This is where I write about my life. Marriage, children, faith, and coming to the realization that as long as I have those three things...I am home. No matter where that is.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Best Laid Plans

What I wanted to do this week:
1. Spend an afternoon carving/painting pumpkins
2. Make a really cute Halloween cake for the weekend festivities
3. Decorate the wagon like a princess carriage for Trick or Treating
4. Get 2 liters of Diet Mt. Dew for 75 cents each
5. Paint my toenails
6. Plant daffodil, tulip, and glad bulbs in my flower bed so they would come up in the spring
7. Go to Sam's for laundry detergent, diapers, toilet paper, etc...
8. Start a diet and start walking on the treadmill
9. Cancel Rylee's well visit for next week so I could extend our weekend visit
10. Put the toys in the attic that never get played with to make room for the new toys they will get for Christmas

What I actually did this week:
1. Spend an afternoon turning the house upside down looking for stray crayons...sheesh!
2. Make sugar cookies with Valentine's Day and Christmas cookie cutters...and burn them to a crisp
3. Leave the art supplies I needed in an abandoned Wal-Mart buggy
4. Also left the Diet Mt. Dew in the abandoned buggy, because the check out line was 3 miles long and I didn't want to be late picking Sarah up from dance class
5. Clip Sarah's and Rylee's fingernails
6. Wait to get the bulbs "until next week" and now it's going to be too cold to plant them
7. Wash the last 2 days of laundry (including the red artwork duvet cover) in Dreft
8. Eat KFC for dinner last night and spend my "walking" time online Christmas shopping
9. Decide to come back on Sunday because it will be August of 2011 before they can reschedule the appointment
10. Get out some of the Elmo toys that were put away (adding to the toys instead of subtracting) thanks to Rylee's new found infatuation with Elmo

Well, better luck next week...I hope.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Special Birthday

October 30th, 1991...the day that I was born AGAIN.

It was the day before Halloween when I was 8 years old. My Mom and I were going to church for the Wednesday night service. All the children were having a special class in the nursery with Mrs. Patsy Moates and Miss Michelle Moates. I don't remember all of the lesson that was taught. I just remember the part where they talked about salvation, and the tugging I felt at my heart. There was a long wooden bench at the front of the room, and that night it was used as an alter. When the class came to a close and it was time for prayer a few of the other kids and I went to that alter and gave our hearts to the Lord. I remember clearly the prayer that Mrs. Patsy prayed with me.

That was 19 years ago, and I still feel His mercy as strong as I did that night in a little country church nursery.

Many things have come along in nineteen years, and I have strayed at times. I have done things I am not proud of, things that I know He isn't proud of either. But, in all the doubts about myself, I have never once doubted God's love for me.

There have been times of sorrow and unbelievable grief when I have wondered where God was and even asked Him "Why?". But, I always felt the whisper to my spirit saying, "I've been right here the whole time. I will never leave you, and I will NEVER forsake you."

There has been incredible joy and beautiful blessings poured down on me. God has given me an incredible family. A husband that I cherish, and two healthy, beautiful children that I marvel at on a daily basis. They are truly my greatest joy. I am so thankful for the blessings, and I know that "every good and perfect gift is from above".

My Heavenly Father has been with me at the peak of every mountain and in the deepest darkest valleys. I am completely unworthy of such love and forgiveness, but I am so thankful for it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Airing Dirty Laundry

I love what I do. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I was made to be a stay at home mom. At least, I hope that is what they would say. I never miss a minute of anything with my children. I am the first person they see when they wake up in the morning and the last person they see when they go to bed at night. We spend our days playing with "babies", coloring pictures, reading stories, and watching movies together. It is a wonderful life. My husband works extremely hard so that I can have the opportunity to be here with them full time.

All the other domestic duties that come along with being a homemaker are not exactly up there on my list of favorite things to do, though. I detest folding and putting laundry away. I like to organize things, but I hate to deep clean the house. I make no excuses. I know that I should have a better attitude toward housework, but that has never been me. I don't get stressed out by clothes on the love seat or hand prints on the walls. I don't lose sleep if the floors need sweeping. Sure, I like to have a clean house. I love the way the house smells like pine-sol and lemons when I've just dusted and mopped. I love the way it feels to get up in the morning and not have a sink full of neglected dinner dishes staring at me. But, it's just not something I get bent out of shape about. I do these things around the house because I have to, and not because I want to. I don't clean Brian's work clothes with the joyful attitude of "I am so thankful for my husband going to work and providing for us that the least I can do is be happy about doing his laundry." Instead the attitude I have is, "I better get these stupid clothes done, so I won't get yelled at when he has nothing clean to wear in the morning." Wrong?? Yes, I know, but I'm just dishing out a smidge of honesty here. Airing my dirty laundry...cheesy pun intended.

You see, I am married to a neat freak to the 1000th degree. I think he really believes that "Cleanliness is next to Godliness", and he is going for sainthood. He is super organized...borderline OCD, and I'm pretty sure that 99% of the time, living with me drives him bonkers! He loves me, though, in spite of the dust and crumbs that I welcome into our family on a daily basis. I know this because I have always been me. And, he has always been him. And, we fell madly in love and got married anyway. Probably both wishfully thinking that we would somehow rub off on the luck so far.

Today, the girls and I got out the crayons and got creative...I had no idea just how creative. While Sarah and I were drawing on blank sheets of printer paper, Rylee was busy as a bee dumping out all the crayons and putting them back in the clear plastic container. When we were done working on our masterpieces for the day, I rounded up what I thought were all the stray crayons and put them away. Can you see where this is going? Early in the afternoon, I was putting some things away in Sarah's room when I saw it.....RED crayon all over her WHITE duvet cover! So, I called Sarah in. She promptly blamed it on her sister...and I believe her. Sarah wouldn't have drawn on the comforter...she would have drawn on the wall.

What to do?? Well, I have about 1/4 of a scoop of washing powders left, so I can either wait until I go to the store and buy detergent or I can wash the duvet cover in plain water. I decided to wait. WRONG!! Knew better, did it anyway.

When my 20/20 eyesight husband went into Sarah's room, what was the first thing he saw? Yep, that's right. We proceeded to have a ridiculous fight about my apparent "lack of supervision" of the children when they have crayons. Seriously?! They are almost 4 and not quite 2...sometimes things get past me.

We never go to bed angry with each other, and tonight he went to bed upset, and obviously I still am, or I wouldn't be blogging about it. All over a stinking comforter (that is now in the dryer, good as new and smelling like a new baby-because I found some Dreft in the back of the laundry closet) and a little red crayon...Geez, I would much rather save my fighting energy for fights that are actually a big deal. It all seems so silly in retrospect. But, I wear my heart on my sleeve and my feelings got hurt. How about I leave both girls with him for a few hours and see how much "kid stuff" happens under his supervision. All I'm saying is, if they were unsupervised with crayons all the time, then I would be going to town with a magic eraser trying to remove Picasso from every freshly painted surface in our house.
OK, I'm done.
I'll be over it in a minute and go wake him up to say "Sorry", because I literally hurt when we argue. We'll kiss and hug and all will be forgiven...even the ugly name I called him (not so) under my breath. I really do love what I do...sometimes....well, most of the time....ok, all the time. But, I am woman enough to admit that I am still a work in progress.

I'm going to go apologize to my husband now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Very Big Small Thing

When I was a little girl, I used to love riding to the store with my Daddy. He'd come out of the gas station with a sack, and I didn't have to ask what it was. A Yoo-Hoo drink and a Zero candy bar. Even as I got older, he never forgot the tradition. Daddy worked at night. He got home at 4:30 every morning. I could always find my Yoo-Hoo in the fridge when I got up for school. It was a small was a big thing.

After Brian and I got married, I looked forward to getting a phone call from Daddy every night when he was on his lunch break at 9pm. We'd chat about the day. Crack jokes with each other. Say good night and I love you. It was a small was a big thing.

One night, during our phone conversation, I mentioned that I wasn't feeling well. I had come down with a stomach bug, and I was miserable. It was the first time that I had been sick since moving out of my parents' house. I felt all alone without my Mama there to hold my hair back and keep the wash cloth on my forehead nice and cold, while Daddy refilled my Sprite. What can I say? I was an only child, and a terrible patient...a total wimp! Brian was working late, and wouldn't be home for a while. I was feeling pretty homesick (at least what I thought homesick was in the days that we lived nestled comfortably 15-20 minutes between Brian's and my parents). Anyway, I could tell on the phone that Daddy felt horrible about me being ill and home alone.

The next morning, at about 5:00, the phone rang. It was my Mom. She said, "Go open your front door." I thought I was either dreaming or she was crazy. But, I got up and went to the door anyway. When I opened it and looked down, I couldn't stop the tears. There on my front step were 2 bottles of Yoo-Hoo! My precious Daddy had stopped on his way home from work and brought me the one thing that he knew would make me feel a little closer to home and a little closer to him. And, it worked. I will never ever forget that feeling.

I know it sounds crazy, but it was over 2 years after he died before I could even look at a Yoo-Hoo, let alone drink one. One day, I went into the store to pay for gas; and for some reason, I bought a Yoo-Hoo. I got into my car, drank that delicious chocolatey goodness, and bawled my eyes out. Then, I felt the same feeling that I had felt that morning, as a newlywed standing barefoot on my front step...a little closer to home and a little closer to him.
It was a small was a BIG thing!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wednesday Of A Few Words

I feel like sometimes all I do is complain about the reasons I don't want to live here. So, today, I am going to show one really beautiful reason that I love it here. I adore north Alabama in the fall. It isn't all pine straw up here. The views are magnificent. And, in years when we've had enough rain, the leaves are absolutely brilliant. I also love cotton fields, when the cotton is high. There is a cotton field on every corner up here. A few days ago, I found some cotton that had drifted into our yard while being transported to the nearest Gin Company. It made me smile. We live in the heart of the Tennessee Valley, which is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful parts of the state. For that, I am thankful.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Beautiful Weekend

Saturday morning, Brian was painting the hallway. We are trying to get the entire house painted trim and all, so we can get new floors and carpet. Yay! I am so excited about getting rid of the way-too-light-for-children carpet. So, we put up the gate, and the girls and I were confined to the living room for the majority of the day. We watched movies and Brian moved the toy box into the living room so there would be no shortage of things to play with while their rooms were off limits. I cleaned a little bit...a VERY little bit. I dusted the living room with Rylee's help. She loves "cleaning" especially when there is a feather duster involved. I made a big pot of Wisconsin Cheddar soup and ham and swiss sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls. Oh so delicious! Lots of veggie chopping involved, but I think that veggie chopping is therapeutic in some ways. I don't mind it at all. Of course, making a big meal like that always makes me feel a little homesick. It makes way too much for just us, and I always wish we were having company over when I make a big pot of soup or chili or whatever else. If we lived at home, I would have poured up half the soup and taken it to my sister-in-law's house, who has 6 1/2 week old twin girls, and no time to prepare a home cooked meal right now. Those are the kind of things I think about that bring tears to my eyes. The simple stuff that comes with being near family. We enjoyed the soup, though, and all the football games that we watched Saturday afternoon and night. This is, without a doubt, Brian's favorite time of year. Baseball play-offs and SEC football going on at the same time. It is sports overload around here right now. During the Auburn game, Brian said to me, "Arkansas called a time out." Sarah's eyes got big, and she said, "OH NO! Time Out!" He's going to have his hands full explaining all the sports terminology to her. The other night we were watching the Texas Rangers baseball game, and Brian said," Come on! You gotta get the hit!" To which, Sarah responded, "DADDY! Hitting is NOT nice!"

Sunday morning we visited, yet another, new church. Sarah enjoyed it. It was a very kid-friendly church. They had Children's moment before the service, then all the kids dispersed into their different age groups. The class Sarah was in was called "Lamb Time". They did a Bible lesson, colored a picture, got stamps on their hands, and a dum dum lollipop. She was pretty much a happy camper. The adult church service, however, left much to be desired for me and Brian. We left wondering if we would ever find a church for the whole family. It seems that the churches that minister to us have no ministry for children at all, and the churches that have big children's programs lack the worship and preaching that Brian and I desire. So, the discussion continues, and we keep looking. I know that there is a church somewhere in this area that has just what we are looking for. We'll just keep looking until we find it. It is getting a bit tiring to go to a different church every week, always being the first-timer, and I know it's got to be stressful on the girls, too. A different class, a different nursery, different people all the time. Pray for us.

Quote of the week: "I love this time of year, because my ice doesn't melt."
We got in the car after church and Brian was pleasantly surprised to see that it had stayed cold enough in the car to keep the ice in his sweet tea. Oh, the simple joys of fall!

After lunch (leftover soup and sandwiches), we wanted to go and do something fun. This is becoming a Sunday afternoon ritual around here. A couple weeks ago it was a short road trip, this week a trip to a drive-thru safari that a google search for zoo's near our area found. The place is called Harmony Park Safari. I recommend it! It was voted one of Alabama's top 100 attractions. We put the girls in the front seat with us, and bought some cups of food to throw out to the animals. It is not a petting zoo. But, we saw tons of beautiful deer, monkeys, birds, goats, a camel, a zebra, a kangaroo, alligators, horses, mountain goats, buffalo, just to name a few. It's not really like a zoo. It's like a natural habitat for these animals. Very cool. Some of the animals are free to come right up to your window, which at times you have to roll up, because the big bull with big horns will try to kiss you. I learned something about myself at that safari that I never knew. I am deathly afraid of....wait for it....ostriches! Those things freak me out like you would not believe. They are so tall and crazy-eyed. And, they were seriously harrassing me! I think they smelled my fear. Everytime I turned my head there was an ostrich six inches from my face peering into the window like I was lunch and it wanted nothing more than to peck my eyes out! Creepy animals, those ostriches! We got to get out and see the turtles. You can pet them, and feed them. You can walk around with beautiful blue and green peacocks. It is a pretty neat place. Sarah's favorite was the zebra and the kangaroo. And, I'm pretty sure that Rylee's favorite was the deer and the ducks. Everytime she saw the fawns she would say, "Awwww", and she would try to quack at all the ducks. Pretty cute. So, another memorable Sunday afternoon with my 3 loves. It was a beautiful weekend. Fun! Lots of FUN!

25 Things About Motherhood That Make Me Smile

1. Rylee holding an empty plate (dumped on the floor of the restaurant) up to her ear and saying, "Heyyo"
2. Sarah, at the same restaurant, pouring parmesan cheese onto every single bite of her pizza
3. A spontaneous Sunday afternoon trip to a drive-thru safari
4. The looks on both their faces when they saw all the animals, especially the monkey doing back flips
5. Sarah seeing a commercial for a Fisher Price crocodile block set and telling her sister, "Rylee, I'm going to ask Santa to bring you one of those for Christmas, because I know you want one."
6. Complete strangers stopping me in public to tell me how adorable my children are
7. At church, looking over during prayer, and seeing Sarah's hands folded, head bowed, and eyes closed
8. Saying prayers at bedtime and praying for the crickets chirping outside the bedroom window
9. Both girls sitting in their Daddy's lap having a "movie date"
10. Praying that someday they'll both fall in love with men as wonderful as their Daddy
11. The way Rylee puts her sweet little hand just inside my shirt and pats or rubs my chest for comfort or when she is really tired
12. Coloring pictures
13. Finger paints
14. Having "feet ghosts" hanging from the ceiling fan in our living room
15. The whole side of our fridge being covered in artwork
16. Rylee's fascination with her belly button
17. Sarah's excitement at going to the mailbox to see what movie Netflix sent her. Today we'll get A Bug's Life
18. Sarah being more excited about ringing lots of doorbells than all the candy she'll get trick-or-treating
19. Playing "Salon" when I do their hair. It keeps the screaming to a minimum
20. The face Rylee makes when she is up to no mischievous
21. Sarah telling the Sunday school teacher, "When I eat a lot and get lots of sleep, then I'll be four."
22. Counting "1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi"...all the way to 30 when we brush teeth
23. Catching myself counting it in my head when I brush my teeth
24. Rylee waving bye-bye and blowing kisses to the phone when her Daddy calls from work
25. The way Sarah says, "Well, I'll letcha go. Bye. I love you!" when she's getting off the phone with someone.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Birth Story...Almost 4 Years Later

It's a shame that I hadn't discovered blogging before the birth of my first daughter. Then, I would not have the disadvantage of time passed and a bad memory when writing about it. Nonetheless, I am feeling nostalgic today, and really want to try and put her birth story into words. My journey into motherhood is one of the most important parts of this journey.

Disclaimer: This post is about child-birth and contains words like "cervix". If you are creeped out by that or uncomfortable in any way. Read no further.

In the middle of my 3rd trimester, I changed from an OB/GYN in the area that we live in to a practice in the town where our families live. Some may have thought that was unnecessary, but for me, and the situation at hand, it was completely necessary. You see, 6 weeks before my due date, my Daddy went home to be with the Lord. If ever I needed to be near my family, it was then. And, if ever my Mom needed me to be close, it was then. I could no longer imagine bringing my first baby into the world without the comforts and familiarity and support of home. So, for the last month of my pregnancy, I was traveling back and forth a good bit, and staying with my Mom a lot. I don't even remember much about the last trimester. I only remember it feeling like a whirlwind. I was struggling with SO many deep emotions that my thoughts couldn't have been their clearest. Grief, joy, pain, love, anger, excitement. I had never been in that place before and have never been there since. All I knew was that the only thing that was going to alleviate even a little bit of the hurt was holding my brand new daughter in my arms very soon. And, soon it was.

At my 40 week appointment, we made the decision to go in and be induced. I was showing little progress in the way of cervical changes, and was a little apprehensive to wait until I went into labor on my own because of the distance. I wasn't really digging the idea of giving birth on the shoulder of I-65 South. So, on Sunday evening, January 14, 2007, after eating a fried bologna sandwich at my in-laws' house and stopping at the local Texaco to get drinks, snacks, and the Sunday issue of The Birmingham News for Brian (like he was going to have time to read the paper), we arrived at the hospital. I was wearing a red long-sleeved shirt, black yoga pants, and my favorite red flip flops. It was cold, but I was hot. Plus, my feet were the size of Oklahoma. I was nervous to the point of tears. Once we got all settled in, we had a few visitors. My cousin, Gina, brought dinner from Cracker Barrel just before the cut-off time for me to eat. The nurse came in and took it away from me after one bite of hash brown casserole. They inserted something to help me dilate. And, told me to get a good night's rest. It was going to be a long day tomorrow. Really?! (dripping with sarcasm) I hadn't thought about it. Like I could sleep even if I wanted to.

Early the next morning, the nurse came in to start pitocin. I asked her to please let me take a shower first. So, she did. Then, they started the pitocin. We had a few more visitors. A friend came in while I was putting on my makeup and made fun of me for doing so while I was in labor. Like I'm not allowed to even try and be cute when I'm having a baby. I blow dried my hair, too. Why not? I was stuck in this bed, not even feeling the contractions that everyone was telling me were getting really strong. Apparently, I have a high tolerance for pain. I never knew that. The nurse came in every couple of hours and checked me. Annoying. I hated that part, and wasn't sure how necessary it was so early on. Progress was slow. I did know that there was a waiting room FULL of people there for me. And, that felt really good. The day dragged on and on like there was no end in sight. By 3 that afternoon the contractions....well, now I could feel them. a lot. Wow. So, THAT's what epidurals are for. OK. I was dilated to between 4 and 5 when I got the epidural. Happy New Year! More visitors. I love 'em. My best friend, Taylor, came by and brought a friend of ours from high school, Jordan. I hadn't seen him since Freshman year in college (6 years) and he was sweet enough to come to the hospital and see me that day. This is what I meant by the support of home. Everyone thought that the baby would come at some point in the early afternoon on Monday, January 15th. Martin Luther King Day. People were off work and out of school. We thought it was quite convenient. The baby had other plans. One by one the loved ones waiting had to go. It was getting late. 6 cm...7cm...Help me, Jesus. 8 1/2 cm...By now, it is around 10:30 pm. I am at 9cm and miserable. I tell Brian if I haven't progressed to ten within the hour, I am going to beg for a c-section. Then, a few minutes later, I feel the overwhelming urge to push. But, the nurse isn't planning on checking me again for another 30 minutes. What do I do? I've never done this before. Should I push if I feel like it, or should I wait??? Call button..."Umm, could you please have someone come in to check me? I kinda want to push."

At 11:00pm, the doctor comes in. She says I only have a tiny bit of cervix left and the baby is right there. Can I try to give her a big push. So, I do. With all my might. Lights, camera, action. It was time to push. I'm exhausted. I'm sleeping between contractions. My husband is right beside me. I was only rude to him once, I think. And, he took it like a champ. I was hot. really hot. I wanted to get out of the hospital gown. What was it really doing for modesty anyway? Hello! I tried to take it off a time or two. No one would allow it. The nurse wanted to give me oxygen. So, they strapped a non-rebreather mask to my face. I immediately burst into tears. My daddy was on a mask identical to this one for the last month of his life. I locked eyes with my Mother and saw a tear streaming down her face. I couldn't do it. My mom had never witnessed a live birth before. I wanted to keep this moment as grief-free as possible for both of us. I yanked off that mask and into the floor it went. quickly. My mother-in-law was in the room, too. At first, I wasn't sure how I would feel about that, what with all my business being on display, but I was glad. She's great, and it made me happy that she could be there with Brian when his first child was born, and her first grandchild. She swears, to this day, that she never saw any of my "business". Bless her heart. I don't know if I believe her. Anyway, after 31 hours of labor, including 1 hour and 15 minutes of pushing, I heard the sweetest words ever uttered by an ob/gyn. "Happy Birthday, Sweetie!" January 16, 2007 at 12:15am

Peace washed over me. My first baby had entered this world just one floor above the place where her Grandaddy had left it. I could hear clapping and cheering just outside the door. It seems that the 10 or so family members that were able to stay were standing outside the cracked door of LDR 5 and were able to listen to her first cries. Priceless! The proud daddy, through his tears, cut the umbilical cord. We have a daughter. Pure joy. Bliss. Elation. They held her up, quickly, and let me sneak a peak. Then, they whisked my baby away to a scale/warmer/whatever other stuff that thing does and started giving her the once over. I HATED that. I know it has to be done, but I wanted to at least touch her first. Kiss her. Someone said, "Wow! 9 lbs. 1 oz. 21 inches long!" Holy cow! Are you serious? That's huge! But, it's really not. I said, " I want my baby. I'm so ready for her. I'm ready for my baby!"

Then, I got my wish. Someone (I don't know who) brought this bundle over to me. Swaddled so tightly in a blanket, wearing a hat. All I could see is her face. The most beautiful face in all the world. I said, " Hey, Sarah. I'm your Mommy. I love you SO much." I never even realized just how much. Is it even possible to love someone so much? My heart felt like it would explode! It still feels that way.

That's how I became a member of the Mom Club. A badge that I am honored to wear. One I am extremely proud of. I also am intensely aware that the birthing process does not a mother make. It's the unconditional love. the nurture. the selflessness. Even if I hadn't carried Sarah under my heart for 9 months, I knew that I had carried her in my heart my whole life. She was meant to be my Sweetie-girl, and I was always meant to be her Mommy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

25 Things About Motherhood That Make Me Smile

Sometimes I get so caught up in the mundane day-to-day tasks that come with being a mom that I forget to stop and just smile at the wonder that surrounds me. I get so busy cleaning up spills, picking up toys, preparing meals, cleaning up meals, etc... that I don't always recognize the things that make me love it so much. So, every week I am going to list 25 things that make what I do so worth doing. I want my daughters to always know that the love and fun far outweigh the tantrums, attitudes, and difficulties of our days together.
So, without further ado, the first installment of...

25 things about motherhood that make me smile:

1. The way Rylee's hair looks when she first wakes up
2. Sarah singing the "Clean up song" when she picks up blocks
3. The smell of Johnson's baby lotion
4. Bear hugs
5. Slobbery kisses
6. Tea parties
7. Bedtime stories
8. Making silly faces
9. Finding a stash of bop-bops (passies) 9 months after Sarah stopped using them
10. Watching Sarah dance
11. The way Rylee says "MAMA!!"
12. Having enough room on my lap for both of them at once
13. "Swing me higher, Mama!"
14. "Watch me slide, Mama!"
15. Sticky hands
16. Rylee sucking her pointer finger and rubbing her nose with the middle finger
17. Ponytails that stick straight up
18. Mammy and Ruby (2 beloved stuffed animals) being members of our family
19. Rylee picking up macaroni with her chubby little fingers and feeding it to me
20. My daughters playing sweetly together in the floor
21. The way they both laugh when I tickle them
22. Watching them sleep
23. Finding toys in the pantry and groceries in the toy box
24. The way they want me with them all the time
25. The way I want them with me all the time

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Going For A Sunday Drive

We visited a new church Sunday morning. It came as no surprise that this church was pretty much identical to most of the others that we have been to up here. We have lived in this area for almost 5 years now, and still haven't really found a "home". We have visited countless churches, and have gone to one in particular on a regular basis for quite some time. But, it doesn't feel quite right. It's a little like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. So, we are looking around....again. This past Sunday we left the service feeling a little disheartened. Brian and I have had many discussions about what we are looking for in a church, and whether we are willing to compromise on any of these things. In short, we are but we aren't. Make sense? What we really need is a place where the people genuinely love the Lord and love each other. A place where the tears fall freely and the alter is always open. A place where things don't always go according to a program, and sometimes the singing, praying, and anointing take over. A place that listens when God speaks. We need a church that we can get involved with, whether it be teaching Sunday school or singing in the choir. We need a place that our children will thrive. A place where they will look forward to going every week. A place that loves children. A place where they will sing songs, make friends, learn about the Bible, and pray. We need a praying church. A place where my entire family can feel His mighty hand and amazing love.
We know it is out there. We just have to keep praying about it and searching until we find it. So, the journey continues.
After the service, we came home and had lunch. We couldn't really decide what to do with the rest of our day. We thought about going shopping, but didn't want to spend the money. So, Brian decided that we would go for a drive. We left home at 2:30 and just...drove. We went all the way through the Bankhead National Forest and down to Smith Lake. What a breathtaking landscape the Lord has designed! We drove around Clear Creek Park and found some great spots to go camping. The drive was absolutely beautiful. We talked and laughed and sang. It helped us clear our heads. It felt like we drove forever. But, it was so worth it. Just to get out of the house, where something always needs to be done, and close ourselves off to all outside distractions for a little while. Around 7:00 Sunday night, we got home feeling refreshed and renewed. As I lay in bed that night, listening to Rylee breathe on the monitor, I thanked the Lord for another beautiful sabbath to worship Him. At the "real" church, sure. But, this day, I mostly worshipped in a congregation of Savior, my 3 loves, and me. I enjoyed a sermon whispered to my heart about the magnificence of the earth He created, the grace He has shown me, and the incredible blessings He has bestowed upon me. And, the song service consisted of singing "This is the Day that the Lord has Made" in a choir made up of me and a beautiful 3 1/2 year old girl.