Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cereal and Rain

This will be brief. Two things: Judson dumped out 5 full boxes of cheerios, corn flakes, bran flakes, and rice crispies all over the kitchen floor today. And it's raining.

Sigh. But I'm still smiling! :) I have fought a blah attitude allll day. I'm still fighting, too! I'm hopeful for this evening when we are all together as a family and can read and pray together. Tomorrow Jason is off. I'm so thankful since it has been several weeks in a row that he hasn't had a day off. I'm looking forward to a relaxing day.

Hope everyone is having a better attitude on this dreary day than me! Love you all!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day in the life: October 16--19th

Yes, I know that the title says "Day in the life" and I have listed several dates to cover. It's just that so many awesome things happened in the past couple of days I have to share multiple "days" but "Days in the life" sounded weird. Onward.

Friday, October 16

A much anticipated day. Words cannot possibly express how much so. They really cannot. But I will try. You see I have not had a haircut since September of 2008. September of Two Thousand Eight. Are you grasping this? I am not the type of woman who gets her hair done (or hair did as they say around here in MS) every other week or anything, but folks....that is more than a year! I think I have set my own personal record. I mean, I have definitely gone a looong stretch between haircuts, but never a year! Never more than a year! I'm not sure what that says about me really. Perhaps it says that my last hair cut was SO good, that it simply lasted that long. Nah. It more likely says that I procrastinated and that the kind or haircut I prefer cost $$. So.....I waited for Friday, October 16th with great anticipation. My friend Ann recommended her stylist and salon and "Rachel" so graciously got me in quickly. I showed her a picture of some famous person that looked like the hair I wanted to try to achieve.

To sum up: Rachel was awesome! My hair is red now and very different from what it was and I just love it! So fun! My children were grinning ear to ear when they saw me and Dori hugged me really hard and long and said she LOVED it. She is a girl after my own heart. :) James asked if he could change his hair to blue. Sigh. I told him maybe. For Halloween. Or something. This is a recent photo of my new hair do:

After my wonderful and lengthy hair appointment, I went to Longview for "Secret Church" with our youth. This was something new that Jason and David (Jr high pastor) cooked up as an intense time of worship, discipleship, and preaching....but also with some fun thrown in too! It started at 6:30 and ended at midnight, but I left with James and Judson around 10:30. Secret Church was a great success....I was so encouraged to hang out with our youth and to get to know them a little better. We had my friend Stephen's band "Philadelphia" come in and lead in worship, and Jason, David, and intern Vlad all preached/taught for roughly one hour each. As I said, "secret church" was not just a run of the mill lock in! Around 9pm, I helped lead the students in a debate. Our topic was "God cannot exist when evil exists in the world." I was very impressed with our young thinkers and even Dori participated. It was great fun!

I was pretty tired when we got home, but it was worth it to keep the kids out late and just really invest in these students God has placed in our lives. I'm very grateful for the experience and hope we do something like it again soon.

Saturday, October 17

Woke up with my new 'do....still amazed at how different I looked! I got ready for something very exciting and also slightly crazy: a photo shoot. Yes, you read that correctly. Craziness I know! Here the you know I am ssssllllllllooooooowwwwwlllllyyyyy working on recording an album of my original music. Yes, it is taking forever and won't speed up anytime soon as these things just take time. Especially when time is short and money is shorter! LOL But, one of my "far off" thoughts had been to get my friend Katie Dunlap to take some photos for the cover of the hypothetical album. I saw that Katie's photography business had really taken off (we are old friends from 10 years ago when her husband Brad and Jason were in seminary together) and absolutely loved her work and her style. Here is her website so you can see some of her work:

A few months ago, basically right when I started the recording process, I sent Katie a message inquiring about the possibility of her ever coming to Memphis to do work here. Honestly, I didn't really think it would be possible, but she wrote me back that "yes, actually, she knew of several who wanted sessions and would probably be here in the fall." Well....long story short....we had a photo shoot Saturday morning, and despite feeling a tiny bit silly for doing something like that before I even have an album with which to put a cover photo was a lovely and wonderful experience. Katie and her fun assistant Alissa (not sure if I'm spelling that right, but I know she will forgive me!) met me at Rhodes College at 10am. I had never been to Rhodes and let me tell you it is gorgeous! Think old, gray stony buildings with curved, cut out architecture. Simply fabulous! It was a bit blustery, but not too bad and all three of us had a totally fantastic time. It was fun to do something like children, no obligations....I had my rockin new hair, lol, it was just a wonderful time. Katie was a great encouragement to me, regarding my music and my pursuits...reminding me that God has gifted each of us in special ways and it is ok to celebrate that...share that....embrace that. I struggle at times thinking that I am ridiculous for writing music or for trying to record it. It is hard to explain this. I fully embrace my role as wife and mother and cherish it. And I would never do anything to jeapordize it. However, Melanie is also a person who lives and breathes music. I love to write and share what I've written! It was such a blessing to me to hear from Katie and to share with her those things. I look forward to seeing those photos and also to watching Katie's business flourish as I'm sure it will! We are blessed women to have husbands so supportive and encouraging of our endeavors.

I left Rhodes on a big high...definitely. But wait, the day was not over and there were more awesome things to come! David and Claudia Windham (again, David the jr. high pastor at Longview) were given Memphis Grizzlies tickets for Saturday night but they decided to give them to us and TO KEEP ALL FOUR CHILDREN so we could enjoy a night out together. Whoa! What a blessing. God is so good and gracious to us and I am so thankful. I have so enjoyed getting to know David and Claudia. They are such a sweet couple....about to have their first baby in December! James has taken to "Mr. David Windham" as he calls him. He runs up and hugs him every time he sees him and even told me the other day that he is "James Windham." Hahahaha. Dori is very fond of Claudia as they sharing a love of knitting and art. Claudia can knit faster than you could buy something at a store..and it's much cuter! I couldn't say enough about this special couple. They came over, fed our children, played with them, watched a movie with them, and got them to bed! Any mom knows how much of a blessing it is to retreat with your hubby knowing your children are being loved and cared for by capable hands.

We had a blast at the Grizzlies game. It was at the FedEx Forum, which I had never been to, and the Grizzlies won! We had *great* seats....and as a bonus, got to sit with another family from church, the Wilson's.

Sunday, October 18th

I always look forward to Sundays. This one was no different. My 10th grade girls Sunday School class did not disappoint and my friend Kristin, who co teaches with me, did a great job teaching a much needed lesson on totally relying on God and not thinking too much of yourself. After that was a great worship time and preaching. After a relaxing afternoon, we came back for J's Spiritual Disciplines class. Every week I see how UNdisciplined I am, but I left encouraged and hopeful for the future and my own struggles regarding being disciplined.

It has been unusually cold here in north MS. Seriously! We had our first wood stove fire on Saturday and believe me...we needed it! We haven't yet filled up our propane take for the heat in the back portion of the house, so Sunday night we decided to sleep as a family in the den and keep the wood stove going all night. This was both extremely wonderful and fun....and a bit of a nightmare!

I made up the sleeper sofa for me and J and pulled Micah's full size mattress on the floor by the stove....turned it sideways so the kids could all sleep on it. THis was a good plan in theory. More on that later.

The kids were so sweet and so thrilled we were ALL sleeping in the den. Such fun for them. Micah said, "mom, I feel so happy in my heart right now." Awww. He doesn't say sentimental things like that often (very much like his daddy!) but I thought it was so sweet for him to say that and I'm so glad we did it, despite problems. LOL.

So J cranked up the fire. Really cranked it up. REALLY. :P And for about an hour we were sweating! And each and every child were wiggling like they had ants in their pants. And fussing. And crying. And Judson kept climbing out of the playpen I had set up for him. And James kept getting up. And Micah kept wiggling. Are you getting the picture? :D Never fear, though....we got smart and opened up some doors to cool things down a bit and finally, mercifully, everyone got to sleep. We slept surprisingly well, too! I wonder if we will do this again tonight......!

Monday, October 19th

We woke up with the sun, which is just glorious. Especially since these parts haven't seen much sun lately. The older children completed home schooling duties and I was able to squeeze in some practice time at the piano for some music me and aforementioned Stephen are playing for a fundraiser soon for the Hope House of Memphis. This organization helps children and families who have AIDS. This is the event:

I met with Stephen at Longview to rehearse for about 2 hours. I'm really excited about this opportunity to play and sing. The songs we've selected are just....really good. We are both going to do some original stuff too, which is always fun. As everything that happens in my life....I'm not really sure just how it happened that we are doing this, but again, God is good! It is a joy to follow where He leads. I'm glad to participate in such a noble cause.

After we practiced, I retrieved the children from Ma Jane's and we came home and had a BIG snack. I have this tray that I pull out from time to time and put all sorts of snacky foods on that the kids can grab when they want. You know...things that don't spoil, things that are healthy and things that aren't very messy. I made some peanut butter sandwiches and decided to put to use these super cute fall cookie cutters. It is amazing how excited children get with just the smallest of pleasures! They were thrilled that I made leaf, pumpkin, and turkey cut-out sandwiches for the tray! I have to admit, they were pretty cute. :P

We haven't finished this day, of course, but if the past several days are any indicator, this evening will also be great. I am so thankful to God for His blessings and gifts in my life. Whew. What a weekend! I hope all of you are enjoying fall this year as much as I am.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Things I love about FALL:

Pumpkins and Gourds.
Aldi's has the cheapest pumpkin price I've seen: $2.50 for very large pumpkins. We have already picked up a few at the children's request.

Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer. YUM. Aldi's also has this on special and their brand is quite good and cheap. :)

Fall decorating.
We have something similar to the above's a felt leaf garland I got on sale at World Market last year after Thanksgiving. We hung it over the kid's play area.

I do miss the changing of the seasons like we experienced while living in NY. Here are some reminders of that beautiful time. I love these photos and my dear friend Elaine who took them:

What a sweet time this was....Dori, Micah, and baby James.

These shots were taken at Washington Park in Albany, NY. We lived a few blocks over from this gorgeous city park. I love these photos and the way Elaine perfectly captured our family.


It is fitting that the day after I post about my sweet little James, he would pull some of his antics this morning. This brings to mind several James episodes that I will share.

*This morning James took the scissors and cut a huge portion of his hair to the root. He said he needed a mohawk.

*Last night I caught him with a marker....all over his bedroom walls, arms, legs, and face.

*Yesterday afternoon when I finally emerged from the bedroom (I've been sick) I found an empty sugar bag on the counter. Next to it was a jar candle filled to the brim with sugar. Across from that was a bowl overflowed with sugar and the sink was a layer of sugar.

All this occurred in just 2 days, people! Take it in!

This is the child who greets me every morning with a warm hug and sweet kisses. He regularly climbs in my lap, wraps his soft arms around my neck and whispers in my ear, "I wuv you, Mommy."

He is so very loving and yet his antics show over and over that you don't have to teach a child to do wrong...that ole sin nature is evident!

I love James. He reminds me of how I often "do naughty things" and make a mess of stuff. I don't mark on the walls, but I do often mark all over the figurative walls of my life because I'm not obedient to my Heavenly Father and my sin nature/flesh wins out over the Spirit.

I'm so thankful for these lessons God shows me through observing my four year old's life. Now to schedule a visit to the barber shop.......

Monday, October 12, 2009

James' 4th Birthday!

The Castle cake I spent two days making! The "rocks" are hazelnut candies. James sneaked into the "rocks" as you will see later.

Judson enjoying the birthday balloon..."banoon" as he says it.

Micah and James discussing the presents. :D

Happy Birthday, My sweet love James! Aunt Amanda got him the shield, helmet, and sword set. Notice the missing rocks. :P

Sir James!

Very happy about his new cars from Mama Linda and Pappaw!

Micah, James, and Mason. Emmy's arm.

Micah, James, and Mason. Emmy's feet.

more shots of the castle cake:

The little orange thing is a fishy. He got eaten along with the rocks.

My little James is four now. It is so hard to believe. God gave him to me at just the right time and I am so very thankful for this precious child. He loves big and hard and marches to his own beat. He had a wonderful day and I love him so.