Saturday, January 31, 2009

Random Picture Challenge November 2007 #44

This week's Random Picture Challenge was from the November 2007 picture folder, picture #44. I didn't have 44 pictures, so I backed up; and this is where I landed. These are my 4 daughters right before Thanksgiving.....can you tell the weather was warm here by what they are wearing? Our Thanksgiving Day was actually really cold, but the days prior were warm and beautiful. Where is our prince, I think he was boycotting pictures this particular day! To play along or see more RPC, go to Brittany's blog....4 Little Men and Girly Twins!

Can Someone Say Party?

We have a weekend full of parties.....last night, we celebrated the birthday of one of my friends whom I have mentioned before....Todd! Todd is married to Joey, who is one of my lifelong girlfriends, and I guess Todd would be one of my lifelong guy friends. It was a great time of just visiting with some of my dear "old" (I use that term loosely) friends and their families. The children played, the adults sat around the chimenea in the backyard and caught up on old times and enjoyed each other's company. It was good to see some of my friends that I haven't seen in a long time.
Tonight we are celebrating the birthday of one of my "newer" friends, Christa. NPayne and I became friends with Christa and Rich through our Sunday School class. I like to refer to them as the "Sonic couple" you know the one I'm talking about? That's them in a nutshell. Christa is turning the big 40, but let's not mention it as her invitation states. It will be another good time of fellowship with friends.
Tomorrow we will be celebrating the birthday of my best friend's son, Cole, so we will be going to their house to play football and eat chili.....I hope I don't relive my chili experience from last weekend.....I'll have to stop at one bowl.....I know, I know too much information! Then we will be going to our friends, The Bentleys, for a superbowl party. I have posted previously about my best friend, you know the cute one, who I never like to stand by in pictures......? I have also posted previously about a couple of the Bentley boys whom a few of my girls have been betrothed to marry. It's going to be a fun weekend of celebrations, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to celebrate and fellowship with all of these wonderful people whom God has so strategically placed in my life. Again thank God for introductions!

Friday, January 30, 2009

PROGNOSIS

My Lifelong friend is going home......YEA! She gets to go home Saturday February 7th....one week from tomorrow! And just to wet her tastebuds, she gets a 4-6 hour day pass tomorrow and Sunday! She is making all sorts of plans....mainly to be outside, since she has been cooped up in that hospital for over 4 weeks now! God is good.....we know that He is good in all circumstances!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

GUILTY

I have struggled with guilt my entire life, or at least as long as I can remember. I don't know if it's in my nature or something I just claimed as my own. I honestly don't know where it harvested from. I do know that I try, honestly try as hard as I can, to erase it when it attacks. Sometimes my efforts work and sometimes they don't. I have come to realize that not all guilt is bad....sometimes you may feel guilty about a change that really needed to be made, or a relationship that really needed to be halted, or a situation where you just needed to say "no". Last year my pastor, Ken, invited folks from the congregation to come in and visit with him about anything they chose. After some hesitation and lots of prayers, I made an appointment to meet with Ken. I was nervous about doing this but felt it was something I was called to do, and it was one of the best things I have ever done. I am not "Bible" smart which is why I immerse myself in Bible study, because I am hungry to know more. Although I grew up and have always been a christian, my relationship with Jesus didn't take shape until I was an adult....married with children. I longed for it my entire life, but I didn't know how to achieve it and am still constantly working on growing it. I decided to speak with Ken about some "Bible" things, as well as, some personal things. One of the many things we discussed was my struggle, no battle, with guilt. I remember telling him that I am so blessed and have so much more than so many others....I have a house, food, a car, a wonderful healthy family; but yet I struggle. I am overwhelmed by His blessings, but I often found myself (still do from time to time) feeling so guilty about my blessings. Why was I chosen to live, what I consider to be, a fabulous life? Why are there so many good people who have to suffer so much, who have to do without so much, who have to hurt so much, who have to lose so much? Why? I asked Ken....what do I do with this guilt? What Ken told me, I have taken to heart and think about every single day.....I mean EVERY SINGLE DAY! He said that he is so grateful for his blessing as well, and that he uses his blessings to give back to others.....whether that be through serving, money, prayer, whatever it may be. The good in his life helps him focus on how to serve those who are suffering, doing without, hurting, losing so much! I have always had a heart for serving, but I really didn't realize that until the last few years. I will be the first to admit that I often get more pleasure, gratitude and fulfillment by serving than the people I am serving. I know that it's not about me, I do; but I also know that it feels so good to help someone and know that they may have something better even if it's just for a few hours. Remember what Jesus told his followers.....Passage Matthew 25:35-45:
35'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
38'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
39'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
40"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

As NPayne always says, there is much to be grateful for....when you are doubting it, know that there are so many others who have many more challenges they are facing! Well said, my sweet, well said!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I HEART FACES....WEEK 3!
To enter read the rules and enter the contest, click here! This week's theme is "Joy". This picture is the epitomy of the joy in my life. This is my sweet little Elliot Ann! Her smiling face brings me joy daily, and for that I am truly blessed!
Thanks Alicia at More Than Words for introducing me to this contest!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday Sermon Summary....Pressure of Uncertainty

This week's sermon, once again, was based on times of uncertainty. I think I must be a self centered christian, because I am absolutely positive that these sermons are all written for me (wink wink)....I am living in a state of uncertainty at this point in my life. Are you?

The scripture this week was Exodus 32:1-6

1 When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.”
2 So Aaron said, “Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters, and bring them to me.”
3 All the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, “O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
5 Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!”
6 The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry!


The longer Moses is gone, the more the pressure builds. The people get nervous and uncertain, so they give into the pressure.....they build an idol, a God! Isn't it ironic how they break the first 2 commandments, under pressure of uncertainty, while Moses is actually receiving the tablets that state these commandments?
Pastor Ken says pressure and uncertainty cause you to act differently and treat people differently, and I believe that to be so....at least for most folks. I know it has been so with me, it's a conscious effort....a choice you have to make. When things are difficult, it's a good time for us to stop and think about our lives! What can I learn from where I feel pressure? Caving in to pressure and uncertainty doesn't make you a bad person, in fact I believe it is a normal reaction for the majority of the population. Pastor Ken gave the following examples.....Esau....he traded his birth right for a bowl of soup....the pressure of being hungry! Then there was David....he gave into the pressure of temptation with Bathsheba which ultimately resulted in a death and a birth! How about Peter....he gave into the pressure when Christ was about to be crucified! All of these men turned out to have good lives....they aren't bad men, because they caved into the pressure; but they did make mistakes.....we all do. These men learned and grew from their mistakes. Remember to think about your life when facing surmounting pressures and the choices you make. Turn to the Savior.....Jesus was tempted in the dessert for 40 days by Satan, and He never gave in. Now believe me, I know there is no other Savior and Jesus was perfect (and we are far from perfect); however you can turn to Him when you are facing pressures....ask Him for guidance, wisdom, strength, and know that He loves you. He is with you....no matter what you are facing. Be still and listen! Pastor Ken gave an example of the first time he went kayaking in the river. He said, although he had been warned, that it was different from kayaking in a swimming pool....where the water is still; he immediately gave into the pressure of the moving water in the river and flipped his boat upside down. On his second attempt, he had learned what the pressure felt like, and he was able to control his boat much better. We are all going to end up upside down in a boat at some point or points in our lives. The question isn't when the pressure will come,but what will we do when it comes? How do you respond when pressure comes? It will come! I am living in a state of uncertainty at this point in my life, but I am not uncertain about my faith and the love of my Lord! I know He loves me right on through these uncertain times!
Welcome to this weeks therapy session provided by MckMama who is on a Caribbean cruise, and I am NOT one bit jealous....Not me!
This week I did NOT indulge in entirely too much chili at our church's annual Chili Bowl/Gospel Elvis concert (yes I said Elvis, church and chili all in the same sentence)! I am not paying for eating all that chili, if ya know what I mean, and I don't even really like chili. It was so NOT worth it! I did NOT find it the least bit amusing to have "Elvis" shake, rattle and roll while singing contemporary christian music.....NOT me!
NPayne and I did not sit on our bed Saturday night singing "Do The Fonzie" and trying to remember how the motions to that song went.....Not us! We are not old enough to remember "Happy Days", The Fonz, Leather Tuscadero, and Pinky Tuscadero.....and we are NOT goofy enough to sing "Do The Fonzie" and practice Leather's signature double knee slap finger point maneuver.....NOT US! Wanna join in the fun, click on MckMama's name at the top of this post. Enjoy!Pinky Tuscadero and The Fonz

Leather Tuscadero

Sunday, January 25, 2009

PRAY

To all of you prayer warriors, I know you're out there, and I know who most of you are....or do I? Anyhoo please lift my lifelong friend up in prayer, it has been discovered that a blood clot has developed in her left leg (the immobile leg) which is causing some concern and discomfort. We are praying this will not set her rehabilitation back too much. Again I treasure your prayers, and I know they make a difference.
Blessings to you all!

Sunday Sermon Summary coming tomorrow!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

RANDOM PICTURE CHALLENGE

I got so excited to see that August 2007 was selected for the RPC this week, because I knew there would be beach pictures in that folder; and I LOVE beach pictures. This was my 30th picture in my Aug. 2007 folder.....Cal, Addi Jo, and NPayne building a sand castle. Half of my family in beach action.....I will admit that I was really tempted to put a really cute posed beach picture up instead of the 30th picture, but I am a rule follower through and through! Thanks Brittany at 4littlemen&girlytwins for hosting! Click on over to her blog to see more RPC!

Friday, January 23, 2009

My Lifelong Friend...Update

I haven't updated my blog concerning my Lifelong Friend's health in a while, so I thought I would do that today. First things first....thank you to all of you prayer warriors who have been praying for her and her family. She told me last night that she was amazed by the prayers, cards, letters, visits, etc. from people she doesn't even know. Second....let me recap what happened and her situation. My friend (who I don't name to retain her privacy) delivered her baby boy, Shiloh, on January 5th. He was very premature....she was 24 weeks pregnant, and he left this earth the same day he entered....going to his heavenly home to live there with Jesus. The reason for the emergency caesarean was that my friend suffered from severe Pre-Eclampsia (very high blood pressure) and HELLP Syndrome (too complicated to explain, but in summary caused her plateletes to plummet). In turn, the combination of the high blood pressure and low plateletes caused a subcranial hemorrhage....in lamens terms, she suffered a stroke. Since that day she has been moved from ICU to the rehabilitation floor at the hospital which is where she resides today. No discharge date was given this past Tuesday when they receive their weekly "report card" from her doctors and therapists, but there is significant improvement in her left side (which she lost all movement in after the stroke). Yesterday she was able to walk, using the "evil walker" (which is what she affectionately refers to it as) all the way from the rehab room to her private room....HUGE progress considering last week she could barely stand up. Her "lucky fin", as we now refer to her left arm (anyone seen NEMO?), is much more mobile as well. She said it feels really odd....like it's someone else's arm, but she is regaining control. She has been working extremely hard in all of her gazillion therapy sessions, so she can go home....and be with her daughter and husband once again. The back and forth travel is wearing on her little 5 year old princess, and it is exhausting for her amazing husband....their home is a few hours away from the hospital. Honestly I really don't know what to expect as far as recovery for her, but I do know that it is in God's hands; and He has a plan and a purpose. My friend is in the best hands possible and for that I am so very thankful! Keep praying!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Few Of My Favorite Things.....

Clipboards, and flower pens, and mats for frames... TuTus and wall art, and anything with photos....these are a few of my favorite things..... I will be listing new things on my etsy store soon....stay tuned!





Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20.....A Day To Remember!

I know you think I'm talking about a particular important event and person, and I am; but it's not who you think it is!!! I'm talking about the most fabulous, wonderful, sexy, loving, romantic,kind and gentle man I know.....NPayne!
Happy Birthday To You, You Live In A Zoo....well at least some might think it's a zoo, but I think it's the greatest place in the world! Happy Birthday to MY HANDSOME HUNK OF A HUSBAND!!!!
This is a really cool contest. To check it out, go here! I absolutely love, no adore, no treasure, well actually all of the above, a great photo. I am not a photographer, but I am learning and love snapping photos out the wazoo. The picture below would be my entry, but I have to be honest.... I actually didn't take this photo of my daughter Drew and my son Callahan. Their 11 year old sister, Addison, took this photo today; and I love, no adore, no treasure, well actually all of the above this photograph! To enter the contest, it would have to be a photo that I had taken. I'll find another photo, that I did take, and enter it in the contest. But for now, I hope you enjoy my sweet children's smiling faces.



You Know You're A Redneck When.....

Or should I say....you know your children are rednecks when.... They and their friends concoct a zipline out of a black metal folding chair, rope, some belts and trees.
There it is suspending in the air....just waiting for someone to take a ride.

So there goes Drew....yes her feet are dangling!


There goes Elli....yes she is suspended in the air. Not so safe you say.....yes I know I know! That's why the big sister is standing there ready to save the day. Did the zipline actually zip? Well.....not really. They took turns sitting and dangling, and then the big girls would hold on to the smaller children and sort of scoot them along the rope. Addi and her friend Victoria are the creators of our new yard art....zipline, and to that I say....great minds think alike!

Monday, January 19, 2009

NOT ME MONDAY


Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to http://www.mycharmingkids.net/ to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
Here's my Not Me's....
1. I did not completely forget to eat lunch more than once last week only to then eat my weight in snacks while waiting for dinner....nope Not Me! I'm NOT a snacker!
2. I did not forget to brush my teeth one day last week until I realized it in the middle of the day, because I was so tired that I did not go directly for coffee in the morning skipping entirely my morning bathroom routine which includes brushing my teeth, hair and washing my face....I did not forget to to do these other things either....I haven't done that since I was pregnant.
3. Last week, I did not thoroughly enjoy watching one of the little 3 year olds in my preschool class paint his own hair instead of the paper; because it was not so flippin' cute.
4. I did not get really tense and nervous when I was visiting my Lifelong friend in the hospital only to discover that she had a really cranky and unfriendly nurse that evening.....I also did not get a little annoyed and wonder why in the world would anyone, with such an unpleasant disposition, want to be a nurse to people who are on the rehabilitation floor and need your help to move? Hmmmmm????
5. Yesterday in church, I did not have to continue to remind my little Bryna that she was in fact wearing a dress and couldn't sit in a stradle position....not me!
6. I did not enjoy helping Addi work her umpteenth cookie booth for Girl Scouts yesterday, and I did not dance, oops I mean stand, around while listening to the radio. NOT ME! I was working people.
That's it for this week's Not Me's! Join us again next week. Now hurry on over to MckMama's blog.

Sunday Sermon Summary - Faith and Worry

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[
a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Matthew 6:25-34

Today's sermon focused on faith in uncertain circumstances. Pastor Ken began with the above scripture (which truly leaves little more to be said about having faith and not worrying). Although that scripture really sums it up, Pastor Ken chose not to have a 5 minute sermon and go ahead and expound on this scripture.....thank goodness; because this scripture hits a little too close to my homefront. He explained that worry pushes away faith. If you are consumed in worry, then your faith in the Heavenly Father and what He can do for you may waver. If you are worried about a particular circumstance, The Bible says to pray about that circumstance and give it to God! Phillipians 4:6 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 1 Peter 5:7 says....7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. This is a huge struggle for me personally, not because I doubt God's love for me, but because I want to control the circumstance with which I am worried about. My patience is very thin when it comes to something I am worried about and while I'm waiting for a response from God.....I need it NOW, at least that's how I feel in most circumstances in which I choose to worry; but truthfully worry doesn't solve anything. Worrying is a choice....you either choose to worry or choose not to worry. Charles Barkely says, "worry is irreligious" it takes the focus away from God and puts it on the person who is worrying. I will admit that I worry a lot, but over the last few years; I have learned to pray a lot as well and to really listen and try to find God's direction in my circumstance of worry. NPayne is really good at this. He use to not be so good at it, and he use to worry about things (mainly financial) that pertained to our future or our children's future....buying them a car, sending them to college, etc. NPayne grew up in a family that had very little money, so from a young age he worked for most of what he had and sometimes to even help his mom pay their bills. His dad died when he was a baby, so his mom had to work a lot to make ends meet and care for her 3 children. It was tough times for his family, and he remembers the struggles with their finances. When we first became parents, we were in disagreement (a little) about our responsibilities to our children financially. I was raised in an upper middle class home and am an only child. My mom always said I was spoiled, but not spoiled rotten; because she and my dad chose to buy me nice things but not because I asked for them. I am grateful for the things my parents were able to provide for me....a car, a college education, fabulous vacation, and much more. I would love to provide some of those things for my children as well, but realistically I know that we won't be able to. After much discussion, NPayne and I realized something.....he wanted to give our children EVERYTHING that his mom couldn't give him (braces for their teeth, a car to drive, a college education); and I was okay with our children having to work for some of those things. After further discussion, we both realized that the main thing we need to provide for our children is what our parents provided for us.....LOVE! We also need to provide them with stability and a growing relationship with Jesus. NPayne had a discussion with one of my dearest friends, Todd, who happens to be one of my friends that I have known the longest; and who also happens to be married to Joey (one of my Lifelong friends). Todd and Joey have 6 children, and he owns his own business; so they are self insured as well. One day he and NPayne were talking, and Todd shared with my sweet husband that he didn't worry about finances....he knew God would provide. He even gave NPayne some examples of when he KNEW God had provided for his family. Todd definitely shows faith of a mustard seed. That 30 minute discussion changed NPayne's "worry" about finances and providing for his family forever. He trusts in God, and he knows He will provide for us. The Bible tells us in Phillipians 4:11-13 that we need to be content with what we have and trust in God for strength to get us through difficult times....11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength. Honestly I have to remind myself of that daily, and I have to get on my knees daily and let Him know that I am here and ready to listen and wait patiently for direction when I am worried about something.....I have found that when I think about all of the people in the world (who have a lot more to worry about than I but are completely content in their circumstance), I feel really selfish about my choice to worry in a circumstance. I am ready to think about God's love, grace and mercy; and I am ready to not be a worrier....I never said it was going to be easy, but I am going to give it 100%! I am vowing to choose not to worry....Have Mercy! I am going to need prayers to help me overcome this one!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

RANDOM PICTURE CHALLENGE....January #8

Time for another Random Picture Challenge. We were suppose to find picture #8 from our January folder. This is what I have....a picture of one of my Lifelong friend's 3 daughters and granddaughter (yes I said granddaughter....I know I have a 2 year old child, and she has a 4 year old granddaughter....and yes we are the same age). Thanks Brittney at 4littlemen and girly twins! I love anything that has to do with pictures!

Friday, January 16, 2009

WOOHOO!!!!

Wow!!! I received a blog award from Alicia at More Than Words! Thanks so much Alicia. I appreciate you. She was challenged to step outside of her comfort zone and make more bloggy friends. What a nice idea. I am going to tag a few folks in this post and reward them with a reward, I mean an award! And the blog awards go to.....
1. Robin at The Blankenship Family Blog.
2. Tina at Life's A Journey .
3. Lynett at Aspiring Mom 2 Three.
4. Elyse at Following Him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bring The Rain

This post is one that has been on my mind for several days now, and everytime I think I am going to write it; something else amazing happens. If you read my blog, you will know that last week was a very emotional week around here. One of my closest friends, who I have known FOREVER, lost her baby boy. She is currently still in the hospital as a result of the Pre-Eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome that she suffered which in turn caused her to have to deliver her baby so early. My friend and her husband have suffered the loss of a son, not once but twice, in the last 3 1/2 years....and although they grieve which they do; their faith has not wavered. Over the last 8 days I have witnessed.... sadness, joy, praise, heartache, thanksgiving and faith beyond my wildest imagination. I have been so blessed and broken at the same time, and during my uncertainty about what might result for my friend's health; I have experienced God and His undenying presence....I call these God Moments. I am only going to focus on the God Moments I have experienced through Bring The Rain in this post, because there have been several times He has revealed Himself to me through Angie's blog and my friend.
Let me start by telling you that I have only been reading Angie's blog, Bring The Rain, for a few short months. I saw her blog button, and it immediately caught my eye due to the title. As you may have noticed by listening to my new music I installed on my blog, I LOVE Mercy Me....Love them. I love their song "Bring The Rain"....hence the reason the title of her blog caught my eye. So I began reading it and her story of her beautiful daughter Audrey Caroline. Angie's faith and love relationship with Jesus is nothing more than truly inspirational. Shortly after I began reading Angie's blog, I sent her an e-mail. In it, I just told her that I had had a close friend experience the loss of a child 3 years ago....I had made my friend a digital scrapbook of her son and things leading up to and after his birth and death. In the book, I put the lyrics to many songs that I knew ministered to her and her husband during their suffering....one of those songs was "Bring The Rain". That was that....so I thought....until November came around and my lifelong friend shared the most exciting news with me....that she was expecting a baby! I immediately burst into tears of joy and anticipation at the arrival of their baby this coming April, but when I had a chance to speak to my friend....I could tell that her feelings were not the same....she was nervous and fearful and anxious. I asked everyone, on our prayer team and everywhere else, to pray for peace and comfort for her. I wanted her to be so excited about the baby as I had been everytime I had been expecting....feel the glow and joy of being pregnant, but I could tell she was anxious and concerned. Just a few short weeks ago, I decided to send Angie another e-mail asking her to pray specifically for my friend and her fears. I knew that she, having gone through losing her daughter, would know what specifically to pray for my friend. She, of course, agreed to be in prayer for them. Things were progressing right along when I received the dreaded news that something wasn't going well with my friend's pregnancy....her amniotic fluid had decreased, and the baby seemed to have stopped growing. The baby was still alive, moving, heart beating, etc.; so she was admitted to the hospital on New Years Eve to try to increase the fluid levels. Once again, I requested prayers from everyone I knew.....yes including Angie....the woman I had actually never met. She again so generously agreed to pray for them. Then January 5th, my lifelong friend's husband's birthday, she delivered a sweet baby boy Shiloh who lived for only a moment shortly after his birth. My friend was transferred to another hospital with bleeding on her brain, and the chaos began. That day as I was driving to the hospital where she had been transferred, with another lifelong friend, I began to tell my other friend the story of Bring The Rain and Angie and Audrey Caroline. As I was telling her that I had asked Angie to pray for our friend, both of our mouths dropped open a little and our eyes widened as I slowly turned up the radio to listen to what we so softly heard playing....."Bring The Rain" by Mercy Me. We felt God in that moment so strong that I literally felt like I could feel Him touching me. It was simply AMAZING....something I just can't describe. I didn't have a chance to read blogs much over the last week due to being at the hospital and spending time with my children when I could. I sat down on Saturday to send Angie another e-mail update about my friend, her health, and their baby; I decided to check in on her blog. I realized that she had been trying to upload a video for a few days but had been unsuccessful until that day....apparently the diagnosis given to her sweet Audrey had been given on Jan. 7th of last year. Angie wanted to show a video of Audrey's birth, some things they did as a family prior to her birth, and their family at her funeral. I knew, from being a mother myself, that this was going to be very emotional to watch but nonetheless I couldn't wait to see their beautiful baby. Before the video, Angie talks in her post about the peace that was in the room when Audrey was born and even when she left this earth....that peace that can only be EMMANUEL....God with us! As I watched the video, I saw the peace and felt it and remembered experiencing that same peace the day my friends lost their first son....I remember it so well. While visiting with my friends at the hospital on Sunday, the day after I watched Angie's video, we talked a lot about their loss of their boys. They talked specifically about the peace, that calm and peace that could only be provided by Our Lord, in such a time of heartache. Her husband said that peace was so good, and they have often longed for that peace again. My mind immediately went to Angie's blog and how I had witnessed that peace in her loss as well. Again I felt such a presence of God as we spoke about the peace on the day they lost their son....I felt like He was telling me that they are going to be okayAGAIN. Before I go on, I do need to tell you that although Angie knows about my lifelong friend and her circumstances; my lifelong friend does not know about Angie and her circumstances. I had planned on gently introducing my lifelong friend to Angie's blog....Bring The Rain....but she told me she was expecting about that time and was so nervous. I knew her mind was revisiting the loss of her first son so often, and I wasn't sure if the time was right for her to read about the loss of Audrey Caroline as well. Although I haven't told her about this sweet woman, that we don't know who has been praying for her, someday I will....I know that for certain. Then yesterday as I was sitting outside of the music class that my daughter is in, one of my friends from church was telling me that she had been reading the blog that my friend's husband had set up for family and friends to help keep them updated on her health. I had checked it early that morning but not since....she said, "He put music on the blog, and it's beautiful". When I got home, I immediately went to my computer to listen and.....you know what I'm gonna say? The first 3 songs he put on their playlist are 3 of the songs that Angie has on her playlist...."All That I Can Say" by the Dave Crowder Band, "Glory Baby" by Watermark, and you better believe it...."Bring The Rain" by Mercy Me. It may seem trivial to most but to me, it is such a comforting sign from above....such a God Moment! I am all about signs from God....I'll do a post on that sometime soon....and I'm so thankful that He sends them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tidbit of INFORMATION....I'm Overwhelmed!

I'm overwhelmed by the generosity of God....I'm overwhelmed that He lent me these 5 precious children all for NPayne and myself (and anyone who meets them I might add) to enjoy with every ounce of our beings. I am so overwhelmed and thankful, and I had to share that at this very minute before I exploded with the fact that I'm overwhelmed by His love!

Tidbit Of Information....Music on My Blog!

Can you tell I like Mercy Me, Chris Tomlin and Jeremy Camp?
Well, I do, love them as a matter of fact....among many other artists....whom are not all Christian performers; but I do typically listen to Christian music more than any other type of music. And the best part is my children love listening to MY BLOG now and singing along! I have enjoyed listening to them sing all afternoon as it plays!

NOT ME MONDAY!!!!

Another therapy session, and believe me I could use one. For more Not Me Monday, visit MckMama at www.mycharmingkids.net.

HERE WE GO.....HOLD ON TIGHT....It's going to be a bumpy ride!!
This week was not one of the most stressful weeks of my entire life, and I did not spend most every night at the hospital with my Lifelong Friend; and I am NOT completely grateful and thankful and humbled by the faith, love and trust I have witnessed....it did NOT bring me to my knees every single day last week.
This week I did not personally experience so many "God Moments" that I am going to have to write a post just specifically about those experiences.
The very kind and quite adorable young valet guy did NOT allow me to leave the hospital on a few different occasions and tell me "NO CHARGE", hence I got valet parking for FREE!
I did not eat, more than my comfort level usually allows me, at McDonalds this week while at the hospital!
Once again, I did not think the sermon on Sunday was written purely for my benefit....you mean, it wasn't?

That's it for me this week....see you next week, same place, same time!

Five Things You May Want To Know!

Alicia over at More Than Words has this game on her blog. She was participating on behalf of LeeAnn at Tollesons4Him.
She sent me these 5 questions to answer, and I will answer them here. If you want to participate, leave a comment; and I'll e-mail you my 5 questions. Remember I have to be able to find your e-mail address. Thanks Alicia!
Okay..here are Alicia's questions for me....
1. Are there any foods that you don't allow your children to eat? fruit roll ups, or gummy candy
2. Did you grow up in a Christian home? yes, but I didn't attend church with my family. I attended alone....funny you ask, I just posted about this not too long ago.
3. How has blogging made a difference in your life? It lets me write out things that I don't want to forget....and I've met a ton of wonderful women and some men as well. But the best thing is...I've been given the privelege to pray for families, and I've had the privelege of having people all over the country (maybe even the world) pray for me as well.
4. Have you ever traveled outside of the United States? Yes to Mexico.
5. What is your favorite thing that your family does together? Share meals
Now it's your turn! Leave a comment if you want to play!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Sermon Summary-The Light of the World

Each week, our church sends out an enews e-mail on Wednesdays which informs us of what is coming up the next week....activites, studies, events, etc. It also tells us who will be preaching the following Sunday and what the title of their sermon will be. On Wednesday, I opened the enews e-mail; and the first thing I saw was the title of the sermon "Hope in Uncertain Times". After the few days prior to reading this and what I had experienced with my Lifelong Friend and her health and the loss of her son....I knew God was trying to tell me something through Pastor Ken.
Ken started the sermon by saying that we live in a dark world....John 1:1-5 says the following:
1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
Pastor Ken explained the the world is a dark place, and that we as humans tend to lose perspective in darkness. Everything is exaggerated in darkness. We may be uneasy or uncertain in darkness. Think about this....when you are at home in the dark and you hear a noise, don't you feel more uneasy or uncomfortable than if that noise occurs during the light? If you walk into a dark room and have to walk clear to the other side to turn on the lights, you may stumble or trip. Ken gave the example, and he even had a volunteer from the congregation, come up to show us. He said that if you stand on one foot and close your eyes, you have 1/6 of the balance than if you stand on one foot with your eyes open....try it and see what happens. Did you know that physical therapists determine overall health of a person by how long they can stand on one foot....how long they can balance? We need balance in our lives....darkness can diminish our balance significantly. I know from personal experience that things are "darker" at night.....not just in the physical sense of the word, but in the emotional sense of the word as well. I've gotten up many times, in the middle of the night, and felt a much deeper heartache or sadness than I have experienced during the day. What does this mean? It means that our world was such a dark place, is such a dark place, that Jesus was brought to it to add the light. How do we get out of the darkness? We have to have the light of Jesus....plain and simple....that's it. In Matthew 5:13-16, it says the following:
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

We are the salt, the flavor, of the earth. We are the light, we share the light of Jesus, by doing his work....by serving others. It is not our story to be told, it's His; and through His light....we can have light....then we share that light with others, so they may know Him and praise Him and build relationship with Him. We may share His story through happenings in our lives, but remember it's about JESUS! We live in uncertain times, and our world is a dark place; so cling to the light of Jesus. Light keeps balance and perspective. It gives hope to someone else....share your light!
"God whispers in our pleasures but shouts in our pain." CS Lewis!
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine! This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine....let it shine....let it shine....let it shine. Keep singing, you know the rest!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Random Picture Challenge

Bryna and her friend B posing as cowgirls together! This was ONE of my May files, picture #21!
For more random pictures, visit www.4littlemen.blogspot.com!

You NEVER Outgrow Bubbles....











Bubbles are good for the soul!



Friday, January 9, 2009

Diagnosis

My lifelong friend's husband filled me in yesterday on what happened with her health....it was not a rupture in her brain but more of a leakage....she was diagnosed with suffering from Pre-Eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. After I googled these two things, it was explained in a very medical yet informative way. I am not even going to attempt to explain it on my blog, because I don't want to misrepresent or confuse what it is. If you are interested, google it....it was actually frightening to read, but it makes sense as to why her baby had stopped growing and she got so sick. We are blessed that she is alive and her brain was not affected more severely.
I am feeling good today....good about her recovery....good about our blessings....good about a lot of things!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

From ICU to 505

My lifelong friend was moved out of ICU last night and into a regular room...505. We have been told to expect her to move to the 4th floor tomorrow which is rehabilitation....YEA! She will be starting intensive rehabilitation tomorrow which is going to be a lot of hard work, but it will lead to her release. They estimate 2 more weeks in the hospital...she wasn't too thrilled to hear that, but she is glad that it's not longer. Her sweet husband has been an amazing witness to everyone....people he knows and those he is just meeting. I have been blessed by him in every circumstance and am so very thankful for his calmness and his faithful presence. I spent a lot of time with my lifelong friend today, and I loved talking with her....telling me she wanted to shower, go home, brush her hair (which they wanted me to try with one of those long skinny black combs....not happening). She asked me about going to Alabama last summer. I told her how wonderful it was and that the house was right on the beach. She said she was fantasizing about where her husband was going to take her. I had to smile when I told her the house had 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a pool; and her response was "yeah" as in right on sister! When the OT came in to work with her hand and arm, she helped her sit up; so I could "brush" her hair with that comb. All the while I was thinking....this ain't gonna happen....you know what someone's hair who has been lying down for 4 days sleeping most of the time looks like....dreadlocks (as her mom and husband referred to it). I was actually quite relieved when my friend ended up being too tired to get her hair brushed and even more relieved when her mom (who formerly owned a hair salon) came in with detangler and a soft brush....yes she did....after all she is a beautician! I am actually typing this on my friend's husband's computer while another Lifelong friend and I stay with her until he returns from gathering up some clean clothes and showering. She is doing great, and we are thankful! God is Good all the time! We all know that....no matter the circumstances....we do know that, and we give thanksgiving and praise to HIM!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

She's Getting Better

My Lifelong friend is on the mend....I went in to see her very briefly last night, and it did my soul so much good to see her eyes open and listen to her talk! She had her first meeting with the physical therapist to help her regain use of her left side.....she was not able to move her left side due to the rupture in her brain. She is doing much better physically, and I'm hoping she will be moved out of ICU and into a regular room today. As for the emotional recovery....it's going to take a therapist of a much more divine, graceful and merciful kind to treat that pain; and it's going to be a long and very difficult road....there will be a "new" normal for her and all who love her.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm Sad

I know this isn't about me, believe me I know that.... but because I can't even imagine what my sweet friend is suffering....I'm going to share some things I've experienced over the last week. There are a multitude of emotions coming and going at every blessed minute....one minute....I'm crying tears of joy at listening to Shiloh's daddy praise God and pray such prayers of thanks during the most difficult time of his life. Another minute....I'm crying tears of pain as I listen to him tell me why they chose the name Shiloh (1Samuel 1:20-28)....because my friend longed for that baby, and she wanted to be able to experience an earthly life with him and teach him about our Savior. Another minute....I'm laughing with my other lifelong friends as we trudged through the rain and cold to McDonalds to eat, after I had stated that I was anti-McDonalds....I think they thought it was humorous that there was no other place to find food. Another minute....I'm sitting with my heart pounding so hard and my eyes wide, just like a child at Christmas, waiting to hear a report from a doctor. Another minute....I'm feeling so very blessed as I take my sweet little Elli out of her crib, and she hugs me tight; because I have been given the chance to hold her again. Another minute....I'm saddened that Cal thought I was the one in the hospital, and that he thought I was the one who was sick. Another minute....I'm crying tears of such a deep sadness that I feel like my heart might explode, because I can only imagine how my friend will be heartbroken when she really understands that she has been transported to another hospital (with neurological doctors) and her baby boy is not with her. Another minute....I am able to stop holding my breath as we receive updates on her condition and that she is stabilizing and improving. Another minute....I am crying tears of thanksgiving for my friends, oh so many friends, who have offered up assistance and prayers. At the end of the day....my heart is broken, not like it has ever been before, and I am so saddened that there are no words to express this; but I am so thankful to God for growing my friend and her sweet husband in relationship with Him....for knowing Him and trusting Him even in uncertain times.
Last week when she asked for prayers due to some complications in her pregnancy....I remember thinking and talking out loud to God (while I was in my car), and I was telling Him...warning Him, maybe even threatening Him...that I was going to really be MAD at Him (for the first time in my life) if things didn't go the way I wanted. I had a little tantrum. I just knew that I would be mad at HIM....madder than ever at HIM, but I was so surprised to find....that I'm not mad at God, not even a little! I know God is there with my friends....I have witnessed so many God moments and so much faith in the last 36 hours that I couldn't possibly be mad at God but just be thankful to Him for sticking with them. I am not mad....I am just plain sad.....sadder than I have ever been.

Shiloh Ross

Please be in prayer for my Lifelong friend and her husband....she delivered a very premature baby boy yesterday morning. He did not survive. My friend's health is in a very serious state, at this time, due to a rupture in her brain. Please pray for her health....physically and emotionally as she recovers and comes to experience the loss of another baby boy on the day of his birth!
They gave the baby the name....Shiloh Ross. She chose Shiloh because of the following scripture in The Bible....1 Samuel 1: 20-28....

20It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked him of the LORD."
21Then the man Elkanah went up with all his household to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and pay his vow.
22But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD and stay there forever."
23Elkanah her husband said to her, "Do what seems best to you Remain until you have weaned him; only may the LORD confirm His word." So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him.
24Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh, although the child was young.
25Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the boy to Eli.
26She said, "Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD.
27"For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.
28"So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD " And she worshiped the LORD there.

My friend longed for this baby as she longed for the last and will continue to long for them until she is reunited with them in Heaven....
Bryna asked me why I was so sad yesterday, and I explained that my friend was very sick and that her baby had died (our family had been praying for them, so the girls all knew things were very uncertain); and her immediate response was...."But mama, he's with Jesus now"; and I needed to hear that at that specific moment. She was and is so right about that....Shiloh is with Jesus! Things weren't uncertain after all!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

NOT ME MONDAY...or sunday...if you wanna get technical!

NOT ME MONDAY....therapy designed just for each of us by MckMama, for more NOT ME fun...visit her blog by clicking on the MckMiracle button on the side of my blog.
Here is my therapy session for the week...
1.While sitting at the computer, I did not just notice a screwdriver sticking out of the gap between our backdoor and the wall....hmmmm....I am NOT wondering what that's all about.
2. I did not take my children to the park in 83 degree temps....only to wake in the middle of the night to not turn on my electric blanket and not wish I was wearing warmer pajamas, since it did not get down into the 30 degree temps during the night.
3. I am not frustrated, because I didn't get gas when it was $1.34 and now it's up to $1.47....I am not mumbling inappropriate things under my breath (really I'm not).
4. I am not having a hard time focusing on just about anything right now....I am not!
5. I did not take my Lifelong friend and her hubby some chocolate croissants & cream cheese croissants while she is in the hospital, and they (the croissants not my friend and her husband) were not covered with powdered sugar; and I did NOT eat one myself (again the croissants not my friend or her hubby).
6. I am not wishing my children could stay home a little longer and ditch this whole school thing.
7. I did not have to conceal my laughter when my 5 year old about knocked herself out in church this morning....she did not lean down to get something and completely misjudge the distance between pews and smack her head LOUDLY on the pew in front of her....I did not hear all of the people around us go....owwwww....when they heard her head hit the pew! She is NOT tough as nails, and she did NOT rub it and continue onto to retrieve whatever she had dropped. Help Me Henry!
Be back next week for another therapy session!

This Keeps Running Through My Mind....

We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. 3 As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(New Living Translation)

2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father;

(American Standard Version)

2 -5Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you're in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special.
(The Message)

1 Thessalonians 1: 2-3....my favorite Bible verse. I actually went through verse 5 in The Message translation, because I love how it's worded.

As I think of my Lifelong friend and her unborn baby, this continues to flood my thoughts. I would like to be bold enough to ask you to pray for my friend and her baby....if you have been, please continue to do so.

Sunday Sermon Summary

Today's sermon was about....well actually I can't remember what the sermon was titled; so I'll paraphrase....Diversity. We have a "new" pastor....who has been part of our church since this past summer. His outreach is to the spanish speaking community in areas surrounding our church....which obviously means he speaks spanish, and he does....very well I might add. His name is Armando, and I am blessed by him every time I speak to him. He is very intentional in the way he speaks to you....looking you in the eye, taking your hand in his, always saying something positive; and it's truly inspirational. Armando gave the sermon today....entitled???? or paraphrased (by me) as Diversity and the opportunities that arise. Since Armando has joined our church staff, he has been teaching ESL to the spanish speaking folks in our community, he has orchestrated and lead Las Pasados at Christmas (that was a ton of fun by the way), and he has done a ton of outreach in our local schools (including the elementary my children attend) and neighborhoods. Our church is focusing on something this year called the Ministry Mile (or M&M's as it has been nicknamed). This will be reaching out to people who live within a mile or so of our church and inviting them in....not just to worship, but to help them, feed them, clothe them, educate them, etc. Our church is very active in missions....worldwide, but it was decided that there are people right in arms reach who need ministering to or reaching out to....a kind heart and a loving hand. There are many things that are being started in 2009 at church....a spanish speaking worship service, weekend food (groceries bags of food sent home with children from school who otherwise would not eat all weekend), a free dinner provided once a month, and many more. I am so excited by this, because it gives my family a chance to serve....since we can't travel all over the world just yet. We also live less than a mile from our church, so my children go to school with many of these children and their families who will be served. Some think this could be embarassing for the children being served which may be true for the older children, but I think the younger children will be more likely to interact with other children they already know.
Now I'll give you some background about the area we live in....my house is a historical house (100 years old) and is in a very nice but old neighborhood. Our neighborhood is slowly but surely being completely revamped by the historical society of our city....which is good and bad (that requires another post), but there are areas that are designated as transitional housing (right across the street and right down the street from where we live). This is housing that our local....relief or goodwill....provides for people who need financial assistance due to some unforseen circumstance. It just happens to be that many of these people are hispanic, so since they live right across the street this means that these children go to school with my children. In our city, there are 2 elementary schools which are considered very low income schools....they are about 50/50 populated with hispanic children and white children. My elementary age children attend one of these schools, and they were the minority until this school year when some of the hispanic children were sent to another school (which is right down the street from us as well). The remainder of the elementary schools in our district are predominantly white and some of them are very high income or "wealthy" schools while some of them are middle class. I have heard the wealthy schools be referred to as "The Schools in the Bubble" for various reasons. At the elementary that my children attend, there have been many parents who embraced the diversity of our school....from the lower income families to the lack of volunteers for school events(simply because the parents work a lot or don't speak English). On the flip side of that, there have been many parents who were insistent in trying to transfer their children to "The Schools in the Bubble" or have been very outspoken about their dislike of the bilingual classrooms and blatant enough to say they disliked having so many hispanic children in the school. NPayne and I have been very happy with the elementary school our children attend, and our children are very happy there as well. I feel we have been blessed. I want my children to experience diversity, to know that we are all created in God's image and loved by Him....no matter what language we speak or how much money we have. I want my children to be kind and accepting, and I want them to know that some people have less money than we do and do without a lot more than we do. I want them to want to serve and help others with the love of God in their hearts and on their tongues....
Matthew 25:35 (Whole Chapter) For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.
Everytime you eat or see an M&M, say a prayer for our ministry mile and the people it is serving. The funny thing is I think the people who are doing the serving might receive as big of a blessing as the people who are being served.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Who Would Have Thought....

When I started my blog, just a short few months ago, I never imagined that people would actually read it (except maybe my mom). Call me cooky, but I honestly had no idea how this whole thing worked. After a few posts, I received my first comment....when I read the e-mail that said I had a comment to moderate (which means I can decide to publish for readers to read or reject it), I was really nervous. I thought....who is commenting? I hope it's a nice comment. What if it's not? I was hesitant, but I read it; and surprisingly it was the beginning of a blogging friendship. I have received several comments since that day, and none of them have ever been rude or unkind.....thank goodness; but I still get nervous when I see a comment from someone I don't recognize. I was reading a few different blogs, over the last week, and I was completely surprised to see that there were some really rude comments left. Now I know if you leave your blog open for comments, you get what you get...and you don't throw a fit; BUT I don't think the originators of these blogs really had any idea that there would be such rude and hurtful comments. I mean....really attacks on the writers....about their character and choices they have made. I'm sort of confused now. Isn't YOUR blog suppose to be about YOU and YOUR life....goals, family, beliefs, choices, likes, dislikes, etc.? Shouldn't you feel comfortable blogging about those things on YOUR blog without being attacked? None of the writers, that I am referring to, have said or done anything but talk about their lives, their struggles, their joys, their beliefs. I guess if readers don't agree, they definitely have a right to say so in their comments; but for pity sake....can't we just be nice about it? If I ever receive a hurtful or rude comment, I'm not quite sure how I'll handle that....the blogs that I'm referring to (that received the hateful comments) published them for the readers to read; and you know what I find the most amazing? The readers who left the rude comments, all sign them as anonymous, which leads me to believe that they aren't comfortable with the fact that they are blatantly attacking someone else's character or choices. What do you think? And please.....let's just all be nice!

A Day at the Spa!!!

My birthday was last week, the day after Christmas as a matter of fact, and part of my birthday gift was a complimentary day at the spa....I mean total treatment! I received a back massage, leg massage, hand massage, and yes even a foot massage (it was all in the name of love), a complete makeover including hair and makeup....it was blissful! I was treated to the most comfortable chair, and a great big COKE which I love to drink but try to limit! This was a gift from my 3 oldest daughters, and it was quite a treat. Did I mention that they were the technicians as well? Well they were....



Here we are in our living room, me sitting in my favorite chair we inherited from NPayne's granny, all slip covered by my Lifelong friend Leslie. Addi is on hands and back and helping with the styling of the hair. Drew is on legs and feet (I had to give in, because she was so wanting to give me a foot massage); although I'm very anti-anyone touching my feet. Bryna Mae was on hair combing. There's my big ole' COKE between my legs.
And.....the finished product....Lookin' good, don't ya think? My girls definitely know how to treat a lady. If you are interested in a Day at the Spa via The Payne ladies, let us know; and we will see what we can work out.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Me and My Mom

My dad passed away 3 years ago in November. I am an only child, so it is just me and my mom. My mom is disabled....she has an Auto Immune disease and has no use of her legs and limited use of her hands. In other words, she can't walk or stand alone; but she can grab onto something to help her get from chair to scooter, etc. She is very independent and wants to live alone....no assisted living or retirement place for her. We planned on adding on to our house, for her to live with us but in her own space, but that didn't work out with our city council; since our house is historical. She really doesn't want to live IN our house with us, because she likes having her own space; plus she is a smoker which won't jive in our abode. So she lives alone about 15 minutes from me and my family....and although that is closer than she did live up until this past summer....I wish she was closer. I am not able to do as much for her as I wish I could be doing, and I have rarely had time to go over and just visit. When I do run over to her house, it's usually to take her something she needs or to help her because she has fallen. My children love their grandmother....they call her Moo, and she adores them. She loves for them to come over and see her and even spend the night. She loves NPayne and I with all her heart too. I know my mom would really like to go to church, and I would really like to take her; but it's just not feasable. We go to church at 9:00 and then to Sunday School at 10:10 and then back to church for children's time at 11:15....we would have to go pick her up about 8:00 (to get her dressed and into the car and to church and out of the car), and she wouldn't get home until about 12:15 which is too long for her to sit in her wheelchair and too long to not be able to use a bathroom. I know my mom worships on her own in her home, but I am a firm believer in being part of a body of Christ....a church or community or group of people or whatever whom help each other, support each other and encourage each other to grow in Christ. With that being said..... I am really excited about this brilliant idea that Npayne had, one that we are definitely going to have to check into....there are some government houses, which are reserved for elderly people with lower incomes and whom need assistance, and the best part is they are right next door to our church. And did I mention that our church is literally less than a mile from our house? I mean we could and have walked to church. I think the wait list is fairly long for one of these quaint homes, and it may be longer for a handicapped accessible house; but I am going to get her on that list. We went Christmas carolling at these homes, and I have delivered some plants there previously; and they are great little houses. There's a small office type of house at the front of the subdivision, and Rev. Rick, one of our associate pastors, goes over on Fridays and sings songs (he plays guitar and sings brilliantly)and plays games with the folks who live there as well. If my mom lived there, not only would she be able to attend church, because she could take her electric scooter and go and come whenever she was ready; but also we could literally walk to her house if we wanted to. It would allow so much more freedom for her and time for us. I think this is the perfect plan.....now I just have to get into action and see about making it work. My children, NPayne and I would be thrilled if this worked out....and I think my mom would too.

Now onto another part of this post....I'm extremely happy that Moo wants to attend church with our family....as a child,my parents and I rarely attended church together. My mother is a free spirit, unreserved and strongly opinionated. She grew up in a very small town, where everyone literally knew everyone, and my grandparents were very well known and respected folks. She told me once that she and my uncle....maybe my aunt....stopped attending their parents' church (when they were old enough to have a say), because they felt condemned and used as "bad" examples in some of the sermons. I can't imagine how humiliating that must have been for them and for my grandparents.....using them as a "bad example" in a sermon and pointing it out in such a way that the congregation knew exactly to whom the preacher was referring. The church, that they belonged to, didn't believe in a lot of things that my mom (and probably her siblings) thought were perfectly acceptable.....one of those things being dancing. My mom loved to dance when she was able, and she loved to dance with my dad (also not supported by their church.....dancing too close to someone of the opposite sex). As a matter of fact....dancing was outlawed in their small town....I am 100% serious. You know the movie Footloose (if you don't, find it and watch it), it's based on the town where my parents grew up....again 100% serious! Being the independent and strong willed young woman that she was....she danced anyway! After she was used as a "bad"example in her church, she got a really bad taste in her mouth and just stopped going plus she just didn't agree with a lot of their teachings. I think she and my dad didn't know where to look for a "new" church home once they were married....they both worked a lot and honestly it just wasn't a priority to them. It wasn't that they didn't believe in and love Jesus, they just didn't pursue a community to worship Him and worship Him with other believers. Just to clarify.....this is my perception....from growing up with them and from things mom told me. I also think (again my perception) that my mom was a little afraid that her parents would rather be lead to believe that she and my dad were attending the type of church she grew up attending than them knowing that my parents may attend an altogether different type of church. Was that confusing? Anyhoo I remember my mother being so worried about what my grandmother would think when she came here for Christmas, and we attended the church that NPayne and I belonged to which is quite different than the church my grandmother attended. My mom was so worried that my grandmother wouldn't go or would be so very upset, but she did go; and she enjoyed it. It wasn't her church of choice, but I believe that she was praising God that we were regularly attending church and pursuing a relationship with Jesus. A church home is vital, in my opinion, but there is no perfect church....there's just not! I think you find a place where you can grow your relationships with Christ and praise Him. When NPayne and I started attending church regulary, I remember one Christmas my mom asking me if I was going to take Addi to see Santa. I told her probably not, there just wasn't time to do it. I so vividly remember her comment as being...."You spend too much time at church". I paused to try to think of a response, and then I told her that God came first in our family; and that we wanted our children to know that and know that Christmas isn't about Santa. Shortly thereafter, by invitation....she and my dad started coming to our church, on holidays and when one of our children was singing or reading scripture or whatever; and I think (my perception here) that they started to feel what it was like to worship....in a love Jesus, accept His grace & love & mercy, have eternal life kinda way. They really enjoyed coming to church, and I know if my dad was still alive; they would be coming much more often. I think about what my mom would say now if she asked me if I was taking the children to see Santa, and I told her NO I wasn't....and I'm fairly certain that her response would be very different; and she too is putting God first.

I Am My Mother or Father After All

As I was at the hospital with my Lifelong friend and 2 of my other Lifelong friends tonight, we were talking about our parents and our lives as teenagers. Remember we have all known each other a loooooong time....hence the name Lifelong friends. Anyhoo we were discussing some things we did as teenagers, that although weren't horrible (stupid...yes), we certainly didn't want our children doing them. We talked about how we did stupid things, and we never even contemplated a consequence....teaching each other how to drive a stick shift down a very busy road in the middle of the night, piling 10 girls into one car, not wearing seatbelts (it wasn't a law then). One of my friends made the comment that God was really watching out for us, and He was. I remember as a teenager, my dad always said "What is there to do past midnight? There is nothing you girls need to be doing past midnight". And although we didn't get into trouble and didn't really do much of anything, there really was nothing we needed to be doing out past midnight. I remember my mom waiting up for me and when I would call her to ask about staying out later or seeing a midnight movie, she would usually agree but would want me to wake her when I got home. I knew that she just wanted to make sure I was home safely, but I remember wondering why in the world she would want to be awakened (after all I would be fine) and what would happen if she awoke in the morning only to realize I hadn't awakened her. Now I know that she probably was asleep with one eye open until I did awaken her, and she knew I had arrived safely. Some of us had very strict parents, some of us had sort of strict parents, and some of us had very lenient parents; but we all agreed that our parents knew what they were talking about. It's fabulous how my Lifelong friends and I have grown up together....in much more than the obvious physical, getting older kinda way. We all are growing our relationships with each other, with our children, with our spouses, with our families, and with our Lord! I feel so blessed to have grown so much with these women in more ways than one.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Prayers

I spent the morning and evening with my Lifelong friend and her unborn child. Her husband was there this morning, but he headed home to care for some things at their house and to lead their Thursday night Bible Study. If you read the "Prayer Requests" post, you know that my friend has been hospitalized due to some serious concerns with her pregnancy....so far no change. What I found to be amazing when I was there this morning was the way that she and her husband had been sharing their faith with anyone and everyone who would listen. I think (and so do they) that God is using them.... during this time of uncertainty.... to witness, minister, or just listen to others. They ended up talking to one of the nurses for over an hour and a half last night and are now currently praying for her husband. We even discussed tonight....how there are always people who have something worse to deal with than we do. I mean....think about this....this is a woman and her husband who have already experienced the loss of one child and are now in the hospital with some serious concerns for the baby they are expecting, and they are openly and lovingly and genuinely sharing their faith and their true need and desire for Jesus in their lives. I am praying for the amniotic fluid to increase. I am praying for the health of the baby. I am praying that she can carry the baby longer. I am praying for peace and comfort. Yes I am diligently and unceasingly praying for these things, but I think God has already answered a prayer of mine....let not their faith and love waver. Thank you God....now if you would ever so kindly answer the other prayers....that would be just dandy! I know, I know in your time....not mine!
AMEN!

RING IT IN .....Happy 2009!

I am always grateful for a New Year....that means I survived the "old" year, but honestly I am always sad at how fast the previous year passed....I wish life would slow down a little.
New Years Resolutions.....anyone? anyone? I use to make them, and I rarely kept them; so I stopped making a new resolution each year. I started making a resolution that I try to live by every single day (not just because it's a new year)....slow down, stop and smell the roses, let my children daudle a little while walking to the car (unless of course it's in the middle of a busy parking lot or something)....just enjoy your surroundings and don't be in such a rush! That's it.....basically that's my resolution for the last 3 years now, but I don't necessarily make it on New Years Day; I try to make it every day.

God Bless You All and Happy New Year! Don't rush through this year.....stop and take it all in!