A tribute to my pit bull fearin’ friend

We had a rough start. One that she will never let me forget. And she remembers details that I’m sure never existed. Ya know, because those teenagers like to blow things out of proportion just a bit. I know that because the teen years aren’t very far behind me.

I jumped at the opportunity to lead a group of girls at a Disciple Now weekend in Feb 2008. I imagined a weekend of digging into God’s word and having deep discussions on how to grow in Christ and live more like Him.

Me, Tori, Kayla, Whitney, Ramey at DNow 

Those imaginations quickly became long lost dreams when I became the bad guy for making the girls put their cell phones away and be quiet so our host family could get some sleep.  

Not quite the life-changing weekend I hoped for.

Two months later I was asked to be the SS teacher for those same girls. I joyfully accepted it. A chance to redeem myself because I know they’ll like me eventually. 🙂  

Kayla, Mary, Ramey, Tori, Whitney, Katie, Me at a spend the night party at Katie’s house

A few months into it, I remember sitting in our SS room with peach walls, a low ceiling, and no windows. Mrs. Lisa by my side so I was never alone when the girls wanted to attack me about my habits of following the rules. 

I had my stack of prayer journals. Probably 10 or so. Journals that I have been keeping since I was in 5th grade because there was once a teacher that poured into my soul and gave me my first prayer journal. Erin is her name. It rocked my world and caused my relationship with Christ to grow tremendously. I wanted the same for these girls. 

Elizabeth Ann, Ramey, Mary, Me, Lily, Tori, Kayla, and Katie the day Lily was born

So I showed them my stack of journals, not to toot my own horn, but just to show them real evidence of God’s answers to prayers throughout my life. With tears in my eyes, I read to them a prayer. A prayer for them, long before I knew them. It was a prayer I had written shortly after Brent proposed to me. Knowing I would be moving to Fort Myers I prayed for an opportunity to disciple a group of girls. That never happened in Fort Myers. 

But in that peach room with a low ceiling and no windows in Athens, AL, it did. I began to disciple an amazing group of girls that will never be forgotten.

Kayla is one of those amazing girls. And she’s moving to Texas. And I’m going to miss her A LOT. 

Kayla at our going away party at church in November 2011

I have laughed with her almost as much as I have laughed with my own mother. I have spent many hours in my living room talking with her about life. She and I have several common bonds:

  • a love for Jesus 
  • a love for laughing
  • a love for Lily (she was always our go to babysitter)
  • a sarcastic attitude that gets us in trouble
  • an irrational fear of pit bulls
  • an interest in creeping on sketchy neighbors who own the pit bulls
Not to mention she is a faithful reader of my blog and cries every time I post something. I’m sure this post will be no different.
Kayla, I will miss you dearly (well, I already do since I’m the one that moved away first). God has good and perfect plans for you in Texas and I pray you continue to follow hard after Him. Seek Him first, and everything else you need will be given to you as He sees fit. I pray that you will make solid friendships that encourage you to walk in your faith. And I pray you never get stuck in anyone’s house past midnight because a pit bull is waiting to eat you alive right outside the front door. May the Animal Control in Texas care more about your life than they do in Alabama. Love you!

Tiny Feet

These tiny feet.

They’re only 31 months old.

They’ve only been moving on the ground for 15 months.

How could it already be time?

Time to step into pink ballet slippers. Time to be instructed how to use those tiny feet to gracefully dance through space. Time for her to learn a skill apart from me.

Lily, it’s not possible that you are ready for this. Of all your milestones, this is the most unbelievable. That you are of an age to be enrolled in an extra curricular activity.

It’s here. Your very first dance class to begin in less than a month. A recital in May to show all that your tiny feet have learned. And ballet slippers that will have to be put away because your tiny feet will have grown.

I’ll be there cheering you on. And if at the end of this first year of dancing you wish to try something else, then we will hang up the tutu and try something new.

Just promise me one thing, that you’ll always use your tiny feet to share the compassion of Christ with others and embrace the talents the Lord has given you and use them for His glory. That’s all I really pray for anyway. 

Love, Mommy

Dear Satan

Dear Satan,

Last night Lily had a bad dream that woke her up. Whatever it was that scared her was an evil plight from you to try welcome a world of sin into our family early this morning. It took two hours of disciplining a screaming, disobedient child before she calmed down and fell back asleep. She was spanked four times. It tested our patience more than ever. We were very, very tempted to give in and let her have her way. We wanted to quit. We were tired.

Satan, you knew that a bad dream early in the morning to a scared little girl that refused to go back to sleep due to fear could potentially begin to destroy us. You knew that the bad dream would not only affect Lily, but would affect all three of us as the night went on and throughout the day as we tried to function on little sleep. We all got frustrated and angry. But we did not and will not give in to your ways.

Let me remind you of who we are:

We are not yours. We are not of this world. The battle has already been fought and guess what? You did not win. You are a pitiful loser and Christ is a glorious winner. We belong to the Kingdom of Light; you belong to the kingdom of darkness. We belong to a Sovereign God. We are held in His all-powerful hands and His grip can not let go. He is for us, so you cannot stop us. He is with us, so you cannot stand against us. We have the power of the one and only Holy Spirit residing in us and therefore, we have the freedom to not sin. We recognize that your plans and your ways are always for our destruction and death. You will not have your way in our family. You can’t have us. Not because we are strong and unwilling to give ourselves over to you. We are actually weak and by nature are bent toward sin, BUT it is impossible for anyone or anything to break the hold that Christ has on us. Got it?

A frustrated mother that wants her child to get plenty of rest, but an even more…WAY more…frustrated mother at you, Satan, and a thankful mother that the frustration she sometimes feels towards parenting and always toward you lead her to the feet of Jesus.

How Twitter helps us function as a family

Just a glimpse at how ridiculously incapable my family is at communicating with each other. Thank God for Twitter….

Tonight, my brother tweets, 
“Please pray for my mom. She is having jaw surgery tomorrow.”
I see the tweet and take a quadruple look at it to make sure it’s actually my brother that said that and not my eyes playing tricks on me. Because I certainly did not recall knowing that my mom is having surgery. But if my brother said his mom is having surgery, then, well…that means my mom is having surgery. 
I call her and say,
“Mom I’m really confused. Ben’s tweet says you are having jaw surgery tomorrow. I just spent 2 hours at your house eating dinner and you never mentioned surgery.”
And we both start laughing and it’s not just any ol’ laughter. It’s the kind that gives your abs a major workout.
We get off the phone and I tweet,
“My mom is apparently having jaw surgery tomorrow. Thanks to Ben’s tweet I now know of this surgery. Knew he was the fave.” 
Soon after, my mother gets on Facebook and replies to my tweet, 
“Your dad just found out about it when he saw your post. I guess Ben is the only one I told.” 
WOW. When were you going to tell him Mom? In the morning when it’s time to leave the house…
Hey Terry, wake up! I’m having jaw surgery today. 

Thumb Rehab

Thanks to this…

we had a little intervention this week with Lily’s thumb sucking.

It’s working GREAT!

Sweet girl has been sucking her thumb since the day she was born, and probably in the womb as well but we don’t have any proof of that.

Naps and bedtime were the only time she ever sucked her thumb, so we ALWAYS replaced it with a paci by doctor’s orders. This, of course, was for the purpose of Lily eventually taking only the paci then we could eventually take the paci away. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all babies did exactly as they were told? Instead, she never showed favor for one over the other and continued to suck her thumb/take a paci. So, at Lily’s first dentist appt. in Dec 2011 Dr. J said to take the paci away and then we would tackle the thumb at our next visit. Lily has been without the paci since March. This past week Lily had another appt and he suggested trying Mavala. He said she’s a pretty aggressive thumb sucker so we have to be pretty aggressive with stopping the habit. Cold turkey.

I told Lily that Dr. J gave us some new fingernail polish that we have to wear everyday. She willingly lets me put it on her everyday.

She’s super smart, but by the grace of God she hasn’t made a connection between the HORRIBLE taste on her fingers and the polish we put on her everyday.

Her reward? M&Ms with her breakfast or afternoon snack. So far, there’s only been one occasion that she didn’t get any!

I am one proud Mommy! Lily is trying SO hard not to suck her thumb and I give her praise constantly to show how proud I am of her. She has way more discipline than a 2 1/2 year old should be expected to have. She’s willing to suffer to fall asleep in order to have a long term good result rather than giving up easily and sticking the thumb in her mouth. She’s is showing such maturity and determination, even though she would rather give in! 

One of my favorite things about Lily is that when she sucks her thumb/paci she also plays with her eyelashes.

I was getting a little sad that she wouldn’t do that anymore. It’s something she’s done since she was an infant and I hate to see that trait go. But, she still does it even without her thumb. Yea!!!

There are times I feel like we are breaking her of a nicotine habit. When it’s nap/bedtime she has a ridiculous amount of nervous energy and she has a hard time calming down. And if it’s not the nervous energy, she cries for a good hour or so before she finally falls asleep. I’ll rub her back, arms, play with her hair, sing, etc. to help calm her down before I leave her room. It’s so hard not to go back in her room when she’s crying for me, but I have to remember that she’s basically learning how to fall asleep on her own again.

She’s been a fantastic sleeper since she was 3 months old. Even all her ear infections never kept her from sleeping through the night. So I know that once she figures out how to fall asleep without her thumb, we’ll be back to normal. Until then, it’s late nights and weird naps.

As with all things…it’s just a season and I’ll miss it when it’s over. So I’m reminding myself to be thankful for the late nights and weird naps. I’m hoping by the time we go to the beach in August we can say a forever goodbye to the habit!

In the Go and in the Wait

I hate sitting in stand still traffic. I would much rather take back roads and go completely out of the way to reach my destination. I have to keep moving. Sitting still is hard for me. It’s not so much that I’m impatient (which I am). I would rather just know that I’m making progress toward a goal. Sitting still in traffic gets me no where.

Going is always easier than waiting.

Going means you are moving toward a destination, even if you don’t know where you are headed or what the purpose is. Going is faster. Going means feeling like you are in control (though you are not).

Waiting means your feet have no clue where to put the next step. And in order to move even a centimeter, you must rely on the Father to tell you where each and every step should be. Waiting means knowing you are not in control.

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. Ps. 62:1

If we aren’t waiting on God even in the seasons of “go”, then we aren’t really dependent on Him are we? Because in the go we wait for Him to work to achieve the end result for us; in the wait we depend on Him to reveal to us where and when our feet should tread.

So it’s really always waiting isn’t it?

It is because Christians do not know their relation to God of absolute poverty and helplessness that they have no sense of the need of absolute and unceasing dependence, or the unspeakable blessedness of continual waiting on God. But when a believer begins to see it, and consent to it–that the Holy Spirit must each moment receive what God each moment works–waiting on God becomes his brightest hope and joy. As he apprehends how God–as God, as Infinite Love– delights to impart His own nature to His child as fully as He can, how God is not weary of each moment keeping charge of his life and strength, he wonders that he ever thought otherwise of God than as a God to be waited on all the day. God unceasingly giving and working, His child unceasingly waiting and receiving: this is the blessed life…Waiting on God is the ascribing to Him the glory of being All; it is the experiencing that He is All to us. 

~Andrew Murray, Waiting on God

The “go” seasons of our life have a perceived goal. Something we can fix our eyes on and walk toward. While the “wait” seasons may not have a perceived goal, they have an eternal goal. And we fix our eyes on Jesus, our reward, and walk toward Him.

In the go and in the wait, we walk toward Him. Should we ever walk toward anything or anyone else then we have lost sight of who we are and Who we belong to.

God is always giving and working; we are always waiting and receiving.

Love this song by Rita Springer. I don’t love the cheesy video. 

Why I refuse to be careful what I ask for

Is there such thing as a godly attitude? I don’t mean having the attitude of Christ. I mean having an attitude toward someone that’s not very kind but filled with the truth.

Well, if there is such a thing, I had a godly attitude today.

Someone REALLY irritated me.

A co-worker (I guess a former co-worker now) overheard a conversation I had about it being my last day.

“Is today your last day?” he asked.


“What will you be doing?”

“Nothing until August. I’ll be working part time at an MDO program so that I can be at home with Lily more during the week.”

To which he laughs and gives a snide remark, “Be careful what you ask for. That’s all I’m saying.”

I wanted to reply, “Do you really think after staying at home/working part time I’m going to wish I never left this place? You’ve lost your mind!”

What I actually said was (and this is where the attitude filled with truth kicked in), “As a matter of fact, I intentionally asked for this. I’ve been asking God for a better opportunity for six months. And He is good to me and He has granted me what I asked of Him. I want to be at home with my daughter. I want to spend more time with her. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

And that did it. No more words and no more eye contact. I didn’t really choose to say that, it’s just what came out of my mouth. When he warned me to be careful what I’m asking for, I wanted it to be clear WHO I was asking to change things. And WHO was giving me what I asked for. Because it is HE alone that deserves the praise. And HE alone that knows what is best for me. And if I asked for something, and HE is granting it to me…well, then, it must be what I need.

And I can GUARANTEE there will not be a day that I look back and wish I had asked differently!

This caused me to reflect on past prayers that God has answered. Things that I have asked for in my life that He has said yes to.

Let’s start with my very first remembrance of an answered prayer. I prayed for a “blue baby” and 3 days before my 6th birthday, my brother Ben was born.
I prayed to survive a week in Mexico sleeping in a tent on the sand with my brother, 120+ degree weather, no running water/electricity, bucket baths, and holes in the ground for going potty. Not only did I survive, I was changed forever and I had the biggest laugh of my entire life the last night we were there. 
I prayed to survive my education courses at Auburn, more specifically Chi Chi’s art class. I did, with some of the greatest friends, despite my inability to create a paper mache lady bug according to Chi Chi’s absurd standards. Then I prayed for a job in Fort Myers and God provided me with one before I graduated. 
What began as a hope on a piece of paper while playing the game of “Mash” in 5th grade and developed into a daily prayer in 10th grade through my senior year of college, I married Brent. 
I prayed for two things in 2009: to become a mother and to teach at the best school on planet Earth. God said yes to both. 

I pray(ed) for Brent to have the wisdom to lead our family closer to Christ.  God is answering this prayer daily. 
Newly married and residents in a new city, I prayed for a godly friend. He gave me Katie. 
We spent all of 2011 constantly on our knees seeking the Lord’s direction and asking for His provisions. He took care of every single detail and moved us to Bham. He’s still taking care of every single detail. 
We prayed that Jesus would carry us through the news and pain of our miscarriage and lead us in regard to adoption/caring for orphans. He is. 

As a child of God, I can rest assured that I never have to “be careful what I ask for”. Because I know that if I am given what I ask for, it is because it was already God’s plan and it is what He sees best for my life. And all the other prayers that were declined…I can look back and see exactly why He told me no or wait.

See all the blessings I would have missed out on due to being careful of what I ask?

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen
Ephesians 3:20-21