Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wishful Thinking...

Guess what? You can WIN a spot at the Wishful Thinking event by Scrap Etc!!!!! Just to to the blog here and enter a comment. It's that simple. Really. 

You totally want to be at this event! I can't wait to go (and I'm going to be working at it!!!) The MOST AWESOME teachers are going to be there with the BEST projects. We just had a meeting last night and... WOW!  Check out the event blog here for all the details. 

I hope you can come to Atlanta with me! You will love it! It almost makes me want to mention Mr. T again... oh, what the heck...


Mr. T and I pity the fool who doesn't come to the event! (No, unfortunately, Mr. T will NOT be there. At least I don't think he will be...)


Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm gonna stop being 'just'

No, I'm not going to start cheating and lying to everyone - I promise!! 

This weekend I went to the women's retreat at Asbury called 'Designed to Shine' by Gracefull Ministries. It was an interesting weekend, filled with praise music, great conversations and games, and wonderful fellowship with my friends. I can't begin to tell you how much my church means to me and my family. It truly is our second home - and a true blessing each and every day!

But, I digress... back to the weekend. So, at the conference the speaker, Jerra, led us through a few personality inventories on a path that helped us discover our passions, our true purpose in life and how we could begin to get on a path that will help us fulfill that purpose. I was excited about the conference, because honestly, over the past few years I've struggled a lot with what my 'purpose' is. Once the fog of infertility and then the miracle (and again fog) of motherhood lifted, I found myself feeling like I needed to do more. Be more. I mean, I'm just a mom. Just a wife. Just a volunteer.  

Then Bennett started school and people started asking me 'What will you do?' and 'Are you going back to work?'.  Now I was just a mom whose kid is in school 8 hours a day. Still just a volunteer. Just a wife. Just...

So, as we sat there this weekend deconstructing our lives and trying to determine our purpose for being on this earth, I waited for the Aha! moment. For God to reveal to me how my life was going to change and how I was going to bring Him glory. And you know what I heard?  Nothing. So, I kept listening. You know what my passion is? Bennett. and Brad. and God. and scrapbooking. and photography. and Bible Study. and friends. (not all in that order!!) It's nothing extraordinary. It's not saving the world. Or being a missionary in Africa (although I would like to go there one day). Or starting a charity or becoming a speaker. Or even leading Sunday School class. So, as we went to get our lunch, I resigned myself to the fact that I would leave just as I came. Without a purpose. Well, without a revealed purpose.   

And then it came to me. Over the chicken tetrazzini and jello salad. 'Stop saying 'just'!' Stop saying 'just' a mom. 'Just' a wife. 'Just' a volunteer. 'Just' a member of a Bible Study. God has called me to those jobs. He's purposing me to raise a little boy to follow Him. He's using me to love Brad and hopefully show Bennett what a healthy marriage looks like. He's using me to bring Him glory as I volunteer in the school. He's fashioning me for big things. Maybe not big things in the world's eyes. Maybe not things that others will see as huge accomplishments, but they can still be things that can bring Him glory. And isn't that what it's all about?

Do you think of yourself as 'just' something?? I challenge you to stop being so 'just'. Be what you are - and do it the best that you can. Give God the glory and He will bless you beyond anything you can imagine. The things that matter to God aren't always the things that matter to the world. Actually, they are rarely the same. Who do I hope to please? The answer to that is simple. 

So, when you hear me say 'just', please tell me to knock it off. It won't be easy to change my thinking, but God will help me - and you can too :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lookie over there...

I've been asked several times to post pictures of the photography that I've been doing.  Bennett can attest to the fact that I like to take pictures, especially of cute kids :) and when Brad gave me the super-mega-cool camera and lens last Mother's Day my passion grew.

Anyway, over there -----> I've posted just a sampling of the pictures I've taken in the last few months. Aren't those some cute kids???

Monday, March 23, 2009

I survived Spring Break!!

Spring Break is supposed to be a 'break' but sometimes it doesn't work out that way... especially when you choose to tackle Disney World with all the other crazies!!

Don't get me wrong... we had a great time! But, the crowds were a bit much for me. And the heat was a little, well, hot. But, the best part of the week was how we carried out getting to Disney - we totally SURPRISED the kids!! So awesome!

Ok, here's how we did it. I checked Bennett out from school on Friday at lunch time. But, due to the fact that I locked my keys in the car in the school driveway and had to wait about 45 minutes for AAA to come to unlock the car, we got a late start. Kelly had a something come up, so we decided to wait to leave until Saturday morning. We might have spoiled Brad's first bachelor night, but he didn't complain too much :)

So, we left for the farm, which is in south Georgia (Tifton to be exact) at 8 on Saturday. The 5 hour trip took us about 7 or 8, due to multiple potty stops - why could the 3 kids NEVER have to go at the same time?? - food stops, candy stops, and Target stops. But, we got there about mid-afternoon and had a great time 'roughing it' for 2 days. Ok, so we weren't roughing it. The worst thing was that I didn't have internet access, but the satellite TV and brownies made up for it :)  Oh, and the big dirt pile and Polaris rides rocked it too!
We told the kids that we were going home on Monday morning, but our secret plan was to make a 'wrong turn' and go to Disney. The picture below will forever be entitled 'We have no idea where we are going' :)
And this one will be called 'Are you crazy for going to Disney on Spring Break??'
This 3 1/2 hour trip ended up taking us at least 5, I think, but the excitement was totally worth it. Kelly and I were DYING for the kids to figure it out. But they didn't. And they didn't. And they didn't. Finally, we started giving them hints. Not a clue. Finally, as we were going through a toll booth, one of them said 'Hey, I don't remember those on the way to the farm.' So, since we could hardly contain ourselves, we said 'Oh no, we made a wrong turn! Where do you think we are going??' No one had any guesses, so we asked 'Where would you like to go?' Finally Mary Abney said 'Disney World'!! And we said 'OK!!'  Mary Abney and Hughes started screaming with excitement and Bennett - well he was just silent and staring. Finally he said 'For REAL??' Once I assured him that it was not a mean trick, he couldn't wait. The surprise was the best! I'll never be able to pull that off again...

By the time they figured it out, we were about 15 minutes from the hotel. (Yes, they had missed all of the Disney signs that we'd seen along the way.) We stayed off-property at the Fairfield Inn (super nice and great price!!) That night we went to Downtown Disney. The hit of the night was the Lego Store and all the Star Wars creations. They really are amazing. Here's Bennett with a Storm Trooper (making his best 'I'm gonna shoot you' face) :)  
Tuesday we went to  Magic Kingdom. It was magical, really. We had a great time, and all-in-all all 3 kids did really well. We didn't lose anyone in the crowds and they all handled the long waits with relative ease. They even insisted on waiting for 45 minutes for Dumbo. A 45 minute wait for a 3 minute ride. But, they did it. No complaints (from the kids, anyway!) and we traded pins along the way, so it was all good. Here are a few pics... (just a few, I promise!!)

We rode 'Buzz Lightyear' first. And saw Stitch on the way out. My homemade autograph books were a hit :)
This picture is the result of my threat to never take Bennett back to Disney World if he didn't smile when I took pictures. That threat seemed to work magic for the rest of the trip! Sometimes I'm not proud of what I say, but it sometimes it works, so it just encourages me...
Buzz Lightyear. Need I say more...
No trip would be complete without a picture and autograph from Mickey and Minnie!
Our last ride was Splash Mountain. I wasn't sure how Bennett would do, but he did really well. I tried to warn him about the big drop and the getting-wet-factor. Boy, did we get wet! But, it was fun. So fun. I don't know that he'll do it again, but I will :) Just a few days ago he told me that he would never ride it again unless 'our whole family' went on it. I guess he wants us all to die together :)
On Wednesday we went to Hollywood Studios. For about 2 hours. We planned to stay the whole day, but as we were waiting for lunch (in the line that didn't end) with crying kids (not Bennett, surprisingly) Kelly and I looked at each other and decided to get lunch on the way home. We did what we set out to do at Hollywood Studios - Star Wars, How to be a Jedi, Toy Story Mania, and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. We had planned to do more. Much more, but that's the way it goes. I've never seen that many people in a place in my life. Ever.

Here are the kids holding up the foot of an AT-TE from Star Wars. Bennett is so obsessed and I believe that the passion has been fueled, although I thought it wasn't possible. It's all good, though :)
So, we came home on Thursday (with an overnight stop at the Farm). On Friday and Saturday we visited with mom and Aunt Sue and had a great time. It was so nice to have Aunt Sue here. And mom pretty much behaved herself. Mostly :)

Tomorrow Bennett goes back to school and I get to get back to being productive. I've loved having him home, but I'm not sure that the house can handle this mess for much longer. Who am I kidding? It's not Bennett fault - it's the Wii and the TV that I getting me! Tomorrow we are back at it - school, the gym, errands, etc.  Oh, and the chiropractor for my back. I'm still on the mend... more about that in a future post...

I hope your break has been great! I'm already looking forward to Spring Break 2010!! :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

It's tough bearing fruit

'The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control' -Galatians 5:22,23

So, this weekend has been a slow one - mainly because I threw my back out on Thursday night (doing laundry - not exciting, but I KNEW that housework would one day be the end of me!!). I've hurt my back before, but this time has been worse - totally stopped me in my tracks for several days. I was able to get out and take some pictures of the cutest kids on Saturday morning and to go to Supper Club on Saturday night (fabulous!) Guitar Hero almost caused more injury, though...

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit better this morning (Praise God!!) I'm really trying to be careful and get mended so that Bennett and I can enjoy our Spring Break plans!! Praying, praying, laying around, etc.

So, last night Bennett was drinking from a mug that he 'made' for Brad that had fruit on it and Galatians 5:22,23. It was a nice gift, since Brad loves coffee and Bennett's art work equally. Well, not equally, but he does like Bennett's art work when there is coffee involved :)  So, Bennett is reading the verse and I think 'Hey, I can teach him a little something in this moment' Was it the muscle relaxers talking? Possibly...

Me: 'Do you know what that verse means?'
Bennett: 'Not really'
Me: 'Well, you know how when a tree is healthy it bears fruit for it's owner? Like an apple tree makes apples or a  peach tree makes peaches and makes the owner happy?'
Bennett: 'Yeah.'
Me: 'Well, that's how we can be for God. If we have the Holy Spirit in us and we allow him to work in us the way God wants us too - you know, let him live in our hearts - then those things, like love, joy and peace will be things that we show to other people in our lives.'
Bennett: 'Oh. Ok.'

Short pause. I'm thinking that I've done a good job. Explained a little something to an almost 6-year-old. As a parent, that's what I'm here for, right?

Bennett: 'I'm just wondering, though'
Me: 'What are you wondering, baby?'
Bennett: 'What would be the kind fruit? An apple maybe?'
Me: sigh... 

Maybe we'll try this again in a few years :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Catch up post...

This post is gonna be a long one... you  might want to grab a little snack and drink before you get started :) I've got a lot of catching up to do!!

So, it has been how long since I've blogged? Hmmm....just about 2 weeks. That's bad. I'm sorry... I've been thinking about blogging. Really, I have. Something will happen or I'll grab the camera and I'll 'write' a post in my head... all the while thinking how great it will be to document this or that.  But things got busy. Really busy. And now I'm coming up for air. And here come all those things I was wanting to document!

Let's go waaaay back... On Valentine's Day Bennett completed the Mercedes Marathon. It was rainy and chilly and finding parking 'bout gave me a coronary... but he did it. Not without a lot of walking and complaining about a hurting leg. But, we held hands the whole mile and he did it.  And he has the medal to prove it :) God reminded me: that Bennett isn't ever in a hurry to do anything. I can't make him hurry. It isn't in my control. Give it up and enjoy the moment. Even if it is cold and damp and a little claustrophobic on the streets (and you have to use a port-a-potty when you left your hand sanitizer in the car - how could I have known???)
So, the next weekend was crazy busy with Giggles and Grace at church. I worked in Finance again, and we sold about $85,000 worth of stuff in just about 48 hours!! Wowee!! We had the BEST volunteers - they totally rolled with whatever we asked them to do and were willing to stay late, whatever. Love them! God reminded me that: He can work through us to make a mighty statement. Anything is possible through Him. Even ringing up over 13,000 items with a smile :)

As we were in the midst of checking people out (the line wrapped around the gym) on Friday morning, I got a phone message from my dermatologist. She told me that she had the results of the biopsy that I had the week before and that they were indicating that I could have lupus. Honestly, I shut down at that moment, stuffed my phone in my pocket and kept checking people out. No time to think about that. No. No. No. Don't cry. Don't cry. Hold it together. After talking to Brad (and listening again to the message), it seemed unlikely that Lupus would be the end diagnosis, but still, I was anxious to find out. Long story short, visited my GP, had a bloodtest, waited a few more days, and got another message... NEGATIVE!! Praise God! I still have to have another biopsy in a few weeks, but I'm not so worried about it now that I know it's not systemic. God reminded me that: He is steadfast and will take care of me no matter what diagnosis will come. He calmed my fears and gave me a sense of peace before I knew the results. He reminded me that He sent friends and family to pray for me. He reminded me that He is in control. He is awesome!

During the week of the 23rd, Bennett was star student for his class. This is the week we've been waiting for all year long. The privilege has been given in alphabetical order, so we had to wait a looonnnggg time (when I was little I was usually first, or maybe second on the roll in school. This 'St' last name stuff is tough!!) We made the poster that told all about him. We made arrangements to eat lunch with him, to send a special snack, to bring his favorite toy and book. He was set! Here is his with his poster...
It says things like 'I had a cat named Roger. He bites', 'I love my mommy and daddy', 'I like to swim' and 'My favorite movie is Star Wars and the Clone Wars.' He got to tell all about it on Monday. His classmates asked him questions (that he couldn't tell me b/c he couldn't remember!!). So cute! It was the perfect week. Until...

I took Bennett to the doctor on Wednesday to have his leg and knee checked out. He started complaining about it while running in the marathon, but it continued on and off, so Brad thought we should get it checked out. Brad NEVER thinks we should 'get it checked out' so when he said I should take him to the doctor, I did!! We had a 9 AM appt, so I took Bennett to school, checked him out 45 minutes later (don't want a tardy on the record!), and left the doctor's office a few hours later with an antibiotic for his cough, eye drops for his pink eye (hello... when did his eye get so pink?!?!?!?), instructions to stay out of school until Thursday b/c of the pink eye, a tasmanian devil band-aid and tear-stained cheeks from a blood draw (in the arm!!) and orders for x-rays of the leg at Children's South. God reminded me that: I am a mom. That's my first job and everything else falls into place after that. When Bennett is sick, so am I. Waiting on test results for Bennett is harder than waiting on my own test results, but He will hold me in those times too. HE IS IN CONTROL, not me. (do you see the theme that God is trying to drill in to me?? Control issues anyone?? :)

The xrays and blood tests came back clear - no treatment needed for the leg pain. Just wait and see. Praise God! Praises also came on the last day of the eye drops for the pink eye. Much drama ensued around the eye drops - hiding under the bed, crying, talking back, screaming (from parents and child), restraints - you name it. Not my most fun time as a mom, but you know what? We don't have pink eye anymore :)

On Thursday the 26th Bennett tested for his blue belt in Tae Kwon Do. Now, I know that I am biased, but HE NAILED IT! His form - great. One-touch sparring - top notch. Free sparring - full energy. Board break with back kick - broke that board with the first kick!!! We were so glad that we held him back from the last test. He was ready this time. God reminded me that: Bennett does things his own way and that's ok. I didn't think that he was going to be ready for this test, but I need to have faith. My little boy is growing up in a hurry. Yes, it makes me sad. But it also makes my proud.

And so thankful!   

Here he is getting his belt...
Roger? How is he, you ask? Well, he's still terrorizing the house and my craft supplies. Here he is making a statement, I suppose, that he wanted his own Valentine. Next year I'll be sure to make him one. Does he look ashamed? Sorry? I think not.
Finally, I bring you pictures of Sunday's snow day. Who would have thought we'd have snow on March 1? 

Church was cancelled (I wasn't feeling well, anyway - I officially have Bennett's cold) so we took that day and just hung out. It was nice. We played A LOT of Star Wars and rested by the fire. Oh, and I worked on the bid sheets from the school's silent auction that we had the day before. It was great - we've raised over $12,000 so far!! 

So, as you have read, I've been busy. Things are looking a little better now and I'm taking a breath or 2. I do love to be busy, but a little rest is always a good thing! God still works on me - even in the slow times - hopefully I'll be more able to pay attention so that He doesn't have to do anything too dramatic to get my attention...

And please, Lord, no more eye drops :)