Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The latest

Life has been a bit hectic around here the last several days. We had a great weekend together at home and it was nice to get some random projects done, including planting some flowers and a few vegetables and herbs. We tried our hand at a garden two summers ago and it wasn't really what might be considered a success. That was in large part due to the fact that I was in my first trimester, sicker than a dog and couldn't stand to be outside in the heat. The garden I was originally so gung-ho about, was sorely neglected. But this year, we are going small, very small. Just a few tomato plants and some basil, cilantro and thyme. I'm hoping to take better care of my plants this summer! And not be pregnant.

We had a picnic with a few of our neighbors for Memorial Day. We had a great time hanging out together and great food. I made these and they were a big hit with everybody. They are going on the list of things to make for our family vacation. We had one small incident that involved Haven falling off the deck and down the steps. She's okay; she just has a nasty looking goose egg on her forehead that's turning black and blue. She was getting perilously close to the edge of the step and one of our friends went to help her down. When Haven turned to reach for his hand, she lost her balance and down she went. He felt horrible, as you can imagine, but she really did recover quickly and is no worse for wear.

Amber and I are feeling the pressure to get our conference room done at church. Both of our husbands and all the kids came with us last night to get the furniture in place. Some wonderful servant spent a week putting all of our furniture together. I can't even tell you how happy Cale was to walk in and see it all put together last night. There is a bookcase or two left, but rumor has it, they will be done as well. We still have several things to finish up, including framing and hanging all the art work, but it's functional as of now, just not finished. Amber and I could not be happier with the way it turned out. I will post pics of our handiwork when it's complete.

We are hitting the road again next week. Cale has to go to the Nashville area for work so we are going to go stay with my brother's family for the week. I'm not really looking forward to being away from home again, but at least we will get to spend it with family. Cale usually doesn't have to travel this much, but at least we can all go together if he does.

Alright, that's life as we know it around here. Haven and I have some important playing to get to!

Friday, May 25, 2007

A thankful heart

Things I am thankful for this morning:

-being together again
-Haven sleeping!
-planning a menu for a Memorial Day picnic at our house with our neighbors
-walks with friends
-being spontaneous
-grilling out
-my new ferns hanging from my front porch
-that God chooses to use me, despite myself
-cooking for my husband (I made the best fondue last night! So good!)
-a great deal on new sandals
-opportunities to serve
-open windows, a good breeze and fresh air
-fresh cut grass
-an ice cold Chai
-buying flowers to plant around our house
-good conversations that catch me by suprise

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Word of the day

acquiesce \ak-wee-ES\, intransitive verb:
To accept or consent passively or without objection -- usually used with 'in' or 'to'.

Acquiesce is my favorite word. I love the way it sounds. I love the way it looks written out. And it means to give in without arguing.

But it's something I have a hard time doing. The last few days have found me thinking about it a lot and wondering why it's such a challenge for me to acquiesce, especially to the Lord. He has my best in mind and I can trust Him completely. Yet I fight. I want my way. My time. My plan.

Why can't I acquiesce to Cale? Why do I always have to have an opinion about everything? Why does what I want always have to be the most important? Why am I so selfish?

No answers tonight. Just questions and the weight of them on my heart.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Weekend in review and then some

I can't even begin to tell you how lovely it is to be sitting on my very own couch in my very own living room with my computer on my lap. Never mind the hour at which I sit; it's nice to get up before the sun sometimes, isn't it?

We had a fabulous fun-filled time in Nashville with my entire family. We were able to leave Atlanta early on Friday because Cale didn't have to work, so we were on the road by 9am. We had a nice drive, a leisurely lunch and still managed to arrive in Nashville by 1pm. We were very enthusiastically greeted by all five of Haven's cousins who were thrilled to have one more person to chase around. I spent the afternoon hanging out and baking in my sister-in-law's kitchen. All the hours I got to watch the Food Network in Atlanta filled me with an overwhelming desire to prepare something with my own two hands. I was happily obliged and found a delicious Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that didn't contain any eggs (my nephew is allergic). They were a big hit with the whole crowd.

Friday evening was the big dance recital and the show did not disappoint. Cale and I only stayed for about a half hour, long enough to watch Anna, but then headed back to the house to relieve the babysitter who was watching Haven and our 7-month old nephew, Owen. We got back in the nick-of-time as Haven was gearing up for a massive melt down. We got her settled into bed, ordered pizza for the crowd and hung out with Owen for a bit before everyone got back. We enjoyed one anothers company, ate some good food and went to bed early.

Saturday we were up bright and early with Haven so we set off on a brisk walk around the neighborhood. We were the picture of loveliness strolling through the area in our various states of pajamas, borrowed jackets and flip-flops. It was nice though, there's not a whole lot of traffic at 6am on a Saturday morning. We returned to the house to find a few more people awake and then the mayhem began. We had a few things to do to get ready for the party in the afternoon, but for the most part, we just got to hang out together. My brothers decided that in an effort to get ready for the party, the ladies should all go out to a nice lunch together. Who were we to fight with that logic? So my mom and two sister-in-law's and I went to downtown Franklin to Puckett's for lunch. It was delicious and certainly made me feel ready for an afternoon with thirty 3-6 year olds!

The party was actually at a gymnastics place and they were wonderful there. The kids got to spend an hour running around, jumping, flying through the air and just generally acting crazy. They had a blast. They were then ushered into a tiny little party room and fed large quantities of sugar and then sent on their way. My job at the party was to get the food set-up and the goody bags put together. We managed to do so with time to spare and the whole event was a big success.

We were back home recuperating by 4pm and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, snacking, grilling and just enjoying one another. It was the most beautiful day so we fully utilized Steve and Renea's new patio furniture and spent the better part of the next 7 hours out there. It was one of those nights that you didn't want to go to bed because you were just enjoying yourself, but you knew you had to. I am looking forward to more nights like that when we all go on vacation together at the end of June. I feel blessed that our families don't just love each other, we genuinely enjoy each other's company.

We actually managed to get 13 people out of the house- clean, dressed, fed and looking good- to church at 9:15 yesterday morning. Now it helps that their church is literally 5 minutes from the house. But hey, we still made it which I think is impressive. Lunch out and packing and we were on our way by about 2pm eastern time. Haven was asleep not even 10 minutes into the ride. We were all thankful for that! Mike and Caroline left an hour before us, but we still managed to be making better time than they were (three kids=lots of stops!) and we decided to meet up for dinner in Louisville. We had a delightful meal at Bravo and the kids were excited to see each other again. We got back on the road and had a very long last few hours as we were slowed down for traffic and had a very cranky child. But we made it home by about 10pm and thus began the laboriously unpacking process. At 11:30pm when I fell into my nice comfy bed, I had my second load of laundry in the washing machine, a few groceries in my fridge and the majority of extraneous items back in their rightful spots.

The big motivator for getting everything unpacked, cleaned, etc. is that we are off for another whirlwind this week. Cale leaves for California at 3pm today and will be gone until Thursday. He needs to get packed, spend time with Haven and me, stop by work and mow the grass before he goes. It's going to be a busy day. Haven and I will be leaving tomorrow morning to go to Cleveland for a few days. We are finally going to go see my friend, Jess and spend the evening with her and her husband Tuesday. I can' wait to see her (and meet her new puppy!). Haven and I will be back late Wednesday night. It's going to be a crazy, but fun week!

This turned out to be a really long post about stuff that might really not be that interesting. But I never really claimed to be interesting so if you're still reading this, blame yourself! I'm off to fold some laundry!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lessons from Much-Afraid

Yesterday I was reminded how far I have to go, but how far He has brought me.

I read through some more of Hinds Feet on High Places and was knocked over by such a simple passage. Much-Afraid has wondered out onto a lonely area of the beach away from her companions Sorrow and Suffering as she journeys towards the High Places. Unknown to her, four of her enemies are lurking nearby and have been waiting for this very chance to get to her alone. Pride, Resentment, Bitterness and Self-Pity have been watching and lurking and are ready to take Much-Afraid back with them to the Valley of Humiliation.

Much-Afraid finds herself pinned into a tight spot and picks up a rock to defend herself against her enemies attacks. Pride taunts her and assures her that she doesn't have a chance against them, she should just give up. But Much-Afraid is growing in Truth and confidence in her Shepherd and she calls for Him to come to her aid. The Shepherd arrives instantaneously and knocks Pride into the sea and scares Resentment, Bitterness and Self-Pity away.

The Shepherd arrived the minute Much-Afraid called for Him to come to her aid. That truth hit me so hard as I realized how frequently I don't call out to Him to help me. I pick up my own "rocks" to defend myself against the attacks of the enemy and I don't even need to tell you how futile that is.

He is my help.

He is the Only One with power to defeat my enemies. And He is available to me, to you...if only I would call out to Him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Not so Hotlanta!

It has been a long, slow week thus far in Atlanta. You would think that this would provide me with ample time to write interesting, informative and challenging posts, but that is so not happening. I have been unmotivated to say the least. Perhaps it is the lack of sleep I am currently suffering from. It's been unfortunate timing of some new medication for me, traveling and Haven being a bit out of sorts.

I haven't left our hotel room a whole lot since we got here. We went for a walk the other morning and found it a bit stressful with all the traffic, hills and not so friendly sidewalks. It made me miss my nice docile bike trail in my backyard. The only danger there is a runaway roller blader on occasion. We have, of course, left for nourishment time-and-again and had a delicious Indian feast the other night. Can I tell you that I get such a kick out of watching my 15 month old eating (and liking!) Indian food?! There have been a few unfortunate too spicy bites, but she deals with it just fine.

Last night we headed to downtown Atlanta and went to the historic The Varisty for dinner. We were greeted with "What'll ya have? What'll ya have?" We made the most of the greasy goodness available and tried a little bit of everything. We were not disappointed. It was fabulous- especially the onion rings! We got to see a bit of the Georgia Tech area and it made us thankful that the Lord had other plans for us than Cale going there for grad school. We are just so not city people. We did a bit of shopping and then headed back to our hotel to get a very cranky girl to bed. Can you believe I went to Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls within one hours time and all I bought was one book for Haven despite my husband insisting I try things on and purchase whatever I wanted? I still can't really. What was I thinking???!!!

That's about all I've got from here. Haven is asleep again- praise the Lord- and I don't think that it's too early to take a nap myself, is it?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

How About Tat?


This is one of the ways we celebrated Mother's Day today. Don't worry, Nana, it's just pretend!

I am thankful today that I have the privilege of being Haven's mama. And I am thankful that I had such an awesome example of a godly wife and mom who continues to encourage and support me as I grow into being the woman God wants me to be. I love you, mom!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Well, it's Friday already. There has been a lot going on around here lately and so the only thing I've got for you is a list. That way I don't have to exert an incredible amount of energy trying to write about things in such away that they would flow together.

1. We are leaving home again. We head out this afternoon to go to Nashville to my brother's house. We will be there until Sunday morning and then we drive to Atlanta where we will be all next week for Cale's job. Another week in a hotel. We leave Atlanta next Friday afternoon in order to head back to Nashville for my six year old niece's first dance recital. The whole family is coming for the big event and the weekend will also include some birthday celebrations. Ten days away from home, not so much my favorite, but worth it when we get to see the entire fam!

2. We spent two hours at Children's Urgent Care with Haven last night. To make a long story short, we were relived to walk out of there knowing that she was fine and we could leave town without any major concern. (But she does have two dime sized lesions in her mouth where she bit down hard on her cheeks!)

3. I finished The Other Boleyn Girl early last week and am just now getting around to letting you in on that terribly exciting news! The book starts out a little slow, but I found myself caught up in the lives of the people and wanting to know what happened (even though I kind of knew from a historical perspective how it all turned out.) If you like historical fiction then I would recommend this book. Disclaimer-There are some scandalous "situations" in the book, but they are definitely a reflection of the times and aren't there just because they author was trying to tell a juicier story. I'm into Sense and Sensibility and have found it enjoyable thus far. I also started reading Hinds Feet on High Places (for the third time) this week and I just love this book. The Lord always has something new to teach me about myself and about Him when I read this book and I am looking forward to the lessons that await me.

4. Today is my sweet niece, Anna's, sixth birthday. I will never forget the day she was born. I was in Benin, West Africa finishing up the outreach portion of my Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission. Anna joined this world via cesarean section and I waited all day long to get a message that she was here. My classmates chipped in and bought me a very expensive phone card so I could use the only phone we had access to in our village to call my brother and sister-in-law and check on them. It was hard to be so far away from them during such a special time and made my first meeting of Anna that much sweeter. I love this girl so much and take such joy seeing her growing into a compassionate, gentle and kind person.

5. Haven's new favorite of the week: her swing! And a picture to illustrate!




Happy Mom's Day to all my sweet mom friends out there!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fullness

Yesterday was one of those days that made me feel full and happy and thankful and satisfied. It was a day spent with several different friends and lots of good conversation. Challenging, encouraging, uplifting, silly, real life stuff sharing. It makes me so thankful to have godly women walking alongside me as we strive to be the godly wives and mamas He has called us to be. I couldn't do it with out their encouragement and support!

Haven and I had a busy day together as she had a little play date with her birthday buddy, Noah. The were both born last February 3 and we met each other at church as we were standing out in the hallway with fussy babies! It's been fun to watch the kids growing and changing and his mom and I love having time to catch up with each other. Haven and Noah are really sweet together for the most part. There was an unfortunate incident involving Haven pushing Noah off the couch, but I am trying to move past that and not dwell on the possibility that my daughter is aggressive and pushy-literally!

I had about a two minute turn around until our next afternoon plans rolled in. I meet every week with my friend, Amy, from our house church. She and I are going through a discipleship book together called Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ. I can't possibly recommend this book highly enough. This is my second time going through it and it's fantastic. It has very basic, foundational principles that it walks through but is done in such a way that regardless of how long you have been walking with the Lord you will get something out of it. The first time I was part of a group with someone who had been a follower of Christ for almost 30 years and a baby believer and myself. We all were challenged and gained new insight as we studied it together. Amy and I are both really enjoying doing the study together and have had some awesome conversations. It's pure joy to watch someone falling more in love with Jesus and to see their understanding, knowledge and insight expanding all the time. I love it! And I feel so honored that God has allowed me to join her on this part of her journey.

Cale came home only to turn around and leave again so we could go pick up my car at the garage. Sweet relief met me their when I turned my car on and the air conditioning worked again!! Praise the Lord! Now some might be reading this and think that I am a bit spoiled and should just be thankful I even have a car and not be picky that the AC didn't work. But let me just stop you right there. I have driven several cars with no AC. In fact I even had a car that power steering was optional in. So I can tough it out with no AC if necessary. My greater concern was for my poor sweet child strapped into her car seat who couldn't catch a breeze to cool her little body off. (And to prove that I am really not spoiled in terms of cars- we have manual windows. Do you even know what those are, people? Do they even make cars that don't have power windows anymore? I doubt it!!) All of the above concerns added to the fact that Dayton has to be one of the most humid places I have ever lived and it seemed down right necessary to get it fixed. And it works and I am thankful! And cool.

I left Cale and Haven at the garage and went to meet my Girl's Night Out collaborator, Amber. We headed to a local beauty college for a bit of pampering- a pedicure! This was Amber's first time sharing in the joys of a pedicure and I am certain it won't be her last! We got to sit still and be taken care of and talk uninterrupted for an entire hour. It was lovely. And we walked out of there with cute feet to boot!

By default we ended up going to dinner at delightful place called Sips Cafe and Bar. We had one of the best meals I have had out in a long time. It was a great atmosphere (well there was karaoke towards the end, but it was funny!) and fabulous food. And reasonably priced which is always a bonus for me. We couldn't stop talking about how good it was! It is definitely on the books for mine and Cale's next date night. (Speaking of which-we need to schedule our May date nights!) Amber and I just had a great evening talking and laughing and reliving great eating experiences. There will soon be a post about my best day ever that revolved heavily around food and wine and my husband. In that order.

Amber and I rounded out the evening with a quick stop at TJ Maxx and purchased some cute, um, no cool, shorts for our husbands. Yes, they were identical, but I am sure that they will look equally fine on both of them. Did I mention they were plaid?!! I love them and Cale looks hot in them, so they are a definite keeper!

I arrived home to a clean kitchen, sleeping child and happy husband! What more can a girl ask for out of one simple, unassuming Wednesday? I am blessed.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Much Afraid

While I was making the bed this morning, Haven came in and was messing with the stereo in our bedroom. This is not an unusual occurrence. What made today different is that she somehow managed to skip through the tracks on the CD and end up at the one below. The words to this song flooded my mind and I found myself feeling every single one of them. It's so where I'm at today and I really needed to see in print all the things that have been swirling around in my mind.

"Much Afraid" by Jars of Clay

Empty again
Sunken down so far
So scared to fall
I might not get up again
So I lay at your feet
All my brokenness
I carry all of my burdens to you

All of these things
I've held up in vain
No reason nor rhyme
Just the scars that remain
Of all of these things
I'm so much afraid
Scared out of my mind
By the demons I've made
Sweet Jesus, you never ever let me go
Oh, sweet Jesus, never ever let me go

So happy to love
Yet so far to go
You lead me on
to where I've never been before

All of these things
I've held up in vain
No reason nor rhyme
Just the scars that remain
Of all of these things
I'm so much afraid
Scared out of my mind
By the demons I've made
Sweet Jesus, you never ever let me go
Oh, sweet Jesus, never ever let me go

Friday, May 4, 2007

Jumpin' on the bandwagon

I decided that if Boomama and Big Mama were cool enough for this than I needed to get in on the purse meme action. Actually, my real motivation (besides wanting to be as cool as the aforementioned ladies) is that I just got a super cute purse and feel the need to share it with all five of you reading this. Now this picture makes it look kinda shiny, which it really isn't. It's also brown which is hard to tell in the picture. The picture is also deceiving because it doesn't show how incredibly large this thing is. But regardless, here it is:



The oh-so-exciting contents of the new purse. Notice how relatively tidy it is. I've only been using it for a week so it hasn't had too much time to get loaded down with odds-and-ends and lovely things like used kleenex. My only complaint about this purse to date is no cell phone pocket. It actually only has one small zippered pocket which seems ridiculous to me given the incredible size of this thing. There has already been many a time when the cell phone is ringing and I am digging for it by emptying all other contents. I need to work on my aim apparently and really shoot for that pocket.

Not too much of note to point out, but I do want to show my very cute planner. Have you heard of Paperchase? They make the coolest planners, address books, stationery, etc. and I am a big fan of the compact, yet entirely sufficient size. Also note an empty container that once held animal crackers for Haven. And that little silver rectangle is a sewing kit. You know, for all the times I am called on to sew a button back on or take up a hem. I'm nothing if not prepared!

And that is the end of our tour people. I didn't feel the need to display my bag of loot containing chapstick (I'm a Carmex fan), lipstick and glosses, pressed powder, blotting sheets and my stash of Excedrin. The fun has to stop somewhere and this seemed like a good spot.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Sweet Baby Hay

Fifteen months old! And I think getting cuter every day!



New tricks of the last few weeks- acting out the "motions" to 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed; making a sheep noise; pointing out where her nose, eyes, mouth, ears, belly and feet are; trying to climb up the stairs backwards; shaking her head yes and no and doing it in context; saying Shhh



New words- night-night, eye, Bible, amen, papa (which is what she calls Cale), bubba, more, thank you in sign language



New favs- playing outside; rocks; riding in her bike trailer; eating cantaloupe; hugging her bunny



Total dislikes- getting her face and hands washed after she eats; hair washing; having her Alphabooks put away (which are the greatest thing EVER)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A mind full of nothing

I'm sure that I'm the only who lies in bed at night trying to fall asleep and instead find myself coming up with the start of a post that is witty, intelligent, articulate and funny. When I find my way to the computer the next day I try to dig that witty post out of the recesses of my brain. I'm hugely unsuccessful.

I'm not sure where the excellent post I composed last night has gone to, but if it's still in my head it is certainly lost forever. I have much more important things to remember like what I was wearing at any given basketball game from 7th-12th grade. And what we ate for dinner three weeks ago last Tuesday. It's sad, but true; my brain is filled with untold amounts of useless information. And if you think it's scary that I can remember what I was wearing every Tuesday and Friday night for 6 years, I won't even tell you that I can also remember what other people were wearing. In fact many of my memories are clear in my mind based on remembering what clothes I had on, which I find somewhat ironic. I am no fashionista, not by a long shot. I am more a jeans, t-shirt and flip flops kinda girl. (Or a sweater and boots given the season.) But for some reason, my brain has decided to record my memories and categorize them based on my attire.

In other breaking news, our water heater blew up on Saturday night. We were sitting in the living room and felt jolts of electricity under our feet and went to the basement to discover water all over the place and that lovely electric smell lingering in the air. A trip to Sears, Home Depot and two different Lowe's and we were the proud owners of a new water heater. Two days, one plumber and several hundred dollars poorer and we were blessed to take hot showers once again.

Thankfully, Cale in his great handiness was able to do most of the plumbing work. He had a few pesky leaks he couldn't get rid of and so the big guns were called in. The best hundred dollars ever spent because I got to spend time with my husband rather than hear him thumping around in the basement for hours on end.

And speaking of spending time together, last night was date night. We have a good deal going in that every month we swap a date night with friends of ours. We babysit for their two kids and then they watch Haven. We have been doing it for over a year and it has been great. It's much easier now that Haven and Gibson play together and don't need as much hands-on. We had a great time last night watching "Amazing Grace" (which I would recommend) and going out to dinner at a place I won't mention because I wouldn't recommend it. We need to have date night more often!

I'm sure it's sad to see this post end seeing as how it's been so informative and interesting, but I am in desperate need of using that blessed hot water again. And besides- I have a lot on my mind!