Mack is 12!

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Mack turned 12 today! Wow! Twelve years went by in a flash. He has been a ball of laughter ever since he entered our family. Something about the baby of the family— they always have an audience ready to laugh at them and give them constant attention–they are just funny!! We love laughing at and with Mack.

He requested lunch at Chick-fil-a and then a day at home playing outside and ending with me cooking hamburgers and French fries and baked beans for dinner. He threw some baseball with Josh using his new glove. He had some Reeces Ice Cream cake and is now watching the University of Georgia baseball team on television. He’s had phone calls and text messages and even a visit from our favorite 20 year old intern.It’s just a been a great day all around as we’ve celebrated Mack.

I hope Mack has an amazing year being 12 years old. He is a fun kid, and he is growing up so fast {and let’s me know he is isn’t a baby anymore in many, many ways!}. I love being his mom.

I’d be happier if….

There’s no life in “stuff.”

This is a statement I have heard Josh make many, many times throughout the last 10 years or so of our marriage. We came to realize that there is no life in stuff only after trying to find some life in some stuff. And from time to time the lie tries to weasel its way back into my everyday thinking. Sometimes I am at the mall when it happens, but mostly it happens when I am driving down the quaint streets just outside of the Queen City’s sky rise buildings. These southern Charlotte homes are large and situated on immaculately landscaped lots—lush and quite perfect. The front doors seem so welcoming. Sitting in the driveway is usually a Land Rover or a Benz (or both!). These people clearly have it made. 

One evening several months ago I was driving through an area of gorgeous homes with my kids in the car. Feeling the desire to have one of these houses rise up within me, I said to my kids, “Isn’t it funny that sometimes I ride past these amazing homes and think that I would be happier if I lived in one of them? I know that is not true at all. I realize there is no life in stuff, and even if you have one of these houses your life does not consist of your stuff, but MAN these houses are soooooo gorgeous.”

Then, I asked them, “What, in your mind, would make you happier?” 

Ruby said if it was summer all the time then she would be happier. {In my opinion, that was a great answer that I could relate to easily.}

Molly mentioned that having another dog would make her life better. {In my opinion, that was clearly a silly, untrue answer that I couldn’t understand at all.} 

Mack was fairly quiet, so I jumped in and said, “Like, the SEC Championship, Mack. If UGA had beaten Alabama, your life wouldn’t be better.”

He quickly said, “Oh yes it would.”

“No, Mack. You would not have real happiness just because Georgia beat Alabama. It wouldn’t make life truly better.”

Again, the reply from Mack came quickly and confidently, “Mom. Yes it would. I would totally be happier if UGA had beaten Alabama.”

He was clearly not tracking with my whole “real joy isn’t dependent on circumstances” talk.

I tried several more times to re-phrase my point or help him get what I was saying, but it never got through to him. I suppose I chose a bad example for an 11 year old football-loving boy.

He is still 11. And on Sunday the pastor had us write down five things that bring joy to our lives. He even told us that since we were in church we should write Jesus in our number one spot. So let me share the rest of Mack’s list:

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I told the girls we made it in at number five as “Fam,” but it’s super heavy on the Josh side. 

This boy cracks me up. He’s honest, I’ll give him that. But what must a mother do to make it on his top five joy-giving list? Josh even makes the ribs and mashed potatoes he loves. And Josh watches the most football with him! 

Mack clearly has plenty to learn about where real joy and life that is truly life comes from. But don’t we all?

Luke 12:15 “Beware and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”

First-time Mom

There’s nothing quite like a first-time mom. 

I tried to read the list entitled, “Ruby’s Schedule,” outloud to my family when I found it in the mail just last week. But I could barely speak for laughing. At myself. Ruby, now almost 15 years old, just looked at me, confused.

Evidently, my mother was coming to watch Ruby when she was a baby so Josh and I could get away for a night. A night. One single night. I left instructions for my mom and 14 years later she found them and sent them to me in the mail.

I carefully positioned dashes next to what should happen every 10 minutes or less. I suppose I intended my mom to check off each “event” as it happened. And I included many clarifying details in case my mom was still confused after reading the basic command.

“________ Ruby wakes up

(Go downstairs with her and she will play on her blanket with her toys or standing at her table while you fix her bottle)

  _________ Feed Ruby her bottle”

Yes, mom, don’t let baby Ruby who cannot even walk yet go downstairs alone. And also, duh, she made a bottle. Ruby is the only baby in the house. Probably a safe bet that she would feed that bottle she just made to Ruby. But thanks for the clarification, Kristy.

“________ Ruby will take a bath

(Dry off, diaper, lotion, brush hair, etc and dress in whatever you want)”

Because obviously this woman I call mother wouldn’t know to DRY OFF the wet baby?!? Again, what in the world was I thinking? She successfully raised three kids of her own. Someone should have reminded me of this fact before I printed this hilariousness.

I take some solace in the last part though, “dress in whatever you want.” I didn’t have Ruby’s clothes pre-picked out for my mother, so I must have been a teeny-tiny bit laid back…maybe?

Maybe not. 

But what got me rolling in laughter was the second page of directions under “BATH TIME.” 

  “This is a fun time for her especially if you are giving her constant attention.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! This is code for : Please, mother, pay close attention to Ruby while she is in the tub of water lest she drowns on your watch.

In my defense (really, there is none), my mom came to stay with Molly when she was only 7 weeks old because Ruby was in the hospital for four days due to septic knee. Miraculously, when I returned home, Molly was sleeping through the night. I was totally surprised! 

“So, you never had to get up in the night with Molly crying for a bottle??” I had asked my mom.  

“No, I never heard her cry one bit,” she confidently replied.

Molly probably realized pretty quick that Sweety is near-deaf and wasn’t gonna hear her crying, so she might as well sleep through the night.

My point being that my mom is pretty laid back or maybe can be easily distracted, so the extra details were just for my peace of mind in case Sweety had forgotten anything about taking care of a baby.

What a text book “first time mom” I was!!!

We tend to think “first time mom” refers only to that first year or two when your whole world is rocked and you start to come to terms with how very little sleep you will be getting and how this little person has shaken up every part of your life. I was the shocked young mom waking up in the middle of the night to feed my new baby. Yes, I survived the toddler years and even taught her how to read and tie her shoes. But I am still a “first time mom” to a 14 year old girl that has emotions and opinions and a mouth and face to express them. I am still “first time mom” as I am signing her up for Drivers Ed classes. Still wanting to make all the right decisions, give her opportunities to grow and develop her interests, still wanting the absolute best for her. I still worry—not that she will drown in the tub if my mom isn’t paying attention—but if she will make good friends, find her true identity in Christ, and live for Him instead of herself. As my first born enters each new phase, I go there with her as a “first time mom.” 

What’s a “first time mom” to do with all this potential for worry? 

Crawl onto her heavenly Father’s lap and remember that she is His child.

Psalm 131 gives us a beautiful picture of a weaned child resting against his mother.  The weaned child no longer needs milk, but is growing and advancing and gaining strength. The child no longer is in hysterics for milk, wondering if he is going to get what he needs, but has come to trust and relax that his mom is taking care of his needs and that child has a composed and quieted soul. And all of us moms {and dads!} are invited to remember Whose child we are. 

God is the One that cares for each of my kids more than I do. He is the One who never takes His eyes off of each one of them. He is the One who knows what they need and when they need it. He is the One who hears and understands their cries. He is able to take care of it all. And He is able to take care of me in these same ways! What an encouragement. 

O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;

Nor do I involve myself in great matters,

Or in things too difficult for me.

Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;

Like a weaned child rests against his mother,

My soul is like a weaned child within me.

O Israel {first time mom}, hope in the Lord

From this time forth and forever. (Psalm 131)

February {how I loathe you}

I suppose I should post something about this longest shortest month. Gah! I am sooooo ready for some sunshine and warm temps. These cold, dark, rainy, days are just not fun. We have had such randomness going on around here that I don’t have the chunk of time I would like to sit and write. I think about things I am learning in my Bible, funny stories from around our house, and other stuff we have going on, but I have yet to take the time to devote to putting words together to communicate any of it.

But I would like to one day!!

Instead, I looked through my phone and thought I should upload some photos to keep things somewhat up to date. It turns out I take a lot of photos of my dog.

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We had a fun Valentine’s Day! We went to see a couple of widows from our church, and we really enjoyed getting to know them. I only snapped a photo of one of the ladies…I forgot at the second house. But Ms. Charlotte was so kind and so appreciative of having some folks to talk with.

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Can you believe she is 94?! She was amazingly sharp and offered some sweet advice about marriage. She said, “Just love each other. My husband and I loved each other and did everything together.” I definitely love Josh, but we have not mastered that doing everything together part. Maybe that comes later in life. I don’t know….

She also told us that she loves talking to God, even out loud sometimes because He is always with her. I loved that. I have learned that truth in new ways since our move, but it was a reminder that it will always be true. God is always with me and listens to my prayers.

Mack sent Josh a text Valentine.

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And we got the kids some Valentine treats.

Each kid got a framed verse, which I thought was a great gift. Mack, however, took his verse out and put in a drawing of a UGA player. I was like, “Mack! What happened to your verse??” He said it looked way too girly in his room, but that I could have it.  Well, thanks.

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This past weekend our city hosted the NBA Allstar Weekend. Josh and I were Uptown Saturday night and enjoyed our beautiful city–and there weren’t any major crowds either! When I see the skyline and notice how pretty it is, I am reminded that God has developed a love for our new city in my heart. And I am thankful.

 

18 years

Josh and I celebrated 18 years of marriage yesterday! We have grown so much as husband and wife. I love the life we share so very much, and I cannot imagine life without him.

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This photo above was in 1997 when we started dating in Cochran, Ga at Middle Georgia College. We were actually out and about (mudding) in Newkirk’s gold chevy SUV.

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This is a photo from our honeymoon that I created in the Waterlogue app. Life was so simple during these days. Wow.

IMG_2009.jpgAnd here is a little 2001/2019 photogrid. We have changed, for sure. Time has a way of doing that…and moves and three kids in less than three years, and more moves, job changes, loss, and just life in a broken world. But who we are as a couple today is so much better than who we were as a couple on day one.  No doubt, this statement would have fired me up in my younger years. “I love him so much, even on our wedding day!!!” And I did. But love grows and matures over time.

Not automatically. Not naturally. It takes hard work, effort, commitment, purity, selflessness, compromise, understanding, forgiveness, humility, laughter, wisdom, prayer, and did I mention hard work?

Josh has been gone for almost two weeks, so he sent me flowers for our anniversary. They are gorgeous!

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The other night the kids wanted Bojangles. I don’t usually eat it, so I was having hot tea by the fire while they ate and talked and acted silly. {that is what all kids do at dinner when dad is away, right?} As I looked in there at the huge, beautiful flowers, I was overwhelmed with what the love between Josh and me has produced in our lives. Three of which are these kids. They are some blessed children. They have parents that live under the same roof, love each other completely, love them completely, and provide for them above their needs. We seek God and honor Him as the head of our family.

I am beyond grateful for the 18 years of being ONE with Josh. He is simply the best.

Following Me?!

In this day of having “followers” via The Instagram, I was captured by a thought the other morning in my time with the Lord. I had been listening  to “The Goodness of God” on repeat for days; it is a new song by Bethel Music that is so amazing. I was thinking over and over of the faithfulness of God in my life recently and over the course of my almost 42 years of life. It’s almost too much to take in really.

The fabulous news I was captured by is found in Psalm 23, verse 6. It tells me I have some magnificent “followers” in my life.  And if you are a believer, you have some pretty amazing “followers” in your life, too!

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life.”

It’s true. God is good and loving, and He’s got His goodness and lovingkindness following after me. When I spend time reflecting on this truth I feel like my heart could explode. What a truth to cling to and enjoy and think on.

With these two following me, I need not wonder if I am liked or loved or understood or accepted. God has His eye on me! He is with me. That will always be enough!

Take a listen to this song!

AROUND THE HOUSE

Josh may decide to hide all hammers and nails next time he leaves town. I have this thing with hanging stuff on the walls. Maybe because when I was growing up my family didn’t hang pictures…or curtains…or much of anything that made moving more difficult. With my dad being a builder/contractor we would sometimes move into houses that he had built that hadn’t sold. But if anyone decided they wanted to take over that payment every month, we would move and gladly let them have it. Bare walls and all.

Well, one of the first things I ever do when we move is start hanging stuff. Making marks on the walls. And I don’t ever really stop. If there’s a bare wall, I can usually figure out what to hang on the wall. To me, it symbolizes HOME.

So as I was cleaning out school room stuff and wondering what to do with the kids’ art work, I decided the stairway wall had been bare too long. Enter hammer and nails. And a non-perfectionist that isn’t afraid of a gallery wall.

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Precious drawings and paintings. And a couple of excerpts from a couple of the kids’ favorite books. And a little saying my mom said to me and I said to our kids many, many a night.

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A little more bare wall remains up the stairwell for any more precious items or photos I want to frame and hang! I will save them for the next time Josh goes out of town. He usually likes the finished product, but can’t quite handle my less-than-precise way of working.