Monday, November 28, 2011

When the Story Doesn't Make Sense

God did not give us the big thing we have been praying for.  He just gave us this teeny tiny thing that is "not that big of a deal" in my book.  I have been praying about the big thing for a while now, and have really mentioned nothing to Him about the little thing.  The little thing is not going to make much difference.  I must confess, I was a little disheartened.  Actually, I was alot disheartened.  In MY STORY this is not how it was suppose to read.  It just doesn't make sense.
I was reading one of my favorite read alouds to my third graders today.... Jotham's Journey.  This story reminded me of something.  Imagine how frustrated Joseph must have felt to know that he and his pregnant wife (excuse me...fiance) had to travel  home for the census.  I don't know for sure, but I am guessing that Joseph might have wondered why God chose to allow a census at such a difficult time.  He might have even thought, "God, why would you want the mother of your son to make this long hard journey at such a time as this?  It just doesn't make sense." 

And since I have read the scriptures, I know that it had been prophesied that Jesus would be born in the lowly town of Bethlehem. God was playing out HIS STORY just as He intended...even if it didn't make sense to those involved.  And since I have read the scriptures, I also know that HIS STORY has a beautiful ending.

Since I am His and He is writing my story...
I am guessing that mine has a beautiful ending too.

Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tradition is one of my favorite things in life.  I love the sameness.... the over and over.  I love hearing my kids talk about "last year and the year before and the year before."  

Every year we have a pre-Thanksgiving celebration with my brother and his family at my aunt and uncle's horse farm.  Aunt Marie is the president of an organization called Creative Therapy which provides hippotherapy (occupational or physical therapy with the use of horses) to children with special needs.

Rebecca rides Beamer 

 Me and my cowboy

 Uncle Stan and Max on Bruiser

 Aunt Marie always makes the day fun for all.  She is a bundle of sweetness.  

The kids groom and saddle and ride and feed the horses....
...and even clean up their poop.  Which, of course, is their favorite part.

Thanksgiving traditions at the farm.... another "gift" for my list. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

800+ Thankfuls on Thanksgiving Day

Continuing to celebrate His gifts of Thanksgiving..... on this Thanksgiving day!

807.  Safe drive to Nana's house a midst traffic and rain.

808.  Sharing our thankfuls in the car.

809.  Recognizing Your amazing evening sky.

810.  Singing Justin Bieber Christmas.

811.  A good night's sleep at Nana's house.

812.  How Caroline is excited that I am up so she can join me on the couch and read.

813.  How she is loving her Nancy Drew book...curled up reading in her pjs.

814.  How Aunt Betsy prayed at 5am that if Uncle John wasn't going to get any better that You would go ahead and take him... how at 6am he passed into Your kingdom.

815.  The comfort of knowing You are meeting all of our daily needs.

816.  Getting Andy's "Leatherman" back from the Coke Museum and the ease of it all.

817.  Itchy and watery eyes that are better!

818.  Just being at Nana's house.

819.  The joy tradition brings... bringing the homemade hot chocolate year after year.

820.  Nana's eggs and bacon and just how she does things.... puttering around in the kitchen.

821.  How Caroline offers to help... her sensitivity to the needs of others.

822.  Hearing their conversation.

823.  How freeing it is to not try to control things.

824.  Letting things go.

825.  Learning about PRAYER.

826.  Holidays

827.  The smell of the fresh brewed coffee.

828.  How Nana and Caroline discuss how the pork chops are more flavorful if they have the bone-in.  How she comes to tell me that we need to get our pork chops with the bone-in.

829.  Their laughter as they discuss things.

830.  Oh my!  Coffee is so much better when someone else makes it.  Everything is so much better when someone else makes it!

831.  The pleasure of this very moment! 

832.  My morning with Rebecca and Nana... TJMaxx and HomeGoods.

833.  Sitting with Rebecca at Barnes and Noble reading magazines and drinking fancy coffee while we wait on Nana to get her hair done.

834.  Picking out 2 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts for all of the cousins.

835.  Our hike at Oak Mountain State Park and how everyone laughed and enjoyed the outdoors together.

836.  The perfect weather for a hike.

837.  Coming home to the squealing Smith boy cousins...and the reuniting and the joy.  

838.  How they all LOVE Uncle Andy and sit on him and how he does "airplanes" and how he gets them all wound up just before bed.

839.  How Hoke talks to Uncle Andy about fishing and hunting and "bear-was" (bears)... too cute!

840.  How Sawyer, at 7, sits and reads the Plymouth Rock story to me....perfect, every word.

841.  How Sawyer says, "Let's sing a Thanksgiving song!" and then bursts into singing, "Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart" and how we all join in.

842.  How David just likes to say "Uncle Andy" over and over again and how cute it sounds in his little voice.

843.  Nana's egg casserole and coffee with cream and sugar and my oj with one cube of ice and how she just knows and makes everything so warm and wonderful.

844.  A good night's sleep curled up by my sweetheart in a cold room with lots covers.... how he breathes heavy and sleeps deep.

845.  Curled up in the chair with Hoke reading the Target Toy Catalog...picking out our favorites.

846.  Addressing all my Christmas Card envelopes....done!

847.  Stepping in pee-pee on the bathroom floor this morning...somebody missed!

848.  Talking about Uncle John..... remembering sweet memories.

849.  Thinking of him reuniting with his daughter in heaven.

850.  Being at PEACE in the midst of life's struggle.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Uncle John

The first time I ever met him.... Andy took me down to the gulf where he and Aunt Betsy were staying for the month.  We were treated to a vacation at the beach with them.  I was his nephew's girlfriend at the time.  He made me feel welcomed and loved.  We went dancing at the local "Beach Hop" and he and Aunt Betsy could sure dance a jig.  

This summer we all joined together for our "every few years or so" family reunion.  He and Aunt Betsy made the long trip from Cincinnati.  It was the 4th of July and my eyes filled up with tears as he proudly stood in the church service as they played his Navy Anthem.  We had sweet fellowship.  It was the last time we got to see him.  Yesterday, he went HOME to sing with the angels.  

I will miss his gentle soul.  I am so glad I got to know him.  I will always remember his voice.  He was wise and kind and good.  

Happy Thanksgiving Uncle John!  I am thankful for you. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Under the Mistletoe

Conversation with my girls in the car on the way to school this morning:

Me:  What is he saying?  "Shoddy?"

Rebecca:  No Mom.  He is saying, "Shawty... S-H-A-W-T-Y."

Me:  Well, what is that?

Caroline:  It's like a... cute girl.

Me:  Oh!  Like y'all!  Y'all are cute girls, so I can call you "Shawties"... right?

Both girls:  NOOOOOO!

Caroline:  Please do not ever do that in public.  I would die!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wearing out his Welcome

I remember the day we got it.  The girls were tiny and we all went to Atlanta to pick it up....all the way trusting God that if He wanted us to have it, all the details would play out just as He intended.  They did and we followed daddy home in his new (to us!) truck we affectionately named Snoopy.  Today we jubilantly said goodbye.  Snoopy was replaced quite a few months ago by a new (to us!) "Monster Truck"... or, at least, that's what I call it.  It is big, and loud, and mean!  However, Snoopy wasn't eager to leave and nobody seemed to want him.  We were eager for him to go.  God was not.  So he sat and he sat and he sat.

Currently, I can hear my (delightfully giddy) husband talking to the girls in the other room.  He is talking about how God wants us to trust Him, how we don't always understand His timing, but we can trust that He is always working out His plan in our lives.  While we are waiting, He is working.  I suppose the nine months it took us to sell the darn thing was worth it.... I suppose.  'Cause while we are learning these great lessons of faith and trust.... so are our dear little munchkins. And for that, I am so thankful!

Monday, November 14, 2011

And it's Warm and Real and Bright

I am a sucker for fairy tales.  Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite, but Tangled runs a close second.  I absolutely love the "Brandy" version of Cinderella, and I've probably watched the last Ball Scene of Enchanted twice as many times as my kids.  Who can resist Patrick Dempsey singing?  So romantic.  

Confession:  Today, in the rare moment I was ALL BY MYSELF in the car, I blared this masterpiece and sang at the top of my lungs.  I know I'm a "hopeless romantic", but in that moment, it WAS "all so clear...I'm where I'm meant to be."  

Who says God can't speak through a fairy tale?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Feathers of and Eagle and Claws of a Bird

God gave me about six different opportunities today to respond humbly to the particular circumstances of my day and I failed miserably at every one.... well maybe not every one.... well, yes, every one.  Interestingly enough, I read a whole chapter this morning about "living humbly" in a book I have been reading on gratefulness.  It was like God said, "Now let's practice"  as I stepped foot out the door.

"So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!"  (1 Corinthians 10:12)

We read a story in class today about that C-R-A-Z-Y King Nebuchadnezzar.  He thought quite highly of himself, prancing around on the roof of his palace admiring his work.  (It's a great Bedtime Bible Story... Daniel 4:28-37.)  I'm glad God has not dealt with me as He dealt with Ol' King Nebuchadnezzar. 

"He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle.  His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird."  Daniel 4:33

Ugh.  Can you imagine?  Not a fun way to learn a lesson. 

I'd like to think that I have learned from my failure and do not need any more opportunities.  But I know that is not how my Heavenly Father works.  So, I am sure He will give this stinkin' prideful girl another chance.  Probably alot more chances to learn the discipline of responding with a heart of humility.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness."  (Lamentations 3:22-23) 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I have a friend who knows how to be still.  Don't get me wrong.  She is always busy.  Her responsibilities in a day far outweigh mine.  She wakes and works hard all day long and rarely gets an uninterrupted nights sleep.  Several days ago we sat and visited.  She held her son in her arms.... enjoying him.... soaking up the moment with him.  He is 7 years old.  He has never crawled or walked or talked.  He doesn't know life like I know life, 

...but I think he knows it better. 

"Be still and know that I am God..."  Psalm 46:10

Friday, November 4, 2011

Morning by Morning

The morning is sweet.  I go to sleep looking forward to it.  This morning I woke to the rain..... ahhhhh.  Crawled out of bed and puttered to the kitchen.  Brewed the pumpkin coffee and curled up on the couch under Andy's Great Aunt Lute's handmade octagon quilt.  I love that quilt.  It is full of colorful vintage fabrics, a gazillion different prints.  Wow.  I have a new appreciation for her hard work those many years ago.  She made one for each of her nieces and nephews, but I feel sure Andy's (mine!) is the most beautiful.

I love those moments on the couch in the dark hours of the morning just before the dawn... with Him.  He always gives me Word of His unfailing love.  Who would want to miss that?

"Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;  morning by morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."  
Psalm 5:3