Monday, July 31, 2006

Lots to love and lots to change

I thought I would change my profile picture to something a little more like me! I am a lot of fun! Okay?! Yes, I know my blog writing tends to lean towards the more serious side at times. But I will make you laugh! I will be the loudest, the craziest and the most gregarious person at the party. Well, unless Minnie is there. She is a tad bit louder, especially when she laughs! Anyway, I am sure I will change my profile picture as much as I change my hair and I actually just changed the hair last weekend but I don't have a picture so you are stuck with a picture from a couple of months ago. No, I did not cut it! It's the color, only color. This is the part of me that I love. My ability to make others laugh, do impersonations and sing at the top of my lungs while trying on clothes in the dressing room or using a public restroom (when I do this, I am usually with my best friend Rebecca), this is the part of me I am proud of! I never meet a stranger and I am a good communicator in person. No college degree but I could always interview well! So as a single adult I had great paying jobs. I like to eat out all the time, I like to go to Target and Wal Mart with a friend, not by myself and of course I would never eat out alone. It's not because I'm afraid to be alone, I just don't want to! I want to be around people constantly. I can sing or speak in front of thousands, I actually love it. While this may sound like I am just a big bragger, I am explaining the "I" that I am. If you have ever taken the DISC test, you know what I am referring to. But there is something I don't like about this test one bit! The results! I went through this testing in a Life Management course I went through that was created by Dr. Phil. It was expensive, gut wrenching, life changing and also horrible to go through. But, that was the first time I had taken the DISC test and discovered that I was not only an "I", but also a "D". In fact, my "D" and "I" were totally even on the chart. Again, if you have taken this then you know exactly what I am talking about. If not, I am quite sure you can google "DISC" and find all the information. I have now taken the test five times, hoping to see that my "I" was all alone while the other letters were way down the chart but each time the results are the same. I am a "D"/ "I". And this my friends, I hate. I don't want to be a "D"!

I like to get my own way, I will prove my point, I am honest and sometimes too honest, I want to be in charge, I will be in charge, I lead and it's extremely hard for me to sit back and follow. It's hard for me to be silent and not share my opinion and I am argumentative at times. Of course there are great things about being a "D", but since this is the part of me that usually brings trouble my way, I struggle with it a lot. Over the past month, I have really been praying about this area in my life. It's confusing for me and confusing for others I am sure. At times I am the total "I" and then if there is something I am passionate about in any way, the "D" comes barreling through! When I come across other people that fall under that "D" category, I realize how I can come across. I see it in them and then realize, "Yikes! I do that too!"

Living a spirit filled life is tough, especially when you put yourself in a box and label yourself with personalities types. I don't want to do that. But I do realize that there is a lot of truth to the results of the tests I have taken. I know that there are traits in my personality that has to be checked or sanctified. I can't strive for Holiness when I am trying to get my own way. I cannot be a Godly woman with a gentle spirit if I have to be the center of attention. As I have prayed about this for the past few weeks, the thing I come back to over and over again is self examination before the Lord. I want to be so in tune with the Lord that I feel convicted over everything I do that doesn't glorify Him. It may be a TV show I am watching, a song I am listening to or the content of my conversations or thoughts. When I get alone and listen to the Lord, He lets me know. He lets me know what doesn't match up with Him.

1. A woman addicted to reality TV or TV period! That does not line up with what I know the Lord has called me to do with my life and my testimony. Having TiVo does not help this addiction. I HAVE TO KEEP THIS IN CHECK. My time is filled with TOO many shows that I can't miss. It has become an idol. This is the most difficult conviction to deal with.

2. A woman that wants to be center stage at all times, that does not match up with what I know the Lord has called me to do. Even though I know he has called me to sing and speak, this will be something I always have to keep in check. It can't be about me!

3. A woman driven to do it my way, that does not line up with what God has called me to do. Things in my personality have to be sanctified. If I walk in the spirit, these traits will be sanctified.

4. A woman that has to have nice things in her house or new clothes to make her feel good, this is not what God has called me to be. Those things cannot be my treasure. This gets in the way of so many women's lives and it is one that could definitely take over mine. This takes a lot of prayer! If I posted pictures of my house on my blog, I would want you to see my decorating, my nice things, etc. Now to some of you that may not sound like an issue, but I know that my heart would not have the purest motive. I would want you to see my "stuff." That's wrong.

5. A woman that has to use this blog to make others think she has it all together, that is not what God has called me to do. I don't want to show off, or use this blog to lure anyone into thinking I am something I am not. If I have two readers, then I have two readers. I constantly pray that the Lord will not allow me to get sucked into certain things when it comes to blogging. It's so tempting.

Those are just five things that the Lord is showing me in my own life. I relate it to my personality traits because I am learning what I have to watch out for as I walk my path. Whenever we find a church that we will join, I will struggle. I will struggle with wanting the important people to know that I sing and all the places I have sung. I will want to tell them about all the stuff I have done, all the stuff I can do. I will sit in a Bible Study and long to be teaching it myself. I will sit in the congregation, listen to the music and picture myself up there singing. It's my flesh, it's my personality, it's my struggle and I have to learn to sit back and allow the Lord to make room for my gifts. Honestly, I am dreading the challenge. I would rather be a rock star, instantly. There's lots to love but lots to change.

Lord, you are always showing me things that need to change. But I thank you for also showing me the things that are great about me too. I constantly have to remind myself that you created me with these traits and if I walk in your spirit, they will be beautiful traits and used for the kingdom. Thank you for teaching me and getting me to a place where I can hear you so well.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lots going on in this head of mine!

So last night I figured out how quickly I could become obsessed with Sudoku! Once I introduced this game to my Mom, she was obsessed instantly and is now sending me emails with her best time on solving. I don't need another time waster in my life but oh it is fun to play!

Today I read that Andrea Yates was found NOT GUILTY in the murders of her children. But I don't think it would be a good idea for me to even explore my feelings on this subject matter. I am sure there are many opinions out there. Mine are extremely strong so I will keep them to myself and of course I will share them with my sweet husband. But if you get a chance, read the article that I have linked with her name. They jurors believe she is insane. A long drawn out trial to come to the conclusion that she is insane?? I think we knew that the moment we heard she murdered her children! Okay, here I go. I need to move on or I will turn this blog post into my feelings on Andrea Yates. Not a good idea. I do pray that she finds the help she needs, she is very sick.

This morning I had a sonogram and I think today was the day! Today it finally sunk in that I am going to be a mother of three come January! Wow. Good news, the morning sickness is GONE!Well, except for when I brush my teeth! My Doctor told me today, "You are what we call, perfect. Everything looks great." I asked if I could get that in writing so I could show my husband but he just laughed. Seriously though! I know he was referring to the pregnancy but I know I heard the word PERFECT mixed in with my name! When I saw the hands and the feet and the head and pretty much the whole baby, I was ecstatic. Even though this is my third, the excitement is still booming with this one just as much as the other two. The baby was jumping all around and my Doctor printed tons of pictures and gave Josiah one too. Just a little while ago when I was putting him down for a nap, he asked if he could have the picture of his baby brother in his room. He is really thinking it's a boy and so does Daddy. But, I have NO IDEA! After having Ava Beth, I think another boy would be great! She is a hand full! Boy, girl, makes no difference to me! Healthy baby is what I want! We find out what we are having on August 31st unless one of my sonographer friends can sneak me in. I have two friends that do sonograms for a living so with both of my other kids, I knew at 15 weeks what they were. Soon I will be loading THREE kids in the car. I think I am still in shock!

Today I am reading Romans, chapter five. I am really enjoying Romans. I would love to get a book or commentary just on Romans. The Lord is really revealing so many things to me. Chapter four was awesome too. We have been contemplating the name Abraham for a boy so reading about him in chapter four really made me love that name and all that it stands for. We could all take a lesson from Abraham. 4:1-3 So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we're given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, "Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own." The faith of Abraham is amazing. It's supernatural. When everything looked hopeless, Abraham believed. Do I have faith like that? That's the faith I want! This passage talks about how Abraham did not live his life based on what he couldn't do but he lived his life based on what God said he would do! Abraham never focused on his 100 year old body or Sarah's infertility, he focused on what God said he would do! Verse 18 says that God himself said to him, "You're going to have a big family,Abraham!" This chapter really is amazing and it will renew your faith in so many ways. Read chapter four today!

Playing Sudoku, reading the paper, going to an OB appointment and spending time with my Lord by reading His word has given me lots to think about today and talk about. But still, all day long I have been thinking about Amy. How is she feeling today? Is she scared? Is she having a good day? I wish I could go and sit with her, pray for her or sing to her. She needs so many of us to stand in the gap for her, to intercede for her and to have faith for her. Abraham would have faith for Amy. He would tell her that God can do ANYTHING. So today I am praying that Amy will feel the spirit of the Lord and that she will BELIEVE that God can do anything for her, anything.

Thank you Jesus for all that you have done for me. Thank you for teaching me, correcting me, but most of all for loving me. I know that there is nothing I can do to separate me from your love. Thank you for your word and all that I learn from it. You have changed me, you have healed me, you have done for me all that you said you would do and more. You are my savior.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Blessings galore

As open and honest as I usually am on this blog, there is one thing that is very difficult for me to write about. There is a part of pride that I deal with in a big way. Money. When I was growing up, we did not have money. I did not get to be a pee wee football cheerleader, attend ballet or tap classes, gymnastics or anything extra curricular until I got into junior high. But I always wanted to. When I lived with my Dad after my parents split up, I never had lunch money and I remember feeling like the biggest dork while I was in the pep club in 7th grade because I did not have Guess Jean overalls. All the girls in Pep Club had Guess Jean overalls and every color of Keds you could imagine. They would gather at lunch and talk about their moms taking them to the Espirit Outlet in Dallas over the weekend. Oh how I longed to be one of those girls. After school, I never had a ride home so I walked. I did not want the other Pep Club girls to know that I lived in crummy apartments so I walked a back way. That way no one would see me walking home. We all know that junior high/middle school can be tough especially for someone like me that had no idea what she would walk into when she got home each day. But I lived with a lot of shame. I did not want anyone to know that I did not have lunch money so I would sit at lunch and act like I was not hungry or I would find enough change and buy a coke and chips. That was my lunch just about every day or I had nothing at all. So when it comes to money, or the lack there of, my pride comes to surface in a big way. Especially now!

When we moved into this house a year ago, we had no idea what was ahead. We did not plan on Jeremy injuring his back. He has worked for UPS for twelve years and during that time he has called in sick ONCE. So his back injury has been very difficult for him to handle. His pay went down drastically because he was put on light duty. He is still on light duty but praise the Lord he is finally getting to work normal hours again, so his pay is almost back to normal. Daily I am praying that he does not get put on full workers comp. That would be devastating. A lot has happened this year and it seems that our finances have reached a terrible place. There are things we are doing to help relieve us of so much debt. But it will be a process to say the least. I started a Holiday Baking Business last November and grossed almost $2,000! Even though I will be a big pregnant woman with my third by that point, I still plan to do it again. It was a huge success! I also have been babysitting my friend's kids. She has four so I have helped with the younger two. That will be ending in a couple of weeks but I am constantly praying that the Lord will give me opportunities to make extra money. He has provided every single time!

My UPS man, my husband, is the most hardworking man you will meet. His boss called here last Saturday night to ask him something about work. He was leaving for vacation with his family but wanted to check with Jeremy on something. Jeremy had gone to the movie store so I answered the phone. I am a talker and it's easy for me to make conversation with a stranger so I jokingly said, "Uh oh! What did he do?" His boss said, "Jeremy? Nothing. He is our best driver at the Dallas hub and we are sick about his injury. We just want him to get better. But since he is on light duty he is really helping us teach other drivers. He has more knowledge of the routes than we do." Wow! That was a great thing to hear about my husband. I started thinking about Proverbs 31 and what it says about her husband being respected at the city gates. I am so proud of Him. As I write this I am realizing how much I need to tell him too. He's having such a hard time right now and I need to serve him in every way. I need to praise him! I did not start this post with Jeremy on my mind. I wanted to share with you all that God has been doing for us. But even as I write the Lord is showing me what I need to do for my husband.

So last month some of our really good friends sent us their tithe check. They were in the process of finding a church home after moving and knew they needed to tithe but didn't know where to send their tithe. We got their tithe check! I did not ask for money, I did not hint about money. She knew what our circumstances were and the Lord placed my family on her and her husband's heart. Not too long ago I wrote a check for $100 and gave it to a family in need. I had no idea how bad we would be struggling soon after that. We had no clue that when we came back from my 30th birthday vacation in Mexico that Jeremy would be badly hurt. Oh how I wished I had that $100.00 back as well as all the money we had spent on the cruise! But the Lord gave that money back to us, actually he quadrupled it! Then several weeks later we were at a tough spot again. Jeremy had cashed in two weeks of his vacations, we had nothing in savings and things were getting scary. I wondered how I was going to get diapers, groceries, etc. on what was in our bank account. That night the doorbell rang it was another good friend with a car full of groceries and a gift card to Wal Mart. I did not ask her for money. I did not hint about money. She knew our circumstances and the Lord placed us once again on someone's heart. I knew it was from the Lord when she said, "I prayed while I was in the grocery store about what to buy. I know some of the stuff you buy just from coming over here but I really prayed that the Holy Spirit would speak to me." She had no idea that we had been eating a ton of strawberries. Actually it has been a craving of mine during this pregnancy. She pulled strawberries out of the bag and said, "I don't know if y'all even like these but I felt like I was supposed to buy them." Of course, tears came to my eyes. I was AMAZED at what the Lord had done! I always but 2% milk and whole milk. She did the same. I buy a certain cheese, certain lunch meat and whole grain bread, so did she. After she left I remember that she had also brought a card for me. I opened it up and there was a $30 gift card to Wal Mart which helped with diapers and the next week's grocery bill. God is good! I was so blessed and I know that my friends are going to be blessed in such an amazing way because they were obedient to the what the Lord has showed them to do. (To both of my friends, you know who you are, thank you. You bless me just about daily. We may be on the phone or talking in person, but both of you are truly the greatest friends I could ever hope or pray for. I love you both so much.)

There is something else pretty amazing that He did. I am still sitting back in total disbelief over this one! When I was pregnant with Ava Beth, I bought maternity clothes constantly. I was singing a lot and wanted to have something new to sing in. I love fashion. It has always been kind of my hobby you could say. I love trends, I love things that are only in style for a short while. That's just me! My husband says his hobby is fishing and mine is buying shoes and clothes! He's totally right! When I was pregnant with Josiah and Ava Beth I was able to spend more. We had a smaller mortgage payment and for a while only one car payment. I felt really blessed to have the clothes I had during my pregnancies. After I had Ava Beth I decided to loan my maternity clothes out. I really wanted to bless someone else. Without going into the details, I found out a few months ago that my maternity clothes had been lost. Then a few weeks ago I was told that they were placed in a trash bag and accidentally thrown in the trash sometime after Christmas. I had denim jackets, denim skirts, tank tops, a bathing suit, jeans, so many things. Also I loaned Josiah's baby bedding that was Pottery Barn Kids and it is gone too. That hurt pretty bad too because my inlwas gave that to us as a gift. I was hoping to use it again if I had another boy. Honestly even though they are just clothes, I don't think I have ever grieved over something so much. When I found out I was pregnant with my third, the grief only intensified especially knowing our financial situation. I was not offered any compensation for all that was lost and DAILY, DAILY, DAILY, I have to pray about forgiving the people involved. But through the battle in my mind over this, I have prayed that the Lord would replace that which was stolen from me. My heart was pure and joyful in loaning those clothes and baby bedding out. Of course now I will probably never loan anything again, I will just give instead of loan. Since this is my third child, I am showing now. I am only thirteen weeks but my flat belly is no more! On Saturday someone said, "Your belly is so cute. It's like a little basketball!" But I quickly said, "I should not have a basketball at thirteen weeks! This should be here at sixteen or seventeen weeks!" My point is, I am showing and my need for maternity clothes is instant!

My best friend, Rebecca, lived across the street from me for almost for years until we moved last Summer. We have always been inseparable and that's why we built our homes across the street from each other. I can tell her anything and she knows EVERYTHING about me, EVERTHING! My kids call her Aunt Rae Rae and she will be in the room for the birth of our third child. We are close! So obviously she knows my situation. Last week when I realized I was not going to be able to wear normal clothes within the next week, I got really down. Jeremy told me I could spend $30.00 at Old Navy's Summer sale! I went online and I got a bathing suit and two really cute tank tops plus shipping for $30.00! I was starting to feel better! Rebecca calls me every single morning but I missed her calls a few times last week. She finally got a hold of me in the afternoon and said, "Just listen to me. Don't say no. I have been praying about this and I talked to Greg about this (her husband) and this is what the Lord has clearly showed me to do. Friday we are going shopping. I have $100 to give you for maternity clothes! You can pick them out, I know that's what you would love to do!" Even as I write this, I cry because God is so amazing! We went to Grapevine Mills (my favorite place) and I got some VERY cute stuff at the Gap outlet and a few other places and I still have $55 left! During one of my quiet times with the Lord I felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me that the clothes would be replaced with better things than I had before. A few days later, I got that call from my best friend Rebecca telling me I had $100 to spend. (Rebecca, I love you so much! I mean Betty Sue, I love you so much. Love, Barbara Jean.)

I don't share all of this to make you feel sorry for me. Don't! God is providing in the most incredible ways. We are starting to see the light too and I think we will be able to get caught up soon! I am praying! But if we weren't in this predicament, we never would have been able to see God bless us in the many ways he has through other people! We have not gone without once! In fact I was able to buy the kids a few things too. So if you are need of ANYTHING, just know that the Lord will provide. He has for me!

Thanks for reading such a long post. I pray that the Lord will bless you like he has blessed me and my family!

Ephesians 3: 20 Now 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,

(PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT ABOUT THE MATERNITY CLOTHES. I did not mention it to have all of you get mad! :) Okay?!)

Sunday, July 23, 2006


The blogging world has really changed my life in many ways. A man that blogs would probably never say something like that but a woman that blogs would understand exactly what I mean. I need relationships, interaction, encouragement and wisdom poured into my life. Sometimes it's a recipe I find on someone's blog that I try out by making for my family. My husband loves it so I share it with my girlfriends! Now I have a new recipe! It may be a blog I read that pertains to children. I've taken a few ideas from other Moms when it comes to disciplining and put them into practice in my home with my kids. Or maybe I read another women's blog that has been brave enough to share her life struggles. Then I am able to minister to another woman with a word of encouragement and out of that may come a friendship. Then there are those of you that come to my blog and bless me with your precious words in the comment section. Everyday I feel so honored just to have someone reading. Blogging has put me in contact with some amazing women in this world. Some live in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas or Louisiana. While many others live in Michigan, California, Colorado, New York and even Australia, Canada and Brazil. It's neat knowing so many people all over the world. These women bless me!

Today I met someone brand new. She doesn't know me but I feel like I already know her. This was my first trip to her site. Many other bloggers are talking about her so I decided to go check out her site and read her story. This beautiful woman is one you can't forget. If you visit her site, your thoughts will be consumed with Amy. The Lord will speak to your heart in a way He probably never has when you read her posts. You will cry, you will smile, you will long to meet Amy when you read her blog. She will leave you speechless and make you feel like there are no words you possibly have to share. But, go ahead and share. She needs all of you amazing women to encourage her in the Lord. Next time you have a bad day, get in a mood, throw a fit or think your life is bad, you will think of Amy. She will give you the courage to face anything. She will tell you that no matter what comes, we still must praise our Lord.

I've decided to put Amy's name on my refrigerator so I can pray for her in the kitchen. I am going to put her name on my bathroom mirror, inside my car, inside my Bible and on my computer. I want to carry Amy with me wherever I go! As I read her blog today I kept hearing these words in my mind. God can do anything! He can heal Amy! Pray for total and complete healing! So that's what I'm going to do. I am going to pray for healing and I'm not going to stop!

Please join me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What makes a woman of God?

Even though I have lived in Texas my entire life, there are times when I would love to live somewhere else during the Summer. For the past nine days in a row, the temperature has reached triple digits. Last night at 10:15pm, it was 97 degrees in Dallas. Have you ever been reading a wonderful fiction book that referred to cool Summer nights? I have and I have no idea what on earth a cool summer night is! Most definitely when I am asked what my favorite season is, I will always answer Fall. Never, never, never, never would I say Summer! However I did get married in August but it was in a very cold, air conditioned church. That's the way I like it, cold. Now I know it's only July but I find myself longing for the new season. My mind is already starting to think about local craft fairs at the big High Schools (even my own High School), Hobby Lobby Christmas Sales and Pumpkin Spice or Eggnog Latte from Starbucks. That is the only time of year I enjoy sweet coffee drinks! Oh and the sound of my KitchenAid mixer mixing up the homemade batter for Pumpkin Bread! And I love the way my front yard looks, better yet my entire cul-de-sac, when the leaves have fallen. I can walk outside on Friday nights and hear the sound of the marching band at the Football stadium and every other Friday night it's my Alma Mater. Of course I can't forget trips to the Pumpkin Patch in Flower Mound, Texas when the kids get to pick out their own pumpkin and we take a ton if pictures in outfits bought especially for that day. After we carve the pumpkin, there's always the pumpkin seeds I roast to look forward to. Let's not forget the fun trip to Target and Old Navy to find the perfect Halloween Costumes! Then The Texas State Fair with the Candied Apples, Funnel Cakes, CornyDogs, and many other yummy delights! I can't wait to see Big Tex! Last but certainly not least, the Sundays after church when the Cowboys are playing, the Chili is cooking and the windows are open as we let the cool breeze rush through the windows. Ahhhh. I am so ready for Fall. This is when tradition takes place, wonderful food is made and consumed, and memories are created that last a lifetime. But it's still July and we've got several more months to anticipate and dream of Fall.

There are so many times in my life that I have longed to be somewhere else and maybe someone else. When I was a kid I couldn't wait for School to end, School to start, Christmas to come, Spring break to come, my Birthday to come. It would come in a flash and then I would be on to hoping and waiting for the next big event. Or when I was in sixth grade and experiencing a very bad life living with my Dad, I longed to be one of the cheerleaders or one of the girls that had a Mom that picked them up from school every day while I rode the bus. I wanted to go home to a house instead of an empty apartment. I wanted my parents to be married, instead of divorced. I would have changed lives with anyone at that point. While some of those feelings were totally healthy and normal, I learned then to always look further ahead and wish for something more. In Junior High I couldn't wait to be in High School and in High School I couldn't wait to be in College. During my single years, I constantly wanted to be married and when I got married, I couldn't wait to have babies. When Josiah was born, my first child, I couldn't wait for him to be three months. Maybe then we would be done with Acid Reflux and the colic would be gone! The colic was gone but the Acid reflux stuck around for six more months! When He sat up on his own, I couldn't wait to see Him crawl and the list goes on and on and on. A year ago I couldn't wait to have a bigger and better house, now I do. But I find myself wanting new furniture, a fourth bedroom and an upgraded kitchen. There is always something more, something new, something better or something different that I will find myself wanting. And when I get it, I am satisfied. Then soon after I find myself longing for the next season or a bigger house, better furniture, a new outfit, a new SUV, a vacation or some kind of event to bring me happiness!

It's not a bad thing to want a new outfit, a new car or a new house. I don't think it's bad to long for cooler weather instead of 104 degree weather! But there is a dangerous trap many fall into. When we live for the events, when shopping becomes a way to make us feel better, when we have to have vacations to make us happy or new things to nurse us back to life, it's wrong. Plain and simple, it is wrong and a dangerous way to live our lives. One of my favorite books in the Bible is Ecclesiastes. This book talks about the things we go after, the time we spend working and the way we put meaning into things of this world. Verse two starts off by saying, "Everything is Meaningless, " says the teacher, "utterly meaningless!"

Some people in this world have a heart for homeless people, a passion to love them and bring them to the ways of the Lord. I have seen them in the streets ministering to them with their Bible and feeding them because they are hungry. Others love to teach children about Jesus and how they can know and live for them. They teach them how to obey their parents and get along with their friends and siblings. They have a real calling to minister to young souls. Some teach youth or college kids. Well the past couple of years God has given me a heart for Women. Women like me. Women that just need to know that they are loved. Women that need to know how to tap into the fullness of Christ and how to truly have a daily relationship with Him. I have a hunger, a passion, to bring women to the Lord and I pray daily that God will use me to show other women how to be set free from their past. I am a Women's minister and that's what my passion is in this life. As I pray and as I read His word, I pray that He speaks to me and shows me areas in my life that need to change, be refined or removed completely. Since I know that He has called me to be a minister to Women, I know that the things He reveals to me will speak to the heart of women. I know it because it comes from HIM! This morning as I read, I knew the Lord was laying this blog post on my heart. It's neat how God works because I never "preach" it, I just try to "share" it. That's all I can do because it's God speaking to me about my OWN life! I am a woman that struggles with being content and if women will lay all pride aside, I think all would be able to say, they do too.

We need to enjoy who we are, love the woman God created us to be and seek contentment daily. Just another reason to be in the Bible and meditate on His Word daily. We can't do it alone, it is impossible. I get excited, I get a huge smile on my face when I think about women finding true joy and contentment in Jesus. That's what we should long for. That's what we should go after! That's what makes a beautiful, secure, woman of God.

Ecclesiastes 1:3What do people get for all their hard work? 4Generations come and go, but nothing really changes. 5The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. 6The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. 7The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea. 8Everything is so weary and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

6:9Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don't have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless; it is like chasing the wind.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Reading my Bible

The past few weeks my Bible reading has not been where it needs to be. Instead I have spent time reading Karen Hughes' book, Ten Minutes From Normal. It's a great book and I have always admired Karen Hughes. But her book does not feed my spirit. For a long time I struggled with reading my Bible daily until my husband and I starting reading the One Year Bible together. After that I really made it a priority because I saw the difference in me and in my day. My husband has kept this up and whenever someone asks his advice on something he has gotten in the habit of asking, "Do you spend time in God's Word daily?" That is a pretty bold statement for Jeremy, especially if you know him. He's pretty quiet and does not usually say bold things. But he saw the difference it made in his life and wants others to experience it too.

It may sound like I am being critical or legalistic. I assure you I am just writing about the things God shows me and maybe what I write will be exactly what the Lord is speaking to you. It's a difficult thing for me to address in my own life. I love TV. I love reading blogs and I love reading certain types of books. Not too long ago I had a problem with buying magazines. I found myself reading People, US Weekly, InStyle, Real Simple or whatever magazine sparked my interest. My husband told me time and time again that I had an addiction to magazines. One day while I was reading the latest break up news on Nick and Jessica, the Holy Spirit really convicted me about what I was spending my time reading. Even now I am drawn to Entertainment Tonight, E News, Extra or and kind of celebrity gossip or talk. My obsession with Hollywood and fashion is a whole other blog so I better stay on target. I felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me that I wasn't making time for Him. Instead I was watching TV or reading magazines or reading something else other than His Word during every spare moment I had. I knew at that point that He was definitely speaking to me and I needed to make some changes.

Several of you took a Bible reading journey with me a few months ago. We went through the entire book of John and then Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians. I presented the idea to my blog readers because many had emailed me sharing life struggles and many did not have a routine of spending time reading God's Word. So we started reading together, ONE chapter a day. Some were afraid to commit. But I shared how important and how life changing it is to study God's word daily. Even when it may not make sense to us, our spirit soaks it up. The Word is living, breathing, it has a heartbeat. It has to change us, it will change us! There are days when I have to read while sitting on the toilet or if I really seek discipline in my life, I would get up and read before the kids woke up. There is something about getting up before my kids that helps me prepare for my day and what better way to do than spend time with Him.

I can't fight a battle if I don't have God's word inside of me. I can't fight the enemy if I can't rebuke Him with God's Word. I can't do anything without Him and reading His Word is a part of having a relationship with Him. Too often I rely on Bible Studies or Devotions when I just need to open my Bible and read! So I have gotten off track and even though I start a new Bible study with a group of women on August 1st, I need something now. I need something daily. I'm not going to post any notes how I did in the past but I want to welcome any of you to read with me five days a week, Monday through Friday. One chapter a day is what I have committed myself to and I have chosen to study Romans. If you need some accountability when it comes to reading His Word, feel free to email me from my profile page. I would love to encourage you and pray for you.

As I read I know that the Lord is going to reveal to me brand new things and I can't wait to share them with you. Remember one chapter a day is easy and it can be done pretty quick. You may be waiting to pick the kids up from dance lessons or football practice and that's a perfect time to read. You may want to try getting up early, a great way to start your day! You may need to sneak into the bathroom and read in the bathtub. There is always time for God's Word. So think about the daily things you do and the time you can make for reading scripture. It will be the best time you have ever invested!

Psalm 1:2

Psalm 119:105

Proverbs 4:20-21

(I'm starting my daily reading tomorrow. Also I wanted to tell you that I went to church with a precious woman that had a Bible held together with duct tape. She used to read my blog and I think she still may. Mary, if you are reading I would love a bible reading testimony from you in the comments! I know you are a Woman of the Word!)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


For the past few months I have been having major issues with my mobile phone. It drops calls, there is often an echo and I can sometimes hear other people's conversations. The phone was bad and it only got worse after I dropped it into the water while I was having a pedicure one afternoon. Yes, I was sitting in the spa chair and I had placed the phone between my legs on the chair. I leaned up for something and it fell into the bubbling, hot water! It did dry out and I have used it ever since. My husband says it can't be too bad of a phone if it survived a pedicure! But ever since I have been on a mission to get a new phone! I knew the only way I could get a new phone right now would be through an upgrade offered by my mobile phone company. Last week after paying the bill online, I looked at our account page and much to my surprise my phone qualified for a FREE upgrade! Yesterday afternoon the Fed Ex lady delivered the phone to my front door. I felt like a kid waiting on a Christmas present to be delivered! It was perfect timing too. The kids were napping so I had time to set up my new, better, fancier, decked out mobile phone! The great thing about my phone company is they use something called the SIM card. The SIM card had stored all of the phone numbers that I had put into the phone. I hear stories of people getting new phones and having to manually type all of their information from the old phone into the new phone. I was excited to know that I would not have to take part in such a time consuming activity. Thank you SIM card! So I took my old SIM card and placed it in my new phone. Within sixty seconds I had transferred every phone number into my new phone. Then I took my new SIM card placed it in my new phone and called a number to activate my new phone. A very quick and easy process! I didn't have to set up voicemail, type in phone numbers or anything else. The SIM card did all of the work.

After setting up my new phone I decided to go through and look at all of the phone numbers. As I began to scroll, I realized all of the numbers that I had not used in a long time. Some are phone numbers of people that I used to go to church with but no longer keep in touch. Some are phone numbers I don't recognize and there are even names that I don't recognize. So much had been stored that needed to be deleted. An old friend, our Real Estate agent, our pediatrician we had in our former city, our Dentist we had in our former city, a lot of people from a place where we used to live. Since I had the time and the kids were sleeping, I decided to go ahead and delete all of the numbers I no longer use.
It seems that every time I get comfortable in this life, God comes along and shows me something in my life that needs to be taken care of. Something that needs to be deleted. It may be my attitude or resentment I'm holding on to. It may be an inability to forgive someone. Maybe it's the way I am treating my husband or the way I am disciplining my children. And quite often, it's the words that come from my mouth that need to be deleted so they can't even reach the tip of my tongue. There is always something in my life that could be refined or changed completely. My marriage is always in need of me changing my attitude or serving my husband 100% with my words, my actions and my body. I can always get better at parenting and I constantly need to forgive so that others can forgive me. As a Christian, we should never come to a point when we think there is nothing we need to change. There is always something that needs changing, always! We will never reach that point of completion until we stand at the feet of Jesus. So until then, we have to constantly take inventory of what has been programmed into our lives. A lot of things have been programmed that we don't need. Things that are not very becoming or flattering to a Godly woman. It's a place we have to come to where we can look deep inside, push our pride aside and admit to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the things that are not pleasing to Him. We have to completely be naked before the Lord. When we do this, we experience freedom in Christ. It's worth the entire process and our lives will be changed.

Today I am thinking about all the things in my life that need to be deleted. It will be a manual process. You see I can't delete it until I can admit. The Lord has to show me all the things that need deleting before they can be deleted. Then I must confess it to Him. At that moment, I can be set free. Is there someone I am not forgiving? Is there something I have said about someone that is ugly? Am I gossiping? I am I negative? Am I withholding sexually from my Husband? What are my motives? What is the condition of my heart? Am I struggling with materialistic things? Is pride a big factor in my life? Do I think bad about myself? What are the things that keep me from seeing myself through the eyes of Jesus? What are the things that are keeping me from ministering? What are the things that are keeping me from knowing who I am in Christ?
Those are the things that must be deleted.

I used to sing a song in Sunday School when I was a little girl. It's a short song that comes straight from scripture. When I get alone with God and I allow myself to really expose the real me, I hear the song over and over again. "He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it..." And in my own words, faithful to delete it.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just some thoughts

It's been an emotional few days for me. There are obvious things in my life that I need to change. For me, it's not so much a physical change, it's an attitude change. So I haven't posted in a few days because I've really been trying to push through and pray through a lot that I am feeling. Yes, I am sure that a lot has to do with being pregnant! Emotions! Yuck! While I would love to post pictures of the weekend, talk about my kids or share something that will make you think I am talented, pretty, cool or financially stable, I won't. I've never been good at pretending. While I do have a creative imagination, pretending about my life does not come easy for me. Sometimes that is a great thing and sometimes it's difficult. But today, it's a great thing because I can be honest with you! I'm really struggling right now but thankfully I can always hear my Heavenly Father so much better when I am in the "real" world. The "real" world is usually one that has pain and today I am struggling with pain. I know that blogging for many is a way to talk about their life and all that goes on in their day to day life. I use it for that too. But one thing I am always very conscience of is the condition of my heart. I have come to a point in my spiritual life where I can easily feel checks in my spirit. So I take this blogging thing seriously. My reason for blogging is not to stay in touch with anyone, not to keep grandparents filled in (they all live close by) and not to journal events for my children. My blog has been used for those reasons many times but really I want to minister to other women. That's my blogging purpose and I can't loose sight of that.

Writing is something that has always brought me peace. When I was a little girl, I would write in a journal. It helped me vent a lot of my frustration as a child. No one told me it was good writing because I was the only one to see it. Then in junior high and high school I really started to enjoy my English classes, especially when I had to write a paper. Then in my single days I attended a big church that had a huge sports ministry. The sports pastor had seen some devotions that I had written and asked me to start writing them for the flag football games and basketball games. Since I loved sports, it was easy for me to write devotionals that were sports minded. I really got into it and my devotions became popular. Honestly, I love to write but I don't consider myself to be as good as many of you blogging women out there. I don't have a formal education, I'm not an avid reader (I am starting to be) and my grammar is not great. Some people are so into grammar that my writing and grammatical errors would be a distraction for them. But, that's okay! I know I'm not perfect and I don't write for those reasons. I write for me and I write so the Lord can use me to minister to other women. Oh but I do love to learn and when I figure out how to write without messing up grammatically, I will be happy. Hey, that's what people have editors for! Right?! I do desire to be a fantastic writer and I want my writing to be good. But more than anything, I want my writing to be anointed. I want the Holy Spirit to speak to someone that needs to hear from Him from something I write. It's great knowing I don't have to be perfect in order to be used because my writing is FAR from perfect!

In the blogging world I have noticed many women that take this writing thing very seriously. Some have books, some win blogging awards and some are grammar queens. In fact, I am amazed at some of the writers out there in the blogging world. The stuff I have come across is amazing, totally amazing. Some write with humor that I just can't seem to find inside of me. Don't get me wrong, I have humor and lots of it but I am not always able to communicate it! Humorous writing is not necessarily my gift but those that write with humor make me laugh and bring joy to my blog reading daily! So lately I have felt kind of like an odd ball in the blogging world. The Lord has really been dealing with me on this issue over the past few days. Most people don't tell about horrible things from their childhood. In fact the more women I read, the more I learn about their childhoods and I am reading that many out there had great childhoods. I hate saying this but I am shocked by that! Also I read about these wonderful marriages, wonderful friendships and wonderful life experiences that people are having. It's made me wonder if I am the only one that has been where I have been. Am I the only one that had a horrible childhood? Am I the only one that really struggles to have a healthy marriage? Am I the only one that struggles with not wanting to have sex? Am I the only one with just a few dollars in my bank account right now? Am I the only one that is going through a very difficult financial time? Am I the only one who deals with worry? Am I the only one that has been hurt by friends? Am I the only one that struggles with acceptance? I don't expect everyone to write about deep things or bad things or personal things. But I do wonder how real all of us Christian women are with each other and I want my time spent to be on purpose. I know it's good to talk about the weather at times but it's hard for me. Some have told me that not being able to just "chat" is a bad thing. But, I think the Lord has wired me a certain way for a certain reason. I hope to figure that out soon!

This morning I prayed something very specific. "Show me things in my life that need to change. As you show me, put women in my life that can learn from me. Put women in my life that I can learn from. As you bring healing to me, use me to show others how to find healing in you." This morning I felt like the Lord was showing me something new and I am praying through it as I try to understand all the details. But I want to share with you my day to day journey as a woman. Some of you will not be able to relate one bit and I may loose some readers but that's okay. My life as a child and a teenager was very difficult so now as a wife and mother, my journey is me constantly trying to find healing from my past. That's all I have to share because that's who I am. I love my husband, I love my children but I have a lot of flaws to work through and I have to let my Lord and Savior do ALL the work!

As for this blog, I'm praying daily that the Lord will give me new things to write about. I only want to write what He gives me.

(I'm not sure if this post even makes sense but maybe it will to one of you that needs it! Oh and I LOVE reading all of the blogs out there. I love reading about your kids, seeing the pictures of your kids and reading about the simple things in life. So know that anything I am writing about pertains STRICTLY to me. It's not easy for people to talk about difficult things and I don't expect that. Blogging has been an outlet for me to do that but it may not be the way you choose to share your personal struggles. This post was all about me and what I am trying to learn.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Something funny

Pregnancy has always brought strange dreams to my sleeping. Even my naps are filled with dreams that make me wonder where my mind comes up with these things. The only thing I can possibly figure out is my sub conscience stores some very random things then later produces some crazy, wacky, no sense making, hilarious dreams! I thought it would be fun to share them with you!

So my bestess friend Kelly Ann has been in my life since I was fourteen years old. This Sunday we are visiting her church. Both of us are praying it's a fit! We grew up in the same youth group so the thought of us being at the same church again is really exciting. Except now I don't think I will come to Bible Study mad at her because she has a boyfriend and I don't! And we won't be rolling our eyes at each other across the room because we are mad for some stupid reason! Anyway, with all the talk of visiting their church my mind has been racing. I have looked on their church website, read staff profiles and taken a virtual tour of the church. It's in my brain and some of the information I have retained I was completely unaware of until my dreams two nights ago. So here's my dream of Kelly's church and the church we will be visiting on Sunday. The Pastor's name is Ross. I do not know him, I don't remember what he looks like at all. But, I remember what the associate pastor looks like because he looks like a man I used to work with. The man I used to work with was named Ross. Okay, so this is where it gets confusing. So the associate Pastor's face was on a guy that had the name Ross that looked exactly like the Ross I used to work with many years ago. Confused? Well Ross called me and asked me to help Kelly Ann prepare Communion/The Lord's Supper for Sunday. But for some reason I am at home filling the tiny, little, plastic cups with grape juice. I poured grape juice into a huge bowl, placed a turkey baster inside and filled each tiny cup with the grape juice by using the turkey baster. (I have used a Turkey baster for communion cups before in real life, not just dream land.) All of the sudden the phone rings! It's Kelly! "Where are you? You are supposed to be at the church helping me fill communion cups?" At this point in my dream I realize I have a problem. "Kelly, I don't know what to do! I have already filled all of the cups! How will I get them to the church without spilling?" So I end up dumping all of the grape juice out so I can start over at the church. But when I get to the church and begin to pull up the tiny, clear, plastic cups, they have all grown to full size cups! And did I mention that during the entire dream I am trying to keep my eyes open because I can't wake up? You know those dreams where you can't move because you are sleepy? Well it was hard to drive to the church because I was so sleepy but I did make it! There you have it! There's my freaky dream! If we do end up going to this church and I am asked to help prepare communion, I think I will say NO!

Then there was last night's dream! I thought it couldn't get any crazier but it did! I am a singer and I love to perform. If truth be told, I would audition for American Idol if I wasn't too old. Plus I am a wife and a Mom and I know my calling in life is different now. Oh sometimes I do wish I was singing, walking the Red Carpet or filling in for Kelly Rippa but the Lord has bigger things planned for me! So with all of that constantly floating around in my head, I think this dream makes a little more sense but it's still very crazy! Here it goes. Well, it was a talent show. I don't know where or who was putting the show on, I just know I was in it and so was Katharine Mcphee. There must be some kind of envy deeply rooted in my heart because I DID NOT vote for her! I voted for Taylor and I am still happy about my decision! Anyway, the American Idol second place winner beat me! Yep, she won the talent show. In my dream I was told that there would be an accompanist there for all singers so we did not have to bring pre-recorded music. So I had planned to sing "Valentine" by Martina McBride. But when I showed up, there was no accompanist and I was told that I had to have a CD with the music to my song or sing acapella. Wouldn't you know that Katharine chick decided to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and I lost! I did find a CD with my music and I did sing "Valentine" really good but she still won! However I decided to tell Katharine that it did not really matter that she won because I won the talent show in High School and in real life that is true! There you have it! That was my dream! I did watch Rock Star Supernova last night (I don't think it's very good) but I love reality TV and nothing else was on. I do think about music all the time and I never cared for Katharine so maybe that's where this all came from. She is an amazing singer so I think I'm just jealous! But still, can't she sing something besides that Rainbow song? Really! Get a new song!

Who knows what my afternoon nap or my sleep tonight will bring, I'm kind of scared to find out! This may have been a boring post to read, not very inspiring, encouraging or spiritual but I thought it was kind of funny! Maybe you will think so too! And sometimes a good laugh can get my morning going!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A new church

Switching churches is not an easy thing. We started going to church with my parents about eight months ago. The teaching that we heard from our Pastor was like nothing we had ever been taught. I learned more about the Bible in eight months than any other time in my life. While attending there I experienced change. God brought correction, encouragement and teaching in a a whole new way. I feel that our church should change us. We should get better in our sinful ways. We should learn how to love Jesus more and if none of that's happening, what's the point? At this church, we experienced all of the above. But we have realized how much we crave community in our lives. Many people drive quite a distance to get to church. While our distance is not huge, it still is several cities away. We want to attend Bible Studies that aren't so hard to make. I want to sing and attend rehearsals that don't have me stuck in traffic during the week. Those things may sound selfish to some but with two little ones and another one on the way, our time as a family is precious and the closer our church is, the more it will help.

As a stay at home mom, I long to have outings with others Moms. Bible Studies with other women or coffee at Starbuck's after the kids are in bed with other Moms, helps me be a better Wife and Mother. Or what about a close-by friend calling me from the grocery store to see if I need milk or bread? A trip to Grapevine Mills mall is always more fun when I have another Mom with me. Decorating, shopping and all the things I love is best when someone else comes along to help or indulge with you! Hobby Lobby is always more fun with another woman that has left her kids at home with Dad just like me! And I need new recipes and I have several of my own to share! I have a sewing machine but no clue how to use it. Oh how would love to learn to sew and make baby blankets! Maybe there is a new friend out there waiting to show me how! I love to cook and maybe there is someone out there that needs to learn how! Maybe the Lord can use me to bless someone else by teaching them kitchen skills! There has to be a mom of three that can show me the ropes and surely there is a new Mom of two that I can encourage along the way. This is what I crave, community! I have had this before and since I know how great it is to have a network of Godly women, I realize it is a rudimentary need that must be met in my life. (I miss you Rebecca and Courtney!)

My husband is a fisherman. He loves fishing more than anything. He's blessed to be married to a woman that loves it too. Our best dates end up being the ones we spend on our boat fishing for five hours at a time. But when I fish for five hours, it's because we are catching fish for five hours! As much fun as he has with me and even though he can take me with him to do many "Guy" type things, he needs guys to hang out with. While I love to fish, I don't love to be out there and not catch anything. But Jeremy can spend an entire day on the lake and not catch a thing and be quite content. While I may love to watch Football as much as he does, I'm sure sports would be more fun with a fellow guy! Right now there is an empty slot in his life, he needs guy time. He needs someone to encourage him and he needs someone to encourage. He needs an early morning, crack of dawn coffee buddy to meet at Denny's before work. He needs a Bible Study with guys that love to fish like him and that love to get up at 4am to go the lake! He needs accountability in his journey as a Godly man. He's never really had this before but I feel deep in my heart that this is a rudimentary need in His life that hasn't been met but must be.

Our babies need to learn about Jesus. They need to sing songs and learn as many Bible Stories as they possibly can. While we read to them from the Bible at home almost every single night and we teach them to pray, they need other people to pour into their lives and teach them how to love and serve the Lord. They need Christian friends and a group of playmates that will teach them how to be Godly, young men and women. They need to color Bible Story pictures and participate in kid's musicals at Christmas time. Just like Mommy and Daddy, they need something to belong to.

As a family, we need church. We need others to teach us how to be better parents. We need to learn how to make smart decisions financially. But most of all, we need to learn how to serve God in our every day life. We need a place to fall, a place to surround us during times of heartache or struggle. We need a family of Godly people and that's what we are going to try to find.

So why not church? Isn't this the best place to find what we are looking for? Oh I hope so! Finally this weekend, we will try a new church. The best thing about it, we know a few that already go there, the kids area is amazing and it's maybe FIVE minutes away! I'm nervous about a lot but I'm excited to see what God has for us. If this church isn't a fit, we will probably be able to tell pretty quick. Since we live in an area FULL of churches, there has to be one out there close by that the Lord has already chosen for us. I can't wait to see where it will be and the new people the Lord will bless us with. I pray that we will be a blessing too.

Lord, there is so much on our plate right now. You know the struggles we are facing and you already know the people you will strategically bring our way to encourage us in this journey. As I prepare to be a Mother of three, send women my way that can teach me. I pray that you will bring brand new people in our lives that WE can encourage. Lord, teach us, protect us and help us make the BEST decision. I pray that we will not make a choice based on emotion or other people. I pray that you will show Jeremy the exact place we need to be and help me to follow 100%. Thank you for the place we have come from and the teaching we have received. They have set the bar high! Lord, I want to know you more and I want Jeremy to know you more. As a family, I want us to serve you with everything we have. Help us to surround ourselves with people that will love and teach us. May you challenge us and change us. We have made quick decisions in the past when it comes to our church home based on the wrong things. I pray that we will truly hear from you and that you will protect us from planting our feet in the wrong place. Plant our feet on fertile soil. That's the only place we want to be!

Friday, July 07, 2006

An unexpected road trip

My grandmother has faced many health issues over the past several years. About a month ago when I saw her at our big family reunion, we had the chance to visit. She told me that she had a stack of pictures to give me. Pictures of visits we made to the farm they used to have when I was a little girl. This was a real farm too, let me tell you! I have some amazing memories of San Augustine, Texas and hot Summer days playing in the cow pastures with my cousins. The fresh blackberries we picked for the homemade cobbler and the fresh eggs my Papa would fry me for breakfast that came from their chickens on their farm. I love fried eggs to this day! When she told me about the pictures, I got very excited! I couldn't wait to show my husband the pictures of the farm. He would love the farm and he has heard so much about it that he is jealous in a big way. He tells me all the time how much he wished they still had that farm. I wasn't sure how I would get the pictures or when. My grandmother lives in Beaumont and that's a six hour drive! But tomorrow me and the kids will load up the S.U.V with my Mom and drive to Beaumont. My Grandmother, also known as Grannymaw, isn't doing so great. A few days ago we thought she had a heart attack but Doctors think it's something else to do with her stomach. She had a 5 bypass heart surgery several years ago and hasn't been the same since. We take this trip in hopes of spending good, quality time with her. My Mom and I will try to find out how she's really feeling. She doesn't always tell Pops the truth!

At the family reunion almost a month ago, she also shared with me that she was extremely proud of the mother and wife I had become. She raved on my kid's good behavior (thank you Lord that someone notices) and how smart Josiah is for his age. She told me that my husband is the best husband and Daddy she's seen. She praised my cooking and told me that I have turned out to be a beautiful woman. That was nice to hear from her. She's not a woman of a lot of words. She doesn't pass out compliments and she doesn't usually get very sentimental but on that day, she did. At that moment I felt like she was a little worried about how much longer she may be here. My Grannymaw loves the Lord and she serves Him with all of her strength, so I know that her life with Jesus will be so much better than it is here. Even so, it's still hard to think about. I know when that times comes, it will be hard on my Mom too. Grannymaw is scheduled to go on a cruise to Alaska in September with four of her five brothers and their families. Since I have been on a cruise twice, I told her about the food on a cruise, the ice cream that Pops will love and the way you are treated like royalty. I shared with her how much we love cruises and how I know she will love it too. But as we talked she told me a couple of times that she hoped she would get to go. She explained to me that they had purchased insurance for the trip in the even they would not be able to make it. I didn't know what to say so I said this. "Grannymaw, you can't live in fear. Quit saying IF you go on the cruise. Say WHEN you go on the cruise!" Instantly she began to say WHEN instead of IF. I pray that she will get to see Alaska, it will be a dream come true for her.

So thankfully we have a dvd player with dual screens for the car ride and plenty of kid movies to pop in for the six hour drive. The kids have never been in a car that long and I don't think my mom has ever traveled with a pregnant woman that gets sick a lot and has to use the bathroom constantly! But this is what memories are made of, right? I look forward to the time with my Mom and all the singing we will do. She will sing melody and I of course will sing the harmony! That's what we do! We plan to come back on Monday and that already seems kind of long. I have never been away from Jeremy more than one night in five years! I make fun of my Mom all the time because she never wants to leave my Poppy and now I am being just like her. I guess that's a good thing though. We don't like to be away from our men! Some men go home at night when their wives are in the hospital to have the baby, not Jeremy! He stays, I like it that way and he would not have it any other way.

An unexpected road trip for sure, but time away with my family that I know will be well worth the trip. It's a must, we have to go see Grannymaw! She needs us and we need her.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

something for Mandi

I've been telling my husband that I need an afternoon or evening to myself. You know, just me and no kids? He has a couple of days off from work this week so we went to lunch today and after we finished eating he looked at me and said, "Babe, I can tell you are a little frustrated with the kids. Let's go home, leave us there and you go do something all by yourself." There was nothing to be said. I left. Although my time away was only three hours, it seemed quite refreshing. At first I struggled with what I wanted to do. How should I spend my time? I knew that I wanted to go to Half Price Books or Barnes and Noble. But first I stopped by to see Shawn. Shawn is my best friend from High School. She is single, no kids and lives a life quite different from mine. I tell her often that if I wasn't married with kids, I would do what she is doing. She is going to Culinary School in Dallas and specializing in Pastry. I am sure there is a much fancier way of describing her schooling but just the word Culinary gets me all excited! We love to dream about owning a catering business together. She does the baking, I do the cooking! Since school is something you have to pay for she also works at Recollections as a Manager. I'm not a scrapbooker and she thinks that's funny since I am a Mom and have tons to scrapbook about. She is single and loves to scrapbook and I think that's funny because I thought scrapbooking was for PTA moms but apparently cool single people to do it too! (Please don't get mad. I think I might like scrapbooking if I ever tried it. And someday I am sure I will be a PTA mom.) While I could easily turn this post on my blog into a story of my experience today at the scrapbook store, I won't. I will save it for another day. So I was unable to kidnap Shawn and take her with me to Barnes and Noble, she had ladies who longed to crop waiting on her. I wanted to talk and laugh with Shawn more but she was at work and goodbyes had to be said. As I walking out we both caught a glance of a woman walking in that had a perfect body with perfect breasts, perfect tan, perfect hair and the perfect smile. She looked like she had come straight from the Perfect Plastic Surgery Doctor's office. Instantly Shawn and I looked at each other and we instantly knew what each other was thinking. "I'm jealous!" Shallow thought but truth. And that's how I left Shawn. Now on to my time alone with books and coffee!

So it's my time. My time to be an adult. My time to drink a decaf coffee and read books. And yes, coffee! Nothing with mocha or latte attached and especially nothing with whipped cream! It must be coffee because I don't like sweet coffee drinks and it must be decaf because I'm pregnant and I have already reached my caffeine limit for the day. But first I must grab some books and read several pages of each before I figure out which one to buy. First I pick up Anderson Cooper's Dispatches From The Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival. I am not a CNN fan, I'm a Fox news girl but I do totally dig Anderson. I've seen him on Oprah and I heard Oprah say that she read his book in one night because she just couldn't put it down. Well, I may not agree with everything Oprah does or says but I do tend to believe her when she says a book is good. If you have ever listened to Anderson or seen his show on CNN, you know he can tell a story like no other. So, that was my first pick. Then I head over to the Christian Fiction in hopes of finding a book that is riveting yet Godly at the same time. I did not know this particular book would be in this book section but it was, Night by Elie Weisel. This was another Oprah book pick. When I set out to find books today, my intention was never to bring Oprah into it, it just happened. Oprah says it's good, a lot of people say it's good, and the author was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1986 so I had no other choice but to pick it up and give it a try. Then to my favorite, Fiction, Christian author, Francine Rivers. From her section of books, I chose and the Shofar Blew. Okay, so I have three books in hand. It was time to purchase my cup of decaf coffee and sit for a while.

Some of you that have been reading my blog from the beginning know that I did not grow up in a happy little home. Not very many people did but there are more out there than I thought. In fact when I read or hear of someone's happy childhood, I am more shocked by that than hearing about someone's horrible childhood. It's sad but that's the world we live in. There are too many details to explain so to allow you to understand pretty quick, let's just say my childhood was extremely painful and difficult. Instead of being a little girl that had tea parties and slumber parties, I lived in a constant state of fear. My Dad was abusive, an alcoholic and put my life in danger many times. My mom was abused, afraid and unable to truly be the mom God created her to be. It's hard for me to write about things that have to do with my Mother. I want to honor her. I want her to know that I don't blame her. I do grieve my childhood a lot and I do wish that I would have had a mother daughter relationship to look back on with great memories. But, that's not possible. I don't blame her though. I know it wasn't her fault. The Lord has restored those years we lost in many ways. He continues to do it almost daily. I don't go through the day without talking to my mom on the phone at least three or four times. But as I get older and I learn to be a Mom and a wife and as I anticipate the birth of our third child, I can't help but to think about the one thing I never got to be, a little girl.

As soon as I began to read Anderson Cooper's book, I instantly get sucked in by his description and experience of the Tsunami aftermath. With each page turn I look forward to more of his story telling and I see so clearly in my head everything he writes about. The more I read, the more I feel like I have actually been to Sri Lanka. Easily I can see how Oprah stayed up all night reading this book. It would not be hard to do. So I decide to try some pages of Elie Weisel's book. But my mind was still caught up in the story of the Tsunami. Although I would really like to read this book called Night, my mind wouldn't let me. I have heard it is another book that will totally sweep you away in many ways so I do plan to go back to it at some point. I couldn't leave without a few pages of Francine River's writing. Once again, my mind is only interested in the Anderson Cooper Memoir. I read some more of his book and realize how sad and depressing the stories are. I had made up my mind though. One book, only one book today and when finished with that one, I will buy Night, then Shofar Blew. But today, my pick was Anderson!

I wanted to be a cheerleader, I wanted to be a dancer, I wanted to be so many things that little girls dream of. Unfortunately, I didn't get to be the Pee Wee cheerleader or the ballerina because money was tight and my home life was so dysfunctional that my parents did not even know how to really make my dreams come true. Holidays were stressful, family vacations were non-existent and family meals were few and very far between. We didn't have tradition and we didn't really know what the family unit looked like. Ours was filled with nothing but anger and fear. My mom was a prisoner of her own home, my brother was young and oblivious and I was living in a constant state of deprivation. A little girl should not have to worry about what to eat, whether or not she will have clean clothes to wear to school or whether or not she will have a ride when school is out that day. Will her dad be sleeping again? Will he be drunk? Will he be sick? Will he be mad? What will the mood be today? Will my mom spend another night sobbing and screaming for her life?

As I walk through the bookstore to place the books I am not buying back in their proper place, I see a table that says "Summer Books". I've always heard of the book called Charlotte's Web and even though most girls read this book in grade school, I have never read this book. A huge stack is sitting on this "Summer Books" table and it has a great price. So I pick it up. Ever since I became a Christian when I was five years old, I learned pretty quick that I can have a conversation with the Lord anytime I want. All day long I have conversations with the Lord. Today while I was in the bookstore I was aware of my budget. I wanted to make a wise choice when it came to buying a book and since I pray pretty much about everything I prayed that the Lord would help me choose the best book. Some people find it hard to believe that as you walk close to the Lord, you learn to hear His voice through out the day. As I stood there reading parts of Charlotte's Web, I heard His voice and my choice was clear. This was the book I needed to buy.

Since there didn't seem to be a sense of real family love in my home, I craved it. When I was a little girl and spent time with friends at their home, I began to realize all the things my life was missing. We lived in a mobile home in a trailer park, my friends live in a house in pretty neighborhoods. While they could easily find clean clothes to wear by going to the dresser drawers, I had to look for mine in piles and piles of dirty clothes. While they had nice, pretty toilet paper to use, I had to sometimes use a towel because we had no toilet paper. While they went to sleep at night in their nice cozy bed, I slept in a bed that I had peed in the night before because I was too afraid to get out of bed to use the bathroom. So many things I did as a child to survive and now the simple things in life are sometimes so hard to sit back and enjoy because I feel like I'm always on the brink of something bad happening. I did not learn how to be a little girl, I learned how to be an adult and survive. Now as a thirty year old wife and mother, I struggle every day to learn how to be a kid. I don't know how to just have fun. Those that know me would say I am a fun person that will make you laugh. That's true. But when it comes to the day to day living, I struggle to just enjoy. There has always been something for me to worry about. Why is it so hard to learn how to be a kid? It's so much easier for me to be serious and fear what may be ahead.

Standing in the bookstore I realize how much I am drawn to negativity. I am drawn to the bad stories on TV. When 911 happened, I could not turn the TV off. When Hurricane Katrina hit, I sobbed and stayed up many nights crying out to the Lord for those people in Mississippi and Louisiana. Their burdens became mine. And today I am sucked into horrible stories all over again as I read Anderson Cooper's book. Standing there reading a few pages of Charlotte's Web, the Lord speaks to my spirit. It was a moment I knew I had really heard from Him, no doubt. When I heard "Mandi", I knew the Lord was trying to get my attention. My family calls me Mandi, Jeremy calls me Mandi, those that really know me call me Mandi. It's almost like a term of endearment and when someone uses that name, a part of me feels like a little girl and that's what I have always dreamt of being. Over and over again I hear, "Pick something for Mandi. Choose a book that Mandi would like." With all that God is currently doing in my life, I knew. I knew what He was trying to show me. So today I bought Charlotte's Web and as much as I would love to read Anderson Cooper's new book, I'm reading something for that little girl named Mandi. I'm excited. I am excited to read a children's book. The Lord speaks to me constantly and I am quite sure there is something in this book that He wants me to get. I know it's a classic and I know by sharing that I know nothing about it may make me sound like an ignorant person but this is who I am and that's where I've been. Today I had to choose something for Mandi.

May the little girl enjoy the book and continue to daydream about who she wants to be. Mandi was meant to be something incredible!

(I love you Mom. You are a beautiful, Godly woman. I know you were only eighteen when I came into your life and your life was far from glamorous, let alone enjoyable. But, I am so glad that the Lord has given us what we have today. I pray that He can use our story to minister to women who are hurting. Thank you for teaching me so much about the Lord. I love you.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The 4th and all the rain!

Well, our plans for the night had to be altered due to the rain. We have needed rain in Texas pretty bad! The rain came and would not go away and it's still raining right now! It didn't come until late afternoon so we did get to swim at our friend's house while they're in Myrtle beach for the Week (I'm jealous)! How nice of them to give us a key to their house and free reign of their pool! But wouldn't you know it's supposed to rain most of the week! Despite the Rain, (I think that is a song title) we still had a wonderful fourth of July with just the four of us and that's always nice. I tried to get pictures of the two kids in their 4th attire but Ava Beth has two molars coming in and she was pretty much grumpy all day long AND still is this morning! With her mood and all the rain, it made it really difficult to get great pictures and that's always disappointing for me. It was a rainy 4th of July but still a memorable one! Even though I kept wishing we were on a beach somewhere with a grandparent/babysitter close by, the fireworks and the kid's reactions as they flashed and popped in the sky, made it wonderful!

The only decent shot I could get of her in her 4th of July Dress! (Isn't she sweet? HA!)

Playing in the rain!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Pray, remember, believe and stay

There are very few movies or shows on Disney or Nickelodeon that my two children will sit and watch. I mean really watch. When they were babies, I could pop in Baby Mozart so I could grab a quick shower. As they got older, Praise Baby or The Wiggles would work. But finding something that a three and a half year old and one and a half year will both watch is difficult. I had no idea in 2003 when Finding Nemo came out that it would be the gift that is today. This movie works better than any other movie we have. Josiah loves Madagascar but his little sister looses interest quick. Chicken Little can't hold their attention at all and Monsters Inc. scares Josiah. But Finding Nemo works like a charm!

Pregnant with our third, I am tired right now a lot. Also I have had morning sickness like the other pregnancies but even more so with this one. This has led me to turn on the television a lot. It's been a must. When you feel like you are within seconds of throwing up ALL DAY long, you do what you have to do. There is no time to sit around and relax! Not with two little ones running around! So Finding Nemo has been my best friend lately. I never really paid attention to the story line until now. In the past, the movie was background noise for me. While I am cleaning, cooking or paying bills, the movie would be on to entertain for a bit. Now I find myself laying on the couch with the kids watching this movie at least once a week. While they watch, I relax and even doze off in order to fight the morning sickness. But the past few times we have watched it, I have realized that there is a character in this movie that I can relate to. Kindred spirits you may call it. Marlin is one I know well! Just look at his scared little face in the picture! At times I have had the same look on my own face!

Nemo's Dad, Marlin, had a hard time dealing with the past. After Nemo's Mom was killed by the Shark, the image could not leave his mind. Tragedy took joy away and caused him to calculate his every move and his son's. He was too afraid to enjoy life because something else could come and destroy it in an instant! It was better for him to just be safe by expecting the worse to happen. For those of you that grew up in a normal home with lovely memories to look back on, you are blessed. I love to surround myself with people that grew up in that environment. I learn so much from you. Unfortunately I did not grow up in that kind of environment. Mine was the complete opposite. As a child I lived in fear daily. There is not one Holiday I can remember that did not begin or end in drama. There were no family vacations. I can't remember any family meals and it's very difficult for me to recall any "happy" times period. As a result, I began my marriage with a lot of fear. Then when my son was born, the fear intensified. For several years I fought really hard against stability or anything good happening in my life. Relationships I sabotaged, good things I made bad things and easy things I forced to be difficult. It was something so deep within me that I did not know how to get rid of it. When my husband proposed I was totally excited, blown away that God answered my prayer. But within a few short days I was miserable. Afraid he would die in a car accident, afraid he would get sick and die, afraid he would change his mind and leave me. Afraid, afraid, afraid. With much prayer and constant affirmation from him, I trusted him. I learned to believe that he loved me and we got married. When I found out I was pregnant with Josiah, I was ecstatic. But soon after, I was afraid. Afraid of miscarriage, afraid of defects, afraid of everything you could possibly imagine. It's taken a lot of praying, a lot of accountability and a lot of reading God's Word, but that spirit of fear has been broken. It still comes at times but now I know how to fight it. I have even learn to recognize the symptoms and I know just what to do. Pray, remember, believe and stay.

If I watch the news, it comes. If I hear a story of a child getting cancer, it comes. If I hear of someone loosing their husband, it comes. And if I don't watch where my mind goes and make sure it is being filled with God's Word, it comes. Just today, it came. The kids and I were running around town taking care of a bunch of errands. All of the sudden I saw a line of cars ,with their headlights on, following a police car to a cemetery. Within seconds, my mind was going nuts. "What if this? What if that? What would I do? How would I make it?" Fear came upon me within seconds! But something amazing happened. I heard from the Lord. The Holy Spirit comforted me and spoke to me through words I have read in scripture. "Do these thoughts bring fear? Don't be afraid. Don't let your mind go so far. If you are afraid, this is not from Me. I do not bring thoughts to your mind that would bring fear. Fear is not from Me. Those thoughts are not from Me. Perfect love casts out all fear." That was it! That was the answer! Those thoughts are not from the Lord, so don't let your mind go any further than it already has! So, I prayed and fixed my thoughts on Him. Prayer brings relief and comfort. It reminds me of who I serve and how much He loves me. Prayer is key.

I don't know if any of you are like me. In fact this kind of stuff is kind of embarrassing for me to admit. At times I take things way too far in my mind. "Maybe God is letting me see this story or hear this story to prepare me for something bad. Or maybe this happened to someone else because it is going to happen to me and I will need someone to help me through it." It's really quite selfish if I think about it that way. But, that's what my mind does. It goes crazy and creates crazy things! It's during those times that I have to remember. When I think about all the things I have worried about, all the things I have lost sleep over, I laugh. Jeremy did not change his mind about me, he married me and he loves me. Josiah is healthy, Ava Beth is healthy. And when I was on my vacation a few months ago, there was no Tsunami that hit Mexico and my kids were totally fine when I came back. Now the Tsunami thing did not take over my mind but I did think "What if?". The best thing for me to do when my brain goes into that mode of fear, is to remember. Remember that God is in control, remember all the times I have worried over nothing and remember that He does not bring any thought into my mind that would cause fear. Never, never, never, will God be the author of fear! I must remember that!

When I was five years old, I accepted Christ. The Lord knew I would need him early in life so I am so thankful for that day I accepted Jesus. I still remember the day, I had AM kindergarten and was home in the afternoon. On one of those afternoons, that's when it happened. Even now when I think about it, I know it was a supernatural thing. Despite my circumstances at home, despite my Dad being an alcoholic, despite all of the dysfunction, my parents lead me to Jesus. At that moment, I believed. Then I had lots of practice believing. When things were bad, I believed. When I hid in my closet crying as a little girl, I believed. When I wasn't physically safe, I believed. Unfortunately the pain caused me to grow up thinking the worst but taught me to believe that no matter what, Jesus was going to take care of me. Always has, always does, always will. That's what I have to believe, no matter what pain comes my way.

Life does not come without pain. Cancer, death, broken relationships, bad doctor's reports, it happens. It will happen. While all of those things scare me, I try my hardest to not think about them. I try to not live in fear like Marlin. Nemo hated how his dad was afraid. It kept Nemo from exploring and living his little fish life. It took something bad to show Marlin that he had to believe. Nemo lived, Marlin was relieved and I think they lived happily ever after. While my life is nothing like that of a fish, I relate to moral of the story. Daily I pray that my kids do not struggle with the fear I have struggled with. I work hard to not have it manifest in my life because I know my kids will see it. But, it's a battle. I have to pray, I have to remember and I have to believe that no matter what comes, He is there. And all of this is so much easier when I STAY in His word.

Lord, help me to stay in your Word DAILY. Remind me to spend time with you. Remind me that I can't get through the day without your Word. Remind that my strength comes from your bread. Forgive me for days like today when I get going without getting into your Word. I have learned that your Word will combat so much in my life. Father, I long to STAY in your Word. Thank you for healing me. Thank you for showing me that without me staying in your Word, I can't be free. I love you Lord, Jesus. Thank you for always showing me the truth and showing me what I need to do. Thank you!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Weekend

Well, we were all set! Ready to visit a church close to the house. In fact, my friend Kelly Ann took my by there on Friday to show me the kids area and I got to meet the Pre-School Children's Pastor. She was so sweet, adored my kids and even offered to let me fill out cards on both kids so I wouldn't have to this morning. That way our first visit would be smooth and not so overwhelming the first day. I really was excited about this morning. Josiah asked all day yesterday if we were going back to Trey's church (Kelly Ann's son) so he could play the drums. On Friday he got to go on the stage in the kid's area for just a moment and play the drums. The brief few seconds he played, has not left his mind once. Then yesterday afternoon he woke up from a nap with 103 fever. He didn't really seem sick but at 5:00AM this morning, when he came to our bed, the fever was back. Needless to say, NO CHURCH TODAY!

But the Lord allowed this time at home today to be a day of major productivity! My entire house is SPOTLESS and my husband did most of it. Thank you Babe. I did clean my Bathroom, Bedroom, Closet and several loads of laundry. Also I made Cinnamon Rolls this morning and my Grandmother's Homemade Potato salad to go with our grilled burgers tonight! This is the best day I have had in this pregnancy so far! Otherwise I would not be cooking as much as I have today! I feel half way normal again. Although I don't see me actually making the hamburger patties, that's raw meat!! Maybe the sickness has stayed at bay today because I have been eating all day! I can't keep this up!

No fever since early this morning so I thought I would let the kids play in the pool. Jeremy thought the kids were going to go nuts if they stayed inside all day so, in the pool they went! Then they actually cuddled on the couch together and watched Nemo. When I saw them on the couch together, I KNEW it was a kodak moment! Oh how I pray the love will stay when they are in Junior High! Yikes!

Well so much for an exciting weekend but it sure has been a good one with the family. I guess we all needed our rest for the all day festivities on the 4th! Can't wait! More food!

Is that his arm around the little sister? Do you see why I grabbed the camera?!
Fun in the sun!
Where's my bikini Mommy? Daddy just puts me in a swim diaper and forgets the suit!
Do I LOOK sick?