Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 28....The Best Day of 2003!


Happy Birthday to My Sweet Bryna Mae. She arrived early but took a long time to get here. After eight very long days in NICU, we brought our sweet baby girl home to a house full of love. B, B-Nut, Bryna Mae.....she is my child that stumps me the most. NPayne and I use to half joke about where she came from.....because she has her own unique look. Bryna is not much like me, and she's not much like her daddy. She is her own very strong and ecclectic personality. She is my child that will drive me mad and two minutes later drive me happy. My child who sings her way through everything and doesn't even realize she's singing. My child who is referred to as "the happiest little girl I know". Bryna....my girl who is musically gifted, can talk her way into and out of a lot of trouble, my girl who lives in her own little world. Bryna....my girl who still loves to hold my hand, shrieks my name happily when I come home, loves to snuggle with me in my bed, and still wants me to sing her a bedtime song. Bryna....my girl who still loves her "Lovey", kicks her shoes off the minute she walks into the house (even if it's not our house), never met a stranger, has a heart full of joy. Bryna....my only child who wrote on the walls, cut her hair to the scalp (just last week), sneaks into the candy bowl, and spends every dime she has. Bryna.....my girl without a care in the world....sometimes I wish I were as carefree as she is! Happy Birthday Bryna Mae Payne....you stole my heart 8 years ago, and I absolutely adore you!
(More Bryna photos coming soon as soon as I figure out why blogger won't let me upload anymore).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Everything Will Be Okay

My favorite female pastor, Cindy, has breast cancer. Cindy has been my shepherd for the past 14 1/2 years, and I adore her. Everyone adores her. I don't even think she knows how much I adore her, and if she did; she might think I was a stalker ;) .....even though I don't actually follow her around or anything demented like that. Simply said.....I love Cindy. She was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer at the end of August and had a lumpectomy last week. She had a lymph node removed as well and so far everything looks clear, and it looks like nothing has spread. She will be starting radiation fairly soon and possibly another type of treatment. Why, you may ask, am I telling you all of this? Honestly I don't know. I just felt the need to write it down....to say it out loud....to put it in a permanent form....to let you know that.....I believe 100% that she is going to be fine. Honestly I didn't really even feel anxious when I first found out....I have a peace about this whole situation, and I feel that she is going to be fine. Pastor John's sermon yesterday was about God's blueprint or plan for your life. I couldn't help but think of so many things from this past year and how I viewed God's hand in those events. It's sort of a weird thing for me, because as much as I am a planner.....I am not really detailed oriented. As much as I am a worrier.....I don't really sweat over God's plan for my life or His calling for me. I had a meeting with Pastor Ken, my beloved pastor who died in February, about 5 years ago. I remember one Sunday in church, he openly invited anyone who would like to meet with him about anything to come in and meet with him; so I did. My dad had died a year or so before, and I was trying to figure out how to handle many different things that were going on in my mind.....one being Why do I have things so easy when there are so many people in the world who don't? I've written about this before and how I struggled with the guilt I felt over that. It was in that meeting that Ken gave me the following advice....transfer the guilt you feel into giving back to those who are not as fortunate as you! It was also in that meeting where Ken told me many personal things about himself, and when I knew that he was a very special person with a wonderful connection to Our Lord. I use to worry a little about not worrying about God's plan for my life. I use to think I was not very smart, because I didn't pay attention to so many details. And then I realized....after my meeting with Ken....that that's just who I am. It's not bad that I don't fret over things, and it's not bad that I don't pay attention to many details. The main plan God has for me is to be in relationship with HIM in every circumstance....those are Ken's words not mine.....and if I hang on to that and whisper the name of JESUS when I feel wrestless, confused, lost, or anxious....everything will be okay. That's how I felt about Cindy's diagnosis....I whispered the name of Jesus....and I felt like everything would be okay.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

THAT Child

We all have THAT child, don't we? Please tell me WE do. The child, that is not really like me nor really like NPayne, but who is his/her (in our case it's a her) own person through and through. The child that causes many discussions between NPayne and myself that go something like this:
NPayne: "She did what?"
Me: "What do I do about that?"
NPayne: "I'm have no idea. None of our others have ever done that. Are you sure she's mine?....with a little chuckle"
Me: "Are you sure she's mine?....with a little chuckle"
We all have that child that leaves us baffled....that is completely unpredictable....that is nothing like her siblings....that oftentimes leaves me completely speechless, confused, wondering what in the world would make her think/act/behave a certain way. The child, that challenges me more than I thought I would be challenged for as long as I have been challenged. The child, that I feel like I should introduce as...."She is very different from her sisters!" The child that breaks The Payne rules....the child that lives in her own little world...the child who doesn't have a care in the world....the child who is still thinks the world is just for her. We all have one, don't we? Don't we? Well if you don't think you do, let me tell you....you are really missing out. You see this child who doesn't have a care in the world has nothing but joy in her heart. This child who leaves me baffled and speechless also makes me smile just by looking at her sweet face and listening to her sing her way through the day. This child who cuts her own hair to the scalp....No She Didn't....Oh Yes She Did...sees nothing but the good in every situation and thinks her "new" haircut looks nice. The child who I introduce as...."She is very different from her sisters"....is the child who has changed her card, at school, for singing too much and doesn't even realize she's singing. This is the child who hangs her head out the window just to feel the breeze on her face....the child who makes me laugh just by watching her entertain herself.....the child who is still so little even though she is getting so big.....the child who still says "I" and "me" but says it in the same sentence with "Jesus" and "God" and "love"! This is my child.....THAT child....the child who is not like me nor like NPayne..... but is her own person through and through....this is the child whom I ADORE!
This is Bryna Mae!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Struggles

Many people I know are struggling with something. I've heard from several friends about their recent and not so recent struggles. Struggles with family members, struggles with health, struggles with money, struggles with balance, struggles with loss, struggles with disconnect. On Sunday, Pastor John's sermon was about "God Doesn't Give You More Than You Can Handle". I always thought that saying was very cliche and not at all true, and I still do. However I realized on Sunday that I have always thought that for one reason, and now I think that for two. I always thought God doesn't give you more than you can handle was a complete untruth, because God doesn't want you to "handle" anything on your own but with Him by your side. After listening to John, I now realize that not only do I believe that statement to be untrue because of the above mentioned reason; but also because I believe God doesn't give you bad things. So if you are dealing with struggles of one kind or another, one magnitude or another, one extrememe or another, or a multitude of different things.....then it's my belief that those are brought on by something other than God. God doesn't give you things to handle. I believe that He can choose to change circumstances and sometimes He doesn't, and of course that's a struggle; but I don't believe He gives you those struggles. I believe He allows struggles to occur for one reason or another....maybe we can ask Him when we get to heaven or maybe it really won't be that important once we get there. One of my friends, who I have recently chatted with, told me that after John's sermon; she thought that maybe God knows she can't handle big struggles; so that's why she hasn't had one. I have wondered about this a lot as well, and truly and oddly that's a struggle for me too. I think I've discussed this before, maybe even recently....I have a lot on my mind...so honestly I can't remember post to post; but I do struggle with why things are not that big of a struggle for me as they are for others? I don't want big struggles, but I do feel guilty about this often. I remember Pastor Ken telling me once that I should replace the guilt with the love of Christ. In other words, instead of wondering why my struggles are minimal compared to so many; I should take the good I have in my life and share it with those whose struggles are bigger than mine. I have tried and tried to do that, and I hope I still am; but again I struggle! Is it enough? What I'm doing? Is it enough?
I read today's Jesus Calling Devotional, and this is what it said:
Try to see things more and more from My perspective. Let the Light of My Presence so fully fill your mind that you view the world through Me. When little things don't go as you had hoped, look to Me lightheartedly and say, "Oh well." This simple discipline can protect you from being burdened with an accumulation of petty cares and frustrations. If you practice this diligently, you will make a life changing discovery: You realize that most of the things that worry you are not important. If you shrug them off immediately and return your focus to Me, you will walk through your days with lighter steps and a joyful heart. When serious problems come your way, you will have more reserves for dealing with them. You will not have squandered your energy on petty problems. You may even reach the point where you can agree with the apostle Paul that all your troubles are light and momentary, compared with the eternal glory being achieved by them.
GOD IS SO GOOD!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm Perfect

Do you ever wish you were someone else? I've thought about this a lot as I grow older, and I don't ever recall "wishing I was someone else", but I do recall wishing some things about me were different.....okay a lot of things were different. Does that make sense? Let me explain....
I wish I was thinner...
I wish I had smoother skin....
I wish I didn't have varicose veins....
I wish my baby bump (that's not due to a baby in there but due to the 5 that were once in there) was gone...
I wish that my hair was a little more controllable....
I wish my teeth were whiter....
I wish my body was toner....
I wish I was taller....
I wish my eyelashes were longer....
I wish my vision was better....
I wish my arthritis was gone....

And then I remind myself.....
Genesis 1:27

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

I guess that means I'm perfect! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Struggles

I love how God reminds me.....all the time....to be joyful! It seems as if every time I think I have something big to face....I am reminded that someone else has something bigger. I'm not down playing my own issues or anyone else's, but as NPayne always says...."Someone always has it harder than I do!" Sometimes I don't know what to do with that piece of information. What I mean is that although I have struggles and sometimes they are big struggles, when I really stop and look at it; they are not as big as someone else's struggles. That gives me very mixed emotions. I am not saying that I want my struggles to be bigger than anyone else's. What I am saying is that sometimes....okay a lot of the time....I face some serious guilt about not having big struggles. Sometimes....okay a lot of the time....I face some fear about the possibility of facing a bigger struggle than I ever have. As I have mentioned before, I am a little bit of a worrier. I don't worry about today really or tomorrow or really even next week, but I find myself letting my mind wander into a few years from now or what if when my children start to drive or what if when my children move away or what if when my children start high school....that sort of worrier that I have described as a "future worrier". I am thankful for the struggles I have, because they do help me keep things in perspective; but I am also thankful when I am reminded that my struggles really aren't that big. I am the most thankful when I am reminded that my God is with me.....He will be right beside me always....even if I do end up facing one of those struggles that I find myself "worrying about". I'll admit that seeking His face when times are good is something I struggle with as well. I feel like I take advantage of His love when things are going smoothly, and I cling to Him when they are not. I pray that I can seek His face every moment of every day!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Sunday, September 11, 2011

LOVE IT UP!

I am a huge fan of devotionals. I read several devotions each day. I really love it when 2 or more of the devotionals have the same message for that particular day....I know God is tapping me on the arm and saying "Pay Attention Here!" One of the devotions that I read is "The Upper Room". It's short and sweet but very thought provoking. Each day is written from a different perspective by a different person....not necessarily a person that is part of clergy....just a person. I read one last February, and it spoke deeply to me. The focus of this particular devotion was temptation, which of course I face, but that is not why it spoke to me. It spoke to me, because of the perspective of the child that is portrayed. Here it is....

If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

-1 John 2:1 (NIV)



MY friend Brandy teaches second grade. One day in class a pupil showed her something she had just drawn. It wasn't a very good drawing, and Brandy asked the girl if she thought she had done her best. The girl replied, "Let's just love it." When Brandy asked her to explain, the girl said that since there was nothing she could do about the picture, the only thing left was to "love it up" and try to make the next drawing better.

I wish my responses to my own flawed efforts were more like that child's. Instead, when I make a mistake I tend to beat myself up. Why would I do something like that? I ask myself. I'm supposed to be a Christian, but I'm such a phony! At such times I have to be reminded that even though we are new creations in Christ, we are still human. All of us can succumb to temptation.

Fortunately, God is merciful. The Bible says that Jesus Christ, God's son, speaks in our defense. Through the cross, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. When we ask for forgiveness, God will "love us up" and give us a second chance.

Travis Mamone (Maryland, USA)

Prayer
Ever-loving God, thank you for your grace and mercy. Please forgive us for our sins and help us to become better disciples. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thought for the Day

God's love covers all our sins.

I love how she just wants to embrace her mistake and "love it up" until she has another opportunity to re-do it or make it better. I love that approach. I make mistakes a lot, and this devotion....not only reminded me that God "loves me up"....but it reminded me of my own children. They are always so quick to forgive me and to "love me up"....not matter what I have done! Oftentimes they act much more like Jesus than I do! When you are frustrated with yourself or someone else for the sin or mistake or whatever, remember to "love them up"!

Monday, September 5, 2011

TIME FLIES!

My Baby Girl turned FIVE! We were eating dinner for her birthday, and she said; "Mommy, Bryna is sad that I'm turning 5." I then had to explain that we weren't sad that she was turning five. We want her to grow strong and healthy and celebrate lots of birthdays, but we just wish time didn't fly by so fast. It seems like just yesterday she was born and now she's a great big five year old. I came across this saying today when I was reading one of the many devotionals that I read each day, and I thought it said it perfectly!



"When we are young, time passes so very slowly -- especially if we are waiting for something special! But as we get older, the years fly by more and more quickly. Yet despite all our learning, despite all our experience, we come to two great awakenings: our knowledge compared to what there is to know is so very small and our place in the passage of time is so very short. Both of these awakenings prepare us to turn our lives and future over to our God who longs to bring us to himself." Phil Ware

This sweet video was made by my oldest daughter for my youngest daughter. I cannot tell you how so very blessed.... in the midst of a messy house, long work hours, a To Do List that never seems to get To Done, some bickering from time to time, taxi driving here and there and everywhere, and all that goes along with having children....I am overwhelmed by my blessings! Remember to scroll down and mute the music, so you can hear the video.
video

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Five Years Ago Today....The Best Day of 2006!

Five years ago today, our lives were blessed by the presence of Elliot Ann Payne. Elli made her way into the world in a very uneventful way (which we were quite grateful for), however we knew immediately that our lives would never be uneventful with her in it. She was the neediest daughter I had had as an infant, but secretly I enjoyed it....shhhhhh! I loved that she wanted to nurse all of the time. I loved that she wanted to be held so much, and I loved that she needed me so much. She did grow quite independent very quickly....being the 5th does that to a person....forces them to be independent. She is now quite independent (which is quite helpful but makes me a little sad too). She is the apple of all of our eyes!
Elli has always been able to dress herself, get herself to sleep, tell us when she needs a nap, put her shoes on the right feet, make herself a snack, and clean up after herself. She is a lot like me and likes things to be neat and tidy. She potty trained late (in the eyes of some), but once she did; she never looked back. She is quite grown up and mature for such a little girl, but she still needs her thumb, her Pinky Pie (lovey), and her mama and daddy.

She is more than I could have ever asked for in a child,
and I always tell her I wish I had ten more like her.
I love the way she loves me back
and tells me so at the most random times
or when the thought pops into her mind.

I love the way she adores her daddy and would
be happy to spend all of her days with him.
I love the way she is as stunningly beautiful
on the inside as she is on the out. In her short time here on earth,
she has made so many people's lives better by just being Elli.
I love how she LOVES her sisters and brother
and will sit and play with them for hours and hours and hours.
I love how she brightens my day
when she greets me with a big smile
and throws her arms around my neck.
I love her little hands and feet,
and how she says "I'm NOT a food"....
when I tell her I want to eat her up.
I love her sense of humor and how
she has me laughing many times a day.
If laughter is good for the soul, then
Elli is definitely good for my soul.

I love how she is a deep thinker and already asks me very thought provoking questions. She is going to be my child who asks all those hard questions really early. I love how much she looks like my dad. Although she never met him, looking in her eyes is like looking into his. I love that she has wild crazy hair....just like her mama! I love that she will try new things, but she will definitely tell you if she's not interested in something. I love that she has a mind of her own, and that she makes good choices. I love that she already knows about Jesus and asks about Him often. I love that she listens and church but still sits in my lap and asks me to tickle her arm while she sucks her thumb. I love that she is a good friend. I love that she is a pleaser and wants to do "the right thing". I love that every now and then she does "the wrong thing".....like eating my entire box of Valentine candy....but immediately brings me the empty box with chocolate all over her face....to confess and tell me she's so sorry. I love that she wants to be like her sisters but not enough that she doesn't still want to be her own sweet Elli. Elliot Ann Payne, I could never in a million gazillion years tell you how much I love you and adore you. My prayer for you is that you will continue to shine your light on all of those you meet, and that you will live your life for God! If you do, you will experience a love stronger than mine; and that will be the best gift you could ever have.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Life Is Good!

Life is good!

My house is a mess...literally as messy as it's ever been, except when Elliot was born; and NPayne came home to a sand castle built on our dining room table....YES I'M COMPLETELY SERIOUS!
My bills are due!
My teenager is NEVER home, and when she is; she's sleeping!
I'm NEVER home, and when I am I'm sleeping...hence the really messy house!
My laundry is completely out of control....more than it has ever been....YES I'M COMPLETELY SERIOUS!
My husband's car does not have working a/c....in the 100+ temps...that he drives an hour to and from work in every day.
My mom is probably really lonely....I haven't seen her in quite a while.
My friends probably forgot who I am....except the few that see me at work.
My clothes are too tight....I've been eating horribly lately.
My head hurts!
My leg hurts....darned tendonitis!
My flowers are dead....darned heat!

But as I said, Life Is GOOD! I have so much to be thankful for, and yes I complain; but I know I have so much to be thankful for even in the midst of complaining. I remember Pastor Ken's Easter morning sermon, a few years ago. He handed out orange bracelets with the following scripture on them:
Phillipians 2:14
Do everything without complaining or arguing!
Anytime you found yourself complaining, you were suppose to snap that orange bracelet or switch it to the other arm or do something to help remind you that.....YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR...even in the midst of complaining....LIFE IS GOOD! And it is!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Have I Mentioned I Have A Job?

I know you're probably sick of hearing it, but I have a JOB! Now don't get me wrong....being a stay home mom/part-time preschool teacher/photographer is definitely work....but my "new" job actually brings home a little extra bacon. Well....at least I thought it would. I had plans for my paychecks...which really aren't that much in the grand scheme of things....but are a whole lot more than I have made in the last 13 years:
1. replacing my rotted bathroom floor
2. finishing out our kitchen
3. buying a new dishwasher
4. paying off all of Addi's band dues
5. paying off the rest of my "new" IMac
6. buying NPayne and myself a few new clothing items
7. a new desk
8. taking my family out on the town
9. getting my car detailed
10. a massage at least once a month
11. new mattresses for everyone
BUT.....we've had a few bumps in the road....and I'll admit it's a little frustrating, yet I am so thankful that we have the extra money to help with the bumps. Someday I'll knock off some of the list above!