what happens when...

you have 12 kids, 7 moms, 3 puppies and 2 dozen cupcakes???


here is a glimpse of what my house was filled with this morning as we all assembled for our first playgroup:

~ a lot of fun
~ a lot of noise
~ a lot of toys everywhere
~ a lot of squealing
~ a lot of laughing
~ a lot of talking
~ a lot of barking
~ a lot of toys everywhere (did i say that already?)
~ a lot of screaming

and last but not least....
~ a lot of of friendships being built by moms and kids!!!!

today a group of us gathered at my house to have a playgroup. it has been a long time since i have been a part of a playgroup. we do a lot of playdates and sometimes a few of us will get together and let our kids play. i organized this playgroup for some of my friends who mostly know each other from church(old and new) or our old mops group. i thought it would be fun for us to gather once or twice a month and be able to hang out, let the kids play and catch up.

we had a great time today. it went really well. the kids did great and so did the puppies. jaci had her own playdate with her sister, tinkerbell and my friend susan brought her puppy charcoal. all my kids and my puppy are sleeping well!!! we wore them out.

i am looking forward to our next playgroup, although i may have to pass the buck and let someone else host next time!! who's game???

oh and if you are reading this and would like to come and join in on our playgroup, let me know!!! the only requirement is that you like a lot of noise and can handle stepping on a lot of toys!!!

here are some pics:

jesiah, davis,will and 2 of the 3 puppies

23 out of 24 cupcakes GONE in 5 minutes,
will brought them to celebrate his 3rd adoption day!

gabe and caden are busy playing
look at all the toys everywhere!!

playing dress up is always a favorite!!!
even for the boys!

three little princesses... lauren, jordyn and anagrace
and the fourth princess in the making (in the background) vivi!!!

he is fighting for us!

my friend, marybeth just directed me to this link. i was having a pretty rotten afternoon (having absolutely nothing to do with playgroup --- a little disclaimer there ladies!!) and when i called her about something totally different -- she told me to check it out and it would help me today! i just had to share with you! i am so thankful that she encouraged me to check out her blog to see this. it just puts it all into perspective. i was so moved by this. it was like medicine to my broken soul. i have no idea what kind of day you are having, but good or bad, sad or glad --- go check it out!!! do it now before you forget about it. it takes just 5 minutes to watch!


my accountability partner...

the other night as i was thinking about the priorities in my life. two came to mind that i have a tendency to seriously neglect. i told jamil about how i need to get these areas straight and in order. and we talked about how it is hard to keep them first, they tend to be the first things i cross off my to do list. we came to the conclusion that they are often skipped because there is no accountability. the other things i do, i have someone to be accountable to.

when it comes to doing a quiet time and exercising, i can so easily put anything in their place. i have been much better over the last few weeks about having an intentional prayer life and quiet time. when i wake up early and grab a cup of coffee and just be in the presence of the Lord, my days are just so much more peaceful and enjoyable. i am such a better person. now that we have a puppy who needs to go out to potty early in the morning - i told jamil that she is becoming my accountability partner ~ she gets me up bright and early! this morning, i didn't go back to bed, i put on a pot of coffee, made myself a cup, grabbed my book, bible and journal and headed outside. so while she was out walking around, i was reading and praying. it was a great way to start off my day.

as for exercising, as soon as i get the puppy leash trained, she will become my walking and eventually running partner. i love to walk and i use to love to run. i would like to begin running again. i am going to make exercise a priority. again, it makes me feel so much better. just like my quiet times, i feel like when i have these things in check i can be such a better person.

i do realize that my puppy really doesn't make the cut when it comes to having a true accountability partner. i haven't lost my mind that much to think that i can have her in place of a human being. i wouldn't want to alarm pastor or fellow church goers at elevation -- i was listening to our last sermon series entitled "entourage". in fact i have taken a lot away from that series and have been praying about those people who i consider to be in my entourage.

it has always been really important to me to have a good network of friends. i am a pretty social person and enjoy being around people a lot. my friend kelly and i were talking about this today during our playdate. we were saying how we would pretty much always choose being around people rather than being alone. now don't get me wrong -- some alone time is good, and definitely needed. but a lot of times, i decompress when i am able to talk to a close friend.

i love to meet people especially other women in my stage of life. sharing stories of pregnancies, childbirth, nursing, childrearing, etc. is always something i am game to talk about. i have found that it is really easy for me to meet people and develop friendships with a lot of people. i feel blessed to have a lot of friends and to have had the opportunity to know a lot of people. one thing that i recognize that i need in my life is a group of close friends, an entourage. i realize that everyone i know and everyone i am friends with can not really be in my entourage. but they can still be friends. if all my friends knew every personal detail of my life like some of the ladies in my entourage, it wouldn't work well for them or for me. it really takes a special person and a special relationship to be in someone's entourage. i have been praying specifically for God to clearly identify those people who have been placed in my life through all the good stuff and all the bad stuff and who love me just the same. when you have found friends like that it is a wonderful wonderful thing.


some answers and some more changes...


on saturday, i posted a list of the commitments i was starting to make. prayers are being answered and i am starting to realize where i need to cut back. i haven't unfolded the news to several people on that list yet, but after i do, i will send you a master list of my commitments -- you will see they will be cut back! praise God, He is so faithful and reliable!

yesterday at church, a new series making a connection between 80s music and elevation was unveiled. yesterday pastor delivered his message on growth, using acts 2:41-47. he also made an announcement about the future of our church. God provided for elevation in such a big way. God literally (and i mean literally - listen to pastor's sermon on line and you will hear for yourself!) opened the doors to butler high school providing more seats with the opportunity to have 2 sermons there. elevation currently has 2 campuses (union @ porter ridge and central @ providence). we will close the union one and replace it with the butler campus. butler will open on september 23rd. during the 8:30 service, pastor asked the congregation to make a move over to butler, as he did with all 3 services. jamil and i feel that we are suppose to make the move to the new campus and be used however God intends for us to be used there. we don't think it is an accident that this has come about during the time that we have been in between commitments at church. this will be yet another change for us, but we really feel like God has his hands all over it and we will be obedient.

i am praising God for giving me answers to some of my prayers and for giving me direction on His will for me. i am praising Him for change, because i know it is part of this process of pruning and growing i have been going through over the past few months.

another monday morning...

it is hard to believe it is monday morning again! this weekend went very quickly. we were so busy with our new puppy on saturday -- the day flew by! yesterday we went to church and then had some of our very good friends come over to have lunch and hang out! after they left we had a laundry list of stuff to do around here including some puppy playtime. we decided to forget the laundry list and take a nap all of us -- the puppy did too!! then last night i met my friend stephanie for coffee, we stayed out way too late as we usually do. but it was worth the sacrifice of a few hours of sleep. i always enjoy being with her and hanging out at the new starbucks, which is becoming a new addiction of mine, esp. since it is so close to us.

today, amy and i had planned to go to georgia for a special trip. today is her son will's third adoption day --- happy adoption day, will -- you are such a blessing to us! we love you!! -- and we were going to take the kids to cleveland, georgia to visit babyland general for cabbage patch kids. after getting the puppies on saturday we decided that our trip would have to be postponed for another time since they could not be without us for the whole entire day. i look forward to us going another time. as for today, we are going to have a puppy play date instead.

jaci (the puppy) had done great the last 2 days, she is doing pretty good with housebreaking and she is doing great with crate training. she is a loveable little puppy and very smart too.

on our way to take josh to school there was soooo much more traffic b/c of the public schools starting. we are surrounded by 2 elementary schools, both on either side of our route to get him to school. luckily, he starts later than the public schools so we didn't get to held up by it.

so that is my random post for this monday morning. i am excited to see what God has in store for us this week as each week He is busy working in our lives!! He should get paid overtime!


commiting to not over commit

i think i have an addiction to over committing myself. i love to be busy and be involved. but i also know that too much busyness is not a good thing. i realized after attending a meeting where i made more commitments that i had this addiction. it is crazy -- at this meeting i was so excited and signed up to do about everything except replace the coordinator -- and what i didn't sign up for - my friend amy did.

the next day, i looked over a list of commitments that i have made and realized something has to be crossed off. so you can get a mental pic of what i am talking about, i am going to list my commitments.
so here they are:
(note: these are outside of my duties as wife, mom, puppy caretaker and friend!)

~doing a book study with some friends from church
~co-leading a small group for high school students (1x/wk)
~co-leading a small group for adult couples (1x/wk)
~volunteering for an outreach ministry (2x/month, plus outside prep work)
~sunday morning commitments at church: community groups (2-4x/month)
~working one day a week (min.) at my kid's preschool
~being the room mom in my first grader's class
~volunteer commitments at union academy (atleast 60 hours/yr)
-attending field trips, reading once a week to the kids, hospitality, etc.
~babysitting for our friends' little boy
~babysitting for another friends' 2 little kids
~taking jordyn to ballet
~taking josh to sports

this is not something i am trying to "show off" or "brag" about, just the opposite -- it is a bit embarassing that i could even think i could do all of these things and do any of them well, not to mention be available to my first priority to my family and friends. i actually thought that if i shared with you what i am thinking about committing to -- you may be sitting in the same boat, trying to get your priorities in line too -- and together we can realize that we can not do it all. and no one but ourselves expects us to do it all.

i have already had 2 friends plus my hubby tell me that something has to give! good thing is most of these things have not started so backing out will be easy at this point before i get to involved.

i am going to pray over this list and ask God to help me determine which and how many need to be crossed off. i have a few in my mind that will go first. i want to make sure they are the ones God wants me to back out of.

i need to stop committing to putting more and more on my plate and spend quality time and energy with what i choose to put there.

some puppy pics

here are the two sister puppies. the carr family added the golden puppy is "tinkerbell" aka: "bell" to their family and the black puppy is "jaci", our new addition. it is so exciting and special to have puppies that will grow up with each other and when we get together for playdates they can play too!!!

a boy and his dog!!!

jordyn holds jaci on the way home!!!

jesiah shares his helicopter with the puppy!!

will is ecstatic to hold bell on the way home!!!

meet our newest addition....

Princess "Jaci" (jay-cee) Cuddles
10-11 weeks old

Yes, we have officially lost our minds and brought a puppy into our family! Here is how the story goes, it came up rather fast and we acted on it! Yesterday, my friend, Amy, told me she was going to look at a puppy for her son Will and their family. She told me about the pups. They were coming off a farm in Marshville. The guy had a litter of puppies from his full bred golden lab and the father is a full bred (w/ papers) black lab. As we talked about it I thought about our family dynamics and thought that my kiddos would love to have a puppy. So, Jamil and I talked about it last night and decided that we would add a puppy to our family. Those of you who know us, are probably so shocked. I am still shocked that we decided to do this. Ho daring and spontaneous of us. There were 2 females, one golden and one black and 2 black males left. I really wanted a girl and so did Amy. We had to balance out the numbers in our family!! So early this morning we went to meet the guy and pick up the pups!!! By the way the guy has 2 black males left if anyone is interested -- let me know-- i can get you in touch with him!



while i was packing my son's lunch tonight i was inspired to write this blog! i threw in the usuals, juice box, some fruit, some chips, a snack, a desert and then last but not least.... the uncrustable sandwich. i was overwhelmed with happiness that i didn't have to put a sandwich together from scratch -- i could pull out a premade frozen pb&j!! yes!!! success!

i know some of you are reading this thinking that i am a pretty lazy mommy and how hard can it be to make a pb & j sandwich for your son??

when those sandwiches first came out in the stores, i said i will NEVER buy those things -- and thought who in the world would buy frozen sandwiches, how hard are sandwiches to make for your child? i probably even made the assumption and stereotype that only bad moms and lazy moms buy those things.

i was at wal-mart last wednesday night with my friend, stephanie, and she bought them and told me how much she loved them (not for her to personally consume but to put in her sons' lucnches). now, i have bought them before but never got into them like she obviously had. i didn't get it. so that night, after a second thought on my part, i decided to get a box, we actually back tracked to the frozen section to get a box for me.

so tonight a whole bunch of stuff hit me pretty hard -- and all because of a box of frozen sandwiches. which i LOVE and will continue to buy and pack in my kid's lunches!!!

first, that as moms we are pretty darn hard on ourselves. we think we have to do everything and do it the best we can and tat we should be able to do it better than the next mom. so what if i buy frozen sandwiches. if my son is happy, i should be too. i don't care if the mom that reads this is not happy with my choice. i am taking responsibility to take off undue stress that i place on myself.

last night i began the process of becoming easier on myself. my kid's trashed their rooms (what's new?) usually, they have their toys organized in bins that sit on wooden shelves which are kept in their closets. each bin typically contains all of the same kind of toys ie: army men in one, legos in another or baby doll clothes in one and barbies in another. last night, i gave up the control, i just wanted the toys picked up so they could get into their beds quickly! i just told them to clean up and i did not go behind them and organize and sort through the toys! i was so relieved and felt so liberated and so free. i gave up control of something that i think needs to be perfect. now, eventually, i will sort through the toys, but it does not need to be done daily. they just mess it up. now i do believe in teaching them to sort and organize -- and it will come in time, but when it does they will do it and not i!!!

second, we as moms can be pretty hard on other moms (aka: our friends) by making judgmental statements such as buying frozen sandwiches makes you lazy. just because i wouldn't have bought them does not make the mom who does any less of a mom or any less of a person. i will be the first to admit, in the past, i made those judgmental statements, i didn't say them aloud but i thought them and what is the difference, really. (please note: that night i bought the frozen sandwiches i had not made or thought a judgmental statement about my friend buying them-- she wins the mother of the year award in my opinion!)

we tend to be pretty hard on other moms in A LOT of other areas of mothering, such as to homeschool or not to homeschool, to nurse or to bottle feed the baby, to use a pacifier or not use one, to give your children sugar or not, stay at home or work, to use drugs during delivery or do it all natural or to spank your children or use time out. i could go on and on. the point i am trying to make is that we need to lighten up on each other. we need to accept each other for who we are as mothers and not be judgmental of others decisions. we need to respect and honor the decisions others make. and a lot of times if we stop being judgmental, we may even learn something that works for another mom will work just as great for you! so have an open heart when you are sharing mothering stories and efforts with one another. you may learn something that works for your family that you once thought was something you would never do (or buy)!

third, i realized that the decisions i make for my family are just that for MY family, the family that God has entrusted me with. as long as my husband and i are unified and in agreement, and what we do lines up with scripture (not that uncrustables are in the bible), the decisions we make are the best for our family.

it is important to realize that during this busy stage of our lives, we do not have time for this pressure to bring us down. each day is about serving and caring for others in a way that is glorifying to God. i think if you have a smile on your face because packing your kids' lunch was a breeze --- that will glorify Him! He certainly doesn't want us to feel the pressure we place on ourselves or that is placed on us by others --- that is satan's thing --- and God is in control of our lives not satan.

i have bought them in the past but never appreciated them like i do now...



i was talking to a friend about my last blog post. our families got together last night to hang out. we met them at church and i am really enjoying our new friendship. (if you remember from a previous post i told you about them -- their oldest daughter being my oldest son's "girlfriend".)

anyway, in that post, i had asked about forgiveness. last night, she shared this quote with me "didn't god give us a sea of forgiveness? shouldn't we be able to give just a splash of it to others?". and she also shared a story with me from her experience in this area. it meant a lot to have her share from her perspective and also shed some light on my situation by using hers as an example. i love how God works through this blogging thing and also i love my new friend!!!

i did some studying on forgiveness. and i found a devotion in my bible (mom's devotional bible - niv / zondervan) entitled "choosing love" on p. 1265 that went along with this topic. the devotion written by elisa morgan (of mops international) talks about when someone has hurt us or wronged us; our forgiveness starts by choosing to love them and not to put up a defense (even though that is our first instinct sometimes). she gave a few suggestions on how to heal through forgiveness such as; 1) being intentional about choosing love 2) look at people in parts & isolate the incident that hurt 3) remember how much we needed forgiveness.

i have begun to learn that forgiveness of the person who hurt you is not dependent on their apology. an apology may never be given but forgiveness needs to be given regardless. so i am going to begin to work on forgiveness as i am commanded to do.

"be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" ephesians 4:32


what an apology can mean...

as a mom, so often i am having to instruct one of my kids to say "I'm sorry" for whatever reason. my oldest son, josh, seems to be saying it more lately. for some reason he and jordyn are in this phase and they are bickering and picking on each other -- i have been introduced to sibling rivalry. a lot of times he is the one who starts the agitating. so, we have to stop a lot to correct his behavior and have him apologize. if he is still upset or angry, he will say with a not so nice tone or mutter under his breath, "sorry". i will correct him and tell him that is not how you apologize, that you need to say " i am sorry" and tell why you are sorry. it never fails typically within that same week or day or sometimes as early as an hour, we are repeating this whole process AGAIN. i have been trying to teach him that when we apologize and then we do the same negative action again, the apology wasn't real. and that when you say i am sorry, that means you will not do whatever hurt the other person again. he is only six and he is learning as we go. although we will continue to work on it, i want him to grasp the concept of how he truly made the other person feel, and that should not make him happy it should hurt his heart for making someone else hurt. he is gifted in making other people laugh, just like his daddy. he has been recognized for showing a real true compassion for others in school already this year! something i am very proud of, and i want him to continue to care about others and be empathetic.

as an adult, i know first hand (from being on both the giving and receiving end of an apology), it can mean the world to hear the words "i am sorry". i have been in a situation where i would love to receive an apology from someone who has deeply deeply hurt me. it would mean the world to me to hear this person say i am sorry and truly mean it. it would heal some deep wounds in my heart, help me in my process of removing bitterness and help me to forgive and gain closure to this situation. although, i don't want to be given the apology unless it is coming from their own heart and not merely because they think they should say it. and i want to know that they won't repeat the same hurtful act on the next person down the line. i want to see a heart change when this person says they are sorry.

i may be wrong in expecting an apology to help me gain total forgiveness. i am going to do some scripture study on that. and if any of you can direct me on this that would be so appreciated. i don't want to wait on something i may never receive in order to forgive. i would be very interested to find some scripture or story to direct me in this process.

recently, i have given an apology to someone who is very dear to me. i have said i was sorry and truly truly meant it and still mean it. i have grown and learned and changed so much over the past few months. During my growth, God revealed to me what i had done wrong in our relationship. i was able to humble myself and say i am sorry to this person. i was able to admit that what i had done was wrong and hurtful. i am able to accept responsibility for some poor decisions i had made throughout our friendship. the actions that i chose to take hurt not only my dear friend but also put a lasting damage on our friendship. our friendship of many years was so damaged that eventually we didn't even speak. i followed God's prompting and my heart and took a leap of faith to reconnect with this friend. i was confident in the fact that i needed to apologize and if that was as far as it went, i had to accept that closure. i didn't know how i would be received. but i know i had to take the first step.

a few weeks ago, my friend allowed me the opportunity to apologize and she accepted it! i am amazed at what saying i am sorry meant not only to her but also to me and to our friendship. over the past several weeks we have spent a great deal of time together, sometimes just the two of us, sometimes with us and our kids and once even both families spent an evening together.

i have been amazed at how God's hand has been all over this friendship. our friendship has entered a whole new dimension, it is healthy and alive and so much fun. we have had a blaset reconnecting and catching up on the last couple of years. we have been able to share some deep issues that we are both going through. we have been able to trust and love each other and Christ is being glorified through this friendship!! we have an awesome testimony to how He has worked in both of our lives and in our friendship.

i am so excited and happy to have this old - new friend (as i referred to her in a past post!) back in my life. i am thrilled that she has accepted my apology !! she also accepts me for who i am -- my mistakes and my weakness and she loves me anyway. i am overjoyed to have her as part of my "entourage" !!!!


productive day - not really

today has not been very productive. not much going on here. and nothing extremely exciting for me personally today. although i did find out that our very good friends had their baby girl early this morning. i am so excited for them. i made a meal for them last night b/c i am sure being over 9 months pregnant cooking isn't a priority. well, i made them this mexican dish, perhaps it sent her into labor??? any of you pregnant ladies want the recipe??

last night i realized it had been while since i had posted a blog. so today i have spent the morning thinking about what i wanted to post. i still am not sure, hence the rambling.

today, my mind has been all over the place. i took josh to school this morning and then stayed and volunteered in his class, which i enjoyed very much. once i got back home i just couldn't focus on anything, and literally got nothing done. today i decided i would stay home and get things done around the house. i have not been productive around the house what so ever! and right before lunch, jesiah got sick all over the kitchen, so that was no fun. i am thinking he must have some kind of virus -- yucko!

now the little ones are asleep, i thought i may try to be productive and write a post or two and catch up on some reading blogs, some emails and fix my 'my space' profile.


full circle in the car pool line!

ok, so a few days ago, i think it was monday when we were driving to school, i had a not so friendly experience in the car pool line. so hang in there with me as i set up the stage here - we were trying to turn left into the school parking lot. we were turning left off a pretty busy road, but at close to 8 in the morning which road near charlotte isn't busy. in the school parking lot they have a lane for you to simply drive up and drop off the kids. i was trying to enter into that lane, jordyn and jesiah are still in jammies - there is no way we are getting out. the rest of the parking lot you can park and walk your kid in. ok, so i am attempting to turn left and get into the drop off line. the drop off is backed up, there is a line of cars in the right turn lane and then there is the oncoming traffic. there are also cars bypassing the right turn lane/drop off lane and pulling into the parking lot - some are parking some are trying to merge into the lane. there are cars coming from every which way... i couldn't turn left. so the suv behind me is a bit impatient and blows her horn at me, where she thinks i should go i don't know. i finally turn left when it is safe for me, my 3 kids and my new minivan. as i am sitting in the drop off lane, i see the lady in the suv, shaking her head at me and pointing and talking with a guy in an even bigger suv, both are shaking their heads at me and annoyed with me. i was so frustrated and felt bothered by their response. i immediately call susan who is very experienced in this car pool thing - asking her what did i do wrong??? of course she assured me it wasn't me and it was their problem.

i decided that morning we would leave earlier at beat the traffic mess and glares of impatient moms and dads. so the last couple mornings we have left earlier and gone a different route which puts me in that right turn lane and directly into the drop off line.

this morning we were a bit later than the previous ones, i still took the route to the right lane. as i am sitting in the right lane/drop off line, who do i see but the suv mom who was beeping at me on monday and guess where she is and what she does???? she is in the left turn lane and completely turns left into a stream of oncoming traffic - i just sighed to myself. a minute later as we approach the drop off point - we see this mom getting out of her suv with her daughter that is when my almost 7 year old son says "hey mom, that is (blank-will not disclose names) in my class with his/her mom"

wow... i am so glad that i hadn't responded back to either choices she had made on monday or today. after she made her poor choice today and before josh said that, i was thinking that perhaps i should give her a piece of my mind of how i thought she was a dangerous driver and she was putting us all at risk for her ill behavior - of course i thought this and the words didn't and wouldn't have ever come out of my mouth.

that got me to thinking about the choices we make in what we say to people and how we treat them. you never know when those people will show up full circle in the car pool line!

i am sure that i will have interactions with this mom since our kids are in the same class - i pray that i will have the strength to put the unkindness that satan puts in my head away and continue to show her a glimpse of what Christ looks like in me. i will treat her with love and kindness even though her choice of actions and reactions are not positive ones!!!

kudos to those of you who drive safely and have patience in your car pool lines!!!!!


it is way hot here...

oh my gosh, it is soooo hot here! we are inside as usual and here is a glimpse of what we look like -- we (me and all 3 kiddos) are sitting on our couch with the ac pumping, eating italian ice and watching Woody Woodpecker! my youngest is beside me wearing a buzz lightyear costume, which he wouldn't take off as we left a friend's house - he has to be roasting. as i am typing this he spills his icey treat down the front of the costume (sorry steph - i will wash it!) and then my oldest grabs a napkin meanwhile flinging the melted icey treat left in his container across a toy buzz lightyear and woody and all the way across the carpet- (thankfully i have procrastinated and didn't shampoo them this week). and literally as i type my 2 year old is having a major breakdown about water in his sippy cup and he wants milk.

i am ready for a little relief outside - it is over 100 degrees! we haven't been outside to play for more than 5 minutes in a week. i feel for my pregnant friends (sympathy to you -- tracy, christy and rene') i know if i am miserable they have to be even worse than me!

i typically am a summer girl, i like a good tan, being outside (as long as there is water nearby) and wearing summer clothing. although i am ready for fall now!

this weekend we should be cooling down to a low of 95 degrees!!


my game pieces....

i realized that in my last post i went from talking about "my groove" to talking about "my game". oh well... i hope my point was understandable.

i wanted to share with you some of the pieces that are in my game that are being shaken around or have been shaken around as of the last few months... this is a complete brain dump for me, i have no idea if you will find anything useful but it helped me clear my head... so humor me and read on....

1. church home -
in may, we were called away from our church home - we had been there for over 5 years we were very active and involved and jamil was on staff for 2 of those 5 years. when we were called away-- we had to find a new church home & we have begun to pray and figure out the areas to serve in & how to get plugged in. it is hard to establish new friends and church family. and find a place to feel connected. but we are working our way through it - and we feel so blessed to be at elevation. we are sure that is where God wants us to be, now it is just time to get plugged in and start all over. it was a sad experience to say good bye, but we are so excited to see where God takes us!

2. income & employment -
we incurred a loss b/c of leaving the church staff position & we are trying to find ways to gain that income that will not shake the balance and structure of our family. today, i was offered a 5 day a week position at the preschool where i have jordyn and jesiah signed up. they were both signed up to that i could go to school. but after considering a lot of things - thanks to my dear friend and mentor, Patti - i decided that i couldn't accept that position. in fact i have decided to not try to teach anywhere or any days this year. perhaps another year. i have been offered a great job -- to take care of our dear friends little boy who will be 3 at the end of the year. that is so exciting to me. and i have made the decision to take care of him a few days a week. that will work great with our family and also help to make up some of the financial loss we have suffered.

3. nursing school for me -
when my schedule was giving me classes on all days and all times that the kids were not in school - i had to make a choice to through our home into a mess and be scatterbrained and without my kids. so i decided - i am not going back this fall when i planned to be in the nursing program. it was a hard decision to make and a little bit sad. i am relieved, although still in shock that i am not going. it was a good decision that we made. perhaps one day i will go back! we will see what happens!!!

4. new school for josh -
for those of you who do not know, or picked up on in my previous posts, josh started school last week - he is at a new school this year. we love it!!! love it!! another change - but for the good. i am so excited to have him at union academy. him being there is a miracle in itself -- pure lottery -- purely God's hand choosing his name!!!! praise God!!!

5. preschool for jordyn and not jesiah -
i spent a lot of time debating the need to send jordyn to preschool or not. jesiah doesn't need to go (although if our finances were better and i could justify it - a few days wouldn't hurt!!) jordyn on the other hand will be starting kindergarten in a year from now and she is very attached to me. she has a hard time leaving me. so i made the decision last week to send her to preschool, i was so relieved and excited about my decision - thanks chels (she helped me w/ that one) - then i had to accept the fact that i would miss her those 3 days a week. and also that i would have to drive to her preschool which is a little far away. so today, i called around to a few preschools that are closer, i left a lot of messages. i did speak with the director at a preschool in monroe and jordyn is on the waiting list for all 3 of her 4 year old classes. she is first on two of them. so my prayer is that she gets a spot there. i love carmel wee school - love it - but from past experience, the drive is a little far - i did it for 2 years with josh and i will be sad to leave their but at the same time relieved to have her closer and the tuition will be much cheaper. so now we pray and wait...

6. mops - no more :(
every year at this time for the past four years i would be busy preparing for mops. i love mops! i miss not having to prepare and miss not having it to look forward to. it was a lot of work for me and the numerous other leaders who helped pull it off each year. but it was a lot of fun. i learned so much about myself and met so many wonderful ladies! i am sad to not have that to look forward to, but honestly i don't miss the intensity of it and the time it took away from my family. so i am praying about what to do with my self... do i want to join a bible study or bible study fellowship? i know i love having girl time and i love having accountability - but whatever i choose i don't want to be the leader of it right now. i need to decide what to do this fall.

7. ballet & sports
last year jordyn began taking ballet lessons and joshua began sports (basketball and football). jordyn will most likely take ballet again, perhaps in the afternoon/evening - i just need to find a studio and figure out what my schedule will look like and get her signed up. joshua will not be doing a fall sport, we decided that we will wait to do basketball in the winter. we will probably limit him to 2 sports a year, and once he has found his favorite one - we will concentrate on just one.

8. auto accident, new van and settlement pending for medical bills -
i still have some of this junk lingering from march when i was in the accident that totaled my van. we received a settlement for the van and i got a new one that i love - Praise God! although, i have been seeing the chiropractor since then for my neck and back. i am pretty much as good as i am going to get. i still have flare ups and some pain. after my next appointment i will probably be released from treatment and we can begin the settlement deal. i do have a lawyer so we aren't dealing with it by ourselves. so that is all still pending...

so those are the major things being shaken around in my life!! just had to share!!!

i want my groove back!!!

i know that title is a bit silly. i am not talking about my dancing ability. i am talking about my life in general. for so long i led this pretty routine, predictable, even paced (though crazy at times) life. and for this type a (a for anal) personality - i need that i rely on that. i love schedules and rarely like spontaneous stuff. i have always told my husband that i do not like surprises, i would rather know what the gift is or the plans are for whatever we are doing.

God has used soooo many events in our life to change up sooooo many things from the littlest thing to the biggest thing imaginable. i don't even know where to begin when making decisions or commitments. i know i have written about this in previous posts, so if i am repeating myself i am sorry, hang in there with me, i hope to make a new point that you or i can learn from!

but i am so not there now, on a predictable easy going life. my life is so different, so unpredictable, i don't know what the future holds whatsoever. it is so crazy i can't make a commitment for anything. i know without a shadow of a doubt that i am in and will continue to be in a better place then before. but i still yearn for the schedule and predictability.

i am going to use this as an equation to describe what is going on right now... i feel like every single piece, lets use game pieces as a visual, have been put into a shaker and are being shaken by someone who is just out to win, the pieces are being shaken up so much and so hard. it is like he is so excited about shaking that he is forgetting to let those pieces out and when they are let out they are winning pieces but they are coming out very slowly, pretty much one at a time. and when they do they are like a little surprise or a little interuption and i told you already i don't like that. and it is like some of the winning pieces are on the table but they don't make sense because the other pieces are still being shaken around. so it isn't quite creating a win b/c the other pieces are missing. i can't get a handle on what my life should look like or even will look like b/c the pieces are not lining up or matching up. i want this game to be over, but i am not the one who is shaking the pieces around to cause a win ~ but i know who that is now ~ it is Him, our precious Lord and Savior. He is the one that is the one shaking it all around, so that He can be glorified through me.

now if i can just sit back and know He will spill out all the pieces when He is ready to complete the game and not when i am ready to be spilled out. He is in control of my life my future and how He wants me to be a living example for Him. i am going to pray to have a feeling of peace and contentment.

so if you call to schedule a play date or a coffee night with me, please know i have know idea what may come up and i may have to cancel on you b/c of the next piece He has spilled out.


the little ones sneaking off to play...

Yesterday we got together with our friends, the Wilkerson's (Stephanie, Caden and Malachi) Caden (3 1/2) is just about Jordyn's age and Malachi (2 - pictured above) is Jesiah's age. Stephanie has an older son, Elijah who is 6, just 3 days older than Josh - both will be 7 very soon. Elijah is Joshua's best friend and is his special brother! While Elijah and Joshua were in school, we hung out at our house (you know it is way toooo HOT to go outside!!). We only have 2 lightsabers and we had 4 kids -- so you know how that went -- after the novelty wore off, Stephanie and I looked around and realized Jesiah and Malachi had gone off and we didn't know where. We walked into my bedroom to find both two year olds on our bed, in their complete glory having a lightsaber battle. It was way toooooo cute. They had finally both gained possession of the weapons and off they went to play by themselves. That definitely describes being a third child (getting everything last and going off to hoard it to themselves!!!)


the past week...

everything seemed to fall into place and we have begun our new routine. the week was a pretty busy one! i feel like i got to really get to know my minivan and truly indulge in the minivan mom experience (that one was for you susan!!!). part of the commitment you make as a union academy family is that you drop off and pick up your kids, there is no busing. so i spent a lot of the week in car pool lines and lanes! it really isn't that bad - i will be able to catch up on some reading!!! so each morning begins with taking josh to school and each afternoon ends with picking josh up from school and this week we took one of our friends home as well. in addition to that here is what else we did...

on monday, not only was it joshua's first day of school, we went to target and had a lunch/play date at the new mcdonald's at blakeney. by the way, that is a great place to take kids for a lunch/play date. it is very well air conditioned, which was great for us and especially my very pregnant friend, tracy! the kids played while we were able to chat and catch up. her son, ethan (2) is a pro at the play place there, they visit it often. i was so glad that they introduced us to it!! we had a great time.

on tuesday we had jordyn's birthday party. which you can read about and see pics of on another post. tuesday night our church began it's " vbs on steroids times 100" called summer blast for first grade through fifth grade. even though it was the first week of school for josh we really wanted him to go. we didn't want him to miss the biggest children's event of the summer!!! so i not only drove him to the event but we picked up his buddy, elijah, so he could come and take part in the fun too! i was totally impressed and amazed by what they had going on there. it made me want to stay. jamil was volunteering there and i had the little ones so back home we went.

on wednesday, my friend susan came over right after we dropped off our kids at school
so that jordyn and her daughter, madison could have a day together before madison starts kindergarten "full time" next week. we ended up taking the girls and jesiah and davis to the mall. the main attraction was build a bear. the kids made bears and puppies and had a great time. we did a few errands at the mall and then had lunch. then we headed to school to pick up josh and sidney. after the car pool deal, we went to pick up elijah so he could spend the afternoon with us before going to summer blast.

on thursday, amy and will came over in the morning and i ran off to get my haircut at emmy's salon and spa (new salon that i had to try b/c my friend christy isn't cutting hair anymore b/c she is prego with baby #3 and is ready to be a sahm!). i saw a stylist named kim. i really liked her and so far i have liked my cut. i chopped off all of the length and back to my classic bob!! which i love - short and easy. on my way home i picked up lunch and the kids played while we ate and talked!!! then off to do car pool and shortly after we went to pick up elijah and went to summer blast. it was the last night - it was a fabulous event. they had a great time! so did jamil (i will explain in another post!!!)

today (friday) after taking josh to school we came home and stayed home!! i did a few things around the house that had been neglected most of the week. i have come down with a nasty cold and wasn't feeling great so i ended up taking a nap with the kids. i woke up from my nap with the phone ringing ~ a little blessing from God. the first call was from my friend christy, telling me that i didn't need to pick up her son from school and then the second call was from jamil telling me he was on his way home (very early) and could pick up josh for me! so i had the afternoon off!!! and i have spent it typing this post!!!

i hope to spend the weekend resting and getting over this cold as well as having some family time. although, thinking it through i think the resting thing won't be as easy to come by, since i have a list of projects and we have 2 birthday parties tomorrow as well as friend's coming into town to stay with my parents. yeah, resting is out of the question.... oh well, when you are a busy mom of three that is hard to come by!!!


growing pains

i am almost 32 and i am having growing pains. in the last few months i have experience a lot of loss and i mean a lot. maybe not as huge of a loss as others. thankfully, i have not lost a child, a spouse or a parent. but in a few short months, there have been a list of things taken away from us: major source of income, employment, church home, church youth group, church friends, two grandmothers, a life group, a minivan (totaled in an accident), my mops group, my son's elementary school and nursing school. (i think i have listed everything, oh and recently my hair stylist decided not to continue in her business - for good reasons though)

looking at the list, i realize that nothing in my life is the same, there is nothing that is constant, everything seems ever changing. all of these things that have been removed from my life have forced me to make some changes. quickly i realized that God was working overtime in my life. He was literally pruning me of a lot of constants in my life. a lot of things i depended on and needed he took away. at first i was angry and bitter (there is a little of that still around from time to time) and felt like a wandering puppy who was lost and looking for a place to belong. well, i haven't quite arrived at that place, but i think i am on my way there.

it really didn't take long for me to realize that the reason that i am experiencing these losses, is because he is trying to get my attention, to take my focus on what was and place it on Him. well, He has my attention. my full attention. i have realized that i was doing a lot of "doing" and "talking" about God and church stuff but not having a relationship with God. I wasn't praying the way i should, i wasn't studying or learning His word

God has begun to replace some of those losses, of course in His time and not in mine. (which is slower than i would like.) during this time of waiting, i have developed some more patience. it has also taught me a lot about life and about God and about who i want to be and who God is calling me to be. that is where the growing pains are taking place. i am learning so many things about myself. some things have been hard and painful. but most have given me the desire to be a woman who relies on and puts her faith in God. and i know that is the whole point of these growing pains. the growth i am seeing and will continue to see is amazing.