Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cooper's Confession

Scroll down and check out Cooper's photo on the right.

Yep, he is the one showing horns. He can be a little devil, but he can also melt my heart at times. Like when, after months had past since his Great Gran's passing, he finally and completely out of the blue one evening confessed through sudden, painful tears that he didn't presently care that his Gran Gran was happy in Heaven and that he wanted her here on earth for his 5th birthday. His honesty was so hard to hear, but also so refreshing to know that he would trust me with what he was struggling with in his heart.

This morning, he hesitantly came to me with another confession that, once again, had me in tears, hugging him and reassuring him, while also secretly thanking the Lord for Cooper's heart and his honest.

Cooper: Mama, I have something to tell you, but I don't want anyone else to hear.

Me: Ok, Whisper it to me.

Cooper: *whispering* Last night before I fell asleep, I prayed that Daddy would find a job.

Me: (already feeling the ears welling up) You did? Well that is very sweet honey. You don't need to be embarrassed about that.

Cooper: *still whispering, but now starting to cry* but, even though I prayed for it, I really don't want him to find a job. I don't want him to be gone.

Me: (never one to make anyone cry alone...) Oh, Baby. I know. well. I know. It has been nice having so much time with Daddy. Oh...

I went on to tell Cooper that is was perfectly natural for him to want Daddy to always be here at home with us and that it was good that he asked the Lord to give Daddy what Daddy is seeking, even though it wasn't what Cooper himself wanted. It was a nice conversation with Cooper about thinking of others first and caring more about that than of what our own desires are.

Many times yesterday, I thought about God's message to me through Cooper's confession. This time of having Nathan home has been wonderful. It has provided a lot of time for us as a couple and for Nathan to spend some extra time with the children. As strange as it may sound to the world, it has been a blessing to our family. Lately, I am easily tempting to worry about our future. Cooper's words to me were a fresh and specific reminder from the Lord that He is working this time for His good and that all of it is inside His plan for us.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Refresher Course On Flexibility

Ohhhhh, today did not go as planned.

Sing it with me, "Mama said they'll be days like this. They'll be daaaays like this, my Mama said (Mama said-Mama said)!"

Nathan was working for a friend at the fair grounds today. We knew he would be gone for most of the day- from before the kids got up until after 5pm. SO, about a week ago I planned a day of Mama-only fun for today.

Then today actually happened.

The kids slept in a little later than normal, which was fine. I got up a little slower than normal, so it all evened out. The first plan was fresh made banana bread. However, any banana bread recipe worth it's pure vanilla extract takes 40 minutes to an hour just to bake. I needed to feed the kids before an hour from when we all got up. (This is where a former version of myself would have become unglued with the day and decided to say in my jammies until Nathan came home.)Instead, I tossed them all a granola bar to tie them over and set about to make the bread only to find that we were out of eggs. This is a major pet peeve of mine. Ignoring my flesh instinct to call Nathan and give him a snide remark about using the last eggs and not putting it on the grocery list, I took a deep breath and decided that banana bread wasn't meant to be breakfast here today and we moved on to looking for a plan B. I was pleased beyond anything I could tell you to look in the freezer and see a couple of freezer bags full of Nathan's famous homemade waffles that he made from scratch last night. So THAT'S where the eggs went!

Problem solved. Now for the REST of our day. I needed to get to the bank and decided to give the kids a trial with me at the grocery store. They knew that if they became disruptive, we would leave the cart and go home- with no banana bread in our future.

In I went, with my whole crew. (It always makes me giggle to see people's faces as I walk into places with all of my children. They don't knw what to make of me!) the children did fine and we headed home.

Oh yeah. I am potty training Annagail currently. She is doing great, but still in the stage where she really needs to be close to the potty, so I looked at my list and immediately scratched off the park and Target for jelly bellies. "Closing Out My Garden" was next on the list. SURE! We can do that. Let's have at it!

I threw some loose shorts on Annagail to cover her cute, little fanny from the neighbors and we headed outside. The kids were more than thrilled to carry my pots, now full of nothing more than end of the season soil and shriveled stems, and dump them into the woods. One measly pot was carried up to the woods and dumped before Annagail had to go potty. Before I could get to her, it was too late. Accidents are expected this early in potty training (day 4). I just knew right then that she wasn't at the point where anything touching her fanny was going to help her. So, what to do now? Four kids were outside, eager and excited to do a little playing in the dirt and cleaning and one who couldn't wear pants. Hmmmm. My choices: freak out completely and declare today a complete misfire, thus accomplishing nothing but a mountain of Mama guilt at day's end OR roll with and think of a , now, plan C.

I had the kids pull all of the bikes and scooters off of the porch and I blocked the exit. Now, Annagail could come out onto the porch without Oh-fending any passers by :o) The kids helped me finish cleaning out my pots from my container garden and stacking them in the closet. They played on their toys while I took advantage of the clear porch and gave it a good sweep and wash down to clean off the soil spots where the dirt had been.

The rest of the day has been filled with some book reading, LOTS of false alarm trips to the potty (Lots and Lots and LOTS!), and a few discipline issues. It hasn't been the day I thought or wanted it to be, but it has been what it was mean to be I am sure.

Learning to be flexible and teaching my children to be flexible with life has been one of the greatest by-products of having this great, big family of ours. It doesn't always go according to plan, but as long as we don't get rigid and refuse to adapt, we don't get too stressed about it. The kids are the same way. I appreciate that characteristic in them. I think having that flexibility makes it far easier for us to lean on the Lord. We submit to His will easier, because we know that He is in control and our plans are only OUR plans. They are feeble compared to the purpose that God has for us.

So I picked up eggs at the grocery store with the kids. I still haven't gotten to that banana bread yet, but I will later tonight...maybe.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Fall Makeover

On the kids' first day of school back in July, Casey called, was in town from Texas, and wanted to come over and photograph our family. It was a busy day and my house was a wreck, but I SO wanted to see Casey. She is very talented and the images that are now making this blog look so lovely are just a sampling of the beautiful images she captured. I am telling you, I saw bridesmaid gowns on my two oldest in some of these images. They have grown up so fast and the rest is going to go like lightening, isn't it?

Thank you so very much Casey!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Crazy Love

I am a part of an online book club and we are reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.


I love the book AND the club. It is a big club (we are talkin' women that cross the globe, seriously), yet it still seems intimate somehow.

The book.

At first glance and after the first few minutes of listening to Chan's delivery style (he has videos that correlate with the chapters online), you might just toss him into the category of the droves of "pastors" out there these days that spend more time pressing their Ed Hardy t-shirts and picking out just the right belt to match than they do their message, but you would be wrong. You know who I am talking about-the ones that seem "too cool fro school" and try so hard to be trendy that they often don't get taken seriously when they claim to be pastors at the coffee shop and take pride in that, because it somehow fortifies the status of "rebel" that makes them feel better about the softballs they are throwing their audience in the way of spiritual truth. If you lump Chan into that category, it seems you would be dead wrong. He seems pretty "hip" and "with it", but He is also speaking truth without prejudice.

It is obvious that he desires change in the church (by that I mean the WHOLE of the church). However, Chan doesn't spend time dismantling the body of Christ with divisive, unproductive slurs that only seek to deflect true seekers and are counterproductive to the sharing of the gospel. Instead, He makes quick work of taking to task the attitudes and , what He calls "the amnesia" of the church.

I walked away from reading the intro and chapter one feeling renewed in my awe for my Heavenly Father-- reminded of how His greatness should overwhelm me on a daily basis and that even as big and as great as He is,

He.made. me.


He delivered His Son into the hands of death.

for. me.

Did you hear that? For ME.

I am going now to read some of the discussions from the book club and then to get a start on chapter two. Join me?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Eleven Years

In 5 minutes, Nathan and I will have been married for eleven years.

I think back to those two kids that sobbed their way through their vows and I hardly recognize them. We recently hung our large wedding portrait in the entrance way to our apartment. I can see it when I am in the kitchen and at the dining table. It is a wonderful thing to think back on that day often. We didn't have a clue what was ahead of us. We thought we were ready. In some ways, we were ready for ANYTHING that could come our way, because we loved each other so very much. In other ways, we were SO NOT READY. The really great news is that our life was in His hands, even when we didn't acknowledge it. His plan was perfect for us even when we had no idea of how much He would change us.

Have I shared with you that Nathan planned and kept our Honeymoon a complete secret from me until our wedding reception? How romantic is that?!?!?!?!? After our ceremony and after our first dance, the DJ announced that we would be leaving (in like 15 hours!!!) for an eight day cruise of the Western Caribbean. It was a magical moment for me. In hindsight, these eleven years have been full of surprises like that. There have been lots of surprise pink lines. There have been course changes that have led to new journeys. There have also been some not-so-fun surprises. However, the love that brought us to that wisteria covered gazebo, on that hot September evening in Georgia all those years ago, has grown through ALL of them.

I love you Nathan. I would choose you all over again. I would put on that dress and that Smashing Pumpkins song and walk right down that aisle again tomorrow-without hesitation.

Here's to another 80 years of loving, living,a nd serving side-by-side.

I. love. you. baby.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New BFFs

Yesterday, my best friend and I shared her new (one month old) baby with my babies. It was a beeee-autiful moment for them and for me. With each one, little Caroline would settle right in and snuggle to sleep. It was precious. I kept thinking of how much time we spent, as a family, praying for her while Erin was pregnant. For them, this little baby girl is flesh and blood evidence that God is real. These two hands will be friends for life. I just know it.