Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Life

Today was one of those days that you just feel like you're plugging away at but it's never going to end. Hunter is in the extreme 2-year old stage. Sometimes he literally just clings to my leg and screams until he starts coughing. I realize some of you (grandmothers) are saying, "Just pick him up!" but I know you were all once mothers and you know you can't always just pick them up right when they would like for that to happen.

I recently read this book called A Sudden Glory, and the author suggests you try to find one moment in each day that is a sudden glory from God. Sometimes for me, it's something random that happens with one of the kids, or someone at church who really touches me, or a huge random blessing that comes out of the blue. But I'm reaaaally really glad I've started looking for these little miracles, because it makes the leg-holding tantrums so much more bearable!

And it's not just that. Over the last few weeks I have really been struck by the thought that I don't always reflect Christ to my children. I get impatient very easily with them (*ahem* Hunter) and I tell everyone I never even considered yelling at a child until I was blessed with Hunter. I feel more stressed and tense and I tend to take it out sometimes on Stephen or Brianna, or even Hunter when he's just simply being a 2-year old. So even though I have had this particular thought several times over the past 10 months or so, for some reason, when I had it again about 2 1/2 weeks ago, I just really thought to myself, "I can change this. I truly believe if I start praying about this, that I don't have the strength to do it, but I know this is what God wants for my life and my family, and he will give me every tool I need to be a better wife and mother."

Not even lying when I tell you that the very next morning I woke up and I felt like a totally different person. It was almost like I knew that no matter what happened, I could handle it. I remember it was a Sunday morning, and Stephen was working, so it's never the EASIEST thing in the world to get both kids ready to leave for church by 9:20 - making it in time for Sunday school, getting them to leave by 12:30 so we can eat lunch, put Hunter down for a nap, and refresh ourselves before leaving around 6pm for church again in the evening. It's not that difficult, but you never know when one kid can put a kink in your plans! So I don't remember anything in particular that happened, but something did. Either something was spilled or we were running late or one of my children threw a tantrum... I don't remember, but I remember that every time something like that happened that day, I handled it. It was like it wasn't me doing it. I was amazed with my patience and how SWEET I was being! I was so excited to wake up the next morning and really look forward to the day together, rather than being soooo weary at the end of the day, and not knowing what tomorrow would bring.

And today was the first day that I could see a glimpse of how I used to act. Hunter's had this cold for a few days now and he basically just screams all. day. long. He cries when I won't give him candy for breakfast, he wails when I tell him we don't have any juice ("Hunter, go look in the fridge. Go look in the pantry. There's NO JUICE. I promise!" Hunter: "Whhhhyyyyyyyyyyy!?!?!?!?" - he screams as he tears his clothes and rubs ashes on his face), he cries when I try to put clothes on him, I mean this kid is crying over every little thing!

So thank you God, for the sudden glory moments. Like today, when we were on our way to a Fed By Faith delivery. The traffic in front of us came to a sudden stop and fortunately, although the kids were being noisy, they weren't distracting me as they usually do. I stopped with ease. Not so for the three cars behind me. I heard the brakes, looked in the rear view mirror, and saw the accident as it happened. Within seconds, traffic ahead of me was moving on and people behind me were getting out to make sure everyone was okay. As we started driving again, I just started saying out loud, "Thank you so much, God. Thank you for keeping us safe." Brianna said, "What are you saying thank you for?" I turned off the music in the car and explained to her that there was a car accident right behind us. I told her it easily could have been us in the accident, but that God kept us from being in it and kept us from being hurt. She immediately starting whooping and hollering and she shouted, "Thank you God, for saving the day! We love you soooo much, God! Woo hoooo!"

It made me laugh out loud so hard, but I just said, "Keep going, girl! That's right!"

Definitely a glory moment.

Making it to the delivery and passing on all this stuff for a baby to the mother's friend... the mother had to get out of a bad situation and has nothing for her baby who is due next month. As she loaded up her truck she just gave me the biggest hug.

Two strangers coming together over a horrible situation, but knowing that God has His hand in it. Definitely a glory moment.

Having Stephen walk in the door from work, take one look at my face and saying, "Do you need to go for a drive by yourself?"

Haha - NOT a glory moment! But thank you Lord, that my husband is starting to recognize some signs of me being overwhelmed, and he steps in to take care of me!

I want to reflect Christ in all that I do, but particularly to my children and my husband, because I want them to long for that relationship with God that I have. I know my husband does, but our children are our responsibility to not only teach them but to show them through our actions what it's like to be a Christian. I still mess up, but over the last couple of weeks I'm able to think before I speak, I turn my anger into tickle wars (this works GREAT when a child has done something wrong but not necessarily punishable, like squeezing lotion onto the bathroom floor or pulling all the books off the bookcase... sometimes I get aggravated but that changes quickly when I tackle the offending child and tickle them to death!), I am much more patient and soft-spoken... more like I feel like I used to be.

And it helps to know that the 2-year old phase doesn't last forever. I don't remember this phase with Brianna, but I believe it's because I was sleep-deprived from having a 6-month old baby at the time!

So I am really thankful to God, because now I feel like my children see all the love I have for them through my actions. Yes, I still get stern with them, but without screaming. I discipline them, but never out of anger. When I do feel like I'm well on my way to having a heart attack, I can slip away and be by myself for a few minutes rather than jump on them for whatever just took place.

One thing Brianna loves to say is, "Wow, God is really growing me!"  I think that goes for me, too. God is really growing me, and as long as we are open to the growing pains I believe He can really do some awesome work in us.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Sudden Glory Review

I really liked Sharon Jaynes' new book, A Sudden Glory. The point of this book is to get your life to the point where you feel God's presence in everything you do, and on a daily basis. She talks a lot about intimacy with God and all the things that can get in the way of that relationship.

Jaynes talks a lot about seeing God in the little moments. That's something I began adding into my daily devotion - what was my "sudden glory" of the day? A few days it was something simple like hearing my daughter tell me what shapes she saw in the clouds. Some days it was something bigger, like working with volunteers at church for a food ministry. One thing she said in the book is that sometimes, as Christians, we neglect our relationship with Jesus. "Relationship becomes religion, worship becomes work, and love becomes law."

Jaynes also talks a lot about how our Christian walk can become broken due to shattered dreams or abuse, or financial ruin, or death, or a multitude of things. It sounds as though she really understands these feelings that Christians (especially women) can feel over a lifetime.

There is a study guide included in this book which I think would be great to use in a small group or even individually. I do recommend this book for others to read.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Higher Grounds Ministries

Back in September, our Impact Ministries team at church combined efforts with another local ministry, Higher Grounds, and came together for two nights for a big youth rally hosted at our church. Our pastor Chad Nall spoke on Friday night, and Scott McInnis from Red Branch Baptist spoke on Saturday night. It was AWESOME!

 Got my "Staff" shirt from Higher Grounds - loving it!

Our pastor and his wife, hard at work as usual!

Dark shot of me and Stephen - a rare couples picture!

 Some of our beautiful youth members from church!

 Prescilla and Hannah... I gave Prescilla my camera and she ran with it!!

 Prescilla and Morgan

 Prescilla and Glennette

Prescilla and Joni

 Prescilla and Rebecca


 These next pictures were taken by my friend Jackie at church (I stole them from Facebook!!)

Stephen and Chrissy

 Allie, Meagan and Jesse at registration

 Michelle, Prescilla and myself


Jim and Jackie, the brains behind Higher Grounds

 Tommy and Hunter - not sure who is entertaining who!

 Pastor Chad and Stephen

 Donnie Gillis, pastor at Fairview, and Jim Babb

Absolutely amazing time - I have a skit from one night that I want to post on here soon, I just have to have the extra time! Thank you to all volunteers and the hard work everyone has put in to these youth nights.

October 27, this Saturday, is the next one. My awesome hubby is actually speaking at this one and I hear him speak quite frequently at church - he's good. :)  I also had the opportunity to work very closely with our pastor to pick out the worship music so I am really excited about that. Can't wait for this event! Spread the word!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Anniversary Trip

Okay, I think it's time to blog about this anniversary trip that Stephen and I took, considering it was the last weekend of August!

We wanted to go somewhere kind of close - we didn't have time for another Vegas trip or anywhere else like that (we would love to venture to Alaska or Colorado some day) so we settled for Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach. It would be our first time in three years going to the beach without children!

As we were headed toward the coast, Stephen pointed out that we were going to drive right past Lake Waccamaw - home of Camp Anchorage. Stephen and our youth group went to this camp last year and our church became fast friends with the leaders and workers of the camp. So when he suggested that we stop in and see everyone, I was so excited!

Unfortunately, everyone had left the camp to head to Wilmington for the weekend - right where we were going! We still walked around all the buildings of the camp and Stephen gave me a tour of everything. It's beautiful out there!

We got to the beach and basically headed right into downtown Wilmington. It was a Friday night so as you can imagine it was quite busy. We put our names on the list of a restaurant and then just walked the streets. There was a live band playing for free by the water so we just sat out there and listened for a while. It was nice not to be on any time constraints!

Then we got buzzed that our table was ready, so we headed back to the restaurant - Front Street Brewery.

The food was amazing.

As we walked back to our car, we passed this chain link fence that had tons and tons of keys hanging from it. Okay Wilmie friends - what's up with this!? It was kind of creepy...

 The next day we spent just a few short hours at the beach. It was beautiful weather and it was so nice being there just the two of us. I saw several other families there, running after their children, comforting them when they got covered in sand or scared by the waves... brought me back to July when we were at the beach with our kids (and a lot of family there to help!) and I definitely prefer it just the two of us at this point in our lives!!

After the beach we were off again, trying every restaurant possible before we had to leave! (Isn't that the point of vacation!?)

We got to this little pizzeria called Slice of Life. Their food was delicious!! Thank goodness for GPS for finding local restaurants. We were lucky to find this place!

 Of course it wasn't long before I was hungry again! But Stephen wasn't, so I was able to satisfy my sweet tooth at The Fuzzy Peach, which is a frozen yogurt joint. So good!!

 And on to the putt putt course! At this point, Stephen has no idea how bad he's going to lose...

I am feeling really confident...

SPIDER!!  This course had a "jungle" theme and I thought this was a decoration! This spider was as big as my hand and it was ALIVE and hanging over our HEADS. Not cool, spider, not cool.

Did a little graffiti action, reminding me of our high school days.

We ran into the mall when it started storming (also we were running out of places to go). We actually did leave with a couple of purchases. Stephen got a new wedding ring and I got a couple of sauces that are sold exclusively at Kitchen Collection. I know, we are so wild and crazy.

I saw this being sold at Kitchen Collection and literally shrieked in delight! I told Stephen this proves he's not the only man who has these issues. Hahaha! (I didn't buy it, but trust me, there are days I wish I had!)

 Okay, dinner time! We wanted some seafood so we headed to Surfs, a place we had passed a couple of times throughout the day. Man, oh man, am I glad we ate here! They had some incredible chili and amaaaazing shrimp, flounder, and onion rings. Not only that but they had some awesome live music going and because they weren't busy, our waitress even hung around our table a bit and chatted with us. It was such a laid-back restaurant. It was delicious and so much fun

Okay, so not even ONE picture of the happy couple! I can't believe it! Actually, I can. I love being in front of AND behind the camera, but Stephen would much rather be behind! I promise we were on this trip together! We loved every second of it. It is so rejuvenating to have even a short time without children.

We were very blessed that Stephen's mom and sister came all the way from Georgia to help out with the kids! So we knew they were in very capable hands and we I didn't worry about them for one second!

I'm already looking forward to our next trip together... whenever it may be!!

Here's to 7 wonderful years together, and looking forward to the next 70, if God will bless us with that many!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Old Pictures

Came across Bri's school pictures from last year. What a cutie! Actually I think we did buy some of these. I need to make copies of them for the grandparents...

 Mom showed me these pictures last week to prove how much our kids look like me sometimes:

(I'm on the left)

 Again on the left:

 Again on the left: (It's my good side)

 And my favorite: (I'm in the overalls and striped shirt) vs. Hunter

Okay, that's not the best picture that shows the resemblance between us but I still think he really favors me! Yay!