Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Embarrassing Moment

OK so how long has it been since my daddy has seen me in my underwear???? Um you would think the answer would be since I was a little girl but no it was today. We started working in the yard at the house and it hasn't been touched in about 5-6 years so you can imagine the mess it is in. Dad and John were cutting tree limbs down and we were carrying them off. Jake worked his tail off today by the way. There was an old bucket that I picked up to put in the trash pile and it was heavy so I had to carry it up against me. Well apparently some fire ants had made there bed in this bucket and I made them angry and well within about 30 seconds I started feeling some stings and I looked down and my clothes were COVERED in fire ants. I panicked in a way that I haven't in a very long time. Mom was standing beside me and I just stripped down to my underwear right there and handed her my clothes. I was standing in the front yard and my dad, John,mom and the boys were all watching (quite amused I might add). It was quite embarrassing but I am so glad that my neighbors down the street had just drove by less than 2 minutes before this happened and not during the process. I would have come home with a BANG had that happened. I got a few bites on my stomach but my quick thinking (really just paniking) saved me from a ton of bites. Never thought I would find myself standing in my underwear between my daddy and my husband. I really can't believe that I am posting this but I couldn't let you all miss out on the humor!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Encouragement for today

"If we are to change we must be regularly preaching the gospel to ourselves and believing it.  We must be continually showing ourselves, and those we counsel, the depths and greatness of God's love for them.  We must stop wasting our time trying to convince ourselves that we are lovable, and instead rest in the glorious fact that we are loved.  It is this message which God uses to change us at the motivational level."
-Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Group Handbook, 9

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ideas Please

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trust in you."  Is 26:3

About 1:15 this morning God spoke these words to me.  I had one of my very common sleepless nights (literally) last night and as I lie in bed and thought about the events of the day - my frustrations with the boys - this was what God said to me.  It was soothing but challenging all at the same time.  Perfect peace won't come when life is settled again and all is well in our house, it won't come when our debts are paid in full and we don't carry that burden anymore, it won't come when my list of things I want to see happen in my life are complete, or even close.  Today is the day that i can have perfect peace.  It will only come and stay (hence the word keep) if my mind is steadfast on Him.  And this won't happen unless I am choosing minute by minute to trust him.  So in the business of my life and knowing my struggles and bents my  question for the rest of my sleepless night was how can I practically make this true for me in the business of the next few weeks.  It is so hard for me, realistically, in these times to sit and have focused time with the Lord.  One of the things that came to my mind was to really spend some time in the morning listening to praise music and really just picking one song or hymn and think on it throughout the day.  Music is very calming to my soul and it settles my rushed spirit like very few things.  I often fail to take advantage of this but really want to use my morning walks not as a time to think about my to do list but to visit with my Father.  I don't think to stop and turn music on during the day as I go about my day so I don't get to listen to it much.  I have a few favorite worship songs that I stick to and don't venture from so I would love some suggestions. I just want some depth to the words that makes me have to stop and think- that distracts my mind.  I am weird I know but I would love ideas if you have some favorites.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Please Please Pray!!!

Most of you reading this love me and my family and for that I am so grateful and it gives me more freedom to just be real with you right now.  I really need your prayers especially through the next month.  As you have read countless times on this blog I am a task person.  I have to fight hard to choose to love my family over completing a task that needs to be done.  It is a thorn in my flesh and when life is quite it is not so hard but now this desire is raging within me.  There is a lot to be done to get my grandmothers house ready and I will be the one doing a lot of the painting and such because John has to work.  I have to really choose to stay in there with the kids when I am gonna want to be getting things done.  I am just on edge and my time with God has come to a halt in the last week or so.  We just had a spankfest at our house and yes the boys were disobedient and needed the spanking but they didn't need it from their angry mother.  I had to go back and ask both of them to forgive me for spanking them in anger.  So please just pray that God would shower His grace and mercy on me this month and that I would daily make the harder choices for me.  

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Here

So we are semi moving at the end of this week.  We have decided that our family does not do well in between.  It is just not how I am wired and we have the option to head on to Kennedy and get this next year and half moving.  So our plan is to head out this weekend.  We will be staying with my parents for a few weeks while we knock out the house work and then we will come back and move our stuff.  Yesterday and today I have been really sad and cried alot.  I just read a quote on a friends Facebook page that has been a breath of fresh air for my heavy heart today:

"Wherever you are be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God." - Jim Elliott

I strongly believe this to be the will of God for our family.  It is the very best but it makes me very sad.  I just didn't expect it and wasn't prepared for it and I just thought we were done.  As I read this quote I decided that I have to make a decision.  So I decided to be all there and to enjoy it.  
My prayer is that I will delight greatly in the boys that God has given me - all 3 of them.  They are wild at heart and this new home will be an amazing playground with a different adventure around every corner. I want to be all there with them and experience there adventure with them rather than sitting on the sidelines sulking because I would rather be somewhere else.  This weekend we were there and Jake and Brady spent 2 ENTIRE days outside.  They were completely filthy but loving life at the end of the day.  My heart is so sad as I walk away from some long needed friendships that are really taking shape as of late.  I fear that God is not good enough to me to preserve them until I return or replace them with equal ones if these do not continue.  I stink at keeping in touch - singleminded!!!!  So I ask that if and when you think of me over the next few months that you would pray that I would choose every day to enjoy what I believe to be God's will for my life.  I want to fight for contentment and find it in my Father and not my circumstances.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary to US!!!!

Today, John and I are celebrating 8 years of marriage and 14 years of life together.  The events of our life for most of the last 8 years have be quite challenging quite often but our marriage has been rock solid thanks to the Lord's faithfulness.  I love this man with all my heart.  We fuss and fight but we are so in love with each other.  There is NO ONE else I could ever imagine sharing my life with - even if it often means chasing wild hairs with him!!!!  I could not imagine a better father for my children. I am so thankful that the Lord redeemed our relationship and that he chose to not only let it survive but He made it THRIVE!!!!  I will completely give God all the glory for our relationship.  It is He who has put people in our lives that taught us how to be a couple - to fight fair, to talk openly, to play and have fun.  It is He that continues to show us our sin and to walk us through the same struggles sometimes 50 times before we see progress.  It is He who we delight in and desire to live out our days as husband and wife glorifying.  Thank you God that your plan for me was John and that you gave me my best!!!!!  
I have written our sweet story of God's redemption in several post below for those of you who care to read it!!!!!  I LOVE OUR STORY!!! It is a perfect picture of how GOD MAKES ALL THINGS NEW!!!!!

Our Story - Part 3

(if you want to read the rest start at part 1)
The night that we became Christians, Jk, left the house and did not say one word to us about our living situation.  He began meeting weekly with John and teaching him how to study the Bible.  I got hooked up in a Bible study as well.  It was a little over a month later that John and I really became convicted about our living situation.  So I found a roommate for the spring semester (quarters then) and John lived on JK's couch for about a month until he could move into the dorms.  (we later ask JK and Tammy why they never challenged us to move out and they said they knew the Holy Spirit would do it in time and that He would be a true conviction) That summer, John went to SBP and I stayed behind for OT school and meet one dear friend that taught me all I know about marriage and parenting - Emily Teague.  I wouldn't have traded that summer for a 1000's SBP's.  Late fall of 1998, John and I decided it was time to break off our engagement.  It wasn't an issue of our feelings for each other quite as much as it was about knowing if this was God's will or ours for us to be married.  It was hard because our lives were completely interconnected.  We still spent time together and kinda acted like we were together until the first week of SBP 1999.  This was the week that John decided that it was time for us to not spend any time together.  We had to really sort this out and it was so hard.  So the summer was spent completely apart doing our own thing.  I stayed after SBP to babysit and John left and spent a week at my parents river house alone.  He said he really needed to be with the Lord and decided if God's will was for us to be together or if it was just what we had known for so long.
Often when I share this story I tell people that I felt like Abraham walking up the mountain to slay Issac.  God had told me to lay this relationship on the alter.  For me it was not a question of my feeling for John - I loved him and had always loved him even in those silly teen years it was real.  So I chose to obey God because I believed His word to be true.  Jer. 29:11 became my sustenance during this time - it kept me going.  I could not see that John was not the best for me but God gave me the faith to believe that He had my very best in store and that He would give it to me if I chose to trust Him and surrender my wants and desires.  This was probably one of the hardest 3 months of my life. (Jill do you remember :))  
About a month after school started, John ask me to go to lunch with him on a Wednesday.  I had a terrible sinus infection but I was not about to pass up time with him.  (I had told the Lord that I wanted to marry John and that I would trust him to show John otherwise and close the door if it were not the best.  I knew I couldn't trust my emotions so I ask the Lord to slam it shut if it needed to be.)  So we went to lunch and talked about our summers.  After lunch we went to the park near South and sat by the lake and we continued talking about our summers for 2 hours.  It was great because, he was my best friend and I hadn't talked to him all summer.  After that talk, he told me that he felt like God had given him a solid answer about our future and he pulled out my ring and ask me to marry him again.  I was completely shocked - we had been sitting there for 2 hours!!!!  Of course I said yes and bust into tears.  God gave him back to me and I feel completely blessed!!!

Our Story - Part 2

(read part 1 below if you are interested in hearing the whole story)
We moved to Mobile in May of 1997 and I started summer classes.  Oh, and we were living in a townhouse together.  I met a few girls that summer that I started spending time with.  I really saw a difference in their lives and how they lived and what they talked about.  When fall classes started they invited us to a picnic that Campus Outreach was having to welcome the students back and meet the new ones.  John wanted to play intramural football and one of my friends had told me that a guy there was putting together a team.  So he decided to go with me.  I remember meeting JK for the first time.  He was flipping burgers and he said "My name is Jonathan King, but just call me JK."  He had that sheepish grin on his face that now is so endearing to my heart.  We met several people that day and had a blast.  Some of those people have become our life long friends (even though we stink at keeping in touch Todd Russell!!!). So John began to play football with JK and his team.  Several girls starting initiating time with me as well.  At this point, I would have told you that I was already a Christian and was ready to re-dedicate my life to Christ.  For me, now the big part was getting John - who said something drastic would have to happen for him to believe there was a God - to believe.  John came home from the first practice and said JK approached him afterwards and started talking to him about God.  He said it was ok and JK challenged him to read the book of John.  So he did - and well after a thousand conversations with JK the drastic thing had happened.  
JK came over to eat dinner with us one night (I remember he was wearing this red Alabama sweatshirt - that he was wearing at my house this last Christmas 10 years later :))  He talked with us alot about the book of John and clearly shared the gospel with us.  For me, I realized that the key thing I was missing was not the belief in God but the lordship surrender.  That night, October 27, 1997, John and I both prayed to receive Christ together.  

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Story - Part 1

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary - 8 years of marriage and 14 years of being together. I love the story that God gave us surrounding our relationship and I thought that in honor of our special day I would share with you are beautiful story of redemption.
I went to school at a small private school in Fayette, Alabama.  John started this school our 11th grade year.  He was a football player and I was a cheerleader (really?).   We became fast buds - really just friends to start with.  We really had fun laughing and cutting up together.  Every time he saw me in the halls he would say "Hey sugar."  It was a fun relationship that, surprise, surprise, turned into more of a love interest rather quickly.  So he ask me to go on our first date together for Friday, September 16, 1994.  The night before we had a football game and I of course was elated to be cheering for him on the sideline. Oh those high school days.
So we went on a double date with some good friends and well that started a relationship that is celebrated 14 years tomorrow.  Our years in high school were good but rocky.  We both broke up twice during the next two years only to always end up together again.  The fall of 1996, after graduating high school John proposed to me and of course I said yes.  We spent 1 year at the JuCo in our home town where his mom taught before moving to South Alabama.   
I had gone to church off and on during my life and would have said to you I was a Christian.  I tried to be a good girl.  John on the other hand, did not even believe in God.  I specifically remember a conversation we had our senior year of high school (I even remember exactly where we were and what we were doing) in which he told me that something drastic would have to happen for him to believe that there is a God.  I continue to love him and later planned to marry him so that tells you where I stood spiritually as well.  So our Sophomore year of college we moved to University of South Alabama.  I planned to be an Occupational Therapist and well John just planned to follow me down there and decide later.  This move completely changed our life!!!!! If you care, read part 2 to find out how.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Look what we saw today!!!

So yes there is a hurricane in the gulf that is over 200 miles wide (bigger than katrina) and we came to the beach. John and I needed a break so we headed to his moms (nana's) in navarre beach. It was amazing to see how the waves and wind were so strong today. We went down to the beach and the waves were amazing. Some of them were as tall as me when they were crashing onto the beach. Brady could not stand up by himself in the wind. He was determined to do it and he would get down and try and every time it would blow him over. The boys got to see kite surfers (wind surfers) and loved it!!!! The winds were sustained at about 40 miles per hour on the beach (or so I was told). The beach was amazing and very foamy. Anyway, just thought it was amazing that the hurricane is almost 200 miles from the beach we were on and yet it was really affecting here. Several of the roads had to close because the water had rose so much. Anyway, it was pretty cool.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


My sweet friend April calls Brady this every time he does something silly so I thought if quite fitting to title this post Bradykins...because he is silly.

Brady has started wanting to pray like Jake does at meals so we started off doing the little "God our Father" song that Jake learned at Mothers day out a few years ago.  Then we moved on to teaching him to talk to God.  So now he walks around saying Goooddd, help me.  I so hope this will be his battle cry for the rest of his life and every time I hear him say it I pray that for him.  Well, the other morning he was sitting in the living room floor playing by himself.  No one was watching or listening to him (so he thought) and he meshed the two.  He began to sing the words "God help me" to the tune of God our father.  I thought well that works to...good job Brady.  Well then for the silliness.  But the crazy thing is he wasn't being silly for anyone, he just said it and went on about his business.  Well the next line of the little song is We thank you, we thank you.  Well Brady seem that his jingle sounded better:

God help me, God help me
Cockedoodle do, Cockedoddle do.

Kids say the darnedest things!!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Homecooking in the Crockpot

So I am a big fan of e-mealz. In an attempt to cook healthy and save money I have been using their walmart weight watchers point systems menu. One of the recipes I tried tonight was so good and so easy I thought I would pass it along for those of you who appreciate peas and cornbread.

1 1lb dried black eyed peas (sorted, rinsed and drained)
12 oz Farmland diced ham
6 cups water
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper (each)
2/3 cup salsa (I think next time I will use canned tomatoes instead)

Put all but salsa in crock pot. Cook on high for 2-3 hours and then cook on low the rest of the day. I would start them first thing in the morning. I did what she said and mine were not done completely. You don't put the salsa (or tomatoes) in until the last 30 minutes.
1 cup serving is 4 points

you can make your own cornbread or the kind they suggested was the betty crocker mix. Make as directed and add 1/2 cup 2% shredded cheese. These are only 3 points per muffin.

It really tasted great and I loved being able to have this southern comfort favorite without having to be home all afternoon for them to cook on the stove top. It was just easy.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Prayer for All Men

So this morning on the way to school Jake reminded me that we needed to pray.  I love this time with him and I love to hear him talk to God.  He is learning so much at school about how to just talk to God and to praise him.  It is sweet to a mamma's heart.  So back to this morning, this was part of his prayer:

"Loorrdd, I just want to ask you that all the people that don't have you in their heart would get you in their heart and Loorrdd, would you please hurry up and make Satan nice so that he will stop trying to make people do bad things."

 Then he continued to pray for his day like he'd been praying this prayer all his life.  
After his prayer we began about a 5 minute conversation about satan.  How did he get bad?, What color is he, what does his eyes look like, where does he live? under the ground? what is a spirit? how does he make people do bad things?  These moments are just priceless to me.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Integrity opens doors to the gospel

I am studying 1 John with some ladies at the church this fall.  This week we talked about integrity in relationships and how that basically means that we are the same all the time in relationships.  We have some relationships that we feel we need to be super spiritual and some that in which we don't want to be spiritual at all.  Why is it that we do that?  For me I know of 2 reasons. First, I don't want them to think that I am weird or not "cool" or that I don't know my stuff.  Second, is that for the not so spiritual, I always think that they don't understand anyway so why bother (why I parent the way I do, why we spend our time the way we do, etc.)  But as we talked about this Gal 1:10 and Tammy Murden came to my mind.  Galatians 1:10 basically says that if I am serving man then I am not serving God. And Tammy Murden always, always told me to live my life for an audience of 1.  So basically when I change how I talk and what I do when I am around the lost (even my family) I am not serving God and living with Him as my ONLY audience.  Challenging!!!
I have seen this play out over the last couple weeks in various ways.  One specific.  A family member that is not a believer and I were having a discussion that we have had 1000 times.  Usually during this conversation I seem to coddle her or not say much at all because, well I just didn't think it would matter.  I decided this time to speak the truth and pray it would be received in love. opened the door to about a 1 hour gospel presentation.  The only thing I did different was speak truth - God's word into this situation rather than comfort her with empty words.
I am challenged by this idea on both sides of the spectrum.  I want my relationships to be ones of integrity across all spectrum's.  I don't want to just do good for people but I want to speak good (truth) to them as well.  I must say that heading back to my hometown will really be a challenge for me in this area.  I became a believer when I was at college and haven't return there for any length of time since then.  I was a good kid but I want people to really know that my life is different.  This means living out these relationships with integrity.  Please pray that God will give me opportunities there and that I will take them and not miss out on the blessings that come with obedience.  We are headed to a dry and barren land!

Friday, September 5, 2008

A New Found Nugget

So since I will be homeschooling next year, I have been reading alot about Charlotte Mason's ideas about teaching children. Her concept is very interesting to me - especially having boys. So last night I was reading a forum and they were talking about two children's books teaching boys about chivalry. The books were The White Knight and Sir Knight of the Splendid Way both by W.E. Cule. So tonight I went searching for these books and came upon an amazing nugget!!! A website called Grace and Truth Books
As I looked through this site there are what appears to be some great character building books for kids. There is a series for children ages 4-8 that tell the stories of Corrie Ten Boon, Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael and George Muller. One of the things that is so appealing to me about Charlotte Masons ideas is that she says that we need to not present the world to our children in a series of facts but rather make it come alive to them through exploration. She talks about living books about real people and real things that they learn from and these mini biographies would be very visionary for my boys - any child homeschooled or not. There are books geared toward boys and girls. So I think we are going to start with this selection for us to read together with the boys (maybe just Jake right now). I will share with you what I think about them. If any of you order books from here I would love to hear your thoughts on them. Many of these books are older writings so we shall see how they go with this generation. I expect them to not be very watered down but that is ok with me because I know that kids are way smarter, way earlier than we often give them credit for. Let me know what you think.

In Need of Wide Open Spaces!!!!

"Of all the animals, the boys is the most unmanageable." AMEN Pluto!!!

Wildness has inhabited our house of late and I absolutely love it and hate it all at the same time. It really seems that almost daily they acquire more energy. The problem for me is not that they have so much energy but that we don't have a back yard for them to get rid of some of the energy. We load up every day and get out of the house and we go play and run off our energy. Then we come home for the calmness to last long enough for them to refuel with a drink (water - no sugar) and a little snack and then they are raring to go again. With our upcoming move we will have a whole country side they can explore which is great for them but for now..well lets hope we all make it sanely to that sweet open space!!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

It is Best!!!

Well, we have made our decisions and yes they are the best but I am very sad.  John and I are packing up camp and leaving bham for a somewhat short stint.  We are moving to the country to live in my grandmothers house.  I am not excited about the move itself but I am very excited about what the sacrifice of 12-18 months will provide our family in the years to come.  I see God's hand all over this and I know it is His best for us.  For those of you who care to know more about the decision you can read my next post.

God's Hand in Our Move

So for those of you who have spent any time with us you know that we are burdened with a lot of debt.  Most of it was from John going back to school and us not having an income that year.  We don't regret that decision at all.  Some of our debt is a result of bad decisions that we have made along the way.  But regardless of why we have it we do and it is tying our hands in so many ways.  John and I desire greatly to be laborers for God's kingdom.  We want to (and do now) spend our time and energy investing in lives of people.  Are job is not full time ministry but we see our life as full time ministry.  Over the past few months (since John is now working from home and flexible) we have spent lots of time and  conversations discussing where we really want to invest our time.  Through these conversations, John has really felt the burden of our debt and how it limits us right now.  So while John has been thinking and praying about this decision, God has done 2 great things in my heart preparing me for what was to come.  Here is what he has been doing:

1. In early June, we were traveling back from the beach and the following dialogue began a several hour long conversation:
A- I know what I am about to tell you is going to shock you but I need you to hear me out...I feel like God has been prodding my heart to consider homeschooling the boys.


now for all you homeschooling moms - we have nothing against homeschooling I have just always said that I didn't see me doing it because of my personality.  So for me to say this was HUGE.  My sis in law agreed when I told her today.

2. I have had somewhat of a strained relationship with my mom - whom we will be living right beside.  Over the summer, with the help of a godly mentor in my life, God has really began to do a huge heart change in me regarding our relationship.  Not much has changed in how we relate but tons has changed in how I view our relationship.  Had these changes not happened this could not even be an option.

So when John came to me a few weeks ago and told me what was on his heart I told him absolutely not.  I even, in my sinfulness, told him that he needed to tell me now if this was going to be an issue that I would have to just submit to him about because he would not convince me that this is best. ( r u laughing?)  So he, in his calmness that never ceases, said to me "Will you just pray about it a few days and then we will talk?" I begrudgingly said yes and almost immediately God began to show me - remind me- of what has happened in my heart this summer.  It was if he said - this is why my timing is perfect.  For me, Jake's school and my relationship with my mom would have been hands down 2 of the 3 biggest barriers for me making this decision.  So God in his faithfulness softened my heart to the idea so much so that I could at least begin to discuss it with John.  As he talked and we looked at the numbers, we saw that in 12-14 months we could have all of our debt but one small school loan (3% interest rate) paid off.  That in and of itself makes me say ahhhh.  So we prayed and talked and I felt God really give me a peace about the decision.  
I will admit that sometimes I have to fight with Satan over keeping this peace.  So I beg you to pray for me as we move into this phase of our life.  The sacrifices are so worth the payoff for us for the long haul of our life.
The third barrier for me was walking away from my dear friends here.  John and I have just begin to feel like we have come out of a dry spell in our life regarding fellowship and now it seems that we are walking back into one. This by far makes me the saddest.  But, the couple friends I have told so far about this decision have been supportive and even committed to me and maintaining our friendship during our time away.  Thank you so much - you know who you are!!!
So here is the beginning of the next chapter in the cook's tour of the states :) More to come later.