Thursday, January 29, 2009

Distracted

I want to write a deep, thought-provoking post. One that helps me sort out some mommy stuff.

But my hubby and my son are standing in the hallway outside our home office, and from what I can gather, they are taking turns pelting each other with a tennis ball.

This game seems a bit rough and dangerous, but judging by the squeals of laughter, a certain three-year old is having the time of his life.

Perhaps I need to stop contemplating and just get in the game.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hide & Seek - Matthew 22:36-40

I'm a little late in updating this week's verse. Which means I'm a little late in memorizing it, too. Which might not be a great thing since I've decided to memorize 4 verses this week.

I have to be honest, I almost chose a verse about pride. I've mentioned it before here, how I wrestle with the issue of pride. Just yesterday, one of my very good friends called me just to let me know that she was in the middle of a Bible study, where it had been pointed out that the godly kings of the Old Testament ended up being the ones who had the greatest struggles with pride.

And it made her think of me.

My first reaction (I kid you NOT) was, "Wow! Godly Kings - and she thought of me... pretty cool"

And then I realized that I really had heard that last part. That these were the ones who had the greatest struggle with pride.

And it made her think of me. "Oh..."

I've chewed on it for a while now, and thought it would be so easy to throw something about pride up on my blog, take a few days to commit something from Proverbs to memory, and have that Scripture ready in my arsenal when my Pride rears it's ugly head.

But God's been working on something much different in my heart this week. And it might just be because He'd like for me to focus on something besides my own failures. Like Him, for instance. And maybe His people.


Matthew 22:36-40
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Doesn't leave a whole lot of room for focusing on my own issues, now does it!?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

We're Late, We're Late for a very important date!

From the comfortably, cozy darkness of my bed, I listened through the night as my house creaked and shuddered against the winds of a cold front. And now, in the early morning, I opened the garage door to find my front lawn blanketed with soft white............. newspapers. Everywhere I looked.

Someone's garbage can had apparently blown over. "I'll get to it later," I thought to myself as I continued loading my car with the essentials I'd need for a day of errands, work and preschool. It was several minutes before I even noticed that my elderly next-door neighbor was stooping over in my grass as he attemped, one page at a time, to clean up the mess.

"Bless his heart," I thought, feeling bad that he was concerned over a few pages of newspaper that had blown into our yard. So, I walked out into the driveway to signal him to stop and let me finish the clean-up. Then I looked to my right. His own yard was completely covered in what looked like a month's supply of paper, plastic and glass. It appeared as if both his little yellow receptable and the big black one were no match for the weather's wrath.

"Drew!" I shouted. "Mommy needs your help!" I figured that with 3 of us working, the task wouldn't be so daunting. We could probably get it all done within 10 minutes, tops. So, I gave my son a few general instructions ("Let's see you pick up as many papers as you possibly can, then go throw them in that big black trash can. OK? Go!").

The wind sent chills up my body (stupid open-toed shoes in January!) as I bent down to scoop up wet paper and cans containing dog-food remnants. Looking back, I wish I could say my chilly toes were the most uncomfortable part of my morning. But after a few moments of careful consideration, my son finally responded to my request with some instructions of his own.

"Mommy! You know you have to go to work now. We don't have time... you are going to be late!"

Nothing like the reflective honesty of a three-year old to reveal your true priorities. My child has been on the receiving end of countless pleas to "Hurry up", threats that "We'll be late" and the general pace of "Rushed".

It only stands to reason that when I suddenly veered off of our course, he thought I needed a bit of redirection.

Oh, how I needed redirection! His little worrisome response made me realize that I have somehow given my child the impression that my time is more important than my neighbor's need. That life is about staying on task and on time. Not about staying around or getting involved.

So, I made sure we lingered until every last piece of newspaper had been squished back into that big black can and every plastic bottle had been returned to it's proper container. And it felt good. It felt good to know that we would be running a little behind schedule that day and that our hands may need to be washed one more time.

Walking up the sidewalk back to our house, I noticed that there were still several mushy clumps of newspaper littering our flower beds and migrating toward the far side of our yard. It didn't bother me too much, but I knew it would be an eyesore my hubby would not miss when he got home. Hoping I'd just beat him back to the house before day's end, I decided that we would leave the rest for later.

So, we jumped into the car and backed down the driveway. I began to pull away from the house when I noticed that my neighbor on the other side had come out of her house and, standing in bare feet, was picking up the remainder of MY mess and placing it into her garbage can.

I rolled down my window and gave her a tear-filled "Thank You So Much!" before I pulled away. "No Problem!" she called out, happy to help.

I'm grateful today for the way a little windy weather blew me off course. It gave me a chance to let Drew practice a little neighborly love, and a chance to be neighborly-loved in return.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Praise Baby Blog

Yesterday was frustrating (see our visit to Whine Country below). Today, I was just plain cold (and a bit convicted... that story will come soon, I am sure).

But tonight - I'm excited. So very excited to share with you that PRAISE BABY has started a blog. Just click on the new button on my sidebar to check it out for yourself!

And keep checking in with Praise Baby whenever you can... I will be sharing some of my own story over there pretty soon. The story about how this wonderful company's products were pretty much the soundtrack for each morning I spent feeding, changing, diapering and singing with my little man. I'd tell you more about how much I love their DVDs, but then I'd have nothing to write about on their blog..

So, check out their inaugural post by one of my favorite bloggers, Sophie. Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Think We're in Whine Country...

It's just an allergic reaction, I'm sure. My symptoms? Pounding headache and irritability.

You see, I'm allergic to wine.

All types.

Red wine.

White wine.

Little-boy whine.

You know, the rich blend of earache, runny nose, skinned-up knee, & lack of sleep combined with mom who has just a few more errands to run...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hide & Seek (Nehemiah 1:11)

This week, I'm hiding the following verse in my heart:

Nehemiah 1:11
"Oh Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man."

This week, my Bible Study (check out our blog HERE)began studying the book of Nehemiah, and it just so happens that my homework for the week is to memorize this particular verse.

I'm so excited about this study. What a guy, what a time, what a job. Now, Nehemiah took on a pretty big obstacle... there aren't many days when I'm feeling called to leave all the comforts of my home and move to a city that has been abandoned, demolished, and needs it's wall rebuilt. But there are SO many days when I feel like God's stirring up something really big in my life. And this week, I intend to learn something from Nehemiah's example.

In v. 11, he's about to face the King and make some pretty big requests/demands. What does he do first? He prays. He prays that God will hear him, that God will hear those who are praying in tandem, that God will give him favor with men so that HIS purpose can be accomplished.

No, I don't have a wall to rebuild this week. But I do have a lot to accomplish. I'm hiding these words in the hopes that they'll help me seek out His will this week. And that He'll grant me favor with the ones He puts before me... whether they be kings or little princes!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Maybe the Orange Juice Has Gone to Our Heads

The governor of Florida issued a State of Emergency today.
Because of the cold weather.
Here in Florida.

Granted, I'm wearing several layers and a scarf (it's so pretty, soft blue, kinda fuzzy...). But the high is going to reach 60 today, and even this native Floridian is pretty sure that 60 degrees just doesn't count as "COLD".

I don't know why this is concerning me. I try to stay out of socio/political events as much as I can. But I'm worried a bit about our great state's reputation. After all, we're responsible for coining the term "Hanging Chads", and we have several theme parks dedicated to alligators, and people like Donald Trump and Michael Jackson have homes here. It doesn't look good, you know?

Just this morning, I was watching a national morning news show's weather report, and some man being interviewed in Chicago actually described us Floridians as "Orange-juice-drinking sissies."

In defense of the governor's decision, I understand that the people of this state aren't the only sissies when it comes to cold weather. Our citrus crop doesn't hold up in freezing temperatures. And any efforts by the state to protect the livelihood of our citrus farmers is fine by me.

I do realize that the trees need more than fuzzy blue scarves to keep them warm... but they would look pretty. And after all, we do need to work on our image a little.

(This post is dedicated to my wonderful hubby... who might be delighted to learn that I actually do pay attention to the morning news and every once in a while, I guess I have an opinion. You're a wonderful influence, and I hope you have a Happy, Happy Birthday today!!!!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Unemployed?

If I take this to heart, it looks like I might be joining the ranks of the unemployed pretty soon:
video

(Just in case you missed that, my little sweetheart just said,
"See! I Don't Need You!").

Good thing he has his own reliable method of transportation now.

video

Sunday, January 11, 2009

advice

It's the kind of advice that has tested my patience for 3 years and 8 months.

Well-intentioned women often feel compelled to stop mothers of preschoolers in line at the grocery store and tell us to "cherish these days".

Usually, we have to ask them to repeat themselves because we can't hear over the voices begging for candy and gum.

Or we try to smile graciously while our toddler yanks our shirt down, revealing our anything-but-lacey-these-days lingerie to the next several customers in line at the checkout aisle.

I typically smile and offer one of the following responses:

"That's what everyone says!"
"We certainly are enjoying this time."
"I know, it must go by so fast."
"Wow... that one over there, with the chains and black nail polish... you remember when he was this age, too, huh?"

Most days, any preschool mom will tell you that our hope rests in the off-chance that THESE DAYS will fly by and we'll soon be having delightful, insightful conversations with well-mannered, potty-trained children who feed and bathe themselves.

But every once in a while, I have a week in which:

My child begins going to preschool 5 days a week.
And my car doesn't work one morning, so he's PERFECTLY FINE with his daddy taking him to school.
And I don't have to go to work, so I have the entire, quiet, lonely morning to myself.
And the house is remarkably clean.
And over the weekend, this little boy accepts the challenge from my neighbor to try to ride his bicycle WITHOUT the training wheels.
And he figures it out.
And then figures out how to pump his legs on the swing by himself.
And doesn't really need me to check on him in bed after 5 minutes, thank you very much.
Leaving me with a full evening to spend time with daddy and check email and get some business taken care of.
And go to the grocery store.

Where I will be on the lookout for some young mom wrestling a toddler in line.

Because I think I need to pass along some good advice.

Friday, January 9, 2009

In with the new...

I've been wanting to do this for a while. Today, I finally had a few moments to play around with my sidebar (over there... to your right). I've added a few features that I'd like to introduce.

The first was prompted by a simple enough question from Danielle as she was designing my new "look". She asked me to email her the name of my blog and the verse that I wanted to be a part of my new header.

I was caught without a thought. I had no idea. Overwhelmed by the notion that this was a very important decision, I couldn't commit to a single verse of Scripture. I told her to leave it without one for now... I'd think of something. Then God began to work in my heart.

I was reminded of all the times this year when His word has jumped off the pages of my Bible and spoken to the specific needs of my day. When Scripture verses I learned as a little girl came rushing back into my thoughts to strengthen or encourage me in a moment of weakness. When a friend emailed or called with a story about how she'd been reading her Bible or devotion for the morning and just had to share an amazing verse... you get the idea.

God's Word is living, active, and sharper than a sword (Hebrews 4:12 even says so...). I'm not sure if I'll find a Bible verse that I will want to put on my "header", but I don't want it to be because I wasn't looking for it.

So...

Hide & Seek
I've added a feature called Hide & Seek. Named partly because it's a game I spend HOURS per week playing with Drew, mostly because it's what the Bible tells us to do. Seek Him by spending time with Him, hiding His Word in our hearts. I'll update the verse weekly with something new that has held special meaning in my life.

I'll start with Psalm 119:11 - "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Pretty much sums it all up, doesn't it? I'm including verses that I want to commit to memory in this new year. Feel free to comment if you have a special verse that you'd like to share.

I Spy
Since I'm naming things after Drew's favorite pasttimes, I decided to rename my links to the other blogs I follow. And I hope to add a few more links for you to enjoy. This week, I added "Stuff Christians Like". This is one of those blogs that ALWAYS makes me laugh. And usually, there's a word over there that knocks me back a few feet. Today, I read one of those posts, and I hope you find a moment to check it out when you can (make sure you read through the whole thing).

I think that's all for now. I'll be back to posting more stories about Drew soon. I'm sure you can just imagine the material I have to work with after 2 thirteen hour car trips and a lot of questions about heaven... stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

FAMILY vacation

"How is Disney?" My cell phone alerted me to my friend's hopeful text message. I didn't have the heart to respond.

A few hours later, my mom's phone rang. "What ride are you on?" another optimistic friend inquired. My dad joked, "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" while someone else at the table chimed in, "The Haunted Mansion?"

You see, we were booked for a Disney vacation with my whole family to celebrate the start of 2009. But a few days after Christmas, the reality of my grandmother's declining health dictated that we postpone our departure for the Mouse's House.

As our well-intentioned pals texted and called, we were sitting at a Sonny's BBQ somewhere along I-75, headed up to South Carolina for my Mama's funeral. Not exactly how we would have chosen to ring in the New Year.

But even in the midst of this sad season, I found so much joy in the comfort of my family. There on those long BBQ bench seats, we laughed, ate, and bribed the little ones to sit still just a bit longer with crackers and crayons. It was better than a meal at Cinderella's Royal Table.

We caravaned up the road to our final destination and spent the rest of the weekend catching up with cousins, trading stories, and digging up memories. We watched the little ones race up and down the hotel corridors, giggling in their delight to be up past bedtime. And it was way more entertaining than the parade on Main Street.

We listened as my sister delivered an eloquent tribute to my grandmother that took my water-proof mascara for a test run. My cousin's angelic voice filled Marietta First Baptist Church as she sang about the Savior's soft and tender call to each of our hearts. And it was something entirely better than Magical.

Although this trip will probably not fill pages of a scrapbook adorned with castle stickers, my memories will be so sweet. Because the emphasis this year was on the FAMILY part of our family vacation.

(Note: Mom & Dad... don't get me wrong. We're all looking forward to the VACATION part too. hee hee...)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Turn, Turn, Turn...

As our family bid farewell to 2008, we also said our final goodbyes to my grandmother in the early hours of this morning.


That's her... 2nd from the right. Perhaps the biggest cares in her life (when this photo was taken) were whether she'd meet the man of her dreams (she did). Whether he'd come back from the war (he did). Whether she'd have children (2), a successful career (40 yrs teaching), or get a chance to travel the world (you should see the pictures).

I wonder if that young lady ever imagined that she'd live long enough to watch all her grandchildren graduate college, attend several of their weddings, welcome a new millennium, and meet two great-grandchildren.

The following passage keeps running through my head this morning (actually...it's more in the form of the song by The Byrds... that's what happens when your parents were hippies...).

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.



There is a time for every purpose under heaven. So, instead of a season of resolve, this New Year has brought with it a time of reflection and remembrance.

I'm thanking God today for my Mama, for giving us a rich, long season of life with her!

Happy New Year, everyone!