Monday, February 21, 2011

Growing Up

Today marks the 2 year anniversary of my mom's death.  I miss her so much.  There are so many things I would like to talk to her about and questions I would like to ask her.

In thinking about that today, it occurred to me that I need to make the most of the time I have with my children.  I envision teaching them all sorts of skills, passing along wisdom I've gained through my life, making all sorts of memories with them.  But days turn into weeks and I fall short of the goals that I determine for myself.

I heard someone once say that "today is the tomorrow you were planning on changing your life".  I think we just get caught up in the "everyday" to take time to really step back and take an objective look at ourselves and at the life we are living.  Are we fulfilling those dreams we always said we would?  Is life just too hectic to really focus on doing what's important to us?

I must realize that in some ways I am still growing.  We all are.  We should continue to grow in love, patience, kindness...  But in many aspects, I must tell myself, "Hey, you ARE all grown up now and you should be living out the life God has called  you to live."  Instead of thinking that "some day" I will suddenly grow up and change my ways and start doing all of those things I feel in my heart I have been called to do, I've got to wake up to the fact that TODAY is the day to start doing all of those things.

A good definition of the word "insanity" is this:  doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.  My children can't stop growing and wait until I decide I'm going to be the mother I was called to be.  My relationship with my husband can't be put on pause just so I can fulfill my selfish ambitions.  No, today is the day I make up my mind to FINALLY choose to put aside all dreaming and begin DOING!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One Month to Live

We started a small group study on the series "One Month to Live" by Kerry Shook today.  It's a very powerful topic of discussion and one we should all take time to think about.  What would I do if I only had one month to live?  How would I have lived this day differently?  What would my "to do" list look like for this upcoming week if I knew I only had 4 weeks left to live?

I jotted down a few things I would want to change.  Here is a sample:

*Build better, stronger relationships with my children
*Spend more time with my extended family
*Help those around me that are in need
*Live with enthusiasm
*Train and disciple my children
*Draw closer to God
*Forgive quickly
*Be slow to get angry
*Love more deeply
*Write letters to my family to tell them how I feel about them
*Make special memories with Bryan and my children
*Have a positive attitude
*Live with excellence

Hopefully I have much more time than one month on this earth, but the fact is none of us are given the promise of tomorrow.  This list I created represents those things that are important to me and it should be my priority in life to see that those things are taken care of first.  With God's help, I want to make some new habits and live out the rest of my time doing what is the most meaningful to me.

What about you?  What would your list look like?

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm Baaack!

Wow, it's been so long since I've been able to keep in touch with my blog.  "C'est la vie!"  A house of seven people stays pretty hectic.

These days the kids are very busy with school.  Praise the Lord for ABeka DVD courses!  They have brought some sanity into my homeschooling.  The girls are having a blast doing their video together.  Carson is working right along with Kelley and doing great, even though Kelley is a grade level ahead of her.  Carson still does her 1st grade worksheets, but everything else she does with Kelley.  And they are so competitive!  Sam is enjoying doing his studies online.  I am loving his history teacher.  He makes the stories truly come to life.  If I had him when I was in school, maybe I would have liked history more than math!  Well... I don't know about that.  I'm still pretty nerdy!

Bryan is enjoying his work with the food bank.  He is also chairman of the board for the crisis pregnancy center AND helps me with the music at our church.  I've been blessed to have been given the opportunity to serve as worship pastor at the church where Bryan and I attended before we were married.  I always thought I would like leading a music program, and I was right!  There's a lot of work involved but I enjoy every bit of it.

One day seems to run into the next so that it's hard to keep track sometimes.  Maybe one day I'll be able to take a few moments and think about life.  For now I'm too busy living it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Welcome, Spring!

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Caroline.  I am only 34 weeks right now but I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable as she has decided to find a good resting spot all the way on my right side which has caused me to limp.  I know my family will be glad when I can function normally and go up and down the stairs. 

I am very excited about our new addition.  Thankfully we finally decided on a name.  After much voting and polling and prayer, we decided against Abigail and for Caroline.  Now all of our girls' names will start with a "k" sound.  I can just see me now getting all tongue-tied trying to call them.  I'm already doing that!

These days we are trying to spend more time outside with the kids.  We enjoy sitting on the front porch.  The swing is my favorite spot!  It's so nice outside right now.  I love Spring!

We finally got our garden planted.  Each child chose a crop that they were going to take care of.  Carson chose cucumbers, Kelley chose corn, and Sam chose bell pepper and watermelon.  We had to go with cantaloupe instead of watermelon, though.  We have also planted squash, okra, tomatoes, and strawberries.  I am trying very hard to develop a green thumb.  Last year's garden was a disaster, simply because I was too lazy to keep it up like I should have.  But we have decided to try to get back to basics as much as possible which is a motivating factor for me to tend to the garden more diligently this year.  I pray that God will bless our efforts.

I am also trying my hand at sewing again.  I really want to be more self-sufficient and learn more homemaking skills so I can teach them to the girls.  I have also started making our own baby wipes, laundry pre-treater and laundry detergent.  I have lots of homemade, frugal recipes I want to try.  Thankfully I have a patient husband who lets me try my hand at different things that will help us to save money.  Not only will it save us money, we are learning more skills and teaching our children the value of a dollar.

Well, it's time to head to the sewing machine.  Hope this project turns out well.  If it does, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Going back to my roots

Since our departure from Calvary, we have had the privilege of being in church service with my grandmother, better known as "Mema". She attends the Coneross Church of God, the same church I used to go to with her when I was small.

I remember fondly those weekends I spent with her. After my parents divorced when I was 9, I stayed with Mema and Papa on the weekends. How I loved those times. They had the best tree for climbing in the whole county. In fact, that's where my cousin and I would run to escape my Papa's fishing buddy. John always wanted to give us granddaughters a kiss on the cheek and he always had itchy stubble. So we would climb the tree whenever we saw his car coming into view and we stayed up there until he left if we could hold out that long!

I also remember running through the wash hanging on the clotheslines, telling ghost stories under the weeping willow tree to my younger cousins, playing hair salon with my older cousins, and walking through the garden with my grandpa. Saturdays were especially comforting to me. It was a quiet, relaxing time and brought peace in what was a traumatic time in my childhood.

Mema was always busy doing something on Saturdays, whether it was sewing, making chow-chow, or cleaning. In the evenings we would watch Hee-Haw. I would sometimes sneak and watch Solid Gold when I could (loved the dancers!). Then when it grew dark, we would retire to the front porch. I would swing and my grandparents would rock and we would listen to gospel music for the longest. Before we went to bed, I would take what I call a "bird bath" in front of the kitchen sink (see, they had no indoor bathroom), then I would lather myself in lotion and put on one of Mema's flannel nightgowns before either getting in the bed with her or sleeping in the extra twin bed in Papa's room (yes, they slept in separate rooms). Papa would let me go to sleep listening to his radio and he would leave a lamp on for me. I loved making shadow animals on the walls. The window beside my bed was always left open and I enjoyed hearing the rooster crow in the morning.

On Sunday mornings, we watched Jimmy Swaggart while we got ready for church. Mema always made me oatmeal and sausage patties for breakfast. I always wore some of her perfume. Papa didn't go to church, so we had to have someone pick us up as Mema never learned to drive. I don't remember much about the Sunday school classes, but boy I loved the worship services. Back then anyone could sing in the choir. I loved singing and would always stand where I could see Mema. Many times during the preaching part of the service I would nod off and occasionally lie down in the pew. But the pentecostal style worship going on around me always woke me up!

After church all of the aunts and uncles and cousins would come over for Sunday dinner. The meat was always fried chicken, and it is still the only meat on the menu at her house on Sundays to this day! It was always a little sad for me to leave and go back home on Sundays. I truly enjoyed being with my grandparents. Now my grandmother lives alone, but she still cooks Sunday dinner every week. Those times will remain in my memory as some of the most precious moments of my childhood.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Chapter

Yesterday was a very emotional day for my family and me as we said farewell to our church. Not counting the past 10 years that Bryan served as pastor, we also served there for four years when we first got married working with the youth. Truly, our hearts are broken as we say goodbye to one special chapter in our lives. We made many friends whom we hope to keep in touch with.

But as we close this chapter in our lives, at the same time we open a new chapter. We look into this new season of our lives with anticipation. I believe that God is totally in control of our future and will by no means leave us or forsake us. What He has in store for us, I'm not sure. I only know that we will spend this time focusing on our family, spending quality time with our children, and "sharpening the ax". God will use this time to prepare us for what He has in store for us. I pray that we will walk with open hearts and ears so that we may know the voice of our Lord when He decides to speak to us.

Life is made up of seasons. We can't fight them. We must be willing to walk out the paths God has placed before us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Be Intentional

For some time now I have been getting the nudge from my heavenly Father that I need to be intentional in all I do. If I don't actively take control of my mind and focus my energy on those things that are the most important in my life and that result in the most productivity, I wind up wasting my days away. My time with my children is too precious to do that! But this sinful flesh loves to be comfortable... loves to serve "me". I have to constantly remind myself that it's not about me being happy, it's about fulfilling God's purpose for my life - serving my family, taking care of my home, teaching my children. Sure I would love to spend more time doing the things that please me and that I find entertaining. There are days that I don't get everything accomplished that I should because I have let myself get distracted and spent my time on other things. But God is faithful to remind me when I get off course and help me find my way again. How about you? Are you letting the emotions of the moment, those things that feel good to you, or even other people dictate how you spend your time? Time is our most valuable resource. We never have more or less than 24 hours. How we focus our energy will predict our future. So... be intentional!