Saturday, June 27, 2009

Under The Table and Dreaming

Ok, I stole this title straight from Dave Matthews, but I just couldn't resist.

Yesterday, I woke up and got the boys up. Before our day started, as usual, I was sitting at the table where my laptop seems to reside these days, checking email and facebook. I knew that Shawn was climbing in and out from under the table, but realized after a moment it got awfully quiet. As my lucky charms would have it, the camera was sitting right beside the laptop because I had uploaded our park pictures from the day before. I grabbed the camera and peeked under the table to find this bundle of preciousness just hanging out. Take a look. Oh.My.Stars.I.Love.This.Face!!!!!



It is a crying shame that his sweet toes didn't make it into the picture. Look at those yummy little legs. I tell ya what.... I'm ridiculously rich!

Don't forget to scroll down and see our other photos and videos from this week. Happy Weekend!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Shawn is a Duck, Monkey, Giraffe and Puppy Dog

As promised, perhaps a long while ago, I'm posting a video today of Shawn impersonating some animal sounds. I think he was a little distracted by the flip video camera, because he got some of his animal sounds wrong.... but hey, overall I think he does a fantabulous job of making my heart leap for joy....and I just want to pass that on to you!

Enjoy...and as always, if you ever hear of someone who is expecting a child with Down syndrome, please don't hesitate to contact me. It would be my honor to encourage someone along in this wild, hilarious, rewarding trip of mommyhood!

video

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our Day in Snapshots

I made the decision yesterday to bail out on a lucrative gig today so I that I could play hookie with my boys. We needed a summer day. I could have spent the day in hearings at the property tax appraisers office, but they had plenty of hearing officers to cover the day, so instead, I did this...

Shawn is walking in the lush greenery of the Burns Splash Park in Kingston Springs. Of course, you will see no actual splash, because my batteries for my camera died....but I did capture Shawn heading toward the playground, above.

Below, I captured Asher playing peek-a-boo with me on a superbly fun climbing aparatus.




Today, I learned that Shawn can sorta say "swing" and he apparantly knows sign language for it to. He impresses his momma all the time. And by the way, he LUVS to swing!




After lunch and naps, and a battery exchange for the camera....I snapped this sweet one watching Elmo. I took 15 photos trying to get him to look at the camera....and he would have nothing to do with posing...so here's the sweet profile. I kiss this sweet cheek frequently...surprised there are not permanent imprints of my lips.



Meanwhile, this one was hogging the camera. Seriously....this sweetest Asher Tate just doesn't take a bad photo. Are we loving the swirly cow-lick right in the middle of his forehead? Seriously...what a curse!


Have I mentioned that this boy rocks my world? Oh yes, indeed, he does.


And lastly but not leastly.....I FINALLY got Shawn to take his eyes off of Elmo for one minute, and this is the look he shot me! He appears to be in shock that I would disturb the most important moments of his day. Well, EX-CUUUUUUUUUSE ME!



This has been a good day. Praise Jesus for precious sons!
OH, and P.S. I did also get to see my Spencer today so it was tripley fantabulous!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Perpetual Time-Out

Man. Today is talking to me. I'll be interested to see what I write here.

Asher was doing something annoying. I was trying to read my Bible while he and Shawn played. The annoying thing was near me. I asked him to stop, twice. He continued and he made eye contact with me to see how I would react. Two words..."time out". That's all it took. He plopped himself into the time-out chair and I continued to read. 10 mintues later and the apologies began to roll off his tongue. He reached across my bible and into my lap for the forgiving arms and the momma kisses. I set aside my bible and embraced him even bigger than he expected. I always do. Forgiveness. Done.

Why did it take him 10 minutes to apologize? I was actually quite content with the quiet and my ability to focus. I wasn't anticipating his apology, but I knew it would eventually come. Longer time-outs are more effective, I think. More time to reflect. More time to burn and melt and cool and thaw. More time to process. More time to get it.

Fast-forward 4 hours. I'm in the shower. I'm processing some of what I have read and written today. Washing my hair, minding my own business and I start to cry a little. Just a 30 second cry...nothing major, just a quick and sudden release of something and then a fresh smile. I realized......I'm in time-out. God has put me in time-out.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not trying to portray Him as the punisher. He didn't beat me or scream at me. He has just placed me in a corner and he's not going to let me out until I have fully reflected on why I'm in time-out in the first place. Maybe I spent too much money on things I didn't need. Maybe I haven't played the right role in my marriage. Maybe I am working too hard at a career that God didn't plan for me. Maybe I haven't tried hard enough to pursue the things that God has placed on my heart.

I'm not totally certain, and I'm sure that is part of my problem. I haven't blatantly sinned or failed to repent. But I ask Him sometimes. Why is this season of life so hard? Why am I indecisive? Why can I not come up for air? Why won't our house sell? Where am I supposed to be? What is missing? Why am I not living up to being the mom I know I can be? And the wife? Why do I let Joe do more than his fair share? Why do I feel promptings with no direction? It's crazy. I tell Him what I'm learning and how I understand more today than I did 6 months ago and a year ago. I feel like I keep asking..."Can I get out of time-out now? Please? I'm sorry and I get it...can't I just carry on now?" And He keeps saying...."a little longer". It is as if I am in time-out perpetually...thinking, reflecting, trying, searching, serving, loving, growing.....and trying to discern where to go from here. Without choices, without options....I don't know where to go.

I am learning a lot in this season of facing the public school system with my special needs child. I am learning a lot in this season of showing gazillions of houses to tons of clients and not ever knowing when the payday is going to come. I am learning a lot in this season of being too tired to exercise. I am learning in the stress, fear, anxiety. I am learning a lot in this season of having no money no money no money.

I am learning a lot in this season of wanting less but still stuck with more. I am learning much in this season of having a heart shaped like Africa and arms that want to hold more orphans.

I have things I want to do, people I want to serve, words I want to write and praise I want to sing and shout. This time out isn't a punishment. I'm not in trouble. Maybe if he let's me out, my heart will explode and create a disaster. Maybe I'm in time-out so my passion and emotion can be contained and released in more management increments. Who knows? I guess it doesn't really matter.

Am I thinking about what I'm doing? Yes. Am I learning? Yes. Do I know where I'll go when my state of time-out comes to an end? No. But God does. And I know that before I go there, He'll give me His embrace, even bigger and tighter that I ever expected.

The King of Our House

I married an incredible man. And I'll be honest....I have never deserved him. He is remarkably consistent. He is gentle and fair. He is funny and adorable. He is genuine. He serves from his heart. I knew when we married that he would always balance me. I'm often high-strung. He is at-ease. I worry. He chills. I spend. He doesn't. I verbalize. He internalizes. I love, randomly. He loves, with purpose. He is my solid-as-a-rock, BEST friend. I am occasionally, his worst nightmare! I need him and treasure all that he is. I'm not sure why or how he needs me, but he says he does...and I am so grateful.

When we married...we didn't plan to have children. I already had Spencer...and he rocked. Enough!

We changed our minds...and along came Asher and Shawn. Joe is Daddy. He is unbelievable. He works hard, plays hard, serves hard, loves hard.....he is just simply an amazing Daddy. I absolutely love to watch him love our boys and watch them love him right back. I cannot think of a better example than Joe is to our boys.

I wish we could treat him like the king that he is. I wish we could spoil him rotten today and crown him and dress him in a royal robe. He holds our entire family together and that alone is worth everything. He wouldn't want the crown or the robe...but he deserves them. I thank God for Joe as my best friend, my hubs, my rock and most defintely for the planned and purposed father of our precious sons.

Jesus loves Joe. Joe loves Jesus.

I'm blessed.

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh Bummer!

It's Summer!

I'll just get this out there. I don't love summer. I didn't even really love it when I was a kid. I can remember elementary school coming to a close every June and could feel my heart seize up like something was strangling it inside. I didn't want to come back to a new classroom, new classmates, and a new teacher. But more than anything, I didn't want to go all summer without seeing my friends.

Some of my best memories of my life are of being in Arkansas for a couple of weeks each summer as a kid. I got to play with my cousins, ride go-carts, ride 4-wheelers, eat pizza, and have slumber parties. Some of the good memories include watermelon patches and fun at the ballpark. I was boy crazy and the ball park had a lot to offer.... (if I'm being truthful).

The dirt in Lake City, Arkansas was more like sand. And it got everywhere. And the grass was not soft and lush. It was more like weeds and thorns, with little sticky burrs. I would get so hot and so tired and eaten by bugs, but when I would try to return to the comfort of air conditioning and a little TV, my grandmother (Ma-ma) would aim a weapon utensil at me and make me go back outside. It was always the worst kind of defeat. There was nothing I hated worse than going back out into the heat, dirt and sticky burrs. I would have much rather watched "wrastlin" or Guiding Light with my Ma-ma.

I still hate the heat. HATE IT! But what I hate most, is that I don't have the endurance and tolerance that would lend so much fun for my kids. I can't run around the yard and play baseball because it is miserable to me. I need shade.

I'm so busy these days with real estate and I want fun things to do with my kids when I am...but somehow avoid the heat of the day, outdoors. Yes we read books and do some art....but that's about the limit to my creativity. If you have any great ideas you could share with me....throw em at me. I need help!

Calling all creative moms! Please....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Social Networking Brain

I have learned to love Facebook. I have reunited with old friends and made new ones. I can know more about what is going on with some of my family. It is good.

This past week, a person in my neighborhood posted on facebook that she needed help with something. I went and helped her. Were it not for facebook....she would most likely have not had the response that she had. Others helped her too. She would never have asked me for help. We live in the same community but we really don't know each other well, and it's doubtful that she even has my email address. But we are connected on facebook. It worked.

I have obtained some new clients through facebook. Yea, that rocks.

I update my status daily, sometimes morning and night. I love writing a couple of sentences about what is on my mind. I love that I can share something funny or sweet about my kids, make comments about work, or share a prayer or a spiritual reflection and proclaim my love for Christ. I love that there are exchanges on these comments and that I can engage with others about what is on their mind, also.

It's easy. It's freeing. It's impactful. It's challenging. It's engaging. It's community. And occasionally, it is friendship....true friendship. Sometimes it is utterly hilarious.

But it is affecting my brain. I am beginning to "think" in facebook. It cracks me up. I can be driving around town and see something or think of something...and a status update comes to my mind. I can have a conversation with Joe, and a status update appears in my mind. I can be in the floor playing with me children...and oops...there's another status update. I can drive clients around for the hundredth time showing them the 200th house, and whadaya know....another status update pops into my mind.

I am "thinking" in facebook. And I'm aware of it.

I didn't think I was addicted. And I don't think I am. But I'd like my brain to go back to "pre" status-update related thinking. How did I process my thoughts prior to facebook? Hmmmmm....... not quite sure. Odd.

Do you have facebook brain? Or Twitter brain? Just curious...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Turtle In My Rearview

There are 2 ways in and 2 ways out, to and from mi casa. There is the ever hurried interstate and then there is the peaceful, lush, scenic backroad. I drive the backroad as much as possible. The view of the river gets me everytime. The trees and the forced slow weave of the back and forth, the twist and turns, does what I need...it slows me down.

Sometimes I see the most spectacular birds hanging out in the water. They look like cranes. Tall lanky birds standing still like statues. They disappear into the landscape with their magical camoflauge trickery, but I know they are there..so I look for them. I find them. They make me smile. I don't bother them....so I think I make them smile too. A girl can pretend.

Occasionally I see a turtle crossing the road. Most of the time, I will pull over like a taxi driver and load him/her in and drop her off at the next water spot. I mean...why not? Turtles are slow and cars are fast...you do the math.

Today I passed a turtle in the road. He was quite large, and honestly I was afraid of him. I'm pretty sure if I had tried to deliver him to the stream, he might have bitten me. No joke, he was big. I watched him in my rearview. He was bookin' it and I'll be honest....I was cheering him on..."GO TURTLE GO". I didn't want the aforementioned mathmatical equation to shatter his shell and ruin his life. As I'm watching him trek on to a safer spot, and as he became smaller and smaller from my vantage point until complete invisibility....I realized....aren't I just like a turtle?

~I'm always aiming for a better place, but I don't always get there.
~Sometimes I'm safe and sometimes I'm helpless and in danger.
~Sometimes I am too dang slow.
~Sometimes I really need to be carried.
~Sometimes I can manage on my own.
~I'm often alone.
~I never know what's up ahead.
~People come and go. Very few stay and help out.
~I'm incredibly thirsty.
~Sometimes I bite and people are scared of me.
~I can be a hard shell on the outside.
~Someone is usually watching me in their rearview.

Turtles don't give up. They are always in search of the nourishment. Though slow, they move. They go.

As long as my heart is beating, I hope I never stop moving with purpose.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dear Shawn


Today is Tuesday June 9, 2009. It is 2:30pm and you are upstairs in our home on Bridgewater, sound asleep. You had a busy morning at pre-school. When I picked you up today, you shouted HI and you waved your hand to me, and reached out for my embrace.

I love you.

You still do not speak many words, but you have perfected "hi", "bye", "bite" and "no". "Bite" means you are hungry for a bite of food...and let me tell you, we hear that one ALOT. You sing many songs with your hand motions and you make brilliant animal noises. You dance with quite an impressive rhythm.

I love you.

Your snuggles are magical. Your 22 pound body is small for your age, but I love that at times, you still feel like a baby. Your kisses light up my life. Your smile sets my heart on fire. You determination to learn and your motivation to do things on your own give me hope that your life will not be as difficult as I once thought.

I love you.

Your sign language blows me away. Your personality is wild and precious. Your energy is exhausting. Your sounds are music. Your face on my face, resting in unison, is my hearts treasure.

Man, I really love you.

You make me want to be the best mommy I can possibly be. You make me want to fight and march and sing and shout and love and give and hurt and serve and fall down in exhaustion for you. You make me want to play and search and hide and seek and find and spin and climb and swing. You make me want to whisper and scream and laugh and cry. You make me....happy.

I love you and I love your brothers and I love your Daddy and I love Jesus and I just want your life to be sweet. You are the definition of sweet.

Thank you for fighting in my womb to stay alive. Thank you for everything that you try. Thank you for adding immeasurable joy to my heart.

I deeply love you.

Always,
Mommy

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mean Girls

I'll be honest. I don't understand a lot of women. But I am trying. More specifically, I am trying to have compassion for women who are cold and calculated...because my assumption is that a person with that frigid of a heart, must be desperately lonely, insecure, and lost on the inside.

I am so fortunate to have strong and loving women in my life who's deepest desire is to serve God and to even honor Him in their relationships. I have friends who LOVE me, SERVE me, ENCOURAGE me, and who simply let me be me. I wish that I could say that I have known this kind of friendship my whole life, but the truth is, I haven't. Only in the past few years has this become true for me. What these women and I have in common (even if nothing else) is our love for God. By loving Him, we are able to love each other the right way. Between my bible study group of women and some other precious sisters I have made in Christ, my heart overflows. I am more than fulfilled. I am rich.

I wouldn't trade these women for any amount of money. Money is an earthly thing, but their hearts are of the spirit. I wouldn't rather have a castle or a yacht, because those things also cannot come with me to Heaven, but my sisters will.

There is an "old friend" in my world who has betrayed me many times. In my younger years, I made excuses for her and even defended her to others. I mistook our relationship for something of substance and permanence. It was neither. Today, she is barely a casual acquaintence. I don't love her, but my spirit continually urges me to reach out to her. I do, occasionally. I offer random bits of support and encouragement even though I usually do not know what is going on in her life. A couple of years ago, when her 3rd marriage was failing, she needed emotional support and prayer and I gave that to her. Whatever little I gave to her, it was from my heart. It was genuine. It just wasn't really from me....but more an act of obedience on my part to serve her in my love for Jesus, because I was able.

Her life bounced back quickly. Our correspondence is very minimal. This is what I have noticed...

~ when i shared with her that i was traveling to Africa alone to love on orphans, she offered no support, encouragement or well wishes
~ when I shared that i would be traveling to the Dominican Republic on another mission trip, i got the same lack of any response
~ when I shared with her that my son was having open-heart surgery....nothing

~ she sent me an email to let me know that one of my ex-boyfriends had contacted her
~ she sent me one email stating that her divorce was final and that she would be take care of for life, financially
~ she sent me another email to tell me she remarried
~ she sent me an email to tell me she had purchased a new home and that her other home was on the market

I knew she was trying to get under my skin when she shared with me than one of my old boyfriends was contacting her. But what she doesn't understand is that she cannot get under my skin with Christ in my spirit.

She wanted me to be envious of her financial fortune, but what she doesn't understand is that I know how she got to her fortune. It involved deceit and lies. There is nothing about that which I envy. As a trust administrator and an estate manager (in previous years)....I have seen how ugly money can be. I want my fortune to come from the Kingdom of God. For now, I'll work hard for my wages and I'll be grateful for my blessings. I'm not in a competition.

She wanted me to know she would be getting married to another man so that I could be impressed with her record timing. Personally, I enjoyed being a single mom for 11 years. I'm glad that she doesn't have to be, but I consider my years as a single-mother to be the most incredible, character building and faith building, years of my life.

She wanted me to know that she had purchased a home and selling the other, because she wanted me to know that I am not her Realtor. What she doesn't understand, is that after years and years of being stabbed in the back by her, multiple ways...that there is no penny I ever want to earn as a result of her. I never expected to be her realtor nor did I ever desire to. If she were a good friend and genuinely cared about me, that would be different.

All of this bothers me for 1 reason. She projects exactly zero love and concern for me or my family, and she goes out of her way to try and hurt me. I can live without her love, but it concerns me that her heart is so cold when mine has not been. I can be happy for her successes but it concerns me that she would go out of her way to only share things that she assumes must upset me. I believe she is living with an incredibly dark heart, and that makes me sad for her. It makes me sad for her daughters. Her value is in her possessions, her status and her achievements..which were all on the shoulders of someone else. It's like watching someone spiraling down into the darkest of holes.

I shared this with a dear friend of mine a couple of nights ago because I just could not get my mind around it. Why be mean? Why try and hurt me? What have I ever done to draw out the ugliest side of her? My friend said that it is envy. Maybe she envies my heart. Maybe she envies my friendships or my family. Maybe she envies my joy or my peace. I have no idea what it is, or if it is any of those things. But I guess it makes sense. She has money, but I have everything else.

She cannot take my joy. She cannot take my family or my friends. She cannot take my heart and honestly, she cannot even hurt it. She cannot take my faith, my hope, my future in Heaven. If she is envious, then that is a power over her that I do not want. If she has hate for me, then I would rather her find a place of healing and live without a grudge. If she is lost and living in darkness, then I pray that the God of the universe will seek her heart and transform it. If she is a Christian, then I hope that her pride is overcome with mercy and grace. I know that I have offered her the grace and mercy that God has feely given me, and it has been of no value to her. Sad.

I'm so thankful that the power of God is more than enough to protect my heart. If there is a woman in your life, whether friend, family, or co-worker, who works hard to tear you down.... please claim the power you have in Christ and seek the heart of forgiveness so that you can move on and not be wounded in your spirit. If you are a woman is who wounding another.... please seek grace and mercy in your life that is only available through the spirit....and seek the power to forgive another and to forgive yourself so that you can grow, blossom and spread the love of God. Don't let the devil have your heart. Don't let pride ruin your spirit. We are here to LOVE, SERVE, and ENCOURAGE each other in spirit. If you can't do that.... pray about it.

I have a heart for hurting women. I can't reach out to this one because it doesn't work, but I am committing now to pray for her as often as I can. I don't want to dislike her or hurt her. I want to be able to love her from a distance without being her target. I will do my best.

My request is that you pray for her. Obviously I'm not giving you her name.... but you can name her whatever you want and seek God in what to pray. And for me, I would be honored if you would lift me up to the Lord for Him to sustain my hope and joy and peace. Only He has the power to knock down the evil that creeps up around us.

Thanks for reading this ridiculously long post. I needed to commit to it. I'm hoping it is helpful to someone, anyone.

Melissa

Sunday, June 7, 2009

BINGO!



There was a mommy who had a boy and Shawn'ie was his name O. S.H.A.double you.N... S.H.A.double you.N... S.H.A.double you.N and Shawn'ie was his name O!

I LOVE THIS BOY!

YUM!

DOULBE YUM!

OH LORD ALMIGHTY....THANK YOU!

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Boobies

Am I seriously about to blog about my breasts? Well, yes, actually.

They are not as lively as they once were. But I have finally gotten out of the terrible habit of wearing a sports bra everyday for 3 years. A good bra is a steep investment and I recently purchased 3, so I am broke for the next 8 months.

Is it just me, or have you noticed that large breasts get large attention? I don't think this is a new trend, or a dying trend. Sad. Mine are not large. Mine are not even medium.

Did I ever tell you I used to work for Plastic Surgeons? I have seen some very nice boobs. I am not considering the purchase of a new set for myself, but I can see where a revision might improve the possibility that I might run free and topless through my house someday, (but not in front of my kids of course).

Why am I talking about my boobs? 3 babies completely sucked the life out of mine, and here I am looking at a swimsuit catalog and facing the reality that mine are having issues with gravity and deflation...and I just thought I'd share that with you. Being a mommy makes up for the lack of a rack.

Now, you can get back to what you were doing before you decided to read about my boobs.

Thank you Jesus, for a sense of humor.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

To Be His Voice...

I am nervous, anxious, excited, blessed, humbled and confused. I have been asked to speak at a Christian Women's retreat later this summer. A wonderful woman from my church approached me with her request that I share about my love for my children, and especially considering that I was gifted by God with a child who is not necessarily the easiest child to raise. And, no, she isn't talking about my boisterous, hyper-passionate, imaginative, super-hero, Asher Tater Tot. Or, maybe she is. And, she didn't specify my journey through single-mommyhood to raise Spencer and somehow succeed at being a part of his survival to the current age of 20...or maybe she is. I think she's talking about my joy and love for my sweet Shawn, with a special extra chromosome and a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Or, maybe she's talking about all of them. I still don't know, because we haven't had our coffee-talk yet. But I've gotta tell you now, before I know anymore, that I am so honored.

I am blessed beyond measure to be the mommy of these 3 very specific boys. If I make no other mark in this world than to be a decent, pretty good mom....then I can die a happy woman. But that God would use me in any way to share His love, His acceptance, His hope, His provision, His glory, His story, His compassion, His plan, His kingdom and His gifts.....well, I could die happy, yesterday.

If you would please, I ask that you be in prayer for me that I would not seek personal glory, that I would not have a personal agenda, and that I would be used only as an instrument, tool, and a voice for whatever God is planning for this women's retreat. I only want to honor Him. I want to have fun and I want to be a servant to the women there. Thank you sooooooooooooo much for your prayers!!!!