Monday, March 28, 2011

why i've been M.I.A...

i had this crazy idea to pack up both of the kids and fly to orlando.  neither of them had ever flown before so i had no idea what to expect and i knew that i was taking a major chance doing this solo.  however - waiting on the other end in florida was warmer weather, the prospect of visiting some of the most celebrated theme parks in the country, and a chance to catch up with one of my very best friends in the world.  so away we went...
 we all made it in one piece and started off the week with a 'family fun night' with all our florida friends...
the ones on the ends are kimberly (by b-f-f from my clemson days) and me...with each of our respective youngest kiddos on the hip.  the gals in the middle are my sweet friends julie and jenny whom  i had the pleasure of getting to know during our 'RV days' when joey and i 'lived' in florida {that's a whole other story for another day}.  
at the time we had a total of 5 tinies between the 4 of us...
now there are 10...
...it only took a dozen shots to get one in which they were all looking at the camera...not bad.
crazy fun was had by all...
including my wild man...
we're still recovering since returning home on friday.  so i'll save some of our silly stories for another day.
in the meantime - here are a few shots of our magical day at disney...
 couldn't have been any better.  it was spontaneous, free, and the weather was perfect.  for me that meant no stress planning the day's events and no urgency to 'get our money's worth' {since all we paid for was parking!}.  we simply enjoyed every minute...and felt so blessed to have had the opportunity...
 {this little guy was completely enamored with minnie}
...all that was missing was daddy...we can't wait to take him back!

{whew!  what a day!}


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

etsy finds ::tweet tweet::

first of all - my last etsy post showcased some cute new dog tags that i ordered for our pups.  just so you know...within 2 hours of putting them on taco and callie...they had been chewed to pieces.  uggghhh.  keep in mind that this probably wouldn't happen with normal dogs that don't have an extreme oral fixation.  looks like we will be going for the heavy duty version next time.  let me know if you have any suggestions.


despite the dog tag mishap...i'm still shopping etsy.
my latest scores...


i couldn't pass them up for some of the sweet new babies i know...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

abundance

one way that our lives have changed since moving to tennessee is that we have to do without 'daddy' a lot more.  joey's new coaching job requires him to travel a good bit so that means the kids and i are on our own much more than we ever were before.  there are some aspects of this that i love {seeking out new adventures to fill our days} and others that are pretty challenging {24/7 parent duty...need i say more?}.  of course the challenging aspects can sometimes be magnified when you are living far away from all of your family and friends and you only actually know a handful of folks.


last week joey left for 5 days to take the team to a tournament in myrtle beach.  
{on a side note - while i'm at home doing 24/7 parent duty for 2 toddlers he is actually on the road doing 24/7 parent duty for 5 college guys...an equally difficult task at times i'm sure}.  
anyway...a few days before he was leaving i hadn't made any plans to go out of town or have someone visit or anything.  i figured the kids and i would just hang out together at home.  the closer we got to his leaving the more i started to question whether or not that was the best idea.  i started to worry that 5 days by myself in our relatively new surroundings without much of a support system might be too much.  when i started to worry i remembered my last blog post and decided to follow lucy's lead.  i prayed this prayer - 
God, you know what i need and when i need it.  i trust you to provide me with whatever i need to make it through the next several days with joey away.


the next day i got a phone call - my stepmom.  she had a question...was there any way that she and my stepsister could make a last minute trip up to visit us for a few days?  of course!  perfect timing...i got just what i needed...
{these pics are from lucy's school program...she was a giraffe : )}
and because God doesn't just halfway answer prayers i got another call the following day from one of the few people we've met in jc asking if the kids and i wanted to get together while joey was away.  at first i was really bummed that she had invited us on a weekend when we already had plans {since lately our social calendar is pretty much wide open}.  
then i realized...
     this was abundance.  
and i felt so loved and cared for...my heart felt full.


now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory...
ephesians 3:20-21 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

my little prayer warrior

a few weeks ago i wrote a post about lucy's 'accident' at chick-fil-a.  i knew a moment like that was something many of you could relate to and most of you would find pretty funny.  today i wanted to share a completely different moment in an effort to highlight just how precious and kind my 2 year old can be {when she is not using the steps of the play area as her own personal potty}.
a couple of days ago i woke up feeling really yucky.  as the day went on i felt worse.  by the evening i was wiped and i sat down to rest on the floor with the kids for a few minutes.  they were being extra silly {but at least doing so cooperatively and not at one another's expense}.  i needed to get them downstairs and fed.

ME: lucy, honey, i really need your help.  mommy is not feeling well.  my tummy hurts and my arm is tingly and it's hard for me to move around.  we need to get downstairs for supper.
LUCY:  {runs over to me and kneels down} wait, mommy!  i pray for you, otay?
ME: {already with tears filling my eyes} yes - that would be so great, honey.
LUCY: {eyes squeezed shut and hands clinched together} 'Dod', thank you for mommy.  please help her arm and heal her and her feel better.  jesus name.  amen {which i swear sounds like 'oh man'}
ME:  lucy, you are the sweetest girl. thank you so much.  i know God will answer your prayer and help mommy.
LUCY: why you crying, mommy?
the answer i gave her was something like - 'because that made me so happy that you did that for mommy'.

but the truth is - this is why those tears were streaming down my face...
the name of jesus comes easy to her lips.  
when something in our lives is going wrong she goes to Him as if he were an old friend. 
and, perhaps most importantly, she believes that He hears her.  so as soon as those words were spoken she bounced back up, hugged me and was ready to go.  free of worry.  free of doubt.  not carrying a burden she wasn't meant to carry but instead easily giving it over to the One who can.
in moments like that i think that God may be teaching me more through my children than he is teaching them through me... 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. ~philippians 4:6


Thursday, March 3, 2011

THAT rest

if you've been reading my blog for a while {that's you, mom...thanks!} - you know that there are a few themes that seem to keep resurfacing.  one of those is my inability to just chill out.  it's a 'personal growth' area that i keep coming back to.  as hard as i try, 'rest' seems to elude me on most days.  traditionally, i've been more of the crazy busy, 'run around like a chicken with your head cut' off types.   
since returning from puerto rico i have been trying to carve out rest in my daily life rather than running full speed ahead until an official vacation comes around {once every few years!}.  what this looks like for me is a spontaneous date night with joey or choosing to spend part of my kids' naptime sitting out in the sunshine reading a book rather than furiously cleaning my house for 2 hours straight.  
a couple of years ago i picked up this coffee mug as a gentle reminder to find rest in my life...
for some reason when i pulled it out of my kitchen cabinet today the word 'that' seemed to be glaring me in the face...it was unsettling really...
so i did a little research.
i realized why 'that' word was staring me down.  i had been misinterpreting it all this time.  maybe even overlooking it all together.
if you read these words within the context in which they were written {always a good idea by the way} you find something much deeper...something i hesitate to even begin to dive into in this post.  in the past 30 minutes i have journaled 4 pages about what i have found...
i would challenge you to dive into the book of hebrews yourself and see what you find.  it's actually one of my favorite books in the bible - perhaps because, as one author puts it - 
'the language is, both in vocabulary and style, purer and more vigorous than that of any other book of the New Testament.' (B.F. Westcott)
you don't need a bible...every single translation of it can be found on the internet.
in a nutshell, i learned this...

::1::  'that' rest = the eternal inheritance that God wants to give us.
wow...that's a little bit more significant than the 'chilling out' kind of rest i had in mind.

::2::  our part in achieving rest = obedience to God
God's part = allowing us to enter into HIS REST
{nice...so the 'chicken with your head cut off' madness is completely unnecessary...what i really need to do is slow down so that i can hear the voice i want to obey}

::3:: God has promised eternal life to those of us who believe in Jesus and our need for salvation through him regardless of how faithful we are to Him {stick with me here...}
BUT - according to this passage in Hebrews - the extent to which we are obedient and faithful to Him {that means He's in control...not me...whew - what a relief!} is the extent to which we will find rest in this life and full blessing in our life to come

if you take some time to explore these passages yourself it's worth taking a peek at genesis 2:2 where God HIMSELF rests {if He did it...I guess it's okay for me to do it too}.  and He did so not because he was tired {come on...God doesn't get tired}...He did so to demonstrate that at the end of a great divine work it is appropriate to stop...to cease... 
we can look forward to the same at the end of our own life if it has fulfilled the purposes to which He has called us.

and one of my favorites - matthew 11:28.  here, as in many other points in history, God promises rest to those who would trust and obey him.  not only that but he provides an invitation.  if you take away nothing else from this bumbling spiritual treatise, please hear this...

Jesus invites anyone who feels a need for help beyond their own capacity to follow him.  To be gently bonded to him so that our life is no longer our own but something much greater.

{if you're like me this life has thrown me a whole heck of a lot of situations that have been way beyond my capacity to handle - from divorce to death to parenting 2 kids under 3 - life is hard.  so this is one invitation i definitely will not turn down.}

so while my little baby naps and my big baby is off at preschool i've had a busy morning - not of cleaning house, but of obediently following this trail to knowledge and understanding that was put before me...
and guess how i'm feeling...
rested