Friday, October 21, 2011

Colombia Bound

,Hey y'all! Just wanted to let you know I will be MIA next week! I will be on a mission trip to Cartegena, Colombia.

I know...bless my heart, right?! But seriously, we will be sharing the story of Jesus with these amazing people. I would so appreciate your prayers! God is doing great things in Colombia and I am so excited I get to be a part of it!

Not sure how reliable our Internet access will be, but hopefully I'll be back the next week with lots of lives-changed stories!! :)

Pray also for my sweet husband and kiddos (and his mama, who is coming to help out!).

Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Idle Words

"But I tell you that every careless (idle) word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Matthew 12:36-37

WHOA! Every?!

2 Timothy 2:16 tells us to avoid idle chatter because it will lead to ungodliness.  

 Idle talk is defined as of no real worth, importance, or significance. I had always been of the mindset that sins of the tongue were the obvious ones....cursing, lying, gossiping..things that were inherently bad. But idle talk...that seems like it's not necessarily saying BAD things...just insignificant things. Wow.

See...I am not a fan of awkward silence. So what do I do to fill the silence? Ramble. I mean nonsensical, who gives a flip, I should have shut up 10 minutes ago rambling. Ouch. I began to wonder why this would be considered bad. And then it hit me.

When I say things without thinking about them first, that's generally when I look back later and regret what I have said. That's when I let something slip that I shouldn't have. When I don't stop to consider my words, I make unwise choices with what I say. I am careless with my words. Which is dangerous.

This has happened to me many times....most recently one Sunday night at church. I said something to a sweet couple at church just off the cuff. It was thoughtless and dumb and uncalled for. I left after church and headed to the beach. The whole week of vacation I was fretting over the one stupid comment I made. I  enjoyed my vacation, but I still had that feeling of dread in the back of my head the whole time. As soon as we got back the next week, I apologized and felt so much better.

But what heartache could I have saved had I not resorted to idle chatter. Let's think before we speak! I saw a great acronym that I am determined to try to put in to practice....THINK
T...Is it true?
H...Is it helpful?
I....Is it inspiring?
N....Is it necessary?
K....Is it kind?

If not...let's not say it!! Do any of you struggle with this? What helps keep you from idle chatter?

Monday, October 17, 2011

I am 1 in 4

Saturday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It has been said that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.  I am 1 in 4.

10 years ago, I would not have believed I would be that statistic. The day I was officially hired for my first job, Eddie and I decided to try for a baby (which was around May of 2001). We knew we wanted a big family and we were ready to get that going!  We tried on our own for about a year with no luck. So we decided to talk to my doctor. He ran some tests and we decided to go the Clomid route. After several rounds, we got pregnant!!

I looked back through my pregnancy journal, and I found out I was pregnant on October 16, 2002 (which was 9 years ago yesterday). At that time, Eddie was working on his doctoral degree, so he was in class in New Orleans. He happened to be going to a friend's house for supper that night, so I called her and told her to do something special and have him call me. She wrapped up a baby photo album and gave it to him when he got there. He was confused. He was like, "Uhhh, thanks, but we don't have a baby." She told him she thought he'd better call his wife!! He called me and I told him and we were SO excited. He got home late the next night and I had left this picture for him on the door:

We had our first doctor's appointment on Halloween. We were given a due date of June 23, 2003. We had a sonogram, and saw the gestational sac.  They said it was too early to see a heartbeat. problems. We were excited. We began to dream about our little one. We talked about names. We bought baby books. We set up the crib someone had given us. We told everyone within ear shot.

November 21, 2002...about 8 that night, I started spotting. Eddie was, again, in a doctoral class, this time in Memphis. I was terrified. I couldn't get in touch with him, so I called my mom and she came over. She called a family friend who was an ob-gyn, and he told me just to stay off my feet and to come in the next day for a sonogram. Eddie came home immediately after his class. I cried, we prayed, and we hoped. We hoped with everything in us that this was nothing. Just normal implantation bleeding. Hoped that everything was well with our precious baby. Hoped that our dreams for our family weren't coming to an end.

Unfortunately, when we went in for a sonogram the next morning, there was no heartbeat. I had miscarried at 11 weeks. I had a D&C that afternoon. I'm glad I kept the pregnancy journal because everything surrounding that time is a blur in my memory. But I did keep all the cards and encouraging notes that were sent to me, and I treasure those.

As common as miscarriage is, one thing I do remember is that many people didn't really know what to say to me after that. And many people said weird or hurtful or just wrong things. I know everyone meant well, but one thing I learned is that when I don't know what to say, just saying "I'm so sorry and I'm praying for you" is usually good enough.

The card that I found that I treasure most is from my sweet husband that he gave to me on what should have been our due date. It said:

"I know this isn't the easiest time in the world for you and that the challenges you face would test the strongest faith - and yet, I see the spirit of God shining through you as each day you just keep putting one foot in front of the other...You are an inspiration and a blessing to everyone who knows you.  But I am aware that hanging on and hanging in and being brave are not as easy as you make it look, and that's why you're constantly in my prayers...I ask God to comfort you, give you strength, and to bring you better days.  It's what you deserve, because you are truly one of His beloved children."

I didn't think I would ever stop actively grieving. Or crying every day. Or questioning what I did wrong. Or wondering if I would ever have a baby to hold. But you know what? God did comfort me. And He did give me strength. And He did bring me better days. And as an extra bonus, He brought me 4 precious babies to hold.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Recap

How did this whole week go by without a post? I know y'all are sad, so let me recap my week for you!

I got my house cleaned this week, which was HUGE!! By the way, many of you have been asking for pics of my new house. Well, like 3 people have. Whatever. Anyway. I will get some up soon! I had a sweet lady from my church who owned a flower shop come this week to give me decorating suggestions. It was wonderful! I just pointed to things and asked, "what do I need there?" And she had answers!! We rearranged my living room and talked about ways to rearrange my bedroom. So, hopefully soon, my house will be done enough to photograph! So exciting!

I also bought my first pair of leggings this week. And wore them. Big day.

We went to a Homecoming presentation which was really sweet. We had company for dinner Tuesday night and I made this fabulous Black Magic cake. It was seriously sooo good. New favorite!!! My previous favorite was The Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake, which I love. But it has been replaced as my favorite. Seriously, try this recipe!!

Sam had football practice twice, which takes for-e-vah. Ugh! I am glad he plays sports, and I know it's only gonna get worse when the other 3 are just as busy, but gahhh that takes up so much time. And this is his first year to play and he isn't a "starter" which means he and about 3 other boys sit on the sidelines for about 70% of practice. Seriously?! I have to drag 4 kids up there for 2+ hours, get home late, which means supper/baths/bedtime is late just to watch my child watch the other kids practice?! I am all for playing to win and therefore giving lots of playing time to the best players. But at practice? I want my son practicing!!! Ugh! Anyway, end of rant.

I also went to my monthly Young Ladies' Share Group with some fabulous ladies for my church. I look forward to this night every month! Next month, we are starting the Bible study "Growing Kids God's Way." Can. Not. Wait. Friday night, my parents came in and helped with the kids while I went to a Ministers Wives' Retreat with my friend and fellow minister's wife, Ellen. We had a great time learning about the love of God from Dr. Rhonda Kelley. I got home Saturday afternoon just in time to get ready for a wedding. It was so beautiful, as was the bride, Katie, and Eddie and the other minister did a fabulous job! After the wedding, we rushed home, got the rest of the family and headed to Copeland's to celebrate baby Noah's first birthday!!

 Noah loved the cake and ate and ate and ate until we finally took it away, and he then proceeded to suck it off his hand. He is his mama's child! :) He won't actually be a year until next weekend, but I will be in South America on a mission trip so we celebrated early! My mom and dad took Eli and Meri Hobbs back home with them for a few days, so I have high hopes of a productive week!! Hope yours is great as well!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekend Recap

So, my mom (and many other wise women) have always told me, "you better write that down or you'll forget it." So this is me....writing it down.

I made cupcakes for Meri Hobbs' class on Monday and Sam's class on Friday.

Eli has been potty training. He has done really well! Our biggest problem is that we don't stay home long enough to be able to be really consistent.  But, when we were home and he was wearing his big boy undies, he has only had 2 accidents. Almost down to only one in diapers. So hard to believe! I have had 2 in diapers for 4 1/2 years! The highlight of the potty training quotes this week came when Eli looked in the potty after his first time to go #2. He looks in, looks at me and says, "a mud in there!" Ha! He thought it was mud! Too cute!
Meri Hobbs is always saying something funny. Her quote for the week was today after church. She asked me who the "baddest" was. Confused, I asked her to explain.  She said, "Who's the baddest at First Baddest Church, Mama?" HA! Love it!!

Noah is doing great with his sippy cup! He must be going through a growth spurt, because he is eating everything we put in front of him! He is getting more teeth, so that has some rough moments. He's still not crawling, but is dragging himself everywhere!

Sam is doing great. His heart for God is still strong, as he prayed for one of our church friends tonight..."God, please put Your power on Anna Cathryn and heal her leg so she can run faster." Wow! Love that boy! He was chosen by a college student to do a reading fluency test for a project she is doing. I was very proud to hear that she only had books to a level 4, so she had to stop there even though he could have gone higher! Smart little thing!

Other fun things this week: We had Round 2 of a garage sale. We made about $450, so I was excited about that...even though we had tons left over! But, we are donating that and glad to be rid of all the extra boxes! Sam had a football game (which I had to miss because of the garage sale). He was playing wide receiver and was running a hook, and was going to have the ball thrown to him for the first time, but the quarterback got sacked. Boo! The babies and I went on a few strolls in this beautiful weather.

Eddie flew to Mississippi with a farmer friend and loved it!  We tried to go to a junior high football game after Sam's practice Thursday night, but we were too late. We did get to go eat with some friends since they were all leaving the game when we were walking up. We went to a neat catfish restaurant with some of the older people in our church Friday night. Saturday, after football and garage sale, the kids had a birthday party to go to. Then, Sam and Meri Hobbs went to the movies with some friends and the rest of us went to a Sunday School party. After the party, we had some friends over for coffee and board games. Sunday was a wonderful day at church! 7 people joined the church in the early service (not sure about late service), with one salvation! Praise God! Eddie went out of town tonight to get up and go hunting tomorrow, and I came home and made this for the kids and me:
                                        Recipe from

Yum! What a wonderful way to end a wonderful week!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Big Debate...Stay at Home or Work?

There is a big debate happening....No, I don't mean the presidential one. Stay at home mom vs working mom.  My oldest child is 6. I have worked/stayed at home about half and half. I have worked full time and part time during that time. About two years ago, I decided (again) to stay home. This time I think it's for good.

BUT, when I was working, I kid you not, I had a woman tell me that I was blaspheming the Word of God by working. Say what?! Now, I believe this lady had great intentions, so I wasn't mad...just taken back. Way back! Her exact words were, "I hate to see the Word of God being blasphemed by my pastor's wife." Wow. How do you even respond to that? She was using Titus 2 as her basis where it says that older women should teach the younger women to be (among other things) "workers at home." I do not believe this means every woman must only work at home, never outside the home. (Look at the Proverbs 31 woman) I think that's between you and God.

I think this a personal decision between God, your spouse and you. But what makes people presume to think you want their unsolicited opinion? And this happens a lot. Stay at home moms feel judged by working moms. Working moms feel judged by stay at home moms. Homeschool moms feel judged by other moms. "Go to school" moms feel judged by homeschool moms. It goes on and on. Why can't we support one another and just be MOMS? Without all the labels? I'll do my best for my family, and you do your best for your family. How about that?

Honestly, I don't see how working moms get everything done. I am in awe that they can go to work, plus still have time for homework, ball games, dance class, plus all the cooking, cleaning and laundry. Y'all deserve an award in my book! I sure couldn't do it. I can't do it all now and I'm home!! And just because I chose to stay home doesn't mean I think you hate your kids if you didn't choose that. When I was younger, I always said I would never be able to stay home, and there was a period when I stayed home that I was miserable. So I got a job! And then later I quit it, and then later.......

So, whatever your choice...don't feel locked in! Change is scary; and for us, losing that income was really scary. But SOOO worth it. I feel confident that I am "working" right where God wants me right now. What I lost in salary, I gained in so many other ways. And I'm so thankful for a supportive husband who let me figure out what I was supposed to do...and change my mind several times along the way!

Bottom line....who cares what someone else thinks? You do what God calls you to do and what is best for you and your family. Don't let someone bully you into thinking what you're doing is wrong. Let's support each others decision and both be the best moms we can be. K thanks.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Is it Worth It?

Do you ever wonder if what you do matters to anyone? No? It's just me?? Surely not!

I have to admit, I do wonder that. I taught school BK (before kids), and I KNEW that I was making a difference to at least some of those kids. I invested in them and loved them and I could see close to immediate results in their attitudes or behaviors or grades. I loved those kids who were "at risk" and at least for the 9 months that I had them, I knew that they knew they mattered to someone. And I bet some of my former students look back at their 4th grade year and have good memories. I bet some still list me as their favorite teacher. And that makes me proud. And I felt important. I got sweet notes and colored pictures from my students. I got encouraging emails and fun gifts from parents. I got constant feedback.

Fast forward 7 I spend my days washing, folding, sweeping, wiping, dressing, bathing, reading, reminding, fussing, helping, cooking, fixing, correcting.... Does it matter?? Will my kids look back 20 years from now and know how fiercely I love them?? How, even on my worst, most selfish days I do what I do for them? Will they know that even on my most frustrated, least patient days that I would not trade one second of being here with them? Does my husband know that now? Do any of them care that a magical unicorn does not put their t-shirts in their drawer or wash their favorite sippy cup? Does it matter that I'm the one here picking up spilled Cheerios and wiping fingerprints off the doors?  Will they realize that when I fail completely as a mother and a wife, I do it with good intentions? Does any of it matter?

I'm a big fan of positive reinforcement, and ya know, with 4 young ones, I just don't always get it! So, as I was having these super-encouraging, not at all self-pitying thoughts one day, this song came on the radio:

Do Everything by Steven Curtis Chapman

You’re picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today;
Matching up socks and sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away.
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips and head out the door.
And while I may not know you, I bet I know you wonder sometimes does it matter at all?
Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you
Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

One little verse and chorus to one song changed my whole perspective! Who cares if my family never realizes any of that? I have completely had my focus wrong! I should not do what I do for my family, or even out of my great love for my family. I should do what I do for HIM and out of my great love for HIM.

I'm not saying that I never want my family to appreciate me (or reward me with a pedicure every now and then), but I know that when I serve my family as a way to serve my God, my need for constant approval will be diminished, and I will be content knowing that I am bringing glory to the One who made me!

Have you ever felt this way? What helped you change your focus?

Monday, October 3, 2011


I can't believe it's already October!! To celebrate, I thought I'd share a few of my Fall Pinterest finds....I have pinned 71 things to that board, so today I'll do decoration ideas, and I'll share food ideas later!

Black thumb tacks and a pumpkin. Too easy!  via

Happy Halloween banner...polka dots & burlap via

candy corn wall decor via

candy corn candle via

Fall apothecary jars  & pumpkin centerpiece     via

                           Lighted pumpkin topiary via                  

Pumpkin place cards (not sure where this was from...sorry)

Pumpkin tea light holders   via

Beautiful centerpiece (not sure again whom to credit...sorry)

Another pumpkin topiary  via

painted argyle pumpkins  via

fall wreath via

OK...I had more stuff than I realized!! To be continued...
Until then, have fun decorating! :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


My baby boy. My last baby (unless I can convince Eddie otherwise). So bittersweet!! I can't believe he will be a year old in just a few weeks! Where has this year gone?!? Noah is such a happy, content and relaxed baby. I often get asked, "Is he always this happy?" And the answer is yes! He generally is! I think he had to learn early that as one of four children, his demands can't always be met immediately.

Noah still is not crawling, but is dragging himself everywhere! He has 6 teeth and more are on the way, bless his heart. He is FINALLY starting to get some blonde hair on that bald head. He has the cutest little pouty bottom lip that sticks out all the time. And he has some adorable chubby cheeks! He loves his thumb and starts sucking it as soon as he gets sleepy.

We are trying to get him to use a sippy cup, but he isn't loving it yet. Hopefully soon!

He is a precious gift from God and I love his easy-come smile. He loves his big brothers and sister and laughs at them all the time! Little sucker still won't say Mama, though. Every time I tell him to say Mama (if Eddie is in the room), he will look at me, look to Eddie and say, "Dada." Little stink!

What a wonderful surprise God gave us when He gave us Noah. I am trying to enjoy his babyhood and soak it all in before I blink and don't have any more babies. Sigh. Let me go wake him and rock him now....
(This picture via)