Thursday, December 30, 2010

The rest of my joys

It is time to finish my joys.  Here I go...

80.  Our tree after Santa Claus had visited...

81.  Baby's first Christmas...

82.  The mess afterword...

83.  A white Christmas...

84.  My sister had to work on Christmas day this year, so for the last two years we've gone to Daniel's family for Christmas.  We dropped off some goodies at one of the local hospitals.  Perhaps we will make it a new tradition.  I have never seen the hospital so empty, which is a good thing for Christmas, but it was interesting to see people who were spending their day there as well.

85.  Princess catching snowflakes on her tongue...

86.  Speed Racer transforming into Optimus Prime and watching the snow...

87.  Re-watching Princess's and Speed Racer's choir performances...

88.  Playing with cousins...

89.  My sister had a miscarriage this week.  A friend shared this at just the right time on facebook.  All the words were gone, but this song adequately expressed how I felt and all that I wanted to say to my sister about her wrestling with God.

90.  We went to the McWane Center.  The kids got to carpet skate, catch fish in the ice, and slide down the ice slide (I did too - it was fun).  Then we went to Grump's Great Grill - a treat for my husband.

91.  A date with my daughter to the grocery store and the Christian book store.  I found a neat little prayer book that I hope to follow this year, as well as a few things that seemed to call out to me.  Princess and I had fun together.

92.  Basil pecan grouper and a family dinner out together.

93.  A spend the night in our bedroom with the kids.

94.  A trip to the library and new library books.  Reading them out loud.

95.  A haircut and a discussion with the stylist.  I was wishing I could have her hair.  She has beautiful long hair, and I do NOT have the texture of hair to pull it off.  Mine is very fine.  I've always wanted long luxurious hair, but alas, I can never have it.  Then she opened up to me reminding me that I am able to have good uneventful pregnancies, and thus three children.  She said she always wanted a 3rd child, but she had horrific pregnancies, having to be on bedrest and being blessed to make it alive through them.  Count it all joy was the message I received.  Who cares if I have fine hair or if date nights are rare?

96.  Sharing old things to us as new things to others.

97.  Leisure time - having my husband at home as resulted in leisure time.  When could I take this much time to write a post in real life?

98.  Making biscuits from scratch.  This morning as I made biscuits I did it like granny did.  I was probably 8 or so the last time I made biscuits with her yet my memory still served me to do it like hers.  This gave me hope in my parenting of my sweet ones, that perhaps something would keep with them.  Jesus and biscuits - my biggest memories of my granny.  Baking = Granny = Jesus.  How I miss her, but there is joy knowing she lives on through what she taught me to teach my kids.

99.  Knowing that a past pain may provide hope for someone else in pain.

100.  Christmas will finish up for us this weekend with my mom and sister.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Joys 76 - 79

76.  New photos, learning to edit photos (I don't have any fancy software - just used a free site online), ornaments - old and new, and baby's first Christmas.

77.  Sweet little baby Jesus

78.  Going to a new restaurant - the Olive Branch in Cahaba Heights.  The food was delicious.  The restaurant was small and not really kid friendly, even though they do have a kid's menu.  Daniel and I went with Doodle Bug, and with a high chair at the table it was a little cramped.  It is definitely not the place to go if you want privacy - not enough space, but the overall atmosphere and taste of the food made up for the lack of space.  The light coming into the restaurant made me want to take pictures galore, but I couldn't feed the baby and take the photos I wanted.  Here are a few from our trip:

79.  I've been asked to knit a blanket for use as a photography prop in a manger for use in next year's Christmas pictures.  I'm SO excited!

Joys 56 - 75

56. Yesterday my son got up as my hubby was leaving for work, and I got up and went into the living room with him. He made a special effort to clean off a spot for me on the couch (toy and blanket free) and said "sit here with me mommy."

57. Princess had her school performance last Thursday. I literally started crying because she was SO good in it. Her voice was clear. Her motions to the songs were on time and big. She was smiling, happy, and confident. I've never seen anything like it. Any mother thinks of her kid as the star of the show, but Princess was so good, I think she really was the star of the show.

58. My mom found a pearl in her oyster dinner at Jefferson's. Though I didn't find it, it was fun to see a real pearl from a real oyster.

59. Baking cookies for the annual girls cookie swap with the women in our Life Connection class at church. I made them just for you, Shelley, so I hope you got the plate Jennifer fixed and enjoyed them. I tried a new recipe and thought it turned out well and was easier.

60. Going to the girl's cookie swap. Eating bad for you appetizers and hanging out with godly women. Fun conversations. Old friends. New cookies.

61. I got a new camera for Christmas. It was a really pricey item for us, but my husband let me get it anyhow at the spur of the moment. I've enjoyed playing with it.

62.  I completed my order for my pictures that my friend, Sarah Cook, took of us.  After I felt like I bugged her most of the day on Friday, I was grateful for her kindness to me.

63.  Chuy's is a fairly new restaurant at the Summit.  I've been once with my hubby (and Doodle Bug), once with my mom and sister, and once with my mom and Speed Racer and Doodle Bug.  I had been craving it (mainly the salsa), so we got to go together as a family for the first time on Friday at lunch.  Boy was it a lot of food.  Every waitress there treated Doodle Bug as if she was the most special baby they had ever seen.  I love that about babyhood.  I wish people loved kids as much as they love babies.  A waitress gave each of the children including Doodle Bug some tortilla dough (the tortillas are hand-made there), and I enjoyed watching them squish it between their fingers, especially Doodle Bug, who actually played with it and did not attempt to eat it until it was time to go.

64.  My older children went to spend the night at their grandparent's house.  They haven't spent the night away in 6 months or more.  Daniel and I literally did not know what to do with ourselves.  We didn't go out since we had already done so at lunch.

65.  So we went to breakfast instead.  It was peaceful with Doodle Bug.  Daniel took this picture of her.  I love it.

65.  Seeing my kids again after they'd been gone.  Princess had made Daniel and I each an "I love you" card.  I loved the excitement in which she gave them to each of us.

66.  Christmas musical at church.

67.  I have gotten spoiled having Daniel at home so much this month.  I was wishing he did not have to work on Monday, but we played in our playroom and had fun.  Although I listed playing in our playroom as one of my joys already, I played around with my new camera.  Here's some photos I took with it:

68.  A friend of mine got to be the daily guest on the (in)courage web site.  I was happy for her, and it inspired me to write something to submit.  Right now, it is an unwritten idea, and even if they don't choose me, and I am excited to pursue something I enjoy doing.

69.  One of the things I wanted to do over Christmas break was clean up and declutter.  I got to clean out my fridge and that made me happy.  Yes, I should do it every week before I go grocery shopping like Tara does, but I do not.

70.  We haven't been eating so healthy lately, so we made a family trip to the grocery store and got many fruits and veggies.  All 3 of the children got to ride in the buggy we chose (a race car attached to a regular buggy).  Usually I go by myself, but it was a fun trip with all 5 of us.

71.  Christmas cards and the Christmas card tree - yes, some of the faces are hidden, but I love the beauty that this little tree represents.

72.  My Princess has gotten her first permanent tooth.  She hasn't lost her first baby tooth yet though.  It is very loose.  The dentist says not to worry unless she doesn't loose it by the end of January.

73.  Although, it isn't time to bake it yet, I received the starter for some friendship bread from a long time friend.

74.  I've been reading "Boundaries" by Henry Cloud.  I take joy in knowing how God has protected me and guided me all along my journey despite the fact that there have been crazy things in my life.

75.  This morning Daniel brought me back a treat from McDonald's since I didn't get to take my sweet Princess to the dentist.  He seriously wanted to take one of his children to visit a doctor or dentist, so I let that joy be his this morning.  Here's what the bag said:

Instead of drinking coffee with magic beans for joy, it made think of the following verses:

"Taste and see that the Lord is good."  Psalm 34:8

"So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 8:15

"So whether you or eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."  1 Corinthians 10:31

I know that God is in every moment, and that's what I set out to do in this blog - prove His presence with me in everything, and there He was hidden on my McDonald's bag.  There is absolutely no greater delight than in Him.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas blues?

This morning I read a beautiful post about how we are sometimes not ready for Christmas. The holidays can be so sad and depressing and hard for so many people in so many ways. Sometimes the sadness is so overwhelming that like a blanket it covers and envelops me, almost suffocating me, even though the sadness is not my own. I cannot fully grasp how debilitating it can be for the one whose sad floats off and falls onto me. Yet in Christ there is hope. For the sad at Christmas, I hope this post encourages you as it did me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Joys 52 - 55

52. The time I spent with my sweet friend, Levi's Mom, on Saturday. Yes, I'm forgetful and should write these down as soon as they happen.

53.  Spending time talking to a friend about God and the way He is working in her life through her voice disorder.

54 - 55.  Daniel, Princess, and I were talking in the living room before she was to go to bed.  I had asked her what she wanted to do on her Christmas break.  She loves school and would rather be at school, so I was trying to get her excited about being home with me, since I am very excited about it.  Daniel asked her if she knew who else was going to be home for Christmas break.  The answer was him because he will be off for about 2 weeks {54}.  She then proceeded to say, "Daddy doesn't go to school."  I said no, but where does he go?  She then said, "He goes to stinky work."  I said, "Why is it stinky?"  Her own answer and idea, "Because there are lots and lots of stinky boys there" {55}.  (Daniel works in engineering office with mostly men, and when asked about them he often tells stories of men passing gas because of the lack of women in the office, so there you go.  My daughter is smart and observant.  We had fun laughing over the irony of her answer.

Joys 42 through 51

42. I forgot to add this to my last list - a play date with a neighbor. I had a lot of fun getting to know her better.

43. My organizing friend, Tara, came over to my house for the first time this past week, even though I've known her for a couple of years now. Her house is beautiful and nice and neat and organized. After leaving her home the first time I visited her, I was so inspired to remove a lot of my clutter. She came and helped me get some ideas and be creative about organizing toys and kid clutter.  Even though I have removed a lot of toy clutter already, she helped me get rid of a bag full of toys.  I also had literally 20+ coloring books.  Coloring books are cheap and easy to give away (as most of them were received as a gift) and I felt guilty and wasteful to chunk them with only one or two pages colored.  Princess is our artist, but she prefers to draw.  Anyhow we removed almost a whole drawer-full and pared them down to only 6 (3 for each child).  Based on those small changes, I was able to move a kid book shelf into our playroom as well as the arts and crafts supplies.  I really think doing more of this will help me be a more efficient homemaker being able to focus more on the details of cleaning instead of getting hung up on shuffling big items back to their place.  Our time together and the effects brought me great joy.  An organized home is a peaceful home, right?

44.  Baking oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to give as gifts.  I love to bake and the children helped me, and we all had a good time together, so it was baking at its best.  Joy!

45.  Every time one of my children goes to the bathroom all by themselves, I experience great joy!  You all know potty training was a little traumatic for me.  And believe it or not, I find joy in accidents, not that I have to clean up an accident, but that I accept them.  (God granted me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.)

46.  Spending time in our new improved playroom playing and enjoying the children.

47.  Today started off a little stressful.  I was disappointed that Daniel and I were the only ones able to see Speed Racer perform at school.  I guess one responsibility of a mom is to organize grandparents too, and I haven't quite accepted or caught on to this idea yet.  I used to have to help keep co-workers on task for our mutual goal, so I should be able to do the same at home with grandparents.  I guess it seems hard enough to corral kids, not to mention grandparents too.  That disappointment combined with a whiny Speed Racer and a clingy baby equaled stress.  Then I left my camera at home and didn't get his picture after his performance.  But there was joy at getting to see him sing.  Joy in his sweet little face as he scanned the audience and looked for a familiar face and then found mine and Daniel's.  Joy when he saw us walk into his classroom for his party.  Joy as he told me about his new book he received.  Joy was there, but I definitely had to diligently look for it.

48.  To add to the stress of the day, Princess got angry with herself in the car on the way home from school because a sticker would not peel of the page.  I made her go to her room to cool off, and then we enjoyed decorating a bag she had made at school with the stickers she had received.

49.  The benefit to cold, wet, rainy days is time to chill out, refocus and let the stress melt away, snuggle up together, watch Christmas movies, and play with our nativity set.

50.  Tonight, weather permitting, dinner will be cooked for me at church, and it will be a steak and baked potato.  I am already anticipating the joy I will receive at the great service of dinner being already prepared and the yumminess of steak which we rarely enjoy at home.

hmmm, will I make it to 100 before Christmas.  Gotta blog my joys more often.

51.  oh, yes, yesterday, I received a sweet joy.  I went to Target to purchase some storage boxes.  The cashier loved talking to my baby.  Speed Racer takes his sweet time in stores, and he had been testing my patience but had obeyed when it came time to leave.  I was rather quiet as a result, but the cashier smiled, talked to DoodleBug, and wished me a Happy Holidays.  I hesitated and then wished her a Merry Christmas.  Her face lit up.  What seemed like something simple - a few kind words, blessed her.  I could tell because she said, "THANK YOU! Merry Christmas to you as well!"  Joy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

100 joys - 18 through 41

18.  Since Monday I have seen 8 cars dressed up like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.  This is not necessarily a "joy" except that when I saw the first one, I was with my children and they loved it.  Then I stopped to notice each subsequent one.  Normally I wouldn't.

19 - 28.  Friendships.  I am not a great friend, but I have some good friends in spite of that.  I don't want to list names here, because I don't want to leave anymore out, and I thought that this deserved more than one number on the list because I spent most of Monday thinking about the joy I receive from my friends.  Although I'm the kind of person that likes to have close deep friendships and friendships that I get to spend time with often, that is not the case for me currently.  I have some great close friends that I don't get to talk to often, but they build me up when we do meet together.  I can't help but wonder if several good friends from different circles are not what the body of Christ is all about anyhow.

29.  Monday evenings - this is sometimes the only time in the week when I get to have time just for me.  I have learned to appreciate it, though at first I did not.  I like to use my 2 hours or so that I have to do whatever I want to do to chill out - play on the computer, watch a movie, read a book, catch up on blogging.  It helps my sanity since my older two kids do not nap anymore, and there is always noise in the house.

30.  Daniel has every Friday in December off of work - does this need any explanation?

31.  Princess and I got to go shopping for another little girl today, and although, we were busy in our endeavors to find the things on her list, I enjoyed watching my daughter get excited about giving to someone else.

32.  Speaking of giving to others, we went to Chick-Fil-A and saw Santa Cow this week.  Princess had a "sharing" birthday party and asked her friends to bring gifts that she could share with needy children for Christmas instead of keeping them for herself, so at CFA we gave her gifts to the Salvation Army Angel Tree.  She was truly excited about that, and that blessed my heart.

33.  Balloons - seeing the delight in the kids eyes and watching Doodle Bug see one floating in the air for the first time.  Speed Racer's favorite part of a balloon is popping it the next day.

34.  Surprise phone calls from long time friends.

35.  Baking - I love to bake, so I find joy in doing so.  I find delight in people's expressions and exclamations as they eat the goodies.

36.  Christmas parties with church friends and Parent's Night Out at church.  Food, laughter, and friends is always a good combination.

37.  Photos - Sarah Cook took some pictures of us this week, and of course, we've had fun looking at them to see how they turned out.

38.  Christmas performances at church - the three year old choir was quite a riot.  Mass chaos describes it well.  Joyful that my two stayed mostly focused on the task at hand, though Speed Racer looked a little like he would rather be doing something else at times.  Princess sang her heart out to Jesus.

39.  Breakfast at Cracker Barrell

40.  5 year old checkups in spites of vaccinations.

41.  Oatmeal pancakes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Joyful Day

4.  Though it was in the wee hours of the morning when I wrote my first 100 joys post, I climbed back into bed.  I find joy in my husband's warmth beside me and the hand that he places on my side every night until I go to sleep.

5.  Joy in the thunder of little feet on the floor as they came down the stairs this morning, Daniel and I still asleep in the bed.

6.  My baby who snuggles close to me to nurse - warm Christmas pajamas and blankets and the boppy too.

7.  Joy in my children's faces as they run through the cold windy air into the church building.

8.  Riding in the car and listening to the children sing Christmas songs and praises to the One who matters most.

9.  My sister who struggles but makes an effort to be involved in my children's lives despite her own desire and pain of struggling with infertility. She drove at least an hour and a half here and then back just to celebrate my daughter's 5 year old birthday party.  Her ability to always join me in whatever I'm doing to get the job done quicker.  She will be a great mommy one day.  I wish she could know how much I love her and pray for her and the joy that God desires for her.

10.  Nanas and grandmaws and aunts and friends who visit Princess for her birthday.

11.  Talking to mommies about mommy things and wondering together how best to assist our kids in knowing about Christ through choices we make about movies and TV and things like that.

12.  Tacos and Captain D's and birthday cake and Chex muddy buddies.

13.  And laughter from Princess as she watches the Harlem Globe Trotters lose their pants just now and her wanting me to write about it.

14.  For friends and email responses that make me smile.

15.  For baby smiles and scooting around on blankets.

16.  For baptisms of friend's children, for God's unique creation in the children.  For the baptism of a friend and for the friend who lead her to Christ.  These things bring me great joy.  Their story brings me happiness and hope.

17.  For advent calendars and celebrating Christ whose birth was amazing.  For pastors and teachers who help me to see the story anew.  For the word of God dwelling among us.  For that tiny baby boy - the King of KINGS yet who came in the most humblest of ways - no royal throne, no robes, no crown jewels, no place to call home, born to an engaged couple.  He was the only One who has ever deserved any fanfare.  Though he was visited by the Magi as a child, ultimately, He would be mocked, tortured, and crucified for ME.  Joy?  What greater joy could I have but for this?

Yes, today was a fun day, a happy joyful day, a day that joy was easy to find.  May each day approaching Christmas find even more joy in it.  Please join me in finding your joys in your days.  Join Sarah in blogging or tweeting or leave me a comment here on your joys.


The Christmas season is supposed to be a joyful season, but many times, I find it a stressful difficult season.  Sarah Markley has decided to count her 100 joys during this season to find in the corners of every day what makes her joyful.  She's opened it up to the twitter and blogging community, so I've decided to join her.

It's in the middle of the night, and I was not especially joyful yesterday, so I am looking intently at my yesterday for joys.

1.  I am joyful for my husband who cooks special breakfasts on weekend mornings.  And crunchy bacon, and little hands to eat it and beg for more please.

2.  I am joyful for cakes and cupcakes.  My daughter turned 5 on Thursday, and time seems to move faster and faster with each passing day.  I must slow down and enjoy her now before now is tomorrow and I am old and gray.  She is getting more mature and more used to herself and the ease at which she is becoming makes me smile.

3.  I am joyful at watching my sweet ones stare intently at the big screen at the movie theatre.  Today we went to see Tangled, and the children were moved by the magic on the screen.  I am joyful that though God was not intended to be in the movie, I found him there anyhow.  I find joy finding Him hiding in little places like that, as though we are playing hide and seek; I am counting and He is running and giggling as I seek and find Him, and then we reverse roles, and He finds me as I hide.

Tomorrow, I will be more intentional; forget about the worries and choose to not worry about the important things I haven't done and do them instead.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Biblical Submission and Worship in the Bedroom

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Ephesians 5:21

I have these really great Christian women friends who I get to see once every 3 or 4 months.  They are godly women who sharpen me in my spiritual walk.  Every time I see them, they make me want to go home and have sex with my husband, so I am sure he loves them.  Sound odd?  Let me explain.

I came from a family with a history of sexual sin, from adultery to premarital sex to pornography to lust.  It colored my family so much so that I got a wrong view of sex and men.  Family member's often discouraged marriage, and a lot of that came from the idea that men could not be tamed in the area of sexual temptations.  Even my dad would say, "He is just an old boy."  In my mind's eye, sex was a bad thing.  Yet I know that in God's perspective, it is good.  However, it is created to be shared within the context of marriage.  God is a good God - He has given us rules and procedures for our own good, not because He wants to punish us or enslave us to the rules, but because He wants to set us free.  The church does not regularly talk about sex, and even though my mother attempted to teach me about the beauty of sex, I got most of my thoughts on sex from the world.

Mentally here's what sex looked like (and if I think worldly thoughts, it still does):
  • vile
  • gross
  • objectifying
  • dirty
  • driven by animal instinct and desire
  • perverted
  • corrupt
  • about the man's fulfillment
In my mind none of these things made it a physical expression of love.  I had been exposed to things that made me feel that way about sex.  And the people in my life only seemed to prove it to be true.

So back to my women friends.  When I saw them one of them was talking about wearing her boots.  She said currently she has changed from the pursued to the pursuer in the bedroom, so sometimes she puts her boots on to set the mood for her husband.  She mentioned that she thought it was kind of mean of God to make men and women have different desires at different stages of life.  Sex has always been one of those things that I could not mentally grasp and had grappled with on the God front, so I agreed with her.  One of the other women there beautifully answered her that no it wasn't - it was about God teaching us about submitting to one another.  I don't know that I had given submission much thought in regards to sex.  When my man comes calling and I'm too tired, I'm too tired.  I began to think about Romans 12:1 and what it means in regard to sex.

"Therefore, I urge you, brethren, in view of God's mercy, offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship."  Romans 12:1

Unlike many women, I do not have a regular "need" for sex.  In my own selfish world I could go on without it, but I am a wife - I cannot go on without it.  I decided that the next time I was too tired I was going to offer myself as a sacrifice, not just try to fulfill an obligation as a wife, but be prepared to love my husband physically even though I may have already given all of myself throughout the course of a day doing motherly things.  I would give what I didn't think I could give because that alone would be a picture of Christ and a true form of worship.  And that I think is what makes sex pure and good.

In the mean time, the enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy my mindset and keep me enslaved to the world's thoughts about sex.  I began to believe the lies again.  But the women friends and I were talking sex on facebook and truth started slipping back in.  

My husband and I had become separated, sad, mad, and angry with one another.  We were totally separated and not one.  Sex was the last thing I wanted to do, but I wanted to bring us back together and make us one.  I prayed.  I asked a friend to pray although she had no idea what for (maybe now she does?).  I knew I was to be Abraham offering my Isaac (myself) on the altar, and I wanted to be willing.  I knew that God would not promise me a sacrifice to offer in the thicket - I would be the sacrifice, so I knew I must be willing, or all my attempts to physically love my husband would go sour.  In that moment, sex was a beautiful expression of love and worship both of my man and my God.  

I can see why Satan uses it so often to corrupt.  It is intended to portray a beautiful picture between God and man, as is marriage.  If you struggle with sex, with thoughts about sex, with not wanting to be with your husband, the following websites give good resources about the biblical purpose of sex and practical tips for you and your husband (these sites are only intended for married couples):


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