Monday, April 25, 2011

my boy

ok.
so maybe he does look...
{oliver 17 months}


a little bit like me...
{me 18 months}

Sunday, April 24, 2011

easter {giveaway!}

this morning as i took communion alongside friends and family at our new church here in johnson city i closed my eyes and prayed the only words my mind could utter...
   i don't know how to thank you...

how do you thank someone who gave His life so that yours would be redeemed...oh how He loves us...


4 more things to be thankful for on this happy easter weekend...
#1 - these little munchkins...



#2 - 3 generations of bunny cake makers...




#3 - i just got 2 inches chopped off my hair which means i chop at least 5 minutes off drying time.  this is a big deal.  it's actually the difference between me wearing my hair in a ponytail every day of my life and actually blowing it out a few days of the week...yes - i know this really has nothing to do with easter...i'm still thankful...


#4 - soaking in the words of my sweet friend Emily Lynch who so beautifully captured what easter really means to me in her song jesus tore the veil...


Jesus died and rose again
and when he did he tore that veil in two
down into the depths to find the keys to loose the chains and make us new
he saw death and kept his head
and we're forever in his debt
can't measure it


i am saved 
he came for me
that everything
could be redeemed
in my shame
he carries me, he carries me...


and here's the giveaway...
a copy of emily's new cd


it's awesome.
you want it.
all you have to do is either become one of my blog followers or post a comment letting me know something you are thankful for this easter...i'll put all of your names in a hat on tuesday and pick the lucky winner...


happy happy easter y'all...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

aunt lizzy...late as usual...

happy birthday jilly bug! 
{one day late}


this past weekend the kiddos and i took a quick trip south to celebrate jill's 1st birthday.  birthdays are always special but this one was different.  
this one reminded me of the significance of really celebrating the fact that someone was born.  celebrating that it was within God's divine plan that they would be part of your life this side of heaven.  
i'm usually the person who forgets everyone's birthday...but they are important.  and april 12 is one day i will never forget.


if you aren't familiar with jill's story you can take a quick peek at my blog posts from april 2010 - this one - is a good place to start.  and this one tells a little more of the story.


jill's entrance into this world was not typical...it wasn't even expected at one point.  but there is a difference between expectations and hope...right?  


expectations are based on past experience and statistical analysis and professional opinions.  expectations come from flawed human thinking.


hope is based on faith.  hope comes from God.


i think there are probably countless lessons that God has taught us by breathing life into our sweet jill elizabeth.  i think He gifted each of us who witnessed her struggle to be born into this world with the perfect lesson that was in it for us.  this is the biggest one that he gave to me...


from the moment that i knew my best friend was pregnant and there could be complications...to the night that i got the frantic call from the emergency room that something unexpected had happened...to the news that the complications were far different and far greater than we had imagined...to the hospital room where i curled up in the bed next to megan and prayed through tears for the life of that child in her belly...to april 12, 2010 when a precious, healthy baby girl entered this world...


in the middle of all these difficult days.  i knew this day would come...
and then this day...
...not because of any calculated expectations.
because of hope.

sometimes God doesn't give life.  he allows death.  
sometimes he doesn't permit our heart's desire.  he presents us with our greatest fear.  
in all of this, those of us who follow christ know he is working for our good.  
there's a big picture...we don't always see it.
having said that...  

during the season of uncertainty surrounding jill's birth God gave me permission to ask for a miracle.  and i did.  i have often prayed for healing for others.  i have never prayed with all of my heart for a miracle and been so sure that God had already answered my prayer.  if i am honest...before jill i never quite approached the throne of God with the confidence that i should have.  in the quiet corners of my heart God whispered this to me...
you want her to live.  you're afraid to ask. don't be.  
i can do all things.  i can do this.  ask me to.
and i did.  time and time again i pleaded for jill's life with a heart full of hope that can only come from one place...

we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us...
romans 5:3-5






Wednesday, April 6, 2011

how i know i'm getting better...

termites live for only 24 hours.  they can also be contained by simply sticking a piece of scotch tape over the hole they chewed in the wall.  why in the world would i know these things?  let me show you...
this is approximately 1/3 of the termites that swarmed my kitchen yesterday afternoon.  before i completely fill you in on the day's events let me back up...


ok...here is one of the dangers of blogging.  there is the possibility of portraying a picture-perfect life that isn't reality at all.  sometimes we all tend to show the world the best-dressed version of our lives without letting them take a peek at the ugly parts too.  i really don't want to do that.  i want you to see my less-than-perfect moments because i know you have yours too.  


almost 3 months ago joey and i packed up our family and moved to a new town...a new state...a place without the family and friends that we've been so fortunate to share life with the past few years.  the transition has been hard for me.  


i guess we all have our own 'mental health' issues {just nod and say 'yes' so that i will feel normal}.  mine typically lead towards anxiety and in some cases spill over into temporary bouts of depression.  these things often manifest themselves in the form of anger in my heart {and unfortunately sometimes in my words and actions}.  i used to be a psychologist by trade so i'm not using those terms loosely.  i'm also not giving myself an official diagnosis...i'm just letting you know some of the symptoms i struggle with...and have a family history of...


for at least the first month and a half after we moved i felt like i was on 'high alert' - mind, body and soul.  
i was constantly worried about the kids getting hurt in the new house that wasn't completely child-proofed.  
i was worried i wouldn't be able to find where i was going when i was driving around.  
i was worried that something would go wrong with all the workers that were in and out of my house all the time.  
i was worried that our dogs were not adjusting {they have their own mental health issues}. 
i was worried that i physically wouldn't be able to handle a 2 year old and a 16 month old on my own when joey traveled for 4 or 5 days at a time.
i was worried that since i was worrying so much i couldn't be a good mother or wife.  


with all those worries i started to feel overwhelmed...enter depression.  
and while bearing the weight of that overwhelming feeling that i had no control of the things going on around me i started to get a little testy...enter anger.  
it wasn't a pretty picture inside my mind or my heart.  the reality is that few people around me probably even noticed.  my counselor once told me this is because i am extremely adept at 'behavior modification'. 


these low points in my life are not frequent but when they hit, they hit hard and i am faced with the task of going back and strengthening places in my life that have become weak.  i don't know if the way i handle these seasons is completely correct.  i do know that eventually i come out on the other side feeling stronger and grateful to have made it through.  my relationship with God and with others around me is deepened tremendously...so much that the next time one of these predicaments comes around i seem to recover more quickly and with less turmoil.  


my go-to procedure is simple - hole-up and use every ounce of energy that remains to pour into my relationship with Christ...because i know it's the one thing that i will always gain much from no matter how little i have to put in.  i know that His strength is made perfect in my weakness and that to grow spiritually i must admit my weaknesses and be strengthened by something outside of myself.  
suddenly these seasons of pain and heartache are something far greater...they are a way of refining me.


so here's how i know i'm getting better...


yesterday when i woke up my house was not spic and span but instead of fuming and starting to furiously clean i ignored it and sat down at my kitchen table for a quiet time of reading and praying.  it wasn't perfect...lucy decided to wake up at 6:15 so she interrupted me every 5 or 10 minutes but i persevered and didn't let it rattle me.  


i had a lot of things i needed to do during oliver's morning nap so i didn't get a head start on dinner or anything else that i typically do.  it was ok.


i made a run to w@l-mart on the way to pick lucy up from school.  when i got there and stuck oliver in the cart it was 12:15 and i realized i had forgotten to feed him lunch.  no big deal...we just headed straight to the grocery section and picked up some cheese and bread to munch on.


ran in to get lucy from school and as we were walking out i put my arm around her and realized she was soaking wet.  she has not had one single accident since she started school here 3 months ago.  this was the first and boy was it a doozy.  soaked through her panties, leggings, dress, socks...and of course - i had no change of clothes for her.  i hurried her out to the car, stripped her down, 'washed' her with baby wipes and made do with what i had...a dirty washcloth for her to sit on and her fleece jacket for her to wear...
just so you know...there are no panties on under there and it was 50 degrees here yesterday. but guess what...me?  calm as a cucumber...even giggling on the inside a little bit.


later i included oliver in my afternoon cleaning to give him something to do.  he was assigned to window washing but when i looked over he was doing this...
who knew that you could use a spray bottle as a sippy cup?!?  i was just relieved that it was his water and not my windex.  whew...no harm done...


later in the afternoon i walked over to our kitchen window and noticed a few bugs crawling around on the floor...then a few more...and within minutes hundreds of termites were rushing out from underneath my refrigerator....aaaaggghhhh!!!
the kids found this rather interesting and wanted a closer look.  i'm trying to hold them back and spray the termites with the only thing i had - wasp spray {which WORKED by the way!}. i have my cell phone in one hand calling joey and the spray can in the other and my leg blocking the kids from getting closer.  it was crazy...but i didn't lose it...i handled it...


a month ago a day like yesterday would have broken me.  this time it didn't.  
that means i'm stronger and that's how i know i'm getting better.  
i take no credit for my improvements...a messy life like mine requires divine intervention...and that's just what i got.  
that's what i always get when the messiness of my life meets the love and grace of my savior.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

welcome spring...

today it is 70 degrees in johnson city.  yesterday it was 50...somehow that already seems like a distant memory...


a couple of weeks ago lucy and i took advantage of our first glimpse of spring weather {even though i knew it wouldn't last} and planted some flowers...


2 days later she was making snow angels in our yard...
2 weeks later...despite the fact that it has still been pretty chilly around here...everywhere we look spring is fighting hard to break through...


not unlike my heart that has burst open after being buried in a hard, barren ground the past few months.  sometimes life brings change and uncertainty and tasks that seem insurmountable but God keeps tending to us and eventually the result is a life that is more beautiful and blossoming than it ever was before.  welcome spring...


Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! ~2 corinthians 5:17

oh...and on a side note...we are pretty happy to be back home with 'da-da'...