Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thankful for the Seasons of Life

The first week of school (for the kids) has come and gone. Everyone did just fine & is enjoying their teachers and classes. The first few mornings were a little difficult for Sarah, though. Her nerves were getting the best of her & it was hard to get her to school without some tears, but she made it and is perfectly fine now.

Savannah is in her final year of junior high. Scary...this time next year, she'll be in High School! In 3 years, she'll be driving. Samuel's only got 1 more year of elementary school & Sarah's just 1 year behind him. It is nearly impossible for me to believe that these kiddos are growing & getting so big so quickly, but I know their childhoods are just a season of their life.

I was reminded of that today. If you've read this blog for a while, you'll remember that in May of '07, I left a job at a church day care that I loved. (and if you don't recall or weren't reading at that time, I'll post a link at the end of this post later tonight....I'm not going to hunt through the archives right this minute) The day care was closing down and we really needed more money than I could make just working 2 days/week, so at the end of that school year, I quit & began my hunt for a 5 days/week job. I found an amazing private preschool which I completely ADORE and I'm certain that God has me just where I'm supposed to be. But at that time, the pain of leaving a place that was so familiar with such a 'family' of amazing women was almost unbearable. I went to the building during the last few days it was open & just walked through the halls, so sad to see all the empty classrooms. It was so tragic to hear the silence in the hallways, no longer the giggles & cries of children. That place was such a blessing to so many people, so seeing it close down was hard.

Today we had a little reunion for those of us who worked there. We were missing a lotttttttt of the teachers (there were 40 of us) but many of them have moved or couldn't be located when they planned this little get together. The ones of us who came replayed memories, talked about the kids who we worked with, heard stories of what we've all been doing since those sad days of 2007. Glenna, our sweet director, was recalling that she had worked at the center for 12 years & remarked about how it's been 2 years since it closed, how it was such a sweet time of her life. The term "season" came to mind as she was saying that. While none of us wanted to see the day care close and the safety net of those relationships fall apart, the truth is, most of us have gone onto great things since then, things that we wouldn't have experienced if we hadn't been shoved out the doors of Pleasant Hill CDC. Some of the ladies have gone back to school to finish a degree. Others moved to new homes in new towns. Some of us have found a 'dream' job at another location (some at other day cares, some in the public school system, others of us at private schools).

Sure, it would be easy to fall back on sour grapes, to gripe & complain and be angry about the circumstances surrounding the close of our beloved center. But, the truth is, no matter how much we wanted to see PHCDC stay open, it was a season of our lives that we can relish in the memories of, but God knew that season would end exactly when it did, and we've all been allowed the privelege of following His lead elsewhere since then.

We talked about some of our own kids, how much they've grown since the time that we all began working together. Most of the ladies I visited with today were there far longer than I was, so some of their kids who were newborns or toddlers when they went to work there are now teens. I watched those same kids walk into & out of the room while we talked and had to smile.

The seasons of life we pass through are so powerful & they shape us to be who we are. Like many people, I don't "do" change well. I have a hard time saying good-bye and moving onto something new that requires me to meet new people & get plugged into a different place. It's uncomfortable and I would like to just tuck myself into a corner & hide and never really have to put myself out there. It's hard to let down your walls & allow yourself to be transparent to new people when you don't know if they're "safe" yet or not. Of course, we don't know who's safe until we trust them with a little piece of our heart and see how they treat it. But ya know... how many times do we look back on a previous season & enjoy flipping the pages of our mental scrapbooks? Don't we all look back at the days gone by of your childrens' lives and laugh about things they said or did? How about the memories of your own childhood? Yes, time goes on. People move on. Seasons come & go. But HE created us that way on purpose. The earth passes through seasons as well, summer giving way to fall which passes into winter and then spring.

Ironically, when I got into the car after leaving our reunion party, Nichole Nordeman's song "Every Season" came on the CD I had been listening to on the way. A tear slipped down my cheek as I was reminded how God created us to live through seasons of life like this one. He doesn't want us to forget the past, but He did create us to move forward & keep going when one season ends & another begins. The part that really struck me was this:

And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

In case you've never heard the song, here's a link to the video. It's a beautiful song reminding us about the seasons of life.

I love you, PHBC CDC ladies. Thank you for being part of an amazing season of my life.

Edited to add:
The post I mentioned in the top of this is found here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

3 Prayer Requests

1. Our beloved LIFE group leader's mother passed away unexpectedly a couple of days ago. The service for her is this morning. Please keep John's family in your prayers.

2. Our youth pastor at church & his wife were unable to conceive, so they adopted several years ago. Surprisingly, they got pregnant earlier this year! Marla's due date is still a couple of weeks away but her blood pressure got alarmingly high in the past week or two & she was put on bedrest. Yesterday afternoon, an emergency Csection was performed & baby Marcus arrived safely into the world weighing 5-ish pounds....I don't remember the exact number, but he's ok! Mom is doing alright as she recovers as well. Keep the health of mom & baby in your prayers as they recover.

3. Our executive pastor was hired several months ago & officially came on board at the church July 1. Just prior to him beginning his work, his wife (who was carrying twins) began having complications and delivered one of the twins early. The baby didn't make it, but the doctors were able to get her labor stopped to delay the delivery of baby #2. She's been on bedrest and in the hospital pretty much ever since. Last night at 11:50pm, baby #2 was delivered by Csection at 27 weeks gestation. He's only 2lbs & 14" long, so he's got a ways to go before he can leave the hospital. Sarina is recovering well...she's even posted on Facebook this morning! Wowzers! Anyway, please pray for baby Samuel's growth & strength and for Sarina as she heals from a trying pregnancy & delivery.

(Yes, you read that right -- 2 of our pastors' wives delivered a baby yesterday under trying circumstances! How ironic is that? And how cool that they have the same birthday!?)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random, Rambling Thoughts on Motherhood

The SAHM vs. Working Mom Debate...where do you stand?

When I was a little girl, my mom stayed home with us. Her mother had stayed at home with her & her sister. My dad's mother stayed home with he & his brother for at least part of their childhood. Most of my little girlfriends' mothers stayed at home as well. It didn't enter my radar that some moms worked. I had no idea that some kids went to day care instead of staying home to color pictures & watch Sesame Street & learn how to bake cookies.

It wasn't until I was in 1st grade that my mom went back to work. She had been a dental assistant before she had us so she went back to that. Even then, she must've only worked part time during the hours I was at school because I really don't remember her ever NOT being at home. She was still the room mom for my class at school, still there when I was at home. It wasn't until several years later that she began working 8-5. I think I was in 5th or 6th grade maybe, an age where I could get off the school bus & come into the house & stay there safely until she got home on the days when my dad was at work. My dad was a fireman & worked a rotating schedule, so some afternoons he was home when I got there. Anyway, it just never entered my scope that there was any other way to do it. I guess as kids, we assume that everyone else's family looks & functions just like our own until we see/hear differently. Somewhere along the way, I picked up the notion that stay at home moms (SAHMs) were better than working moms. I mean, obviously they love their kids more if they're willing to give up their career to be at home. Right?

Seeing my older sisters become mothers & become SAHMs before me further confirmed to me that THIS was the way to go. I naively convinced myself that 'good moms' planned their childrens' arrival into the world, budgeted wisely & figured out a way to be at home....otherwise they just didn't get pregnant at all. After all, who wants some day care worker or babysitter to raise your child for you? Surely not a good mom.

Before Larry & I got pregnant the first time, we talked it through & agreed that I would be a SAHM. We firmly believed that it was best for our kids and therefore should be our ultimate goal. Before getting pregnant, we spent about a year getting out of debt (what little we had at the time), switching to 1 car (instead of 2), cutting back here & there and saving like crazy. Once my pregnancy was confirmed, we socked away my paycheck every week and saved for the coming years when I would be at home. We followed lots of advice from Larry Burkett's book Women Leaving the Workplace. After lots of planning and goal-setting and dreaming, the day finally arrived when we became parents & I became a full-fledged SAHM. I was soooo happy & excited to be at home.

Over the course of the next several years as we added more children to our family, I tried my hand at the ultimate SAHM job, homeschooling. I bought preschool curriculum to use with Savannah. Eventually I decided that I'd like to have some hair left by the time she was to start Kindergarten, so we gave up on the curriculum & sent her to public school. A few years later her brother joined her. We have been sooooo very happy with our choice of 'regular' schooling because we're blessed to live in a place where the school system is amazing! The large majority of teachers are 100% in agreeance with our religious & moral standards so it makes it very easy to be comfortable with having them teach our children. If we lived elsewhere it might be a different story, but we are happy where we are.

When Sarah was 4 years old, Samuel started Kindergarten, which left her home without a 'buddy'. Now, remember, the two of them are only 10 1/2 months apart, so neither of them have ever known a time when the other was not at their side. To this day, they are best friends. They both claim other people as best friends, but truthfully, they are pretty tight. When Savannah is gone to someone else's house for a sleepover, Sarah wants to sleep in Samuel's room in the other bed. When he goes outside to play with his friends, she wants to tag along. They play so well together & have been mistaken for twins so many times over the years. It was torture having 2 kids so close together, but if I could go back & do it all over again, I would. I love seeing their sweet relationship grow over the years.

I'm getting off track here....oops!

When Samuel went off to Kindergarten, all of the sudden Sarah's best buddy was gone. We decided it would be beneficial to her to make some new friends & learn to function with other I really liked the idea of getting a short break once a we signed her up for a Mother's Day Out program at a local church day care. I was a little leary since I had never stepped foot inside a day care prior to that time, but I knew the church was a stable, sound one where I trusted the doctrine that is taught, so I prayed it would all work out.

Larry & I had always talked about me going back to work when all the kids were in school. That summer before Samuel started Kindergarten & Sarah would start MDO, it hit me that my going back to work was only 1 year away. I needed to begin thinking about what I wanted to do. I never finished college so I knew it wouldn't be a real high-paying job, however, I knew that it would benefit our family if I did SOMETHING. And honestly, after all the years of being a SAHM (nearly a decade by this time!), I had very little identity beyond Larry's wife and SSS's mom. While I adored that role and felt best suited for *that* above anything else, it doesn't pay very well (as far as the bank account is concerned....but the benefits are eternal!!!). After registering Sarah for MDO, it occured to me that the hours she went to that program would be ideal for me the NEXT Fall when she started Kindergarten. After all, I didn't really want to work five days a week if I didn't have to, and I wanted a job that still allowed me to be home with my kids as much as possible. I called the director at the day care & asked if she knew whether she'd have an opening the NEXT year in the MDO room. I was shocked when she told me that there was actually an opening NOW and that she was searching for another MDO teacher. If I was willing, Sarah could come 2 days/week for FREE while I worked down the hall from her. Wow. I was a little surprised, but Larry & I couldn't come up with any good reason why I couldn't do it. It would mean that we saved money (no tuition for Sarah) & I would be bringing home a little paycheck, plus it fit all the things I'd hoped for in a job. Voila...perfect! And so, in the Fall of 2005, I began working.

Now I know that a working mother is certainly not out of the scope of normal these days. Plenty of women work. But for me, it was still a big stretch. It still kind of gave me the heebie-jeebies there at first, too. I mean, after all, for years & years, I had been strongly opposed to day care centers. They were the enemy...the ones that took moms out of their homes & allowed them to work....the one that allowed moms to drop their kids off in their pajamas & not pick them up until after dark. Good heavens, I was going to work for the enemy! I almost felt dirty, like I should pray for forgiveness.

(ok, by now maybe you can see how naive I really was....but it took me a while longer to figure it out!)

By the end of the first year, I was in love with teaching and I was in love with the 'family' I had at Pleasant Hill Child Development Center. I watched the families who came there. I saw the interaction with the teachers. I saw how much the teachers LOVED the kids in their classes. I know that not all day care centers are the same and I am lucky to have worked in a high-quality one, but seeing the relationships formed not only between the parents & teachers but between the teachers & the children was amazing. These were not just babysitters. They were there for the kids' soccer games. They went to the hospital when the kids had surgery (tonsils out, tubes in, etc). They made trips to out of town hospitals when there were bigger surgeries. They went to dance recitals & were invited to birthday parties. The way they nurtured these kids was so sweet. They sobbed on the last day with their class before they promoted up. They were a part of the families' lives, a part of those kids' lives....and it struck me --- I wanted to be a part of that!

I had always thought that working was ok for single moms or moms in a family where the dad was disabled or something really forced them into the workplace, but my very close-minded view was snapped to attention when I realized that I worked with a bunch of women, most of whom were MOMS. They did work for the paycheck, but they also worked because they LOVED their job. Could it be that other moms who work also LOVED their jobs? Could it be that sometimes a family's finances force a mom to work whether she wants to or not? Could it be that it broke the hearts of many moms to drop their infant off at day care? Could it be that maybe I was a little too hard on working moms in general? As I watched mothers arrive at the day care center to pick up their children after work, I saw tears. I saw hugs. I heard squeals of delight from both the kids and the mothers. I saw moms who loved their kids just as much as I love my own and I realized that yes...I had been much too hard on moms who made different choices than me.

That same year, Larry went into ministry full time & was hired to be the singles pastor at the church. I know, it sounds ironic that a happily married man would be hired to minister to single people, but really, he has a heart for people who don't "fit", the ones who slip through the proverbial cracks at church, the ones who are divorced or widowed or never married. They don't fit the pretty little picture of a church family & are therefore, often left out in the cold. That year I learned so many things. I watched single parents (by choice, by divorce, by death of a spouse) love their children. I saw the children thrive. I saw them being taught Scripture, being prayed over, being led to live a life that pleases God. I saw them go to school or day care while mom went to work and I saw them doing just FINE, again confirming to me all the things that I was learning in working at the day care center....that some families operate differently than my own & their kids turn out JUST FINE.

Before I had kids, I was bound & determined to breastfeed from birth to at least 1 year. I planned to never allow my children to have a pacifier or a bottle. And then it didn't work out. My body doesn't cooperate with breastfeeding no matter how passionately I wanted it to.

Before I had kids, I said my kids would never sleep in my bed. By the time my eldest was a week old, she was in my bed nearly full-time.

Before I had kids, I said that people who had kids 2 or fewer years apart were crazy! After all, who wants two kids in diapers at the same time? And then I had Sarah. Ten and 1/2 months after her brother. Yeah, that plan didn't work out either.

Before I had kids, I many things....that changed once I had a child of my own. Isn't that how it goes? I love how God gives us a nice healthy dose of reality when it comes to motherhood. A gentle, yet PLENTY STRONG reminder that there is no ONE way to be a good mother. And if we can't take the small hints, He is willing to whack us over the head with a 2-by-4 to get our attention.

I'm not sure where I adopted my opinions & beliefs along the way, but they were pretty screwed up until I lived it, breathed it, observed it & learned from it. While I would still make the same choice (being a SAHM) if I were to have another baby tomorrow, I know that there are plenty of other moms who can't or don't make that choice and I don't think any less of them for it. In fact, I admire them. I am amazed by the dedication & strength of so many mothers.

Matthew 7:2-4 (New International Version)

2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

Thank you, Father, for the grace of my friends. Thank you for opening my eyes & teaching me. Thank you for the forgiveness of those I've hurt along this journey as a mother. Continue to teach & grow me, Lord. Amen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School

At 12:38am, Savannah showed up at my bedside telling me how she couldn't sleep. I knew she had been asleep at 10:40ish because I went to check on her. Somewhere in between 10:40 & 12:38, she woke up & couldn't get back to sleep and was now frantic that she didn't have long til the alarm went off (at 6:05am). I cuddled with her a little while before she headed back to her bedroom. About an hour later she returned, telling me how she STILL couldn't sleep. Again, she crawled into bed & snuggled up to me for a while before heading back to her own pillow. I guess she finally got back to sleep for the night. About 3:20 when I woke up needing to go potty, I went to check on her & she was sound asleep. I think her nerves got the best of her last night.

At 6:05, my alarm went off. I hit the snooze button. At 6:08 it went off again & I figured I better get up! I ran to the bathroom & checked my email real quick--my usual wake up routine. By 6:10, I was heading to the kids' rooms to wake them up. When I opened the girls' room, they were both fully dressed, talking to each other, brushing their hair. Ha much for the sleep interruptions causing Savannah any trouble this morning! Everyone got ready very quickly this morning!

At 7:15, I left to take Samuel & Sarah to school. Since I had to park & go in with them after fighting the insane first-week-of-school-traffic, I figured I better get an early start! Larry took Savannah to school a little while later. When I arrived at Samuel & Sarah's school everything was fine. We walked Samuel to class first and he barely looked over his shoulder to say goodbye. I figured that's about how he'd be. He's always loved going to school! This is him with his new teacher.

As we approached the 3rd & 4th grade hall, Sarah got nervous & grabbed my hand. She NEVER holds my hand, but she was holding on pretty tight today. Her teacher from last year saw us coming & saw that Sarah was beginning to look teary-eyed. Thank goodness for sweet teachers who love my babies! Mrs. M stepped out into the hallway & bear-hugged Sarah, assuring her that she would be OK, that she would come check on her in a little while, that she was going to have a great day! We walked the rest of the way down the hall with Sarah pulling back on me as if to say "wait....I'm not ready yet!". By the time we got to her classroom door, she was crying. Poor baby! It took her a few minutes to regain her composure & pull it together enough to go in. Once she was inside, we got her backpack put up, papers put away & everything settled and she was fine. I knew she'd be OK once she got settled in. As I left her hallway, her old teacher stopped me & asked if she was alright and assured me that she really would go check on her after a while & make sure she was OK. God bless those angels at the elementary school! Here she is with her new teacher.

When I picked everyone up this afternoon, as usual the first couple weeks of school traffic was HORRIBLE, but it seemed a little less extreme than last year's traffic! Maybe the past 3 years worth of construction to widen the road really did help?! All three kids had a great first day of school!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Last Day of Summer: Day 85, Sun Aug 23

What a busy last week of summer it has been. I recently posted this picture on Facebook of my August calendar. Since the time I took this pic (early August), I added several things to it. (I covered private details when I posted it to Facebook on the off chance that some weirdo saw it.)

On Friday, Larry & I left on a little trip to Dallas for our 15th anniversary. It was such a nice get-away. We got pedicures, went to the movies, wandered around a mall for a few hours, had a couple of nice meals, went to the JFK museum and just generally hung out for 24 hours. We're thankful for grandma who is willing to help with the kids to make things like that happen!

Tomorrow, the kids start school. Samuel is starting 4th grade & has 4 teachers. Each one teaches a particular subject area & has the kids for (I think it is?) 1 hour 15 minutes. Throughout the week, they also attend computer lab, music class, PE, library, etc. Sarah will be in 3rd grade & has 2 teachers and also attends all of those same extra classes that Samuel does. Savannah is beginning her final year of junior high. She is in regular classes, but has also signed up to be an aide. We're anxious to find out (tomorrow) if she got any of the aide spots she signed up for.

The lunches are packed & in the fridge, clothes are layed out & the alarm is set. (ugh...for 6:00!) I guess it's official. Summer 2009 is over.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Book Review: Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage

As a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger team, I requested this book with great anticipation. A free, funny marriage book was what I anticipated. The title alone had me giggling. I have to be honest, though. I couldn't get into this book at all. The authors are Christian radio show hosts. Generally speaking, I love relationship books. Unlike my husband who turns up his nose at the idea of reading a book about improving relationships, I tend to enjoy finding 1 little golden nugget in a heap of garbage & can find a way to apply it. This book, in my opinion, really didn't have any golden nuggets. I think the IDEA of the book was cute, but it was dry & boring to me.

I wish I could say it was a great book, but it really wasn't. I hope whoever buys it from Goodwill after I donate it will enjoy it.

Summer Day 78, Sunday Aug 16

First off, before I post anything else, let me share this video with you. I was WOW'd by it tonight on Facebook. A friend posted it on her status update & I loved it.

Ok, now onto my day! :)

Things I liked about today.....
1. I LIKED staying at home a little longer after the rest of the family left for church & spending time with my youngest daughter. I love getting in one on one time with the kids. I gave all three kids the option of going to our regular church or coming with me to see a friend baptised this morning. The older 2 wanted to go to our regular church, so it was just Sarah & I. We talked & she showed me how to play a game on and we took a couple of pictures with my camera. (She took one that she insisted should be my new Facebook photo -- even if my head was cut off in it. Guess what? It's my picture on Facebook now.)

2. I LIKED being invited to see JennahRose get baptised today. What an honor & privelege to get to see her face to face for the first time on such a BIG day! I knew my camera would never zoom to the baptistry without getting blurry, so I took a pic of the big screen with her on it!

3. I LIKED taking a nap this afternoon. Gotta love that 11th commandment. (Thou shall nap on Sunday.)

4. I LIKED taking Sarah to see another baptism tonight -- her best friend's! It was so sweet to see them giggle & squeal when they saw each other. And then during the service, they drew pictures of hearts with Jesus's name in them. Precious, I tell ya!

5. I LIKE that tomorrow we begin our last week of summer. I know that sounds funny after I've talked all summer long about loving having the kids home. Really, I do love having them here. But I also love the start of a new school year. I love the upcoming holidays (they're only a couple months away, ya know?) I love the start of a new year. I love the Spring. I love Easter. And I love the start of a new summer. I do my very best to live for today, to live in the moment & enjoy the "right here, right now"...but I also love the anticipation of a new season. The excitement, the butterflies in my tummy, the chance to start anything fresh & new is exciting. And of course, there are the school supplies. As much as I hate the expense, I love new pink erasers & fresh pencils & packages of new notebook paper. Yeah, I know, I'm a sick woman. Good thing I teach children for a living, huh? Anyway...I'm looking forward to enjoying all the last moments of summer this week!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer Day 77, Sat Aug 15

Before I post anything else, I want to take a minute to say this:
A year ago tonight I was in Moberly, MO getting to meet one of my best girlfriends in person for the first time. After a decade of best-friendhood (is that even a word?), we were finally able to lay eyes on each other. I know it sounds insane that I hadn't met my best friend in person...and that we'd been best buds for so long without actually meeting. But in this age of technology, it just worked out that way. I am so blessed & honored to have Bethany in my life. Of course, we both wish that we lived closer together! In honor of that first meeting, I wanted to share this picture from our trip. I miss you, honey!! Can't wait to see you again!

And now, on with the rest of my post.

Things I liked about today:
1. I LIKED being able to sleep til 8:15, even if I really really wanted to sleep much later.
2. I LIKED the stack of hand me downs we got for Samuel from his friend who spent the night. When we took him home, his mom had a pile of things he'd outgrown & she offered them to us. Yahoo!
3. I LIKE the way all three of my kids oohhh'd & ahhh'd over our friends' dog. We picked her up from the vet's office (where she was being boarded while they're on a trip) & delivered her home for them. They were coming in after the vet's office had closed. The kids loved getting to play with little Milly. She's a teeny little Shih-tzu puppy, basically just a cotton ball with legs. And a tongue.
4. I LIKE that we were able to make a quick trip to visit my in-laws. My mother in law broke her collarbone last Sunday morning (she has osteoporosis) and we haven't been able to go check on her since that day. It was nice to see that she's doing OK. We were able to visit my father in law & grandmother-in-law while we were there, too.
5. I LIKE that a lightbulb went off over my head a couple days ago. You see, my kids have reached that point in the summer where they're arguing 90% of the day. Sure, they argued & faught a lot before summer began, but it's really gotten bad with all the bad attitudes & cattiness these last several weeks. The Holy Spirit reminded me a few days ago that I had not been praying for their interaction. Sure I pray for each one of them regularly, but I wasn't praying for God to help them enjoy their time together, to help them find common ground, to help them seek each other's good above their own, etc, etc, etc. I finally began praying those things & today, I had so many moments in the car where I began to shush them (they were so loud!) but I stopped myself. Because they were playing & laughing & having FUN together. They weren't arguing or being mean. I LOVE that!
6. I LIKED the long car ride with my sweetie by my side today. Those long drives are some of my favorite times with Larry. We tend to do more talking & laughing on those drives than usual and I LOVE LOVE LOVE having that time together! (uh love language is quality time!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer Day 76, Fri Aug. 14

I just looked back at last summer's day count. There were 80-something days. Looks like this summer will be the same. So much for Phineas & Ferb's 104 days. I guess they go to school from mid October through late May. I'm sure my kids would be on board for that. In fact, I am pretty sure all my kids' teachers would be, too! ha ha!

Things I Liked About Today:
1. I LIKED sleeping a little bit late. (oh yeah, all the way to 8:30!)
2. I LIKE how well the kids behaved while we were grocery shopping. (I'm sure it had everything to do with my prayer time before we left!) They even stood quietly while I tried on 2 shirts & a pair of jeans. The dressing room attendant lady commented on how sweet they were while I was inside the dressing room.
3. I LIKE how they all helped carry in the grocery bags. (of course, I expect that of them, but I'm glad they did it without argument or having to be bribed!)
4. I LIKE how having a friend over to spend the night motivates my messy boy to clean his room! It's still not perfect, but it's a heck of a lot cleaner tonight than it was this morning!
5. I LIKED watching Samuel sit at the window watching for his buddy to arrive....and then I LIKED how he squealed & ran to the door when they pulled up. I LIKE how sweet his friend is! They are really great kids. I'm blessed.
6. I LIKE how I got to sit & read my People magazine in Dairy Queen while the kids played.
7. I LIKED the fact that the kids were so excited when Larry arrived at DQ while we ate. I knew he was coming, but they didn't.

And just so you know, I really LIKE what I'm going to be doing Sunday morning! Let me tell you the's way too big to be listed as one of my "likes" above. Oh yeah, this is much bigger than all of those!

A number of months ago, maybe even a year ago now (I can't remember), I started noticing this lady who posted comments on a lot of my friends' pictures & status updates on Facebook. After a while, I realized the common thread among all the people she knew was our (current) church. At that time, we were still at our old church, so I figured she had joined our (now current) church during the years we were away. I finally sent her a message & asked if she went to the church. As it turns out, somewhere along the way during the years we were gone, she did visit it (I think?) with a friend and met a lot of the women, but she had turned away from her faith since that time & declared herself an atheist. I was a little surprised because I suppose we (Christians) assume that atheists look/talk/behave differently than us in some extreme way. And sure, Christians ARE different & SHOULD BE different, but the truth is, we probably all have some common ground with people of all different religions & belief systems.

I befriended this sweet lady & began talking to her....not so much because I was hell-bent on converting her, but because I wanted to get to know her. I wanted to see how she went from belief to disbelief, what happened in her life to turn her away from God. (But of course, I prayed that I could do or say something to be a light in her life, to point her back toward God somehow!)

Over the course of the time I've known her (solely through Facebook), I've read the things she writes -- beautiful poetry & stories mostly. We've talked through hot-topic issues a couple times. I've learned about her background and we've become friends. Several months ago, she saw me in person at one of Savannah's band concerts. She was there with a friend to see another kiddo & spotted me in the crowd, but we didn't get to talk. I didn't know she was there til later that night when she sent me an email to tell me she saw me. I've only seen pictures of her. But all that is going to change this weekend.

You see, about a month ago, she told me (& others) that she saw God's hand at work in her life and she had made a startling discovery -- that God did indeed exist! I still haven't heard the whole story of her conversion (I can't wait!!!), but to hear the excitement & warmth in her status updates, I can "see" Jesus shining through her words. This Sunday morning, she's getting baptised at a local church & I was invited to attend! I am so over the moon excited & happy for her. I can't wait to see how God uses her, how He continually changes her from the inside out, how He will hold her & pour His love into her life. What a great day Sunday is going to be!

And to top it off, one of my oldest & dearest friends' daughter (who happens to be Sarah's best friend) is getting baptised on Sunday night! Talk about a day of seeing God's glory! I can't wait!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer Day 75, Thurs Aug 13

Things I Liked About Today.......

1. I LIKED making it through the day & after-care hours without turning into a big sweatball. It was a little cooler today than it has been. You know, I think it "only" got up to 98 today. ha ha!

2. I LIKED my simple build-your-own-salad supper. I am always glad to not have to cook & heat up the house when it's hot outside.

3. I LIKE that I got my menu & grocery list made earlier tonight. Taking the kids grocery shopping w/ me in the morning.

4. I LIKED getting Savannah registered for school today. Although I'd like to plug my ears & not hear that she's beginning her final year of junior high, I am looking forward to school starting. New class for me, getting everyone into the routine of the school year....I LIKE that. I've LOVED having all three kids home for the summer, but I'm ready to get back to the school year routine. Getting her registered today was just a reminder that it's getting close.

5. I LOVE that Larry went into work late today (he had permission). He slept late & got in some much-needed rest before work and then still left & got home at a decent hour. I LIKE that he's recognizing a need for setting work boundaries & trying to find a stopping point in the evenings. Of course we realize that sometimes "stuff happens" & he will have to stay later, but he's making a valiant effort to set a boundary & just leave things for tomorrow. With TIME being my love language, it really touches me to see him making the effort to be here in the evenings as much as he can. Have I mentioned how much I love this guy?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I finally found a website to walk me through the process of adding a feedburner email subscription box to my blog! Thank goodness for!! If you would like to sign up for email updates for this blog, put your info into the box on the right side of this page!

Summer Day 74, Wed Aug 12

Just a reminder:
Our church has embarked on a "Things I Liked About Today..." movement. I just joined in on Tuesday, but the challenge is for us to continue it through the end of this week. I'm kinda 1/2 way betting that they'll be mentioning something about this in church on Sunday, but I'll have to miss it because I'm going to be doing something extraordinarily special at another local church. (more about that on Saturday....) Anyway, here's my list for today.

Things I Liked About Today.......
1. I LIKED finding out that Savannah's friend was not bored to tears during her time here last night. It's good to know that we're not as boring as I thought we might be!

2. I LIKED hearing from my doctor's office this morning. The nurse called with the results of my bloodwork. I like being able to keep up with the actual numbers from one year to the next. My blood sugar, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL/LDL were all good. Yahoo!

3. I LIKED that Savannah's appointment with her doc today went well. I LIKE that my sister was willing to babysit the other 2 kids while we went. I LIKE that they had fun while we were gone.

4. I LIKED taking just Samuel on an errand this afternoon. I love getting 1 on 1 time w/ the kids, even if it is just for a few minutes to make a flying trip to the post office & back.

5. I LIKED that Larry made it home early-ish tonight. I LIKE that he's going to sleep a little late in the morning & get a little extra rest before he goes in to work. He needs it.

6. I LOVE reading all the posts that people are putting on Facebook & blogs for this challenge! How fun to see it spreading far & wide!

7. I LIKE that Cay Bolin called me this evening to offer me a "job" on Sunday mornings. And ya know what's even more fun? I LIKE that God has not let me quit thinking about it since we hung up.....and the way He's leading me to tell her YES is even more exciting. (Hmm...I wonder if Cay's going to read this? I suspect with all the Bethelites reading this...she WILL see it, even if I don't point it out to her, someone will. And she'll crack up when she sees that I am actually leaning toward doing it EVERY Sunday!) I LIKE seeing how He works out these kind of details because I wouldn't have considered calling her to sign up on my own.

8. I LIKED hearing from my sweet girlfriend, Cindy, tonight. I'm thrilled that she's found a new job! What an answer to prayer.

9. I LIKE praying for friends....and I'm watching the clock right now. Just about time for my 9:30 prayer appointment for John's mom.

10. I LIKED the rye crisps & Gatorade I had this evening. yum!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer Day ....something? I can't remember. Tues Aug 11

I became famous today. ha ha! See?

Who knew?

Ok, so here's today's list of things I liked about today!

1. I LIKED waking up on time today. (ya gotta be thankful for the simple things in life right?)

2. I LIKE that I had a clip stuck in the cabinet to pull up my thick curly hair. It was H-O-T in my classroom.
heh hubby would say it was because I was there. (big grin) Have I mentioned that I love that guy? Trust had more to do with the August heat & humidity.
Wait...where was I? Oh yes... seriously, there is nothing pretty about a sweaty preschool teacher.

3. I LIKE that today's sensory unit (smelling) went well. The kids all enjoyed sniffing my "smelly jars" and sniff-testing all the scented lotions I brought with me. They loved the ice & kool-aid powder paintings. And ya know, even though the lemon juice paintings dried so that you couldn't see the lemon juice & it just looked like plain white was fun anyway! I'm anxious for Thursday now. We'll be learning about our HEARING sense. Lots of good listening activities planned!

4. I LIKED that today was the last swim class & both kids received their certificates & award ribbons. They've officially graduated from the level 1 & 2 class!! Yahoo! If we do it again next summer, they can go to Level 3! Good job, Samuel & Sarah!

5. I LIKE that Savannah's sweet girlfriend, Melissa, is here right now. She is one of the sweetest 13 year old girls I know. I'm so glad that she & Savannah are friends. They met in Kindergarten and surprisingly, as they enter 8th grade, they're still close.

6. I LIKE that Larry was able to come home from work at a normal time tonight. Late nights are killer, but part of the territory with his job. The kids were happy to see him home at supper time. (me, too!)

7. I LOVE that there's only a little over a week til Larry & I get to go hide away from the world to celebrate our 15th anniversary. We haven't had a "just us" overnight trip in several years. We've been places but it was with the kids or when we went to see someone. This time, it's just us. No one to go see, no kids in tow, nothing special to do (other than go to the IMAX theater). I can't wait! (Have I mentioned that I love this guy?)

8. I LIKE that the video (above) is out and maybe more Bethelites will jump on board with "things that I liked about today". It'll be fun to see what folks share on their blogs!

9. I absolutely LOVE that although God created the earth & animals and hung the stars in the sky & spins the earth in orbit & makes sure that every molecule of my being works together every second of every minute of every day & that He holds the earth in axis, never letting it spin out of control, hurling us all into space & that He takes care of the birds flying through the air & the fish swimming in the ocean ...... and He's still in love with me & wants to hear about every detail of my day, wants to my my closest friend...even if I screw up & spit on Him in the process. I LOVE that He longs to show me grace & mercy, that He sees how badly I foul up & still wants to hold me close. Yeah, that's gotta be the high point. Just having that moment of recognizing that all over again was awesome. I LIKED that best. Hands down. (Have I mentioned how much I love Him?)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Day 72, Monday Aug 10

Today I'm following Mark & Todd's example & listing "Things I Liked About Today". But first let me tell ya, wow. What a day. Here's a quick run down in the form of "Things I Liked About Today".

1. I LIKE that my mom was able to come keep the kids while I went to my annual check up with the ob/gyn. They always love seeing Grandma. I LIKE that I don't have to go back for a year. :)

2. I LIKE that I was able to get Savannah in with the pediatrician today for her migraines. I LIKE that he's going conservative on treatment & gave us some clear cut things to do unless the migraines persist. I LIKE that he's aware of the problem now and willing to jump in & do something more if need be.

3. I LIKE that we had Dairy Queen for lunch. I love a good crispy chicken salad from DQ. yum yum!

4. I LIKE that I had an hour to sit & talk to my daughter today while her younger bro & sis were in swim class. I LIKE that tomorrow is our final class for the summer.

5. I LIKE that we got all three kids & I a new pair of tennis shoes today. We all needed them for back-to-school. I LIKE that my hubby hasn't looked at the receipt yet to realize how much it cost. LOL!

6. I LIKE that I watched High School Musical 3 with the kids tonight. And I enjoyed it. That's always good. The kids always pick up on the fact that I'm bored w/ their movies if I doze off & snore through most of the plot line.

7. I LIKE that tomorrow I start the Sensory Fun unit with my class. I think they're really going to enjoy it. Either that or they'll be totally overwhelmed....could go either way, but I'd LIKE to see them enjoy it.

8. I LIKE that my sweetie got home safe & sound and we were able to hang out for a while. I LIKE that we're both headed to bed now. I'm sleepy!

9. I LIKE that you made it this far & didn't just X out of this screen.

10. I'd LIKE it if you left me a comment. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer Day 71, Sun Aug 9th

This morning, our plan for the day included AM & PM church with a break in between to rest a little. Oh how things changed.

At about 8:00, my father in law called to let us know that my mother in law had just gotten home from the hospital. She has a broken collar bone. She has osteoporosis & apparently just rolled over in bed & broke it. ouch! We assured him that we'd skip PM church and come to check on her this afternoon/evening.

Off to church we went. Savannah & I were working in the nursery during the late service when she was stricken with the early signs of a migraine. She gets the 'aura' -- flashes of light & spots in her field of vision before it hits. She went to the bathroom for a wet paper towel & stayed there for a while before someone came to get me & let me know she was asking for me. She usually suffers with the intense pain for about an hour before she throws up several times and then the headache subsides slowly. I left my nursery duty & went to one of our pastors' offices to lay in the dark, quiet, coolness & wait for church to end. Larry was teaching a class & I didn't want to disturb him. When church was over, the nausea peeked & she threw up several times on the way to and in the car. (nice, huh?) Poor baby girl. We looked back in her journal & discovered that the last one of these was on July 14th. Just shy of 3 weeks ago. yuck. That's too close for me to feel comfortable any more. I'm calling her pediatrician tomorrow morning to see how quickly they can get her in. It's time for her annual check up anyway, so we can address this all at one time. I'm hoping that we can get her on some sort of medicine that she can take at the first sign of a migraine & knock these things out. I strongly suspect it's all hormone/puberty related, but I hate to see her suffering with these things!

After her getting sick like that, I figured she & I would stay home tonight while Larry and the other kids went to check on his mom. But low & behold, by the time we got home, he had 3 voice mails on his phone. All of them related to a particular case he's working on and he had to leave immediately. That was about 6 hours ago. He's been at his office all day working on that case & is now headed to his mom's house to check on her. His office is actually about 1/2 way between our house & hers, so it didn't make sense for him to come home & get us and then go there.

The kids & I are home. They're watching an iCarly special they have been wanting to see and I'm relaxing a little. Savannah's headache has finally passed completely and there is a sense of calm in the house that wasn't here earlier today.

It's funny how much your day can get turned upside down in an instant, isn't it? Yet another reminder that *I* am not in control...of anything!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer Day 70, Sat Aug 8th

Whoa...I haven't posted a regular blog post in over a week. Whoops! Yeah, I know the 5 of you who read this blog regularly were probably real worried about me. ha ha

Tonight's post is going to be something like "Random Thoughts with Liz". Commence rambling....

Tonight I did something I haven't done in years. I ate steak. I don't have any particular moral or ethical reasons why I don't eat it regularly, I just don't. It's more about the expense & health value of it. We eat chicken, turkey, pork, deer & fish at my house. The few times I've had a burger for the past 5-6 years, it usually upsets my stomach. I do have some red meat. We have a freezer FULL of ground deer & pork (I love that my sweetie is a hunter!). Honest to goodness, he got 1 deer last year and a friend gave us FOUR. Between those & a hog that my dad butchered, I haven't bought ground meat of any kind in nearly a year and there is still TONS in the freezer. We're already looking forward to deer season this Fall. Anyway, I had a steak. My first steak in probably a decade, or close to it anyway.

Honestly, I could totally go vegetarian & enjoy that but I live with a family of carnivores so it'll never happen. (but don't ever worry about me going straight vegan...I've gotta have SOME animal products--milk, chicken, seafood...)

On a totally different topic, let me cheer & say "We have insurance!!!". When Larry switched jobs in early April, we had coverage through the church (his previous employer) for 1 month and then we would be un-covered til Aug. 1st. Hallelujah...August is here!! And just in time, too. I have my annual check up on Monday with my fabulous ob/gyn. Obviously I'm not THRILLED about the check up (read: exam!), but I do like my doctor. She's been my doc since I was 18, minus a brief year when we had different insurance that she wasn't on. (I gave birth to Samuel during that year. I really wish she had been my doc!) Ironically, I have a regular doctor listed as my primary care doc, but I haven't layed eyes on that doctor in probably 5 years. I am blessed with a strong immune system & never have to see her. I see my ob/gyn more often than I see her, so she does all my blood work & stuff that a regular doc would do. Anyway, I'm just thrilled that we have insurance again! We've been able to miraculously make it three full months without any illnesses, injuries or infections. Hooray! I'm so glad that I can let the kids out of their bubble & quit giving them Lysol baths now. :)

Last night, my niece spent the night for Savannah's birthday. On Tuesday night, another girlfriend of hers is spending the night. Friday night, Samuel's best buddy is spending the night. Next Tuesday, Sarah's best friend is spending the night. Oh yeah, I've got some bargaining chips under my belt for the next couple weeks. Yahoo!

Since we went to mom & dad's house tonight, I didn't have to cook supper. Tomorrow night is our LIFE group meeting & we eat there. We eat there. That means 2 nights in a row that I don't have to cook supper. Oh and wait.....Friday night we had pizza delivered. Can I hear a WOOHOO? I'm getting away with *not* cooking for 3 nights. That's gotta be some kind of record.

I guess that's all. Time to go study my Sunday School lesson for the toddler class I'm teaching in the morning. Have a good night's rest & a blessed Sunday!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Happy 13th Birthday Savannah!

On this day in 1996, at 6:43pm, a sweet little 7lb 6oz baby girl was born. After nearly 12 hours of labor, I was so exhausted, but elated at the sight of my sweet little daughter. I can hardly believe that it's been thirteen years. It's hard to digest that we're embarking on a whole new phase of life...the teenage years. Before we know it, she'll be graduating from high school, moving off to college, getting married & having babies of her own.

I wrote this for Savannah & wanted to share it here. I love you baby girl. Happy Birthday!!

13 Things I Love About You....

1. Your independance & self confidence. At your age, I had so little confidence in myself. I wanted to fit in so badly that I was willing to make bad choices & hang out with not-so-nice people to make others like me. I love that you are YOU no matter who's around.

2. Your compassionate spirit. No matter whether you know the person or not, when you hear of someone going through a hard time, you cry & hurt for them. You look for ways to help them and best of all: you pray for them!

3. Your moral compass. Even without me standing over you to watch your every move, you choose the good path almost every time! I'm thankful that the Holy Spirit is at work in you every day, that you desire to make Godly decisions.

4. Your dedication to things. Most kids your age change their minds on a daily basis on everything from their hair & clothes to boyfriends & friends. Not many 13 year olds can say that they've had the same best friend(s) for 7 years!

5. Your love of reading. Don't ever lose that! It's SO good for you!

6. Your responsibility in school. I never have to ask you to do your homework or remind you to study. You just do it!

7. Your affectionate nature. Being a touchy-feely, lovey-dovey person myself, I love this! I'm always up for a hug or kiss. A snuggly little body in my bed, even a 13 year old one, at 2am is still one of my favorite things about being a mom.

8. Your love of family. I adore the fact that Mammaw & Pappaw Jim, Mammy, Grandma & Grandpa and your aunts & uncles are high on your list of people you love most in the world.

9. Our mutual love of cheesecake. It's always good to have someone to share dessert with. You know, gotta cut calories where ya can!

10. Your willingness to help me at school in the summer. (and you do it so well!) I don't know how I'd make it through this crazy summer without you!

11. Your beautiful blue eyes & fantastic smile. I love seeing them light up when you're happy.

12. Your funny run. No matter how much your dad & I joke with you about it, it's ALL YOU and it makes me smile.

13. Your enthusiasm for life. There's no withdrawn teenager stuff from my girl! I love that you're happy & cheerful 90% of the time.

I love you, my sweet teenager!
Love, Mom