Friday, June 30, 2006


Okay I have never done this but today I have decided to give it a try. I put too much pressure on myself to be creative/biblical with every piece of writing. But how will you know I am a real person if I don't share silly/goofy/interesting things about myself! Thank you Barb for the tag! (Barb, you will not believe two of my facts. You will think I am copying you!)

1. I love Doris Day Movies.
2. I am pretty over the top at Christmas. My house screams Christmas! I love it! My husband calls me "Clark" because he says I am like Clark on Christmas Vacation. Even the guest bathroom has a Christmas Tree! But now I have him all into Christmas lights on the house too!
3. I have severe TMJ and sleep in a night guard. Singing and cold weather make it worse and as much as I love Monte Cristo from Bennigan's, my jaws often lock up while eating one! Chipotle Burritos too!
4. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. Well okay, I still do! But I don't think I could wear one of the uniforms and still praise Jesus! They are a little too revealing! Oh and the cellulite on my butt may make it tough too!
5. I love, love, love, love sushi!
6. I start playing Christmas music in November and my decorations are up before Thanksgiving! Yes, I am one of those!
7. I would love to be a Woman's Minister someday and speak and sing all over the world and take my husband and babies with me!
1. I have to pray my way over a bridge. When driving on the highway I really try to avoid bridges. There is one in Fort Worth and Dallas that will make me have a panic attack if I don't pray. Actually I hate driving on the highway. I really deal with fear while driving.
2. I am scared to drive in the rain. Terrified! I am scared to ride with anyone else driving in the rain. Big fights with my husband have happened because of this! He says I need to trust Him and trust God.
3. Scary Movies
4. Roller Coasters! I abhor them!
5. Dogs, Cats, animals. I am scared of animals. I do have a dog but we don't have much of a relationship.
6. I will fly but I am kind of scared of Airplanes. I do a lot of praying! The flight to Maui was tough.
7. I really struggle with fear a lot. I can't stand to hear stories of people loosing their children or husband. I just can't handle it. I don't like to think about it. I have to pray about this fear A LOT!
1. Johnny Cash
2. Plumb
3. Kelly Clarkson
4. Rascal Flatts
5. Creedence Clearwater Revival (I stole my husband's cd!)
6. Chris Botti (LOVE his stuff!)
7. Sarah Groves (Her song that is called Awakening has really ministered to me this week)


1. The FoodNetwork
2. A clean bathroom
3. nap time
4. Josiah saying for no reason, "Mommy I love you." Ava Beth saying "Night, Night." SO CUTE!
5. Josiah's prayers and how is not afraid to pray outloud! He amazes me at 3 1/2!
6. Fishing on our boat with my husband
7. Date night on Friday nights with Jeremy! Which means I love Grandparents because they watch the kids!
1. Babe (that's what I call my husband)
2. Oh my gosh! (But now I have to say Oh my goodness or Josiah corrects me for saying GOSH!)
3. I'm so tired!
4. I'm starving! (I'm pregnant! What can I say?)
5. Just Kidding!
6. I love you
7. Babe, when are you going to be done at work?
4. Mom

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Has anyone noticed?

If any of you have had your hair long at some point in your life, then cut it, then decide to grow it back, you know it's a grueling process. The in between stages are dreadful! When my daughter was born I made sure my Mom knew that I was NOT cutting Ava Beth's hair for a very long time. When that time comes, it will ONLY be a trim! She won't have bangs, no way. Her eyes are way too pretty and it's so much easier to just pull it out of her face with a cute hair clip or bow. I had to get this point across to my Mom because she is a hair stylist and she is the one that made sure I had the "Dorothy Hamill" haircut when I was four years old. She likes to cut! In High School, my hair was long. Then soon after graduating and starting college, I cut it off pretty short. Soon after that I cut it really short, almost like Annie Lennox short. Remember how Annie used to have her hair really, really short? Well, that was me! It was fun, it was hip, it was different from everyone else. Then I went to Beauty School and my hair got even funkier! During that time I met Jeremy, my precious, sweet, well groomed, conservative, polished, clean shaven husband. As we began dating and looked over old pictures of each other, I made the mistake of allowing him to see one from High School. What is it with men and long hair? Well, he asked me if I would grow it out? He fell in love with me when it was super short so it wasn't like he was not happy with who I was. He just preferred longer hair. To his defense, my hair was almost as short as his. So for the past five years of our marriage, we have gone through many changes with my hair. It's been blonde, red, brown and red, red and brown, blonde with red and brown and now it's blonde with a few lowlights and dark brown underneath in the back. Does that make sense? So now I'm blonde and my hair is long. Well, long to me and to anyone that has known me between the ages of twenty and thirty.

Finally after several months, I can put my hair in a pony tail, pig tails and my new thing I have started a few days ago, the claw clips! It's wonderful!!!! I have always felt with short hair that I have to "fix" myself up or get prettied up before I can do anything. But now I feel like a real Mom! Just throw my hair back in a little ponytail and I'm good to go for any Wal Mart! I can now wear a baseball cap and not look like a boy! But, here's the deal. It's really not long. I still have to use some hair spray to keep it all back and a couple of bobby pins on top for my bangs because it's not all one length. Those stray hairs that fall down will drive you crazy! But I am getting there and people are noticing. "Amanda, your hair is getting so long." Even my Doctor said yesterday, "Wow, your hair looks great! It's long!" Then I can't forget the stylish teenager at church that walked up to me on Sunday and said "Hey, I love how you fix your hair." Wow. If she only knew how much that made my day! Oh and my sweet Jeremy is really liking my hair and lately I have just felt a little prettier and that's a nice way to feel. Every Mom wants to feel pretty! Every woman for that matter!

So what's the point to all this hair stuff Amanda? Right? Well, I have been working through some things in my life lately. Some character flaws that need to be sanctified! At times I wonder if anyone notices how God is moving in my life? Kind of like my hair growth. Does anyone realize how much it's grown? Can't they tell that I have refrained from my usual haircuts? Then when someone says something that lets me know they have noticed, I get excited. I feel like my work is being seen by others and that to me is progress. But what about my spiritual growth? Are people noticing? Do my friends and family see progress? Do the ones that truly know my junk see that I am changing? One thing I know I am much better at is my need to control. I love being in control and when I loose it, I struggle bad. I used to lay down all kinds of rules when my kids went to visit grandparents. "Josiah only gets chocolate milk for breakfast." When Ava Beth was a baby I would tell my Mother in law and my own Mother, "Don't give Ava Beth big people food! Only baby food!" I am sure those two women could tell you a ton of rules I passed out after dropping my kids off. (Mom, don't share any. Please.) And I am sure that most of the time they didn't follow my rules but as long as I thought they did, I was fine. Then I worried about how the Grandmothers would dress the kids. I didn't want them to go to church looking dorky so I packed the suitcase with notes and put the outfits in order. Yep, control freak! But, I don't do that anymore! In fact, I drop them off and pretty much say nothing. It's noticeable to me, it better be noticeable to them! Even though it's not fun to admit, I will say that I was much tougher on Jeremy's Mom. But we've worked through a lot and instead of blaming her for things, I had to look at myself. That was hard. That was tough. That was a difficult process for me. But Praise the Lord, I have changed so much! My hair is longer and I'm not as bossy as I used to be!

It's nice to look back at pictures and see my hair short. It shows me that my hair has come a "long" way in this growing out process. It's just as nice, although embarrassing, to look back on Amanda and how I used to be. I have grown. I have lightened up! I have chilled out so much. I have to pull back a few stray hairs with some bobby pins or use a little hair spray to keep it all up in the ponytail or claw clip, but not very many. My attitude reverts back to the old days sometimes and I have to remind myself of who is in charge of my life and my kid's life, but not as much as I used to. There's growth, there is change and I just pray it's noticeable.

(Tonight I have a girl's night with my friend Laura. I haven't seen her in over a month. Will she think my hair looks longer? She better!)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Blessed Mom

Many times I have sat in my Doctor's office waiting to see him for an OB check and watched the mothers that come in with or without kids. I can always tell when it's a "First time Mom". She is at that appointment with the Daddy of course and she has a smile on her face that can't be forgotten. She longs for these appointments, she gets excited, nervous and can't wait for those precious sonogram pictures. Then when the day of the big sex reveal comes, many family members may accompany her to find out if it's a boy or girl. There really is something so special about a first time Mom. The second timer is a little more seasoned with the whole process. She may look a little more relaxed, a little more tired and Dad may not come to every single appointment. Usually she keeps her toddler calm with a container of goldfish and a sippy cup of milk while she waits for the nurse to call her back. This is what I call the "Clueless Mom" because she has no idea how going from one child to two will forever change her life! WOW! Not too long ago, I was the clueless Mom. Most people thought I was a little insane for having two kids so close together but I thought it couldn't be any more difficult than those Moms that actually came in the office with one pre-schooler, one toddler and one big bundle inside the belly! That's what I call a "Crazy Mom"! Some even look at this Mom with sympathy. This Mom isn't really excited about monthly appointments for it's just another time she has to find a sitter or take them with her. Those were the Moms I would sit back and look at in awe. How do that do that? How on earth do they get around with three little kids? I even thought, "Could she not space those kids out a little more? She's got her hands full!"

Well today I was the official "Crazy Mom." It was funny to see the look on people's face as I sat there with my two kids. Everyone knew I was pregnant because my son kept referring to the little baby in Mommy's belly. "Is Dr. Neal going to get that baby out of your belly?" My husband has a couple of Doctor's appointments this week for his back so I told him not to even try to come to this appointment. It's the third, we know the drill by now! So, my Mom came with me, who Doctor Neal now knows by name. My Mom has been there for all of them so everyone knows her. Thank the Lord for MiMi! She has helped me a lot. As I came out of the Doctor's office today with sonogram pictures of my wonderful, healthy, baby that has a strong, perfect heartbeat, I realized that today I am a "Blessed Mom." A couple of weeks ago someone asked "Why couldn't you wait until Josiah was in Kindergarten before having another one? Are you crazy?" And as I have already explained, YES! "I'm now officially a "Crazy Mom", but so blessed! SO BLESSED!

Thank you Lord for that beautiful baby I saw today. The heartbeat was strong, thank you. I know that even now you know this baby. You know his or her name and you have your hand around this precious one. Speak to he or she now and tell them their destiny!

(Mom, thanks for being there today. I enjoyed our time at "Celebrity" and sharing that delicious piece of "Kalua, Caramel, Chocolate Fudge Cake" for desert!! WOW! MiMi is awesome! I'm glad Dr. Neal gave you your very own picture. You deserve one! I love you!)

I miss it!

It's been over a year. It's been way too long, way too long. Now it's starting to bother me, a lot! I would like to say that it has been easy. I would like to say that it hasn't really bothered me. I would like to say that the desire is not there anymore. But all of those would be lies so instead I will just say that I miss it! I miss singing.

Most of us have a hobby, a passion for something, a talent. Some of you play the piano, or play tennis. Maybe you scrapbook, or sew. Well, I am not crafty, I can't sew, I don't have the discipline or the want to for scrapbooking and even though I have a piano in my house, I can't play anything more than Do re mi! Oh and I would love to play tennis, it's on my list of things I want to do but now that I am pregnant with my third, I don't think that will be happening anytime soon. But one thing I can do, the one thing I am more than passionate about, something I do pretty much all day long, is SING. Oh how I miss it!

So I can sing in the car, sing in the shower, sing in the kitchen, sing to the kids, sing all the time. But, let's be real! I want to be heard! I want to be in a microphone singing to thousands of people. I may be a Mom of two and one more soon to come but I still have dreams! The past twelve months have been months full of transition so I have not had any opportunities to sing. Actually I did have one. I got to lead a group of women in Worship. It was just one night, it was only two songs, but it was wonderful. The thing about singing and singing is church is a hard thing. I am a performer and always have been. When family got together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, I was in front of them singing, dancing or doing something to get their attention. I loved it! Then School became a huge outlet for me because I had so many opportunities to be on stage. Singing in church is different. Church is not for performance, although I have sang a few secular songs in church for the sake of sermon illustrations, that was performance. You can't really sing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar and pray that your voice will draw others to HIM. But for the most part, singing in church is about ministry and I love that. I know God gave me a singing voice for that very purpose. But at the same time, I love to sing, I love to perform and I love to have an audience. I used to think that the Lord was calling me to lead worship, but right now I don't feel that. I used to think that I would travel all over the world evangelizing with music/speaking to women, but now I am not so sure. I used to dream of making a cd of my very own, I pray that I still do. And if I were young enough, and did not have kids, don't think I wouldn't try to be on American Idol or Nashville Star! I would!

Now my life is different and so is my audience. I may not be singing to thousands of people or even singing in a microphone but the car rides to the grocery store have become my concert hour. My three year old enjoys Kelly Clarkson, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood and yes even Ashlee Simpson (Her range is perfect for me so don't give me too much grief)! So from time to time I struggle. Today, I struggle. I struggle in my prayer time with the Lord. I wrestle with my desires to sing and be a Mom. I wonder why God has me on the bench right now and why for so long. I even asked God the other day with a bit of sarcasm if he had forgotten that I sing! For now I sing to my babies and I know they love it. Just a few days ago while driving in the car with Josiah I decided to sing the National Anthem. (I know that sounds funny but I used to sing it in High School at all the Varsity Basketball games and I had just heard Martina McBride sing it acapella and I wanted to see if I could still do it!) So I sang it and sang it proudly and when I finished, my precious little boy said "Mommy, sing it again!" Of course I sang it again and then one more time and Josiah said, "Mommy, I am proud of you. You are a good singer." That was it! That was all it took! My three year old let me know that I can still sing!

Today I pray that the music inside of me will touch my kids. So far it looks like they adore music just like me! I pray that they will have the love and passion for it like I do. And I pray that someday I will have opportunities again and that God can use my voice and even my performance. I miss it, I really do.

(Oh and for any of you that are bothered that I only have secular music listed above, I do like to sing along to Plumb, ZoeGirl, Avalon, FFH, Sara Groves, and Point Of Grace! I will always love POG!)

One more thing. If you have itunes or Napster, listen to Sara Groves sing "Awakening." This song has really ministered to me this morning. I think all of us need song like this to sing.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Something to write about

It's nice to feel liked and nice to be missed. Thank you for your sweet comments concerning my "break" from blogging. I did not really mean that I would be taking a sabbatical or a long break from writing like some of you thought. Instead I was just trying to make sure that blogging was the not the driving force in this Stay At Home Mom's life. So here I am today with something to share. My husband is home early and has given me some time to myself. Not a whole lot has happened since last Thursday but as you know, I always have something to write about!

Almost one year ago, we moved forty miles across the Metroplex. Since moving we have driven back to our old part of town only a couple of times in order to visit old friends. With those drives we have discovered that we were always meant to live where we live now. In fact, last week I asked my husband a question that has me pretty stumped. "Why did we ever live there?" His response. "We were stupid." As soon as we got married we began planning for the future like most newly married couples do. We decided to build a house! After moving into our newly built home, we got pregnant with our son. I stayed home with the baby so I did not have to worry about a commute. However, my husband was driving over an hour just to get thirty miles across town. This area we lived in has now been said to have the worst infrastructure in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Not only was he spending too much time commuting but our families were way too far. I don't know very many people that live close to grandparents but just the idea of knowing that we could was enough to send us back to where we came from. Today my husband drives about twenty to twenty-five minutes each way, a far cry from the former drive to work. Grandparents? Well, we have a date night every single Friday night. Need I say more? I love where we live. I love my house, I love my neighborhood, I love my next door neighbor Mary Jo (she lets us swim in her pool!), I love my city, I love being close to all of our family, I love being close to good restaurants, good shopping and so much more. Almost one year later, I am still so happy to be right here. But there is one area in our lives that we continue to struggle to find contentment.

Soon after moving, we knew that the hunt for a church was top of the list. But as most of you know, looking for a church is draining especially when you have kids to check in at the nursery. We knew what we didn't want but we weren't sure what we really needed. Tired of trying to figure it out, we chose to go to church with my Mom and Step-Dad. We knew that the Pastor was known for his teaching. We trusted my parents and decided to go with them and soak up all that we could. In the mean time we made some great friends but one difficult thing remained, the location. It doesn't take us that long to get there but the thirteen miles that we drive puts this church a few cities away from ours. As a teenager my family lived down the street from our church home. That was important for me because those that we in my youth group were also in my classes at school. It created accountability for me in many ways and some of those relationships that I made in my youth group have remained a very important part of my life. (Right, Kelly Ann?) Attending church with those that were in my community was a must at that time. Now I wonder if that is true for this time in my life now. Should our place of worship be close to our home?

We driven a great distance for work. We drive to other important events. But for a growing, young family like ours, is it important to go somewhere close by? Also I have to say that now with us expecting a third child, I need more women in my life. Right? Or is it enough to have a couple of close friends that encourage me along the way? Is it best to have a network of close friends outside of church? I don't know anyone at my church that lives anywhere close to where we live. When I tell someone the city we live in, they wonder how we ended up at their church. Even though it really isn't far, it's not close. I won't lie! A part of me is selfish and I want to be close to those that I go to church with when this baby comes. I want to have sweet ladies bring food over and call me from the grocery store to see of there is something I need. Or maybe I would be more inclined to get out and take the kids places if I had women close by to rally around me. Right now I feel like having three kids so close in age will have me at home by myself all the time. Those that I have talked to at the church about this have a hard time seeing my point of view. Most don't have kids my age and they live within minutes of the church. Then there is my Mom who loves seeing her grandkids every single week and I love having them at church with us. It's nice to send one of them or both of them home with her on Sundays. My parents drive thirty miles and they don't complain. But, they don't have little kids either. Then there is the fact that my little brother and his family are moving here from Seattle in August and they will be attending the church too. They also have a baby due in November so it would be nice to be at church with all of the family. But a huge, annoying fact remains, I am lonely. I want to be a part of the church, I want my kids to be involved. I don't want to drive thirty minutes just to take Josiah to VBS. Selfish? I don't know. That's the journey I am on right now. Some people we knew back at our old church has just recently moved here. We have really connected with them and our kids have become really close. They keep trying to get us to visit a particular church with them. Then my really good friend Kelly Ann also goes to this particular church and has for over a year. It's five minutes from our house and is covered in Moms my age with kids the same age as mine. My instant reaction is to go visit. But, I don't know if the easy route is the best. My mom would be sad, I would be sad not being at church with them and I think we would really struggle with not having the Pastor that we do right now. His teaching keeps us holding on. Is that enough?

What does my husband think? Well, he thinks that I need to be happy but he is not sure what to do. And I have not brought it up to him since the last time we talked about it over a week ago. This is big for me too! I have kept my mouth shut so he can hear from the Lord. I don't want to manipulate Him. I know that if I complain and whine enough, I will get him to do what I want. That's not what I want.

So there you go, something to write about! I would appreciate your prayers. We need them.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I need a break! (revised)

When I started the online Bible reading, I wanted to accomplish two things. First I want to figure out a way to keep myself accountable to being in the Word daily. Mission accomplished! I have been going strong for several months now! Thank you Lord! Second I wanted to encourage other women to do the same because I know that all of us have busy lives and don't always make it a priority to be in the Word. Mission accomplished! Thank you Lord for all the women that are staying in your Word! It's all because of Him!

A few weeks ago we began "Go Eat Popcorn". Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians have been wonderful books in the Bible that have helped me so I wanted to read them with you. A few of you encouraged me to keep going and finish with Colossians so I agreed. But, today I am done. I plan on continuing my study in this book but I won't be posting my thoughts every day. So continue on, just know that you don't have to post here anymore telling me that you have read.

With a three and one year old, and one on the way, I have realized that I really need some time for me. I am worn out! All of you moms out there know that feeling of burn out. I have blogged while the kids are napping or late at night or early in the morning or when my husband is home. But, it's become too much. It's not fun anymore. I need a break! Writing has always been something I love so I know I will continue but for now I just need to focus on my role as a Mommy and a wife! The Lord is doing a brand new work in me and I feel I need to get a way so I can figure out what it is. I'm still a blogger and I still read a few but right now I am going to try to do it less.

Thank you for always praying for me and ministering to me. You women ROCK and teach me so much about the Lord and being a Mom. You truly bless me. Thank you for reading the Bible with me, it has been an HONOR.

***I have been reading Sink Reflections by The FlyLady and it is changing my household and me! FlyLady has 11 commandments and the fourth one really showed me something that I needed to think about! 4. Don't allow yourself to be sidetracked by the computer!

Colossians 2

Good afternoon! I read Colossians 2 early this morning. I hope you are all reading along with me. Unfortunately, I am unable to really spend time typing out things I would like to because I am babysitting. The two kids that I keep two days a week, I have three days this week. Their Mom, my friend Kelly, is in New York City for a girl's get-a-way so I am here at their house. All the kids are sleeping! I don't know how I was able to do it but I actually got them all to sleep for an afternoon nap. Just and hour and twenty minutes until their Dad will be home! Thankfully I have a short five minute drive home where I will CRASH. My house is clean so I am excited to go home to a clean house. WOW! I am so tired. Tomorrow is my last day to keep them this week. While the kids really are sweet and well behaved, I must say that I look forward to being done. I am pooped! But I look forward to having some extra money from this little job.

Bless you ladies!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Let's continue with Colossians

Colossians 1

14God has purchased our freedom with his blood and has forgiven all our sins.

I have spoken with two friends this week that have desperate situations. As I listen to them talk and explain all the things going on in their home, I feel hopeless. Even as I pray I wonder how on earth to pray? How can I pray for something that seems impossible? My flesh longs to tell these women to run and never look back, but the spirit tells me to believe for the impossible. Just yesterday as I spoke to one of these precious women on the phone I said, "This is why we need a Savior! This is what the blood of Jesus is all about!" And this morning as I read today's passage I found this scripture.He purchased our freedom with His blood! Do we really believe that? Do we really believe when we are in the midst of being in our own prison that our freedom is really there? It's times likes these that we learn what the blood of Jesus is all about! When we are in need, when things look hopeless, that's when our Savior comes in and changes everything. That's the WHOLE reason He died on the cross! He died to set us free, free from everything! It may seem impossible, it may seem like everything is DEAD, but during those times we have to focus on the blood, the blood of Jesus! No matter what it is, the blood is there for you.

23But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.

How can I stand firmly in the truth? Just a thought.

28So everywhere we go, we tell everyone about Christ. We warn them and teach them with all the wisdom God has given us, for we want to present them to God, perfect[f] in their relationship to Christ. 29I work very hard at this, as I depend on Christ's mighty power that works within me.

Everywhere I go, everywhere I go, everywhere I go! Everywhere I go, I MUST share.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Philippians 4

5Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

There are times in life when situations come up and we have every right to be mad or angry. The other day I was walking towards a line at a check out stand in Wal Mart. It was obvious to anyone watching that I was headed for a particular line. Out of no where, two teenage girls, jump in front of me and cut in line. I wanted so badly to say something under my breath but loud enough for them to hear. Anger instantly erupted on the inside. Quickly I got a hold of myself and remembered my duty as a child of God. Yes, that probably sounds pretty churchy and goody goody but that's the only thing that kept my mouth shut. My flesh was ready to fight! But the spirit won!

6Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Those that know me pretty well know that I have conquered a huge sin in my life over the past couple of years, worry. My middle name was worry. I worried about everything. Now I am not saying that I never worry because I do. But the worry does not control me like it used to. But this verse I quoted many times when frozen in fear. The verse is one I can never forget. I memorized it while in Junior High school and then in High School it became significant again. In Chemistry class I sat next to a really cute football player. Secretly I had a crush on him but I knew he would never like me. I was a church girl and not the most popular. But since I had such a crush on him, I really kind of cared about him in a weird sort of way. We both hated Chemistry and struggled a lot with the exams. One day I looked over at him while he was studying and his eyes looked like they were watering. Maybe he was this big football player crying, I don't know. But he was upset. I still remember what he said, something like this. "I'm gonna fail this test because I don't understand any of it!" At that point I took out a note card and wrote Philippians 4:6-7 and said "Memorize this! It will help you with everything!" The next day he came to Chemistry class and said, "I read that Bible verse." He then quoted it to me. I am not sure if he still remembers this. I pray that this verse has helped him many times.

8And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise

At times I really struggle with this verse or at least applying it to my life. Do I really understand that the Lord KNOWS my thoughts. Lord, help me to fix my eyes on what is true and not what I "think" is true. Help me to have thoughts that are pure. I pray that my thoughts will be honorable to you. I pray that I can think the best of people and not let my mind be consumed with negativity.

10How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn't have the chance to help me. 11Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. 12I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. 14But even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

Lord, I long to sing during the pain. I don't want to rely on the moments or events to make me happy. When the flowers have yet to bloom, I pray that I may rejoice. When the flowers are blooming big and bright colors, I pray that I may rejoice. Lord, remind me to rejoice at all times.

Monday, June 19, 2006


This morning I was really trying. Trying to have more energy, trying to not get nauseous, trying to not get overwhelmed with circumstances that we are facing with my husband's job, trying to not worry about bills, trying to not miss my friend Kelly Ann that is gone for the next week (she is my closest, nearby friend), and trying to be a good mom. Maybe if I get out a stack of books and read to the kids, I will feel better about me today and they will feel like I am doing my job. Dora, Diego, Thomas the Train and the Backyardigans are only temporary relief while I hang my head over the toilet and dry heave over and over again. My poor kids, I know they miss their Mommy and I miss her too.

So off I go with my reading. I even try a few different voice inflections for the character's in the book. Somehow I feel that this will keep my three and a half year old and one and a half year old occupied. As I read I thought about how funny it was that I actually read to Josiah while he was still in my tummy. I had so much time on my hands and all I could think about was that little baby growing inside of me. It was all about me and everyone taking care of me. Ahhhh. Now with this third baby I am carrying, all I can think about is how much longer it will be until nap time or how on earth I will fix the Pork Tenderloin that I thawed for dinner tonight without gagging at the sight of raw pork! Ugh!

Okay so back to the reading. Well Ava Beth screamed by the third page turn because I would not let her rip the book out of my hands and Josiah wasn't even interested at all. "Mommy, can I go get my Thomas the Train book? Mommy, can I play with my trains? Mommy, can I watch Thomas the Train?" It was then that I looked at both of my children and said, "Today I am trying to be a good, entertaining Mom and you don't care."

And then the craving began! No, not a food craving! A craving for affirmation, a craving to talk to a fellow Mommy that would help me find a peace of me. I knew just who to call, Courtney. A few months ago Courtney moved to Indiana. Before that, we were meeting at Grapevine Mills and spending as much time together as we could.Our kids loved each other and we were a perfect fit as friends. Even our husbands liked each other and had very similar personalities. At one time she was only two miles away and then we moved forty miles further and soon after that she moved a few thousand. But with both of us having nationwide long distance, we call each other often.I have shared with you before that she is the best cook I know and gives me all of her recipes. My husband thinks she is the best friend ever for that very reason! However, there is something much more wonderful about Courtney than her cooking. She makes me feel like I am a normal human being that struggles with things that are normal. Since she has two kids of her own that are pretty close to the same age as mine, she understands the insanity that goes on from time to time. So when I call and talk through my teeth to Josiah because he is being ugly or throwing a fit, I don't have to apologize to her.Or when she hears Ava Beth scream at the top of her lungs, she never thinks "She's got to get her kids under control." No because the next day I may talk to her while she is having the same kind of day. As we begin to talk I realize that I can tell her everything that I am feeling. From my kids to my marriage or anything else, I can tell her my real thoughts. So, I do. I don't know about you but when I am struggling, I tend to feel like a messed up teenager all over again. My self esteem is low, my choices I doubt and my emotions rule. I need reminding that I am a WOMAN now, a real Woman. And my sweet friend said it all. She helped me get back to that place in my mind and in my heart that let me know that I am a normal wife and mom facing normal circumstances. "Amanda, you can't fail. You have been through so much in your life to fail now. Look at what you have overcome.You are a good Mom and a good wife." Over and over again she told me how much I have helped her and explained to me that her children have the same bad days that my kids have. She told me that she would pray for me and pray for Jeremy. She knows we are facing tough circumstances right now with his job, his injury and our budget. She assured me that God would provide and you know what?I believed her. Thanks Courtney. Thank you so much. I love you my friend.

I am not a Mom that does crafts with my children, that's not who I am. I am not a Mom that does playgroups, I don't care for them. I abhor scrapbooking. I am horrible at writing things in the baby books and I am not sure if this third child will even have one! I am not a Mom that goes to the Library for reading time, maybe I should. But then I am reminded of what happened today when I tried to read to them. Right now with how I am feeling, all I can dream about is a Mother's Day out program. Oh but wait! I am the one keeping two extra kids twice a week so that another Mom can have a day out while I make extra money during our time of need! The point is, my home is not running like a well oiled machine right now. I'm not getting laundry done, my husband is and I am sure he is frustrated with seeing me lay around so much. Deep down he understands but with all that is going on in his life, I know it's hard. My love for cooking has really died down. I have always been anti-quick fix meals. You know like Hamburger Helper or Stouffer's Lasagna? Well, I bought a pre-made Lasagna this week. It's on tomorrow night's meal slot! And when I go to the grocery store again for next week, I will be buying Hamburger Helper I promise. Courtney reminded me today that I'm too hard on myself. I am not a Domestic Goddess and you will never hear me proclaim that I am. No way! But, I am a stay at home Mom and wife that adores my family. I am not even an Educated Stay at Home Mom. I didn't finish school and I have no desire to go back. I'm a horrible student and guess what? I'm still a pretty smart gal! Anyway, I know that I am doing exactly what God called me to do when I was fifteen years old. I knew this was my destiny, I knew it. Yep, I knew at fifteen that I wanted to be a wife and a stay at home Mom. My only other dream was to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader or a famous singer. Neither of those things happened! But I did become a wife/mom and I am so glad I did. I may not fit in with a lot of stay at home moms these days with my lack of craft and lack of desire to attend Mommy groups but I know with all of my heart that I love my job and deep down I know that I am a good Mommy and good wife. You just won't ever see me in a store called Recollections our Scrapbooking Outlet! Don't bother asking me to come to your cropping party! What the heck is that anyway?

So without a single crafty bone in my body, without a Degree to proclaim that I am an educated Mom, I press on to be the best Wife and Mom God created me to be. That is all I know how to be so I need to just quit trying and be.

(To my scrapbooking queens out there, you know I love you. You know I think you are amazing. You know that I will call you when I need ideas for Birthday party invitations. I long for your discipline and organizational skills!)

Philippians 3

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Sometimes it's so much easier to look back instead of looking at what's ahead. When I look back, I don't like a lot of what I see. It seems that looking back always come from our fleshly vision. When we look forward, our vision comes from the Holy Spirit. He gives us eyes to see something better. He gives us eyes to see restoration. He gives us eyes to see Him. There are so many things that I need work on. When I look back, I just get overwhelmed. So today, I choose to look forward and press on towards the prize.

Father, thank you for being my FATHER. Thank you for never giving up on me and always believing in me when I have such a hard time believing in myself. I pray that you will stir up the joy that is within me. The joy is already there, it just needs stirring! I love you Lord, Jesus.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Philippians 2

1Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? 2Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose. 3Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. 4Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.

I will never forget one of my Sunday School Teachers. I was in the seventh grade and attended a rather small church. I longed to go to a big church with a big youth group. That did happen later but for that season in my life I didn't have any big church events to look forward to, just Sunday School. But it was during that time that I learned so much from my Sunday School teacher, Bill. He had some difficult things happening in his life but you would never know it. Bill always smiled, always raised his hands in worship. He loved the Lord like no one I had ever seen. Bill was agreeable, humble and always thought of others instead of himself. He was Italian and grew up making these amazing Italian cookies. It was his family's tradition during the Holidays and special occasions. The cookies looked like short little twists with some kind of icing and sprinkles on top. These cookies were divine! He knew how much I loved them so whenever he made them for his kids and wife, he always brought me a few wrapped up in a piece of tin foil. He cared about each on of us in that Sunday School class and he prayed for us diligently. Unfortunately I have not met very many Christians like him. Instead I have met a whole lot of defeated, complaining, whining Christians. Lord, please give me a spirit like Brother Bill.

5Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 6Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. 7He made himself nothing;[a] he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.

I feel convicted when I read this verse. My attitude does not always reflect Jesus. It's not important for me to demand my rights. Someone may have done me wrong but if I take on the attitude of Jesus, it won't really matter.

10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

All of these people that follow Scientology, or study Kabbalah, they will someday bow and confess that Jesus Christ is LORD.

14In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, 15so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them.

I am a huge fan of the show Survivor. The person that usually gets kicked off first is the one that tells everyone they are a Christian. They don't get voted off because they are a Christ follower. Instead they are voted off because they complain and argue. Why is it that the Christ follower gets into trouble with their mouth so easily? A lot of us don't tap in to our power source. We are bossy, demanding and treat others rudely. I was once having dinner with someone I thought was a strong Christian. This person was a Pastor so I did not expect him to be so rude to the waitress. He never said please, never said thank you. He complained constantly.

This chapter gives us directions on how to live daily. If we don't live this way, Christ cannot and will not be seen in our lives.


Jeremy is having a trial run tomorrow of the steroid shot for Degenerative Disc Disease. It's not like a normal shot, a quick poke. This requires sedation, an x-ray machine, etc. It's at 10:00am in the morning. UPS is making him come in at 6:15am in the morning to work until 8:00am. I didn't believe him when he told me that but it is true. They really have no heart whatsoever.

Pray for him. He has never had ANY kind of sedation. Pray that everything goes well and that it works! If it does, he will have a series of three or four I think. Not sure how it works.

Thank you for your prayers ladies! You mean so much to me!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Philippians 1

I have really struggled with this chapter. It's always amazing how the Lord works because Kellie posted her comments a little early on a different post. What she said pretty much summed it up for me. Read below.

"Philippians 1 just spoke to me about being hurt within the body of CHRIST. I grew up in a wonderful church family. Not long after I got married the church got a new pastor. To put it short, many were hurt by this new leadership and left. This has scattered my church family all over the area. Some are now at the church I attend and that is nice, but I can see that they have been hurt and they really don't want to associate with me because I represent the past hurt. That hurts too. Not the point. What I saw here was that no matter how we have been treated by other CHRIST followers we are all still CHRIST followers. We are all on the same team. We all have the same goal. To spread the good news.We may still feel hurt but GOD is bigger than the pain and the pain givers. As Rick Warren pointed out in the Purpose Driven Life, "It is not about our comfort." We are to die to self daily and then we will be working in harmony with the HOLY SPIRIT along with those who may have hurt us."

This is hard for me, extremely hard. I have been careful up to this point on what I write to protect anyone that may be lurking. I'm not going to play games or try to write hidden messages, that's just plain sinful. But, I will say that last year I was hurt more so than I have ever been hurt. Yes, I had a difficult childhood. But, working through childhood pain is much different. When you have been hurt by a full blown Christ follower, it takes a toll. There have been lies told and Jeremy and I have been portrayed in the most cruel ways. Satan loves to work in all of this too. A few weeks ago someone told me something they had "heard" said about me and my husband. It killed me. I went home that night and cried. The next morning I woke up so angry. For the record people, DON'T ever tell someone something that you "heard" about them. This does not help. You may not be trying to hurt someone but deep down it does hurt and it is gossip too. We fight this fight together!

Have you ever wondered if someone's motives are pure? Some of us serve and preach out of pure jealousy and rivalry the Bible says in this chapter. Some have pure motives. But the Bible says that the message of Christ is still be preached regardless. We can't control others, we can't! What have I done to cause pain? Have my motives been pure? Regardless, we fight this fight together!

Chapter 30 says that we are in this fight together. I read it over and over again to try to get it to soak in! I never imagined I would ever go through what I did last year. People don't understand that their words can never be taken back. Slander can destroy a man's life or his ministry. But still beyond the pain, we fight this fight together. Right?

So Kellie, thanks for your comments. Thank you for speaking into my life. We all will be in Heaven together someday and what he said or she said won't mean a damn thing. That's right, I said damn. I have to move on, I have to find healing. The yoke has got to be broken, once and for all.

This blog is a place where I have grown because I have been the most real in my life. You may think I sound like a cry baby or someone that needs to just get over it. Maybe so. But, you ladies know me and you know my heart. This is who I am. This hurt is real. But forgiveness is real too and I have to do it. So pray that the Lord will give me supernatural strength to do it.

We fight this fight together!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Just checking

Hey gals! Thanks again for using my blog site as a source for your daily Bible reading. I am honored and blessed that the Lord would use me to help you in your walk. You help me as I help you STAY IN THE WORD.

I wanted to make sure you have all finished Ephesians. I should be posting Philippians 1 today but I want to start fresh tomorrow with Philippians. I have read chapter one but I want to read it again. The book of Philippians is awesome and I can't wait for us to study it together.

Please pray that this book will minister to us, correct us and teach us so much more about Jesus.

I love you all and you bless me more than you can imagine!


Philippians 1 tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ephesians 6

1-3 Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. "Honor your father and mother" is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, "so you will live well and have a long life." (The Message)

I have shared a lot of things on this blog regarding my past. You have read things about my Dad and unthinkable things that I have faced with him. Mental abuse, physical abuse and his alcoholism. One of the things I have really struggled with is sharing my testimony while honoring him at the same time. It's difficult for those of us that grew up in hell to honor our parents. But my Dad is not the same man that he used to be. He lives less than two miles down the road and comes over and eats with us about every other day. We don't watch a Maverick's game without him and he takes us out to dinner a lot. He knows things have been tough with Jeremy's back injury so he has given us money just about every week. He gives me money for the kids all the time, so I buy them lots of clothes. I recently got a speeding ticket and he paid for it. He works nearby and he knows I am feeling pretty puny these days so he calls a lot to ask me if he can bring me lunch. Today he called while I was sick and asked what sounded good to eat. I told him limes in club soda, celery and oranges. Within the hour, he was at my front door with all of those things in hand. This is not the man I grew up with. While he still struggles with negativity and anger, he adores me, adores Jeremy and worships my children. I need him in my life, so today I honor him.

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.(The Message)

I absolutely love this translation in The Message. It makes it so personal. It helps me to realize how much God cares about me and how He has provided a way for me to beat the enemy! What a way to put it! It's not an athletic contest that we walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours! So true! We will always fight this fight but the amazing and satisfying thing is knowing that we can ALWAYS win. Today remind the devil of his future!

13-18 Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (The Message)

Battles are lost because of our lack of preparation. Right here in God's Holy Word, we are told to be prepared because we cannot handle any of it on our own. Why is that so hard for us to understand? Ladies, this scripture passage tells us that we are doing the best thing to fight our battles! We are in the Word! This is why I knew the Lord was telling me to get women together by reading God's Word. His word is essential and daily we are reading it! I am proud of us. I love what it says about prayer and keeping each other's spirits up. Women are so good at this. We love to help each other out and be there for each other. The devil hates this about women but the more we serve each other, the more we can show one another the love of Jesus.

Sharing your junk

Ladies, I just have to say that I am so proud of all of you that shared your sin. Think about it. How many people really live their life without wearing a mask or several masks? We all do it. The first step to freedom from things that hold us captive is to get rid of the pride! Pride keeps us from being honest. Pride is the ugliest sin of all, I believe.

You have shared things that we all go through. What a woman you are! I have learned that just about all of us struggle with yelling. We struggle with friends, gossip, husbands and many other things. I am learning that I have to surround myself with women that can admit their struggles. When getting to know someone I think it is important to look for red flags and the biggest and brightest red flag you may see is someone who thinks nothing is wrong with them or someone who blames all of their issues on someone else. You can't build a friendship on surface stuff. If you do, then you will not grow. And isn't that what we are in each other's lives for? Are we not there to help one another grow? Yes, we are.

Those of you that have shared your guts, you make me grow. Thank you. Thank you for being raw and allowing others to see that you are not perfect. God can use that!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Ephesians 5

Good evening. Earlier today when I was feeling half way decent, I should have posted my Bible Study instead of posting my report on the weekend trip. I have read chapter five. Sorry to be a slacker today. I really need your prayers. I have been sick all day and I have kids to baby-sit tomorrow.

Again, I apologize for not having any words to say. There is so much in chapter five that I would like to address but for now I will just have to get it all from you.

Back from the Davis Reunion

There is something so refreshing about leaving Dallas and driving to East Texas. You know you are getting close when the trees gets taller, much taller. Oh how I love to see the Pine trees! Since my husband grew up in a small town, raised animals, drove a tractor and everything else, he longs to be back in the country. He asked me how I would feel about moving to the country several times. My poor husband, he hates living in the city but it's all I have ever known. Another quick hint that you're headed East? The huge signs that say Dairy Queen-21 miles, exit mile marker 34. Matter of fact, there are a lot of Dairy Queens in East Texas. As much as I wanted to enjoy the three hour drive, I couldn't. I don't think there is anything worse than having morning sickness while riding in a car. Jeremy kept saying, "Babe, whatever you want to eat. Just tell me when you see something that sounds good." Finally I settled on something but I can't even tell you what it is right now in fear of throwing up. What sounded good then, doesn't sound good now! I was anxious to get there and anxious to get out of the car so when I saw the Lindale 69 exit that takes you to Tyler, I perked up. Quickly we made it through Tyler, the Rose Capital. If you need a rose bush, this is the place to stop! Roses are everywhere! Then there was Noonday! Fresh fruit and vegetable stands everywhere! Until you have had a Noonday Onion, you haven't really had a GOOD onion! Trust me! I am an onion lover and cook with them a lot so I made sure I got my bag to take home. "Yummo", as Rachel Ray says. And speaking of Rachel Ray I think she needs to take her Tasty Travels show to my family reunion. She would experience food in a whole new way. More on the food later!

Once you get past Noonday, you know Lake Palestine is only a few miles away so I started getting a little excited. I thought back to when I was a kid and how excited my little brother and I would become when we knew we were almost there. And there it was, the bridge that crosses the lake! The sound of the tires crossing the bridge is one that a child never forgets. I still get excited as a thirty year old. Something like, ba bump, ba bump, ba bump, ba bump, ba bump as the cars go over the bridge. There were a few things when I was a kid that got my heart pounding and kept me up all night the night before. Christmas, Six Flags, and The Davis Family Reunion! Finally, we were there!

We unloaded our luggage, and settled in my parent's Fifth Wheel. Then we headed over to the Pavilion, just a few feet away, where all the relatives were. They had already began singing, playing guitars and serving homemade ice cream. Of course I couldn't handle eating ice cream, it sounded gross at the time and it still does. But it may not tomorrow. I found my favorite cousin Cara and we instantly began talking about our current pregnant state that we are both in and how we didn't feel at our best. But soon we sat back, watched family members that we never see and spent a lot of time laughing. She brought her guitar to join the family singing this year that takes place on Friday night but I decided to hit the sack. It's funny that I am singer but I have never sang with my family. Every year I think I'm gonna give it a try but I never do. Maybe next year! Cara stayed and apparently did a great job singing "Grandpa" by the Judds. If only I would have known, I could have done some good back up for her. She was so proud of herself. She told me the next morning that everyone clapped when she was done. Way to go Cara, I wish I would have heard it! Next year we will have to sing some June Carter Cash! But you will have a new baby and I will be a parent of three children so we may be asleep by the time the real singin' gets started. Then again, is there ever real singin' at the Davis Family Reunion?

As fun as this event sounds, I still struggle a little with trying to have fun. All of my first cousins now live in Tennessee and Mississippi so they don't usually come. But when we were kids, my family reigned supreme at the Reunions. We always had a ton of relatives representing our Cecil Davis Sr. side of the family. Now it appears that Melvin Davis and Doyle Davis have the biggest turnout. I miss my cousins. I miss our fights. I miss our walks to the store to get candy before playing family bingo. Do you remember this Chassidy? I miss following my cousin Shawna around every where she went. I miss Jennifer and how we used to swim in the lake while Papa watched us. I miss Brandon, I miss Jeremy, I miss Crystal. I miss my close cousins. The Davis Reunion just isn't the same without them. Maybe someday they will all come back for the famous weekend. Now that would be a Reunion to remember!

Saturday is the day of food and fun. As I sat in the dining area waiting to eat, I realized how many people were missing. Some have passed away, some have just quit coming and some are busy with other obligations. How will we keep this family thing going? Right now it's the parents of my generation that have kept this weekend alive. But will it dwindle? Will my generation be able to keep it up? And this year someone big was missing! Uncle Cecil and Aunt MaryVonne were not able to make it. Their home in Beaumont, Texas was damaged from Hurricane Rita last year so they were busy with contractors. Aunt MaryVonne is my great Aunt. I was never really close to her but my mom always has been. But one thing I know about Aunt MaryVonne is her cooking! I had no idea she would not be there so I was so disappointed when I found out. No Banana Pudding, no Lima beans! And when I am pregnant she takes cares of me, dotes on me! She lets me come over to their motor home while she fixes me a homemade chicken salad sandwich on a croissant! Now that sounds good right now! But not this year. Oh I really missed them this year. Uncle Cecil always prays over the family meal and it's not the same when he doesn't. His prayer makes the food ever better! I will be sad when these older relatives are gone from my life. What a legacy they have with all of us.

At this moment I can't go too much into the food. So far this morning I have only been able to eat Saltine crackers and I have prayed at least twenty times already that I wouldn't throw up. The food this weekend was good but my tray of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onions had to be the best! All of it fresh from Noonday! Once again, yummo! Oh and hats of to my Mom for the most excellent beans I have ever had. They actually sound pretty good right now! Well, maybe not.

I didn't get involved in Horseshoes or Sand Volleyball this year. I think the only time I did anything outside was when I took pictures of the kids smashing the pinata. Other than that, it was too hot! This allowed me to spend lots of time with my grandmother, Mary Helen. Now do you understand why Ava Beth is Ava Beth? We have a lot of two name names in my family! She told me she had a stack of pictures to give me of all of us on the Farm when we were little. Grannymaw (Mary Helen) and Papa (Walter) had a farm when I was little in San Augustine, Texas. Now, that is East Texas! She sold it after my Papa died but I would give anything to have that Farm back in our family. She also sat and told me what it was like to be the only girl and have five brothers. She assured me that I could handle three kids and more if I wanted. She told me how proud she was of me and what a good mama I was at least ten times. She asked me about my cooking, she knows I love to cook. She told me at least TWENTY times that I have the best husband she's ever seen. "Mandi, do you know what a good husband you have? Most men would never help with those kids like he does. He does it all." I started thinking that maybe she thought how lazy I was and how Jeremy did it all. Well, this weekend he did do a lot for me! She told me that Ava Beth looks just like me. Just about every time she looked at Ava Beth she told me how pretty she was and how she used to have to rock me to sleep when I stayed with her. She told me I was a bad baby. "Mandi, I had to rock you and then hold you or else you would cry. You were a high maintenance baby." My husband said, "Some things never change." And Grannymaw laughed. It was good to hear her laugh. We also found out that my great grandmother who died several years ago has a name we all recognize. Everyone thought that Mammaw Davis' name was Eva Arabelle Davis. But my grannymaw kept telling us that it was Ava. She recently found the birth certificate that proves it, it is Ava. So Ava Beth and Ava Arabelle! Ava Beth has a pretty special name. My Grannymaw can't see very well anymore and she has a hard time getting around due to her health but she can still tell a story like it was yesterday. That made my trip this weekend one I will never forget. I pray that I have her for several more years to come.

The family bingo was a hit and my cousin Cara and I had a few good, new ideas. We thought about making the family stand for the singing of the National Anthem before starting the big game of bingo. Instead Cara thought having them all sing, "There was a farmer who had a dog and bingo was his name oh, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O and BINGO was his name oh." They looked at us like we were stupid but all began singing when we did! Oh and I can't forget the Fish Fry that my husband and I did for everyone. Again, YUMMO! But sounds gross right now so I can't give any details. UGH!

We left Sunday around 11:30am, I felt sick of course. Dairy Queen was the only thing I could think of to eat so I ate half of a burger, no fries. Thankfully, I made it home without getting sick! Not even a dry heave!

The Davis Family Reunion was fun and I made some good memories. Time to get with my Mom, the head of the Reunion, and start planning the second weekend in June for next year. It will be here in a flash!

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Davis Family Reunion

On a lighter note! We are headed to our Family Reunion in Palestine, Texas! Some of the greatest memories I have as a child are of the Davis Family Reunion. The second weekend in June was a weekend to always look forward to. This was the time of year we got to see ALL the cousins. At times there are close to two hundred people in attendance, so when I say I have a lot of cousins, I mean I have A LOT of cousins. My parents are already there and they have Josiah with them. Last Summer they bought a fifth wheel and it sits right by the Pavilion where are all the festivities take place. Oh and yes, there is air conditioning for all activities! We are right by the Lake so taking the boat is a must! There is also a pool so a lot of the kids go swimming or they walk down to the boat dock and swim in the lake.

Friday night starts with homemade ice cream and family singing. I come from a very musical family. So we all sit around and sing old gospel songs while eating homemade ice cream. Some of these people I only see once a year but when I see them, it seems like last year's reunion was just yesterday. Just a few years ago, my own grandmother (grannymaw) would play and sing too. She can play any instrument! This is no joke! She now just listens. And since my son has such and obsession with playing the Guitar, we thought we would let him take his along so he can participate tonight. Surely they will let a three year old join in! We got a bass guitar, a banjo, a piano, and several guitars so it always make for a good old fashion jam session!

Tomorrow morning the women will be busy, busy, busy. The family meal is at 1pm so lots of cookin' to get done. This is my favorite part of the weekend! The food is the best Southern food you have ever had, I promise. Then there will be plates of fresh tomatoes, onions (Noonday Onions), cucumbers and okra! YUMMO! Oh and the deserts are out of this world! Woo! I am hungry now just thinkin' about it! Then at 3pm, it's the Family Auction. Everyone in the family brings a craft and it goes up for bid. Last year there was a family cookbook that one of my cousins had made. Once the bid got past two hundred dollars, I knew I would not be getting it! All of the money raised goes into the Davis Reunion Fund. After that we have the busting of the piñata for the kids (I stuffed the pinatas this year, actually last night). Then the Sand Volley ball tournament followed by horseshoes tournament. Trophies are handed out and then it's time for FAMILY BINGO!!! My mom is in charge of our family reunion so I help her do a lot of stuff including buy prizes. We play several rounds of bingo and each winner gets to choose a prize! I think we spend close to $400 on prizes so it's good stuff. My favorite cousin, Cara, helps me call out the bingo numbers in the microphone. We love to play jokes on everyone and call out bogus numbers or say weird things in the microphone that no one understands. "X9, X9". Do you know how many people say this? "There's no X on the bingo card!" Last year my grandmother gave me some disapproving looks. Those older people are serious about bingo!

Oh and we also do a fish fry on Saturday night and I must say that half of the fish we are frying this year, I CAUGHT!

Here we are at Jeremy's parents house getting ready to filet the fish. Yes, I cut their heads off too, not just Jeremy. I figure if I caught 'em, I need to be the one to clean 'em! So this is what we do during theweekendss leading up to the reunion. We drop the kids off at Gparents, take the boat to Lake Grapevine and fish, fish, fish! We have to make sure we go a few times in order to have enough fish for the Reunion.

So in just a few hours, we are off to The Davis Family Reunion but fisrt we have to stop in Noonday for some onions!

Ephesians 4- read carefully (revised)

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

It seems there is so much bickering going on these days. And guess what folks? It's not bickering among non-believers, it's bickering in the church. When I say church I don't mean the place where we go on Sunday, although it does happen there too. I mean this is happening among Christians, Godly men and women. So if you are tempted to get mad at someone for something they have said or something they have done, don't. Just don't! If you are tempted to say ugly things about them or talk about them behind their back, don't! Just don't! I knew this girl several years ago that never said anything, anything bad about anyone. I never saw her roll her eyes or talk about anyone bad. If someone began to shed negative light on a person, she would say, "Well Jesus loves him/her just as much as He loves you." That's what our response should be!

Ladies, I am done with all the Bible fluff! It doesn'matter how much we read or how much we study God's word unless it is truly changing our lives. So today, I am changing up the rules a little. Please don't post comments in the normal fashion. If you still want to do that, please post it on your blog. This chapter that we are reading today contains words that should bring correction to our lives. So in your comments, please type something that you feel you need to work on. Let's don't make it sound pretty ladies! Let's really say what it is that comes up in our lives over and over again. Do you talk about people? Do you gossip? Do you think bad things about people? Are you confrontational? Do you keep your word? Do you manipulate people? Do you close people out? Are you jealous? Are you prideful? Are you honest? Do you lie? What is it in your friendships, relationships that get you into trouble? (revision) I am talking about UGLY sin. Something that is hard to admit. Share something that is hard to say. You can always comment anonymous. If you don't wish you share, that's okay too but this is what I feel called to do for chapter four. I can't force you to share something. But I can share what God is showing me and in the mean time I think He can use me for it.

14-16No prolonged infancies among us, please. We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love-like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

I think that the best way we can quit acting like infants is to share our struggles. If we share them, I believe that it will bring about the greatest change we have ever experienced. I see it everyday! Women wearing masks because they don't want you to really know what's on the inside. Well, this is a safe place to confess. I confess to all of you all the time. Sometimes, it is hard but when I do it, I always have a breakthrough, ALWAYS.

25What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ's body we're all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

26-27Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry-but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.

28Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can't work.

29Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

30Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted.

31-32Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

The instructions are pretty simple. We know from God's Word how we are supposed to live. So I want to make sure that if all of my blogging friends from Arkansas to Canada spent the day with me that they would see me living a life of forgiveness. Would they see that I have made a clean break from the filthy things of this world? Would they see that words that come from my mouth are pure? I pray so.

What to do I need to confess? I talk about people that have hurt me or done something wrong to me. As I talk about them, I get mad all over again. I found myself doing this this past Friday night at dinner with a friend. The Holy Spirit clearly showed me what it was I was doing, GOSSIPING. Even when someone has done something to us out of spite, it is still wrong to talk about it with others. It does not give us permission to spew our thoughts about them! So Lord, please help me in this area. Please forgive me for gossiping.

(You do not have to be reading Ephesians with us to leave a comment. So feel free to share!)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ephesians 4- Not yet!

This chapter I would like us to focus on for two days. There is so much I don't want us to miss! I have been a little distracted today so I really would like us to study this chapter all over again tomorrow.

Lets really concentrate on praying for one another right now. Tomorrow I will post my thoughts on chapter four. So in the mean time, please share any prayer requests you may have in your comments. I just feel that we really need to be praying specifically for each other so let us know how we can pray for you.

I love all of you!


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ephesians 3

It's been a rough day. Sorry for posting chapter 3 so late. I am really lacking energy right now and feel like I am going to throw up pretty much all day long. I feel best when I am sleeping! But it's all worth it. I am so blessed to be pregnant so NO complaints. Just a hard day!

But this makes it all better.

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (NIV)

20-21God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (The Message)

20Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. 21May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. (NLT)

This scripture is by far my favorite scripture. When I was in Junior High, I listened to a Christian group called Acapella. They sang a song based on this scripture. When things were rough at home, school or anything else, I would listen to this song. It became my anthem and still is today. The more I read this scripture, the more I see it, the more I say it, the more it soaks in. If I really and truly believe this, then I KNOW great things are ALWAYS in store for my life.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ephesians 2

7-10Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (The Message)

Again, I am back in The Message! I love this translation. It's like Paul says, "Hey folks, it's not about YOU!'

I once knew about a situation where two believers were witnessing to the same person but at different times. One would eat lunch with the lost person and try to share things from the Bible, while one would go to dinner or something with the lost person and share things too. They both had the same goal. They both knew that this person needed Jesus and wanted to win he/she to the Lord. Unfortunately, one of the believers took it as some sort of competition and wanted to make sure they were the one that actually sealed the deal with the lost person and got he/she saved. Well, I am not quite sure what happened but the lost person disappeared out of both believers lives, neither one of them actually got he/she saved but they both planted seeds. Hopefully someone else came along and sealed the deal through the power of the Holy Spirit and not the power of competition!

It's funny how Christians act sometimes. We are all a little embarrassing at times. Quite often we need a huge kick in the butt to remind us that IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT US! We sing a song at church with lyrics that says it best.

It's all about you,
It's all about you,
It's all about you JESUS

Do we really and truly get that it's all about Him? We are here to serve and only serve.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ephesians 1

When we commit to doing something, it's easy to loose joy in the commitment. Originally we are excited but now we are just going through the motions. If this is how you feel right now about reading your Bible, that's okay. Just this morning, I found myself reading without really reading. Can you relate? So I prayed that the Lord would help me to focus and really pay attention to the words. Well, I decided to look up Ephesians 1 in a different translation, The Message. (if you click on my title above, it will take you to The Message link) This translation did it for me. It gave me a verse in a whole new way and so today I am going to focus on it all day long. If you are struggling like I am, join me in meditating on this verse today. You may be at work, you may be at home, you may have a day full of errands. Whatever your day has for you, focus on this.

11-12 It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

There is really no reason to focus on anything negative today when you focus on this promise. Print it out, write it out, look at it over and over again! Let your spirit soak it up! If you woke up feeling down, this will change your attitude. Struggling with acceptance? Read this! Struggling with your identity? Read this! Struggling with self esteem? Read this! Struggling with decisions? Read this! Struggling with relationships? Read this!

Father, I pray that you will show each and every person reading Ephesians today to focus on who they are in YOU. Thank you Jesus for your blood. Thank you for saving me! Thank you for accepting me. When the world seems to be against me, you are not. You will always love me! Thank you Jesus for showing me who I am in you. Thank you for showing me so early in life that I needed a Savior! I love you Lord Jesus.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Stomach Flu, Dallas Mavericks, etc.

As I placed my items on the counter to be scanned, the cashier at CVS pharmacy could tell things were not going my way. Was it the look on my face or the items I purchased? A can of Lysol, three quarts of Gatorade, Pepto-Bismol, Vitamin Water-Energy (my new kick), Clorox Bleach Wipes and Hand Sanitizer must have given him some sort of clue as to what was going on in my home. "Someone sick?" I wanted to answer with "Yes, you! If you don't wash your hands as soon as I walk away, you're next!" Instead I decided to be nice and probably share way too much information with this sweet Manager at CVS. "My husband has thrown up fifteen times, my daughter has been throwing up too. I don't have it and my son doesn't have it. So I shipped my son to grandparents to try and protect him and I am praying just about every second that I don't get it because I am pregnant." And did I mention that Ava Beth was with me? I couldn't leave her at home because Jeremy couldn't take care of her. So I had to take the poor thing with me. I am quite sure this guy lathered himself up in sanitizer after we walked out the door! I did tell him he should use some! He laughed. Hopefully he is still laughing and not puking!

So it was supposed to be a fun weekend! I went out with a girlfriend on Friday night and that was fun. I knew Ava Beth wasn't feeling great but just like any other Mother of a seventeen month old, I assumed it was teething! Isn't that what it always is? Then I went back over to my girlfriend's house on Saturday and watched two of her four children while she had a day of fun. Ava Beth was at home with Jeremy so I got to enjoy relaxing in the pool while the kids swam (actually they floated in water wings & life jackets). I soaked up the sun and thought about the Dallas Mavericks winning all day long (seriously I did). It was all going great until the phone rang. "Babe, Ava Beth is throwing up and I feel sick too." This is the same Ava Beth that I kissed on the mouth at least a hundred times the day before. And this is my husband who I have also kissed! And both of you are getting sick? Well, I decided to continue enjoying the pool in my friend's backyard and not worry about the sickness at home. About an hour later, the phone rang again. "Babe, when are you coming home? I am sick. I can't stop throwing up and Ava Beth is in to everything!" Well, needless to say I got home soon after and the fun has finally stopped. We have been puke free in the Hayes home since 1pm today. We haven't been totally free of the other, if you know what I mean but I am beginning to feel like tomorrow will be better. Lord, PLEASE do not let me or Josiah get sick!

Now, I have to remind you of something. I am pregnant. So cleaning up vomit and changing liquid diapers does not help my constant state of nausea that I currently have from pregnancy. It's hard for me to tell if I am getting sick because I feel sick pretty much all the time. The Lord has definitely given me a supernatural amount of strength. I have wanted to get this sickness out of my house so bad that I have used almost a half a can of lysol, I have scrubbed bathrooms, cleaned baseboards and sanitized everything. Oh and I have done a butt load of laundry! I think Jeremy is enjoying watching me clean so much! Every single time I have changed a diaper or cleaned up my child's vomit (Jeremy can make it to the bathroom in time, thank you God!) I have prayed, "Lord, please don't let me throw up, please don't let me throw up, please Lord, please!" I never did throw up and I am praying that we are in the clear. Mom says Josiah is not acting sick so that is a praise!

Did I mention my Dallas Mavericks small watching party that I had planned for Saturday night? Well, it was canceled. Yep, Josiah and I watched the game by ourselves. When they won, I couldn't call my Dad because he was sick too. Yes he shared his snow cone with Ava Beth the night before. Same spoon! He probably will never do that again! So I couldn't call my Dad and scream and yell over the victory! I thought maybe telling Jeremy would cheer him up or make him feel a little better but when I entered the bedroom which had been quarantined, I put my shirt over my nose and mouth and quietly shared the exciting news. "Babe, they won! We are going to play in the NBA Championship!" I knew he didn't feel well but he didn't have to be so rude! "Babe, get out of here. PLEASE." UGH! Proudly I was wearing my Mavs T-Shirt that I had just bought and a big GO MAVS sign was in our yard so with the cancellation of the party, I was ticked! No one to be excited with me! Josiah was asleep, Ava Beth sick and asleep, my Dad puking, Jeremy puking, no one around to be happy with me! So I called my brother in Seattle, he was happy but I could tell he was not near as stoked as me. At least I had church to look forward to.

I washed my Mavs shirt and Josiah's Mavs shirt so we could wear them to church today. Yes, I was going to wear a Mavericks Tshirt to church! But you have to see this shirt to understand. It's a girl shirt, it has the Mavericks on it in glitter writing! And I was planning on accessorizing! I could make it work for church, trust me! BUT, when I got up this morning I found out that Jeremy had been up all night throwing up. There was no way I could go to church and leave him home with Ava Beth. So I stayed home with my sick babies.

Yes, yes, yes, I would love for you all to pray that Josiah and I will continue to be healthy and stomach virus FREE! My mom knows how hard it is for me to get to her salon since I have my kids all day so she agreed to highlight my hair at her house tomorrow. I will have both kids with me but it will be easier at her house. Josiah is already there so AB and I will drive over tomorrow morning. Highlights always make a Mom feel better!

Despite the diarrhea and vomit, the Mavericks win made my weekend! Avery Johnson, I am still praying for you and the team!


(Mavs fans, click here to read Mark Cuban's blog about the series against the Suns.)