Friday, December 18, 2009

1 Corinthians 13 - Paraphrased For Christmas

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn't envy another person's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crappy Update from the Dr. Re: My Back

So I've been going to the chiro since my wreck. It's really helped my neck a lot but there is still a lot of tightness. Originally the xray showed it was straight rather than curved. But because it's still SO tight we started decompression therapy last week. Two days after that I misstepped off a curb and while I didn't fall I felt it in my back immediately. We were going in Salem's Christmas program and I had to stand during most of it. I went to the chiro the next day and it was swollen. He wanted me to see the Dr.

So after 2 hours there today we find that I have a compression between C6-C7 in my neck and arthritis in my neck. The good news is the curve is coming back (it was VERY straight after the wreck). I also have degeneration in the lowest lumbar vertebrae. This was not caused by the wreck or me stepping off the curb but it was exacerbated by it. More than likely it was from being overweight my whole adult life. My tummy tuck will help cause even though I am MUCH lighter that skins just hangs and adds pressure to my back. We are guessing that I have 4-9 pounds of excess skin and while that doesn't sound like a lot it adds a lot of tension to my hips by pulling downward.

So right now there is NOTHING he can do til after I heal from my tummy tuck. But I am not sure I want to do steroid treatments - I don't want to gain any weight. So I am going to talk to my PCP for a second opinion and do some research. He did give me a RX for tramadol and a muscle relaxer and a tens unit (I was borrowing a friend's dads). But I can't take the pain killers and muscle relaxers during the day and drive and such.

After I recover from my tummy tuck I will go back in and we'll see what to do. I do have an inversion table so I'll try that.

I am so disappointed and discouraged. I can't work out the way I was working out and while I know it may get better long term TODAY THIS SUCKS. I am working to letting God's joy and strength fill me but I am just tired I guess cause I feel really crappy about this.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finally found a discipline that works for Salem

We've had a really rough month or two with Salem. It cultimated last weekend when I took EVERY single toy away including her American Girl Doll. Then I decided she wouldn't get the chance to earn anything back until she wrote:

Salem - Obey your parents as unto the Lord for it is right - Ephesians 6:1. This is hard for a 7 year old and she had to write it 100 times. It took her 7 days.

Yesterday I just had to ask her - Salem do you need to write? She said no.

Today her behavior digressed and she's sitting beside me writing it ten times. She is devastated and hates writing and so far this is the only punishment or threat of potential punishment that has worked.

I do feel bad for her tears - she HATES writing.

Santa!!!


We went to our friend's Breakfast With Santa Event at their church. Raina was pretty skeptical about Santa. She did ask for a mermaid necklace so I am looking for one at the dollar store for her stocking. Salem asked for a camera. I knew that was on her list. :) YAY mom.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Raina ended up with stitches today!


First of all funny start to this story. I almost always answer my phone and text messages immediately. Brian not so much. But today I was vacuuming and didn't hear my phone ring. It was the nurse from Raina's school. She had fallen and cut her chin open and may need stitches. I am not a panicking type of mom so I said ok I'd be there in a moment. Brian thankfully answered his phone and got ahold of me.

Anyway blessing #2 was the Dr. Martin was still in the office after 1 pm on a Friday so we avoided a ridiculously long ER trip. So we went in and he started off by saying most chin cuts didn't need stitches. Then he quickly said but Raina does. Sigh. He said if it's a cut that looks like a line to clean it and put a band aid on it but hers was like a starburst and he could see the tissue.

The worst part was the lidocaine needle. The actual 4 stitches she was a trooper about. Poor baby. But she was really brave and doing well. I was surprised at how squeamish I was when he was sewing it up. I was singing her favorite songs and shushing her softly but my stomach was turning.

This is a not so great picture but she didn't want to be still and I didn't want to force it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sadness...

I am so wonderfully thankful for this short fragile life. It's been a hard few days and my emotions are raw but I am going to feel them because they make me remember how precious and fleeting life is.

Rest in peace Evan - he died from conditions related to Noonan Syndrome. As you may know my 7 year old has NS so this really hits home.

Please pray for Skipper's family - she's a 28 year old sister-in-law of one of our employees and she died the day before Thanksgiving after unexpectedly collapsing.

Please pray for Matt Chandler - the preacher at the Village Church. He had a seizure on Thanksgiving day and a MRI showed a small mass on his frontal lobe. He'll have more tests and see a neurosurgeon soon.

I write this blog with Raina sitting in my lap. Right after I started typing she came up to me and said, "Hold me like a baby mama." How can I refuse such a sweet request?

Once upon a time I might have shushed her away and told her I'd hold her in a minute if I was busy working or even playing online. How lost I was. :( She's wearing a new Cinderella dress and it's scratching the heck out of my knees, but right now at this moment I want nothing more than to hold her like a baby for as long as she'll let me. I want to freeze this moment in time and just be with her.

What are you thankful for? Realize it, grab it, hold on to it. In all things give thanks.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sigh

I really dislike handling collections. I have a customer who had us do work but it was handled by his realtor. Now he refuses to pay. Our mistake was we didn't sign a contract or get a deposit because we have a working relationship with the realtor. But today his realtor call and he told her he didn't have to pay because he didn't sign a contract even though verbally and by email he told Brian and I both he would pay.

Now I have to call the sheriff's department to file theft of service charges. I'm fine with turning it over to the sheriff but I have to be careful not to do things with a hateful heart. We also have a $425 hot check to deal with.

Actually this seldom happens but it almost ALWAYS happens during Christmas when people want work and they don't want to pay. If people were struggling or had unforseen circumstances come up - that's one thing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Currently...

I was checking out some blogs on google reader and saw this on my Kathleen's so I figured I'd copy! :) Wanna play? If so post what's on your “Currently” list and be sure to leave me a comment and I'll come visit.

Current Wishlist: A tummy tuck. Seriously.

Current Color: Various shades of pink and purple.

Current Drink: Water. Unsweet tea sweetened with truvia

Current Food: Protein Bars - Yeah Seriously. I eat pretty healthy these days and this is my usual indulgence.

Current Favorite Shows: Biggest Loser

Current Shame: Not bathing til noon

Current Needs: To get my house clean

Current Triumphs: I made it under 145 and now I have a healthy BMI!

Current Bane(s) of my Existence: My neck pain

Current Indulgence: Facebook, planning to go see Twilight and getting a massage Friday. I think my neck sees that as a necessity though.

Current #1 Blessing: My husband and girls.

Current Outfit: Sweatpants and a tshirt. I looked good yesterday in skinny jeans, a teal top and Ugg style boots.

Current Excitement: Going to Kohl's with my 15% off coupon & planning to see Twilight

Current Mood: Sleepy. Peaceful

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In an awful posting phase

Right now I am really focused on my 90 Days of Solitude blog. If you haven't read it yet I'd love to have some feedback. Actually, it I would love some feedback. It is being read but I would simply love the feedback regardless of if you're currently reading it or checking it out for the first time.

So I feel like I am neglecting this space but it's so important but I don't know how to do both regularly. So this is going to be a "drive by" don't even proof read post just to give an update. :)

My back and neck is still hurting from my wreck. I started week 5 of my 8 week treatment this week. The pain when he adjusted my neck was intense. They did the probe after and it helped loosen the muscles and I went back 3 hours later to do it again. I go back on Thursday and Friday I am going to get a deep tissue massage. It hurts so much I am tempted to take a muscle relaxer but I TRULY hate those things.

Salem is doing great. She's very sweet and empathic in nature. Her emotional side tends to drive me nuts at times but I practicing being grateful for her emotional side. God created her that way for a reason and I feel like it's part of my job to help her cultivate that into service to God.

Raina is growing by leaps and bounds socially and speech wise. I am almost to the point where I see less and less autistic signs. I wonder if her speech and social anxiety were so intense that some of the autistic characteristics were simply a part of the behavior that stemmed from the intense social anxiety and the inability to communicate? I don't know. Either way - her behavior improves greatly most days.

Brian is swamped with Christmas light installations which is a good thing. But we miss him. He's gone a lot right now.

Well that's all for now. I have some great pics of the girls to share and hopefully will get to that tomorrow for Wordless Wednesday! :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Salem's 1st Violin Recital

video

Salem had her first violin recital this past Saturday. She started at the end of August. She missed three lessons due to Nannie dying and being sick with the flu. She's actually only played the bow on the violin for 3 weeks now - 2 weeks before the recital. She loves the violin. We are working on rhythm and she got her first song yesterday. It will play the open E, F# and A. It's precious watching her learn.

Salem is in the front row in the black dress. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Delayed Halloween Picture Post

WOW has it already been 10 days since Halloween? I haven't had a lot of time to blog in the past week so I hope to catch up some this week. I've spent what blogging time I've had at my 90 Days of Solitude Blog.

But I did want to pop in a share this Halloween pic of me and the girls. Raina was going to be a cat with Salem. This is the first time I have ever dressed up and when she saw me dressed up as Snow White she decided to become Snow White with me. It was PRECIOUS!!! I don't think I will miss another year. :)



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are you a bucket filler?

Today 1st grade (Salem's class) was in charge of chapel. They did a program based on the book Have You Filled A Bucket Today.

Bucket fillers are people who without being asked give compliments, reach out to people in need, help others, and spread love to everyone around them. The metaphor of the bucket helps the kids visualize filling someone's bucket with love. Salem's teacher has a small bucket and colored fuzzy balls that go in them when she sees the class being bucket fillers. And she uses the same visual imagery to remove one when someone is a bucket dipper.

In contrast, bucket dippers rob of us of happy feelings. This tends to be things like bullying, mean words, selfishness, etc. But the added lesson is we are all the same - and even bucket dippers need their buckets filled.

The book's concept is simple:

* Make bucket filling and other-centeredness a daily habit
* Preempt and reduce mean, bullying, bucket-dipping behaviors
* Empower children to deal with bucket dippers
* Help children learn about choices and consequences
* Create safe, positive, nurturing schools
* Strengthen families and build better relationships

It's a Godly concept and a precious book! And it's amazing how something so simple can really teach the love of Christ to our kiddos. And to ourselves.

Have you been a bucket filler today?

There is a lot of info on being a bucket filler here! I think there is even a place to sign up for a newsletter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Boo Your Neighbor!


We are going to today - at least get the stuff ready and do it tonight. Here are some ideas. Spread the love in your neighborhood.

There are some Boo poem's here and here. The idea is to leave it with a treat of some sort. I think we're going to make cookies and homemade cards to Boo our neighbors with!

Let me know if you do a Boo! Take a pic and post it on your blog and link to it here in the comments and I'll create a post on Friday and feature everyone's blog who participated.

I hope this doesn't flop! LOL. But it sounds like fun to me.

Boo!!!

It was a dark and stormy night...



You Have Been BOO'd!

The air is cool, the season is fall,

Soon Halloween will come to all.

Ghosts and goblins, spooks galore...

Tricky witches at your door.


The spooks are after things to do,

In fact, a spook brought this "BOO" to you.

The excitement comes when friends like you,

Copy this note and make it two.

We'll all have smiles on our faces,

When we see who Boo'd who's places.

I was Boo'd by Gari Ann!


The following 4 ladies have been officially BOO'd...

Simply Delightful

Scripture Mom

Joy Made Full

Life As It Is

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This BOO party was started by Toni@The Tattered Cottage. Please keep the fun going by following these instructions.


1. You have 24 hours to work your spell

2. Copy and post the Halloween Boo Poem with the instructions for playing.

3. Pick 4 blogs you enjoying visiting and tell why you enjoy visiting them, with a link to their blog and remember to link back to me.

4. Go to the original BOO Party post at the Tattered Cottage and add your MckLinky.

5. Let's see how fast and far this spreads between now and Halloween.

Salem..Prayers & Advice


Just this morning Salem told me she's scared to die. I know that to a large degree this is natural topic to come up since her great grandmother recently died. For those that may not know - Nannie lived with us for the last 2 years until May when she went into the nursing home. So Salem was very close to her and Nannie's death was her first real exposure to the finality of death. Salem mentions Nannie almost everyday.

But this is the first time she talked about death in regards to herself. She mentioned she didn't want to go to heaven and leave her house and Sparkle (the cat) and Nina (the dog) and her toys and me.

I simply let her talk and told her I understood and I didn't want to die either and that it was ok to be scared but then when I time came heaven would be a wonderful place but that I didn't think it would happen for a very long time.

But I am not sure that really helped. I really didn't know what else to say. I don't want to over-simply or get too spiritually deep on what is such a hard question to answer at any age, much less at 7.

Salem is such a sweet girl. VERY sensitive. She picks up on emotions very well and is very empathic in nature. I also think she has the gift of discernment.

Any ideas?

***This is a part of Steady Mom's 30 Minute Blog Challenge

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My View of Christianity & Therapy

I am going to speak for a short time at MOPS a little bit of my testimony of handling my past and depression via therapy. It's hard for me but I know God wants me too.

I know as a Christian woman and leader I felt responsible for being "strong". That meant not letting people know when I needed love and encouragement and support. I suffered in silence. In agonizing silence. If someone asked me how I was I often said - I'm fine. The Christian F word.

As Christian women we often set ourselves up in competition against each other without even realizing it. If we visit some one's house we often compare and realize ours isn't so clean. She must have stayed up all night to get it this way. Or she's a natural at it - what's wrong with me?

We do the same with clothes, parenting, discipline, our marriages and so much more.

Let's stop the Mothering/Womanhood competition and simply be the women God has called us to be.

And for me I can't be that woman without having gone through therapy. The Holy Spirit used and is still continuing to use therapy to heal my heart and my very soul.

Don't be afraid to ask for help through a friend, a pastor, a mentor or even a therapist. If you have postpartum depression get help. If you have situational depression or anxiety or trauma from the past - get help. Don't be ashamed. Shame is the devil's way of hiding you away from the protective embrace of the Almighty. Step out of the bushes and reach out to God. He's there waiting.

It took a long time for me to step outside of my comfort zone and seek out help and the only thing I regret is not doing it sooner.

My Little Ghosties


OK I couldn't find my real camera this morning and had to use my cell! And Raina would NOT cooperate but I had to take a picture of them in these outfits. Oh I LOVE that they still let me dress them alike.

Best Blog Award


One more! Thanks SO much to Kim at Stuff Could Always Be Worse. :) I love her attitude. Life is a precious gift and even when things are hard things are amazing. Thank you God for this life.

I want to pass it on to:

Another Piece of the Puzzle


Se7en

Joy Made Full Award


Thank you Joy Made Full for the Heartfelt Award! I LOVE it and I am glad I could make you feel comfy or warm!

The Rules for the Heartfelt Award are:

1) Put the logo on your blog/post.

2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside.

3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.

5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

I am passing this on to:

Gwen - I love her blog and the way she just makes her home so homey and warm. Her blog feels the same way! I've known Gwen online for years and one of these days I'll meet her in real life.

I will try to pass it on to more in a day or two but wanted to get caught up!!! Thanks SO much.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Language Explosion


I went to pick up Raina from school but she was SO involved with the fabulous Miss M (her teacher) that I decided to sit back and watch. I sat in the rocking chair for a good 5 minutes while they took the names of the kids off a poster and put them in color order - and she said EVERY ONE'S name.

It was amazing. She was saying Abigail and Arra and Ignacio and Tyrell...All of them. What a HUGE HUGE HUGE accomplishment for a little girl who in May was still talking in 1-3 word phrases. Her language has literally exploded.

I am SO SO SO thankful.

Eventually Ignacio said, "Raina are you leaving yet?" Raina looked up at him a little indignantly then noticed me and said, "Hey Mama - when did you get here?"

:) Sweet music to a mama's ears.

Passing on the Loyal Award


Thanks again Christie. :) It made my day!

I thought I'd pass this award on to a few friends I know in real life who blog and who are amazingly friends and loyal definitely comes to my mind.

Whitney - Treasures From Our Family - Her family is wonderful and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the beautiful and stylish way she and the girls dress and her home is GORGEOUS.

Gari-Ann - The Undomesticated Wife - A dear friend, artist and craft queen extraordinaire! She has an etsy shop too for all you etsy lovers.

Tammy - In The Grip of Grace - A truly loyal friend and wonderful blogger about a variety of topics including many Christian topics. And she has a great giveaway on her blog right now! Check it out.

Julia - Living My Life Like It's Golden - You can't get more loyal that J! I miss her like crazy now that the military moved her.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fun Busy Day

It's been a busy but fun day! It started off this morning getting Raina back to school after being sick. Then I went to the chiropractor. For the first time the adjustment felt wonderful! I was beginning to worry! Then I went to Progressive and settled our wreck! Then the fun began! LOL.

Seriously I got to shop for carseats. LOL. As crazy as that sounds it's fun! I LOVE it. And I really had no reason to EVER do it again with my girls being 7 and 4. :) But I did today. I am a BIG Britax fan. LOVE them. Salem had a Britax Monarch booster that she loved in a pretty pink and gray color. They are discontinued and she wasn't too jazzed about the black and gray and brown to choose from in the Britax Parkways with the slide and guard which I was jazzed about cause it helps little kids like Salem from "submarining" out. So I talked to my friend Janet (car seat safety expert) and we started looking and found the new 2010 Sunshine Monterey which like the Britax protects them from submarining!!!

Yay!!!! So this is what we ordered Salem.



Then Raina - well she's only 4 and doomed to be in a harness for a while if her sister's stint in the harness is any indication. Salem just turned 7 and is 39 1/2 inches and wavers around 40 pounds. She just moved out of the harness at 6 1/2.

So I went with the Britax Frontier that will convert to a booster seat. So it should be the last seat we ever buy. Raina picked pink too! It was fun to guide them to a choice - I knew they'd pick pink! LOL.


Then the rest of the day I spent at ATT and got Brian an iPhone. He's been waiting 8 months for his upgrade. LOL. And we splurged on Mobile me which will let us sync our stuff SO much easier and access our calendars (and each other's) remotely. I am excited.

More fun stuff...I won an award!!! :) I love stuff like this. Thank you Christie!


I will definitely be passing this along tomorrow! :) Thank you. Now it's time to finish backing up my email so I can move it and start having fun with my mobile me!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

All About My Kids



I saw this posted at Super Mommy and thought I'd join in! :) Maybe you should join in the fun as well!

Is this a great picture of the girls? Let me tell you about them.

Korie in the pink is now 19. She's my beautiful stepdaughter and Brian and I have been married since she was 7. I love her like she were my own. She's now in college and studying Fashion Merchandising. Life is all about her boyfriend (who we like), her sorority and dealing with scoliosis. She's very sweet and tender-hearted and definitely prissy. I missing seeing her as much as we did before she went off to college.

Larrah in the black is our "adopted" daughter. She's now 20 and a hair stylist at a local salon. She was the first youth that Brian led to the Lord back when he became youth pastor at The mission almost 7 years ago. When she was 15 she came to live with us and became unofficially ours. She has an amazing capacity to love people intensely. I know God will use that in her life. She has a sweet boyfriend named Houston and she's definitely my drama queen but I love her that way! She's a total Twilight fantatic.

Salem is in Lararh's lap. She just turned 7 and is my IVF miracle and surviving triplet. They were all girls - Salem, Brynna and Angel. Salem also has Noonan Syndrome but her physical capabilities are fine. She started life very frail and it was a very scary time but aside from her slight speech issues, auditory processing issues and taking a beta blocker everyday for her Hypertropic Cardiomyopathy she's a regular kid in 1st grade. She's learning to read, loves art, music and cheerleading. She takes violin lessons and we hope to add in piano in the spring or summer of 2010. She's completely prissy just like Korie.

Raina is my baby! My total suprise. After 4 years of infertility treatment and a specific diagnosis of why I wasn't getting pregnant we never expected her. She's amazing. She has Pervasive Development Disoder but man there are some days she's just a regular kid except with her speech delay but even though has made AMAZING strides since May. She's in PreK and she's doing amazing. She's full of spunk, a total love bug with me and dad and intensely loves her sisters. She's VERY into princesses. She'd be Belle or Aurora all day if she could. She's a cross between being a total princess but still loves playing rough. The best of both worlds for Raina would be jumping on the trampoline or playing in the sandbox in a princess dress.

I am a blessed mom even though we do have crazy days. 2 little girls, 1 grown daughter and one almost grown daughter in college. And I used to think I'd never be a mom!

Crazy Morning

WOW it's only 11:25 and it's already been a crazy morning. If it hadn't been for my sweet husband this morning I would have FAILED miserably.

It all started at 9 pm the night before. Raina was up with her fever back. Sigh! UGH! I second guessed myself yesterday and sent her back to school as she had been fever free since Sat am. With her pervasive development routine is HUGELY important. But she regressed. I felt like slapping my hand.

So 1 mom + 1 feverish/cranky child = no sleep.

I get woken at 5:30. Salem is up at 5:30. Thanks dad for waking her up. Oh wait, he was very sweet and helpful this morning. Focus on that Leah. So I yell in my loudest whisper to go in the living room and turn off the hall light so Raina doesn't wake up and hope for more sleep.

My alarm goes off t 6:30. I hit snooze. 6:35 - Snooze. 6:40 - Snooze. You get the picture. I got out of bed 1t 6:59 and rushed to get Salem dress, her hair done, her lunch made, went through her back pack cause I failed to do that last night (normally clothes, lunch and backpack are done the night before) and last but not least - today there was a Box Tops Blitz. Sigh. So I trim those and sign her name on the back (she wanted to but I was in a hurry).

Sweet daddy does breakfast and takes her to speech at 8 and then off to school afterwards.

I actually went and laid back down for 15 minutes before washing my face and brushing my teeth and deciding I could go to the chiropractor looking like this. Perhaps he'll feel sorry for me and give me extra time with the little electrical stimulus thingys on my back.

Mom is late getting here to watch Raina. I fly out the door, was 5 minutes and rushed home 90 minutes later to take a conference call and then to deal with the insurance for my wreck last week. Then I have to make room for chiro appts on my schedule the rest of this week and 3 days next week.

I called and canceled Raina's speech appt today and got her a snack and she's all nestled on the couch watching Barbie Swan Lake - her new fave.

Now as I look at my massive to do list - I decide to rest - to breathe. It will all get done eventually right?

Perhaps I will even go take a nap with my sweet Raina and learn to enjoy life from a child's perspective. At least for a couple of hours. But even if I don't nap I am going to grab my favorite protein bar and go cuddle and watch Swan Lake.

Note: This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge at Steadymom.com!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Me & My Sisters


I am in the middle and my baby sister Amy (born 5 years later) is on my left and Michelle my "adopted" sis (of the heart) is on the right. This was taken at the funeral home on the day of the visitation.

I feel like I look sad and very tired in this pic but when I look at it unbiased - I feel like it shows the new me that's emerging from this shell I am shedding.

Fall Cleaning - Mourning

OK I know it's more typical to clean in the spring but I tend to do a big purge in the fall and spring due to Salem's birthday, changing drastic clothing seasons and the holidays. So it's kind of a necessity. I want to be a minimalist. You know those perfect houses without too much clutter? It never seems to happen though so purge I must.

And I have a true love/hate relationship with purgomg. I LOVE that when it's over I feel so refreshed and unfettered. I love getting rid of things and passing it on.

But I also hate it wondering why I tend to accumulate such stuff. I want to be a minimalist but I doubt it will EVER happen! LOL.

Bur today was harder. I started with my junk closet. That used to be where we housed Nannie's stuff. She went to the nursing home in May. Yet I still had a lot of her romance novels and crossword puzzles she had stopped doing last year. I found a pair of pants, all the extra twin sheets, and a robe...

It reminded me that I haven't gone to the nursing home to pack up her room. Northern Oaks has been so nice. They should have called because I completely forgot but they didn't. If they needed the room I am sure they would pack it up and hold it for us. So I need to go there tomorrow and pack up her clothes (we'll donate them to the nursing home) and take down everything we hung on the walls.

I truly 100% believe Nannie is in a better place. This just makes it so fresh again. So final.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Memorizing Scripture With Salem

Salem and I've been working on scripture memorization since early September. She now knows:

Be bold be strong for the Lord your God is with you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Oh Lord Oh Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth. Psalms 8:1

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:2

God didn't give me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

We listen to the Hermie Scripture CD's as often as we can and at night but I wanted to find a more creative idea and saw this at Scripture Mom.

Every week we're going to choose a new scripture and for a while make a Scripture Collage. We read the scripture out loud, we played this on on our Hermie CD and then I wrote it down. Then Salem and Raina had fun cutting out pics from a magazine that described a key point in the scripture. We have it hanging in the office and for a week we'll practice and at the end of the week she'll get an extra marble for having it memorized. :)

And what's more important is she's VERY excited about doing it. Raina was involved and repeated the scripture with us and helped cut out pictures but refused to be in the picture I took!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Advent Conspiracy



Advent Conspiracy is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption. What this video above and tell me what you think.

If you feel led, what can you do to change Christmas for your family? I feel really convicted about this so we're downsizing Christmas. We're not downsizing the fun of Santa or presents or decorations but we're downsizing the quantity.

We'll be doing 3 presents for the little girls as that's what Jesus got. We'll also do a Santa gift but that's something they are sharing this year. Family wise - we decided to do 1 family gift for my sister's families to promote family time, as opposed to buying for 10+ kids.

We'll participate with Angel Tree, Love N Care's Christmas on the Streets & the Mission's Kings Table.

What can you do? I'd love to hear your ideas.

What are we doing?

I listened to Matt Chandler's Luke Chapter 12 Sermon (Luke Sermon 26). I want to share my notes with you all.

Chapter 12 – Verse 13: Someone said to Jesus tell my brother to divide his inheritance with me. Jesus had said there was a difference between religion and kingdom and then this random thought comes in. And Jesus said: Man who made me a judge or arbitrator over you? He says to the disciples: Take care, pay attention and be on your guard against all covetousness. For one’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of his possessions. Go back to Genesis to creation when he wired and designed the universe from the earth and animals and plants and night and day to being created in the image of the triune God then he rested. The creator in those days of creation is now in the flesh and telling this man how life works/doesn’t work. Think of how much time we spend trying to get this “thing” whatever it is in our life. We’ve bought into this lie that if we just get “this” or just do “this” life would be better than it is now. But God is saying life doesn’t work that way.

Then he gave a parable of the land of a rich man whose land produced plentifully. He built a greater storage. God told him – the things you have prepared are useless for those who have built up things for themselves. Basically he was given an abundance and didn’t do anything with it but store it. What does it mean to be rich towards God? Don’t be anxious about your life or your possessions or what to eat or drink. Anxiety does nothing and doesn’t add to life. The ravens were “worthless” and he considers them. They are scavengers, they don’t sow or reap yet he feeds them and he loves us more. Don’t be defined by your stuff or your needs. Your identity should only be in God’s kingdom – seek the Lord and all these things will be added to you. It is our father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom – do not fear.

•God is not waiting for the future version of me to get it together to love me passionately. He loves me just as I am.

So sell your possessions and give to the needy. Don’t let your money bags grow old. Where your treasure is there your heart will be also. There is nothing wrong with being wealthy or having their storage full. But your money reveals who you really are. God is trying to free us from the bondage that can come with wealth. Being rich towards God, is knowing that in the end he is ALL I need and I become an instrument in his hand to do all I can through him through what he’s given me.

The word is clear about it. There are over 2,103 in the verses in our bible that address the poor and oppressed and what it looks like to have a heart transformed by the gospel. And open handed living to give to the poor and help them. Use our wealth and our abilities to serve them. You need to live in such a way that you live open handed toward the oppressed.

•Think of the story in Luke 16:19 – the story of the rich man and the poor man Lazarus and how they died and the rich man was in Hades and Lazarus was with Abraham. He could see them and called to Abraham. He still didn’t get it and wanted to be served. Could Hades be that your heart is SO hard that laid next to God you still just don’t get it? You know you’re tormented you just don’t get why.
•Luke 18:18 – Rich Young Ruler Story. He did everything externally correct but he was lacking. He didn’t care for others and help others. He was selfish. Jesus looked at him with sadness.
•Ephesians 2:8-10 – You have been saved by grace not of works, lest any man should boast. You were broken, you couldn’t fix yourself. God fixed you. You are God’s workmanship – his poetry, his art – shaped and molded and designed by him, called to himself to do GOOD WORKS that he prepared before I existed.
•He always meant us to do more. It’s not about religious works. It’s about a heart for others. It’s about very real compassion.
•Think of the Beatitudes – Blessed are the poor…
•Hebrews 10 – Do not forsake the gathering of the believers, so we might encourage one another and stir one another up in LOVE and GOOD DEEDS. It’s more than going to church.
•It’s not the government’s job – it’s mine to take care of people. It’s my job.
•James 1 – that we would look after widows and orphans in their distress. Keep ourselves from being polluted from the world. This isn’t a religious list – this means if you’re chasing what the world is chasing and putting God’s name on it like the man in the original story.

Most of us are selfish with what we have by accident.
•We have a nice TV but it’s not HD so we go and spend money we don’t have.
•Or we have a small house we can afford then buy something we can’t afford.
•Or because we want something beyond our means.
•Or we could have cooked something at home for $6 but went to Cheesecake Factory and spent $62.
•Or we drive cars we can’t afford or have the next new fun thing.
•It makes life feel better for a moment. But it fades quickly.
•What does this say about our heart? This is not about socialism. We’re not forced to do these things. It’s about liberty and choosing to do the right thing – not mandating it at a government level. God’s heart is tied to the poor and ours isn’t. What happened to us?
•What can we do? Get out of debt. It kills our ability to be generous.
•Start helping somewhere/somehow. Think Compassion International, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Soup Kitchens, Mission work locally and internationally.
•Give things away rather than selling.
•Helping people with food and clothes and schools supplies.
•Tutoring children
•Have a heart for people.
•And the list goes on.

We have been gifted and given by God to push back what’s dark in the world. We rob ourselves of joy and depth of life by not being obedient in this area.

Remember it’s not wrong to have. It's not a sin to have or be rich. It's a sin with what we do or not do with it. What matters is how we use what you have. Don't live a frivolous life full of trinkets. When is enough enough? We’ve been blessed to give and help others. Be invited into what God is doing.

Do something. Do anything, but do something.

Friday, October 9, 2009

You Never Let Go

Take a moment and click on this link and listen to this song...

David Crowder Band MySpace - Click on Never Let Go


Lyrics:

When clouds veil sun
And disaster comes
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
When waters rise
And hope takes flight
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul

Ever faithful
Ever true
You I know
You never let go
You never let go
You never let go
You never let go

When clouds brought rain
And disaster came
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
When waters rose
And hope had flown
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul

Oh, my soul
Overflows
Oh, what love, oh, what love
Oh, my soul
Fills hope
Perfect love that never lets go

Oh, what love, oh, what love
Oh, what love, oh, what love
In joy and pain
In sun and rain
You?re the same
Oh, You never let go

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Raina-Ism

Today I called Raina my baby and she says I not a baby - I a big little girl. Then she said I'll be a baby tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Discussing Cremation With Salem

Wow what a day...The viewing went well. The kids did well too. The older nieces (16 & 15) struggled a lot.

Salem asked a lot of questions. We were honest about this being her body a house for her spirit and that her spirit was in heaven. She asked why her body didn't go with her and will her body make it to heaven later and if not how would we know it's Nannie? Sigh. I am glad she's asking those questions I just don't know how to answer them. She believes in heaven and God and knows her sisters are there. So basically she's asking what cremation is - Larrah said our bodies came from dirt when God created Adam and Eve and cremation turns them to ash and it returns to what it came from. She kept asking but that was over her head. But I don't really know how else to explain it.

She saw Nannie and was very curious. She spent a lot of time at the funeral home looking at Nannie and saying things like it looks like her but she won't wake up right? She didn't cry but was sad. I am sure it's all natural I just didn't know what to expect. Nannie lived here for almost 2 years and we were back and forth at Mom's the year before that so she's been a huge part of her life.

She also asked if she could have some of the ashes. I wasn't sure what to think of that so I said I'd think about it. We plan to bury them with Papa.

Nannie died this morning


I went for my endoscopy at 8:30 am. I was a tad anxious about it all. I prayed and then started praying for my friend Kathy and remember falling asleep praying for her. Or rather it's the last thing I remember but I woke up thinking about her. So it made me feel as if my spirit was still praying as my mind and body slept.

Ten or so minutes later I got word that Nannie died.

I prayed God would let Nannie pass quick & peacefully. He did. I already miss her so much. Life will NOT be the same without her. But I know she's in heaven with my sweet babies Angel & Brynna & my Papa. She's no longer in pain, bedridden & barely able to breathe. She gave me so much love & comfort in life. She believed in me even when I was a rotten mess. She was amazing & I hope I can be half the woman she was.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Salem's Best Day

Tonight before bed Salem said this was the best day in her entire life. :) What a sweet grateful girl. I can learn from her.

Thank you Lord for this treasure of a child you have blessed me with. Give Angel & Brynna a hug for me. We miss them.

Happy 7th Birthday Salem!




WOW - How the heck did 7 get here so fast? We went shopping yesterday for her GiGi outfit she wore today and it was just so much fun. Seven really is an amazing age. She's still such a little girl but I see glimpses of the mature big girl peaking out. She's still hyper and sweet and lovable yet empathic and VERY caring about others - especially homeless or hurting people. Her empathy amazes me. She still loves to cuddle and play mommy and baby but likes to be read to and read some herself. She enjoys her solitude which I find unfathomable since I still struggle with that.

She loves listening and dancing to music on her iPod but many times will do so wearing a princess dress, crown and dressup shoes. One of her favorite dressup outfits is a bride dress and veil. She loves drawing and art and plays with stickers and coloring books, yet often draws things God tells her to draw. She has this amazing story of Christ's life that she made out on paper. I need to video her explaining it. I was floored. She came up with it ALL by herself.

Dear God - thank you for Salem. My beautiful sweet lovable princess. I pray God that you protect her innocence and sweet heart. May the fruit of the spirit continue to take root and grow in her. May she continually walk in love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self control.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mosaic

So often we want our life to be a beautiful stained glass - full of color and perfection.

But what if our life is really a mosaic of broken jagged glass? Perhaps it's not as visually stimulating as stained glass but when we truly look at it - isn’t the finished image of a mosaic just as beautiful as the stained glass? Perhaps there is even more beauty in that it was created from left over damaged pieces.

It's just different than we imagined.

Update on us!

We're busy here getting ready for Salem's birthday party on Sat. We're having an all girl party for the first time and doing it with a zebra print theme with hot pink and green touches and we'll be doing a spa party complete with zebra print pedicures and hair styling. It should be a blast. I am excited but Salem is WAY excited.

Tomorrow for her birthday Daddy is taking her to breakfast since he missed his weekly lunch date with her today (he was in Fort Worth for a flying lesson as we have some crowded weekends the next few weeks). Then I am taking her lunch for her birthday (she requested Chick Fil A) and will bring cupcakes to share with class.

This is also Homecoming week at ACS and tomorrow's spirit day activity is come dressed as your favorite story character. Salem chose to be Gigi - God's Princess from the Sheila Walsh books/videos. What fun! I'll be sure to post a pic tomorrow.

Then we have the pep rally and Homecoming game. Salem is VERY excited about the game and more importantly wearing her cheerleader outfit. LOL.

Friday Korie is coming into town for Salem's birthday and we have family pics on Saturday. :) Then Salem's party and family dinner. It will be a busy but fun day.

Raina is doing GREAT. Talking up a STORM. Still hard to understand but she's talking!!! It's amazing that just 5 months ago I was fretting over this. She's doing amazing!!!

So it's a busy but fun week! Also, I am very excited and a little bit scared about a new project God is leading me to. It's called 90 Days of Solitude. Please consider checking it out and following me and praying and feel free to share it. If you do read it, please click on follow me. It's nice to see those faces down there. :)

One last thing - a personal prayer request: My endoscope is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday the 6th at 8:30 am. They will go in and look at the lesion that the Dr. found during my surgery in January. They will biopsy it and also test for Hpylori. Praying all goes well with insurance certification and getting this done. God didn't give me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Am Filthy Rich

If 100 people represented the world's population - 53 of those would live on less than $2 per day. If we make $4000 a month we automatically make 100 times more than the average person on the planet.

By simply purchasing a $15 book called Crazy Love I spent what the majority of people in the world make in a week. I am filthy rich in comparison.

It's ok to have & be blessed but I know I need to give more, want less & be satisfied with what I have.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't Just Do - Be

I have a heavy heart these days as I continue processing through my life and my problems. As I search out God on a new and deeper level. As I deal with Regina's death and my friend Kathy's cancer diagnosis. There is no way around it - my heart is heavy. I keep wondering - what if I were in Kathy's shoes? What would I do different?

I don't know many answers to that except that I know God is purposely slowing me down. I don't quite understand that purpose. I've always been "go do" oriented. But I can't argue with God. Well I could - I certainly have in the past - but it is fruitless.

For the 1st time in 7 years I am not pregnant or have small special need children at home or going to a ton of therapy appointments a week or am the coordinator or a flourishing MOPS.

My almost 7 year old is in 1st grade and her therapies have gotten SO much more manageable. And Raina who is only 4 is in preK and while it stresses me out that she's barely 4 and in school 7 hours a day - I know she needs the social skills, routine and 6 hours of speech a week that she gets a week while there. Then I realized I had 6 hours a day without my kids. I missed them. Then felt useless and wondered what I should be doing with my time. I searched out many things and I definitely heard God tell me NO several times. To be honest that made me feel antsy. I am a doer. I need to do. The quiet of not doing brings anxiety in my life.

But the reality is I do a lot without needing to bring another big project or commitment in. I am a pastor’s wife, a friend, a mom that wants to be involved in her girl’s school, I like to work out, I can keep a clean house and I am not tied to a strict therapy schedule until after school. So really this is a lot. But guess what's not included in that list? Time with God.

Yet I was looking for things to fill my time. Who needs 6 hours alone a day? But God told me I did. He specifically is calling me to solitude so I can center myself and be with Him and get out of the stasis mode I’ve been in since Salem was born in 2002.

To be honest this scares me. My life has become somewhat silent. I can't remember the last time it was so silent. Yet I am realizing, if there is no solitude in your day how can your hear your heart cry out? I feel so unsettled when I am silent and still but perhaps rather than filling that silence with doing something - perhaps God is trying to use it to turn me towards Him. Well there is no perhaps to it. He is. I am losing the desire to fill it with shopping and spending too many hours gone from the house or working on some volunteer project or spending too much time on Facebook or watching things on TV that really aren't awful but certainly not beneficial to my time or spirit.

I feel God calling me to solitude. I need to develop solitude in my life but this is a specific plan that I will be unveiling soon. And perhaps some of you will join me or at least encourage me and pray for me.

It's time for me to slow down, to center and to focus on God. I feel as if my emotional healing is contingent upon it. All the things I've done have been good things. But the bible clearly says all things are permissible and may be “good” but they are not always beneficial in our lives. (My paraphrase - 1 Corinthians 10:23).

Sometimes we need to "be" rather than just do. For instance Sabbath. God created sabbath for man. But how often do we really rest even just once a week?

Especially as moms I think we unconsciously subscribe to the world's standards to do do do. Doing is great. There are many works that need to be done and many that we are specifically called to do. But some of these great works definitely take away time from family and more importantly even our own time with our Creator.

I have a dear friend who was just diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Her diagnosis is grim. I choose not to accept that diagnosis and am praying for her complete healing. But something she said has been echoing deep inside me. She may have neglected symptoms of being unwell and didn't go to the Dr - probably because she was busy with summer, 3 young children under 6, a 1001 things to do, etc. I am sure its hard for her not to wonder - what if...

It makes me realize if I don't take care of myself spiritually, emotionally and physically - I can still mother and perhaps do a good job but perhaps less or different than what God intended. It's a holistic journey. If even one area of my lives is ignored - I am out of balance.

I want to be balanced. I want peace. I want to be whole. I am learning to long for this solitude and rather than filling it with Facebook or projects or TV or shopping or a myriad of other things, I am filling it with prayer and meditation and bible study. There will be a time for fellowship. I won't be locked away. There is a major difference between solitude and isolation. But I won't be looking for a way to escape my own heart cry.

I just know I want to be a great daughter of God - a great wife - a great mom. But I am realizing a HUGE to do list will not bring me to those goals.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Salem's 7 Year Pics

Thanks to Lindsey "Amazing Photographer" Cotton for these wonderful photos. There is a special thanks that goes to Lindsey as these were taken the day I found out that Kathy had stage 4 colon cancer. I was a mess and making calls and I asked her if she could handle changing Salem and everything. And she did. Thank you Lindsey. I will NEVER forget that.

Salem is having a spa/pedicure party (thus the pic of her in the house coat). :) I can't believe she's almost 7 years old. I am feeling very nostalgic and missing Angel and Brynna as well. I am sure I always will.





Peace From Kathy

My friend Kathy's peace and faith have greatly encouraged me. If she can have that faith and peace so can I. I am praying for her constantly for healing and peace. Let me share her words of faith.

Kathy's Words:

It's surreal but I am not in denial. I am grateful for all that I have had so far in my life and hope to continue this journey here on earth. It's in God's hands. I do believe he can perform a miracle, an epiphany. Of course, I am in for the fight, I am human and will do that....oncologist, chemo....all of that stuff I will start tomorrow..but God has embraced me....I feel it. He didn't do this to me but He did let it happen for some reason that I do not understand...yes, I want a miracle...and I pray for one...but I also pray for peace. I was in church on Sunday and we were singing "Do Lord of Do Lord oh do remember me" and I was crying and looking at my children singing along. Broken heart and spirit, but I continued to sing because I wanted God to hear me, "remember me!!!" I felt as if he had forgotten me, I was singing like "it's me, do remember me" and I felt that he said (not audible but peace I have had since) say "I DO remember you". No, I still have cancer, stage 4 and have been blindsided, my children may never remember me and their lives are forever changed. Yet, I still feel there is something to be grateful for. Of course, I have moments of despair and a deep hurt in my soul that's indescribable but If I ask God to help and give me peace, it comes and I get some relief. I do not want to die, I want a miracle, I want the doctors with what God has provided to cure me or God just cure me...however...I know not curing me does not mean prayers unanswered. Peace for myself and strength for Jim and guidance for my children and for my children to know God...is prayer that is being answered. I do not have the human will to open this computer and type this, to talk to my mother about some of the little stuff we talked about....still discipline my kids...that's a hard one, lol. but I must not just let the whole house become chaos because I might die soon, for their sake.

Yes, pray for a miracle please, so many people are praying (and God likes intercessory prayer!)pray for a miracle for sure...but also for peace. A miracle I want...but not curing me is not unanswered. So what I am saying is, even in your human mind you think prayers aren't working....they are...I feel peace and when you are in dark despair and peace sets in....you know how important it is. I know my peace will come and go....because of my human capacity but my soul is saved and I will go towards God and not away from him.....it's the only route for peace despite the circumstances. Don't get me wrong, I am scared and will have despair..but I must remember I am not alone.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Many Prayer Requests

This is destined to be sad post. But I have to share. Please pray. Please?

My fear friend Kathy has three young children under 6 and was just diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. I am heart broken but trying to focus and center my faith because I do believe in miracles.



Regina died this Sunday. Many of you kept up with her story. If anyone would like to send her family a card (even if you don't know them) please email me. As long as I know you I'll share the address. If I don't know you please don't ask.



My mother in law's boyfriend has been diagnosed with Colon cancer as well. He's having surgery today to remove a tumor and a portion of his colon and they will determine treatment when the pathology comes back later this week.

Raina had an accident at the fair and we were worried she broke her hand or at least 2 fingers. After 6 hours in the ER they said they don't think it's broken but to be honest with the way a small child's bones are in a place like the hand they wouldn't know did sure for several days. In 5-7 days well follow up with her doctor for a 2nd xray. At that time they'd look for calcium which would have leaked from a break.

And selfishly pray for me please. I am a tad over-whelmed. I know it's not about me but I battle anxiety and worry and have done SO well the past 6 months and now it's attacking me. I am supposed to go to MOPS Convention Wednesday for 4 days. And while I know God would bless I am just sick at the thought of leaving my kids.

And I am sad - and honestly need to be sad right now and process through all this. And I want to try to go to Regina's funeral.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Creating a Personal Mission/Vision Statement

I am about to embark on a new journey of which I will be sharing soon. In preparation for that I am creating a personal mission/vision statement. Please feel free to comment and tell me what you think as I am not sure the words flow well but this is the gist of what I want. I used this exercise to help me figure this out:

1. Why do I exist? (biblical purpose)
2. How has God shaped me? (unique life-shaping and life-ministry values)
3. What is God calling me to accomplish? (vision)

There is also a great mission statement exercise here. Do you have your own personal mission statement you'd like to share? Or perhaps you'd like to use these exercises to create your own?

Leah's Personal Mission/Vision Statement (In Progress):


I value my relationship with God, family and mankind. I will let the word of God dwell richly in me so Christ may shine to those around me. I am called to transform myself through the word of God, serve others and help lead them through the transformation process.

•I will live each day with peace and joy and not in fear. I will do this through worship, prayer and scripture study.
•I want to be effectual and faithful in using my spiritual gifts. His hands will be my hands, his feet will be my feet, his eyes will be eyes, his voice will be my voice, his heart my heart, his love my love.

My Life Scriptures:

Matthew 16:26 - What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Matthew: 22:37 - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

John 13:34-25 - A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Romans 15:7 - Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Lamentations 3:22-23The Lord's love never ends; His mercies never stop. They are new every morning.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Jeremiah 29:13 - And you shall seek me with your whole heart and find me.

2 Peter 1:5-8 - For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Prayers for Salem

Please say a prayer for Salem. She's having a lot of anxiety lately and needing a lot of encouragement lately. But the needy encouragement is causing disruptive issues at school. For instance she wants to talk to the teacher and get hugs when she's reading or helping another students.

Also she's been going to bathroom saying she's throwing up - really it's spit but I think it's affecting her eating as she's not eating much lately. She never eats a lot but way more than now and she's lost about a pound and to be 38 inches and 38 pounds at almost 7 - well that's problematic. S

She goes to see the Dr. tomorrow to see if it's reflux or something.

I really don't know how to address this yet - so I am praying...

I Think I Am Going Back To School

My goal is to go to Texas Tech online to get a Bachelors in General Studies so I can take the GRE and go to grad school at Abilene Christian and get a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.

If I can't do it through Tech (which is MUCH cheaper) then I will go online to Regent University and get a Bachelor's in Psychology. We'll see. I have a call into ACU tomorrow about some licensing info and degree requirements. If I read their site right I don't have to have a degree in Psychology. The Bachelor's in General Studies would give me 3 concentrations - 18 hours in History, 18 hours in English and 18 hours in Psychology. That should be enough along with a 900 on the GRE.

I can't believe I am going to do this. I am very tentative because I am still praying but I think this is what I want to do. In the spring I will still try to become a trainer to get some part time income in. Especially if I have to go to Regent. Those loans will be at least $55K compared to about $10-$15K at Texas Tech.

Deal Alert!!!

I was on the hunt for cute black shoes (athletic bottoms) that would look good with skirts and dresses (some styles). It's been a hard hunt. I like the Nike Free Mary Janes but they are a whopping $45. Then I found the Morgan and Milo Tessa and the cheapest I found them was $40.

BUT I found a different version of Morgan and Milo - The Abby design. They are cute. And only 19.90.

Then I decided what I could find to get to free shipping (which was only $10 more) and I found these Sam & Libby boots for 19.90 each.

So I bought Salem & Raina both a pair of each and got free shipping and used the coupon code TJ821 for 10% so with shipping I got 2 pairs of boots and 2 pairs of athletic shoes for about $71. That's about what I would have paid at Target and these are higher quality.

The search engine is SO worth it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My heart hurts

I have a really hard time defining and feeling "feelings". I feel out of control when I cry or worry or lose it. So in the past in an effort to be strong I've stuff all my emotions down. Now I can't pack them in there. And I know it's healthier not to but OMGOSH I wish I could today.

My heart hurts.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Center Peace

Have you heard about the Centerpeace Conference? Check out Tammy Marcelain's blog as she shares a very heartfelt opinion and you can get more information at the Center Peace website.

Many people deal with unwanted same s*x attraction or you may have a loved one that does. As Christians we can wage a war against homos*xuality or we can go about it differently. Food for thought: What happens when you wage a war? Typically your goal is to destroy the enemy. But by waging a war against homosexuals we are trying to destroy the hostages rather than minister to them and helping those who want freedom - become free.

Think about it...

I need a new drivers license


In the past month - at least 7 or 8 times I've shown my license at various places when writing a check or using my debit card. People always look at the license, look at me, look at the license, etc. I always say I've lost weight and they say uh ok.

So the other day they didn't believe me. I showed them my entire wallet - all my cards, etc in my name and they finally let me use my card.

So I was telling T this and he asked to see my license and I showed him. We started meeting in November when I was 235. He said he wouldn't recognize me from that pic.

WDYT? Do I need to get a new license? :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Thought On Loneliness

I was reading today and found this quote:

No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by god first. - Oswald Chambers.

And in reply to that Beth Moore said: We are not free to love in the true intent of the word until we have FOUND love. - Beth Moore

Maybe that is the key to figuring out why so many people are so lonely. We strive to fill this cavernous hole in our souls with external things. Friends, shopping, eating etc. Even though we are relational beings and meant to be relational - the prime relationship we need to cultivate is our relationship with God. Our soul CRAVES God. Sometimes I don't think we can even hear our soul's cravings because of the busyness of life. For me it's the girls, business, Brian, the house, always on the go, always a 1000 things to do...Even Face Book. :) I think that's why God is forcing me to be quiet right now so I can hear Him and hear my soul crying for Him.

We aren't wrong to search for love. It's natural - we are made to love. (Think of the words of the Toby Mac song I Was Made To Love You." But searching for love and acceptance through people - even those dearest to our hearts - is disappointing at best and even detrimental in many cases. But if we search for God we will find the ultimate love, our hearts will be full and our souls satisfied and the building of relationships should follow naturally after that.

What do you think?

Even 1 Corinthians 13:8 that says "love never fails" refers to the agape kind of love - the God kind of love. It doesn't say eros or phileo but Agape. That is confirmation for me that God's love for me will NEVER fail. If it can't fail - if I concentrate on loving God then he will show me the rest?

Raina & Salem Updates

Raina made a friend! Her name is Arra!!! :) I am SO excited. Raina talked about her Tuesday night when I was gone. I met her yesterday & today Arra came & hugged her when she got there. Mrs. Mann said they really like each other. Raina has eventually played with other kids but never really made a friend on her own. I dropped her off & she went to Arra. Thank you Jesus.

I decided Raina didn't need dance right now. She's getting six hours of speech a week at school but 5 hours is in a language lab with other kids so her therapist at Rehab thinks she needs more one on one as well. So Tuesdays she has one on one therapy with her therapist and one other child (trying to address the social anxiety as well) and Thursday she has OT and then speech by herself. Then she has riding therapy on Friday. That's more than enough. :)

Salem is doing well in school academically. She's learning so much and getting better at her readers etc. But she has been really clingy and scared of me leaving lately. She keeps telling me but I'll miss you mommy. I tell her I'll miss her too and we go over the scripture God didn't give me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind EVERYDAY. So I am praying that gets better soon.

She started violin last night. :) I think this is going to be great for her and at some point I hope Raina is ready for that. She's not ready now as she threw a car during the session to show frustration she couldn't articulate and almost hit the teacher. I am hoping most lessons Brian can watch her.

Also in an attempt to quieten their spirits and end the day with a treasure from God I started saying this blessing EACH night to them individually before I pray with them. I personalize it for them.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The God of Peace be with you. Romans 15:13, 33

Salem - Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Raina – The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength – Nehemiah 8:10

Waiting Expectantly

I can think of a 1000 updates then I think - wow that's too much info. And I scare myself from it. Anyone ever do that? In my effort to grow spiritually, heal emotionally and strive to be authentic and transparent I find that my greatest stumbling block is simply myself. Fear.

I went to see T for the first time in Lubbock on Tuesday after a month of zero therapy. At first it was fine. But the last 10 days before our session - wow it amazed me how much I needed to talk and process. And I find it hard to really do that outside these sessions. But I have to remember before November of 2008 I didn't talk at all. I didn't share my stuff with Brian or friends or a pastor or a mentor. I simply stuffed it in. And we all know how unhealthy that is. So then I finally went to therapy. God used it to develop me - to deliver me. But these sessions are winding down. They might not be done this month or this year. For right now I will be going for 2 hours twice a month or so. But indefinitely I want to not need therapy. That's my goal as much as I love talking to T I have to learn at some point to rely less on therapy on more on God in me and learn to process and work through things independently yet not in isolation.

And I really am a creature of isolation. Those of you who may know me from MOPS or The Mission or a variety of other places may not believe that at first but it's my reality. I've never been relational. It's never come easy to me - having girl friends, coexisting with other moms etc without constantly second guessing myself or wondering what they think about me. I am social. But as authentic as my words are to others - they are shadowed by fear. It is getting better but the process seems to get harder the further in I get.

I feel God tearing my walls down and teaching me to be relational. So OK God I am ready. Now I sit here after cleaning my house, doing my bible study and about to work out and realize how lonely I really am now that the girls are in school everyday for 6 hours. I do volunteer at school, some MOPS projects, church etc. But I think God is purposely quietening my life. My life was too crowded - too loud - to ever realize in the past how lonely I was. In the past I've hidden my loneliness fairly well. Even from myself. But the older I get, the more I feel God's presence in my life and the more I feel called to step outside my walls and serve humanity - the more I realize how deep this loneliness can be. So I think I am lonely for a reason. For God to show me how to move out of the loneliness and into relationships.

God meant for us to be relational. I may never be the most popular mom on the block - the one everyone wants to be with. I may never be the most sought after speaker or the person everyone wants to read what they have to say on their blog - but God is calling me. He's equipping me and that terrifies me because I know it means being even more authentic and transparent - thus at risk. My past may at some point offend someone who is close minded. It may isolate me from someone I thought loved me. But I can no longer let that fear rule my heart and imprison me. I don't have to shout my stuff to the world. I kinda wish I could process it and then bury it in a cemetery. But I don't think that's what God has planned. Well I know it's not what God has planned.

I have to admit that lately I have been reaching out and not seeing a lot of fruit yet. And that hurts. Lunch dates forgotten or invitations ignored hurt. But somehow I know God is perfecting me and teaching me through that. And I am trying to cling to that.

T always - and I mean ALWAYS - tells me to honor the process at whatever point it's at. Sigh. I'm trying but If I am honest I hate the process. HATE it. Nothing beautiful here in this moment. But I am waiting expectantly on the Lord to bring beauty from the ashes of my life. To bring healing into my soul and bring continual loving and caring people into my life.

O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalms 5:3

I am waiting expectantly.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Plastic Surgery Consult

But not until February 1st. We have a newish Dr. here that has a great reputation so I am going to check it out before deciding to go to DFW, Brazil etc.

I have lost 81 pounds and while I am still losing some inches I am not confident I can get my last 16 pounds off without surgery. Plus my skin is AWFUL. Sigh. I just don't think my stomach will get better and my boobs look awful but I am nervous. So if all goes well $$$ wise, I hope to have surgery in April so I have time to recover before my kids are out of school for summer.

For those that did surgery - were you at goal? How was your recovery? I am looking at either breast implants or an augmentation and a tummy tuck.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Raina's 1st Day Of School

She was so excited but did flip when I left, curled in a ball and was screaming. Please pray she does well. My heart hurts.


Eating breakfast & watching Franklin



SO excited. We talked it up for days.



Let's Go Mom!



Reality Sets In

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Salem's 1st Day of School

Here is my sweet girl. :) 1st grade


.

Update On All Of Us

So it's been a while since I did a huge update so I thought I would. :)

Salem will be 7 in October and just started 1st yesterday. I'll post pics soon. She loves it. She loves being girly and wearing "heels" (flipflops with a wedge hill), bracelets and lip gloss. She's a total girly girl. She has a busy schedule but it's FAR better than last year. No PT, only 1 tutoring a week and no cheer. Mostly this starts in September.

Mondays - Nothing
Tuesday - Daisy Girl Scouts every other week starting September 15. Before school at 8 she'll have speech and go to school late and miss chapel.
Wednesday - Violin before church
Thursday - Tutoring
Friday - Riding

And nothing on multiple days. Last year she had speech and tutoring on Thursdays and occasionally Daisy's and cheer on the same day for 3 months. It was too much. She's in pep squad at school but it's nothing after school. She gets to help with pep rallies and will cheer during half time at home games. Its a fundraiser for the cheerleaders and mentoring for her. She's excited to wear her ACS cheerleader outfit to school on Fridays.

Raina starts preK at Headstart next week. We may do a tumble, jazz, tap class. I am still trying to decide.

Tuesday - Speech (Still will get 6 hours at school but this speech is joined by another child and we're working on her developing one on one social skills so it's important we keep it).
Thursday - OT before Salem's tutoring
Friday - Riding

They both love playing with baby dolls, dressing them up, sleeping with them etc. Raina loves babies but they are ALL naked. No matter how many clothes they have. She taught herself to swim this summer. I am SO not kidding. Her tantrums are better but it's just been me, her and Salem this summer for the most part so I really don't know what to expect next week. KWIM?

Salem we're trying to read every night for 20 minutes and do a journal where she writes down something she liked about that day. She's still learning to spell and read so this is good for her.

Salem weighed today - 37.4 - so she lost almost a pound. She's almost 39 inches. I bought 4T jeans and XS Target Shirts or 5T shirts and dresses. Raina - 2T jeans and 3T shirts and dresses. Salem wears a 10 to 10 1/2 shoe and Raina wears almost an 8. The only shoes she'll wear and leave is Crocs. I am SO not a fan of crocs (no offense) but this is one of her biggest sensory issues - so Crocs it is.

Salem is very dramatic and emotionally and her sassy mouth is almost too much. So I am going to start keeping vinegar in my car and at home and spray her mouth when it when she back talks. She has to earn 50 marbles to get an American Girl doll for her birthday. She lost 8 today. Sigh. I hope this doesn't backfire. I hoped it would be good incentive.

Raina is my love bug. She says - my mommy! I say - I am Salem's mommy too but I love you SO much. She says - no Amy is (Amy is Salem's mom LOL). Salem is SO into playing with her doll that sometimes she's really upset that she's sick even. :) We pray for her.

I am doing well. I've lost 80 pounds and have about 17 to go. I feel AWESOME. I look awesome and that feels great. My therapist moved to Lubbock and I am going to start going to see him hopefully next week twice a month. It's way more there. Sigh. So I have to budget for it different. I will have to totally chill on shopping and out to eat. It went from 16.50 at ACU to $45 at Tech plus I have the gas to get there.

I am still working out a lot. I am trying to decide about school. I still want to become a trainer cause I think it would be good for me and I want to help others but I can't really pursue that til I am at goal. I am thinking of going to college and getting a masters as a licensed marriage and family therapist. GULP. Still thinking that through. Maybe Social Work but I think I could do more and get paid more as a LMFT. I am staying busy with work, reading and trying to do a lot more bible study. I just finished my first study in 2 years and started a new one. I feel revived!

Brian is in the midst of flying lessons and gone EVERY Saturday to DFW area. That sucks for us but it's important to him. We can't go everytime cause we spend WAY too much $ that way. He's also still gone long hours. Monday he came home at 7, Tues/Wed after the girls were in bed and tonight is at Bible Study. So it sucks. But it's life and it's not forever.

Korie is about to be a junior at the end of this semester. She's doing great.

Larrah moved back in with us. Long story but it's ok. The goal is for her to stay until she gets her income tax and pays off her car then she can afford rent better. Her car just got vandalized and she has a $1000 deductible so before she can get it fixed ($1800) she has to come up with money. If she comes up with at least half we'll help her but haven't told her that yet.

So that's where we are.+