Thursday, August 29, 2013

One year later.....

So, I have this little person in my home. He's been here a little over a year now.

He has completely captured my heart. Which is a complete understatement.

Just tonight, I saw him in the den watching t.v. He was sitting really close, and I just watched the back of his little lead.

A few minutes later, he bolted into the kitchen and ran right into me by accident.

He looked up and said, "Oops, sorry."

I picked him up and spun him around and planted a big kiss on his cheek.

He was stiff as a board and certainly did not melt into my embrace. In fact, quite the opposite.

This happens a lot. Each time, my heart gets a little {a big} ping.

Every time this happens I get this picture in my head.

The picture of the many times that Jesus has been right there. Waiting on me to fall headlong into His Arms.

And, I don't.

In fact, many times I have been stiff. I have been resistant to His Love.

I wasn't ready. I wasn't able to receive it. Or at least didn't think I could.

God keeps speaking to my heart this word: Unconditional

Love is unconditional when it's not based on any conditions.

Like non-responsiveness. Like rejection. Like indifference.

When we are able to love unconditionally we get a glimpse of the Father's Love for us. It's almost too much to take in.

I thought that when the Lord laid it on my heart almost 3 years ago that we would foster, that the fostering would be to help, to nurture, to care for a child in need.

The definition of "foster" is this: "encourage or promote the development of (something, typically something regarded as good)."

Little did I know that the fostering would be for my heart. The fostering has been for me. To encourage and promote the development of my heart.

To be able to see life in a view that I could have never seen otherwise.

Instead of wanting to "save a child", God is showing me a heart that needed fostering, saving, and growing.

My heart. 

Although our fostering situation looks way different than I had envisioned, the premise is still the same.

We can never put God in a box. He will bust that box wide open every single time.

It's been a year since we have had a new place setting at the table, and a third little lunch to pack daily.

I'm so grateful for this opportunity. It can be hard, it can be tiring, it can be mentally exhausting. Most days I feel like I am a miserable failure at this.

Then, just when I want to drown in my sorrows, a little voice will holler down the hall, "I love you too!"

When this happens, you could swim in the puddle that my melted heart has left on the floor.

learning to love,


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Happily Frazzled Female....

Somebody please tell me how we have a 7th grade child, and our youngest is in 3rd grade? Please explain.

I have no idea how this happened. We just had these kids a few years ago, and suddenly I cannot bear to go to sleep and wake up to another day of them getting older.

After running with a friend today, we saw a friend holding her newborn {like, not even a week old} baby.

It was hard to even remember my children ever being so tiny. A lump formed in my throat as I thought this: the closest I will ever get to having more babies is to have grandchildren one day.


Nobody tells you how hard it is to watch your babies grow up. NOBODY.

Or, quite possibly they did, I was just too busy juggling bottles, and cleaning up spit-up on my shirt and pants to notice.

I feel like I've been a haggard mess since August 5th, 2001, the day Joseph was born.

My body is different. Like, way different.

My attention to details is severely lacking. I'm lucky if I remember to put on my deodorant. I'm not kidding.

I do still wear make-up, ONLY because I like to make myself feel a little more normal.

Oh, but I love this life.

I have a lump in my throat the size of Hawaii....

I will miss this.

I already miss this, and it's still happening.

What will I do with myself with a quiet house???

I don't even want to think about it.

I know that God will prepare me and equip me when that season comes. However, now the thought of it just seems extremely depressing....and, well, lonely.

Lem will be with me. He will be thrilled to have me all to himself. I hope! ;)

For now, I will ENJOY every moment of this time being frazzled, haggard, and FULL.

My life is full. My plate is full. My nest is full.

And I love it.

So much.

Thank you Lord for this season. I will cherish it. I will see the JOY in each day.

Who knew God had such GOODNESS in store for me? Thank you, Father.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Are you sure, Lord?

So, the Lord has been talking to me today. Big time.

It started a few days ago actually. I had to sit down and write about it, because I thought it may encourage one of you.

I've been feeling so torn lately. I have felt the calling for a while to get plugged into my church more with bible studies.

This Summer, the opportunity fell right in my lap, literally.

I was so excited and joyful because I KNEW it was God's timing for me to begin a new season of leading a small group study.

However, I was also a little sad.

I would miss my Tuesday night girls in Madison.

Could I possibly do both?

Not likely as school starts back up and activities are in full swing.

I've been torn.

I know that the Lord had brought me into this Tuesday night bible study group in Madison a few years ago. I still feel very tied to them.

So, why would He pull me another way??

My heart is a little selfish in the whole thing because I want to do both groups.

I've been asking myself for months now if I am making the right decision. Am I following the Lord? What about all that I have invested in the relationships from my Tuesday night group?


My revelation came from an unlikely place.

A friend of mine was telling me of a pastor who was leaving a church. Some of the members were not happy about it.

One of the members asked him this question: "How do you know that it is the Lord calling you to leave? How do you know that it is not just your own selfish ambition?"

This was his answer..I am paraphrasing in a big way.

"You know it's His calling when you are scared to death. You know it's His calling when it makes you uncomfortable. You know it's His calling when it would be easier to stay. You know it's His calling when He lines it all up, but it still takes a  leap of Faith to change."

This has stuck with me for several days now.

This is exactly how I was feeling. Scared to death, uncomfortable, majorly unequipped, yet I have had every assurance that this had to be His way for me.

Fear would grip my heart and I would think: "If I knew with certainty that I would be a good small group leader, if I knew that ladies would come, if I knew that God would anoint me in this uncharted water...would I go?"

The answer was always Yes.

However, we don't always know with certainly. We just have to take steps in obedience. Trusting His lead even when it's not the easy way. Even when it would be so much easier to stay where it's comfortable, where your friends are.

I'm thankful to God for loving me enough to show me this Truth today.

He's so faithful, y'all. He really is.

He has called us to make disciples of all nations. That is a HUGE call. HUGE.

We cannot do that being comfortable all the time.

We must take a risk. We must keep moving. We must put our will aside and submit to His.

Has He asked you to change course? Does it scare you?

Trust Him.

Take His hand and walk over that mountain to the other side. The Promise of His faithfulness is just over the bend.

learning to go with the flow of His course,


Friday, August 9, 2013

12 Candles.....

Joseph has officially claimed his 12th birthday as: 


Those are his words. 

We spent his birthday at the Georgia Aquarium. Momma Jane took all of us. 

It was SO much fun!

He then requested The Varsity for lunch. Mmmmmm. {yes, i need to go run. for miles. and miles.}

After all of that, we went to see his Maw Maw and Paw Paw and they took him to Cracker Barrel for dinner.

Does it get much better than that? Wow.

The day before his birthday we had a family dinner party at our house. The Crowes, The Allgoods, and The Jaynes came over to celebrate our August babies...Amberlee and Joseph. 

Birthdays are the BEST!

Happy Birthday, Joseph

Fun cousins! Behind Joseph--Graham, Presley and Danny

4-d movie

swimming with the sharks!
{well. not really. but it was cute}

Presley pets a {fake} beluga whale.
these are my favorite.

with the penguins! presley said they stink--she's holding her nose

electric eel

his present. hanging on the wall. good grief. boys.
{i think Lem likes this just as much as Joseph}

celebrating Amberlee and Joseph! our August birthday babies.

Joseph's favorite chocolate cake--made by Aunt Angie.

Kim made some yummy banana pudding cake
 {and a gluten-free one!}

my beautiful birthday girl--amberlee!

look at my boy!

The Crowes, The Hills, The Allgoods, and the Jaynes.

singing to Joseph

make a wish!

12 candles. wow.

Joseph & Amberlee
12 & 19

Monday, August 5, 2013

The day my heart left me.....

On this day 12 years ago, I became the only thing I ever really wanted to be....a mother.

Of course, the only other thing I ever really wanted to be was a wife. They kind of go hand in hand. :)

I will never forget my mom telling me when I was 18 years old that I HAD to go to college.

In my mind, I knew I did. However, in my heart, I only wanted to one day get married to a good man, have babies, and stay at home to raise them.

All three of those things have been given to me by my awesome Lord.

The day Joseph was born, my life changed. Forever.

My heart no longer belonged to myself. It was ripped out of my chest and now encapsulated this 8lb 4oz baby boy.

I will never, ever forget the first time Joseph and I locked eyes. He had been crying when they took him from me. They washed him off and laid him on a table beside me. The doctors were sewing me up, and doing all that fun stuff that doctors do.

My eyes glanced over to the right side of my bed, and there it happened. Joseph and I locked eyes. His cry became a hush in a mere second.

The excruciating pain and weariness that my body was screaming from suddenly ceased.

Joy and peace unspeakable filled my body. A feeling I cannot explain with mere words.

It was just Joseph and me. The world stopped at that moment.

I have told him this story over and over. He loves hearing it. I love telling it.

I've never known anyone like Joseph. He's smart, caring, compassionate, witty, loving...and so much more.

Everyone I have ever known tells me how special he is. He just has that something. That something that makes him radiate God's love. God's peace.

He makes me a better person. Every single day.

I often {almost daily} say that I cannot believe these children came from my loins. Impossible.

The hardest part of being a momma to a little boy is the detachment that slowly starts happening around the age of 10-ish. It's heart crushing.

However, I know it's the way God designed it. That Independence. That man-hood thing beginning.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I would put him right back in my womb if I could. But, I can't.

The world needs Joseph. The world needs Joseph's heart.

He makes this world a better place.

The Lord has big plans for our Joseph. I just know it.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Our Joseph

my little beach boy

first day of Kindergarten

Joseph and Presley 2005

Royce and Joseph--best cousins

1 year old

4 years old

learning to ride his bike

scraped knee

first trip to the beach (6 weeks old)--mommy jane holding him!

my favorite picture

baby on the beach--2002

Elvis lip curl

my love--2009

Indiana and super girl

ready for the beach!

reading to his sister

missing teeth

my beach boys

Mothers Day 2013--my gift.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Be Quiet.....

This is our Monday Memory Verse on SHINE this week.

I love this verse.

Perhaps because being still is hard to do these days. Especially as women. As wives, as mothers, as daughters, as sisters, as friends.


My mind is always going a million miles per hour. Thinking of this and that. That and this.

Lem always says that he has zero things going through his brain at any given moment. This fascinates me.

So, to be still is hard. Like, real hard.

This week, I have tried to live stillness. The kids and I went to the beach, so it made it a little easier to be still. I told the SHINE girls that I would not post this week, so that I could be quiet, and to give them an opportunity to be quiet before the Lord as well.

Along with this verse, the Lord nudged me to give up some things this month in order to live in stillness.

August is anything but still around this house. School starts, activities begin, carpool begins, and homework folders and classroom duties for 3 children.

It is super full.

It's been two days since I gave up a couple of things in order to be still. I really do not miss them. At all.

Twitter and Instagram were my two things. I write this so that I can keep myself accountable. My children are holding me accountable as well....and they love it.

These two things are not bad for me, they are just another distraction  at times.

God wants me still. So, still it is.

In a world that is anything but still....can we really be still before the Lord?

Is it really possible to quiet and wean our souls before Him so that we can hear His whisper?

I think it is.

When I was explaining this verse to my children, I gave them this example: Imagine you have on headphones. Now imagine I am in the same room as you and whisper something to you. Could you hear me? No. However, if you take off your headphones and anticipate my voice, you will hear me.

I think they understood. Or at least I hope they did.

They have decided to take on a challenge as well. They will write in a gratitude journal this month. Taking the time to be quiet and to be still before Him as well.

So, I offer you the same challenge. Will you be still before God this month?

Can you think of something to give up in honor of spending more time in His Presence?

I think as a new school year approaches, this will be just what I need.

He's always speaking , I just don't always hear Him.

Bring on the quiet,