This is what happens when....

you leave your child unsupervised with new magic markers. Yep, Carter was enjoying part of an early Christmas present while we were finishing dinner and this is what happened! It all came out in the wash--Carter's bath and the washing machine so to take an expression from my good friend, Sean.... "it's all good!".





Coffee at last!

Well, my two weeks are up and I enjoyed a piping hot cup of coffee this morning. I didn't even have to finish my mug. It was great, it was like I had never skipped a day. I don't feel too weird so it must not be doing anything bad to me so I think I will stick with drinking it every now and then. I would like not to get hooked on it every day so I don't have caffeine withdrawal, but we'll see.

I am trying my best to stay away from sugar and have done a pretty great job at that. I am slowly adding good carbs back to my diet this weekend so I hope all my hard work the last two weeks doesn't bite the dust in the next few with all the goodies around. I am keeping them out of my house, I know that.

So, hopefully my next post will have nothing to do with diet, coffee or lack of sugar.

Day 12 without coffee...

I know, I know, my posts are getting old. Enough already, right?

Well, the fog has lifted, my sinuses have finally cleared up and I have no headaches..woo hoo!!! This must be what it is like to be sugar and caffeine free.

To tell you the truth, in terms of coffee, I don't feel that different. That is why I have decided on day 14 without coffee I am going to indulge in a nice cup of hot organic coffee with real half and half. One cup a day (or so) won't hurt. Well, I will see how I react to the cup of coffee and go from there.

Sugar, on the otherhand, I am keeping at bay. Of course, with the holidays there will be a little indulgence here and there but I will be glad to get back on track. The cravings sugar triggers are really amazing.

However, I have been on this strict fast (or cleanse, whatever you want to call it) for almost two weeks and I am ready to add some healthy carbs. A slice of grain bread, a sweet potato here or there with my dinner. You know, the small things in life. Eating like I have been eating the last two weeks gets really old. I am ready for some broader choices in my diet other than, "protien or veggie, miss?"

I have lost 13 pounds and about 7 1/2 inches off my mid-section/ hip areas. Yep. There is motivation for you. That is enough to keep me on the program.

Now to decide to torture my mom's group with sugar free, flourless cookies on Monday night at our Christmas party cookie swap.....hmmmmmmm, I don't think that would be a good idea. On the otherhand, maybe they wouldn't notice. Ha!

One Week Without Coffee...

Day Seven: The coffee pot looms before me. Empty for seven days. The Espresso machine looks forlorn and is collecting dust. My head is busting and, somehow, all of this is supposed to be GOOD for me????


Coffee. I don't miss it too badly. Except when I smell it or see a Starbucks! Oh, the Pumpkin Spice latte....oh, but I need to stop thinking about that. Ha! I am still drinking black tea in the AM so I am getting some caffeine. I hope to taper that off next week. I just want to know what it is like to have caffeine completely out of my system....hmmm.

And the longer I go without sugar the less tempting things appear. I am eating dark chocolate ever day, a fine piece of dark chocolate so I am not in total deprivation.

Poor Greg, who I think we all agree does not need to lose weight, has been eating what I have been eating. I do add carbs to his plate. He needs them. And he told me he would eat anything except cauliflower mashed potatoes. He never has gotten over that one.

Even my friend Heather was adventurous enough to come over and try the Cider Chicken and Spaghetti Squash. Which, as I had to explain to Heather, the squash is called spaghetti squash because when you pull it apart it looks like spaghetti. And some people eat it with tomato sauce instead of regular pasta. We were not having spaghetti (the pasta) and squash together. I don't know if she was disappointed that spaghetti was not on the menu, but she ate the squash anyway.

The Headaches!!!! I have had a dull headache, sometimes not so dull, for three days. I think this is more from sugar withdrawal than caffeine, since I am still drinking things with caffeine in them. So, I have tried to alter the diet a little bit to make it a little more pleasing on my head. I would rather go at this slowly and be able to function than feel like crap. Apparently, once all the "bad stuff" is out of your system you are supposed to feel great. I am not there yet.

I can say this. My moods are much more even keeled without sugar and coffee. I don't know what it is but I just feel more pleasant than usual. Except when I am driving in Nashville traffic, but don't we all lose it with idiots, I mean, people, on the road??? Besides in the car I am much more pleasant to other people. So everyone benefits, right?

And I am losing weight and inches. Woo hoo...it seems to be quite dropping off of me. And I am very EXCITED about that. It makes not having sugar or coffee much more bearable.

Tonight I am splurging and we are going to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We will be sharing the 6 carb cheesecake for dessert. It is actually quite good. Then, I will hit the elliptical machine at the Y tomorrow. It all works out.

Now all I have to do is live another day without my coffee. Sigh. At least 7 more to go without it, but maybe longer. We shall see.

Where is my coffee????

Sigh. Well, I have deliberately cut out coffee from my diet, for the time being.

I am trying to "get healthy" and do some "cleansing", which means, basically, cutting out things you love because they aren't good for you in the first place. Luckily, this time period is only going to last two weeks. I will be on a pretty restrictive eating plan, but that doesn't mean I won't be eating great tasting food. There just won't be hardly any carbohydrates, no sugar, and very limited caffeine.

I have done this kind of thing before and although it is difficult, it really gets rid of nasty cravings, that for me, are very difficult to not give in to. In fact, I would say that it is nearly impossible. That is why there are no cookies or chips in the house. Carter is still allowed his goldfish crackers and I will just try not to nibble on them for the next two weeks.

I have been eating way too much junk and suger these past few months. Actually, I am quite disappointed in myself because earlier in the summer I was on the fast track to weight loss. I was "in the groove" so to speak. I didn't really take the time to recognize how well I was doing. In fact, I remember being pretty hard on myself instead of looking at all the things I was accomplishing. Throw in a best friend dying and then a few other setbacks the next month and BAM! It was easy to throw away the groove for a couple of Oreo cookies.

The only thing is, the a couple of Oreo cookies turned into four. Then I was buying chips, "for Greg", of course. And then I just plain got off track and didn't care. I didn't want to think about my losses, I didn't want to feel anything, so I numbed myself with food.

This is what I do. I am addicted to food. I have struggled with food most of my life and it will always have an impact on me. There won't ever be a day that I won't be tempted to eat outside of a healthy eating plan. There will always be sights and smells that make me want to cave. And when I don't pay attention, I will and then it snowballs much like an alcoholic going on a binge.

The bad thing about being addicted to food is, you can never walk away from your addiction. I have to eat. Period. So, this makes life difficult. It sucks, really.

But there is always a new day. I have not totally undone all my hard work over the summer, although I am very unhappy with my body right now but what's new about that?

So, now it is time to get rid of all the triggers for me, which happen to be sugar and bad carbs (ie: sugar,flour, potatoes, white rice, instant foods,etc.).

The best way for me to do that is just to get rid of them. By not allowing them in my diet the cravings and triggers are greatly decreased. To some this might sound extreme but for me, it is somewhat my salvation. Sugar really does make you want more sugar. I have done this before and it is amazing the difference that I feel. Doesn't mean I won't ever eat sugar again, but for now, I need to lay off.

I found a great website today that is actually a blog. The best diet for me, or way of living, as I like to put it, is The Southbeach Diet. It is healthy, safe, and uses natural, whole foods.

Anyway, I was looking up a recipe for a sugar-free, wheat-free dessert and found this blog, http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/, that is FULL of great low-glycemic recipes. I have already printed off a bunch.

If you are into eating a low-glycemic diet, check it out. It is a really cool website.

I will keep you updted on my coffee withdrawal....it is sure to be interesting.

What a birthday!

Well, it was my birthday yesterday. My last birthday in my thirties. In case you didn't know, sigh, I will be 40 next year. BLAH!

Yep, that is exactly how I felt about it. BLAH! Didn't want to celebrate it, didn't really care about it. Blah. Along with other stuff, it just really hadn't been a great weekend. I was down, cranky and emotional.

My mom came in Monday and she said she would keep Carter while Greg and I went out. Greg made reservations at Merchants here in Nashville. I had never been so I was excited. He told me he would give me my present at the restaurant. I was like, whatever, I am not really that into it anyway. Blah....

So we get to the restaurant. After we order Greg gives me my birthday card. I figured he got me a spa package or something and there was a gift certificate in the card.

I opened it up. Very beautiful card, very sweet!! That was nice. Then I see that there are tickets in there, they are covered up with a paper sleeve so I decided to read what Greg wrote in the card.

All I saw was Celine Dion and lost it. I opened up the tickets. My mouth was open--wide, I might add. Tears sprang up. I saw that she was going to be at the Sommet Center....then Greg explains.

Last week, Celine was on Oprah. I had turned the TV on halfway through. Now, I have always planned to go to Vegas on my 40th birthday and seeing Celine Dion in Vegas was one of the things I planned to do. When they announced that Celine was closing her show on December 31st OF THIS YEAR, I let out a wail!!! Greg was in the room. I was distracted by my computer but apparently, the flashed across the screen that Celine Dion was coming to Nashville and that tickets go on sale November 19th....my birthday, hmmm.

So, Greg got the idea to get me those tickets for my birthday. This was before my yucky, emotional weekend. Isn't that the sweetest??????????????????????

Now, flash forward to last night. I am looking at my tickets, amazed. Then I see the date.....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Yes, you heard me right.....2009!!!!!!!!

I said, "2009????"

Greg says, "No, there must be a mistake or a typo".

We get out the calendar and figure 2009 must be leap year cause, yep, the 13th is on a Tuesday. Greg was mortified...he had no idea that I was going to have to wait a year for my birthday present. He even made the paper sleeve that held the tickets and on the sleeve he had typed "January 13, 2009".

I told him I did not care. We had great seats and if we had waited till next year they would have been horrible.

So, I guess I will be able to see Celine Dion when I am 40 afterall!!!! Just not in Vegas.

Merry Christmas!

Oh, wait! It's not even Thanksgiving yet! But it will be here before we know it. We have gotten Carter's Christmas pictures made and getting our Christmas cards ready so here is a preview....

Enjoy!







Carter's Halloween

Carter made it through Halloween this year with just a few meltdowns. I guess the terrible twos were inevitable! As you can see, Carter was a cow....a very adorable cow, I might add!!!






We went to a local park that was having a Fall Fest and met some friends there. Our friend Heather came along too. They had inflatables that kids could jump in and pony rides along with a REALLY, REALLY long line to get "the loot". Since Carter could have cared less about candy, we skipped the long candy line.

Carter went straight for the ponies. He wanted in the gate! Right then. He did not understand that you have to take a turn or that you can't just go up to something because you want to. Hence, meltdown #1. I got in line finally, and Greg distracted Carter as best he could until it was his turn.



Well, he only made around once and got really scared...meltdown #2. He wanted off that pony fast. I was trying to hold him and unbuckle him at the same time while staying at the head of the pony like the man had told me to! Thankfully, they stopped the ponies and I undid him.

Onto the inflatables. He had a great time in there until someone ran into him and he kind of got trampled. He was more scared than anyhting....meltdown #3.

After that we gave up and left the park. It was getting dark and we had pretty much seen everything.


Finally, we stopped by Grandpa and Grannie Mayo's house. Carter wasn't impressed with the two pieces of candy in his pumpkin so he threw them out!




We ended the night by going to Cracker Barrel and my very hungry boy ate his whole, half sandwich that I made him. Made me wonder if maybe all his tantrums were due to being hungry!!??

On the way home Carter was really quiet. I looked back in his seat and he was chewing on something. He had gotten a hold of his candy and was chewing the paper off and eating the chocolate. He had chocolate everywhere!! I died laughing but all it did was upset him cause he thought I was upset. He got over pretty quickly and I fed him the rest of his kit kat....after I cleaned him up!! Hee hee!!!
Today would have been my friend, Roxanne's 38th birthday. I still can't believe that she is not here. I do have to say it makes me really sad. I talked to Rox's mom last week and they are doing surprisingly well. Better than I ever expected them to be doing and I am so glad. Of course, they are handling their grief in different ways and the holidays coming up I am sure will be especially tough. Roxanned LOVED Christmas. It was her FAVORITE holiday. Ah, another bittersweet memory pops into my head. There are so many.

I love ya, Rox! We all miss you, terribly!!

Here are a few pictures of Roxanne when she visited the states last year.





Carter and Rox




Rox with our good friend, Mark! We all go way back to when we lived in Morristown


Finally, pictures at Lisa's house last summer after our big get together. Rox was sooo excited to see everyone and for all of us to be together.






These are the memories I hold on to and while I miss sharing stuff with my friend, I know she is in a much better place.

Happy birthday, Roxanne!

Fall has arrived! Finally!

And it has given me a big, fat migraine!!!!

Actually, it is rainy here today, which is a good thing, but the barometric pressure change has done a number on my head. But it will get better.

It is still not officially fall....is it? It doesn't feel like it any way. It is still warm. I love fall when there is a slight chill in the air and you need to wear a jacket but it is not unbearably cold.

Yea for fall!!!

Greg and I went to Orlando and had a great trip. It was a little rainy while we were there, but otherwise we had no complaints at all. We were very impressed with the National Center on Biblical Parenting all the way around. Hopefully, I will be able to give my first seminar at my church in some form or another in the Winter. I have a lot of information to go through and really work on the presentation of the seminar. They really give you everything you need to give a great presentation and for any church that is planning the seminar, they provide everything to promote it. And they really work with the church to make it successful. I guess that is why we were so impressed with this organization. They are very organized and have their stuff together! Thanks Scott and Joanne!!!!

Once I am going at this full throttle I will include some information in the blog in case you or your church would like to plan to have a parenting seminar. Even if I am not in your area they have presenters all over the country.

If you want to take a look you can check them out at http://www.biblicalparenting.com

I promise more later!!!

We're off to Orlando

Greg and I are headed to Orlando, Fl tomorrow. Carter is staying home with Grandpa and Grannie Mayo. You would think that I would be worried sick about leaving my baby for four days...but I am not! I am SO looking forward to this trip and getting away with my hubby. I know some moms who have never spent a night away from their children. Don't go on dates with their husbands, and if they do spend time away from their kid, they don't enjoy it. For some reason I do not have that problem. And I think it is quite okay! In fact, it is healthy to take time away from your children and family and take some time for YOU!!!! You will be a much better mom investing in some mom time than never taking a break. Ok, enough of that soapbox.

Why are we going to Orlando, you ask? I am going through the parenting seminar training to become a presenter for the National Center for Biblical Parenting (biblicalparenting.org). On Saturday, Greg and I will actually sit through the seminar so not only will I be trained in being a presenter, we as parents actually get to go through the seminar and hopefully glean some good stuff.

It is kind of long story of why I am going to this training through this organization. I found this organization online when I first felt the call toward doing parenting ministry. I saw that they offered trainings but at that time I was still working and they were not adding on any presenters. So, I kept them in my favorites file and didn't think much of it. Then I quit work to stay at home with Carter and go into more ministry oriented work. Not too long after that one of the leaders of this organization sent me and email telling me that they were adding more presenters and were going to have a training in the fall of 2007. It seemed pretty clear to me that I needed to follow up with them. I applied and they accepted. So, here we go!

People ask me what I will get out of this. My answer is, "I don't really know". I was talking with someone at church today about it and I really don't have a whole lot of answers, except that I know I am supposed to do this. I am trying to focus on staying focused on Christ and let the ministry follow. So, I don't really know. Obviously, I have spoken with these people, I have researched the agency, looked through their materials and feel that they are legit. But, beyond that I really don't know what all of this entails. Except that I will have the opportunity to lead seminars in churches that will have me. I do get compensated. They have some awesome resources for families and churches. I would love to start a parenting ministry in my church.

If I were hope and dream about what the future holds I would have a pretty clear picture what that would look like. Doing ministry in my church, possible setting up private practice (I should be a licensed therapist by the beginning of the year--if all goes well), and helping parents become the best that they can be. Being an encourager, loving the people that I am ministering to and getting closer to Jesus in the process.

But I am trying not to hope and dream and let the Lord guide me where He would have me go and what He would have me do. If that means traveling every weekend doing seminars in churches, then great! I feel I have a long way to go in getting where I need to be in my relationship with Christ before I think I would be able to offer anything to anyone. And, really, I wouldn't be offering anything that I had anyway, cause anything I have comes from God. I am really not being hokey in saying that. I truly believe that the less I know I have anything to offer the better. Does that mean God hasn't given me gifts and talents? No, of course not, He gives us each a special call. But apart from Him I CAN DO NOTHING.

That is exactly where I want to be. With Him. He will take care of the rest.

Pray for safe travels for us this week and for my baby Carter to be safe and sound!

See, I tell everyone Carter looks like me!!!

Maybe people will start believing it now! Of course, the look-alike-meter says he only looks more like me by 6% but I will take everything I can get.

Seriously, though, I think Carter is a great mixture of both of us and in the end Carter looks like.....CARTER!!

My summer of grief and loss

Or, should I say, the summer of my discontent...sounds a bit more upbeat. But it is what it is.

I am glad that summer is over and we are in a new season, it doesn't feel like a new season, yet, but it soon will. The heat of summer will be transformed into misty mornings and cool evenings. I believe God takes us through different seasons in life for a reason. I may no know or understand what those reasons are, but He does and He is sufficient.

I am calling this past summer my season of grief and loss. I have been here before. It is not really a fun place to be. However, God is teaching me and reminding me that nothing belongs to me. I know this. I know this is part of surrender. My health doesn't belong to me. My family. My husband, or even my precious baby boy-who I still sometimes fear isn't going to be awake in the morning (that is called a stronghold of fear) and I have dealt with this since my heart was opened to a love I had never experienced before. First the love of a wonderful family, that is a given. But recently, in the past few years, a love of a wonderful man who, I feel, completes me and with whom I cannot imagine living a day without. Second, the precious love of my child, Carter. A different love, a love that merits worry and protection over unseen potential harm. Potential being the key word. the potential harm never seems to materialize, yet it leaves a dent in your heart that only gets bigger each time a worry or doubt pop in your mind. And it grows, and it grows and it grows until a stronghold is formed.

The Bible says that we are not given a spirit of bondage again to fear, but a spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father. (Romans 8:15).

I have to give my life over to God each and every day, some days moment by moment. It is a refining work He does in me. He does not want me to be entangled in bondage, and fear is bondage. Period.

God is working on me, refining me, so that I can come to a place where I say ALL is yours. I came into this world with nothing and I will leave this world with nothing. I am not to hold onto something so dearly, more dearly than my trust in God. Because that is when the fear and doubt move in. See, if I am truly going to be surrendered and totally broken before God, I have to surrender EVERYTHING. Even my right to enjoy a long life, life long friendships, healthy pregnancies and a long and happy marriage to Greg. And, it includes I have to surrender even Carter. That Carter will outlive me and that he will be disease and accident free.

I have to give up the right to smooth sailing. Because as much joy and happiness this life brings, the Lord wants me to know and understand Him. If there were never any trials then I would never know God as Comforter and Healer. It doesn't mean He is going to snatch Greg and Carter from me --but if He does, I have to know and understand that He had a bigger picture in mind. I may never understand hurt and loss, but as long as know who is the Comforter in the hurt and loss, then the why really doesn't have to be answered. This life is a VAPOR. Poof, and it is gone. God is bigger than my love for family, Greg and Carter, health and friendships.

In a sense, I feel God is teaching me about looking forward to Heaven. When person is young and full of life, the thought of not living life just doesn't really cross their mind. With the death of Roxanne, I had to question, again, this place of Heaven. I have been spared death in my family, family that I am very close to. So, in a way, Heaven seemed like a very far off place. Now, it seems a little bit closer because I have loved ones there. It made me look at my thought of heaven. It made me question it's existence. Process that it really is a place that Christ has gone to prepare for me. Because I am His child. And He prepares it for each of His children.

And not only that, but what comes with heaven....eternity! An eternity of worshipping Him. It will never end and it is going to be so BIG and we will then truly see Christ as HE is! Wow. This life is SO short. It is but a vapor.

I love my life. I love being here on earth. I feel Christ is teaching me to start loving Heaven a little bit more. And, I would assume, the older I get, the closer that HOME, my real home, will be.

I want to be refined, even though it is painful, to be able to look forward to Heaven. To meeting this Peacemaker. The Peace that Passes ALL Understanding.

I'm just glad that it was South Carolina instead of Tennessee

Oh, my. I am sure there will be many blogs written on this, but I could not resist. When I saw this, I can honestly say, I had the best laugh all day, and I needed it!

I don't think Miss South Carolina thinks too quickly on her feet.

Bless her heart!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww

Ode to Roxanne


I know it sounds kind of corny, but she would have liked it that way. Roxanne was a crazy, one of kind gal from New Brunswick, Canada. I can honestly say I have never met anyone like her, nor, I feel, will I ever again. Hence, her being one of a kind and all. If you are reading this and wondering who the heck Roxanne is. She was one of my best friends. She died suddenly, July 10th, 2007.
Here is a picture taken last summer with Rox in the middle. That is me and Lisa Hunt Hammer to your right.

Roxanne and I are complete opposites. We are both "baby girls", in that we were spoiled rotten growing up. Rox was an only child, I was the baby. Not a big difference. However, our personalities could not have been more opposite! Roxanne was loud and outgoing. Her humor could be crude. And she was always quick with a joke. She saw right through me. Maybe that is what bugged me so much. I could never get anything by her. She always knew when I had something on my mind and I needed to spit it out. Oh, and she had beautiful singing voice. And she loved to sing about Jesus.

Roxanne and I have known each other for almost 20 years! I am getting OLD! We met in the early 90's while following Southern Gospel Music (I know, I know). We ended up being roommates in our early 20's and that about nearly killed our friendship. I think it lasted a year. "Baby Girls" do not need to room together. We each want our own way, and lets just say it, Roxanne was bossy, and if you didn't do things her way, she got really ticked. In my 20's I was extremely passive. I had NO idea who I was. I was shy, withdrawn and I was depressed--a lot. I had a lot of growing up to do. Roxanne changed my life. She got me out doing things I had never done before. We were both stubborn and bull headed (spoiled brats we were!) :-) Eventually, she moved back to Canada. I eventually moved to Nashville. But not before I had graduated from Carson-Newman College and entered Graduate school, which, I might add, I completed! Roxanne encouraged me to grow and told me that I could do it. Even when I did not think I could. Not to say I did not have other encouragers along the way. I did.

How did I know Roxanne made a huge impact in my life? Besides being one of my biggest cheerleaders along the way? Well, my mom thought she was being a bad influence on me! Ha! Just cause she was taking me out every weekend to see these singing groups!! Roxanne and I often laugh about that because when we were roommates, I was the one that introduced her to gasp, alcohol! Wine Coolers, I think? Too funny, now, to think about that. Just who was the bad influence???
We both went with a group to Hawaii in gosh, 1991 or 1992???????? I honestly do not remember. But we had a blast. God had a special place for Roxanne in my life. I met some very wonderful people. People, who today, I still care about very deeply. I have other friends, I have friends that I have been friends with longer than Roxanne. Each friend has their own influence for their own time. I think God placed Roxanne in my life because I needed a good, stiff, kick in the butt to change things going on in my life. Roxanne never cared to lay it out straight for you, whether it was for your own good or not. She was ALWAYS honest and upfront. Except for the pain she often felt.

Roxanne had had a rough few years. She had some chronic illnesses, she struggled with addiction and depression. I have to be honest and say that when I talked to Roxanne on the phone or saw her in person, she wasn't the same girl I met 20 years ago and that was hard. It made me really, really sad. I worried about her. I cried and prayed over her. I tried to be the best friend that I could be being several thousand miles away. There isn't a lot you can do for a person who is hurting in another country except pray for them and tell them how much you love them.

I do have to say though, this last year Roxanne made some tremendous changes in her lifestyle and health. The last time I spoke with her she sounded like Roxanne. She wasn't letting the depression and the chronic pain overtake her life anymore. She, in my opinion, was starting to heal. She was not longer allowing illness to become her identity. She had lost 50 pounds. She was on an upswing.

So why? Why did she have to stop breathing in the middle of the night and die? Why wasn't she wearing her CPAP machine? Actually, I know why. She had fallen asleep without it. I am sure she had done it many times. Only this time, it mattered.

I had the honor and privilege to speak at Roxanne's funeral. I didn't know if I was going to get through it or not, but thank God that I did. It was hard coming up with something special to say about someone who's time, I felt, was cut short. Well, in the end, I was honest. As glad as I am that Roxanne is in heaven and that she will never feel pain anymore, I was honest. I wanted my friend back. But that is just selfish of me. See, there is still some "baby girl" left in me today. I would love to have my friend back.


But I bet she wouldn't trade places with where she is sitting now! And I know she is sitting up in heaven just waiting to give me another swift kick in the butt if I need it!
There is so much more to be said but I would be here all night. I hope this did her justice, cause she deserves the best!


I love you Roxanne!


Still muddling through




Here is my baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And his all grown up haircut!!!!!!!

I hate that I haven't written in the blog that much but so much has been going on. Plus, I am still grieving the loss of my friend. Sometimes, I wish there was a button you could push that turned off the sadness, but, unfortunately, there isn't one so you just muddle through.


I do want to have a happy post, though and show off my beautiful baby boy and his new haircut.
When the time seems right, I will post some pictures of Roxanne and I and share with you the wonderful friend that was a big part of my life. I miss her.








Death of a friend

I have been out of pocket for a while. Last week one of my best friends died suddenly and unexpectedly. Her name was Roxanne. If you know me, that name probably sounds familiar as I am sure I have mentioned her a time or two. We didn't get to see each other often and our phone calls were inconsistent, but like all my friends that I have known for years, we could pretty much pick up where we left off.

Needless to say, I am very sad and still quite in shock. I was able to go to the funeral (in Canada of all places) and say goodbye. I wouldn't have missed that for anything.

I told Roxanne's parents that that was not the last time they would see me and they would meet their "adopted" grandchild, Carter! And they will. If you have never been to Prince Edward Island on the provence of New Brunswick, you really should. It is absolutely gorgeous. Greg and I will probably go on vacation there in the near future and stop in to see Rox's parents on the way.

So this is to you, old friend. Gone but not forgotten. I know you are smiling down on us from heaven. Enjoy every minute of it! We will have eternity to catch up.

What a week.

Happy July 4th a day late.

Carter has been sick, again. He had a high fever Sunday and Monday. Same as a month ago. It got better so we didn't go to the doctor. Well, yesterday he woke to his own star spangled banner in the form of a rash! He was miserable as it was itching him terribly. He was grumpy too. Benadryl helped but then he was very sleepy.

His rash got worse today so off to the doctor we went and guess what?

My child has Roseola.

Before you freak out, like I did, it is just a viral infection that causes a high fever and then a rash and the worst is over.

Greg's parents watched Carter last night so that we could go over to a get together and that was nice. Carter feels great today, he just looks very spotted!! :-)

Nap time and bed time, in general...

I don't know what Carter's deal is these days. This is the second day he is refusing to fall asleep for a nap. Monday his schedule got off a little bit but he fell asleep in the car on the way home. I put him down and cleaned up the kitchen a little bit, turning on the dishwasher and such. Well, thirty minuntes went by before I heard him talking and crying. I go in there and he had pooped, who knows when. I cleaned him up, put him back down. Another 20 minutes of fuss. I got him up, fed him some food and warm milk. I might have even shot some tylenol down his throat, I can't remember. Anyway, nothing. I finally got him up.

Well, today, I picked him up from school and usually he falls asleep on the way home. Not today. He was so dirty I decided to give him a quick bath and some milk. He was sooooooooooo sleepy, rubbing his eyes. I put him down about 30 minutes ago. The past 25 minutes he has been yelling at the top of his lungs, "NO, NO, NO" and then jabbering to himself and repeating, "NO". He is doing it playfully. He is not upset but I swear if that kid doesn't fall asleep soon I am going to go insane.

Now to bedtimes. I have a great sleeper. We have always had a great bedtime routine and he usually falls asleep with no problems. Well, now he does not like to go to bed. He will cling and grab onto you when you are trying to put him down in the crib. It is really funny. My baby is long gone. The days of rocking him in the rocker and putting him on my shoulder have been replaced with resistance to anything bedtime related. He loves his bath and his milk, then we brush his teeth. All the while mentioning "night, night time". He actually will start fussing in the living room when we start saying it, prompting him to get ready for bed. Carter isn't talking much (well, he talks a lot, we just do not understand what he is saying), but he understands A LOT of what we are saying so I have started prompting him 30 minutes before bed that night, night time is coming.

What is really funny that as much as he clings to us, going back and forth from one parent to the other thinking one of us is going to rescue him from his crib, generally, the minute his head hits the crib he cries for 2 seconds and then all is quiet. Its like, "okay, you win, I give up".

Ahhhhh, is that quiet I hear???????????? I think my screamer has finally gone to sleep!

Oh, no, mommy is going to KILL me!


Alas, I was one second too late. I was sitting at my kitchen desk when I heard a rumbling near the pantry. Before I could even get out of my seat I could hear the crinkling of the bag. I screamed out, "Nooooooooooooo". But, it was too late. The half full bag of pretzels were on the kitchen floor. Carter had reached up onto the countertop and pulled the bag down. Between my yelling 'no' and the bag hitting Carter on the way down, he started crying. But only for a second, then all was well.

This is what I have been chasing around....








Welcome to my world
I have been sick, again. I hope this round of antibiotics KILLS this sinus infection before I go CRAZY! Ugh! I have not been sleeping well because of the sinus stuff, I am exhausted (I know, I complain of that WAY too much). I have a lot to be thankful for ---namely a monkey named Carter!

Too long

I guess the time has just flown by since I have not posted in a while. We celebrated Father's Day Sunday. Carter got Greg a T-shirt that says "World's Coolest Dad". Mommy got daddy a nice relaxing CD so that daddy won't stress out with all the work he has to do. Daddy also got a picture frame, a mug oh, and Beef Jerky!!!!!!! Hee hee.

I was at Wal-Mart and was going to pick some up beef jerky for Greg. For some reason he loves the stuff. So, I as a joke, I saved it to give to him on Father's day. I hid it in my dresser drawer. Third drawer down, on Greg' side of the bed. The same place I keep my workout clothes. Well, apparently, I didn't close the drawer good enough and Greg was sitting on the bed and looked over and said "is that beef jerky????" I shut the door really quick and explained to him that that was part of his father's day gifts. He just laughed. It was funny to us anyway. I won't tell you the things Carter gets into in Greg's nightstand. There is no telling what that boy will pull out of that drawer! I'll stop there before I embarrass myself any further. Actually, he comes by it naturally, because I am a natural snooper myself. And I come by it honestly. But I won't name any names!!

Speaking of curiosity, I really do not understand my husband and his lack of curiosity. Well, he is curious about some things, like how things are put together and made (gee, I guess that is why he is an architect)but other things he could care less about. Like when he found his father's day beef jerky hidden in the drawer, he had no desire to go back and dig underneath the beef jerky to find out what else was there. We had a conversation about it. I told him not to go snooping in there because other gifts were under the beef jerky. He said, "okay". I asked him "You mean, you have no desire to dig through that drawer and find out what else is in there?" He said, "Nope". And he meant it. He doesn't have any desire to read my journal's either. He doesn't snoop. He doesn't get into things that don't pertain to him. He doesn't even open my mail. He just leaves it for me to open. It is really a nice, safe feeling to experience that your stuff is your stuff and it isn't going to be gone through.

This is a new experience as in my family, things got looked at whether you liked it or not. Assumptions and conclusions were often made on what was found before you had a chance to explain what was what. Or, you might not have even been able to explain before conclusions were drawn.

The horrible thing is, I have NO boundaries when it comes to snooping into things I shouldn't. Like I said, I come by it naturally. I also have the tendency to jump to conclusions before I have all the facts in front of me, however, I have gotten much better at that. That is why it is so hard to understand why a perfectly normal man would have no desire to go through someones dresser drawer KNOWING there were gifts there!!!!???!!!!! How is that possible??????????

I don't think we will ever know.

We're HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are back from our vacation to Gulf Shores. We had a great trip! Carter had a great time. He wasn't thrilled with the ocean but LOVED the kiddie pool. We also had no trouble getting him to nap or sleep. I think the sun, heat, and water wore him out. My wonderful nieces kept him in their room and got up with him each morning giving Greg and I a nice break! Here are some pictures from our week in Gulf Shores!!



















I guess you can tell by looking at these pictures that Carter is feeling better. Before we knew it, he had gotten a hold of a box of tissues!

We went to the doctor yesterday and luckily he does not have an ear infection or strep. He has a viral infection. He is also teething. He definitely feels better today and was running around acting like his old self. Hopefully tomorrow the fever will be all gone.

We leave Saturday to go to Gulf Shores, Alabama for vacation. I cannot wait to see Carter and the ocean and how he reacts to being at the beach. I will post many pictures of course!

Friendships





You have heard of the saying "waxing poetic", well today, I am going to wax sappy! LOL! I am going to be sappy because we had some dear friends in from out of town this weekend and it was WONDERFUL having them here. We had just visited them three weeks ago, as you might have read in a previous post. I have permission to post pictures of their beautiful daughter. Which I will do in another post.
Remember, we had pictures of Carter and Anna, their daughter, done while visiting them. Anyhoo....I will try and post Carter and Anna's pre-engagement pictures!!! HEE HEE! We are planning their marriage. Yes, it will be arranged. Ha! Don't believe me for a second. But it would be cute if they did get married and they had their first portrait done before they were age 2.


Anyway, the weekend was full of emotion and exhaustion! Friday we spent time at Sean and Heather's house with our other friends visiting from out of town. When we got home from that party, Greg had to go back out and fix a flat tire for a friend, then, he got voice mails regarding some incidents that occurred at some property that we own. It was after 1:00 when we got in bed. Saturday, we decided to let Carter stay at Grandma and Grandpa Mayo's overnight so we could re-charge. Then Sunday, I taught my parenting class, and we came home had lunch and then prepared for Steve and Marsha's BBQ/baby shower.


Everything went well except for little Carter. Greg picked him up from his parent's Sunday afternoon and he immediately went down for a nap and he did not wake up happy! In fact, Carter was not himself the whole party. It was quite frustrating, we could do nothing to please him and he cried a lot and was inconsolable. Let me tell you, there is nothing more frustrating when you child can not communicate to you what is going on.


Well, it turns out that Carter had a high fever. Once the majority of the party people left, I checked on him and he felt really, really warm. I took his temp and it was 103.5. Needless to say, I freaked out. He has never had a high fever in his life, even with an ear infection. We called the doctor's office and of course, it was not an emergency and they told us what to do. He got up once in the night but overall, he is back to his old self. He does still have a fever so I guess we will go to the doctor tomorrow.


After the party we were able to say goodbye to our friends and pray over some of our other friends. We are commanded to love one another and to carry each other's burdens and intercede for each other. It was a wonderful experience overall.


As exhausting as the weekend was it was filled with wonderful memories! Memories that will last a lifetime.


Thank you God, for wonderful friends!

It's official

I gave birth to a monkey. My mom will be so pleased!

The reason she will be pleased is that she, too, gave birth to a monkey--ME!

Carter is climbing on everything. He is tall enough to reach just about everything. Let me give you a run down to our morning...

1. Carter is in our bedroom throwing all the books on the floor. He pulls down his clothes off a chair and finds the loud metal trashcan and empties it. Mommy steps in and throws away all the potential deadly suffocating material from the trashcan so that he can bang it on the hardwood.

2. While I am downstairs, Carter apparently climbs on my chair at my desk in the kitchen. I know this because when I came back up stairs 2 minutes later is carrying two picture frames from the back of the desk.

3. I am cleaning off the table and the only things left on the table are his diaper bag and my purse. Being the wise woman that I am I put them in the middle of the table to keep tiny fingers from pulling them off the table. I am so wise, I think. I turn my back for a second and come back and my child has turned the chair sideways and climbed onto the kitchen table and is digging through my purse.

4. I go into the bedroom to clean up the mess that Carter just made. I eye my wedding ring on the floor.....hhhmmmm....where is the band? Yikes. I frantically look for it thinking we are going to have to go to the ER so that I can see my diamond wedding band on X-ray in Carter's stomach. Luckily, he had placed it in Daddy's tennis shoe. Guess I will be moving those up to my dresser now.

5. Carter successfully pushes the trash can back in the pantry after I emptied it. Good boy!!!

6. Carter is obsessed with the dishwasher and has now figured out how to open the door even when it is locked.

All of this has gone on before 10:00 am! And you wonder why I am tired! I haven't even attempted to share all the times of redirection, snatching inappropriate objects he carries around the house. Things he can ingest. Toothpaste is his fav!

Greg comes home at lunch time and fixes himself something to eat. He goes downstairs to get a coke and comes back up as Carter snatches the chips off the kitchen table! Carter brings them to me. I tell him I don't want any but I think Daddy does!!!! Carter then goes back to the dishwasher and Greg asks me, "how exactly do you put childproof locks on a dishwasher?" I replied, "You don't!"

I think that is it, for now. My little monkey is taking a nap. Thank you, Jesus, for nap time!!!!!

New Bible Study class

Sunday was not only Mother's Day, it was also the start of a new Sunday School/Bible Study class at my church, Two Rivers. Since it was a holiday weekend we really didn't know who would be in there. A lot of people were out of town. Some people had told us they were interested but we really didn't know what to expect.

I have been reading a book on Christian leadership and was really convicted about my prayer life and the place prayer has in ministry. Through confession and in reading the scriptures this week I have made some changes in not only my prayer life, but also life in general. This past week has been awesome! I feel the Lord is growing me and molding me and even though I don't really like everything He is doing, I know the changes are from Him and they are ultimately for my good.

Anyway, I felt a total peace about Sunday. Greg asked me Saturday night if I was nervous or not and I replied "no". And I meant it. I haven't felt peace like that in a long time. But I have to also say that part of me thought that no one would really be there and there was nothing to worry about -- ha!

Well, we had one couple come in and we started chatting. We had decided to let them go to the service at a certain time if no one else showed up, given it was Mother's Day and all. Well two more couple eventually showed up. We were so excited. The first couple of weeks are basically an introduction and I am figuring it will take about a month for everyone to get settled in. We are really looking forward to this and seeing what God is going to do in the lives of these parents!

I am finishing up a parenting class on Wednesday nights and it has been really fun. It was an intimate group of four couples and we all knew each other but I think we have really grown in the past six weeks. Next week, we are having a panel of parents come in and we are going to ask them some questions about raising kids.

So, lots going on here but it is all good.

I am continuing to receive my supervision toward licensure and over the summer we are going to be able to meet every week. I think sometime in the fall all of this will be wrapped up and I will be able to take my big, fat state test.......YIKES. If and when I pass, I will be a licensed clinical social worker, or, LCSW. In Tennessee, LCSW's have a lot of respect within the mental health field. When people ask me what an LCSW is, I tell them to compare it to an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) or a Psychologist. The only thing about the Psychologist is they have a Ph.D and LCSW's are not required to have one, although I am sure there are many out there that do.

The technical deal with being licensed is that I am able to receive third party reimbursements. Basically, I can take insurance and be in private practice. The goal of being licensed for most people is credibility and the ability to be in private practice.

I told Greg that when I get licensed we are having a HUGE party cause I think it is a pretty big deal. He agreed!

Black and White

We celebrated Mother's Day Sunday. It was a very special day for me, as a mom. I still have to sit back and remember that I am a mom, that this very special blessing was bestowed on me. I can really hardly believe it because for so long I just thought motherhood, or being a wife, for that matter, would never happen for me.

Now, not only am I a mother but we just celebrated four years of marriage!!! Where has the time gone?

We met some friends at the mall later on in the day and we had to let Carter out of his stroller because he was tired of being confined. We sat on the stage at Opry Mills Mall and let Carter go 'round and 'round. He came over to us and I was holding him when a little girl made her way across the stage to tell Carter 'hello'. Her name was Kayla. She looked a little bit older than Carter but not by much. She was ecstatic to see Carter. Her mom was trying to get her to repeat his name. She wanted to give Carter a hug. Then Carter wanted to kiss her. It was too sweet. Then Kayla's mom took her back to the other side of the stage. Carter followed suit and started following her around the stage. I don't think she quite knew what to do about Carter. Then they just started acting like toddlers playing around.

As I sat there watching Carter and this little girl it struck me that Carter had no idea that that little girl was a different color than him. She is black, he is white. She, also, was oblivious to the skin color. They were just happy they had met each other and wanted to have some fun.

It got me thinking about a song in the musical South Pacific called "You Have to be Carefully Taught". I have only seen the 1958 movie version and have the soundtrack.

Prejudice is, unfortunately, something that surrounds us even today. It will always be with us. I think each of us are prejudiced in some way. Some more than others. It is a very sensitive subject for some people. It always amazes me how some people love to hate. And for the most ridiculous reasons with many justifications and rationalizations.

Some of us that think we are liberated and educated enough and have "come into our own" so to speak. But racism meets us in the face every day. How we treat people. How we refer to them as a 'color'. Like that needs to proceed a description, as if that will help describe the person better.

Greg and I have talked about teaching Carter about racism. I feel extremely strongly about it and so does Greg. We have talked about the 'what ifs'. What if Carter falls in love with a woman of a different color? Are we that comfortable with letting go of racism and preconceived notions to 'allow' that?

I feel very strongly that is it just as much racism to say you can be friends with someone of a different color but you can't fall in love and marry someone of a different color. I believe that is a double standard. Kind of like another movie I once saw, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner". Those parents were 'liberated' in their thinking and thought they had taught their daughter well. Until she brought home a black man.

Does that mean I am encouraging Carter to marry someone of a different race? No, I am not going to worry about that. If Greg and I teach Carter and train him in the way he should go, I believe the Lord will tell him who he should marry, not me. I do want my son to grow up with diversity and I welcome any friendships of any nationality. That is something that was made clear to me that was not permitted growing up.

I won't get into that for respect to my family. I will leave this post with the lyrics from the song from South Pacific. It is something to think about. If you are raising children today. Please think about racism and the impact it has on how you treat other people and what you think about other people.

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught from year to year,
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear—
You’ve got to be carefully taught
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade—
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late—
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate—
You’ve got to be carefully taught!
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Wow! It's been a week already!

We went out of town last weekend to visit some dear friends in North Carolina. We had a great time visiting with them. The used to live here and were married in the same year we did. They have been gone for 3 years. We sure wish they lived closer, but they are in seminary. They have some decisions to make and I hope it brings them closer to us. But above all, I pray that they would be completely in the Lord's will. They have a 19 month old little girl who is just precious!!! We had Carter and her picture made together. I meant to ask them if it was okay to share it online. I will ask and if they say yes, I will post some pictures later. Baby number two is on the way for them in July! Wow! We have been married only five months longer than them. We have other friends that got married less than a month after we did and they are expecting their second baby in June! I guess we are a little behind! That is okay with me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Speaking of marriage, Greg and I celebrated our fourth year of marriage last night. It wasn't exactly romantic, but it was supposed to be. Greg's mom and dad picked Carter up from school and we had reservations to a swanky place for dinner. Swanky, I guess, is a southern made up word for "fancy" --hee hee. Greg was not feeling well when he got up and had a headache with some aches and pains. Well, by the time I got home in the afternoon, I found him laying in bed burning up with a fever. Needless to say, we cancelled our reservations and will try again tonight. Greg is feeling much better this morning.

We did exchange cards last night and my romantic husband *created* a gift card for me. It is so sweet. We are going to go shopping for deck furniture for our anniversary. I have been desperate for deck furniture since we got married so I was happy to see the "gift card"!!!! Very sweet that he took the time to make that. I love you, honey!!

Carter is feeling much better and so am I. We are back to sleeping well and it seems like old times and Carter's sickness a distant memory. I am sure there is another road block up ahead but at least we are getting some good rest in between.

Two blogs in one night!

Wow! That has to be a first!!! Well, I made some changes to my blog, added some photos, mixed things up a bit...so I hope you like it. If this is the first time you have viewed my blog, please take a look around and let me know what you think!!

It's been a while...

We were sick last week. I finally went to the doctor today and got antibiotics for a possible sinus infection. Carter is NOT SLEEPING through the night. We have maybe had one or two nights where he has slept through since he was sick last week. We had one night where he was up three times. The past two nights he has awakened around 5:00 am. We are very spoiled. Carter is a GREAT sleeper. He has slept through the night since he was 8 weeks old. He only has issues with waking in the night when he is sick or teething. Believe it or not, the ear infection has caused very little of his waking. He has been teething like a madman. He drools more now than he ever did when he was first cutting teeth. I guess I would too if I had molars splicing through my skin. Ouch!!!

Today he woke up at 4:50 and my wonderful husband got up. I had my earplugs in blocking the noise from the annoying birds so I didn't wake up until Greg was already out of the bed. Then I rolled over and went back to sleep. Remember, I told you about those annoying spring time birds? Somewhere between 4-5 AM I wake up, reach over on my nightstand and search for a bright orange ear plug. I can do it with my eyes closed. Good thing, since it is still dark with only the light of my digital clock radio shining in my eyes. Then I stick the ear plug, only one, in to block the incessant chirping outside our window. If I happen to roll over, I actually change the ear plug from one side to the other in my sleep. Yeah, I know, that is really sad. But what am I to do? I can't go outside shooting the birds like the Julia Robert's Father character in Steel Magnolias. Although, I really wish some birds would just DIE.

Anyway, I digress. This morning Greg got up with Carter. Carter did not go back down. On the way to mother's day out he fell asleep in the car. I rode around for 10 extra minutes so he could get some sleep. He took an 1 hr and 40 minute nap at "school" (AKA: mother's day out). I went to a health food store to get something someone recommended to help Carter get back into the routine of sleeping through the night. At this point, I will try anything for SLEEP!!!! So we'll see if it works. I will keep you posted.

The wear and tear that the lack of sleep has on a person is beginning to show on Greg and I (ie: GROUCHY). We get 'short' with each other. But it is all okay, because we always put a 'honey', at the end of what we are saying. Tonight I was trying to print a file from our newly updated Microsoft Office. I attempted to print and it printed blank. Greg came over. We each had opinions about how to fix it. I asked him why it printed the way that it did. He replied, "That's what I am trying to find out, honey", with a sigh and the sound of irritation in his voice. Then I got all frustrated when he had to sit there and figure out how to get it to print. I thought he was taking too long and wondered why he just didn't take my advice and highlight the material, hit print, then click 'selection' to only print the highlighted section. Seemed simple to me. But no, he had to sit there and dissect the problem. Instead of communicating my impatience to him I simply walked away and started working on my project with the information I had already. I knew if I said anything it would be with a 'tone' which would only lead to more frustration and ill words when we don't really mean them. Eventually, Greg brought me my file printed. The only thing is, next time I have to print, I still don't know how to do it. Hmmmm...oh, well, maybe we will have had more sleep the next time I have to print something and I won't get all impatient when he has to show me how to do it.

We're sick

Well, I am sick and Carter is sick. So far, Greg is fine.

Carter has an ear infection. I have what I think is an allergy season attack. I cleaned Saturday (yes, I do clean) and I must have vaccuumed an inch of dust from our curtains in the bedroom, our lamp shade and the ceiling fan! I recently saw a TV show, or read an article somewhere about how dust mites accumulate in, surprise!, DUST. If there is no dust, there will be less dustmites. Eeeuw! We have had those curtains up for two years and I have never thought to vaccuum them until I saw this show. Who knew???

Have you looked at your ceiling fan lately? Every season, dust accumulates on our blades. When it got really warm a few weeks ago I wouldn't let Greg turn the fan on cause I didn't want dust floating around the room all night. So, I had to clean it. Summer is coming.

So, after that cleaning I started getting sick. See, I don't know if that means I should just NEVER clean because I will get sick, or if I should clean on a regular basis so that dust piles do not accumulate. Hmmmm. I will have to think about that one.

Carter got his 15 month shots on Thursday and immediately came down with the sniffles. By the next day he had a full blown cold. By Tuesday morning he had a fever so off to the doctor we went. Apparently, just in time. He had a full blown infection in his right ear. Ugh. So we are on the pink stuff, AKA: amoxocillan, for 10 days. One good thing, well a couple of good things, actually, is that he hasn't been sick since December and second, he doesn't fight taking his medicine anymore. It used to be a nightmare to get the "pink stuff" down him. We would hide it in his applesauce. Now he just stands there and I squirt it in. It's like no big deal.

Other than that, not much else going on here. I am preparing for a new Bible Study class that I will be teaching on Sunday mornings starting May 13th. It is a parenting class at church. I am really excited about it. Its kind of scary, too, because it is a huge commitment. But, Greg and I are ALWAYS there on Sundays anyway. It is just a matter of getting out of our comfort zone.

Don't leave the Starbucks laying around



Yes, that is the rest of my no-fat, no-whip, iced mocha from Starbucks. I inadvertently left it on the kitchen table while I got busy doing other things. I kept hearing Carter playing with something and eventually, when the thought occurred to me that I better check it out, I walked over and found him on the floor with the last remains of my iced mocha. I quickly grabbed the camera and took a shot. I think it is priceless!!!!!

Spring Time

I am sleeping better this week...the birds have been quiet! I think the cold snap over the weekend flew them further south! Hallelujah!!!!!

It is a GORGEOUS day! After my duties at church the morning and afternoon I snuck outside with a Starbucks coffee and just soaked up the son! It was really nice, especially after Sunday! It was freezing here. Crazy! It was such a sweatpants-curl-up-on-the-couch-day.

Today, though, it is sunny and 74 degrees. It was wonderful having some 'me" time to just sit and think about whatever I wanted to think about. Too often I use my 'me" time to run errands, do things for other people, or keep on working at the church. I need me time, time alone. Time to reflect and recharge! Especially since I am doing so many "people" things these days.

People drain me. I am naturally an introvert. So, when I do a lot of things with people, interacting with people, or talking with a lot of people, I want to veg out somewhere all alone. It is like my personal re-charge time. Extroverts, on the other hand, thrive on being around people. The more people the more energized they are. I am completely opposite.

When I don't get to have time alone, I am not a happy person. I get grouchy and moody. I have learned to recognize when I need to be alone or do something for myself. I think it is important for each of us to recognize our need for time alone and seclusion.

So, today, sitting in the sun, I just sat there, drinking my coffee and looking at the beautiful creation around me. I thought about a lot of stuff but none of it really mattered. I think all the time. Sometimes it matters and has a purpose, othertimes it does not. Today, I purposefully sat there trying to think of nothing but I think that is impossible for me.

I took my time alone at Opry Mills mall in the Opry Plaza near the Grand Ole Opry. I actually started to crack up at all the people that came over to take a picture of the Grand Ole Opry. It was really distracting to my seclusion time. Apparently, the bench that I was sitting on was just the right spot for a great picture of the Opry. I tend to forget that I live in a tourist town. I really don't understand why people would want a picture of the Opry, but to each his own. So I got distracted by all the people coming by and snapping pictures of the Opry.

And then I just got HOT, because it is really warm here today. But as I stated before, I would much rather have today than the weather we had on Sunday.

BRRRRR. I told someone Sunday that after the cold snap, it would then just proceed to get HOT and we would be burning up until October!!!

Unfortunately, I am probably right!

Very busy!

I haven't been a very good blogger this week. A lot of stuff going on. I don't guess that is any excuse but, it is true.

Carter is starting to communicate more and more. He will repeat words after we say them and it is so wonderful to actually hear words come out of his mouth! He repeated "I love you" to us the other night! Of course, it didn't sound exactly like that, but we know that is what it was. Then he repeated "I" right on. This stage is amazing.

I know he gets frustrated that he can't tell us what he wants all the time, I know I get frustrated not knowing what he wants. When Carter is through with anything that he is eating for dinner in his high chair he throws on the floor. We try to get it through his head that we do not want him to do this but nothing really works. So we are working on teaching him "all done!". I raise both my arms in the air with my hands out stretched and go, " all done!". It is so hilarious because he will raise his left arm straight up in the air mimicking what I have done. He has no clue why he is doing it but I guess it looks fun to him. I said it the other night in the living room while I was feeding him his bedtime snack and I thought he was through so I said, "all done?" and Carter throws his arm up in the air!!!!! And starts walking all around the living room with his arm in the air!!! LOL!!! Greg and I cracked up!

I am still amazed at this little life that I am in charge of taking care of and that he came from me and Greg. Believe me, I am extremely thankful for the blessing of even being able to have a child because so many couples struggle with infertility.

However, it does not make me any less thankful that Carter's bedtime is at 8:00 and he goes to sleep for the night!!!!!

WE LOVE bedtime here at our house!!!!! Whew!

Spring Cleaner and the Birds

No, I didn't mean to say that spring cleaning is for the birds, the title is correct. However, every Spring, I have to deal with chirpy birds outside my bedroom window. They start waking me up about 5:00 EVERY morning. This is not a good thing! It is time to start pulling out the ol' earplugs so I can get a decent night's sleep!

Greg and I were married in the springtime, May, to be exact. Apparently, I must have still been in wedded bliss the first year we were married because the birds caught me by surprise the following year. It was also way too bright in our room first thing in the morning. I took care of that about 2 years ago and bought some really dark curtains! They are wonderful. However, I am thinking of updating the look. Which leads me to spring cleaning.

I have organized my desk this morning and organized the mess that was on top of my desk into nice little hanging folders. I have shredded, thrown out, filed, labeled and just about cleaned out everything. It feels good to clean and organize. I also dusted today, very much long overdue. I intended to clean our bathroom but it didn't happen. I did walk 2.5 miles which cleaned out my brain!! Very much long overdue also!!!

I wish I felt like doing it all the time. Actually, I need to get rid of the "feel like" and just "do". The definition of discipline is doing what we need to do even when we don't feel like it. If I applied that to my life more often, I would get a lot more accomplished!

Happy Spring!

Good Friday

Last night we went to the Easter production at my church, Two Rivers Baptist Church (tworivers.org). It was an amazing production, unlike anything that I had seen before!!! TRBC is known for their Passion Play. For years, we would give away tickets and have at least 5 performances in one weekend. There are live animals, a creative screenplay that ties the scriptures into some really believable fiction, which all turns the focus to the true Christ. It really is an amazing thing to see and an incredible experience in which to be a part.

The past few years we have not had that Passion Play, music ministers change and new ones come in. You know how it goes. Our staff does follow closely to the call of the Lord and the times that we have not had any Passion Play at all has been because we felt the Lord leading in another direction.

This year, we had an Easter Production called, "Saviour", the Story of God's Passion for His People. Along with the choir and orchestra, we had two special guests, Travis Cottrell (he leads worship in the Beth Moore conferences and used to lead music at our church years ago) http://www.lproof.org/. The other special guest was Ballet Magnificat (balletmagnificat.com). It was an amazing combination of great music and lyrics along with the ballet company telling the story of Christ's passion for us.

I have to tell you in the beginning, I was a little hesitant. If you have ever been to a ballet production, say, the Nutcracker or Swan Lake, this would have reminded you a little bit of that. Not something you see every day in a church. We have dancers at our church too during the Passion Play, but these were actual ballet artists and I was awestruck at seeing the passion that they have and how their moves really told the story of Christ's sacrificial coming and the cleansing of His followers. He made the way. I cannot describe this event in a way that really gives it justice. I lost myself in it after about the second song. I basically just sat there and saw the symbolism of the dancers and listened to the words of the songs. The pivotal moment was when Christ has died on the cross and risen, and the dancers, who were in black, crossed over a red veil, and then stepped over in red, dropping their black outer garments. Is that not a perfect description of what we go through when we accept Christ as our saviour? All the blackness is gone. We are red, covered under the blood. The blood that was shed, just for me and just for you.

One of my good friends was in the production. I told her afterwards that as a Christian, and a person that has been a Christian for a very long time and has grown up hearing the Easter story every year, it is sad that it becomes familiar and lackluster. Can I even write those words? I cannot sit hear today after seeing that production, say that the Easter story is "lackluster". But being in the familiar for so long it seems to have lost it's supernatural touch.

Heaven forbid.

It was wonderful seeing something like I had never seen before. I know there are probably people that were there that did not look past the men in tights and dresses or the women in their heavy make-up. I say, too bad for them. It was a wonderful blessing and I thank God that He gave me the opportunity to see it. I am even more thankful that He sent His son.

Parenting Class

I am very excited that the parenting class that I attempted in February is starting back up tonight and there will be 5 of us there. I was just looking back over the material and I am excited that it will be a small group and that I get the opportunity to present that material. It really is good material. It is from Family Life Today and it is part of the HomeBuilders series on parenting. Good Christian stuff. I am looking forward to learning and hearing from other parents and parents-to-be.

Emotional Investment in our Children

Anyone can be a parent. Some of us are more prepared for it than others, but unfortunately in some cases, most are not prepared for the responsibilities of being emotionally vested in our children. They don't have to take a class, there are no requirements except those which you take on because you want to be a good parent. No one checks up on you to make sure you are doing it right. If you are lucky you have a mom, grandma, sister, cousin or maybe even a close friend to receive feedback from. However, how you were parented affects how you parent. I think I have said that before. That could be good or bad, and again, no one is there to tell you the difference. What if you come from a dysfunctional family and your only role model was an alcoholic or severely depressed parent? How do you make things different for your child's upbringing?

On Sunday, a man spoke about his upbringing. His dad died when he was young and he and his younger brother were raised alone by his mom. He said that their basic needs were taken care of. They always had a warm meal and a bed to sleep in but his mom was not there for him emotionally and she was basically trying to survive on her own with two boys, doing the best that she could.

I bet a lot of people can identify with that kind of parent. Emotional connectedness is something that I see a lack of all the time in family therapy. The parent comes in wanting the kid "fixed". However, most of them would agree that there is something that they could do to change to become a better parent. Most of the time though, the change never happens and the parent is left frustrated not understanding why their child will not change or get better.

I spoke to someone on Sunday that said something that has a lot of wisdom. She said you get so caught up in having a baby, and buying all the baby stuff, and looking at the ultrasound picture, etc. that you don't think about the fact that you are becoming a parent for life and how exactly are you going to go about that. Usually people do not think about that until they are in crisis mode and they have 15 year old that is out of control. Or their child has an eating disorder, school problems, defiance, the list could go on and on.

But the truth be told these are all symptoms of a bigger problem. And a lot of it could be avoided if we had just spent a little more time being emotionally invested in being a parent. Not just going through the motions, providing basic needs, but communicating with our children. Taking the time to train them and discipline (ie:teach) them.

We all need a time out now and then. I know I do. But I also realize that now is the time that I start investing in my child, giving him my time even when it is inconvenient and hard. Even when I would rather be doing something else.

I don't always do it right, but I do strive to be the best parent that I can be.

Good Nights sleep!

It is amazing what a good night's sleep will do for a person! I have been working out a lot this week (still trying to figure out if I can do that darn 3-day). Anyway, I have back problems anyway and it seems when I step up my exercise, my back starts hurting. I could be doing too much too soon. Who knows. I took some ibuprofen yesterday and that seemed to make a big difference. It doesn't hurt that Carter is better and sleeping through the night again.

It is a typical saturday here at our house. I finally mopped our kitchen floor and there is some laundry in the dryer. We are going out with some friends tonight so I am looking forward to that. Carter is staying home with a sitter woo hoo!!!!!!!!!1

Be looking for more parenting posts next week. I will try and do at least one each week that deals with parenting issues.

Hope you have a great weekend!

American Idol

I have never watched American Idol before this season. For one thing, my husband hates it. We have one TV upstairs, so I compromise. I have seen snippets before. Well, my mom was visiting at the start of the season where they have gotten past all the auditions and the actual 25 are on. Anyway, I have been trying to watch it as much as I can. Tuesday, dear hubby was out with his dad and I got to watch the show. I have several opinions about the singers on there. I don't understand why some performances are heralded and others are ripped to pieces.

This week, Chris Sligh got cut from the show. It was just last week that I found out he had been to Bob Jones University. If you don't know what Bob Jones is, go back to my post entitled, "Happy New Year" in January and follow the link that explains fundamentalism.

Anyway, my parents sent me to Bob Jones when I was a freshman in high school. We lived in Tennessee. Bob Jones is in South Carolina. I lived with a 20 year old and a 19 year old in the dorm. It was an okay experience but when my parents asked me if I wanted to go back for 10th grade I declined and they said okay. Part of the reason I was sent to Bob Jones is because I was basically failing 9th grade. This was after a summer of tutoring in Chattanooga, at Tennessee Temple University (which also happens to be a fundamentalist school). Anyhoo, there were a number of reasons I was struggling, lack of intelligence was not one of them, but to explain it would mean a whole other blog post. Maybe I will do one one time.

The point of me bringing this up is that I read today on MSN that Chris gave an interview to the Greenville News in SC. I read MSN and the whole newspaper article. Chris apparently was expelled from Bob Jones for going to a contemporary concert. A 4-Him concert at that. Ahh, but I remember the days, back in late 80's when one of my close friends (whose parents happened to be missionaries in Australia) had his Amy Grant tape destroyed once it was found in his possession. Ridiculous? Absolutely.

I have already written in past posts about my feelings regarding fundamentalism and my relationship with Christ. It is nothing but legalism and bondage. Again, you can check that out in my post "Happy New Year", which I wrote after my high school reunion. A reunion from a fundamentalist high school.

I was telling the gals in my mommy's group this week about my experience. A friend in there told me a little about her sister-in-laws bringing up. It was chillingly similar to mine!!! My girlfriends were amazed and I was empowered by talking about it. They were shocked at some of the things my friends went through. See, my parents were part of the church, and even though we followed "the rules", we were our own people and we had ideas and opinions about things. My dad was not a 'yes man' in the church, which is why he was never made a deacon. So, even though we had a screwed up upbringing, there were other's who were more enveloped in the movement than we were. We easily transitioned by the time I was 18 or 19. I left the church after a number of scandals, one against my best friend, were brought against good, honest people. Reputations were destroyed and lies were told. I saw a family crumble before me in the midst of untruthfulness and emotional slaughter. I was there when members of the church would call anonymously and whisper bible verses to my friends parents, telling them to 'repent'.

It was a horrible experience to go through and I was just an observer. One thing I held on to was the fact that the god that was being preached to us during this crisis was not the God of the universe. I knew, somehow, that my God, was a true God, and even though I didn't fully trust Him (due to the warped nature of my upbringing) I knew this was not Him

I left church all together for one year. I moved to a different city. I eventually found myself in a Southern Baptist church is Morristown, Tennessee. It was the beginning of my spiritual healing. Once I moved to Nashville, the Lord completely restored me emotionally.

That is why I am SO passionate about truth.

Chris Sligh, ROCK ON! As you say in your blog, frommymindtoyoureyes.blogspot.com/ you can have a relationship with Christ AND be a rock star! The two are not diametrically opposed!!