Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Today is the end of an era

I will have to say, today will be a bitter sweet day for me.  It doesn't seem like it was too awfully long ago I sent him to kindergarten.  I was often asked what will you do now.  Mine & his response was have a party.  My clown, my child who often sees things as black or white, will finish up his elementary & junior high time today.  He will spread his wings today.  I have said as this year has progressed, that he has come out of his shell.  I wonder what August will hold for him.  I don't have the answer to that question.  But I do know that he knows the One who does.  I do know that whether he knows it or not, I see passion for that One.  I do know that this is my baby, my "mama's boy" (that is what he used to tell people.  He was his mama's boy) I do know that I love him.  I sometimes wonder what happened to  this lil fella:

Time goes so fast doesn't it.  I can remember taking this picture.  He loved to eat spaghetti.  Can you tell?
There are so many more pictures of him being him.  I tell you, he is our clown.  He can bring a smile & a laugh when I need it.  He can also drive me nuts.  He marches to the beat of his own drum.  His own song.  His own lyrics.  He is ours.
He claims he likes to fish & I do believe he does.  If he didn't he would never touch a pole unless you paid him to.

 He is usually up to something.  All in the name of fun & a good time.  This was at school for a party they were having. 

He was the one who wanted to take a helicopter ride last year on vacation.  So guess what?  Yep we did.

You can almost see that little boy disappearing.

Again, he is always about having a good time.  This was 4th of July last year at the lake.  I believe someone started with water balloons.  But you see what he has.  And I am almost certain it is full of water.

This is his game face.  Our competitor.  He doesn't like to lose.

Again our clown.  He doesn't mind going out on a limb.

These last three are just some of my favorites.  They were taken in 09.  But you see that smile?

This is the I told you so & I enjoy being right & winning.

And Mama's all time favorite of him! Again, he is the baby of the family although he's growing up.

He and big brother took dad's old number. 

He will probably want to kill me for posting these.  But it is a big day for him.  Big brother had the same day a few years ago, but mom wasn't blogging then. 
All I know is this, these two boys & their daddy (samps too) are my world.  I would be lost with out them.  It is hard to believe they are growing as fast as they are.  It seems like yesterday he was dressing himself in that royal blue jimmy neutron shirt with green camouflage shorts.  Now we will tie a tie tonight & walk across a stage in junior high school.  I hope the high school can handle what is coming.  I am sure they can. 
I am proud to say that whether he knows it or not he is following God.  He does have a passion for Him.  I hope & pray you keep it my boy.  Dad & I are proud of you.  More than that, we love you!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Train up a child

Proverbs 22:6 tells us that we are to train up a child in the way he should go so that when he is old he will not depart from it.  I am writing today out of complete & utter frustration.  In my work I see & hear so much.  So much I have to keep to myself.  So much I don’t understand.  I have been accused of not being very tactful.  Maybe I’m not.  But that is beside the point right now.  There are so many times I just want to hurt some of these people.  But then God stops me cold & says you know, why not try witnessing to them?  Well, God, at this point I wouldn’t be a very good witness.  I would probably walk up to them & say something to this effect.  You know, if you don’t turn from your ways, when you die, you will burn in hell, & you are leading your children there too.  Now, that would not be very tactful.  Might even get me arrested.   I can see the headlines now, Partyin preachers wife arrested for “witnessing”.  Not a good thing for the preacher or the church, would you say.  I bet it would definetly get some conversations though. 
Seriously, God does lay some of these people on my heart.  In his book, Radical, David Platt quotes Matthew 28:19 “Go & make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit”.  We are to go, make disciples, & baptize.  It isn’t a choice.  In my Bible it is in red.  Meaning Jesus spoke it.  Spoke it as a command.  NO DECISION TO BE MADE.  Well, the question is this… How are they to train their children in the way they should go, if no one goes to them?  How are we to make disciples if no one goes?  How are we to baptize if no one goes?  We just always assume that someone else will go.  But what if they don’t?  Then these children are going to be traveling down the same road the parent has.  How sad.  So the question is do we go & how do we train?  So I think it may be time I start going.  How? I don't know but the only hope that I see that some of these children have is going to be for my God to reach down & save them.  And He can because He is mighty to save. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I feel like a two year old who needs a time or a nap

Have you ever just needed to stop?  We have. And we did.  We came to a stop Sunday.  No phones.  No place to go.  Boys watched tv, played video games, & fished.  D played out on his playground where there is peace & quite.  I stayed in my pj's most of the day with HG TV on.  I don't know if you are like us, but it seems we rush almost everywhere. Or at least I do.  And it seems we are on the go a lot. 

Do you ever just get completely drained?  I mean physically, emotionally, spiritually?  I do.  I have.  I am.  Being parents of two active teenagers, a bi-vocational pastor & family, business owner, & working with the public will do it to you before you realize it has happened. 

I know that our creator didn't create Sunday to stay at home & literally "rest".  He wants us to be with other believers to encourage each other & enjoy worship together. And believe me we do.  But Sunday we stopped & rested.  It was much needed.  And I have to say enjoyed.  The verse that comes to me is "Be still and know I am God"  Psalms 46:10.  Sunday, we were "still". 

  Sometimes even though I stop & am still, I'm really not.  Looking back today I realized that maybe I wasn't really that still. I can be still but my mind still races.  Why is that? You see, I have been working on this post since Sunday.  Sunday afternoon to be exact.  But as God would have it, I couldn't publish it.  So I tried again on Monday. Nope. Not yet.

So here I am now.  Today is Tuesday.  And I am reminded at how my God works.  Everything is always, always done in His time.  I took mom to the doc today.  We saw the cute lil arthritis doc.  The one from, well, I don't really know where he is from.  But we really do like him.  He always knows when I have been there.  Y'all know me, I don't cut many folks any slack.  He is no exception.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh doc's office, I was reading "One thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp and I read this: "Stressed."  "Stress isn't only a joy stealer.  The way we respond to it can be sin."  "Knowing that stress stands in direct opposition to what He directly tenderly commands: "Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me" John 14:1 "  " I know an untroubled  heart relaxes, trust, leans assured into His ever dependable arms.  Trust, it's the antithesis of stress.  "Oh the joys of those who trust the Lord" (Psalm 40:4) But how to learn trust like that?  Can trust be conjured up simply by sheer will, on command?  I can't fill with joy until I learn how to trust: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow (Romans 15:13) And this is the line that made me gulp.  "If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief."    So I started asking myself, do I really choose stress?  I really want to say No, I don't. It chooses me.  But that isn't true.  I choose stress by how I react to the situation I am faced with in that moment.  That day.  And honestly,  nine times out of ten, it ain't pretty.  I'm too high strung to deal with stress gracefully.  But then that line jumped off the page at me.  If I choose in a spit second to react to a situation the way I usually do, then, really I am not trusting my God, the one I call Daddy, to take care of the situation.  Whether it be a small thing or something huge like health problems, finances, kids, whatever. So several thoughts & verses have come to my mind.  The lyrics of Mandisa's "Stronger", If He started this work in your life He'll be faithful to complete it if only you believe it." Isaiah 42:16 was brought to my attention Sunday & again today," I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."

I told Him this morning, I have just about reached rock bottom.  Nothing else to give anyone.  I needed some help.  I needed Him to reach down & pull me out a bit.  And sure nuf, this is what He gave me.  I stress myself.  Stress doesn't stress me.  I do.  Why?  Because I have failed in letting Him take care of it all.  Now am I saying that the author of this book is right?  That is up to you to decide for yourself.  I just know God used her writing to get my attention.  Which is really what I wanted Him to do.  Get my attention.  Make me stop.  Make me slow down.  I have trouble doing that.  But I think I might be willing to try to do better.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Gerber

This is not the best picture of this lil fella and it is not the most recent.  This is Gerber.  He is the child from Guatemala that our Sunday School sponsors.  Today was his birthday.  He looks so much different in the other picture.  I will have to try to get it on here.  He has written us two letters.  In the first one he just basically told us about himself.  His favorite foods, activities, Bible story & character, which by the way is Moses.   In the last letter we received, which was just a few weeks ago, he thanked us for what we have done for him.  He thanked us for the Christmas gift we sent which he was able to get a new pair of shoes & socks with.  He enjoys going to school & learning. His favorite drink is coffee.  He enjoys soccer.  He also told us his family is in good health & in his words, they attend church to praise our Lord.  He attends the center there to learn & memorize Bible verses & songs.  He asked for prayer for his studies in this school year.  So on behalf of Gerber, I ask that you join us in praying for him, his studies, his family.  It is my understanding that gangs & drugs are a part of life in Guatemala & the struggles of raising children are there also.  I am sure it is probably even more difficult.  So I ask that you lift his parents.  Ask God to strengthen them to raise these children.  I ask that you ask God to help Gerber learn what he needs to in school.  I ask that you ask God to guide him & protect him so that he may grow up & live a good life & be a Godly man. 

There are so many children still living in poverty.  Here & around this world.  Children who need to know they are loved.  Children who need to know Jesus.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child, click the compassion button.  It should take you to their website.  It is self explanatory from there.  If not that is ok.  I understand that sponsoring a child isn't for everyone.  But please be in prayer for them. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To be where you are

I took a day off yesterday.  I know.  How wrong right?  Especially to do what I am doing in the above picture.  Yep.  I sat in the sun for a while.  As I thought back on the day this right here was what stuck in my mind.  You see, Samps can look out the door and see me when I am out by the pool.  And he has gotten to the point he will whine about it.  He wants out too.  He doesn't run around the yard or anything.  He comes straight to my chair.  One day not too long ago, he managed to get the screen door open just enough to get out all by himself & surprise me by jumping in the chair with me. 

Again, I say all of that to say this,  why don't we have that attitude towards our heavenly Father?  To be so desperate to be where He is.  No matter how hot or uncomfortable we may be just to know we are that close to Him, we will be ok.  I mean it wasn't just a nice breeze or a wind out of the north yesterday.  It topped out at 90 and was humid.  But Samps didn't mind.  He would have stayed right there as long as I would have let him.  And he did.  I also wonder why I have to be so drained from everything and at rock bottom before I become desperate.  And what makes me the maddest is I usually get there and don't even realize I have headed in that direction.  You would think there would be some road signs or something.  You know bottom of the barrel coming up on next left.  Maybe they are there but they are nothing more than a blur because I am moving way too fast.

Anyway, we talked Sunday night about a mother's love.  How it is so different from a father's love.  How there is something special between a mother and child.  Again what came to mind is that as much as I love my boys, my heavenly Father loves me more.  And if someone loves me that much why wouldn't I want to be right where they are.  And being that He loves me more than I could ever possibly dream about loving my boys, He is not going to let any harm come my way.  He is my protector and shield.  He is not going to let me get so exhausted that I can't go on.  He is my strength.  He isn't going to let me get so tore up and frustrated to the point of no return.  He is my comfort.  So why in the world would I not want to be where He is?  Why wouldn't you?  My Jesus died for you just as much as He did for me.  So why don't we want to sit tight up in under Daddy's wings?

Avalon sings a song with these lyrics:
 I don't want to go somewhere
If I know that you're not there
'Cause I know that me without You is a lie
And I don't want to walk that road
Be a million miles from home
'Cause my heart needs to be where You are
So I don't want to go

I hate to say it but this isn't always the song in my heart.  I want what I want when I want it.  I think that is the mentality of most Christians today.  But wouldn't it be nice if this was the song & attitude we all had?

I think Moses had the right idea in Exodus 33:15 Moses said to him, " If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here."  Moses didn't want to go if God wasn't going too.  Moses didn't want any part of anything without God.  What about you?  Where do you want to be?  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

As for me & my house.....

I am trying something completely new.  I have linked up with Dayspring.com and I am reviewing a product for them.  I absolutley love, love, love it.  When I got the email and saw the themes for the month I knew I was on board.  The theme is As for me & my house.  Those of you who know us know that this is one of our family's favorite verses.  It means so much to us.  Lots of people want to serve so many other things other than our God.  But life is so much easier when we are all in one accord and willing to serve Him.  D even used this verse in his sermon Sunday.  We have a choice to make each and every day.  Do we sell Christ out or are we sold out for Him?  It is a decision we have to make before our feet hit the floor.  Josuha said "As for me & my house, we WILL serve the Lord".   So who & what do you serve?

Here are some other items you will find by clicking on the (in)spired Deals page.  I will warn you ahead of time, there's lots of cute & beautiful products here. 
http://www.incourage.me/category/deals  Follow this link for more information on these items and more.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Perspective from the Partyin' mama

This pile along with what is in the basket behind is what awaits me this morning.  Am I excited about it?  Um, NO!  Am I thankful for it?  YES!  I know.  You are probably wondering if my life is that boring aren't you?  No it isn't.  There are lots of things I had rather be doing but duty calls.  I looked at this pile & counted it a blessing.  This pile means that my dreams were fulfilled because God is faithful.  I can remember as a little girl wanting to just grow up & be a mama.  I had never really cared if I had boys or girls.  I think every little girl wants to grow up & have a little girl.  But God knows best & He knew I couldn't deal with a minnie me, so instead He gave us our two healthy boys.  This time 17 years ago I was waiting ever so anxiously to hold the first one.  I had a few weeks left to go though.  But I was so excited.  Then just two years and nine months later, I was waiting anxiously again.  They both keep me on my toes, running to the grocery store for milk, dr.pepper, gatorade's, and FOOD, basketball games, home for shoes or something they forgot.  And yes, to the laundry room because they need something washed.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I would be lying if I said it isn't exhausting.  Any mother reading this will agree.  But this pile of clothes means a lot to me.  It means they are healthy enough to get them dirty.   They are healthy enough to sweat and stink.  (I know too much information, but true)  I have friends who have children serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, or somewhere else in this world & I am sure they would love to wash a load of their laundry today.  I have friends who have sent their sweet children on to sit with Jesus & wait for them to get there.  I am sure they would love to wash a load of their laundry today also. 

I am not real sure why Solomon or whomever it would have been, would put verses 10-31 in Proverbs 31, but non the less, they are there.  I wonder how many women have set themselves up for destruction because they have tried to be this woman.  I am sure it was written by a man.  Maybe not because it was his expectations of a woman, but because maybe, just maybe, it was what his mother did.  Mothers these days wear lots of hats.  Some because they want to, others because they have no choice. 
I will have to be honest, I have tried to be this woman to some degree.  I can't say that I have bought & sold land though.  (I leave all that up to D)  It took a while for me to just finally surrender & just let God lead & me follow.  It took a while for me to find my niche in being a mother for our boys.  You know, what may work for you, doesn't work for me.  I know lots of moms who have tried to do it like someone else. " They just seem to have it all together".  God created us all differently & not a one of our kids are alike.  Not one.  Even though these two boys here have the same mama & daddy, same blood, same roots, they are as different as night & day.  And I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Yes, there are times when I am completely drained.  Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, not an ounce left to give to anybody.  But that is where my strength has to fall completely on my Jesus.  I have to fall on Him & let Him lead me, & guide me even more that usual. 

I encourage all of you ladies reading this today, old & young,  mothers who have grandchildren, mothers who will enjoy their first ever mothers day, give up on high expectations of everyone else and let God guide you & lead you to be the mother He wants you to be not the mother you want to be.  Life is alot easier that way.  Not so much pressure.  And the next time you want to fuss about laundry, cooking, cleaning, count them as blessings.  It just means that God has entrusted alot to you.  Entrusted is a big word.  It just means He trusted us enough to place His greatest and most prized possessions in our hands. 
I know I am and have been found guilty of fussing.  Alot.  But I am usually quick to remember that if they weren't here, my life would be so boring. 
So yes, that pile of clothes, I will gladly wash today.  Because I am the mama of the two who put them there.  They are my blessings.  My boys.  The two boys who turned my whole world around.  I wouldn't trade them in even on our worst day.  They were entrusted to me and I am ever so thankful.  I love you both!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Mother's Day Memaw (repost from last year)

This is a repost from last year.  There are no words to add or take away.  Other than I am thankful for another year with her.

I really don't know where to begin.  This woman in the picture is a very special lady.  One that loves the Lord & doesn't mind anyone knowing it.  She is the 2nd born in a family of three girls and one boy.  She is the daughter of two people who loved each other and raised their kids in a christian home with deep roots.  She is the widow of a dearly loved and missed husband.  She is the mother of three. She is the grandmother of five (six when you add samps) and great grandmother of four.  She is my mama.  She is holding the newest member of our family.  I can only imagine what she is thinking as she sits there holding him.  I have seen her do this many times with all of our babies.  A memory that will go with me forever, along with the little song she would sing to them. 

I really have absolutely no words to describe my feelings for her other than she is my mama.  The one I can vent to, tell a secret to, laugh at and with.  She is the anchor of our family.  She is a rock because she stands on one.  She knows who holds tomorrow.  She knows who holds her hand.  She knows who hung the moon & stars in the sky.  She knows it wasn't a preacher.  I heard that so many times growing up.  You don't go to church because of the preacher.  He didn't put the moon & sun there.  God did and that is why you go to church.  To worship Him.  That always changed my outlook.  She knows Him as her friend, her comforter, her rock, her strength, her shield, her redeemer, her peace, her Lord, her Savior.  She is the one, without a doubt, that prays for us daily.  Not just her children, but the grand kids too.  When the grand kids hurt, she hurts.  She doesn't & hasn't missed much of any of their lives.  If it is an important event she's been right there with them.  Cheering them on.  She loves with all she has. 
I am so proud of her.  I am so proud to call her my mama.  Really, I think, when I grow up, I want to be like her.  I think the other's in our bunch would agree with me on this, you are simply the best & there is no mother's day card out there that can really sum up how we all feel.  We have witnessed the true meaning of a Godly woman before our very eye's.  I am so thankful that God placed me right smack dab in this bunch of folks as the baby.  (He knew you all needed someone to keep everyone in line.) (I Smile) But seriously, I am thankful.  I am thankful for the heritage that you & daddy passed on to all of us.  You both trained us up in the way we should go & I think we are all going.  We had good examples.  Again, you are the best!  Happy Mother's Day Memaw!  You are dearly loved by us all!