Thursday, October 6, 2011

If Today Were My Last...

Someone posed the question today, “what would you do if today was your last day on Earth.”  For whatever reason, this question struck me, and I really began to think about it.  I would not be so concerned about my to-do list, my grocery shopping or that last load of laundry waiting to be folded.  I would want every last second I had to be with my family…the family that, on any given day, can get on my nerves or bring me insane joy! 
I would want to take Ethnee somewhere quiet.  I would swing on a hammock with her and listen as she talked endlessly about her day…conversations that I may or may not pay attention to on other days.  I would hold her in my arms and tell her that I think she’s smart and beautiful and that she’s going to be able to accomplish anything that she sets her mind to.  I would make sure she knows how proud I am of her.  I would talk to her about how old she wants to be when she gets married and how many children she thinks she’ll have and what her greatest dreams are.  Then I would tell her again that she could do ANYTHING she sets her mind to.  I would hold her hand and then show her how her fingers look just like mine.  I would tell silly jokes that make her laugh, knock-knock jokes that she would continue to tell for months to come.  I would remind her that becoming her mommy was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.  I would tell her 1,000 times how much I loved her until I was sure she would never forget.
I would take Hailee and sit with her in front of a mirror.  Criss-cross applesauce…with her on my lap.  I would point out each tiny thing about her that I think is beautiful.  I would tell her how I love the way her eyes sparkle when she’s happy.  I would talk about her sweet little nose and her chubby cheeks.  I would tell her that I love it when she smiles so big that I can see her gums.  I would tell her that I remember when each little freckle appeared on her body, particularly the one in her armpit.  I would tell her that her giggle is one of my favorite sounds in the whole world…a sound I could listen to forever and ever.  I would tickle-rub her belly and back…and laugh when it makes her eyes roll back and her whole body relax.  I would tell her that she was beautiful…one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.  I would tell her that when she would smile at me as a baby, I would always think of sunshine.  Seeing her smile still fills me with warmth and joy.  I would tell her that I always wanted her to smile, no matter what.  I would tell her 1,000 times how much I loved her until I was sure she would never forget.
I would take Rhylee to a park with a big open field.  I would watch her run and play and get filthy dirty.  I would watch her explore and show me each little, curious thing.  I would push her higher on the swing than ever before just to watch her soar.  I would lay in the grass with her and talk about nothing, just to hear how she makes up words.  I would kiss her cheeks and nose and tickle her tummy until her giggling was uncontrollable.  I would play airplane and spin her around again and again and then hold her in my arms like the baby that she is to me.  I would kiss her chin and the part of her jawbone right back by her ear…the spot that makes her laugh.  I would bottle that laughter and hold onto it with everything I had.  I would tell her that she’s precious.  I would tell her that she’s beautiful and that she’s my baby, no matter how many times she reminded me that she was a “bid deal” (big girl).  I would tell her that she would always be my baby.  I would tell her 1,000 times how much I loved her until I was sure she would never forget.
I would spend my evening with Russ.  I would find a big open field out in the country…the kind where you can see all the stars at night.  We would lay in the bed of his truck and look up at the stars and have one last conversation about where we would go and what we would do if we had all the money and time in the world.  We would talk about our love and hopes and dreams for our girls.  I would tell him that I’m proud of him, so very proud.  I would tell him that I would choose him again…1,000 times everyday if I had it to do all over again.  I would tell him that he makes me happy, no matter how moody I can get.  I would tell him to dream big, no matter who tried to hold him back.  I would tell him to hold on to the promises that have been spoken over him because I KNOW they will come to pass.  I would tell him that he can do anything…he has proven that to me time and time again.  I would tell him to love our girls the way a good Texan daddy does…and to use guns if necessary when boys came around.  I would tell him 1,000 times how much I loved him until I was sure he would never forget.
That is what I would do if today was my last day on Earth.  I thought and thought about this and then realized, why don’t I?  None of us are promised tomorrow.  The dishes can wait.  The laundry will still be there.  But I want them to know 1,000 times how much I love them!       

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pregnant or Crazy...I Think Both!

I've never been one of those "crazy pregnant women."  I've been emotional before, but not crazy like they show in movies, the stereotypical pregnant woman.  I've never been the pregnant woman who cries at coffee commercials, screams at her husband because he didn't take the trash out or loses it when someone gets a parking spot first.  Honestly, I thought all the crazy homonal breakdowns that pregnant women talk about were kind of an excuse to lose it...they could just blame it on the pregnancy.

Well, it has happened.  I have entered the world of stereotypes.  I officially consider myself a Crazy Pregnant Woman (C.P.W.)!  Luckily the first trimester is coming to an end and I can feel myself beginning to regain control of my emotions...or insane hormones.  My husband has started coming home at normal hours again after weeks of hiding at his office, praying that his children would not be tied up in a closet when he got home.
A few weeks ago, I decided that I probably owed him an explanation for my unexplainable and rather dramatic meltdowns.  I figured it was only fair that I try to describe what is actually going on in this hormonal brain so that when I bit his head off for no apparent reason he would at least know that in 9 months this craziness would come to an end (hopefully).  Little did I know that our evening would present so many perfect opportunities for explanation!

We decided that a night out was in order.  Russ planned an evening at the Cheesecake Factory and even arranged for his mother to watch the girls so we wouldn't have the time constraints and expense of a babysitter...gotta LOVE Mee Mee's!  As we were getting ready to back out of our driveway, he noticed in the mirror (by the pure grace of God!) that Rhylee has snuck out and was hiding behind the car.  He told me where she was and when I opened my car door all I saw were two precious little eyeballs poking out from around the taillight.  After chasing her inside and scaring her half to death about the dangers of going behind a car, we tried to resume our date.

As were drove down the street, Russ tried to make smalltalk.  After one sentence, it happened...the floodgate opened.  It didn't matter that this was the first time in two months that I had actually put on mascara, it was gone, streaming its way down my cheeks with no end in sight.  I tried desperately to find anything that could serve as a tissue.  After finishing off every stray napkin in the car, I moved on to some random piece of cloth.  I'm still not sure what that was, but it served it's purpose as I blubbered the ENTIRE way into Austin.  As my uncontrollable episode went on, my husband just stared straight ahead, hands at 10 and 2, frightened that if he opened his mouth, the sobbing may get louder, or worse, I would back over HIM with the car.  It's hard to explain, but I physically COULD NOT STOP crying.  I tried to explain this to him.  He would just nod and keep driving.  Poor guy...I knew how crazy I looked, but there was nothing that could be done about it.

We pulled up to The Cheesecake Factory and he offered to let me out at the door.  By this time I had gathered myself reasonably enough to be able to speak in clear English to the hostess.  Russ went to park the car (no small task in their crazy parking lot) and told me he'd be in in a minute.  The waitress came and brought water and a basket of bread while I sat and enjoyed a quiet moment, reminding myself that Rhylee was alive and safe at home and that I should be thankful and enjoy an evening out with my husband.  5 minutes passed and then 10.  By the time 15 rolled around, I had finished 2 slices of bread and the C.P.W. was making her appearance again.  I mean, seriously, how long does it take to park the car???  I started calling and texting to no avail.  2 more minutes passed and by this point C.P.W. had come up with all kinds of reasons why he had not joined me at the table.  About this time, I saw him waving me over from across the restaurant, looking quite annoyed.  I joined him (at HIS table) and listened as he explained that the waitress had seated him because she said no one had come in by themselves to be seated.  (Umm...did you not see the 6 foot tall woman with a protruding pregnant belly and red-rimmed eyes with no mascara???  Apparently not, but it was pretty hard to miss!)  He figured I was in the bathroom composing myself so he went ahead and got a table.  He asked if we could please start our evening over.  I told him that would be a good idea seeing as I had come up with only 4 reasons that would explain his 17 minute absence:

1. He left me here...what else is there to do with such an emotional wreck?
2. He died in the car somewhere between the front door of the restaurant and the parking space.
3. He was on the phone with a board member from church (sorry, board members, but those conversations usually last a while) in which case I was prepared with a long lecture of why we don't answer the phone on date nights.
4. He was calling his girlfriend to tell her not to call him tonight because he was out with his wife.  *Note: for those of you freaking out right about now, this was COMPLETELY C.P.W. thinking this stuff up.  There was NO reason for this particular situation other than hormones!  So please save your "concerned phone calls" for another time.

He sat across from me wide eyed, in disbelief of all the things my brain could conjure up in such a short period of time.  He leaned back and said, "Wow.  I just thought you were in the bathroom."  Clearly, I needed to do some explaining.  I explained to him that there are two people currently living in my brain: Logical Jaci (L.J.) and Crazy Pregnant Jaci (C.P.J.).  L.J. is much smaller and quieter right now than C.P.J., but I wanted him to know that L.J. would take over my brain again someday...probably in about 7 more months.  He just slowly nodded, unsure of what to say.  I told him that throughout the night I would quickly tell him what C.P.J. was thinking so that he could understand why I lost it at any particular comment or action.  The next example came very quickly.

We were sitting across from each other holding hands on top of the table.  We were finally enjoying our evening, having a pleasant conversation, when the waitress walked up from behind him.  He immediately let go of my hand and sat back as she asked us if we wanted more bread or water or something unimportant.  We said no and she went on her way.  I told him that at that moment, C.P.J. was thinking: "I'm fat, ugly and obviously an embarrassment to be with if he didn't even want the WAITRESS to see him holding my hand."  Again, the stunned silence and confused look.  "I just thought she had our food," was all he could say

It ended up being a very fun evening as I explained various things C.P.J. was thinking, and he would very gently try bring L.J.back to the surface.  By the end of the night we had had several good laughs and a relaxing evening...the whole point!

Things are much better now, as I explained before.  C.P.J. only makes her appearances on occasion and can usually be quieted down with something chocolate or mashed potatoes from Bush's...but not together...yet.  As for my husband, well, pray for him.  There is a pretty good chance that he is getting ready to have his fourth daughter (just based on our track record) and dealing with C.P.J. will look like a walk in the park when they are all teenagers and I'm going through menopause!  Oh the blogs that will come out of that! :) 


Friday, July 1, 2011

Life OUT of the Fishbowl

Adam and Eve ate the fruit.  Consequence: Leaving the Garden of Eden and forcing all of mankind to be born into sin.

Jonah disobeyed God when he was told to go to Ninevah.  Consequence: Being swallowed by a giant fish.

Ethnee and Hailee decided their fish should enjoy life OUT of the fishbowl.  Consequence: well, let me tell you the whole story.

Upon arriving home from 4 glorious days of youth camp with our teens from church, we were greeted by 3 precious, smiling little girls full of hugs and kisses for their mommy and daddy whom they had missed so much!  Only a couple hours into our joyous return, however, reality came dancing it's way back into our lives.  As I was on the phone with our youth pastor (who wasn't able to attend camp because his wife is about to POP with baby #3) Hailee annoyingly interrupted and asked if she and her sisters could "go fishing" in her fish tank.  After multiple "NO's!" and an unnecessary explanation about why we can't "play" with our fish, she went sulking upstairs to find something better to do (or so I thought).

Later that evening I was putting Rhylee in the bathtub and encouraging Hailee to join her.  Hailee was quite persistent that she didn't want to get in the bathtub...yet.  I couldn't understand her need for me to leave the bathroom before she would get in, and then I remembered a very short conversation we had had a bit earlier about why the fish couldn't get in the bathtub either.  I looked at her and said, "Hailee, you MAY NOT put your fish in the bathtub with you."  The look on her face went from shock (how did my mother figure that out?!?!) to incredible disappointment.  I was in the middle of explaining how fish will die if they are put in the bath (it might have been slightly dramatic including something about frying their brains with the hot water, etc.) when she blurted out, "BUT THEY DIDN'T DIE WHEN WE PUT THEM IN THE SINK!"  I'm not sure what expression I was making but she knew right away that she had said the wrong thing.  Her concern was confirmed when Ethnee walked in the room and said, "HAILEE!!!  You weren't supposed to tell Mom about that!"  Wow.  Blatant disobedience AND lying.  I was pretty upset, so I told them that there would be a consequence but that I would have to think about what it was.  In the mean time they had all better get in the bathtub.  I went into Hailee's room, cleaned up her wet dresser and put two remaining fish (who were swimming in their vacation home, AKA a random plastic toy) back in the fish tank. 

I then went downstairs and told Russ about our little mischief-makers.  We were in the process of coming up with what we thought might be an appropriate punishment when I decided to go upstairs and wash their hair.  We were going to have Family Movie Night (something that is greatly anticipated in this house) and I needed to make sure everyone was squeaky clean before it got too late.  I rounded the corner into our bathroom and turned to grab the soap off of the counter when, low and behold, what did I find?  A FISH!  Swimming in our sink!  WHAT!?!?  If there had a been a scrolling screen on my forehead displaying what was going through my brain, it would have read something like this:

Those little boogers!  Inhale!  Walk away.  No wait!  Is that really a fish in my sink?  Exhale.  Inhale!  Don't spank them while you're mad!  Exhale!  Don't freaks them out more when they think their disobedience has made you speechless.  Inhale!  Get Russ...that will REALLY freak them out! Exhale.

As soon as I called Russ upstairs, the tears began.  If Daddy was getting involved, they knew they were in BIG trouble!  I still did all the talking, gave the sentencing and got them out of the bath.  Russ barely said a word, but just having him there solidified the punishment.  If Daddy heard it, Mommy couldn't take it back!  My favorite part was that Rhylee didn't understand what was going on, but she was doing her best to muster up a good cry to join her sisters.  Once I told her that she wasn't in trouble, the waterworks stopped and she said, "Oh.  Oh-Tay."  Ethnee and Hailee were a different story!  The wailing that ensued as they walked the long hallway back to their rooms reminded me of a movie in which a prisoner is being walked to his execution.  The inmate is asked what he wants for his last meal, all the other inmates are saying goodbye.  It was a similar scenario in our house.

We explained that there would be three consequences for 3 crimes: disobeying (x 2) and lying.  Sentencing included: spankings from daddy, going to bed instead of enjoying Family Movie Night, and no TV or movies the next day.  The wailing got louder as the list grew.  I then explained that if the fish ever left their tank again, they would be flushed down the toilet and the fish tank would be put away.  Hailee was nearly inconsolable at this point. "But MOM!  I don't want my fish to go into the ocean!  Then they will go in the fishing net and DIE!"  Thanks, Nemo!  You're making it easier for our children to believe that there is life after the sewer.  Awesome!           

As for their last meal, they were allowed a snack before their early bedtime.  Ethnee's came after she laid in bed and cried her eyes out explaining to me that she would " just die in the middle of the night" if she didn't have something to eat.  "I'M GOING TO DIE!!!" drama here.  Although, I wanted to tell her that we would have to wait and see what happened by morning, I am a slightly more compassionate mother and threw her a granola bar so she didn't "starve!"

So there you have it.   

Ethnee and Hailee decided their fish should enjoy life OUT of the fishbowl.  Consequence: the end of the world and two children nearly dying of starvation!

The End

Note: at 11:35 pm tonight, Goldie, Dora and Spotty the fish were flushed to rest.  RIP were a lesson worth learning.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

God Is Good

God is Good.  He just is...when He talked about being "I AM," one of the things he could finish that title with is "GOOD.  I AM GOOD."  When I don't know anything else, I can hold onto the fact that He is good.  Always.  Without fail...He is good.

2011 hasn't been an easy year.  You know, some years, months, weeks, days are just easy.  They're good...everyone is healthy and happy, bills are paid, work is successful...things just seem to be working.  2011 hasn't been one of those years.  The last 2 months haven't been easy months.  This has not been a good week.  But God is still good, that never changes.  He is the constant even when my season isn't.

This has been one of those seasons that it takes everything in me not to feel defeated...that it takes all of the will power I have to keep the white flag put away so I don't just throw up my hands and say, "that's it...I give up."  One step forward, two steps back.  Every time I have a small victory, I have a bigger battle arise.  Just one of those seasons.  But God is still good.  Some of the battles have been huge, life-changing, heartbreaking, frustrating.  Others have been small and insignificant.  During the big battles, God has been SO GOOD.  His goodness has been tangible.  The peace has been only something He can offer, and it has been easy to profess His goodness because it is so real.  But sometimes it's the small battles that make us tired...that make it harder to have victory in the big battles.  It's often in the small battles that it's hard to remember that God is good.

This has been a week of small battles.  By yesterday, I was just tired, exhausted.  Russ took the girls to the park so I could "have some alone time" as Hailee puts it.  I sat down in the living room with my Bible, unsure where to even turn.  I opened it up and the page automatically turned to Psalm 119.  I had certain parts highlighted...I don't even remember when I highlighted them.  I looked down and this is what I saw:

"You are good, the source of good; train me in your goodness.  My troubles turned out all for the best; they forced me to learn from your textbook.  Truth from your mouth means more to me than striking it rich in a gold mine.  With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.  When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad.  I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what's true and right.  Oh, love me and right now!  Hold me tight!  Just the way you promised.  Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to."  Psalm 119:68,71-77 (The Message)

I had to laugh.  In all the little, everyday battles, all the tedious challenges that had begun to defeat me, I had forgotten the thing that has gotten me through the big battles.  God is good.  I have been repeating it to myself for the last 24 hours.  God is good, God is good, God is good.  It helped me today as I did my dance...two steps forward, one step back.  It helped me in my small victory this morning only to be followed immediately by a new, bigger battle.  It helped me when a lady yelled at me out of her car window this afternoon at the helped me walk away and not say anything even though I wanted to turn around and say a few, choice words.  What would Jesus do?  I'm convinced that sometimes Jesus just walked away, sometimes I think He remained sinless by just keeping his mouth shut!  Granted, He probably didn't think the things I thought, so He still got the sinless title, while I definitely don't come close!

You know sometimes we just need that small reminder that He cares.  Maybe it's because I'm a very forgetful person.  Regardless, I think He knew I needed a little "hug" this afternoon.  So as I pulled into a very busy HEB parking lot (after being yelled at in the previous parking lot), I just said, "Lord, could you please help me find a parking spot close to the front?  I need to get balloons and I don't want them to blow away on a long walk back to the car."  And this is the terrible part.  I actually thought, Why would He help me find a parking spot.  He's got bigger things going on than my little need.  And then I looked up.  The spot right by the door...not in a aisle, but by the curb 15 feet from the door, opened up, just for me.  I sat in the car and thought, Thanks, God.  I really needed that hug.

It was just a small reminder that He knows....that He cares...that He sees all the battles big and small.  It was just a small reminder that HE IS GOOD! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's Wise to Call First!

I had a surprise knock on the door this week.  Jehovah's witnesses.  Two lovely ladies who have been here before and strangely remembered my name, the ages of my kids and the dog's name from the last time they stopped by.  They know my husband is a "preacher" but they still want to convert me, I suppose.  I have wondered why these two have been more persistent than others that have come over the years.  Usually when we tell them that we're ministers for the Assemblies of God, they quickly stop their sermon and bid us adieu.  We've even had one tell us that it was "ok that we were pastors"...he was just going to keep right on going until his partner tapped him on the arm and motioned that he could stop.  Poor guy...they just don't seem to know how to take people that are just as committed to a belief as they are to theirs.  But these I said, they are so nice...and persistent  I was pondering this persistence after they left this week and started to think about what it is they see when they randomly knock on my door in the middle of the day.  And it became all too clear why they keep coming back...if I happened upon a house as crazy as mine, I think I may try to come back and "save" that family as well!  Upon ringing my doorbell, they are welcomed with the following:

A barking dog...who does he think is at the door?  Surely it is an army of hooligans here to kidnap the children or so it would seem by the crazy, wild-eyed carrying on of our 11 pound killer Yorkie! 
The wiggling of the doorknob as my two year old does her best to open it on her own.
They can also probably hear me "whisper-yelling" to leave the door alone until I can see who it is.  By this time it is pointless to pretend that we aren't here...Rhylee has locked and unlocked the door so many times in 15 seconds that she may qualify for a place in the Olympics.  Hailee is running after her screaming to "let Mommy open the door!  We don't know who it is!"  (She has obviously been lectured enough about the dangers of opening the door to strangers!)  So after I realign my face from the not-so-friendly smirk and stop the rather large eye-roll that began after looking through the peep-hole, I open the door and try to have the most "I'm really busy, but may I help you?" look I can muster.  At this point, the dog and the baby are my best friends as it looks perfectly understandable why I am not a very gracious host.  I am standing on one leg while my other leg holds Rhylee on my side of the doorframe.  I now realize that at some point in the morning, she has gotten ahold of markers, the only thing she is now wearing is underwear and she is colored blue and black from head to toe...amazing how you only notice this kind of artwork when guests randomly appear!  The dog is in my arms wiggling like crazy...he apparently has determined that the hooligans are actually angels from the dog-treat factory here to deliver $1,000 worth of anything worth licking!  Hailee is peering around my body still trying to determine if these are safe strangers or the kind mommy has scared her about.  My hair is plopped up on top of my head in a very messy 6 AM-get-Ethnee-out-the-door-before-she-is-late-for-school kind of way.  I am in workout clothes, no make-up and the look on my face is now saying, "Talk fast ladies, you have 3.2 seconds to tell me what you want or this craziness is going to get past my legs and you're going to have to take it all home with you!"  I am sure this is the message that was coming across because the only thing they said was, "Is this a bad time?"  Ha!  What was surprising was the calm, cool, collected voice that came out of my mouth (it was a very different voice than the one in my head!)  "Well, we were just getting ready to leave for the store" (which was the truth...I just had to clean up the marker-kid and redo my hair).  The Jehovah's Witness kindly handed me her paraphernalia, told me something about end-time prophesy and said they would let me go.  What?  You don't want to see what other kinds of craziness you could find if you actually stepped through door #1?  Oh that's right, you can't get through my leg-barricade! 

After I shut the door, I began to think about the fact that I'm a pastor's wife...and they know that.  I'm supposed to be dressed in my best casual/trendy/conservative clothes to answer the door.  My children are supposed to be sitting around a spotless kitchen table having a Bible study while I prepare cookies in the kitchen...that way I could invite them in to share those cookies with the girls while I put on some tea.  We could then pursue a hearty debate about the beliefs of Pentecostal Christians vs. Jehovah's Witnesses.  None of us would probably convert to the others' beliefs, but we would all know at the end of the day that we had done the best we could. 

And then my imaginary bubble popped...

I took Rhylee upstairs, did my best to rub the marker off of her arms and neck but left it on her belly and legs because her clothes would cover most of that.  I grabbed a brush and dealt with the mess on top of my head, finished my grocery list, threw on some flip-flops and headed to the store.

What was the point of this whole, ridiculous story, you might ask?  Well, it's to remind you that it would be wise to call me before you come over.  I would love to be dressed fashionably (but not too fashionably) when I open the door.  My hair can be neatly pulled back to show that I've been cleaning like a good housewife (but not too much because I keep a very clean house by habit). We can sit at the kitchen table and have a lively debate, and I'd be happy to make some cookies and put on some tea...but those things would require that I go to the grocery store first.  Our children can play and we can have a lovely afternoon.

Ok, now your bubble can pop.

It's wise to call me before you come over because it's just plain courteous.  My house will probably be a mess, although I will try my best to pick up a few toys and move the dishes into the sink.  I may still be in my workout clothes and my kids may or may not be dressed.  I probably won't have homemade cookies and tea but you're welcome to an Oreo and a sippy-cup of milk.  That's my real house, my real life.  I'd love to share it with you if you can handle the craziness!  If you want the "bubble picture" above, you'll need to give me at least a week's notice!      

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spelling Lesson For My Daughters

My dear sweet precious Hailee and Rhylee,

I remember the day each of you were born.  I felt like angels were singing when I saw your beautiful faces for the first time.  I was overcome with joy and love for you and dreams of what our future as a growing family would hold.   I began to realize the depth of my responsibility to teach you and train you to be bright and intelligent young women, and that is what brings me to today's lesson.  Your older sister is in school now where she learns to read and write, add and subtract.  But you two precious girls have not entered into this great season of learning yet.  So I feel compelled to give you your first spelling lesson.  It's a big word, but you are both such brilliant children that I'm sure you will have no problem mastering it.  The word is spelled:


That word spells sleep.  Wikipedia explains it this way:

Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles.[1] It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli

I don't expect you to understand all of that, so let me put it in much easier "mommy terms."  Sleep is what you do when it is dark and you are in your beds.  You should close your eyes for 8-10 hours without opening them.  If you do open them, you should roll over and close them again without getting out of bed.

We are going to have to work on not only spelling this word but putting it's meaning into practice.  Although you both know how much I adore your glorious faces, I really don't want to see them at 2 am and again at 3 am because mommy is trying my best to master the fine art of sleep.

Hailee, it breaks a mommy's heart to hear her child cry, but when I find you sobbing in the bathroom at 3 am because you can't reach the toilet paper, well, this mommy heart is not nearly as sympathetic as I would be at...say...8 am.  And Rhylee, I am endlessly thankful for your affectionate nature, but no amount of kisses and hugs while you make your way up my body to my pillow will be as appreciated as if they waited for 5 or 6 teensy weensy hours.

Girls, mommy wrote yesterday about trying to have a good attitude even when I'm tired, and although I pulled off a compassionate attitude in the wee hours of the morning, Jesus is going to have to help mommy today because mommy is already counting down the minutes until nap time.

So my sweet, angelic youngest daughters, as I close this letter, I pray that you will find it in your giving hearts to sleep tonight.  If not, we will have to have another spelling lesson tomorrow.  And that word will be:


Your ever thankful, slightly sleepy Mommy

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Living in Celebration

There is a new song that I have become addicted to.  You have probably heard it.  The lyrics are:

Oh happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh happy day, happy day
I'll never be the same
Forever I am changed

It's one of those upbeat songs that makes you want to get up and dance wherever you are: in the kitchen (where my kids join in) or in the pick-up line at school (the other parents think I have lost my mind) or at the computer while balancing bank statements (the time when I need life to be put into perspective the most!).  It's just a great song!  It's a celebration. 

I like lots of different kinds of music, but I have realized that music affects my mood, my attitude.  Music is powerful.  I am not one of those people who will lecture about how Christians should only listen to "holy music," because I listen to other things too.  My girls have listened to Justin Bieber and Kidz Bop, and I have a couple of country stations programmed in my car.  But I do realize that I have to be careful what I fill my mind with.  When I finish listening to some country songs, I'm about ready to key my husbands car for infidelity that DIDN'T happen, cry for children that I HAVEN'T lost, or get revenge on a friend who HASN'T hurt me.  Or I can listen to the other genre of music that goes on in our car/house: Disney the time Russ gets home I have convinced myself that everything we discuss that night should be sung to me in the form of a ballad.  I expect him to sweep me off my feet into my "happily ever after."  And then he is forced to hide the Disney princess CD's.

And that, my friends, is why I usually try to stick to worship music, and I am completely stuck on this song Happy Day.  I think it's the celebration of this song that I like the most.  There are so many worship songs that bring me to tears and repentance (both things I need quite often) but sometimes I think Christians forget the sheer celebration of what we have received.  The lines:

I'll never be the same
Forever I am changed

excite me, but they also challenge me.  It goes right along with 2 Corinthians 5:17 "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."  There is a line that has been drawn in the sand.  If we have been saved (FOREVER changed) we aren't supposed to be on the same side of the line as unbelievers.  Can we associate with them?  Of course.  Can we love them?  Absolutely!  Christ wouldn't have it any other way.  But this challenged me to live a life that is OBVIOUSLY different.  NOTICEABLY different   A life so full of joy and celebration that those who haven't found this freedom could look at me and say, "hey, I want what she has."  Because those that don't have it, might be happy, but they don't have joy...true joy.

So here's the dilemma I have found.  Sometimes I don't feel like walking around in celebration.  Why?  Well, sometimes I'm frustrated, annoyed, and tired.  Yes, tired.  Two nights ago, my precious baby girl woke up from 3am - 4:30am (and no, I was not calling her a precious baby girl at 4:30!)  By 6:15am when my alarm went off, I was TIRED!  I was in no mood to celebrate.  Trust me, my kids can vouch for that one.  I was snippy and crabby.  However, after a little time listening to this song, life kind of came into perspective again.  I may be tired, but I am forever changed!  Forever!  All the junk that I had dealt with or been tempted by in my life was instantly taken from me and cast as far as the east is from the west on the day that I was changed, and I will never be the same.  Somehow, that made whinny kids, telemarketers, unresolved bills and dishes seem a lot less stressful.  Life, the life I was meant to live, was once again brought into perspective.  

So that is what I have done for 2 straight days.  Every time I feel overwhelmed, stressed, tired, (insert other emotions here) I have turned on this song and simply celebrated.  Because I think that gets forgotten too often.  Sometimes, it's just time to celebrate...because we are FOREVER CHANGED!  Join me: 


Monday, March 28, 2011

Let Me Introduce Myself

I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend.  I am my own unique person called by God to my own unique ministry AND I was called to marry a pastor.  I am a pastor's wife, I live in a pastor's home and I raise pastor's kids.  I live in a fishbowl.  I live in a place that many find intriguing, that some envy and that others just want to press their nose against the glass and see how we swim around this thing we call "our life."  There are preconceived ideas about what it must be like to be a part of the pastor's family and live in his home: our laundry is supernaturally cleaned, our groceries appear in our refrigerator like manna from Heaven and our children flow in the anointing 24/7 thus ensuring us a life without hair-pulling or gnashing of teeth!  Ha!

You may be wondering, why on Earth is she doing this?  Because I like "real" people, and I'm willing to bet that you do too.  We're just real people doing our best to live the life that God has called us to.  And that's exactly what you should be doing as well.  We're not super-spiritual and and we don't have a more direct line to God than you do.  We are obedient, plain and simple.  We read the Word of God, we believe it to be true and we work very hard to follow what it says.  We believe that a relationship with Jesus Christ Monday-Saturday is key to seeing something happen on Sunday.  We just live what we expect other Christians to live, and we don't follow any preconceived expectations that don't have any Biblical basis.  I have been known to wear jeans and a baseball cap to church.  Gasp!  Why?  Because my clothes do not determine my relationship with my Savior.  And because sometimes that is just me...that is real...and I think people relate to real.  Or at least I do.   

You may be reading this because you are one of my closest friends and nothing on this blog can surprise you because you've seen my life inside and out.  You may be reading this because you don't know me very well and you'd like to get a better idea of what makes me tick, what makes me the crazy person that I am.  You may be one of the dozen or so people who have asked me to write a book because apparently my little stories on Facebook (just the facts and drama of my life) are entertaining.  You may be one of those who is intrigued by this glass house we live in. Or you may just not believe me when I say that we're a lot like most may see my husband and our family and think there is a secret to happiness that we're not sharing with you.  But I assure you, it's not a secret, just choices we make. 

So let me invite you to the fishbowl.  Pull up a chair, stick your nose to the glass.  You are invited to get a glimpse of my life.  You may be surprised to see that it is not much different than yours...or, at least, it shouldn't be.