Monday, May 17, 2010

Desperately Seeking Blogger

I decided the best way to let everyone about this change was to post it on each blog! Attention, faithful followers, please don't leave me!!! After reading the following, go over to Celebrating Everyday Life and party with me!


Ever since I started this blog, I've been having a blog identity crisis. Well, no more. I'm deciding (kind of with a heavy heart) to combine my two blogs. Eeeekkk. I know, I need therapy.

I've been posting over at A Resting Place for several years, now, and part of me feels like I'm quitting on her. But, really, I just want the two to become one. Now, I sound like I'm coaching one of my newly engaged couples.

This morning, as I was trying to sit and write a post that would be meaningful and encouraging, I kept being interrupted. The three year olds kept needing something, the kitchen was a disaster, and I had a meeting in an hour. After about 10 interruptions, I frustratingly hit the quit button. It made me realize that trying to keep up 2 blogs just isn't possible right now.

As is my custom, I can't incur a transition without celebrating it. So, I'm going to throw my first party over here. I'm giving away one of my super cute and BRAND NEW mini market totes. See and drool...
If you haven't noticed these amazing market totes, they are the best things ever. I use my big ones all the time, and this new size is just so cute. Perfect for picnics, graduation gifts, bridesmaids gifts, or just leaving in your car to bring all your junk to and from your house. Not only that, but I'm gonna throw in a funky charm bracelet just to make it a little more enticing.

Now, to make this transition fun for me (because you know it has to be fun for me, too!) I'm asking that you "follow" this blog and then leave a comment letting me know which mini market you would want! If you're super competitive and want an extra entry, link back to this post from your blog, and then comment to let me know you did the "extra credit". (And if you are already a follower, just leave a comment, and I'll still enter you!) You have til' midnight on Thursday the 20th to link up. I'll announce the winner on Friday!

Change isn't always easy, but I know that with your help, even this little change in my life could be a really great way to celebrate everyday life.

Oh, and I can't wait to tell you about the graduation party I designed last weekend!!

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Gift of a Girl

Recently, I've been going on dates with my daughter on Friday mornings. It didn't start as a "planned" event, as you might think. No, the Lord has actually been very kind to give us this time together, and it has all been His idea.

A few weeks ago, we were going to be going separate ways for the weekend, and so I thought a morning date would be a fun thing for us to do before school started. So, we woke up early, and grabbed her God's Little Princess Devotional Bible, and had a fun time of eating ChickFilA for breakfast and talking about the Lord together. After having such a sweet time that morning, I thought how much we needed that time together, and how it really could be a weekly thing. So, for the past few weeks, we have continued the tradition, and have been going through the women of the Bible. And, it has been such a blessing.

I have always felt that the relationship between a daughter and mother is one of the most complicated relationships there is. Not only is it a challenging one, it is most crucial to remain vigilant about the enemy's schemes to divide. My daughter is the sweetest of girls, however, even the sweetest of girls have the sinful nature that women tend to have.

I guess it really started about the time she turned two. It was as if I could all of a sudden see flesh patterns really beginning to come out. Since then, I have struggled with having my feelings hurt, feeling manipulated, or holding grudges because of being intentionally mistreated. I have felt rejected and controlled, and unable to understand why she would have such strife with me. Of course, Daddy is her hero, and can do no wrong, and she could snuggle with all day, but the second I try to hug her, she's off. I have seen first hand her manipulation, control, and defiance.

I remember when she was only 3, having a dispute with her about something, and then her stomping down the hall as loud as she could and slamming the door behind her. As much as I wanted to storm in after her, yelling that she "WOULD NOT EVER DO THAT AGAIN!", I quickly felt the Holy Spirit, grab the back of my shirt to hold me back, and then very gently say,

"Don't do this. Don't start this. Don't allow this type of fighting even have a foothold in your relationship."

It was as if, I saw her at 16, and me at 40something and screaming at the tops of our lungs at each other and having wounds that ran too deep to know how to have healing. And I knew, I did not want to start it.

I am the only one to teach my daughter what a woman of God looks like. I am the one that will really be her teacher. Sure, she'll have lots of role models, and mentors, but her real live, first hand, in person example, is...big ol' me. And boy, do I feel small.

I have known for a while that I would have to be relentlessly pursuitful of my sweet girl. Otherwise, it won't just happen in our crazy life. I will have to choose to pursue her. Even when she is rude. Even when she doesn't treat me well. Even in the face of rejection and disdain. I will have to be the one to be the leader in loving her with Christ's love. To not allow the enemy use my insecurities and fears to play out against each other.

More than anything I want to show her how much the Lord loves her. How to trust in Him when all else fails. Because all else will fail. And how much I long for her to fully believe Him. Because only in Him is truth found. But first, I need to know how much He loves me. I need to believe Him. I need to trust Him. Only then, will I have the strength to know how to listen and how to talk. How to train and how to love. How to be a mom to this precious gift of a girl.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Good Things in April

Apr 1 - River had a friend come over and I had a blast with taking the kids all over tarnation... downtown, Chick-Fil-A, Artquest, library, then scored some awesome clearance deals at TJ Max.
Apr 2 - Went to a friend's house for an awesome playdate/improptu Easter party
Apr 3 - YARD SALES!!! oh, wow, did i have fun this month at yard sales.
Apr 4 - Easter was glorious.
Apr 5 - so had a great night at dance, then had fun watching 24 with Randy, and then around 11pm started reorganizing my closet...and didn't stop until i was done.
Apr 6 - Mother Goose came to the Glenwood Library and she rocked.
Apr 7 - taught a bunch of K-2nd graders some poems and talked about National Poetry Month a lot...whether or not they wanted to hear about it. ;)
Apr 8 - had a great Bible study, and was challenged to trust more deeply.
Apr 9 - had a really good sit with the Lord.
Apr 10 - had fun grilling out with friends.
Apr 11 - Started the day by hanging out having coffee with my big sis. And then got to have Juice Shop and play at the park. Very fun.
Apr 12 - usually this day is a really hard day for our family, and this was the first year that we actually all really were giddy and happy and looking forward to things to come.
Apr 13 - started this blog. which was a really good thing, but is now causing me to have a little bit of a blog identity crisis, but oh well.
Apr 14 - read lots of nursery rhymes to the kids and made fun crafts to go along with them.
Apr 15 - designed this event
Apr 16 - talked too long at a sweet friend's house and enjoyed every minute of it
Apr 17 - had fun at yard sales and got an awesome booth for our breakfast nook for next to nothing! and got to dress like a pirate and say arrgghhh a lot at the Hoot's pirate party.
Apr 18 - went out to the country and came in second in a hollarin' contest. can you believe i didn't win?
Apr 19 - stayed home all day and let the kids just play play play.
Apr 20 - got to aerobics for the first time in about 2 weeks.
Apr 21 - went to Wholesale sale and went a little crazy...and got to see my tutoring kids learn from a llama. always fun.
Apr 22 - went BACK to the sale, and went a little more crazy.
Apr 23 - had an early morning date with river. later, went to park with Asher, Maddie, and Taylor and hung out with some other moms and kids. And went out with some friends for dessert.
Apr 24 - went to breakfast with my sweet friend and then headed to the Beth Moore simulcast.
Apr 25 - enjoyed coffee, baked cookies, went grocery shopping, and then headed to pick up our kids. felt like we couldn't get to them fast enough!!!
Apr 26 - loved watching my daughter dance.
Apr 27 - researched some really fun things for events, and met with a newly engaged couple.
Apr 28 - this day was NON-STOP...i mean, literally, the WHOLE day. it was filled with lots of good things, but i was really happy when the day was done, and i laid down my head. that was the best thing.
Apr 29 - watched my talented little sister do a benefit concert for her senior project. she's so many ways.
Apr 30 - all i had on my calendar was to meet a friend at the park for a was wonderful. and had a lot of fun with my sweet little boy.

Kari's having the link up over at her place, so get your good things together and go party!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Coming to a Close

This month has been really fun to celebrate poems and songs. I've even tailored my preschool lessons to teach each of the kids poems that they could remember. Down to the sweet little 8 month old baby I keep...her favorite by far is patty cake. And dance little baby. Asher and Maddie love Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Little Miss Muffett the best. Of course we did crafts to correspond with each. And then River's new favorite song is I Will Sing of My Redeemer. It's really sweet to hear her sing the words as loud as she can. It was on an Easter CD that I made this year, and I love how it's come to be a favorite. However, I try to get away from my old standby's, my favorite by far is still this old hymn.

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
Hither by thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.

Go see what other poems have been in cherished at Kari's. And even though we may only put a poem in our pocket once a year, remember to keep them close always.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Heritage from the Lord

My little ones are away at the beach this weekend with their grandparents. I came home from dropping them off, and I immediately begin to think, "How can I make the MOST of my time? Should I clean the whole house, and do all the laundry, and reorganize my closet, and then go out for a little while?" You think I'm crazy...and I kind of am.

My hubs had to work last night, and as silly as it seems, as I was fixing my own dinner, in the silence of my house, I felt a twinge of loneliness. Sure, the quiet was really relaxing at first, but then, it was almost too quiet. To alone.

It's wild how these little creations, that you never even knew would be there, come into your lives, homes, and families, and begin to be a part of your heart. And then they begin to move into all of your heart. And when you're not with them, as one of my dear friends used to say, "you feel like you're walking around with your heart outside of your body". A very true statement indeed.

"Children are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him." Psalm 127:3

Monday, April 19, 2010

Finding His Grace

Yesterday at church, a friend of mine gave a message about knowing God's grace in the midst of trial. And, last week, the message at Bible Study was about knowing joy in the midst of struggle. It feels like this message has been one of the main things that the Lord has been speaking to me lately, which makes me starts to think, "Lord, what's coming?!" And, of course, the enemy would love nothing better than to make me sit in fear and worry about what struggle might be waiting around the corner. As one who has struggled with fearing what hardships my future may hold, this can be pretty tempting.

I love how in 2 Cor. Paul tells how tempted he is to trust in his own strength. I think if we were really honest, most of us would say that it is much easier to trust in our own strength, and to know that we can handle the things of this world on our own shoulders. That when trials or suffering comes, to just believe in our selves and our own strength. To remind ourselves that we're strong, and capable, and able to make it. But the truth is, that He doesn't want us to do it alone. That he said to Paul, the most capable, talented, and knowledgeable man of God,

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9)

He doesn't want us to handle life on our own, or try to muster up the strength to make it through. He wants us to become weak, and in our place of desperation and need, to see how sufficient His grace is for us. How His power is made perfect in our weakness. He did not shed His blood and lay down His life so that we could walk this life alone, but that in all things, ALL THINGS, we would know...

"the secret of being content in any and EVERY situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who GIVES ME STRENGTH." (Philippians 4:12)

It frees me from worrying about the future. What trials or hardships I or those I love might face. Or from hoping and praying to not have struggles or pain. The secret is not to avoid pain and suffering. Nor is the secret learning that we can do everything on our own. The secret is to allow ourselves to be made weak, and to surrender to His strength, His power, and His love. I pray that whatever you're in the midst of, that you would know His strength, and that you would allow His power to be made perfect in your weakness. Only then, are we truly strong.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Trading Spaces...

So, I'm not officially "trading". I just feel a little guilty hitting publish over there, without having something new over here! I've always wondered how those of you do know have more than one blog to keep up? But the two are so separate in some ways, that I don't really feel like I can keep them together. I'll continue to post things about our personal life, or random things I might be thinking of over here, but the more practical tips and ideas that will help you celebrate everyday life, will be going over there.

It's all lonely over there, though, so come visit me! I'm not always the best about change, and you guys are so fun to have around!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Weekend

shoulda caught up on the laundry,
coulda sorted through the spring clothes,
woulda been ready for monday,
but a yard saleing i chose to go.

shoulda gone out and done yard work,
coulda planted that new bed,
woulda made it all pretty,
but rested my head instead.

shoulda done more spring cleaning,
coulda washed and scrubbed the floor,
woulda even done some dusting,
but i blogged a little bit more.

shoulda gone out and got groceries,
coulda had the fridge looking a lot less stark,
woulda been set for the week,
but the kids and i went to the park.

shoulda finished my checklists,
coulda started some new projects, too.
woulda felt all productive,
but hung out with friends and ate good food.

Friday, April 09, 2010

My Path to Life is Free

One of my favorite things to do in the morning, is to sit by my front window, sip my coffee while I watch the birds and squirrels, and for a few quiet minutes before the rush of the day begins, take the time to be still. I'd like to say this happens every morning without fail, but alas, I cannot. Many mornings, I like to begin by reading a hymn. Especially, this month, I have been loving this routine.

Last night, I was reminded of how though our circumstances may not change, or may change for the worse, still our joy and our strength is found only in Christ. That His grace is sufficient...not just for those people somewhere out there, having a really hard time, but for me, in my everyday difficulties and hardships. Those times when I think to myself, "if only________would change, I could be more happy or more at peace or a better friend/wife/whatever." Or when the enemy would like to convince me that, "I can't do this anymore", that instead, my focus would be that of the servant Paul, that in all things, I could say...

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:12-13

We're not supposed to be able to handle this life, or the hardships it brings. We're not supposed to be able to grin and bear it. We need Him to give us the strength. And only in those difficult places are we able to see how much we need Him. I thought it fitting that today's hymn that I read said it so eloquently...

In heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid;
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?

Wherever He may guide me,
No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.

Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;
Bright skies will soon be o'er me,
Where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure,
My path to life is free;
My Saviour has my treasure,
And He will walk with me.


hymn by James W. Elliott

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Lesson from the Birds

With it being National Poetry Month, I once again, have gotten excited about poetry. My friend who always inspires me to read more, is doing a fun thing over at her blog at the end of this month, which I definitely plan to participate in. However, throughout this month, I hope to bring some cheer with poems or songs that have stuck out to me.

Last night we went to our library to hear Mother Goose (who was completely awesome) read several of her rhymes, and do some crafts, and have a little party. I love that my kids as young as they are, are learning to read and understand poetry. I've pulled out my Mother Goose and A Child's Garden of Verses, and I'm sure, I'll be learning quite a lot this month myself. This lesson is from the birds.

"Nest Eggs" by Robert Louis Stevenson

Birds all the sunny day
Flutter and quarrel
Here in the arbour-like
Tent of the laurel.

Here in the fork
The brown nest is seated;
Four little blue eggs
The mother keeps heated.

While we stand watching her,
Staring like gabies,
Safe in each egg are the
Bird's little babies.

Soon the frail eggs they shall
Chip, and upspringing,
Make all the April woods
Merry with singing.

Younger than we are,
O children, and frailer,
Soon in blue air they'll be,
Singer and sailor.

We, so much older,
Taller and stronger,
We shall look down on the
Birdies no longer.

They shall go flying
With musical speeches
High overhead in the
Tops of the beeches.

In spite of our wisdom
And sensible talking,
We on our feet must go
Plodding and walking.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

He is Risen Indeed

It was a beautiful day, in so many ways. Easter has always been my favorite holiday. When asked as a child which holiday was my favorite, I always said, "EASTER!" while other kids looked at me like I was crazy for not saying Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but there's always been something more for me at Easter.

I think part of it started when my mom always held to celebrating it in a simple, yet pure of heart way...she would find a Sunrise service, anywhere she could, and we would wake up as early as possible, quickly get dressed with one eye open, and then quietly and reverently celebrate our risen Lord. Then, usually we would come home, and search furiously for our Easter baskets, which were hidden in trickier spots each year. Then with our goodies in our bellies, and our hearts feeling full, we would enjoy a peaceful day together.

There weren't many days like that throughout my early years, where I knew what to expect. But I always knew what to expect with Easter. I could expect celebration and love. Rejoicing and sometimes even a few tears.

Today was a day like that. We didn't make it to a sunrise service, but we did sit on our bed as the sun rose, and read the Easter story. Then, we came in for a simple breakfast of fruit and banana bread before hurrying to find baskets filled with fun goodies and surprises. We played for a few minutes with our new things before getting in our spring time attire for the special day ahead of us. As we worshipped our risen Lord together, I remembered how beautiful a season we are in, where the old can become new, the lost can be found, and the blind, can now see. How amazing this grace is that the Father has lavished on us.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Good Things in March

So, maybe I won't get to do these every month, but after totally missing Feb. I wanted to keep better track of March!

Mar. 1 - took the little ones to the accomplishment, I promise.
Mar. 2 - last minute dinner at my house with my dad, my sister and nephews
Mar. 3 - had fun playdate with blair and millie
Mar. 4 - on our way to the beach, my sister got pulled...not the good thing...but she didn't get a ticket...definitely A GOOD THING!
Mar. 5 - beach, Seafood Hut, and Calabash Creamery...need I say more?!?
Mar. 6 - a gorgeous day on the beach with family that i love...and a really good walk with my big sister
Mar. 7 - good trip home, and got to enjoy the oscars
Mar. 8 - got to share with some college kids the reason why we live in the neighborhood we live in
Mar. 9 - 70 degrees, had the first picnic of the year at the park with the kids! glorious!
Mar. 10 - My grandaddy's birthday...92 and still as cute as ever!
Mar. 11 - Asher fell asleep in the car running first I felt like it was a waste of time, but then I realized the gift of sitting in silence in the car for an hour, and it was a really good thing.
Mar. 12 - Pizza at Mellow fun!
Mar. 13 - Hit one consignment sale, and was expecting to be disappointed since I waited til Sat. for 1/2 off sale...however was excited to find armfulls of good finds, and the kids were happy about fun "new" spring clothes!
Mar. 14 - had a fun Sunday lunch with friends after church.
Mar. 15 - Got to have an improptu coffee date with my stepmom for her birthday, and then had a great birthday dinner with the rest of our family. Also, was blessed by spending time with a beautiful girl from our neighborhood.
Mar. 16 - Randy and I had our laundry date night.
Mar. 17 - Enjoyed going for an early morning FREE chicken biscuit with River before school. Just us girls!
Mar. 18 - Went to the park afterschool and enjoyed the beautiful springtime weather
Mar. 19 - Went on our annual Women's Retreat!
Mar. 20 - Window shopped around Black Mtn, and got to go into Montreat for a bit. So good for my soul.
Mar. 21 - Loved being back home with my kids and hubby...and had fun dancing in the kitchen with them.
Mar. 22 - Felt good about getting back home and getting things back in order (a.k.a. lots of laundry and straightening was done!)
Mar. 23 - Had a great night hanging with two of my favorite people. Her and her. And laughed a lot.
Mar. 24 - Made it to storytime with the three little ones!
Mar. 25 - Had a great lesson at Bible Study.
Mar. 26 - Our first annual Hallelujah Party for the kids. Very fun to celebrate the true meaning of Easter with lots of little ones.
Mar. 27 - Stayed in bed and enjoyed our lazy Sat. morning. Then had a great day with kids ending with fun playtime at park at sunset.
Mar. 28 - Celebrated Easter early with DiDi and Pop Pop and had delicious brunch at Green Valley Grill.
Mar. 29 - Stayed home all day!
Mar. 30 - took my kids and my sister and nephews to Feeney's Frozen Yogurt for the first time...yum!
Mar. 31 - had a great morning with kids at storytime and park and then came home and took a nap! It was great.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Favorite Places

down a country mile in Eastern NC

Montreat, NC

Seattle skyline at sunset

Ocean Isle Beach, NC

my house at Christmastime

Charleston, SC

It's taken me a few days, but I wanted to link up with Gypsy Mama's "favorite place" party. These are some close to my heart and definite favorites of mine.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Piece Me Together

When my husband and I were married 10 years ago, I remember how we received a ton of serving platters. And ten years ago, I could have cared less about serving platters. I remember thinking, "Seriously? Another one??" And struggling with coveting the fun accessories from Pier One and Pottery Barn that my other newly married friends were getting. I wanted candles, frames, and cutesy apartment decor...not platters.

Little did I know, that I was receiving some of the best gifts I could have asked for. I had no idea that I would absolutely LOVE hosting events, and even become an event planner, of all things. Now granted, that comes in last place after family, nannying, friends, and so on...but still...I never saw it coming. I had no idea then, that in 10 years, I would be thanking God for blessing me with so many things to entertain with.

Speaking of events, I decided on very short notice to host a Hallelujah Party for my children and a few of their good friends, so that the true meaning of Easter would be able to be celebrated. This tissue paper cross was our craft, to show that even though Christ died, the darkness and sadness of death all around Him, couldn't hold back God's love from raising Him from the dead. And furthermore from shining through us, each in our beautiful, colorful way, as we walk with Him in our lives. The 3 yr. olds probably didn't get all of that symbolism, but still, they make really pretty window decoration!

Even though it doesn't compare in weight, the picture of not getting what we want in life, or even what we pray and ask for, still very much applies. We cannot see with God's infinite wisdom, the tapestry He's weaving. Or the piece of pottery He's throwing, as one of my dear friends wrote about so eloquently. We don't know how the pieces will connect together, yet somehow, He uses our broken, torn, and otherwise "thrown out" bits of life to create a beautiful piece of work.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Take Heart

So much of life, we're dealing with the unknown, the hardship, or the trials of life. I was able to sit by a stone this weekend. It wasn't the stone in front of Jesus' tomb. Or a stone placed on the altar of Isaac or in the Jordan River. But it was a sacred stone none the less. A stone that is in an ordinary picnic area, that most people don't even notice. But a stone placed as a memorial for my sweet Mamma. A stone with her sweet name on it. A stone spelling out the woman I knew and loved so well. Not a famous stone, but a beautiful one none the less.

There are a lot of things in the life that we face. Pain, suffering, disappointment, fear, and on and on. It always surprises us, though I'm not sure why. Jesus told us we would have trouble in this world. Then he said, "But take heart. For I have overcome the world." These were words he said not long before he would face more evil and suffering than we could ever fathom.

I don't think "take heart" means that the trouble will easily go away. Or that the trouble won't be painful and difficult to weather. Or maybe if we live a "good" enough life, than none at all. If you've lived at all, you've seen that it most certainly is. But we do know that our friend, our Creator, our God, has overcome the world. That in the midst of our trial, though our bodies face pain, though our minds are tormented at times, though our strife seems to persist to no end, our hope is not in a perfect world. Our hope is in a God who has overcome the world.

When I have the chance to remember that, it helps me to see that even though the days can be long at times, and the trials unending, it really is for only a brief moment. We really will be rescued from this world and sat with our Savior at the right hand of God Almighty.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just a Moment

In the moments of the days, there are not many moments to sit. To think. To be quiet. To dive into the Word of God or take time to reflect. As the little ones start to wake from their naps, there is just a moment. This weekend, I'm excited to be able to many of those moments as I join other women from our church at our annual women's retreat. Each year is different, and each theme is it's own. However, what is consistent is that it's time. Time to be with my sisters in Christ. Time to be with my God. I'm so thankful for brief times away, to be refreshed with my Father's love, held in His embrace, and grateful to be His child.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Beautiful Mess

I could sum up my son in this little picture. I could actually write an entire essay on how these four items could describe his personality. I won't...but I could.

I was cleaning up the other day, and when I came to this "mess" to pick up, I couldn't help stop. It was as if he decided to place all of his favorite things together in just the right position. I'm sure he only left it for a moment to go look for "The King" to add to the mix! In 6 months, these things will be old news, and I'll be cleaning up a Bat Mobile or something else that has caught his undying love.

You never know who your children will be, or what their favorite things will be. However, I do know that I could not have asked for a more precious son to love. And, no, I'm not biased at all.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Flora's Crowning Beauty

Our home is a little old cottage. There's a lot about our house that we have changed, and a lot that we have kept. But the thing that sold me on our sweet bungalow, was this mantle. I knew from the moment I walked in the very first time, that even if I changed everything else in the house, this would always be my favorite spot in the house. It is the very first thing you see when you walk through the door, like a familiar smile welcoming you in.

From season to season, this mantle changes very little. Maybe some different foliage, or an additional candle every now and then, but for the most part, she stays set. In fall, she warms us with her candlelit glow, and in the spring she welcomes us with new buds starting to bloom.

I've always wondered about what our house's name was. In the past I've toyed around with Ethel, or Ella, or Myrtle...I knew it needed to be a name that sounded like a little old lady who had beauty beyond her years, and wisdom from her age. However, I never settled on anything. That is, until just the other day.

I happened to meet a man who grew up right across the street from my house. He told me all about the sweet lady who lived here, raised her children here, and even held a neighborhood Bible study for all the neighborhood children (fitting, don't you think?). Where do you suppose she had her Bible study? Yes, just to the right of that very mantle. In that moment, I realized that "Flora's" crowning beauty would always be that very spot.

Now go and get all warm and cozy visiting Emily's glimpses of home tour. It's a sure fire way to make you fall in love with home all over again.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Always Watching

She twirled and her beautiful pink skirt made a floating cloud-like circle around her. She ran. She leaped. She giggled. She looked toward him, and giggled. Then she twirled again...and again...and again. She desperately wanted him to watch, though she never would have admitted it.

How could a little boy of six years be interested in twirling skirts or pretty girls? He would have rather wrestled her or gone and climbed a tree in the yard. Still he watched, but only for a second. He would glance her way, but then quickly look away. He would watch the cars speeding past, but then he would look back again, just to watch for a second...but hopefully without her knowing. I enjoyed how remiss he was trying to be, however, as I could tell he really just wanted to watch her twirl. It was as if he was entranced by how happy she was just to twirl, and run, and leap, and giggle.

It was cute as I stood there, an unexpected spy, as these two played their game. It reminded me of how often I try to spin in circles for the attention of others. How much I try to gain the focus of my husband, or my friends, or my family, or even my kids. I will spin and spin, with the most beautiful of tactics and strategies, to make sure that I'm the most loved and accepted by everyone...all the time. And yet, it grows so tiring. And even more convicting, I've seen how it's not really what God has asked me to do. I could actually rename my "efforts to please" as "worry", "selfishness", "anxiety", "busyness", "striving"....even, are you ready..."sin".

God doesn't want my focus to be on gaining the attention or love of others. He simply wants me to be, and to let Him live through me. To allow Him to love me, and then allow His love to flow out to others.

I remember being so thankful when I learned (and am still having to learn) how accepted and lovely I always am to God. That He is always waiting to watch me twirl. That he loves to just sit and wait for me to spin or sit...giggle or cry. He is always watching, and I never have to convince Him to pay attention to me. He already is.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Shifting Sand

You would think, just by looking at a simple sand castle, that it would be an easy accomplishment. Something fun to do to pass the time spent on the shore. For some that might be true. For others, not so much.

My older sister had kids before me, and her first was a premie. He just barely made it, and had to fight with everything he had as a little two pounder to make it. He learned early that if you're going to make it in this life, you have to be a fighter, and that doesn't come easy.

Almost four years ago, when we lost my sister's husband, my sweet nephew of only 8 at the time, lost not only his daddy...he lost his best friend, his biggest fan, his closest confidant, his hero, his life. Much of their days together were spent on the beach. Exploring the rugged outer banks, learning to surf, playing in the water, building sand castles with extreme attention to detail.

We love to take them back down to the beach whenever we can, and this past weekend happened to be one of those times. It's funny, when we're getting ready to go down to the beach, all we hear from this particular nephew is...

"I don't want to go. How long are we going to be down there? I'll get all sandy, and it's gonna be cold."

fight fight fight....argue argue argue.

After he gets all that out of his system, he quietly shuffles his big almost man sized feet down the steps and over to the shore.

I think just getting to the sand is the hardest part.

Then for the next hour, or two, or three, he sits immersed in the sand, using whatever "tools" he can find to craft a most beautiful creation. One with great detail and that his father would be proud of. And once again, I marvel at how this boy of only 12 years, is choosing to fight to live life. How he has to choose to be a part of the rest of our lives, even just to build a sand castle that won't be there tomorrow.

Monday, March 08, 2010

"Reality" TV

Last night, we arrived back home after a fabulous weekend at the beach, to a house with needs, a full week ahead of us, and tired bodies from all fun. However, rather than jumping in with two feet to all the chores beckoning my attention, I got the kids in bed, and then plopped down on the couch to watch the Oscars.

Yes, I absolutely love to see all the amazing dresses, but what I really love is seeing them just be themselves. Seeing them get nervous when they have to go up on that big stage. Watching as they get choked up as they receive the affirmation of another. Getting to see that behind the scenes artist whose name I've never heard before, but is quite definitely brilliant beyond measure. Celebrating with the star who did what "was unpopular to do what was right".

Most of the time we see them on the cover of tabloids in the checkout line at the grocery store, or in the news having their name smeared for something they've done wrong, or an action everyone has to know about. For me, though, I'd rather watch them as they are. I'd much rather see them be mothers, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, sons, friends, and see them simply as people.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Birthday Girl

Yesterday my little girl became a girl. I know it sounds ridiculous, but there's a BIG difference between a little girl and a girl. Five just seems so much younger than six!! Or is it just me!? Just like there's a big difference from a newborn to an older baby...or a big baby to a toddler...or a toddler to a little girl (or boy). And I feel like she'll be a preteen tomorrow. I can't shop for her at all in the little kids section...I used to be able to squeeze her into a 4T/5T, but not anymore.

We had a great weekend celebrating. Had a frilly, girly sleepover with just a few friends, and then woke up and went roller skating...or roller shuffling is more like what it was. Then we enjoyed being with family the next part of the weekend, thoroughly enjoying ourselves with a tea party at the O'Henry! But I think my favorite part of the weekend was playing paper dolls with her. It's reassuring that she still wants me to play with least for today! Truly a gift!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Finding our Being

Do you ever feel like your life is just happening, and you are going through it, but you somehow can't seem to get a grasp around it? That's kind of how I've been feeling lately. I really long to sit and read more, or post more, or just be still, but it seems like most of my "free" moments get sucked into cleaning or organizing or playing or just trying to have a conversation with a friend for even just a moment.

Last night I was challenged by this verse:

"In him, we live, move, and have our being." (Acts 17:28)

Even though I've known Christ for many years, most times, I don't feel like I'm living, moving, and having my being in Christ. I know I truly am in Him, but most of the time, I'm just "living, moving, and being". So, where in the craziness of the day, month, year, LIFE, do I find my way to have regular life while somehow I'm resting in Him? Even sitting down to post about this, I am confronted with feeling guilty for taking a moment to ponder rather than doing something else more "pressing".

Sometimes it seems impossible to find this life "in Christ", and yet, I know that this is where I find true rest, peace, and joy. All the things that we would say we want our life to be, and yet, we struggle so to have them. I think the groping to find Him in the midst of pain, hardship, trial, and just mundane life, is just what He wants us to do. A sacrifice of praise isn't a "sacrifice" if it comes out without pain or struggle. It's pretty easy to trust Him or praise Him when everything is going well, or when we feel really close to Him. Or when life is just working out the way we hoped it had. But, when we choose to push past the hardships of life, and choose to have life "in Him" is where we find rest for our souls.

The verses right before this one in Acts says,

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17:24-27)

I hope that you will join me today, and choose to live, move, and have your being, in Him. Whatever it is your facing; maybe it's fear about the future, or regretting the past, or even day to day anxieties that can feel overwhelming, but whatever it is, let's move past being in us, and choose to know Christ in the midst of our lives. I want to be able to know Him in my living, moving, and having my being. And He truly "is not far from each one of us."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nothing Much to Do

Daddy's at work. Saturday afternoon...sitting on the couch with the laptop and kids only means one thing...

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Rare Gift, Indeed

Sometimes I look at her and wonder how she got so cute. She's full of so many ideas and desires...all bursting at once. She can get attached to the silliest of objects in seconds, and have it be her "baby" or "best friend", and then have to undergo serious detachment sessions. Last weekend, it was an icicle she found on our walk. Tonight it was the hot water bottle. I mean, SERIOUSLY? As rational as I am, I find it VERY hard to be too sympathetic. And I'm an extremely sensitive person.

I swear she belongs on a stage. But she'd be too scared to go out there and have everyone watch her. She truly is one of a kind. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Good Things in January

Back at the beginning of this month, I asked my friend Kari, if she would feel totally copied if I also started doing a "good things" post at the end of each month. She said that she herself had gotten the idea from another friend, and that she would love to have more people link up to hers. Of course, being the event planner that I am, I thought "good things party" immediately. Well, no streamers or balloons, but if you can track your memory back through this past month, go link up over at Kari's, and join in our fun.

Jan. 1 - Visit to PA and lots of New Years fun with family
Jan. 2 - Great Pop Pop's 90th birthday party and the time to celebrate such an amazing man!
Jan. 3 - A very uneventful and relaxing trip home to NC complete with stops at Cracker Barrel and Red Lobster all thanks to traveling with DiDi and Pop Pop
Jan. 4 - Fun time shopping with my birthday gift cards!
Jan. 5 - Got to hang out with my big sister at Friendly Center...very rare indeed!
Jan. 6 - My surprises from family and then out for dessert with sweet friends.
Jan. 7 - Got to spend some alone time at Barnes and Noble and picked out some classics I've been wanting to add to our library.
Jan. 8 - My parents took my big sis and I to Village Tavern for lunch and gave us big fancy presents from Williams-Sonoma and Pampered Chef...needless to say, we felt very pampered. And then Randy and I went out dancing to beach music with two other couples and laughed so hard my sides hurt.
Jan. 9 - Got such a special present from this friend that it made me cry. And it was my sister's birthday...went and celebrated over at her house with yummy dinner and delicious cake for dessert.
Jan. 10 - went to church for our Women's Fellowship and heard an amazing lesson taught on Abigail by author Sally Breedlove. What a treat!
Jan. 11 - Had dinner with some new friends from the neighborhood and was inspired by their handmade chicken coup and baby chicks!
Jan. 12 -Made it to aerobics! Definitely something to celebrate! ;)
Jan. 13 - Got to storytime with Asher, Maddie, and Taylor...only 20 min. late. Better late than never! Thankfully our storytime is complete with several books, letter of the day, song to go with it, movie, and craft, so we only missed the first few books. And yes it is the best storytime in town!
Jan. 14 - taught some kids about Jesus and really saw them start to get it!
Jan. 15 - Randy went out of town on a guys retreat so the kids and I went to Chick-Fil-A with Diane and her kids (her hubs was out of town, too, so we did it up right!) Then, I vegged out on the couch and watched Miss Congeniality after I got the kids to bed.
Jan. 16 - had a great time in Greenville with old friends! And got to take my kids on a 4-wheeler for the first time thanks to "Aunt Heather"!
Jan. 17 - went to the Tipsy Teapot for brunch with the Barclays, reconnected with some family that I hadn't seen in 10 years, and went to the Flowers for 24 premier! Busy but fun day!
Jan. 18 - Watched the 2nd half of the 24 premier.
Jan. 19 - My sweet friend Kayli dropped by and helped me rearrange my house. Also had my Arbonne party and racked up on some goodies.
Jan. 20 - The three little ones and I ventured over to Blair's house for lunch and playtime at the was a gorgeous day in the middle of all those rainy days, so it was perfect!
Jan. 21 - made a new favorite recipe for dinner swap.
Jan. 22 - set a new record for how many times I got to aerobics in a week...3 times!! I know I'm pitiful, but it really is an accomplishment!
Jan. 23 - went to the Yancey House with a client and loved designing a wedding and reception; swung on a tire swing, and had a blast over at the Hoots house.
Jan. 24 - Got to see one of my old "kids" get his Eagle Scout award and then River and I got to hang out with some of our best friends.
Jan. 25 - Hung out with a new friend at Tate St. Coffee House which brought back tons of memories from college...and found out about a new deal they're doing over buy one of their travel "green" mugs, and then get it filled for .70 Monday-Friday from 5-7. Cheapest cup of coffee in town!
Jan. 26 - Had coffee and caught up on life with my sweet friend Emily.
Jan. 27 - Made it to storytime with Asher, Maddie, and Taylor...only 10 min. late!! Getting better!
Jan. 28 - Had a great time at Bible Study and was very excited about the snow coming.
Jan. 29 - Kids got the cutest haircuts ever and had a fun family date to Five Guys afterwards. Also had our friend Danny stay for dinner and all cheered as the snow started to fall.
Jan. 30 - Tried to go sledding in our homemade sled, but really just had fun together in the snow/freezing rain/sleet...then got warmed up at the Browns with hot chocolate and cookies!
Jan. 31 - went SLEDDING for real!!! My kids are daredevils!!

I know that I'm not really supposed to go into Feb. just yet, but remember just for a moment what happened on this day in Greensboro 50 years ago, and say a quiet thank you for all that God has done to restore our broken country since then. There's still much to be done, but I'm so thankful for the 4 brave men who changed our city forever.

Monday, January 25, 2010

An Unexpected Sit

I took the three little ones to the Children's Museum today. I expected the hustle and bustle of children. And I expected some amount of stress seeing as I would be handling a 5 month old, a 2 1/2 yr. old, and then my 3 year old. But they are all such sweet children that I really enjoy going places with them. We enjoyed our usual places in the museum...the super market, the farm house, the tot-spot, the cafe...but then as we were leaving, we saw something I hadn't expected to see.

There in the middle of the lobby was a child sized version of the Woolworth's sit in counter from 1960. Everything was exactly the same as the original. The stools, the menus, the coffee and doughnuts. And even just sitting here typing, the tears come streaming down. I tried really hard not to loose it in the museum, especially because there were other kids and moms all around me, and for me to just start weeping would seem pretty inappropriate. But I could barely hold it together. Asher and Maddie just climbed up to the stools. They spun around and "fixed" their coffee. They pretended to eat and drink...and be merry. They didn't have to ask to sit down. They didn't have to wait to be served. They weren't denied the freedom to simply be. They felt totally free and accepted, with no questions asked. Then some other children came up to play at the counter with them. Three African American boys. They all played together at the counter and then, I really could barely hold it together.

It blows me away that only 50 years ago not everyone had that privilege. That African Americans were not allowed to SIT at certain lunch counters and eat doughnuts and drink coffee. It truly takes all words away from me, and leaves me with tears in my eyes and shaking my head. That people, just like me, only with a little darker skin, would be treated with such disdain and disrespect. Only 50 years ago.

As I stared at these boy's pictures, I felt such valor, strength, and dignity. A courage mustered up that I have never had to muster. A strength that I have never had to face. And a foe that I have never had to encounter the way that they did. Only 50 years ago.

Sometimes it feels like it's been hundreds of years since things like segregation were even an issue. But then, I remember. And I am thankful for men like these, who "with their very bodies, obstructed the wheels of injustice."

Friday, January 22, 2010

I Wish I Were...

No matter how you spin it, the thoughts "I wish I were..." seem to creep in everywhere you turn. Tonight I went to a high school homecoming game, and even though I'm an old has-been to young teenage eyes, I still have the same insecurities and longings.

As the speaker announced the homecoming court, I found myself thinking how pretty the girls were, and how nervous I would be walking onto a basketball court in 3 inch heels, praying that I wouldn't slip.

It came time for the new homecoming queen to be announced, but before she was crowned, the list of credentials was read. I can't even remember what all the speaker read to us, but I can tell you that the list went on and on and on. From sports, to academic achievement, to international travel, to scholarships, to merrit awards, to volunteering, and committees, this club and that club, and on and on and on. I thought it was sad in a way, that this young beautiful girl, was feeling judged, and today applauded for all of her striving and effort. However, what about the days when she has messy hair and stretch marks and can't even find her cute jeans that fit her because her laundry has piled up so high that she can't even get to the laundry room. What about when she is lying in bed, not wanting to move because she feels so alone and afraid. What about when she can't find a job, despite all of her good experience and pretty face. What then? Who would applaud that?

I found myself longing for her to know how truly valued she is. Not for what she has done, and not for what she will do, but simply for who she is. I remembered wishing that I had been homecoming queen and that I had the legs of the girl who was. But instead, I think now that I wish I could have been comfortable just being me. Not because of what I looked like or had accomplished, but simply because I was chosen by an all powerful, and all knowing God. Who reached down and said, "I pick you because I love you. I choose you because you're you." How much better is the love that He lavishes on us, than all the praise of men.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Easy Wind and Downy Flake

This past week, the preschoolers and I have been talking a lot about snow. We've read books about the cold, and sang songs about the snow. One of the things we've read is Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. And, I know you think I'm crazy, but they're beginning to get this poem. The pictures help, of course. And my age appropriate questions. But there's something about it that brings tears to my eyes. I love the picture of this man enjoying the silence and the stillness. Rather than me, who runs at the very thought of the silence...not to mention the stillness. He is able to stop in the midst of the cold and snow, just to enjoy the "darkest evening of the year". Lord, would you make me more like him?

Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Teinc You

Some days it's very tiring to have a girl. The emotions, the drama, the rifts. Then, there's the constant busyness of them making their life be what they want it to be all the time, and if it's not exactly what they want, they are either heart broken or furious. And, no, I'm not talking about myself.

But then there are other days. Days where the thoughtfulness of a 5 year old can amaze and astound you.

Saturday, was a busy morning. We had a party at our house for my daughter's dance class, with about 10 little girls running around, and lots of squealing and laughing. I went against my better judgement and chose to get glitter for our craft, because I knew how much all the girls would love it. And boy, they did. The clean up time however, was not as much fun.

When I finished cleaning up everything, I went in and read for a while with my little girl, who is really starting to get into chapter books. I was so tired after we finished reading, that I declined the offer to play, and confessed that I simply had to rest my eyes for just a minute.

When I came to, probably an hour later, she was right beside me rubbing my head. Her little voice had excitement in it, but whispered a little,

"Surprise. I thought you might be thirsty." She had gotten the juice out and poured me a glass of orange juice, but watered it down just a tad, the way I like, then topped it with an ice cube.

There was a little present, wrapped in Christmas paper, flowers taken from my birthday arrangement and put into a small vase, a banana (she said in case I was hungry), and a little scrapbook of her Daddy and I, from years back.

Let me just say, this has never happened before, and I doubt that it will happen very many times in my life. At least not while she's still under my roof.

Even though all of that was special, this was the best part...

I couldn't have asked for a sweeter daughter.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Giver of Gifts

*warning...lots of pictures ahead...

Gifts are so fun. I love gifts. I love giving gifts, and I love receiving them. It's safe to say that gifts are one of my love languages. So, I find it pretty amusing that my birthday is the same day that is noted on our calendars as the day we celebrate the gifts that were given to Jesus by the magi. Now, obviously, it was not on Jan. 6 however many years ago. But, it still feels representative somehow, even if just in my heart. It's as if, it's a time to think back upon the gifts Christ, to us, to the world. That today is a day of celebration...not just for me, but that Jesus was celebrated with gifts, just as He is such a lavish giver of gifts.

I haven't really done a Christmas post, even though I have thought about it many times. We just had so much traveling going on that I haven't gotten to it. But this morning, as I was woken by my sweet family, with flowers and coffee, and then treated to my favorite breakfast, I once again thought about how blessed I really am. God has given me such good gifts. He truly is the giver of good gifts, and I know that these precious ones in my life are more than I ever could have asked for. Here's a little snapshot into our Christmas, and the gifts that I have to be thankful for...

a warm and cozy home

beautiful children to celebrate Christ (and Christmas) with

the gift of new life

new friends

the blessing of provision to be able to surprise our children with their first bikes!

the gift of having a husband who knows me well!

fun times with family!

I happened to be reading Romans 5:15-17 last night...

"But the gift is not like the sin. For if the many died by the sin of one man (Adam), how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: the judgement followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many sins and brought justification. For if by the sin of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through one man, Jesus Christ.

The message might make it a little bit more clear...

"Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man's sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God's gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There's no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?"

As much as I treasure the gifts that God has given me through my family and friends, there couldn't be a greater gift than that which God gave through His Son. Life for death. Righteousness for condemnation. All for our taking, on this gift of a day. I hope that you are able to receive the gift of grace that brings full life to you this day and always.