Fall 2013-dark leaves

Friday, February 25, 2011

Death in the family

My father's father died today.  He's been sick for a long time, but as a believer in Jesus, he's all better now. 

My aunt died when I was in college.  Now Granfus's passing makes it just 2 of my immediate family members who have passed away.  I think it's pretty cool to be able to say at 33 that I still had all 4 of my grandparents.  Until today. 

Brian has 2 tests next week, so I'm taking the kids in the morning on a 13 or 14 hour drive to Crowley, LA.  The service is Sunday afternoon.  We'll stay with my other grandparents in Baton Rouge on Monday night, and head back to STL Tuesday morning.

I'm already exhausted just thinking about it all and prepping to be ready to go.  Please pray for me.  I need help in this.

Seeking for Less

Back in December I quoted at length from Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss about how to have peace.  Well, it's been on my mind off and on since then and has encouraged me a lot.

Well, today Scotty Smith wrote about the same concept, but tied becoming less with joy.  Thought I'd pass it along too.  It's good stuff.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I love my pants!

This past Christmas I discovered the best pants ever.  EVER.  They fit me well, they're very soft and comfortable, and they come in several great colors.  So I got some for a Christmas gift.

And because I love them so much, I wrote a song about them.  It a short, sweet one-liner that goes like this, "I love my pants!"  That's four measures of 3/4 time, if you can imagine, of the notes C#, D#, G#, C#.  And I kinda have to sway side to side when I sing it. 

Be prepared that if I have them on, I will burst into song unexpectedly when I am overcome with comfort and gratefulness for the awesomeness of these pants.

The thing is they're not cheap.  And right now is not the time for me to be dropping a lot of cash on new clothes.  So I've been watching for them on ebay and in the consignment stores (maybe twice each), but it seems that everyone likes these pants as much as I do. 

But, lo and behold, God cares about me and cares to bless me in unexpected ways.  When Brian and I were waiting for our table on Saturday night, we wandered into a few stores to kill some time.  Guess what was on the sale rack, marked down to the final price that ends in .97 (won't go any lower) AND was an additional 25% off for the holiday weekend?  And was my exact size but not the same color I already have (but I would have bought them even if they were the same color)?  Yes, it was the pants I love. 

And wouldn't you know I had just been given some birthday money with which to purchase said pants?

I'm so thankful to God to provide for me the things I love, even if I don't need them.  Because I love them.  Really....I love my pants.  (that's right, sway as you sing)

Sunday, February 20, 2011


This weekend the Browns came and took our kids away for 3 nights.  Jim had hotel points, so they booked a suite about 5 minutes from here.  It was dreamy.  The weather was gorgeous--we kept the windows open most of the weekend.  Brian hung around helping me work as much as he didn't, and we were also able to get some good quality non-work time in together.

One of the favorite things we did was go for a walk Friday morning.  We needed to return the movies to the library before it opened, so when I got back from camp we decided to head out together.  It was cool but not cold--perfect for a brisk walk--and the library is about a mile away.  About 2 min. into the walk, I looked over at my handsome husband (he'd just gotten a haircut and his beard trimmed), and told him I was so glad I really liked him so much.  That I'm excited about the idea of living the rest of life with him, especially that it will be just us again some day.  Kind of.  But in the same way it was just us that morning.

Then Friday afternoon I was reminded of how very selfish I am in general.  One of the kids got sick enough to want to leave all the fun and come home.  So there went our planned date night, and I was resentful.  I wasn't going to be able to do as much work as I'd wanted.  I was going to have to be bothered to parent during my vacation.  I was going to have to deal with another person's opinion about TV or music or food.  I was not going to be able to be entirely selfish.  I wanted my whole break to myself; who knows when I will ever have an opportunity like this again??

Then it struck me--God our Father never takes a break.  He never tires of us being his children, needing him for every little thing.  He doesn't get upset when he has to continue to teach and train us in the same thing he just addressed.  I'm NOT, not, not saying I'm able to do that, or that I don't need a real break for my sanity as well as theirs.  I'm just truly in amazement that He can do that all the time and that he wants to.  And I'm truly thankful that He is a better parent to me than I am to my kids.  I simpley realized he became a bigger God to me.  That's a good thing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Save the Trees!

I want to throw up.  I am fightin' mad.  And I sincerely weep for Al from Dadeville.  He is a stupid, stupid man.  Here is a link to a podcast from the Finebaum show where he confesses to poisoning the 130 year old trees at Toomer's corner. 
Brian and I took our first picture as a couple on New Year's Eve, 1999, under those trees.  I pray they can save them.

Here's one of the articles going around:
ESPN article about the poisoning of Toomer's Corner Oak trees

We have this picture framed, and it used to hang in our hall in Birmingham.  It's much better in person.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Water and Love

Ever tried to push water away when you're in it?  When we were in 6th grade, my friend Lee Anne taught me how wierd it is that no matter what you do to try to get away from water, it keeps coming back. It's not like you can keep it away at all--even if you push a wave away, the water is still ON you because you're still WET, not to mention that the rest of the pool immediately fills up the empty space you made.

One year, when my heart had been bruised by a boy who I liked a lot--he broke up with me the week before Valentine's Day and two weeks before my birthday (can you say economically savvy, although more painful for me, but I digress)--my very dear friend, Rebecca, gave me a hand-written card for Valentine's Day.  Below is all it said.  It meant SO much to me to be reminded that the best and truest love I will ever know is the love of Jesus. 

Oh The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fulness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Thy glorious rest above.

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread his praise from shore to shore
How he loveth, ever loveth
Changeth never, never more
How he watches o'er his loved ones
Died to call them all his own
How for them he intercedeth
Watcheth o'er them from the throne.

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Love of every love, the best
Tis an ocean vast of blessing
Tis a haven sweet of rest
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Tis a heaven of heavens to me
And it lifts me up to glory
For it lifts me up to Thee.

I love the idea of Jesus's love surrounding me like the water in an ocean. I can't get away from it, even if I wanted. I am saturated in it. Not even Brian, who really, truly loves me, has the ability to love me that well.

Now, Jesus is not going to be your boyfriend or your husband for that matter, but his love satisfies us as only he can.  We were created to know him.  I'd love to introduce you if you don't know him already.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Better For the Break

I am a situational Homeschool Mom.  Our situation calls for me to homeschool, and so I do.  I'm not one of those, "it's the only way to do it, and I will do it well" people.  Apparently.  It has been one of the hardest, most humbling, and often humiliating (they see ALL my sins so much more closely) things I have ever done.  Lord willing it will be over at the end of this year.  Maybe not forever but at least for the next school year.

I spent this morning observing and helping in a classroom where I might have a job next year.  Now, it was a whirl-wind of a morning because I was also in charge of the Valentine's Day party in Patrick's class for the second half of the morning.  Plus I led bootcamp at 5:30am as well.  Needless to say it's 12:53pm, and I'm ready for the day to be over.

In the car on the way home from the school, I was concerned that there was so much more to do today; how will I have energy for home if it feels like I've spent the day's worth already?  But guess what??  I'm an extrovert.  Being with people actually GIVES me energy.  I'm more patient with the kids right now.  I'm laughing with them at their silliness instead of being annoyed by it.  The clean bowls that have been sitting on the cabinet daring me to put them away for 2 days now are in their places--somehow it's not a big deal to do it (and other chores) when I've had some distance from it all.

Very encouraging morning.  Tonight and tomorrow is a women's conference (for lack of a better word) at the church, and Brian has said he wants me to go to ALL of it!  That's about 2 hours tonight and 5 tomorrow. 

Lastly, the sun has returned after being gone for at least 2 or 3 weeks.  Although my house gets a good 5 degrees colder when I open the front drapes, it's so worth it today.  Let the sun shine in--face it with a grin.

This momma is definitely grinning today. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Count Your Blessings

10 Things I'm Really Thankful For Today

10.  We are a healthy house again.
9.  Tom and Jerry cartoons.
8.  I have real friends. 
7.  I went to bed early and read for an hour last night.
6.  God made us with taste buds.
5.  The washing machine has already been invented.
4.  Wool sweaters.
3.  Good books.
2.  Seeing my idols for what they are.
1.  Faith to believe that knowing God is the prize.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Two thing happened this week that make me feel like I'm officially getting older. 

1.  The woman at the grocery store checkout asked if gray hair comes in early in my family?  I laughed and said no, that I'm just getting older, almost 33 in fact.  She asked if there's any stress in my life.  I replied after a moment's contemplation (do I try to explain any of it?), "My huband went back to school full time and we have 4 kids ages 3-8."  Well, she belly-laughed at that one.  For the rest of the time I was there.  She did put some of it together and asked if he was a seminary student.  And she said she would have thought I was 23 or 24 just by looking at me.  Nice save, lady, after pointing out all my grays.

2.  I have had some pretty severe stomach pains since Wednesday, and finally decided it wasn't gas.  I got online and did some research.  Then today at church, I asked an ER doctor-friend about it.  We borrowed a church office, and he poked around on my stomach for about 20 sec. and (after lots of disclaimers that he can't rule out a lot of things w/o blood work, urinalysis, etc.) feels sure it's divirticulitis.  Yep, that's what I thought.  An old person's infection of the large colon.  Lovely.  Thankfully, he was able to call in some drugs so the pain should get better in the next day or two.  Otherwise I've PROMISED to go in if it doesn't get all better or starts to get even a little worse.

Gray hair and divirticulitis.  Not what you think of when you imagine a typical 32yo woman, lol.  There are good things that come along with aging.  So I hear...what would I really know about that? ;)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Headache Relief

I was in bed this morning with a killer, killer headache.  I'd just taken 2 Excedrin, which don't usually touch one like this, and drank an enitre Vitamin water in one big gulp, because I often get headaches from being dehydrated, then laid down.

Right then Brian came in and prayed for me, specifically that I would feel like a new person.  In less than one minute the headache was gone.  I jumped up and got back to work.  I know he's not Jesus, but I'm reminded very tangibly today that God cares and is all powerful.  Why would we not pray about even the smallest things, things we think we can take care of with out him? 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting Out

This morning I realized I was leaving the house for the second time in 6 days.  The first time was to go pick up carpool.  Does it count as "getting out" if you don't leave the car the whole time you're gone?  I'm inclined to say no.  Anyway, I felt like standing up in Panera and waving to everyone, saying, "Good morning, everyone!  I am in existence!" 

Also, over the last week, three of the five days of Brian's spring semester have been cancelled, so it's not like I've been stir crazy either.  We have had some really soul-satisfying family times, not to mention I've had help with life here (read laundry, dishes, entertaining the crew). 

But the icy roads are clear enough for life to resume today, and now it's catch-up time for him.  This is supposed to be his hardest class load of all seminary too.  I'm thankful to start off with my heart's tank so full!

And Saturday is my church's February birthday brunch, so I know I'll get out again soon enough! :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fresh Start

I really do feel like a new woman.  This has been a monumental month or so in my life for several reasons. 

I've cleaned out!  Three closets have been cleaned out and re-organized.  The boxes that have been sitting unpacked in the basement for 18 months have been sorted through and repacked as needed.  The train table with all its paraphanalia (which gets strewn all over the place) has gone downstairs for a while.  The bin of toys--mostly small pieces of random toys--stored under said table is downstairs now too. 

We had the carpets cleaned in this house.  It's probably the first time in 30 years that they've been cleaned, so the look of them isn't too different.  But I KNOW they're clean.  Also, when we cleaned out the rooms for them to be able to reach all the corners, we chose carefully what would return.  The house feels more open. 

We got a Wii for Christmas.  Gone is the basket of junk under the TV to make room for a smaller basket just for games and remotes.

All of my children sleep in their underwear all night long and wake up dry in the mornings.  Just gave my last pull-ups to my neighbor.  Woooooo-hooooooo!

Brian re-organized the bookshelves in our room, putting the current class's books more readily available, and FILING AWAY the notes and papers from previous semesters.  That also involved cleaning out the filing cabinet and pitching the bills from 2007 and before.  2008 till the present never got filed.  He asked me what happened in 2008 that we stopped being organized?  Baby #3, of course.

I've stopped participating in bootcamp.  I just lead it.  While it feels like more of a job now, it's not a time where a bunch of buddies get together and work out (an exaggeration, in hindsight).  Classes are much more strenuous, and comraderie among the group was so good this time that all 4 say they're coming back.  Now, if only I can find some other time to get in my workout.

There was good news on the school front today, although I still don't have anything definite to share.  Please keep praying though for details to work out for all my kids to be in school next year.  It will involve my working a paying job, which is part of those details needing to work out.

Also, we have been encouraged in the responses to our raising support.  It helps us not be so distracted from our work here, namely Brian's training in pastoring--and it saves me from feeling panicked to get a weekend OT job.  Every little bit makes a huge difference, and we are so grateful that people see our work here to be so valuable that they will give out of their own provisions. 

Lastly, over the last week and a half, I have been reading and praying more consistently than I have for longer than I will admit on my blog.  Thank you, accountability.  And texting, which makes accountability so simple. :)

Speaking of...I'm going to hole up for a bit before the evening's activities commence.  I don't want to miss the goods today!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day Off

I'm taking a real day off.  At least it feels like it.  Brian is home because the bilzzard warning was serious enough for us to get a text last night during dinner that classes were cancelled for today.  He and I work so well together in the house, that although I'm still moving laundry and straightening up, it doesn't feel like work because at the same time he's working too, making pancakes for everyone then completely cleaning up the kitchen.  The kids get into the swing of it too, so it's no big deal to tell them we're doing a 30 minute clean-up and send them off to do their particular job.  So now, when I rip off my friend Becky's idea, we can really enjoy playing together because all the work is actually done.

I asked each child what they wanted to do together as a family on this snow day.  Sarah Frances wants to play the Wii, Catherine wants to make Mystery Bars, Patrick wants to play Apples to Apples, Jr, and Lillian wants to play hide and seek.  Oh, and Brian wants to sing.  Great ideas!  Great day!