Thursday, April 21, 2011


An excerpt I read from The Velveteen Rabbit:

Near the beginning of the story the Rabbit asks the Skin Horse, the oldest toy in the nursery, "what is Real?"

"Real isn't how you are made." said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long time, not just to play with, but really loves, then you become real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.
"When you are real, you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

" It doesn't happen all at once ," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time."

... I ain't gonna lie. I totally cried when I read this.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


~ Motherhood makes me seriously question my sanity.

The question is:

Was I crazy before I became a mom and since having kids my insanity has had more opportunity to... present itself?


Is it motherhood itself that is, in fact, making me loony?

The problem with option one is.... it could only mean I've been this way my whole life but the condition has been lying dormant until approximately 8 years ago.

The (scary) issue with number two is... I'm going to be a mother the rest of my life..... Am I just going to keep getting crazier?!
... that's a problem for me.

That's all folks...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sharks, Snakes and Salmonella

When I was a little girl, growing up in Northeast Louisiana with two big brothers, I was fearless. In the spring time, when the storms would come and the flood waters would fill the deep "Louisiana-style" ditches, well, we had our very own swimmin' hole right there in our front yard. We would run around in the woods behind our house building forts and playing capture the flag. I rode on the handlebars of my brothers bikes and on the back of 3-wheelers as we splashed through mudholes and flooded canals. Never once did I fear a water moccasin or copper head, though I knew that they weren't uncommon. For whatever reason it never occurred to me to be scared. I followed my brothers, without hesitation, wherever they would allow me too or until they grew tired of me tagging along.
The first time I visited the ocean, I was enraptured. Instantly. To this day it is a feeling that returns every time I stand on a shore and look out at the deep blue. At 12 years old I had to get in that water and let it envelope me. I went as far out as I could possibly go, legs furiously kicking beneath the surface. And again.. although I knew of sharks, the possibility that a threat could be close just wasn't in my thinking. I never feared getting caught in a riptide or trapped beneath a wave. ...I was scared of getting stung by a jellyfish, though....
Many times during my fort-building and ocean diving days I kept myself nourished with the classic kid favorite PB&J. I determined early on that two "fold-over" sandwiches are better than one sandwich made the traditional way with two slices of bread stacked on top of each other. Another favorite snack was to take one of the big spoons from the drawer and dip it into the peanut butter jar and come out with a giant blob of the delicious butter. "Peanut butter spoons". The only fear I had was that my mom or brothers would find me double dipping and ban me from the peanut butter forever. Not once did I ever think my favorite snack held deadly bacteria.
Fast forward to age 21. I am pregnant with my first child. Things have changed. My thinking has changed. On the news I have watched several accounts of shark attacks. One guy lost his leg, another girl her arm. Some people lost their lives. What the...? Why are those sharks swimming in that ocean with those people?!
So with the pregnancy of my first child a whole new world of potentially harmful and deadly scenarios has opened up. I, who, as a teenager, once swam across the Ouachita River ( nearly drowning, mind you) am afraid of the kiddie pool in our back yard, if any kid of mine thinks she will be traipsing herself to the ocean she better think again! I'm sorry.. are you actually riding a bike without a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and any other cushion they market to place between you and certain death?! Says the girl who once strapped herself to a string held on by another piece of string and was pulled several hundred feet into the air and then dropped to swing out over the crowd watching below and the hot, hard pavement... Now... Six Flags is Satan's playground!!
As you can see, just the conception, not even the birth, of my first child brought about a host of new and irrational fears. Just two years ago there was pandemonium in grocery stores and playgroups across the country when thousands of jars of peanut butter were found to be contaminated with salmonella. REALLY?! I can't even feed my child LUNCH anymore?!
Since becoming a mom, the opportunity for fear has presented itself on many fronts. Regardless of the fact that as a child, I frolicked in the woods like Goldilocks, this is simply unacceptable for my kids. I, personally have killed 3 snakes in our yard alone. Who KNOWS what awaits them in the actual woods?!
Yes, motherhood has opened up my eyes to the reality of the dangers in our world. We have experienced some scares and close calls. I have kissed bo-bos and bandaged wounds. There have been ER visits and late night stomach bugs. Since the birth of my kids I have been introduced to even scarier thoughts and words, like SIDS and syndrome. First hand and as friends we have experienced life's worst heartaches.
What frightens me most is all the unseen that I am powerless to protect them from. Heartbreak and loss, betrayal and disappointment. Failure and pride.
When trying to conceive, our focus was timing. In pregnancy it was their physical health. Upon first glance of my daughters face, I immediately understood that life is so much scarier than sharks, snakes and salmonella. While the media brings to light the dangers of standing water and West Nile virus, it does nothing to address the issues of the human heart. Sure, we hear about gang-related crimes and meth labs, but it all seems so removed from us and our kids. We don't hear the back story of those involved in these activities. What was home- life like for these people who eventually turned to gangs in search of family and belonging? What makes a person so desperate that they risk their lives and the lives of their children to get their next fix? What abuses have people suffered via parents and other authority figures? And what kind of warped message have they received about love that would cause them to turn on the innocent? Where is their hope?
I have to be so careful here to not let fear creep in. I know of many, many people, either personally or 2nd hand who have suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to nurture. They been neglected and left alone vulnerable by the ones who were supposed to protect them. As a pastors wife I have seen the best and the worst of people and I have seen the foundation from which they have built their lives. All have hurt in their past. Every last one, from the suicidal to the flourishing. Seeing this, coupled with my own short-comings, it becomes easy for anxiety concerning my own kids to take over.
You see, I want to keep them from all of this. From the snakes and the sharks and that darn peanut butter! Even more, I want to protect them from the heartache and betrayal. Prejudice and being treated unfairly because they are just a little different from everyone else. Those deep, deep boo-boos that are too messy for a mommy's kiss and bleed too much for a Dora band-aid. Being powerless to stop these kinds of pains. Having to watch as they experience break-ups and rejection. Not making the baseball team. The dreaded "chubby" phase...Knowing that I will have to stand-by and watch, powerless to stop it. Because it's all apart of parenting and growing up. As a mother I have to learn to let go, whether its of the back of a bike sans training wheels or a young adult who is making decisions that I think are unwise. And my children must learn to lean on Jesus. The only way for them to experience Him personally is for me to get out of the way and stop catching them. It's scary. Will they fall on the Rock and be broken or will their pride get in the way and they find themselves crushed beneath the Rock? And will they blame me? Did I step-back when I should have stepped in? Was I pushy and controlling? Will I push them away....?
As I contemplate these things, I know that I am seeing a glimpse of the Fathers heart and the way He desires for us to parent our children. Just as with our first parents, Adam and Eve, He created a safe place for them. They were surrounded by beauty and had more than enough. They had a relationship with God and they walked with Him daily. He gave them all that they needed.
And He gave them free will. He let them go. Knowing the choices they would make. Watching, with tearful eyes no doubt, when they surrendered to temptation.
He knew what they would choose. What we would choose. And He lets us go anyway. Making sure that He provided a Way back. And He is confident in that Way. Confident enough to let go.

And that's how I should parent. Not with fear but with confidence in the Truth. Trusting that Jesus is all that we are and all that we are not. He gives us our strength and makes up for that which we lack.
With a tight grasp, I teach and train. Slowly letting go, one finger at a time, until my hands are open. Watching as they wobble and sway in an effort to find their balance. Praying that as they trip and stumble and bang their heads that they will remember what we've taught them. That the light of Truth that was lit in them will light the path back to the Fathers arms and to my front door...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vacation is over.

Oh my... what an insane few weeks it has been.
We were able to take a little mini vacay to Branson the 2nd week in Feb. We were so blessed to have someone set us up with a place to stay. It was SUCH a relaxing week . Nate and I both commented that we hadn't been that relaxed in a long time. We enjoyed time with the kids. My parents came along so we were able to visit with them. Mom and I even got to do some shopping at the outlet mall and enjoyed a "big girl" lunch together. On Wednesday, Nate's bday, we woke up to snow everywhere and still falling fast. We spent most of the day inside, staying warm, playing games and eating ..oh the eating. That night we ventured out to..EAT. haha! We stayed one more day before heading home on Friday.
We thought we needed that week as a rest from the weeks before... it was more of a chance to stop and catch our breath, get a swig of water and run headfirst back into the game!
Our calender has had us so busy. If Nate's not at a meeting then I am. We just wave to each other as we pass in the doorway!
Along with having crazy schedules we have had some personal trials and multiple loss in our extended family. It's one thing to deal with emotional issues, but it's been so crazy and so hard hitting I feel like I haven't truly got to grieve and process one event before another one hits! Not to mention our schedules have simply not allowed us to sit down and take inventory of our emotions. I'm a little afraid to slow down as I feel that when I do all of these things will slam into me. You know how when someone is driving and suddenly brakes and the car behind them rear ends them. I don't know whether to keep speeding along and maybe it will never catch up, should I try and turn and "lose" them or just brace myself for impact..?
I am so grateful to be surrounded by people and friends who are lifting me up. I love that the people in my life are not just praying that my prayers be answered. They aren't praying that things work out for me and my family. They are praying that God's truth prevail in my life, that his Word guides me and brings life to all my flesh.
I know that God allows us to face trials and to be pressed and squeezed so that we can identify the impurities and get them out. Sometimes it takes a trial to realize those things are there.
Or sometimes, it's like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, who wire tied up and thrown into the fiery furnace because they wouldn't bow to a false God. They were tied up...yet they were seen walking around in the fire ... there ropes were burned off! God allows the trials so that the ties that bind us can be destroyed. The fire is HOT but it brings ultimate freedom.
Thank you Beth Moore and the "Daniel" study for that analogy.
The other thing we learned through that study is this :

Consider 3 different scenarios when people of God face a fiery trial:

A. We can be delivered from the fire. ( We are spared in completely)
dividend? Our faith is built.

B. We can be delivered through the fire. ( we go through it, but come out not even smelling of smoke)
dividend? Our faith is refined.
C.We can be delivered by the fire straight into His arms. ( Our flesh is destroyed by it and we are with Jesus)
Dividend? Our faith is perfected.
.... I know that my time on earth isn't up so it isn't option c. And it's pretty obvious that option A is no longer a possibility.
So... refine me Lord!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Turner Syndrome Awareness Month- February

So, this February will be the first ever Turner Syndrome Awareness month. February is perfect for TS because it's the shortest month of the year. One of the most prominent symptoms of TS is short stature.
This is a cause that is very, very near to my heart because my daughter Jillian has Turner Syndrome. Jillian is 5 years old and I am SO, SO grateful that she was diagnosed at birth. You can read her story in an earlier post from last year. You can also learn more about TS by visiting

TS is much, more than short stature and it effects 1 in 2,500 females. 98% of baby girls with TS are miscarried. TS accounts for 10% of miscarriages. there is no cure for Turner Syndrome.

Raising awareness is important because early diagnosis is imperative for the best treatment for TS. It very often goes undiagnosed because the symptoms vary so widely. So many women have missed out on important medical help simply because their doctors did not recognize the symptoms until it was too late to treat them.
Raising awareness will also help the girls and their families get the financial assistance to treat their various needs. Just to give you a picture... Jillian saw 11 specialists in her first year of life. She sees an endocrinologist every 3 months, a cardiologist and a nephrologist (kidney). She takes a growth hormone shot every night. The medicine alone costs approx $2,000 a month. She has had other expensive medical issues and will begin hormone replacement therapy around the age of puberty. THANK GOD our needs are met and we have help with all of her medical bills. That is not the case for all of the girls.

I am purchasing little pins to wear for the month of Feb. If you would like to help raise awareness by purchasing a pin, please let me know. They also have bracelets for $3 and t-shirts for $18.
Thanks so much for your help in raising awareness so these girls can live the healthiest lives possible.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wednesday Night Lights

Last night was Wednesday and every Wednesday we have an evening service at church. It starts at 7 and usually ends between 8 and 8:15. Last night after I checked my kids into their classes, I got to the sanctuary and slid into my seat on the front row. I looked around me and saw that I was once again on that front row by myself. But As I looked I saw it was no wonder.... as there were 3 little coats, several coloring pages, gum paper and and a myriad of different dolls strewn about on the chairs. I could only chuckle and sigh as I shoved a pile of dress-up purses and pillow pets over to make room for Nate who would be joining me since we were finishing up a video series.
The video series we are studying is "In Search of Timothy" and it's all about serving in the church. As I watch and listen to some of the stories and examples the speaker shared, I wondered how many of the pastors he mentions are young pastors with young kids. Cause I just have to say... this is hard. I mean I always knew that we would pastor because we've talked about it since before we were married 10 years ago. But I never could have imagined what it would be like. I love it. But It's much tougher than I thought. I suppose it's like having kids though... I always knew that I was supposed to be a mom. But I never realized how hard and demanding it would be until my first child was born.
Now, pastoring a church, is much like having a second set of children. Granted , most of them are older than me, but I still feel a deep love for them, a sense of responsibility and a desire to see them walk out the calling God has for them.
Along with the emotional ties that go along with this job as pastors wife, there are the practical expectations. And here is where I am struggling to find balance. There are places to be and people to talk to. As the pastors wife I feel I should be out in the foyer after service greeting new people and in the sanctuary making people feel welcome. I should be leading bible studies. And I WANT to do these things. It would be ideal. But the reality is I have three small children who need to be picked up after service. Three small kids to corral as my husband greets and shakes hands. Three small children whose normal bedtime is 7, so that means they arrived at church a little on the sleepy side, so by now it's 8:30 and it's taking all my self-control and theirs to keep from screaming... which is why they end up running around like crazy people while all I can do is stand there, arms loaded down with aforementioned coats, papers and dollies, looking NOTHING like a friendly, loving pastors wife and more like a twitchy-eyed, frizzy haired, mascara-smudged bag lady whose shirt is riding up and showing off her muffin top.
So it's 8:45 now and we are turning off the lights and setting the alarm and the kiddies are running into the dark, poorly- lit parking lot without their coats on. We climb into the van and crank up the heat. The kids talk ALL THE WAY home about their class and their friends and their snack and who ate their boogies that night. It has been another long day.
So, I had just tucked in Jillian and sang to her and prayed and laughed and kissed her goodnight. I go into Nathaniel's room where Nate has already started the bedtime routine. " Tell mommy what you heard when you listen to my heart, Bub" Nate says. So Nathaniel puts his little head to Nate's chest and says " Bubby, Bubby". AWWWWW! My heart melted and I asked him what my heart said. As he listened he said " Emma, Jill". " That's right!" I tell him, " and Bubby too!".
My little boy understands that his daddy and mommy have hearts that beat for him. That he is loved that much.
It is my prayer that as I attempt to find balance in this new role, that I will remember to lay my head on the Fathers heart and hear His heartbeat. I know that as I do this I will hear the names of all of His children including my own, my kids and the names of the people in our church. I believe that if I will just allow my self to rest there in his bosom, listening to that beat, it will be the rhythm to which I move and dance my way through this season of my life and every season from here on out. The things that move God's heart will be the things that move mine. I will hear His heart race with joy as I pour into, first my husband and children, and then others.
From the beginning of time God's heartbeat has pounded out the names of His babies. If I purpose to know Him, love Him and rest in Him, perhaps my heartbeat will begin to echo His.