Short and sweet - I just started reading Interrupted, by Jen Hatmaker. With what God has already begun to stir in my heart, I think it's going to rock my world.

That's all.


The Aftermath

I am sitting in the playroom, listening to the kids bicker over crayons, paper and scissors (what's new?) and looking around at all the stuff. Christmas is always fun, but for me it creates a big conundrum. You like that word, don't you...conundrum...I don't get to use it every day, so I thought I would break it out ;). Anyway, back to the point - where to put all the new stuff and what to get rid of from the old stash of stuff. I have such a hard time getting rid of things. It probably goes back to the vivid memory I have of a white garbage bag full of my stuff that was cleaned out and thrown away while I wasn't looking. I only got to see the bag as it was going out the door. I could see through the bag and my Auburn basketball program with Charles Barkley's and Chuck Person's autographs was in there, and a pair of sunglasses I really liked...among other miscellaneous who-knows-what. I was a bit of a tomboy, so that basketball thing was important to me. It really was my own fault and I take full responsibility because I was a big slob. That was not an attempt at a guilt trip, Mom, should you read this ;)

Anyway, for whatever reason I can get emotionally attached to just about anything. Oh, here's something gross and I can't believe I am about to tell you this, but I once kept a piece of gum that some boy I liked chewed. I found it all dried up in a box several years ago among a bunch of other "keepsakes." How gross is that? And I don't even know whose it was.

I'm glad I got that out there. There's power in confession, right? I suppose I'm just going to have to put my big girl pants on and let some things go. The problem is they really do play with a lot of this stuff, so I don't know what stays and what goes. I think what I need, in addition to help from the Holy Spirit, is a few episodes of Hoarders. That's always motivating and I happen to have several on the DVR. I so don't want to be that person, and if I ever feel I relate to what they are saying in the slightest, I immediately start throwing things away. Yes, I think that will be step one, and I'll let you know how it goes. Then I'll have to re-tackle the organization system...whew!

Oh, and if you have any suggestions at all for making decisions about what goes, or how you organize things like trains/tracks, cars, art supplies, etc...do tell!


Christmas 2010

"Christmas 2010" - that's as much creativity as I've got right now ;). I'm sitting here, half watching Little Women, with my late night snack - my new favorite thing (unless doughnuts are an option):

Cheez-its dipped in peanut butter. Try it. It's a good thing.

We have had a fun few days, but now my brain is just tired. Christmas Eve we went to Montgomery for the day to see both Dave's and my family. We had lunch at his parents' house and hung out there for the afternoon. Dave's brother and grandparents were there as well. His Granny has Alzheimer's, and honestly she appears to be pretty advanced. It's a sad thing to see, but watching his Papaw take care of her was so sweet. He is very loving and patient with her, and is doing his best to keep her out of a nursing home, despite the fact that he is aging as well, and just can't do the things he used to. That's love, isn't it?

We had supper at my parents' house with my brother and his family, and opened gifts. That's what's known as controlled chaos. It could have been worse, but paper and boxes were flying and Baby Christopher loved it. He was all up in the middle of it. By the time all that was over I was beyond tired...I really didn't feel well for most of the day. My stomach was acting up as it does sometimes...and always at the most inconvenient times. Really, when is it convenient? The highlight of Christmas Eve was a conversation I had with [a certain someone who wishes to remain nameless] about who "Harold" is. Think Hark the Herald Angels Sing...it was priceless :)

Christmas morning I forced myself to get up early and bake a cake. Our new tradition is eating birthday cake for breakfast before opening gifts. It was so great and the kids loved it. They sang happy birthday to Jesus and then dove in to the cake.

We were all sitting down eating our cake, but after only a couple of bites we noticed Corban had disappeared. This is where he was - like father, like son. He didn't like being "yucky."

I don't know why that tickled me so much, but it did. He also was much more interested in eating ginger snaps than opening presents. He's like his daddy in many ways, I guess. We opened all the gifts and played all morning. We finally got the Wii Fit, so we did a lot of this

And I would like to announce that my center of gravity was as close to perfect as could be without being perfect 49%/51% - for whatever that's worth. Be proud ;) Corban so needed a boy "dollhouse" - he's been surrounded with My Little Pony stuff, and he's made do, but he got the Batman bat cave and seems to like it.

Riley got a small dollhouse and it has come in very handy. Even super heroes have to go potty!

Riley got this. It was really the only thing my little girl asked for

We pretty much stayed in our pajamas all day, until this happened

SNOW...IN AUBURN...ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!! What? It didn't really stick, but it was fun for the kids for a few minutes. They finally crashed for the night and all of them slept until after 9:00 this morning. I let them sleep late while I went on to church (Caeley stayed home with them). With the flu and strep that's going around I really didn't want to throw them into the germ festival, anyway. It continued to snow throughout the day, but never stuck. We were running low on diapers and were flat out of Cheez-its, which constitutes an emergency around here, so I made a run to Sams...and it was C.O.L.D. I don't know how people live with this kind of weather, and much worse, for months on end. I am a southern girl through and through, I guess. We finished out the day by doing "Who Hair" on us girls (see earlier post)...ain't we cute!

I'm sticking my tongue out...it's hard to tell. Felt the need to explain why I look funny! And please excuse Riley, she doesn't like to wear clothes ;)

Anyway, I hope you all had a merry Christmas! We sure did. Now I am off to dreamland...I'm really excited!

(Caeley begged me to post this pic...she wanted me to look happy so I went a little overboard)


White(ish) Christmas!

After the last two days of staying up late and getting up early, I am too tired for a detailed post. I have lots of pictures and fun to post tomorrow...BUT today was a fun day for all. To top it all off we ended it with this:

SNOW!! My first white Christmas and in Auburn, Alabama, of all places. We didn't get as much as they did in North AL, but I'm calling this Christmas white. How fun! We might get a tad bit more tomorrow - we'll see. I just realized that tomorrow is Sunday. That totally threw me for a loop - I feel like I've been in the twilight zone. But I am looking forward to it! Better get to bed - MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Thank You, Francis Chan

I read an article today about Francis Chan. Apparently he has decided to leave his church and move to an unnamed country in Asia to do ministry. This is the quote that I absolutely loved:

“Even in my own church I heard the words, ‘Francis Chan’ more than I heard the words, ‘Holy Spirit’,” CNN’s Belief Blog reports Chan as saying. “I think there has been too much emphasis on me. I want to be used by God, but I think we have this desire to make heroes out of people rather than following God and the Holy Spirit.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you! That's a heart for God right there. Call me stubborn but whenever a book, or the writer, becomes the "big thing", I tend to steer clear. No offense, but when "the Purpose Driven Life" was the big thing, it bugged the fire out of me. Same for "The Prayer of Jabez." I'm not exactly sure why, but it bothers me when something becomes a bandwagon that everybody wants to jump on. If I ever write a book, I guess I hope people would read it, and I guess if it was good stuff, people should want to read it. I think it has to do with what Francis said...too much emphasis on a person.

It took me several years to even do a Beth Moore study. I was thinking, "Y'all, you do know she's a person, right? She's not Jesus." Having said that, though, all it took was watching the first DVD of Breaking Free and I could see what the fuss was about, and I have loved her since. The woman is gifted. And so are these other people. The problem is when we fixate more on the messenger than the message, and it's so easy to do. We humans like something tangible, don't we? Just ask the Israelites about the golden calf that hopped out of their bonfire, or the ones that lived under King Saul and the (mostly) terrible kings that followed him...the ones they asked for because God alone wasn't enough for them.

Anyway, all that to say that I really respect what Francis Chan is doing. I can only imagine the work it would take me to stay humble in the spotlight.


You're Not Just One of Many

My friends that have done Beth Moore's studies will appreciate this. It's kind of a long story, but the details are essential to see God's sense of timing, and I think, His sense of humor, too. Having said that, let me emphasize that in no way do I take credit for the blessing my friend received, because I really didn't do anything.

I have been doing this Bible study at AUMC for 5 or 6 years and the husband of one of the ladies that leads it had prostate cancer 5 years ago. He went for some blood work recently, and it showed he had cancer cells somewhere in his body again, but from what I understand, they weren't for sure where. They decided to be proactive and went out to MD Anderson in Houston for radiation therapy for 7 weeks. They are staying in an apartment and drive over to the hospital 5 days a week for treatment.

So, a couple of weeks ago someone emailed out their address in Houston so we could send little notes or whatever...this is obviously a lonely time, away from family at Christmas, and it's a heavy atmosphere there, with all the sickness they see. I thought I would send a card, and then I thought, oh I should send some kind of treat or bake something. So on a Monday afternoon, I made those chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies. After I made them, I looked at them and was like, these are totally going to fall apart in transit.

So, what now? I decided to get them a gift card to a restaurant in Houston. I get online and start searching, but how on earth would I know if it was really good or not? You can't tell from a website. Then, I said to myself, "Hey, Beth Moore lives in Houston...I'll ask her!" (I just think that's kind of funny, and it had to be a God-idea because I would normally think there ain't no way you're going get in touch with her). She has a blog and apparently she interacts with the people that reply to her posts sometimes. (Sidenote: this says a lot to me in and of itself. If you've ever been around a person in ministry who is "untouchable" or has kept themselves separated from "the people," you will agree). I had read that she was in the middle of writing a Bible study on James, so I didn't know how much gets on there right now, but I thought I'd try. She had just written a post about Deeper Still in Bham, which I was supposed to go to but ended up cancelling because of the LIFE retreat...two weekends in a row was too much for mommy to be gone, I thought. I wrote a reply that basically said, "I hate I missed it...I so wanted to go, yada, yada...And here's an odd question - don't know if you'll even see it, but maybe someone else can give me an answer. I've got friends at MD Anderson and I want to get them a gift card to a nice restaurant just to give them a diversion from what's going on. Any suggestions?" Within about 20 minutes Beth herself replied and gave me some good recommendations. Then she says, Listen, I might be going to MD Anderson tomorrow...are you're friends women and do they have any affiliation with ladies Bible study. I said YES! Are you thinking you might want to pop in and say hey - and I gave her my email address in case. I never heard back on Monday, but Tuesday morning I got an email from her assistant saying Beth Moore wants to visit my friends while she is there at the hospital. One year ago to the day Beth had surgery for what they thought might be stage 4 ovarian cancer...it turned out not to be, but she said she was forever marked by those 4 days at MD Anderson so she was going over on the one year anniversary to take cookies to people and just try and minister to whoever she could.

What perfect timing God has. Since Martha and Rick (those are the friends' names) aren't staying at the hospital, I had to call her and tell her about it, which made me sooo nervous because then what if it didn't work out? I gave Beth's assistant Martha's cell number so they could try and find each other. Long story a little shorter ;), they didn't actually meet in person...Beth had her daughter with her and they had to pick up her grandson from pre-school and Martha didn't have enough time to get to where Beth was. But they did talk on the phone, apparently for a while, and Beth prayed for Martha and Rick and she said it was one of those prayers that felt like God himself came down. Honestly, it might be an even bigger blessing that they didn't meet in person, because it probably would have been short, with the timing and all that.

For those of you who read this and don't know who Beth Moore is, or haven't done her studies...that's not even the point. This was something uniquely tailored to Martha's heart. I can't tell you how overwhelmed I was at God's faithfulness. Like Martha said, it just shows how even though we are but one of many, He takes notice of us. This happened a few weeks ago and I just haven't had time to post about it yet. Be encouraged - He notices you and even the most random ideas can be God-ideas ;)

Oh, and the other reason I haven't posted yet is that I haven't even bought the gift card yet :/ I got all caught up in that whole story and forgot to do the thing I set out to do. Better get on that this afternoon!

Top ___ Things I learned This Year

So, I thought I would make a list of the top 10 things I learned this year. It sounds like an end of year kind of thing to do, right? I really didn't know if would come up with 10, but to my surprise there were like 12 or 13 (I'm too lazy to count right now) - which really bugs me because 10 is just a better number. But, I couldn't cut any of them because they are all legit. So, without further delay, here they are (in no particular order):
  • In dirty diapers and in life, there are times when you're just gonna get some on you. It's a waste of time to try and stay clean, so just jump in and take care of business. In short, life is messy.
  • Full exposure before the Lord is essential for healing of the soul (mind, will and emotions). No hiding.
  • It is for freedom that Christ set me free (Galatians 5:1). That's not redundant; He already did the work, but I have to choose to remain and live free.
  • Friends are essential to my growth and my sanity. I love my friends!
  • Too much is really too much. I need to simplify my home, my expectations and my life.
  • In order to survive letting people into my heart and my world, to stay open, I MUST become a servant. Make myself lower and elevate the value of other people.
  • Having 4 kids might be the riskiest, craziest, thing I (we) have ever done. Who knew it was so challenging to be "just" a mommy! :)
  • I like Indian food. In fact I think the secret ingredient in Chicken Tikka Masala might be crack, because I am addicted to it!
  • When I looked around and saw suffering - kids unloved, unwanted, starving, enslaved and orphaned - I said, "God why? Do something, love them!" He said, "That's what you're there for...you do it." Whoa...still processing that one, but am looking for opportunities.
  • Under no circumstance should I ever set a drink of any kind on the console in the middle of my van. How many cups of coffee do I need to send flying before I get this one?
  • Keep the cupholders in the van emptied out.
  • Marriage is HARD work! But it's so worth it. Like the old Virginia Slims ad said, we've come a long way, baby!
  • Parenting is a long term investment, not a get rich quick program. You don't usually get a return up front, and the things you do today will have to be done all over again tomorrow (and maybe in as little as 10 minutes). I'm living for the "well done" at the end of the race. Note to self: post this somewhere prominent or you will forget by the end of the day.
Voila! There it is...my year in summary. I so loved thinking through all of that and I need to make it a yearly practice. Now, I'm off to do mommy things ;)



My kids keep me rolling with the things they do and say! These may not be funny to anybody else but us, but here's a few Riley-isms from the last few days:

Riley had just tried cashews for the first time in a while. Her comment: "It makes me gag, but I think I like it."

"I want some pet ducks that don't talk...and a river. Nevermind, I want some penguins in a cage...and a pet chameleon."

"I've got skills, Mom. Watch this." Proceeds to do tricks. "Corban doesn't have the kind of skills I have. He has different skills." I have no idea where that came from, but it makes me think of Napoleon Dynamite..."computer hacking skills, 'num' chuck skills..."

Christopher had just "kissed" Riley. I said "Riley, did Baby give you some loves?" She said, "that's not loves, it's spit!"

I was helping her finish her hot chocolate and she said "I'm a baby bug that opens it's mouth...wait, nevermind. I'm a baby alligator!" followed by...

"I'm a baby beetle that's blue and green!"

"I'm a baby chameleon!"

"I'm a baby penguin!" (while making some nasty gag sound..she said that's what baby penguins do.)

She's been obsessed with watching our Planet Earth DVDs, can you tell?

**UPDATE - apparently all baby animals make the nasty gagging sound. Picture a baby bird with it's mouth open and tongue sticking out - then add a gagging noise, and that's what she's doing.

Riley: "I'm a person." Corban: "you're not a person!" Riley: "I am a person. We are both persons! I am not an animal." Funny, considering the above.

"With my pretend gun I only shoot people who are whining." (that would be Corban)

"Can I call our baby 'Pepe'?" Me: "Why do you want to call him that?" Her: "Because I like that name. I'm gonna call him Christopher Pepe."

Riley said she's a superhero this morning. I'm trying to help her come up with a name, so I asked what her special powers were. She said she "wraps up mean guys and drinks." Random. She just said she's going to be "Whiteyball." No idea where that came from, but I am cracking up!


Kid Stuff

Just some kid stuff... Baby C is trying really hard to stand on his own...he's been able to balance for up to 10 seconds, but not on camera, of course :/

And then he decided he wanted Daddy to chase him. Here he is trying to entice him...

Not to be ignored, Riley and Corban got in the mix and begged to be tickled...

Oh, and did you know we had a mean baby reindeer? Look...
and apparently Corban was being attacked by the brown blanket...


Okay, my blog looks awful right now. I started playing around with it, and can't get it back the way it was. So, no, this is not on purpose...I'm not loving the birds. Not that there's anything wrong with birds ;)


What Does Peace Look Like Here?

What does peace look like here? That's the big question on my mind. My pastor, Chris Hodges, preached about peace this morning. Listen to this statement: "Peace is not the absence of something (conflict), but the presence of Someone (Jesus)." If you need peace in your life, don't pursue peace, pursue Jesus, who IS peace. He is Sar Shalom, the Lord of Peace...the one in charge of peace. Whoa...that was one of those times I wanted to shout in church, because it was a light bulb moment.

I have been so stressed out and overwhelmed, just with the season of life I am in. Having a teenager and three kids age 4 and under is hard, I don't care who you are and how organized you are...it just is. So the big question is, how do I get peace in the midst of what can only be described as chaos? How do I get in touch with Jesus, bring Him into the situation, so that I can be at peace regardless of what's going on around me?

I don't know yet, but I'll get back to you when I find out ;) I am certain the answer is locked up somewhere between Isaiah 26:3 - "He will keep in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts you" - and Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."


Who Hair and Gingerbread Men

Hallelujah, Christmas break has officially begun. This family is so in need of some schedule-free down time. Riley had her last pre-school day on Wednesday and Caeley had her last day of school today. The 7th grade ends the first semester of school with a celebration and they do something called Who Hair (like as in the Whos in Whoville) which is best described with a photo--

Too fun! Then we decorated gingerbread men...always a good thing. We all enjoyed eating them - for the most part. Caeley ate her whole cookie, Corban picked off the M&Ms and ate one leg and Riley freaked out because icing got on her fingers. She's still working on hers. Mine is half gone and will be finished off before the night is out, I'm sure.

I love this time of year and am so thankful for a break, because, honestly, I'm done - stick a fork in me. I'm ready to refresh, spend some time with the family and restructure and reevaluate during the January fast. I need to hear from God about what my next few months should look like and how I can streamline my routine. I'm way out of whack somewhere.

But for now...it's time to chill...TYJ!



I am processing through something I heard this weekend at the LIFE retreat. Tricia Gunn referred to the passage in Luke 7 (it's in other places, too), where the "sinful woman" anoints Jesus. She breaks open a very expensive - like a years' wages expensive - jar of perfume and washes His feet with it. What Tricia said about this has stuck in my mind - she said "the money she earned to buy this perfume, she earned lying on her back." And then she basically said that every time she gave herself to a man she gave away a piece of herself, but when she poured out what she had on Jesus, she was restored. He knew what she was and He knew how she got that perfume, but He did not turn her away or turn from her. In fact, He holds her up as an example and says that everywhere the gospel is preached, her story would also be told.

I have found it to be true that the very things I have done in my past that have caused me shame are also the things that, when brought to light and brought before the throne of God, have given me a greater sense of love and acceptance. As long as we try to hide ourselves from God and cover our shame, it is as though we have made camp in a garbage dump. We sit huddled with the mess we've found ourselves in. The only way to be free of something is to give it to someone else. It's like the clutter I am constantly battling to be rid of - I can hang onto it, or I can give it to Goodwill. Even better I can give it to the garbage collectors. But a decision has to be made...hello, it's GARBAGE!

And the same goes for the junk in our soul (mind and emotions). If we want to be rid of guilt and shame or anger or whatever garbage we live with every day, we have to give it to someone else...and that someone isn't your spouse or kids because they can't handle your junk, either. God the Father is the one who stands ready, and really He has already taken it. Once you have chosen to belong to Him - and it is a choice and anyone can make that choice - the only power the past has over you is the power you give it.

Several months ago God showed me that I had been hiding from Him. Even though I knew in my mind that I was forgiven, I still felt a "yuck" that I couldn't shake and so I tried to hide, as though one could hide from Him. It not only blocked that relationship, but it was blocking other relationships - with Dave, with friends, etc. And that was the power my past had over me. I gave it the power to keep me in shame, until, in a moment of time, God put His finger on it and said, "That's not who you are. I have given you a new name." I had to bring it to Him, be honest about what I had done, about who I had been, and let Him speak the truth to me. It was life-changing. You can do that, too...and you don't have to sit in the dumpster as long as I did.

The cool thing is that what I feared - being exposed - was exactly what I needed to be free. And it is what He has used to make me a better servant to people. It drives me to love others. It moves me with compassion. Last night I saw "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." Without too much background, because this post is long enough already, a boy named Eustace (how horrible for him) had been turned into a dragon. It happened because he gave in to a temptation, even though he had been warned that temptation was coming...he was weak and so he gave in. There was nothing he could do on his own to change.

In that disappointing state, feeling stuck and feeling sorrow for where he ended up, his destiny to do extraordinary things had not changed. In fact it was exactly because of what he had done, and because he was a dragon that could fly, that he was able to be in a position to be the hero in the story and be used to put all things right. Did that mean what he did was okay? No. Why, then? Because he came to a place of repentance (he turned away from sin toward God). When he met Aslan face to face, suffering the consequences of his sin, he was "healed." In the movie Aslan drew in the sand with His paw and roared a giant lion roar. The scales were blown off and Eustace became a boy again. He became what he always was...the boy that was inside the dragon, but couldn't get free on his own.

My mind instantly went to the story in the gospels of the woman caught in an adulterous situation. Bottom line, Jesus drew in the sand and said he who is without sin can cast the first stone. No one hung around to condemn her, and He said, "I don't condemn you either, go and sin no more." That's what happened to Eustace. He was confronted with the savior, in his sin...he was caught red-handed, so to speak...no hiding it...and was healed and restored. And his destiny had not changed. He could still be great in the kingdom.

God can build off of your past, whatever it is, whether it's things you did or things other people did to you. You can't change the past, but He can make your foundation strong, building on those things, IF you bring it all to Him. He starts where you are, not where you "should" be. He can take garbage and make it treasure, but we have to choose that. Choose it. Please. There is nothing like being seen for who you really are and knowing that you are loved and cherished.


Christmas...Who's Birthday Is It Again?

Christmas is coming and we are always trying to be sure we keep the focus on the reason we have this holiday (aka, Holy Day) in the first place. It's such a challenge...what do we do with Santa Claus, how much stuff do we give them, yada yada. I was praying the other day and it just hit me that it's Jesus' birthday, or at least that's when we celebrate it...who knows the actual day (well, God does:) But anyway, we just celebrated Christopher's birthday and what did we do? We ate cake and bought him gifts. What do you give the King of Kings for His birthday? Well let's ask Him.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -- Matthew 25:31-40

We can give to Him by giving to others...amazing! And of course I remember again what the lady at Walmart said - "I am convinced that every time I do a kindness for someone, I increase His glory." To glorify Him in this sense means simply to give an accurate representation of who He is. And He is so very kind...therefore, we should be kind...at Christmas and at all times. Can you even believe He lets us be His glory bearers? If I were Him I think I would just do it myself...but not Him. He believes we can do it and He enables us to do so.

So I am going to be looking for ways to be kind and generous this Christmas. And you better know we'll be having some birthday cake on Christmas day, too...it IS a birthday party!!

Going Home

I'm on a Sara Groves kick....again :) I LOVE her music, her lyrics. This is "Going Home" --

I’ve been feeling kind of restless
I’ve been feeling out of place
I can hear a distant singing
A song that I can’t write
And it echoes of what I’m always trying to say

There’s a feeling I can’t capture
It’s always just a prayer away
I want to know the ending
Things hoped for but not seen
But I guess that’s the point of hoping anyway

Of going home, I’ll meet you at the table
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be home

I’m confined by my senses
To really know what you are like
You are more than I can fathom
And more than I can guess
And more than I can see with human sight

But I have felt you with my spirit
I have felt you fill this room
And this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home

Going home, I’ll meet you at the table
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be going, to be going home

Face to face, how can it be
Face to face, how can it be
Face to face, how can it be

Cuz this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home


New Perspective

Yesterday I ran out to pick up a pizza and took Christopher with me. I wasn't feeling all that great, mentally/emotionally. While I was out I ran into Walmart (not my favorite place to be on a Friday afternoon) because we were almost out of milk. I thought it would give me chance to look at booster seats for Riley, too, otherwise I probably would not have set foot in that place.

I walked to the back and looked at seats and didn't really see anything I liked. I started walking toward the milk and thought "well I don't know why I came in here...waste of time." About that time an elderly woman approached. She was walking slowly with one of those walkers with a basket on the front and she took notice of Christopher. He was smiling big as he usually does and she looked like she wanted to stop to interact with him, so I stopped. That happens sometimes when I'm with him...I'm used to it.

She said,"Look at that big smile. Are you going to go to Auburn one day?" I just said, "maybe so." I could see that her eyes were cloudy with cataracts. Then she asked me if I had signed him for a PAC college savings plan. I thought that was a little strange...kind of random. I said that our other kids had savings plans (really only Caeley does) but that we would set him up with one eventually. She said "well sometimes people forget about that or don't even know about it. I just wanted to make sure you knew."

I said thank you and we both started to walk our own ways. Then she stopped and said something I didn't understand, so I backed up and asked her to repeat.

She said,

"I am convinced that every time I do a kindness for someone, I increase His glory." 

She looked at me like she knew I would understand what she meant (I think there are lots of people who wouldn't get that and wouldn't know who the "Him" was). Once it sunk in what she said, I responded, "Oh absolutely...I completely agree."

She smiled and turned around and walked off. I headed to get the milk thinking that whole thing was really random. But I couldn't stop thinking about what she said and I noticed I felt much lighter than when I got there. I decided to go look for her - I didn't know what I would say if I found her - but she was nowhere to be found. I was like, God was she an angel or what - she couldn't move that fast with a walker ;)

Anyway, I got in the car, went to get the pizza, still thinking about what she said. I got in the car and turned the ipod on and Mighty to Save was on - "everyone needs compassion, the kindness of a savior." I started crying and cried all the way home. I'm still not sure why or what happened but I felt like the encounter was a defining moment and a real shift in perspective for me in some way. Something "clicked" inside me through all of it.

 I really don't know how to explain it and it probably sounds like such a benign encounter...guess you had to be there :)

The kindness of the Lord leads to repentance - Romans 2

Just an update...

It's been a busy month at the Pittman house. My colonoscopy came back normal...woohoo! My doctor put me on a gluten free diet for a few weeks, and I am not so much gluten free, but I am gluten lower :) I can't tell if it's helping but we'll see what he says in a couple of weeks when I go back. We have had both the stomach bug and strep throat over the last couple of weeks. And we celebrated Christopher's first birthday. He LOVED his cake and was covered in blue icing...it was so great!


Prayer request...

The weather has finally turned cold...YES!!! I am sitting here enjoying a hot mug of...chicken broth. That's not the way I want to finish that sentence. I would love to say coffee, hot chocolate, mocha or even chicken soup (like with other stuff in it, too). Most of us are recovering from a stomach virus...but by now I could probably eat some real food. I know I could eat some real food. The reason I am drinking broth is that I am on a liquid diet today in preparation for a colonoscopy tomorrow. I am so excited about it, too......not. I haven't been feeling all that great off and on for a while and have lost some weight without really exercising or changing my diet...so, due to our family history I get to have this fun procedure about 15 years premature. More than likely I have irritable bowel syndrome, but it's just wise to rule out other things before making that assumption. While I am not looking forward to it, I am also not afraid or nervous about it (at least not now). Maybe in the morning as the time approaches I might feel some apprehension...after all it's just not a natural thing to go through. Thankfully I will not be aware of what's happening. But what I do know is that whatever happens will serve me...in other words I am confident that it will draw me closer to God, and I will not bend or bow my faith or my heart to my circumstances. I don't serve my circumstances, but rather, my circumstances are servants to the Lord, who is sovereign over all things...including my little individual life. Having said that I still value your prayers, so if you are so inclined, please pray for me. Thank you!!!


Purple Cow

It's been a while since I posted...I had a really active week or two of posting and then fizzled out. Oh well, that's pretty typical...BUT you know what? I just might be a purple cow...that might be part of my purple-cow-ness. Our Pastor, Brandon, talked tonight about being a purple cow (about standing out) and that we really need to embrace the way God made us, quirks and all (I added the quirk part, but I think he would say, yes, quirks, too). I needed to hear that for lots of reasons. I am about to lead a LIFE small group, but I don't really feel leader-like...I have my own style that's different from others who lead really well and I really don't like being in charge (I think it's probably the expectations I don't like). Then there's the whole "Big Momma" thing (she's my alter ego :). I sometimes wonder and have asked God, who is going to take me seriously when it seems like all I am able to do is act like a total dork? It's either that or I look like a wall-flower because I don't do especially well with people I don't know. Off stage, out of costume I am pretty shy, on stage, and in costume, I'm a goober...who could expect a whole lot of depth from that combination? At home we have issues because I am not so much a detail person. Out-of-sight-out-of-mind is the way I operate. I can easily forget that load of laundry I washed 2 days ago that probably smells atrocious...or the pile of cheerios one of the kids spilled in the car...or to deal with the receipts I am supposed to put by the computer so we can keep up with our spending. All that is par for the course with me...but what also underlies that is a gifting God has given me. I have come to see that being a "free spirit" is just part of who I am. I need to learn to train myself to pay more attention to detail, yes, but I will not any longer be down on myself for who I am. It has purpose. I am a free-spirited, dorky, quiet at times, loud at others, leader...and I like it...I AM A PURPLE COW!!!!


Yesterday I started working on a sandbox for Riley's birthday...the girl LOVES a sandbox! So, I spent about an hour yesterday breaking up clay and rocks under our deck trying to clear and level a spot for this thing. I think I'm almost finished with that part, but my back is saying, "please don't do that to me, again!" We'll see. This morning I am off to order a birthday cake and buy the wood and some galvanized screws...and I suppose at some point I'll have to get some sand delivered...hmmmm. Well, one thing is sure, I will not be buying it by the bag at Home Depot...it would only cost about 8 times as much. Except, I will have to have it delivered and that probably won't be cheap, either. Just thinking out loud here.

Maybe while I'm outside working anyway, I can finally finish that picnic table I started back in the spring. That's the only thing standing between me and painting my kitchen (per Dave)...something about having unfinished projects?

Anyway, I will post pics of whatever comes to be...

UPDATE: After checking, it's not really 8 times as much. Just twice as much, so we will looking for a truck to borrow to pick it up.


Dirty Carpet Wealth

"Deferred gratification or delayed gratification is the ability to wait in order to obtain something that one wants. This attribute is known by many names, including impulse control, will power, self control and, in economics, "low" time preference. Extensive research has shown that animals don't do this, but instead apply hyperbolic discounting, so this problem is fundamental to human nature.

Conventionally, good impulse control is considered a personality trait. Daniel Goleman has suggested it is an important component of emotional intelligence. People who lack this trait are said to need instant gratification and may suffer from poor impulse control. Psychological research (along the lines of Walter Mischel's famous Marshmallow Experiment) indicates that good impulse control may be important for academic achievement and life success.[1] "

All that to say that impulse control, or delayed gratification, is essential in life, and is a sign of maturity. This is not something that comes naturally to me, at all (not a personality trait of mine). Being a free spirit by nature, it is a daily struggle to put off the things I'd like to have now, in order to achieve the goals we have set as a family. For instance we would like to be totally debt free, so that we will have the freedom to do whatever we like with the extra income. Primarily, we would love to be able to give extravagantly to people in need, to those who are doing ministry, etc. And maybe, just maybe, take some nice family trips now and then...oh, and get that pair of leather chairs I have been asking for for the last few years (aka, items of low time preference to Dave). Luckily, I am married to a man who has extra genes for delayed gratification. So, it matters not if I feel impulsive, because I have built in restraint. I am coming to see that as a positive, but it's hard!

So, for now I take comfort in this fact that I ran across last year (paraphrased): the person who can live with dirty carpet now, is more likely to become wealthy later - because it is an indicator of impulse control. And my carpet is filthy (FYI, not my fault, either...whoever lived here before me messed it up...just sayin)! In the meantime, I should probably forget Pottery Barn exists and turn off HGTV. Not likely, but it's a thought.

Oh, and here's a fun link, speaking of Pottery Barn...check it out...it's a hoot!



Well, I am kind of in the mood to just say what's on my mind today...blame it on hormones if you like. To jump right in I feel the need to say that the word, "doctrine" is NOT a four-letter word. You might say, well, duh, it's got eight letters! And it does, but it is treated like a curse word among a large part of the "modern" christian church. I say modern meaning those who don't want to be associated with "traditional" or high church.

The definition of "doctrine" is:
a principle or body of principles for acceptance or belief, as by political, religious, scienific or philosophic group; dogma (and Lord help you if you use THAT word ;) Something taught, a teaching.

Interestingly, the antonyms I saw listed were: opinion, disbelief, skepticism.

I don't think any of us (Christian believers, that is) would want to think of ourselves as skeptics, or ones following our own opinions. BUT at the same time it is often frowned upon to really study the Bible...what does it say in context, what was the original intent? No, let's just read snippets and make it work however it feels good and right. Not that God can't cause it to come alive that way, but as 2 Timothy says, we need to sudy to show ourselves approved, accurately handling the word of truth. We need to know what it's really saying when it says what it says...know what I'm saying?

It seems to me that some people would rather focus on feeling good, taking scripture like a prescription to feel better, but that stops way short. I don't think He wants to cleanse us just so we can feel better, but so we/He can fulfill His purposes. God is loving, and He IS love. He is also a God who pours out wrath upon sin, and yes sin-ners as well. He has lots of attributes, but the picture is incomplete without looking at the whole of scripture. God didn't have a personality overhaul in that couple of blank pages between the Old and New Testaments. He has always been loving and He has always been a righteous judge. The God Who was, is the God Who is and Who will be. We, as people, just seem to want to camp on one side or the other. That was kind of off-point, I suppose. That's a topic all it's own.

I just don't like those who study their Bibles (in this case, me ;) being looked down upon. And that's all I have to say about that...


Locked Out

After my last post I decided I better write this one down as well, after all, this blog is mostly for me...me and my 1 follower ;) ...but mostly me. Last week we had the soap on the toothbrush incident, but a couple of weeks prior to that Riley pulled another trick.

It was about 10 a.m. and I had just put Christopher down for a nap and Corban had been put in time out in his crib. I walked outside to water the plants on the front porch. As you other mommies know, we are rarely without an audience, for even the most mundane activity. So within moments Caeley was on the porch watching me water. I thought to myself, now the radar is going to go off and Riley is going to want to come out, which might be okay if it wasn't 95 degrees with 95% humidity this time of year. Sure enough she came to the door, moved the blinds and said she wanted to come out. Caeley grabbed the doorknob and said she could not come out, and Riley promptly locked the door. I looked at her and said firmly, "Riley, unlock the door!" She looked up at me, turned and ran away. We knocked. We knocked some more. We knocked and yelled. Nothing.

I did have my cell phone so I decided to call and talk to her through the answering machine. "Riley,this is Mommy. Caeley and I can't get in the house because the door is locked and we don't have a key. I need yu to come and unlock the door." Nothing. Again, "Riley, this is Mommy. I need you to unlock the door and if you do not unlock it I will have to spank your hiney when I get back inside." Sill nothing. Once more, "Riley, this is Mommy. If you come to the door right now, I will not spank your hiney. But IF YOU DO NOT COME HERE RIGHT NOW YOU ARE GOING TO GET A SPANKING." No response.

Well, now I am somewhere between anger and thinking this is very amusing. Thankfully, Dave was working in Auburn for THE FIRST TIME EVER. I made a call to a friend...couldn't get in touch with her. So I decided to walk a couple of houses down to another friend's house. She was not home, but her husband was (who I really don't know at all). He asked what was going on and I told him. He reached in his pocket and handed me the keys to his brand new, ginormous Suburban and said "take it." I took it nervously, because I really had no choice.

I left Caeley sitting on the front porch, hauled it to Walmart and power walked to the pharmacy to get Dave's key. I was cracking up when I told him...it really was a ridiculous situation...and thank God that Corban and Christopher weren't on he loose. I dropped the Suburban off and as I was crossing the yard to get home, I saw Riley finally open the door...the little turkey! I asked what she was doing and she said "coloring with markers." On my rug in the living room...which is off limits. "Why did you lock the door?" "I needed a snack." "Didn't you hear us knocking?" "No...I didn't hear anything." Later she asked "when you were stuck outside, how were you talking to me?" Aha! She did hear me! Permission to discipline granted.

That child is something else. I don't know what to expect from one day to the next, but there will never be a dull moment.


Paybacks are...well, you know

I had to write this down, lest I ever forget...not that I could! Tonight Caeley, Corban and I were all in my bedroom. It was bedtime and Riley was brushing her teeth in her bathroom while Corban was finishing off the last of his juice, before having his teeth brushed. I walked into my bathrom for a minute when suddenly I heard Corban whining. Now, that's not all that unusual, but I heard Riley's voice so I went to check out the situation. Often when Riley is around and Corban is crying, she has done something to hurt, aggravate or otherwise instigate some kind of trouble and frustration with him. When I walked into the room he was laying on the floor crying and saying, "yucky...yucky!" I picked him up and asked what was wrong, and Caeley said, "Riley put soap on Corban's toothbrush." "What? Are you sure?" So I licked it myself and sure enough..."yucky!"

So many thoughts went through my mind all at once. What an awful thing to do! That's pretty sadistic. Where did she get that idea from? She's only 4 (almost). It is a little bit funny in a way. If this had happened outside my own family I would have laughed. This is going to be funny...later. Don't laugh right now...don't smile...look away, you're smiling.

So finally I said to Riley, "that was not nice and it was NOT funny." She said, "yes it was...he he he!" I told her to stay put and I went to take care of Corban. When we got to the bathroom, he was mad at the soap dispenser so he knocked it on the floor and said "No!" I brushed his teeth with real toothpaste and gave him some water.

He was all better so I went to talk to Dave about disciplining Riley. My initial thought was that she needed a spanking...and he agreed and was horrified that she would do such a thing. I have been asking God to give me wisdom with this whole discipline thing, because honestly the kids have been wearing me out lately. Right at this very moment He came through with a genius idea...we should put soap on Riley's toothbrush! Riley would not get a spanking after all, but rather she would get a taste of her own medicine. Dave went and loaded her toothbrush with just enough hand soap while I went and got her. We just told her it was time to get her teeth brushed and that even though she had already brushed them, an adult needed to finish it. We told Caeley to get the camera (now we were being a little sadistic). He calmly sat Riley in his lap and said, "that was pretty funny, what you did to Corban, huh?" She smiled and laughed. The brushing began, she was still smiling...then suddenly it hit her...the expression on her face changed and she started foaming and spitting...and whining and crying, just like Corban, only much louder...it was awesome! Dave could not keep from laughing and neither could Caeley and I. He brushed a little bit more, then he let her spit and rinse it all out. Don't worry she was fine and recovered quickly. "Isn't it funny Riley?" No answer, just a poked out lip.

Don't think we are sick people, but sometimes one for one "retribution" works...and speaks louder than a little pop on the behind. This was priceless and we'll be watching the video to this for years to come.


too much is never enough...until it becomes too much

For most of my life I would have been what you might have called a slob...I prefer to say I was a "Messie" (as coined by Sandra Felton, who also has a website called Messies Anonymous - I find that humorous). Anyway, I was very messy, cluttered, disorganized, scattered - all of the above. BUT in the last few years I have come to hate clutter with a passion and am constantly engaged in battle with it. So far it keeps winning, primarily because I keep having babies and, well, stuff happens when that happens. Now that we have added the caboose to our little family, I feel that I can finally conquer this monster.

It's one thing to learn to part with unneccesary items, or paper (my nemesis), or trash...but it's another thing altogether to get rid of things that "I might need one day!" Or things of monetary value that I could sell and funnel the money into something else that we (I) really want or need. Currently my issue is with a table and chair set. It's really a wonderful table...it's a nice round, brown wicker pedestal table, with matching chairs that really are comfortable...it has a casual beachy kind of feel to it, while still maintaining sort of a clean line look, and I LOVE it. However, my family went and outgrew it, so currently the table is taking up much-needed space in the corner of the garage, while we are still using the chairs in the kitchen.

The other day I pulled into the garage and saw it and thought, we really need to get rid of that - cringe...Dave would probably LOVE it if I agreed to get rid of it - cringe, again. Then, I got an email which laid out a perfect opportunity to GIVE IT AWAY FOR NO MONEY...just give it away. Immediately I knew it was the thing to do, and even now I know that it is, but my stomach is still in a knot. Oh, and did I mention that the table was free to me? I didn't pay a dime for it, except to recover the cushions after my kids destroyed them. Isn't it pathetic how stuff can have a hold on us? I have been praying that God would make me a servant...would teach me to love people...and what better way than to give? The fact that it's so difficult for me to part with the table and chairs lets me know that I really need to get rid of it. No thing should have that kind of power over my well-being...for heaven's sake two-thirds of the world lives in utter poverty and I am whining about a table and chairs...when I still have two more in the house. Good gracious, Lord help me!


Turn, turn, turn

Lately I find myself continually struck by the dualities (if I can use that word) of life. To explain what I mean I'll share the first time I remember noticing it, minor as the situation was. My doctor's office was in the tower at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery and I remember going in for a sick visit - probably one of the first that my mother didn't go back to the room with me. At least I don't remember her being there. The window overlooked I-65 and as I stood there fearful, trying to distract myself from the coming pain (finger pricks and a giant Q-tip jammed down my throat), it hit me that all those people below were going on about their business, travelling, on their lunch breaks...whatever. My world stood still, while theirs kept going as usual. That's such a small example, but it's something that I remember and the concept continues to surface. Most recently I noticed it when a child was in a drowning accident and a family's world screeched to a halt while I was at a birthday party...she is now on the road to a full recovery. Again, in the death of our pastor's father, who had battled cancer for some time. And once more at the news that a family's newborn baby is not expected to live more than 12 months, while I just hugged my healthy baby boy and put him down for a nap. Tragedy strikes but my life goes on basically uninterrupted...the world keeps on turning.

The wisest man who ever lived said it this way:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

That same wise man also said this:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Something I am thankful for and am still learning to tap into is friendship and servanthood. The truth is that we all experience times of weeping and mourning...it is inescapable as long as we are here. However, we don't have to experience those things alone. In my mind I see thousands of wheels turning like cogwheels in a machine. Sometimes one might not have the strength to keep turning, but as long as it is connected to the rest, then the ones around it will "stand in the gap" and keep it going.

This is the beauty of the Body of Christ at times of

tragedy and difficulty. We are to "carry each other's burdens" fulfilling the Law of Christ (loving God and loving others). I pray that He continues to teach me to serve my friends and even those that I don't know, when I am in my seasons of laughter, dancing and peace. I know they will do the same for me if the time comes.



I ran across some great quotes today...this is mostly for me, because I love a great quote!

Abraham Lincoln:
How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.

Adrienne Rich:
When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.

I had to think on this one a minute...but it's true. When we don't put up a front, other people are released to be real, too.

Benjamin Disraeli:
Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.

Henry Ward Beecher:
It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.

very true, but how many of us would accept such friendship?

Virginia Woolf:
If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.



Something I learned: Tonight I learned not to assume that Corban knows not to reach into the potty to touch what Riley has just deposited into said potty. He is not to be left unattended in the bathroom for a while.

Something I loved: Listening to Corban sing "O Taste and See" by Brian and Jenn Johnson in the back seat of the car. "Oh taste, and see, that the Lord is good..." so SWEET!

Something that made me proud: Caeley searching scripture (unprompted by us) to find an answer to her questions...and reading along with her friends on the phone.


Matthew 6:21

I've been thinking about why it is that negative words seem to have more impact on us than the positive ones...why one negative comment can wipe out all the good of tens of other positive, affirming ones. I don't have an answer for that, but I have realized how much of my life has been impacted by a few careless words that were spoken to me by people in my young life. I feel for anyone in that middle school/junior high age bracket. Kids can be so mean, can't they? Anyway, much of my thinking has been formed around those "mean" words, rather than the life-giving words of my parents and of my Father in heaven.

Whatever the reason for it, I think one of the ways out has nothing to do with trying to simply change my thinking, but changing my focus. Earlier in the week I was looking at Matthew 6:21, which says that where my treasure is, my heart will be also. And what immediately came to mind for me was, If I treasure myself, I will be consumed with talk and thoughts about myself. If I treasure others, that's what I will think about. It's about retraining my mind not to constantly think about how something will impact me, about defending myself, or staying isolated so that no one mistreats me. It's about looking to the One who made Himself nothing, who remained silent while He was subjected to abuses of all kinds, and Who treated everyone as if they were valuable...regardless if they reciprocated. He reached out first, risked rejection and simply loved people.

That's the kind of person I want to be and that's what I was made to do...and oh my, how difficult it seems! I pray for the strength to go there and I believe there is healing for my own heart in reaching out to someone else's.

Here I go again...

I have attempted to be a blogger, I don't know how many times. Like most things with me, I start and don't follow through. So, here I go again. Maybe if I actually make this one public, and have a little accountability, I'll do better. Either way, I have decided that I need somewhere to put my thoughts down, and a place to write down all those fabulous Mommy moments that happen almost daily. My kids are so sweet and so hysterical and I don't want to forget a thing. This is where it will be...if you so desire to see what we're up to or what new random thoughts I have had. Just be forewarned, there's no telling what you'll find. Could be pure silliness or could be something serious or me giving the difinition of some Greek word in Scripture that I thought was really cool and you don't care at all...you just never know.

And the title of my blog, "I'll decide later," isn't permanent. It's just too much pressure to decide that in a matter of minutes. So, I'll decide later.