Saturday, January 22, 2011

I don't want to forget this feeling!

Earlier today I was thinking about how I haven't blogged in about a week and I was trying to think about what has happened in the past week (such as finding out that Hayden is allergic to peanuts and almonds) and what I wanted to write about.  Then I decided that I wanted to write about how great I have been feeling lately!  I haven't been complaining as much.  Those who know me may think that I don't complain a lot, but I do on the inside.  At times, I grumble to myself about Hayden waking up early, about not having enough time to get things done, about Terry, about the boys.  I love Terry and the boys and am thankful for them, but I am such a planner that if things don't go the way I thought they would or the way I had planned for them to go I grumble to myself.  In fact, I just realized that is another way that Isaac is like me.  Just a little while ago he was trying to play something and Hayden wasn't doing what he wanted him to and he said "This isn't going how I planned!"  Another aspect of how I have been feeling is that I am trying to spend more quality time with the boys and not sweat the small stuff like things I want to get done around the house.  I am telling myself that when I can (like when the boys are watching a show, playing with daddy, or napping) get stuff done I will, but what doesn't get done, doesn't get done.  I am also spending more time in prayer.  I try to start my morning by saying a quick prayer (I say quick because I try to do this right when I wake up and that is usually when Hayden is crying for me to come get him) thanking God for the new day and asking that I will have a good attitude and be the best mother and wife that I can be and to be a light for Him.  I have also been getting back in the habit of praying before I go to bed, reflecting on the day.  Besides praying when I first wake up and before I go to bed I have also been talking to God throughout the day, when I get frustrated, when I need patience, when I watch our boys do something that makes me want to say thank you, thank you for these precious gifts, when I need advice, etc.  I have also recently started reading a book called "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.  This book was recommended by our friends Jeff and Erin who we are in a small group Bible study with.  They said it was a wonderful, life-changing book and that our small group should read it and discuss it together.  I just finished chapter 2 and it is a great book.  It talks about God's amazing, crazy love for each of us.  The book helps you to come to know God and his love better.  Once you truly know God and his love then the response of your love should be just as crazy!  If we truly love God then it should show in the way we live our lives.  This change in the way I have been feeling started a couple weeks ago when I prayed that I would talk to Him constantly and develop a closer relationship with Him.  I prayed that He would fill me up and that I would be a light for Him.    I feel like His answer has been I will give you what you ask for and More!  I feel like he is saying stick with Me and I will make changes in your life that you may or may not be ready for.

The main reason that I wanted to write about this is because I have been on top of the mountain before.  I don't know if I have ever felt quite like this because no two feelings even if they are both joyous are exactly alike, but I have prayed throughout each day before and felt close to God.  I have been on the mountain at one moment and in the valley the next.  Times that I am not close to God I wonder why, why have I lost my focus when being close to Him is so amazing!  I am determined to continue to develop a closer and closer relationship with Him, talk to Him all throughout each day, and be a servant to others for Him, but if I slip back into the valley I pray that I will read this and run back up the mountain as fast as I can!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snow Week

This past week was quite unusual for those of us living in Georgia.  At the end of the previous week everyone started talking about how we were supposed to get snow Sunday night and/or Monday and that temperatures would be very low.  Terry and I kept checking the weather channel application on our phones to see if anything had changed.  The snow prediction for Monday went from 70% possible to 90% to 100%.  The snow was predicted to start some time between 9 and 11 pm Sunday night.  Schools were cancelled Sunday evening as there was no doubt this snow storm was coming.  I was watching tv about 10:30 Sunday night when I got a facebook message from my friend and coworker asking if we had any snow in our area yet.  I hadn't looked outside since before we put the boys to bed so I looked out our back door so I could report back to her.  I thought I would see some snow falling, but was surprised to see our backyard completely covered in snow and quite a bit of it!  It continued to fall off and on through out the night and by morning we had 3-4 inches.  The boys (Isaac especially) was excited to see the snow the next morning and immediately wanted to know when we could go play in it.  It is funny that what was such a normal occurrence throughout the winter when I was growing up is a rare treat for our kids.  Since it was barely light out I decided to hold him off for a little while.  Once we had some breakfast and Terry got up we bundled them up and Terry went in the backyard with them.  Hayden had never seen so much snow and wasn't thrilled with it because he could barely walk in it.  There was like a sheet of ice on top of the snow that made it very difficult to walk.  They played for a little while, but then came in.  I had the idea the day before that it would be fun to build a fire in our fireplace since it was going to be so cold and this was something we rarely do.  Maybe I should say we hardly ever do.  I don't think we had built a fire since before Isaac was born.  I had also mentioned to Isaac that we should have some hot chocolate after playing in the snow.  So, as much as he enjoyed the snow he was almost as excited about drinking hot chocolate and sitting by the fire.  Since I didn't go outside with the boys that morning I wanted to go out that afternoon.  Terry and I talked about the possibility of letting the boys sled down the hill in our backyard, but Terry pointed out that there was a creek at the bottom and that it might not be a good idea.  So, I thought about the small slope between our house and our neighbor's house and thought that might be fun for them.  Since it rarely snows here and when it does it is not very much we have never bought a sled.  So, Terry found the box that his flat screen tv came in and we decided to use that as our sled.  I think Isaac liked the little slide down our side slope, but I wasn't satisfied. I commented that I wished we had a better place for them to sled and Terry said that we could try our big hill and he would be at the bottom to make sure no one went in the creek.  I have a lot of fun memories of sledding from when I was a kid and so I think I was as or more excited then they were.  We first went to one side of the hill and Isaac and I sled down.  We didn't go super fast or far, but it was fun and Isaac immediately wanted to do it again and again.  Hayden went down with me as well, but wasn't super excited about the whole experience.  He couldn't walk on his own, was cold, and probably not that comfortable all bundled up in everything.  So, Hayden and I went in and Terry and Isaac continued sledding for a little while longer.  When they came in they told us how they eventually picked up speed and distance and there was one instance where Isaac went close to the creek, but Terry stopped him.  Monday night's weather prediction was for very low temperatures and freezing rain so schools were cancelled for Tuesday.  Tuesday Terry and Isaac did some more sledding, but I stayed inside with Hayden since I knew he wouldn't have much fun out there.

No more snow or rain was predicted for the rest of the week, but the temperatures were supposed to remain low until Friday.  By Tuesday afternoon Terry and I got word once again that GACS and Hall County schools would be closed for Wednesday.  We couldn't believe that we were going to have 3 snow days in a row.  While we were enjoying the time off work and just being together I was ready to get out of the house even for a short while.  I am used to going out of the house more than once a day whether it be for work or to take Isaac to school, run errands, etc.  While I often complain about being busy I like to stay busy.  So, I was thinking that it would be fun to take the boys to a movie.  We have talked about taking Isaac to his first movie for a while now and just haven't done it.  Wednesday morning I called around and couldn't get a hold of a movie theater.  Besides schools being closed, a lot of businesses were closed as well.  With the temperatures remaining so low and the lack of salt trucks that we have in the South, many roads were icy.  So, I called Chick-fil-a and the man I talked to said they would be open at 11am.  I also called Target and they confirmed that they were open.  So, I suggested that we take the boys to Chick-fil-a where we could eat and they could play and then we could look around at Target (I had a xmas gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket).  When we got to Chick-fil-a we found out that only the drive thru was open.  Maybe they didn't have a lot of workers that could come in and/or maybe they didn't want people to fall on the ice in their parking lot.  So, we decided to try Panera and were happy to see that they were open.  We then looked around Target (I didn't spend my gift card) and stopped by Walmart to get a couple things.  We were only gone for a few hours, but it felt great to get out.  There were more people out on the roads then I thought there would be and the road conditions were better than I thought they would be.  There were definitely icy areas, but a lot of areas were clear.  That afternoon after putting Hayden down for a nap Terry, Isaac, and I headed for the hill.  This time we decided to try a different part of the hill.  It seemed a little steeper and turned out to be just a better area.  We had a blast.  We decided to bring the video camera and get some of this on tape.  At one point Isaac wanted to go down by himself from the top of the hill (sometimes we would just start him from half way down).  Terry went to the top with him and I stayed at the bottom to video tape.  Terry gave him a little push and then started jogging down the hill with him to make sure he didn't hit any trees.  Terry noticed that he was picking up speed so he started running after Isaac and it was a good thing he did because Isaac just kept going and going right towards the creek.  Terry leaped for him and caught him just in time as Isaac was hanging over the cardboard about to fall in the creek.  It gave us both a good scare and we decided that we would never let that happen again.  The temperatures remained low so the ice and snow weren't going anywhere and school was quickly called off again for the next day.  Thursday we made snow ice cream which the boys enjoyed.  Isaac's first comment was "It's better then I thought it would be!"  Although temperatures were supposed to get into the low 40s on Friday it wouldn't be until the afternoon so school was called off once again.  We couldn't believe that we had a whole week off work and on top of that Monday was a holiday - Martin Luther King Day.

We had a lot of fun this past week.  In addition to sledding we played XBox Kinect video games together (bowling is our favorite right now), made snow ice cream, and just hung out.  I did get a little stir crazy at times, but the fun times and the memories that we made far overshadow the few times that I just wanted to get out of the house and go somewhere.  I am very thankful for the time we had together.  I feel like we got the best of both worlds this winter.  We got to do a lot of traveling during our Christmas break and see both sides of our family and we got a week to just be home and relax and play together.  I can't say enough what a fun, family week this was.  I am very thankful for Terry and our two boys and the fun we have together!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Past, Present, and Future

As the new year is beginning I thought I would reflect on 2010, think about what is going on right now, and what might be to come in 2011.  The first thing that comes to mind when reflecting on the past year is how much the boys have changed.    Hayden went from being 6 mths old to 18 mths old so of course a lot of changes took place.  He began walking at 11 mths old in May and in June we celebrated his first birthday.  We had a cookout with family and close friends.  Since then he has learned to jump right in there with Daddy and Isaac when they wrestle, is feeding himself more and more, and has in the past month started to say more and more words.  I feel like he is on the verge of saying a lot!  He tries a lot of words now and really seems to pay attention when others are talking to see how to say a word.  He understands a lot and is great about shaking his head yes or no when you ask him a question.  Isaac went from being 3 to 4.  Isaac became a big brother when he was 2 1/2 and has been a great big brother ever since.  He didn't show as much jealousy as I thought he would and he really seems to enjoy Hayden.  I think he has my love for little ones.  Sure there are times as Hayden has gotten older that they will fight over a toy or both want my attention at the same time, but for the most part they get along great and I love to watch them interact.  You can already see the love and the bond that they share.  Hayden adores his big brother and Isaac loves his little brother.  This past Summer Isaac became quite the swimmer!  He has always loved the water.  We were going to try and set up swim lessons with someone that Terry works with, but that never worked out so Terry just taught him different times that we were at the pool.  Terry's parents' house in Tallahassee, Florida has a pool so he got a lot of swimming in there.  By the end of the summer he didn't want to wear his swim vest and was jumping off the diving board and coming back up to the top of the water by himself (although we always made sure that one of us was close by in the water).  This past Fall we decided to continue building his swimming skills by signing him up for lessons at the Collins Hill Aquatic Center.  I probably signed him up for too basic of a class, but I didn't want him to be in over his head either.  Another milestone for Isaac was starting preschool this past Fall.  He goes Mon, Wed. and Fridays from 9:30 to 1:30.  At first he wasn't too crazy about saying goodbye each morning.  Most parents drop their kids off in front of the school, but you can also walk them in to their classroom.  He was fine if I walked him in, but he didn't like for me to just drop him off outside.  I think he didn't like seeing me drive away.  There were some tears shed, but he pretty quickly got used to saying goodbye whether I walked him in or dropped him off.  He is loving school and his teacher, Ms. Heather had a lot of positive things to say at the teacher/parent conference in the Fall.  She said that he always reminds her of things she needs to do and she said that he is one of the brightest kids in the class.  I know there have been many more wonderful moments in the boys' lives over the past year, but of course I can't cover them all now and now that I am blogging I can record more of them in the coming year!

When I started thinking about Terry and I, I first thought well we haven't hit milestones, we haven't changed in the past year, but then I quickly remembered that there have been significant moments in our lives as well.  I really believe that God is working on both of us.  This past Fall I decided that I wanted to plan a Ladies retreat for our Bible class.  I did this a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  I knew that I needed a weekend away and that many others needed one as well.  Although a little stressful at times I really enjoyed planning it.  We had a great time!  Also this past Fall our friends Brent and Robin who have been Upreach leaders for our Bible class for the past 6 years (with help from different people at different times) asked Terry and I if we would take over this role.  They had been fulfilling this responsibility for a long time and needed a break.  I love organizing events, I love our class, and I wanted them to have a break so I was anxious to say yes, but didn't want to do so unless Terry was on board.  I knew that he was having his busiest, most stressful school year that he has ever had so I wasn't sure if we would want to take on another responsibility.  He knew how much I wanted to do it and agreed to take on this role with me.  Well, right after we were asked to do this an announcement was made at church that our long time preacher had been having an affair with the previous children's ministry leader.  This was a big shock to all of us, but I was proud of the way our elders and everyone handled the situation.  For many of us instead of turning us away from Campus this renewed our commitment to this church family whom we love.  We didn't want this to tear us apart, but instead make us closer and stronger.  Robin and Brent decided that it wasn't the right time to step down as Upreach leaders and committed to leading with Terry and I.  Our friend Taylor who had been teaching our Bible class was asked to preach in the auditorium so Terry stepped forward and said that he would teach.  He said that being asked to be an Upreach leader and then with what happened with our minister he felt called to take a leadership role.  He spent many years when he was younger working in youth ministry and now works in a leadership role as a teacher and head of his department at GACS so for the past several years he was happy to let others lead at church.  He said that he thought many times, the men in our class should step forward and teach.  He realized that it was time he stepped forward and took more of a part in our class.  He has done such a great job as a leader and a teacher.  He has walked our class through the Experiencing God book.  He has a great way of getting his point across with music and stories and takes in everyone's comments as well.  About a month ago Terry was asked to become a Deacon at our church.  I am very proud and blessed to be his wife!

Well, I took quite a bit of time talking about the past year so I will try to make my present and future thoughts a little shorter.  When I think about what is going on right now it is what has happened in the past year continuing.  The boys are continuing to change and I love watching them grow (although I wish they would slow down a little bit!)  Terry is going to continue to teach our class and we are looking forward to continuing to lead in our class.  The women's ministry leader asked me to be a small group leader for our upcoming Spring retreat for our church.  This is something that I have never done before.  I am a little nervous, but mostly looking forward it.  As I mentioned earlier, Terry is have a very busy year and it has been pretty stressful for him so we will both be glad when it is over.

The future, hmmm...I really don't want to make predictions because that has gotten me in to trouble in the past.  See I like to plan and know what is going to happen and how it is going to happen and when it is going to happen, but I have learned that it is best not to make plans, but instead watch and listen for God's perfect plan for our lives.  I have found that when I make plans I get caught up in how I think things should go and get a false sense of being in control.  However, when I completely put things in God's hands I see things work out perfectly.  As many times as I have seen my plans fail and God's succeed I still have many moments where I try to make plans and be in control.  You would think I would have learned by now!  Why are we so thick headed and slow to learn!  Well, fortunately God is forgiving and willing to give us as many chances as we need to get it right so I will keep on trying to give up complete control.