Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Brock's Best Blog

If you are new to my blog, from time to time I do a little ranting and raving. Not always, but sometimes...my blog, my prerogative.

Brock is a great friend of mine from high school. A while back he wrote this on his blog...I loved it. You can read his blog for yourself at www.brockgill.com/blog.

what does worldly look like?
recently some of my friends were accused of being worldly because of the way they look and dress. a group of fundamentalist pastors decided to pick on my friends because they were doing ministry and being worldly. they claimed that they are using worldly methods, and it was disgusting to God. they had problems with the way they do their hair, saying they didnt comb their hair or something. my friends that i am talking about are professional skaters and bmx riders who also bring they message of jesus at their shows. these guys skate in front of thousands of people at their shows, why not give the gospel i ask. if the way a person looks on the outside is a reflection of the way they are on the inside then lets use this logic and have some fun. ok? ok, here we go.
what does worldly really look like? if someone dresses with baggy pants and messy hair then they are worldly. using this same logic lets turn it around. if you wear a button down shirt with some tan pants then you look just like the doctor i saw on tv last night who does abortions for teenage girls. abortion is murder therefore you dress like a murderer. if you wear a shirt and tie then you look like the car salesman who sells cars that have had the mileage rolled back to make the car look less used. therefore you look like a liar. if you dress with a suit and tie, then you look like the pastor i recently met who just got arrested for child molestation. therefore if you dress like that, you must be a child molester. if you have a beard then you look like a muslim. some muslims have been known to blow up airplanes therefore you look like a terrorist. do you see the ridiculous logic in all of this. so, to all of you murdering, lying, cheating, child molesting, terrorists out there, welcome to the club. you might want to change the way you dress. the truth is, we all look worldly. because worldly is all encompassing.

God doesnt care what you look like on the outside. he cares about your heart. he wants you to use whatever you do to reach people.
now, if you are a stripper and you take your clothes off on stage and show a tattoo on your chest that says john 3:16 then you might want to rethink your clever evangelistic strategy.


I hate it when people say things about the way other people look. If it's modest and not provocative or hurting you in some way, get over it for heaven's sake. Don't even get me started on the whole tattoo issue. Here's the deal...the person you are talking about and getting your feathers so ruffled up about and getting all offended about probably doesn't like your hair or the way you dress either. Geez. Didn't your mother ever teach you that if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all?

Milky Ways For Breakfast

I've gone back to my college/single life eating habits for the past couple of days. Like I wrote in my last post, the kids are away...the mice will play. :) O.K., not exactly how that saying goes. But, yeah...I'd never eat a Milky Way for breakfast with them here. Guess what I ate for lunch...shell macaroni and cheese.

We are super busy and there's no time to cook. Hey, I'm O.K. with Milky Way meals...just for a couple of days anyway. :) I'll be tired of it by tomorrow. But, it's been fun to feel like I'm in college again, if only by what I'm eating.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Purging and Packing

It's really starting to hit me. It's been hitting me all along in different ways. For instance, about a month ago when us girls (my cousins) sang at Magnolia (I posted about it), we were practicing that Saturday before. I started choking up as we practiced and couldn't sing thinking about how that was the last time I was going to be singing with them for a while. I regained my composure and luckily didn't do that during the real deal the next day, but yeah...it's coming quickly and boy do I know it.

Mama is keeping the kids right now. They are spending the night with her tonight and tomorrow night. We gathered all of the things that we had in storage today and started going through every bit of our belongings. We will be doing that tomorrow and the next day. We have to make decisions about it all...will it go with us, will it be shipped ahead of us to Brazil, will we give it away, will we trash it, etc.? It's tedious, sad at times, freeing to get rid of stuff we don't need, hard to decide about some things...and it's dang busy.

The goodbyes are starting to come too. We've seen several people lately that we know we aren't going to see for at least 3 more years. To think about our children and how they will be 3 years older (a huge difference in a young child's/baby's life) when we come back, before our loved ones will see them again...and I may even have another baby by then...it's hard and sad. None of the really hard goodbyes have started yet, but again...it's coming quickly.

For all the sadness that a move brings like this, there is also SO much excitement. It is heart-wrenching, but we know that God has spectacular things for us and we know that as heart-wrenching as it can be, we would be miserable if we stayed. We press on. And, we remember...

"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will have eternal life." (Matthew 19:29)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Garrison Guilbert

Calling all prayer warriors: A great friend of mine, Ashley Guilbert, has a new little nephew. Breanne, her sister, had Garrison on Valentine's Day. The sweet little guy was 16 weeks early. He weighed in at 1 pound 6 ounces and was about 12 inches long. He is in a major battle. He has gained some weight, but now, at 5 weeks old, he is fighting off three major infections. Please pray for Garrison and for his mom Breanne and for all of the Guilbert family. You can go to their website for more info. and pictures.

caringbridge.org/visit/garrisonguilbert

The picture is of Breanne holding Garrison's hand for the first time, at one week old.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Somewhere Over The...

The other night Grady was in bed. Hadley had long been asleep (she likes her sleep...Grady is a night owl). I went in to talk to him and tell him goodnight. Those times are so sweet, aren't they? I love bedtime.

I was sitting on the side of the bed, leaning over him with my face very close to his, talking. He started touching my face and head, naming my parts. He touched my eye and said, "Your eye." He touched my mouth and said, "Your mouth." He touched my nose and said, "Your nose."

Then he touched my eyebrow. He said, "Your rainbow."

It was so sweet. I don't know about you, but an eyebrow will now forevermore be a rainbow to me.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Friend Mavis

Mavis is my best friend from high school. It's neat because our mothers were also best friends in high school. Crazy, huh?

Mavis is such a great friend. I'm so glad for her. She is doing so good. It's so crazy because people who only look at things in the natural would probably never say that she is doing good. She has gone through some tough things since high school. The difference in Mavis and some of those people who may shake their heads at her and her situation...who may talk about her behind her back and even sometimes to her face...the difference is that she has grown from her experiences. Sadly, those people who shake their heads, many being pew-warmers every time the church doors are open, have never grown a bit with God...they only have "fire insurance." They may even serve at their church, teaching Sunday School or whatever. But, the fruit of their lives shows no growth. So sad. Anyhow, God has done amazing things in Mavis' life. It's sad that people are too busy badmouthing her to ask her about that...they could learn great things about our God from Mavis and could totally be encouraged and challenged in their own walk with Him...I know I am.

I love to talk to Mavis. She is still the same old fun, goofy Mavis that she was in high school, but there is a depth to her that continues to grow. She has amazing faith for what God has called her and her husband to do. Like I said, if you only look in the natural at the current circumstances, you don't see it. To only look at her circumstances would be a bit nearsighted. Thank God Mavis can look beyond that. She is solid in her faith and looking forward to the rest of the amazing testimony she will have, that God will finish in her life. She is believing God for miraculous and mighty things. It is really exciting.

Pray for Mavis and for Eddie, her husband, as they press in to the things God has for them. Eddie has many years of drug addiction to overcome. He has been at Teen Challenge for the past few months and will be "graduating" soon. He has done great things there and God has worked mightily. Eddie's strongest desire is to continue to follow God, to see fulfilled all of the things God has called them to, to be the husband and father to their 4 children that God desires. But, as with any addiction, there are many obstacles to be faced and overcome. Let's believe in him, that he can and will do just that. With God all things are possible. If God be for us, who can be against us? We are more than conquerors in Him. Pray for them, encourage them, have faith for and in them.

I'm excited to see what God is going to do.


Now, some fun pictures of me and Mavis.


In elementary. I think this is 4th grade actually. Oh, those lovely science fairs. This is me (left) and Mavis (right) with our other friend and classmate Mitsy (in the middle). We did this project together...hardly anyone ever does a science fair project about the solar system (that's sarcasm). :) The purple "M" sweater that Mavis has on...we all had one. :)


Jump to senior year. This is in Ms. Linda Fair's class...consumer math.











On our senior trip. We went to Six Flags (Dallas/Ft. Worth area). These were taken in a photo booth at an arcade we went to one of the nights.






























On our way back from the senior trip, on the bus. Fun times.















Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What A Difference!!

Man, what a difference 10 years can make, huh?

In the summer of 1996 my parents asked me if I wanted to go get a car. "Um, sure." :) They had gotten me my uncle's '87 Tempo when I was a freshman in college I think (around '93) and I loved that thing. It was my first stick and I got it one Wednesday night and stalled all the way to college and back the next day (a 45 min. commute). :) So funny. There was a really steep hill on campus and I avoided that thing like the plague for a good 2 months. :) Anyhow, the Tempo finally just got to the point where it wasn't trustworthy anymore. My parents asked me what kind of car I would want. I had always wanted a Saturn. It seemed like a great company...I wanted to buy American (I'm patriotic after all) and I mean, hello...barbeques for their customers and everything...how could you go wrong with a Saturn?

We went one day (me, Mama, and Tucker) and when we got to the Saturn dealership I picked my car out immediately. What can I say...I knew what I wanted...gold 4-door stick shift. The only problem was that it didn't have a console, so we had that installed and that made it perfect. It didn't have a CD player either, but in the fall of '97 my friends Brock and Brian installed a 10-disc changer for me, so then it was even more perfect.

I was graduating from college the next May ('97). My parents paid the notes on it until I graduated and got on my feet. I was very thankful for that and for a great car. I got a weekly free car wash from the dealership and yes...I even went to a couple barbeques where we not only got free food, but also door prizes.

My Saturn was oh so good to me. We had to replace the engine once in Phoenix, but that could have been prevented by us really. Then, this past summer at the age of 10, we were going to have to replace the engine again (not sure what happened this time). We decided to just donate her to a missions organization instead.

Crazy the differences in the pictures below...like I said...what a difference 10 years makes.


July 1996...when I was about to drive off in my new Saturn. It really is a "Saturn family" like they advertise. When this picture was taken, everyone at the Saturn dealership had just gathered outside, the saleswoman (Jackie Santora...I just saw her and talked to her last summer...we've talked often throughout the years) had introduced me to everyone and told them that I was a nursing student about to graduate and that this was my first new car, everyone clapped and gave a big hoorah, and then she snapped this snazzy polaroid of me.


July 2006...saying goodbye to our Saturn. Yeah, a husband and 3 kids later (I was pretty pregnant with Asa as you can see). That little Saturn had traveled many miles with me (it had close to 180,000 miles on it)...in those 10 years I had lived in multiple homes, traveled to multiple places, met a multitude of people. Fun stuff.



Thanks little Saturn. You did me right.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Two Great Things

A couple of weeks ago I totally started feeling peace about potty training Grady. I had never liked the idea of it...turns out I think that just meant that it wasn't time since I didn't have a peace about it. It would've been horrible anyhow with as much moving and transition (new baby, etc.) as we've had the last few months. We're still not done moving obviously, but as far as we know we have a couple of months here in Saline still, so it seemed like a good time. In fact, I not only had a peace, but I got excited about it. I bought the book "Toilet Training in Less Than a Day" off Amazon, we got all the things that we needed out of storage (we bought a potty and underwear and all that last spring), and we set it up that Hadley would go to her Granny's for the day last Friday.

After Hadley left, we spent ALL morning with Grady talking only about the potty, taking him to the potty, showing him how Johnny goes to the potty (his doll), drawing pictures of the potty, singing about the potty, praising him and overexaggerating with him about his super cool big boy underwear...and the list goes on and on. By the afternoon, he definitely knew exactly what was expected of him and how to do it all.

He had a couple of accidents Friday, just getting the hang of it. Saturday and Sunday he had no accidents at all, even during naptime (and we were at church and someone else's house all day yesterday too). Last night was really funny. We had an "eatin' meetin'" as we refer to them last night after church in the fellowship hall. At one point Joel asked Grady if he needed to go pee pee. He said that he already had. I asked him about it later and he explained it to me in great detail...

Me: "Grady, did you go pee pee."
Grady: "I already did." (apparently thinking I was asking him if he needed to go)
Me: "You did? Did someone go with you?"
Grady: "No, I go by myself."
Me: "How did you do it?" (there's no potty chair in there or anything)
Grady: "I went to the potty, pulled down my pants, pulled down my underwear, and peed in the potty."
Me: "Did you sit on the potty?"
Grady: "No, I can't sit down (meaning I 'didn't' sit down). I stand up."

So funny...he said it all in a very matter-of-fact tone...kind of like, "what's the big deal...why are you asking me all these questions and acting surprised when you taught me how to do all of this already." Funny thing though is that we didn't teach him how to do that. :)

So, he totally went all by himself and didn't mess up (he tried going outside once by himself and peed all over the outside of his pants). It cracked me up that he had gone all by himself though.

Today he had a little accident...was playing outside and apparently didn't want to stop to come in and tinkle. But, I think he's done dang good...and we are very glad that we didn't potty train before now. Let me just say, I think I'll wait until they are all 3 years old to potty train. :) Of course that might not work...Friday night Hadley was going after Grady every time, but after Friday night she forgot about it. :) I do highly recommend that book though..."Toilet Training in Less Than a Day" by Nathan Azrin and Richard Foxx.

The other great thing that has happened in the last 4 days is that Asa is now totally sleeping through the night...that is 10:30-6 or so. She's done that before for a night or 2 at a time, but nothing that lasted. But, this time I think it's here to stay. Good times.

Answers To Comments

Mrs. Pam (Joel's mom) asked a couple of questions in the comments of the last post. I just thought I'd answer them in my next post...so here it is.

First of all, yes...Grady's curls got chopped again about a month ago. I usually cut it about twice a year. He got it cut last April, then again in September...then again last month. The curls continue to come back although I don't think they are as ringlet-y these days...and his hair seems to have gotten darker (although this summer it will probably get pretty light again).

Mrs. Pam also asked if the "crazy" picture of Hadley had been her idea or had she been helped. The answer is that she was not helped...her idea. Just thought I'd post some pictures of proof of that...she is very funny.


This is the picture I almost posted in the last post instead of the nose picture. She does this herself...the hat and glasses thing.














This is a picture of her in her "uniform" (as Mama called it). All day Wednesday and Thursday the kids played outside. Hadley wore this (life jacket) the whole day each day except for naptime. She is so funny. I would help her put it on after she brought it to me and she would strut off like she was SO big. I think she truly thinks she is super cool in it. :)









Again, all about the hat and glasses...like I've said before...movie star. Seriously, she wears "disquises" all the time...so funny.














Sharing her hat with Asa.


The other question was about Asa and how she looked like a little chub. She is getting bigger and more filled out. She's always been that way to us, but compared to Joss she's pretty slender. :) No offense Joss...that's a good thing when you are a cute little pudgy baby. Anyhow, I did weigh her the other day and she weighs 15 pounds. Joel measured her the other day too (for passport reasons) and she is 26 inches (Hadley is 34 1/2 inches and Grady 54 inches by the way). Here are a few more pictures of her cuteness though.



O.K., so these are just shoes...but aren't they the cutest little shoes you ever did see? I saw them on a picture of a friend's baby and l.o.v.e.'d them...then saw them at Target one day and had to get them. SO cute.
I gave her a kiss.
Her kissing me back. She will get a big wad of your hair and pull you to her and eat (her kiss...she's not trying to literally eat) your cheek. It's so cute. She is super duper cuddly and affectionate. We've been lucky to get really snuggly kiddos. I like it.
Here she is wearing some pajamas of Hadley's...some that just a couple of months ago still fit Hadley. Actually, they do still fit Hadley even now, except that the pants are a bit too short. Yeah...I think Asa might be catching up to Hadley quickly.

Friday, March 09, 2007

One Word

How I would describe my kids at this point in one word...


Grady - SWEET
















Hadley - CRAZY
















Asa - JOLLY

Monday, March 05, 2007

So Super Blessed

Joel and I celebrated 6 years of marriage on the 17th of February. It's been a WONDERFUL 6 years of course. I'm totally so grateful for my marriage and my husband. I am still floored that God so graciously sent Joel my way. He's super cool.





Anyhow, let's take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? :)





At rehearsal dinner. I had always thought that I would get married in the summer and have the rehearsal dinner at the lake. Well, I got married in February, so we just had a lake theme. :) Don't know if you can see the centerpiece or not, but it is a sand pail full of lake toys. Fun stuff. My grandparents made the chicken spaghetti that was served that night (the first meal that Joel had with all of us the summer before at Granny's...mmm...we weren't even dating then), other aunts and uncles and of course my mom pitched in too. Also, Mama made most of the finger foods at our reception. It was a great time.

The ceremony.











Walking out, married!! So fun.
















Me and my bridesmaids and flower girl. My hair was so hippie long.


Joel and his groomsmen.



Our bridal party in the goofy picture.










My cake. Someone said that it wasn't much to look at...looks good to me though...even now. My favorite...fudge marble with chocolate icing. Mmmmm!! I was all about how it tasted...I don't like white bride's cakes.












The groom's cake...german chocolate.
















Oh, and last but not least...we had milk with our chocolate cake. Mmmm. Here's the milk mustache.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Happenings


*Asa's first tooth finally broke through Monday, Feb. 19th...her right bottom front tooth. Her 2nd tooth (left bottom front tooth) came this past Tuesday morning.


*We fed Asa some rice cereal for the first time Tuesday morning. She seemed to enjoy it, even though I made it myself, so I think that it was a little too grainy for her. We then tried just the regular store-bought kind…she is gobbling it up. You know how they say give it to them once a day for a while…yeah, we skipped that part. She’s been eating 3 meals a day since day one. :) And, I am happy to report that she is sleeping better too…woohoo.

*Joel went camping last weekend with 4 friends from college. They had a great time. Where they camped just happened to be not far from Kerville, the home of our sending agency, CTEN. They had some time to kill on Friday, so they drove over to the headquarters and were able to be there and see people we've talked to on the phone face-to-face. Joel said it was a great time and we continue to be so impressed with and thankful for our sending agency.

*While Joel was gone over the weekend (Thursday - Sunday), me and the kids had a great time...busy, but great. Thursday we went grocery shopping.





Friday we went to the library, took a very long walk to the playground with Kiley and Skylar, and Kiley and Skylar came over and played at our house. Daria (the next door neighbor) came over too and they all decorated the concrete with sidewalk chalk...boy were they dirty and tired when they were done with that day.

Saturday we went to the church where me and my cousins (Ariel, Gillian, and Amanda) practiced singing.


Sunday we went to church at Magnolia. It's crazy getting 3 babies (I know that Grady is 3 now, but he is still in diapers and all and still can't dress himself, although in the past few days he is really picking that up...more on that later...but, I still have to get him ready just like I do Asa) ready all by yourself...whew...I didn't stop running through the house for about 3 hours straight. Anyhow, everyone was at Magnolia because Parker got baptized Sunday (CONGRATULATIONS PARKER...WOOHOO!). We sang 2 songs (us girls; in the picture, Ariel is sitting behind the plant playing the piano) and then after church we all went to Lakewood Inn to eat. Then me and the kids headed out. We were meeting up with Joel and our friend Daniel. Daniel lives in the Dallas area but graciously offered to bring Joel as far as he needed to. So, we both drove on I-20 until we met each other...ended up being Lindale which is just west of Tyler, TX. It was a long travel (esp. with the 3 kiddos)...about 9 hours total, but they did great and we finally got back home safely and crashed. Gillian stayed with me every night that Joel was gone which I am very grateful for...we had a great time, although I'm sure she was glad to be in her own bed and able to sleep through the night on Sunday night. :)

*As far as our financial support, we are up to 63% of what we need monthly and 53% of what we need to get there and set up house. Things are moving right along and we are so grateful and so excited. We have actually started going though our belongings and getting rid of what we aren’t taking to Brazil. We also got everything sent off for the kids’ passports the other day…wow…it’s really happening! Crazy.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Avoiding the Pendulum

Well, we are officially done with the fast. To remind you, we started fasting meats and sweets January 29th. Wednesday was our last day. So, 31 days of no meats and sweets. It’s been great, spiritually and physically.

Balance is always a good thing. I’m not too good at balance in some areas. Food tends to be one. Usually I am either really bad or really good. It’s hard for me to be in between. I really do prefer the way I’ve been eating even when not fasting, but the problem is, do I really want to do what I prefer? I guess the real question is, DO I REALLY WANT TO EXERCISE THE SELF-CONTROL AND SELF-DISCIPLINE NEEDED TO EAT THAT WAY?

So, I am just praying that God give me wisdom and understanding in how to handle the “freedom” of not being in a fast. The fast was great because I had to eat that way. Now that I don’t have to, will I be able to avoid that tendency of swinging all the way to the other side of the pendulum? Will I be able to “treat” myself sometimes, but not go overboard and look for reasons to treat myself every day? Will I be able to treat myself (the occasional pizza, coke, or candy bar for instance) at all or should I just avoid those foods indefinitely? These are the things I am thinking about, praying about, working through. Now that I’ve had a full month of “cleansing”…haven’t put an unhealthy thing in my body in 31 days…I want to be mindful and do the right thing, not only for me but as a model to my children. A great quote: "If you are modeling something other than what you are teaching, you are teaching something entirely different." We need to be healthy and walk in self-control.

I did take yesterday off. I ate whatever I wanted to. We went to Natchitoches to take care of some things (passports for the kids, etc.) I knew that for lunch I would have to make a decision to either keep doing what I was doing or splurge. I splurged. We went to The Landing…a well-known seafood restaurant around here. Even though I grew up around here, I had never been there. So, I made the decision to really experience it. I got crab cakes and fried green tomatoes. It came with green beans (not freshly cooked green beans…the southern style green beans which are cooked in fat and seasoned by cooking it with pork of some kind) and white rice, with hollandaise sauce sprinkled with crab meat. It was tasty, esp. the rice, sauce and crab meat. The green beans I didn’t eat after I took one bite…no wonder I never liked green beans growing up (I like freshly cooked green beans…not the fatty, mushy ones). The fried crab cakes and green tomatoes were alright, but a weird thing has happened. In fact, I noticed this the other night. We were traveling and there was really nothing to eat. I stopped at McDonald’s because my kids NEEDED to get out of the van and play. So, I ate some of their fries. Now, up until about a month ago, that was one of my favorite foods of all…McDonald’s french fries. The other night when I had them, I found myself really wishing I had some rice and beans and corn instead. I couldn’t believe it. Anyhow, that same thing happened today. I’m glad. Even though I hesitate to say this, I think I might be a full-fledged healthy person now, in thought and action…and preference as far as actual taste and cravings. Time will tell. I'll keep you posted.