last post for 2007...

i am ready to say good bye to this year. i have been busy un-decorating from christmas and trying to get things back in place today. i have organized our calendar for the first month of this new year. i have organized a few things here and there (not due to any stress this time) and moved some furniture around. eventually, i will reveal a new blog look for the new year!! oh, and jamil has been helping out doing his list of things as well.

i have this notion that to enter this new year, everything needs to be in place and ready to go. type A personality to say the least. it isn't like if it isn't done we won't be blessed with a new year. i am just eagerly anticipating this new beginning and feel like i need to be "doing". today, i physically moved things around to get ready.

over the last two weeks or so, i have mentally, emotionally and spiritually moved things around. i have done a lot of thinking and praying. jamil and i have done a lot of thinking, praying and planning together. we have made some major decisions as we move into 2008. we have made decisions that will indeed move us past the road blocks of this last year and into a year of great things. we know 2008 is going to be great!!!

last night our prayer and worship service at elevation was awesome. awesome doesn't even describe it. for me, it was such a time of restoration and gave me so much encouragement and so much hope as we move into this new year. elevation is such a big part of our lives and to be there last night just gave such an incredible and positive ending to 2007.

so, that is it... my last post for this year. my next one will be dated 2008!


christmas letter 2007...

This year has brought us a lot of change and transition to our family. We have experienced a great sense of loss this year in a few different ways. But we have also received a wonderful abundance of blessings!

Jamil and I each lost a grandmother, just a few months apart. That was pretty hard for both of us. And during this time God also led us away from our church home of over six years. Most of you know that Jamil was on staff at church and God called us away. He made it evidently clear that we were to step down from paid and volunteer positions and find a new church home. It was hard to say the least. We spent a lot of time in shock and disbelief at the turn of events.

God did not leave us during this time. He provided us with a church home immediately. We are now excited and sold out members of Elevation Church. Elevation has been our church family. During our time of pain Elevation provided healing and restoration. During our time of feeling new and out of place, Elevation brought us in with open arms and lots of hugs! During our first few visits there we met some wonderful people and God showed us very quickly that this was to be our new church home! We have both grown leaps and bounds under the leadership of our Pastor, Steven Furtick and the staff of Elevation. We have also seen a tremendous amount of growth in our children as a result of their wonderful children’s ministry, E-Kidz!! I have had the opportunity to serve in E-Kidz and I love it. Jamil and I attend a couple’s small group and also lead a high school small group together.

Jamil is also serving in a wonderful capacity that uses his gifts to the extreme!! He is serving as one of our Pastor’s armor bearers. Jamil is able to serve Pastor Furtick by encouraging, praying and protecting him on Sunday mornings. Jamil is by his side and assisting him in whatever way he needs. I can say Jamil is greatly appreciated! As you can imagine leaving the Youth Group from our old church was especially heartbreaking for Jamil. But God has really healed those wounds. We have been able to keep in touch with a majority of our kids on a regular basis. Jamil made such an impact on their lives, that it just wasn’t possible for him to just walk away. Jamil continues to work at his full time job at AXA/Equitable as the Asst. Facilities Manager. God has been faithful in providing for our family, even with the loss of the income from his staff position. Jamil works a lot of side jobs here and there to help make ends meet! He stays busy!! He is coaching Josh’s basketball team this season for Upward.

Joshua turned seven in October. He started first grade this year at a charter school, Union Academy. He loves his new school. His teachers are wonderful. Josh is doing fabulous. He is excelling in all of his subject areas. Josh loves sports, video games, writing and drawing. He has taken on the hobby of Speed Stacking and loves it! Joshua still loves to make other people laugh!!

Jordyn turned four in July. She is still taking ballet and tap at a new studio and LOVES it. She started preschool this year and is doing great. Although some days she would rather be with mommy – still a mommy’s girl. Jordyn continues to be our princess! She has grown up so much over the past few months. Not only is she gorgeous she is very smart too. She loves to dance, sing and play dress up!!!

Jesiah turned two in March. He is still our sweet boy. He makes us laugh and smile. He talks all of the time. Jesiah loves to do whatever the other two are doing. He loves anything Disney Cars or Buzz Lightyear. Jesiah is very bright and extremely active. He is always on the go.

As for me, taking care of our three little blessings keeps me on the go. I also take care of our friend’s three year old little boy, three days a week. So, being a mommy is still my full time job right now.

I was accepted into the Presbyterian School of Nursing for this past fall but my class schedule just did not work with our family’s schedule. So, as much as I loved being in school last spring, I have put that on hold. I am not sure what God has in store for me as far as a future career, but I am certain that He will show me the way. I have been able to meet a lot of great women and new friends at Elevation! That has helped the transition for me tremendously. I have been involved in starting a book study for mothers which meets twice a month. And as you can tell, I have taken up “blogging” as a hobby! I love to post on this blog and read other’s blogs too. I hope you will continue to check back here and read about what is going on in our lives. We look forward to hearing from each of you!

We received this phrase in a beautiful card this week that I am going to use to close out our annual letter:

“May you experience Jesus Christ, who fills every void and can heal any heart. He is our miracle worker. To Him be all glory, honor and praise! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

The Massey Family


decision drama...

here is the update with jaci. yesterday after church (which was the most awesome service ever - more to come!) i received a voicemail from the guy who adopted jaci from us. our dog was reminding him too much of their other dog who was put to sleep in may. he was having second thoughts on keeping her. i must say i was sooooo sad and anxious about what to do next. then i remembered my "second choice" family.

i spoke to a really nice lady on saturday before the other family came. i really liked her and felt an instant connection. she is a kindergarten teacher with two little boys. her and her husband are going through a separation and she is looking for a puppy to complete their family. i let her know saturday night that jaci had been adopted but if something didn't work out i would call her.

so i did, yesterday afternoon. she was in asheville visiting family and when i called she was telling them about our puppy. little did she know that i would call to tell her she could adopt her. so she drove home early to meet jaci at the other families house. we were in contact most of the day. and then she called me last night to tell me that she had jaci with her and they were doing great!!! and she just emailed to say they are having a good day as well. jaci loves their two cats!!!

this is the best part... her boys (ages 7 & 8) were returning home today from being with their dad and she would surprise them with their new addition, in a big christmas bow if i might add!!! i can only imagine seeing our sweet puppy make another family so happy.

i know now that jaci is where she is meant to be. and that being able to bless another family makes me very happy!

although, it is still pretty hard on me. everything reminds me of her. i didn't think i would be so sad. and the kids have been missing her. jordyn reminded us that God helps us to do hard things (she has that one down thanks to E-Kidz!) she also told jesiah today that jaci wasn't with us, and jesiah said yeah she is at home, he hasn't even noticed jaci was gone. josh is taking it the hardest, but prayed for jaci and for our decision to get easier.


decision update...

just wanted to let you know that the family who came to meet jaci, left with jaci. it was a hard decision for them, which made it harder for me because i had prepared to say good bye to her. and when we thought that they may not take her, i was panicked. but God answered my prayers.

they had a hard time because jaci looked so much like their dog who had to be put to sleep in may, her name was casey (- how bout that for coincidence. also, casey's birthday was on christmas day and they took jaci home for a christmas present) anyway, they were not sure that having a dog who looked so much like the one they lost would be good for them. but they fell in love with jaci and after being here for about 2 hours, they did take her home. i feel soooo good about the decision and i know she is with the right family. it still was hard.

it wasn't easy to say good bye to her. and little things around the house remind me of her and i get a little sad. putting her in their van with them was one of the hardest things i have ever done. she looked at me and i just cried. i do miss her. but i know this is for the best. i know she will be loved and a part of a great family!

God's hands have been all over this. i have been sad today, my heart a little broken. the kids are doing pretty good. they were upset for a few minutes. and when we talked about it today, jordyn reminded josh that God helps us to do hard things. and she is so right again. when God asks us to do something, the right something, it isn't always easy, most of the time it is hard but it is for the best - His best. so, i digress... (God, I have gotten this down, can't we move on to the next lesson, I am emotionally exhausted from loss and pain and crying - it has been a long year, although you have provided in so many ways. i will take what you give me and do it without a complaint!)

doing an early christmas with my parent's tonight took their minds off of her being gone. and mine too. the presents stacked up helped with their loss. and the check they gave us to buy our present helped me too. i am sure that it will get easier as the days go on, but tonight as i right this there are still a few tears left in me. i am looking forward to tomorrow and being in church!!!

decision revisited...

well, after posting the last post on a hard decision. i really didn't think i could find a new home for jaci. jamil and i even talked and decided to keep her awhile longer. so yesterday i went about my business and thought we were going to keep her. then yesterday afternoon i had a prompting, which i think and feel it was from God. and he spoke to my heart (yeah - see he is in the big and the small things like a pet!) and made me think if i really wanted to keep her and if i did, why?

she is a great puppy. she is soooo cute and soooo sweet. but i just don't see her as part of the family like a lot of other dog owners do. to me it looks great to have a puppy to complete the family, but in reality, i am just not feeling it. if that makes any sense. maybe it is God working on my heart again.

as i played with her and tried to enjoy having a puppy yesterday, i kept thinking about the replies i received from craig's list. there was one family that really stuck out to me, i loved what he had to say in the email so i decided to give him a call. and when i did i felt complete peace.... i feel like he and his family are to adopt jaci. there are so many little things that i saw as signs from God that kept sticking out. which i will speak to later.

so today, we will meet with the family and let them meet jaci. and if all feels right, they will adopt jaci. it will be a bit emotional to have to say goodbye AGAIN -- (loss is wearing me out this year, we have had way too much) -- but i know it is the right thing. and i know the right thing isn't always easy.

i will share the details of our phone conversation and our meeting in another post.

so please pray for our family today as we go through this transition. it is hard to say the least.


hard decision...

jamil and i made a really hard decision this morning. maybe a little harder for me than him. we have decided to find a new home for our black lab puppy. we have struggled with this for some time now. jamil and i are just not "pet people". i think we thought we could be, but it just isn't working for us. we constantly feel bothered by what needs to be done to give her a good home.

i have been pretty emotional today about the decision. i know it is the right one, logically. but emotionally, i get so upset. i have sent out a mass email and posted on craig's list. i spoke with one lady on the phone from my ad on craig's list. and i got pretty choked up. so i called jamil at work to tell him i didn't think i could do this. of course he talked me through it.

jamil reminded me that we just don't have a lot of "free time". and if and when we do, we chose to spend it with our kids or family or friends. so poor little puppy spends a lot of time in her crate or outside on the back porch or on a run. it really is not the best life for her. she could be better cared for in a home with people who love pets. we are just not those people. we have tried to be. but it isn't coming easily for us at all.

when i was talking to jamil, i realized one of the reasons i am having a hard time is that i am looking at this as a failure. if you know me, you know when i do things i do them well, i put a lot into what i do and want things i do to be perfect (or close to). i also do not give up easily. i rarely quit at any kind of commitment i have made. actually, i don't recall quitting anything as an adult. i am struggling because i am not doing this puppy parenting thing well. i am barely keeping my head above water with three young children and having a fourth 3 days a week. then you add a puppy into the mix and i just have nothing left to give. i don't feel like i am doing anything well. i know with my personality i am pretty hard on myself but i just feel torn. and i feel down a lot of times about what i am not doing or how i could do things better.

jamil and i have made a lot of decisions together by using a simple "pros and cons" list. for this decision - there is way more in the pros column to finding jaci another home. i think there may be just 2 things in the cons column and both of those are emotionally based.

one of those cons is how the kids will take this decision. we have told joshua that we will be giving jaci to someone else for christmas - the timing is perfect! and we know with all the excitement of christmas they will be very distracted.

so, if you know of anyone looking for a wonderful 6 month old puppy, please let us know!! we want to find her a good home just in time for christmas!!

the fun has begun....

yesterday, i realized that all of the fun and craziness of the season has begun!!
~ last night we had our high school small group here for our gift exchange and party!!
~ tonight i am going out with some friends from my MOPS Steering Team!!
~ tomorrow josh has a christmas party at school ~ we are baking cookies today!
~ tomorrow night we are going to a christmas party with some friends from church!!
~ saturday we are doing christmas with my family!!
~ sunday ~~~ big day ~~ christmas at cricket!!!
~ sunday afternoon- christmas with jamil's family!!
~ monday ~ christmas eve ~ we are getting together with the carr family: the kid's will make a birthday cake for jesus!
~ tuesday ~ it is the big day...

phewwww... busy but a ton of fun!!


honoring my husband...

since it is our anniversary, i wanted to brag on my husband and lift him up a little bit!! like every other wife, i declare that my husband is the best!! jamil is an awesome husband, a wonderful father and a faithful Christ follower. i couldn't have asked for a better man or a better partner.

he supports me and helps me with whatever i need. he helps out with the kids and the household to dos. there is always something to do and it seems like all kinds of stumbling blocks get in our way, but jamil has the most positive attitude and outlook on every situation. he relies on God for his daily encouragement and fulfillment and he passes that on to me. not always in his words, he can be kind of quiet, but always in his actions.

he strives to make the best decision, even if it is to tell me or the kids no to doing something or getting something we want. even if the decision turns out to be a wrong one (not to say i was right), he learns from his mistakes and moves on.

all around and inside out, jamil is a wonderful person with a wonderful heart. he is loyal and faithful. he is loyal to us and to those he interacts with. he loves to serve others, encourage others and minister to others. that is where his passion lies. and he does that on a daily basis to me and our family.

words can not even begin to express how honored i am to have him as my husband. words can not described how blessed i feel to be his wife. i met jamil at a time in my life where i was not in a relationship with God and jamil was a big part of my decision to accept Christ as my savior. he was a shining example of Christ' s love! and he still is today. i am very thankful that God blessed me with a man like jamil.

jamil, i love you and eight years does feel like eighty --- eighty wonderful years!!

here's to eight...

today is our eighth anniversary! when we decided to have a christmas wedding eight years ago, it was a beautiful idea. the church decorated festively to celebrate this awesome holiday. the lights all around seemed to twinkle and shine just for us. uptown, where we had our reception was beautifully lit and made a gorgeous backdrop for photographs. we stopped traffic to cross the street while all dressed up for our wedding day. that was fun!

eight years and three kids later, a christmas anniversary gets a little lost in the shuffle, if you know what i mean. there were many years that we allowed the day to go unnoticed or without much celebration. with the timing of our anniversary, we face the whole present ordeal too. like a child with a christmas birthday, often we combine our gifts making them anniversary/christmas gifts. many years we didn't exchange gifts for either holiday. this year we skip the anniversary gift and just do christmas (maybe).

on saturday night, we were able to have a night to ourselves - thanks to my mother in law for watching the kiddos - to finish up shopping for the kids and go out for dinner (kabutos - yum!). it was a wonderful time!

but today is really an ordinary day... since the celebrating was done early.

jamil is actually home from work today because we had some water/well issues that needed his attention. right now, he is off checking on a side job and then tonight he will be out with josh coaching his basketball team. later, i will look through our wedding album with jordyn - she will love to see all the pretty dresses and familiar faces!!!

i think we will begin to look into celebrating a "half anniversary" in june!

but even though our anniversary isn't nearly as big of a day as our wedding was, it is still super special to me!


with a week left...

until Christmas, there is much to do but the good news is that i have gotten a lot done! i am trying hard to focus on the accomplishments!!! we finished up most of the shopping this weekend. this week - i just have to do some odds and ends for our high school small group party and josh's party for school. with no preschool this week, i am plus 2 children (jordyn and tucker - the little boy i take care of 3 days a week) and jamil will be out of town at the end of the week, my days and hours are limited.

i am sure many of you are feeling the same way. i have been encouraged today by so many blessings that are in my life. i am trying to focus on those to get me through this hectic time. i am encouraging you to do the same. to focus on all the blessings in your life and try not to let what hasn't gotten done bring you down. it's easy to focus on the stresses in our life but choose to focus on the things that bring you joy instead!


10 things 10 days before christmas...

1. like the holiday look on my blog?? oh by the way - to the left there is a christmas tree, you can leave me a virtual gift if you want - just click on the little banner that says leave a gift. my love language is "gifts" -- so i thought that was fitting!! you are in no way obligated to get what you leave -- it is just for fun. although i have been left a vacation from one of our girls -- too bad she really can't afford to send us (she is 14!!! and not going to thailand in july!! yeah for us!!!) although if we went i know she would babysit for us for free - right jojo?

2. it's beginning to look (feel) a lot like christmas....i am starting to feel a little more in the holiday mood!! i think the weather not being in the 80s has helped some. i love the warm weather just not used to it mid december.

3. jamil and i are going on a date night tonight. his mom is going to watch the kids - she offered!! so we are going to celebrate our anniversary a few days early and try to wrap up our christmas shopping.

4. jordyn had her first "big girl" sleepover last night and had a great time!!!! thanks jess for having her!!!! she stayed the whole night - i expected a call around 11 to come get her but she was a big girl. the other moms thought the same, it was their girls first time too -- but no one got called in the middle of the night!! yahoooo!!

5. we watched the transformers movie with the boys last night -- a great pick!! they loved it and so did we. although i fell asleep through some of it, what i saw was pretty good!!

6. i am looking forward to next week - our schedule is a little more open during the days since i don't have to take jordyn to preschool. that frees me up some. although our nights are way to busy next week. i am probably going to have to cut out something. it is all fun stuff but packed into one week. and jamil will be traveling on thursday and friday. so i will be in single parent mode for 36 hours or so. that is a scary thought. next week isn't as appealing as i thought, hmmm.. maybe i just won't think about it.

7. joshua is doing great in first grade, he has been getting all 100% on his spelling and math tests. he is also reading like a champ!! we are very proud of his accomplishments!!!

8. we don't do a lot of shopping for gifts. we keep it pretty simple around here!! we do a lot of homemade crafts and pictures and stuff. so i have most all of it done. i just need josh to help me with a few things and we will be all set. we only have to buy something for him. he has been the hardest to buy for. he wants things that are way too expensive for a 7 year old - ya know? so tonight i hope we can get his gift and be done.

9. jesiah has been a handful lately. it is like his "terrific twos" are turning a little bit "terrible" dare i say that? he has been into everything lately and i mean everything... for example, taking off his diaper at nap time when it has poo poo in it -- i will leave it at that. so he has been a challenge this week.

10. thinking of 10 things to write about was harder than i thought - i know that was not really a 10th thing, but i am out of ideas.


who is chubbacoo?

when i was in college, i pledged a sorority (go AST!). i loved every minute of being a part of that sisterhood bond. i was really active and involved in AST. i served in many different roles on the executive board (wow-what a big title-just now hit me-you'd think i was a part of some corporation doing something really big)

anyway, i made wonderful friendships. one of those friendships is still thriving after almost 13 years! my best friend, amy and i met when we were in college! this summer amy and i became mad myspacers. initially, jamil and i started our my spaces so we could keep up with our youth. then, amy caught onto the bandwagon and together her and i became reunited with a lot of our sorority sisters! it has been really awesome to catch up and see how different their lives are now.

one of my sisters, who was also my roommate our senior year, keeps a blog too. so i get to really keep track of her life and what is going on with her these days. melanie left me a note on myspace yesterday that i wanted to share with you. here is her message:

I was reading your latest post and looked over to read your blogroll and noticed that I am no longer listed there. Just wondering if that was an oversight---or for some other reason? mel

when i first read it i immediately knew my response. immediately. so here was my response to her - (with some editing done here):

omg... thank you soooo much for bringing it to my attention, as you can tell, my blog has been under construction and i have been revamping it. i was trying to categorize my blogroll (i have a type A (anal) personality you see) and it was an honest mistake when i deleted a bunch of them and put some under our church and then never replaced some. i was going to do an AST blogroll/category, but you are the only AST other than Amy that I know of who has a blog. Anyway all that to say.... I am soooooo sorry it is not on there, i will put it on there ASAP! complete oversight... i am so sorry and so glad you brought it to my attention b/c if i was you i would be stewing about it and making myself sick instead of just asking. b/c something like that would be hurtful to me.

the whole reason i wanted to share this exchange between and old dear friend of mine (who i haven't seen in almost 10 years - miss you, mel) and myself was for this reason:


melanie was completely open, bold, honest and transparent with me. instead of letting the fact that she was removed bother her, she confronted me and asked why. before she overreacted she wanted the truth. and wanted from me. she didn't ask amy or another mutual friend why she was removed, she came straight to me. to me that says so much about melanie and who she is as a person and as a friend. she is the type of friend i want in my life. (i wish she lived closer!) the type of friend who says what she feeling and doesn't allow herself to get in the way for the sake of the friendship she does what is right. she confronts the other person and says what is on her heart.

i love and respect melanie for who she is! and i am so glad that she brought a complete error on my part to my attention -- and i did immediately add her on my blogroll!

with that said i am off to see who else i have left off my blogroll...

oh and by the way.... who is chubbacoo? check out mel's blog to find out!!


a new day...

today, i feel better than i have in a few weeks. i have been in a real fog. i have been feeling pretty depressed and anxious. i haven't felt like getting out of bed. i haven't felt like being a mom or a wife. i haven't felt like accomplishing daily tasks. basically, you name it and i haven't felt it.

but there is something about today, i woke up feeling more refreshed and more normal. i feel a lot less gloomy and like i want to be productive. like i have come through the fog (i have cleaned 2 bathrooms, wiped the floors on my hands and knees, loaded the dishes from last nights momtourage, made a list of phone calls, cut jesiah's hair) i even took the kids outside to play in the leaves in the near 80 degree sunny weather(in the middle of december, might i add).

and i don't feel stressed about the things i haven't gotten accomplished (going through one of my baskets of junk to be put in the right homes, vacuuming bedrooms, giving the puppy a bath, downloading pictures, finish shopping, making some teacher crafts).

i have a very driven personality. very. of the four elements of a personality - i am definitely fire.
and when i am off and can't accomplish things ~ i don't feel like i am productive.

today was a new day and i felt productive and joyful! thanks be to God...

being bold...

today, i was reading my friend, jess' blog, and i was thinking about her transparency in her posts. she is so bold. she states how she feels and there are no excuses or apologies for it. i LOVE it! most of the time, i will comment on her posts, or think, wow -- she is feeling or thinking what i am thinking -- only she says it and i don't. i just love that about jess!! i also loved the fact that she posted about our fun night last night and put a link to my blog -- thanks for the shout out, jess!!!

so it got me to thinking about being bold and what sometimes holds me back from saying what i want to say or actually publishing a post that i wrote but wasn't sure about. what causes this for me sometimes? i think it is for fear of what other's may think about what i am saying. i fear the negative comments, or the lack of comments. but i am beginning to realize that i care less and less about that and care more and more about being real. because if i am not real, if i am not who God has created me to be, my blog will serve no purpose.

the purpose of my blog is for others to read and be inspired to seek God in all the things that they encounter in their lives. if i only paint a picture of a perfect christian life, they don't get an accurate one. i don't think that i do only that, but i think what i can do now is not hold back, i can be bold without a second thought.


been elfed?????

like i don't have anything better to do... i have spent the last 45 minutes elfing our family! it is sooo funny!

if you haven't seen this, it is too cute. click below to check out how we have been elfed...

it all started when...
our babysitters kidnapped 2 of our kids and our friend's kid too!

then i had to put my family in it...
my j crew has been elfed!

and then i knew my sister would love it too...
my sister, jordyn and i were elfed

then do your family too!!!!!!


kind of quiet...

i feel like i have been kind of "quiet" on my blog lately. i have actually have had a lot of things going on -- inside and out -- i have had a lot of thoughts of things i should blog about, then i change my mind and decide not to , or i will forget that great idea i came up with (call it mommy brain).

just so you know, life hasn't really been quiet, it's just my thoughts on what to blog about. i was reading my friend kelly's blog today and i am so glad that she isn't going to stop blogging!

although, i do understand that thought - i think it often. one of the goals of my blog is to be transparent. sometimes i feel like the things i really want to write about would be way too transparent. but then when i try to blog and i am only scratching the surface of what is going on with me i feel like i am being too "surfacey".

i really strive to be real and i want people to know who i am. i want to be who i am and not who others want me to be. to me that has been a really important part of my christian journey. and i want that to be apparent on my blog.

so, this week i have been struggling with my posts and what to say and how to say it. i actually have experienced a little bit of writer's block when it comes to the really deep stuff i want to share.

bear with me as i get through this and hopefully i will be back to posting more transparent and real stuff!! until then, i have a lot of not so deep things to share!!!


who's the ring bearer?

yesterday on our way home from church joshua asked me why daddy is pastor furtick's ring bearer every week - then he asked is he getting married every time?

i told joshua that his daddy is not pastor's ring bearer - he is his armor bearer.

joshua asked what that was. so i began to explain to him by using the analogy of the armor of God and how daddy serves as an armor bearer. we talked about the armor of God and how when we have it on we are protected from satan. we talked about some of the pieces of the armor and what they meant.

then i asked josh what did you do as a ring bearer in your aunt's wedding, he said he carried the fake ring. so, then i asked him if he was the ring bearer in a wedding and carried the ring and daddy is the armor bearer for pastor what does daddy carry and he said the armor to protect pastor furtick from the bad guys. he asked if daddy carried a gun too. i told him that the armor daddy carried was to protect pastor from anything that may keep him away from God when he is preparing to speak at church. that daddy's job at church was to keep pastor protected from whatever may interfere with pastor's job to preach the word of God. but without any weapons -- we will leave that to the guys who are trained to do that!

i am thrilled that joshua is able to see this biblical application in his own church. and to see his daddy in this role is an awesome example. i think this speaks volumes as we try to raise our little man to be a big man of god!!

just another reason why we love elevation church and are completely sold out for what is going on there!! we are a blessed to serve at and be a part of a church who is dedicated to seeing lives changed and will go to any measure to have that happen - from having our pastor, an awesome man of God, protected by a "ring bearer" to the magnificent creativity that is demonstrated at each church service!

if you haven't been you have to check it out!!!! it is an amazing experience and to top it off we saw 142 people come to know Christ yesterday!!

up way too late...

on pretty much every sunday, i will get home from church before jamil. his role at elevation keeps him there longer than me. today when he got home, i was so tired -- that isn't even the right word, i was exhausted nearly to tears. there was a lot that needed to be done today before we started the week. we got our tree yesterday and there was pine needles and decorations and ornaments all over the place. there were dishes piled high and a dishwasher to unload. not to mention laundry that needed to be done and lunches to be packed.

so, being the wonderful husband and daddy he is - he "allowed" (i use that very loosely) me to retreat into my bedroom and take a nap. i slept from 3:30 until 5:30. i felt pretty good when i woke up still a little grumpy but much better. we were able to conquer all the tasks at hand. although the tree decorating wasn't as glorious as i had worked it up to be in my mind. while jamil was doing the dishes, i worked with the kids on decorating the tree and that was a chore. the ornaments were everywhere and the kid's were too. it was crazy.

because of my nap, i am now wide awake at 1:00 am. when i submitted my last post and it is reading as Monday it hit me how late it has gotten. wow, tomorrow morning is already here. and i have to be up in a couple of hours.

it is hard to believe tomorrow is monday. my mind is whirling of all the things that are going on this week and in the next couple of weeks.

~ i was asked to plan jordyn's christmas party on friday, so i will be putting the finishing touches on the craft and the story i will be doing (yes, i got stuck with the craft - none of the other mom's were crazy enough to take that on)

~ jamil and joshua start basketball practice on tuesday. i say both of them b/c jamil has agreed to coach josh's team this year.

~ joshua's music program for school is thursday night!

~ we switched our high school small group to tuesday night b/c of the music program - acutally our student's chose that option, we thought we might take the week off - but they didn't agree with that. they love small group -- i will save that for another post!

~ i have a few deadlines i have to meet for christmas -- gift deadlines - ones i can't explain in case one of the receivers is reading this.

~ every year i face the christmas card dilemna. i am all set for the christmas card part atleast i know what i am doing, i just need to do it. the dilemna is do i do the annual christmas letter or omit it this year. it has been a tradition and i hate to break it but will i have the time??? forgive me if your card is just that with no letter this year

~ we have 2 out of 3 of the kid's presents completed. just one left to buy for. we are praying for a good deal to come our way on a game system!

ok, just thinking about all of those things has made me exhausted again - i am finally off to bed!!

baby fever...

those of you who know me, this post will not come as a surprise. i've got it bad. baby fever that is. it has been creeping up on me for a few months and now i am completely infected with it! i just watched two episodes of private practice and the fever is getting higher! for those of you who don't watch the show - there are a lot of babies and pregnant moms on the show. wow! just my kind of show.

yesterday, i had the privilege of taking care of our friend's baby girl - while jamil helped them move. she actually just turned one. she is as precious as can be. i loved having her for the day -- loved it! she was as gold as gold! my kid's loved having a baby around. they asked me when can they have a baby sister or baby brother -- i said ask your daddy!

on friday, i saw my midwife at preschool -her kiddos go there. and we were talking and it made me think of having jesiah which was over two and a half years ago. i began to feel the fever rise.

a lot of people ask us if and when we will add another child to our family. and honestly i don't even think we know the answer to that right now. it is weird because over the last seven almost eight years -- this is the longest span that i haven't been pregnant or caring for a newborn. so i think my mind and body is like in shock from having no pregnancy hormones running through it. maybe some kind of withdrawl?

i have friends who have children, whether it is two or three or six and know without a shadow of a doubt that there family is complete. they feel a sense of closure and know they are done adding to their families. i don't have that. i haven't had that ever in the last eight years. i always feel like someone is missing in our family. even amongst the craziness and noise i feel like it isn't crazy or loud enough and there is room for one more. our van can handle a car seat for one more, our dining room table seats 6 - enough for one more. now our house, may be pushing it to fit in one more - size/space wise but there is enough love to go around and that is what matters most.

i am always thinking i am missing someone when i have my kids with me. i will count to make sure that all are near me and feel like i am looking for number four. i thought i was crazy doing this until my friend, marybeth, said she felt and did the same way before adding her sixth child. her saying that to me really confirmed what i was feeling. she also reminded me of God's perspective on having children. they are a blessing, they are of Him and He will provide and overcome whatever obstacle may be in the way from preventing His will on your family.

so, i chose to believe that God will remove the obstacles that are holding us back from having another child - if that is His will for our family. if He was mighty enough to raise His only Son from the grave, he is mighty enough to take care of our situation.

He will also take care of our insecurities of how we would handle another baby. honestly, there are days when i don't think i could handle another child -- my three are quite enough. i have prayed for a sense of closure if our family is complete and haven't felt it. i still can't shake the baby fever.

this is a part of my "sun stand still" prayer. i am praying that God will allow the sun to stand still for us to get our house in order so that we can have another child one day. until then i am going to start paying some of you to let me hold your babies so it will help subside my baby fever.


yesterday's lesson...

yesterday, chelsea and i took anagrace and jordyn to get their haircuts! it was a fun trip. the girls both did a great job. and the hair stylist was wonderful with them. she specializes in cutting curly hair. she gave me a lot of advice and product suggestions for jordyn's curly hair.

as we were getting ready to leave, there was some commotion in the lobby area. a woman had brought into the salon a basket full of little tiny puppies. there were probably 9 or so. almost everyone was holding them. including our girls. different clients and hair stylists were picking out their puppies to take home in a week when the momma weans them. i must say they were the cutest little puppies i have seen. they were really really little and mostly white, some had brown and black on them. they were shitzu, poodle & lhapso mix. they were precious. seeing the kids holding them like little babies and petting them was so sweet. i was getting weak and my emotions were running really really high. i LOVE anything "baby". but chelsea and i remained in control, really she was in control the whole time it was me going "gaga" over these little pups. we gathered our stuff and the crying little girls and jesiah and went to the car. as i was buckling jesiah into his seat. i told jordyn she had done a great job getting her hair cut, she was such a big girl. and i told her i was so proud of her walking out of the shop without a puppy and without throwing a fit on me. she looked at me and said, "mom, God teaches us to do hard things" i started tearing up and thought wow, isn't she on the ball, and she has a stronger faith than her mommy!

but my little 4 year old girl is so right!! God does teach us how to get through the hard times in our lives!


back to reality...

a week ago last night, my sister, julie came into town from pittsburgh! it had been over a year since i had seen here. it was such a great visit. we loved having her here. my grandparents also came from baltimore ("baltimorrow" as jordyn pronounces it) a week ago today. so that last week has been busy and i have been way off my game. not really doing much of anything in the real life. just spending a lot of time with family and friends! my parents live here so my grandparents stayed with them and my sister stayed with us. jamil had off of work and the kids - no school!

we wanted julie to have a fun time here in charlotte, but we also wanted her to relax and enjoy being here. last week, we took her to the south park christmas tree lighting where we met up with the carr family, we did a little shopping, ate way too much food and watched some movies.

yesterday, came at me quickly and i wasn't ready to get back to reality. but jesiah and i faced it head on while the others were at school, and ran a bunch and i mean a bunch of errands, i think we went to 7 different places and that doesn't include dropping off for preschool or picking up or the trip to the bank. and that was also with a pee pee and a poo poo accident (which he hasn 't had either of those in a long time). he was a gem!!! he got 2 lollipops and an icee from target out of the deal! so his motives weren't pure!!

yesterday afternoon we spent visiting with my grandparents before their depature today.
then last night i had "momtourage" and finished our book (the mom walk by sally clarkson). we will meet one more time before the holidays for a night of fellowship which i kept referring to as a "holiday social". we were joking about wearing our christmas sweaters and jewelry to the big gala!! we had such a fun time when we get together. the women in that group are a complete blessing in my life. i love our time together, it is so sweet. i look forward to our next book that we study!! more about that later!

so for today, my house needs a lot of attention especially before bringing our tree in and getting the decorations down. i also have a list of phone calls to make and emails to return. so if you are waiting on a return call or email, i will get to you - i promise! but it will have to be later today.

i am off this morning to take jordyn for a haircut. my good friend, chelsea and i are taking our daughters (both have curly hair!!) for back to back appointments to a girl who cuts curly hair and she has biracial daughters so I am hoping she will do a miracle with jordyn's hair.

i will post some pics of her haircut and other stuff later!!!


time out to be thankful

i am so excited for the holiday season! for me, the holiday season begins with Thanksgiving and continues on through New Years. i love this whole season and i especially love Christmas...love everything about the season! love the reason we celebrate it, love the decorations and festivities, love it!

although, i have to be honest, i have been a little annoyed (ok a lot annoyed!) with all the Christmas stuff out and about for over a month, especially the music that has been playing for over a week. i have seen a lot of houses already decorated and people shuffling around to get shopping done, cards made, photos taken, etc. here is why i am annoyed... what about the season of thanks? it is like it is just skipped over... from halloween straight onto christmas. our society just rushes past thanksgiving and onto Christmas. as a planner, i am guilty too, these things are on my mind, i have begun my lists and i have even bought one gift. but really can we just take a little time out to be thankful ??

after the sermon on sunday, it made me think a lot about being thankful and having gratitude. i am focusing this week on the season of Thanksgiving. i am going to put my lists on hold for a little while longer and i will push ahead to Christmas after this week.


the yummy club...

two saturdays ago, joshua and jordyn were filmed for a television trailer for a new show for pbs. it is called the yummy club ( a kid's cooking show).

it started with a friend of mine who has been begging me to get my kid's in photo and tv shoots and auditions. the morning of the shoot was a very hectic one and i wasn't able to get joshua over there in enough time. that is when my friend called me and said they really needed boys for the afternoon shoot and to bring him. so i packed up the kids and our wonderful babysitter (who had been there that morning for amy and i to go to dream dinners) and headed to monroe.

we were there for a long time that afternoon. joshua was filmed first with a group of kids who were making tomato soup. i didn't get to see him. but i know he had a hard time "acting" like he likes the soup. but i think he had a lot of fun. and i am sure he filmed very well. after his shoot, they wanted to use jordyn too. so she went to make sweet potato pie. she did fantastic. she played the part and said her lines. she loved it. she has come out of her shy shell and is very open to other people!

so, we may have two little actors on our hands!! i will keep you posted as to when it will be on pbs.


front and center...

some of you know that jamil and i lead a high school small group for elevation church. we love it and are honored to be a part of these student's lives. we have an awesome bunch of students, they are a very open and real group. they are a ton of fun. and we believe they will each become something really wonderful as they grow up.

i wanted to take a minute to brag on one of our girls! chelsea was on the front page of the monroe newspaper today! she is a wonderful girl. when you have a chance...check this out,
actually don't wait until then, do it know. it is a neat story of how high school students can really make a difference in our community! they don't have to wait to be grown up, they can do it now!!! amazing!!!!


catching up....

we have been without internet for a week ~ it has been a weird experience to be out of the loop, no email, no vmails from pastor (haha on that last one he sent!!) , no blogging, no craigslist or online christmas shopping....

what is a girl to do for a whole week. well, i spent a lot more time reading, writing on paper, watching a rented dvd.

i think i needed a week to be without for two reasons 1) to get a little more in balance, i spend a lot of time on my laptop, in fact when i am on when my kid's are awake a lot of things go wrong and get messy here 2) to appreciate how much i do on a daily basis on the internet and through email!!!

anyway, all that to say.... i am back online and back to blogging. in fact i owe you several stories that i referred to in a previous post!!


emotional hangover...

Do you have it too?

It is Monday and it has been a long and exhausting weekend, physically, emotionally and even spiritually. By using the word exhausting I don’t mean it in a negative sense. Perhaps there is a better suggestion for that word, but I couldn’t think of it.

Yesterday was the BIGGEST day ever. It was one of the BEST days at Elevation Church. I was amazed by our Dominate Sunday. We had this HUGE tent and both campuses of our church (which combines 5 services) came under one tent to initiate our capital campaign. It was an awesome experience and I was so glad to be a part of it. A few Sunday nights ago, we attended the Leadership Commitment Event and that was so moving. This was just as great, just on a different scale. I woke up yesterday an emotional wreck. Happy, sad, angry… you name it … I felt it. I was on the verge of tears or letting them roll all day long.

I was able to help our friends who are moving tomorrow by keeping their three boys while they packed their Uhaul. When they came to pick up the boys, it was our time to say good bye. It was a really hard time for all of us, both families. I had figured I had cried enough during the day that there would be nothing left – wrong – some how I had some more toxins that needed releasing.

Saturday we had an extremely busy day, I went to Dream Dinners with Amy, then we picked up one of the my kid’s Christmas gifts (from Craig’s List!! – which was a divine appointment in itself that I will write about later). Then the afternoon Joshua and Jordyn did a shoot for a TV trailer (that also requires its own post!)

On Friday night we were blessed by some wonderful friends, Kelly and Larry, who kept our children along with their four children (yes, that is seven children all seven years and under – they are my heroes!!) so that we could go on a date night, which was also a blessing we received to be able to do that.

So, all that to say is that I think I am on an emotional hang over today. I have been exhausted and just not feeling like myself. Anyone have any good recipes to cure this one???


tears and laughter...

the last two nights have been really special. on monday night, i met a friend for a late dinner to celebrate my birthday which was awhile ago and we didn't have the chance to get together until monday. we had such a great time. it was so nice to have a meal together at one of my favorite restaurants (kabuto's). we were able to kick back and relax and talk without interruption. the poor chef cooking our food couldn't even light a fire large enough to take our attention off our conversation. the sad part is that he was only cooking for the two of us, the rest of the place was empty. we shared many laughs and a delicious meal! (chelsea, thanks for dinner and our sweet time together - it is your birthday dinner next!)

last night, i took a friend out for dinner at the same place - (i can't tire easily of japanese food and their buy one get one 1/2 off coupons really help out!) i took stephanie out to spend some time with her before she moves next week. we had a great dinner -- great food and great conversation. a few sad moments thinking about when we would do this again but still a great time. then we headed over to a friend's house for bible study. i have been attending this bible study on and off for a few weeks. i just love the ladies that are in it. most of them are dear friends of mine from our previous church. and it has been amazing to be reconnected with them. two of the women have been mentors in my life and the others good friends. during this time, we honored stephanie with cards, gifts, prayer and we even took communion together. it was such a wonderful time. it was very sweet. it was very sad. i hadn't cried that much in awhile. but after that we spent a lot of time laughing too. i am still recovering from the dry tired eyes today. but like we learned at a conference - crying releases toxins and i am non toxic for awhile!


blessed again!

yesterday, i was telling a friend about the different blessings i have had come about over the last few weeks. it all started with the bless back project that our church did a few weeks ago. pastor unleashed a week's offering ($40,000) to the people of elevation to use to bless someone else. jamil and i combined ours and gave it to a very special young lady in our life. we have known her since she was a young teenager and now she is about to graduate from ASU in december. she will be getting a degree in elem. ed. (a girl after my own heart!) she has babysat for us a lot sometimes for little or no money, she has even taken care of our kiddos for a whole week at a time on two different occasions. she is really special to us!! so anyway, she surprised us by coming to visit the day that we got the money and so we blessed her with what we were blessed with. it was so fun for us.

a few days later we were given a gift card to a restaurant from the mom of the little boy i babysit. that was really exciting and very unexpected. then last week, we were given a gift from a wonderful group of ladies at elevation, in fact a few of them i didn't even know and had just met them minutes before. they used their bless back money to bless us. they gave us a gift card to a restaurant, some cash and a night of babysitting!! wow, we were so humbled by this act of love. we could hardly believe it. we decided to give the first gift away to another couple we know. so we could bless someone else, since we have been blessed twice.

i entered a fellow blogger and new friend's fall bloggy giveaway (have you seen those?) for a baby sling - which she makes! and she chose me to receive the giveaway. here is the best part: she is making 2 of them (no i am not pregnant or having twins!) for me. when i entered her contest i told her i would like to have a sling b/c i have 2 friends with new babies that have been going through some tough stuff and i want to bless them each with a sling.

it has been so fun to give blessings and receive them too. my love language is gifts so i am so in my element! i love to give gifts and receive them. it is how i best express love. it is really hard to do that on a tight one income budget - really hard. but God knows my heart and he has given me gifts and given me ways to give gifts to others. He is in the big and the small things of our life everyday - that is soooo encouraging.


out of balance...

i am feeling really really out of balance lately. i just can't get in the groove of things. and a lot of things are falling by the wayside. i just can't keep up. and it is like the really important things, the "me" things are getting neglected, like consistent quiet times and a consistent exercise regimen (or any at all)

so what i am asking is for you to tell me how you manage your schedules. what does a normal day look like for you? how and when do you do your errands, groceries? do you spend time with friends? when do you have appointments and such?

i know there are a lot of you out there struggling with some of these things and i don't expect anyone to comment with how they have perfected it all. but just give me and others an idea of how you are doing what you are doing. how are you balancing life?? i would love to hear from stay at home moms, working moms, wives with no kiddos, single ladies, whoever... just let me know how you do what you do each day!!

guidelines: this is suppose to be a positive encouraging post, so i really only want those types of comments, i do not want to hear from you if you are going to say something negative about me or one of my reader's comments -- okey dokey?

gotta love it...

i know this is twice in a few days, but on friday after preschool (aka: work for me) we through the chik fil a drive thru to get ice cream. i have always loved their ice cream. but what really rocks is their cookies n cream milkshakes. i absolutely love them, love them. i could eat/drink them every day. they are a fabulous treat.

when i was prego with jesiah as well as after he was born, i craved the breyer's oreo ice cream, i could seriously eat a whole gallon of it in less than a week by myself. jamil often made harris teeter runs for me so i could have my ice cream fix. the milkshakes remind me of that ice cream.

alright, did i make you hungry? oh and such bad timing since chik fil a will be closed tomorrow (sunday) --- sorry!!! i will see you there on monday!!!

please excuse...

the mess while i am reconstructing my blog. i am in the middle of changing up a few things. i was trying to give my blog an "elevation look" with the orange - but it just wasn't the right shade. so i am still in the progress of making some changes with pictures and colors, etc. stay tuned for the final look to be completed as soon as i can get a few uninterrupted hours.


shhh...it's a secret....

last sunday night we attended the leadership commitment event at elevation. it was one of the most amazing and most moving corporate worship events i have ever attended. the presence of God was so there. during our season called dominate, the leaders of elevation have been asked to go first and bring their best to the table for what they will be giving to the campaign. now mind you our campaign isn't at all like what you think. we are "buying" into the vision of the church and having no idea what the money will be used to build or retrofit or whatever. we know that this money will support the vision of our church but we do not know what it will look like.

during this time husbands and wives and families and singles brought their offering to the front of the room. you could clearly tell that these individuals have prayed and been wrestling with God over what to give. i am sure that many of them changed their minds up to the last minute (i know we did!) on what they would give.

i had the awesome privilege to sit on the front row with jamil, pastor and his wife and the hummels, so i go to see and experience amazing things from my view. after some wonderful praise and worship music and pastor sharing from his heart the offering was brought - there wasn't money just amounts we were pledging, paving the way for the rest of elevation on nov. 11.

we were told we would hear first what the total amount the 300 leaders were bringing to the table. after a lot of suspense, we received the email yesterday. for some reason it went into my junk email box so i retrieved it last night after our high schoolers left and jamil and i opened it together. pastor did a video email and held us in suspense until he couldn't contain it anymore.we were shocked with excitement of what the total is - the total is one i guessed but was thinking really big and jamil said no way. and it really is as big as i thought. pastor said we had to keep it a secret and the word couldn't get out. as soon as he said that jamil looked at me like that means you, don't tell anyone.

i am not so good at keeping a secret, but i will for the sake of the cause here at hand. because i know once those of you who don't know the number hear you will be so glad that pastor told you and not me! if you do know the secret, call me or email me so we can be giddy together!!!!

our church is on the verge of a huge domination and i mean huge!!!!

what the princess is up to...

i fly solo on sunday mornings (as most of you reading this do) because of jamil's role at elevation. so i am usually rushing out the door. this past sunday morning was no different. i needed be there earlier than usual b/c i was volunteering at the connections table. jordyn decided as we were getting ready to do her hair that she wanted to wear 2 braids. so i began to spray and comb her wild and crazy curls. i realized as i begin to pull the one side back that it feels a little less curly and a little less thick than the other side. i lift up the side of her hair, under her hairline and above her ear she is missing a lot of curls, and i mean a lot. the hair left there is like boy short, starting at the top of her ear going to the side of her neck. i am appalled at this sight. i had been away most of the weekend for the women of faith conference and immediately assumed daddy allowed her some time with scissors unsupervised. i am basically in tears and ask her when she did this. she cut her hair with scissors at school on friday. this is sunday. thankfully this haircut is underneath her locks of curls. this is not her first haircut. she has cut her hair 3 or 4 times now. i seriously was about to lose it! so much for her hair being long like pocahontas. atleast i can cover it up. so for the next several months she will be wearing a hairband.

on wednesday morning, the busiest day of my week, i realize that jordyn is missing an earring in her right ear. nothing new. she brings me the back of the earring and i ask her where is the actual earring, a small diamond star. she says it is in my ear and i say no it isn't. she said no mommy in the other ear. so i look inside of her left ear (in the ear canal) and there is a shiny earring in there -- no kidding! i literally freak out. calling in the troops. my dad and mom come up with a small hose to put on a vacuum and a turkey baster - we are thinking we need to suck it out. before we try those tricks we place my screaming daughter (she is screaming b/c the tweezers i tried didn't work and she is scared) on the table on her side. i am underneath of her and open her ear a little bit and praise God it fell right out. i was thrilled we didn't have to take her to the e.r.

jordyn continues to be the one who is into everything and i mean everything. she can't just play with toys. i found her pink bear covered in toothpaste this week. she has dumped several bottles of hair spray, conditioner, face wash, make up and whatever else down sinks on floors and in play purses.

she is adorably cute and as sweet as sugar. she is sneaky and always into some kind of mischief. i love to watch her, she doesn't walk, she glides and prances along. her personality is spunky and full of curiosity.

she drives me more and more crazy each day! but i love her more and more each day too!
i spend many minutes during the day praying about how to handle her and her ways!! she keeps me on my knees.


what's been going on around here...

i realized i have posted a lot of posts lately and none of them really have been telling of the stories of what has been going on around our house lately so i am dedicating this post to catching up on life in general!!!

1. last friday, joshua received a character education award at school!!! he was chosen from his class by his teacher to receive the award on initiative. we were so proud of him. he didn't know that he was the recipient of the award until his name was announced and at that time, jamil, jordyn, jesiah, my dad and i came out with him! it was so exciting for all of us.

2. last weekend friday night and all day saturday, i attended women of faith. my most wonderful husband got off of work early to go to josh's assembly and then allowed me the privilege of going to the conference and this is the BEST part... stay overnight at the hilton with some great friends! we had a blast. it was a group of like 10 of us, most of them were some very special old friends and mentors of mine. i also had the opportunity to get to know another gal, who has the same name as me, pretty well! it was a great time! we even managed to sleep in a little bit on saturday before we went to the conference (bonus!!!)

3. on friday october 19, i added a counter to my blog (did you see it? look right) because i was very curious to how many people read or browse my blog. sometimes it feels like no one ever checks it out. because unless you get a comment you really don't know. anyway, i have been absolutely amazed to see that i have had over 400 hits on my blog since then. jamil is in disbelief too. for fun each night we look at the counter and check the total. it's kind of an obsession i guess too! anyway, a big huge thank you to my religious readers, and those of you who stop by occasionally too and also those who post me on your blogroll so others can check it out. (must add...my counter does not include all the times i am on my own blog!!)

4. yesterday, joshua's class had a huge party. they have been studying bugs and reading miss spider's tea party. so yesterday we through a tea party in his class. i am a co-room mom and we planned it together. it was a huge success and we had a lot of parents participate. the kid's were so excited and looked adorable dressed in their insect costumes! (i will post pics later!) i am completely spidered out and never ever want to see another spider or spiderweb for a long time!!! thank you chelsea for coming all the way out here to watch jesiah! and thanks mom for taking jordyn!!!

5. i attended a playgroup this week, that was a ton of fun. it has only been the second one i could make it to. it has been wonderful to get to know some of the other ladies at church!! it was at my friend, kelly's house. she is amazing as a friend and a hostess! there were like 20 moms and like 30 kids (babies thru 4 years) at her home. we had a TON of food and the kid's bounced themselves silly in a bounce house she had. the kiddos were dressed up and all looked adorable. (pics to come!)

6. we went trick or treating last night with our good friends, amy, ken and will! and all of the kids had a great time! we haven't been trick or treating in a couple of years. i think this will have to be a family tradition. it was sooo fun to watch the kids and they looked so cute!! (aren't you in suspense for pics -- again, they will be coming soon!)

i think that gives you a little glimpse of life around here lately. as you can see we have been pretty busy!

gotta love it...

as soon as i made my announcement about my new addition of my favorite things, i completely forgot about what i gotta have! weird, anyway...

this is kind of random but it is something that i gotta have. i got the idea from my friend susan. i love love to have a basket in my mini-van to hold a whole bunches of stuff. a few months ago, i got one of those fabric covered wire bins from wal mart and i can slide it under my console in my van. i toss all kinds of things in it. and then it makes cleaning out the van sooooo much easier. i just take it into the house and unload it. then replace it and load it up again!

ok, so that is what i love to have and can't live without this week!!!

halloween pics...

"Bumblebee" by day
(for Miss Spider's Tea Party @ school)

Venom Spider Man by night!
(too cool to be a bumblebee for trick or treating)

Jesiah as "Buzz" and Will as a dragon

Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!!

A Beautiful Princess!

Getting ready to trick or treat!!!


"blessed to be a blessing"...

this was something that pastor has said a few times or more during this season of dominate in our church. i just have to share how i was able to be a part of what elevation is doing to bless others in our city!!!

a week ago saturday, i had the awesome opportunity to be a part of something i thought was amazing. elevation has five strategic partners to whom we reach out to and support. let me tell you about one of the five organizations ~ communities in schools (cis): safe journey. safe journey exists to help keep and encourage teenage mothers to stay in school. i had the opportunity to attend a training meeting in august and i believe that this organization is top notch! it is run so well and the director of the program is an amazing lady with such a huge heart for these girls.

elevation and safe journey chose one deserving family to bless. i was able to be a part of the big day! along with a friend from small group and her teenage daughter, our job was to take the teen mom shopping for herself. not for her little guy but for herself. but that is not all elevation did for the family. i was there as her family was presented with a large sum of money (and i mean large) for housing repairs, a scholarship for college, gift cards for gas and groceries and a shopping spree. this family was so appreciative. after the presentation we took the teenage girl to northlake mall and helped her spend her shopping spree money! it was soooo much fun. i was so blessed to be a part of the day. it was a complete blessing to me to be a part of a blessing to someone else!


a new kind of friend

sitting in the teacher's lounge almost ten years ago, talking about hairstyles and uncomfortable high heeled shoes, an awesome friendship began.

we both had just moved from far away and to teach at the same school in different grades. two new teachers became instant new friends. we had a lot in common and hit it off immediately.

we were each in a different stage of life, she was newly married and i was no where near it. i got to know her husband and became friends with him. i would hang out with them when i wasn't out doing my single life thing.

gradually, my friend began to introduce me to one of her friends. a friend i didn't know well at that time but i had heard of him, who didn't?

she began to tell me about God she and shared her faith.

i knew of God, i had prayed before, and even been in church on occasion while i was growing up.

then one night, while her husband and the guy i was dating (my future husband) , were out of town, we had a good old fashioned sleepover. early in the evening, we began a discussion about having a relationship with Christ. i had questions about what it meant. i thought i had that if i knew of God and knew some about a particular religion. i believed in God and thought that meant i had a relationship with Him. she taught me otherwise. not only in this one conversation but over several months of sharing her heart and allowing me to see Christ through her.

that night, we called her husband and on a three way phone conversation i accepted Christ in my heart. i was ready to turn away from the displeasing, unsatisfied and unhappy life i was living. i was ready for joy and contentment. later that night, my sweet friend also baptized me.

God placed her in my life for a big reason.

we have been friends for almost ten years. wow. she was in my wedding. we were pregnant together with all three of our babies. our oldest boys, were only three days apart and spent many years growing up together.

our friendship went through some hard times and we went our separate ways for a couple of years. it was unhealthy and needed healing. during that separation, i had no idea what kind of healing or how it would occur.

then a few months ago, God prompted me to reconnect with her and i was obedient. i am so glad that i was. by the grace and mercy of God, we were able to forgive each other and move forward. neither of us were sure how that would look. and what would happen in our friendship, would it stay mutual and acquaintance like or would it be deep and close?

it has only been a few months but we have been able to have such an amazing friendship. we have been able to become very close. we have so much fun together. we are so real and transparent with one another. and our children have been loving their time together.

the Lord has truly worked in my heart and in our friendship to bring us to this point. i am so blessed to have her in my life. i am so thankful to God for bringing us back together and healing this friendship.

during this whole time of us rebuilding our friendship, her and her husband have been preparing to move out of the state. they are being led to take their gifts and use them in a church several hours away. i am so excited to see how God uses them for His glory. they know this is the call of God and they are being obedient. and who can stop them? not me, although, i have tried a few acts of bribery to get them to stay and they won't budge.

so, with no other choice, i have begun over the last week to prepare myself for this change in our friendship - to not have her nearby (7 minutes to be exact). i have begun to shed tears when least expected. i have been spending as much time with her as i can. i feel like i am suffering another loss although i know in my heart that our friendship will not be lost. i know it has been found. with the power of Christ it has been found. it just looks a little different with us being apart.

i know that God put the courage and initiative in my heart at the exact time he did so we could reconnect and rebuild our friendship. i also know this story of our friendship is large part of my testimony. one that will testify to the love and faithfulness of Jesus. this friend has been a large part of who i am today. and i thank her for that. i thank God for putting her in my life. because without her i wouldn't know Him.


raining contentment...

it has been a long long time since it has rained around here. we have been in a pretty serious drought. so it has been a long standing prayer for rain and a lot of it. this week we started getting rain again - yeah!

it occurred to me the other day as i was taking the puppy outside - that this week was one of the first times (if not THE first - and we have had her for two months - wow.) that i had to deal with her muddy paws and remembering to bring her back inside. oohhh the smell of a wet puppy. my husband cringes.

so we have prayed and prayed for rain. God answered! can you believe it? i have found myself starting to complain about the mud, the wetness, finding and wearing rain jackets - which have broken zippers or don't fit anymore, muddy shoes, no outside playtime for the kids or the dog (ohh the extra unleashed energy and stir crazy kids), etc. anytime i have found myself going down this road -- i quickly remind myself that this rain is an answered prayer, a blessing and not something to see as miserable or inconvenient. what is wrong with me.

this situation reminds me of life in general when it comes to being content. we pray or ask for things and then when we are blessed with them we are still not satisfied or content or fulfilled for whatever reason. and then we want something different, something more. if only we could be content with exactly what God gives us and when and how it gives it to us.

this rain has made me look at life and the weather in a whole new perspective. be content and happy with the blessings you do have. don't look at what you don't have. it is all in the right timing and in His will. He will give you what He wants you to have when He wants you to have it. it is as simple as that.

now waiting and wondering what that all looks like is a different story for a different post...

until next time, enjoy the rain and all of life's blessings.


what a dream...

in september, i starting going to dream dinners. and i can honestly say that it is a dream! i love it! love it! i have had several friends tell me about it and had been invited to a few sneak peaks. then finally i took the plunge and went. it has really helped out our (my) dinner planning! it is such a relief when it comes to dinner time and i barely have to do a thing! so if you haven't tried it -- you need to check it out. i was worried it would affect our budget but it hasn't. i use most of my dream dinners as my more elaborate meals and then the other nights we do easy stuff like tacos, spaghetti, shrimp and grits (yes i am becoming a southern girl - beth, this is one more thing you can add to the list of addictions you have introduced me to!) anyway, just thought i would give a shout out to dream dinners.


gotta love it...

i am going to add a new element to my blog. each week i am going to write about one of my favorite things. it could be a food, place, household product, cosmetic, etc.

this is a little spin off of oprah's favorite things -- although my things will be more realistic to those of you living on a budget like me! often, i love what oprah has on her show, but could never afford what she loves.

so here is what i gotta have...

on my way to ballet and carpool i was driving and munching on some chex mix. not the traditional flavor -- i love the chocolate turtle chex mix. i can seriously put some of that away! a friend of mine introduced me to it this summer and i have been hooked ever since. i love that stuff. if you haven't tried it - you have to!

bonus... if your kids go to a school that collects "box tops" you can clip them off the packages of chex mix!!

so there it is my first gotta love it post!!!


what i love best about elevation church...

last night, my husband asked me what i love best about our church. it was really hard for me to think of one thing or the "best thing". but the one thing that came to me immediately is that our church talks to the talk and walks the walk!!!! so many churches talk about what they want to do and how they will do it. our church not only talks but they do the walking part! the staff and leaders do what they say. and they do it with excellence! the vision of elevation is clearly defined and they use whatever strategy God puts on their hearts to meet that vision. sometimes the strategy changes but the vision ALWAYS stays the same. i love it!

if you haven't seen the front page of the charlotte observer check it out!!! the story is all about the bless back project!!!


face to face...

as i was approaching a short line in the food court at the mall, i saw a familiar face getting in line behind me. i did a double take. it was a face i knew. a face i haven't seen in a long time. a face i could never forget.

we greeted each other casually, "hi, how are you?" and "good and you." the usual stuff for someone you bump into here and there. although that wasn't the case with this person. it had been a long time and at one time she was more than a casual acquaintance.

after our exchange, i turned around to face forward, feeling very awkward, feeling that i should have said more. but what? my mind raced. what to say, what to do. replaying the situation. replaying her expression and what it meant. trying to get myself together.

i turned back around to greet the other faces she was with. we exchanged a few kind words, catching up for a minute. one was her sister and the other was a little girl who looked about three. i knelt down to the sweet little girl with the beautiful big eyes. her mom introduced me and then i told the little girl, "i was friends with your mommy a long time ago."

i turned around feeling uncomfortable, completely awkward. the exchange was not how i ever pictured it would be. i had imagined this day in my head for a long, long time. i thought i knew how i would handle it if i had a second chance. and this was my second chance. you see, over a year ago maybe even two, i saw her in a store and i received barely a wave as she chatted on her cell phone. i felt heart broken and rejected as i stood there with a big huge smile, ready to hug and reconnect. but she kept walking and with no choice, i proceeded to do the same.

i knew i didn't want my second chance to turn out the same as the first. my mind continued to race and the line was being rushed through, i didn't know what more to say or do.

i followed my group to the next line at the food court, thinking that i was not satisfied with the way this took place and ended. i had tears in my eyes. i just wasn't proud of myself, i wasn't showing the love of Christ. and i wasn't being me.

while i was in the next line and chatting with the ladies behind the counter, i looked around to find this old friend. praise God, they were still there sitting down. i prayed quick and prayed hard, Lord tell me what you want me to do.

right then, i was reminded of what i should do. as our food was being ordered, i quickly found a pen and jotted down my phone number and email on a napkin. i couldn't leave this time without saying more or without trying to reconnect.

as my group sat down to eat, i excused myself. i walked across the food court to find her. i approached her and said, "i know it has been a long time, but i would love to get together, i would love to catch up and see what you have been up to" her reaction was pretty much the same as when we greeted each other. non-emotional, not really friendly, or even glad to see me. but i pressed on. "so, here is my phone number and my email address, i would love the opportunity to reconnect and catch up." she said she would call or email and that was basically it. i said good bye and walked away from them. this time i felt much better about how i reacted and the steps i made to reconnect.

this face was a very very good friend of mine in college, we were roommates and sorority sisters. we even moved down here to north carolina together and shared our first two apartments. she was my best friend during that season of my life. when our paths began to go different directions, she moved out of our apartment. and we had very little to no opportunities for our paths to cross. we may have run into each other once shortly after our separation. and then the second time was a year ago. i have thought of her often and wondered where she was and how life was treating her. i have fond memories and photographs of our times together.

i praise God for the opportunity to cross paths with her today. it was part of His plan. He completely orchestrated this whole entire thing. i was at the mall doing an amazing outreach project for elevation when all of this happened. a mall i have never been to before. He allowed me to be right there where she was. He allowed me to once again repair a broken friendship. and i put all hurt and hard feelings behind and put forth an extension of love, forgiveness and acceptance.

i don't have any idea of how this story will end. will she call? email? will we reconnect? sit and talk about life over starbucks until 2 am? i don't know. i would love to say i do. i would love to plan a perfect ending to this story. i actually have a plan in mind. i pray that God will allow us to be in each other's life. i pray that He will allow me to show her the love of Christ and who Christ has made me to be in the last eight years while we haven't been connected.

i also know if she never calls me or she never emails me that i did what i was suppose to do. i know God gave me this face to face opportunity for a purpose, for a reason. i know that i opened the door. it is up to her to walk through that door and meet me face to face. i pray that she will.

wow, how God has been blessing me this week!!!


traffic jam

this is a first for me (to post on my blog). this is a personal prayer i wrote today during my quiet time (reflecting on the dominate prayer journal) inspired by a dear friend today during a long conversation.

today, Lord, i need a clear vision - a completely clear vision of the calling that you have on my life. i feel like i am at an intersection and in the middle of a traffic jam. i just can't get through the intersection. and i know if i did get through, which road would i chose? i don't know. i am asking for you to specifically tell me what your will is for me. all of these desires and passions have been placed in my heart. and i don't know which one or which ones i should follow. Lord, i need you to fine tune and show me which ones are your will. they are all great dreams, passions and ideas but Lord, i can't do it all, unless you clone me and make me into three. dear Jesus what is your vision for me and where do you want me positioned during this season of my life? i want to know how i am suppose to effectively serve you Lord, my family, my church, my friends and whoever you place in my life. where do you have me and where do you want me? is it to be a full time stay at home mom? is it to work part time? it is to balance career and family? is it for me to go back to school for my nursing degree? is it for me to serve at church and where and what kind of commitment level? show me, tell me Lord. where, what, how, when, why? Lord, you know the answers and only you. i give up complete control and place this in your hands. tell me how to get through this traffic jam and which road to take.


if you haven't heard, you must know this...

elevation church is about to dominate the city of charlotte. elevation is on fire for the Lord and for it's vision!

on sunday, elevation gave away the offering. instead of collecting an offering, everyone in each of the five services received an envelope with money in it. this is only the beginning of the bless back project. we are to use the money we received and use it to bless someone else. wow! powerful stuff. you can read about the stories of how elevation is blessing people all over our area.

we have launched into a season called dominate. it is a season where elevation is going to dominate charlotte. dominate by showing and sharing the love of jesus to those who do not know him. we are all being challenged to stretch ourselves, to give above and beyond and to step out on more faith then ever. it is so exciting and so awesome to see God working amongst this body of believers. i am so proud and honored to be a part of elevation church.

a large part of this season is about giving back to the community. last night, i received some details to all of the ways that elevation plans to do this. i am so excited to know that i belong to a church who believes in giving back and not just sending a few people to the event taking place, but to really take an interest and bless others with whatever means necessary.

on saturday, i will be involved in part of an effort to reach out to a family in charlotte. so as not to give away the surprise - i won't say anymore. but i am so excited about it. and i can not wait to share with you the details after it is all said and done!! i will put it on a post soon, i promise.

if you haven't, you must check out elevation church for yourself!