Thursday, July 31, 2008

One more week...

until Bennett goes off to kindergarten. How can that be? I'm not sure how this summer (the summer that I meant to be laid back and slow) has gone by so fast... And now I am faced with preparing for big school!  Wow.

Brad and I went on Monday night to the parent Q&A. That really got me thinking (and OF COURSE worrying). What if he can't find his class when I drop him off in the morning? What if he doesn't remember his lunchroom number? Will he be happy there? Will he lay on that towel for rest time for 30 minutes every day? What if he loses his snack? What if I forget to pack his snack? What am I going to do from 8 to 3 every day of the week? Will I be able to help out up at the school? Will he be sad? Will he be nervous? How will I hide my sadness and my nervousness? What if? What??  Maybe I should just home school...

Brad said no to the home schooling idea. Not just 'I don't think that would be a good idea'. 'NO!'  So, that's decided :)

So, we got through that - oh, and we went to Alabama Adventure on Monday too. No lines, no waiting. Whew.  My friend Kelly and I went together and we decided that we would let the kids go to the rides too. Just 'cause we wanted to be in the running for mother of the year, I think :) We had a great time - and when Bennett saw the bumper cars he exclaimed 'This is the BEST day of my whole ENTIRE life'... if only I had known, we could have done that sooner, I guess.
Yesterday we went to Nashville to visit my college roommate, Jen, and her girls. We had a great time - it is hard to believe that our kids are going to school. I remember getting them together when they were just babies and dreaming about how they might get married one day :) We never considered kindergarten transitions...  
The kids had a great time, but I think Jen and I had an even better time. It was so nice to be able to catch up. And, I was so glad to finally meet Kiki, the newest addition to the family (although she's turning 1 next week!!)  Thanks for a great visit, Jen! Oh, and those cinnamon rolls were so yummy!!!
This afternoon we went back up to the school and we got Bennett's supplies, his carpool number, and paid his fees.  He told Brad that today was his first day of school. Not quite... but, we did pretend that he was in carpool and he showed me just how he's gonna do it. He knows exactly where his classroom is. I am breathing easier. Breathe in. Breathe out. Slow... And, I signed up for everything that I could for the classroom!

I am going to make it through this kindergarten thing. I mean, he is totally ready to go. And, I am excited for him to go. Really, I am.  If I can just get rid of this sensation of my heart hurting, I think I'll be ok...

Monday, July 28, 2008

I want to take this class.

at Big Picture Scrapbooking with Cathy Zielske.  I love Cathy - she is so funny (and of course, talented!!). It is a 12 week class that focuses totally on design principals for scrapbooking. Like balance, how to use white space, using text and fonts.  All things I should know about, I think :) She using the scrapbooks that I  LOVE (American Crafts binders) and we'll make 36 layouts...

Sounds cool, doesn't it? Should I do it? Too much work? 

Registration starts in just 2 days, so I better hurry up and decide :)

Want to check it out? Here's the link

Does the link work? Not sure how to do that yet...

We're off to try Alabama Adventure again today. Praying that we don't have another Raven concert to compete with!!  Also praying that this hacking cough that I have exits soon.

Have a good day!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Meet the Master

... the Grand Master, that is.  

Bennett has been so excited to go to the black belt testing at his Tae Kwon Do school. His 2 teachers, Gabby and Tabby, were testing and he wanted to go and cheer for them. Only for them - as he told me when we were on the way...  I was scared that he would actually boo the others, so we decided that we could cheer for everyone (quietly) and cheer extra for Gabby and Tabby :)

The other big draw was the Grand Master Chong was going to be there - he's like the father of the school. He hails from Buffalo, NY, where he trained the owners of the school.  Grand Master Chong is an 8th degree black belt, so don't mess with him... 

He walked in the door (we arrived 40 minutes early to be sure we could have a good seat - that's what good moms do for their children, right? Good seats...) and there was a collective gasp. He walked right past us and Bennett kinda blushed just seeing him - so cute.

We watched the testing of the 13 students (it took 2 hours...) and then we got to congratulate Gabby and Tabby on a job well done.  They also took a big group shot of all of the students with GMC, since he wouldn't have time to pose with every student... I took that picture - and then of course, since I am not shy with my love of pictures (I am a scrapbooker, after all) I jumped on the chance to shoot a picture of my own when Bennett went up to shake GMC's hand... tacky? Yes. Glad I did it? yup :)

And then Bennett had a little impromtu practice session... 
why not, I guess?

The other cute thing was that his teachers asked the kids to sign the boards that they broke during their testing. Bennett took that very seriously and we stayed extra-long to be sure the boards were taken care of :)

We're off to a big par-tay at Bubba and Gigi's house.  If there's dip and cake, we're there! Have a great Saturday...

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's 4 PM on Friday and we are ready already have on our PJs

No kidding. Bennett and I are ready for bed!  Here's a quick rundown of our day:
  • Run by the elementary school to pick up the supplies that I will need for my new job: school scrapbooker. Mrs. Darby gave me a bag of memorabilia from last year and a purchase order to get new supplies for this year. Fun! Bennett acted like a fool while in the office, climbing under chairs and pulling on me while I was talking. On the way to the school Bennett asked if the principal was nice - and I told him that of course Mrs. Darby is nice, but that if you get into trouble you have to go to her office. When I mentioned our conversation to her, she and Bennett had this conversation: 
Mrs. D: Do you know who I'd have to call if you got in trouble and had to come to my office?
Bennett: Um, no m'am.
Mrs. D: I'd call your daddy. What do you think your daddy would say if I had to call him? (she's smiling while saying this of course...)
Bennett: (thinking... pause). Well, he'd probably be in the operating room, and he can't talk on the phone in the operating room, so you probably wouldn't be able to talk to him. 
NICE. :)  I can tell we are already making a great impression at the school!
  • After explaining to Bennett that he embarrassed me in the school office by acting so crazy, we went to pick up our friends at church to go to Alabama Adventure.  After driving the 40 minutes to the park, we drove into the parking lot and I noted something odd. Busses. Cars everywhere. People in the parking lot directing traffic. People EVERYWHERE.  The line to get in was backed up into the parking lot.  I have never seen it like this. Heather and I made the executive decision to get back into the car and leave. There had to be 1000 people there already and people were still coming in by the bus load. The kids handled it well - we promised the swimming pool and McDonalds. As we left we saw that Raven was going to be in concert tonight. Had to be the reason for the chaos. Wish we would have known that before we went there...
  • We drove back (stopped for McD happy meals all around) and went to our pool. Thankfully, it wasn't crowded, we saw some more friends there, had a snack and swam for a good  3 hours. The diving board was the favorite, I think. They were all trying to get to the bottom of the pool like the 'cool big boys' were doing.  No success yet :)
  • We came home, got in the bath, and now we are chilling with a little Word Girl. Brad is on call, so this will be a very low key night. Ahhhh.
Tomorrow we get to go to the black belt testing at Bennett's Tae Kwon Do school. We're hoping that we'll get to meet Grand Master Chung, who is coming to preside over the testing. I think Bennett will be beside himself if he gets to meet him :)  I'd also like to get over to Scrap Etc for their Christmas in July and moving sale (50% off!!!) They are moving closer to me in 2 weeks and I am PUMPED!!  And finally, we get to celebrate Gavin's b'day tomorrow afternoon/evening. Bennett loves to party, so we can't wait!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

another conversation and some thoughts

Today we went to the pool. During 'adult swim' ie BREAK we went to the snack shack and got a 10 cent popsicle. (I didn't know that you could buy anything for 10 cents anymore - and I was even more shocked when my child wanted to but the cheapest thing on the menu... but I digress).

Anyway, so we are sitting on the side of the pool, eating our popsicles when we have this conversation:
Bennett: I wish that I was an adult so that I could not have to stop swimming during break.

Me: Well, when would you eat your popsicle if you didn't have a break?

Bennett: ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? The first thing I would do when I got here was get a popsicle!

Me: speechless and unsure of who my child is mimicking (oh, that would be me you say???)

Bennett: Well, I mean, I would put on sunscreen first. Then get the popsicle.

Makes perfect sense.  

How can this child of mine constantly amaze me?  I mean, every day he says something that I want to remember. He does things that make me pause and smile and be thankful.  

Tonight as he was leaving for Tae Kwon Do with Brad, I hollered from the kitchen 'I love you! Have a good time!'  He hollered back 'I love you too!' and I heard him blow me a kiss.  I heard the door close, then reopen and he said 'Did you get that kiss??'  Ahh.  I sure did. I love that kid!

In the past I have questioned God's plan for our family. I mean, really questioned.  Argued with Him. Pleaded. I was mad, sad, defeated.  I had planned for more children. Three to be exact. God obviously didn't. But you know what? My plans are not His.  I tried to make my plans His, but He taught me that His plan is the right one.  Not mine. His plan is now mine - not the other way around.

As I've come to accept God's plan for my life, I've come to realize that God has given me ALL that I needed. Bennett. God knew what a blessing he would be in my life. He knew that I could be filled with enough love and purpose from mothering one child. Yesterday as we left the gym, Bennett asked me if I still prayed for another baby. He wants a baby brother, he said. He wanted me to pray to God for that baby last night (he even promised to change diapers if I gave him gloves :) I told him that I would pray - but that God was the one in charge of our family and that sometimes we don't get to have all that we want. 

I've learned through infertility that if I let Him that He will give me all that I need. Maybe not all that I want, but that is because He knows what is best for me.  Today I can honestly say that I am happy with one child. This time 1 year ago, I never thought I'd be happy until I had another child. Little did I realize that all that I needed to be happy was already in my arms. 

I'm praising God for giving me all that I need for today - and praying that He will continue to be patient with me as I try to follow His plan.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

random thoughts for today

Yesterday Bennett and I were in Learning Express. We looked around for a while and I found some cool workbooks that had mazes and dot-to-dots, which he loves. I found him, deep in the construction section, working on some big project... I said 'Hey, would you like this book? It looks really cool - it would be good for church when you sit with us' (more on the torture that can be Sunday mornings later...)

He looked at me and said 'Well, you could probably talk me in to it.'

Well, ok then.  

I did get the book, by the way. We did not get the construction set :)

Things are going ok here.  That plan about not being busy for the next 2 weeks is officially out the window... that's ok, though, because neither of us can really stand to be at home for too long.  Other than watching TV, Bennett can't find anything to do 'round here - he's BORED or something is BOR-ing quite often.  I used to be cool enough for him, but now I am accused of ALWAYS doing housework.  My reply?  Well, if someone wouldn't make so many messes... 

I wanted to get Bennett some back-to-school clothes.  He wasn't very excited about it, but I did get him some great things (and a few for myself too, of course!!)  Do you remember when shopping for school clothes was fun? I do!  It was time to redeem my Gymboree gymbucks and I got the best deals there!!  I'm going to be sad when he can't shop there any more - most other stores have terrible selections for little boys.  Who wants their 5 year old to be dressed like a skater-punk? Or a rock star?  Beats me.

My mind has been preoccupied with sadness and worry over my friend Shelley and her family's loss of their 17 year old daughter. Just last week she was celebrating a surprise addition to their family with her pregnancy, and tomorrow they will lay their daughter to rest.  It is something that I can not imagine, and I have been in constant contact with God throughout the day yesterday and today - praying for their family and trying to figure out His plan. All I know for sure is that He carries us in times when we need Him, and I'm praying that the Burkett's feel His big arms wrapped around them as they deal with Katie's death.  I also know that this life here on earth, although all we can understand, is not our final destination - heaven is our great reward. It is still so hard to understand...  Shelley - you are in my constant prayers.

I am thankful for this day and all the ordinary-ness that it brings.  Sassy 5 year olds, clean laundry all over the house, slow gas pumps, leftovers for dinner, church meetings, Tae Kwon Do, vacuums that get all the dog hair up, and even big rain storms and husbands who have to stay late at work. All of these things make up my life today - and I just remembered to be thankful to God for giving it to me.  

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shiver me timbers!!

We're home from the week at the beach - most of our bags are unpacked, all but one load of laundry is done, and Brad went to the grocery store!!  Coming back home from vacation can be such a let-down... but we are off to a good start :)

We had such a great time - in fact, it was one of the most relaxing trips we've ever taken (well, since we've had Bennett, anyway!!)  I think that his age makes such a difference - at 5 he is able to entertain himself more, is interested in doing more, can stay up past 7 (most nights...) and can be civilized through most of a sit-down dinner.  One of the best things about this trip was that we got to spend time with our good friends, who have 2 children that Bennett LOVES to play with (and their mom is really fun too :)
Some of the highlights I don't want to forget:
  • Early morning spying trips - I even got to go on one of these adventures!!
  • Our new beach umbrella and chairs rocked!! Why didn't we buy those sooner?
  • Bennett yelling 'She RUINED our life!!' in response to a bully at the pool :)
  • The kids making up new versions of 'Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat. If you don't...' Their favorite: 'I don't care - I'll make you smell my underwear...' 
  • Shopping. Shopping. Shopping. New Coach bag with matching wristlet :) 
  • Great food - ACME, Graffiti's, grilling hamburgers, Mike's gourmet lasagna, lots of desserts... No dieting.
  • The kids asking if the Snack Shop was open every 5 minutes - how can they be so hungry?
  • Good wine. Lots of good wine.
  • Sitting on the beach watching the kids play.
  • I got to sleep until 7:30 one day. Heaven.
  • Showing Heather how great 'So You Think You Can Dance', 'Project Runway', and Shear Genius' are.
  • Creating the Top 10 'Do's' and Top 10 'Don'ts' of beach attire. I'm pretty sure that I would make the 'Don't' list, but I didn't ask...
  • And I wish I could forget this - I went out with a bang this morning by falling UP the stairs while we were packing and doing a great deal of damage to my knee.  Nice. It did get me out of some luggage-hauling, though... always look on the bright side, right?
So now it is back to life as normal. Re-entry into everyday life from vacation is sometimes hard, but I think we are going to do just fine.  My goal is to keep these next 2 1/2 weeks low-key so that we can have an easy adjustment to school.  Tomorrow we are excited to find out who Bennett's teacher is going to be, as well as if there are any of his friends in his class.  I hope we can go and visit with Papa a little bit at the hospital. Bennett has a birthday party in the afternoon, and then he needs to get back to Tae Kwon Do.  

Does that sound low-key? Maybe we'll start that on Tuesday. 

Friday, July 18, 2008

This isn't Vegas...

From Bennett, as he lounged on the couch watching PBS this afternoon:

"What are the chances of me gettin' an oreo??"

Who teaches him these things??

Oh, he didn't get the oreo ;)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oh the injustice...

Our actual conversation last night as we walked to the pool:
Bennett: 'Mommy, I've been thinking... You know what I think is unfair?'
Me: 'Nope. What?'
Bennett: 'That girls have to cover their whole bodies and boys don't.'
Me: 'Hmmm. What do you mean? Like at the pool? Girls have to wear tops and boys don't?'
Bennett: 'Yeah, I mean if girls want to have no cover on their... you know, boobies, their privates, then they should be able to not cover them just like boys don't have to.'
Brad: (smirking) 'Yeah, you're right! I think that's a great idea!'
Me: 'Well, I don't think the ladies really mind wearing tops... Maybe to make it fair, the boys should just have to wear tops all the time too'
Bennett: 'Maybe that would work. We just want everything to be fair so no one is sad.'
Me: 'You know what I always say: Life isn't fair...'
Bennett: 'Yeah, that's what you always say.'
Brad: 'I just think it should be...'
Me: 'Yeah, whatever!!'

I promise, I can't make this stuff up...

Big Kahuna rocks!

No rain!! We've had 36 hours rain-free beach time! Don't get me wrong - the rain wasn't ruining our vacation, but it was dictating our rest time (not all that bad in my opinion!!). When we come in the Spring, we have relatively no rain here - along with no crowds, less heat, less sweat, less bugs, etc. I'm having to adjust to our summer adventure (but I'm not having that hard a time!!)

Yesterday we went to Big Kahuna's water park in Destin. It was SO much fun! You may know that Bennett and I are huge fans of AL Adventure - we have a season pass and have been there once almost every week this summer... but I'm not sure we will ever think of AL Adventure as a water park again - maybe just a water mini-playground :)

Here's an overview of one part of the park (with some of our favorite blue slides). We don't do ANY slides that have a cover over them -too scary!!
Here's Bennett and I on Thunder River (my favorite) Lesson learned: remember to lift up when you go down the rapids... ouch!!)
Here's Brad and Bennett on what Bennett called the Cobra Twister (it was really called something else, but we couldn't convince him...)

We also loved the Pirate Escape slide -Bennett said it made his tummy feel funny... the Raging Rhino, the Tunnel of Doom, and some others that I can't remember! Even the lunch was good...

Last night we grilled chicken and ate here (another odd thing  for us - we usually eat every dinner out and just have lunch & b'fast at home...)  The grill left a lot to be desired - in 20 minutes our chicken was only barely warmed... oh well, at least we tried, right? :) Now we have a good excuse to start eating out again!!

Bennett is bugging me to let him watch Word Girl on the computer, so I guess I have to end this post... OH - don't forget that Project Runway starts tonight! I can't wait!  I hope we get Bravo here in the condo!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Let the beach fun begin!!

Guess where we are today??  Sandestin!!  Ahhh. We have been looking forward to this week for so long - and then it sort of snuck (is that a real word??) up on us and it was time to leave...

Bennett was so excited this morning - we were supposed to leave this morning at 9, but at 8:15 Brad came up from the basement and told me that Bennett had been in the car waiting for about 20 minutes :)  So, I hurried up a bit and we left a little earlier than we had planned - at least I was ready!!  
As traveled we listened to our new Magic Treehouse CD's (books 9-16). Do your kids like these books?  We LOVE them. The DVD was on for only 20 minutes of the entire trip - that is amazing!  Anyway, as we got to the first bridge he squealed 'We're here!! We made it to the beach!!!' It is so cute to see him so excited :) And when we pulled into the parking lot I said 'We're here!' and Bennett responded 'Party up in here!!', just like his Gigi taught him :) That's gotta make an aunt proud!!

Since our arrival, it has rained more than it hasn't, but that's ok! The boys went swimming for a little while and I did the grocery shopping. We should be all stocked up for a few days, at least :)  We ate dinner at Graffiti's and then came back here to relax and settle in.

As I was putting Bennett to bed, he noticed the smoke detector lights and asked me what it was. I explained, which ended up being big mistake because he then proceeded to obsess about smoke and how scared he was and what would happen to his 'guys' (his stuffed animals) and 'was that a fire truck coming now? I think it is mommy! Will you sleep with me tonight? Will you come and get me if there is a fire? Do you think we would meet Firehouse Dog? I'm really scared - I can't think of anything else but the smoke.'  Ah. If only I could figure out a 5 year old boy's mind... I'm not sure I could handle it!!

Ok, I'm off to read some of 'Escape' - it is good! Weird and creepy sort of, but good!  Tomorrow we'll be off to the beach, the pool, and who knows what else! Have a good week!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Say What??

Did you know that your legs have pits? As in 'leg pits'... As in 'mom, I just have to wash my leg pits and then I'll be ready to get out of the shower'... Apparently, to a 5 year old, a leg pit is the part of your leg behind your knee. Makes perfect sense, I guess. Have you washed yours today? :)

Bennett says the funniest things! Now, if you know him, you know that he has plenty of time to say funny things, because he talks ALL THE TIME. I love that he is a talker (most of the time, anyway). And his vocabulary is really impressive - he even knows some words that I've heard of, but probably couldn't use properly (like lexicon, for example)!! He learns a lot of these words from watching Word Girl on PBS. Have you seen this show? It really is great (and entertaining for the adults too...) Word up, it's Word Girl!!

Anyway, he's not usually trying to be funny, but when you hear things like 'mommy, why does everything have to be SO difficult?' or 'mommy, I was disappointed to see that you didn't put the top on my cup well and it leaked everywhere' you have to chuckle. I mean, what the heck? Who says things like that??  And just when I begin to think he might be a child genius, he yells 'NO!' and speeds away on his scooter when I tell him that it's time to go home, proving that he really is only 5...  I wouldn't want it any other way :)

One day I want to take a pencil and paper with me and write down all of the things he says in a day (as well as all of the QUESTIONS - they are non-stop!!). You probably would think that I was making it all up. Just yesterday we covered questions about dinosaurs, snakes, robbers, leg casts, airplanes, parachutes, and Borneo all in a 15 minute ride home! Moments of peace and quiet really are rare around here. Poor Brad...

We've had a good week - Bennett has been at zoo camp and has had a great time. Tomorrow is water-fountain day and he is psyched. I've been working on a few things as I consider trying out for a local scrapbook store's design team. I've never done anything like this before - but it has been fun trying to get a few things together.

We've also had a tough week - Papa has been in the hospital since Sunday with a broken leg. They have since learned that the cause for the break is metastatic prostate cancer, which is also effecting his kidney. He's having surgery in the morning - if you'd pray for him, I'd really appreciate it. thanks :)

Ok, off to read a little before I go to sleep. Our book club is reading Escape by Carolyn Jessop. Have you read it? I'll let you know what I think... Good night.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A few {guilty} pleasures :)

Let's start with this disclaimer: I love reality TV. I really do. I've tried to cut out the 'bad' ones - like the Two Coreys (I LOVE that show, but it isn't good for me to watch, I know). I had posters of the Coreys on my wall in junior high, for goodness sake {heart} - but now they are just sad... And anything on MTV - nope. Not anymore. And VH1 and E! reality series - nope. (well, maybe a few pauses as I pass by the channels).  But I can't give it all up - so here's a few of my current DVR'd faves. (I'm sorry Brad - I know that this is not making you proud ;)

Ok, so tonight is the big night on The Bachelorette. Every season of the Bachelor/ette I swear that I'm not going to watch it - and every season I cave and get hooked.  This season has been good.  Who are you pulling for? I'm partial to Jesse - I know, he's not really the average guy - it's hard to imagine him settling down - but he's so fun (and cute with his new haircut!!) We'll see!!


How about this guy on 'So You Think You Can Dance'?


I am totally cheering for Twitch (he's from Alabama, you know!!) Do you watch this show??  If not - start now!! It's not too late!! :) 

Ok, and one last show that just started a few weeks ago - Shear Genius. It is so good!! Why? I'm not sure - probably because I love to get my haircut (and I love my hairdresser!!) and I can not imagine why in the world any one in their right mind would let those people cut on their hair in those challenges!!  What??  No way. 

There are others, but they aren't on right now - like Project Runway. Love it. American Idol. Great. The Biggest Loser. Uh huh. I can't wait for those shows to return - not to mention The Office (my all time favorite show EVER!!), Grey's, Private Practice, Desperate Housewives...  I wish that I was listing National Geographic shows. Really, I do.  

I know that these shows are not making me any smarter - but they sure are good!! :)  Oh, and with the DVR, I can get each 1 hour show down to like 34 minutes, so that's good, right??

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Safety first, the fun will follow...

If you were wondering if we take care to insure Bennett's safety during fireworks, take heart...

Safety first... all the time :)  Cracks me up just looking at it.

We were so excited to be able to celebrate the 4th at Angie and Gavin's (Gigi & Bubba). We started with swimming, 

then playing with Molly, 

then the best dinner - all the foods you could imagine at a cook out.  Yum.  

Oh, and this cake. 

Wow! The fireworks rounded out a perfect day! Bennett spent the night, and when Brad & I left, Bennnett & Bubba were turning on the lights in the pool for a little swim - Bennett was so excited :)

Other highlights this week: 

- I told Bennett that if he wanted to stay up late on Wednesday night, he'd have to take a nap - and it actually worked!! For the first time in over 2 years, Bennett took a nap!! A 2 hour nap (& I did too!) A lot of fun things happened this week, but this nap could very well have been the highlight for me :)

-We were excited to go to the fireworks celebration at the Church of the Highlands. The whole experience was 'big' - the crowds were big (even the nursery line had 4 computer stations that printed out name tags and claim tickets!!), the music was amazing, the smiles were infectious, and the fireworks were awesome!  This was Bennett's first time to stay up late for fireworks, and we really did have a good time. It was so fun seeing his expression with each explosion. Here's the best effort of my photography skill:
-We cleaned out the playroom yesterday - and I mean cleaned it OUT. We filled 6 big buckets with toys to sell at the consignment sale and/or give away. I was so proud of Bennett - he really was willing to get rid of way more than I thought he would. There is no better feeling than a fresh start, you know?

Today we are just hanging out a bit. We saw Wall-E (super cute)... I hope I can scrapbook for a little while... I've gotten all organized again, and I want to get in there and create! Wish me luck :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Even Deeper Still...

Well, I've been thinking for the past 2 days about finishing my Deeper Still experience, so here goes :)  First, here is a view of the arena - just remember - 20,000 women!!!  crazy...
Ok, so after Priscilla spoke Friday night, Mandissa shared her testimony. I could relate with her issues regarding her struggles with her weight (and I loved her on American Idol!! :) Hearing how she dealt with the pressures on the show was really amazing - and then she sang. And she can sing!!

On Saturday morning, after an early, early wake-up and an early spot in line to get better seats - 2nd tier on the front row this time - we had another awesome time with the praise team. Then Kay Arthur spoke. I had never heard her or read anything by her before, but she was powerful! She began by asking 'Do you know the Truth? Do you love the Truth? Are you willing to die for the Truth?"  I knew that we were in for a special message.  She delivered what she described as a message that she didn't want to deliver - one that made her sick to her stomach to have to tell us - but one that had to be said.  She began with Jeremiah 36 and told us that God's message of judgement for Israel and Judah is also meant for us - our nation is in trouble and we must do something or God will bring calamity. He doesn't want to bring calamity, but He must judge sin. 

Kay brought us through several verses in Jeremiah 36, 6, 1, and 2, Ezekiel 14, and Isaiah 59 and 5, showing the message that God sends us about turning from sin and His response if we don't. Although these books come from the Old Testament, they must not be forgotten.  She described the judgement that God is bringing upon America in the way of what we call natural disasters.  There are no natural disasters, she says, they are the wrath of God due to sin (Amos 3:8). She pointed out the slanting of the media from the Truth to evil - how as Christians, we are being forced to keep the Truth from the 'streets' and confined in the church. 

She described the responsibilities of parenting - that we can not rely on the church to teach the Bible - but we must do it ourselves in our homes. She described that the Truth has even been lost in the church - that churches are not teaching all of His word when they focus only on the parts like grace and love (which of course are essentials of our faith) but ignoring the responsibilities that we have.  Again, she said that God doesn't WANT to bring calamity, judgement, and catastrophe, rather it is the necessity of His character to bring these things when we don't listen. Are we listening??

There are 7 things that Kay outlined for us to do to uphold the Truth:
1) Break up the fallow ground (Jeremiah 4:3) Ask God to break my heart of all of the things that break His heart. Return to Him and repent.
2)A time to mourn (Jeremiah 9:17&18 and Ezekiel 9) (I'm not really sure what this one was about!! oops :)
3) Pray (Jer 36:7) Pray passionately and corporately
4) Love God's Word (Jer 20) Now is the time to know the WHOLE council of God. If you have time to shop, get your nails done, etc., Kay said, you have no excuse not to be in His word. Get busy!
5) Love others as Jesus loved them (Jer 31:3)
6) Introduce others to Jesus Christ (Jer 31:31)
7) Rest (we had to remind her to tell us this one... she almost forgot :)  If you do the first 6 things, she said, you will have done what God has called you to do and you can REST in THAT.  

Kay's message was really very challenging, and like she said, not one that is easy to hear. But, it is a message that I needed to hear. I knew what she was telling me was true, but she helped solidify the urgings that I have felt in my core. The thing that convicted me the most, I guess, was the responsibility that I have to Bennett to make sure that he is on the right path. I try, but I need to try harder. I need to parent with love, but not with a love that is spoiling and allows him to fall prey to the society that we live in. I need to parent him with confidence and conviction so that He can love the Lord his whole life. That will be the true mark that my life has been worthwhile.

Finally, after more praise and worship (and a Chick-fil-a combo for lunch thanks to Jennifer :) we got to Beth's talk. We were so excited to hear her - after all, we do consider her to be one of our Bible study members...  She spoke on John 1:14:
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and only, who came from the father full of grace and truth.

She broke the verse down in to 7 parts, challenging us to memorize it before we left (I almost got it!!) So here is a brief run-down of each part:
1. The Word - God speaks His thoughts through His son Jesus, through the Word. John begins with this because there had been a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord. We NEED to have a fresh on-going Word - What is God doing in your life this week?  She also spoke here about God changing our desires, regardless of whether or not we 'want to'. We need to ask Him to heal our 'want-to'. Amen!!
2. became flesh - He took on flesh and blood over His God-ness
3. and made His dwelling among us - he pitched his tent among us (tabernacled). In Revelation 21:22, Jesus will no longer tabernacle among us, He IS the temple then. The first coming was temporary and the 2nd coming will be permanent.
4. We have seen His glory - glory means to give esteem & praise because of worth.  He is saying that when Jesus dwelt among us He was the glory (the manifestation of divine majesty). In Exodus 33 Moses asked to see God, but he wasn't allowed to see His face, and God has never been seen. John says they saw the face of God in Christ. Finally, since Jesus has gone to heaven, He shows His glory through us - we are His temple (Isaiah 60:1&2)
5. the glory of the One and only - He's either your One and only, or He's not yours. He has purposely allowed every person to let you down so that you will see that HE  is the only one that can save you. She showed a clip from 'A Beautiful Mind' where he was accepting the Nobel prize - she pointed out that Jesus is ALL the reasons.
6. Who came from the father - if you have seen Jesus, you have seen God
7. full of grace and truth - FULL. Jesus is FULL. How is it to be in relationship with someone who is full? How about with someone who is empty? Every time God gives you a hard truth, he fills you with grace too. He always accompanies truth with grace. In verse 16, John says that we are given grace upon grace. This is perpetual grace. He has never been out of grace. He is full and can not be less full. Beth pointed out that John never uses the word grace again - he doesn't need to because he's said it all.

And then the conference was over. So many emotions during this weekend. Pain for a friend who found out hard news from home upon her arrival, joy for the many blessings that I have in my life - including the ladies that I went to Atlanta with, peace with the fact that I found God in the desert and that His grace sustains me day in and day out. Thankful. Loved. Forgiven. And I can't wait to go back next year. 

Ok, and just a quick update on today's visit at the ENT for Bennett... the hole in his eardrum healed on its own!!!  The doctor told me in January that in his experience, holes of the size of Bennett's did not heal on their own. He suggested surgery but we decided to wait and see. And pray. And now the hole is healed!!  Yea!! :) And to top it all off, the free Planet Heroes DVD that we ordered a few weeks ago arrived and I thought that Bennett and his friend's heads were going to explode they were so excited... it's the little things, isn't it? :)