Saturday, May 31, 2008

Could it be praise?

We think Shawn might be charismatic.......







or just very happy....
Can I hear an AMEN?!


Friday, May 30, 2008

a lighter note

I was thinking about laughter...something I am blessed by every day mostly due to my precious children. But I haven't truly just "cracked up" in a while. I had some visions that made me laugh. I don't know if God sent me these visions or if my crazy mind is solely responsible....but here goes. These things would really make me laugh if I could see them:

10. My husband, with hair
9. My mother, wearing a Marilyn Manson t-shirt
8. My closet full of size 4 clothes
7. My next family reunion, without beer and smoke
6. My dog, with good behavior
5. My house, without dust
4. A brownie, without calories
3. Gas for $1
2. A winning lottery ticket
1. My pastor, dancing to "Let's Groove Tonight", in a suit and tie (that would really make me laugh!)

Your Identity

No matter who you are, you have been identified at some point by at least one of your characteristics or behaviors. Maybe you even earned a special nickname. Maybe it is good, or perhaps it is negative. But you know what I mean. Here are a few possibilties:

  • the red-headed one
  • the fat one
  • the pretty one
  • the rich one
  • the smart one
  • the crazy one
  • the funny one
  • she's so "sweet"
  • he's so "hot"
  • the one with mean parents
  • the one in public school
  • snobby
  • rude
  • energetic
  • messy
  • strict
  • anal
  • greedy
  • lazy
  • a great mom
  • the lawyer
  • the doctor
  • the one that can't keep a job
  • the one that goes to every church service, but drinks monday -saturday
  • the adulterer
  • the shy one
  • the one that won't shut up
  • the victim
  • the perky, peppy, grossly happy one
  • selfish

I'll stop now....but wanted you to get the picture. We tend to be identified and categorized by what we produce. Today I read a devotional through email about Godly character, known as the "fruit of the spirit". The fruits are nothing new to me....but something today struck me as fresh and new. I must have needed it. Let me tell you how I'm pretty sure I've been identified at various times in my past. This won't be fun for me......here we go:

  • needy
  • desperate
  • (poor) single mom
  • aggressive
  • envious
  • indecisive
  • quitter
  • hopeless
  • helpless
  • loyal (to a fault)
  • conforming (to a fault)
  • friendly (to a fault)
  • defensive, defensive, defensive
  • gets the last word
  • is always right
  • expectations to high
  • unrealistic

I'll stop there. That is quite enough. I've had good qualities too, but they were overshadowed.

So.....the fruits of the spirit are described in Galations as love, joy , peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I would really like for that to be the description of ME. And if I ever needed proof that God exists and that I have really received Christ, all I need to do is look at myself on the inside today and I can see that these characteristics exist. I'm no Jesus......but I'm also not the Melissa I was 10 years ago. Amen.

There was a paragraph today from a devotional, written by Marcia Ford, 101 Most Powerful Promises in the Bible, that I just want to share.

"The key to acquiring and possessing these characteristics appears in Galations 5:16..(So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of sinful nature). This involves habitually submitting to the control of the Holy Spirit; it's a way of living, not a one-time decision. As you yield to the Holy Spirit, he produces fruit in your life: a godly, self-sacrificial love; a lasting joy that does not depend on circumstances; a deep, abiding peace that we cannot understand; an uncommon patience with God, with others, and with ourselves; a compassionate and tender kindness; a spiritual and moral goodness, an unwavering faithfulness; a humble and submissive gentleness; and an unusual measure of self-control."

Don't you want to produce such fruits? Man....that excites me! How much more potential I will have in serving the kingdom while I am here, if I could be that person. I can be that person. You can be that person too. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit of Christ. He will dwell in your heart if you will have him, and he will gradually change you from the inside out if you will seek Him...and focus on Him and the kingdom rather than our own agendas. Seek him. He is pursuing you and He wants you to resemble himself. Just ask. Let's have our new character descriptions be:

  • giving
  • loving
  • compassionate
  • faithful
  • full of joy
  • patient
  • kind (in all situations)
  • gentle
  • good
  • peaceful
  • having self-control

Galations 5:24-26: Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stretched

I can only pray this will make sense.

At this moment, I am in my house. My house. I know where everything is. I live and dwell here. It is the physcial, geographic place on earth where I am most comfortable. I know that I don't belong. And God doesn't want me to get comfortable. He wants me dwelling outside of my comfort zone. He wants me to stretch. I know this because He is telling me. I can't hear Him, but I sense Him. And I am supposed to obey.

But if there is a path in front of me, I do not see it. So, I am going to talk through it here, and see where it leads me.

I spend my days thinking about the future of my children and the future of my business. They go hand in hand. God is telling me that who I am today is more important than who I was yesterday and who I will be tomorrow, because tomorrow isn't guaranteed.

I focus on who I do not want to be. I do not want to lack compassion. I do not want to stop the process of my progress. I do not want to be limited. I do not want to want. I do NOT want to WANT. He is showing me that the only way to continually progress is through seeking Him. The only way to not be limited is to seek Him first. The only way I'll ever stop wanting anything, is to simply be with Him and let Him be with me, because He is everything.

I am supposed to raise my children to be men of God. I am supposed to love and be there for my friends, neighbors, church, strangers, etc. I am supposed to be a steward of His love...and I can only do this if I will place myself in other people's pain and grief, other people's fears, and other people's hopes. I am supposed to work...to work hard and to serve God in it all, but I am not supposed to focus so much on my work that everything else is blurred. He'd rather me store up treasure in Heaven (by doing good works and sharing His love) than to store up wealth here on earth. I am still supposed to give even when I don't have. I'm supposed to love even when I'm not feeling it.

I'm not doing enough. I'm not stretched. There IS a shift. I recognize that a house is not a home, but that family is home. I recognize that granite is not going to change my life, a luxury european auto is not going to make me better or more important. The number of invitations I receive and the number of comments on my blog is neither impressive nor relevant. All the good deeds I could do mean nothing if my focus is not on Jesus. Going to church every Sunday does not make me a better Christian....or even a Christian at all. I do not need to defend myself. Loving good people is easy......loving difficult people is necessary. Forgiving others is a reward to myself. Manicures and pedicures are a stupid waste of money. Gossip celeb magazines are poison to the soul and spirit. Jealousy is sin. Greed is sin. Pride is sin. If I do not seek God first everyday, life will be a tangled web. If I use my gifts for God's glory instead of my own, God will be glorified and I will not care that I am not. If I talk to God, praise Him, love Him and serve Him, He will listen and He will open my eyes to what he has for me.

I'm not stretched today. I'm supposed to be reaching for someone or some thing. I am supposed to take on something new. My prayer is that God will open my eyes to see what it is.

Monday, May 26, 2008

back from another country

We only drove 5 hours to get to our holiday destination, a Memorial Day family reunion, but it is like another world in many ways. Ever heard of Lake City, Arkansas? Didn't think so! (Well, except for all my family that reads my blog and never leaves comments.....) But for the rest of you..... Lake City is a tiny town. I'm not even sure its incorporated. My mom's family started there, and most have moved away. But this weekend was a reason to go back. My cousin Bruce and his wife and kids have built a new home on the Robertson farm. My family and I got to stay at the main house, which is an incredibly beautiful old farm house. I can't begin to tell you how much we enjoyed that. Asher absolutely loved it. I'm not sure what he loved....unless it was just the whole darn thing....people everywhere, tons of kids, snacks, and outdoor fun that never stopped. He just kept saying "mommy i really love this whole house". It was the sweetest thing. I loved that it was small, cozy, and felt like home. It felt like a real home...and I should know....I show houses and sell houses. I have been inside of some million dollar homes that I couldn't wait to get out of because everything was perfect and cold and untouchable. Yea, like a museum. But don't get me wrong, I have also been in some million dollar homes that I never wanted to leave......because they were a perfect mess and filled with love. Anyhoo...the farm house.....beautiful, inside and out. This house had a spirit about it, a tender sweet spirit. It was a house that welcomed anyone. Shawn crawled all over the porches until he was covered in dirt. Asher ran barefoot from one house to the next, playing with turtles and frogs. He was in heaven. I honestly don't think I've ever seen him have more fun than he had this weekend.

Today, before coming back home, we drove to Paragould, Arkansas. Ever heard of it? Naaa, didn't think so. We went to visit my 2nd cousin Larry and his family. I didn't even really know Larry until about 6 or 7 years ago. He's in his mid-late 60's. He IS a cowboy, and wears his cowboy hat daily. Larry and his family live in an old farm house, on a gravel road. Their street name is just a number. They live on 804, in Greene County. They have so much land that as far as you can see in all directions, it is theirs. It is breathtaking. They have too many horses to count. They have dogs of every breed (almost). Today we got to play with a baby raccoon and 2 baby squirrels. But mostly, we just got to "be". I enjoy Larry. His family is close and sweet. He has many children and grandchildren. They are really country folk....and I wonder if they even know how good their life is. Once again, Asher had a blast and he did NOT want to leave. I really didn't either. Larry and I connected several years ago and just haven't let go. I'm not sure what it is, but I am glad that it is. I wish I had taken pictures today. I was just enjoying myself too much to think about it.

Here are a few photos from yesterday in Lake City....very happy boys.




Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No McDreamy

When I decided to help a client today, to clean out her house so that the buyer would actually buy it this afternoon, my intentions were good. I could see she needed help. I wanted to help. I also wanted it to be over....selfishly, because I enjoy getting paid for my hard work. About 2 hours into the elbow grease, cleaning out closets, throwing out tons of trash, and working up a sweat.....I carried several bags of garbage to the curb....one of which had broken glass and sliced my calf open. Yea....it's every bit as gross as it sounds.

I looked down at my leg and saw mostly blood. And then I saw yucky stuff that isn't supposed to show and realized I was going to need to be sown up. A few wet paper towels and a creative turniquite (sp???) later, I was driving myself to the ER. It didn't hurt. I even felt kinda brave and strong. I never cried. I just acted like, hey, my leg is falling off...and it's no big deal. I'm so cool. A little paperwork, a tetanus shot, a thorough cleaning and some waiting......... I got to thinking....what if there is a McDreamy here? Oh yea, that would be nice. Now, I know I'm a married woman.....but I was in the ER with my leg falling off, and surely I could be fortunate enough to be treated by Patrick Dempsey...right? I was a little disappointed.....here I am....my big trip to the ER, and there were no gunshot wounds, no bombs in a chest cavity, no pregnant men, and no McSteamy. Just some sweet nurses and a nice doctor who sowed me up. He was McCutie at best, or McSweetie. I was out in 2 hours, with my massive 2 inch wound sown up with all of 6 stitches, and wrapped in gauze and an Ace bandage. No McDreamy. Oh well.

Now, in all seriousness........I am incredibly grateful that it was a slow day in the ER. I could have been surrounded by sadness and fear, and that would have broken my heart. I'm so happy there were no gunshot wounds, no exploding chest cavities, etc. Thank you God for a peaceful afternoon in the ER. And thank you God that it was my leg and not someone else's.

Hi Mom. I'm fine. Don't you love hearing about my boo-boo's in this format? Cool, huh?

The sacred blue blanket.....

I try not to worry about my kids. 3 boys. Boo boos are to be expected, although I do pray they don't end up with broken bones and permanent disabilities........but I don't spend much or any time thinking about that stuff. As a mom....I worry about me, you know little things like heart failure, but not the kids. I think most of my worry energies are centered around my business....which I am trying to give to God, but in the event he isn't paying attention or he isn't handling my stuff with the sense of urgency I would like, I often take those worries back and deal with them myself. I'm sure I'm far more organized and effecient than God, right? Well, no.....but it's my human nature. I'm wired to be in control.

Asher is wired to be in control also. I recall during my baby shower for him (before he was born), that my dear friend Tina gave me 4 burp cloths, from Baby Gap, all packaged together. I recall her apologizing to me that it wasn't what she REALLY wanted to give me. 3 1/2 years later, 2 of those burp cloths are the most valuable and prized items we own in our entire household. They are Ashers' security! And that is certainly an understatement.

His first favorite was the blue one. Later he switched to a striped one. The striped one got lost and he went back to the blue one. He carries it all through the house. He sleeps with it. Asher sucks his thumb when he is tired....and he literally cannot coordinate his thumb to go into his mouth, if he is not holding the blue blanket. It's insanely ridiculous, but it is what it is. We are awakened in the middle of the night, sometimes to screaming from Asher......"I CAN'T FIND MY BLUE BLANKET, SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!". It is the most dramatic thing you've ever heard. Simply devastating. He used to call it "bunkie", but has matured now and it is simply his "blue blanket".

This morning, I heard screams coming from my bathroom that could only mean a couple of things. Some possibilities: (a) I've just seen a spider the size of my head (b) my underwear is on fire (c) Brisket has fallen into the potty and is drowing (d) i pee'd on my blue blanket. Well, if you guessed (d) you'd be correct. You would have thought he found the beloved family pet headless. Asher was literally mourning. See, he can't even handle me washing the blue blanket, because of the separation anxiety. At the moment, it is in the washing machine, and I had to go out to the car to retrieve the "car blanket", which is just like the blue blanket, but it isn't blue. Asher is managing for the moment. He has told me "mommy i am going to miss my blue blanket so much" "i just love my blue blanket and i miss it". It's pitiful. I plan to get some video of the reunion later and hopefully it will be good enough to post here. Asher has lost control. Oh my.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Imagine all the people........

I've been meaning to post for some time, about Asher's imaginary friends and pets.

Asher has been making up people for a while...well, mostly animals. He has had a pet baby elephant off and on for many months. She hasn't had a name, but she is a she....and she sleeps a lot, so Asher asks for us to be quiet so we don't wake her up. About a month ago, Asher began talking about his friend. I can't wait to tell you his friends name.....(drum roll)......his name is Brisket. I LOVE IT! On most days, Brisket is a small boy, but he is bigger than Asher. They do quite a lot together, including playing outside and with trains and fire trucks. Brisket does not live with us....he has a family that loves him. (Amen) And Brisket does not occupy a chair at our table or anything like that....but he is all up in Ashers head, and they are busy together. Usually Asher will admit that he is "pretending", but when I ask if Brisket is real or pretend, Asher insists he is real...and he will not back down from that position. We just go along with it. I hope that isn't unhealthy.

We've also recently learned that Asher has a pet bird named "Slobby" and a pet rabit named "Cargo". We never knew about Slobby until Joe and Asher were outside one day and saw a flock of birds flying overhead. Asher jumped and shouted and pointed to Slobby as if he hadn't seen him in forever, and was so relieved. It was instant and automatic....not as if he was trying to make up a story. Cargo just appeared in the past week or so, but when I asked Asher this morning if Cargo was doing okay, he told me he doesn't have any more pets. Then I inquired about Slobby, and he said he does still have Slobby but that he isn't here right now.

I'm not sure when and how Asher makes up this things. He is not in daycare or pre-school. I know what he's watching on TV...and there is no slobby, Cargo, or Brisket....so who knows? They are not in any of the millions of books that we read either. But I love watching his imagination run wild. Mabye Asher will always be extremely creative. ; )

Saturday, May 17, 2008

belly laugh

Shawn is almost 17 months old. He has finally finally started laughing. It is beautiful, and I hope to capture it on video soon. I have been waiting for this. So, many things have come more slowly, but Shawn is doing so well. His laughter is incredible. It is infectious. I found myself sitting in the floor this morning with both the little boys crawling all over me and just wondering.....does it get any better than this? I think not....

Well, yesterday....in addition to the two little ones showing me love.....Spencer (all 19 years of his age) jumped in on the action and gave me 50 kisses on my cheek. He didn't want to be outdone by the little ones. So if there is anything better than 2 little ones crawling all over me and giving me love.....it would be all 3 of them. Yay me!

Random......our lawn mower broke and will not be fixed for a couple more weeks. Anyone want to come mow our lawn for not very much money? Just askin....

Congrats to my most recent happy clients. Jenni is moving into her new house today and getting married soon to Matt! Congrats to both! Also, Sherry is moving to Alaska next week! I'm so excited for them all.

Today I put new batteries in our solar lights outdoors. I highly recommend www.batteryjunction.com. We got a great price on the batteries, including shipping.

I showed 8 houses in North Nashville today. It is so exciting to see the growth and revitalization in that area. The new homes over there are so cool.....really! High end fixtures, great floor plans, urban area, and great prices. It was a very fun morning and I hope we find a new home for Misty that she and her daughter will love! I'm driving to Burns tonight to show Lee and Kristine's house, and I'm showing Tina and Billy's house tomorrow! I pray these houses sell soon so everyones new chapters can begin! I do love my career!

Ok, other than the mud I've had to clean up from the carpet and telling you all about my bill paying today....I think I've accurately documented most of my day so far.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

God did it!

So.... God has been super busy in our house these days.

Shawn is learning to stand by himself. It's not a new trick, but one that is still not perfected. We clap and go crazy to encourage him. A few days ago....Asher said..."look mommy, shawn is standing up! me, God and Jesus are teaching him how!". That Asher....what a funny boy....but yes, all credit to God and Jesus for helping my sweet baby learn to stand.

Tonight we had breakfast for dinner. I think I have posted about that before. I always cook the pancakes, and Joe takes care of the cheesy eggs, and whatever else. I have been having a bad headache today (subsided at the moment thanks to 500mg ibuprofen). Asher asked me to make the pancakes and I told him Daddy would. Asher was NOT happy with that idea...so unhappy in fact that his statement was..."no mommy i don't like that plan!". Well, the only way I could get Asher to let me off the hook was to tell him that I would bless Daddy with the secret special magic so that God would teach Daddy how to make the pancakes. Asher said..."oh, well, okay then!". Worked like a charm! Is that bad? Please recall I had a headache...and that typically will make me do strange things! : )

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

prayers of a toddler

Today, I decided to take Asher on some of my work errands with me, and then to lunch with my good friend, Henri. Shawn was home with Daddy, having a special day.

In the car, on the way to wherever......Asher and I were talking, and I decided to tell him that I hadn't prayed to God in a few days and that when I go for a while without praying, I feel really sad. Asher then shared some of his theology with me....you know.....about how God wants us to pray, and do good things, eat our broccoli, be healthy, and play at the Pegram playground. I was really into his message, when he decided that he wanted to pray to God right then. Remember....I was driving. Asher told me I needed to bow my head and I convinced him we'd be safer if I didn't. He agreed, and told me that he was going to bow his head anyway. He got quiet, and the prayer was not much above a whisper, but this is what I heard.....and I'm not exaggerating the sweet or the funny.

Dear God. Thank you God for the gifts we have and for the love we have. Thank you God for jeeps, trains, the Pegram playground and the river. (whisper whisper whisper).... please take care of Shawns' heart. Thank you for the trees, and for jeeps. Jesus name. Amen.

Then Asher told me it was my turn, so I prayed. Asher told me that my prayer made his so happy......and that is probably because I gushed and gushed over God sending us sweet Asher, in addition to some other matters that needed tending between JC and me.

THEN.........since Asher has been on a lying spree, I took the opportunity to teach him about how God want to forgive us, and that is why he sent Jesus to us. He so acted like he understood. We'll see. : )

Monday, May 12, 2008

The lesson in lying

It's official. My sweet, precious, beautiful, vivacious, animated, loving, dear, wild, Asher, is not perfect! He L I E S.

Two lies.
One yesterday.
One today.
Both involved food.

Yesterday crackers disappeared. The conversation was simple and straightforward:
Mommy: Asher, did you eat your crackers?
Asher: Yes mommy, I ate them all gone.
Mommy: Are you sure?
Asher: Yes mommy, I told you I ate them.
Family dog: scarf, scarf, ummm, yum yum
Mommy: Asher....why is Sammy behind the TV eating your crackers?
I won't tell you the rest of the conversation.....but it had to do with me telling Asher all about lying......while he cried and begged for my forgiveness. I forgave him.

Tonight, Asher was finishing his dinner at the table while we carried on (he's a slow eater). Joe notices the dog suddenly interested in the copper I have displayed on the bottom shelf of a cabinet in the kitchen. Here's the conversation:
Daddy: Asher, did you put some food in the copper?
Asher: No daddy, I ate all my food.
Daddy: Are you sure?
Asher: Yes Daddy, I told you I ate all my food.
Joe opens the copper and finds chicken and green beans.
Daddy: Asher, you L I E D to me!
Asher: Cries, cries, drama, drama.... m e l t d o w n.

Do you remember your child's first lie? I'd love to hear about it! Or do you remember the first lie you told? Tell me.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Shawn intentionally makes me laugh - VIDEO

Shawn has recently begun to make this gasping sound. I'm sure he didn't learn this from his dramatic mommy......but he must have picked it up somewhere. He does this adorable exchange with me, where he makes the sound, combined with the wide eyes, and waits for my laughter.....and then he smiles with approval. It is delightful. This video is of him doing this with me today while he was eating some breakfast. Enjoy!


video

Friday, May 9, 2008

All the babes

Today was a beautiful morning to go to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere with wonderful friends. Here are some of the best snapshots!











Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'm wondering if any of you are struggling as I am.

I actually had a vision of my own body, from head to toe, being swallowed up in mud today. Not just mud, but disgusting, filthy, toxic muck. I was sinking into it because of the darkness in my heart that weighs tons.

I spoke out loud and sought God for 45 minutes about my condition. I believe He brings me words I am supposed to share. These are the words he placed on my heart....

You allow yourself to sink in the mud everytime someone upsets you and you keep it on your mind. You keep seeking fairness and equality, which does not exist outside of Me, and it never will. You expect too much of people, and at your rate of expectation, you will never be satisfied. Seek only Me and let me handle the rest. You are good, child, to ask me to clean your heart and renew your spririt everyday. You are good to confess your thoughts that weigh you down and I'm happy to cleanse you when you are sincere. Only the Heaven in the Kingdom with me, that awaits you, will ever offer you the freedom from hurt that you seek. For now I can only promise that I will keep my promises to you. You will be well. Keep asking me everyday to cleanse and renew you. I will.

I'm one of those people that normally does the right thing. I usually don't say things I would later regret (anymore), and I do not smack people even when they deserve it. (Amen!). I also try very hard to see my wrongs and right them, or apologize....or whatever necessary. But my mind sure does play out other scenerios. It curses people out. It gets them back quick. The darkness in my heart grows....and I have to beg it out and I have to bring that darkness to God and pray he forgives it....but not only forgive it.....I beg him to remove it! I don't want to smack people in my mind. I don't want to scream and yell and hurt and torment others.....whether the friend that betrays me, the business associate who steals from me, or the angry driver who flips me off for only driving 70 mph. I don't want to judge my saved brothers and sisters for their behaviors any more than I want them to judge mine. I just want to be clean!!!!!

CAN ANYONE HEAR ME PLEASE?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

a little light bulb.....

i couldn't begin to explain why this has hit me and how or if the timing is significant

shawns' worst (and maybe only) sin to date, is pulling on cords and curtains. but he is only 16 months old.

asher, at 3 years and almost 5 months.....has learned and exhibited plenty of sin in his young life......the basics however, little lies, sneaking, disobeying, unwillingness to share, etc.

spencer, at age 19.....well.....enough said. sin exists.

i find myself being present or even being the target of behaviors by my children...and the very first thing i want to do is forgive them. i genuinely want to.... and because it is age appropriate....i teach asher to apologize, and i swoop him up with all the evidence and signs of my forgiveness to him that i could possibly display. he's happy to receive the forgiveness, too. with spencer.......i might be frustrated at the absence of an apology....but i forgive him anyway and then suggest that he could have made it easier if he had just offered even the slighest sign of remourse or repentence. but still......i forgave him.....and it hurt me still.

for whatever reason, today inside the walls of my home....and the love that is in my home...... i received the message from the Lord that he wants to forgive us. He genuinely wants to. he wants us to be sorry......but even more so, he wants to forgive his children. i think i have probably subconsciously pictured God with a take it or leave it attitude..... "if you repent you repent, if you don't, you don't". today i do not see him that way. i picture Him as a father just almost dying to hear my sorrow and even my shame. he is eagerly and anxiously wanting me to show him that i seek his forgiveness because he so desperately wants to forgive me.

if i am anxious, willing, and capable of forgiving my children even when they do not ask........then shouldn't we know that God wants to forgive his children? sure he does. no matter what.

A day unfolds......

So, earlier this week I was stressed to the max...had a million things to do, mostly un-fun things like, wash the car, get the oil changed, stock up at Sams, deliver this, retrieve that, fax a million things, and return several business related phone calls that would take up a lot of time.

Joe was home with the boys as I packed up my things and decided it was time to tackle the errands. I love errands when I'm not stressed. I hate errands when my mind is in a million places and other fires need put out. As I approached the door to exit my house, Joe said...."maybe you should go to a movie". Sweet sentiment, yes....but where in the heck was I going to find time to go TO A MOVIE???????? So I got in my car headed straight for an oil change. Moments later I was in the Regal Cinemas lobby buying my popcorn. And oh yes it was so good. I had decided I would see a light-hearted romantic chic flic, like "Made of Honor" with the oh so handsome Patrick Dempsey. yea, light hearted....that's just what i needed! So I found my seat and dipped my hand into my buttered popcorn, as the beginning of the movie started. Oh....did I mention I changed my mind? I saw..."Bucket List" with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. I just wasn't in the mood to see cute....I was in the mood to receive some truth. It's a wonderful movie! I already feel the need to see it again.

And yes I would like to point out that I realize how dear and sweet my husband is to be thinking about what could relieve me. I'm thankful he recognizes when I need an escape and that he is supportive in that way. He was probably just relieved that the escape I needed had nothing to do with my family! Amen!

Other quick highlights of my week include: walking with Pat last night. She showed me her new shiny cell phone and played some horrendous (sp?) lewd rap song for me. Why? I have no clue. But it made her laugh and her laugh is beautiful!
Today....most of my bible study ladies were here for our weekly fellowship! Sujette has been traveling the past couple of weeks and we have missed her. She is probably the most thoughtfully creative one of all of us. She is ALWAYS thinking about all of us and praying for us and our children. She described a beautiful wonder that she saw in the Portland Oregon area.....she stood in my living room and shared this even with her arms stretched and tears running down her face....as she demonstrated that she prayed for each one of us by name, our husbands, and all of our children. In this place, she collected smooth stones that had been worn down by the waters but had been refined to beauty (old and gray i might add). She brought us each a stone. She said she picked up the prettiest ones. Now, if that isn't a highlight....I don't know what is. (note to self......never stop loving sujette just the way she is......and thank you Jesus for her.)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

10 things

10 things you probably don't know about me:

1. I took baton twirling lessons and piano lessons as a little girl. Got pretty good at piano. Got thumped in the head too many times with the baton.
2. I talk to myself, and I attribute this to not having siblings.
3. I had a birthmark on my bottom lip forever.....people told me I had something on my mouth. An unfortunate car accident ripped my lip, and its repair elminated the annoying birthmark.
4. I have written some songs and performed them live.
5. My one trip out of the country was a disaster.
6. I have 3 tattoos.
7. Once upon a time, my navel was pierced.
8. I used to have seizures, attributed to "temporal lobe epilepsy". I have been off medication and without seizures for over 3 years.
9. I prefer mountains to oceans.
10. I like to work with tile, love to paint (walls, not works of art), and I'm learning how to refinish furniture.

Wow, this was kind of a tough exercise.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Gratitude for $2.15

Ok.......so a dear friend of mine, Katherine, and her (also dear) husband Steve, have 2 beautiful sons. The oldest is turning 5 and we were invited to his birthday party at "pump it up" today. If you live in Nashville, Brentwood, or Franklin....you need to take your kids. It's an awesome party.

I'll confess.....we didn't bring a gift for Scott. That is AWFUL...but my plans got derailed yesterday when I intended to buy his gift....because Shawn ended up at the doctor instead of at the babysitters...so what do ya do? I walked in with my guilt and told Katherine....at least I wasn't ashamed to show my face and I allowed my kids to come and play, eat, and drink....at her expense. Yea, I'm a GREAT friend!

So, what's up with gratitude for $2.15? I'm getting there. Just chill...

On the way to Brentwood, Asher was still hungry so we went to McDonalds for a "bixit". There is only 1 drive-through, but there are 2 entries...... and sometimes its a game of chicken with another vehicles' driver. I was faced with this today. Actually, she was there first....but she had a long line of cars behind her. I knew that from my position, most likely, no one was going to let me in. But the lady who was there first, waved me through. I found that to be somewhat remarkable! Holy Moly! In this world of "me, me, me", "I was here first", "Get back, Jack!".....this kind young lady let me go first. I also want to point out to you that she was driving a beat up car, and she did not have a smile on her face. Why did she let me in when she didn't have to? Well......I bought our "bixits" and I bought hers too. She didn't know I had a desperate toddler in the back seat going through his terrible 3's, who might have died had I driven away. She didn't know I was going to be late to dear Scott's birthday party.

I watched her smile in my rear-view-mirror. She was so touched.

Fast forward to the end of Scott's party, where Asher complained about the pizza and the lemonade.....remember the party where Asher didn't bring a gift (oops), and oh, he wouldn't even tell Scott happy birthday. The party where Asher took advantage of all the fun stuff....but couldn't even show $2.15 cents worth of gratitude. Holy moly! When Asher turns 4, he won't be 3 anymore and that will be a nice thing.

I'm writing this to remind you not to rush. Don't forget your manners. Be polite, even when it doesn't make sense. We can all afford to express free gratitude......but go ahead and spend $2.15 if you need to. You might make someone smile in the rear-view-mirror!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

New photos

Ok.....here is my Eastern Snowball bush that I planted 3 summers ago. This past summer, I thought the draught killed her...even though I watered and watered. I came so close to yanking this dead thing out of the ground a couple of weeks ago. When I came back from FL, it showed evidence of life. Thank God I didn't throw her away.

See....isn't she sweet and pretty?


Ok, and speaking of sweet and pretty.....here is my precious Amaya. She's my lunch buddy. This week I'm going on Friday to watch her Field Day at school. I'm excited and hope that she has so much fun. There is also a photo here of Amaya's friend D'Aishia...who also has lunch with us occasionally!



Last but not least......here are my sweet Asher and sweet Shawn. Shawn is loving his chow time!


























16 Months

Shawn is 16 months old (yesterday). Today, he had a hearing screen at the Bill Wilkerson Center at Vanderbilt. The hearing screening is a requirement for speech therapy. It is not uncommon for children with Down syndrome to have hearing loss. I learned today about the positioning of the interal pathways of ear canals, and learned also a little about ear drums. I will forget it all by tomorrow....but here is what I know. Children in general have a tendency to get a lot of ear infections, partly because the positioning of these "paths" is more horizontal than vertical and allows fluid to build up. As chilren grow, the horizontal position becomes more vertical, thus better drainage. With Down syndrome, the horizontal position remains horizontal. Shawn has only had 1 ear infection. His hearing is very very good, but it seems there is fluid holding and he most likely will have to have tubes in the near future. Fluid makes hearing at low frequencies rather difficult. The Dr. said he is hearing well, but that the sounds may resemble what it would sound like if you were hearing noises from under water. Until his hearing is at its best....learning to talk may be difficult.....and this makes sense. We'll go to the pediatrician soon to get his opinion, and we'll go from there. As most parents know....tubes are minor...and life goes on. I'm thankful that this may be the worst case scenerio..... (more blessings).

I love to take Shawn out into the public. Everyone smiles when they seem him and give him tons of attention. He is a cute little bugger. We always take him to church, and I usually take him to Sams or to the grocery.....but until he gets accepted into one of the pre-schools (long waiting lists), then he spends the majority of time at home. I work from home. Joe gets 2 days off during the week. One of the grandma's usually comes over one day a week to keep the boys, and we have a wonderful babysitter that comes on weekends when I need her so that I may work. Shawn is home... A LOT! He really seems to love the excitement of new places. I'll be so happy when he can go to pre-school. There are 2 schools here that take a blended mixture of children with special needs and typically developing kids. Asher and Shawn are both on the waiting list for both schools. We're praying for admission by the fall. At that time, all of Shawns therapists from Vanderbilt will go to his school to treat him and do his therapies. That will be so nice for mommy and for Shawn. Asher too, is beyond ready for such an environment. I feel we have held him back a bit because we have been waiting for something so specific....but I also feel that Asher is such a healthy boy, with advanced everything....and having him home with Shawn has been the greatest gift to both of them. They are my sweet boys.