to say the least and many things came up that made it very difficult to manage my time with a eleven month old and two year old so Jeremy, my sweet husband, had to help! He organized me, packed all of my stuff, wrapped in the pretty packaging and I got it all done!! So why not do it again for Christmas?!! Well today I passed out my menus, allowed everyone to sample again at my Mom's salon and I currently have four delivery dates for a $900 order that was placed today!
Wow! I learned a lot with the last menu for Thanksgiving and I decided to change it up. Pies are no longer on the menu for Sugar & Spice! Too many steps involved and pie boxes eat up my profit! So glad to not be doing pies! But let me tell you, I think I can now make the best Coconut Cream Pie around! Chocolate Cream Pie too! My Christmas Menu is perfect and everyone adored my food today! Thank you Lord. I owe it all to you. Thank you for giving me the ability to do this!

Soooooo if you know anyone in the Metroplex (Dallas Fort Worth) needing some Holiday goodies, let me know!
Thank you Jeremy for giving me the KitchenAid Mixer and supporting me in this. You have made this dream a reality! Thank you Mom for speaking into me what you did on that day. It was October 30th to be exact! Thank you also to Rebecca for saying what you did. Thank you Kelly!!! You have helped me with spreadsheets, computer programs, BABYSITTING and tasting!! Courtney, THANK YOU FOR answeing all my silly baking questions! You have taught me so much! Thank You Lord for placing this desire in me and helping me see it through. I have spent so much time praying and spending time with you while baking. I could not do all of this without the support I have had from all of you. We have a lot to for Christmas!!!!!!!

For any of Moms out there dreaming of doing something, do it! Not everyone will be happy for you. Not everyone will cheer you on but DON'T LET THAT CHANGE YOUR MIND! Don't chase after your dream, sprint after it!!

Proverbs 31:17,18, 24
17 She sets about her work vigorously;her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,and supplies the merchants with sashes.