to watch or not to watch....

so one of my decisions today is whether or not to watch the season premiere of lost. a few weeks ago, i decided to watch all three seasons of lost. my goal was to watch them all before the season premiere. well, that has far from happening. i am about 3/4 of the way through season 1. i don't know why i thought i would be able to watch all three seasons in less than a month. it isn't like i sit around all day watching tv and chilling out. i have been doing good to watch one episode a night and usually that is between 10 and 11 at night.

this goal started out with my husband along side of me. but he hasn't been able to keep up his end of the deal (which means by the time we start watching, he is tired and falls asleep). so i have been making my way through the past episodes all by myself. fearing that abc.com will take off the past 3 seasons. let's pray they don't!

anyway, i am hooked! and i am trying to decide if i should watch the premiere tonight or wait until i finish all three seasons. will i be "lost" if i watch it tonight? will i have missed to much?

if you are a lost fan and reading this.... please give me your input?? to watch or not to watch??

his own decision...

on tuesday afternoon, i asked joshua if he was ready to go to our meeting that evening. he remembered that he and i were going to "go deep". (go deep, as i mentioned in a previous post, was a meeting for kids at elevation to explore baptism.) he also remembered that it was basketball practice night. he told me he wanted to go to basketball practice and he would attend "go deep" another time. i explained to him that if he wanted to be baptized this was his chance to learn more and he had to go to this class before getting baptized.

during our conversation, he thought of different ways he could attend both and he changed his mind several times. i really wanted this decision to be his. i also felt if he made the "right" choice that it would say a lot about his decision to be baptized. we went back and forth and talked through it. it was a tough decision. he loves basketball. and jamil is his coach so they get to spend this time together.

then, i told joshua a story from my own personal life of how i had to make a hard decision last week when two important events fell on one night. momtourage (my women's book study) and movement (leadership development meeting) were both scheduled for monday night. i told him how mommy had to choose the meeting over the book study. i didn't tell him we actually cancelled momtourage because over half of us were at movement. this story really registered with him.

i told joshua i would let him think about it. i left the kitchen.

when i returned, joshua had two photo cards in front of him. both of them were from pastor and holly, pictures of their family. immediately, fearing they would get ripped or smudged or stained, i told him to put them back on the refrigerator. he said "no, mom, looking at these pictures are helping me to make my decision about the meeting tonight. i am looking at pastor steven." so i asked, "what do you think pastor steven would want you to choose, basketball or go deep?" he said, "go deep".

then i asked out of curiousity, "what do you think your daddy would want you to choose?" he said, "basketball". which this response is totally of a seven year old who loves his daddy and knows daddy loves basketball.

joshua continues to amaze me. i was shocked that he thought to look at a picture of our pastor to help make his decision. he knew what pastor would do. he knew the right decision was to choose go deep. it was a hard decision, but in the end he did choose "go deep".

thinking of how he used a picture of pastor, the leader of our church, spoke volumes to me about who Pastor is. joshua has only met and been around pastor a very few times. and when he is, joshua says little, he really just looks at him and stares. he has developed a respect for Pastor. even a seven year old little boy can identify the high calling God has on Pastor Steven's life.

moments like this really affirm to me that jamil and i aren't doing such a bad job raising this little boy to be a Godly man.

joshua will be baptized at elevation on feb. 10 at 2:30!! it is going to be an awesome day for the life of our church and also for our family.


what i have been doing...

this past weekend i attended the revolve tour with a group of wonderful high school girls! we had a great time friday night and all day saturday. on friday afternoon, my friend stephanie came into charlotte from georgia with one of her girls from her youth group so they can attend the tour. and on saturday, my friend anita joined in on the fun! i must say we had a great time. but i felt a little out of my element during the hawk nelson concert - although a group of us went "backstage" to meet them and i do have an autographed copy of the program.

on sunday, the kids and i spent the morning at elevation for all three services at providence. i was there to work with the e-kidz volunteer coordinator! she is training me to do what she does at our butler campus. i am soooo excited. i am going to be working directly with her as well as the children's director at butler. i love both of those gals!! and i am honored to serve elevation in this capacity!!

monday was spent getting back into the swing of things. and then we had a leadership development meeting - now to be called "movement" for elevation! what an awesome experience. to hear pastor share from his heart and to be surrounded by a room (crowded one at that) full of unified leaders is a great way to start off the week!

today, my friend chelsea came over. our girls had a great time playing together. her daughter, anagrace is jordyn's first best friend. they were busy playing while we were able to get into a few good conversations! as well as a little pampering session!! it is always a good day when we can have friends come over and a chance to be real!!!

just like last week... on thursday, i was having a pretty bad morning. i had plans to get together with anita and was thinking about canceling. as i sat on the phone and doing a few things on the laptop, i looked at my extremely messy house and my undressed messy haired kiddos, she pulled into my driveway. talk about being real. she got to see me and all my realness that day! but having her and her girls come over that day was a blessing! i am so glad she didn't call before coming b/c if she had, i would have canceled on her.

tonight, was a great night (with a story that i must save for a future blog post), joshua and i attended a meeting for kids who are interested in being baptized!! elevation has a baptism coming up in a few weeks. this meeting went over the basics of baptism for kids. of course, it was done elevation style -- nothing less than excellent! they had a skit with hilarious actors who walked us through accepting christ, being baptized and sharing christ with friends! joshua has decided to be baptized! yeah! he made the decision to miss basketball practice to go to this meeting tonight! i was very proud of him!


slow down...

as i was driving way too fast yesterday, racing to pick up my son from school, a huge tractor trailer pulled out right in front of me. i was on my phone making plans with another small group leader. i decide to use the left turn lane to go around him (i guess that is called illegal passing). as i am flying down the center lane, i spot a police officer in the other lane. great - so i figure since i am in the left lane, i should pretend to turn left. i had to drive a few hundred feet to reach my destination. as i begin turning into the random parking lot, the police officer follows me with his lights on.

panicked by the thought of being late picking up josh and getting a ticket we can no way afford - i began to get upset. when the officer came to my side, i explained (sobbing and slurring) i was running late and needed to get my son. i also mumbled a bunch of stuff i don't remember exactly what. doing anything i can to plead my case to get out of this situation i put myself in. he explained he still needed my license.

as he is running my plates, i called a friend to grab joshua from car pool for me. he came back to tell me that he was letting me go. he told me, ma'am you need to slow down, because it really didn't pay off to get pulled over, it only took more time out of my day (his too, i am sure he was thinking).

those were two words i needed to hear yesterday. it has been a wild and crazy busy week. the police officer's two words telling me to slow down, i think were a gift from God - words that God would have told me earlier in the week, if i had only stopped to SLOW DOWN long enough to hear Him.

i got the message loud and clear and gratefully without a huge penalty to pay (i am so sorry my friend erin was not so lucky to get out of hers last week)


have to/want to

here is a list of what i have to do today...
~ unpack from our trip
~ clean the house (not just straighten up - deep clean!!) - we are having a houseful of friends this weekend for the Revolve tour!!
~ laundry
~ make a list and go to the grocery store
~ more laundry
~ pick up josh from school
~ did i say laundry?

here is what i want to do today....
~ read blogs
~ catch up on emails
~ talk to the phone
~ work on stuff for ekidz (which in a future post, i will explain the new role i am taking on!!!!)
~ finish a book with only a few chapters left
~ watch the next 5 episodes of "Lost:Season 1"
~ download songs and podcasts to my ipod
~ listen to the sermon from Sunday

can i do it all??? sure i am super mom with super multi tasking powers!
yeah right!

life verses...

if you look over to the right on my blog you will notice that i added 2 life verses. a few weeks ago, my friend, marybeth, challenged her readers to find a life verse for this new year. i thought, searched and prayed for one that i could really use this year. one that could sustain me, encourage me, comfort me and one that i could really her God speaking through me. well now i have mine!! two actually.

life verse #2 is one that i have always held tight to. it speaks to me when i am fearful or full of worry. it also prevents me from getting anxious when a new situation in my life arises. i have to keep that one around. jamil actually reminded me that it was a life verse of mine. so i am keeping that one around!!

now the story of how i acquired life verse #1. two weeks ago in our small group, i was blessed with this verse! we were each given cards to write our names on and then we were to write something encouraging on the card about each other. i recalled doing something very similar when i was in high school and then also several years ago in a women's bible study. i have held onto the words that were written to me. i love to go back and read them. it is very encouraging to read those especially when you are feeling beaten down.

when i received my card back it was full of encouraging and loving words! also, written on my card was a reference to matthew 6:33, written by our small group leader. after reading what he wrote and thinking about that scripture reference i realized that was the life verse i had been praying for! it is wonderful to think about how God works and how he used john to deliver the answer to my prayer.

so here is my shout out to our awesome leaders, john and heather - thank you for all you do, for being obedient to God, for blessing our lives and for being who God made you - you are the greatest leaders and we love being a part of your group - the best group ever!!


weekend getaway...

we spent this past weekend visiting our friends, the wilkerson's who live in georgia. they moved to villa rica, georgia in november. and with a long weekend we were able to travel to see them. we left friday evening and came home late yesterday. it was a great weekend away. the kids had a great time - all six of them. the wilkerson's have three boys who are the same ages as our three.

after staying up way too late on friday night, saturday we spent relaxing and watching the snow fall! the kids loved playing with each other, especially when we went out for a snowball fight. we watched a movie (rush hour 3 - funny!!) after the kids were in bed. on sunday stephanie took me for a tour of the town, we went out to lunch and then up (or down?) to douglasville to go shopping. it was a fun day! (btw - they are having a killer sale at children's place!! if you need kid's clothes go check out their monster sale!!). we relaxed and ate a late dinner that night. after a few tears, we headed back home yesterday. josh didn't want to leave his best buddy, elijah. we hit some stand still traffic on 85 which put us behind about an hour and a half. not too fun. but we got home safe and sound, here are a few pics:


mood swings...

up early because of phone call ~ grumpy mom.
check weather - snow everywhere ~ happy mom
school's closed today ~ happy mom!
no school ~ no driving to school ~ happy mom!
josh home = extra kid ~ happy mom!
hubby has to go to work ~ sad mom
find 101 temp and sore throat on joshua ~ sad mom!
adding "day care" kid (four total now) ~ stressed mom
doing some volunteer work for elevation ~ happy mom!
long phone conversation (2 hours 24 min.) with best friend ~ happy happy mom!
youngest locks bathroom door - struggle to unlock it ~ frustrated mom.
call waiting comes in from long distant best friend ~ happy mom!
making plans to go see long distant best friend ~ really happy mom!
lost internet connection ~ frustrated mom.
realized it wasn't lost b/c of failure to pay bill ~ relieved mom!
lost volunteer work - excel doc. ~ grumpy mom.
bf's husband tried to help find the doc. - over the phone - couldn't ~ appreciative mom
messy messy house ~ grumpy mom!
hungry kids + hungry mom = grumpier mom.
make soup and sandwiches, mom wants to eat something other than that ~ discontent mom
ask kid's to clean up messy rooms - doesn't get done the way i want ~ stressed mom
tell them to forget cleaning up it is time for naps ~ relieved mom
put all four kids down for naps in a 3 bedroom house ~ challenged mom
take oldest's temp. still 101 ~ worried mom
one kid sleeping in our walk in closet ~ guilty mom
everyone quiet ~ happy mom
have time for myself: to finish volunteer work, check email, read & write blogs ~ happy mom!!!!
make time for a quiet time with the lord ~ content and joyful mom!!!



as a wife and a mom, i don't feel like i accomplish much of anything in a day. i pretty much see a lot of my days as "failures". i have this list of stuff to do everyday and it never gets done. and that makes me feel like i am failing. i am not accomplishing anything. many of the things on my list have been there for weeks and weeks. and it isn't like i am not doing anything, it is just that everything i do gets undone. i mean everything. a task is never completed in my life as it is now. i have a very driven personality and thrive on getting things done. when i feel i have accomplished something, i feel productive and like i have a purpose.

i have been out of the "workforce" pretty much since joshua was born, which was over seven years ago. that i do not regret. jamil and i made the choice best for our family, which was for me to be at home with our children. i question that choice only when it comes to the financial decisions and positions we have been in and are it. but that is the only time i have questioned it. we have learned a lot and we have sacrificed A LOT. when i think about that i feel like we haven't accomplished much of anything financially. our position stays the same. frustrating to say the least.

being a stay at home mom for some reason hasn't seem to fulfill my need for accomplishment. maybe because what i do every day gets undone by three sets of little hands. laundry is never completed, we are always digging through the basket for clean socks and underwear, hey, at least they are clean. there is a never ending trail of toys around our house and when they get picked up they are never put away where i'd like them to go. as soon as i vacuum or mop something is spilled and i have to do it all over again. the dishwasher is always full with no room for more and just as i have it cleaned up, i cook another meal and there is another mess. there are always bills to be paid or arrangements to be made, and as soon as they are taken care of another one comes in. my basket of paperwork is always full, as soon as it is clear, the mail comes in or the folder from school is unloaded. the calendar is always packed with parties, practices, lessons, meetings etc. and just as soon as the gas tank is full, it disappears again. my point in saying that is again, everything i touch gets undone. it doesn't stay completed. and i find myself frustrated every single day.

up until the summer of last year, in addition to my life as a mom, i always have had something on my plate to organize, plan, conquer, strategize and be challenged by. when we left our previous church in may of last year, we stepped down from a staff position (which was jamil's but i was his untitled and unpaid "assistant" pastor) as well as volunteer positions (notice the plural there b/c i mean more than one for real). for several years, i coordinated a mops (mothers of preschoolers) group. it was a challenge and it really was a part time job. it kept me quite busy. and that combined with assisting jamil, plus all the other stuff i volunteered for, i was over the top busy. i felt a sense of accomplishment over those several years.

over the last several months, i haven't had these types of responsibilities on my plate. i think God removed them from me for a reason. i think that he wanted me in a less busy state so that i can focus more on Him. and honestly, i have been able to do that. i have been careful in what i say yes to. i also say no a lot more. i have been intentional about the balance in my life. but yet i am stil not feeling a sense of "getting the job done"

so i sit here thinking i need something more to do. i think that but have the fear of becoming too busy. or maybe it is the fear of disobedience. didn't God already take those areas that caused too much disruption to our family, didn't he take them away from me for a reason? but for some reason i feel the need to add something else, something that perhaps i can do and it will stay done.

so it has come to this place for me. what i think i need is a sense of accomplishment in the things that i already do. the things God has put in my path. i don't need more. i just need to pray and ask him for an attitude of contentment for what is on my plate. i just need to pray that God will show me how what i am doing right now is accomplishing something. and that adding something more isn't the solution.

i need to learn how to thrive in the areas that he has given to me already. i need to spend some time looking at how i can be more intentional in those areas i am already committed to. i need to think and pray over how i can be more intentional in the relationships he has placed in my life, my husband, my children and my friends. i can also look at the commitments i have made outside of my friends and family and how can i use my gifts to be more intentional in those areas. adding something won't fill this void. only He can fill this void. only He can show me how to feel accomplished in what He has already given to me.


he's got it!!!

last night, while we were eating dinner, joshua asked us if he could be baptized. i asked him what made him want to be baptized. i don't even recall his reply exactly, but our discussion went on to talk about what baptism is. he told us he wanted to go into the water and come out a new person. he wanted to do this so God would help him to make the right choices. jamil and i told him when he gets baptized that it is his way of telling our church family and others that he has accepted Christ into his heart and he will commit to following Him. he said he understood that and that he has God in his heart. he even prayed the prayer to God.

there have been other times he has asked to be baptized, usually when he has seen a friend do it. but jamil and i haven't felt it came from his heart, he just wanted to do it because he watched someone else. we also hadn't felt he had the right understanding of what it means to accept Christ and therefore be baptized. but this time it sincerely appears to be different.

i have seen a tremendous amount of spiritual growth in joshua over the last several months. he isn't a perfect child, he still disobeys, drives his sister crazy, talks back and can outsmart his mom. but even as adult christians, are we perfect? do we have it all together? do we make the best decisions? most certainly not. having a relationship with Christ is an ongoing ever changing process. we grow, we learn , we make mistakes, we learn again and grow some more.

i really think for where he is as a seven year old, he understands enough to make the decision to love and honor God. so, i say i think he's got it!! it's time to celebrate! another one for Christ!!

jamil and i certainly talk with him, answer questions and read bible stories to him consistently. but what he receives while being in e-kidz (elevation's awesome children's ministry) has certainly been significant in this process.

on our first day at elevation (May 13, 2007- exactly 8 months ago yesterday), joshua left saying "this is the best church i have ever been to". you have to understand elevation is only the second church josh has known. he has always felt loved, welcomed and comfortable being in e-kidz. even when we moved over to the butler campus, the transition was smooth. i am so thankful for every small group leader, teacher, greeter, actor and worship leader that joshua has been in contact with. all of these amazing volunteers have been our "partners" in achieving this goal for joshua to know and love God. words really can not express my gratitude.

it is so exciting to be a part of a church who understands and values the importance of a thriving children's ministry. a church that understands that reaching people is what it is about. a church who has a clear vision statement and never strays from that...

...so that people far from God would be filled with life in Christ!



because of pastor's sermon this past sunday, i have been thinking about disappointments a lot this week. i have thought of them in three different ways.

pastor steven referred to disappointments in regards to our Heavenly Father and how we have let Him down. that is something i know i have done and his sermon really spoke to that. the main focus of his sermon was that just because you disappoint God, He does not "un-appoint" you from what He has planned for you. that is so comforting to know that our God has a plan for us and even when we let him down or do Him wrong, he still loves us and still wants His plan for us carried out. this was the first disappointment i have thought about this week.

another way i thought of disappointment this is when we disappoint another person. i am the type of person who is built to please. a people pleaser - if you will. i thrive on building others up and not letting them down. so i really try not to disappoint other people. i have also been disappointed by other people in my life. who hasn't been? disappointing or be disappointed by someone else isn't a pleasant experience. but it happens.

what happens when we are let down by something or someone else?? this brings me to the third way i have thought of disappointment this week.

last year, i experience a lot of disappointments. and because my life was so full of them, i put them behind me and i sailed into this year with the attitude that it is a new year and i shouldn't face too many disappointments. well,i was wrong. already in this second week of this new year, i was thrown a disappointment. i didn't even see it coming, it came out of no where.

after a year of feeling beaten down, i don't have the strength to pull out of this one. it is too early. it has pretty much hit me and knocked me down. being down is not a fun place to be. it tends to immobilize me. my attitude is less than positive. my heart just feels broken and sad. my head is spinning. my body is tired.

as a wife, mom, servant and Christ follower, i have to make the decision to see past this disappointment. to rise above it. to see this as part of God's plan. to know He is with me even though i feel alone and far from Him. to feel the hope and faith that only He can provide. i have people counting on me. He is counting on me to get up from this interference that threw me off track.

but not today. i have another wound to heal. and it will take some time. i know what i need to do. i just need some time to get there.


wonderful number...

this week i think 3,000 is a wonderful number! first of all, as i mentioned in a previous post, elevation hit a record attendance number of over 3,000.

today, i have had over 3,000 hits on my blog since i installed the counter in october. wow. that is pretty cool. although, i must say i am very humbled by and a little bewildered at who reads this thing.

so for those of you reading - thank you so much! i hope that my blog will touch you (or someone) in some way and that God will be honored by it's existence.


yesterday i didn't really spend much time if any in the blog world or even on email. three of my friends were emailing back and forth yesterday, each time including me in each of the emails, we (really they) were finalizing plans for our playdate for today. but i never once "replied to all" during their "conversation" until late in the afternoon. and when i did i told them that i was sorry for being MIA. i was missing in action from the little world that lives inside my computer.

and i realized my last past was on my exhaustion. where as i am not basking in sleep and peacefulness a hotel room like my dear friend, i have caught up on some of my sleep. i am feeling a little more rested. thanks so much to all of you who were praying for me!

i actually have a few posts in the works and will work on finishing them as soon as i can. so, in the meantime i wanted you to know i haven't run away (yet) to escape this exhaustion, but i did consider hiding in chelsea's suitcase. now i am working on hugh to take us to disney world when he takes his family!!!

stay posted for more posts to come (some good stuff in the works - if i might say so myself!!)....


exhausted to tears...

i haven't been sleeping so well over the last week or so. i will fall asleep just fine -- i have no trouble then. it is when one of my two younger children come into my room and attempt to climb in our bed. this has been happening a few times a night. they take turns. honestly, between the two of them i am sometimes up 4 or 5 times a night. once i am up i have the hardest time getting back to sleep. if i manage to get back to sleep, i am usually awaken again. and even if there is a good night and no one enters our room, i will be awaken by something else and then find it hard to fall asleep again. i lay there frustrated. and then my mind begins to wander. i will begin to worry about things. then i will begin to plan or organize in my head. then i begin to pray. sometimes i drift off to sleep other times it doesn't seem that i do. and then the alarm goes off...

last night was just as i described. and today i am as exhausted to tears. i had planned to take a nap during the kids' naptime and it did not go as planned. jordyn never took a nap so i heard hear playing in her room. at one point i drifted and then was awoken. then i laid on the couch in tears and frustrated. i needed a nap so bad, i just couldn't sleep.

now, the long afternoon begins or better known as "the bewitching hours". i will be on countdown until bedtime. it can't come soon enough. until then i will be exhausted to tears.


first day back...

today, was josh's first day back to school after a two week break. he wasn't thrilled to get up and get going. but he did it! so we are back in routine here. although after dropping him off this morning (at 7:45 and in my new pj's from target!) i got to come straight home!! yeah! it was so nice to not have to pick up tucker and take him and jordyn to preschool. so, this morning i have been checking and responding to email, checking our evite to momtourage (book study for moms at elevation), updating facebook, creating an icebreaker for momtourage and sending out a few evites for next sunday to elevation. jesiah and jordyn have been playing pretty well by themselves.

oh, if you haven't heard... we hit an all time high in attendance yesterday over 3500 people were at elevation chruch - b/w 2 locations and 5 services!!!! WOW! And to top the day off over 100 people gave their lives to Christ!! AMAZING!!! .... I love that word & I have been using that word a lot. It has been truly describing the things happening around here!! the things that God is doing at Elevation and in our personal life!!

today I am going to catch up on some laundry and cleaning. I will be gearing up to run to the store before momtourage. i am so excited to see my friends from momtourage and to meet all the new ladies that will be there! God is all over this group of ladies!!!


back from target....

tonight i went to my last session of dream dinners for awhile (another thing we are cutting back on) and then on to target! i just love target. i will never forget 10 years ago when i visited my first target in matthews, nc. my friend, jen, took me there and told me i would never ever be the same after visiting "tar-jay". and i haven't been.

target is my favorite place. i love going there, i really love going without kids. so wouldn't you know i am not the only one with this obsession. i was just reading over my friend, melanie's blog and she talked about her love for it too! wow, two of us love the same place unheard of, right? all of that written in pure sarcasm. i am sure their are a lot of you out there who love you some good old "tar-jay"

here is the best part, my friend, mel put a link at the bottom of her post to this blog. a new addition to my blogroll. if you love target ~ you will love this one!

oh, i can't forget to mention i am sitting here typing this in my new jammies that were on clearance!! gotta love it!! this post will serve as my gotta love it/gotta have it post. i hadn't done one of those in awhile.

settling down...

it seems to be a common theme amongst my friends, family and fellow bloggers that everyone has this need to cut back, take out the busy-ness, and to stop overcommiting. it seems everyone is looking for a more simple life. and that definitely includes me.

ever since the beginning of the school year, when i took on a lot of responsibilities in a short amount of time, i haven't felt settled or in a routine. i ran around a lot with no real direction it seemed.

for the first couple of weeks i questioned decisions i had made about commitments in my life and felt like something needed to change, that i needed to cut something back. but i didn't know what. i waited for an answer from whoever would give it to me. it didn't ever come... i just kept up this really ridiculous pace for over four months.

i don't want to bore you with the details of my schedule but let me tell you it was a nightmare. running from school to school, picking up kids, dropping them off, running errands, running useless errands, spending more money than i had, sitting and waiting to drop off at one of two schools or pick up at a school. then then i would get home and it was near time to make dinner, check homework, sort through mail (aka throwing it in a pretty basket on the counter most of the time), return emails and phone calls and then time again to run somewhere else or wait for someone to be picked up. i kept hearing the words you need to cut back, you are doing too much from so many people. but i didn't know how or what to cut back on, what to say "no" too. everything i said yes to was to benefit my family right? school, preschool, part time jobs, extra activities... those are all great things until they have you so exhausted you can't function.

at the end of the day or really the end of the afternoon, i was exhausted and so stressed out. i was so exhausted that my husband and kid's got second best from me. they got a tired, grouchy, unhappy wife and mom who just yelled and snipped and fussed. i was exhausted from being that person, exhausted from giving my family the leftovers. i was stressed because i was always on the go and doing and things weren't getting done at home. i needed a break, a change, a solution.

over the holiday break, i evaluated my daily schedule. a great time to do it because it was quiet around here. we didn't need to go anywhere and i saw my life with a lot of "no's"; no school, no car pool, no waiting in car pool or parking lots, no driving all over the place, no preschool, no working at preschool, no picking up the little boy i care for, no waiting on his parents to pick him up, no spending extra money or running useless errands, no ballet, no basketball, no doctor's appointments, no work for jamil, no small group to lead, no small group to attend, no book study. no. none. a lot of family time and time spent doing things around the house and errands that were a necessity. simple life and settled down.

you may read this and think that is no different from what i do. or you may read this and be dog tired. for me, i realized by looking at all i do in a day, things could be rearranged and cut back. but it would mean i would have to say "NO" to some things.

God helped us in this process by giving us some answers. the biggest decision i made to was to take jordyn out of preschool (gasp... i am sure some of you are doing that right now). taking her out of preschool would mean a lot of time freed up in that crazy mess of a schedule. her preschool is a good 20-25 minute drive from home. (which i did for josh for 2 years and i couldn't make it through one more year.) with it being so far away from home two days a week i was stuck out away from home basically killing time and spending money that i didn't have. the third day of the week, i worked at her preschool basically which paid for her to go there. another day of the week i had to be away from home. and in that crazy schedule i manage to keep an extra child, picking him up from home and preschool as well as taking him to preschool. not to mention taking josh to school every day and picking him up 3 days (praise God for Angie who i car pool with).

all that to say, i made a huge decision that really goes against the grain of what most moms do. i said no to the preschool. i pounded myself with guilt and waivered on my decision several times a day. but i needed to do it for the sake of my sanity and the sake of my family.

i am ready to settle down. i am ready to live a more simple life. i am ready to give my family my firsts. and not my seconds.

it has been quite a journey. it has taken a while to get to this place of desiring a simple life. i am glad to be on my way to living a life that gives my family and friends my best.


such comfort...

i have such comfort in the fact that God has placed amazing people in my life at just the right times. friendships are such a blessing from Him. being able to connect with other women is so refreshing and so empowering.

today, i took jordyn to ballet. which is one of the highlights of our week. the studio (masterpiece studio) and her teacher (ms. jackie) are awesome. on our way there, not even 5 minutes from home, i realized we left jordyn's tap & ballet shoes at home. so i turned around to get them and when i did we were rushing to get there. and wouldn't you know it, i got behind a school bus, got stuck in school traffic, hit every red light, got stuck waiting for a train and then got behind slow traffic and a tractor trailer on 74. so i rushed her in to class. once i got settled, i sat with the other "dance moms" and we chatted.

but you know, it wasn't just chatter or small talk like you think you would get when taking your daughter to ballet. what i received from those ladies was such a comfort to my heart and soul. God blessed me today by allowing me to spend time with three wonderful ladies who i am so glad i can call my friends. i don't know each of them very well or for a very long amount of time. but i know that God has positioned them in my life for a reason.

we were able to talk very honestly and openly mostly about parenting and being moms. there was such an awesome amount of transparency present in the tiny waiting area crowded with 4 moms and seven children, not taking ballet.

i take comfort in the fact that when God takes something away from us it is for the benefit of us, even though we don't know why. and when he takes something away from us he always replaces it with something even better, even if we don't know when. He has done this for me with my friendships over the past year.

i value the gift of friendship. there is nothing better than being able to be open and real and honest with others who are being the same. God has been blessing me with some amazing women who i am so glad i can call my friends. i praise Him for true frienships that stand the test of time and i praise Him for new friendships that He brings in just the nick of time.


serious quiet time...

after lunch today i put the little kids to sleep and put the big one in front of the tv. i was in need of some serious quiet time. at first, i thought i was going to take a nap. our kids have made a hobby of coming into our room several times a night over the last week or so, all for various reasons and at different times, so i thought a nap would be a good idea.

god had other plans for my serious quiet time, not involving sleep or blogging or making a phone call. he got my attention and we had a heart to heart. wow... the power of getting quiet and being still in front of the lord is amazing.

i had my bible, my journal and my ipod. i listened to 2 songs that have been really speaking to me (amazed by jared anderson and a greater song by paul baloche). i was able to really talk and listen to god and he revealed so many things to me in this hour that we had together.

i realized a list of things that i needed to let go of, to set free & to put into his hands. i didn't want to carry the burden of those things any longer and he didn't want me to. he also brought it to my attention that i have been asking him for direction and answers and i haven't been available to listen to what he has been telling me. i thought he went silent, because that does happen, but he didn't i just wasn't listening.

my serious quiet time is something i realized i have been missing over the last few months. i am bringing this experience that i had on the second day of this year with me throughout the rest of this year. it is a necessity that i forgot about. and that can't happen any longer. he is the strength and the answer to what i need to live a life full of joy this year.

so often i overlook and forget about having a quiet time. i pray a lot during the day, but a serious quiet time, where i can reflect and listen i put aside. i become to busy to stop, be still and be amazed by Him. and when i forget i am lost. and my days don't go right and i get nothing done. and all along, i have had the answer right in front of me ~ look to Him! He has the answers, the directions, the strength, the comfort, the companionship and the love i need.

wandering & pondering...

early this morning, jamil went back to work after being off for a week and a half. we had a wonderful time while he was off. our days were spent just hanging out and having some major family time! we did venture out and about a few times, but for the most part we stayed at home. we relaxed a lot! it was much needed time together and resting!!

today, i have found myself deep in thought and wandering around a lot. it seems i can't really get anything done. i am just walking around in circles. i have a lot of thoughts going through my head on what this year is going to look like for our family.

i had high ambitions of accomplishment today, but i do not feel like i am completing much of anything. i think i am just playing catch up today. i have straightened up parts of the house, only to be undone by three little helpers. i have made a few phone calls and replied to several emails. i have made lists of things i want to accomplish this year, like projects and such. i have downloaded a few songs on my new ipod (merry christmas to me - i was a good girl!). i am having a hard time coming off of "vacation mode". it is like my mind wants to get things done, but my body just wants to stay resting.


new year, new look...

please bear with me as i put my blog "under construction"

enchanted new year...

happy new year to you! was yours an enchanted one?

this morning as i was lounging on the couch -- i received a phone call from my new friend, anita, who was calling to invite jordyn and i to a girl's afternoon out! anita and i just met a few weeks ago, her husband, philip, is elevation's new family life pastor. a wonderful family!

so, after approving it with the wonderful hubby (who held down the fort and even cooked the pork roast while i was gone) we made plans to take our girls (anita's oldest daughter - savannah grace) to see enchanted! we had such a great time. our girls are close in age and are definitely a match for each other - they have similar personalities and give each other a run for their money.

the movie is awesome!! it is very family (mother-daughter) friendly. it is very cute and funny. and it has mcdreamy(patrick dempsey) in it!!! being a princess wanna be - i loved it!! so did anita... oh and the little girls did too!!! it is a must see if you have little girls!! we ran into my friend, susan and her girls, they had the same idea for a girls day out!

anita brought her camera and took a few pics, click here and you can view her blog and see our pics!