Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grief...

Our church sustained a loss this past week. Our friend and brother in Christ, Jeff Stanley, died Thursday night. He had been struggling with anxiety and depression, mostly related to his need to provide for his family and the responsibilities of headship in his home. Thursday evening, it overwhelmed him and he took his own life. He and his wife Wendi have a 4 month old son, Owen.

I did not know Jeff well at all, but Wendi and I were in Bible study together this past year. My heart has been so heavy for her and the living hell she is walking through. In the space of an instant, her life has been dramatically changed. I can not help but think of how different her life will be from the one she expected. Although all of us deal with this on some level, she will know this reality in large proportions. On top of her loss, the manner in which Jeff died will always leave Wendi with many unanswered questions.

Our pastor addressed Jeff's death in small detail this morning. His comments were something similar to, "In the end, Jeff either believed that his sins were too great or his situation too far gone that God Himself could not help him. This is not true." This brought tears to my eyes, and I had to bum a kleenex off my friend, Kerry, who was sitting close by. The reality of this is enormous.

I have lived through many hard things, but have never seriously contemplated ending my own life. I do not know why God's grace has spared me from those thoughts, but it has. But I know deep, deep grief. I know the reality of a phone call that turns your world upside down when you are informed of your brother's sudden death or the Saturday morning conversation with your husband when he finally confesses to an affair and tells you he's leaving you for another woman. Those are hard things. I know the reality of looking out from where you are and being completely unable to comprehend life ever feeling normal again. You think you will always feel broken.

But, those of us who know Christ, know that this is not true. We know that nothing is impossible with God. A friend reminded me recently that if God can protect 3 men from being burned to death in a furnace, that He can also protect me and my family. Sometimes, God chooses not to protect us from the dangers of this world, and Wendi is living that reality tonight. However, I always strive to remind myself that Romans 8:28 is not a mere possibility for God's children, but it is a promised reality. God is not merely able to work all things for good, but He will work all things for good.

I don't even pretend to know what the good God is going to work out of this for Wendi and their son, Owen. But, I must take God at His word. Another friend counseled me during a trying time by confessing that we may never know in this life what the good is that God is working out for us. We may have to wait until we see God face to face. This is a hard reality because I want answers!

If you think of it, pray for Wendi. She has a rough road ahead of her. Pray for all the men who were talking with Jeff on a daily and weekly basis. They must feel as though all their efforts were in vain. There is a great potential for despair and the enemy would love nothing better than to cause us to either question God or question our obedience to Him. It is tempting to begin down the road of "why bother?".

Thanks for letting me unburden myself.

who needs blocks?


Saturday, September 27, 2008

little rewards....



Restocking the fridge and pantry after a week's vacation: Expensive (189.71!)




Driving an Xterra with broken air conditioning: Hot.




Doing a Walmart run on a Saturday: Dangerous.




Grocery shopping without the toddler: Priceless!

the perfect Saturday...

Of course, the perfect Saturday only occurs during football season! Emory and her daddy went for a date this morning. Since she and I just got back from being gone for a week to Bay St. Louis to stay with our friends the Stevens and help out with new baby Nathan, daddy needed some time alone with his baby girl and mommy just needed some time alone. So, Eric and Emory headed out this morning to get a donut and play at the park while mommy stayed home, drank coffee, and watched the season premier of Grey's Anatomy that daddy taped for me while we were gone.

While at the park, daddy and Emory crashed a birthday party. A client of Eric's has a son Emory's age. One of the invited guests didn't show, so they invited Emory to take his place. Imagine my surprise when they came home with a goodie bag! After the impromptu party, they come home to pick me up and we headed out for some family togetherness.

After an outdoor lunch at Sonic, we headed over to Oak Mountain to play at the farm. Emory loved the petting zoo and was not one bit afraid of any of the animals. She even sustained a nibble from an over-eager donkey that smarted a bit and drew blood. Once her tears were dried, she was ready to get back to it. There were pigs, goats, horses, and even a cow. Emory fed them all. I think it was particularly exciting to her that the feed was dried corn. Corn is one of her favorite vegetables and she's been known to put away more than one ear at dinner time. She kept clapping and exclaiming, "I feed the cow corn!"

Since we've just recently re-acquired a camera, we forgot ours. We're out of the habit! It's a cryin' shame, because it is such a beautiful day and there were plenty of photo opportunities. We'll be sure to remember the camera when we go to the Atlanta aquarium on Monday. Daddy took a couple of days off and we are going to spend them playing together as a family and doing all the things we never got around to during the summer.

Now it's naptime. Daddy is watching the Ole Miss vs. Florida game to get him ready for tonight's MSU vs. LSU game. He's got to get his football watching skills all warmed up and ready to cheer State to victory tonight. After naptime, we'll play in the front yard and let Emory re-discover all her pet rocks. The girl's got a fetish for sure. She kept sharing her rocks with the animals at the farm today. For dinner tonight, it's mac 'n cheese with bacon and hot dogs, and maybe a popsicle in the front yard. Like I said, it's the perfect Saturday... at least for a toddler.

Coming soon I'll post some pictures from our trip to BSL and tell you all about it. Emory is not a great car traveller. Our trip home was rough, to say the least. She didn't sleep well while we were gone and that did not help her mood in the car at all. And, she doesn't nap in the car, so there was much discontent, to put it mildly. I felt so bad for her when we finally arrived home that we gave her the option of what to do for dinner. When asked what she wanted to do for dinner, eat at home or go out to eat, she emphatically requested, "I see Wilson!" So, our friends Wilson and Sydney Raines met us at Purple Onion for a grilled cheese and some fun playing chase around the fountain. SR and W brought their parents along to keep Eric and I company while the kids played. Emory was ecsatic to see her buddies. I think we had to pry her off of her Uncle Felder and Miss Aimee. It's interesting that they represent home to her. It's nice to have friends your kids enjoy too.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What is she up to now?

Say "cheese!".


Sleeping beauty...


Working hard to "fix" baby Helen's bouncy seat.


Working on a new art project and waiting for daddy to get home.


Eating a "crunchy noodle". (chow mein noodles)


"I want to see Emory." Ahhh, the gig is up!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday evenings...

Like most American families, we are busy, busy, busy. Coupled with all the extracurricular activities we always seem to find ourselves involved in, our daddy works every other weekend. This has the effect of really cutting short our time together as a family. He gets home most evenings around 6:30, and by the time we've had dinner and a bath, there is very little time to play as a family during the week. (I'm one of those mommies that likes the 8:00 bedtime. I NEED my evening to get myself ready for the next day.)

So, we decided that for our family, we would opt out of the Sunday night activities our church provides. We feel very little guilt since we are both involved in a combined total of 9 other group activities our church offers in addition to corporate worship. Somce of these are service oriented, some are fellowship focused, and others are merely for instruction. But the point is, as we grow in parenthood and in our marriage we realized that we could actually end up short-changing our kids and each other in our endeavor to be a part of our church body. Sounds contradictory, I know, but still possible. I can serve on every committee, take every new mom a meal, but if my own kids are struggling I am failing in my primary calling. Only if our house is in order are we really equipped to go out and serve.

Our house wasn't out of order, but we felt we could have been headed that way. All I'm trying to say is, "charity" starts at home. So, since Sunday night is the one night we know we will always be home, we decided to safeguard it. Last night we invited another family to join us for some good food at a restaurant that has a great outdoor pavilion where the kids could run around realtively safely and the adults could converse. Gotta love places like that! After dinner, we all headed to a snowcone stand and indulged in one of our favorite summer past times.

Emory only almost died three times, but her life was saved by her buddy Parker who caught her by the sleeve as she tried to run into the restaurant's kitchen. He held on tight until I could get there to relieve him. I snatched her before she actually made it to the street while we were heading to the terrific, contained pavilion. It really is a great place to eat, you just have to walk out into the great wide open to get there. And, later as we were enjoying the shaved ice, she thought playing in a busy highway sounded like grand fun. Mr. Scott's terrific ninja skills saved the day, and our little girl is still with us.

It was a wonderful evening. The weather was good, the food was good, the company was good. Mommy is thankful for a meal she didn't prepare and even got to rest a bit as the kids entertained themselves and each other. And it's so much fun to laugh with yor friends and to watch your children enjoy the same pleasure.

On another note... our camera died several months ago, but we've finally decided on another one to purchase. Soon I hope to have more pictures of what we are up to these days. This girl is hangin' from the rafters and keeping us in stitches with her antics.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

poor baby...

My beloved had the opportunity to go to the Auburn vs. Mississippi State game this evening. He actually got to spend the entire day in Stark-vegas as he left with a group of his 'ole buddies around 9:30 this morning. As "fate" would have it, my incredibly sensitive to losing especially when it comes to his alma mater, husband is riding home from tonight's loss completely unable to lick his wounds either in peace or in the company of other miserable State fans. He's riding home with not 1, not 2, but 3 Auburn grads tonight... one of whom is his boss. Tee hee, this ought to be good. Think I'll arrange to be asleep when he gets home :)...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

have you ever...

... been so tired that you only shaved one of your legs in the shower? I think I'll head off to bed now. After I finish tagging toys for Kid's Market and get caught up on the ironing I've been ignoring for close to a month now, that is...

precious...

And many of you have already heard this story this morning, so you can just bow out now. Really, it won't hurt my feelings. We'll wait. Ok, those of you still here, this is how our day started:

I walked into Emory's room virtually crowing "Emory, you are so precious. Precious, precious, precious." She was standing up in her crib tent grinning at me from behind her paci, giggling just a little. I unzipped her bed, and got her out. Giving her a big squeeze, I smiled at her and said, "Emory, are you precious?" My darling babe put her sweet hands on either side of my face, looked deep into my eyes, and whispered, "No, I poopy."

Monday, September 8, 2008

drowning...

And there's no one to blame but me! How in the world did I get so busy?

Take a look at this week's to do list:
1. Remind Eric of haircut appt.
2. Finish ironing (this has been on the list for the past THREE WEEKS!)
3. Clean out the car.
4. Put together binders for Bible study.
5. Study Sunday school lesson.
6. Clean bathroom.
7. Vacuum.
8. Finish tagging toys for kid's market.
9. Get MY haircut.
10. Find someone to take peach juice that Emory believes is officially "of the devil" before the darn thing expires. (any takers?)
11. Make sure the bank balance retains it's positive status.
12. Talk to Robin BEFORE baby boy gets here (I miss you!).
13. Yell at AT&T for changing our phone plan, AGAIN!
14. Remember sombreroes for fiesta and arrange to "forget" them there.
15. Take tablecloths back to church before the next formal function.
16. Sleep.
17. Eat.
!8. Be a good friend.
19. Be a good wife.
20. Be a decent mother. (hey! something's gotta give!)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do the next thing...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

late night conversations...

My husband is always amazed at how quirky I get when I am really, really tired. And I was really, really tired last night. We were laying bed reading. I've found a new favorite fiction author (Marian Keyes) and she is hysterical! There was a bit in the book I am reading about 5 sisters discussing what foods they would be. It prompted me to think what kind of foods Eric and I would be.

Eric would be a piece of celery, I think. Those of you who know him know why. He's really thin, kind of concave, extremely pale, and has a mop of hair on top of his 'ole head. Needless to say, he did not appreciate my spin on things.

So, I gave him a go at describing me using a food item. The best he could come up with was a strawberry. Aside from the obvious way a strawberry is round, I share the physisal characteristics of freckles a strawberry has (the seeds) and I am unpredictable like a strawberry. Eric's words were, "You are either really pleased with a strawberry or sorely dissappointed. Kind of like with you. You're either a lot of fun or you're not." Hmmmm... turn about is fair play, I guess.

So, now it's your turn. I want ALL of you, including you lurkers, to let me know what type of food you would be. Happy playing!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

this one will be quick...

Emory had her first official day of school, preschool that is, today. No, I did not cry, but I am sad that she is officially a preschooler. I just can't believe that she is that old! She didn't cry when I dropped her off, stayed happy the whole time she was there, and was cheerful when I got back. I was greeted by the following when I picked her up:

"Boy! She's a climber, isn't she?" (As we were walking out we were stopped by another teacher from an older class. She was able to greet Emory by name AND already knew she was a climber. I'm too timid to ask why "everyone" already seems to know her as "the climber" from the toddler room.)

"Boy! She's independent, isn't she?" (Understatement of the year!)

"How many older siblings does she have?" (Apparently, she's tough, verbal, and independent enough to make you think she's got some older role models. And she does, they just don't live with us, per se...)

She was a sweet girl and I think she's going to love it there. I had a question for the financial director while we were there and on our way out we had to pass Emory's classroom again. She literally lunged for the door and asked, "I go back in?"

Looks promising to me...

And on a totally unrelated note... the best quote of the year:

I was talking with a friend about all the "If only's" we use to excuse our lack of contentment with our lives. She said her Grandmother always said in response to an "if only" comment always was... "If only frogs had wings, then they wouldn't bump their butts on the floor."

Chew on that.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

BPA and stuff...

I know that there has been some news in the media about the BPA in bottles and stuff, but did you know it's in your child's sippy cup as well? Not to go too "green" on you, but it is something to consider. While my parents were here over the weekend my mom took the opportunity to educate me and I'll tell you, it can be a little scary. Since Emory's birthday is coming up we decided part of her birthday will be new stainless steel, BPA-free, Klean Kanteen sippy cups.

I found a great website called www.backcountryedge.com that had the best deal. For around $19 you can get your child a color stainless steel sippy with both the adapter and 2 sippy spouts. Every other site had you buy the cup for $15, the adaptor for $4, and one sippy spout for $4. So, it's a better deal at Back Country. And, they grow with your child. Each cup is fully adaptable to fit any top they sell. There is a sports bottle top for those kids who can be trusted to not throw their cup around (sports bottle top is NOT spill-proof), and for school age kids there is a twist off top similar to a nalgene bottle.

Best part is, for each order over $50, they offer free shipping. It's not hard to spend that much on these cups. Eric and I both got a BPA-free nalgene bottle. In case you haven't been keeping up, nalgenes are so dangerous that they are now illegal to produce and sell in Canada. The US is just a little behind on this stuff.

Now, I'm off to find out why the kids are so quiet in the living room...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

what a helper!

Apparently, Emory is quite adept at helping her friends get potty trained. Not that she's aware of her power, but check out The Moss Family Blog for more details...

Monday, September 1, 2008

a Labor Day game...

Found this on one of my favorite blogs, so of course I decided to play along...

How long were your labors?
Or, in my case, labor?

Pitocin was started at 7am and she was born at 4:43pm... so, about 9 hours?

How did you know you were in labor?

I had been admitted the night before for an easy catheter induction, so it all the guesswork was taken out for me. BTW... this is completely my own personal opinion from my own personal experience... I would never choose induction again!

Where did you deliver?

Brookwood Hospital, baby!

Drugs?

Of course!

C-section?

No.

Who delivered?

Only the best OB/GYN in the world... Dr. William MacKenzie!