Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So Much To Celebrate!

Well, March entered like a lion on the cold roaring paws of icy snow and wind and has left like a lamb, gentle spring breezes and soothing sunshine. I LOVE claiming March as MY month=)

Birthdays have always been a big deal in our family. It helped that with four cousins across the street and four siblings total in house, we always had a crowd to party with. Those celebrations, no matter whose it was, are some of my most favorite memories of childhood. To this day, being with everyone together is the most content place I can be at any point in time.

So for my 30th birthday, that's exactly what I asked for--everyone back together again--for a night of reminiscing, laughter, inside jokes, and just being together. Thank you to all my beautiful family that made this happen for me. I can't begin to express how much this night meant to me. A special shout out to my very special sister and hubby Tim who drove all the way from Orlando on Friday only to turn around and drive back Sunday. A second special shout out to my bestest cousin (love-ya-like-a-sister) April and her hubby Destin for flying in from Arizona on Friday and flying back out Sunday night, plus Destin even gave up some guy weekend time to make his appearance at my party. To everyone else who came and laughed and congratulated and participated in any form--even if just for dinner--you have no idea how much each of you means as part of my life. I am truly blessed to call you family, but better-- friends, but even better--my brothers and sisters in Christ.
(Wish we had gotten a famous shoe picture because all the ladies were kickin' it in some awesome heels!)
Let me back up a little though because my husband deserves some mad props for making everything about my birthday extra special....It begins: Friday morning I wake at 6am to start the new decade with a run--only fitting given my current status. I come home to a wrapped present from my new running shoes! I got specially fitted for them, and ran in them for the first time the other day. Makes all the difference in the world!

The day continued on calmly like normal, but Joey did take the time to get off of work and meet for lunch at another Chick-fil-A. HA! Why you ask? Well, I had the kids and your only choices for playgrounds these days are Chick-fil-A or McDonald's(bleh), and Joey's store is like the ONLY Chick-fil-A freestander without a playground. Beggars can't be choosers...we love his store, but for lunch with kids we had to hit up another one. I was just impressed he thought enough about me to think of doing lunch together.

I ended my birthday day by going out on a date with my Dad--so much fun! But before I left, Joey got home just in time to give me 30 beautiful roses. So sweet=)

The sweetness continued on Saturday as he had arranged for me to get a mani/pedi AND get my hair styled before my big night on the town. What a man! Love you so much=) He also had been on the phone with all my family members since before Christmas trying to plan my party. I know it was NOT easy.
(My seesters--sister-in-love Emily and little sis Aunt Lah)
So with everyone in town ready to party, we kicked off the evening at a Japanese steakhouse in Sandy Springs called Kobe Steaks. Let me say, the food was delicious as always, and having my picture put on a cake and presented to me was a first, but of course the most fun for me was getting to watch everyone's faces and be a part of so many conversations because we were all seated around the grills to where we could see each other.

From there we headed out to Wired and Fired in Virginia Highlands to have some fun fellowshipping around making our own unique pieces of pottery. Then for the feast de resistance we ended the night at the Midtown Melting Pot for chocolate fondue. We literally laughed until we closed the restaurant down. This is exactly how I wanted to kick off my 30th decade--laughter, fun, and bright hopes for tomorrow. I'm not much for bucket lists, I'd rather just roll with what God throws my direction and be thankful for whatever experiences the next ten years have to hold. But I AM so incredibly grateful, so I will end with this....

I am deeply thankful for...
6. a family immediate and extended who seek the Lord. I never cease to be amazed at how God pours out different blessings yet so perfectly suited for those who seek Him.
7. sunshine and 60-70 degree weather. Finally!
8. that even though Savannah doesn't like to get her shoes or hands or anything else for that matter--dirty--she still wants to hang out and be with me while I work in the yard.
9. for doctors and nurses and medicines and nebulizers and prayers that will heal my little man of his double ear infection, reflux issues, and inflamed lungs.
10. a husband who knows how important my birthday is to me and does everything in his power to make sure my day, my weekend, is perfect. I love you best and most of all honey=)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Run: Lesson Four

So one would think that when you finish a 5K (3.1 miles), you would be halfway in your training to a 10K (6.2 miles) correct? Wrong!

Lesson Four: Pride goeth before a fall. Or in my case, a fall short. (Proverbs 16:18)

It's funny how pride sneaks up on you. How one day your praising God for being able to run for 5 minutes straight then as some time passes you suddenly find yourself thinking, "Hey, I ran that 5K in a pretty decent time. It's ok if I take a little break (like four days!), and cheat just a little on my diet during that time. I mean come on, I ran 5.4 miles last time I ran. I met and exceeded my 5K expectations for time. It won't be that big of a deal." Wrong, wrong, wrong! Did any of you catch the evil that is pride in any of that train of thought? I, I,, me, me. There was no consulting what God would want me to do. I just assumed He'd help me out like he had in the past. I pridefully assumed. You know what they say about assuming....

Like I'm something special enough to just assume God was going to get me back up and running those 5.4 miles even when I blatantly didn't discuss this four day binge of a break with Him. When I was lazy and sat around watching television shows I had no business watching and eating an entire half-bag of chocolate chips that I had no business eating. Yeah, I deserve to be able to run that 5.4 miles, right? So, so, so very wrong. First time out, I floundered through 4.2 miles, having to walk run the last mile. Second time out, I only ran 3.8 and still had to walk some of that. Seriously?!?!?!

So where does that leave me? What does one do when they find themselves humbled by barely being able to complete a 4.2 mile run when they were clearly able to do more before? You start over. You humble your precious little self before the Lord and beg forgiveness. You swallow the consequences of eating your big slice of humble pie, and you go back to the original plan. You go back to your training, and you start over....from the beginning. With a different goal in mind, mind you. I'm no longer training for a 5K. My 10K is May 31st. I have two months to whip this sorry little rear into gear and start depending on God again to get me across the finish line because at this point in time, I'm seriously doubting my abilities.

That's one of the biggest downsides to getting caught up in pride, I think. It's not having to start over. It's not even having to admit your were wrong and ask God to get you back up and going again. It's dealing with the discouragement of knowing, "I've been here before. I use to be able to do this. What is my problem?" That's the most difficult part--having to fight the mind battles, the spiritual attacks, the plague of self-doubt because being prideful leaves you unguarded and unprotected from the enemy. You get ahead of yourself and God in your race to the finish, and when you fall, satan jumps out of the bushes where he's been lurking all along.

So tomorrow, I start over. Oh, how many times in my life I have had to start over! I have to go back to the training program, get back on my diet, and oh yeah, because my goal is a little loftier, it also requires more wisdom and self-discipline than the last goal. Sound familiar? To whom much is given, much is required, right? (Luke 12:48) So now, with the heat of the day increasing, I need to diligently be hydrating myself, which is VERY hard to do. As much as I HATE needles, I would almost gladly insert a fluids IV attached to my body because that has GOT to be easier than trying to drink 64 oz. of water a day. But such is life, right? Every new possibility, goal, dream, desire requires new sacrifices, new things you "have" to do in order to make those ideas a reality.

But most importantly, now that I'm humbled back where I need to be, God will go with me. Oh, I know He never left my side before, but I'm pretty sure He took a step or two back, rolled His eyes at me, and grimaced when I fell. I know because sometimes I have to do that with my own's the only way they learn. So I've learned...again....and here we go...together again because forgiveness is the helping hand up everyone needs along life's way.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To Watch Them Grow

A new favorite writer of mine wrote in her last post, "Mamas memorize moments." So true. Oh the depth of what the Lord's mother, Mary, must have memorized! The moments she must have treasured, tucked deep into her heart. Sometimes I wonder if Christ couldn't help but love her just a little bit more than the rest of us--after all she was His mother=)
Anyhow, life around here has swung into full gear like it normally does after Chick-fil-A Seminar. We are battling what I hope to be the last of snotty noses and ear infections in hopes of the healing of spring and warmth and sunshine just around the corner....any day now...any day. Joey takes off for a guy's trip to ski in Montana before he hits another semester hard at the grind of store and school and father and husband. I'm so proud of him...there are no words. I turn 30 this month--another decade looming ahead with as much promise if not more than the last. Oh the adventures I'm sure we're about to have!
In the meantime, Savannah is forever surprising us. She is daily losing her toddler features and speaking and acting more like a little girl. But she still loves to be hugged and held and thrown into the I laugh and smile and play Playdough and paint the kitchen table with watercolors instead of cleaning the house because these days will be gone too quickly.
Just the other day, she decided she wanted some juice and apparently the babysitter wasn't moving fast enough for her, so she simply did it herself. She got a stool. Picked out a sippy cup because it was "a coot one" (so she said.) She found the matching lid and inserted the little piece correctly into the lid that keeps the cup from leaking. Moved her chair to the fridge where she then filled her cup with water and properly screwed on the lid herself. Are you joking me?!?!?! She's 2 people!
Weston, well Weston is as laid back and predictable and delectably chill as ever. He still spits up all over everything all the time, so I'm praying the child doesn't develop a complex from people telling him how gross he is in disgust, but so far he doesn't seem to mind. He's wiggling his way around all over the floor these days. How? I'm not quite sure because he doesn't roll from front to back, only back to front, and he definitely doesn't crawl, but he's strong as an ox, so it's some form of just brute strength wiggling and maneuvering and rolling back and forth that gets him all over the floor. He's so observant. He doesn't miss a thing that's going on around him, and he loves to study objects at length. At his six month appointment (actually at seven months) he was the average length of a 10 month old while weighing that of a 12 month old, so he's had to go on a small diet--less solids and more liquid. Overall, he's just a happy baby, and I am so blessed to call him son.
So that's a quick family update. Nothing terribly new going on, but thought it's been a while=) Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Run: A Reflection-Goal 1

I run. I ran. I keep running. Life is a string of moments in training. My life is simple compared to some, but filled with more meaning and purpose than others. I don't drive to work every day. I drive the wheel of a house in constant need of attention. I don't save lives, but I do mold them, and pray every day that I make the right decisions--that I teach them to make the right choices. I don't attend a million meetings or answer a million phone calls, but I do attend to every cry for help and answer every question I can. I don't have a place I go every day to serve other people, I am serving generations to come by investing in my children. If I can teach them to serve, then I have touched many. These are the things of which I remind myself when the days run together from one load of laundry to the next and every now and then I wish she wouldn't say "Mommy" so many times in a row. But then I remind myself that one day she may not say "Mommy" quite so much anymore, and the heart aches again, and I remember, take a deep breath, and keep going. Keep running.

I run for many reasons. I reached my first goal this past Saturday morning by completing a 5K race in 31 minutes 45 seconds! This was MUCH faster than I have EVER run in any of my training. I was amazed. I was speechless as I willed my feet up that last steep hill toward the finish line. I was overcome with emotion as I thought about four months ago and the panting and heaving that took place after only three minutes of running. I was deeply grateful to my Lord for sticking by me. I could feel Him running with me. I could hear His voice on that uphill climb as my heart was beating out of my chest at the pace I was keeping, "Keep going! You can do this! I'm right here." I'm not sure I have the words to tell you how I feel.

So I keep running. It's not just a health goal anymore; it's a life lesson. The daily perseverance it takes to stick to a training program is the daily perseverance it takes to live this life for the Lord. To raise Godly children. To be a respectful wife. To adore my God as Father and be His good child. IT'S NOT EASY. There are days I fall short--I don't run. There are days I get sick--I don't run. There are days--I just don't want to keep going. Does any of this sound familiar? Satan is blinding and binding this generation with the lie that life can be easy--that hard work isn't necessary--that delayed gratification brings nothing more than a delay. LIES! All lies. I watch my younger brothers and sisters in Christ struggle. I wonder what the future holds for my children. I pray daily that they will learn to run. Not walk, not lolly-gag, not meander, but run.

To beat Satan in this world you can't window shop for his wares. This generation doesn't have the leisure of playing with fire and not getting burned because there is no fire anymore. Satan has wrapped everything in media-filled packages of light and warmth and ease. On the side of the box of his toys the advertising reads: "Do what you want when you want how you want." "No work required." "Difficulties not included." And people are buying and buying and buying and drowning and drowning and drowning in their own misery because the way of the Cross is narrow and hard and filled with self-sacrifice.

But OH! The fullness of purpose, the peace of knowing, the joy of life really lived! The wares our Lord sells have NO PRICE. So we don't understand them. We can't put a number of value to them, so we shy away from what we can't be sure of. We can't confine His ways in earthly time, so we pass it up for something we can schedule, wrap our brain around, and write in our calendars. Why is it that just because we can't quantify something, we believe it has no value? When more often than not, the things that have eternal value often cannot be quantified--their quality, their pricelessness is what makes them more valuable than a number can label.

These are the things I ponder as I run. These are the musings of my brain as I fold laundry and change diapers. When another day passes by, and I feel like I have made no progress, I remember that every little moment counts, just like every little minute of time ran over the past four months added up to a successful 3.1 miles run. Equaled a pant size and a half lost. Equals 15 pounds of weight I no longer carry. Equals hope for future accomplishments. If just a minute, an added 30 seconds a day over just four months of time can equal this, what will a decade of moments spent training my children, pointing them to God's word through prayer over a meal or a Bible story at bedtime, faithfully disciplining and teaching the importance of obedience, and talking every day about God and this wonderful world He has made for them--what will all these tiny moments add up to? How will God use my children? Only time will tell.

And so I run. I show them that every day, though seemingly monotonous and routine on the surface, serves a greater long-term purpose in God's plan. That sticking to a plan, no matter how long it takes, will accomplish great goals. I'm only 1 mile away after all in my training from running a 10K...6.2 miles! Who would have thought? So my encouragement? Keep running. Keep reading God's word. Keep doing whatever the 'next thing' it is that God has set before you. Keep going, keep persevering, then after a good amount of time has passed, stop...look back, reflect...and see what the Lord has done. My guess is that it will surprise and overwhelm you with gratefulness. Just keep running.

So I am heart is full of thanks:
1. For a God who runs with me.
2. For a husband who runs with us both.
3. For an inheritance of generations of God-seeking family.
4. That God chose to bless me with one girl and one boy--to continue the generations of His blessing.
5. That my daffodils bloom every spring with bowed yellow heads to the sun.