Monday, March 30, 2009

Eclectic Picture Set

I was vacuuming, and Judson grabbed his "vacuum"....notice he is sporting Dori's PINK crocs. :D

Apparently Judson is quite happy in his oversized pink shoes and without pants.

These next 4 pictures are Dori and Micah playing with a toy called connectagons. They are so fun!

Ok, don't laugh. I had to take a picture for posterity's sake of some of the awesome deals I got at this week's grocery trip. Horizon organic milk marked down to $1.25 per 1/2 gallon; 2 free ritz boxes; Free Cascadian Farms organic granola bars; and Free gallon of Schnuck's milk. Yay for freebies!!!

At our local park a few weeks ago

This is Micah right before we ate Indian. I made Chicken Tikka Misala and it was so yummy!

I know you were just dying to see a picture of Chicken Tikka Misala, lol.

James and his bowl

Micah mashing potatoes. See, I told you this would be eclectic.

Little Judder decided to get into the cabinet that houses jars and glass rocks. He was practicing his counting!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Relinquishing control

This weekend I originally planned on attending a two day conference that I had put on the calendar way back in February. Jason and I originally planned on attending a wedding Saturday night of one of his former students when he was first in youth minister. We originally planned on Micah's baseball practice Saturday morning. I originally planned on meeting with my friend Stephen to go over music Friday afternoon.

However, none of the above took place. This past week was such a grind. I left Monday to visit my dear friend Emily and her beautiful girls, and we had a wonderful time laughing, talking, and watching our children play. It was so refreshing and enjoyable. But from the moment I set foot at the church Wednesday night (we drove right in to church from our visit in Jackson), it seemed like everything was working against me and peace was being attacked from every angle.

I got irritated with Jason about something silly. He didn't feel good and so had little response when he saw us because he really had no energy. While we were gone he had loooong days and even nights with ministry stuff. So we were sort of clashing when we should have been excited and encouraged to see each other.

Thursday was really no different and in fact a little worse. J continued to physically feel bad and I was pressuring him and reminding him about all of our tasks for the weekend and making sure he was ready to keep the kids so I could go on the conference, etc.

Friday came and was J's day off. Things were starting to look up and not seem so overwhelming. The sun even came out for a while. I went out grocery shopping and came home in time to start dinner and get ready for the conference. But when I walked in, J was shivering. I took his temp and wouldn't you know, it was 102.

At first J said he would be fine and I could still go. I resisted, knowing how I would feel if I had 102 and still had to take care of the children. He said about 3 more times, "no, you go. I know you really want to. It will be ok. I will be ok." But I knew deep down, that the right thing was for me to stay home and care for my now sick hubby and the children. I told him I would stay and called my friends to let them know I was not going to be able to attend.

Truthfully, I have to say that my initial reaction to this change in events was not Godly or positive whatsoever. I kept my mouth shut about it, but those kinds of thought are just as insidious in the mind as expressed verbally.

This is SO unfair.
Why? Why does this always happen?!
My plans NEVER work out the way I want them to.

Those were some of the things I was thinking. But about 20 minutes after the decision had been made for me to stay home, the Lord spoke to me and reminded me of my high calling. He reminded me that I am not living this life for "my rights." He showed me that I can find joy in resting in Him and caring for my children and for Jason. Once I relinquished control of the situation, it freed me to enjoy it. Weird how that works, isn't it?

Also interesting to note: it is raining cats and dogs this morning, so Micah's coach called and canceled practice. I took J to an after hours clinic last night and he has strep, so the wedding is a no-go also. Funny how such a busy, busy weekend can suddenly turn into quiet, peaceful family time.

You would think I would have learned these lessons after all the sickness and home-bounded-ness (is that a word?!) we experienced *last* winter and spring. :)

I am truly thankful that God reminded me of the precious gift I have in being a wife and mother. Yes, it is hard and often times unnoticed or relentless. But it can be such a joyful, rewarding experience....if I relinquish control and rest in God's plan and not my own.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day in the Life--March 16

I woke up this morning to find my den, kitchen, and parts of the hallway entangled in James' "booby trap." He had taken a ball of Dori's yarn and wound it ever-so-carefully around every possible knob, handle, or hook he could find. This is my future CIA agent, I suppose. He does make me smile.

It was cold when I woke up, 60 degrees to be exact and I decided to start a fire in the wood stove, even though I knew it was supposed to warm up later. I couldn't resist the opportunity to take the chill off in the family room and kitchen because I really don't like a cold morning. The fire did not take long to get going and we all sat down to eat a quick breakfast of cereal and coffee, of course, for me. We had our Bible reading time and I reminded the children that our friends Mrs. Ann, Mrs. Pam, and their children would be coming today for a visit, so they needed to get there morning chores and school done quickly in order to have plenty of time to play.

I checked on the fire after breakfast and then cleaned Judson off and dressed him for the day. I started a load of darks and started running the mental checklist of things I needed to accomplish before my friends arrived.

Dori and Micah worked on their rooms for a while, since they did not want to be embarrassed by their friends seeing a messy room. This always work in my favor, when people visit. James tagged along with me most places I went to which included my bedroom to make the bed and tidy, and of course, get dressed for the day. I used some diaper wipes to "dust" all the flat surfaces in our bedroom and put away a bunch of clothes.

Dori and Micah got set up with their schooling in the kitchen and surprised me by completing their lessons without too much involvement on my part. I checked Micah's phonics and discovered he had a problem with one section, so we worked on fixing that and he went back to his room to continue straightening.

I forgot to mention that Judson hung out in baby jail for a while. That is the playpen for any non-parents out there. He had his bottle (I know, I'm a bad mom) and his books and a few toys so he was content.

Dori got angry with James over the yarn incident that occurred earlier and I had to break up an explosion. There were many more explosions to come between Micah and James, but that is normal.

I was able to quick clean both bathrooms of anything unsightly (cringe) and freshen everything, thankfully. I vacuumed Micah's very clean room and three other rooms, and thanked God again for my Dyson.

James spent most of his morning time playing with the playmobil and fighting with Micah. Then they played together. Then they fought. Then they played together. Then they punched each other. Whew. BOYS.

Dori quietly sneaked away into her now clean room and worked on various "projects" she has going on. These include knitting, scrapbooking, writing, journaling, reading, making a purse, and beading. She is a regular Martha Stewart!

Around 10am I frosted the cake I made my friend Ann. Today was her birthday, so a cake was needed! After that, I released Judder from baby jail and let him roam and play, which he did nicely. I stole a moment in time (or several moments) and went to the piano to work on a song I recently wrote. I stayed there for a while....well, at least until I heard screaming coming from the family room.

Jason called to check in.

Tried to drink more coffee but realized we were out of creamer.

Called Ann and begged her to stop and pick some creamer up for me.

She agreed.

And then around 11:30 the children began the incessant, "when will they be here." This lasted every 3 minutes until our friends thankfully arrived at 12:30. I was so happy when they got here.

My friend Ann made pulled pork BBQ and it was SO GOOD. ALL CAPS so good. My friend Pam brought cole slaw that was really great, too, and she won major brownie points with Jason, b/c she left him a bowl.

We all gathered and ate and it was just so delicious. The boys commenced sword fighting and pirating and robin-hood-ing. James broke up the fun every so often with cries that someone was being unfair to him. Poor guy, he struggles handling life right now. Such a sensitive lil feller.

We ladies chatted and laughed and had a great visit. It is so nice to get together during the day with other women. I was so blessed to relax and have a good time with Pam and Ann.

Sometime after 3pm the sun peaked through the clouds and we all rejoiced! The children went outside and ran through the woods, leaving poor Maggie crying her eyes out and scared. Dori rescued her by running to me and Ann telling us that something was wrong. Of course, Ann and I thought the worst and took off like two wild women screeching and yelling to the top of our lungs and surely raising some eyebrows at my neighbors house. HA! Ann grabbed her cell phone just in case we needed 911...she's so on top of things like unlike me!

We were greatly relieved to find out that Maggie had only been scared, but the boys got a tongue lashing about leaving her alone and everyone had to come in closer to the house so we could see them.

After Ann left, I got the children seated at the kitchen table for dinner and Jason came home. I shoved a quick bite in and then left for music practice at our church. We are doing an Easter musical presentation, so we've been having extra practices on Monday evenings.

I left a tired Jason in charge around 6 and took Dori with me, because she was invited to spend the night with a friend.

I met my friend Angela in the parking lot of the church and said good bye to a very excited Dori.
Music practice took about an hour and a half and I enjoyed it, as I always do. I wear these really goofy looking headphones so I can hear the keyboard and sometimes we play tracks and I can listen through my headphones really, really loud. Tonight we were listening to a rockin' song called "Hosanna" and I was kind of zoning out with it so loud in my ears. It was so good!

After practice, I called to check on J and everything was fine. It was quiet. I drove home and loved and kissed all my boys.

It has been a great day. I'm thankful to God for this day.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Recent pictures

Judson with crazy hair. No, not static electricity! 17 months

My precious Dori. 8 years

I just HAD to capture this: Mom playing blocks on the floor with James during their last visit. They are deeply concentrated. :)

Olivia and Judson at cousin Mary Thomas' birthday party. Chuck E. Cheese fun! Olivia was so sweet to Judson and cared for him, which really helped me out.

Cousins! Dori and Olivia.

Sisters! Anne Elizabeth and me.

Pappaw getting suckered into feeding Judson multiple pieces of cake!

Sisters! Mary Dabney and me.

Judson and Mama Linda.

James' shenanigans.


No, this post title is not a declaration of my body size! Ha! I couldn't think of any other title that adequately sums up how I am feeling today. And since I'm a woman and all, full of those pesky "feelings"---this is what you are gonna get.

Have you ever felt a heaviness in your spirit? Like you are weighted down with a burden for someone or something in your life? Sometimes this feeling comes over me in the middle of the night and God compels me to pray. It is almost like a spiritual battle that is taking place and I'm drawn in by the His Spirit to join in prayer. These times are draining. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about and have been there yourself.

Today many things are going through my mind. People, relationships, memories, some grief, questions,'s all floating through. I am doing my very best to relinquish control and surrender to whatever it is that God is working out in me by bringing these things to mind. I think sometimes one of the hardest parts of life is the not knowing or the not understanding. For example, one of the things I am thinking about today is that I simply cannot process certain events that have taken place over the last year. I simply cannot. Perhaps I am too weak minded. Perhaps I am only allowed tiny moments in time to really think about such things because God knows I cannot handle it. I don't know. All I do know is that I have tried to obey God with my life and accept where this path has taken me.....and not think too heavily about the whys and hows of it all until a day like today comes along and I am forced to.

I'm sorry for the dark post, but that is just where I am currently. Will post some pictures in the next post---hopefully that will cheer...

Thursday, March 5, 2009


That was the theme of Longview Heights Baptist Church Ladies Retreat. Wow, was that such an awesome weekend! I was honored to be asked to lead the worship for this special retreat and had a fantastic time laughing, praising, fellow-shipping, learning, and getting to know special women. The Lord was gracious to provide this weekend in the midst of winter and the doldrums that come with waiting for spring. In the weeks leading up to the retreat, I felt a nervous excitement about both leading in worship and also hearing from God through the speaker, Margaret Kennedy.

It did not disappoint!

This is a picture of me on the Thursday before the weekend started. I stopped to breathe for just a moment and take a shot of myself for posterity's sake, so I would remember the thrill and craziness of that day:

Right at that moment, I had checked and double-checked my packing list about a million times. I'm prone to forget important items, so this was a bit nerve-wracking to me. However, as you can see, I was so happy to leave a day earlier than our ladies and get going on a fabulous weekend with no cooking, cleaning, or child-care responsibilities. Who wouldn't be thrilled?!

We traveled to Pickwick, TN and stayed at the hotel and conference center there. I rode up with Julie Stewart, our Women's Ministries director. She and I had a great visit on the two hour drive and excitement abounded.

At this point, I must confess that a huge hurdle for me personally was the setting up of the sound system and media devices. Now, I know that I am a musician and have plenty of experience with all sorts of music/worship/bands, etc. However, up until this point in my life, I haven't had the weighty (I mean this literally) pleasure of putting up a sound system. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my friend and co-conspiritor Debbie Grear, gave me detailed instruction on this sound system process. I took detailed notes. I went over and over all the equipment when we loaded up, to make sure I didn't forget some very important cord or direct box. I usually don't sweat stuff, but I must tell you I was plain old scared that I would somehow mess this up! Debbie, God bless her, assured me she would be on standby with her ever present iphone to guide me through the treacherous process of hooking everything up.

And she was.

I know this because I believe I called her no less than 50 times during the set up. Can I just say right here that I have new found love, respect, and admiration for the "sound guys?" These people are so essential to a musician it's almost unbelievable...and now, having experienced set up all by myself, and breaking into a complete sweat carrying, hauling, plugging, lifting, etc.....well, let's just say I want to keep my "sound guys" happy!

Once I actually completed the roughly 6 hour process of sound/media set up, I stopped to wipe the sweat off and breathe a huge prayer of thanksgiving to God for success and for Debbie--In that order and seriousness.

One hundred and thirty two lovely ladies of all ages began to show up Friday afternoon at 4pm. One of the things I was so impressed with was the variety of ages and walks of life of our women. Our "50 and better" crowd was every bit as fun, participatory, and energetic as our single young'uns. Probably we mothers of little ones were the most sluggish---still in shock we were without them for an entire weekend and wandering around with dazed looks on our faces marveling at our clothes with no grubby finger stains, and food that was not thrown or spat on us!

Friday evening we all convened for a "Pajama Parade." This is were all the craziness began. Some folks were really creative with this competition (oh yes, we had judges) dressing up as Lucy and Ethel, "sleeping beauties", or dressing in identical pajama sets. But the absolute *best* moment, was when one of our dear "50 and better" ladies paraded up on stage unassuming and with dignity and then just at the right moment, turned to her side and slid her long nightie slowly up her side and to the knee---all to the cheers and complete hysteria of every single lady in the room! How much fun we all had and what a fantastic start to sweet fellowship with women.

Julie welcoming everyone and preparing us for the pajama parade

Me and my friend Claudia in our pj's! Notice please that my pj's look more like lounge wear than real pj's....I like multi-functional clothing!

A shot of some of our ladies in there pj's on stage.

I can't say I've ever led worship in my pajamas.....or even participated in any sort of public worship whatsoever in my pj's, but that is what we did! And our Godly speaker, Margaret, agreed that she had likewise never spoken in public in her pj's! Her first message was to tell us a "bedtime story" of Dorcas from the word and her unique giftings and service to God and her community. We were blessed with this word from God.

Worship in our pj's! These other two ladies are Pam Stout and Pam Marsee. They have such sweet spirits and sang with me throughout the weekend....uh, also in their pj's Friday night!

Saturday morning came TOO early, what with all the shenanigans going on half the night with grown women you would've thought were merely high schoolers. Oh my. It is probably not prudent to disclose what all went on, but let's just say that lots of giggling and carrying on ensued. And on a serious note, many were able to open up and connect, myself included, with new friends and sisters in Christ.

Saturday's talks from Margaret were Heavy. Capital H. She packed in point after point from the word and spoke openly and authentically about her life and walk with God. We listened and gleaned from her so many truths....about surrendering fully to God and letting go of whatever we are hanging on to that we think will get us somewhere in this life. It was powerful and of course emotional for so many of us.

A shot of Saturday worship time.

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This is my new friend Amy Krumalis, who also just moved to the area due to her husband joining Longview staff like Jason. And to my right is sweet and ever funny, Pam M.

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These lovely ladies were my roomies for the weekend. "Sun Sisters"--had to be there! Ann Clifton, Pam Marsee, and Tabitha Rogers. Oh what fun we had in room 217! Ann so thoughtfully surprised us with cute bags filled with items we might need throughout the weekend (chocolate mainly--b/c we definitely needed that! Also pens, notebooks, tissues, etc.). I love these ladies!

This is a shot of a group of ladies investigating some things in the Bible on Friday night.

I am so thankful to God that He allowed me to be a part of "Serve Retreat." It was wonderful and refreshing. I can't wait to go again next year!

Still here.....

Hello! This is your very busy Mama here. Just a quick note to say I realize I am behind on blogging and am, in fact, working on a few blogs as I type this. Stay tuned....

Love to all!